Getting More Immersed with Indiewire


  The Penske Media purchase of Indiewire has resulted in an expansion of my role as crafts and awards season contributor.  Beginning this week, I begin Emmy coverage of below-the-line contenders along with my usual Oscar season crafts reporting, working closely

Immersed in Blu-ray: Hitchcock and Bogart


The WB Archive Collection gets Hitch and Bogie on Blu-ray and they've never looked better for home viewing. In Kent Jones' indispensable doc, Hitchcock/Truffaut, he reminds us that Truffaut was on a mission to correct misconceptions about Hitch as a lightweight

Immersed in Books: Farber on Film


For the first time, the complete writings of film critic Manny Farber is available from Library of America, edited by Robert Polito (Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson). Manny Farber (1917-2008) was the first modernist film critic to write like a modernist.

Books

Book Review: Lightning Strikes for Bruckheimer

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Books, Movies, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

While Johnny Depp steps away from his usual flamboyance with Transcendence, it’s a good time to assess the arresting coffee table book, Jerry Bruckheimer: When Lightning Strikes|Four Decades of Filmmaking  (Disney Editions) by historian/unit publicist Michael Singer. Read more

Moonbot to Develop Olivia Kidney Feature

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Books, Movies, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Moonbot Studios is getting closer to making movies, acquired the rights to the Olivia Kidney trilogy of young adult books by award-winning author Ellen Potter (Philomel). Moonbot plans to develop Olivia’s Alice in Wonderland-like adventures as a live-action film with significant animation sequences.  Read more

Book Review: Creativity, Inc.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Books, Movies, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Ed Catmull explores the secret of Pixar’s success in Creativity, Inc. (Random House) with a managerial insight that’s applicable to everyone. Reminiscent of John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success,” the Yoda of Pixar has presided over the industry’s animation leader with a winning philosophy that delicately balances individual talent and chemistry with team leadership and a dynamic vision. Read more

Going Inside the Pixar Braintrust for Inside Out

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Books, Movies, previs, Production Design, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

A recent excerpt from Ed Catmull’s upcoming book,  Creativity, Inc. (Random House), reveals the Pixar Braintrust in action on Pete Docter’s Inside Out (June 19, 2015). Read more

Trailering More Boxtrolls

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Books, Movies, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

For the third Boxtrolls trailer, we get some old-fashioned rock’n'roll to go with the fast and furious stop-motion antics: R&B star Cee Lo Green singing ”(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care,” which Elvis sang in ’57 in Jailhouse Rock and Buddy Holly covered a year later.

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Moonbot Debuts Silent Short Devoted to Sound

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Books, Clips, Events, Movies, Shorts, Sound, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Oscar-winning Moonbot Studios (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore) unveiled a new short paying homage to sound, Silent, at the recent Sci Tech Academy Awards. It is produced byDolby and Moonbot; was directed by Brandon Oldenburg & Limbert Fabian, and the sound design/mix was done by Oscar-nominated Steve Boeddeker (All is Lost). Read more

Going Inside the Production Design of Walter Mitty

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Books, Movies, Oscar, Production Design, Tech, Trailers, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Designing the The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a new experience for Jeff Mann, known for working on such “blunt instruments” as Tropic Thunder with Ben Stiller and Transformers with Michael Bay. But Stiller definitely had a different mind set for the daydreaming Everyman, full of whimsy and wistfulness, and Mann visualized that world in a graphic and poetic way that’s certainly worthy of Oscar consideration. Read more

USC Debuts Experimental Leviathan at CES

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Books, Education, Events, Movies, Production Design, Tech, Videogames, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

The USC School of Cinematic Arts World Building Media Lab debuts Leviathan at the Intel CES 2014 exhibit in Las Vegas. This experimental, hybrid storytelling platform lives on the digital rim of narrative and gameplay. Read more

Renner Talks Ernest & Celestine

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Books, Clips, Movies, Tech, Trailers | Leave a comment

 

Ernest & Celestine from Gkids is certainly gaining momentum on its way to a possible Oscar nomination: it was voted best animated feature by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and has garnered Annie noms. And why not? It’s a gentle and whimsical French/Belgian film about the forbidden friendship between a grumpy, musical bear (Lambert Wilson) and a sensitive, artistic mouse (Pauline Brunner). I spoke with co-director Benjamin Renner about his debut feature and collaborating with Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar (A Town Called Panic). Read more

Craft Talking 12 Years a Slave

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Books, Cinematography, Clips, Costume, Editing, Movies, Production Design, Tech | Leave a comment

The visual power of 12 Years a Slave derives from a juxtaposition of horror and beauty that director Steve McQueen calls “Goya-esque.” It immerses us in the totality of Solomon Northup’s experience, a brutal inhumanity that nonetheless took place on gorgeous plantations. Production designer Adam Stockhausen, cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, costume designer Patricia Norris, and editor Joe Walker collaborated on this rich tapestry, which has helped make 12 Years a Slave the best picture Oscar frontrunner. Read more