Posted on Monday, December 1st, 2014 by Angie Han
Fairly or not, each year a handful of pictures are pegged as probable Academy Awards contenders sight-unseen. Angelina Jolie‘s Louis Zamperini biopic Unbroken was one of those for months, but now the picture has come into clearer focus as the first reviews have hit the web.
The general consensus so far is that Unbroken is good but not great. Critics praised the talent involved, including lead actor Jack O’Connell, cinematographer Roger Deakins, and composer Alexandre Desplat, and enjoyed the extraordinary fact-based plotline. However, they were less impressed by Jolie’s dutifully conventional, cripplingly respectful approach.
Whether the good outweighs the bad is something we’ll have to find out for ourselves when the film hits theaters December 25. But in the meantime, get the Unbroken early buzz after the jump. Read More »
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Posted on Friday, September 19th, 2014 by Angie Han
Angelina Jolie‘s directing career is heating up fast. It was just three years ago that she debuted her first filmmaking effort, In the Land of Blood and Honey, and her second, this December’s Unbroken, is already getting great buzz. She’s working on her third film By the Sea as we speak, and now she’s gone and booked her fourth.
Skydance Production has just signed Jolie to helm Africa, scripted by Oscar winner Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) based on the true tale of paleo-archaeologist Richard Leakey. Hit the jump for more about Angelina Jolie directing Africa.
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Here’s a feature-length documentary on the art of cinematography — one of many such films, but this particular one does feature the participation of dozens of cinematographers. Actually, more than “dozens” — Jon Fauer‘s Cinematographer Style features interviews with over one hundred shooters. They include, but are hardly limited to Roger Deakins, László Kovács, Vittorio Storaro, Gordon Willis, Matthew Libatique, Bill Pope, Newton Thomas Sigel, Dante Spinotti, and John Toll.
A week ago I watched the beginning of the film and was put off — ironically, this film devoted to cinematography is hampered at the beginning by a too-literal and sometimes haphazard edit. But scan forward a bit to where the detailed talk of technique begins, and you’ll find a rich trove of material learned by years of experience on some of the most significant films. For anyone interested in how films are made — and not just how, but why — this is a great feature. Read More »
Briefly: Despite the fact that some of the core Skyfall team is returning for the as-yet-untitled Bond 24, one person who won’t return to work at Pinewood is cinematographer Roger Deakins. While it would have been more surprising to find that Deakins was showing up for a Bond sequel, I think many people had hoped that might come to pass, given that his work was utterly intrinsic to the success of Skyfall.
The info comes from Kris Tapley of In Contention, who got it straight from Deakins. We don’t know what the cinematographer’s next film will be; he’s in post on Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken right now and has been working on How to Train Your Dragon 2 as a consultant. Hopefully this means he’ll be free for the next Coen Brothers film. (Though I certainly can’t complain about the work done by Bruno Delbonnel on Inside Llewyn Davis — he came on to shoot the film when Deakins was busy on Skyfall.)
Bond 24 will be written by John Logan and directed by Sam Mendes, with Daniel Craig returning as James Bond. It is scheduled for release on October 23, 2015 in the UK and November 6, 2015 in the US.
Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini, an American Olympian who competed in 1936, and a World War II veteran who survived a plane crash at sea during the war only to be picked up by the Japanese Navy and interred in a POW camp.
Angelina Jolie directs the film as her follow-up to In the Land of Blood and Honey, but it’s a few of the other names in the crew roster that might get your attention: Roger Deakins (No Country For Old Men, Skyfall, Prisoners) shot the film, and Joel and Ethan Coen did some work on the script. (Just how much we don’t know, but their involvement is a good bullet point in Universal’s sales pitch if nothing else.)
Here is an unusual “trailer,” written and cut specifically for an Olympic audience, with narration by Tom Brokaw and vintage photos and footage of Zamperini cut into the footage from Jolie’s film along with a recent interview with Zamperini. Read More »
For some film fans, the ASC award for achievement in cinematography are among the most important parts of awards season, as they honor the work that too often goes unheralded. This year, a three-way tie in the nominating process means that seven people are nominated instead of five. Given the amount of excellent work done in 2013, that slate of seven nominees means ASC is able to acknowledge more achievements — and yet Hoyte Van Hoytema still didn’t get a nomination for Her.
Those who did score nominations include Roger Deakins, for Prisoners, Philippe Le Sourd, for The Grandmaster, and Bruno Delbonnel, for Inside Llewyn Davis, which breaks a streak of guild awards looking away from the Coen Brothers latest film. Read the full nomination slate below. Read More »
Briefly: Angelina Jolie has impressive talent working with her behind the camera for her second directorial effort, Unbroken. Roger Deakins is shooting the film, and Joel and Ethan Coen are doing a pass on the script that also bears work from William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese.
The film is based on the book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. It tells the story of Lou Zamperini, an Olympian in 1936 and a pilot in WWII. In 1943, his plane crashed in the Pacific, and “he survived without food and water for 47 days, enduring shark attacks, aerial attacks and hunger before washing ashore on a Japanese island behind enemy lines, where he was held as a prisoner of war for two years and tortured by his captors.”
Jack O’Connell (Skins) plays Zemperini, and now Garrett Hedlund, who was hoping to play the central figure himself, has signed on to play another role. We don’t have details on the part he’ll play, but with Deakins and the Coens adding their skills, it might not matter. [Variety]
The films of Denis Villeneuve stick with people. Movies like Incendies, Polytechnique, and Maelstrom demonstrate a knack for plunging recognizable characters into difficult situations (some based in reality, some purely fictional) and exploring the outcome in ways that most audiences won’t readily forget. His work is strong enough to attract an incredible cast to Prisoners, a drama in which two young girls go missing, shattering the complacent lives of their parents.
Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Paul Dano are the core cast, and the film was shot by the stunningly talented Roger Deakins. This first trailer for the movie is very intense, but may also give away more than you’d like to know. (Or it gives that impression, at least; I bet there’s a lot more than we see here.) I stopped watching 2/3 through, but what I saw was enough to confirm the September release as a must-see. Check out the footage below. Read More »
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