If you've seen Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book already, you know it's a wonderful film set in a lush jungle with lovable characters. Aside from Mowgli, played by youngster Neel Sethi, every other character is a CG animal. And here's the craziest part - the film was shot entirely in downtown Los Angeles. How did they pull this off? Lots and lots of blue screen (and CGI). Disney has released a behind-the-scenes featurette showing some of the special sets and other tricks they used to film this movie - it's impressive to see. In addition, SlashFilm has some photos of the making of The Jungle Book with details like that 224 unique animals were created, and the average render time per frame was 19 hours. The magic of Hollywood. Take a look below.
"Music is my life!" Paramount has debuted a new trailer and a new featurette for the upcoming Meryl Streep movie Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Streep as the legendary Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of being a singer despite having a terrible voice (her story is similar to the one told in the film Marguerite). We've featured at least one teaser trailer for this previously and now we get a look at the full trailer with more footage of her horrifying crowds at Carnegie Hall. Hugh Grant also stars, and the cast includes Rebecca Ferguson, John Kavanagh, Simon Helberg, and plenty others. I'm not sure how popular this will be with younger people, but it does look amusing. And Meryl Streep is always fun.
"Every particle of your body will be blown away!" Now this looks amazing! My kind of science fiction. MTV has also debuted a new behind-the-scenes featurette (in addition to Kong: Skull Island) for Luc Besson's Valerian, or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, starring Dane DeHaan & Cara Delevingne. The video features MTV's Josh Horowitz on a tour of the Valerian sets in France, speaking with director Luc Besson about the production and the casting and everything. As a huge fan of The Fifth Element, I can't wait for this - big, gritty, futuristic sci-fi and it looks awesome. I love the outfits, and details like the little futuristic gizmo on DeHaan's neck. There are so many tiny things to pick up on in this footage - enjoy!
"What the hell is this place?" Now they have my attention. Universal has debuted a new featurette for the upcoming Kong: Skull Island movie, showing some behind-the-scenes production footage inbetween interviews and talks with various people involved in the movie. This is the very first time we're seeing any footage from this, so it's exciting to see, especially knowing this eventually all leads to Kong vs Godzilla. The cast includes Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham and many others, all being directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. The scenery looks very impressive and I am intrigued to see more finished footage from this, but I do have a good feeling about it. Take a look.
"How would a proton pack work?" This is cool! Following the debut of the first official trailer for Paul Feig's new Ghostbusters, a new featurette has been discovered along with a new viral website. Hidden in one of the frames in the various math equations written out on the whiteboard is a web address leading to paranormalstudieslab.com. The site just contains various data and info and documents, so far all about the proton packs. The new featurette is also specifically about the proton packs and the people from MIT they brought in to design them to be as realistic as possible. The perfect compliment to that impressive first trailer, since the new proton packs are featured prominently throughout. Can't wait to see more from this.
"The poet might know what he wanted to write, but he will never know what he wrote…" Whether or not you like the film, Iñárritu's The Revenant is an example of filmmaking at its finest. The intense attention-to-detail, filming only with natural light at the right time of the day (and the cinematography of Emmanuel Lubezki), the amount of work that went into making it, the performances, it's all extraordinary. To celebrate this achievement, 20th Century Fox has released an extensive 45-minute documentary about the making of the film that they say uncovers "the parallel between the lost era and its relevance for our world today." If you truly want to appreciate how hard it was to make this film, and get a glimpse into the process of making a feature film, this is a must-see documentary. Plus it's fascinating to hear so much from Iñárritu directly.
"Newt Scamander only meant to stay in New York for a few hours…" Warner Bros has unveiled the first official featurette for the Harry Potter spin-off series Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, to compliment the first teaser trailer revealed in December. Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander, a magizoologist who ends letting loose a suitcase full of magical creatures in New York City in the 20s. This video features chats with Redmayne as well as stars Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, director David Yates, and producer David Heyman. This is a nice behind-the-scenes video giving us a better feel for this new J.K. Rowling-scripted film coming out in the fall. It's lookin' great so far.
