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Entries in Cinematography (197)


Visual Index ~ Bright Star's 'Best Shots'

We're almost to the mid season finale of Hit Me With Your Best Shot. This week's episode looks at Jane Campion's sorely underseen Bright Star (2009). The romantic drama about the poet John Keats and his unconsummated love with the headstrong Fanny Brawne was lost in the 2009 shuffle, but is a true beauty and a worthy entry in Jane Campion's tremendous filmography. It introduced the film world to the then 34 year old DP Greig Frasier, who had previously made shorts and obscure features, before Campion's film provided his breakthrough. He went on to plum assignments like Foxcatcher, Zero Dark Thirty and Snow White and the Huntsman. Frasier has yet to be Oscar-nominated but he's already one of the best DPs in the business.

Even more impressive, given that Bright Star is such a successfully intimate portrait of new love, is that the movie introduced its star Ben Whishaw to its film composer Mark Bradshaw; they were married just three years later. 

Bright Star's Best Shots
11 images chosen by 13 participants
(in the order the articles came in this time)
Click on the pictures for their corresponding articles 

One of the prettiest things I've ever seen.

Bright Star is all about the subtle touches of skin..."
-A Fistful of Films many beautiful images that also happen to be encapsulations of the universal aspects of falling in love"
-Coco Hits NY

What is it that she spies beyond the boundaries of her domesticity, fenced off by windows and hidden behind opaque curtains?"
-Lam Chop Chop 

In a film with mostly subdued feelings, this particular scene is electric with emotions..."
-Sorta That Guy

The years have been kind to the film..."
-Film Actually


This is the first time i’ve done a HMWYBS where I was absolutely disinterested with a film..."
- I Want to Believe


Fanny, trapped and bleached of color, but already pushing against her confines with a creative act."
-Anne Marie, The Film Experience 

a film about four things: romance, Romanticism, being outside, and costuming..."
-Antagony & Ecstasy 

What is young love if not...
-Evan Stewart

I truly and deeply hope that more people will seek this film out."
-Movie Nut

 Unrequited love...
-Hey Norge

Campion has rightfully earned a reputation as a fiercely feminist filmmaker..."
-The Entertainment Junkie 





April Foolish Predictions: Direction, Costumes, Cinematography, Sets! 

The April Foolish Predictions probably won't be quite finished by April's end, damnit! So we'll have to save four categories (Actresses and Screenplays) for May 1st. Blame Nathaniel's BFF who has demanded a Marvel marathon which starts very soon and which will then usurp a good chunk of the next 24 hours of Nathaniel's life. Since the bestie rarely wants to play movie games, Nathaniel obliges. Nathaniel also talks about himself in the third person for which he apologizes. 

But while we're talking Oscar predictions -- even deferred Oscar predictions - let's talk Visual Categories and Best Director. Since more charts are now up!

This question will horrify the Birdman haters (they are depressingly legion) but could Alejandro González Iñárritu manage back-to-back Oscars for direction? It's only happened twice before, both times in the 1940s (John Ford in 1940/1941 and Joseph L Mankiewicz in 1949/1950), but since The Revenant will be such an about face from Birdman the fire could still be burning for honoring the Mexican auteur's work. Especially since Oscar has never ignored one of his films. Between the five titles there are 21 nominations and 5 wins so if the new picture becomes a perfect average it's looking at 4 nominations and an Oscar somewhere. Other previous winners that might be in play are Spielberg, Hooper, Howard, Zemeckis, Beatty or Boyle. And will David O. Russell or Quentin Tarantino ever actually win Best Director?

Newbies? On a whim I'm going to predict Denis Villeneuve who I've enjoyed for a long time and who seems very proud of Sicario (his FBI vs Cartel drama led by Emily Blunt) and whose career seems about to explode post Prisoners. If civil rights period drama Suffragette (Sarah Gavron) or The 33 (Patricia Riggen) are good enough might we finally have another female director nominated? 

There are a three potential double dippers this year from Oscar darlings Sandy Powell (Cinderella & Carol) and Jacqueline Durran (Pan & MacBeth) to Jane Petrie (you're saying "who?" but you'll know her by the end of the year since she went from relative unknown to suddenly prolific with four period pieces Suffragette, Jane Got a Gun, '71, and Genius which will all be released in 2015 in the States if Genius gets finished and gets distribution in time.

Elsewhere we have to wonder if the very talented long time costume designer Daniel Orlandi (Trumbo) is ever going to score his first nomination. And can I just say how amusing I find it that the great Jenny Beavan who has only ever been nominated for what some might derisively call 'masterpiece theater' style dramas costumed Mad Max: Fury Road this year? That's too fun! 

Cinematography could be a murderer's row of great again since Deakins, Lubezki, Kaminski, Deschanel and more all have projects this year. As for the rest and the general overview - i made small adjusments to picture and supporting actor as well due to rethink of craft categories and the hunch that Sicario might really be something with Blunt and Villeneuve both still rising -- check out the all chart index 

As always, your comments are not just welcome but implored. Let's try the wisdom of crowds. What are you sensing at this extremely early date? 


Goodbye, Master of the Light, Andrew Lesnie

Glenn here with some sad news that broke late as America was tucking itself away in bed. Academy Award-winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie has died of a heart attack at the age of 59. Most will know Lesnie as the man who photographed all of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, but he will also be well-remembered by the local Australian industry for a 35-year-long career that covered the broad spectrum of scope and genre.

