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Entries in Cinematography (114)

Monday
Dec302013

Stop Trying To Make Link Happen

Clothes on Film gets writers to name their favorite costumes of the year from Stoker through The Grandmaster and on to Spring Breakers
IndieWire thinks Oscar's Cinematography category should be split into two now (computer environments/traditional) as it once was (black and white / color). Co-sign. But then you knew that since I wrote about the problem with this category earlier this year in preparation for Gravity's Oscar win, which will be the 4th heavily computerized film in 5 years to win both vfx and cinematography statues
Buzzfeed Mean Girls and 34 other movies that are turning 10 in 2014. Yes, The Film Experience will be revisiting some of these. Any preferences?

Vulture homage vs theft as it relates to American Hustle from Scorsese... and, well, Scorsese from Scorsese. I think comparisons between Russell and Scorsese's movies are largely missing the point -- an accident of release date and sudden divisive critical fervor -- but this is a good read
IndieWire gets really effusive about Inside Llewyn Davis' Oscar Isaac calling him the next Paul Newman 
Pajiba the 10 best performances from inanimate objects in 2013 from Christian Bale's hairpiece in American Hustle through Man of Steel's tragic victims
Deadline on the use of silence in Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and All is Lost. Brad from Rope of Silicon and I got into this argument with the Hitfix boys yesterday about Gravity. 'What silence? That score is terrified of letting you deal with silence!'

Today's Wolf of Wall Street arguments
Another 24 hours, another cycle of aggressive shaming of those who don't love it.
In Contention interviews The Wolf of Wall Street's Leonardo DiCaprio who does my least favorite thing that actors can do: diss critics who don't like their movie for not getting it. Usually it's better for filmmakers to shut up when they're unhappy with critics. Remember how embarrassing it was when James Cameron got all touchy about negative Titanic reviews?  Joe Reid at The Wire responds with a terrific piece about the disingenuous posturing going on from critics who like to have their cake and eat it, too. 

I haven't been online much today but I'm assuming the response to Leo's statement is drawing big cheers from critics in the Wolf of Wall Street camp.  Careful, people. Just remember how much fun you made of Armie Hammer when he blamed you for The Lone Ranger's failure. 

 

Finally...
Some of you may have seen this a couple of weeks ago but Michael Cusumano, who writes here on occasion, knew he would have to see The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug with family over the holidays so he caved on his decision not to watch the new Middle Earth trilogy. He liveblogged The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) to catch up (part one and part two) and it is awesome. I made the same initial vow and I've stuck to it but I did happen to recently very casually nibble on parts of last year's 3 hour fantasy slop on HBO the other night so that made this timeline even funnier... I agreed with every word regarding the scenes I tasted (but did not swallow).

Tuesday
Dec172013

Team FYC: Her for Best Cinematography

Team FYC lets Film Experience contributors highlight their favourite fringe contenders for awards season. Here's Amir Soltani on Spike Jonze's Her.

In recent years, the Academy's cinematography award has been handed out in tandem with the best visual effects one. It has become an inevitability: if there is a best picture nominee that can be described as a "visual spectacle" is present, it will win both awards. This year will be no exception with Gravity, and if I were to put money on it, I'd a hazard a guess that Christopher Nolan's Interstellar will be the beneficiary of AMPAS's infatuation with big, effects driven cinema in this category next year. But Dutch cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shouldn't need to wait another year for his first Oscar nomination.

With Spike Jonze's Her, van Hoytema adds yet another impressive entry to a decade-long resume that already boasts an astonishing range of styles. The soft, colorless hues of Let the Right One In and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy are more easily recognizable as the works of the same DP, but the scrappy, hand-held look of The Fighter is almost a 180 degree turn. Her has shades of van Hoytema's collaborations with Tomas Alfredsson, but is infinitely more vibrant. Perhaps more than any other film this year, the cinematography here needs to be recognized as a collective achievement with the works of the production and costume design teams as it brings their colors and sleek, intimate designs to life, but contains them under extremely soft lighting. It is richly realized but also suitably representative of the cyberspace; think of it as beautifulhandwrittenletters.com incarnate.

