Tag Archives: films

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City Toads (1990)

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Daring actors of Hollywood

Lights, camera and action! TIFF is back for another year of critically acclaimed films, hot parties and loads of totally radical folks from the PR industry who truly believe they rule.

Unfortunately for all you film buffs, glennmacaulay.com was denied press accreditation again this year because we’re well-known for our HONESTY when it comes to movie reviews. Worry not because that won’t stop us from delivery premium content related to Toronto’s biggest annual event and to start things off we’ve got a little history lesson inspired a daring choice made by a modern actor.

During a Q ‘n A for this new movie, The Program, actor Ben Foster-Wright-Penn revealed he took real drugs to help him act like disgraced biker Lance Armstrong. This isn’t the first time a real deal actor has taken a big risk for the sake of cinema. Here are some other memorable ones:

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To prep for his role as the uncle of Clifford (1994), a trouble-making little boy played by law-abiding adult Martin Short, Charles Grodin legally adopted a 48-year old named Nico and raised him as his own.

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Laura Dern spent six months in a sad, sexless relationship with a British workaholic named Spencer prior to filming Jurassic Park (1993) with co-star Sam Neill.

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Before puppeteering Jedi Master Yoda in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, Frank Oz trained by growing a creature on his hand. Right before shooting began the creature was surgically removed and eventually starred in Ghoulies (1984)

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Sly Stallone spent two weeks wooing, dating, marrying, then divorcing a quiet nerd with major babe potential before shooting on Rocky (1976) began.

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Keanu Reeves signed up for his first email account a mere four days before principal photography began on The Matrix (1999).

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Ernie Hudson spent four months living with a spooky white family before Ghostbusters (1983).

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Neve Campbell spent a week in the special needs kindergarten class of an L.A.-area elementary school to prepare for her scenes with Matthew Lillard in the horror classic Scream (1996).

 

Famous movies scenes without FX

Computers are the most popular machines in the world right now and they’ve make every aspect of life easier from booking a vacation to learning trumpet. The movie industry has loved computers since day one and has utilized them to make their films bigger and better, taking us to new worlds and introducing us to fantastical creatures who if real would make us shit our pants.

Here are some rare images of cinema’s most iconic scenes with their computer effects removed. You won’t believe your eyes, I’m so serious.

The Return of the Jedi (1983)

By the time the third film in the effects-heavy Star Wars trilogy was released, George Lucas really knew his way around a mouse. In a famous scene toward the end of the film, our hero Luke Skywalker fences his brother Darth while the Old Master watches. After they shot the scene, Lucas realized his actors didn’t look old enough so he tinkered with it until he got to this:

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Unbelievably, this is what the scene originally looked like:

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Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Director Quentin Tarantino is a real purist, often sleeping on piles of film and using a clapperboard to cut his fresh pasta. He was vehemently against tinkering with the famous slow walk scene in Reservoir Dogs but when renowned street artist BARF threatened to sue Tarantino unless his signature tag was removed from the background, the director was forced to use computer effects to cover it up. Here’s a still from the original scene, as shot:

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Tarantino and BARF eventually became friends and even though it didn’t make it into the movie, the tag was seen by millions of people when MoMA in New York featured it in its “St. Paint” exhibition:

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The Lion King (1994)

Disney struck gold with the release of its animated tale about a lion trying not to die, but production of the film wasn’t all cuddles and heirloom tomatoes. The use of a brand new technology where live action footage could be easily transformed into animation proved time-consuming and very expensive, causing then Disney CEO Michael Eisner to call the production “a fuckin’ tit tumor”. Here’s the final version of one of the film’s most iconic images:

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Now compare that to the same scene before digital artists went to work:

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You may recognize the young actor as Foxcatcher’s Mark Ruffalo, who had been interning at Disney at the time.

