Ender’s Game Blu-Ray Press Day Gives Journos A Lollipop Ride

Ender's Game (Lionsgate)

I really, really loved Ender’s Game, and if you want to check out my review of the Blu-ray release, you can check it out on Hollywood Outbreak. One of the great aspects of covering the title, which was released this week, was covering the press day that was held at Digital Domain.

For a couple of hours, journalists and bloggers checked out how the Zero-G special effects were created by Digital Domain, and although the process is captured on one of the Blu-ray featurettes, actually checking things out at Digital Domain was a pretty memorable experience.

Although Ender’s Game director Gavin Hood was on hand to talk about how he and his team visualized the mouse and monster tablet game that’s featured in the film, my favorite part of the day came when stunt coordinators Garrett Warren and Kurt Lott explaining how a lollipop arm was used to maneuver the actors around the film’s battle room. Actor Moises Arias, who plays Ender’s (Asa Butterfield) ego driven nemesis in the film, was on hand to demonstrate how to move around the arm.

Ender's GameI gave the contraption a bit of a spin, and although Lott told me to use my core and to make subtle movements during my trial run, I ended up flopping around like a dying, bloated fish. During my couple of minutes on the arm, I inadvertently flipped several times and failed to heed Lott’s careful instructions. So I really won’t be putting that embarrassing video for public consumption. All you need to know is that navigating on the lollipop takes a healthy amount of balance, coordination, and strength, so much credit goes to the actors who appeared to float through the air with the greatest of ease during the battle room scenes.

If you want to see how to properly do a stunt, here’s a video of Warren (he’s the one explaining how the rig works), Lott, and Arias showing how to kick some Ender’s Game a** on the lollipop arm.

Ender’s Game is now out on Blu-ray and DVD.

Oscar ‘Budd’ Boetticher & Chinook Feature Gets Warner Archive Treatment

Kirby Grant and Chinook (Warner Archive)

Kirby Grant and Chinook Adventure Triple Feature Volume 2 was recently released by Warner Archive, and it contains three movies on one DVD.

Although I’d never seen a film starring Kirby Grant (TV’s Sky King) or Chinook the wonder dog, my interests were peaked due to the feature The Wolf Hunters, which was directed by Oscar “Budd” Boetticher (he didn’t use the moniker Budd until 1951’s Bullfighter and the Lady).

Although he was one of the more talented visualists in his day, Boetticher never graduated beyond B-movie Westerns, and it’s only years later when his films, which include the Randolph Scott classics Ride Lonesome and Seven Men from Nowwould receive their rightful due.

The Wolf Hunters, clocking in at a lean 70 minutes, has Mountie Cpl. Rod Webb (Grant) and Chinook tracking down a fur thief whose motivations may go beyond pure, material greed. Like much of of Boetticher’s work, it’s a low budget affair that he shot while working with Monogram pictures, but it’s still a beautifully shot feature filled with indelible imagery.

There’s also some unexpected touches that I didn’t expect from the project, which includes light comedic work between co-stars Edwin Norris and Jan Clayton (they play a loving couple whose lives are threatened by the criminal and his henchman). Since Grant has a musical background, one lovely sequences features a duet between him and Clayton, and it’s a number that Boetticher seamlessly fits into the story.

Chinook the wonder dog also gets his time to shine as he goes a couple of rounds with a knife wielding thug. The ending, which has the mountie and Chinook chasing the criminal down a shadowed forest, is also a sight to behold. It’s a solid outing all around for Boetticher, and the other two Chinook films in the collection are Snow Dog and Call of the Klondike.

Unfortunately, Warner Archive didn’t upload a clip from The Wolf Hunters on their YouTube Channel, but here’s a clip of Snow Dog.

Kirby Grant and Chinook Adventure Triple Feature Volume 2 is an MOD (Manufactured on Demand) title, to order this DVD go to The Warner Archive Collection.

‘Parenthood’s’ Joy Bryant Works Out Acting Muscles With ‘About Last Night’

 

In About Last Night, Joy Bryant stars as Debbie, a single woman who’s all but given up on love. An electric Los Angeles evening with a charming guy named Danny (Michael Ealy) changes her entire outlook – that is, until reality sets in for the pair. Kevin Hart and Regina Hall co-star as Bernie and Joan, the other couple who take their passions into an entirely different (and emotionally unbalanced) level.

Based on David Mamet’s work Sexual Perversity in Chicago, the 1986 original starred Rob Lowe and Demi Moore. The Windy City has now been replaced with downtown Los Angeles with this iteration, and for Bryant she was more than prepared to flex her chops with this comedy. It’s a discipline and versatility she’s acquired thanks to her work on the acclaimed NBC series Parenthood.

“It’s still all the same, overall big muscle of just working and being comfortable and being relaxed,” said Bryant. “I don’t think I would have approached playing Debbie the way that I did if it weren’t for ParenthoodI get to work every day on a show with really talented people, great material, and they give us a lot of freedom to do what we want to do. I observe and learn from people who are really amazing at improv and who seem very effortless in their delivery.”

To hear Bryant talk about the joys of Parenthood and interacting with its loyal fan base, click on the audio below:

About Last Nightdirected by High Fidelity scribe Steve Pink, opens Friday. New episodes of Parenthood starts on February 27 (NBC, 10 pm et/pt).

If you’re into jazz, check out Bryant’s thoughts on Miles Davis, a post that’s featured on her blog.