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The Aviator

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Reply #195 on: December 08, 2004, 09:27:47 PM


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Reply #196 on: December 08, 2004, 09:31:04 PM
oh yeah and:


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Reply #197 on: December 08, 2004, 10:13:24 PM
Whoa!  You mean there's more than one poster with sunglasses?


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Reply #198 on: December 09, 2004, 12:24:08 AM
Scorsese's Feeble Budget Predictions

Director Martin Scorsese grossly misjudged the budget for his latest movie The Aviator when he predicted it would cost less than Gangs of New York and ended up being more expensive. The film-maker was confident he could keep expenditure down on his biopic of Howard Hughes but accepts now his skills don't lie in finances - because he always fails to stick to the budgets he sets. He tells British magazine Time Out, "I thought The Aviator would be smaller. And it turned out that it's maybe as big, maybe bigger than Gangs. But you think, 'Oh, I can do this.' You gloss over some of the more difficult aspects until you get on the set, you get into pre-production. Then you think, 'Oh my, this will take more planning than I thought."
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Reply #199 on: December 09, 2004, 09:16:07 AM
The Aviator

By Peter Caranicas

Dec 3, 2004, 22:38

In an industry replete with examples of artistic collaboration, few ties can match the longevity and creative power of the relationship between legendary film director Martin Scorsese and his editor, Thelma Schoonmaker.

It started with Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1967), an Italian-American street story set in Scorsese's native New York and starring a young Harvey Keitel--continued through such classics as Raging Bull, King of Comedy, After Hours, Goodfellas, Kundun and Gangs of New York--and culminates (for the moment) with The Aviator, set for release in mid-December.

Schoonmaker describes The Aviator as "a big film." The dramatization of the life of Howard Hughes--the wealthy aviation pioneer who was also a major player in motion pictures during Hollywood's heyday of the '20s and '30s--was shot on location in Los Angeles and on several large soundstages at Mel's Cite du Cinema in Montreal. It features a stellar cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, John C. Reilly, Ian Holm and Gwen Stefani.

From a technological point of view, The Aviator is notable as the first film on which Scorsese made significant use of digital technology, and he did so in three ways: the film contains hundreds of digital visual effects shots; it made extensive use of digital pre-visualization; and it went through the digital intermediate process in postproduction. As editor, Schoonmaker was intimately involved in all these steps.

"We had a gigantic number of [visual] effects on The Aviator," she says. "It was something like 369 [effects shots in all]. We had maybe 20 on Gangs and two on Kundun, and none before that, so this was a new experience."

Visual effects supervisor Rob Legato--a veteran of such films as Bad Boys II, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Titanic and Apollo 13--worked closely with Scorsese to achieve the visuals of a slew of airplanes that no longer exist, including the legendary Spruce Goose (referred to in the film by its proper name, the Hughes H-4 Hercules).

"This film is about aviation, and that meant a lot of flying things, which we hadn't done before," explains Schoonmaker. "Rob was great on effects. He's a wonderful teacher; he worked extremely well with Marty. There was a lot of give and take."

The Aviator was Scorsese and Schoonmaker's first experience with the pre-visualization process, whereby a scene is first created in a computer so judgments about how to shoot it can be made before going into production. "Pre-vis was new for me," Schoonmaker recalls. "I didn't know what the word meant. Marty said to me when he first came on, 'Look at the pre-vis that Rob has done.' I had no idea what he was talking about. So, that was very different.

"I also got involved in the grading and the digital intermediate, along with [Cinematographer] Bob Richardson [ASC]," she continues. "Rob [Legato] helped us achieve the two-color look that Marty wanted for the beginning of the film, as opposed to the Technicolor look he wanted for the rest of it. He wanted the color to reflect the passage of time in the movie."

Like others, Schoonmaker appreciates the value of digital intermediates. "With all the visual effects, I don't think we could have done [this film] any other way. With DI--because we were in the digital domain--we could incorporate the visual effects that sometimes would be sent to us via the Internet. We could put them right into the film without having to wait for opticals. I think DI is very important for a film with huge visual effects."

Schoonmaker's work begins the same day shooting begins. She travels wherever the production travels but doesn't spend a lot of time on the set. "I don't like to go there too much because it prejudices my eye," she explains. "I'd rather see it for the first time on the screen. I think it's my job to always have a little perspective. Marty will say to me, 'Do you believe that? Is that working? Is that clear?'"

