Must Watch Films
Must Watch Films

– Balaji Thangapandian | BT

Jason Bourne remains invincible and unprecedented, with perfect back stories relating to all the events of his past. The revenge saga, does not appear to be concluding, more sequels to be followed.

Even though, Paul Greengrass (director), perfectly ended the franchise with ‘ The Bourne Ultimatum’ (2007), he had also left vital clues that Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) might be reinstated. After a heist of 9 years, Bourne emerges as a bare – knuckle fighter in the border of Greece.

JasonBourne-filmtheorist.com
Jason Bourne – Bare Knuckle Fight

Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), the former logistics support for Treadstone program, was terminated from CIA for being linked to Jason Bourne and aiding him in exposing black ops, Treadstone and Blackbriar ( Do recall your memory of  Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Identity). Since then, she has been hiding, and hunting opportunities to expose the rogue operations.

JasonBourne-filmtheorist.com
Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons – Greek Protest

In meantime, the social media giant ‘ Deep Dream’ becomes ubiquitous in the digital lives of significant population of the world. The founder of the start up, Aaron Kallor(Riz Ahmed) is obligated to the deputy director of CIA, Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) for full wide – spectrum surveillance of people’s digital footprints as his company was seed funded by the agency. Aaron is determined in protecting people’s privacy. And, what the agency demands him to do is against the privacy policies of Deep Dream. How does he cope up? [ Several references are made to Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing]

The head of cyber divisions, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), partially defeats Nicky Parsons’s attempt in infiltrating into the firewall of CIA’s mainframe and stealing the black ops files, including Iron Hand (A Treadstone upgrade – full spectrum surveillance). Bourne is given access to data stolen by Nicky Parsons in the midst of Greek protest crowd, which leads to unraveling the fact of paramount importance, (that was the motivation for Bourne to volunteer for Treadstone), that his father, Richard Webb, was not murdered by enemies, but by the agency. Bourne wants to find the perpetrators. He falls back in the grid again, revealing the answers, shrouded in mystery.

JasonBourne-filmtheorist.com
Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee, Cyber Divisions Head

Heather Lee, studies Bourne’s files, and learns from his behavioral observations that Bourne is always patriotic, when played right, he can be brought back into the agency. The asset (Vincent Cassel) desperately wants to avenge Bourne, as he was caught in Syria for espionage and tortured by the exposure of Blackbriar by Bourne. Heather Lee plans to bring Bourne back to agency by helping him in finding the truth.

JasonBourne-filmtheorist.com
Vincent Cassel as Asset

The last 90 minutes is a culmination of brutal combat, and high speed pursuit between the agency’s asset backed by Robert and Bourne, in preventing Bourne from exposing Iron Hand program, and understanding about Bourne’s father’s murder. Eventually, Jason Bourne triumphs and leaves impression again that he would return. The whistleblowing attempt of Aaron, appears to be subtly managed by Heather Lee, in favour of agency. Perhaps, it is saved for subsequent installments of the franchise.

JasonBourne-filmtheorist.com
Tommy Lee Jones as Robert Dewey, CIA Deputy Director

Filmmaker, Paul Greengrass was a former international journalist, and adept in seamlessly incorporating the alarming sociopolitical challenges in his films, esp, in Bourne franchise. Jason Bourne is no exception, as the pivotal plot of this installment is loosely based on Edward Snowden. Jason Bourne franchise is synonymous with hyper, fast edited, massive action sequences. Special mention to the academy award winning editor (for Bourne Ultimatum) and co-writer, Christopher Rouse for bringing actions as authentic as possible and captivating on the screen. The Greek protest and Las Vegas car chase sequences quench the thirst for Jason Bourne admirers.

JasonBourne-filmtheorist.com
Paul Greengrass, Director

The article is about:
Jason Bourne, Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel, Christopher Rouse, Balaji Thangapandian, Film Theorist

– Balaji Thangapandian | BT

Warner Bros. today, released the first teaser trailer of one of the highly anticipated films of the decade, Christopher Nolan’s, Dunkirk.

Dunkirk-filmtheorist.com
Dunkirk

Dunkirk, as reported, is based on the remarkable true story of allied and British soldiers’s survival and evacuation, who were enclosed and annihilated by German forces, during World War II, in the beach of Dunkirk, France in 1940. The cast includes Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, academy award winner – Mark Rylance, and Harry Styles in acting debut.

