Philip Seymour Hoffman is The Man With The Golden Touch


Philip Seymour Hoffman's characters are not easily erased from memory. The half-dressed loner making sex calls to strangers in Happiness or the nurse tending to Jason Robards in Magnolia would, on paper, be supporting roles. Hoffman, though, has a way of filling out ordinary folks until they burst with the hidden facets of their ordinariness—shame, tenderness, vengeance, adoration. Provocatively human, they force us to recognize shards of ourselves in their reflection. In Capote, for which he won an Oscar in 2006, Hoffman captured the writer with such graceful authority that audiences could almost mistake the film for a documentary.

Last year he portrayed a rumpled CIA agent in Charlie Wilson’s War, directed by Mike Nichols; a professor whose life is hijacked by his father’s dementia in The Savages; and a callous older brother whose get-rich-quick scheme targets the family jewelry store in Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. We’ll see him next in Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York, and later in the year in the film version of Doubt, John Patrick Shanley’s play about a priest who may or may not have molested a student.

Hoffman, who is 41 and the artistic codirector of the LAByrinth Theater Company, lives in Greenwich Village with his girlfriend, Mimi O’Donnell, a costume designer, and their young children, Cooper and Tallulah. He talks to us about surviving the Oscars, being difficult, and riding his bike to the theater.

(Source: LA Magazine)

Foley Artists and Mixers Create Big-Screen Sounds Out of Common Items and Imagination

 Mary Jo Lang

Behind the scenes of blockbuster movies like "Transformers," "The Matrix" and "Braveheart" is the foley stage -- a cluttered studio full of noisy knick-knacks and a soft-spoken woman named Mary Jo Lang.

Lang is one of the few female foley mixers in the world, recording sound effects created by foley artists and then mixing them to enhance a film's audio. The people who record sound on movie sets are primarily there to capture dialogue -- not buildings falling, or doors closing or silverware clinking.

There are more than 100 foley artists around the world concocting those sounds from their imaginations, and a mere 50 foley mixers who seamlessly work the sounds into the movies.

(Source: ABC News)

Wanna Live on a Movie Set?


Film sets — even the permanent ones — are by definition artifice. Sure, they look real enough from the outside, but inside, the fantasy evaporates into a maze of fake walls and uninhabitable spaces. But the make-believe reality of movie sets may soon merge with realty at Britain's iconic, 70-year-old Pinewood Studios.

As part of a planned 105-acre expansion, Pinewood Studios Group has conceived the ultimate gated community. Amid a mix of structures that would include a Roman Coliseum, a medieval, moated castle and several urban streetscapes that range from New York's Lower East Side, to Venice's canals, to suburban L.A., to a quaint European village, the studio wants to incorporate 2,000 to 2,250 actual residences.

For example, the first and last buildings of the block of New York row houses would be left empty for interior shoots. But the middle ones would house real homes and apartments. "It would be no different than if you were living on a New York street and you had a filmmaker filming outside your door," explains CEO Ivan Dunleavy.

(Source: Time)

Oscar-winning movie ‘Crash’ to be turnd into TV series

Crash, the movie which unexpectedly won best film at the Oscars two years ago, is being turned into a TV series.

Thirteen one-hour programmes will be made US cable channel Starz. The show is expected to premiere in August.

Crash focused on racial and ethnic tensions in Los Angeles and was made with a relatively small budget.

Paul Haggis, who co-wrote and directed the original, will be executive producer. Actor Don Cheadle will join the team and could reprise his role.

The series will pick up where the movie ended.

(Source: BBC News)

Daniel Day-Lewis dedicates SAG win to Heath Ledger


British screen legends Daniel Day-Lewis and Julie Christie bolstered their positions as Oscar frontrunners last night by clinching top acting honours at the Day-Lewis, who won a Golden Globe earlier this month, was named best actor for his role as a tyrannical oil prospector in There Will Be Blood.

He used his acceptance speech to pay tribute to Heath Ledger, who died in New York aged 28 last week.

