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Oscar Voters: Don’t Forget ‘Mother,’ Ridley Scott and 2017’s Other Unsung Heroes

Oscar Voters: Don’t Forget ‘Mother,’ Ridley Scott and 2017’s Other Unsung Heroes
Lord knows, we don’t need another awards show. But the year in film has seen some extraordinary work and though the usual “for your consideration” conversations are valid, they seem insufficient in some cases.

There is a long list of people who are worthy of Oscar consideration, so don’t forget these people when filling out your Oscar ballots, which are due Jan. 12. But let’s also give them special recognition, a round of applause for doing work that was above and beyond.

Wind River

Writer-director Taylor Sheridan and his “Wind River” team deserve awards attention for delivering an entertaining and relevant film. Beyond that, they deserve a salute for wresting control of the movie away from the original distributor, the Weinstein Co. As soon as the story broke on Oct. 5 about that industry bully-rapist, Sheridan and Acacia Entertainment renegotiated everything and made sure that no profits will go to TWC, but instead
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The 20 Best Director-Cinematographer Collaborations Working Today

The 20 Best Director-Cinematographer Collaborations Working Today
The gravitational pull that exists between great directors and great cinematographers is natural. Many of the best pairings throughout film history have been project based, with the director or producer picking a cinematographer to achieve a specific look for a particular film. There’s a difference between providing a talented cinematographer with the perfect platform to apply their skills and a director-cinematographer collaboration that elevates the work of both artists, regardless of material.

This list is less about identifying the best looking films of the era – although many are here – and more about celebrating collaborations that have allowed many of the best filmmakers working today to fully express themselves on the big screen.

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson, Dp: Robert Elswit

The first time Paul Thomas Anderson did not work with Elswitt – “The Master,” shot by Mihai Mălaimare Jr. – the results were (thankfully) great, but it’s fascinating that the director
See full article at Indiewire »

Cinematography Film Festival Camerimage Reveals Main Competition Lineup

The esteemed cinematography film festival Camerimage has revealed the lineup for its main competition this year. The international film festival is held in Poland every year and is dedicated to the celebration of cinematography and recognizing its creators, cinematographers. In doing so, it’s become a prime destination for some of the best lensers of all time to mingle, discuss, and celebrate one another’s work, and this year has no shortage of terrifically shot films. The main competition lineup ranges from mother!, shot by Matthew Libatique, to the incomparable Ed Lachman’s Wonderstruck and Woody Allen’s latest Wonder …
See full article at Collider.com »

Review: Mother! (2017)

Darren Aronofsky can perhaps be most appropriately described as a polarising director. His films are often of such an extreme and filthy aesthetic that as an audience member you’ll either stare in awe or well, puke up your popcorn. His films often operate in the realm of tragic narratives detailing the darker aspects of the human psyche. His films can be considered a study into what makes us human (mostly our weaknesses) and how often-invisible emotions can be represented and communicated on screen. With Requiem for a Dream he depicted the vice like grip of addiction and dependency; Black Swan portrayed the dangers of obsession and ambition; and The Wrestler dealt with regret and the consequences of sacrificing everything for your craft. Mother! represents an evolution for Aronofsky as he throws everything he has at the canvas in what becomes a fascinating look at humanity as a whole.

Mother!
See full article at The Cultural Post »

Darren Aronofsky Reflects on Audience Reactions to ‘mother!’: ‘Laughing and Crying Are the Same Thing’

  • Indiewire
Darren Aronofsky Reflects on Audience Reactions to ‘mother!’: ‘Laughing and Crying Are the Same Thing’
mother!” has proven to be the most polarizing movie in recent memory, with most who’ve seen Darren Aronofsky’s latest film either loving or hating it. The writer/director himself appears to have taken this divisiveness in stride, as evidenced by a visit he paid to to the American Film Institute. Aronofsky attended the AFI Conservatory himself, making his conversation a homecoming of sorts.

In response to a question about whether viewers are meant to laugh at the film, Aronofsky said that the Italians didn’t laugh in Venice (where “mother!” premiered) but “the British laughed nonstop.” He then goes on to call his film a comedy of manners in its own way, explaining that people simply react to things differently: “Laughing and crying are the same thing,
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Mother!’: How Darren Aronofsky’s Team Turned a Victorian Mansion Into a House of Horrors

  • Indiewire
‘Mother!’: How Darren Aronofsky’s Team Turned a Victorian Mansion Into a House of Horrors
Despite the postmortems for Darren Aronofsky’s critically-polarizing and commercially disastrous “mother!,” there’s no denying the power of the extraordinary Victorian house at its center. It’s a pivotal character that pits Him (Javier Bardem) against Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) in the allegorical battle for the planet’s survival.

