Video of the Week: Hugo Steadicam Shot

Video of the Week: Hugo Steadicam Shot

It’s no secret that one of my favorite films of 2011 was Scorsese’s excellent HUGO – this popped up online a few days ago. It looks like someone attached a wide angle go-pro-like device on the steadicam rig, to give you a nice perspective into the great tracking shot in the end of the film. Walls open out, props are moved, all for a great, uncut effect. This is definitely not as complicated as the amazing steadicam tracking shot in Goodfellas, but never the less, an awesome video.

84th Academy Award Nominations Announced

They are here! Been waiting patiently to hear what films are lucky enough to garner nomination for the 84th annual Academy Awards. Nothing too shocking here, I’m a bit surprised ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ was completely shut out of the Animation Category, though ‘Puss in Boots’ was nominated? Andy Serkis is sadly missing a nomination for ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes,’ and despite my reservations for the film, Charlize Theron didn’t get anything for ‘Young Adult.’

I am however happy to see that ‘Hugo,’ my favorite film of last year, got quite a few nominations!

The Academy Awards are Sunday, February 26th, and are hosted by Billy Crystal.

Best Picture

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

Best Director

  • Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Alexdander Payne, The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo
  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Best Actor In a Supporting Role

  • Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill, Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte, Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners
  • Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Mellisa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Actor in a Leading Role

  • Demian Bichir, A Better Life
  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Animated Feature Film

  • A Cat in Paris, Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
  • Chico & Rita, Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
  • Kung Fu Panda 2, Jennifer Yuh Nelson
  • Puss in Boots, Chris Miller
  • Rango, Gore Verbinski


  • The Artist, Guillaume Schiffman
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Jeff Cronenweth
  • Hugo, Robert Richardson
  • The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki
  • War Horse, Janusz Kaminski

Foreign Language Film

  • Belgium, “Bullhead”, Michael R. Roskam, director
  • Canada, “Monsieur Lazhar”, Philippe Falardeau, director
  • Iran, “A Separation”, Asghar Farhadi, director
  • Israel, “Footnote”, Joseph Cedar, director
  • Poland, “In Darkness”, Agnieszka Holland, director

Music (Original Song)

  • “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets, Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
  • “Real in Rio” from Rio, Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
  • Hugo, Screenplay by John Logan
  • The Ides of March, Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
  • Moneyball, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin.  Story by Stan Chervin
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • The Artist, Written by Michel Hazanavicius
  • Bridesmaids, Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
  • Margin Call, Written by J.C. Chandor
  • Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen
  • A Separation, Written by Asghar Farhadi

Art Direction

  • The Artist: Laurence Bennett (Production Design); Robert Gould (Set Decoration)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Stuart Craig (Production Design); Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
  • Hugo: Dante Ferretti (Production Design); Francesca Lo Schiavo (Set Decoration)
  • War Horse: Rick Carter (Production Design); Lee Sandales (Set Decoration)

Costume Design

  • Anonymous, Lisy Christl
  • The Artist, Mark Bridges
  • Hugo, Sandy Powell
  • Jane Eyre, Michael O’Connor
  • W.E., Arianne Phillips

Documentary Feature

  • Hell and Back Again
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
  • Pina
  • Undefeated

Documentary Short

  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
  • God is the Bigger Elvis, Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
  • Incident in New Baghdad, James Spione
  • Saving Face, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Film Editing

  • The Artist, Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
  • The Descendants, Kevin Tent
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • Hugo, Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Moneyball, Christopher Tellefsen


  • Albert Nobbs, Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
  • The Iron Lady, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)

  • The Adventures of Tintin, John Williams
  • The Artist, Ludovic Bource
  • Hugo, Howard Shore
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alberto Iglesias
  • War Horse, John Williams

Short Film (Animated)

  • Dimanche/Sunday, Patrick Doyon
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
  • La Luna, Enrico Casarosa
  • A Morning Stroll, Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
  • Wild Life, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Pentecost, Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
  • Raju, Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
  • The Shore, Terry George and Oorlagh George
  • Time Freak, Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
  • Tuba Atlantic, Hallvar Witzø

Sound Editing

  • Drive, Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ren Klyce
  • Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
  • War Horse, Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Sound Mixing

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
  • Hugo, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
  • Moneyball, Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
  • War Horse, Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
  • Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
  • Real Steel, Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Dan Glass, Brad Friedman, Douglas Trumbull and Michael Fink

Ben’s 2012 Oscar Predictions

Editors Note: Ben has compiled a list of his Oscar predictions, both who he thinks will be nominated, and who will ultimately win. The announcements will be next Tuesday, January 24th. Check out Ben’s list, where do you think he’s right, where do you think he’s completely wrong?




