The 34th Annual Golden Raspberry Award winners

Will and Jaden Smith sat in a spaceship
A Golden Raspberry Award

Image via:

On the 1st March this year, the glorious 34th Annual Golden Raspberry Awards ceremony took place. A little different to its more glamorous cousin, the Oscars, the Razzies were held the night before and featured prestigious awards such as “Worst Combo” and “Worst Remake/Rip-off or Sequel”.

Here are the winners for each category at this years Razzies:

Worst Picture – Movie 43

Worst Lead Actor – Jaden Smith (After Earth)

Worst Lead Actress – Tyler Perry in drag (A Madea Christmas)

Worst Supporting Actor – Will Smith (After Earth)

Worst Supporting Actress – Kim Kardashian (Temptation)

Worst Combo – Will and Jaden Smith (After Earth)

Worst Screenplay – Movie 43

Worst Director – Movie 43

Worst Remake/Rip-off or Sequel – The Lone Ranger

Events, offers and releases – 10/3/14

Jack O'Connell and Ben Mendelsohn in a prison cell.
Aaron Paul's character Tobey Marshall sat in a car.

Image via:

This week will bring two great looking films to cinemas in the UK – Need for Speed and Veronica Mars.

On Friday the 14th, Need for Speed will hit the cinemas. Starring Aaron Paul, the video game adaptation tells a tale of revenge as Tobey Marshall races across the US. If you want something action packed and fast paced, this is for you.

If you want your Friday night to be a little more mysterious, check out Veronica Mars. Returning to her hometown, Veronica gets herself tied up in a murder mystery with an old flame. Sounds interesting, right?

Showcase Insider members can get their hands on a cracking deal this week. For only £6, members can head to the Showcase website to order a ticket for the advance screening of Starred Up, a brand new prison drama starring Jack O’Connell. The advance screening will be shown on the 17th of March, so get your hands on some tickets before they all go!

Is Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit too much?

Gandalf walking through a dark cave with his staff lit in front of him.
Gandalf and Radagast talking next to a tree.

Image via:

I would most definitely describe myself as a fan of the works of Tolkien. There isn’t a published novel, poem or essay of his that I haven’t read, and I am a true believer of the opinion of the Sunday Times, in that “ the English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and those who are going to read them”.

Back in 1997, Peter Jackson began work on The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of three attempts to convert the epic high fantasy novel of J. R. R. Tolkien into film. I loved these films, but I wish that there had been more. Three films (and yes, I have seen the extended versions) simply wasn’t enough. So much potential was missed out on. The entire chapter In the House of Tom Bombadil was missed, The Council of Elrond made too simple. So when it was announced that The Hobbit was to be given the “Jackson” treatment, I was over the moon. But did he go too far?

The Hobbit has always been intended as a children’s book. A little hard to read for today’s youngest readers perhaps, but nonetheless written for them. At just shy of 300 pages long, it is the perfect length to tell the tale of one Hobbit and his journey. Let’s not forget the true tale of the hobbit – don’t worry yourself with details of Elf/Dwarf love triangles – is Bilbo’s adventure to reclaim The Lonely Mountain, during which he discovers his inner courage. So when I learned that it was to become three films, a nine hour epic, I had one question. Why?

Bilbo stood on a mountain path.

Image via:

Now we have something entirely different. We have the original idea of Tolkien, which was to write a book called The Hobbit and have it entirely about said Hobbit. But Peter Jackson wanted more. He wanted a prequel to his Lord of the Rings, which is never a good idea in writing movies (ahem, Star Wars episodes 1-3).

Because of this, we now have multiple plot lines that feel splintered from the main effort – Gandalf’s fight against the Necromancer being a particularly unforgivable example. Here we have a fight that isn’t really built up to that doesn’t make sense if you haven’t seen The Lord of the Rings. This entire scene relies on cheap-feeling film clichés – Gandalf is awesome and Sauron is super evil, let’s make them fight in the ultimate showdown of light vs. dark. How unsubtle. Here’s a fantastic representation of the troll scene. Here’s Radagast playing with a hedgehog.

There were some additions that worked though. In the scene where Bilbo attacks the baby spider, then realises he did it because of the Ring, he is mortified. It is a perfectly-wordless moment where it shows more of the character. The interrogation scene between Tranduil and Thorin was another great moment. This was extended from the same scene in the book, however it gives the character of Thranduil more exposure and this sets up a very important character for the next film.

