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Entries in editing (41)

Monday
Mar162015

Run All Night and the Liam Neeson Ass-Kicking Hierarchy

Michael C. here.  It has been over six years since Liam Neeson reinvented as filmdom’s reigning action hero by making “I will find you, and I will kill you” sound less like a threat and more like a statement of simple fact. Since then, a sort of unofficial franchise has formed around the concept of Neeson as a grim dispenser of violence. This series, not including would-be franchises launches like Battleship and The A-Team, breaks down into three distinct groups. They are:

  • Pure, unadulterated schlock. Only the faintest trace of plot or character. Just Neeson methodically throat-punching his way through an unending supply of sleazy Euro-Villains bent on doing unspeakable things to his loved ones: Taken 1, 2, 3
  • Still schlock, but with bonus bells and whistles. Supporting characters, a high concept premise, and a plot of rapidly escalating absurdity. Slightly less throat punching than the Taken films, but still a lot of throat punching: Unknown, Non-Stop
  • Actual films of substance smuggled into theaters. Under the guise of another Neeson schlock-fest, naturally. Little to no throat punching. Occasional implied wolf punching: The Grey, A Walk Among the Tombstones

For a while it looks like the latest entry in this series, Jaume Collet-Serra’s currently underperforming Run All Night, is poised to join Grey and Tombstones in that elite third group...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb172015

Podcast Pt 1: Joe, Nick and Nathaniel's Oscar Predictions

Nick, Nathaniel and Joe get together -- no Katey this week, sorry kids -- to make our final predictions and let our conversations wander (as we do). Joe reveals a very messy ballot, Nick brings up The Judge goddamn it (!), and Nathaniel watches Matthew McConaughey commercials.

Pt 1 Oscar Prediction Finale
41 minutes
00:01 Scores. Do they realizes that Alexandre Desplat hasn't won?
05:14 Song. A disagreement about "Lost Stars" and which version will Adam Levine perform?
11:53 Sound Mixing & Sound Editing. Drums (Whiplash / Birdman) vs. Bullets (American Sniper / Unbroken) and some "what is this doing here?" theories
18:00 Documentary. Is Citizen Four locked up or could we see a surprise?
20:00 Animated Feature. More disagreements!
23:35 Visual Effects. How to we even predict this category? Film love? Technological Breakthroughs? The one that stands out?
28:00 Makeup & Old Age makeup done right for a change
30:33 Foreign Film: Ida trumps
36:00 Film Editing: we discuss Structure / Rhthyms / Agendas 

Supplemental Material for this Podcast:
Tomm Moore interview on Song of the Sea
An interview with Hans Zimmer
Oscar Charts & Final Predictions
Nathaniel's Tilda-Specific Makeup & Hair Ballot

Please to enjoy and continue the golden conversation in the comments. You can listen at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes starting tomorrow.  

Oscar Prediction Finale Pt. 1

Friday
Feb132015

Best Film Editing: Drums, Guns, or Twelve Years of "Boyhood"?

They call Editing the "invisible art" but when it comes to Oscar Watching each year, the prize is highly visible. Most pundits, armchair and professional, think of it as a bellwether. Everyone knows this one key stat: No movie has won Best Picture without an Editing nomination since Ordinary People (1980). But that stat is actually kind of misleading because it IS possible to win without an editing nomination and it's not even super rare. Birdman, should it triumph, would be the eighth film to do so... it used to happen about once a decade. Birdman's failure to get nominated in the category isn't particularly telling, if you ask me. Inarritu's technical gamble has very little visible editing given that the picture is a series of continuous shots stitched together in clever ways to appear to all be one thing.

