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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in Cinematography (197)


Best Shot Visual Index: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)

I was so certain that I owned Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon that I didn't bother to rent it at all for this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot episode. Come Tuesday night I discover that my dvd had vanished into the clouds after apparently leaping from its perch near the top of the dvd shelf. Worse still it's not available for rental on iTunes or Amazon but only for purchase and if I'm going to purchase something I still want the physical object. Old school! Which means that I will be late yet again with my own entry as the host which is all but inexcusable but par for the course this week (experiencing meltdowns backstage - this too shall pass?). But an unexpected development, just this week the sequel -- the reason we were doing this, was moved back to 2016 from its expected August bow.

But please do visit these articles elsewhere on Ang Lee's much Oscar nominated, much earning, much ripped off classic. I know I will. The film won 4 Oscars including cinematography for Peter Pau and probably just missed the Best Director win too since Ang Lee took the Globe, DGA and BAFTA that year. Imagine if he'd taken the Oscar that year. He'd have 3 wins by now.

(click on the pics for corresponding articles)

 Almost like Cupid’s arrow...?
-I Am Derreck 

When you look at this image, you could easily mistake the film for a traditional Western... 
-Film Actually  

That Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon focuses on the traditionally Chinese conflict between reason (li) and emotion (qing) is unsurprising, the way the movie expresses the conflict through images, however, is anything but. 
- Coco Hits NY

 If I made a list of ‘top 10 overrated movies’ this would definitely make that list...
-54 Disney Reviews

a portrayal of love as the light in the darkness...
-Antagony & Ecstacy 

Lee's romanticism is also utilized simply to make interesting, unexpected choices... 
-The Entertainment Junkie

Honestly, it’s not a surprise that this is the same director as Brokeback Mountain when you come to think of it, since it’s clear that the man knows how to make emotional self-imprisonment believable and dangerous...
-Movie Motorbreath 

It's all about Zhang Ziyi. For someone so small, she has immense screen presence...
-Sorta That Boy 

Where is Michelle Yeoh's international superstardom?
-Paul Outlaw

And finally...

Nathaniel's Placeholder Best Shot
For the record, in closing, this is the single image that my mind races to first when I am reminded of the film. I'm not saying it will be my "best" upon a close rewatch inspection, but I remember the whole scene vividly and fondly and the entire movie felt this way to me the first time I saw it; a magical film transcending the standard laws, balancing delicately and easily in the treetops while breathing rarified instant-classic air.

I'll update this list when more articles come in including my own - you should still join us since the sequel is delayed and we can continue to add articles. Perhaps I'll choose a shot from each half hour as penance? It's been so long since I've seen it and I'm eager to have it memorized again before the possibly ill advised sequel arrives which is no longer next month but early 2016.

Sunset Blvd (1950). But you can't choose the infamous "close-up" for Mr DeMille at film's end so if that's your shot your choice must be "second best shot". I am starting on this one FRIDAY so that there is no way in hell I'll be late for my own event next Wednesday. If you've always wanted to try "best shot," here's you classic opportunity with a film from Old Hollywood about Even Older Hollywood that nonetheless never gets old. 


Welcome to the Academy - The Lucky 322

As is their annual tradition now AMPAS has released the list of the names they've offered memberships too. If you're new to the tradition, you'll note in the following list that most of the time a first nomination will results in an invite (but not always) and that generally a few people who weren't nominated but got a lot of buzz the previous season will be invited (hi, David Oyelowo & Gugu Mbatha Raw). Lately the lists have gotten longer and much more surprising too as the Academy attempts to broaden its demographic after years of being dinged for skewing too  'old white and male'

The complete list of 322 potential inductees is below. There's a welcome to the Academy reception in September for those that accept and then the process starts again. The Academy works on a referral basis of sorts so current members can nominated new prospective members and that process (a longer list of names than this - never publicized that I'm aware of) concludes in March each year. Unless they're all "You can't sit with us!" then they end up on this list which comes out in the summer.

So let's look at who was invited.

Multiple Branches
Damien Chazelle (Writer/Director) Whiplash
Malcolm D. Lee (Writer/Director) The Best Man Holiday
Paweł Pawlikowski (Writer/Director) Ida
Abderrahmane Sissako (Writer/Director) Timbuktu
Damian Szifron (Writer/Director) Wild Tales
Andrey Zvyagintsev (Writer/Director) Leviathan
Mathilde Bonnefoy (Documentary/Editing) Citizen Four

Damian Szifron, WILD TALES writer/director

These eight people must decide which of the two branches that invited them they will join. While members can be on more than one branch -- I imagine Warren Beatty, for example, is on a few since he's been nominated in four different categories -- they can't join two in one year. You'll notice that four of the Foreign Language Film nominees are accounted for though weirdly not the director of the Estonian film Tangerines

Actors and Actresses are in the same branch but I've separated them just for fun as befits the Oscar categories and also to point out that they invited way more men than women, more than twice as many! Hey, I thought they were working on the diversity thing! They also invited both men who got crying closeups at the ceremony earlier this year.

315 more people after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "The Red Shoes"

Before we begin, the beginning...

Is this not one of the cinema's most exquisite title cards? It's presentational, theatric, classic, colorful, and bears the distinct mark of handmade craftsmanship. That's all perfectly emblematic of the film itself, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's highly theatrical, deeply colorful look at obsessive artistry, possibly the greatest film of 1948, our Year of the Month (the Smackdown is Sunday)

Before we get to my choice, I'd like to share the others from around the web, since I was running late to my own series like some selfish prima ballerina whose 45 minutes late to rehearsal.

Cinematography by Jack Cardiff
As chosen by these participating blogs. Click on the photos for corresponding articles.

