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items tagged with Roger Deakins

Bored. Mike Bored. : "Spectre" and "The Peanuts Movie"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-11-07 23:25:53

Daniel Craig in SpectreSPECTRE

Watching the opening credits to the new James Bond thriller Spectre, I leaned back in my seat, smiled, and thought, “Man, I love these things.” Not Bond movies, per se, but their opening credits. The lushly rendered colors. The serenely gliding camera pans. The artful poses and undulating torsos. The charming, deferential formality of the star’s name followed by “ … as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 in … .” The mystery of the accompanying pop song, which is as likely to be atrocious as marvelous. (Spectre’s “Writing’s on the Wall,” sung by Sam Smith, leans more toward the former. And call it gender bias or even blatant sexism, but I do think that unless you’re Paul McCartney or maybe Simon Le Bon, these duties should really be handled by women.)

But my absolute favorite thing about the James Bond title sequences is that in the 53 years since Dr. No, they’ve hardly changed a whit, meaning that those serving such below-the-line positions as second-unit assistant director, supervising sound editor, and “Mr. Craig’s makeup” get listed at the start right alongside Ian Fleming and Daniel Craig themselves. It’s a lovely gesture and a touching hat-tip to the series’ longevity, and it’s got to be cool for those professionals whose names usually flash on-screen while patrons are leaving the auditorium. I bet it’s cool even if, as in Spectre, your eye is being averted from those names by the silhouetted octopus tentacles shown embracing Bond and his two nubile lady friends. At first, I wondered: Why an octopus? To suggest the elastic, multi-limbed reach of evil? To prepare us for an underwater Bond in the vein of Thunderball? I never really got my answer, but after two-and-a-half punishingly long hours, I started thinking the creature was merely there to create a perverse nostalgia for the comparative wit and excitement of Octopussy.


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Ridley’s Believe It or Not: "The Martian" and "Sicario"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-10-03 22:01:02

Matt Damon in The MartianTHE MARTIAN

If you, too, are a devotee of Ridley Scott’s Alien, you’ll no doubt remember how its title came into view during the opening credits: as a series of vertical, diagonal, and horizontal white lines that slowly appeared, beginning with the “I,” one or two at a time until the capitalized “ALIEN” was wholly spelled out. Thirty-six years later, the title for Scott’s sci-fi tale The Martian is revealed in the exact opposite manner: as a full, capitalized “THE MARTIAN” that gradually fades away, one portion at a time, until only the “I” remains.

Obviously, that disappearing act is a decidedly minor touch, especially in a film that runs just shy of two-and-a-half hours. But it might also be Scott’s most quietly clever touch, and not merely because The Martian’s chief narrative concerns an “I” that winds up left all alone. By offering a literal reverse of his 1979 achievement’s opener, Scott seems to be suggesting, with an wink, that his new endeavor will be 180 degrees removed from the claustrophobic, stomach-bursting horror of Alien, and that proves decidedly to be the case. While this adaptation of Andy Weir’s bestseller (with its script by Drew Goddard) does share some of Alien’s themes, principally the life-and-death imperatives behind deep-space problem-solving, Scott’s latest is expansive instead of spare, chatty instead of terse, heartening instead of nihilistic. It’s also, far and away, and from beginning to end, the most sheerly likable movie Ridley Scott has yet made – an exciting, moving, and altogether glorious sci-fi bear hug that leaves you feeling almost ridiculously happy. Given a career that’s found him exploring every conceivable shade of dark, it turns out that Scott looks pretty great in the light.
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Missing Inaction: “Prisoners” and “Battle of the Year”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-09-22 04:45:18

Jake Gyllenhaal in PrisonersPRISONERS

Prisoners, which features Jake Gyllenhaal as a feverishly driven detective, is the most exciting and emotional cop thriller we’ve been treated to since last fall’s End of Watch, which Gyllenhaal also starred in. Beyond that, director Denis Villeneuve’s effort is probably the most suspenseful, evocative, and disturbing procedural thriller since David Fincher’s 2007 Zodiac ... which also boasted Gyllenhaal in a leading role. I’m generally skeptical about the effectiveness of good-luck charms, but if the actor cared to accompany me the next time I buy a lottery ticket, you wouldn’t hear me complain.


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His Word Is Bond: "Skyfall"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-11-09 18:20:13

Daniel Craig in SkyfallSKYFALL

Longtime fans of the franchise can, and likely will, argue over whether Skyfall is one of the all-time best James Bond films or whether it just feels that way because it’s now been six years since the last decent one. (Despite having friends who’ll stump for everything from Moonraker to The World Is Not Enough, I don’t know anyone who really cares for 2008’s Quantum of Solace.) But here’s a question that I’m not sure merits any argument: Prior to this latest adventure, has any other Bond movie looked quite so spectacular?


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Oscars / The Grouch: Notes on the 2011 Academy Awards Telecast
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2011-02-28 19:41:18

Best Actor Colin FirthBefore getting into what went wrong at last night’s Academy Awards ceremony – and sadly, quite a bit went wrong – let’s begin by addressing the one portion of the telecast that, for maybe the first time in Oscar history, went magically right.


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