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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 | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Greig Fraser (5)

Monday
Oct132014

NYFF: A Second Look At Foxcatcher

The NYFF concluded last night but we've got a couple more pieces for you. Nathaniel reviewed Foxcatcher briefly at TIFF and here's Michael's much more positive take on it...

If it’s true that great storytelling unfolds in a way that is both surprising and inevitable, then Bennet Miller’s Foxcatcher appears at first glance to be missing half of the equation. The most surprising thing about the spare script by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman is how shocking it isn’t. We can see the impending tragedy coming from miles away. Only the film’s characters seem blind to the descending shadows. Tremendous piles of money have a way of obscuring vision like that.

Based on the real events leading up to a 1996 murder, Foxcatcher’s first images show the incredibly rich at play with their pets, sitting atop thoroughbred horses, surrounded by hunting dogs, etc. It’s appropriate for a film about the unfathomably wealthy John du Pont’s attempts to keep champion wrestlers Mark and David Schultz as his own personal possessions. 

Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) doesn’t require much convincing to take du Pont up on his offer...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr052014

Team Top Ten: The Greatest Working Cinematographers

Amir here, to welcome you back to Team Top Ten, our monthly poll by all of the website’s contributors. For our first episode in 2014, we are looking at The Greatest Working Cinematographers in the (international) film industry. As long time readers of The Film Experience are surely aware, the visual language of cinema is something Nathaniel and the rest of us are very fond of discussing. Films and filmmakers that have a dash of style and understand cinema as a visual medium always get bonus points around these parts. We celebrate great works in cinematography on a weekly basis in Hit Me With Your Best Shot, but it was time to give the people behind the camera their due.
 

More than 50 cinematographers from all across the world received votes. If the final, somewhat American-centric, list doesn’t quite reflect that, chalk it up to the natural process of consensus voting. Cinematographers like Agnes Godard, Oleg Mutu, Mahmoud Kalari, Rodrigo Prieto and Eric Gautier all had their fans, as did Hollywood stalwarts like Dante Spinotti and Robert Richardson. Furthermore, Harris Savides’s name was attached to several ballots, with the unfortunate note that if he were still alive, he’d be on the list. That would have certainly been the case, so here’s Glenn Dunks with an honorable mention for Savides, and then on to the top ten:

Does anybody doubt that Harris Savides would appear on this list if it weren’t for his death in 2012 at the age of 55? I would even hazard a guess that he could have been number one. I distinctly remember wanting to know who this man was and what his career had been after witnessing Birth. The way he mixed golden hues of UWS high society with the chilly silver of a New York winter captivated me. That film alone with its graceful tracking shots and magnetic opera sequence would be enough of a game changer if it weren’t also for his prior film-defining work with Gus Van Sant on Elephant, Gerry and Last Days. He would later work with David Fincher (Zodiac), Noah Baumbach (Greenberg) and his last great collaborator, Sofia Coppola (Somewhere and The Bling Ring). A mighty force taken too soon.”

 

TOP TEN GREATEST WORKING CINEMATOGRAPEHRS

10. Dion Beebe
“Who on Earth is Dion Beebe?” felt like a common question in the early-to-mid-2000s when the Australian cinematographer stormed onto the Hollywood scene. Whatever it was that director Rob Marshall had seen of his prior work that gave him enough faith to turn to him for Chicago I’m not sure – Australian films Praise and Holy Smoke! were hardly indications to hire him for a lavish musical – but beautiful work it was. Still, if his further collaborations with Marshall on Memoirs of a Geisha (for which he won an Oscar) and Nine (for which he should have been nominated) suggests perhaps little more than a handsome craftsman, then it was his sensual and sensorial work on Jane Campion’s In the Cut, visually representing erotic tingles with images, and Michael Mann’s digital masterworks Collateral and Miami Vice that proved he was a bold and innovative one, too. – Glenn Dunks

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun282013

Welcome to the Academy!

Every time I see a grumpy post on the internet about how the Oscars don't matter or the Oscars are irrelevant or passe or [insert gripe here] my face contorts into a 'oh, that's cute' type of look, the one you might give the very naive if possibly well meaning transfer in your high school comedy.

I love her, she's like a Martian.

The Oscars have always mattered. The very fact that people can't stop bitching about them, for 80 some years now, suggests that they still very much do and always will. The Oscars have been synonymous with movie greatness for so many generations that whether or not any greatness is actually happening in their selections is the point of discussion. It's also why one wishes the governing body of AMPAS wouldn't act like such nervous jittery freshmen themselves, forever worrying about what they're wearing ('does this rule-change make me look fat?') and if they're listening to the right music ('no, yeah, i totally love that ____. Didn't you see my expanded BP playlist?!'') .

The Oscars are the cool table that everyone wants to sit at and 276 new kids (after the jump) have been invited to do just that.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec212012

Screenplays of '12. Page 12. "Zero Dark Thirty"

New daily! I'll be sharing page 12 of every screenplay I've received for 2012 Films. With commentary!

The following scene stars Jason Clarke as "bad news" Daniel who has surprisingly not been getting much Supporting Actor buzz despite shooting off unmissable 'next big thing' vibes and Reda Kateb* as his tortured prisoner Ammar. I've drawn a little storyboard for you since the studio hasn't released any stills from this particular scene.  

INT. MAYA'S APARTMENT - ISLAMABAD

The loud WAILING of the early morning call to prayer from the loudspeakers of a nearby mosque wakes Maya on the couch.

CUT TO:

INT. BLACK SITE - AFTERNOON

Daniel and the guards enter Ammar's cel with Maya. Daniel switches on the floodlights, awakening Ammar.

                    DANIEL
Let's take it easy today, huh?

Daniel hands Ammar a bottle of orange juice and a bag of falalfel.

                    DANIEL (CONT'D)
Hungry? The food in here sucks so I
got you some of this.

more scene and commentary after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec062012

The Modern Bias in Best Cinematography.

Jose here. When the New York Film Critics began announcing their awards yesterday the biggest shock, for me, came early on as they decided to award Greig Fraser with Best Cinematography for Zero Dark Thirty. Don't get me wrong. I have absolutely nothing against Mr. Fraser and up to that moment I hadn't even seen the movie (I did later and ZOMG!). Anyway, what surprised me the most is that a contemporary movie had been recognized for an award that usually goes to period or fantasy movies. It's as if awards bodies don't feel that modern life is "pretty" enough to give it a photographic award. 

Yet the fact that people assume that "best" cinematography instantly means "prettiest" cinematography might be the greatest mistake in a category whose winners sometimes defy all logic...

Click to read more ...