Variety Artisan Awards Salute ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Mad Max’ at Santa Barbara Film Festival

Variety Artisan Awards Salute ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Mad Max’ at Santa Barbara Film Festival
Eight recipients of Variety‘s Artisan Awards explained the creative challenges and rewards of their work at a special event during the Santa Barbara Film Festival on Wednesday at the Lobero Theater.

The honorees were cinematography, John Seale, “Mad Max: Thunder Road”; costume design, Jacqueline West, “The Revenant”; editing, Hank Corwin, “The Big Short”; production design, Arthur Max, “The Martian”; music, Carter Burwell, “Carol”; song, Diane Warren, “Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground”; sound editing, Mark Mangini, “Mad Max: Fury Road”; and visual effects, Patrick Tubach, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The evening featured a clip from each film, followed by a one-on-one conversation between each winner and Variety awards editor Tim Gray.

Max, who’s worked with Ridley Scott on 11 films, offered an affectionate and funny monologue praising the director, saying no film school on earth can teach as much as Scott does. “He makes it all look easy,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Downhill Racer

The stylistics of documentary filmmaking helped wipe out the old Hollywood way of doing things, and this sharp look at Olympic skiing is a prime example. Michael Ritchie became a director to be watched filming a killer competitor (Robert Redford), a blaze on the ski slopes and an Sob in every other aspect of his life. The style still looks fresh, 36 years later. Downhill Racer Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 494 1969 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 101 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date December 1, 2015 / 39.95 Starring Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Camilla Sparv, Dabney Coleman, Karl Michael Vogler, Jim McMullan, Kathleen Crowley, Carole Carle. Cinematography Brian Probyn Film Editor Richard A. Harris Original Music Kenyon Hopkins Written by James Salter from a book by Oakley Hall Produced by Richard Gregson Directed by Michael Ritchie

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

In the late 1960s, when the standard Hollywood way of making movies began to fall apart,
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Criterion Collection: Downhill Racer | Blu-ray Review

The Hollywood sports drama has long been an indubitable cinematic staple, albeit a genre trapped in its own particular movements and formulaic flourishes. Tendencies for melodramatic exaggerations are often utilized to enhance and manipulate our emotional investment in these depictions of physical glory, where everyman underdogs are transformed into American heroes due to the very nature of their conquests. But while these dramas prime our tear ducts for a rinse, they inadvertently miss out on the realistic human characteristics which assisted in its subject’s ability to beat all the odds. During Hollywood’s golden era of studio financed auteur projects, a short-lived movement credited to a number of classic titles ranging from the late 60s to the late 70s, director Michael Ritchie inducted two iconic titles into the sports subgenre canon, beginning with his 1969 directorial debut, Downhill Racer (the other being The Bad News Bears in 1976). Written by acclaimed
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December releases announced by The Criterion Collection

The Criterion Collection has recntly announced its line-up of releases for December, which include Ted Wilde’s Speedy, Michael Ritchie’s Downhill Racer, Takashi Murakami’s Jellyfish Eyes and Howard Brookner’s Burroughs: The Movie.

Downhill Racer

Astonishing Alpine location photography and a young Robert Redford in one of his earliest starring roles are just two of the visual splendors of Downhill Racer, the visceral debut feature by Michael Ritchie. In a beautifully understated performance, Redford is David Chappellet, a ruthlessly ambitious skier competing for Olympic gold with an underdog American team in Europe, and Gene Hackman provides tough support as the coach who tries to temper the upstart’s narcissistic drive for glory. With a subtle screenplay by the acclaimed novelist James Salter, Downhill Racer is a vivid character portrait, buoyed by breathtakingly fast and furious imagery that places the viewer directly in the mind of the competitor.