Christopher Nolan, is a film enthusiast and a believer of film and practical effects. The film is being shot in IMAX 65 mm and large format 65 mm cameras. It is slated for release on 21st July, 2017.
More importantly, Chris Nolan, is been speculated to have crashed a real World War II plane for the movie, considered as one of the biggest stunts in history of cinema, or at least in his career. An auteur filmmaker, who prefers to capture everything possible in camera to special/visual effects, it does not come as surprise for his followers.

Official Teaser Trailer:

The article is related to: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Dunkirk Teaser Trailer, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles, Balaji Thangapandian.

– Balaji Thangapandian | BT

‘ In one hour, we are to taken out and shot.
Avenge us.’
– a quote from the film, which exemplifies the mood.

Andrei Tarkovsky, Russian born filmmaker, considered as a prophet, as he was instrumental in the emergence and sustenance of Russian new wave cinema.
Ivan’s Childhood was his first feature,  critically acclaimed, won Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival and Golden Gate at San Francisco International Film Festival in 1962. He died in 1986.

Ivan'sChildhood-filmtheorist.com

Ivan’s Childhood (Ivanovo Detstvo) isn’t a typical world war II film. The brutalities
and horrors of war are not explicitly shown. However, the intensities are subtly portrayed through emotions, and seldom through words.

A 12 year old orphan, Ivan, is desperate to cross the border lines of enemy on reconnaissance. He seamlessly does it, when he is assigned to do so, owing to his physical virtue. Sometimes, he gets caught, but, pleads Germans, and saves his life. He had peaceful existence with his family, until, they were killed. Ivan is not afraid of war, he does not want to rest during wartime as thinks useless people do. He had been in a death camp and experienced the cruelties of being a POW (prisoners of war). Therefore, his missions prevail.

Ivan'sChildhood-filmtheorist.com

Russian command doesn’t want Ivan to continue on scout mission, and insists on returning to military school as two of Russian scouts were captured and cruelly killed by Germans. They were left hanged near a signpost with welcome message. Ivan is persistent on spying Germans as he wants to avenge the perpetrators, responsible for his family’s death.

Ivan'sChildhood-filmtheorist.com

Eventually, Russia (allied forces) wins over Germany in World War II. Later, Russian comrades, who are emotionally bonded  with Ivan, on a raid into German imperial chambers, learns the tragic end of Ivan. He was captured and hanged, during a mission.

Andrei Tarkovsky’s, intelligence on filmmaking is witnessed, when he draws comparisons between Ivan’s war stricken existence and nostalgic moments of his childhood through metaphors. The film begins and ends with Ivan leading peaceful life, leaving the viewers heavy hearted on the profound impact of war on children.

The article is about: Ivan’s Childhood (1962), Andrei Tarkovsky, Russian Film, Russian New Wave film, Balaji Thangapandian.

– Jasmine Sangeetha | Film Theorist

சார்லி:

மலையாள திரைப்படங்கள் எப்பொழுதுமே மனதுக்கு நெருக்கமானவை. ஏதாவது ஒரு வழியில் நம் வாழ்வின் இனிய தருணங்களை நமக்கு நியாபக படுத்துபவை.அந்த வரிசையில், ஒரு குளிர் இரவின் ஜன்னலோர பேருந்து பயணம் போல இதமான அனுபவமே சார்லி.

வாழும் வாழ்வின் ஒவ்வொரு நிமிடத்தையும்;சந்திக்கும் ஒவ்வொரு சக மனிதனையும் கொண்டாடும் இறை மனிதனே சார்லி. அவனால் திருடனோடு சிநேகிக்க முடியும்., விலைமகளை தேவதையாக கொண்டாட முடியும்., இளம் பிராயத்தில் காதலை சொல்லாமல் பிரிந்து போனவர்களை முதுமையில் இணைத்து வைத்து சந்தோஷிக்க முடியும்.ஆனால் தன்னை காதலோடு தேடும் ஒரு பெண்ணிடம் மட்டும் கண்ணாமூச்சி ஆடி பார்க்கவே பிடிக்கும்.