 Waves crashing on the shore of the stage. It's such a perfectly impressionistic moment...
-Dancin' Dan on Film

The film approaches this theme of obsession in some rather surprising ways...
-The Entertainment Junkie


Love and obsession are two sides of the same coin...
-Film Actually


If you haven't seen The Red Shoes, rest assured that it's the biggest gap in your film education, and you should make it a short-term priority...
-Antagony & Ecstasy


If you think about it, The Red Shoes,is just an incredibly artsy examination of the “Can women truly have it all?” question...
-Pop Culture Crazy


(Vicky. Her Relationship. Dancing). This love triangle of sorts dominates the latter half of the film... 
-Sorta That Guy

He holds them up to the camera...daring us to take them.
-Coco Hits NY 

Showcasing the cinematic artifice and especially the psychology. It's super overt, but why not?
-Movie Motorbreath


In a way watching her dance reminded me of the movie Ed Wood (I know strange comparison but hear me out).  He is so happy making his terrible movies.  The smile on his face never leaves."
-54 Reviews 

They're all great beauties and I considered some of them. My pick after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Yes No Maybe So: Sicario

Manuel here to talk about Sicario, the latest Denis Villeneuve film starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin. It already earned strong reviews at Cannes but last week’s trailer was our first extended look at this drug cartel film where Blunt plays an FBI agent enlisted to help in the war against drugs in the US/Mexican border.

I wanted to make a full YES/NO/MAYBE SO for this trailer but realized as soon as we got to this shot...

Click to read more ...


HMYBS: Magic Mike (Part Two)

Did you know that Magic Mike (2012) won TFE's Bronze Medal for Best Picture of 2012?Hit Me With Your Best Shot is looking at Magic Mike (2012) before strapping on possessed ballet slippers for The Red Shoes this coming Wednesday.

Due to some scheduling snafus / switcheroos this week we ended up divvying up our look back at Steven Soderberg and Channing Tatum's still undervalued but much enthused over Magic Mike (2012). So you got it in three parts, the first visual roundup (8 early bird participants), this roundup and my own choice, this weekend when I finally get myself together. It's been a looooooong week for me off blog.

The first batch of shot choices included a few takes on the Dallas/Kid training scene, and two surreal shots involving Dallas and Ken. This time it's the act of watching (Cody), the love of being watched (McConaughey), and the commodification of bodies / people.

Magic Mike (2012)
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh; Cinematography by: Steven Soderbergh as "Peter Andrews"

(Pt 1) 7 Images
...and now (Pt 2) 9 Images a couple NSFW so it's all after the jump...
click on the images to read the corresponding article -- really good articles this week, I think. 

Click to read more ...


HMYBS: Magic Mike (Part One)

Channing Tatum, Joe Mangianello and Matt Bomer have been hitting the campaign trail hard (no pun intended) to build excitement for Magic Mike XXL (2015) and for our little corner of the world, we'll "help" by revisiting the original with the less hilarious title of Magic Mike (2012). I love the title Magic Mike XXL but it's a relief that XXL is not a true Roman Numeral because think of all the sequels we would have missed between 2012 and 2015 if it were?

Among the campaign efforts from the beefcake cast thus far, are online vines, marching in LA's pride parade, and Channing Tatum's highly enjoyable Reddit AMA today, which included these two moments which just delighted me (as well as a stealth dig on Jupiter Ascending).

But I digress. Due to our very complicated schedule this week (I've been busy corralling future guests as well as talking with Ann Dowd who has the whole day tomorrow to talk to you about the love of acting and The Leftovers) this is only Part One of the Magic Mike celebration and if you want to play along we'll do another roundup on Friday. But for now please to enjoy these articles from the early bird Best Shot Participants.

Magic Mike (2012)
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh; Cinematography by: Steven Soderbergh as "Peter Andrews"; Written by: Reid Carolin; Starring: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Munn, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, and Joe Mangianello

Click on any of the 7 photos to read the corresponding blogpost

Pre-2012, Tatum was one of my least favorite actors. But in Magic Mike he finally had a vehicle that showed off his natural easy charisma...
-Sorta That Guy

Not only is it incredibly amusing, it reflects on the movie’s views on using bodies, sexuality, and images as commodities...
-Coco Hits NY

It was here that the McConaissance peaked...
- The Entertainment Junkie 

True Story:  In the summer of 2012, I saw Magic Mike with my sister in a movie theater in Anderson, South Carolina... 
- Drink Your Juice, Shelby


There's something very Lynch-ian about this particular frame... the haunting, mysterious lightning and the positioning of Ken in a doll package...
-Hofverberg *first submission* 

While the film is very much focused on its male characters, I found myself appreciating Cody Horn's seemingly maligned performance much more on a re-watch... 
-Film Actually 


Are they checking each others' moves or lost in a reverie of their own reflections?
-Me Says 



Yes/No/Maybe So: The Martian

Manuel here to talk space trailers. It’s been a week since the trailer for Ridley Scott’s latest project about Matt Damon getting stranded in Mars dropped, and we have been mum about it here at TFE. Is it because we have no Fassy to look forward to this time around? Or because we prefer our Scott vehicles better when they involve a certain Ms Weaver? The Martian centers on Watney (Damon), an astronau that finds himself stranded in the red planet when a NASA mission is forced to quickly retreat. Alone, unable to contact Earth and armed only with a month's worth of food, he sets out to survive in a planet where, as he says in the trailer, nothing grows. Will his science-know how keep him alive long enough for him to call for help and wait for his team to rescue him from Mars? We'll have to wait until November to find out! 

In the meantime, let's break down the trailer in true TFE-fashion:


Click to read more ...