"With Justice League, you've really started to lay a foundation for a pretty expansive world…" DC is ready to challenge Marvel head on, and is introducing the next round of characters with short featurettes. Warner Bros hosted a special DC event on The CW last night, which is where the first footage from Wonder Woman also came from, and the new Suicide Squad trailer. In addition, plenty of new concept art has arrived for Zack Snyder's Justice League as well as extra footage from Batman v Superman. In the upcoming movies, Ezra Miller plays The Flash, Ray Fisher plays Cyborg, Jason Momoa plays Aquaman. Discussions with each are below, along with even more to see from the first Dawn of Justice film this March. Looking good?
"We're going to see her coming-of-age, the entire history, what's her mission." We'll meet the new Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder's upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie this March, but they've already started filming the solo Wonder Woman movie due out in 2017. Patty Jenkins is currently in the middle of directing Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot as the Amazonian princess-warrior. It also stars Robin Wright, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen and David Thewlis. This video features a chat between Geoff Johns & Kevin Smith, before showing just a few clips of footage from the film. We expect to see a full trailer sometime around March, but maybe sooner, you never know. Check this out below in the meantime.
"Directing is a matter of emphasis - you emphasize what is important, by under-emphasizing what is less so." Need filmmaking inspiration? Watch this. We don't feature enough of the videos made by YouTube user Every Frame a Painting, and they're always fascinating to watch. The latest one is a profile on ensemble staging, or the art of setting up an ensemble of actors within scenes as part of visual storytelling. The film used to explain this is Bong Joon-ho's Memories of Murder, a fantastic murder mystery thriller, and the perfect reference for this technique. There's some great quotes at the beginning as well, and plenty to learn.
"That's how it starts - the fever, the rage… That turns good men cruel." It's a New Year and that means a new set of movies across the next 12 months to get excited about. 2016's line-up of cinematic adventures includes Marvel's Doctor Strange, DC's Suicide Squad, plus Gambit, X-Men: Apocalypse, Captain America: Civil War, as well as Steven Spielberg's The BFG, Paul Fieg's Ghostbusters, Duncan Jones' Warcraft, Tim Miller's Deadpool, and Pixar's Finding Dory. This new 2016 mashup video from Nick Bosworth (who makes the Final Cut videos) is just a very quick tease but it's a nice preview of what's ahead.
By now, hopefully everyone has seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens at least once, because it's time to delve into spoiler territory. The Irish Tourism Board has launched a new featurette on Star Wars, focusing on the one major scene that was filmed there. The scene was shot on the island Skellig Michael, and it's the very last scene in the movie, involving a certain Skywalker character. It's a beautiful location that is used nicely, and the video shows how they worked to get the shots they needed without causing any harm to the environment. This is more of a tourism video to attract fans to Ireland to check out this location, but it's also cool to see a few more behind-the-scenes shots from this most recent Star Wars adventure. Fire it up below.
"These shots are about creating an intimacy with the actors within an epic landscape." 20th Century Fox has debuted this new making of featurette for Alejandro González Iñárritu's The Revenant, which explores the grueling processing of filming this story. The shot for almost a year in the freezing cold in Canada, using only natural light, and submitting themselves to the raw elements of nature. The end result is a spectacular cinematic experience - every shot is stunning, and it's powerful to watch so raw, real beauty. This is a brutal tale of survival, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson, and it's riveting to watch. This video shows a lot of footage and examines the themes that Iñárritu is touching upon.
"We are a passionate group of artists who believe that the smallest details help tell the bigger story." This month, Laika Entertainment based in Portland, Oregon is celebrating 10 years of "bold and memorable filmmaking". Laika is the stop-motion animation studio behind Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings (coming up). They do such amazing work constructing these wonderful films by hand, retouching frame-by-frame, moment-by-moment, creating everything from scratch and animating it painstakingly day-after-day. To celebrate the occasion, they've released a short 10th Anniversary video looking at the artistry behind Laika. It's a great reminder of just how much goes into this kind of animation.