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Thompson on Hollywood

Immersed in Movies: Composer Patrick Doyle Talks Pixar's 'Brave'

Patrick Doyle isn't new to animation but his first taste of working with Pixar on "Brave" brought him even closer to his Scottish roots. Doyle, in fact, was in Scotland when he was first approached to compose the quintessentially ethnic score accentuated by the Highland bagpipes.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 30, 2012 2:25 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Cinematographer Deakins Talks 'Skyfall'

With the record-breaking "Skyfall" (perhaps even the first billion dollar Bond) generating lots of Oscar buzz, is there any doubt that acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins will receive his 10th nomination? Not after turning in the most stunning-looking Bond movie in its illustrious 50-year history.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 28, 2012 2:16 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Production Designer Greenwood Talks 'Anna Karenina'

What's old is gloriously new again in Joe Wright's magnificent "Anna Karenina." He boldly conveys the complexity of Tolstoy's epic love story through the simplicity of a puppet-like theater, compressing time and collapsing space in a real theater. It's an elegant metaphor...
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 26, 2012 1:35 PM
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Immersed in Movies: A CG Tiger to Die for in 'Life of Pi' (VIDEO)

Don't be surprised if Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" is right up there competing for the VFX Oscar with "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and all the other prestigious front runners. It's that good. In fact, Richard Parker, the integral tiger, is arguably the best photorealistic CG animal ever created. What a performance: the way he interacts with Suraj Sharma's Pi in such close proximity on a lifeboat. The tiger exhibits such believable expression and nuance; he uses the space underneath the tarp first as shelter and then to observe and control his turf. It's truly an amazing character arc, bolstered by the most spiritual and dimensional use of 3-D yet, which only enhances its Oscar chances.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 23, 2012 1:58 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Director Ramsey Talks 'Rise of the Guardians' Darkness and VFX Breakthroughs

"Rise of the Guardians" marks another turning point for DreamWorks Animation with its sincere embrace of pure enchantment. "The Avengers"-like take on protecting children with Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost is as far from "Shrek" as you can get.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 21, 2012 2:52 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Talking 'Argo' with Cinematographer Prieto

Rodrigo Pietro calls "Argo" a "visual tapestry." That's because the bizarre fact-based espionage thriller and best picture Oscar front runner required the cinematographer to craftily piece together various looks to pull off the creative hodgepodge of styles, genres, and locales.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 19, 2012 2:38 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Raising 'Kane' in 'Lincoln'

Steven Spielberg has always shown a reverence for Orson Welles and "Citizen Kane" with his trademark use of light shining through chiaroscuro-style. Not surprisingly, he uses it effectively in "Lincoln." Plus, there's an early nod to "Kane" with a close-up of Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally) through a mirror on the dresser.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 16, 2012 3:00 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Mendes Talks Bond Resurrection in 'Skyfall'

Why all the swooning over "Skyfall?" Because, oddly enough, after 50 years we've only just begun exploring James Bond's troubled psyche, and because director Sam Mendes has brilliantly made up for lost time by engineering the best possible conceit: an existential crisis for our iconic superspy...
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 8, 2012 4:27 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Disney Gets Subversive with 'Wreck-It Ralph'

Disney's definitely back with "Wreck-It Ralph" (opening November 2). In fact, this unexpectedly witty and inventive videogame comedy/adventure is the surprise of the animation season and the Oscar wild card, although I haven't yet seen DreamWorks' "Rise of the Guardians," which also looks creatively bold and will likely be a major contender.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • October 26, 2012 4:28 PM
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Immersed in Movies: 'Skyfall' Is Both Homecoming and Breakthrough

James Bond has always been about looking forward and back at the same time, but never more so than in "Skyfall," which is both a homecoming and a breakthrough for the 50th anniversary. In fact, it's all about exploring the old and the new. That's the central metaphor; it's embedded in every ambiguous moment. It was worth the extra year taken to craft the script, do the prep, and hone every delicious detail into an organic whole.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • October 19, 2012 4:29 PM
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