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.

Cinematography

Returning to the Nuclear DNA of Godzilla

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

Director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) has admirably returned to the Toho roots of Godzilla 60 years on and made the Kaiju myth as relevant as ever, even adding a humanistic twist. Drawing on the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster as inspiration (what if it wasn’t a natural disaster?), and utilizing the best that CG animation has to offer, Edwards delivers the thrilling monster goods along with a sense of melancholy. Read more

Gillespie Talks the Dramedy of Million Dollar Arm

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

Craig Gillespie (the Fright Night remake and Lars and the Real Girl) is certainly no stranger to offbeat drama and comedy, and Million Dollar Arm represents his greatest dance with dramedy. The inspirational biopic about recruiting two raw talents from India and turning them into major league baseball pitchers in less than a year also afforded Mad Men’s Jon Hamm the opportunity to show off the full range of his acting chops, according to the director. Read more

Immersed in Blu: Polanski, Friedkin, Allen, Roeg

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Blu-ray, Cinematography, Clips, Movies, Tech, Trailers | Leave a comment

Tess, Sorcerer, Performance, Broadway Danny Rose, and Violent Saturday get the must-own Blu-ray treatment. Read more

Star Wars: Episode VII Cast Announced

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Cinematography, Movies, Music, previs, Production Design, Screenwriting, Sound, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII has a cast: John Boyega (Attack the Block), Daisy Ridley (Mr. Selfridge), Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis (providing his performance capture skills, no doubt), Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker. Read more

Behind the High-Frame-Rate Oklahoma! Restoration

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Blu-ray, Cinematography, Clips, Festivals, Home Entertainment, Movies, Music, Tech | Leave a comment

Given Peter Jackson and James Cameron’s current embrace of high-frame-rate, there’s an added importance to Fox’s restoration of the roadshow Oklahoma!, which opened the TCM Classic Film Fest Thursday at the TCL Chinese IMAX Theater. In addition to being shot in Todd-AO large format, the beloved 1955 musical from Rodgers & Hammerstein also experimented with 30 frames to solve the flickering problem and to better stave off competition from TV. The result is almost holographic. Read more

Claro Talks Lighting Nymphomaniac

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

Cinematographer Manuel Claro calls Nymphomaniac the ultimate Lars von Trier movie (Volume II opened Friday), containing “a fuck you to film school energy that’s all over the place,” in which the director’s pessimism and optimism battle one another. However, after the in-your-face look of Melancholia, the opus about sex addiction starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgard was much simpler to light, despite the greater length and traipsing 55 days through Germany and Belgium. Read more

Cinematographer Libatique Talks Noah

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

Darren Aronofsky has always been drawn to the mystical, and Noah is even ballsier than Pi or The Fountain. Of course, it’s divisive as environmental allegory and the conflict between religion and science. But I think it’s a powerful evocation of creation and destruction, love and beauty, and the difficulty of raising a family. Talk about survival and rebirth: It’s the ultimate road movie, according to cinematographer Matthew Libatique, who’s shot every Aronofsky movie but The Wrestler because of a temporary rift. Read more

Backstage at the 86th Academy Awards

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Costume, Editing, Movies, Oscar, previs, Production Design, Shorts, Sound, Tech, Uncategorized, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

As expected, 12 Years a Slave earned best picture Sunday night at the 86th Academy Awards, while Gravity dominated the crafts, winning seven, as well as best director for Alfonso Cuaron. The reverse-engineered blockbuster took home awards for cinematography, VFX, editing, sound editing, sound mixing, and original score. Read more

Trailering Full Godzilla

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

Godzilla, the granddaddy of all monsters, is back (May 16), and the new trailer is a powerful return to his Toho roots. Read more

Anatomy of a Scene: 12 Years a Slave

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Editing, Movies, Oscar, Tech | Leave a comment

One of the most important yet difficult decisions in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave was how to depict Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) waking up in bondage. Fortunately, they hit on the idea in the cutting room to tell it out of sequence, the result of which was disconcerting for Northup and viewer alike, and which laid the groundwork for a more intimate narrative approach by staying with his POV. I discussed this crucial scene with the two Oscar nominees, production designer Adam Stockhausen and editor Joe Walker. Read more