special effects

May 24, 2012 | 8:53 a.m.

‘Men in Black 3’: Rick Baker’s ongoing search for alien life

Rick Baker (featured image)
Once you saw past the stage smoke and secret curtain, the great and powerful Oz seemed like a pretty lonely guy whose citadel had too many hallways and not enough heartbeats. It’s hard not to wonder if the same applies to Hollywood wizard Rick Baker, but maybe that’s just because of the giant hourglass and the flying monkeys that decorate his shadowy office. “It’s quiet around here until the next job,” said the seven-time Oscar winner. Baker is the most celebrated creature creator in movie history, but he now has reached a career chapter where he only will take on projects that possess a special challenge or sentimental appeal. This summer Baker is celebrating his 40th anniversary in the business of makeup, visual effects and monster construction — he was an apprentice to makeup master Dick Smith on “The Exorcist.” […]
May 20, 2012 | 12:16 p.m.

Rick Baker’s ‘magic scissors’ made monster movie history

Special makeup effects artist Rick Baker shows off an alien mask his studio created for "Men in Black III" at the Hero Complex Film Festival Saturday. (Alan Heitz / Los Angeles Times handout)
Special makeup effects wizard Rick Baker surprised Hero Complex Film Festival attendees Saturday afternoon, dropping by to answer questions about his prolific career, and carrying an alien head in a garbage bag. Baker, 61, is a seven-time Oscar winner whose credits include “Planet of the Apes,” “Hellboy,” “Ed Wood,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video and dozens more. The Q&A — at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles — followed a screening of a featurette about Baker’s work for “Men in Black III,” which hits theaters next weekend. The audience oohed appreciatively as Baker pulled an alien mask from the bag he was toting — one of 127 alien creations for “Men in Black III,” he said. “The aliens are just kind of glimpsed in the background many times, so rather than putting people through the makeup process, a lot of […]
March 04, 2011 | 10:46 a.m.

‘Beastly': Alex Pettyfer gets his monster on [Update]

beastly-alex-400
 In the new film “Beastly,” opening Friday, Alex Pettyfer plays a cocky high school student who finds himself transformed into an alien-looking outcast after he runs afoul of a young woman dabbling in witchcraft. Taking him from beauty to beast was makeup artist Tony Gardner, the same man who helped James Franco amputate his own arm for his Oscar-nominated turn as Aron Ralston in “127 Hours,” a veteran whose other credits include Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video and the horror comedy “Zombieland,” in addition to “There’s Something About Mary” and “The Hangover.” Hero Complex contributor Whitney Friedlander recently caught up with Gardner to find out exactly how he turned model-turned-actor Pettyfer into a creature only costar Vanessa Hudgens could love. It turns out, Alex Flinn’s 2007 novel, on which the movie was based, was just a starting point. WF: Pettyfer’s […]
April 20, 2010 | 1:51 a.m.

‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’ director: The new 3-D is ‘like the introduction of color photography’

FIVE QUESTIONS: PAUL W.S. ANDERSON Director Paul W.S. Anderson is entering the 3-D fray when his next film, “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” hits screens September 10. He’s a champion of the technology, and many of his movies, including the “Resident Evil” films, “Event Horizon,” and “Mortal Kombat” are the kinds of films that draw viewers into a immersive world — which seems to be the ultimate goal of 3-D. The tech-savvy director is one of the featured keynote speakers at the 3D Gaming Summit, to be held in Los Angeles on Wednesday and Thursday, and allowed Hero Complex contributor Jevon Phillips a few minutes to chat. JP: Is 3-D TV the next phase or the next plateau for entertainment? PA: Absolutely. I’m cutting a movie in 3-D at the moment — we shot the new “Resident Evil: Afterlife” in 3-D — so I’m in my cutting room […]
March 09, 2009 | 8:52 p.m.

Ken Ralston’s favorite enterprise? It wasn’t ‘Star Trek’

WIZARDS OF HOLLYWOOD: KEN RALSTON This is the fifth installment in our series "Wizards of Hollywood," where we shine a spotlight on the masters of movie magic, the effects specialists who can dazzle us with screen images of liquid robots, giants and goblins, ferocious dinosaurs or just a special human soul who ages in reverse. Today, guest contributor Liesl Bradner interviews Ken Ralston. Ken Ralston, the senior visual effects supervisor at Sony Imageworks, is currently the senior visual effects supervisor on Tim Burton’s "Alice in Wonderland," and he has extensive Starfleet experience (he worked on "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" and "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"). He has also won four Oscars (for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "Death Becomes Her," "Cocoon" and "Forrest Gump") and took home a special achievement […]
Jan. 16, 2009 | 11:59 p.m.

The gathering of wizards in Beverly Hills…

     The visual effects branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held its annual "Bakeoffs" Thursday evening to choose the films that will be nominated for an Oscar at the 81st Annual Academy Awards. A total of 281 films were eligible and narrowed down to a list of seven elite contenders that were the subject of presentations and a vote at the Thursday night ceremony. Three will move on after votes are tallied. "Hellboy II," "Journey to the Center of the Earth," "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "Iron Man," and "Australia" were the lucky films that stand a chance at receiving the golden statue on Feb. 22.      In some highly unscientific polling of the room, "Benjamin Button" was the front runner with cutting-edge […]
Dec. 09, 2008 | 2:24 a.m.

The lost saucer of ‘Forbidden Planet’ reappears

    After 38 years, a "lost" Hollywood artifact with a truly cosmic history has resurfaced and, no surprise, it’s headed straight for the auction block. This Thursday, Dec. 11, the iconic flying saucer from the 1956 MGM classic "Forbidden Planet" will be auctioned off in Calabasas Hills and is expected to fetch anywhere between $80,000 and $120,000, which would be a nice, tidy payday for its owner, a North Carolina man who had the prop stored in his garage and didn’t realize its market value. The silver saucer is 82 inches in diameter and constructed of wood, steel and fiberglass and, according to the Profiles in History auction house, it is "a marvel of 1950s engineering." That’s because "the central landing base extends from the bottom of the craft by internal movement mechanisms with electric motor drive, as does […]
Oct. 07, 2008 | 2:44 p.m.

Greg Nicotero talks about the masters of movie mayhem and ‘malicious hysteria’

Hero Complex brought you an exclusive, in-depth piece yesterday on the future of Stan Winston Effects, the storied special-effects house founded by the late, great wizard of Hollywood. Now Gina McIntyre, who writes about horror for the H.C., brings us a chat with Greg Nicotero, another master of movie mayhem and the executive producer of a new documentary about the artistry of horror that airs tonight on Starz. If your DVD library contains multiple copies of the “Evil Dead” films, this one’s for you. The documentary “Starz Inside: Fantastic Flesh” features interviews with the makeup artists responsible for creating some of the most gruesome moments in horror cinema: Dick Smith, Tom Savini, Rick Baker, Rob Bottin and Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero of KNB EFX, the Van Nuys-based shop that, during its 20 years in business, has amassed a lengthy […]
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