Though I recently discovered a flair for fantasy football, my knowledge of the actual sport leaves much to be desired. But after watching Draft Day, I have an appreciation for what goes on behind the gridiron, especially on a day where any one of the thirty-two NFL teams can change the careers of young athletes forever.
Director Ivan Reitman pulls back the curtain on the NFL draft, as experienced by Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner), general manager (GM) of the Cleveland Browns. Editors Sheldon Kahn, ACE and Dana E. Glauberman, ACE collaborated with one another to chart a masterful story that whirlwinds us into the high emotional stakes and tension of the draft’s first day.
As the narrative unfolds, we find out team owner Harvey Molina (Frank Langella) has witnessed Cleveland’s misfortunes for far too long. He makes it clear to Sonny that if he can’t turn the team around, his tenure is in jeopardy.
With the pressure mounting, Sonny’s draft day starts with Seattle Seahawks GM Tom Michaels (Patrick St. Esprit) offering the first overall pick to the Browns. The trade gives him free rein to choose undisputed top selection, Bo Callahan (Josh Pence), or other possible picks like outside linebacker Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman) and legacy running back Ray Jennings (Arian Foster), whose father played for the Browns.
Sonny’s left facing tough choices not just on the draft board, but in his personal life as well. A romance with his football savvy colleague, Ali (Jennifer Garner), takes a baby-bump turn, and he copes with the grief and guilt of his father’s passing, made worse by an unexpected visit from his feisty mother, Barb (Ellen Burstyn).
Thanks to unprecedented cooperation from the NFL, Draft Day is filled with real life aspects of the football world. This includes actual teams, logos, and a star-studded roster of current players, Hall of Famers, analysts, and sports media figures. Principal photography even touted Radio City Music Hall in New York City during the real 2013 NFL Draft.
Using Avid Media Composer, Kahn and Glauberman instinctively shaped their artistic storytelling with the guidance of their director and the assistance of their team. The two sat down with us to share their craft.
David (Ben Schwartz) and his deceased travel companion
Some people travel light, and others lug piles of heavy suitcases to the airport. In the short film I’m a Mitzvah, available to watch on Vimeo, we see a more unconventional baggage item: a dead body. Directed by Ben Berman and lens’d by Sing Howe Yam, this dark comedy offers a sincere, unflinching look at the grieving process.
Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, House of Lies) stars as David, a young man coping with his own feelings of loss and loneliness after one of his close friends passes away. Stranded in the dusty depths of rural Mexico, David finds himself fighting language barriers and delayed flights as he undertakes the task of escorting his friend’s body back to the United States. We’re kept in the dark about the details of his friend’s death, but, to us, it feels better not knowing the cause. It allows us to focus on the minutia of David’s emotions as we share the experience with him.
I’m a Mitzvah is a beautifully shot, introspective gem of a short film, and was an official selection at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Cinematographer Sing Howe Yam took the time to talk with us about working on the project.
David and a morgue employee (Erick Chavarria) share a quiet moment
How did you first get involved with I’m a Mitzvah? My good pals, directors Josh Forbes and Hank Friedmann, recommended me over to director Ben Berman. We met and talked about the script, and we definitely had the same taste in mind for his film.
Sit back for a moment and imagine a completely peaceful world. No war, no road rage, not even any trolls leaving nasty comments on internet threads. If you grew up in the 90’s, you may remember a concept like this in The Giver, a sci-fi novel by Lois Lowry. I recall my middle school self wondering: “When’s the movie coming out? Why aren’t they cashing in on this?” Now, more than 20 years after its debut, a film adaptation is on the horizon.
Directed by Phillip Noyce (Salt, Clear and Present Danger), The Giver paints a portrait of a conflict-free society. People are mellow and stable — 100% drama free. So what’s the catch? Everyone is required to take regular injections of a serum that numbs their emotions, keeping them docile and predictable.
All adults receive “life assignments” from a committee, led by Chief Elder Meryl Streep. A young man named Jonas (newcomer Brenton Thwaites) is deemed worthy of being the next “Receiver of Memory”. This may not sound like a thrilling job, but it’s crucial to the society’s success.
“The Giver” is the only living soul who remembers life before the drugs wiped all emotions away. This coveted role is filled by “The Dude”, Jeff Bridges. As his title implies, the wise, old Giver will pass his memories on to the new Receiver, who will now protect the memories of a vibrant, unpredictable world. As Jonas learns the dark secrets of his dystopian society, he’s faced with tough choices about his future.
Sunday evening the Motion Picture Sound Editors presented the 61st Golden Reel Awards at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles. The show began with an opening address from MPSE president Frank Morrone. George Lucas was in attendance to present the Career Achievement Award to Randy Thom. One of the more touching moments of the evening came when a special tribute was made to sound industry pioneer Ray Dolby by Walter Murch.
In all, 24 statutes were passed out in television, film, doc and interactive media categories. Among the television honorees were Deadliest Catch,Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy. The feature film winners included The Great Gatsby, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Frozen, and Epic.
