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

Crafts Roundup: Editing the Oscar Nominees

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

Editorially, all five films take us out of our comfort zones in this strange season of survival and rebirth: from the chameleon-like con of American Hustle to the abduction at sea in Captain Phillips to the weightless terror of Gravity to the ticking clock death sentence of Dallas Buyers Club to the horror of having your life and liberty snatched away in 12 Years a Slave. I got an insider’s view from Jay Cassidy (American Hustle), Christopher Rouse (Captain Phillips), John Mac McMurphy (Dallas Buyers Club), Mark Sanger (Gravity), and Joe Walker (12 Years a Slave). 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

Craft Talking American Hustle

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

David O. Russell’s on a roll with his Oscar-contending American Hustle, his most personal and popular movie yet. It’s smart and funny, and has obviously touched a nerve with its story of survival and reinvention during the cultural and political upheaval of the late ’70s. “I don’t care about pure dissipation or pure cynicism — I’ve gotta have the thing that people live for,” he insists. So in a recent roundtable discussion, we explored how this passion spilled over to his Oscar-nominated crew: production designer Judy Becker, costume designer Michael Wilkinson, and editor Jay Cassidy. Read more

Anatomy of a Scene: Gravity Opening

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

The extraordinary 13-minute opening of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity is like a mini-movie, setting up the zero-gravity world in space, the two astronauts played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, the mood, the tension, the crisis, and the metaphor. I break it down with Oscar-nominated cinematographer Emmanuel (Chivo) Lubezki, production designer Andy Nicholson, VFX supervisor Tim Webber, sound mixer Chris Munro, and editor Mark Sanger. Read more

Captain Phillips, American Hustle, Frozen Top ACE

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

Captain Phillips (edited by Christopher Rouse, A.C.E.), American Hustle (edited by Jay Cassidy, A.C.E., Crispin Struthers & Alan Baumgarten, A.C.E.), and Frozen (edited by Jeff Draheim) were the big winners Friday night at the 64th annual ACE Eddie Awards at the Beverly Hilton.  They won for Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic), Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy/Musical), and Best Edited Animated Feature Film.

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Anatomy of a Scene: The Attack in Captain Phillips

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

Best Picture nominee Captain Phillips is the ultimate in  Paul Greengrass-style verite, given its life and death intensity and emotional epiphanies. More than just a fact-based heist gone bad, it raises deep concerns about our globalized world in conflict. Oscar nominee Christopher Rouse, who’s already won an Academy Award for editing The Bourne Ultimatum, discusses the pivotal attack on the Alabama, which was dangerous to shoot as well as challenging to cut. Read more

Crafts Roundup: Assessing the Gravity Oscar Factor

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

As anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s blockbuster Gravity dominated the Oscar nominations this week with 10 (tied with American Hustle), of which seven were craft-related (VFX, cinematography, production design, editing, sound editing, sound mixing, and original score). Meanwhile, best picture frontrunners 12 Years a Slave (which was re-released theatrically along with Gravity) and American Hustle each scored three craft noms.

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Gravity Grabs 10 Oscar Nominations

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

The popular Gravity grabbed 10 Oscar nominations along with American Hustle (including best picture, best director for Alfonso  Cuarón, and best actress for Sandra Bullock), and dominated the crafts (production design, cinematography, VFX, editing, sound editing and mixing and original score). Disney’s Frozen and Get A Horse! Micky Mouse short were both nominatedbut Pixar’s Monsters University was shut out for only the second time in its history. Read more

ACE Nominations Announced

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

12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Her, and Saving Mr. Banks were among the American Cinema Editors (ACE) nominations for the 64th Annual Eddie Awards recognizing outstanding editing in 10 categories of film, television, and documentaries. Winners will be revealed during ACE’s annual ceremony on Feb. 7 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.  Next week ACE will announce the Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year honoree and two Career Achievement honorees. Read more

Gravity Set to Dominate Oscar Craft Nominations

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

As we approach Wednesday’s Oscar voting deadline, at least one thing’s certain: Gravity will dominate the craft nominations. And rightly so for the creative and innovative contributions. We’ve already covered production designcinematography, and VFX in depth, so now let’s look at the corresponding design for sound and music, which was perfect for the immersive Dolby Atmos surround experience, along with the editing of what was essentially an animated movie. Read more