Special Features:

–High-definition digital restoration,
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Editors Guild Selects 75 Best Edited Films of All Time

Now this is a list that could result in a lot of fascinating dissection and thanks to HitFix it comes to our attention almost three years after it was originally released back in 2012, celebrating the Motion Picture Editors Guild's 75th anniversary. Over at HitFix, Kris Tapley asks, "Is this news to anyone elsec" Um, yes, I find it immensely interesting and a perfect starting point for anyone looking to further explore the art of film editing. In an accompanying article we get the particulars concerning what films were eligible and how films were to be considered: In our Jan-feb 12 issue, we asked Guild members to vote on what they consider to be the Best Edited Films of all time. Any feature-length film from any country in the world was eligible. And by "Best Edited," we explained, we didn't just mean picture; sound, music and mixing were to be considered as well.
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What is the best-edited film of all time according to those who do the job?

  • Hitfix
A random bit of researching on a Tuesday night led me to something I didn't know existed: The Motion Picture Editors Guild's list of the 75 best-edited films of all time. It was a feature in part celebrating the Guild's 75th anniversary in 2012. Is this news to anyone else? I confess to having missed it entirely. Naturally, I had to dig in. What was immediately striking to me about the list — which was decided upon by the Guild membership and, per instruction, was considered in terms of picture and sound editorial as opposed to just the former — was the most popular decade ranking. Naturally, the 1970s led with 17 mentions, but right on its heels was the 1990s. I wouldn't have expected that but I happen to agree with the assessment. Thelma Schoonmaker's work on "Raging Bull" came out on top, an objectively difficult choice to dispute, really. It was so transformative,
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Academy 1992 Were Right… Silence of the Lambs Still Deserving Best Picture Oscar

Some say that the best barometer for a film’s success is not the box office popularity upon release, not the reviews of critics, not the amount of awards and Oscars it wins or even how the film beds itself into the popular culture of the time. The true test, some say, is the test of time.

This is why the 20/20 Awards are so smart and fun and in its own way, significant. The awards ceremony is something of a revisionist one, they reflect back on a year in film some two decades later with the benefit of hindsight, to see what movies and performances really were the best from a particular year.

This is the 3rd time the 20/20 awards have taken place and the winners were announced last week at Seattle’s Central Cinema and incredibly as many as 8 Awards were given the ‘Felix’ statue that were also given
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The Doctor Who Column: Did Harry Potter save 'Doctor Who'?

Filming on the new series of Doctor Who has started, and already the reports are trickling in about who's lining up to be in Who. And guess what, two Harry Potter alumni have signed on the dotted line, namely Mark Williams (who played Ronald Weasley's dad) and David Bradley, Aka perma-surly, scraggly mullet head caretaker Argus Filch, a chap who finds it physically impossible to crack a smile.

These two acting giants add to the list of Harry Potter actors in the last couple of years – Toby Jones. Helen McRory. Michael Gambon. Don't forget David Tennant. Give it a couple of years and Daniel Radcliffe will be cast as the 12th Doctor. All this Potter casting got me thinking though – could the popularity of the Harry Potter series have helped the renaissance of Doctor Who back in the early Noughties?

But by and large, these films are a modern marvel.
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Harry Potter and the Feelings of Apathy

I’m sincerely not trying to be terribly witty, cynical or controversial here, rather I simply wanted to share an “outsider’s” perspective on the Harry Potter series, the reflections of someone who doesn’t necessarily dislike the Hp films, but who instead wonders quite what all of the fuss is about. I don’t hate the films (honestly, what is there about them to dislike that strongly?), but I do find myself coolly indifferent to them.

In the interests of placing my cards on the table, I have not read any of the books, nor have I in fact seen all of the films. I suppose that is sort of part of my point. Whilst it would be easy to dismiss my observations on the basis that I haven’t formed a wholly informed opinion, or haven’t given the franchise a decent chance to affect me, surely the
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Australia’s Power 50

It’s been four years since Encore published its Top 20 Directors and Producers list, and we felt it was time to compile a new, more comprehensive list that included professionals working across all areas – film, television and Tvc production – as well as the leaders and decision-makers that determine the direction of the industry.

