1917 - Sam Mendes

Continuing the march towards the Academy Awards, director Sam Mendes won another key award for his work on the war drama 1917, making it likely that he’ll end up with a little golden man when the Oscars winners are unveiled next month. The Director’s Guild of America announced the winners of their annual awards, and Mendes took home the top prize for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film. But it wasn’t the only award the 1917 earned this weekend. Read More »

1917 interview actors

This weekend, the 31st Producer’s Guild Awards honored achievements in producing film and television from last year. This is one of the key awards that start to give us an idea of what movie is likely to take home Best Picture when the Oscars are handed out, so everyone was waiting to see what movie won The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, the equivalent of Best Picture among the 2020 PGA Awards winners.

In a turn that was a little less surprising after its victory at the Golden Globes a couple weeks ago, Sam Mendes‘ war drama 1917 landed the top prize. But who walked away with awards for animated and documentary features, as well as all the television awards? Get the full list of 2020 PGA Awards winners below. Read More »

Making of 1917

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, find out how the Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated war drama 1917 was filmed to look like it unfolds in in a single shot. Plus, dancer Jenna Dewan, takes a look at dancing scenes from movies such as La La Land, Napoleon Dynamite, Save the Last Dance, Pulp Fiction, and more. And see how the flying sequences in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil were shot with special rigs and plenty of blue screen. Read More »

weekend box office 1917

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is no longer in first place. The weekend box office numbers are in, and it appears that Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917 has dethroned the final entry in the Skywalker Saga to be number one. Elsewhere in box office land, Kristen Stewart’s fun sea monster movie Underwater failed to swim and instead sank, which is a serious bummer because that movie deserves better.

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Ben Pearson’s Top 10 Movies of 2019

Ben Pearson's Top 10 Movies of 2019

After a rough start, 2019 ended up being a terrific year for film. Several movies which didn’t make my personal list – films like Marriage Story, Toy Story 4, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Us, Apollo 11, One Cut of the Dead, Uncut Gems, etc. – could easily constitute a separate lineup teeming with its own memorable moments. But, as the saying goes, though there are many [lists] like it, this one is mine. Here are my favorite films of last year.
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Parasite - 2020 PGA Award Nominations

Hot on the heels of the Writers Guild of America chiming in with their award nominations for the films of 2019, the Producers Guild of America is revealed the nominees for their 31st annual awards ceremony. There aren’t really any surprises among the nominees for film with Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Knives Out, Little Women, Marriage Story, and Parasite all landing a nomination for the PGA’s equivalent of Best Picture. Rounding out the noms are recent Golden Globe winners 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Along with the nominations for motion pictures, the PGA also announced their awards for animated movies, streaming and cable movies, as well as television. Get the full list of 2020 PGA Award nominations below. Read More »

1917 Sam Mendes interview

1917‘s seemingly death-defying camera work from master cinematographer (and recent Oscar winner) Roger Deakins is extraordinary as it moves through varying terrains in the guise of a single take, with no place to hide lights (he’s working in natural light most of the time). The result is a powerful antiwar statement couched in a tense and emotionally gripping work, as the camera seems to hover around the action as both a ghostly observer and a character in the trenches with the film’s leads.

1917 comes courtesy of director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall, Revolutionary Road) and his co-writer (and rising talent) Krysty Wilson-Cairns, the Penny Dreadful veteran who has also co-written Edgar Wright’s next movie, the horror-thriller Last Night in Soho/Film spoke with Mendes and Wilson-Cairns in Chicago recently to discuss the intricate process of mapping out the geographic journey of the movie’s two lead actors and how that impacted every other phase of the production, the emotional immediacy of making a film appear to occur in real time, and why the project was a deeply personal one for Mendes.
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1917 interview actors

The World War I epic 1917 is so much more than the sum of its single-take gimmick. The film is the story of two brave Lance Corporals — Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman, from Blinded by the Light and Game of Thrones) and Schofield (George MacKay, of Captain Fantastic and Ophelia), who make an arduous and tense trek across what is supposed to be one active battlefield after another. The two young British soldiers are asked to deliver a message to the front line of a battle that is expected to launch the following morning. The message is meant to stop the 1,600 troops from charging into a trap that will result in the massacre of most of the men, one of whom is Blake’s brother. Along their journey, the pair stumble upon what is essentially the totality of the war experience at the time — when men with guns on horses were just beginning to be replaced by massively destructive tanks. As a result, the film gets more unbearably immediate with each passing minute.

This outstanding technical and heartfelt achievement comes courtesy of director/co-writer Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall, Revolutionary Road), who rehearsed both the geographic and emotional beats more like a stage play than a film where editing can be used to hide mistakes or combine the best parts of multiple takes. But by constructing 1917 to look like a single take, many of his directing tools were stripped away, leaving only the performances to carry the weight of this devastating story.

/Film spoke with stars Chapman and MacKay in Chicago recently to discuss how they made personal connections to a World War I story, the months-long rehearsal process that was required to pull off the single-take appearance of the film, and remembering the emotional heart of the story as well as their choreographed movement.
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1917 interview krysty wilson-cairns

1917 is a masterful piece of craftsmanship. Sam Mendes‘ one-shot epic takes a forward-thinking approach to its depiction of World War I, which is an almost apocalyptic vision. It’s a rare vision, too, in which the camerawork and technique are noticeable yet don’t detract from the experience. To write the ambitious war movie, Mendes called Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who was a writer on the Mendes-produced Penny Dreadful and recently co-wrote Edgar Wright’s next film, Last Night in Soho.

Over the last few years, Mendes and Wilson-Cairns collaborated and wrote a handful of scripts together, but for one reason or another, they never became movies. After what they’ve accomplished with 1917, we can only imagine what they could’ve done together sooner. They aimed high and didn’t miss their target on this one. Recently, Wilson-Cairns told us about the earliest ideas for 1917, influential war poetry, and the advantages of writing a one-shot movie. [Warning: this Q&A contains spoilers.]

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1917 trailer final

1917 is a war movie unlike any you’ve seen before. Sam Mendes‘ World War I saga unfolds as if it’s one very long, unbroken shot. It’s not, of course, but Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins found a way to make it work, and work considerably well. Now there’s one final 1917 trailer to set you up for what Mendes and company have in store. Watch it below.

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