17 items from 2016
“A cinematographer is a visual psychiatrist — moving an audience through a movie […] making them think the way you want them to think, painting pictures in the dark,” said the late, great Gordon Willis. As we continue our year-end coverage, one aspect we must highlight is, indeed, cinematography, among the most vital to the medium. From talented newcomers to seasoned professionals, we’ve rounded up the examples that have most impressed us this year. Check out our rundown below and, in the comments, let us know your favorite work.
At this point, it would be unfair to call Bradford Young an up-and-coming cinematographer. While it’s an accurate description in terms of his relative years behind the camera, the caliber of his work already feels like one of the most accomplished in the genre. Ahead of a Han Solo prequel, he got his first taste with sci-fi thanks to Denis Villeneuve‘s Arrival. »
- The Film Stage
Entertainment Weekly has just premiered the music video for Grouplove’s “Good Morning,” which features Elle Fanning. The video was directed by cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt, a frequent collaborator of Kelly Reichardt’s whose recent credits include “Certain Women” and “Indignation.” Watch it below.
“The whole video is based around a quest for a magical, eternal light,” singer Hannah Hooper explains to EW. “Christian [Zucconi, the band’s guitarist] is super sick in bed and I’m his badass all knowing chick who goes on an epic quest to bring him the light, which will save him.” Grouplove is setting off on tour early next year; here are their dates:
1/30/17: Knoxville, Tn — The Mill & Mine+
1/31/17: Asheville, Nc — The Orange Peel+
2/01/17: Saxapahaw, »
- Michael Nordine
Sometimes, in those rare, remarkable occasions, you know right off that a film is great. From the first shot of Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women—a grainy Montana landscape grayed by winter, with hills so soft in they could be painted on, and a train arcing its way towards the camera—it is clear this film is special. Based on stories by author Maile Meloy, the film takes the unusual form of a sequence of three stories, all set in small town Montana, and each foregrounded on a woman and her conflicted yearning.Laura Dern is a lawyer whose client (Jared Harris) in a dead-end malfeasance lawsuit gets increasingly dejected and unhinged at the same time her love affair with an anonymous man—played by James Le Gros and introduced in the film’s opening scene in an homage to Psycho’s work break rendezvous—falters. In the second tale, »
Many promising films will likely get a release in 2017, but near the top of our most-anticipated is the latest feature from Sofia Coppola. After 2013’s The Bling Ring, she has now begun production on her remake of the 1971 Don Siegel thriller The Beguiled. With Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Colin Farrell, Angourie Rice, and Addison Riecke rounding out the main ensemble, Coppola has also found a cinematographer.
After working with Edward Lachman, Lance Acord, Christopher Blauvelt, and the late Harris Savides, it’s been revealed that she’s chosen Philippe Le Sourd (The Grandmaster) to shoot the film. The Civil War-era story follows Farrell as a Union soldier held captive by the Confederates in a girls’ boarding school, where he begins to con his way into their hearts. Thanks to a handful of Instagram posts, we can now see production has kicked off in Louisiana.
Update: Focus Features »
- Jordan Raup
Kelly Reichardt makes films that unfold at the speed of life, not Hollywood. She's a poet of the space between words, and the hypnotic and haunting Certain Women presents the writer-director at her artfully attentive best. Dropping in on the lives of three Montana women, beautifully played by Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart, Reichardt uses three short stories by Maile Meloy to spin an exquisite web.
Dern plays Laura Wells, a small-town lawyer who has just been kissed off by her married lover and must now figure out »
There’s always something nice to be found when a bigger actor or actress continues to come back and work with the more independently minded filmmakers that helped launch them. In the case of Michelle Williams, she continually teams back up with writer/director Kelly Reichardt, with their latest collaboration being the drama Certain Women, which opens this week. They also bring on other strong actresses, though this time they have one of their best yet in Kristen Stewart, who is just terrific here, along with Laura Dern. Reichardt is a bit of an acquired taste for sure, and this is possibly one of her slowest films yet, but the acting is unimpeachable. The movie is a look at a quartet of women in a small Montana town and how their lives intersect in small ways, spread out over three segments. One concerns Laura Wells (Dern), a lawyer dealing with »
- Joey Magidson
Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy) delivers her latest Certain Women, based on the short stories by Maile Meloy, a three-part feature starring Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart.
