Peter Jackson

What You Need to Know Before You See ‘The Hobbit’

As you probably know — whether out of personal interest, interaction with your favorite geek, or a glance at any delivery device for mass marketing — the first of Peter Jackson’s three-part (!) Lord of the Rings prequel series, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is out in theaters this Friday. What may be less clear, at least to the casual observer, is what all this chatter is about “frame rate” and “48 fps” and other blather that have been floating around since the films went into production. So here’s a quick breakdown, to help communicate with the LOTR geek in your life (we’re a service-oriented site, after all!): what is all this talk about “frame rate,” and what does it mean to you? … Read More

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10 Films Surprisingly Created Without CGI

We live in a movie universe where the Michael Bays and James Camerons of Hollywood are crafting their on-screen worlds with the help of incredible computer-aided technology. These filmmakers create works where anything seems possible, and while it’s often stunning to behold, many moviegoers are already tired of watching disaster porn and motion capture performances that aim to be real, but never truly feel like the tangible celluloid of yore. What many of those audiences don’t realize, however, is that several big-budget films have stuck to their practical effects-loving guns and have dodged the CGI monster at every… Read More

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10 Cult Filmmakers Who Went Mainstream

The Avengers hits DVD and Blu-ray today, fresh from a theatrical run that placed it in the top three highest-grossing films of all time. Not too shabby for a second-time director. Yes, there are many reasons to be cheered by the success of The Avengers: it’s a big, loud summer blockbuster with a brain and a heart; it serves as a triple-exception to our resistance to a) sequels, b) superhero movies, and c) 3D; and most importantly, it has given cult phenom Joss Whedon the kind of crossover success most filmmakers can only dream of. After the jump, a look at how the Browncoats’ fave became Tinseltown’s, and nine other tales of cult filmmakers and the plays they made for mainstream success. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. The first full trailer for Ang Lee’s film adaptation of Yann Martel’s Booker Prize-winning novel The Life of Pi has arrived online, and while it doesn’t reveal much about the plot, boy oh boy is it pretty.

2. Speaking of highly-anticipated adaptations of critically-acclaimed books, Entertainment Weekly has posted some… Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Peter Jackson posted on Facebook that principal photography for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again has wrapped. Now we just have to wait until December 14th for the first film to come out in theaters! [via ComingSoon]

2. Suck on this, Tyson: Jake LaMotta, the now… Read More

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The Morning's Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. People has named new mom Beyoncé the most beautiful woman in the world. “I feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt because I’ve given birth,” she says in a new interview with the magazine. “I have never felt so connected, never felt like I had such a purpose on this earth.”

2. In… Read More

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The First Films of 10 Famous Directors

Flea market hero and filmmaker Gary Huggins recently unearthed director Robert Altman‘s first film — a documentary short called Modern Football. He found the gem at a Kansas City area sale, where he purchased several old film reels for a whopping ten bucks. Imagine his surprise when one of them turned out to be the Gosford Park director’s lost movie. The early work is one of 27 sponsored shorts the filmmaker made for Kansas City company Calvin Communications, and no other print is know to exist. The director even makes a cameo as a sports reporter — and you can watch the entire thing on YouTube if you’re curious.

Every great filmmaker found their start somewhere. Although some would probably like to forget those early works, we’ve decided to pull a mom-breaks-out-the-old-school-photos moment and share them with you past the break. Even in their younger years, these filmmakers were obviously destined for greatness — space creatures, rough-cut animation, and all. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Conservative web publisher and talking head Andrew Breitbart passed away last night at UCLA Medical Center from natural causes. He was 43 years old. “We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior,” reads a post on his website. “Andrew lived boldly, so… Read More

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Our 10 Most Anticipated Sundance Movies

Tomorrow marks the opening day of the Sundance Film Festival, the annual winter movie orgy/buyer’s market/excuse to party for those who make, buy, watch, and act in independent films (or what passes for independent, in this IMAX 3-D superhero climate). Your humble film editor is traveling to Park City (for the first time) to take it all in: the swag, the hobnobbing, the VIP parties. Or he may just end up going to movies all day and staying up all night writing stuff about them. That’s probably a bit more likely.

Taking on the screening schedule is a bit daunting; the festival is screening 110 feature-length films from 31 countries, and, well, there’s only so many hours in the day. (If you think that’s heavy, it’s worth noting that the number of submissions was up to 4,042 films. Yikes.) But I think I’ve plucked out the cream of the crop; I’ll probably find out that I’m wrong, that the movie I missed to see the Sean-Penn-as-an-emo-Nazi-hunter movie (yes, that’s real) ends up winning the competition and getting picked up for $5 million by the Weinstein Company. But until that happens, here’s the ten Sundance films I’m most looking forward to. … Read More

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Open Thread: What Is Your Pop Culture Cold Spot?

Last week, your author was charged with working up our most anticipated movies of 2012, and I must confess, it’s an assignment I was dreading. Not because there weren’t movies in the upcoming year worth anticipating (as we saw, there are many), or that it would be difficult to explain why they were worth looking forward to. No, it was because I knew I was going to have to deal with The Hobbit.

I anticipated it, even, noting in the call for comments that there would certainly be hoots and catcalls for the exclusion of Peter Jackson’s return to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien. And there were, sure enough. But here’s the problem, as briefly noted when discussing the release of they eagerly-greeted-by-everyone-but-yours-truly trailer: I don’t like The Lord of the Rings. I just don’t. It’s one of my pop culture “cold spots.” We’ve all got them. Right? … Read More

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