Bill Nighy in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
Questions about motion capture animation -- is it cheating? -- John Wayne, P.J. Soles and more.

Send your movie questions to FlickChick.

See Maitland McDonagh and Ken Fox review this week's new flicks in Movie Talk !

Question: I've been reading a lot about the behind-the-scenes technology used to created the tentacle-faced Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and keep seeing the term "motion capture." But none of the articles have explained how it's different from old-fashioned rotoscoping. Can you enlighten me, oh FlickChick? -- Brad

FlickChick: The difference is computers. Rotoscoping is a process invented by animation pioneer Max Fleischer -- creator of Betty Boop -- in 1914. It allowed artists to hand-draw over motion picture footage of real subjects frame-by-frame so that the instantly recognizable weight and flow of real human motion was maintained while the specifics of the image could be changed to the animator's content. Some purists claimed rotoscoping was a form of cheating, but I've always thought that was a narrow view: Rotoscoping is just a tool in the animator's arsenal. Nevertheless, as early as 1937 dancer Marge Champion then a teenager was told by nervous Disney executives not to tell anyone that rotoscoping was used extensively in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and that she was the model for Snow's every step and gesture.

With motion capture, real life footage of a flesh-and-blood person (top-flight English character actor Bill Nighy, in the case of Davy Jones) in a body suit studded with sensors is fed directly into a computer; the image manipulation takes place there, rather than on a plastic animation cel. But the end result is the same: Davy Jones' body has the heft and flow of the real actor underneath, while his beard of tentacles curls and writhes like the real cephalopods I have no doubt were filmed to assist animation of his barely once-human face.

Send your movie questions to FlickChick.

Question: Is the guy in the new Old Spice ads an actor? My boyfriend says I probably just saw him on another commercial, but I think he's a real actor. -- Lori G.

FlickChick: Tell your boyfriend FlickChick says he needs to wise up. The guy in the brilliant new Old Spice ads -- which make the venerable drugstore cologne seem cool through hipster mockery -- is none other than longtime Sam Raimi associate Bruce Campbell, seen most recently as a snippy French maitre d' in Spider-Man 3. I have to say, if there's anyone in the world who could tickle the ivories in his Nick Fury bachelor pad while crooning Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" to a bevy of mini-skirted beauties with such self-deprecating savoir faire as Campbell, I can't imagine who it would be.

Send your movie questions to FlickChick.

Question: Whatever happened to P.J. Soles from Halloween and Stripes? I keep thinking I'll see her on one of those "I Love the '80s" specials, but so far she's a no-show. --Tige

FlickChick: You're not the only one wondering -- witness alternative rockers Local H's 2004 album Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? In a nutshell, Halloween's (1978) " totally" girl got married, had children and is now making her way back into movies: '70s horror buff Rob Zombie recently cast her as a pretty, middle-aged soccer mom who gets carjacked by killer klown Sid Haig in The Devil's Rejects (2005).

Born Pamela Jayne Hardon -- really; married briefly to musician J. Steven Soles and kept his surname - who can blame her? -- in 1950 in Frankfurt, Germany, P.J. Soles was raised all over the world courtesy of her father's job with an international insurance agency. Her dad was Dutch and her mom was from New Jersey. Soles intended to be a U.N. interpreter, but as a college student in New York she fell into modeling and then took up acting. Her credits include a mean girl in Carrie (1976) a role she got during the mass Star Wars/ Carrie audition for teenage girls Brian De Palma and George Lucas conducted together -- and ultimate Ramones fan Riff Randell in Rock 'n' Roll High School (1987) -- directed, by the way, by Heroes producer Allan Arkush -- a part she reprised in the 2003 video "Too Bad About Your Girl" by neo-punks The Donnas. She was married to Dennis Quaid for five years; that marriage ended in divorce, as did her third, which produced two children.

Even though Soles spent much of her career playing the kind of girls I hated with every fiber of my being, I have always had a soft spot for her and hope that rumors she'll be part of Zombie's Halloween reboot are true.

Send your movie questions to FlickChick.

Question: Where was the John Wayne movie Big Jake filmed? -- Vera B.

FlickChick: John Wayne's Big Jake (1971) was shot in the State of Durango, in Northern Mexico, where Wayne owned property -- complete with its own movie studio -- called Rancho La Joya. He first shot in Durango with 1965's The Sons of Katie Elder, and returned for The War Wagon (1967), Chisum (1970), The Train Robbers (1973), Cahill, US Marshall (1973) and, of course, Big Jake.

Send your movie questions to FlickChick.

See Maitland McDonagh and Ken Fox review this week's new flicks in Movie Talk !