Reichardt’s lingering drama starts off by focussing on Dern’s small-town lawyer having a lunchtime bit of fun with attached man who then has to deal with a hostage situation concerning one of her clients (Jared Harris). Then there’s Michelle Williams’ construction company owner apparently living in a tent while her husband builds their dream house. Then there’s the third chapter, led by Kristin Stewart’s law student who has signed up to teach a twice-weekly class in a town four hours drive away. There she meets lonely »
- Paul Heath
DaguerrotypeDear Fern,I've heard a lot of mixed things here about Terrence Malick's Voyage of Time, so I'm very pleased at your enraptured praise. Did you know from the first moment that you liked it so much? Sometimes, in those rare special occasions, you know right off that a film is great. From the first shot of Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, a grainy Montana landscape grayed by winter, with hills so soft in they could be painted on, and a train arcing its way towards the camera, it is clear this film is special. Based on stories by author Maile Meloy, the film takes the unusual form of a sequence of three stories, all set in small town Montana, and each foregrounded on a woman and her conflicted yearning.Laura Dern is a lawyer whose client (Jared Harris) in a dead-end malfeasance lawsuit gets increasingly dejected and unhinged »
Editor’s Note: For his directorial debut, James Schamus chose to adapt Philip Roth’s “Indignation,” which tells the story of a Jewish boy who leaves home to go to college in Ohio during the Korean War. To help create the early 1950s period feel of the film, Schamus turned to cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt (“Night Moves” and “Low Down”). IndieWire recently asked Blauvelt to breakdown the process of how he created the film’s understated and elegant look. What he supplied was a detailed description of how he used today’s cutting edge digital technology to simulate the Kodachrome film stock that defined the era’s color photography.
Reversal Film Stock
- Chris O'Falt
I love being surprised by a movie, no matter what type of a movie it is. A few weeks ago, I saw Indignation, a period piece that is just tremendous. I didn’t get a chance to write about it last week, so I wanted to double back now. It is just such a strong film, one that absolutely wrecked me, that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to rave about it a little bit. Few flicks in 2016 have surprised me like this one has. Indignation began its theatrical run last weekend on a limited basis and is an absolute must see. Trust me there folks. The film is an adaptation of the Philip Roth novel of the same name. It follows college freshman Marcus Mesner (Logan Lerman) in the early 1950’s as he travels from his working class New Jersey town to a small college in Ohio, in »
- Joey Magidson
Indignation review by Paul Heath, Berlin Film Festoval, 2016. Indignation is the new film from celebrated American filmmaker James Schamus, the producer behind movies like Brokeback Mountain, Sense and Sensibility and The Ice Storm. Here, Schmaus moves to direct his first motion picture, a period drama based on The Human Stain writer Phillip Roth‘s novel, Indignation.
Leading the cast is rising star Logan Lerman. He plays the character of Marcus Messner, a working-class, Jewish student from New Jersey, who wins a scholarship to attend a prestigious Ohio college, thus avoiding the call-up for duty in the Korean War. There, he attracts the attention, and is attracted to, fellow student Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon), causing his sexual liberation, and the indignation of the title, most of which comes from the direction of »
- Paul Heath
Commonly known as a lieu that breeds new filmmaking talents, Nicholas Bell and I look back at the filmmakers who made the most noteworthy splash at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Here are our Top 10 New Voices countdown:
Producer on Patrick Wang’s The Grief of Others and Trey Edward Shults’s Krisha, Jim Cummings showed everyone who is the “boss” with the devilishly funny, conceptually sophisticated and fastidiously well executed short film. In one stroke, Cummings demonstrates a formal rigour, an impressionable, sumptuous pulse and fall-out-of-your-seat choreography. Winner of the top prize with the Short Film Grand Jury Prize, Thunder Road is a crowd pleaser and one heck of a lucky charm calling card. (El)
#9. Bernardo Britto – Jacqueline (Argentine)
On our radar two years back with his animated short (Yearbook), we were quite surprised by the form and the off the chart text »
- IONCINEMA.com Contributing Writers
After helping filmmakers such as Todd Haynes, Ang Lee, and Todd Solondz shape their careers, James Schamus has finally made the leap from producer to director with an adaptation of Philip Roth‘s 2008 novel Indignation. The 1951-set feature follows Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman), a Newark-bred Jewish teenager heading to his first semester at a Lutheran college in Ohio. In doing so, he avoids the draft for the Korean War, which is claiming extended family and friends as victims. While a morally sound, eloquent, and confident individual, at college he grapples with sexuality and a distinct indignation, primarily inflicted by Dean Caudwell (Tracy Letts).