Instead of having a limited list of panellists, we consulted with the main agencies and organisations, and also asked our readers to nominate their candidates. We ended up with a list of more than 200 screen industry professionals, and deciding the final 50 was indeed a difficult task. Of course, some other very influential and successful people didn’t make the final cut, but there were only 50 spots and too many talented men and women!

We hope you’ll enjoy – or not, and if so, debate it passionately – the selection of what will become our annual Power 50 list.

1. Christopher Mapp
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Film Review: The X-Files: I Want to Believe

Film Review: The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Opens: Friday, July 25 (20th Century Fox)

Ten years after the first "X-Files" movie -- and six since the conclusion of the iconic TV series -- Fox's paranormal-investigation franchise returns to theaters. Unlike 1998's "The X-Files: Fight the Future," the new movie skirts the series' notably paranoid mythology to focus on a relatively standard criminal inquiry, albeit one informed by supernatural incidents. In both scope and execution though, "I Want to Believe" has more in common with its television origins than its motion picture predecessor.

Fox kept the film's plot under tight wraps and held down the production budget, hedging against the potential downside of reintroducing a lukewarm, though popular, franchise. Initial boxoffice should be fairly responsive as loyal "X-Files" fans fill theaters, but with little originality to offer the uninitiated, returns will likely taper off quickly, because the film hardly warrants repeat viewings.

"I Want to Believe" reintroduces the investigatory team of former FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) -- a vociferous adherent of alien abduction, government conspiracy and other fringe theories -- and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), a sober-minded physician specializing in forensics, who together pursued a series of mysterious X-Files cases for the bureau.

Six years have passed since Mulder and Scully left the agency. The pair now resides in an unanticipated state of domesticity, with Scully practicing pediatrics at a Catholic hospital while the discredited and reclusive Mulder pursues his obsession with paranormal media accounts.

The mystifying disappearance of an FBI agent in wintry West Virginia convinces Special Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) to bring Mulder in from the cold to help evaluate claims made by Father Joseph Crissman (Billy Connolly). An avowed psychic and defrocked pedophile priest, Father Joe is having visions of the missing agent that led the FBI team to a man's severed arm buried under the snow that's somehow connected to the case.

After another local woman vanishes and more dismembered body parts surface, Whitney increasingly relies on Mulder to coax leads from Father Joe. Ever rational, Scully and Whitney's colleague, Agent Mosley Drummy (rapper Alvin "Xzibit" Joiner), scoff at the priest's alleged supernatural ability, as the principal characters progressively battle individual crises of faith.

Rather than a creepy supernatural thriller, "X-Files" creator Chris Carter, who directed "I Want to Believe" from a script co-written with producer Frank Spotnitz, spins a second-rate "Silence of the Lambs"-type serial killer mystery. Despite a few evocative early scenes, adequate atmospherics are noticeably lacking until the final reels, when the plot has already descended into implausibility. Overall, the film plays like an improbably skewed but comparatively routine criminal procedural that would have served the original show well as an extended season opener or sweeps-week contender.

Although Duchovny and Anderson display some muted chemistry, it isn't enough to fully ignite the narrative. Connolly cleverly capitalizes on his role as the erratic priest, though the other performances are almost consistently dour. Carter's unimaginative visual style, mired in literalism, can't much buoy the movie either. The other technical contributions are workmanlike, with only Mark Snow's score evoking an appropriately eerie mood.

Production: Twentieth Century Fox presents a Ten Thirteen production

Cast: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Alvin "Xzibit" Joiner, Callum Keith Rennie, Adam Godley, Nicki Aycox.

Director: Chris Carter

Screenwriters: Frank Spotnitz & Chris Carter

Producers: Frank Spotnitz, Chris Carter

Executive producer: Brent O'Connor

Director of photography: Bill Roe

Production designer: Mark Freeborn

Music: Mark Snow

Costume designer: Lisa Tomczeszyn

Editor: Richard A. Harris

Rated PG-13, 104 minutes.
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

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