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Thompson on Hollywood

Alexandre Desplat Talks Embracing Humor Through Music in 'Philomena' Score

Composer Alexandre Desplat has never scored a comedy before and, although one wouldn't call "Philomena" a comedy, he nonetheless found the witty repartee between Judi Dench and Steve Coogan a lighter change of pace in crafting the music for his fifth collaboration with director Stephen Frears.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 18, 2013 2:10 PM
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Weta's Joe Letteri Talks Animating the Smaug Dragon for 'The Hobbit'

Peter Jackson's well-received second "Hobbit" movie, "The Desolation of Smaug," contains a greater variety of VFX. But, of course, the centerpiece for Weta Digital is Smaug (voiced with menace and charm by Benedict Cumberbatch), the best CG-animated dragon ever created and sure to make a great impression at the Academy bakeoff.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 13, 2013 2:20 PM
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Craft Talking 'Saving Mr. Banks': Bridging 1961 Los Angeles with 1906 Australia through Cinematography, Production Design and Costumes

Like "Mary Poppins," "Saving Mr. Banks" seems deceptively simple on the surface. But once you dig deeper, the story resonates as a brilliant memory piece for Emma Thompson's P.L. Travers, slipping back and forth from her painful childhood in Australia in 1906 to cooperating and subverting the adaptation of her beloved novel with Walt Disney in 1961. And that was the creative hook for director John Lee Hancock and his fellow filmmakers, including production designer Michael Corenblith, cinematographer John Schwartzman, and costume designer Daniel Orlandi.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 11, 2013 2:20 PM
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Ten Visual Effects Movies Made It to Oscar Shortlist, More Got Robbed

Here's why the ten visual effects Oscar frontrunners landed on the Shortlist. Who will make the final five? Only the January 9 bakeoff will tell.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 5, 2013 6:37 PM
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  • 5 Comments

New York Film Critics' Cinematography Winner Delbonnel Goes 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

Given the evocative look and setting of the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis," it's not surprising that Bruno Delbonnel snagged the cinematography award yesterday from the New York Film Critics Circle. He exquisitely captures the coldness, sadness, unhappiness, and loneliness of Oscar Isaac's struggling folk singer in Greenwich Village of '61.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 4, 2013 2:16 PM
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Composer Nicholas Britell Talks the Powerful Spiritual-Field Songs in '12 Years a Slave'

Composer Nicholas Britell ("Gimme the Loot") provides a powerful musical accompaniment for Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" with a series of spiritual-field songs and stringed waltzes (which are currently available on the Columbia Records soundtrack). These originals and recreations enable us to better understand and appreciate the rich musical heritage that sprung from such inhumanity.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 29, 2013 2:20 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Winner Lubezki Talks the Virtual Cinematography of 'Gravity,' How a Peter Gabriel Concert Helped Him Visualize the Film and More

With three out of the last four Oscars for cinematography going to hybrid movies, is it any wonder that Emmanuel ("Chivo") Lubezki won Best Cinematography for "Gravity" at the 2014 Oscars? Especially after Lubezki and his collaborators devised a brilliant new lighting system for simulating the physics of space in the game-changing and emotionally-gripping blockbuster.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 27, 2013 2:15 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Best of the Week: Awards Season in Full Bloom, the Survival Film Renaissance, Fab Fonda Upstages Lee Daniels & More

The top stories of the week from TOH!
  • By TOH!
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  • November 23, 2013 1:58 PM
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'All Is Lost' Is Far from Silent, Even with No Dialogue (VIDEO)

In space or on the ocean, no one can hear you scream. Comparisons abound between solo adventures "Gravity" and "All Is Lost," but unlike space, the ocean is far from silent. Even though J.C. Chandor's remarkable open-water survival thriller starring a 77-year-old Robert Redford boldly stepping out of his comfort zone is virtually dialogue-free. Thus the director was totally on board with making the sound design a driving narrative force.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 22, 2013 1:37 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Designing Cinematic Jigsaw Puzzle and Game-Changer 'Gravity'

"Gravity" production designer Andrew Nicholson, who will be at the Art Directors Guild Wednesday night and at USC on Friday, discusses why the immersive, Oscar-contending blockbuster is a model for the future of hybrid movies.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 20, 2013 2:48 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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