This is the sixth feature to adapt a Roth novel (Schamus is also on screenwriting duties), and in a post-screening Q&A one of the film’s producers read an e-mail from the author, who found Indignation to be the most faithful and truthful adaptation of his work. »
- Jordan Raup
Variety's Guy Lodge on Certain Women, which has just premiered at Sundance: "Crafted with Kelly Reichardt’s customary calico-textured beauty and expertly performed by such hand-picked ensemble players as Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Laura Dern, this unapologetically open-ended slow burn probably won’t convert many viewers to Reichardt’s softly-softly sensibility, but it’s among her richest, most refined works." Screen's Anthony Kaufman: "Working with cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt, who also shot Reichardt’s previous Night Moves and Meek’s Cutoff, the film has the genuineness of a documentary combined with the exquisite but never overly self-conscious imagery of an art film." We're gathering reviews as they come in. » - David Hudson »
The cinema of Kelly Reichardt lives in quiet, tender observations with deeply rooted characters and location. Even when adding a thriller element as with her last feature, the overlooked Night Moves, her style is never compromised. Her latest feature, Certain Women, is a loosely connected three-part drama adapted from the short stories of Maile Meloy. It’s perhaps the purest distillation of her sensibilities yet as she patiently explores the longing for human connection in world where men too often get prioritized.
Primarily set in Livingston, Montana, the first story concerns a lawyer (Laura Dern) whose current client (Jared Harris) has been displaced after a workplace accident. By settling for a small sum upfront that barely paid for any related expenses, further litigation has proved impossible. She notes that, if she was a man, her client might have listened to her for the last eight months delivering this exact news. »
- Jordan Raup
As co-founder and former CEO of Focus Features, James Schamus was responsible for releasing some of the most elegant and stylish independent films of the past 15 years. Look closely at his similarly tony directorial debut, “Indignation,” and you can see traces of that prestigious lineup, from the detail-perfect period recreation of Todd Haynes’ “Far From Heaven” to the existential angst of the Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man” — connections that affirm both the quality of Schamus’ taste and the fact that the Columbia U. prof had been diligently studying the artists he’d championed. With “Indignation,” instead of handing the screenplay off to frequent collaborator Ang Lee, Schamus opted to make Philip Roth’s 29th novel his own first feature, choosing an emotional and incredibly personal piece of material (it fictionalizes Roth’s own early-’50s college experience) that adapts well to his polite, polished and reasonably old-fashioned aesthetic.
Though the »
- Peter Debruge
Few contemporary filmmakers can do quite as much with quiet as Kelly Reichardt. Superficially empty soundscapes are layered so intricately with the rustle of nature, the brooding of weather and the breathing of preoccupied people that her films come to seem positively noisy to a sympathetic ear. So it is in the marvelous “Certain Women,” where the storytelling has a similarly latent impact. Separating the spare narratives of several disparate Montana women — a morally stressed lawyer, a nest-building mother, a lonely ranch hand — waiting indefinitely for their worlds to fall into place, it’s a peculiarly riveting examination of the lives lived when even their owners aren’t looking. Crafted with Reichardt’s customary calico-textured beauty and expertly performed by such hand-picked ensemble players as Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Laura Dern, this unapologetically open-ended slow burn probably won’t convert many viewers to Reichardt’s softly-softly sensibility, but it’s among her richest, »
- Guy Lodge
17 items from 2016
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