In Contention


The top 10 shots of 2008: part one

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 9:03 am · January 14th, 2009

Slumdog MillionaireI’m hoping to make this an annual tradition here at In Contention.  It’s no secret we have a lot of respect for below-the-line talent around these parts, but it’s nice to have a visual way of showing that appreciation.  I sat down to write this piece for the first time last year, taken by the caliber of cinematography we had to bask in throughout the year and, indeed, the awards season.  The unusually high number of lensing achievements in 2007 left a slew of images to choose from and it was difficult whittling it down to 10.

This year the challenge was of a different sort.  The field was curiously thin.  It wasn’t that the talent wasn’t on display.  God knows, a number of the greats were lining up behind the camera this year.  But the images weren’t as instantly iconic or as viscerally gripping as they were in 2007, which might have left me a bit disappointed on one hand.  Then again, it just made searching for my favorites all the more involved and interesting, and I’m happy to offer my findings to you in this space, even if it meant doubling up.

Yes, in one instance (an undeniable one, really), a certain film found two shots popping up on the list, and nearly three.  Another film also found itself close to a second mention, but I tried to keep a balance of honesty and fairness in place as much as possible.  If a film has two of the year’s best shots, it has two of the year’s best shots, right?

This year, things are slightly different.  Last time around, I got a few arbitrary quotes from lensers throughout the season and plugged them into the piece where they fit best.  This year, I sought out the various directors of photography to get their opinions on the specific shots in question.  Their insight, as always, makes for a better story and, indeed, more context for the reader.  I hope you enjoy reading their thoughts as much as I did collecting them.

So, I look forward to doing this each and every year I’m cranking out copy for your reading pleasure (or displeasure).  In my view, it is one of the best ways I can commemorate the technicians that so often find themselves overlooked this time of year.

So let’s get on with the list…

#10

Milk

“MILK”
Director of Photography: Harris Savides

It’s really simple and it wasn’t planned at all.  We were shooting the scene and the last shot that night was a close-up of the whistle.  Gus and I were talking and we thought it would be great if we saw the whole scene in this whistle, and Gus made it happen in post.  They took one of the shots and put it in this shot, the close-up of the whistle we got.  I was surprised that it happened at all.  But that kind of stuff, especially with Gus, is very on the fly.  There’s no storyboards.

–Harris Savides

Ask any working cinematographer who the two or three best lensers are in the game, you’re likely to hear Harris Savides every single time.  In his collaborations with David Fincher, Jonathan Glazer and, prolifically, Gus Van Sant over the years, Savides has amassed a distinguishing visual portfolio that would likely catch the late Stanley Kubrick’s eye.

Hopping behind the camera for the fifth time with Van Sant at the helm, Savides brought his distinctive sense of composition to the director’s signature creativity yet again.  Perhaps one of the more straight-forward of their collaborations, the photography in “Milk” was nonetheless a well-implemented storytelling device for the life of San Francisco politician Harvey Milk.

The shot that stuck out to me when first watching the film might be considered too gimmicky to some, but I couldn’t help a crooked smile at the playfulness on display.  I was later somewhat disappointed to learn, as the quote above reveals, that the shot was achieved through visual effects, but it wasn’t enough to erase the image from my mind: a distressed Milk confronts a police officer following a violent night of gay-bashing in the Castro as a whistle — a plot point raised earlier in the film — lies blood spattered on the ground, reflecting the scene throughout.

#9

Defiance

“DEFIANCE”
Director of Photography: Eduardo Serra

I like this shot very much as well because you have all that emptiness and Daniel is separated from the rest.  When you have all the snow, all the white around, you have reflections everywhere.  That creates a mood that’s very special.  I didn’t do anything with this shot other than giving the film a certain look using a specific film stock.  There’s not much you want to do with lights because you have all this white.  I’m always very interested mainly by the storytelling rather than anything else.   It’s very simple, there’s nothing, no bells, no nothing, it’s very simple.

–Eduardo Serra

Eduardo Serra cut his teeth on the French cinema of the 1990s.  He broke through to North American audiences with Michael Winterbottom’s “Jude” and Iain Softley’s “The Wings of the Dove,” the latter earning him an Oscar nomination, before dazzling popular audiences with Vincent Ward’s “What Dreams May Come” and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable.”   But most remember him for his gorgeous work on Peter Webber’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in 2003, which brought him Academy attention for a second time.

Serra has been director Edward Zwick’s D.P. of choice for the last couple of years, lensing “Blood Diamond” in 2006 and, most recently, the World War II drama “Defiance.”  In many ways Serra is a perfect fit for Zwick, who has proven himself quite attentive to the visual splendor of his films (lauded lensers Roger Deakins and John Toll have been frequent collaborators).