The Nominees:

American Sniper - Joel Cox & Gary Roach
Boyhood - Sandra Adair
Grand Budapest Hotel - Barney Pilling
The Imitation Game - William Goldenberg
Whiplash - Tom Cross 

Should Boyhood lose the editing Oscar many people will be all "it's over, Birdman is winning!" but this isn't necessarily the case. In fact, Best Pictures only win this award about 50% of the time. Which is why this category feels up in the year. Any of the contenders could win: comedy doesn't win this category much (a pity since editing is so crucial to comic rhthyms) but Budapest feels like a real threat in all the craft categories; Boyhood could win on love for the film + respect for the time commitment but it's far less showily edited than the others and Oscar often wants to see your work;  If they want to honor American Sniper or The Imitation Game this could be the place for either with the ticking time bomb suspense that these former Oscar winners drum up; But speaking of drums... my bet is that Whiplash is the surprise winner here and I was going to make that call, I swear, before it won the BAFTA in this category. Whiplash's very masculine energies, focus on rhtymic intensity, and taut energy (despite repetitive scenes) are well served by this department. Bonus points for the editor's name being "Tom Cross". It's like an old fashioned stage name for a young movie star. It's just great. Well done, Mr & Mrs. Cross.

Will Win: Whiplash
Could Win: Boyhood
Should Win: Grand Budapest Hotel 

My ballot for this category 

Sunday
Feb012015

How Many Oscars Will ______ Win? 

This weekend was a biggie in terms of below the line awards. The Imitation Game won the USC Scripter Prize which goes to movies adapted from literature (and the source material author also wins this prize). The Art Directors guild chose Birdman for Contemporary Film, and The Grand Budapest Hotel for Period (as well as Guardians of the Galaxy for Fantasy). Meanwhile the Editors gave their "Eddies" to  Boyhood for Dramas and The Grand Budapest Hotel for comedies (in addition to prizes for The LEGO Movie in Animated and Citizen Four for Documentaries)

All of this has me wondering if its The Grand Budapest Hotel rather than Boyhood or Birdman that will take home the most Oscars on February 22nd if not Best Picture. It's got a decent shot at four or five statues: Costumes, Production Design, Screenplay, Score, and Makeup & Hair. Of those Screenplay is the longest shot since Birdman vs Boyhood will be tough to squeeze between to nab the Original Screenplay gold.

Perhaps it will be a spread the wealth kind of year with every Best Picture winning something. Like so...

How many oscars will The Grand Budapest Hotel win?

 

  • Boyhood (4 or 5) Picture, Director, Supporting Actress, Editing (and maybe Screenplay?)
  • Grand Budapest (3 or 4) Costumes, Production Design, Makeup & Hair (and maybe Score?)
  • Birdman (2 or 3) Screenplay, Cinematography (and maybe Actor?)
  • American Sniper (2) Sound Editing and Sound Mixing
  • Theory of Everything (1 or 2) Actor (and maybe Score?)
  • The Imitation Game (1 or 2) Adapted Screenplay (and maybe Score?)
  • Whiplash (1 or 2) Supporting Actor (and maybe Adapted Screenplay?)
  • Selma (1) Song

 

(As you can see I'm stumped about who might win Best Score. I can see it going any which way.)

Not that there's ever a year where every Best Picture nominee wins something now that we have so many Best Picture nominees. Someone or someones usually go home empty-handed - even if they have come into the big night with a ton of nominations. But there's a first time for everything and it could happen.

What'cha think?

Friday
Jan022015

The Editor's Guild Chooses...

The ACE "Eddie" nominations have been announced and though you can't glean everything from the American Cinema Editors guild's choices -- Oscar has only five nominees for best film editing and the Eddies have 17 divvied up into four separate subcategories of features -- some reveals are happening.

The first reveal is that the editors have only just begun to watch the movies of 2014 since almost every serious awards hopeful that just came out is accounted for (save, oddly, Selma & A Most Violent Year). Yes, even  Into the Woods and Inherent Vice, which are two of the surprises. On the dramatic American Sniper and Nightcrawler are the surprises. The latter in particular really seems to be gathering momentum in these final weeks making my Gyllenhaal actor prediction, which I so worried was wishful thinking, feel like a safer than expected call.

