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.

stop-motion

Birdman Tops 72nd Golden Globes Noms

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Events, Movies, Music, stop-motion, Tech, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Birdman led the way with seven Golden Globe film nominations, followed by Boyhood and Imitation Game with five. Animation nods went to Big Hero 6, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Book of Life, The Boxtrolls, and The Lego Movie.

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The Boxtrolls Grabs 13 Annie Nominations

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Annies, Below the Line, Events, Movies, Music, Production Design, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Laika’s stop-motion The Boxtrolls led ASIFA-Hollywood’s 42nd annual Annie Awards with 13 nominations, bolstering its chances for an Oscar nom, followed by DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 with 10 noms (both will compete for best animated feature). The winners will be announced Saturday, Jan. 31st, 2015 at UCLA’s Royce Hall at 7:00 pm. Read more

Creating Ballroom Dancing in The Boxtrolls

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

Without a doubt, the exquisite ballroom dance sequence from The Boxtrolls (a romantic interlude combined with a frantic chase and culminating with public humiliation) was the most difficult to pull off, particularly in stop-motion. It required special planning, some creative experimentation, and extra effort from all the departments. And the sequence is enhanced by Dario Marianelli’s pretty waltz (watch the exclusive “Let’s Dance” making of featurette below, with the David Bowie cover composed by McKenzie Stubbert). Read more

Assessing the Animation Oscar Race

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

With Pixar sitting this year out, the animation Oscar race is not only totally wide open but there’s still no clear frontrunner among the big studio three (Disney’s Big Hero 6, DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Warner Bros.’ The Lego Movie). That leaves The Boxtrolls from stop-motion powerhouse Laika and Focus Features, Fox/Reel FX’s The Book of Life, and two Gkids indies —  Song of the Sea from the Irish Cartoon Saloon (see new trailer below) and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya from Studio Ghibli — as the other likely contenders also vying for the five nominations. Read more

Feast Leads Oscar Shortlist for Shorts

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Events, Movies, Oscar, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

The good news for Disney is that the buzzy Feast made the Oscar shortlist for animated shorts; however, Pixar’s lovely Lava did not (perceived as too lightweight perhaps given the highest of standards applied). William Joyce, Glen Keane, and Bill Plympton are also in the running  (watch clips and trailers below). Read more

20 Join the Oscar Race for Best Animated Feature

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

With 20 titles submitted for Academy consideration, the threshold of 16 or more should be met to qualify 5 nominees in the Oscar race for best animated feature. Read more

Animag Summit Announces Hosts, Presenters

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Events, Festivals, Movies, previs, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech, TV, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Animation Magazine announced its line-up of presenters for the award ceremony at the World Animation & VFX Summit, Opening Night Party, on Sunday, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey. Read more

Laika/Focus Reteam for Three More Features

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

Laika and Focus Features have renewed their distribution pact, with Focus distributing the next three stop-motion features domestically, and Universal Pictures International handling overseas. This is good news given the regime change at Focus and excellent box office start for The Boxtrolls, the Oscar contender which grossed $17.3 million last weekend, the biggest debut yet for Laika. Read more

Composer Marianelli Waltzes Through The Boxtrolls

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

Oscar-winning composer Dario Marianelli (Atonement) didn’t hesitate to work on the Victorian steampunk madness of The Boxtrolls. He loves the way the animators at Laika conjure “the surreal, the dark, the grotesque, and the comedic.” Read more

Knight Talks Laika and The Boxtrolls

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

When Laika first began nine years ago, its first two acquisitions wereCoraline and Here Be Monsters!. However, because of the tremendous scope and free-flowing narrative of Alan Snow’s 550-page steampunk opus, it’s taken a lot longer for The Boxtrolls to come together. And while it’s received Laika’s most mixed reviews, it’s surely the riskiest and, arguably, the most brilliant of Laika’s trio of films, which I discuss with CEO/producer/lead artist Travis Knight (view exclusive video below). Read more