So, Peter. Yes I love The Lord of the Rings. Yes I love both of your Hobbit film, and yes I will love the next. But Tolkien kept the story of Sauron out of The Hobbit because it belongs in a different book. And yes it is a prelude to The Lord of the Rings, but it is very much its own story, its own entity, and it deserves that treatment.

This week in history: 17th February- 23rd February

The actor Alan Rickman.

Image via:

This week’s TWIH post showcases the births of three fantastic actors and actresses.

On the 18th of February, 1954, John Joseph Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey. In 1977 he starred as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, and in 1987 he starred as Danny Suko in Grease. Since then, he has starred in a number of fantastic films, including 1994’s Pulp Fiction, directed by Quentin Tarantino.

On the 21st of February, 1946, Alan Rickman was born. Originally from Hammersmith in London, Alan Rickman has starred in a number of fantastic films, including Love Actually and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Most famously, Alan Rickman starred in all of the Harry Potter films as the ambiguous Professor Snape.

Lastly, born on the 23rd of February, is Dakota Fanning. She was born in Conyers, Georgia and starred in her first film role at the age of seven, in 2001’s I Am Sam. Her performance in this film gained her a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, making her the youngest ever nominee. Since then, she has performed in War of the Worlds (2005) and Charlotte’s Web (2006).

The Science and Technical Awards 2013 – The Winners

The winners of the 2013 Science and Technical Awards
The winners of the 2013 Science and Technical Awards

Image via:

Here are the winners of the 2013 Science and Technical Awards.

Gordon E. Sawyer Award

Visual effects supervisor and director of photography Peter W. Anderson, ASC has been voted the Gordon E. Sawyer Award by the Board of Governors, for technological contributions that have brought credit to the industry.

John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation

Post-production and distribution executive Charles “Tad” Marburg has been voted the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation by the Board of Governors, for outstanding service and dedication in upholding the high standards of the Academy.

Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate)

To Olivier Maury, Ian Sachs and Dan Piponi for the creation of the ILM Plume system that simulates and renders fire, smoke and explosions for motion picture visual effects The unique construction of this system combines fluid solving and final image rendering on the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) hardware without needing an intermediate step involving the CPU. This innovation reduces turnaround time, resulting in significant efficiency gains for the ILM effects department.

To Ronald D. Henderson for the development of the FLUX gas simulation system. The use of the Fast Fourier Transform for solving partial differential equations allows FLUX a greater level of algorithmic efficiency when multi-threading on modern hardware. This innovation enables the creation of very high-resolution fluid effects while maintaining fast turnaround times.

To Andrew Camenisch, David Cardwell and Tibor Madjar for the concept and design, and to Csaba Kohegyi and Imre Major for the implementation of the Mudbox software. Mudbox provides artists powerful new design capabilities that significantly advance the state of the art in multi-resolution digital sculpting for film production.

To Martin Hill, Jon Allitt and Nick McKenzie for the creation of the spherical harmonics-based efficient lighting system at Weta Digital. The spherical harmonics lighting pipeline precomputes and reuses a smooth approximation of time-consuming visibility calculations. This enables artists to quickly see the results of changing lights, materials and set layouts in scenes with extremely complex geometry.

To Florian Kainz, Jeffery Yost, Philip Hubbard and Jim Hourihan for the architecture and development of the Zeno application framework. For more than a decade, Zeno’s flexible and robust design has allowed the creation of a broad range of Academy Award-winning visual effects toolsets at ILM.

To Peter Huang and Chris Perry for their architectural contributions to, and to Hans Rijpkema and Joe Mancewicz for the core engineering of, the Voodoo application framework. For more than a decade, Voodoo’s unique design concepts have enabled a broad range of character animation toolsets to be developed at Rhythm & Hues.

To Matt Pharr, Greg Humphreys and Pat Hanrahan for their formalization and reference implementation of the concepts behind physically based rendering, as shared in their book Physically Based Rendering. Physically based rendering has transformed computer graphics lighting by more accurately simulating materials and lights, allowing digital artists to focus on cinematography rather than the intricacies of rendering. First published in 2004,Physically Based Rendering is both a textbook and a complete source-code implementation that has provided a widely adopted practical roadmap for most physically based shading and lighting systems used in film production.

