Sweeney/Ocean/Bourne in movie news, all in the same day!

I’m not one to overblog or even blog about future movie tidbits that much but today gave news to some films I’m interested in seeing this year. So I have to share. Forgive my lameness. I’m going back to Maltese Falcon after this short E!-like blog.

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Old Hollywood Feel
I just saw the official trailer for Ocean’s 13 and it looks so stylish and classy. Love Pacino as the addition to the cast. It feels like those classic glossy golden-age Hollywood all-star movies. I think I’m the only guy in the world who appreciates this trilogy beyond it being an exercise in style. It truly is a throwback to cool. Frank & Dino cool.

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The names’ Bourne. Jason Bourne.
The Bourne Ultimatum
international trailer just blew me away. I am officially stoked. The trailer just makes recent spy movies (ahem, particularly a beloved yet now revamped one) look like a cheap imitation.

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Raise your razor, Sweeney!
And finally, I am extremely excited about the pairing of legendary composer Stephen Sondheim and filmmaker Tim Burton reinventing Sondheim’s classic Sweeney Todd onto the screen. The casting is spot on and Depp (looking like Edward Scissorhand‘s long lost daddy) is going to be amazing as Sweeney. Helena Bonham Carter as Ms. Lovett? Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin? Sasha Baron Cohen as Pirelli? Christopher Lee as the Ghost? This is the cast of the year bar-none. Perfect fits.

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Cinematic Storytelling: Dreamgirls

It’s that time of year again when we give our filmmakers workshop. This year I’m using recent films because I’ve been told I rely heavily on the classics to drive my points across. So for these particular directing points I’m referencing Dreamgirls. I will be referencing Babel and The Departed also for the workshop and, yes, I will still be referencing the classics!

dd003 When I’m deep in production, I always make sure that I’m telling the story as seamlessly as possible. Hopefully, if I’ve trained my cinematic eye as I should have, I want to find the possible transitions within scenes because as the director, I want to keep the film moving forward as visually interesting as I can. This example above clearly shows how so much information can be given in one fluid transition.

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I like to find moments in the script that I can visually play with on set. It’s great to collaborate with my colleagues on how to tell the story and the background of our characters way beyond the words they say and the choices they make. If a script is really good, you’ve got a lot of themes and metaphors to play with. The example above is a great “visual” metaphor. The characters’ lives are played out on such a large stage that at a pivotal scene in the film, the lights dim much like a theatrical stage with a spotlight on the lone character. It just helps bring back the themes and the origins of the film.

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This example is pretty darn cool. In a heavily choreographed dance number in the film, the filmmakers decide to “choreograph” a little of the visuals with the sequence. It’s fascinating how the filmmakers use a lot of match-cuts and rhythmic editing to create a fascinating montage. This example above is a great match cut. As the dancers rehearse the dance number, the song climbs the top of the pop charts and the whole montage intercuts with scenes of urban landscape and the dancers.