Sunday, January 04, 2009

For Your Consideration Corner

Glenn here for another installment of FYC Corner. Sorry I wasn't able to do this last week, but a bout of chicken pox was playing havoc with me and I wasn't able. :( I'm sure.

Anybody who reads Stale Popcorn knows I love a great piece of poster art. Revolutionary Road broke two of my biggest pet peeves on its snooze of a poster. First, it used the tired stripe motif and second, it filled 50% or more of it's space with empty white nothingness. If your movie is a reteaming between the two stars of the highest grossing movie of all time I would think they'd be able to come up with something a bit more exciting than a film still placed on a white background, but I suppose not.

And that brings me to the FYC ads for the movie. Yet again, another dull affair, which certainly won't help the movie get attention in the season of Slumdog and Benjamin Button. No, they have decided to - yet again - go with the stripe design pattern. Even worse, they have done another version of the movie's poster as a means of campaigning for Roger Deakins' cinematography. Because "Kate and Leo standing on the lawn while sprinklers go by" screams GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHY!!

Maybe I'm just naive, but surely it isn't that hard to make a pretty ad. Plenty of other movies are able to do it. Even much smaller movies from studios with far less ad dollars can make a striking and eye-popping design. I'm not sure what it was about a movie co-starring LEONARDO DiCAPRIO and KATE WINSLET that was so uninspiring, but maybe if they'd done something a little more exciting then we wouldn't be on the verge of having this film disappear down the Oscar black hole.

For Your Consideration Ad of the Week

I don't think this ad for Australia is particularly well-done, but it relates to what I was saying earlier. If your ad is a big splurge for your cinematographer (in this case Mandy Walker) then this is the sort of image you use, not a boring image of your two stars looking bored. I know Revolutionary Road doesn't exactly have anything like this moment from Baz Luhrmann's movie, but I'm sure there are a few striking compositions to throw on an ad that would make voters go "oooh, pretty!" which, really, is what Best Cinematography is all about to this Academy branch.


Adam K said...

I completely disagree. Not only did the visuals of "Australia" look like a crappy video game, the sets and look of the film looked cheesy. Not a scene passed where the sky wasn't some abnormal pink, bleached in sunset, sherbet hues. What's the more, the movie as a whole was dreadful.

I'll agree that the "Revolutionary Road" ad is not great. Yet the image included exudes much more brilliance and passion. RR doesn't feature anything of the sort in sweeping vistas, but its cinematography is far superior to Australia's--given the setting Deakins had to work with.


i used to feel i really understood this category but given that computers are now so involved in cinematography i get confused as to what they're rewarding exactly. Like I LOVE the way the LoTR series looks but the cinematography awards seem weird to me because isn't it enormously a digital achievement rather than a lighting and shooting achievement.

i'd love to hear from real cinematographers about this issue.

Anonymous said...

Er.. Australia's cinematography was gorgeous.

LCH said...

I think the FYC ads aren't that bad. They're simple and all, but I like the cleanliness of it. It's representative of the film, IMO. And the individual acting ads are pretty good.

I'm sorry you didn't like the film so much, Nathaniel.

LCH said...

Ooops, sorry! I meant to address Glenn.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I haven't seen Revolutionary Road - it's not released here yet naturally - I just think the work on it's marketing is incredibly dull.

Nat, there's a reason why Return of the King wasn't nominated for Best Cinematography. That was the most CGI-ed of the lot.

Adam (wait, is there a second Adam K?), not sure what "brilliance" you get out of the Rev Road ad. Care to explain?

mrripley said...

i just want kate to win best actress for r road as i loved her perf and felt she was better in this than the reader.

Lara said...

I went to see Australia this weekend and have to partly agree with Adam K. The visuals did look cheesy. But I liked the movie. Nothing great, but still entertaining. And I loved Jackman and Kidman together on screen, absolutely don't understand the hate Kidman generates among some "critics".


Lara i actually think film critics are semi-kind to Kidman. It seems to be the internet throngs that despise her.

or maybe i've read the wrong people.

adam k. said...

Apparently there IS another Adam K. How confusing. Can I change my blogger name?

But I agree with Adam K beta that the visuals in Australia often looked cheesy. It had gorgeous vistas and all that stuff the cinematography branch generally likes, but I just couldn't get behind the overall look of the film as anything outstanding or award-worthy. I was too distracted by the CGI animals and drastic tonal and thematic shifts. I guess for something that was supposed to showcase the wonder of the natural world, it just seemed awfully unnatural to me.

adam k. said...

OK well luckily my name is lower-cased, and I have the picture.

So just refer to me as "adam k" with no caps.

Janice said...

I have to agree with adam k (v.1) and Adam K (v2) re: Australia. I was expecting the visuals to sweep me away (certainly I was hooked by the beauty of the podcasts) - but as my partner/sweetie said afterwards, the podcasts looked better than the film. Of course it may have something to do with the lovely mac flatscreen and the images you can get from that (damn near Hi-def), but the filmstock actually looked a bit grainy in comparison on the day we went. fine for Margot at the Wedding or a 1970's drama, but not what's wanted here.

In any case, Baz threw so much spagetti at the screen that nothing in particular "stuck" for me except discomfort at what I was watching and a horrible sinking feeling. Which is curious, since this was supposed to be a love letter to his country - but the sense that Lady Sarah was falling in love with this new land wasn't quite "there".

I'd also love to hear from cinematographers in the field about the issue of digital work - it's done so much, that oughtn't it be it's own catagory by now?

Jesus Alonso said...

Just saw "JCVD" and I realize in a few years we'll be saying that the snub of 2008 awards-wise is Jean-Claude Van Damme. First time I cried at the movies with a 2008 release. Tarantino, write a role for him, pronto!

Michael said...

I really like that lawn still from REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. Striking composition, with nice use of the frame, and more in line with what I view the role of the DP to be than the composite shot that appears on the AUSTRALIA poster.