To Dr. Peter Hillman for the long-term development and continued advancement of innovative, robust and complete toolsets for deep compositing. Dr. Hillman’s ongoing contributions to standardized techniques and a common deep image file format have enabled advanced compositing workflows across the digital filmmaking industry.

To Colin Doncaster, Johannes Saam, Areito Echevarria, Janne Kontkanen and Chris Cooper for the development, prototyping and promotion of technologies and workflows for deep compositing. Their contributions include early advancements in key deep compositing features such as layer and holdout-order independence, spatial and intra-element color correction, post-render depth of field, and precise blending of complex layer edges.

To Thomas Lokovic and Eric Veach for their influential research and publication of the fundamental concepts of deep shadowing technology. Providing a functional and efficient model for the storage of deep opacity information, this technology was widely adopted as the foundation of early deep compositing pipelines.

To Gifford Hooper and Philip George of HoverCam for the continuing development of the Helicam miniature helicopter camera system. The current Helicam system is a high-speed, extremely maneuverable, turbine-engine, radio-controlled miniature helicopter that supports professional film and digital cinema cameras. Helicam provides a wide range of stabilized, remotely operated pan, tilt and roll capabilities, achieving shots impossible for full-size helicopters.

To John Frazier, Chuck Gaspar and Clay Pinney for the design and development of the Pneumatic Car Flipper. This self-contained high-pressure pneumatic device safely launches a stationary full-sized car on a predetermined trajectory. The precision of operation enhances the safety of performers, and the physical design allows a rapid setup and strike.

To Joshua Pines, David Reisner, Lou Levinson, Curtis Clark, ASC, and David Registerfor the development of the American Society of Cinematographers Color Decision List technology. The ASC CDL unifies color correction principles for use on- and off-set, providing for the faithful reproduction of color values across a variety of color correction devices. This technology provides basic image-processing mathematics that translate the lift, gamma and gain settings to a set of common color values to help preserve the cinematographer’s intent throughout production.

To Jeremy Selan for the development of the OpenColorIO color management framework. OpenColorIO, developed at Sony Pictures Imageworks, is an open source framework that enables consistent color visualization of motion picture imagery across multiple facilities and numerous software applications.

Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque)

To Ofer Alon for the design and implementation of the ZBrush software tool for multi-resolution sculpting of digital models. ZBrush pioneered multi-resolution digital sculpting, transforming how artists conceive and realize their final designs. ZBrush has enabled artists to create models far more quickly and with much greater detail than previous approaches.

To Eric Veach for his foundational research on efficient Monte Carlo path tracing for image synthesis. Physically based rendering has transformed computer graphics lighting by more accurately simulating materials and lights, allowing digital artists to focus on cinematography rather than the intricacies of rendering. In his 1997 Ph.D. thesis and related publications, Veach formalized the principles of Monte Carlo path tracing and introduced essential optimization techniques, such as multiple importance sampling, which make physically based rendering computationally feasible.

To Andre Gauthier, Benoit Sevigny, Yves Boudreault and Robert Lanciault for the design and implementation of the FiLMBOX software application. FiLMBOX, the foundation of MotionBuilder, enables the real-time processing and control of devices and animation. For over two decades, its innovative architecture has been a basis for the development and evolution of new techniques in filmmaking, such as virtual production.

To Emmanuel Prévinaire, Jan Sperling, Etienne Brandt and Tony Postiau for their development of the Flying-Cam SARAH 3.0 system. This battery-powered, radio-controlled, miniature helicopter camera system employs computer-assisted piloting and tele-operation in an airframe that utilizes GPS-assisted flight controls for aerial filming of unparalleled sophistication. Flying-Cam SARAH achieves shots impossible for full-size helicopters, cable systems or other traditional camera support devices.

Academy Award of Merit® (Oscar® Statuette)

To all those who built and operated film laboratories, for over a century of service to the motion picture industry. Lab employees have contributed extraordinary efforts to achieve filmmakers’ artistic expectations for special film processing and the production of billions of feet of release prints per year. This work has allowed an expanded motion picture audience and unequaled worldwide cinema experience.

Got all that? While not as glamorous as the Oscars Presentation, the Sci-Tech Awards gives credit to truly deserving people. Without them, the film industry would not be anywhere near as impressive as it is today. I can speak for us all at Inside Film when I thank these incredible people for their stellar work. Keep it up!