News

Solar Eclipse: 25 Crews Will Shoot the Occurrence for Upcoming Large-Format Documentary

A whopping 25 movie crews will be positioned along the path of totality Monday to photograph the historic solar eclipse for an upcoming Imax large-format documentary about Albert Einstein, with a working title of Einstein’s Incredible Universe, from director Daniel Ferguson and production company Cosmic Picture.

“I scouted about five states along the path of totality” including Oregon, Wyoming and South Carolina, Ferguson told The Hollywood Reporter of the plans. “This will include locations over the Grand Teton. I’ll be on Jackson Lake in Wyoming with [the doc's] director of photography Reed Smoot.

“I have never seen an eclipse. The...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Sundance Film Review: ‘Under the Electric Sky’

More high-grade souvenir for the previously converted than a very persuasive recruitment tool for those not already in love with Edm (electronic dance music), “Under the Electric Sky” records last year’s Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, currently the largest annual music fest in the U.S. Non-fans may find this 3D documentary only confirms their suspicion that Edm is possibly the most vapid form of “alternative” music, and its ecstatic fans constitute one of the most vacuous fanbases, ever. Limited theatrical exposure is likely, though the film’s principal audience will access it through home formats.

Directors Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz make a seemingly solid decision not to simply focus on the performers (who, twiddling dials and pointing emphatically skyward, aren’t much to watch) and the more colorful crowd, but on a disparate number of hand-picked attendees. Sadie and Jose are here because the music seems
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The Young Black Stallion

Opens

Thursday, Dec. 25


"The Young Black Stallion" represents the Walt Disney Co.'s first dramatic movie made expressly for Imax's giant screens. While the movie helps advance the case for more large-screen dramatic films, it weighs in at a mere 51 minutes, making it a throwback to the B-movie programrs of the '30s and '40s that usually ran an hour or so. "Stallion" is designed to maximize the visual opportunities for Imax's cameras even as it minimizes the dramatic conflicts that make for a satisfying moviegoing experience.

The project was created by the writer and producer of the 1979 classic film "The Black Stallion", Jeanne Rosenberg and Fred Roos (along with producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy), from the final book of Walter Farley's "Black Stallion" series, which told about the horse's days in Arabia as a colt. This was then entrusted to director Simon Wincer, himself no stranger to horse movies, having helmed "Lonesome Dove", "Phar Lap" and "The Lighthorsemen".

Veteran Imax cinematographer Reed Smoot gets the most out of the spectacular African locations along the Namibian Skeleton Coast, the Spitzkoppe and South Africa's Drakensberg mountain range with tracking and helicopter shots that make this very much a motion picture. Sometimes the sheer size of the screen almost defeats the movie's dramatic purpose. In one shot where a young girl must climb an outlook and gaze at the colt in the distance, it takes awhile for a viewer to pick out the two figures in so vast a landscape.

Whatever Farley's original story was -- it was completed by his son Stephen following his death -- not much winds up in this sketchy movie. In North Africa at the end of World War II, a young girl named Neera (Biana G. Tamimi) gets separated from her caravan when it is set upon by raiders. (Who these raiders are and what happens to the rest of the caravan are never explained.) The same raiding party then goes after a mare and her newborn colt. The colt escapes and is discovered wandering alone in the desert by Neera.

She names the horse Shetan, and without too much difficulty the two "orphans" somehow find their way to the casbah of Neera's grandfather (Richard Romanus). How do they find their way? What do they eat? How is Neera able to make a fire? The filmmakers show no interest in the story of their survival.

Once Neera reaches her grandfather's place, Shetan runs off only to return a year later as a magnificent stallion. Without even a moment to break in the stallion, Neera simply climbs on Shetan's back and gallops off. Within a matter of minutes and against her grandfather's wishes, she enters Shetan into a desert horse race against several powerful mares that furnishes the movie's climax.

As one can see from this synopsis, characters and story are woefully thin. Even the villains (Gerard Rudolf, Ali Al Ameri) do little more than furrow their brows. The movie exists for its splendid vistas and the final horse race. These elements do justify "Stallion", but if the Mouse wants to pursue Imax features, much more dramatic meat will have to go into the storytelling.

Young Tamini, who has ridden horses virtually all her life, makes a credible heroine even though little is asked of her as an actress. The other actors are stranded by the weak dramatic material.

Production designer Paul Peters and costume designer Jo Katsaras give the film a Moroccan feel. William Ross' score also is a plus, though it contains more than a hint of Maurice Jarre's musical themes from "Lawrence of Arabia".

