Festive Family Films

As the festive (silly) season gets under way, the folks at Buffalo Technology polled 3,000 people on their favourite Christmas films.  Topping the chart is comedy Home Alone starring Macauley Culkin, followed by Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.  Rounding out the medal positions is the animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman.   Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas complete the top 5.

The full top 20 festive family flicks is:

  1. Home Alone
  2. It’s a Wonderful Life
  3. The Snowman
  4. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
  5. White Christmas
  6. A Christmas Carol
  7. Love Actually
  8. Santa Claus: The Movie
  9. Elf
  10. The Wizard of Oz
  11. The Muppet Christmas Carol
  12. Mary Poppins
  13. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  14. Jack Frost
  15. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  16. The Polar Express
  17. The Muppets Christmas Carol
  18. Bad Santa
  19. Home Alone 2
  20. Back to the Future

Maculey Culkin and Home Alone….what were they thinking!  And where’s The Sound of Music?  It’s a Christmas classic.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Blade Runner Revisited in Gigapixels

In “Blade Runner Revisited”, François Vautier has produced an experimental homage to “Blade Runner”, Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir classic.  In creating the film, François ripped 167,819 frames from the “Final Cut” version and digitally pasted them together, making a single image roughly 60,000 pixels square.  In digital camera terms, it’s 3.6 gigapixels.

Much of the film involves floating above this giant image, zooming in on key events from the film accompanied by soundtrack and vocals from the film itself.  It’s quite stunning and slightly overwhelming, but definitely worth 4 minutes of your time.

You might want to check out some of this other films, including the ant farm in his scanner….

Blade Runner Revisited >3.6 gigapixels from François Vautier on Vimeo.

Has 3D Jumped The Shark Already?

The Daily Telegraph reports on concerns in Hollywood that the 3D goldrush is already over.  Based on recent audience figures, it appears that the percentage of audiences choosing the extra dimension is falling.

It cites as evidence the percentage of audiences that watched the 3D version for a series of films, starting with Avatar back in December.

  • Avatar – 71%
  • How To Train Your Dragon – 68%
  • Shrek Forever After – 61%
  • Last Airbender – 56%
  • Despicable Me – 45%

Proponents of 3D say that the problem is not that audiences are choosing to watch 2D but rather that the limited number of 3D screens is impacting on figures; only 1 in 8 screens can show 3D.

Others point to films such as Clash of the Titans for putting off cinemagoers as the 3D effects were added in post-production.  Jeffrey Katzenberg says, “We’re still at the beginning of this and not all 3D is equal, and consumers are beginning to realise this. There have been lesser 3D movies released and there’s already been a backlash against it.”  Chris Nolan, director of the Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and current release Inception, has refused to film in 3D.

James Cameron, director of Avatar, has also pointed out, “After Toy Story, there were ten really bad CG movies because everybody thought the success of that film was CG and not great characters that were beautifully designed and heartwarming. Now, you’ve got people quickly converting movies from 2D to 3D, which is not what we did. They’re expecting the same result, when in fact they will probably work against the adoption of 3D because they’ll be putting out an inferior product.”

It will be interesting to see if his prediction is correction and there is a resurgence in 3D once the effect itself is no longer the draw and the characters and story become important again.

Frankly, I’m in the 2D camp at the moment.  3D is fun, but the glasses do detract from the experience and those films where the effect is added in post-production are definitely inferior.  What’s your experience been?

Perhaps those people who really want 3D should consider going to a play…

The Sandpit

The Sandpit

I found this utterly fascinating.  It’s a five minute study of “a day in the life of New York, in miniature” and it’s just that.  The director, Sam O’Hare has combined time-lapse photography and a tilt-shift lens (whatever that is!) to produce an effect akin to toy models scurrying around a miniature city.  Look out for the helicopters and the diggers.  There’s a bit more information on how he did it here.

The soundtrack complements the film as well – it’s by Human – and was commissioned for the project.

Beyond the tricks, I loved the short film for the picture of urban life – the pair doing tai chi beneath the underpass, the baseball games by the freeway, the pigeon avoiding the pedestrians, the slop bucket thrown on the road.  Brilliant.