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.

How They Did It

Margaret Sixel Talks Editing Mad Max: Fury Road

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

Oscar nominee and ACE winner Margaret Sixel had a major advantage on Mad Max: Fury Road: her candor. Read more

How ILM Created The Revenant Bear VFX

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Crafts, How They Did It, Movies, Oscar, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

While Star Wars: The Force Awakens enters the Academy’s VFX bake-off on Saturday as the obvious frontrunner, everyone wants to know how ILM did the harrowing bear attack in The Revenant. Here’s a behind the scenes glimpse from VFX production supervisor Richard McBride. Read more

How They Created The Hateful Eight Western Vibe

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Costume, Crafts, How They Did It, Movies, Oscar, Production Design, Sound, Tech, Trailers | Leave a comment

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is a Western version of And Then There Were None with period detail that pops, thanks to the large-format, widescreen splendor of Ultra Panavision 70. As a result, it should garner several craft Oscar nominations next week. Read more

How They Transformed Ian McKellen as Mr. Holmes

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, How They Did It, Makeup/Hair, Movies | Leave a comment

Makeup artist and Sherlock Holmes nerd David Elsey finally got his chance to transform the famous Baker Street sleuth in an entirely new way—as a 93-year-old struggling to solve the case that led to his retirement. Read more

How They Animated Anomalisa

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, How They Did It, Movies, Oscar, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Animation supervisor Dan Driscoll of Robot Chicken fame discusses the challenges of making Anomalisa, one of the most lifelike, adult, stop-motion movies ever made. Directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson and made at Starburns Industries, it’s a study in great performance, with spot-on attention to detail. Just the act of lighting a cigarette becomes a dramatic accomplishment. And then there’s the sex scene… Read more

How They Pulled Off The Spectre Opening

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, How They Did It, James Bond, Movies, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

ILM London tackled the celebrated Day of the Dead opening of Spectre as part of its first Bond mission. Read more

MPC Fuels The Martian VFX with Bronze

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Below the Line, Books, Crafts, How They Did It, Movies, previs, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Moving Picture Co. (MPC) handled 425 shots on Mars for The Martian as the lead VFX studio. Richard Stammers was the production VFX supervisor and the MPC team was led by VFX supervisors Anders Langlands and Tim Ledbury. Read more

How Roger Deakins Crossed New Borders with Sicario

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

Call it Prisoners on steroids. That’s because Sicario (referring to a Mexican hitman as well as Jewish zealots who revolted against the Romans) expands its dark psychological themes, pitting idealistic FBI agent Emily Blunt against lethal consultant Benicio Del Toro during a secret raid on Mexico’s most powerful drug lord. It’s the perfect backdrop for Roger Deakins to cross new aesthetic borders for his second collaboration with director Denis Villeneuve (they are currently prepping the Blade Runner sequel, which starts shooting next summer). Read more

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation as Glam Noir

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, How They Did It, Movies, previs, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Tom Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie not only up the M:I franchise with smarter espionage and more thrilling action, but also break down the entire spy game as a cat and mouse between two rogue warriors: Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and Sean Harris’ Solomon Lane. That’s what happens when you pair the daredevil superstar with the master of the doppelganger shell game, which made it a lot more creative for the indie-spirited cinematographer Robert Elswit, who last worked on Nightcrawler and Inherent Vice. Read more

Peyton Reed Talks Restoring Order with Ant-Man

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, How They Did It, Movies, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Peyton Reed (Yes Man, The Break-Up) wanted to direct Guardians of the Galaxy, but finally got his Marvel shot with Ant-Man when Edgar Wright left because of too much micro-management and shared universe-tinkering. Yet Reed insists that the DNA remains intact: it’s still an absurd superhero/heist movie/domestic drama built around father/daughter redemption. Read more