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Thompson on Hollywood

Immersed in Movies: Puppet Cams, China Girl and VFX Wizardry in 'Oz the Great and Powerful'

Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi both embraced lighter, kid-friendlier fables with "Jack the Giant Slayer" and "Oz the Great and Powerful," tapping into their inner child while pushing virtual production and 3-D with theatrical flair. While the results have been mixed (it's hard to pull off innocence after the post-modern "Shreking" of our culture), Disney placed serious pressure on Raimi, whose return to "Oz" was a bumpy ride.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 8, 2013 2:23 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Bryan Singer Talks 'Jack the Giant Slayer'

Bryan Singer getting kid-friendlier with "Jack the Giant Slayer" isn't as much of a stretch as you might think. He's still dabbling with truth and legend -- literally in this case -- only the fairy tale is more overt.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 1, 2013 2:17 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Exclusive Design Video on Park Chan-Wook's 'Stoker'

With "Stoker," acclaimed Korean director Park Chan-Wook ("Oldboy") riffs on Alfred Hitchcock in his own artsy and oppressive way. It's a chilly reworking of "Shadow of a Doubt," (with nods to "Psycho" and "The Birds" along the way), that eventually takes a turn into Brian De Palma territory.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 28, 2013 3:34 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Final Oscar Thoughts

During this final week leading up to Sunday's 85th Academy Awards, I was reminded of the extraordinary meta-experience that underlies several of this year's nominees. In the end, at least for me, it's not about the frantic Oscar race and ultimately who wins and who doesn't but about the joy of making and watching the movies...
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 22, 2013 1:47 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Assessing the Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar Race

You couldn't find three more diverse choices for makeup and hairstyling than in "Hitchcock," "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," and "Les Misérables." A portrait of Hitch that effectively blends Anthony Hopkins with the Master of Suspense...
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 20, 2013 2:06 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Assessing the Costume Design Oscar Race, from 'Anna Karenina' to 'Snow White'

This Oscar season is all about evoking power and poetry in the costume designs for frontrunner "Anna Karenina" (Jacqueline Durran), "Les Misérables" (Paco Delgado), "Lincoln" (Joanna Johnston), "Mirror Mirror" (Eiko Ishioka), and "Snow White and the Huntsman" (Colleen Atwood).
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 18, 2013 1:49 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Assessing the Music Oscar Race

Like cinematography, production design, editing, and sound, the Oscar-nominated music scores are all organically tied to their movies in very personal ways. So it's hard to pick a winner among such stalwarts as Alexandre Desplat ("Argo"), Thomas Newman ("Skyfall"), Mychael Danna ("Life of Pi"), and Dario Marianelli ("Anna Karenina") along with the venerable old warhorse, John Williams ("Lincoln"). Still, I keep hearing a lot about Danna being the favorite in a very close race.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 15, 2013 3:41 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Assessing the Sound Oscar Races

While "Argo" might be the Oscar frontrunner for sound editing and mixing, jarring and humoring us with a bizarre Iranian hostage rescue mission, all of this year's nominees create fascinating soundscapes: "Django Unchained" offers a spirited yet analogue-like experience associated with the spaghetti western...
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 13, 2013 3:47 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Assessing the Editing Oscar Race, from 'Argo' to 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Last night's BAFTA win for "Argo" editor William Goldenberg certainly bolsters his Oscar chances, especially given the way the movie is steamrolling its way through the awards season. Then again, Goldenberg, who's also nominated for the controversial best picture contender, "Zero Dark Thirty"...
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 11, 2013 4:05 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Assessing the Production Design Oscar Race

If there is one word that best describes the five Oscar nominees for production design, it's upheaval. In "Anna Karenina," it's about the crumbling 19th-century Russian aristocracy. In "The Hobbit," Bilbo's comfortable life is turned upside down when Gandalf recruits him to help the dwarves take back their homeland. In "Les Misérables," the gritty adaptation of the celebrated musical evokes more of the political struggle to rid the inequality of 19th century France. In "Life of Pi," a boy endures a perilous spiritual journey alone on the ocean with a mysterious tiger. And in "Lincoln," the legendary 16th President struggles to end slavery and the Civil War and find peace of mind and his place in history.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 8, 2013 4:03 PM
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