Lesnie got his start in the Australian film industry just after the new wave of the 1970s. Unlike fellow countrymen and Oscar-winners John Seale, Dean Semler and Russell Boyd, Lesnie more or less remained in Australia and New Zealand. He only ventured over to work in America once his work on Middle Earth gained him a level of industry respect that would bring him to I Am Legend and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

His early career was made up of low-budget indie works and 'ozploitation' films like Fair Game. He lensed Kylie Minogue’s big screen debut in the delicately shot The Delinquents, and eventually found international acclaim working on Babe. He won an “Australian Oscar” for his superb sun-drenched work on Doing Time for Patsy Cline and would bring the visual extravaganza of Babe: Pig in the City to life before shuffling over to New Zealand to work on no less than eight Peter Jackson movies. Despite his newfound global success, he kept working locally on the indigenous pop-musical Bran Nue Dae, anthology film The Turning with Cate Blanchett, and last year’s ex-con drama Healing.

Devastating news from home. The master of the light, genius Andrew Lesnie has passed on.
Russell Crowe

Andrew Lesnie was a treat to work with. I am blown away by all he achieved. He'll be missed greatly. RIP.
Jamie Bell 

Lesnie died on Monday (Australian time). His final work was for Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, The Water Diviner, which was a giant success at the start of the year in Australia and has just opened in America. Perhaps it was his stubbornness to remain at home in his corner of the world that saw him never receive another nomination after winning in 2002 for The Fellowship of the Ring, but he won more than enough awards for the trilogy to make up for it. At only 59 he's far too young, but he leaves behind an admirable dedication to his home country's industry and an enviable roster of work.


A.I. "2046"

Who’s ever fallen in love with an android?”

So wonders the train captain, jovially dismissive of his staff of beautiful female robots aboard a train leaving the futuristic district of 2046. The answer, as we know from the annals of cinematic and literary history, is many a man, and Tak (Takuya Kimura) is merely the latest.

Dave continues our artificial intelligence celebration after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Nine to Five: "Best Shot" Visual Index

For this week's episode of Hit Me With Your Best Shot: the classic comedy Nine to Five (1980). We chose it to coincide with the forthcoming premiere of Grace & Frankie which will reunite Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin at last. Pity that Dolly Parton doesn't figure in! 

Nine To Five was a smash hit when it premiered in December 1980, finishing that year as the top grossing movie without light sabers. Awards bodies weren't as kind as the public. Though the title song won two Grammys for Dolly Parton, she didn't win her Oscar category (the film's only nomination) and even more bizarrely, the movie wasn't nominated for Best Comedy at the Golden Globes. The film has endured quite well in pop culture so it doesn't need resuscitation but we thought it would be interesting to think about the way it's shot. Comedies are rarely considered in that regard. The film was directed by Colin Higgins who only made three films (all of them comedy hits) due to an early death at only 47. It was shot by cinematographer Reynaldo Villabolos who is, more happily, still with us and still working in film and television.

Best Shots from Nine To Five (1980)
10 shots from 12 participating blogs

Click to read more ...


Have you heard the one about the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot?

I have a terrible terrible just awful confession to make, dear readers. I hope you'll find forgiveness in your hearts as it will surely sound like blasphemy. My favorite performance in the classic lady comedy Nine to Five (1980) belongs to Dabney Coleman. Yes, the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot himself. "The Man," in Nine to Five in both the symbolic and the literal sense. But he's superbly funny in this beloved comedy, completely committed to his grossly entitled and just awful boss person whose demise his underlings fantasize about. Can you blame them?

Coleman is even better when his characterization morphs into Looney Tunes caricature in the fantasy sequences, when he gets personality transplants, sweating and terrified, humbled and guilty, or shy and objectified. If haven't thrown your internet device aside in total disgust at my betrayal, you should click to continue so that we may pick a Best Shot...

Click to read more ...


Best Shot: "Taxi Driver" Visual Index

For this week's edition of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" our series in which we invite everyone to watch the same movie and pick their best image -- "best" being in the eye of the beholder -- we flag down Martin Scorsese and he drives us right into the squalor of 70s era New York and further still into the head space of one Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro). Though Scorsese had already broken through as an important auteur, this controversial classic was the first of his eventual eight "Best Picture" nominees. It was only the third Director of Photography job ever for Michael Chapman and though Chapman didn't become Scorsese regular cinematographer, he did reunite with the director for another classic (Raging Bull)

Best Shots from Taxi Driver (1976)
14 shots chosen by 15 participating blogs
Click on the image for the corresponding article 

New York as the very embodiment of hell on earth...
- The Spy in the Sandwich

The protagonist as silent predator...
-Antagony & Ecstasy 

The movie is basically made up of perfect frames, over 150,000 of them...
-Nebel Without a Cause 

It’s voyeurism, and he’s the audience...
-Coco Hits NY

Is Taxi Driver suggesting that evil is contagious... as it transfers it directly from the auteur to his muse?
- The Film Experience 

Simple gestures can function as shorthand for multiple meanings...
-Manuel Muñoz 

As if his fate is already predetermined...
-A Fistful of Films

One of the things that I've always admired about this film is the omnipresence of the political campaign in the background..."
-The Entertainment Junkie 

'You do a thing... that's who you are..."
-Sorta That Guy 

 I saw it within him because I recognized it within myself..."
-The Film's The Thing 

Never more unsettling than when he stands in a crowd clapping and smiling...

Robert De Niro, I will always love you."
-Paul Outlaw

Above all, it's a fascinating character study of its titular vigilante
-Film Actually 

 'like an angel' by Travis Bickle's own account."
-Queerer Things 


The looking and the longing..."
-Dusty Hixenbaugh 


THE END. And can we talk about the end? I have... feelings.

Next Week on Best Shot:
The classic comedy Nine to Five (1980). Have you ever considered how it looks? We're watching it because we're too excited for Lily Tomlin & Jane Fonda's new series Grace & Frankie to hit Netflix next month.

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