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.

Tech

10 VFX Contenders Chosen for Oscar Bake-Off

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

The Academy’s Visual Effects branch executive committee determined a shortlist for the bake-off that includes two blockbusters (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World) and two surprises (Ex-Machina and The Revenant). Read more

Kasdan on The Force Awakens Repeating History

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Crafts, Screenwriting, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

It wasn’t easy penetrating the veil of secrecy surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) enjoyed discussing themes and metaphors as the Yoda of the inner circle with J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy. Read more

Recreating The Twin Towers for The Walk

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

The Walk, which recreates Philippe Petit’s amazing high-wire act across the World Trade Center Twin Towers in 1974, has been shortlisted for the VFX Oscar. And on Tuesday, it was the subject of a special case study on virtual production held at Sony for a joint tech committee comprised of the ASC, ADG, VES, the Previs Society, the PGA and the ICG. Read more

The 6 Best Score Oscar Contenders

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

It’s an awards season full of musical riches: the rousing update of a legendary score, the return of an iconic composer at home with the Western, a chamber piece for a journalism triumph, the fascination of forbidden love and a sublime animated tour-de-force. Read more

Alê Abreu Talks Boy and the World from Gkids

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

Boy and the World, the hand-drawn Brazilian festival fave from Alê Abreu, unfolds like a sumptuous tapestry for a small stick figure of a boy, who experiences an exciting yet difficult rite of passage. At the same time, Abreu offers a devastating political critique as the boy travels from the simple line drawings of his village to bushels of cotton-lined country roads to industrial landscapes filled with animal-machines, whirling carnival colors, exploding fireworks and flashing neon adverts. All of this accompanied by pan-flute, samba and Brazilian hip-hop. The visceral impact is startling for this Gkids Oscar contender. Read more

Clipping 10 Years of Innovative Laika Stop-Motion

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

Portland-based Laika has released a terrific video reel commemorating 10 years of bold storytelling and innovative stop-motion (Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and next year’s Kubo and the Two Strings). Read more

How The Revenant Changed Lubezki

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

Emmanuel (Chivo) Lubezki could make Oscar history as the first cinematographer to win three consecutive Academy Awards. What’s more, Gravity, Birdman and The Revenant comprise his very own personal survival trilogy, and the first two movies prepared him for the more harrowing adventure in the frozen wilderness with director Alejandro González Iñárritu and Leonardo DiCaprio portraying 19th century trapper Hugh Glass. Read more

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

Gabriel, Hall Collaborate on Swamp Ghost Art

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Crafts, Events, Tech | Leave a comment

 

Pacific Aviation Museum is honoring the famed World War II-era B17 “Flying Fortress,” affectionately named “Swamp Ghost,” with Disney artists Mike Gabriel (director, “Pocahontas,” “The Rescuers Down Under” and the Oscar-nominated short, “Lorenzo”) and Klay Hall (director, Disneytoon Studios “Planes”) worked together to create original nose art, to be exclusively displayed at the Museum. Read more

Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda Talk Minions

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Blu-ray, Clips, Crafts, Home Entertainment, Movies, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Minions turned out to be one of the biggest animated sensations of the year, grabbing $335 million domestically and $1.1 billion worldwide for Universal and Illumination Ent. It’s also an Oscar contender for its trippy, throwback ’60s satire and charming physical comedy. In honor of the Blu-ray/DVD combo release from Universal, I spoke to directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda. Read more