For production designer Philip Messina (“The Hunger Games”), creating the octagonal house offered the most unique experience in world building. “What was amazing to me was how, more than any other film, it was a symbiotic relationship between camera moves and set,” said Messina, who collaborated closely with Aronofsky’s long-time cinematographer Matthew Libatique.

“I’ve never done theater, but it reminded me how the staging of actors and sets worked,” Messina added. “This was all one environment and I knew what the camera would be doing.”

The Meaning of “mother!”

However, even though Aronofsky has been open with the press in describing “mother!
See full article at Indiewire »

A ‘mother!’ of a Vicious Commentary

There’s no easy way to describe Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, the appropriately titled mother! (appropriate once the pieces start crashing into place). It’s oppressively heavy on symbolism, it’s profoundly unsettling, it’s guaranteed to piss off practically audience member in one way or another. To be blunt: it’s pure Aronofsky and, if its reception from both the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals to the scathingly polarizing reaction its had in its first weekend of release are any indicator, it’s going to cement itself with ease as one of the most thoroughly debated experiences of the 21st century. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is up to you.

In a beautiful countryside manor amidst lush fields and the warmest sunsets (all beautifully brought to life by regular Aronofsky Dp Matthew Libatique and production designer Philip Messina) lives a couple – given no names in the story,
See full article at Age of the Nerd »

Why Darren Aronofsky Shot a Two-Hour Rehearsal of ‘mother!’ in a Brooklyn Warehouse

  • Indiewire
Why Darren Aronofsky Shot a Two-Hour Rehearsal of ‘mother!’ in a Brooklyn Warehouse
Darren Aronofsky didn’t only want to rattle audiences out of their comfort zone with his seventh feature, “mother!” He also wanted to create a challenge for his team of long-time collaborators by shaking up his approach. “We had been doing the same thing for a long time and I wanted to try a different process to see what would happen to the team if we did something where it wasn’t so much pre-production,” said Aronofsky in an interview with IndieWire.

After writing the script in what the director called a five day “fever dream” and casting the film – the pieces quickly falling together once Jennifer Lawrence signed on as the lead – Aronofsky developed the story during a secret three month rehearsal in a Brooklyn warehouse. The director started the process with Lawrence and co-star Javier Bardem in an effort to flesh out their characters and find the “real
See full article at Indiewire »

Directors' Trademarks: Darren Aronofsky

  • Cinelinx
Directors’ trademarks is a series of articles that examines the “signatures” that filmmakers leave behind in their work. In this installment, with the release of Mother!, we’re looking at the trademark style and calling signs of Darren Aronofsky as director.

Darren Aronofsky trained as a field botanist after high school. As part of his studies, he embarked on a backpacking trip across Europe and the Middle East. This inspired him, and he decided to attend Harvard, eventually graduating with a degree in film studies. He then went on to the American Film Institute to study directing. In 1997, he released his first feature film, the low-budget Pi. This film was well received by critics, and Aronofsky won the best director award at Sundance. Due to the success of his debut, he was offered the opportunity to make another film with a larger budget. That film became Requiem for a Dream,
See full article at Cinelinx »

‘Mother!’ Cinematographer Used Color, Focus to Create Scary Mood

‘Mother!’ Cinematographer Used Color, Focus to Create Scary Mood
Viewers of “Mother!” may feel unsettled as they watch the movie unfold. In fact, their discomfort may remind them of other films created by the director-cinematographer team of Darren Aronofsky and Matthew Libatique, including “Requiem for a Dream” (2000) and “Black Swan” (2010).

Their sixth feature, set for release by Paramount on Sept. 15, stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a couple living a private life until unexpected visitors (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer) arrive, changing everything in a very disturbing way.

“Most of our conversation leading up to production was about camera language,” says Libatique. As they did for “Swan” and “Pi” (1998), Aronofsky and Libatique filmed on Super 16mm and stylistically restricted compositions to close-ups, over-the-shoulder and point-of-view shots to intimately connect the audience to the narrative. Handheld cameras were used, and framing was informed by each character’s needs.