சார்லியாக  துல்கர் சல்மான், ஒவ்வொரு  ஃபிரேமிலும் அவர் மீது பெருங்காதல் ஏற்பட செய்கிறார். சார்லியை போலொரு மனிதனை ஒரு முறையேனும் வாழ்வில்
சந்திக்க வேண்டுமென பேராவல்  கொள்ளசெய்கிறார். சார்லியை போல ஒவ்வொரு நிமிஷமும் முழு ஜீவனோடு வாழ வேண்டுமென உணர செய்கிறார். பார்வையாளனுக்கு இது போலொரு உணர்வு ஏற்படும் இடமே அந்த படைப்பு ஆத்மார்த்தமாகிறது.

 Charlie-flimtheorist.com

டெஸ்ஸாவாக பார்வதி. காற்றின் மேல் நடப்பது போல் வாழ்க்கையை அத்தனை சுலபமாக அணுகும் ஒரு  மெச்சூரிட்டியான பெண். சார்லியின் மேல் அவளுக்கு ஆர்வம் ஏற்பட செய்யும் அந்த கதை ஓவியம் பெரும் ஆச்சர்யம். முடிவில்லாத அந்த கதையின் முடிவை தேடும் டெஸ்ஸா கொஞ்சம் கொஞ்சமாக சார்லியின் மேல் காதல் கொள்கிறாள். அவளின் தேடல் சார்லியிடம் சென்று அடையும் வரை நம்மையும் அவளோடு விரல் பிடித்து  அழைத்து செல்கிறாள் .

 Charlie-flimtheorist.com

மலையும் மலை சார்ந்த இடமுமாக கதை பயணிக்கும் ஒவ்வொரு ஸ்தலமும் அழகு . திரையில் தோன்றும் ஒவ்வொரு மனிதரும் ஒரு புத்தகம் போல சுவாரஸ்யம்.

 Charlie-flimtheorist.com

இறுதியில்  சார்லியும் டெஸ்ஸாவும் சந்திக்கும் அந்த நிகழ்வையே ஒரு திருவிழா போல நாம் எதிர் பார்த்திருக்க அந்த நிகழ்வும் ஒரு திருவிழாவாகவே நடந்தேறுகிறது.

 Charlie-flimtheorist.com

அதன்பின் அவர்கள் இருவரும் தொடர்ந்து பயணிப்பதாக சொல்லியிருக்கும் அந்த முடிவு இயக்குனரின் ஆக சிறந்த முற்போக்கு சிந்தனையை சொல்கிறது.

இந்த காரணங்களின் பேரில் சார்லியை பார்க்க வேண்டும் என்ற சிபாரிசு தேவையில்லை.,காரணமே இல்லாமல் சார்லியை பார்க்கலாம். பார்த்த பின் பல நூறு காரணங்களுக்காக சார்லியை நமக்கு பிடித்து போகும்.நாம் வாழும் வாழ்க்கையின் மேல்  பெரும் பிரியம் ஏற்படவும்  செய்யும்.

– Jasmine Sangeetha | Film Theorist

This column is about: Charlie, Dulquer Salman, Parvathy, Jasmine Sangeetha, Malayalam

– Balaji Thangapandian | BT  | Film Theorist

Every independent filmmaker I have ever known, have invariably attempted in drawing parallels between illusion and reality. In the process, they have enormously succeeded. Auteur David Lynch and his film(s), especially, ‘Mulholland Drive’ are no exceptions.

It would be crime to interpret the plot ( if it has any).The film in its entirety is serpentine or surrealistic. From the environment, actors, properties, costumes, cinematography, editing, sound, in essence, the prerequisites needed to make this film is deliberately used in a fashion, to leave its viewers perplexed or use their intuition to comprehend. Nevertheless, it is engrossingly made.

David Lynch, makes the viewers believe that, almost throughout the film, something really is happening. Only at the end, do we realise that, what has happened so far, is a manifestation of someone’s fear, aspirations or dreams, and not the reality or at least, that’s how I interpreted.

Following is the experience I had, when I watched ‘ Mulholland Dr.’ (2001):

The moment, the film started, i realised, it was not a typical film, as someone was lying on the bed, then it jumped to people doing retro dance, perhaps, it represented 50s, and ended with silhouette of a middle aged woman, matured man and woman, cheering to spectators’ ovation. A brunette was headed to Mulholland drive in a limousine, with guards. Limo stopped, and a guard pulled the trigger on the brunette. Hotrods madly hit the limo, surprisingly, the brunette sustained minor injuries, and staggered down the hill to a city.

