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 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

Lady Gaga Performs Til It Happens to You

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

Tuesday night at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, we witnessed the tender side of Lady Gaga, as she hit the campaign trail in support of Best Original Song Oscar contender “Til It Happens to You,” from The Hunting Ground, the Oscar-shortlisted doc about sexual assault on college campuses. (L to R – Diane Warren, Lady Gaga, Kirby Dick – photo credit Todd
Williamson/Getty Images.) 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

Sci-Tech Winners Announced by Academy

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

LAIKA has been singled out by the Academy for its pioneering rapid prototyping system for enhanced character animation in stop-motion along with advancements from ILM (Geometry Tracker), DreamWorks Animation (Media Review), Sony Picture Imageworks (Itvie), Rhythm & Hues (Global DDR), The Foundry (MARI 3D texture painting) and Tweak Software (RV system). Read more

6 Best Original Songs Get Deeply Personal

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

These songs strike an emotional chord: A love letter from a conductor, hanging up a license to kill, two stirring docs, a tribute to the late Paul Walker and an ode to the power of persistence. Read more

Getting Epic and Intimate with The Martian

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

The Martian crafts people echoed the same thing: it was an inside-out journey centered around Matt Damon’s engaging astronaut/botanist, who’s in peril but who never loses his optimism or humor. Therefore, it became a balancing act between the epic and the intimate. Read more

Creating Those Good Vibrations for Love & Mercy

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

The making of The Beach Boys’ ground-breaking Pet Sounds album in Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy necessitated a soul-searching exploration of Brian Wilson’s musical genius. It began with Atticus Ross’ use of score, which aesthetically crossed over into sound design. Read more

Going Inside the Crime World of Black Mass

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Costume, Crafts, Makeup/Hair, Movies, Music, Oscar | Leave a comment

From the makeup and hairstyling to costumes, cinematography, and score, it all revolves around Johnny Depp’s dead-on portrayal of crime lord Whitey Bulger in Black Mass. Read more