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VIDEO ESSAY: Outstanding Collaborative Performance: The Fly (1986)

David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of "The Fly" would have been a shoo-in for a theoretical best collaborative performance Oscar. What makes it truly special is its empathy for its arrogant scientist hero, Seth Brundle, who tests his revolutionary new matter transporter on himself and becomes genetically fused with a fly that was not supposed to be in the telepod with him. Jeff Goldblum’s performance as Seth Brundle is a nexus point for all the film’s creative elements: direction, writing, acting, makeup, optical effects, miniatures and puppetry. Goldblum’s work here brings everything together. It’s kind of a thespian telepod.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz and Steven Santos
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  • February 21, 2012 9:40 AM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO ESSAY And the Oscar for Outstanding Collaborative Performance goes to...

Why hasn't Andy Serkis won an Oscar yet? Will his achievements as an actor ever be recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? Should they be recognized? Is Serkis an actor, or is his physical performance in a CGI-assisted role just a rough guide for a movie's digital effects?
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz & Steven Santos
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  • February 21, 2012 7:39 AM
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  • 11 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: MAGIC AND LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG, Chapter 5: Father Figures

Steven Spielberg is the product of The Greatest Generation -- a Baby Boomer raised on idealized images of the nuclear family, progress, and American might. He is also a child of divorce -- a dreamer from a broken home. Spielberg’s attempt to reconcile these two biographical facts—the mythic ideal of the family, and the reality of its dismantling—has been at the heart of many of his films. Spielberg’s movies often focus on a real or makeshift family unit, banding together to fight an outside force that threatens to tear it apart. At the head of this makeshift family, there is often a father figure imparting wisdom to his charges, or being forced to confront his shortcomings as a protector. Often both.
  • By Steven Santos, Aaron Aradillas & Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • December 23, 2011 6:49 AM
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  • 3 Comments

CHAPTER ART: MAGIC AND LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG debuted Dec. 15

It's almost here! Press Play's first video essay series in direct partnership with IndieWire: "Magic and Light: The Films of Steven Spielberg." On Dec. 15, 2011 on this blog, this series will examine facets of Spielberg's movie career, including his stylistic evolution as a director, his depiction of violence, his interest in communication and language, his portrayal of authority and evil, and the importance of father figures -- both present and absent -- throughout his work.
  • By Press Play Staff
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  • December 14, 2011 5:24 PM
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  • 0 Comments

The Art of MAGIC & LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG

MAGIC & LIGHT: THE FILMS OF STEVEN SPIELBERG premieres Dec. 15 at Press Play. Check out these eye-popping title cards. As they used to say of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS trading cards back in the '70s, collect them all!
  • By Boke Yuzgen
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  • December 13, 2011 6:52 PM
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  • 0 Comments

DEEP FOCUS: Sidney Lumet's PRINCE OF THE CITY (1981)

"Prince of the City" was released on August 19, 1981. Like so many of Sidney Lumet's movies, this one lives and breathes New York City, showing us everything from tenements to court rooms and everyone from drug addicts to district attorneys. The film has well over a hundred speaking roles and what I would consider one of the best casting of authentic New Yorkers in film, mixing professional and non-professional actors throughout. The look and feel of the movie would influence many films and television shows in subsequent decades, ones that strove for realism and a more procedural approach to the cop genre. One of those shows, "Law & Order", even used one of the film's most prominent cast members, Jerry Orbach.
  • By Steven Santos
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  • August 15, 2011 11:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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