North by Northwest (1959)

Director Alfred Hitchcock bought the world’s first movie computer prior to shooting this classic film starring Cary Grant, hoping to use it in a key scene where the hero is chased by an airplane:

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Unfortunately, the invention of the airplane was a still a few months away but Hitchcock had heard about the technology through Wired Magazine and simply had to include it in the film. To motivate the famously fickle Grant to act like he was actually scared, Hitchcock had the three things the actor feared most and had them chase him only to be replaced digitally with the plane during post-production. Here’s that same iconic shot with its effects removed:

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CG’s greatest fears — mallards, grizzlies and his nephew Barney.

The Goonies (1985)

The Goonies was the result of George Lucas daring his friend Stephen Spielberg to make a movie about “a group of destitute kids and their mongoloid”. After completing the dare and looking at the footage, Spielberg thought the kids didn’t look shitty enough, so he shot fresh footage with new actors and digitally added them to existing scenes using USC’s then brand-new computer lab. Here’s a famous shot of the Goonies team that America fell in love with:

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And here’s the original group in the same shot before they were digitally replaced:

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The Shining (1980)

Stanley Kubrick is known for shooting take after take of the same scene, often frustrating actors and crew. When shooting the scene where Jack Nicholson goes crazy and tries to eat his wife, Kubrick has the actor break through the door 900 times before calling it a day. As the day wore on Jack would sip on a potent combination of castor oil and dark rum causing him to lose his concentration. It got so bad that he would forget his lines mid-take so Kubrick was forced to find creative ways to have him remember what to say. In the take that was ultimately used in the film, Nicholson was 27 Oil Drums deep and couldn’t tell the camera from the little boy who played Donnie, so Kubrick scribbled the famous line on the door frame for Jack’s reference. Here is what the scene looks like without digital editing where you can see Jack looking over and reading the text, that gave the scene an extra level of creepiness once it was removed:

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**Bonus** The Matrix (1999) Original Test Footage:

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Move Review — The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

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Hobbit-Heads worldwide got an extra special Christmas orange this year in the form of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the third and final Hobbit film. This new Hobbit movie is the perfect dessert after a satisfying meal of two other Hobbit movies. If you’re confused it’s because there were three Rings movies that featured more way more Hobbits than The Hobbit and to top that off, the Lord of the Rings of the Rings movies isn’t even a Hobbit.

This baby girl picked up right where we left off with the dragon burning the water city and the dwarves and the Hobbit waiting around. Then a dad kills the dragon and you think “oh the adventure is over, the gold is won”, but rather than worry where their next turnip is going to come from, beings from all over the country want some gold for themselves or maybe as a present for their sweeties so they walk to the mountain for some war.

There are supposed to be five armies fighting for the gold — the pretty elves, the funny dwarves, the boring humans, the outrageous orcs and I guess the Hobbit who manages to survive even though he’s from a town full of pussies.

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The orcs were extra scary but still managed to be killed by the hobos and children from the burned town, little dwarves wearing very heavy hats and a Hobbit who doesn’t even wear boots. This was making me mad but then I realized that the reason the orcs don’t fight well is because they don’t train! They sit around and accuse each other of being gay and wait until their big boss says “run”. Meanwhile, the little guys who kill them drape themselves in magic clothes and train all day, no joking around until after supper, that kind of thing. And where’s the motivation? If the orcs win a battle they still have to go back to the dungeon and sleep in their armour, it’s not like they have pajamas. It’s like a goth on Christmas–even if they want to get into their jammies they can’t or else they won’t be goth anymore despite how pure the flannel is. You think there are post-battle treats in the dungeons? Yeah right. Maybe a clean rat will wander in and they can split it but even still, no one would share because they feel too much pressure to be rude.

We know that everything works out fine because this movie happens before the Rings movies that we’ve all already seen. That’s cool though, it’s about the journey not the destination and if there’s one little boy who knows that all too well it’s Bilbo Baggins of the Shire, the title Hobbit of the film.

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I saw The Hobbit for free because Uncle Dave was running the IMAX projector and snuck me in. I got to press “play” in the control booth and that kind of power made me feel like Gandalf, my favourite wizard. I ate no snacks but got to leave my jacket in the booth so that I felt very free and comfortable in my seat, not worrying about any opportunists looking to pinch the jackets of Hobbit fans whose eyes were glued to the screen full of creatures. I’d give this movie a “I might as well finish the trilogy” out of 10 and would recommend it to someone who wants to annoy a friend who hates modern filmmaking.