The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight In Paris
The Tree Of Life
War Horse


George Clooney – The Descendants – WINNER
Jean DuJardin – The Artist
Michael Fassbinder – Shame
Gary Oldman – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Brad Pitt – Moneyball


Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs – WINNER
Viola Davis – The Help
Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton – We Need To Talk About Kevin
Michelle Williams – My Week With Marilyn


Jim Broadbent – The Iron Lady
Albert Brooks – Drive – WINNER
Ben Kingsley – Hugo
Viggo Mortensen – A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer – Beginners


Berenice Bejo – The Artist
Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
Vanessa Redgrave – Coriolanus
Octavia Spencer – The Help
Shailene Woodley – The Descendants – WINNER


Michael Hazanavicius – The Artist
Terrence Malick – The Tree Of Life
Alexander Payne – The Descendants
Martin Scorsese – Hugo – WINNER
Steven Spielberg – War Horse

Ben’s Top 10 of 2011

This was hard because this year really sucked ass but here goes in no order:

Source Code – 3 stars

Really cool movie and the followup to Moon by Duncan Jones. He’s got some talent, and Jake Gyllenhaal proves once again that he can actually act! Everything was intense up until the end, which cost it the 4th star for me. Still, definitely worth checking out!


Super – 4 stars

A really pleasant surprise. Some great bloody violence; an amazing performance from Dwight from the Office and Ellen Page; and all around, extremely heartfelt and dramatic. I loved it. Even Kevin Bacon was hilarious. Probably in the top 5 of the year.

War Horse – 4 stars

A little over-sentimental, but that didn’t take away from the beauty of the images on the screen. I loved it because it had no (or very little) CGI, and really felt like a late 80s/early 90s epic. The final shots are just pure cinematic beauty.

Super 8 – 3 stars

Underwhelming but decent effort at trying to make an 80s Spielberg movie. It came off more like one of those 80s adventure movies that were trying to be Spielberg movies back then, but it was still an enjoyable ride…however, wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to go balls out and have a puppet for the alien instead of that shitfest of a CGI mess? The alien sucked, and looked so shitty that it will not make the movie endure, sadly. But, like I said…still a good effort.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 – 4 stars

For a series that started off as cool as a retard in a banana factory, they really upped the ante for the last two installments of this saga. The Deathly Hallows part 1 was pretty intense (for this series) and this one was no different. Main characters die in pretty hardcore (again, for this series) ways and the showdown actually had me pretty riveted. Good for them…they have enough money to play with and have made enough money on this series, to produce a good product…and they did.

Drive – 4 stars

Probably the best movie I saw this year. I know, it’s on all the geeks top 10 lists too, but they’re right for once. This movie is pretty awesome. Intense violence, great acting (even if Ryan Gosling seemed to have autism or something in his role), and just an overall
great pace of a movie. I loved every second of it. Nerds are right on the money this time.

The Descendants – 4 stars
Depressing, ugly and real portrayal of people in the world, as only Alexander Payne can do. The man just makes movies about the shittiness of real people in real life situations and how they always fuck everything up. It’s the most non-Hollywood Hollywood movie. Loved it. Made me feel like shit, but loved it.

Hugo – 4 stars

My love for Scorsese knows no bounds or limits (except for Kundun…really, THAT was your followup to Casino?) I had my reservations about this movie, but once I read that everything outside of Hugo’s part in the movie was true, it blew my mind. What an amazing story that has tanked now at the box office but will go on as a legendary movie in history, you’ll see. I wouldn’t be shocked if this won best picture. Great, great movie.

Mission Impossible 4 – 4 stars

Another total surprise. I’m a decent fan of the MI series, but this one is a grand slam to win the World Series. Great, old school action, suspense and stunts make this entertaining through its over 2 hour run. Plus, I’ve always been a Tom Cruise fan even if he did jump on a couch. Big fucking deal…he jumped on a couch. Show me a celebrity that isn’t batshit. Anyway, this movie plays like all the best Spielberg action movies, and Brad Bird is someone to keep your eyes on.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – 4 stars

The feel bad movie of the year indeed. Bleak, dark, depressing, horrid…but it’s Fincher. Would you want anything more? The chick from Social Network bares all, gets ass raped (spoiler alert) and kicks all sorts of cock in this creepy thriller. Usually I don’t like remakes so soon after the original is made, but this works just as well. Worth a look, but don’t bring your wife unless you have a soft couch.


Film Review: Hugo

Film Review: Hugo

‘Hugo’ is director Martin Scorsese’s first foray in a long while that is in complete unfamiliar territory. For starters, this is his first film absent of Leonardo DiCaprio in 10 years. Secondly this is the first Scorsese picture intended for all ages. Notice I didn’t say “intended for kids.” I don’t think Scorsese set out to make a kids movie, I think he definitely set out to make a movie that could be enjoyed by anyone of any age (kids included!).

Adapted from the novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick, the film tells the story of a boy who lives alone in a Paris train station, and a curious toy shop owner. Hugo (Asa Butterfield), orphaned at a young age lives in secret, running around in the background keeping the station’s clocks in order – a job he took over from his drunken Uncle who adopted him after the passing of his father.

The one possession he still has from his father is a mechanical man, an automaton. A project he was working on with his father. Hugo believes that the automaton holds a secret final message from his father, and is working tirelessly to fix it.

Hugo acquires parts by stealing them from the toy shop, owned by Papa Georges (Ben Kinglsey). When Papa Georges takes Hugo’s notebook as payment for what he’s stolen, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), Papa Georges goddaughter, begins to help Hugo – beginning their wonderful adventure.

