We have a special guest on the show today in Australian cinematographer Lachlan Milne ACS. Lachlan was originally a guest on the show a few years back.
Last time we spoke with Lachlan he was busy shooting commercials and features in Australia and two years later he just recently wrapped up production on Season 3 of Stranger Things.
It was great to get a chance to chat about all he’s been through and, even though we chatted before the release of Season 3 so he wasn’t able to share specifics, it was fascinating to hear how a show of that calibre is put together.
Enjoy the episode!
Patreon Podcast – Bridge of Back Light
Some people are crazy for continuity, others not so much.
This week on the Patreon Podcast #118 we take an extensive look at Janus Kaminski’s work on Bridge of Spies and discuss how Janus is able to capture unique look of that film.
I enjoyed the look of this movie so it was a treat to get to dive in to the intricacies that were necessary to get the final look.
To see the images and listen to the special breakdown podcast click the link below:
A Dutch rail company that created controversy after posting images of clothing belonging to victims of rail disasters has taken down the photographs. Captions detailing the accidents and describing the deaths or serious injuries of the wearers were in stark contrast to the account’s positioning, described as a “fashion line.”
FilmConvert is gearing up to release Nitrate, the latest update to the popular film simulation plugin. Nitrate was first introduced back in April and earlier this month the company started tweeting a series of teasers ahead of the update’s arrival. On the heels of Nitrate’s launch is an ongoing FilmConvert sale offering 20 percent off all currently available software.
FilmConvert debuted in 2012, offering filmmakers a way to add simulated film colors and grain to videos. The plugin has since arrived for a large number of popular applications, including Avid Media Composer, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro x, and Photoshop on Mac.
The Nitrate update will introduce multiple new features into the mix, including Cineon Log versions of original film stock emulations, full custom curve control, and advanced film grain controls. With these new features, users will be able to, for example, individually adjust the grain in midtones, shadows, and highlights with the grain curve, design custom film stock, and adjust film stock contrast and saturation while retaining the authentic colors of that stock.
FilmConvert customers who purchased the plugin after April 6, 2019, will receive the Nitrate upgrade for free, but everyone else will be charged an unspecified upgrade fee. The update will first be available for Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro on Mac and Windows followed by other platforms later this year. Neither the Photoshop nor desktop app plugins will receive the Nitrate update, however.
Nitrate is listed as ‘coming soon,’ but the precise launch date is unclear at this time.
On September 13, 2019, the 45th Annual Saturn Awards will take place at the historic Avalon Theater in Hollywood, California. For the first time in its history, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, who founded and owns the Saturn Awards, has made a multi-year partnership deal with veteran television producer Justin W. Hochberg, […]
I have been shooting aerial photography for years now, but have never really shared much of my process when it comes to creating images. Here is a quick look at what sometimes goes into a simple photo of mine.
I’ve watched with interest as videographers use external small monitors attached to their DSLR or mirrorless cameras. I could see the advantages: the larger screen, the ability to see vectorscopes, histograms, and the variety of focus tools available. At the same time, I wondered if a monitor would enhance my landscape and nighttime photography, so I took the plunge, and here are my findings.
Nikon recently brought eye autofocus to the Z 6 and Z 7 mirrorless cameras, a feature that many photographers rely on to help them get the shot, particularly when shooting at wider apertures with narrow depth of field. How good is Nikon’s implementation of the popular feature? This great video answers that question.
In addition to being quite optically stunning, Canon’s new RF lenses add some helpful features that allow you both to customize your workflow and make shooting easier. This excellent video details four features enabled by shooting with RF lenses and a Canon mirrorless camera.
Guests with phones getting in the way have become a legitimate issue for wedding photographers in the last decade or so, and after just such an attendee ruined a shot of the bride and her father walking down the aisle, one wedding photographer took to Facebook to launch a rant at the phone photographer.
