8th Annual Lumiere Awards Recognizing Cutting-Edge Technology

Warner Bros, an innovative movie and television studio, served as the perfect backdrop for the 8th Annual Lumiere Awards.  These awards recognize how cutting-edge content combines with exciting new technology.

The Advanced Imagining Society (AIS) and the Virtual Reality Society are title sponsors for the evening’s awards.  AIS President and CEO Jim Chabin says: “Tonight we have movie makers here who are dying to see the [virtual reality] work.  We have [virtual reality] people who are dying to see the moviemakers’ work.  [They’re] all creators of great content.  It’s the new thing and it will take a few years but fans are going to love it because they’re going to be in the movie.”

In addition to the competitive award categories, prolific director-producer-writer multi-hyphenate Jon Favreau was honored with the Harold Lloyd Award.  HTC Vive Co-founder and chairperson Cher Wang was honored with the Sir Charles Wheatstone Award.  Google Earth VR was honored with the Century Award.

Zoe Hewitt was on the red carpet to speak with some of the esteemed honorees, presenters and attendees including Jon Favreau (IRON MAN, THE JUNGLE BOOK), Ivan Reitman (GHOSTBUSTERS), Ed Begley Jr (ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) and Robert Stromberg (Oscar-winning designer for AVATAR).  For more about the innovative virtual reality technology and its application in life as well as the movies, take a look below:





—>Looking for the direct links to the videos?  Click here for Jon Favreau.  Click here for Ivan Reitman.  Click here for Ed Begley Jr.  Click here for Robert Stromberg.



The GHOSTBUSTERS trailer on YouTube is the most disliked video ever on the site.  However, I wanted to reserve judgement about the movie since it comes with impressive credentials: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon and Chris Hemsworth are all great comedians and actors.  The director behind GHOSTBUSTERS, Paul Feig, was the creative mind behind BRIDESMAIDS.  In short, these people know comedy.

Unfortunately, while they may know comedy they didn’t quite hit the mark this time around.  It could have been the high expectations going into this update/remake, or it could be that magic just doesn’t always strike in the same place.  Regardless, GHOSTBUSTERS missed the mark.

Tone was the biggest issue for GHOSTBUSTERS and if it had been ironed out then a lot of the other issues would have been addressed.  While it was clearly a comedy, it also asked viewers to respect the main characters as impressively credentialed scientists and the way those two aspects of the movie were handled made them incongruous with each other.

Kristen Wiig plays Dr. Erin Gilbert, a ditzy klutz, which was hard to reconcile with the her impressive background as a doctor of science at Columbia University. Kate McKinnon’s Dr. Jillian Holtzman was the most confusing since she alternated coming across as intelligent and completely strange.  I realize that in real life people can easily embody more than one of these qualities. But, in a movie like this which doesn’t seek to flesh out well-rounded characters it felt like they were trying to go in too many directions at once.

I was disappointed by Melissa McCarthy’s Dr. Abby Yates as well. While I’m not generally a fan of Melissa McCarthy’s brand of physical comedy—which, incidentally, didn’t flow as strongly through GHOSTBUSTERS as I’d expected–I respect her acting ability since she commits wholeheartedly to all of her characters. This time around, though, I got the impression that she didn’t believe in what she was doing anymore than I did. Strangely, the only time I really bought her role was during a part that’s in the trailer when she’s possessed by a ghost.

There were two things I loved in particular. First was the music and how the original GHOSTBUSTERS theme song progressed from the original one to a more modern version as the movie went on The second thing I really liked were the effects, the ones at the very beginning in particular.

For more details about GHOSTBUSTERS, including a more in-depth analysis about the music and effects, as well as an exclusive interview with original GHOSTBUSTER Ernie Hudson, take a look below:

—>Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

The late Harold Ramis talking creativity and Jews

Harold Ramis, the comedy writer, director, and actor, passed away early yesterday morning at age 69 in his Chicago-area home. Ramis was responsible for such hits as “Groundhog Day,” “Ghostbusters,” “Caddyshack,” “Analyze This,” “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” and more.

Ramis died from complications of autoimmnue inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves  swelling of the blood vessels, the Chicago Tribune reports. He is survived by his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, three children, and two grandchildren.

Here he is speaking during Rosh Hashana services at Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living about creativity and  Jews, a topic he was certainly qualified to discuss.

Filmmaker Harold Ramis dies at 69

Harold Ramis, an actor, writer and director who had a hand in such iconic comedies as “Groundhog Day,” “Ghostbusters” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” has died.

Ramis died early Monday morning in Chicago from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing Ramis’ wife, Erica. He was 69.

In addition to directing “Groundhog Day,” Ramis wrote and directed “Caddyshack,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Analyze This.” He also directed episodes of NBC’s “The Office.”

As an actor, his best-known film roles came in “Ghostbusters” and “Stripes,” both of which he co-wrote and both with Bill Murray.

Ramis, a Chicago native, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis. He acted in Chicago’s Second City improvisational comedy troupe along with Murray and John Belushi.

He lived in Los Angeles from the late 1970s before returning to Chicago, basing his production company in a Chicago suburb.

Ramis had a Jewish upbringing, and later immersed himself in Zen Buddhism, according to the Chicago Tribune.

He was well known as a Chicago Cubs fan, leading the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field.