Interview: Gotham cinematographer Crescenzo Notarile

Check out this interview I did for Filmmaker Magazine with Emmy-nominated Gotham cinematographer Crescenzo Notarile ahead of tonight’s Season 3 premiere on Fox. Notarile talks about Gotham’s signature style, the challenges of hiding lights from the show’s wide-angle lenses, and what he learned from working on Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America.

Here’s Notarile on Once Upon a Time in America cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli.

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12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer cinematographer Jonathan Furmanski

“Women don’t need orgasms. It’s science.” – Juror #10 (Paul Giamatti) 

Back in February a trolling movie critic questioned whether comedian Amy Schumer could possibly stir the loins of male moviegoers enough to be believable as the romantic interest of a chiseled, hunky lothario like Bill Hader in the upcoming romcom Trainwreck. Schumer responded as any talented comedian would – with pointed mockery. Unleashing an episode-length sketch on Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, the show’s namesake transformed the 1957 drama 12 Angry Men into a satire of male chauvinism as a jury room full of legendary character actors- your Giamattis’, your Goldblums’, your Hawkes’s – debate whether Schumer is hot enough to be on TV.

It’s a transcendent piece of television – elevating the form of sketch comedy while using the power of farce to reveal the ridiculousness of the objectification of female performers. And it does so while reverently recreating the look of Lumet’s original, from the camera angles right down to the lighting fixtures. The show’s cinematographer, Jonathan Furmanski, enlightened Deep Fried Movies as to how he replicated the look and feel of one of cinema’s great chamber pieces. Continue Reading ›

Cake cinematographer Rachel Morrison

 

From the moment she began hijacking the family camera as a grade schooler, there was little doubt Rachel Morrison would live her life peering at the world through a viewfinder. The only question was whether Morrison would be adjusting the aperture on a still camera or movie camera.

Morrison spoke to Deep Fried Movies about the path that led her to choose the latter, a decision that has worked out well thus far for the cinematographer of Fruitvale Station and the new drama Cake starring Jennifer Aniston. Continue Reading ›

The Shot Behind the Shot: Zombeavers (2014)

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I’m working on finishing up an interview with Zombeavers (2014) cinematographer Jonathan Hall for later this week. Here’s a little preview – a behind the scenes set-up showing how Hall pulled off an effect in which an animatronic beaver bursts through the planks of a wooden raft.

The film employed a pair of Arri Alexas – one of which floats above in this shot on a J.L. Fisher 23 crane. Behind the actors you’ll find a 12×12 frame of highlight serving as diffusion.

Continue onward to see the final result. Continue Reading ›

Deep Fried Interview: Predestination costume designer Wendy Cork

If one were to imagine a “degree of difficulty” scale for costume designers, on one end of the scale you might find something like a two-character chamber piece set over the course of a single evening. Then all the way at the other end of that scale, you’d find The Spierig Brothers’ twisting time travel sci-fi Predestination (2014).

Bounding from the 1940s to the 1990s and stopping at every decade in between, Predestination taxed costume designer Wendy Cork with creating period looks for a half-dozen distinct epochs, each slightly skewed through the prism of science fiction and featuring an androgynous lead who switches genders halfway through the proceedings.

Cork spoke to Deep Fried Movies about grappling with Predestination’s preternatural degree of difficulty, looking to David Bowie and Keith Richards for inspiration and the impact of digital cinematographer on her work.  Continue Reading ›

Predestination (2014)

Running Time: 97 minutes
Rating: R
Genre: Sci-Fi
Who the Devil Made It: The Spierig Brothers
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor
Screenplay: The Spierig Brothers
Cinematographer:
Ben Nott
Budget: $9 million
Tech Info: Shot on Arri Alexa
Where Can I Find It: Here

The Plot: Based on the 1960 Robert Heinlein short story “All You Zombies” (which you can read in its entirety here), Predestination stars Ethan Hawke as a time-traveling crime fighter whose latest assignment finds him in a 1970s New York dive bar being regaled with the unbelievable life story of a strangely androgynous customer.

Ramblings: Ethan Hawke has joked that he wanted the advertising tagline to read “Predestination: Go Fuck Yourself.” Once you’ve unraveled the film’s time-is-a-flat-circle mind-screwery, you’ll get the joke. It’s the latest from the Australian directing duo The Spierig Brothers, whose last film Daybreakers (2009) used a futuristic vampire plot as the armature on which to build an allegory of the rich literally feeding off the poor. Predestination is another high-concept genre flick with something on its mind, a “period piece” sci-fi traversing six decades to touch upon ideas both social (gender roles and patriarchy) and philosophical (to simplify, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”).
It’s an utterly singular film that rather depressingly played in only 20 theaters.

Continue Reading ›

Behind the scenes of Big Eyes (2014) and a look at the real Keanes

“Nobody could paint eyes like El Greco, and nobody can paint eyes like Walter Keane.” – Walter Keane, referring to himself in the third person in an interview with Life magazine in August of 1965 (read the profile in its entirety here).

“(Keane’s work) has to be good. If it were bad, so many people wouldn’t like it.” – Andy Warhol, quoted in the same Life article

Like the eponymous filmmaker at the center of Tim Burton’s 1994 biopic Ed Wood, the work of artist Margaret Keane has often been labeled as kitsch. But unlike Wood, who toiled in obscurity before receiving posthumous cult status, Keane’s work enjoyed immense popular success in the 1950s and 1960s as the denizens of postwar suburban sprawl gobbled up her paintings of sad waifish children with oversized eyes.

Burton’s latest, Big Eyes, tells Keane’s story, a so-strange-it-must-be-true tale of her long subjugation to husband Walter Keane, who took credit for his wife’s paintings for decades until a court showdown revealed the truth. Below are a pair of photo galleries – one featuring the real-life Keanes and the other offering a glimpse behind the scenes of the film’s production.

Continue Reading ›