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Saoirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots

"With only a few scenes at her disposal, Samantha Morton was an amazing, amazing Mary Queen of Scots in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age". Don't expect that portrayal of the lady will ever be topped." -Ken

"Saoirse Ronan is an inspired choice for Mary. But... Who signed off on Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I? What is this madness." - BillyBob

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Entries in Production Design (113)

Sunday
Aug202017

Link is an Open Door

let's catch up on news stories...

Tracking Board ABC developing a live-action sitcom remake of The Jetsons
Vulture a tribute to the bungled non-release of Tulip Fever
Criterion a Joan Crawford double feature Daisy Kenyon and Sudden Fear on filmstruck
Cinema Enthusiast polled cinephiles on the best films of 1969. Lots of opinions though it's beyond troubling that They Shoot Horses, Don't They? which runs laps around almost everything produced in 1969, just barely squeezes into the top ten 

more after the jump including but not limited to Wonder Woman 2, Obi Wan Kenobi, mother!, Frozen, and The Conjuring.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug142017

The Furniture: Breaking House in Colossal

"The Furniture," by Daniel Walber, is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail.

Colossal is a movie built upon one very, very big metaphor. Gloria (Anne Hathaway) and Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) are highly destructive people, each at a different stage of addiction and personal crisis. They also have kaiju-sized avatars that tromp across Seoul every time they drunkenly stumble through a playground at 8:05am, the result of a bizarre electro-magical accident. It’s quite the premise.

But it works because director Nacho Vigalondo doesn’t rely exclusively on CGI monsters to get his point across. After all, they are only exaggerated versions of Gloria and Oscar, stomping through their lives. It matters not whether their feet land on a playground or through the first floor of an office building.

  

Or, as the case may be, their homes...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug082017

I Saw the Signs - "Cruising" for Prime Beef Cuts

Shove a professional sign or any diegetic text or hand-scrawled message in front of the camera and we go all bookworm eyes. Are they subliminal subtitles? That's surely up to the set decorator, prop man, production designer and director. In this new visual series (we previously did Silence of the Lambs - don't read anything into two queer serial killler pictures in a row, erp!) we'll share textual images from a film that use unspoken words to tell the story... or are merely fun period details. 


This week's victim is the infamous homophobic serial killer movie Cruising (1980). Here are 28 photos of signs and messages and letters and whatnot from the film with a few notes on actual NYC history and a few asides to other pop culture wonders ...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug072017

The Furniture: The Night of the Hunter's American Expressionism

"The Furniture," by Daniel Walber, is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail.


Charles Laughton’s
The Night of the Hunter is an American classic. But it is also a clear descendant of a movement from across the Atlantic: German Expressionism. This comes through most clearly in the breathtaking work of cinematographer Stanley Cortez (The Magnificent Ambersons).

Yet while The Night of the Hunter’s visual language is clearly indebted to the German films of the 1920s, its sets are far cry from the angular nightmares of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and its siblings. Instead, the work of art director Hilyard M. Brown and set decorator Alfred E. Spencer is grounded in iconic American architecture. Through the intimate collaboration of production design and cinematographer, an Expressionist battle between good and evil unfolds through the aesthetic material of American life...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul312017

Oscar Chart Updates - Everything! 

The Oscar Charts are all freshly updated (but for the second two pages of foreign film submissions which will go up very soon). It's an exciting time because before the fall festivals hit and while we're still contemplating the highlights of the year's first seven months, it seems like anything's possible. That feeling will soon dissipate of course but for now, (almost) anything goes. Biggest gains this update go to The Papers, mother!, The Big Sick, and Wonder Wheel. Meanwhile Wonder Woman enters several charts, though not with much in the way of current predictions as it gears up for a campaign. Dunkirk solidifies pre-release Oscar faith now that people have layed eyes on it en masse. Taking the biggest hit this time is Detroit tas it gears up for wide release but is proving divisive and controversial. Our initial hunch/faith in The Snowman (due primarily to the director) dissipates with its somewhat generic thriller trailer.

And here's the wonderfully opaque teaser for mother! which might be exactly the kind of thing that works in acting categories (where psychological horror is sometimes popular if the film is a hit) so I've had to boost Jennifer Lawrence up in the Best Actress chart... not sure what I was thinking to so undervalue her previously...

Check out the charts and report back, won'cha?

INDEXPICTUREDIRECTORACTRESSACTORSUPPORTING ACTRESSSUPPORTING ACTORVISUAL CATEGORIESSOUND CATEGORIESSCREENPLAYS ANIMATED FEATURESFOREIGN SUBMISSIONS PT 1

Monday
Jul242017

The Furniture: Indulging Fantasy in 'The Lost City of Z'

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Click on the images to see them in magnified detail.

by Daniel Walber 

The Lost City of Z begins with Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) in hot pursuit of a stag, risking his limbs to win the respect of his superior officers. Two things are obvious in an instant: his athletic ability and the enormous chip on his shoulder. Burdened by the memory of his alcoholic father, he throws his whole body into the quest for social redemption.

Unfortunately, this burst of exertion doesn’t pay off. He does get the stag, its lifeless head displayed prominently at the evening ball. But it’s not enough. The labyrinthine snobbery of England is presented by writer/director James Gray as an impossible obstacle, as resistant as the dense rainforests where Fawcett later seeks his fortune.

After this initial frustration, Fawcett accepts a cartographic mission to Bolivia. There, he is seduced by tantalizing stories of a lost city of gold. It becomes his obsession. In turn, the contrast between rigid England and lush Amazonia drives the film’s visual logic...

Click to read more ...