Interview: Greig Fraser on his Emmy-winning work on The Mandalorian

I’ve got a new interview up over at Filmmaker Magazine with freshly-minted Emmy winner Greig Fraser. The Mandalorian cinematographer walked me through using new StageCraft tech  – a greenscreen alternative employing LED video walls for real-time compositing and interactive light – for the first season of the Star Wars series. Check out the full interview here.

Frame by Frame: Becky (2020)

Year – 2020
Decade – 2020s
CinematographerGreta Zozula (Instagram)
Director – Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion
Aspect Ratio – 2.40
Genre – Horror; Home Invasion
Camera – Alexa Mini
LensesCooke Anamorphic/i as the main lenses;
45-90mm Hawk zoom for most scenes with Dominick (Kevin James);
24-290mm Angenieux zoom for a few long lens and zoom shots;
50mm Kowa for some deep woods handheld work
Format – Digital capture with Super35-sized sensor; Anamorphic lenses
CategoriesClose-Ups; Wide Shots; Car shots; Mirrors/Reflections; Shafts of Light; Frames Within Frames; Unusual Camera Perspectives; High and Low Angles; Night Exteriors; Silhouettes

The Movie
A gory home invasion thriller described by its co-directors as “an ultra-violent Home Alone,” only with precocious Macaulay Culkin replaced by rage-filled teen Lulu Wilson and the Wet Bandits now a gang of Neo Nazis led by Kevin James. As studio tentpoles abandoned the summer movie season amid nationwide Covid-19 shutdowns, Becky filled the void with an extended drive-in theater run, which included a weekend in June as the top grossing film in the country.

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Pic of the Day: Japanese poster for Dune (1984)

Dune Japanese poster

“It wouldn’t be fair to say (Dune) was a total nightmare, but maybe 75 percent nightmare. And the reason is I didn’t have final cut. I had such a great time in Mexico City – the greatest crew and cast. It was beautiful…But when you don’t have final cut – total creative freedom – you stand to die the death. And died I did.” – David Lynch

With the trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s take on Dune releasing last week, it’s an opportune time to revisit David Lynch’s ill-fated 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s influential 1960s sci-fi novel. Above you’ll find the Japanese release poster for the film – then the most expensive in the history of Universal at $50 million.

Here’s an excerpt from a 1984 feature in Starlog magazine (which you can download here) detailing the pre-Lynch attempts to adapt the sprawling, complex novel. Continue Reading ›

Frame By Frame: Angel Heart (1987)

Year – 1987
Decade – 1980s
CinematographerMichael Seresin (IMDB link)
Director – Alan Parker
Aspect Ratio – 1.85
Distributor – Carolco; TriStar
Genre – Suspense/Thriller; Horror; Noir; Period (1950s)
Lenses – Spherical
Format – 35mm
CategoriesInserts; Diners; Sidelight; Close-Ups; Color; Establishing Shots; Two Shots; Mirrors and Reflections; High and Low Angles

The Movie
The search for a missing crooner with a debt to pay takes a rumpled Brooklyn gumshoe (Mickey Rourke) to New Orleans in this singular, genre-straddling Southern Gothic noir. One of nine collaborations between director Alan Parker and cinematographer Michael Seresin.
William Hjortsberg’s 1978 source novel Falling Angel, which was set entirely in New York, was initially set up at Paramount with The Godfather’s Robert Evans to produce and John Frankenheimer slated to direct. After Paramount’s option expired, Robert Redford picked up the rights and Hjortsberg took a pass at adapting his book.
The project eventually ended up with Parker in the mid-80s. The British director envisioned Jack Nicholson as private investigator Harry Angel and Marlon Brando as client Louis Cyphre, but both declined. Parker then offered the role of Angel to Robert De Niro, who instead preferred to play the detective’s malevolent benefactor.

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Pic of the Day: John Alvin’s Darkman poster

Darkman poster by John Alvin

Last week marked the 30th anniversary of Darkman’s theatrical release. To commemorate the occasion, The Hollywood Reporter put together an oral history of the film, which opened number one at the box office the summer after Tim Burton’s Batman reignited interest in the superhero genre.

Darkman was 30-year-old director Sam Raimi’s first studio effort. Here’s an excerpt from the Hollywood Reporter story on how Raimi found a spot for his Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell in the film.

“My first wife divorced me, so I was broke and going, “What the hell? ” So Sam goes, “Come on. We are doing post on Darkman, and I have all sorts of problems.” We both loved sound. It needed lots of looping, lots of sound effects. So I made studio guy money and wound up voicing every criminal who fell to their death. Holy shit, I screamed my brains out. And they’re good, vintage screams. We got to a point where we were mixing and Sam goes, “Shit, I need Darkman to yell ‘Julie!’” And he looks at me and says, “Get in the booth.” So that’s in there. And I did all the television looping for Liam.” – Bruce Campbell

More Pics of the Day
More posters by John Alvin