Thursday, July 1, 2021

TMP - Oscar Winners Edition: Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects

Wandering Through the Shelves hosts Thursday Movie Picks. It's a weekly series where bloggers post and share various movie picks every Thursday. 

The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

This week's theme is Oscar Winners Edition: Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects


Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) are stranded deep in space after an unexpected disaster with no hope of rescue.

The visual effects to this film are so ingrained in the production design and story, it's hard to tell that there's even cinematography to begin with. They both truly work as one to make the feeling of being stranded in space as realistically as possible. This won so many technical awards in 2014, I'm surprised it didn't nab Best Picture. But Alfonso Cuaron was worthy of getting Best Director.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

A young Hobbit named Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) inherits the Ring and and faces the daunting task  to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom where it was forged.

I'm always impressed by how many aerial shots Andrew Lesnie captured - not just with the cast scaling through mountains and forests but also the CGI into Saruman's underground layers. Though sometimes the motion makes me nauseous, it really feels like you're on the journey with the fellowship. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the spectacle of the overhead pans, that I forget how many subtle memorable frames there like when Frodo picks up the ring for the first time or Aargorn's sheer beauty.

There Will Be Blood

Oil prospector Daniel Plainview cons local landowners into selling him their valuable properties for a pittance. However, local preacher Eli Sunday suspects Plainview's motives and intentions, starting a slow-burning feud that threatens both their lives.

There Will Be Blood will always be one of those movies that takes me back to the movie theater and seeing it for the first time. The Panavision XL 35 mm cameras were stunning on the big screen - it didn't feel like a gimmick to capture the wilderness or wide open landscapes, but really put you in the time and place of the film's setting whether it was in the church, on the oil rig, or that incredible close-up in the bowling alley. Not many period films have even tried to copy the cinematography, which I think is a testament to how unique it is.

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