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Marty McCool

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About Marty McCool

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    Ireland
  1. I'm writing a story about The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, with a view to the cinematography. This film has received much kudos from the right critical quarters for Roger Deakins's wonderful lighting. Would someone be prepared to elaborate on the calibre of the cinematography of Jesse James. What scenes stand out and why? You may well find this great quote from Irish Film Critic Mark Cousins inspiring, from his great book 'Widescreen'. Cousins speaks of the film’s visual splendour and how he was “seeing the texture of bark on tree trunks, the weave of the characters’ clothing and the pores in the actors’ skin, in remarkable detail. Compared to any frame of Jesse James, Terrence Malick’s beautiful Days of Heaven (1978) looks like a movie drawn in soft pastel crayons.”
  2. Can anyone here offer insight into Conrad L. Hall's lighting of the two dinner table scenes in American Beauty? There are contrasts between the first and second scene; in the later scene, the table is dressed in white, the light is more harsher, more garish and the walls seems tighter. The roses which formed the centrepiece of the table in the first scene are absent from the vase in the second scene. There are many interesting details. Would anymore care to comment?
  3. Can anyone here offer insight into the lighting of the two dinner table scenes in American Beauty? There are contrasts between the first and second scene; in the later scene, the table is dressed in white, the light is more harsher, more garish and the walls seems tighter. The roses which formed the centrepiece of the table in the first scene are absent from the vase in the second scene. There are many interesting details. Would anymore care to comment?
  4. I'd like to hear some other insights on this. Someone mentioned Dead Poet's Society to me. What about Days of Heaven? There were some stunning harvest scenes in that
  5. I think it may prove interesting to consider the subject of how cinematographers and filmmakers have tapped into the theme of the Fall and used the majesty of perhaps the most unique and splendid of the four seasons to create beautiful films. My two initial examples are American Beauty and Vanilla Sky. In American Beauty the iconic plastic bag scene shows a plastic big dancing amid the leaevs of the Fall. The symbolism of the scene is of spiritual power and meaning: are we merely 'litter on the breeze' or is there a grand plan for the universe overseen by an all-seeing, all-knowing God? Vanilla Sky is a truly beautiful cinematic evocation of the season of Fall in New York city. John Toll's painterly canvas brings out the majestic colours of the Fall, the golds, browns and auburns. Possibly the best scene in the film shows Cameron Crowe's camera aimed skyward and the leaves of the Fall gliding to a happy-sad death on the ground. Pure poetry in cinema. Any other nominations for Movies of the Fall?
  6. It just hit me....Surely some of the scenes in The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford are Magic Hour material....Opinions?
  7. I like the Terrence Malick tribute, just about everything he does is poetry on film. Rarely has the 'Magic Hour' been more beautifully evoked than in Days of Heaven. Wouldn't there be a few scenes in Badlands that would qualify as Magic Hour also?
  8. What would be the most recent film to cultivate the 'Magic Hour'? Anyone
  9. People seem to forget: this film was not called 'The life of The Christ' it was called The Passion of The Christ. The fact is people had it far too easy in terms of what they understood about the cross and Christ's suffering and Mel Gibson's film set out to do justice of the magnitude of the sacrifice made by Jesus. The cross is the defining event for believers and a defining event in human history, yet people recoil from it. "How horrible" they say about The Passion but this is precisely how Jesus was put to death. The night before in Gethsemane, Jesus foresaw every detail of his passion and if he had opted out, in the same way people opt out of watching this film, salvation would have been lost!
  10. I think that quote from the so-called teacher is a very shallow and misguided assessment of a film that has some remarkable moments of depth and texture, such as the scenes between Jesus and Simon of Cyrene where a tremendous amount is conveyed in the wordless exchanges between them. Such an opinion also completely unvalues the flashback scenes which were beautifully filmed and rich in meaning and inspiration. The aforementioned scene on the hilltop with the sun burst all around Jesus is an astonishing demonstation of the power of Christ through the power of cinema. The Sermon on the Mount flashback is incredibly moving and the way it's intercut with the way of the cross scenes, juxtaposing beauty and brutallity, is very good editing.
  11. Nice photograph above. There is one scene in The Passion of The Christ that stands out both in terms of cinematography and theologically. It's the second hilltop flashback scene where Jesus is speaking to a large crowd on a hilltop and telling them that he will lay his life down willingly. The way the scene is shot, with the sun burst radiating all around the silhouetted figure of Christ gives the scene cosmic power and bringing out the idea of him as the Son of God, the saviour who holds the fate of the world in his hands. The way Jim Caviezel raises his hand into the sun before it cuts back to Calvary is incredibly powerful for me. It's one of the most powerful scenes I have ever seen in cinema.
  12. While the artistic choices made in terms of cinematography were not that adventurous, for what this film intended - to deliver a gritty, moody version of Palestine - I found the film very effective. It wasn't always pretty to look at, yet it was very hard to look away. I can't agree that there was a lack of depth or engagement with the characters. I thought what Jim Caviezel did with his eyes was astonishing and he really pulled me in to the character he was playing. For me he captured through his eyes alone the complexity of Christ. There was an element of mystery about the way they lit Jim Caviezel in certain scenes to cast him with this aura of divinity and there were some closely regarded secrets in that regard.
  13. With six months to go to the end of the decade, many film writers are compiling best of lists. One of the best achievements in cinematography in this decade is the painterly work of Caleb Deschael on Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ. The misty blue haze in the opening Gethsemane scene was mermerising to look at and provided a sharp contrast to the warm golden glow of The Last Supper scenes. Mel Gibson commissioned his cinematographer to infuse virtually every frame with the moody, morbid look of a Caravaggio painting and this was achieved with distinction. I published a book called 'The power of The Passion of The Christ' in 2007 and my artist drew an image for the book (see image) and I wanted the same sort of feel. But Caleb Deschael's work was amazing on this film.
  14. Very nice, Terrence Malick seems to have a real penchant for these kinds of scenics, if you think about Days of Heaven and this film.
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