All posts by Daniel Quitério

Film, theatre, and TV buff. Blogger and former senior film editor. I ❤️ NY. Twitter: @dan_quiterio

“Christine,” Starring Rebecca Hall: The Film I Should Have Written

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On the occasion of the poster release for new film Christine, allow me to tell you a brief story about why doing means so much more than just talking.

Some years ago, I happened upon my college’s Wikipedia page. As I scanned over the “Notable Alumni” section, one name stood out to me—one that I didn’t recognize: Christine Chubbuck. I clicked on her name and found myself reading this story of a troubled woman whose tragic actions shook the world of live television. I happened to think about her again just last year when a psychotic man gunned down a reporter and her cameraman during a live feed in Roanoke, Virginia.

Continue reading “Christine,” Starring Rebecca Hall: The Film I Should Have Written

The Making of Movie Titles

If you’re like me, you often watch a film’s opening titles and consider their relevance to the movie’s story and characters. I love good design. It only stands to enhance a film, showcasing both style and substance. And truly great design becomes iconic.

Dive deeper into more areas of film through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Academy Originals video series.

Short Film: “Geri’s Game”

Winner of the 1998 Academy Award for Best Short Film, Animated, this Pixar classic was written and directed by Jan Pinkava. If nothing else, it’s proof that one isn’t necessarily the loneliest number.

On My DVR: HBO Movies

HBO has long been at the forefront of quality TV movies. Among this year’s offerings are three based on real people, two of which are based on Tony-winning plays. Each is primed for Emmy consideration.

All the Way

Following up his Oscar-nominated performance in Trumbo and four Emmy wins for portraying Walter White on Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston reprises his Tony-winning role of LBJ in this TV adaptation of the 2014 Tony-winning Best Play. I caught this Robert Schenkkan-penned play on Broadway—liked it, but didn’t love it. Schenkkan adapted his own work for HBO, so I’m curious to see how he interpreted this story for a different medium.

Logline (courtesy of IMDb)Lyndon B. Johnson becomes the President of the United States in the chaotic aftermath of JFK’s assassination and spends his first year in office fighting to pass the Civil Rights Act.

Director: Jay Roach
Screenwriter: Robert Schenkkan
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Anthony Mackie, Melissa Leo, Bradley Whitford, Frank Langella
Runtime: 132 min.

Continue reading On My DVR: HBO Movies

Conservators up Close

Conservators don’t receive enough credit for the painstaking and important work they do to preserve our film history. Get a peek into the art and science of preservation with this brief video, a part of the terrific Academy Originals series.

Happy Birthday, Oscars!

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Today is the 87th anniversary of the first Academy Awards ceremony on May 16, 1929. The ceremony took place in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (a stone’s throw from the current site of the Oscars, the Dolby Theatre) and honored films released between August 1927 and August 1928. About 270 people attended the private dinner. Unlike today, winners were announced three months in advance. Here’s a quick snapshot of the ceremony:

Cost of a Guest Ticket: $5 (or $69 by today’s standards)
Number of Statues Awarded: 15
Length of Ceremony: 15 minutes

Outstanding Picture: Wings 
Unique and Artistic Picture: Sunrise 
Directing (Drama Picture): Frank Borzage (7th Heaven)
Directing (Comedy Picture): Lewis Milestone (Two Arabian Nights)
Actor: Emil Jannings (The Last Command, The Way of All Flesh)
Actress: Janet Gaynor (7th Heaven, Street Angel, Sunrise)
Writing (Adaptation): 7th Heaven 
Writing (Original Story): Underworld 

Other awards were given for Cinematography (Sunrise), Art Direction (The Dove), Engineering Effects (Wings), and Writing (Title Writing) (Joseph Farnham); Special Awards were given to The Circus and The Jazz Singer.

Official Trailer: “The Birth of a Nation”

Written and directed by actor Nate Parker in his feature directorial debut, The Birth of a Nation tells the story of former slave Nat Turner (played by Parker), who leads a liberation movement to free slaves in Virginia in 1831. The film also stars Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union, and Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley.

The Birth of a Nation is this year’s big Sundance hit, winning the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, and notably shattering a sales record at the Festival by selling distribution rights to Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million. With a fall release date of October 7—and with a powerhouse indie distributor in Searchlight, which also released recent Best Picture winners Birdman (2014) and 12 Years a Slave (2013)—it’s bound to ride high through next year’s Oscars. So perhaps #OscarsSoWhite will finally be a thing of the past.

Short Filmmaking: From A to Z

And this is oversimplifying the process! Support short filmmakers.

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My Final Predictions for 88th Academy Awards

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2016 Best Song Oscar Nominees

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Common and John Legend flashing their statues for their Best Song win at last year’s Oscars for Selma‘s “Glory.”

The last two years, we saw something special—and rare—happen at the Oscars: the Best Song category actually meant something to many viewers. Two years ago, we couldn’t get “Let It Go” from Frozen out of our heads (but let’s be honest, did it ever really leave our heads?). That was the year the Idina Menzel tuner left Pharrell’s toe-tapping contender “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 in the dust. Then last year, we saw John Legend and Common force the Dolby to its feet with their performance of winning song “Glory” from Selma, outpacing another fan favorite, The Lego Movie‘s “Everything Is Awesome.”

This year, high-profile artists like Lady Gaga, Diane Warren, Sam Smith, and The Weeknd are in the mix, but their songs don’t have the same appeal as those from recent memory. Still, this year’s diverse lot of songs—ranging from R&B to classical to a James Bond anthem—is worth a listen before this Sunday’s Oscars.

Continue reading 2016 Best Song Oscar Nominees