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New “Hugo” trailer features Martin Scorsese proclaiming his love of 3D

New “Hugo” trailer features Martin Scorsese proclaiming his love of 3D (photo)

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Much has been made of “Hugo” being the first foray into 3D for legendary director Martin Scorsese, and apparently the filmmaker is just as excited as anyone else to see the results. In a new trailer for the film, Scorsese raves about the medium — describing it as a “dream” to use — as scenes from the movie play underneath.

Unsurprisingly, the trailer still only reveals a tiny fraction of the plot. As someone who has seen a largely finished cut of the film, I can say that the main storyline has remained almost completely hidden in the marketing. It does involve an adventure involving two children but the trailers have only shown events from the first half of the film, and it’s a large pivot in the second half that Scorsese has managed to keep under wraps. For more on that, read my colleague Matt Singer’s impressions of the work-in-progress screening that we attended. “Hugo” arrives in theaters November 23.

How excited are you to see Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo”? Let us know below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Trump Funny or Die

Art of the Spoof

Watch Johnny Depp, Jack McBrayer, Patton Oswalt and More in Funny or Die’s Donald Trump Biopic

Johnny Depp just got very classy.

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Photo Credit: Funny or Die

We’re barely halfway through February, but this year’s Too Many Cooks Award for the most bizarre comedy project is already a lock. Blindsiding the world with greatness without any warning, Funny or Die released a 50-minute Donald Trump parody starring an unrecognizable Johnny Depp as Donny.

Ron Howard introduces this “lost” 1988 TV movie adaptation of Trump’s how-to manual The Art of the Deal produced with the retro quality of a Wendy’s training video. Along for the big hair and shoulder pads flashback are Patton Oswalt, Alfred Molina, Todd Margaret‘s Jack McBrayer, Andy Richter, Rob Huebel, Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer, and Michaela Watkins as Ivana — as well as many Reagan-era surprises like a cameo from that loveable cat eater ALF and a theme song by Kenny Loggins.

Much like Eric Jonrosh of The Spoils Before Dying and The Spoils of Babylon fame, “Trump” writes, directs, and narrates his own epic tale of real estate wheelings-and-dealings. Check out the trailer below, and head over to Funny or Die to watch the full Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal movie before the real Donald sics his army of lawyers on Will Ferrell and company. (For more bizarro Johnny Depp characters, be sure to catch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this month on IFC.)

Can James Cameron save 3D from itself?

Can James Cameron save 3D from itself? (photo)

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This past summer Hollywood just utterly overdosed on 3D. No other way to say it. There were so many films that should have not gone down the way they did. “The Green Hornet,” for example. Or “The Smurfs 3D,” which can only be properly construed under the category of harlotry, comes to mind. “Smurf happens,” indeed.

Enter stage right: James Cameron. In many ways it is Cameron who deserves a lion’s share of the blame, for this unholy Hollywood orgy-spectacle. Eighty-five percent of the massive domestic box office for “Avatar” came from 3D. And Hollywood, of course, saw those numbers and got wood. Ironically, only Hollywood could turn three dimensional technology into one-dimensional dreck (for further reference see — or rather don’t — “Green Lantern”).

In his defense, Cameron urged caution where many studio executives saw naked, spread eagle profits. Cameron told USA Today, prophetically, in March:

“You know, everybody is an overnight expert. They think, ‘what was the takeaway lessons from ‘Avatar’? Oh you should make more money with 3D.’ They ignore the fact that we natively authored the film in 3D, and decide that what we accomplished in several years of production could be done in an eight week (post-production 3D) conversion with ‘Clash of the Titans.’

“If people put bad 3D in the marketplace they’re going to hold back or even threaten the emerging of 3D. People will be confused by differences in quality.”

Accurate, sadly. That was in March. By the summer, Hollywood was in a full blown 3D frenzy, summer tent-poles erect. But it got very little to show for its ardor. This very blog, by June, asked: Has 3D jumped the shark? Goddamned Michael Bay. Why didn’t they listen to James Cameron?!

Once again, this time with gusto, Cameron rides in to save the day. He wants to save 3D from its own overblown excesses. One of the most vocal proponents of 3D, Cameron is now taking his role as cheerleader to the next level. More hands on. Cameron wants, in effect, to create, collaborate and oversee best practices in the making of 3D entertainment. Cameron, if not the father of this latest incarnation of 3D, is at least its sober and responsible uncle. He aspires to put his seal of approval on the genre. From The Wrap:

“We want to be the Dolby of 3D,” (Cameron) said.

He said that RealD handles that function on the display side, but no one’s doing it for filmmakers.

A “Cameron-Pace Group-certified” stamp of approval would do just that, he said.
Cameron added that he wants the certification program to be a way for filmmakers to know that they’re using 3D technology in the best possible way.

“It’s about the planning, the acquisition … delivering it to display,” he said. “We want to work with the filmmakers, we want to work with the standards entities … to create a consensus about the best practices and standards on the way the set is run, the cameras are used and so on.”

Cameron’s proposal, though perhaps a tad ego-centric to most observers, has more than a little merit. He sees this nascent genre as his baby. It sort of is. And what “father” wants to see his child fail? The legacy of this particular form of 3D, for better or worse, will be tied to James Cameron. Who else better, bearing that in mind, to save 3D from itself than Cameron? And boy does this genre need some saving right about now.

(Related: James Cameron says “Avatar 2″ will focus on the ocean, feature other planets)

Tell us your own thoughts on the future of 3D in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

George Lucas now editing his posters in addition to his movies

George Lucas now editing his posters in addition to his movies (photo)

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The changes George Lucas has made over the years to his “Star Wars” franchise are well-documented. Given that he just tweaked the films again for the new Blu-ray box set, I thought we wouldn’t be getting any more changes, at least for a little while. But the just released poster for the upcoming 3D version of “Episode I – The Phantom Menace” paints such a drastically incomplete picture of what and who the film is about, it’s got us wondering if maybe Lucas has secretly reedited the film yet again for its upcoming return to theaters. For your consideration, here is the original (and quite lovely) “Phantom Menace” poster by the great Drew Struzan:

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And now here’s the poster for the 3D rerelease. See any differences?

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The new poster has no little Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), no Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), and no Jar-Jar Binks. It also adds a digital version of Yoda, who didn’t appear on Struzan’s poster at all. It’s like every time you look at it Obi-Wan Kenobi stands over your shoulder and whispers in your ear “Those aren’t the characters you’re looking for… move along…” A reasonable person with the unreasonable qualification of having never heard of or seen anything about “Star Wars” would take one look at that poster and assume the movie is about the weird-looking dude with the horns and facepaint. “Star Wars: Episode I – The Darth Maul Story,” coming soon to a theater near you!

Given the way young Anakin and especially Jar-Jar are so universally disliked, I wonder if fans would actually reverse their long-standing hatred of Lucas’ alterations to “Star Wars” if they involved getting rid or minimizing those characters. But, of course, that’s just pointless conjecture because it would never happen.

Wait, would it never happen? This is George Lucas we’re talking about.

“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” opens in 3D on February 10, 2012. Will you go see it? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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