These strict aesthetics were applied during a three-month rehearsal in Brooklyn, where
See full article at Variety - Film News »

“mother!” is Darren Aronofsky’s most extreme film yet

Among his peers, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky is as ambitious and distinctive as there is. Not only does he manage to craft movies unlike any other, he often is able to do it within the studio system as well. In the case of his newest work, the secretive project mother!, he’s made something that you’d never expect Hollywood to finance. Without question, mother! is batshit crazy, a fever dream of the highest order. It also just might be brilliant. Aronofsky has unleashed a demon from the deepest recesses of his mind. I have no clue how folks will respond to this one. For me, it’s among the boldest and best things I’ve seen in 2017 so far. Opening on Friday, it’s going to blow some minds. Plot doesn’t do this film justice. In fact, the less you know, the better. The plot description officially is that
See full article at Hollywoodnews.com »

The Films of Darren Aronofsky Ranked, From Worst to Best

The Films of Darren Aronofsky Ranked, From Worst to Best
Darren Aronofsky is back. The polarizing Oscar nominee is causing a quite a stir with his latest movie, the Jennifer Lawrence-starring “mother!,” but anyone familiar with Aronofsky’s six previous features knows he’s always been a filmmaker who forces a strong reaction out of people. He’s been pushing the boundaries of his own filmmaking voice ever since “Pi” caused a frenzy at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998, and “mother!” proves he has no signs of stopping.

With “mother!” opening in theaters nationwide, we put all seven Aronofsky features against one another for the ultimate director ranking.

Read More:‘mother!’: Inside the Secretive Marketing Designed to Hide Darren Aronofsky’s Controversial Film 7. “Noah” (2014)

Noah” is unquestionably Aronofsky’s weakest film, but that doesn’t mean it’s a total disaster. The biggest misstep the director makes in this $125 million Biblical epic is turning the odyssey of Noah into a sword-and-sandals showdown,
See full article at Indiewire »

'mother!' Review: Darren Aronofsky's Virtuosic Thriller Will Make Your Head Explode

'mother!' Review: Darren Aronofsky's Virtuosic Thriller Will Make Your Head Explode
Darren Aronofsky doesn't make movies to help you feel better about yourself and the world. He's a cinematic virtuoso (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan) on a mission to probe and provoke. That makes him a rare bird in a multiplex of comic-book escapism and cheap formula. Be warned: mother! radiates a vibe of something dangerous if you get too close.

Javier Bardem, in a portrayal of demonic charm and intensity, stars as a famous poet living in seclusion in a beautiful country house with a young wife (Jennifer Lawrence
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Movie Review – mother! (2017)

mother!, 2017.

Written and Directed by Darren Aronofsky.

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, and Brian Gleeson.

Synopsis:

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

An isolated home surrounded by nature may seem like an ideal paradise and not the most efficient way of wide scale blasting everything from celebrity sycophancy to religious cults, but when has writer/director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan and this critic’s personal favorite movie of all time, Requiem for a Dream) ever not been ambitious? Anyone that has ever sat through one of his films is completely aware of his no holds barred, button-pushing, anger-inducing approach to taboo themes. You can’t really blame the auteur; he has something to say and he’s going to express it with blunt force.

In mother!, Aronofsky’s muse this time around is Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Top Ten: Black Swan's Best Shots

by Ilich Mejía

Tfe is highly anticipating Darren Aronofsky's upcoming mother!. The film welcomes a reunion between Aronofsky and American cinematographer Matthew Libatique, shortly after they last collaborated on 2014's Noah and 2010's Black Swan. A lot of parrallels have already been drawn across the latter and mother!, including similarities between their cracked-doll posters and doesn't this bloody rug remind anyone of a certain mirror-sharded dress? 

To show how desparetely we can't wait to see what new images Aronofsky and Libatique will sear into our psyches when mother! premieres, we're going to look back and pick our ten favorite shots from Black Swan. Libatique's gorgeous, dark cinematography earned him his first Academy Award nomination. Presumably, the Academy was as impressed as we were by his interpretation of the film's theme's of duality and control. 

Let's dissect our favorite frames from the psychological drama after the jump...
See full article at FilmExperience »

‘mother!’ and ‘The Shape of Water’: 2 Strong, Strange Oscar Movies, But One Will Be a Harder Sell

‘mother!’ and ‘The Shape of Water’: 2 Strong, Strange Oscar Movies, But One Will Be a Harder Sell
Artists create worlds that are extreme visions of our own. This fall, several films accomplish this with varying degrees of success; Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” is the most accomplished. Del Toro builds, brick by brick, an immersive fantasy world (shot in Toronto around the venerable Elgin Theatre) inspired by the ’60s melodramas of Douglas Sirk and the horror classic “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” that could only come from his prodigious imagination.

