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Entries in Cinematography (321)

Saturday
Jan052019

National Society of Film Critics Chooses "The Rider"

by Nathaniel R

The televised awards shows are about to take over but before they do, the NSFC has had their say. They're always the last major critics group to chime in, and unlike the other two members of the critical trinity (LAFCA & NYFCC) they have not chosen Roma. Instead that honor went to Chloe Zhao's rodeo injuries drama The Rider. I recently caught up with this arthouse sleeper hit and though I found it gorgeous and moving, it struck me as a bit modest in its artistic goals, or at least a touch repetitive about achieving them. So to each their own as far as "very best" goes but it's the kind of film that deserves to find ardent fans so it's wonderful that critics have gone to bat for it here and there. It's had such a long run; the film was actually an Indie Spirit nominee in 2017 due to its festival premieres so it's been kicking around with awards for an entire year now!

The full list of NSFC winners and a few more comments after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov192018

Willem Dafoe is Monumental in "At Eternity's Gate"

by Eric Blume

Willem Dafoe plays Vincent van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate, director Julian Schnabel’s film about the last year in the life of the great Dutch painter.  And Dafoe’s delivers a magnificent performance here: his face is the canvas of the film, in all its agony and ecstasy.

Schnabel, a painter himself who made the stunning films Before Night Falls and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, gives us a deeply detailed movie of a painter by a painter.  The mechanics of landscape and portrait painting, the walks to the viewpoints, the tools, and the intimacy with the subject all become the fabric of this movie.  Schnabel’s attention to these subtleties establish his credibility and give the movie real texture...

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Tuesday
Oct162018

Everyone needs to calm down about "A Star is Born" winning all the Oscars

You guys. Everywhere I look there are articles or tweets positing that A Star is Born is going to sweep the Oscars, or win 3/4th of the acting categories or whatnot.  This is unlikely. It's only because it's the biggest contender currently playing that people are losing their minds. Well, that and because the movie is a terrific piece of big studio entertainment aimed at adults that's also a hit at the box office. You know, the exact kind of movie that people pretend doesn't exist (it does almost annually) and also pretend that Oscar doesn't like (they do almost annually) whenever they write those dumb articles proclaiming "the Oscars are irrelevant!" 

A Star is Born is just about at $100 million domestic at this writing but people are acting as if its earned one billion; I definitely wasn't expecting to hear it compared to Titanic today. So, let's all relax for a bit and talk about what is probable/possible since we've just barely finished UPDATING ALL THE OSCAR CHARTS

BEST PICTURE
I think it's too soon to call A Star is Born the frontrunner. It's just the first big Best Picture possibility to open since February (!) so that's a lot of time since Black Panther to bottle up armchair punditry feeling... bring on awards season! I dont currently believe Star will win (the remake stigma will catch up to it eventually) but let's say for the sake of argument that it does. That's one Oscar. Let's look at the other categories...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep272018

Two Visual Triumphs Seeking Distribution: "The River" and "Shadow"

Since we're already deep into NYFF - thanks to Murtada and Jason for this excellent reviews (I'll join them shortly) --  I must accept that all the full reviews I had planned for things without release dates I saw at TIFF just aren't going to happen. But several films we caught are hitting theaters soon so they will get reviews: A Star is Born (10/5), Beautiful Boy (10/12), Border (10/26), and Boy Erased (11/2). In the meantime here are the final two TIFF films I must pinpoint because they don't have distribution yet but they totally deserve it.

Shadow
I'm calling this one 'camp without color,' because we always think of "camp" as something innately colorful, don't we? Director Zhang Yimou (House of the Flying Daggers) gifts for visual spectacle remain undimmed and this time he organizes his mise en scene around the duality of the yin yang symbols as well as inkwash paintings...

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Tuesday
Sep182018

TIFF: Alfonso Cuarón's "Roma" Triumph

by Nathaniel R

Alfonso Cuarón's jaw-dropping Roma is inspired by his childhood in Mexico but it's no traditional memoir. Rather than focusing on his own life, he spins a slow-burn fictional memoir, imagining the emotional space occupied by the live-in maid/nanny who helped raise him...

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Tuesday
Sep042018

Showbiz History: The Hurt Locker, Xena, and a Truly Great Cinematographer

7 random things that happened on this day, September 4th, in showbiz history...

1936 Swing Time is released in movie theaters starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

1945 Happy 73rd birthday to the beyond-talented cinematographer Philippe Rousselot who won the Oscar for Sun-Drenched Ode to Brad Pitt's Golden Beauty (or as they called it in 1992 "A River Runs Through It")... but that's not the half of it. Rousselot is particularly gifted with erotic period dramas: Henry & June, Dangerous Liaisons, and Queen Margot are all utterly sensational to gaze upon...

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