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Thompson on Hollywood

Anatomy of a Scene: Revisiting 'Hang Me' from 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

The opening of "Inside Llewyn Davis" is a remarkable achievement: It not only sets the melancholy mood of Greenwich Village in '61 with the eponymous singer (Oscar Isaac) performing "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me" at the iconic Gaslight, but it also sets us up for a confusing circular odyssey. I got the lowdown on the Coen brothers' bizarre tale about folk music with the Oscar nominated cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel and sound mixer Skip Lievsay (also nominated for "Gravity").
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 21, 2014 2:03 PM
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Anatomy of a Scene: Solomon Northup Chained in '12 Years a Slave'

One of the most important yet difficult decisions in Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" was how to depict Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) waking up in bondage. Fortunately, they hit on the idea in the cutting room to tell it out of sequence, the result of which was disconcerting for Northup and viewer alike, and which laid the groundwork for a more intimate narrative approach by staying with his POV. I discussed this crucial scene with the two Oscar nominees, production designer Adam Stockhausen and editor Joe Walker.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 19, 2014 4:26 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Noah Cowan Talks Leaving Toronto to Join San Francisco Film Society as Executive Director (EXCLUSIVE)

The San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) confirms what we reported earlier--Noah Cowan will start as Executive Director of the organization, effective March 3.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2014 2:00 PM
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Talking the 'Her' Score with Arcade Fire Oscar Nominee William Butler

Oscar-nominated William Butler's first-time experience composing the wistful score for Spike Jonze's "Her" with his Arcade Fire partner Owen Pallett was a bit of a romance as well as a crash course in moviemaking. And yet the experience opened him up more intuitively to the collaborative process.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 18, 2014 2:58 PM
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Miyazaki Talks Retirement, Oscars, True History in 'The Wind Rises'

Well, I hate to break it to you, but during my satellite interview at Team Disney last week on the Oscar-nominated "The Wind Rises," Hayao Miyazaki confirmed that he will not direct another movie.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 14, 2014 8:11 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Oscar Writers Reveal Road to Movies at Santa Barbara 'It Starts with the Script' Panel (VIDEO)

The annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival "It Starts with the Script" panel where I grill many of the writing Oscar nominees is my favorite moderating duty. This year did not disappoint.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 14, 2014 4:28 PM
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Anatomy of a Scene: Dissecting the Bravura 'Gravity' Opening

The extraordinary 13-minute opening of Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" is like a mini-movie, setting up the zero-gravity world in space, the two astronauts played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, the mood, the tension, the crisis, and the metaphor. I break it down with Oscar-nominated cinematographer Emmanuel (Chivo) Lubezki, production designer Andy Nicholson, VFX supervisor Tim Webber, sound mixer Chris Munro, and editor Mark Sanger.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 14, 2014 2:45 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Talking Cinematography with Oscar Nominees Lubezki, Deakins, Delbonnel, Le Sourd and Papamichael

The Oscar nominees for best cinematography are not only filled with indelible images but they're all constructed around the common theme of survival, disconnect, and rebirth. I discuss the works with all five Oscar nominees: Philippe Le Sourd ("The Grandmaster"), Emmanuel (Chivo) Lubezki ("Gravity"), Bruno Delbonnel ("Inside Llewyn Davis"), Phedon Papamichael ("Nebraska"), and Roger Deakins ("Prisoners").
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 13, 2014 2:13 PM
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Michelle Manning Explains Why She's the Latest Hollywood Producer to Indiegogo

More Hollywood producers are starting to come around to the idea that crowd funding sites like Indiegogo can help them get their independent projects made. On Wednesday, writer-director Mary Agnes Donoghue ("Beaches"), producers Michelle Manning and Gail Levin are launching a new campaign on IndieGoGo to raise post-production finishing funds for indie romantic comedy "Jenny's Wedding," starring Katherine Heigl.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 12, 2014 5:38 PM
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David O. Russell and Oscar-Nominated Crew Talk the Craft of 'American Hustle'

David O. Russell's on a roll with his Oscar-contending "American Hustle," his most personal and popular movie yet. It's smart and funny, and has obviously touched a nerve with its story of survival and reinvention during the cultural and political upheaval of the late '70s. "I don't care about pure dissipation or pure cynicism -- I've gotta have the thing that people live for," he insists. So in a recent roundtable discussion, we explored how this passion spilled over to his Oscar-nominated crew: production designer Judy Becker, costume designer Michael Wilkinson and editor Jay Cassidy.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 12, 2014 2:50 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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