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The Russo Brothers Talk 'The Winter Soldier' as Conspiracy Thriller

Thanks to sibling co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo, adults can marvel in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." It's a wildly entertaining mash-up of the conspiracy thriller and superhero genres, in which Chris Evans' World War II Marvel superhero not only finds himself trapped between two worlds but also opposing world views.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 4, 2014 2:58 PM
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Cinematographer Manuel Claro Talks the Bearable Lightness of 'Nymphomaniac'

Cinematographer Manuel Claro calls "Nymphomaniac" the ultimate Lars von Trier movie ("Volume II" opens Friday), containing "a fuck you to film school energy that's all over the place," in which the director's pessimism and optimism battle one another. However, after the in-your-face look of"Melancholia," the opus about sex addiction starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgard was much simpler to light, despite the greater length and traipsing 55 days through Germany and Belgium.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 3, 2014 3:28 PM
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Cinematographer Matthew Libatique Talks Ark and Arcs in 'Noah'

Darren Aronofsky has always been drawn to the mystical, and "Noah" is even ballsier than "Pi" or "The Fountain." Of course, it's divisive as environmental allegory and the conflict between religion and science. But I think it's a powerful evocation of creation and destruction, love and beauty, and the difficulty of raising a family. Talk about survival and rebirth: It's the ultimate road movie, according to cinematographer Matthew Libatique, who's shot every Aronofsky movie but "The Wrestler" because of a temporary rift.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 28, 2014 2:05 PM
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Neil Burger Talks Being a 'Divergent' Director (TRAILER)

When asked if he was "Divergent," Neil Burger replied affirmatively but admitted that his biggest films -- "The Illusionist," "Limitless," and "Divergent" -- are all about the quest for empowerment: Ed Norton pulls off a grand scheme to win back the heart of Jessica Biel and to fit in with the social elite; Bradley Cooper takes a psychotropic drug to overcome writer's block and becomes superhuman; and Shailene Woodley's Tris utilizes her extraordinary versatility to lead an uprising against a fascist regime.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 21, 2014 2:57 PM
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Legendary Editor Walter Murch Talks the Physics of 'Particle Fever'

Mark Levinson's "Particle Fever" is the first great doc of the year (and let's hope it gets remembered during the next awards season). It's about the ground-breaking, Nobel Prize-winning experiment that helped unravel the nature of existence. Veteran editor/sound designer Walter Murch ("Apocalypse Now"), whose always had a fascination for physics, was brought on to "galvanize" the project but ended up spending a year humanizing this compelling work about the collision of science and art.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 14, 2014 2:04 PM
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Production Designer Adam Stockhausen Talks 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' (VIDEOS)

Imagine going from "12 Years a Slave" to "The Grand Budapest Hotel." That's exactly what happened to production designer Adam Stockhausen, who was able to convey beauty in the darkest of dramas, but when it came to Wes Anderson's witty caper, there was no holding back the Czech Republic eye candy: a pink hotel, a dollop of yellow butter cream, and the sugary Mendl's bakery.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 7, 2014 3:53 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Talking the 'Bad Grandpa' Makeup with Oscar-Nominated Stephen Prouty

So will the Oscar for best makeup and hairstyling go to Stephen Prouty for his impressive transformation of Johnny Knoxville's hysterical and horny 86-year-old Irving Zisman in "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa"? It's a triumph of old school craft, which required a complete re-imagining to believably pull it off and provide Knoxville with better flexibility for his comedic turn.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 25, 2014 2:57 PM
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Talking 'Grandmaster' Costume Design with Oscar-Nominated William Chang

William Chang is certainly "The Grandmaster" of production/costume design and editing in terms of his long-time collaboration with director Wong Kar-wai. And even though he's received his first Oscar nomination for costume designing the lyrical Ip Man martial arts extravaganza, you can't separate his contribution to the overall look and editorial style of the movie.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 24, 2014 2:04 PM
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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

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