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Movie News: Wachowskis Complain About Chicago Politics, Just How Detailed Do We Need The Hobbit To Be?

By Steven Pate in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 8, 2012 10:00PM

2012_09_05_wachowski.gif Fresh off a high-profile showcase for their new film Cloud Atlas at the Chicago International Film Festival, Wachowski Starship will be heading to London to shoot the bulk of their next project, Jupiter Ascending. Though the siblings think of themselves "as Chicago artists" and set most of their films in the city, they don't shoot here.

"There are no sound stages," Lana Wachowski told Christopher Borrelli. “Not big enough ones anyway.” Thus, despite being popular for exterior photography (think The Dark Knight or Transformers), the bulk of filming happens elsewhere, where there is infrastructure to support it. "We would do all our films there if there were good, proper stages, but they, you know, politics in Chicago ..." she told WBEZ's Steve Edwards. Alex Pissios, general manager of the 150,000 sq. ft. (and growing) studio complex in North Lawndale, Cinespace, told Reel Chicago that two more studios will be completed there by year's end. But Warner Brothers estimated it would cost $21 million more to shoot the Wachowski's next film in Chicago than in London. Andy did not mince words about how to close that gap: "We need to subsidize our film industry, citizens."

  • Peter Jackson's juggernaut-in-waiting, The Hobbit is coming in December, whether you like it or not. If you do like it, you'll have to make a decision about just how you want to take it in. That's because not only is this film coming out in 2D, 3D, IMAX and IMAX 3D (as if that were not enough), it will be the first film distributed in a fancy new format, known as HFR 3D. HFR stands for High Frame Rate, and refers to the format's display rate of 48 frames per second. That's twice the rate of a typical film (though less than some High Definition broadcasts, such as those on ESPN, which may run as high as 60 fps). Six local theaters, including AMC River East, will offer this souped-up option. Critical reactions have been pretty mixed so far, but Jackson insists that "You get used to this new look very quickly and it becomes a much more lifelike and comfortable viewing experience. It's similar to the moment when vinyl records were supplanted by digital CDs."
  • The Siskel Film Center's commemoration of the fifteenth anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China, an 11-film series entitled Hong Kong!, gets underway tomorrow. With Johnnie To, Wong Kar-wai, and, yes, Jackie Chan in the offing, it looks like a nifty showcase for the current state of what was once one of the most historically vibrant regional film centers in the world.
  • Bernd and Hilla Becher have been photographing abandoned industrial landscapes for half a century, often presenting them in striking grids. The Art institute has a few of their iconic photographs, but currently they are not on display. Luckily a documentary on the couple and their work is being shown at Northwestern's Block Museum of Art this Saturday, for free.
  • Our favorite CIFF film, the dark, confusing and unforgettable Holy Motors opens officially tomorrow night at the Music Box. Tomorrow's 7 p.m. showing will be followed by a discussion with Chicago International Film Festival Founder and Artistic Director Michael Kutza, Facets Cinematheque Film Program Director Charles Coleman, and Deputy Cultural Attaché, Consulat général de France Jean-François Rochard,led by Reader film critic Ben Sachs.