You might not know the name Harris Savides, but you know his work as a cinematographer. An award-winning stretch of music videos, including R.E.M.’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ and Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Closer,’ led to an impressive his feature film debut, David Fincher‘s The Game, in 1997.

What followed was a long stretch of films with Gus Van Sant (Finding Forrester, Gerry, Elephant, Last Days, Milk) and feature work with directors such as Ridley Scott, Sofia Coppola, and Noah Baumbach, during which Savides mastered a distinctive style that defined a wonderful mid-point between realism and pure cinema. His twin recreations of ’70s San Francisco (in Zodiac and Milk) could be the new standard for integrating practical and digital effects to create a compelling recreation of a period location. Savides did some of the best digital work in the early days of the format, and was one of the cinematographers whose style could flow from film to digital with apparent ease.

Now we’ve learned that Savides died today at the age of 55. The cause of death is not widely reported, but there are hints of a serious illness faced by the cinematographer in the last few years. His last film work will be seen in Sofia Coppola’s next film, The Bling RingRead More »

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This Week in DVD is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the DVDs at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.

Buy It

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
If you’re looking for a vampire movie to help wipe away the embarrassing display of inanity that came with last year’s Twilight, look no further. This bizarre Swedish horror tale of love and revenge ranked #6 on my top ten favorite films of 2008, and I’m clearly not the only one who believes it’s deserving of such praise. It may not be the first film to offer its own unique twist on the vampire genre, but it’s easily one of the best, providing an intimate and compelling study of its two young characters while always making sure the heart-stopping moments are never too far away. Rest assured, there are scenes in this movie that will stick with you for weeks to come.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Deleted scenes, a behind the scenes featurette, and a poster gallery.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$18.99 $19.99
Amazon – $18.99

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amcpictureshowcase

Are you way behind on your movie watching? The Oscars are approaching faster than you think. In case you hadn’t realized, they’re on this Sunday. Still haven’t seen Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, or Slumdog Millionaire? Not doing anything this Saturday? Well then, you’re in luck. If you have $30 bucks to spare, you can catch every single one of these films in a row, starting with Milk at 10:30am, all the way up to Frost/Nixon at 9:45pm. It boils down to almost 11 complete hours of film time, and AMC is tossing in a large popcorn with free refills all day to boot. Plus you’ll be able to come and go as you please… like during the last hour or so of Benjamin Button.

Over 97 different AMC theaters across the U.S. are participating in this showcase, and you can check on their website to see if this is happening near you. While it might not be all three Lord of the Rings movies in a row (which is almost as long with those extended editions), it’s still a pretty serious way to geek out on some quality movies. Just make sure you eat your weight in popcorn to really squeeze some extra value out of your thirty bucks. That’s what I’m planning on doing (I’ll be at the one in Anaheim), and now I just have to figure out how to smuggle in a tank full of soda.

There is a phenomenon known as “the Oscar bounce.” When a movie receives Academy Award nominations, especially one of the five coveted Best Picture slots, ticket-buyers generally follow. The Oscar seal of approval used to mean something to the rank-and-file moviegoer, but that seems to have changed.

Only one of this year’s Best Picture nominees has inspired any real passion from the broad public. The almost-certain Best Picture winner is Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), and its devotees, including critics and members of the Academy (not to mention yours truly), have made it a word-of-mouth smash hit. The Danny Boyle-directed feel-good Bollywood fusion movie made for a meager $14M added another $2.05M or so on Friday and is charting a 3-day course for about $7.25M. That will give the Slumdog a $77.2M take, and it could reach $90M-$95M before it’s through in American theatres.
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Yesterday, The Dark Knight grabbed Writers Guild and Producers Guild nominations, shocking some Hollywood insiders who don’t believe that the comic book movie has a chance at the Best Picture Academy Award. Today Christopher Nolan and the film have been nominated for the Director’s Guild of America Awards. Here is the list of nominees:

David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”

I’m shocked that Darren Aronofsky didn’t make the list for The Wrestler, especially over Howard’s Ron Nixon.

The Dark Knight Grabs WGA and PGA Nominations

Both the Writers Guild of America (East and West) and the Producers Guild have nominated The Dark Knight as one of the best films of the year. This further solidifies The Dark Knight as a Best Picture contender, shocking some Hollywood insiders. Full list of nominations after the jump.

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Milk Sweeps 2008 San Francisco Critics Circle Awards

The San Francisco Critics Circle (which I’m sadly not a part of) has announced their 2008 Award Winners:

Best Picture: Milk
Best Director: Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, “Milk”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”
Best Actor: TIE: Sean Penn, “Milk”/Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Let the Right One In”
Best Documentary: “My Winnipeg”
Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister, “The Dark Knight”

The results are a little unsurprising considering Milk is a hometown film, and San Francisco is a liberal city which usually rewards a cause over a story (I say this as a liberal living in San Francisco).

The American Film Institute has packed their Top 10 films of the year. Like any AFI list, the films are all over the map from indies to big Hollywood blockbusters, and I find myself a little bit angry after reading through the selections (although, not as much as I usually am). Why was Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire snubbed? I thought it was considered to be partly an American production? I am also surprised that they included two comic book films in the results (not that I disagree).

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Frozen River
Gran Torino
Iron Man
Milk
WALL-E
Wendy and Lucy
The Wrestler

Also, the Boston Society of Film Critics have voted and declared WALL-E and Slumdog Millionaire both the Best Movies of the Year. And for those of you counting, this is the second critic association to give the Best Picture Award to WALL-E. Could this be a foreshadowing of what might be to come with the Academy Awards?

The Best Picture category was not the only tie, the BSFC awarded both Sean Penn (Milk) and Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) Best Actor of the Year honors. The rest of the list follow:

Best Actress: Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Director: Gus Van Sant for Milk and Paranoid Park
Best Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black for Milk
Best Cinematography: Christopher Doyle and Rain Kathy Li for Paranoid Park
Best Documentary: Man on Wire
Best Foreign-Language Film: Let the Right One In
Best Animated Film: WALL•E
Best Film Editing: Chris Dickens for Slumdog Millionaire
Best New Filmmaker:
Martin McDonagh for In Bruges
Best Ensemble Cast: Tropic Thunder

via: In Contention

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