The brunette noticed someone leaving an apartment and sneaked in and hid. A blonde, ‘Betty’ (Naomi Watts) arrived at the same apartment, claimed to be niece of the owner (her aunt). She found the brunette in the house, then brunette identified herself as ‘ Rita’ (Laura Harring). Soon, Betty realised that Rita was a liar. Rita admitted that she lost her memory, probably because of an accident, happened the previous night.

Betty agreed to help Rita in finding her identity. They found Rita’s original name as ‘Diane Selwyn’ and a telephone number and an address associated with it. They visited the address and found a decaying corpse. Both were perplexed, and fled the murder scene. Shortly after, they grew affection for each other and indulged in lesbian acts. The film was linear until this point, then it took unconventional approach.

Betty woke up and realised that she stayed in the room, where the corpse was found by her and Rita/Diane Selwyn. Betty dreamt the whole thing. In reality, Betty was Diane Selwyn, and Rita was a famous Hollywood celebrity, Camilla Rhodes. Camilla helped Diane in realising her Hollywood aspirations, and grew affection for each other. Diane couldn’t accept Camilla with other men and women. She became furious, insane, warned Camilla. Things didn’t happen the way she wanted. Eventually, she killed herself. Wait, it was not over, the film jumped to a midnight – dark orchestra (Betty and Rita had been and frightened earlier), and zoomed in to a weird woman or corpse, which culminated the impression that, the entire film was the dream of that woman/corpse.

This is how I interpreted ‘ Mulholland Dr.’, and, the interpretation is neither valid nor wrong as the director David Lynch said the film was an abstraction and open for interpretation.

I’d appreciate if you watch this interview of David Lynch, talking of the film, and why he made it. It is worthwhile.

The column is about: David Lynch, Mulholland Drive, Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Abstract filmmaking, Balaji Thangapandian, BT, film theorist

VoyageOfTime-filmtheorist.com
Voyage Of Time | IMAX Poster

– Balaji Thangapandian (BT) | Film Theorist

The filmmaker who is known for spending indefinite time on his films, famously known as ‘Kubrickan’ (Stanley Kubrick) way of filmmaking, has reportedly completed the film about beginning of universe, time, lives, and extinction, after 40 decades of making.

VoyageOfTime-filmtheorist.com
Terrence Malick

The erstwhile professor of philosophy at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and critically acclaimed filmmaker, Terrence Malick, whose films are predominantly of existential and metaphysical in nature, (The Thin Red Line, 1988 | The New World, 2005 | The Tree of Life 2011, some of his major works) has explored the origins of cosmos, in his first foray into documentary, ‘ Voyage Of Time’.

VoyageOfTime-filmtheorist.com
Voyage Of Time | IMAX Poster

Terrence Malick has been in filmmaking spree, since ‘The Tree of Life’ in 2011, followed by ‘To The Wonder’ (2012), ‘Knight of Cups’ (2015), ‘Weightless’ (2016), and a World War II drama, Brad Pitt in Radegund (tentative, official title not confirmed), after hiatus of 6 years.

‘Voyage of Time’ is to be released in two formats. An exclusive 40 minute documentary IMAX version, ‘ Voyage of Time: The IMAX experience’,narrated by Brad Pitt, which is likely to be released on 7th of October 2016. The 90 minute feature format, to be narrated by Cate Blanchett, and released later.

Official Synopsis of Voyage of Time from IMAX:

Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience is a one-of-a-kind celebration of life and the grand history of the cosmos, transporting audiences into a vast yet up-close-and personal journey that spans the eons from the Big Bang to the dinosaur age to our present human world … and beyond.  A labor of love from one of American cinema’s most acclaimed and visually exciting filmmakers, Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life), Voyage of Time has been nearly four decades in the making and represents the filmmaker’s first foray into documentary storytelling. The film’s panorama of awe-inspiring images will take you into the heart of monumental events never witnessed — from the birth of the stars and galaxies to the explosion of diverse life-forms on planet earth, including humankind — in immersive new ways that only IMAX can deliver. This is a cosmic experience — a hymn to the glories of nature, life and scientific discovery — in which all the elements come together to form Malick’s most original film to date.

Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience, a 40-minute, giant-screen adventure narrated by Brad Pitt, which immerses audiences directly into the story of the universe and life itself, will be shown exclusively in IMAX® theatres.