Cinephiles will fall happily into this fairy-tale romance that matches lonely mute laboratory cleaning woman Eliza Esposito (incandescent Sally Hawkins, who will be nominated for her sensual, powerful performance) with a well-muscled captive merman (Doug Jones). They see beauty and sensuality in each other where others see abhorrent aberration.

You can argue that Michael Shannon is typecast as the heartless government villain who tortures the gorgeous aquatic creature he calls “the asset,” but
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

‘mother!’ and ‘The Shape of Water’: 2 Strong, Strange Oscar Movies, But One Will Be a Harder Sell

  • Indiewire
‘mother!’ and ‘The Shape of Water’: 2 Strong, Strange Oscar Movies, But One Will Be a Harder Sell
Artists create worlds that are extreme visions of our own. This fall, several films accomplish this with varying degrees of success; Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” is the most accomplished. Del Toro builds, brick by brick, an immersive fantasy world (shot in Toronto around the venerable Elgin Theatre) inspired by the ’60s melodramas of Douglas Sirk and the horror classic “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” that could only come from his prodigious imagination.

Cinephiles will fall happily into this fairy-tale romance that matches lonely mute laboratory cleaning woman Eliza Esposito (incandescent Sally Hawkins, who will be nominated for her sensual, powerful performance) with a well-muscled captive merman (Doug Jones). They see beauty and sensuality in each other where others see abhorrent aberration.

You can argue that Michael Shannon is typecast as the heartless government villain who tortures the gorgeous aquatic creature he calls “the asset,” but
See full article at Indiewire »

Tiff Review: ‘mother!’ is One of the Most Insane, Ludicrous Studio Releases in Years

Darren Aronofsky must love a good allegory, although making one himself appears to be a different matter entirely in mother!. Starting out as Aronofsky returning to his wheelhouse of paranoia thrillers in the vein of Pi and Black Swan, mother! becomes something much different and flat-out stupid than anything he’s made up to this point. Yes, the usual elements are all here — the mental breakdown of its lead character, the handheld, close-up visuals he adopted since The Wrestler, and the descent into full-blown madness in the final act – but they’re working within a thematic scale around the same size as his biblical epic Noah. The ideas may be big, but Aronofsky’s brain is still as small as it’s always been, leaving mother! as an exercise in watching someone drive their one, ridiculous idea straight off the tallest cliff imaginable. It’s one of the most insane
See full article at The Film Stage »

Tiff 2017: ‘Mother!’ Review: Dir. Darren Aronofsky (2017)

Mother! review: Following the disappointing Noah, Darren Aronofsky returns to the surreal world he’s enjoyed, and had deep success before, for this hellish tale led by the superstar teaming of Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem.

Mother! review by Paul Heath.

Darren Aronofsky directs his first feature since the critically-mauled epic Noah with this very original tale which is as equally biblical as the aforementioned – an at times terrifying, hugely surreal motion picture that stays with you for days afterwards.

Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence play an unnamed couple – referred to as simply ‘him’ and ‘mother’ – who both live alone in an old house in the country. The film opens in what seems to be the aftermath of a pretty damaging fire. Lawrence’s character spends her days re-decorating the place while Bardem’s author deals with a severe case of writer’s block.

The couple’s world changes when
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Darren Aronofsky’s Outrageous ‘Mother!’ Throws Awards Voters a Curveball

Darren Aronofsky’s Outrageous ‘Mother!’ Throws Awards Voters a Curveball
Venice — Every good film festival needs a firestarter: a big, bold auteur film intended to split and disquiet audiences, whereupon the critical reaction winds up consuming as many analytical column inches as the movie itself. Yesterday, after a quiet but consistently respectable start — with the likes of “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri” premiering to warm consensus — Venice finally got its incendiary opinion-divider a week into the festival, as Darren Aronofsky’s aggressive, terrifying, deeply personal fever-dream “Mother!” was sprung on audiences.

For the first time at Venice this year, fierce boos reverberated around the Sala Darsena as the closing credits rolled — any European festival crowd’s favored way to express artistic disapproval, to the consternation of more temperate Americans and Brits. But the noise didn’t speak for the entire room: seconds later, Twitter made it clear that Aronofsky’s thorny provocation had as many exhilarated admirers as it did incensed detractors
See full article at Variety - Film News »
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