Do we really need the latest and greatest cameras? To find out, DPReview TV host Nigel Danson swapped his Nikon Z7 and pro lenses for an entry-level Canon DSLR with a $100 kit lens, using it for his landscape photography and on a trip to Budapest. How did it measure up to his top-of-the-line gear? Tune in to find out
The HBO series “Chernobyl” was a major success in every way possible. This retelling of the massive explosion of the nuclear power plant in Ukraine on April 26, 1986 is currently the highest ranked TV series of all time on IMDb. The show gained attention around the world.
Obviously it had its detractors as well, some criticizing historical inaccuracies and a lack of character development, among others. However, most audiences were impressed by its haunting, gripping atmosphere, grim tone, powerful acting performances, and its disturbing subject matter. If you watched the series and liked it, maybe you would love to give some of these films below a chance as well if you haven’t seen them already.
10. The China Syndrome (1979)
Once Nicolas Cage was asked about his politics, he said he prefers to not talk about them, instead delivering the messages he wants to give through his movies. He added, “I learned more about the disaster of nuclear power from the China Syndrome.”
Even though it was met with backlash from the nuclear power industry, “The China Syndrome” was a major commercial and critical success for its time, with a lot of praise for its subjects, thrilling tone, and the acting performances, particularly by Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda.
Based primarily on a 1970 accident at the Dresden Nuclear Power Station in Illinois, the film follows a reporter, portrayed by Fonda, and cameraman (Michael Douglas) after they witness an accident while reporting at a California nuclear power plant.
The film was notable for bringing attention to possible accidents and cover-ups in the industry, and can be noted for starting a cycle of films in the 1980s about atomic bombs and nuclear warfare, which was followed by films like “The Manhattan Project,” “WarGames,” “The Day After” and “Testament.” Nuclear experts also had a debate about the film.
Even though the film is set on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum, the movie, like “Chernobyl,” also dealt with the subject of powerful organizations covering up disastrous mistakes made in the name of cost efficiency. In fact, that was why Douglas was attracted to the script, and he compared it with the film he also produced, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” as a story of a man vs. a powerful institution.
9. Deepwater Horizon (2016)
Those who would like to see more of real-life human disasters can check out “Deepwater Horizon.” The collaborations between Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg are almost always surprisingly delivering very impressive films, with the exception of their last one.
Berg is not exactly a subtle director, but he’s no Michael Bay either. He may have directed some big-budget blockbusters, but he knows how to add human elements into his works, which is why this movie is dramatically effective and a thrilling ride with some exceptional acting as well, especially by Kurt Russell and Gina Rodriguez.
The film makes you feel the anger and feel the tragedy. The movie is based on an industrial disaster that began on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect, considered to be the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.
The movie got praise for being historically accurate and some said the film does a remarkable job at making audiences angry for BP. However, some also criticized it for “simplifying the blame,” and obviously BP itself attacked the film as “not an accurate portrayal of the events that led to the accident, our people, or the character of our company.”
The movie didn’t do well enough at the box office, but it was a strong film with also some impressive technical work that earned two Oscar nominations for its sound editing and visual effects. A gripping, intense film with so much tension that certainly deserved more attention.
8. Defence of the Realm (1986)
Legendary film critic Pauline Kael was highly impressed by this David Drury film that she described it as “probably the closest English equivalent to ‘All the President’s Men,’ but the atmosphere is much darker and more oppressive.” There are indeed similarities to that one, or another Alan Pakula classic “The Parallax View.”
The movie takes its title from the 1914 Defence of the Realm Act in the U.K. which gave the government wide-ranging powers during the war, such as the power to requisition buildings or land needed for the war effort, or to make regulations creating criminal offences.
The movie is about the cover-up of a crash of a nuclear bomber at an American Air Force base in the U.K. and the subsequent events. A member of the Parliament who wants to raise the issue finds himself in a media-hounded position for other reasons, but two reporters – impressively played by Gabriel Byrne and especially Denholm Elliott – investigate it further.
Byrne’s character finds evidence of a cover-up about the nuclear plane incident; however, government forces are out to stop him. Yet another film about cover-ups on nuclear incidents; sadly the movie didn’t get enough attention, but with the distracting score aside, the movie will sure to please those who enjoy old-fashioned political thrillers.
