Subzin

Subzin is a search engine that allows you to find phrases in movies and TV shows.

Just enter your favourite quote and it should find the relevant title and tell you the exact the exact time it appears, with links to Neflix if available.

I’ve tried it with a few films and so far it looks impressive.

> Subzin
> Follow them on Twitter

Tron Legacy Soundtrack Preview on KCRW

KCRW recently presented a preview of the Tron: Legacy soundtrack which included a lengthy chat between director Joseph Kosinski and Jason Bentley.

Daft Punk’s score for the upcoming film is one of the most anticpated of the year and Bentley was instrumental in getting the French duo on board.

A lot of secrecy has surrounded the project but Bentley and Kosinski discuss various elements of the soundtrack in this 55-minute program.

Hollywood Records have also streamed 20 minutes of the soundtrack on MySpace:

Tron: Legacy is out at cinemas on December 17th

> Transcript of the show at KCRW
> Buy the Tron Legacy soundtrack or download the MP3 version from Amazon UK
> More details on the soundtrack
> This is the studio in London where Daft Punk recorded the soundtrack

The Production Design of Black Swan

Fox Searchlight have released a new video for Black Swan detailing the production design by Thérèse DePrez.

She and director Darren Aronofsky discuss their ideas behind the look of the Swan Lake set, the colour palette and the extensive use of mirrors in the film.

Some Oscar pundits have felt that Black Swan is too dark a film to get widespread Oscar recognition, but although more conservative viewers may be put off by the wilder aspects, it deserves to be a strong contender across multiple categories.

Not only is Natalie Portman now gaining serious traction for Best Actress, but the sheer quality of the technical aspects (cinematography, costume and production design) may well give it a boost as audiences in the US finally get to see it.

Plus, in recent years haven’t Academy voters increasingly gone for darker and more contemporary films such as The Hurt Locker, No Country for Old Men and The Departed?

[Video via InContention]

> Official site for Black Swan and the other one
> More Awards season discussion of Black Swan at In Contention
> My LFF review of Black Swan

The Art of Foley

Soundworks have released a video showing the importance of Foley in recreating sounds for a film.

Veteran Foley artist Gary Hecker has worked on over 200 films in a 30-year career.

The video demonstrates how created sounds for Robin Hood and 2012 from within his studio:

Among Hecker’s recent credits are The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Angels & Demons, Watchmen and the Spiderman trilogy.

Foley art gets its name from Jack Foley who helped pioneer the art of creating additional sound to motion pictures with the advent of talkies in the late 1920s.

> Soundworks
> Gary Hecker at the IMDb
> More on Jack Foley at Wikipedia

The Fighter

Although it follows the well worn traditions of a boxing drama, this tale of fighter ‘Irish’ Micky Ward is elevated by some fine acting and energetic direction.

Based on real events, it is the story of two very different fighters from Lowell, Massachusetts: Micky (Mark Wahlberg), a welterweight hoping to establish himself as a prize fighter; and Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale), his half-brother and trainer, whose own boxing career fizzled out into crack addiction.

It is also explores the wider tensions within their large Irish family, which include his tough mother-manager (Melissa Leo), father (Jack McGee) and several sisters.

The central drama is powered by Micky’s inner conflicts as he is forced to choose between his increasingly unstable family setup or opt for a new trainer and management on the advice of others, including his bartender girlfriend (Amy Adams).

Viewers will find little new in the general framework of this film: a fighter has to overcome obstacles, juggle professional needs and personal relationships and suffer setbacks before getting a chance at redemption through a climactic fight.

So far, so familiar, but what elevates The Fighter above the sub-genre are some brilliant performances and canny direction: the cast is uniformly excellent and O’Russell digs deep into these characters rather than just coasting on genre tropes.

Wahlberg is restrained but sympathetic in the title role (reminiscent of his breakout role in Boogie Nights) and he physically convinces as a professional boxer.

Bale is sensational as his brilliant but flawed mentor.

He admittedly has the showier part but, like his turns in American Psycho (2000) and The Machinist (2004), his physical transformation is remarkable and he injects Dicky with an intoxicating charm.

In key supporting roles, Leo is tough and brilliantly overbearing as the mother whilst Adams matches her, giving her potentially clichéd ‘girlfriend role’ a lot more substance than is usual for films in this genre.

Working from a screenplay by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, director David O’Russell uses his considerable skills to transcend the limitations of the conventional boxing movie.

Part of this involves some brilliant camerawork from Hoyte Van Hoytema, which makes great use of handheld and Steadicam, drawing us in to the world of the characters and infusing the film a restless, raw energy.

Another clever element is the visual look of the boxing sequences, shot on video to duplicate the TV look of HBO pay-per-view fights in the 1990s, with ringside reactions, instant-replays and image pixilation.

This has a parallel in the HBO crew that follow Dicky around for a documentary about his struggles and it could be argued that the title may refer to both brothers.

Like his best films, O’Russell seems to inspire technical excellence across the board: the acting, cinematography, Pamela Martin’s editing, and the convincing period detail are all stellar and they combine to create a convincing portrait of the boxing world.

It is hard not to sense parallels between Dicky and O’Russell, as the director has gained a reputation as a maverick: he scuffled with George Clooney on Three Kings (1999); screamed at Lily Tomlin on I Heart Huckabees (2004) and reportedly put Christopher Nolan in a headlock (!) at a Hollywood party.

His most recent film Nailed was shut down after financial problems, and may not even be released, but like Dicky he is a brilliant talent with a loyal champion in Mark Wahlberg, who was instrumental in getting this film made.

It is a shame that since Three Kings, one of the best and most subversive films released by a major studio, that he has struggled to make more inside the Hollywood system.

The Fighter is a compelling comeback story, not just of a boxer and his trainer, but also of its director.

The Fighter is released in the US on December 18th and in the UK on February 4th 2011

> Official site
> The Fighter at the IMDb
> Find out more about Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund at Wikipedia