THE YOUNG BLACK STALLION

Buena Vista Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures

Credits:

Director: Simon Wincer

Screenwriter: Jeanne Rosenberg

Based on the book by: Walter Farley and Steven Farley

Producers: Fred Roos, Frank Marshall

Executive producers: Jeanne Rosenberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Director of photography: Reed Smoot

Production designer: Paul Peters

Music: William Ross

Costume designer: Jo Katsaras

Editors: Bud Smith, Terry Blythe

Cast:

Neera: Biana G. Tamimi

Ben Ishak: Richard Romanus

Aden: Patrick Elyas

Rhamon: Gerard Rudolf

Mansoor: Ali Al Ameri

Kadir: Andries Rossouw

MPAA rating: G

Running time -- 51 minutesG-13>Emma: Dina Waters

Michael: Marc John Jefferies

Megan: Aree Davis

Running time -- 88 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

The Young Black Stallion

Opens

Thursday, Dec. 25


"The Young Black Stallion" represents the Walt Disney Co.'s first dramatic movie made expressly for Imax's giant screens. While the movie helps advance the case for more large-screen dramatic films, it weighs in at a mere 51 minutes, making it a throwback to the B-movie programrs of the '30s and '40s that usually ran an hour or so. "Stallion" is designed to maximize the visual opportunities for Imax's cameras even as it minimizes the dramatic conflicts that make for a satisfying moviegoing experience.

The project was created by the writer and producer of the 1979 classic film "The Black Stallion", Jeanne Rosenberg and Fred Roos (along with producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy), from the final book of Walter Farley's "Black Stallion" series, which told about the horse's days in Arabia as a colt. This was then entrusted to director Simon Wincer, himself no stranger to horse movies, having helmed "Lonesome Dove", "Phar Lap" and "The Lighthorsemen".

Veteran Imax cinematographer Reed Smoot gets the most out of the spectacular African locations along the Namibian Skeleton Coast, the Spitzkoppe and South Africa's Drakensberg mountain range with tracking and helicopter shots that make this very much a motion picture. Sometimes the sheer size of the screen almost defeats the movie's dramatic purpose. In one shot where a young girl must climb an outlook and gaze at the colt in the distance, it takes awhile for a viewer to pick out the two figures in so vast a landscape.

Whatever Farley's original story was -- it was completed by his son Stephen following his death -- not much winds up in this sketchy movie. In North Africa at the end of World War II, a young girl named Neera (Biana G. Tamimi) gets separated from her caravan when it is set upon by raiders. (Who these raiders are and what happens to the rest of the caravan are never explained.) The same raiding party then goes after a mare and her newborn colt. The colt escapes and is discovered wandering alone in the desert by Neera.

She names the horse Shetan, and without too much difficulty the two "orphans" somehow find their way to the casbah of Neera's grandfather (Richard Romanus). How do they find their way? What do they eat? How is Neera able to make a fire? The filmmakers show no interest in the story of their survival.

Once Neera reaches her grandfather's place, Shetan runs off only to return a year later as a magnificent stallion. Without even a moment to break in the stallion, Neera simply climbs on Shetan's back and gallops off. Within a matter of minutes and against her grandfather's wishes, she enters Shetan into a desert horse race against several powerful mares that furnishes the movie's climax.

As one can see from this synopsis, characters and story are woefully thin. Even the villains (Gerard Rudolf, Ali Al Ameri) do little more than furrow their brows. The movie exists for its splendid vistas and the final horse race. These elements do justify "Stallion", but if the Mouse wants to pursue Imax features, much more dramatic meat will have to go into the storytelling.

Young Tamini, who has ridden horses virtually all her life, makes a credible heroine even though little is asked of her as an actress. The other actors are stranded by the weak dramatic material.

Production designer Paul Peters and costume designer Jo Katsaras give the film a Moroccan feel. William Ross' score also is a plus, though it contains more than a hint of Maurice Jarre's musical themes from "Lawrence of Arabia".

THE YOUNG BLACK STALLION

Buena Vista Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures

Credits:

Director: Simon Wincer

Screenwriter: Jeanne Rosenberg

Based on the book by: Walter Farley and Steven Farley

Producers: Fred Roos, Frank Marshall

Executive producers: Jeanne Rosenberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Director of photography: Reed Smoot

Production designer: Paul Peters

Music: William Ross

Costume designer: Jo Katsaras

Editors: Bud Smith, Terry Blythe

Cast:

Neera: Biana G. Tamimi

Ben Ishak: Richard Romanus

Aden: Patrick Elyas

Rhamon: Gerard Rudolf

Mansoor: Ali Al Ameri

Kadir: Andries Rossouw

MPAA rating: G

Running time -- 51 minutesG-13>Emma: Dina Waters

Michael: Marc John Jefferies

Megan: Aree Davis

Running time -- 88 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

See also

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