7. Threads (1984)
The early ‘80s brought up some disturbing films like “The Temptations” and “The Day After” that portrayed the shocking nature of a possible nuclear war and its effects. “Threads,” which some called Britain’s answer to “The Day After,” is possibly better than both of the aforementioned films.
Depicting the medical, economic, social and environmental consequences of nuclear war, “Threads” has that grim atmosphere and gripping narrative that “Chernobyl” had. Possibly the most visceral and disturbing docudrama about nuclear winter, the film is gritty and scary.
One of the most acclaimed television films of all time, this amazing film takes a documentarian’s approach to the daily and unending suffering a nuclear exchange would perpetuate on the average person. The style gives gives it realism and authenticity. The build-up scenes are compelling and realistic, the attack itself is shocking, and the whole film is raw and memorable.
Nominated for seven BAFTAs, the filmmakers also consulted various sources in their research, including the 1983 Science article Nuclear Winter: Global Consequences of Multiple Nuclear Explosions, penned by Carl Sagan and James B. Pollack. “Threads” may give you nightmares, but it’s an unforgettable film worth checking out.
6. K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
Yet another film about a Soviet disaster. The Soviet Union began building their first ballistic-missile-equipped nuclear submarine in 1958, and named it the K-19. It was one of the first two Soviet submarines of the Project 658 class, the first generation nuclear submarine equipped with nuclear ballistic missiles.
The boat was hastily built by the Soviets in response to American developments in nuclear submarines as part of the arms race. Before it was launched, 10 civilian workers and a sailor died due to accidents and fires.
This underrated Kathyrn Bigelow feature takes on submarine malfunctions on its maiden voyage and how the crew must race to save the ship and prevent a nuclear disaster. Unfortunately, the film flopped at the box office in 2002, but it’s an entertaining and thrilling – if little overlong – ride.
Harrison Ford uses his trademark movie star charisma, but it’s also one of his more complex roles and he manages to find interesting layers. So does Liam Neeson, who also has an interesting, compelling arc. The interactions between the characters are engaging and the music is also good. Overall, the movie is yet another intense work based on a chapter of Soviet history, and was one of the finest summer blockbusters of its years that unfortunately got overlooked.
To the serious cineaste there’s something much more satisfying about quirky, cult oddities that were always intended for niche markets with very little chance of ever attaining mass appeal. The arthouse film, often the product of auteur filmmakers or non-traditional genre directors looking for more cerebral experiences and often transgressive tales deemed too avant-garde or messed up to be blockbusters or mainstream movies.
The following films may not be all that obscure to true cinephiles, but it’s likely that these 10 films have largely alluded modern audiences, unless they live in a large city with a well-run and cultured arthouse or repertory cinema. So, if you take art films seriously, study this list closely and track down those you haven’t yet seen. For rewarding treasures await, and who knows, your new cinematic obsession may well be listed amongst the titles below. Enjoy!
10. Belladonna of Sadness (1973)
A swirling dervish of psychedelic light-show imagery that also doubles as a dubious reading of medieval tarot-card imagery with phallic symbols in blood-splattered haunted forests, Japanese director Eiichi Yamamoto (Astro Boy and Kimba The White Lion) hit a transgressive high water mark of 1970s animation with Belladonna of Sadness.
One of the great lost masterworks of Japanese animation, Yamamoto’s film was never officially released theatrically in North America, due largely to its controversial subject matter.
Adapted from French Jules Michelet‘s 1862 book “Satanism and Witchcraft”, it’s a sordid, highly sexualized rape-revenge tale concerning a peasant woman who is savagely raped by the local lord on her wedding night, she swears revenge and makes a pact with the Devil that, of course, goes awry.
The art of the film, which blends illustrations and full animation, recalls the mist-shrouded Middle Earth esoterica of J.R.R. Tolkien while the explicit eroticism suggests a lusty Gustav Klimt, and it’s all augmented by a psych-rock soundtrack from avant-garde Japanese jazz composer Masahiko Satoh. As far as arthouse animation goes, very little matches the visceral impact of the delightfully mad Sadness of Belladonna.