 Trailer:

More than anything else, cosmos intrigues me. Legendary filmmaker Terrence Malick’s odyssey into spacetime ‘ Voyage of Time’ is likely to induce us in asking questions of universe, that we don’t even know how to ask now!

The article is about: Voyage of Time, Terrence Malick, IMAX, Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Universe, Cosmos, Origins of universe, spacetime, Big Bang theory, space, documentary, space expedition, space exploration, Balaji Thangapandian, film theorist

– Balaji Thangapandian(BT)|Film Theorist

With Game of Thrones, nearing its completion, HBO has revealed the trailer of yet another series ‘Westworld’, which has been under development for a while, so as to directly contend with its other series, and to fill the vacuum going to be created by Game of Thrones, possibly takeover it.

Westworld-filmtheorist.com
Westworld

What i infer after watching the trailer is that, Westworld is a unique blend of artificial intelligence, old western world, and conscience. In essence, it is metaphysical in nature.
I’m particularly excited about Jonathan Nolan (younger sibling of Christopher Nolan) and JJ Abrams involvement as executive producers and writers as well.
I’m certain that they would have seamlessly integrated their approach in the conceptualization and making of the series with the original script as it is an adaption of a feature.

Westworld-filmtheorist.com
Westworld

Official Synopsis:
The one-hour drama series WESTWORLD (ten episodes) is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin.  Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, it explores a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.  The cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Jimmi Simpson, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Ben Barnes, Simon Quarterman, Angela Sarafyan, Luke Hemsworth and Clifton Collins, Jr. Inspired by the motion picture “Westworld,” written and directed by Michael Crichton. Production companies, Bad Robot Productions, Jerry Weintraub Productions and Kilter Films in association with Warner Bros. Television. Executive producer/writer/director, Jonathan Nolan; executive producer/writer, Lisa Joy; executive producers, J.J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub, Bryan Burk.

Westworld-filmtheorist.com
Westworld

I must admit of the fact that, I’m not a regular follower of Game of Thrones, and have only seen few episodes. For reasons unknown, I couldn’t follow. However, I’m not going to miss ‘ Westworld’ as I’m already intrigued.

Westworld-filmtheorist.com
Westworld

Trailer:

Westworld likely to be seen in Oct’16:

The article is related to: Westworld, games Of Thrones, HBO, HBO Original series, Jonathan Nolan, JJ Abrams, Micheal Crichton, Balaji Thangapandian

– Balaji Thangapandian(BT)|Film Theorist

 

Film stock is redundant. Film projection is dead. That’s the general consensus among people that they are not in use anymore. Well, they are neither obsolete nor dead. They do exist! With enormous support from influential filmmakers, such as, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, JJ Abrams, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and many other film advocates, the film stock company Kodak has been able to effectively revive the film. Now, the period is called renaissance of analog!

Why did Quentin Tarantino shoot his eight movie, ‘ The Hateful Eight’ in film?

Quentin Tarantino was called by Panavision (the household name for camera and lenses in Hollywood) and projected the famous chariot sequence of the legendary film ‘Ben-Hur’ in 70 mm film projection in the native aspect ratio of 2:76.1(the widest aspect ratio possible). Tarantino was completely impressed, and instantly wanted Panavision to revive the cameras and lenses used for ‘ Ben – Hur ‘ for his film ‘ The Hateful Eight.’

When, Tarantino’s long time associated cinematographer Bob Richardson was called into Panavision for this film, he noticed some hard shaped lenses deserted. He learnt that those were the very ones used to shoot the chariot sequence of ‘ Ben – Hur ‘, and even many classics of 60s and 70s. The format used was called ‘ ULTRA PANAVISION 70 MM ‘.

Panavision understood the gravity of the situation as those lenses didn’t see the light since 60s, and were not used, and preserved in the dark room, idle. The lenses had to be re-engineered and cameras retrofitted so as to ensure that they were completely functional and endured the extreme temperatures as the film was to be shot in winter.

Before the production began, the crew shot some test footages of Ultra Pansavision 70 mm, and projected them on big screen. The output was stunning and everyone involved in the crew was convinced of the format.

HatefulEight-filmtheorist.com
Test Footage
HatefulEight-filmtheorist.com
Test Footage

Now, we must understand why was the movie shot in 65 mm film and projected in 70 mm film projection, and not the digital camera?

Because film in general offers unparalleled grains, colors, width and depth (aesthetics), which are relatively moderate in digital.

