Trends of 2012 we Want to See More of

| December 31, 2012

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High Frame Rate 3D

There is so much money tied up in 3D now that I’m really not sure if it’s going away anytime soon. That said, if it’s permanent I want it to be high frame rate. Visual effects photographer Douglas Trumbull has been on the leading edge of high frame rate photographer for over twenty years, shooting as high as 120 frames per second in order to create images that are so crisp that they become like 3D without the glasses. The Hobbit is the first time that a wide release blockbuster has been shot in 48 fps and the result, while jarring for some and certainly not perfect yet, is something worth experiencing. On the show we talked about some the the pitfalls, things felt like they moved too fast at first and the CG and live action appeared more disconnected, but the 3D itself was more convincing than anything I’ve seen before and if we remember that this is the first time this has been done, there is hope that solutions can be found for these issues. The 3D was so good in fact that when arrows were shot at the screen my eyes involuntarily spasmed as if they were actually afraid something was going to hit them. It also eliminated the pop-up book appearance of traditional 3D because the image is so crisp that objects gain weight and dimensions themselves, rather than being simply set apart from other objects. You almost notice the 3D less as a result. It becomes like looking into a window, which is what they’ve been telling us for years. Maybe it’ll never work right, but we want to see more films try.

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Cease and Desist orders against Asylum

Asylum is the company that produces the films that are meant to take advantage of the promotion of big budget films by naming their movies things like Transmorphers, American Battleship, Age of the Hobbits, Alien Origins, and then formatting the cover art to make the movie look like their blockbuster counterparts. I watched Alien Origins this year in the wake of Prometheus in order to make a point about the criticism settled against Prometheus by reviewing a film with no real value. Their movies skirt any content that might require actual production efforts and tend to be completely unaware of the story elements that make the blockbusters actually enjoyable. They’re clearly a kind of scam, which is why it’s exciting to know that major production companies are finally fighting back. It started with American Battleship, which got Asylum sued because it so closely resembles the promotional material for Battleship. After that, Age of the Hobbits was served a cease and desist order because of the use of the word ‘Hobbit’ which is a word actually coined by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit. It’s title now changed to Clash of the Empires, this may signal the end of Asylum.

Live Recorded Musicals

I really didn’t like Les Miserables but it wasn’t because of the singing or the performances. Whatever the direction and the musical itself might have done to try and ruin my enjoyment of it, still the way that recording the singing live on set allowed the singing to sound genuine has made the music from the last seventy years of musicals seem ethereal. There have always been times when you could tell that the music is per-recorded, but the argument has always been that there was no way else to do it, but that’s no longer true, and Tom Hooper proved it. Now, maybe the squared off, bland staging of the scenes was a result of the recording but probably not and if so another director will find a way to solve that. I don’t need polished audio and polished vocals, I need polished characters and heart-felt words.

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Smiling Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart is not very good, but we were convinced this year that if she would just put all her effort into smiling instead of the shallow brooding she always does she might just be able to carry a role rather than ruin it. I always argued that she was good in Adventureland, and I think that’s still true, but now I realize that it’s just a coincidence that the role actually called for that kind of behavior. I tend not to like the characters she plays because they never seem to enjoy anything. When she smiles, she’s having fun, and suddenly so am I. Plus, she’s actually pretty when she doesn’t look frumpy or high.

– James Hart

Is there something from this year you found really exciting but we missed it on this list? Leave a comment below, email us, or call, and we’ll talk about it on the show.

About the Author:

James grew up in a house where Friday night was Movie night, which meant that he’d watched more movies than anybody else his age before he was even old enough to watch the rated R ones. He’ll watch just about anything, though he tends to avoid the horror movies without a sense of humor. Among his favorite movies are: Alien, Fargo, True Romance, Ed Wood, and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. He’s a die-hard LOST fan and a Brown Coat.

As a writer, story usually comes first for James. Memorable characters and sharp dialogue are the things that separate the classics from the chaff. That said, he does his best to keep having fun at the movies. He’s seen plenty of critics who would once have accepted summer blockbusters as entertainment become jaded and nit-picky. Sure James loves the art of film and storytelling, but fun comes first, the fun that he had watching Raiders when he was little.

Also, E.T. scares the pants off him.

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