In a way, Her's aesthetic is one of contrasts. It is bursting with reds and pinks but it feels melancholy. It is sensitive but equally icy. It seems perfectly appropriate for a film about "artificial" intelligence, creating a landscape that looks ethereally digital, but also oddly palpable. It's apt, because Her is as much about our future as it is about our modern condition and van Hoytema’s work captures that contrast beautifully. Will Academy voters recognize his genius? Does the strong critical response to the film tell us anything about its Oscar hopes? It is certainly possible. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time a Spike Jonze finds favor with critics and no luck with AMPAS. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Sunday
Dec082013

LinkLove

Randomness
Salon Rashida Jones clarifies her earlier statements about pop stars #actinglikewhores 
Washington Post Shirley Maclaine gets the Kennedy Center Honors. What a career
Variety The Square takes the top prize at the International Documentary Awards. The doc Oscar race is really really competitive this year!
In Contention European Film Awards. We shared the winners earlier but Guy has extensive coverage
Daily News Madonna's daughter Lola plays Rizzo in Grease at NY's performing arts high school (aka the Fame school) 
Salon has a really interesting piece on the Coen Bros obsession with failure via Inside Llewyn Davis though I would suggest not reading it before you've seen the movie since it reveals virtually every pivotal plot point and punchline. Save it for later

CoSign!
Jonathan Rosenbaum on "the season of critical inflation" Yes, to this. Just yes.
John Forde on the loud reactions to diver Tom Daley's coming out
i09 Wicked imagined as an animated musical (no, not Frozen

Tis the Season of List-Making
Slant Kurt looks at 20 great shots from the film year from Spring Breakers through undersung indies like Mother of George and new treats like Her
Guardian looks at the best screen "robbers" because I guess The Great Train Robbery is coming to TV or something? (I'm not clear) from Mr Pink (interesting choice) through Bodhi (duh)
NY Post Lou Lumenick and Kyle Smith battle it out over their top ten lists - they share only Mud and Gravity
Time Magazine Richard Corliss loves The Hobbit (again? ugh) but my favorite bit is this line on Spike Jonze Her...

In a future Los Angeles so near-Utopian that no scene takes place in a car...

hee!

Sunday
Dec012013

Podcast: Spirited Spirit Discussion

In this week's episode,  Nick channels that THR Hollywood Actress Roundtable (previously live-blogged) and Nathaniel, Katey, and Joe join in but eventually it comes around to this week's topic: Spirit Award nominations.

We haven't seen all the films but the best thing about the Spirit Awards is advocacy for smaller titles you might not be familiar with. Are they shirking that privilege and responsibility with the focus on so many future Oscar nominees in the last few years? The discussion includes but is not limited to: Inside Llewyn Davis, Afternoon Delight, Mud, Upstream Color, Frances Ha, Fruitvale Station, All is Lost, Computer Chess, Short Term 12, Blue Caprice, and Spring Breakers.

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download it on iTunes. Join in the conversation in the comments.

Spirit Awards Nomination Chat

Thursday
Nov282013

Beauty Break / Best Shot: "Making a Scene" with Oscar Contenders

One of my favorite Oscar traditions is the New York Times short films celebrating Oscar contenders, locked contenders and longshots alike. And by short films I mean very very short. Like one minute. You might remember that previous year's editions have given Casting Directors a ton of brilliant ideas which, for the most part, they've been slow to pick up on like Viola Davis as a frightening villain. Remember that?

This year's shorts, eleven in total, are all directed by two-time Oscar winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski who is most famous for shooting Steven Spielberg's filmography (and less famous for once being married to Holly Hunter but that's cool, too.) The shorts are sublime in concept -- they mismatch contender actors with one or two lines from screenwriting contenders (update: not from the writer's actual contending films, which I initially thought since the Bradley Cooper bit sounds like a near lift from the All is Lost's opening monologue) -- though not always in execution since this multiplied tradition can't help but be a bit uneven each year. 

Cate Blanchett with a line from the writer of "Computer Chess"

For fun, and as a shout back to the Hit Me With Your Best Shot series that's currently on hiatus, I've selected my favorite single image from each of the shorts [10 more after the jump]. But by all means go and watch the shorts. It'll only take you 15 minutes and there will be many delicious thanksgiving feasts for your eyeballs beyond the ones posted here.

Click to read more ...

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