9. Bad Timing (1980)
Perhaps the most polarizing film from Nicolas Roeg (Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth), Bad Timing is a scandalous, X-rated mini-epic that explores some very upsetting places as we get familiar with expat American psychiatrist Alex Linden (Art Garfunkel).
Living in Vienna, and not a particularly likeable lad, Alex has a potentially dangerous, and certainly unhealthy sexual obsession with Milena (Theresa Russell), a married American woman with more than a few vices.
Also added to the jigsaw-puzzle-that’s-missing-a-few-pieces narrative is Harvey Keitel’s police inspector Netusil, a man convinced that Milena’s hospitalization isn’t as cut and dry as Alex has made it out to be, and this is illustrated via the detective’s fantasized replaying of what could have gone awry.
Told in Roeg’s atypical nonlinear fashion, Bad Timing may read as experimental arthouse inanity for non-fans or those not so adventurous. But Roeg takes pains to detail the voyeuristic psychoanalysis of a wronged relationship, as well as the wistful and lascivious elements of an affair; how despairing people still hold powerful passions, and how some actions are too horrible to be easily or ever forgiven.
8. Velvet Goldmine (1998)
In Velvet Goldmine the glitter rock androgyny and artifice mixes with Oscar Wildean affectation and embellishment thriving through the ages –– though mostly during 1970s London.
There’s a playfully camp and intellectually bright glow to Todd Haynes’s substantial analysis of Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a Bowie-esque pop performance icon and his lavish fandom, including a genre-defying contemporary in Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor, in a role that alloys aspects of both Iggy Pop and Lou Reed), and Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale), a sexually conflicted rock journalist and super fan.
Surreal, theatrical, erotically charged, and also something of an homage to Welles’s Citizen Kane, this is an operatic and fierce fever dream of a film. For fans of art, music, and free expression, Velvet Goldmine is the chiming and melodious mother lode.
7. Permanent Vacation (1980)
Jim Jarmusch (Down By Law, Only Lovers Left Alive) made his auspicious debut with Permanent Vacation, and won the Josef von Sternberg Award at the 1980 Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival, indicating that while it may be his most novice project, it also in many ways is Jarmusch’s quintessential film. Not only does this artful 16mm minimalist production radiate a low-key cool, it also shows the emergence of his original formalism and character design.
Set in a smirched and near colorless Manhattan, a young drifter (Chris Parker) shuffles about in a half-hearted search for meaning that has him mingling with a peanut gallery of eccentrics including his girlfriend (Leila Gastil), a gifted sax player (John Lurie, who also provided the memorable score), a French traveller (Chris Hamoen) and more.
Permanent Vacation was Jarmusch’s final year university project, and while it never got a theatrical release, it’s an enjoyable detour displaying the wry emotion and urban ambient of his most personal and venerated works.
6. Lucifer Rising (1972)
Is there a filmmaker alive today that’s as notorious, and otherworldly as nonagenarian and old hand, Kenneth Anger? Of course not!
Easily Anger’s most ambitious and expansive film, Lucifer Rising (the final film in Anger’s Magick Lantern Cycle) was an elaborate production filmed largely in Egypt with Anger playing the role of the Magus, Marianne Faithfull as Lilith, Chris Jagger (Mick’s brother) as the Man in the Yellow Tunic, Scottish filmmaker Donald Cammell as Osiris, and Myriam Gibril as Isis, rounding out the cast.
Alien spacecraft, Egyptian symbolism, and locales pertinent to Aleister Crowley’s famed “The Book of the Law” (1904), regarded as the sacred text of Thelema, populate and navigate the film. Lava flowing, skies swollen with storm clouds, glimpses of Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids compete with cobras, crocodiles, and stampeding elephants, all mid-magick formula, a blue-skinned Faithfull (looking authentically strung-out), green-fleshed Cammell, the genealogical Sphinx, all enigma and ancient, everything alien and oracle.
Lucifer Rising is a classic of experimental arthouse cinema, and the crowning work of a true visionary.