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Tyler

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

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Tyler   

Entertainment Weekly:

 

 

Ang Lee never met a literary adaptation he couldn’t tackle, it seems. The multi-Oscar winner, who’s been largely absent since winning Best Director for Life of Pi, has picked his next project: Ben Fountain’s celebrated 2012 novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, about a group of Iraq war vets, including 19-year-old Billy Lynn, who must endure a Thanksgiving Day football game in Texas on their exhaustive “Victory Tour” before they return to the war. TriStar Productions and Film4 announced the news Thursday.

 

“I am very excited to be going back to work and to be collaborating with my old friend Tom Rothman,” Lee said in a statement. “The most important thing to me is storytelling and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a story that immediately gripped me. I look forward to starting the creative process with this extraordinary team of collaborators.”

 

Lee collaborated with Tom Rothman during his Fox days to bring the “unfilmableLife of Pi to the big screen. The film went on to win four Oscars and gross over $600 million worldwide.

 

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Tyler   

Lee is planning to shoot in 3D, 4K, and 120 frames per second.

 

 

Representatives at Texas Instruments — which makes the DLP Cinema chips used today in projectors from Barco, Christie and NEC (representing most of the world’s digital projectors) — said that if by 120 fps, they mean 60 fps, per eye, for the 3D, then they can develop an upgrade for installed DLP projectors. If Lee intends to film at 120 frames per eye, then presumably two projectors would be used to accommodate the frame rates, along with 3D and 4K.

 

Today's movies are generally screened at 24 fps. Only Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy went to a higher frame rate of 48 frames per second.

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Why Ang Lee’s ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ Is an Important Mess (Opinion)
At a breakfast on Tuesday hours before the premiere, Lee said that the higher frame rate does wonders in close-up and that was part of the reason he so enjoyed shooting in the higher speed. It’s true. Newcomer Joe Alwyn, as the battle scarred war hero, practically bleeds off the screen. The way that tears stream down his face at the sound of the National Anthem will remain seared into my mind. You feel, in that instant, what Lynn must be experiencing as he reflects on the horror of battle, is moved by the patriotic ballad, and is disquieted by the indulgence around him at a pro-football game. His bloodshot eyes contain multitudes.
But there are other moments where the format exposes the artifice of the acting. When Billy’s fellow soldiers slap each other on the back, laugh at one another’s jokes or reach for that bottle of Jack, their movements feel overly choreographed. Their schtick is more schtick-y. It’s like watching a high school play. At that breakfast talk, Lee and producer Marc Platt addressed some of these issues, noting that the actors struggled to be as naturalistic as possible. That meant no makeup (Steve Martin deserves an Oscar for courage) and no overly broad movements. . . .
There’s another, thornier problem. Because the higher frame rate and 3D allows for a greater depth of vision, it’s clear that the extras at scenes in the football stadium are miming actions and having fake conversations. . . .
Still, there is one bravura sequence where Lee’s gambit pays off. A battle scene in which Billy charges into enemy fire to rescue a fallen comrade, is so visceral it feels almost like virtual reality. It moves beyond anything Spielberg achieved in “Saving Private Ryan” or Coppola pulled off in “Apocalypse Now.” Those battle scenes seem operatic in contrast, Lee’s feel like the real mccoy, capturing the overwhelming feeling of danger and the shock of violence. . . .
Brent Lang, Variety, October 15

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Meanwhile, I'm hearing that the film might not get a 3D release anywhere except for NY and LA, where it will be shown in the full 120fps 3D format.

 

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So apparently this movie isn't being screened in Vancouver at all. Just like a lot of other Sony movies this year (though they did screen Inferno a few weeks before it came out, and I went to an evening preview of Ghostbusters as well).

Which leads me to wonder... is this film being screened in advance *anywhere*, outside of the two or three cities that are getting the film in 120fps 3D? (My understanding is that *only* the 120fps screenings will be in 3D.)

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I saw it in D.C. last week and submitted a review that was posted but then taken down until Wednesday, closer to the film's release in D.C. 

Such is the life of D.C. critics: We aren't allowed to post reviews on sites with (inter)national reach until the movie opens in our particular market. There are exceptions made, sometimes, to this rule, but this wasn't one of them. 

FWIW, I'm much more favorable on the film than the colleagues I saw it with are. I wish I had seen it in 120 fps and 3D, but alas, I got neither and had to imagine how much more striking some of the character framings may be in 3D. They're nothing that's too out-of-the-box - just characters mainly centered in the wide frame - but you can sense how the individuals would "pop" in 3D even more than they do in 2D. YMMV, of course. 

Edited by Christian

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Anodos   

"Finally, the movie's title itself doesn't make any sense, because Billy never really takes a long walk at halftime. In fact, he's actually ordered to just stand motionless while Destiny's Child performs during the halftime show!"

I have read that passage a dozen times in the last five minutes, and it still makes me laugh. No prizes for guessing its origins... Seriously, though - it's the first time I've realised what it must be like to have your movie reviewed by a 5-year-old; I guess when the reviewers are nameless and it's all about the branding you may as well hire the cheapest 'talent'.

It's no good: I just read it again, and I'm still laughing.

Edited by Anodos

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This film wasn't screened for media at all in Vancouver. And now it's vanishing from our theatres after just two weeks. One theatre had it in 120fps, but I wavered on whether I should see it because we never got it in 3D, and I figured if I was going to go for 120fps I should go for the whole package. Oh well.

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NBooth   

Ben Fountain: Ang Lee took the ideas in my book and made them unsettling, thrilling and new

Dylan has a song, “Brownsville Girl”, where the Dylan person goes to a movie starring Gregory Peck, about a man riding across the desert who’s gunned down by a hungry kid. The song goes on:

Something about that movie, though, well I just can’t get it out of my head But I can’t remember why I was in it or what part I was supposed to play All I remember about it was Gregory Peck and the way people moved And a lot of them seemed to be lookin’ my way ...

That’s Lee’s movie: it puts you into play, your “role”, what you’re doing here. Not the most comfortable place to be, in a movie about a hugely immoral war. It isn’t so much a work of virtual reality as a work in reality, the living, breathing reality of the unmediated self, with no place to hide when the lights come up.

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