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Tuesday
Apr222014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dear Katharina Hafermaas, Miniature Model Painter,

No one builds precious little worlds quite like Wes Anderson. Well, almost no one. His signature as an auteur has become so formulaic that even SNL can forge it damn-near perfectly. The hyper-real colour palette, the center-framed shots, the snap-pan camera movements, the ironic pop-score, the mannered acting, and, in his most fantastical films, the use of miniature sets—all of this reminds us constantly that we’re in Wes’s world. It’s a place I don’t mind visiting, but not somewhere I’m able to stay for extended periods of time. Not unlike The Grand Budapest Hotel itself. Although, for once, it’s not because the film wears out its welcome, but due to the actual danger involved.

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Thursday
Apr172014

Byzantium


Dear Moira Buffini,
Screenwriter,

It’s always frustrating when a movie comes so close to achieving greatness, only to stumble and eventually fall on its face right before the finish line. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh. But I really wanted to love Byzantium and the genuinely fresh and compelling angle you took on the vampire mythos.  A welcome breath of fresh air, and perhaps even a revitalizing shot to a subgenre that has been irrevocably damaged by Twilight. While Byzantium is certainly far from being a terrible movie, it is nevertheless marred by some pretty serious character issues. Which I’ll get into soon.

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Tuesday
Apr152014

Touchy Feely

Dear Kelsey Wood, Biking Lifestyle Consultant,

Biking Lifestyle Consultant seems a nebulous yet professional sounding title, the kind of thing you murmur to someone you’re trying to impress at a Citizen Dick concert. I noticed on IMDB, you’re also listed as the sound mixer, sound designer and supervising sound editor. This is probably good for you, because curiously, we don’t actually see any cycling in Touchy Feely, which leads me to believe ‘biking lifestyle consultant’ doesn’t exactly pay the rent.

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Thursday
Apr102014

Oculus

Dear Tony Ciccone, Editorial Consultant,

I checked out your resume on IMDB before I started writing this letter to you. If there’s something to be said about the movie business, persistence and being able to outlast your rivals are some of the key factors to success (or so people keep telling me). You’ve been around since the late 70s as both an actor and editor, with some work in visual effects too. I’m assuming you rode the wave of TV acting gigs through the 80s to pay the bills, when the game was played a little differently than it is today. There’s nothing wrong with that. It shows that you’ve been able to change gears along the way and managed to find yourself a way to hold onto a career in the sometimes topsy-turvy world of moving pictures.

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Thursday
Apr102014

The Raid 2: Berendal

Dear Sean England, Foley Artist, 

So, they brought in the big guns. Not literally, of course. While guns play an occasional role in martial arts films like The Raid 2: Berendal, they might as well not exist. The whole precept of the genre is that (a) when a gun might prove most useful (i.e. when being attacked by an unstoppable master of kicking and punching) there is never a gun present, and (b) during a brawl, in the case of a laughable numerical mismatch, all comers must attack the lone fighter one at a time. My point is, having worked on films ranging from Forrest Gump to Gladiator to The Avengers, you’re one of the big guns in the world of sound effects, but on this particular job, you didn’t have to scroll through libraries of stock gunshots.

No, this film is a lot more interesting than that.

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