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

Immersed in Blu-ray: Mary Poppins

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Blu-ray, Books, Clips, Home Entertainment, Movies, Music, Oscar, Tech, VFX | Leave a comment

Mary Poppins arrives for a wondrous 50th anniversary Blu-ray edition from Disney Home Ent. to coincide with the release of Saving Mr. Banks. Read more

Holiday Book Guide: CG Animation and Fairy Tales

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

Two must-own, complementary histories of CG animation, a Roy Disney remembrance, and a Taschen treat comprise my book recommendations. Read more

Craft Talking Saving Mr. Banks

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

Like Mary Poppins, Saving Mr. Banks seems deceptively simple on the surface. But dig deeper, and the story resonates as a brilliant memory piece for Emma Thompson’s P.L. Travers, slipping back and forth from her painful childhood in Australia in 1906 to cooperating and subverting the adaptation of her beloved novel with Walt Disney in 1961. And that was the creative hook for director John Lee Hancock and his fellow filmmakers, including production designer Michael Corenblith, cinematographer John Schwartzman and costume designer Daniel Orlandi. Read more

Letteri Talks Animating Smaug

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

Peter Jackson’s well-received second Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug, not only moves along more swiftly and assuredly, but it also contains a greater variety of VFX (spiders, bear, shadowy Necromancer, and a rollicking barrel chase down a river). The high-frame rate is also improved with a more filmic look applied during post. But, of course, the centerpiece for Weta Digital is Smaug (voiced with menace and charm by Benedict Cumberbatch), the best CG-animated dragon ever created and sure to make a great impression at the Academy bakeoff. Read more

Going Deeper into Frozen with Buck and Lee

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

Frozen provides further proof that we’re experiencing a new Disney renaissance under John Lasseter: it’s the Oscar frontrunner and the studio’s best since Beauty and the Beast. If Wreck-It Ralph seemed thematically subversive while still leveraging the hand-drawn legacy to guide the CG, then Frozen takes it even further. It’s the most feminist take yet on the musical princess fairy tale. Read more

Kindle Edition of James Bond Unmasked Available

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

I’ve updated my book, James Bond Unmasked (Spies), to include a Skyfall chapter, an exclusive interview with Sam Mendes, and new Daniel Craig quotes from various press conferences. JBU is currently available in a Kindle edition and coming soon to Nook and other e-readers. Read more

Ballhaus Talks The Book Thief

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

The Book Thief might be flying under the Oscar radar, but it’s still a gentle gem worth considering. True, it’s old-fashioned and sentimental while contemplating the vicarious power of storytelling. But it’s a unique Holocaust story told from a child’s point of view as well as Death’s (adapted from the best-seller by Markus Zusak). And that’s what attracted DP Florian Ballhaus, best known for comedy (The Devil Wears Prada), and the son of the great cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (who’s worked with both Fassbinder and Scorsese). Read more

Bond Settlement and the Return of Blofeld

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Books, James Bond, Movies | Leave a comment

Will Bond 24 mark the return of 007 arch-villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld? Read more

Trailering Maleficent

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

Angelina Jolie makes a menacing Maleficent in the teaser for the live-action version of Disney’s classic Sleeping Beauty opening May 30, 2014.

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Jackson Sneaks New Footage at Hobbit Fan Event

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

As a kind of mea culpa for missing out on Comic-Con, Peter Jackson more than made up for it with last Monday’s Hobbit-Con global fan event for The Desolation of Smaug, held simultaneously at theaters in LA (the Grove), New York, London, and Wellington. Appearing in Wellington (barefoot, like a hobbit), Jackson unveiled his latest vlog of pick-ups (see below), footage of British pop star Ed Sheeran recording the end song, “I See Fire,” and an exclusive sneak peek of 20 minutes that fleshed out some of the thrilling action glimpsed in the new trailer that was also released (see below as well). Read more