Serra’s finest work in “Defiance” comes during the film’s extended winter sequence, a detrimental time for the Bielski brothers and their patchwork community seeking asylum in the forest of Belarus in the early 1940s.  That detriment is paradoxically captured in the most beautiful blue-white hues as snow (both fake and real) covers the scenery.  But the shot that stuck out to me was both an interesting (and heartbreaking) plot point and the moment that really snapped me to the attention deservingly paid to Serra’s photography.

#8

Revolutionary Road

“REVOLUTIONARY ROAD”
Director of Photography: Roger Deakins

You kind of work the shot by what’s demanded by the story.  The front of the shot is just Frank coming in the door and the exterior of the porch light that sort of rims him as he walks in.  It was an aesthetic reason because it helps set the mood of the shot.  We wanted this pool of warm light, sort of coming through this dark room and not knowing what you were going to expect.  It was about capturing the surprise of Frank seeing that scene and that mixed emotion.  And it wasn’t lit entirely by the candles.  I asked the art department to make a cake that was big enough that I could hide a little gag light behind it.

–Roger Deakins

There are few lensers as salty, candid and talented as Roger Deakins, the most Oscar-nominated cinematographer of all time without a statuette to his credit.  He has worked with the greats, from Martin Scorsese to frequent collaborators the Coen brothers.  This year he sat behind the camera on three major productions: John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt,” Stephen Daldry’s “The Reader” and Sam Mendes’s “Revolutionary Road.”

“Road” is littered with an embarrassment of visual riches, an assemblage it seems only Deakins could deliver with such consistency.  But it was surprisingly difficult to settle on one frame that really stuck out, because unlike many of his works, the film is more memorable for its overall visual atmosphere than it is for this shot or that.  But I eventually settled on an eerie image, the camera tracking with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Frank Wheeler after a day of infidelity, through the darkness to reveal his family, lit by birthday cake candlight to wish him a happy birthday.  The beauty and moodiness of the shot mixes together with the subtext of his recent actions in an unsettling way that was certainly intentional.

Deakins has filled in wonderfully as Mendes’s D.P. of choice as of late, stepping into the massive shoes of lensing legend Conrad L. Hall.  But Deakins, who was close friends with Hall before Hall’s death in 2004, says he considers it an incredible honor, for obvious reasons.  Most notable, however, is Mendes’s talent for utilyzing the best in the business.

#7

Slumdog Millionaire

“SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE”
Director of Photography: Anthony Dod Mantle

I like to experiment, but I only ever experiment because of the story.  We thought bringing him really close in the foreground would be good to create that distance between the two boys and create that dramatic comment.  One of them is thinking about something else and the other is simply thinking about surviving and moving on.   It’s a sad image too because you can’t help the connotation that these boys have lost their mom, you know.  And those things don’t get storyboarded.  Generally speaking when you’re working with Danny, every shot feels as important as every other one.  And that shot is an example of the way we work .  He’d have an idea for a picture and I’m there to help him as a visually trained composer of images — that’s my job.

–Anthony Dod Mantle

Anthony Dod Mantle made his name alongside Thomas Vinterberg and Lars Von Trier during the Dogme movement of the late-1990s.  The naturalism at the forefront of Dogme’s dogma nonetheless finds itself at incredible odds with the cinematic sensibilities of director Danny Boyle, who has worked with Mantle on three films since 2003′s “28 Days Later.”

Still, Mantle has found a way to let his background influence his work with filmmakers like Boyle and Kevin Macdonald in the most pleasantly surprising of ways, and such was the case on “Slumdog Millionaire,” perhaps the most visually dynamic piece of cinema to be released in 2008.

Much like Deakins’s work on “Revolutionary Road,” Mantle’s work here doesn’t easily allow for one or two easily remembered images.  It is a construction of ideas that pop with life, camera innovations that are astounding and viscerally effective, but more across the board than selectively so.  I went back and forth on which image to choose, and I always came back to the same frame, young Jamal in the foreground, lost in thought and heartbreak as a young Salim looks toward renewed life in the background.  The moment comes during the film’s energetic train montage sequence and really, I don’t think I could add more than Mantle has in the quote above, so I’ll leave it at that.

#6

The Wrestler

“THE WRESTLER”
Director of Photography: Maryse Alberti

The first time I spoke to Darren, it was very clear that the inspiration for the visuals of the film was in the work of the Dardenne brothers, who directed “Rosetta” and “L’Enfant.”  That first shot was going to be much more complicated, a low, hand-held tracking shot that was going to move in on Mickey and turn around and start to discover his face.  We tried it and Darren decided it was much too complicated.  We decided to leave the camera in the back of the room with Mickey very small in the frame with his back to us and I think that right away it established the isolation of the character.