Also, in order to maintain an objective attitude toward the material, Schoonmaker purposely did not read anything about Hughes before or during production. "I knew we were doing a partly fictional Howard Hughes because of the condensing that had to go on. [It was] such a huge life. I didn't want to be reading things that would make me think things like, 'Oh, I wish that scene were in the film,' because you just can't get it all in. This was the first time I had done that. On Kundun, for example, I had to learn a lot about Tibet. This one, I just wanted it to evolve on the screen for me and not be prejudiced by anything I've read, or worried that something was left out."

Throughout production, Schoonmaker edits every day. "My most important time is with Marty, [working on] dailies at night. He's constantly reacting to his dailies. There are directors, I've heard, who don't react at all. They just look at them and leave it to the editor. Marty is constantly talking to me about what he likes, doesn't like, the performances, how he's trying to guide an actor toward a certain performance. It's one of the most incredibly stimulating times."

With The Aviator, there were special editorial challenges relating to dialogue. The film contains a lot of humor, and Scorsese and writer John Logan (The Last Samurai, Gladiator) sought to re-create the fast repartee and overlapping dialogue of 1930s comedies. "That was a little scary," says Schoonmaker. "When I saw the dailies, I thought, 'Oh my God, how's this going to work?' But I just let it evolve, and somehow it did."

It didn't hurt that the cast included some exceptionally well trained stage actors. "Especially Alan Alda and Ian Holm," says Schoonmaker. "They just work the lines. Every take is completely different and equally valid. They have a funny, wonderful comic sense. That was really fun."

Scorsese does not always see the cuts that Schoonmaker makes as production advances. "Sometimes he'll see them if he has time," she says. "And there'll be times when he'll ask me to show him something because he needs to see what it's going to look like in order to shoot another scene, but generally he's just too busy. After the shooting wrapped, there was still a lot of work to do. The film needed some shaping and sometimes a little bit of restructuring."

While not an early adopter, Schoonmaker has certainly taken advantage of editing technology and its evolution over the years. "I resisted it at first," she admits. "The first time I edited digitally was on [Scorsese's 1995 gangster-themed] Casino, and I quickly snapped right in. It was no problem. But I find that I experiment a lot more. Now I make a copy of my edit--it only takes a second--and then I slam into it and turn it upside down, not worrying about the sync of the music or the dialog or anything. I just try something experimental. I would never be so quick to do that if I were working on film because I would have to take it all apart, do a new edit, and remember how I did the old edit. I find that sometimes I'll present Marty with six versions of a scene. [The technology] has freed me a lot in that way."

Schoonmaker does not consider nonlinear editing a time-saver. "I don't think digital editing has ever saved time," she says. "I don't think it has ever saved money, either. But it is the way we do things now. There's no going back."

Schoonmaker's relationship with Scorsese spans 37 years and 20 films. "I love working for him," she says. "Every film is so different, and such a different challenge. He's stretching himself, and I stretch myself with him."


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Reply #200 on: December 09, 2004, 11:26:31 AM
so marty has soooo hit that, am i right people?


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Reply #201 on: December 10, 2004, 08:01:21 AM
maybe in his cocaine days, but now...


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Reply #202 on: December 10, 2004, 04:12:28 PM
11 nominations for the golden satellite awards...

does that means anything at all???

anyway, just a little thought...and this coming from one of the biggest of scrosese's fans, but shouldn't a director be judged also because of his reliability with budgets?? isn't that a little, kind of like, part of the job too??

i mean marty has consistenly gone way over budget with a bunch of his films...he did it with casino, and kundun if i remember correctly, he did it with gangs and now with this!!!!

i mean, if i were him, and half of hollywood is claiming that i just misfired completely with Gangs of New York, and they nominate my nmovie for ten oscars and give me shit, and all I wanna do is being able to work again (as he said), not in a million years I would go over budget with an already pretty expensive film like The Aviator. I would just find a way around a problem instead of asking for some more money...

But well, apparently the movie IS good in the eyes of the mayority, so let's hope it makes some good money. But still, even if it works, being on budget is part of being a total pro, isn it?


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Reply #203 on: December 13, 2004, 07:32:19 AM
Movie Maestro, Yes, But Scorsese Is Still Learning

Even master director Martin Scorsese, whose films include the acclaimed "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull," admits he has things to learn about moviemaking.

Scorsese's "The Aviator" starring Leonardo DiCaprio in a tale of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, hits U.S. theaters this month with the expectation that it may be the year's best movie and earn Scorsese his first Oscar. He dismisses such talk as hype that could ultimately ruin the movie for audiences.

The director is known, mostly, for his small-scale films. But like 2002's "Gangs of New York," "Aviator" is a big, flashy Hollywood movie. It comes to audiences chock full of digital effects that the 62 year-old director has used rarely in a career spanning more than 40 years.
"The problem is, there is a certain expectation," he told Reuters. "Will that experiment -- every time you make a film it's kind of an experiment -- but will that be accepted by an audience that wants something else? I don't know."