Dedicating his award to the Australian actor, Day-Lewis, 50, said Ledger encouraged other actors to keep "regenerating" through his challenging performances.

"There are many actors in this room tonight including my fellow nominees who've given me that sense of regeneration. Heath Ledger gave it to me," he said, to loud applause. Day-Lewis cited Ledger's performances in the 2001 drama Monster's Ball as well and his Oscar-nominated turn in the 2005 gay cowboy drama Brokeback Mountain, which he described as "unique".

"That scene in the trailer at the end of the film is as moving as anything I've ever seen and I'd like to dedicate this to him," he added.

(Source: UK Telegraph)

The Oscars: Deconstructing the Little Miss Juno Phenomenon

While you won’t yet find a clear front-runner among Best Picture nominees, it’s never too early for Oscar observers to pile on the movie they don’t want to win. Crash and Little Miss Sunshine kept the bile churning in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and it appears now that Juno is bracing itself for this year’s hater backlash.

My colleague Tim Long alluded to this phenomenon here the other day, confessing, “I guess I sort of—gulp—liked the movie,” and invoking something called the Collective Anger Quota to excuse his fondness. I, too, found Juno funny, well-acted, and entertaining enough to recommend. That was before Oscar season, however, when hyperbole stakes could be quantified by box-office gross and pop-culture saturation. Post January 22, Juno is no longer the quirky, low-budget sensation teeming with hamburger phones and the mile-a-minute bons mots of stripper-turned-screenwriter Diablo “Not Her Real Name” Cody. Or rather, it is all that, now vigorously challenging milestones like There Will Be Blood (my favorite) and No Country for Old Men for Oscar supremacy.

(Source: Vanity Fair)

Sundance honors films with a political edge

The top two American winners at the Sundance Film Festival put faces on at least three political hot buttons: Hurricane Katrina as it becomes something more than an act of nature, the collapse of the economy and illegal immigration.

Both Tia Lessin and Carl Deal's Trouble the Water, which won the documentary Grand Jury prize, and Courtney Hunt's Frozen River, which won the dramatic Grand Jury prize, are small, personal films that reel back independent filmmaking's more recent, polished and well-financed art-house star vehicles to the early days of Sundance social realism, with stories about women, blacks and native Americans having to walk a tightrope to survive.

(Source: USA Today)

INTERVIEW: Doc filmmaker Jeffrey Blitz Practices ‘Rocket Science’


He made spelling cool when he directed the hit documentary Spellbound in 2002 and earned an Oscar nomination for his efforts. Now Jeffrey Blitz is back and taking on the English language from a different angle with the coming-of-age comedy Rocket Science. A hit at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, the story of a high school debate team had a limited theatrical release in 2007 and is being released on DVD by HBO Home Video on January 29th.

MM spoke with Blitz about the difference between documentary and feature moviemaking, the difficulties in navigating today’s distribution process and why adolescent awkwardness makes for fascinating filmmaking.

(Source: Moviemaker)

Marion Cotillard arrives


When the director of 'La Vie en Rose' cast a virtual unknown as Edith Piaf he struck gold - for the mesmerising Marion Cotillard looks set to add an Oscar to the string of awards she's already won for the role. Not bad considering this particular Little Sparrow decided to wing it without so much as a rehearsal. She talks to Strawberry Saroyan.

(Source: UK Telegraph)

Justifying my job: Do movie critics still matter?


So here I am, sitting in an overstuffed leather chair, next to four other guys in matching chairs, holding a microphone in my hand, bantering with one of the nation's best-known and most outspoken movie critics: Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly

And in the back of my head, a little voice was singing the David Byrne lyric, "Well, how did I get here?" 

Actually, I volunteered, as soon as I heard the Sundance Film Festival announced they were doing a panel discussion on the state of film criticism - a subject about which I, like most people with my job title, have strong opinions. 

(Source: Salt Lake Tribune)

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