3-D

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Yesterday’s trailers for Mission: Impossible IV and War Horse are a hard act to follow, but The Three Musketeers are legendary for being heroically foolhardy.

No doubt this news item generated a spirited hullabaloo and no small degree of consternation among movie bloggers in February, 1935.

Paris, Feb. 4., Louis Lumiere, aged 81, who 42 years ago invented one of the earliest moving picture cameras, has now devised a stereoscopic film. The apparatus includes a camera with two lenses which takes pictures at slightly different angles so that the pictures, when projected on to the screen, have the effect of solidity. Some of the spectators at a secret demonstration of the invention at the week-end consider that the invention may revolutionize cinema throughout the world.

(from The Western Argus, Kalgoorlie, WA, via @dialmformovies on Twitter.)


Good gosh, at least 33 films are jumping off screens in 3-D this year. How many of them will be worth the premium ticket price? Choose 5 titles in the poll after the cut.

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Distribution rights for Martin Scorsese’s 3D adventure, Hugo Cabret has been transferred to Paramount and its release date has been bumped up 2 weeks to November 23 for optimal family-friendliness. That’s almost exactly a year after Marty’s interview with the Guardian’s Mark Kermode last November:

Scorsese seems genuinely fired up about the possibilities of the 3D format. “Every shot is rethinking cinema,” he enthuses, “rethinking narrative ‚Äì how to tell a story with a picture. Now, I’m not saying we have to keep throwing javelins at the camera, I’m not saying we use it as a gimmick, but it’s liberating. It’s literally a Rubik’s Cube every time you go out to design a shot, and work out a camera move, or a crane move. But it has a beauty to it also. People look like‚Ķ like moving statues. They move like sculpture, as if sculpture is moving in a way. Like dancers‚Ķ”

Deadline says producer Graham King was determined to see the film open during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday.
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My first thought when I heard this news was that crappy movies in 3-D are still crappy movies. The only two films I would want to see again in any form, 3-D or not would be the original Star Wars (Episode 4) and The Empire Strikes Back. The rest of them aren’t really going to be improved by 3-D technology. They might look cool and all, but the films are still the films. That is my own personal (probably unpopular) opinion. I would imagine that 3-D technology might be edged forward slightly with Lucasfilm tipping their toe in.

Lucasfilm Ltd. announced today that the live-action Star Wars Saga will be converted to 3D! There are few movies that lend themselves more perfectly to 3D; from the Death Star trench run to the Tatooine Podrace, the Star Wars Saga has always delivered an entertainment experience that is completely immersive. Presented by Twentieth Century Fox and Lucasfilm Ltd., the cutting edge conversion will take that immersion to the next thrilling level, with Industrial Light & Magic supervising the project. Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace is expected to be released theatrically in 2012. A release date has not yet been determined.

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Instead of asking if Despicable Me can possibly come close to Toy Story 3 or How to Train Your Dragon, maybe a fairer question would be to ask how Despicable Me compares with a dozen other tentpole tarballs gumming up the summer multiplexes. And if our answer is that most animated movies have more to recommend them that their live-action counterparts, what’s the reason for that? Could it be that packaging an animated film has to begin with a worthy script, instead of some high-concept lowbrow formula with just enough lumbering clout to get greenlit?

Here is what I think about Toy Story 3’s position in the race. ¬†If it is making grown men cry, which it obviously is — men AND women — it will be a formidable contender, landing easily in the Best Pic 10, but also duking it out with How to Train Your Dragon for the Animated Feature prize. ¬†Dragon has surprise word of mouth and an original story (not a sequel). ¬†Toy Story 3 has an Oscar-winning screenwriter, Michael Arndt, hitting it out of the park, and becoming, maybe, a worthy adieu for this beloved series.

Although Wall-E still might be the best reviewed Pixar film, Toy Story 3 is coming damn close. MetaCritic is a little hesitant to give it a glowing 95%, but it’s at 89. TIME Mag calls it an “instant classic,” adding at the end, “What’s more potent is the upping of the emotional ante. TS3 puts its characters and the moviegoing children who love them in their severest crisis yet. Not since the early Disney classics have cartoon characters faced so dire a threat with such heroic grace. Lasseter recalls a meeting of the Pixar brain trust for the first reading of the story. “By the end,” he says, “I had tears streaming down my face. I looked around the table, and we all had tears.”

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Three-time Oscar winner Thelma Schoonmaker talks about adopting 3D into her impressive skillset for Scorsese’s adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Thanks to Kevin K for the link-around to the paywall-protected interview at ScreenDaily.

“It’s a whole new kind of film for us,” she says. “It’s very visual, very little dialogue, lots of opportunities for wonderful 3D shots, because the boy’s job is to keep the clocks wound, so you can imagine the giant wheels being built. Everyone’s very excited about it. It will have a broad appeal, it won’t just be Scorsese fans going to this, it will be kids and families and Scorsese fans.”

…She says Scorsese is excited about the 3D work. ‚ÄúScorsese is in love with [3D]. He looked at Avatar and Alice [in Wonderland] and Scorsese didn‚Äôt feel that the 3D he saw was as interesting as in the old ones like Dial M for Murder and House of Wax. He‚Äôs decided he wants to be stronger with 3D to make it jump out at you. He‚Äôs going to go a little bit further with it.‚Äù

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