Scorsese films are known for their amazing cinematography and camera work. Whether its the long tracking shots in ‘Goodfellas,’ or the swooping shots of planes in ‘The Aviator,’ Scorsese and his DP Robert Richardson love moving the camera. In the opening of this film, they use every trick in the book. It’s mind-blowing. The seamless movement through practical, and CG sets, all while closely following Hugo looked amazing – this scene alone is worth the price of admission.

Asa Butterfield proves himself to be a talented, wonderful actor. The emotions he displays, especially in the pivotal moments of them film are quite believable. Moretz, who at a young age already has a great catalog of work under her now has another amazing film under her belt. It was also great to see Sacha Baron Cohen in something other than his own characters.

I’m not the greatest proponent of 3D films. I don’t like it for a lot of reasons. But I have said, if there is any director who could do anything amazing with the medium, it’d be Scorsese. I was right. This film is hands down, the greatest 3D film I’ve seen. The way the depth and dimension is used exceeds what we saw in Avatar. Subtle things like dust in the train station, or light from a film projector surrounding a characters head – everything looked amazing.

When I first heard that Scorsese had signed on to direct this film, I was scratching my head. Having now seen it, its obvious why he was the perfect director for this film. Not just because of the advanced themes and amazing story – the film calls back to one of Scorsese’s greatest passions, the cinema of yesteryear. The film features, and is inspired by so many great films, from ‘The Great Train Robbery,’ and ‘Safety Last,’ to ‘Intolerance.’

There is no reason why every single person of any age should not see this movie. Amazing cast, amazing story, amazing cinematography, this film is a great reminder that, yes, there still can be great films that can be enjoyed all.

Preview Review: November 25, 2011

Preview Review: November 25, 2011


David Cronenberg is the best director working that has never been nominated for a Best Director Oscar.  He has always made movies that totally fuck Hollywood in the ass.  Videodrome, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Scanners, The Fly…on and on and on are all movies that are highly regarded, yet fly under the radar.  It’s a shame.  He has found some critical respect lately for his last two films, A History Of Violence and Eastern Promises, which are both excellent but nowhere
near as terrific as his old classics.  His new film is about Freud, which is a bizarre departure for his usual fare.  It looks good, but is not blowing me away compared to what I expect from this amazing
filmmaker.  However, previews can be deceiving and I have a great feeling that this could be something special.  However, I will always lament the lost grossness of his older movies, but maybe it’s finally time to give this man an Oscar nomination.  Time will tell.

PREDICTION:  3 stars


What amazes me is that every single year, someone pumps out an “original” movie about Christmas.  How much fucking content can this holiday hold??  We have people becomming Santa Claus, we have people being Elves, we have people trying to rescue lost reindeer.  Blah blah
blah.  I don’t even really know what this movie is really about.  Some kid fucks up Christmas or something…I don’t know.  The preview goes so fast it makes me feel like some fucking ADD ridden 7 year old trying to read War And Peace.  It just looks like another cheaply animated turd that the ass of Christmas has spread open ready to plop on our faces.  Open wide.  Give me Scrooged anytime.

PREDICTION:  1 1/2 stars


I am a Martin Scorsese whore.  I don’t care.  He can use me and abuse me and not even leave me cab fare so long as he keeps making shit like Goodfellas.  Now, I will admit, when I saw the first trailer for Hugo, I was underwhelmed…very underwhelmed.  It looked fucking retarded, I’ll say it.  But I was confident that it was a scam and that the machine had pumped out a trailer to try to get parents to take their screaming kids.  I mean, it looked terrible.  Like some generic Tim Burton ripoff where Borat goes flying into a giant cake…DERP!!  But from what I’ve read, my suspicions of false advertising were correct. I’ve read some stellar classic Scorsese movie moments, and that the
film altogether is an ode to classic 20s and silent era cinema.  Sure, it might go over kids and most parents heads, but I think this has classic film written all over it.  I wouldn’t expect anything less
from the best living filmmaker around.  Highly anticipating this one!!

PREDICTION:  4 stars


This will be good.  No matter what, this will be good.  Even if this movie is stupid as hell, it will be good.  I have never seen anyone happier to be in a movie as Jason Segel.  If you watch the trailer,
every scene he has a giant grin like “Yep, I’m in a Muppet movie that I wrote.”  It’s like literally watching a dream come true.  As most people are, I’m a fan of the Muppets.  I love most, pretty much all, of their movies and I love Muppet Babies (remember that awesome show??), so you pretty much can’t go wrong with the Muppets.  If you hate them, you must have a heart made of the darkest volcanic glass. You’re pretty much a complete asshole if you hate the Muppets.  I’m sure this movie will be goofy and stupid, but why would I want anything less from a Muppet movie?  I sort of wish there were more celebrity cameos though, like the old days of the Muppet Show.  Jason
Segel doesn’t really carry a movie for me, and aside from whipping out his dick, he really isn’t all that funny…but I’m sure he and Amy Adams will be mostly in the background for Kermit, Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie and all the others.  Trust me…this will be good.

PREDICTION:  3 stars

Happy thanksgiving!