A complete list of winners is below:
Best Sound Editing in Feature Film – Sound Effects & Foley Gravity
Supervising Sound Editor: Glenn Freemantle
Sound Designer: Glenn Freemantle
Foley Artist: Nicolas Becker
Sound Design Editors: Niv Adiri, Ben Barker, Eilam Hoffman
Best Sound Editing in Feature Film – Dialogue And ADR Captain Phillips
Supervising Sound Editor: Oliver Tarney, MPSE
Supervising Dialogue Editor: Bjørn Schroeder
Supervising ADR Editor: Simon Chase
Dialogue Editor: Rob Killick
Best Sound Editing in Feature Film – Music The Great Gatsby
Supervising Music Editors: Jason Ruder, Tim Ryan
Music Editor: Craig Beckett
Best Sound Editing in Feature Film – Music, Musical Feature Frozen
Music Editors: Earl Ghaffari, Fernand Bos, MPSE
Best Sound & Music Editing: Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue & ADR in an Animation Feature Film Epic
Supervising Sound Editors: Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, MPSE, Randy Thom
Sound Designers: Randy Thom, Jeremy Bowker
Supervising Foley Editor: Luke Dunn Gielmuda
Supervising Dialogue Editor: Brad Semenoff
Foley Artists: Denise Thorpe, Jana Vance
Foley Editors: Benny Burtt, Jim Likowski
Dialogue Editor: Michael Silvers
Sound Effects Editors: Leff Lefferts, Andre Fenley, Kyrsten Mate, Kent Sparling
Music Editors: Lisa Jaime, Bill Abbott
What do you remember most about college? Maybe it was the parties, the procrastination, or the joy of eating Ramen for every meal? In the upcoming horror/thriller film The Quiet Ones, a group of students will have slightly more terrifying memories of dorm life.
Spun in the magical world of 1974, Professor Coupland (Jared Harris) decides to conduct a secret experiment. Although Bill Nye the Science Guy would likely disagree, Coupland believes he can use his knowledge of physics to create poltergeists. You know, the paranormal forces that supposedly hide your car keys and make weird noises in your apartment at 4:00am. I would blame my cats, but hey, let’s not rule ghosts out just yet.
Coupland recruits the best and the brightest of his Ph.D students, including Brian McNeil (Sam Claflin), to assist and film the project. The plan is simple. Step One: find an alluringly disturbed young woman (Olivia Cooke). Step Two: put her in a situation that will release the dark energy in her psyche. Step Three: create a poltergeist. Step Four: allow things to go horribly awry. The group is confronted by a force more devastatingly evil than they ever could have imagined… act break. And did we mention this is inspired by true events?
What’s more American than apple pie? Captain freakin’ America. After transforming from a scrawny wannabe to a star-spangled super soldier in Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was accidentally frozen in an iceberg. In The Avengers, he was thawed out and recruited by ultimate crime-fighting agency SHIELD, joining forces with his badass buddies to stop an alien invasion.
Now Captain America is living it up in the most American of all cities, Washington DC, working alongside legendary eye-patch clad agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and SHIELD’s new head honcho, Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford). He’s still adjusting to the modern world, his wholesome 1940′s sensibilities often clashing with today’s aggressive approach to crime-fighting. He’s also probably trying to comprehend the cultural importance of hashtags and twerking.
When one of his fellow agents is attacked, Captain America jumps into action. He joins forces with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johanssen), aka the Black Widow, who knows how to use a skintight jumpsuit and a Russian accent to her advantage. They also team up with a new ally, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), aka The Falcon.
As they begin to reveal a dangerous conspiracy, the agents are confronted by hordes of deadly assassins. Who’s behind all of this madness? Apparently it’s Captain America’s old BFF, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). After being indoctrinated by the Soviets and outfitted with a bionic arm, he’s become a very formidable menace. Apparently the name “Bucky” wasn’t ominous enough, so he has become “The Winter Soldier”, a masked supervillain who’s up to no good.
The Winter Solder is coming. Will Captain America beat him up till he’s red, white, and blue? Find out when Captain America: The Winter Soldier marches into theaters on April 4, 2014. Enjoy the trailer below.
Thank you Liam Neeson for making the Internet more badass this week. The first trailer for his new suspense thriller, Non-Stop, has officially taken flight. Yep, pun. The film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who also worked with Neeson on Unknown (2011). This time around, he plays hardened U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks, who will put his particular set of skills into use at 40,000ft.
Marks is settling in for a long transatlantic flight from New York City to London and is jolted into action by a string of threatening text messages. An unidentified hijacker is demanding $150 million from the government. The mysterious messenger threatens to kill a passenger every 20 minutes if Marks refuses to initiate the transaction. Which makes sense. I mean, he paid $5 for Wifi, so what else is there to do? Neflix? Nope.
When the funds are nearly transferred off-shore, the owner of the account is identified as Marks himself. Now he has two jobs: saving the plane and clearing his name. Or, if Hollywood wanted to be less predictable: save the plane and then live grossly rich on some sweet island. My suggestion: Palawan in the Philippines. Either way, things get intense when he finds a dead hostage and a ticking time bomb on board. Luckily, no snakes – though they wouldn’t be a problem.