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Whether you love or hate TRON: Legacy, few would argue it’s a beautiful movie. Every penny of the Disney sequel’s reported $170 million budget is undeniably on screen in the form of all kinds of different special effects.

Bradley Munkowitz, aka GMUNK, was the lead animated graphics artist on the film and led a team that created about 10 minutes of those special effects. But not some big action set piece like one usually thinks of when talking about special effects. He created the user interfaces and holograms found in various scenes. In the world of Tron, those visuals are some of the most important things on the Grid. GMunk has uploaded six videos highlighting his work from the film, in context. They play like etherial, effects heavy movie/music videos. Check them out below.

All the below videos are from VFX Breakdowns. What you’ll see are edits of the final film with either the UI or holograms the animated graphics team created for that particular scene.

TRON GFX Disc Game from GMUNK on Vimeo.

TRON GFX Throne Room from GMUNK on Vimeo.

TRON GFX Rectifier Globe from GMUNK on Vimeo.

TRON GFX Fireworks from GMUNK on Vimeo.

TRON GFX Portal Climax from GMUNK on Vimeo.

TRON GFX Solar Sailor from GMUNK on Vimeo.

Which video do you like best?

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Playing Bane in The Dark Knight Rises might have made Tom Hardy a household name, but it wasn’t his first major genre sequel. The actor – who really hit the radar of film fans starring in Nicolas Winding-Refn’s Bronson – previously appeared in Star Trek: Nemesis as Shinzon, a villainous clone of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and a video of the actor’s screen test has surfaced online. Check it out below.

Thanks to E! Online (via Trek Movie) for the heads up.

Obviously, the audition footage is edited together with footage from the film itself and sort of jumps all around but it’s really fun to watch this retrospectively. You can almost see the movie star beginning to exude from him. Granted, it would take six years until his break out role – Bronson – and after that, another four until his huge coming out party, Dark Knight Rises so a decade passed from then to now. In between, films like Layer Cake and Inception certainly helped, and Warrior was a star making performance in an under appreciated film, but it’s hard to deny the real milestones of his career were this, Bronson and Dark Knight Rises.

Did you remember Hardy was in this film? When you saw it, did he stand out?

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The teaser trailer for Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus — his return to the narrative landscape of his 1979 film Alien — was one of the best teasers we’ve seen in a long time. We have no idea if the script, heavily revised by Damon Lindelof from John Spaihts‘ original draft, is any good, or if the picture will hold a candle to Alien. But damn, it looks beautiful.

Here’s something that will give you a slightly better idea of what’s going on in Prometheus, however. It isn’t a trailer, and it isn’t footage from the film. Rather, it is something that plays right into the rumor that surfaced yesterday about the character played by Guy Pearce. What we’ve got is a TED Talk… from 2023. Check it out below.

As mentioned above, note that this is a promo clip only — as you’ll see in the credits below, it wasn’t directed by Ridley Scott, though he did oversee it. It does not appear in Prometheus.

So that’s Peter Weyland of Weyland Corp, aka one of the two companies that joined together to eventually become Weyland-Yutani, the corporate entity that plays a huge part in the Alien series. What does he have to do with the story in Prometheus? That talk should have given you a pretty good idea; it certainly doesn’t leave much to the imagination with respect to the legend of Prometheus and this film’s story.

Here’s what the TED page for this talk offers:

Peter Weyland has been a magnet for controversy since he announced his intent to build the first convincingly humanoid robotic system by the end of the decade.

Whether challenging the ethical boundaries of medicine with nanotechnology or going toe to toe with the Vatican itself on the issue of gene-therapy sterilization, Sir Peter prides himself on his motto, “If we can, we must.” After a three year media blackout, Weyland has finally emerged to reveal where he’s heading next. Wherever that may be, we will most certainly want to follow.

Conceived and designed by Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof and directed by Luke Scott.

There is more info about Peter Weyland at that page, too. And if you want more background on this clip, writer Damon Lindelof has a Q&A at TED where he talks about creating the video. He explains, in part,

I said, “l’ll write this thing, and we’ll put it in front of you guys, and if you think it’s cool, we would love to platform it at TED, and make it only viewable through TED.” Because I liked the idea of exposing a more general audience to, “Wait a minute, I’ve never heard of this thing. There’s more talks here.” I thought it could be mutually beneficial — as opposed to overtly cram-it-down-your-face viral marketing, which I don’t think anyone wanted to do.

Ridley Scott directed Prometheus; it stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Rafe Spall, Logan Marshall-Green, Guy Pearce, and Patrick Wilson. The film will hit theaters June 8, 2012.

Ridley Scott, director of “Alien” and “Blade Runner,” returns to the genre he helped define. With PROMETHEUS, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

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20th Century Fox has released the movie trailer for Rupert Wyatt‘s Rise of the Planet of the Apes., starring James Franco, Andy Serkis, Frida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, and Tom Felton. The film is a prequel/reboot of the Planet of the Apes franchise which takes place in present day with a science fact-like take on how animal testing leads to the end of the human race, and yes, the rise of the apes. Watch the trailer embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Watch the trailer in high definition on Apple.


Official Plot Synopsis:

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is an origin story in the truest sense of the term. Set in present day San Francisco, the film is a reality-based cautionary tale, a science fiction/science fact blend, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

James Franco plays “a young, driven scientist who becomes a crucial figure in the war between humans and apes.” John Lithgow plays Franco’s father, also a scientist, Freida Pinto plays a primatologist who helps Franco, Brian Cox plays “the villainous owner of a primate sanctuary who runs the facility without compassion for the animals that live there,” Tom Felton is the son of Brian Cox’s character, and through performance capture and WETA created visual effects, Andy Serkis plays Caesar, the chimp who leads the simian revolt. The screenplay is written by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes will hit theaters on August 5th 2011.

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One of the films featured on our extensive Best Movies of 2010 That You Probably Haven’t Heard Of list was a Brazilian action movie titled Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within. The original Elite Squad was released in 2007 (now available on DVD), and was highly acclaimed by critics and moviegoers.

I screened Elite Squad 2 at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, without having seen the first film (as I was told that was not a requirement — although I plan on checking it out when I return home). From director José Padilha, the highly acclimed filmmaker behind Bus 174, comes a crime thriller which might be best described as a cross between The Departed, The Wire and The Godfather.

The story is set in crime-infused slum area favelas of Rio de Janeiro — an area which has been explored on screen in the Oscar-nominated City Of God and the documentary Manda Bala, which suggested that the violent street crime was linked to higher political corruption.

This film explores this idea, with Wagner Moura reprising his role as Roberto Nascimento, rising from commander-in-chief of Rio’s BOPE (Special Police Operations Battalion) to sub-secretary of intelligence. As he eliminates drug trafficking in favelas, he realizes that he is working side-by-side with his real enemies — corrupt cops and dirty politicians. Fans of the first film may be in for a shock, as I’ve heard this is an entirely different movie.

Beautifully captured on film – gritty, bloody and dirt covered. Even though the movie is more of a crime thriller than an action film, the chase sequences sequences down narrow slum streets and street shootouts are exciting and well executed. Elite Squad 2 is one of those rare films which plays for the masses, not only succeeding as entertainment but delves into serious issues about the social reality in Brazil.

/Film Rating: 8 out of 10

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