Importantly, with Ultra Panavision format, the size and width of the frame is massive,  which technically enables it to capture more details, than any other format can possibly capture.

Apart from being an advocate of film, Quentin Tarantino intended to give his film the authentic grandeur western appeal, which was possible only with ‘ ULTRA PANAVISION 70 mm’ format.

The cinematography of Bob Richardson:

We need to understand the cinematography techniques of three times academy award winner for best cinematography, Bob Richardson, before moving to understanding the cinematography of ‘Hateful Eight ‘ in a detailed manner.

Typically, director of cinematography (DP) asks the director for the motivation of lighting, i.e where does the source for main light come from? But, Bob does not do that, he lights based on his understanding of the script and it invariably complements the vision of the filmmakers. He does not use automatic and does prefer manual cranes. He completely gets into the making.
His signature techniques include, strong backlight, spotlight and low bounce.

Dissection of cinematography of ‘ Hateful Eight’:

Following are the technical specifications of the camera and lenses used for the shoot:

-Panavision 65 HR Camera and Panavision   Panaflex System 65 Studio
-Panavision APO Panatar -Lenses 65mm: Kodak Vision3 200T 5213, Vision3 500T 5219
Aspect Ratio: 2.75:1

The cinematography database has done detailed analysis of all aspects of photography of Hateful Eight.

The article is about: The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino, Making, Cinematography, Bob Richardson, Ultra Panavision 70 mm, Balaji Thangapandian

-Balaji Thangapandian(Film Theorist)

‘It’s sort of weird being honored for the worst day of life.’ – Billy Lynn

BillyLynn-filmtheorist.com
Poster

The visionary filmmaker Ang Lee is back with the emotional war drama made using revolutionary technology. Plot revolves around a young war hero brought back to America on a war tour from Iraq for the thanksgiving day. Reportedly, such events are conducted to win general public’s support for the war and its associated spends.

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Ang Lee

Ang Lee has shot the film in 120 fps (Frames Per Second), which provides crystal clear real eye viewing experience (The best camera in the world is human eye, cinema viewing experience is evolving towards it) whereas, the industry standard is mere 24 fps. Peter Jackson was sort of first to actually shoot in 48 fps for his film ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, although the output was spectacular and glitter free, it was immediately denied for reasons unclear, and the so called ‘cinematic – revolution’ was halted.

James Cameron was the first filmmaker who expressed his support for shooting in high frame rates (HFR), ‘If watching a 3D movie is like looking through a window, then [with this] we’ve taken the glass out of the window and we’re staring at reality.’, said Cameron in 2011. It appears that Ang Lee has managed to utilise the HFR in a compelling way. The war footage sequence in Iraq of the film was screened at National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) trade show, and the attendees appeared to be completely impressed.

Viewpoints of 120 fps/HFR by the participants of NAB show:

The Verge’s Bryan Bishop:
‘While still in its early stages, the footage screened certainly delivered on the promise of flicker-free, pristine 3D. As technologies like IMAX Laser have upped the ante on brightness used in theaters, 3D presentation has certainly improved dramatically in recent years. But Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk took things a striking step further. The image was impeccably bright, the frame rate resulting in utter clarity throughout the entire frame. It truly was more like looking through an impossibly-clean window than watching a screen, with the 3D producing no eye strain whatsoever. Given the lack of blur, it was possible to discern normally imperceptible details that simply wouldn’t be visible in other movies: from the way a shell casing pirouetted after being ejected from a machine gun, to the tiny puffs of dust in the distance when a bullet found its mark.’

‘Despite those extraordinary aspects of the image, however, the “soap opera effect” was still there. From the opening shot onward, the footage seemed like it could have been pulled from some fantastic and futuristic camcorder (or a television with motion smoothing cranked up), the change threatening to pull me out of the story even while the added detail was luring me in.’

The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Christopher Lawrence:
‘In a nutshell, the higher the frame rate, the closer an image looks to real life. During Saturday’s demonstration, the depth of field was staggering, almost as though the back of the screen had opened up. Actors often seemed to emerge from the screen, hologram style. Co-star Vin Diesel never looked more lifelike.’

The Hollywood Reporter’s Carolyn Giardina:
‘Although a few viewers complained that the results looked too much like video — the same complaint that greeted Peter Jackson’s Hobbitmovies when Jackson went beyond the Hollywood standard of 24 frames per second to present those movies at 48 fps — most of the reactions to Lee’s footage were overwhelmingly positive, with viewers tossing out words like “awesome” and “unbelievable.”