FEATURE FILMS

Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic)
"American Sniper" (Joel Cox, ACE & Gary Roach, ACE)
"Boyhood" (Sandra Adair, ACE)
"Gone Girl" (Kirk Baxter, ACE)
"The Imitation Game" (William Goldenberg, ACE)
"Nightcrawler" (John Gilroy, ACE)
"Whiplash" (Tom Cross, ACE)

One might include Gone Girl among the surprises, given that it's on the Best Picture bubble, except to note that whoever is editing for David Fincher has a good chance of collecting trophies. That's how it works and not undeservedly; his films are always gripping and tight even when they're long and a lot of that has to do with the editing rhthyms. Of these nominees I think the safest for Oscar nods are Boyhood, The Imitation Game and Whiplash

More nominees and commentary after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec062014

Team FYC: Citizenfour for Editing

Editor's Note: We're featuring individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar race. We'll never repeat a film or a category so we hope you enjoy the variety of picks. And if you're lucky enough to be an AMPAS, HFPA, or Critics Group voter, take note! Here's Glenn on Citizenfour.

Only one documentary has ever been nominated for an editing Oscar, which is actually rather shocking given the pure logistics of the craft. How much footage of various and how many points of view they have to juggle, not to mention how quickly the sands of reportage can shift in a film that doesn't have a clear start and finish. That one film was Steve James' Hoop Dreams, which followed the schooling and personal lives of two aspiring professional basketball players. It was one of the first documentaries I recall being truly gobsmacked by, flawed by the fact that they turned 250 hours of raw footage into a 170-minute film that just worked. It made me look at documentaries and the art of editing differently.

Controversially denied the documentary Oscar that almost everybody thought he deserved in 1994, Steve James is in heavy (some may say unbeatable) contention 20 years later for Life Itself about the life of Roger Ebert, Hoop Dreams' biggest critical champion. Surely the irony isn't lost on James that his biggest competitor is Laura Poitras' Citizenfour, a compelling, nerve-wracking doc experience that charts the growing scandal of the American government's NSA spying network and its whistleblower, Edward Snowden. It would be some sort of twisted logic if Life Itself trumps it in the documentary category.

While I am not a fan of Life Itself, even its most ardent supporters would surely agree that one area in which Poitras' box-office hit has its star-studded competitor easily trumped is in the editing room. It was the mission of editor Mathilde Bonnefoy to collate and compile hours upon hours of research, investigation, news footage, and, of course, the film's centerpiece Snowden interview into a tight 114 minutes. It's a work of art to see Bonnefoy and Poitras so expertly know when to show us glimpses of Snowden's rapidly claustrophobic world (the hair gel sequence!) and when to pull back and reveal the bigger picture. When to see the story from the world's POV and when to give audiences the intimate portrait that allows the film its unique selling point.

Citizenfour is not exactly an unbiased picture; Poitras was specifically chosen by Snowden to tell the story of the NSA. Yet it's a miraculous feat of the craft that allows so many angles to be shown whilst letting a breaking story unfold as it happens. Bonnefoy ought to be a nominee alongside the prestige period dramas and Hollywood action movies that the Academy so frequently nominate.

Related
Film Experience Podcast | Documentary shortlist | Glenn's review

Other FYCs
Makeup and Hair, Only Lovers Left AliveBest Actor, Locke | Supporting Actress, Gone Girl | Visual FX, Under the Skin | Cinematography, The Homesman | Outstanding Ensembles | Screenplay, The Babadook |  Original ScoreThe Immigrant 

Monday
May192014

Oscar Predictions & Curiousities : Visuals & Score

I haven't forgotten about the Oscar charts. This first installment is the most time-consuming is all, as it sets the templates up for an entire years worth of handwringing and hiearchy juggling. With this latest update we only have the "big eight" categories left to do (minus actor & supporting actress which we've already surveyed). But here are a few thoughts on new charts that are up...

