Cinematographer Gordon Willis Has Died at 82

Gordon Willis died

The man who did more than any other to influence the entire art of cinematography through a single film was Gordon Willis. The Godfather broke every classical “rule” in the book, and much of its impact can be attributed to the unusual but intuitive approach Willis took to photographing the film. In many scenes Willis used as little illumination as possible. In doing so he invited us to lean forward, to peer into the eyes of characters with blackened souls. We may have recoiled when we saw what was truly in the heart of Michael Corleone, but we could never look away. Willis painted with shadow, and for it earned a loving nickname that was better suited to Michael Corleone: the Prince of Darkness.

Now Gordon Willis has died at the age of 82. A cause of death has not been released, but Willis’ passing has been confirmed by American Society of Cinematographers president Richard Crudo. Read More »

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The primary purpose of a movie poster is to tell a consumer about a film in hopes they’ll want to watch it. Artist Robert Brandenburg wants to do the same thing. He’s just selling the wrong message. The Ohio-based artist, who came onto the pop art scene at Gallery 1988 in 2011, is one half of the latest exhibit the Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas, opening September 14. His work in the show consists of seven original movie posters on which he has painted, ever so slightly, to completely subvert the purpose of the poster. For example, he reworked Deliverance, seen above.

/Film is proud to debut Brandenburg’s hilarious reinterpretation of Woody Allen‘s 1979 film Manhattan along with an interview with the artist, discussing his choices, style and revealing which other films will be featured in the exhibit. Two words: Free Willy. Check it out below. Read More »

Fans of FX’s Louie will no doubt be thrilled to check out this unrevealing but artsy teaser for the show’s third season, but it’s Showtime that steals most of the spotlight in today’s TV Bits. The premium cable network has a new poster for Episodes, a new teaser for Homeland, and possibly even a new love interest for Dexter. Also after the jump:

  • Damages sets a start date for its fifth and final season
  • The horror-sitcom Holliston gets renewed for Season 2
  • AMC mulls over six scripts for possible pilot orders

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VOTD: 50 Comedy Spoilers in 3 Minutes

Our friends the Fine Brothers have filed the latest episode of their popular “Spoiler” series — 50 Comedy Spoilers in 3 Minutes, in one take. You might remember that we’ve featured their videos 50 Christmas Movie Spoilers in 3 Minutes100 Movie Spoilers in 4 minutes, Spoiling Every Best Picture Winner in Oscar History, 50 spoilers of 2009 in 4 minutes, 100 Horror Movie Spoilers in 5 Minutes, and 50 Disney Spoilers in 3 Minutes.  Hit the jump to watch their latest. And if it isn’t completely obvious already, please be warned that the following video contains spoilers.
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Movie Playlist: Brad Anderson

Welcome to another edition of Movie Playlist, where we talk to the writers, directors, and stars about their favorite films. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business moved to Hollywood after discovering their love of films. And I’ve always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.


In this week’s Movie Playlist we interviewed director Brad Anderson, who I first discovered through the wonderful but unseen Boston indie Next Stop Wonderland, which featured Hope Davis and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. In 1997, Anderson was named by Variety as one of the “Ten Leading New Independent Directors to Watch.” His filmography includes Happy Accidents, Session 9, and The Machinist. His television credits include episodes of Homicide; The Wire; The Shield; and Surface. His new film Transsiberian, which hits theaters today, is a Hitchcockian thriller which he also co-wrote.

/Film: I just want to start off saying, I’m a big fan of all your work. I’m from Boston,

Brad Anderson:
Oh yeah, really.

/Film: so I’ve been following your career since Next Stop Wonderland.

Brad Anderson:
Oh great, wow!

/Film: So this is great, so – I want to talk to you today, I’m not sure if they briefed you but we do a feature called Movie Playlist which basically talks about your favorite movies of all time, or maybe not even just your favorite movies but movies you watch a lot, or movies you love. What are some of your favorite movies?

Brad Anderson: Favorite movies? It runs the gamut, in no particular order and no particular preference, I just caught, anything by Stanley Kubrick, I can watch those movies again and again I don’t know why, but just something about what he invests in his films and the meticulous level of detail, and choreography that I just find as a filmmaker craft of film making is so apparent in his movies that every time you watch them it’s like being taught how to make a movie, so yeah, I just caught 2001 recently again and it’s just like the kind of thing you’re clicking through the channels and you sort of catch a piece of it and you’re like yeah, I’ve seen this about 20 million times and you’re about to switch to another channel and you just find yourself watching it and the next thing you know you’ve watched it all over again.

/Film: 2001 is one of those movies that if you come across on cable, basically you’ve lost three hours of your life.

Brad Anderson: [laughs] Yeah, it’s so amazing to me that movie and all his films, but that one in particular because it’s like, you think about it the way – I don’t know what you’d call it, it’s not a thriller, it’s not a straight out sci-fi film, it’s not necessarily a straight out adventure movie, it’s just a study in visual brilliance, you know, and the way that his use of sound and his use of music and anything by Kubrick.

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Movie Playlist: Jonathan Levine

Welcome to another edition of Movie Playlist, where we talk to the writers, directors, and stars about their favorite films. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business moved to Hollywood after discovering their love of films. And I’ve always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.

This week’s edition is with Jonathan Levine, the writer and director of The Wackness and All The Boys Love Mandy Lane. I first saw The Wackness at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where the movie went on to win the audience award. I’ve seen the film three times since January, and it still remains on my list of the top five films of 2008. Levine is an up and coming filmmaker who is sure to impress in the years to come.

Manhattan, written and directed by Woody Allen

“Just because of the sweeping kind of romantic scope of it and also the humor and the way it looks.”

Billy Madison by Tamra Davis

“I think it’s just really fucking funny.”

Band of Outsiders by Godard

I really like, well Godard, I think is, I really really like the way he makes films and the way he plays with form is really interesting to me. And I think it’s actually in many ways kind of consistent with hip-hop and sampling things and just the things he does with music and sound. I think he’s like a one of a kind, very unique, and I like to rip him off as much as I can.”

La Notte by Michelangelo Antonioni

Eyes Wide Shut by Stanley Kubrick

“It’s just like a tone, you know? As much as Woody Allen kind of revels in the emotion, those guys kind of have a healthy distance from the emotion that in many ways is just as impactful. There’s a misanthropy to it that is not cynical. It’s like you’re showing that the worst side of people but in doing so, you’re allowing… you know, it’s Tom Cruise, you’re like ‘oh shit! Like Tom Cruise is this scumbag… he has the weirdest thoughts and his wife wants to cheat on him with a marine and he’s Tom Cruise but he’s so fucking fucked up by it that he has to go put on a mask and go to an orgy.’ But you identify with these base desires and with the worst part of human beings and then you realize all right, it’s not that bad. The movie ends on this note where it’s like, oh yeah, we got fucked. I really liked that movie. It might not be my favorite movie… the only one of those movies that constitutes my favorite movie is Manhattan but the other ones do really interesting things that I respect out of movies.”

Check out Jonathan Levine’s latest movie The Wackness, which hits limited release this Friday.

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