He, and all his fans, are set to find out on Dec. 17, when the film opens in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, followed by the rest of the country on Christmas Day.

Scorsese was among a group of maverick directors in the 1970s making hit movies outside Hollywood. He focused on low-budget, urban stories of tormented characters seeking personal redemption.

In the 1980s, he suffered setbacks like the controversial "The Last Temptation of Christ" then rebounded in 1990 with "Goodfellas," a drama about a turncoat Mafia foot soldier, cementing his reputation as a maestro of moviemaking.

"Gangs," about rival gang warfare set in 1860s New York, was hyped by Hollywood pitchmen as the film that would finally win Scorsese a best director's Oscar. But he lost to director Roman Polanski with "The Pianist"


"Aviator," too, comes heaped with Oscar buzz, and already the U.S. film group, The National Board of Review , put it at No. 2 on its list of top 10 films behind "Finding Neverland."

At first, that would seem to be a good thing. But Hollywood pitchmen sometimes forget that fans often want to judge for themselves which film they think is best and which directors and performers they think deserve accolades. They don't want to be told.

"Audiences begin to resent that," Scorsese said of the buzz.

"Aviator" covers roughly 20 years in the life of Hughes, who went from film-producing wunderkind in the late 1920s to aviation genius of the 1940s, before slipping into the madness that plagued him until he died in an plane crash in 1976.

The film opens with Hughes (DiCaprio) in his early 20s when he was making 1930's aerial war film "Hell's Angels." It moves through his love affairs with Katharine Hepburn) and Ava Gardner), and depicts Hollywood's Golden Age and the nightlife at clubs like the legendary Cocoanut Grove.

At the same time, the movie covers Hughes' aviation genius. He developed the fastest plane of his day and flew around the world in a record three days and 19 hours in 1938.

There were bad times, too. Hughes and his Trans World Airlines fought the U.S. government and rival Pan American World Airways over international flight routes. The battle nearly landed TWA in bankruptcy.

Hughes suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder and germ phobia. He is shown scrubbing his hands raw and locking himself alone in a room for weeks.


"Aviator" is a human drama, yet it also has elements of big-time moviemaking. Some of the flying scenes were produced with digital images, while others were made with plane models.

Scorsese first shot "Aviator" traditionally, then used digital technology to, in effect, reprocess the film to make it look like movies of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

"The nature of filmmaking is changing ... we're going to have to change with it," he said of using technology. He added, however, that "the problem is the technology can take away from what you're saying ... it takes the heart, sometimes."

In many ways, "Aviator" harkens to what Scorsese does best. It paints a picture of a tormented person who, ultimately, has redeeming qualities. It is a simple story of a complex individual. But instead of a small canvas, Scorsese weaves his tale on a massive scale, as he did in "Gangs."

It's a risky proposition, he said. "I don't know how many more times I can make a big film with a budget like this that has elements that have enough risk factors to make me feel comfortable," Scorsese said.

In fact, he said he next is returning to small-scale filmmaking with a gangster movie called "The Departed" that has a simple tale to tell. "The simplicity is the challenge," he said, "because simplicity is deceptive."

And in Hollywood, especially during this hard-to-figure Oscar-nomination season, simplicity is elusive, as well.
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Reply #204 on: December 13, 2004, 02:26:26 PM
i didnt realize this would be a limited release.  that kind of sucks (for me).
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


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Reply #205 on: December 13, 2004, 02:34:36 PM
Well, it's only eight days between the limited and regular engagements...that doesn't suck too bad.


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Reply #206 on: December 14, 2004, 03:46:23 PM
It's a pretty great flick, albeit with one huge flaw: Kate Beckinsale.  She's fine, but her character and her relationship with Hughes is never really realized completely (why does still deal w/ him after he goes off the deep end?  And how exactly did they end up together?  All of the sudden, she's there).  Cate Blanchett steals the movie, damnit let's just give the girl and Oscar and be done w/ it.  Well-made and fascinating (the boob I am, I hardly knew the half of Hughes' life).  Great finish too.


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Reply #207 on: December 14, 2004, 11:32:43 PM


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Reply #208 on: December 15, 2004, 12:43:32 PM
that was nice.


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Reply #209 on: December 17, 2004, 12:36:40 AM
Oh yeah, Friday Dec. 17(tonight) on TCM they're showing a show on Howard Hughes: His women and his movies. 8-9pm.
who likes movies anyway