Long Takes in Movies

Long takes are such a rarity in cinema it seems that we always have to point out when there’s an especially impressive shot in a film or television show without any cuts. Whether it’s a movie like Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu‘s Oscar-winning Birdman or The Revenant or a real superhero sequence like in the first season of Daredevil, you can’t help but marvel at how these single takes are pulled off.

However, as beautiful and breathtaking as long takes on film are, they aren’t necessarily always a good thing. A new video essay dives into what a long take can’t accomplish on screen, which is perhaps why editing is preferable beyond the technical difficulty of pulling off a long, single take. Watch the video essay about long takes in movies after the jump. Read More »

creed single shot

I think most of us can agree that Creed is one of the best movies of this Holiday season, if not the entire year. Its not just a nostalgia sequel/spin-off as some have written it off as, but a great movie. And since seeing the film two weeks ago there is one sequence which I can’t get out of my head, Adonis’s first professional match as a boxer which is presented in one single shot. Was it really one single take, or was it cleverly stitched together like the scenes were in Birdman? Find out how the Creed single shot boxing sequence was accomplished, after the jump.

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hidden edits in Birdman

With Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance), co-writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel) took a break from torturing characters to, well, torture some more characters. Birdman has a sense of humor, though, something we hadn’t seen much of from Iñárritu in his past work. The film went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, a divisive win amongst movie fans. It is a popular opinion that the long-takes are dazzling, though, and if you want to see some of the hidden edits in Birdman, check them out after the jump.

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bird man black swan comparison

The parallels between Birdman and Black Swan were quickly apparent, as both films feature lead characters with theatrical ambitions who are haunted by bird or bird-like specters. An editor has now presented shots from the two films side by side, and if nothing else the Birdman Black Swan comparison provides a jumping-off point to discuss the relationship of each film to the other. Along with that, you can take in a long conversation with Birdman star Michael Keaton. Read More »


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Birdman toy commercial

Birdman took home a lot of gold statuettes this Sunday, but Riggan Thomson of all people would know that you haven’t really made it until you have your own action figure.

The latest advert for the Alejandro González Iñárritu picture takes the form of a toy commercial, done up in perfect 1990s style. It goes great with the Birdman Returns trailer released last year. Watch the Birdman toy commercial after the jump. Read More »

Independent Spirit Awards 2015

The Independent Spirit Awards were handed out in Santa Monica this afternoon, and the crop of winners includes two accolades for Nightcrawler, two for Boyhood, and three for Birdman, including Best Feature. Whiplash also did well, and in general the Indie Spirit awards this year lined up very strongly with the Oscar predictions we and many other people have made. Check out all the winners for the Independent Spirit Awards 2015 below. Read More »


Not many of us can relate to Riggan Thomson’s exact predicament, because not many of us got world-famous playing avian heroes. But you know who can? Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer behind Big Bird, in this pitch-perfect spoof of Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s Birdman.

Big Birdman: The Unexpected Virtue of Orange Pants follows Spinney as he asks himself questions like “How did we get here?” and gets advice from a certain giant bird. Watch the Sesame Street Birdman parody after the jump. Read More »


Among other things, Birdman stood out last year for the way it was shot. Nearly the entire film looks like it was captured in a single take. It wasn’t — you can spot the seams if you’re paying attention — but it’s still a remarkable feat that required a stunning level of coordination.

To show you just how much work went into maintaining this illusion, a new Birdman featurette dives behind the scenes with director Alejandro González Iñárritu, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, and stars Michael Keaton and Amy Ryan. Watch it after the jump. Read More »

Birdman alternate ending

Birdman, directed byAlejandro González Iñárritu from a script by Alexander Dinelaris, is pretty cynical about Hollywood product. But if things had gone the way the film was originally scripted, it would have ended with an even more pointed jab at the studio franchise machine.

In the film, Michael Keaton plays an actor whose most popular role, Birdman, haunts him as he attempts to mount a stage play. The parallels between Birdman and Batman are impossible to miss. But the original script ended with a scene that took the film’s structure forward to another actor/character pair: Johnny Depp and his Pirates of the Caribbean alter-ego Jack Sparrow.  Read More »

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If the PGA and SAG Awards are any indication, Birdman will be the one to beat in this year’s competitive Best Picture category at the Oscars. The dark comedy took top prize at both ceremonies.

However, it was far from a clean sweep. Although Birdman won Best Ensemble at SAG (the guild’s closest equivalent to Best Picture), none of the three individual actors nominated for the film won their respective categories. Meanwhile, two of the winners from the PGA’s film categories — the animated feature The Lego Movie and the documentary Life Itself — weren’t even nominated in the equivalent category at the Oscars.

On the TV side, Breaking Bad picked up one last trophy at the PGA awards, Orange Is the New Black got showered with love from both guilds, and True Detective once again lost out. Get the full list of 2015 PGA and SAG winners after the jump.

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