SHORT TAKE: “Restless” (*1/2)

Posted by · 6:53 pm · May 13th, 2011

Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard “What can you say about a 25 year-old girl who died?” Written by Erich Segal before being plaintively voiced by Ryan O’Neal, this presumably rhetorical question is the opening gambit of “Love Story,” the simple but phenomenally successful weeper in which a young couple’s relationship is prematurely halted when […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Cinematography — Volume II

Posted by · 11:36 am · October 15th, 2010

Today we take a look a second look at, well, certainly the most “cinematic” of categories: Best Cinematography. As I like to say, cinema is born out of the camera and those who wield these devices enrich our films more than a few words written here could possibly say. From capturing mood, lighting and atmosphere […]

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REVIEW: “Somewhere” (***1/2)

Posted by · 6:21 am · September 3rd, 2010

Venice Film Festival Who’d be Sofia Coppola? (As an artist, I mean – I’m sure plenty of women would gladly trade for her beauty, wardrobe and Parisian rock-star husband.) No sooner had her bijou, highly personal breakthrough picture netted her an Oscar, atop countless critical valentines, than an acidic chorus of detractors began chiding her […]

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Mixed-to-positive notices for ‘Whatever Works’

Posted by · 5:09 pm · April 23rd, 2009

Even with the success of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” having partially righted the course of Woody Allen’s career, I can’t help holding my breath when the reviews roll in for his latest effort. Few auteurs inspire more haphazard uses of the term “return to form” (roughly applied to anything that doesn’t go completely off the rails […]

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The top 10 shots of 2008: part one

Posted by · 9:03 am · January 14th, 2009

I’m hoping to make this an annual tradition here at In Contention.  It’s no secret we have a lot of respect for below-the-line talent around these parts, but it’s nice to have a visual way of showing that appreciation.  I sat down to write this piece for the first time last year, taken by the […]

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‘Ballast,’ ‘River,’ ‘Rachel’ lead the Indie Spirit nods

Posted by · 11:26 am · December 2nd, 2008

I’m late to the table on today’s Independent Spirit Award nominations because I’ve been toiling away on the latest Oscar column (which should be up shortly).  Obviously, Sony Pictures Classics dominated the scene but I’m glad to see that this year’s crop is more “independent” than in years past. One nomination that stuck out to […]

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My back, my aching back…thoughts on ‘Milk’ and ‘Frost’

Posted by · 10:07 pm · October 28th, 2008

This is why I don’t do the festival thing.  Multiple screenings back-to-back always plagues the faculties. Anyway, David Poland was eager to iPhone in his “First!” response on “Milk,” and while I agree with his assessment of Sean Penn’s phenomenal portrayal, I can’t share his overall enthusiasm for the film itself. On the whole, it’s […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Cinematography — Volume One

Posted by · 9:21 am · September 25th, 2008

Today we begin our in-depth looks at the individual crafts categories.  I’m a sucker for starting with my favorite: Best Cinematography. The art of film is reliant on the motion picture camera and those men and women who lend their talents behind the lens.  The Director of Photography is in charge of charge of capturing […]

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The top 10 shots of 2007: part one

Posted by · 12:22 am · February 21st, 2008

2007 was, to my mind, the greatest year for cinematography in a long, long time.  I can’t recall the last time I was so thoroughly impressed with the visual artistry of film after film like I was last year, and I attribute that to the intriguing spark of creativity underway in the film medium as […]

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