WarDaddy's (Brad Pitt) team in "Fury". The film is scored by Oscar-winner Steven Price

SCORE
I perhaps overstate the music branch's love for their favorite sons each year. It's not that that love isn't evident each year (stop to consider how many composers, for example, have 8 or more nominations and how rare that is in many other fields) it's that Hollywood's favorite composers are quite prolific so, John Williams & Alexandre Desplat aside (who never miss for a nomination)  aside, there's no guarantee that any of them will win traction since all of their rivals are also in the mix each year.

A few things to be curious about in 2014:

• Steven Price (Gravity) just won the Oscar on his first nomination so can he become a favorite? If so he's scoring Fury, the WW II tank drama with Brad Pitt in the lead this year. 
• Which Desplat score will they go for since they always have (at least) a few choices: Grand Budapest Hotel, Unbroken, or Godzilla? Or all three. Heh.
• It's been awhile since James Newton Howard (Maleficent) or Danny Elfman (Big Eyes) were in the mix. This year?
• Will Thomas Newman (Get On Up, The Judge) ever win the statue? He's the most nominated working composer who has never won with 12 failed attempts

CINEMATOGRAPHY
I would've given them their whole post but I can't even talk about this today. *sniffle* Gordon B Willis (RIP) 

Maleficent wonders which fairy tale Oscar wants to hear

COSTUME
The internet did a good job of spreading the fun factoid I once shared that Colleen Atwood (Into the Woods) and Sandy Powell (Carol) don't win the costuming Oscar unless the other one is nominated. So we'll have to look elsewhere for fun trivia this year. A few things I'm curious about this year:

• Milena Canonero is back! The three time Oscar winner  did wonderful work on Grand Budapest Hotel. Oscar tends to shun creative stylized work like that (what a shame that they passed up her instantly iconic work on The Royal Tenenbaums) when they can opt for period realism instead so that's kind of a longshot but wouldn't it be sweet?
• Will Oscar help Anna B Sheppard stretch? If they like her Maleficent costumes maybe she'll get offered movies outside the World War II genre, the box that Hollywood likes to keep her in (She also costumed Fury this year.
• Which of the rising crop of costume design stars is going to make it to an Oscar nomination first: Jane Petrie (Suffragette - I have it for 2015 but maybe it'll  be released this year), Kurt & Bart (Hunger Games: Mockingjay), or Steven Noble (Two Faces of January, Theory of Everything) ?

FILM EDITING 
It's too early to talk about this category really since, more than any other category, it depends entirely on what people like for Best Picture. 

Will AMPAS finally embrace the creative achievements in Wes Anderson's filmography

PRODUCTION DESIGN
My prediction for Grand Budapest Hotel is, I'll admit instantly, wishful thinking. (But it's early, so I'm allowed a few of those). It's perplexing that the art direction branch, like the costumers, often shun cool stylization such as the kind you often see in Wes Anderson features. But I'm hoping that the production designers can't help but recognize Adam Stockhausen's extraordinary range, hopping from pre Civil War realism (12 Years a Slave won him his first nomination) to Wes Anderson's fanciful dioramas with not only ease but confidence and panache. 

A few other things to be curious about:

• Is Oscar done with the Middle Earth films (last year they had their first miss in this category) or will they want to send the Hobbit trilogy away with a 6th nomination for Dan Hennah?
• Can Maria Durjovic (The Imitation Game) finally snag a nomination? She's done great work before and been egregiously snubbed (think Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and somehow the Oscar heat from Billy Elliott and The Hours didn't rub off on her either time
• Is Dennis Gassner a contender for his second win? He won the category for the very handsome Warren Beatty picture Bugsy (1991) but he's designed several completely gorgeous, classy and showy movies since then like, oh,  The Truman Show (1998), O Brother Where Art Thou (2000), and Big Fish (2003). Will Into the Woods be received well enough to make him a frontrunner?

 

Which Oscar fates are you most curious about for this season?