All posts tagged: James Cameron

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Roger Dean Vs. James Cameron: Are These Your Floating Islands?

This week, director James Cameron laid claim to mountains coming out of the sky and standing there. Anyone who has a thing for 70’s prog rock and science fiction probably wondered if Cameron did too when they saw 2009’s Avatar, with its alien territories and sky-borne islands that seemed suspiciously close to those of famed Yes album cover artist Roger Dean. Apparently Dean felt the same. In June 2013, Dean filed a legal action at a court in New York against Cameron, accusing him of “willful and deliberate copying, dissemination and exploitation” of his well-known designs. Dean was looking for damages of $50 million dollars. This week, U.S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman dismissed the suit, saying that several of Dean’s claims were “misguided.” Cameron has three sequels planned. One takes place on a dark planet with a giant rainbow-making prism and another features a big, screaming, pink face with bad teeth. Upon the dismissal, Cameron’s representatives were heard to say that those who put up lawsuits against them “should not surround themselves with …

Sugar Water: How Celebrities Can Help End the BP Oil Spill

On Tuesday CNN’s Larry King announced that he’ll end his 25-year-old talk show this fall, having been beaten consistently in the ratings the past year by his 9 PM cable-news competitors, Fox News’s Sean Hannity and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. King’s announcement came eight days after he hosted a telethon edition of Larry King Live with guests Cameron Diaz, Robert Redford, and Sting — no, not to raise funds for the alimony he owes his half-dozen ex-wives, but to aid victims of another disaster, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He’s not the only King lending a hand in the Gulf. Earlier in June, the self-proclaimed King of the World, Titanic director James Cameron, who’s considered an expert on underwater filming technology, held a meeting with other deep-sea experts and the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the oil spill. A week later, actor-environmentalist Kevin Costner testified before Congress about machines his scientist brother has developed that can separate oil from polluted water; the Waterworld star has invested $24 million of his own money in …

The Bigger Picture: The Game Has Not Changed

It took me a while to get around to seeing Avatar. One reason for that, also coincidentally one of the reasons I have been a pretty lazy contributor to Popdose lately, is because I have been trying to finish my own film project for well over a year now. As the usher said to us before the showing, “You guys must be the last people in the world who haven’t seen Avatar yet.” I was cautious going into Avatar. My expectations were very measured; having listened to both the over-the-top praise and the silly criticisms in has received. That morning, I overheard a man complaining that it was “absolutely the stupidest thing” he’d ever seen. Others had told me that the effects were the most amazing movie experience they’d ever made. Well friends, special effects do not a movie make. I donned my 3D glasses, trying to keep an open mind but expecting to dislike it. And, for the first hour or so, my eyes mostly rolled behind my Spaceman Spiff goggles. Sigourney Weaver, usually …

Blu-ray Review: “Terminator Salvation”

Poor McG. He thought he was hired to direct a badass, rock ’em-sock ’em movie about evil death robots from the future (not Michael Bublé), and that’s what he delivered with Terminator Salvation. But what he didn’t understand was that the Terminator franchise isn’t about robots anymore — it’s really about canon-quibbling nerds who spend their downtime between new installments sharpening their knives for the next poor sap who dares to walk the hallowed path James Cameron cleared. No movie enraged its target audience more thoroughly this year, and since few things are funnier than grown men and women losing their shit when movies about evil death robots let them down, I had to see Terminator Salvation for myself. Like every other red-blooded American male, I watched and enjoyed the first two Terminator chapters, but I skipped 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (and both Transformers movies), so I figured I was overdue for some heavy-duty robot action. On that front, Terminator Salvation delivers beautifully: You get big robots, human-sized robots, freaky-looking water robots, …

Revival House: “I’ll Be Back”

If you’re like me, when you see a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger in shades, a certain five-note rhythm comes to mind. There’s no denying composer Brad Fiedel kicks things off in James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984) with a great main title, letting us know we’re building to something awesome here. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, there was a wave of low-budget films hitting theaters, but they didn’t feel low-budget — they all had the aura of expensive blockbusters. I’m talking about flicks like The Howling, Scanners, and Escape From New York (all 1981), and directors like Joe Dante, David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, and of course Cameron — directors who knew enough about the craft of filmmaking to stretch their shoestring budgets and create cool-looking movies. Carpenter’s Escape From New York is a good example. The dilemma: how to make New York City look like a maximum-security prison in the near future with very little money? The early establishing shot of the Manhattan skyline is a matte painting. But more important is the way …