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The story of Alfonso Cuarón‘s efforts to create Gravity are already big for everyone interested in filmmaking — we know the movie utilized an intense blend of CG imagery and footage captured on stark stages, but there’s a lot more we don’t know about the making of the film. A five-minute clip of behind the scenes info isn’t going to tell us everything, but this new “script to screen” featurette on Gravity is a good start as it explores the intersection between the script from Alfonso and Jonas Cuarón, the elder Cuarón’s direction, and the work of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Read More »

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End of year lists can be great for highlighting stuff you may have missed, and the annual poll from UK film magazine Sight & Sound, one of the first 2013 year-end lists out of the gate, has a number of films included that are worth tracking down. The magazine polls over 100 “international critics, curators and academics,” taking a top-five list from each. The magazine’s list of top films (with some tied for a couple berths) is generated from those votes.

Documentary The Act of Killing, which follows as men responsible for genocidal killings in Indonesia confront and recreate their crimes as film scenes, took first place by a margin of five votes. Gravity and Blue is the Warmest Colour are the second and third place choices.

The full list is below, complete with trailers for each film, so you can be introduced to whatever films on the list are unfamiliar. Read More »

Fast and Furious 7 - Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Vin Diesel

Whether you want to read Keanu Reeves‘ regrets about the (non-existent) Constantine sequel, Robert Englund‘s hopes for a (theoretical) Elm Street prequel, or Alfonso Cuaron‘s thoughts on the Harry Potter spinoff, there’s a little something for everyone here. Also after the jump:

  • Gareth Evans breaks down the trailer for The Raid 2: Berandal
  • Michael Bay hints at a big theme from Transformers 4
  • Steven Spielberg gets a bit political while in Hawaii for Jurassic World
  • See more pics of Vin Diesel on the set of Fast & Furious 7
  • The 300: Rise of an Empire site offers new pics and footage

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THR-directors

As we mentioned a few days ago, one of the great pleasures of the award season, which does arrive each year with a grand set of problems and irritants, is that filmmakers are given more opportunities than usual to discuss their work, and some of those opportunities are more extensive than others. THR has created a series of “creative roundtables” over the past few years, in which likely Oscar candidates talk with each other about their work.

Below you’ll find the new directors roundtable, in which Steve McQueen, Paul Greengrass, David O. Russell, Ben Stiller, Alfonso Cuaron and Lee Daniels discuss all manner of topics related to filmmaking. Make time for the 50-minute talk; it’s very much worth it. Read More »

Aningaaq

(Note: Spoilers for Gravity follow.)

Alfonso Cuarón‘s Gravity doesn’t really need extra frills to make it better, but a companion short film directed by Cuarón’s son and co-writer Jonás Cuarón could enhance the experience all the same. “Aningaaq” revisits a key scene from the feature in which Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) happens to make contact with someone on Earth — only from the perspective of the Inuit fisherman (played by Orto Ignatiussen) on the other side.

The short didn’t play in front of U.S. screenings of Gravity, unfortunately, but it could get some added attention as the Oscar race heats up for both it and Gravity. In a recent interview, the Cuaróns took the time to explain “Aningaaq,” and how it came about. Hit the jump to see what they had to say.

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Gravity set

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s complaints notwithstanding, Gravity has been hailed by most moviegoers as being one of the most realistic depictions of space travel ever put to film. It’s so realistic, in fact, that one reporter seemed fooled entirely.

At a recent press conference for the film, a journalist asked director Alfonso Cuarón about the challenges of shooting in space. The guy probably wasn’t being entirely serious — it turns out he works for a comedy show — but he later defended his question anyway, saying, “Don’t tell me I was the only one who had that doubt.” Hit the jump to watch how it all went down.

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Gravity

Having a strong story vision and a strong producer are of paramount importance when trying to guide a film through the studio machine. Without those elements, any given story can fall prey to different visions, or to the fear executives have of working with the unusual or unproven, or (worse) an idea they can’t quite visualize for themselves.

When faced with such things, the typical approach is to shoehorn in tried and true elements to make the story in question look more “normal.”

Alsonfo Cuarón has recently explained just how studio execs’ need for safety and easy visualization nearly came together with his new film Gravity. If Cuarón and his team had been less solid, the film might have fallen prey to the studio impulse to make things softer and safer. We might have seen flashback scenes, or a love story subplot, or even a male version of Sandra Bullock’s character. Cuarón explains below. Read More »

Gravity BTS

Almost all modern films rely heavily on sound to make an impact. With Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity, however, the things we don’t hear are just as important as those we do. Taking place entirely in space, with scenes set in the vacuum between spacecraft and within those crafts themselves, the film features a more realistic type of sound design than we’ve seen in most space-based films.

So while we hear dialogue transmitted through suit audio and some sounds of interaction channeled as vibrations through space suits worn by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, some of the big events in the film go down without the typical booming movie sound effects. Seeing spacecraft disintegrate in near-silence turns out to be far more effective in some ways than the same scene would be with standard effects — could we see Gravity effecting any big change in how certain films are soundtracked? Here’s hoping.

Regardless, there’s a lot to talk about with respect to the creation of sound effects in Gravity. The great Soundworks Collection has a ten-minute video on the subject, which you can enjoy below. Read More »

Gravity

Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity landed with a huge splash this weekend, earning near-unanimous critical praise and exceeding all box office predictions to become the biggest October opening in history. Much of the appeal lay in the film’s verisimilitude. As several reviewers put it, Gravity is the closest that most of us non-astronauts will ever get to space.

But wowing general audiences who don’t know the first thing about actual space travel is one thing. Passing muster with experts is quite another. While astronaut Buzz Aldrin wrote that he was “extravagantly impressed,” astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson took to Twitter to point out everything the movie got wrong. Hit the jump to see what they had to say.

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