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Scene Is Believing: Heat

Heat, Michael Mann’s sprawling, glorious epic of obsessive professionalism, ego, single mindedness and doomed relationships on either side of the law, sprang from that most innocuous of accidents: a cop bumping into a suspect and inviting him for a coffee. Mann first had the idea for Heat in the 1970’s when his friend Chuck Adamson, […]

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Scene Is Believing: Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom

The Mine chase – Please keep your hands in the car at all times I’m not one for bemoaning the advance of CG effects over practical models and glass matte shots: if an effect is done well, that’s all I care about. However (!) there is something thrilling about the ingenuity behind old school methods; […]

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Scene Is Believing: The Graduate

“Montage, gotta have a montage.” So mocked Team America, but sometimes a montage can illuminate and encapsulate a film’s themes in a single sublime sequence. There are several themes to The Graduate: rebellion vs conformity, the obvious sex comedy, Oedipal rage even; but it is also about youthful lassitude, ennui. The miracle is how brilliantly […]

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gunmen in glass houses

Scene Is Believing: Parallel Hit-Lives

Below is another great video by Michael McLennan, entitled Gunmen In Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Shadows – A parallel edit of a climactic scene from Michael Mann’s Collateral with the Shanghai sequence from Sam Mendes’ Skyfall. Michael draws attention to visual parallels and pacing in each scene: “Both directors and their lensers (Dion Beebe and Roger […]

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Scene Is Believing: The Good, The Bad And The ugly

Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is, in Leone biographer Sir Christopher Frayling’s words, “the most carnivalesque of all his films – a black comedy about the craziness of war, a Catch – 22 of the American Civil War.” Tuco / Ugly (Eli Wallach) and Blondie / Good (Clint Eastwood) are a Mexican bandit and […]

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ghostbusters stay puft

Scene is Believing: Ghostbusters

“It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow man…” All the Ghostbusters had to do when challenged to choose the form of their destruction by Gozer, an evil Sumerian deity, was empty their minds, but  Ray (Dan Ackroyd) couldn’t help it. “I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that […]

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Scene is Believing: Superman 2

Very occasionally in cinema there are movie moments that make you want to leap from your seat and high five with God. Obviously these moments are few and far between, but one such moment is surely up there with the best of them. The climax of Superman II. Superman II was a troubled shoot, with […]

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jurassic park t-rex

Scene Is Believing: Jurassic park

The T-Rex Comes Out To Play With Jaws in 1975, Steven Spielberg was plagued by problems from his leading man, or should I say, shark. So much so that Bruce (named after his lawyer Bruce Ramer) was kept under water much of the time, his approaching menace signalled by a fin, that music, and the […]

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Scene Is Believing: Touch of Evil

  All border towns bring out the worst in a country.” – Vargas This month Orson Welles’ 1958 classic Touch Of Evil gets the Scene Is Believing treatment as we celebrate that films opening sequence, one of, if not the, greatest continuous tracking shots in cinematic history. Welles had spent a decade in the Hollywood […]

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Scene Is Believing: Atonement

In a surprise move, it was recently announced that Christopher Nolan’s next film, Dunkirk, due to commence filming in May 2016, will be a large format (Imax, super 65 mm) wartime epic based around Operation Dynamo, the allied withdrawal from the eponymous French town’s beaches in 1940. Slated to star Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance and […]

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