Movies

11:36pm

Sun March 2, 2014
The Oscars

Oscars 2014: Low On Laughs, But A Great Speech Or Two

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 6:26 am

At Sunday's Oscar ceremony, the feel-good win of the night came when 12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong'o took home the supporting-actress trophy.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

The big winner was 12 Years a Slave, but there was quite a bit of love to go around at Sunday night's Oscars. What there wasn't, as usual, was a lot of riveting television.

Sure, there was John Travolta squinting at the teleprompter and introducing Idina Menzel (to sing the Oscar-winning Best Original Song "Let It Go," from Frozen) as — no kidding — "Adele Dazeem." And there was a fun dance number featuring Pharrell Williams and his own Oscar-nominated "Happy," which he wore a formal black version of his Grammys hat to perform.

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5:27am

Fri February 28, 2014
The 86th Annual Academy Awards

Keen Eyes, Uncanny Instincts Keep Films In Sharp Focus

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 12:41 pm

On location for Walk of Shame, camera crew members Larry Nielsen (center) and Milan "Miki" Janicin (right) help set up a crane shot. The wireless focus remote Nielsen will use is hanging from that purple carabiner on his jacket.
Cindy Carpien NPR

You won't believe it — I didn't — but the person responsible for keeping each and every shot of a movie in focus never looks through a camera lens.

"No," says focus puller Baird Steptoe. "We do not look through the camera at all."

Steptoe has worked as a first assistant cameraman on films from The Sixth Sense to Thor to last year's Grownups Two. He says he's learned to judge distances — precise distances — with his naked eye alone.

"I mean, I can tell you roughly from you to me right now," he says. "I would say about 2-11."

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5:27am

Fri February 28, 2014
StoryCorps

A Cowboy Stunt Double Who Made The Stars Look Good

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 1:25 pm

Dean Smith, doubling as Maureen O'Hara, with stuntman Lee McLaughlin on the set of McClintock!
Courtesy of the Smith Family

For 40 years, Dean Smith made his living as a stunt double in Hollywood Westerns — including eight Oscar winners and nominees — like True Grit, The Alamo and How The West Was Won.

"I was able to make all the leading men look good," Dean tells his wife Debby in an interview with StoryCorps. And not just men, he adds.

"One time, I doubled [as] Maureen O'Hara. I got the clothes and I got this big red wig. When I got back on the set, they laughed at me and they said my legs didn't look too much like Maureen's," he laughs.

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5:00am

Fri February 28, 2014
Movies

Almosts Might Leave You Rooting For This Fairy 'Tale'

Colin Farrell as Peter Lake and Jessica Brown Findlay as Beverly Penn in Warner Bros. Pictures' "Winter's Tale.”
David C. Lee Warner Bros. Entertainment

Winter’s Tale hop-scotches through time, making far-fetched connections between characters and does all it can to make an audience feel its magic.

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5:30am

Thu February 27, 2014
Hollywood Jobs

'Clap!' On Set, The Signature Sound Of The Slate

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:12 am

Milan "Miki" Janicin slates a scene on a location shoot for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Given the crowded location, "I'm actually on the phone with my first assistant, so he could let me know when the camera is rolling," Janicin says.
Sidney Ray Baldwin

More than the roar of the MGM lion, more than the 20th Century Fox fanfare, the iconic sound of moviemaking is the sharp clap of a slate — although film folks have a language of their own to describe it.

"Miki's hitting the sticks on this one," says assistant cameraman Larry Nielsen, pointing to his assistant.

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