Will You Buy My Grandkids? (1993)

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Movie Review – Gravity

The boy is looking for his X-BOX, no doubt.

“Mommy, I’m God”

Gravity is a brand new movie set mostly in outer space where a handful of astronauts have some trouble at work. Sandra Bullock plays the main floater who has never been to space before but knows how to fix the big droid better than veteran astronaut played by real deal woman fucker, George Clooney. There’s one other guy whose face you do not see, but whose voice would be best described as “Mexican?”.

There isn’t much to say about the story except that humans are the only species we get to hang out with and Earth is the only planet we get laugh at. If I wanted to see some humans on earth I’d take a look in the mirror because I have a tattoo of Buzz Aldrin licking a globe.

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The main draw of this future Wikipedia favourite is the visually stunning depiction of outer space, painstakingly created in a computer program that doesn’t come with the computer you bought. No wait, who cares? Outer space is the easiest thing to draw next to the sun, which also makes several appearances.

If “gravity” is the science that keeps our poo flowin’ the right way, then the film Gravity is the film that stops us from pooing for 90 minutes because we don’t want to get up and poo during the film. As a joke, I threw a Mars bar at the screen when the credits started rolling. I give this film two thumbs on the buttons that make space ships fly and hope that it inspires someone to make a space movie with more sports in it.

DVD BONUS FEATURE

What fun snack should you eat during Gravity?

Mars Bars (sorry if I ruined the surprise before)

Movie Review – Fast & Furious 6

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Paul Walker stars

Fast & Furious 6 is the latest in a series of films about cars and the men and women who use them for everything but transportation.

Former wrestler and current mainstay at MTV- based award shows, Dwayne “A Rock” Johnson plays some sort of law enforcement official named Hobbs who’s having a whale of a time tracking down “Shaw”, a really smart hunk who is really good at crime and making cars that are better than regular ones. While investigating the bad guy, Hobbs realizes that one of Shaw’s teammates is Vin Diesel’s wife (Michelle Rodriguez) who had died in part 3 or something. He convinces Vin Diesel to ditch his new girlfriend and their lavish oceanside Spanish villa to get his old wife back and save the world too. But he can’t do it alone because there are too many favourites in the series to simply ignore. He convinces Paul Walker to ditch his wife, oceanside Spanish villa and newborn baby boy and join the mission, then puts in phone calls to the rest of the gang: Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, an Asian guy with great hair and an Israeli supermodel, who are all living great lives thanks to all the money they made killing the last bad guy. But hey, when your friend asks you to help him find his dead wife who happens to be in cahoots with the world’s most dangerous man, you drop everything fast and furiously.

What follows is two hours of fights that leave combatants un-cut, shootouts that leave our heroes un-shot, and car chases that result in thousands of civilian casualties.  All the while Vin Diesel works very hard to refresh the memory of Rodriguez, who contracts a mean case of amnesia when she almost died that one time.

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 I’d say this film was well worth the money I paid to sit in front of it because it was full of the kind of shit that make movies fun to go see, which in this case included a tank chase, a plane chase, computer screens with maps and bar graphs on them and a post-credit sequence starring British-born actor Jason Statham. There were also some great quotes that reminded me of the dialogue I’d make-up in my head when I’d play with actions figures as a child. Here are some:

Paul Walker: Letty is dead Dom.
Vin Diesel: I need to know for sure.
Paul Walker: Then I’m going with you.

Vin Diesel: [Hands over the microchip to Hobbs] So this is worth billions.
Rock: [Smiles] Name your price, Dom.

[Long pause]

Vin Diesel: [Referring to his old address in Los Angeles, which is a piece of shit in East L.A.] 1327.

Rock: If you want to catch a wolf, you need a wolf.

Go see Fast & Furious 6 if you don’t care about what your smart friends think of you, or if you want to impress a girl who is new to North America. I’d give this movie a multi-star high five out of ten.