Entries in Cinematography (261)
Written and directed by Todd Haynes. Cinematography by Alex Nepomniaschy.
With Julianne Moore, Xander Berkeley, James LeGros, Beth Grant and Peter Friedman.
Hit Me With Your Best Shot has been running for six years and we've finally braved one of the most fascinating jewels of the 1990s cinema. Todd Haynes's disturbing, sad, confounding, and highly interpretable early masterwork [SAFE]. It's the film that layed the groundwork for the cult of Julianne Moore (on the heels of her well regarded but little-seen performance in Vanya on 42nd Street). Two years later mainstream stardom with frequent eyes on the art house, hit. In 1997, a seismic year, she had her first major role in a blockbuster (Lost World: Jurassic Park), her first instant classic with accompanying Oscar nod (Boogie Nights), and fell in love with her eventual second husband, then freshmen director Bart Freundlich (Myth of Fingerprints). And by then people were starting to discover [SAFE], too. The film's reputation is such now that people forget that not many people knew about it back then. It grossed just $500,000 in theaters and mystified many critics.
I've never forgotten this line from a Damian Cannon review back in the day
The acting is amazingly flat and inexpressive, the result of a performance by Moore which is either fantastic or abysmal. "
More after the jump including the Best Shot Choices
David Upton on an unexpectedly early Oscar campaign kickoff - Editor
It’s only July, but this stuff starts earlier every year: barrels are loaded and sights are set on Oscar season. No one has started earlier than the team behind The Revenant. The recent buzzy Grantland piece on the film harks back to a kind of promotion that is somewhat out-of-fashion: long form, detailed reporting that really digs into what the movie might be. By sheer existence, the piece becomes part of the hype machine, now rolling towards the end of the year when The Revenant sees a release on 25th December.
This is prestige movie promotion at its most precise; why else, you might wonder, would anyone want to see a film that sounds so utterly depressing on Christmas Day?
The gangs all back together to discuss two riotous female comedies: Amy Schumer's mainstream Trainwreck, already a hit and packed with famous faces, and the LGBT festival favorite Tangerine, which features no famous names or faces but abundant ragged laughs. See them both and listen in!
We all like it but how much: It's a very good comedy but maybe not a very good movie? The division of duties between Judd Apatow and Amy Schumer and the trouble the movie has navigating its outre sexuality with its traditional romcom trajectory. Also discussed: the great supporting cast including Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson, and James LeBron.
We discuss Tangerine's aggressive charms, iPhone lensing, one-day structure, and charismatic actors. But mileage may vary on how people perceive its portrayal of trans women of color as prostitutes again. We were all won over by the movie's specificity of place and character but will people ever stop mistaking it for the Estonian Oscar nominee Tangerines?
You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Please continue the conversation in the comments...
I ain't afraid to die anymore. I done it already."
We don't yes no maybe so teasers but if we did this would be a YES with the small NO of "can already tell we won't be able to tell all these bearded sweaty fur clad men apart during action sequences and mayb even some closeups"
As our Oscar charts have suggested all year we expect this one to go over well but this very gripping teaser makes you wonder: Could Inarittu win Best Director back-to-back? It has only happened twice before and that was several decades back (John Ford won for Grapes of Wrath and How Green Was My Valley (1940/1941) and Joseph L Mankiewicz for A Letter To Three Wives and All About Eve (1949/1950). No one has ever won Best Picture back-to-back... though David O. Selznick would have in 1939 (Gone With the Wind) and 1940 (Rebecca) if they had awarded Best Picture to producers back then as they do now. Four men have won Best Cinematography twice consecutively including Emmanuel Lubezki(Gravity & Birdman) and since he's lensing this one in what looks like continuous shots with only natural light, he could conceivably break the record and be the sole most consecutive Oscar winning DP.
For this week's special edition of Hit Me With Your Best Shot -- temporarily redubbed "Hit Me With Your Second-Best Shot" as I've declared that iconic finale off limits -- we're looking at the finest Movie About the Movies ever made. Or one of them at least. The point is it's entirely unmissable and a candidate for any sane All Time Greatest Movie list. The film never gets old or becomes irrelevant even though those are two of its best and most horrifically stared-down topics.
Billy Wilder's masterpiece (or one of them at least), immeasurably aided by inspired performances from William Holden as the screenwriter to Gloria Swanson's screen siren, is not just an acting and writing triumph. It's also a stunner in all the craft categories, particularly its Oscar-winning art direction and its cinematography by John F Seitz, a seven time nominee. His work is magnificent throughout, providing maximum pleasure to "those wonderful people out there in the dark" with his expressive lighting.
So let's get right to those (second) best shots...
A Visual Index of Sunset Blvd (1950)
(Second) Best Shot. According to these 15 movie-loving participants
Click on any image to be taken to the corresponding article
Images presented in rough order as to when they appear in the movie
My New Plaid Pants - this is not technically an entry but people, let this be a lesson to you. If you've already chosen a shot, write a sentence or two about it. The hard part is choosing after all. If you've chosen, do it. We'll link up!
- Movie Motorbreath *video entry*
'Stars are ageless.' This shot disagrees."
-I Want to Believe
There is one entity who has never betrayed her: her 'celluloid self.'"
-The Entertainment Junkie
Everyone, including Norma, can't help but look at Norma...
-Sorta That Guy
This image sums up Sunset Blvd., and even more than that, the entire psychological universe of noir...
-Antagony & Ecstasy
No matter how crazy Norma Desmond may be, I always find her incredibly sympathetic...
We might be entering the movie’s world through Joe Gillis’s point of view, but unlike him, we *are* here to see Norma Desmond.
-Coco Hits NY
It's easy to imagine she does this ever year, even without a handsome writer..."
Already too attached to Norma and her gifts...
-Dancin Dan on Film
If Norma Desmond is a fictionalized version of Gloria Swanson, Max Von Mayerling is a quasi-(auto)biographical portrait of Erich von Stroheim...
We expect cold humiliating truth but what we get is the film's most genuinely warm moment...
- The Film Experience
Norma Desmond would be proud of the leading lady portraying her..."
-54 Disney Reviews
A true star always finds the light...
-Jija Crazy Movie *first time participant*
A one-man army of servants, for her sake, steps back into his role as director once more..."
Please do visit each article, share, and comment. The more eyes the merrier when it comes to worshipping great stars. You haven't forgotten what a star looks like.
NEXT WEDNESDAY: 1995's [safe] starring Julianne Moore