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.

Editing

How They Edited Straight Outta Compton

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

With its dense, real-life narrative, Straight Outta Compton posed a unique challenge for editors Billy Fox and Michael Tronick. Their dilemma? How to streamline F. Gary Gray’s biopic of hip-hop group N.W.A to make it accessible to a wide audience, while remaining true to subjects Ice Cube and Dr. Dre—both producers on the film. The result is a portrait of N.W.A’s ”reality rap” as a cultural document of gang life, drug dealing, and police harassment in ’80s and ’90s L.A. that’s rooted in the fascinating stories of its three central figures: Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), and Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell). Read more

Trailering The BFG from Steven Spielberg

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Books, Cinematography, Costume, Crafts, Editing, Makeup/Hair, Movies, Music, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Production Design, Sound, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

We get our first peek of the eponymous giant (a performance-captured Mark Rylance by Weta Digital) from Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roal Dahl’s The BFG (July 1, 2016), which also marks his first directorial effort at Disney. Read more

Editing Spotlight as a Journo Procedural

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

Tom McCarthy certainly made the right decision to make the buzzy Oscar contender Spotlight a procedural. It turned out to be the most authentic and involving way to explore the Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Catholic sex abuse scandal by the Boston Globe’s special investigative unit. But such structural complexity required clarity to navigate the web of conflict and deception. That’s where Tom McArdle’s invaluable editing skills elevated Spotlight, the duo’s fifth collaboration. Read more

Yates Whittle Talks Dialogue Editing & ADR

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, Editing, Sound, Tech | Leave a comment

In the latest “Conversations with Sound Artists,” two-time Oscar nominee Gwen Yates Whittle (Tron: Legacy, Avatar) discusses the importance of the dialogue process (listen to the clip below). Read more

A Walk in the Woods with Ken Kwapis

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

With the “Odd Couple” pairing of Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, director Ken Kwapis (Big Miracle, He’s Just Not That Into You) has made an unmistakable buddy road picture in A Walk in the Woods. It’s certainly laconic vs. loquacious on the Appalachian Trail: one part existential journey and another part environmental reverie, as told by sardonic travel writer Bill Bryson (Redford) in his memoir, adapted for the screen by Redford’s producing partner, Bill Holderman.
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How They Did It: The Seduction of True Story

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Crafts, Editing, How They Did It, Movies, Tech | Leave a comment

The weird, fascinating cat-and-mouse between disgraced New York Times reporter Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) and accused murderer Christian Longo (James Franco) begins immediately during their first encounter in True Story. Director Rupert Goold (The Hollow Crown mini-series) and editor Chris Tellefsen (Moneyball) discuss the first scene in which Finkel meets Longo in the Oregon county jail. Read more

Backstage at the Oscars: Birdman Soars, Disney Sweeps

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

Here are some of the craft and animation highlights backstage last night at the Oscars, topped by Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki taking home his second consecutive cinematography award for the single-take Birdman experiment, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar winning the VFX prize, and Disney’s surprise animation sweep with Big Hero 6 and Feast, continuing the momentum from last year’s Frozen.

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How They Did It: The Imitation Game

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Clips, Editing, Movies, Music, Oscar, Production Design | Leave a comment

The best scene in The Imitation Game occurs when Alan Turing (played by Oscar-nominated Benedict Cumberbatch) finally gets his computer to work and breaks the Nazi Enigma code with his research team. Oscar contending editor Billy Goldenberg, production designer Maria Djurkovic and composer Alexandre Desplat discuss the making of this pivotal scene. Read more

Clipping Aloha from Cameron Crowe

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Editing, Movies, Music, Production Design, Screenwriting, Tech, Trailers, VFX | Leave a comment

Cameron Crowe looks like he’s back in great rom-com form with Aloha (May 29), a very personal movie about second chances that was worth the wait. Read more

Ranking the Editing Oscar Nominees

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

It’s all about capturing the rhythm of the movie and these five contenders are all editorial gems: American Sniper is a ticking bomb about to explode simultaneously on the war front and home front; Boyhood, the frontrunner, is a unique 12-year journey of adolescence told in real-time and patched together like a fine quilt; The Grand Budapest Hotel is a prism that spins wild pre-war and post-war memories; The Imitation Game captures the inner turmoil of a mathematical genius trying to break the Enigma code; and Whiplash is a war between instructor and student that builds to a frenzied drum solo. Read more