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ENTERTAINMENT
November 19, 2012 | By John Horn
Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" is an intimate look at a troubled drifter played by Joaquin Phoenix. To make it even more intensely personal, Anderson decided to shoot much of the film in the oversized 65mm format. That rarely used large-frame format -- especially when projected in theaters equipped to show such films -- allows the tightest close-ups to  become that much more revealing, which didn't always make Anderson's actors comfortable. In this excerpt from The Envelope Screening Series, Anderson talks about the challenges of using 65mm film, which by necessity requires an enormous camera -- about the size of a chair, Anderson says.
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ENTERTAINMENT
December 21, 2012 | By John Horn
It's the fundamental conceit of Tom Hooper's  "Les Miserables" : Rather than have his actors record their songs in a studio and then lip-sync when cameras were rolling later, he filmed his cast, which includes Hugh Jackman and Oscar front-runner Anne Hathaway, performing their songs live on set. But the very conceit of the movie also proved to be one of the production's biggest challenges, Hooper said. DIRECTOR'S ROUNDTABLE: Six filmmakers talk shop In this clip from the Envelope Directors Roundtable moderated by the Times' John Horn, Hooper and five fellow top directors -- Ang Lee ("The Life of PI')
ENTERTAINMENT
November 16, 2012 | By John Horn
For writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, creating the script for "The Master" was essentially a two-step process. First, he created a character, Freddie Quell, in search of a story. Then Anderson buried himself in research to "fill up the tank" of the plot, looking for ideas and themes that ultimately add up to "time better spent than actual typing. " In this excerpt from The Envelope Screening Series, Anderson, discussing his first film since 2007's "There Will Be Blood," talks about how he keeps himself open to finding material in every place he looks.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 3, 2012
As the director of "Argo," Ben Affleck knew who he wanted in the starring role as CIA agent Tony Mendez: himself. "I was just greedy for this part in this movie," Affleck said at The Envelope Screening Series. What's more, he joked, the director and the actor "were sleeping together, so I talked myself into it. " Affleck was able to cast an array of established actors (Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin) in prominent roles and a variety of up-and-comers (Clea Duvall, Rory Cochrane)
ENTERTAINMENT
December 21, 2012 | By John Horn
In Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock," director Alfred Hitchcock begins the production of "Psycho" by having his cast and crew swear an oath not to divulge any of the film's secrets. The first day of filming of "Hitchcock" itself followed a different route, with Gervasi, who was making his narrative feature debut on the film, feeling both "wonderful" and "panic. " In this excerpt from the fourth annual Envelope Directors Roundtable, our panel of six filmmakers-- Tom Hooper ( "Les Miserables" )
ENTERTAINMENT
December 3, 2012 | By Steven Zeitchik
Brad Pitt's "Killing Them Softly" suffered the kind of deadly hit at the box office this weekend that its protagonist might have admired. A wide opening from The Weinstein Co. yielded a paltry $7 million, barely enough for seventh place in a crowd of holdovers. It was one of the lowest-ever wide openings for Pitt, and could wind up as his second-lowest grosser in nearly 20 years. If dismal attendance wasn't enough, the people who did come out to "Killing" wanted to whack it: The movie averaged a rock-bottom "F" CinemaScore.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 17, 2013 | By Oliver Gettell
One of the most artfully composed scenes in Steve McQueen's new historical drama "12 Years a Slave" is also one of the most harrowing. (Warning: Minor plot details follow.) At the Envelope Screening Series , the British director and his cinematographer, Sean Bobbitt, discussed how they approached a pivotal scene in which Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped in the North and sold into slavery in the South, is punished by near-hanging after fighting back against an overseer.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 10, 2012 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
Countless actors have brought President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to memorable life in film, television and theater, including Ralph Bellamy, Edward Herrmann and Bill Murray, who plays a rather randy FDR in the new movie "Hyde Park on the Hudson. " But the person who probably portrayed the charismatic Roosevelt better than anyone was the 32nd president himself. Ronald Reagan may have been the first former actor to be elected commander in chief, but in many ways Roosevelt, who led the country through the Great Depression and World War II, was probably the first thespian to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. PHOTOS: On-screen presidents During his 12 years in the White House, this wealthy man of privilege portrayed himself as an everyman on radio and in newsreels.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 7, 2012 | By Steven Zeitchik
“The Bathtub,” the grittily colorful Bayou region in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” may seem like a difficult and impoverished place. After all, director Benh Zeitlin based it on towns outside the Louisiana levee system that have been destroyed and rebuilt dozens of times and lack what might be considered a conventional quality of life. But Zeitlin says that he views the Bathtub -- and the real-life towns that inspired it -- as something very different. “There's this kind of joyous spirit that's still intact and this culture that's still intact,” he told the audience at the Times' Envelope Screening Series earlier this week.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 15, 2012 | By John Horn
  It's one of the most riveting sequences in writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master": Soon after spiritual leader Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is dragged off to jail with reluctant disciple Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), Dodd and Quell have a spectacular prison-cell fight. Phoenix thrashes about like a caged animal, while Hoffman as Dodd is increasingly enraged by Quell's demeanor and tells him that he is the only one who cares about him. It's one of several explosive acting moments in the critically acclaimed drama that is Anderson's first film since 2008's "There Will be Blood.
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