‘The clip cut back and forth between the war scenes, which used the high frame rates for a realistic, some would say hyper-real, way to put the viewer in chilling combat situations, showing the horror of war in the closeups of the soldiers. Scenes from the halftime show had a different look, with all the lights and the star-like flashes in the stadium. Lee is said to be varying the frame rates throughout the film for creative purposes. In the film, Destiny’s Child performs during the halftime show, though in the clip, only the backs of the performers’ heads were shown from a distance.’

I’m always curious about advancement in cinematic technologies. While the utilisation and initial acceptance of 120 fps/HFR is encouraging, exhibitors need to be persuaded so as to equip and project Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn in 3D, 4K at 120 fps in theatres, otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to view what Lee intended us to watch. The film opens on 8th/11th Nov’16 so that the release coincides with veteran’s day.

Official Trailer:

Synopsis:
Three-time Academy Award® winner Ang Lee brings his extraordinary vision to Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, based on the widely-acclaimed, bestselling novel. The film is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad – contrasting the realities of the war with America’s perceptions. The film also stars Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, with Vin Diesel, and Steve Martin. Lee used new technology, shooting at an ultra-high frame rate for the first time in film history, to create an immersive digital experience helping him dramatize war in a way never seen before. Lee directed and produced the film, from a screenplay by Jean-Christophe Castelli and based on the novel by Ben Fountain. Marc Platt, Rhodri Thomas, and Stephen Cornwell are also producers.

Tag:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Ang Lee, Joe Alwyn, HFR, 120 FPS, Vin Diesel, Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, Steve Martin, Sony Pictures

Source: Slashfilm.com

– Balaji Thangapandian (Film Theorist)

Hardcore Henry is the first ever action POV [ Point Of View ] feature indie film. The film is completely shot from the protagonist’s perspective using customized Go Pro cameras and rigs. In effect, when you watch the film, you become the protagonist.

HardcoreHenry-filmtheorist.com
Go Pro 3 Hero Camera
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Customised Rig

You do, what the character does, for instance, you fight, kiss, jump, kill, live as the character does on the screen. Incidentally, I had conceived of using the similar approach, completely using Go Pro camera for my second concept film a year back, which was metaphysical in nature. I couldn’t proceed due to some constraints. However, I’m glad that its been conceptualised and executed well. I’m not saying that, I was the sole filmmaker to think of it, many could have thought of, its all about coincidence. Who gets to execute their concepts first, sort of succeed in filmmaking, others might get caught in the process of conceiving.

HardcoreHenry-filmtheorist.com
Behind the scene of usage of Go Pro camera and rig.

In order to accomplish the visual effect of putting the audiences in the lead’s shoes, two Go Pro 3 cameras were used, and a customised rig to position the cameras (3 axis gimbal mount). Multiple prototypes were made and cameras were broken during the process, which was inevitable, when something never done before was tried.

HardcoreHenry-filmtheorist.com
Behind the scene

 

The director, Ilya Naishuller, crowd funded $250,000 for the film, using the platform IndieGoGo (platform for raising funds for entrepreneurs with inventive ideas). Prior to the feature, he had made short using same POV technique, which received phenomenal response, and incentivized  the director to make a feature. The money raised was mostly used for CGI and post production, and bringing in top minds in augmenting the film. The film was exhibited in Toronto International film festival in 2015. The success made STX entertainment acquiring the film for $10 million.

Is Hardcore Henry, the world’s first Point of View (POV)/first person perspective the future of action filmmaking? It appears so!

Synopsis:

Hardcore Henry is a modern, action Sci-Fi story about HENRY, a newly resurrected cyborg who must save his wife/creator ESTELLE (Haley Bennet) from the clutches of a psychotic tyrant with telekinetic powers, AKAN (Danila Kozlovsky), and his army of mercenaries.  Fighting alongside Henry is JIMMY (Sharlto Copley), who is Henry’s only hope to make it through the day. Hardcore takes place over the course of one day, in Moscow, Russia and it’s all shot in the same style as BAD MOTHERFUCKER (short).

Official Trailer:

Making/Clips:

Tag: Hardcore Henry, Sharlto Copley, Ilya Naishuller, Point Of View (POV)

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