Pic of the Day: On the set of Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Behind the scenes of John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China

A few behind the scenes pics from John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China (1986), recently shared by the British DVD and Blu-ray label Arrow Video on its Facebook page. Check out the entire album here. For more Carpenter set stills, here’s Deep Fried Movies’ career-spanning Carpenter retrospective.


Pic of the Day: Every artist needs a muse – They Came From Within and Afghan Girl

They Came From Within

A post in a VHS collectors group I belong to on Facebook – VHS Misfits – turned me on to the uncanny resemblance between Orion’s 1986 VHS release of David Cronenberg’s directorial debut They Came From Within and photographer Steve McCurry’s iconic “Afghan Girl” photo from the June 1985 issue of National Geographic.

The VHS cover scan above comes from the site VHS Collector.

Pic of the Day: Sorcerer (1977)


For today’s pic, I’m going with this shot of director William Friedkin (riding shotgun above) from Sorcerer (1977) as an excuse to share one of Friedkin’s quotes about the film from his two-plus hour interview with Marc Maron on WTF.

(Sorcerer is about) four strangers riding a load of dynamite and they hated each other and they were all flawed, but if they didn’t cooperate they would blow up together. And that, to me, then and now seems a metaphor for the world’s situation. You have all of these great powers, all going in different directions, and if they don’t get on the same page everything is going to blow up.


Pic of the Day: Cheating angles on the set of Room (2015)

Room Remp

Setting the first 45 minutes of the Oscar-nominated drama Room in a 10-foot-by-10-foot shed necessitated the occasional cheat – such as above, where a section of the set’s floor was removed in order to get the Red Epic Dragon low enough for this over-the-shoulder reverse on Brie Larson.

Here’s Room director Lenny Abrahamson on the rules he and cinematographer Danny Cohen devised for the shed-set portion of the film:

“A rule we set for ourselves in shooting was that the lens of the camera would always be inside the boundaries of Room. The camera body might be behind the line of the wall (whether the wall was there or not) but the lens would be inside it. This was important in preserving the audience’s immersion in the world of Room, and in maintaining the sense of immediacy and intimacy that drives this section of the film. We could have cheated, but I’m certain something would have been lost.”

Read the rest of Abrahamson’s self-penned thoughts on Room here. Or check out this interview I did with Cohen for MovieMaker in which the British DP breaks down shots from Room, The Danish Girl, and The Program.

Pic of the Day: Italian poster for Kubrick’s The Killing (1956)

Italian poster for Stanley Kubrick's The Killing

The Italian release poster for The Killing (1956), Stanley Kubrick’s breakthrough film. The movie marked Kubrick’s third feature overall – and apparently he was still obscure enough to be misidentified by this poster as “Stanley Kubrich.”

Kubrick wrote the screenplay – whose non-linear structure is often cited as an influence on Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs – but the dialogue was fleshed out by the great pulp maestro Jim Thompson.

For more Pics of the Day…

Deadpool – Before and After VFX

Deadpool VFX #5

Much has been made of Deadpool’s success in relation to its “Hard R” rating, prophesying a  future replete with profanity-and-gore-spewing superheroes. But another lesson to be gleaned by the studios is that a $200 million production budget isn’t a prerequisite for its tights-adorned blockbusters. Despite being heavily visual effects driven, Deadpool cost only $58 million to make. To put that in perspective, since 2011 only two superhero films from major studios have cost less than $120 million – Lionsgate’s Kick-Ass sequel ($28 million) and Sony’s Ghost Rider sequel ($57 million). The average budget of Marvel Studios’ nine releases in that span is just short of $180 million, per Box Office Mojo.

Below is a look at how Deadpool pulled off its paltry-budgeted effects through a series of before-and-after VFX comparisons. The pictures in the gallery come from a pair of excellent interviews over at The Art of VFX – one with an artist from Digital Domain, which handled much of the work on Colossus, and one with an artist from Atomic Fiction, which handled the freeway chase/counting bullets set pieces. The Art of VFX is a must-read for those with a practical interest in the minutiae of modern CG effects. Fx Guide’s Deadpool feature is worth checking out as well. Continue Reading ›