–Maryse Alberti

When director Darren Aronofsky went back to the drawing board on “The Wrestler,” he shrugged off the sleekness of “The Fountain” and the indie-chic of “Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream” in favor of a much more naturalistic visual approach.  Hiring documentary lenser Maryse Alberti was a smart move in the realignment of his career and his newfound passion for performance.

“The Wrestler” is filmed in such a way as to invite the viewer into the life of Randy “The Ram” Robinson.  While Mickey Rourke is laying bare his soul on the screen, Aronofsky and Alberti are meeting him half-way with an affectionate portrait and a sense of realism that might remind the viewer of one of the many examples of cinematic non-fiction Alberti has filmed in her time.  The shots linger and observe, omniscient but intimate, obliterating the notion that a camera is even there.

The most powerful image is probably the opening frame, one packed with as much subtly as it is blatant thematic comment.  That it was a fall-back plan of sorts, and never prepared as such, is somewhat shocking considering the artistic merit it exhibits, but such is the essence of filmmaking, cooking imagery on the fly and tapping into the hidden truths that trimmed production fat can reveal.

Continue to part two and the top five shots of 2008




Related Posts

→ 65 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

65 responses so far

  • 1 1-14-2009 at 9:45 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Great, great, great piece.

    I must admit, while I love Harris Savides’ work in general, that whistle shot stuck out like a sore thumb to me in the film. Beautiful and ingeniously executed in isolation, but for me it was ultimately a self-serving distraction.

    Can’t wait to see what your number one shot is. Mine, by a mile, is the ‘smoking in the snow’ shot from “Hunger.”

  • 2 1-14-2009 at 10:04 am

    JAB said...

    i’m gonna go ahead and guess that there are two shots from The Dark Knight in your top 5, one from Let the Right One In, one from Benjamin Button, and one from Synecdoche?

  • 3 1-14-2009 at 10:05 am

    Speaking English said...

    Hope to see some “Benjamin Button” and “Australia” on the top 5. Two most visually beautiful and lush films of the year, for me. Great stuff so far. :)

  • 4 1-14-2009 at 10:14 am

    Mike W said...

    Kudos one what is one of the best year-in-review style lists. Adding the quotes from the cinematographers about the individual shots really validates and solidifes your list. Great, great job once again…

  • 5 1-14-2009 at 10:33 am

    actionman said...

    I love when you do this post, Kris. Just love it. I am a cinematography freak.

    Oh, and not that it’s a big deal, but Mantle didn’t shoot Sunshine for Boyle; Alwin H. Kuchler was the DoP.

  • 6 1-14-2009 at 10:36 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Ooph, good catch, thanks.

  • 7 1-14-2009 at 10:44 am

    N8 said...

    I don’t know, JAB. I’ve got the feeling “Defiance” is gonna be the double-dipper on this list. Am I close, Kris?

  • 8 1-14-2009 at 10:49 am

    JAB said...

    Defiance is one of the last few movies i have to see, unfortunately it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna be that big of a factor in the oscars.

  • 9 1-14-2009 at 10:55 am

    Andrew L. said...

    LOVE the shot from The Wrestler. It really captures the sad, “washed up” nature of his character.

  • 10 1-14-2009 at 11:09 am

    ivich said...

    I have seen just Milk from the list and will see Revolutionary Road and Slumdog Millionaire soon (releasing in India in the coming weeks).

    I too remembered the shot that you have picked as # 10. Also a tad disappointed to discover that the overall impact was achieved through visual effects. Yet you can’t take anything away from Savides work. I particularly liked the idea to incorporate b/w pictures of James Franco. Those pictures just hit the right chords, they demonstrate the intensity of the emotions that Milk feels for his lover. That’s why I completely second AO Scott’s opinion that the first meeting between Franco and Penn in the film is the love at first sight we all crave for.

    Another film that was visually just incredible yet seems to be missing buzz altogether was In Search of a Midnight Kiss. Los Angeles never looked prettier.

  • 11 1-14-2009 at 11:10 am

    Chad said...

    Thumbs up for the list. Thumbs down for the whistle shot. For my money, Milk is summed up in the slow zoom out, step printed shot of Penn and Franco kissing in front of the “Now Open” sign in the store.

  • 12 1-14-2009 at 11:14 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I knew the whistle shot would have its detractors. It’s like when I saw “Your Friends & Neighbors” years ago and there’s a shot of a couple talking in a convex convenience store mirror. My friend leans over and says, “That’s a cool shot.” Well, not really. It’s just a shot in the mirror.

    But what can I say? The whistle shot was out of step with the rest of the piece, but I liked that for some reason. And I like the drive to make it happen, even if it wasn’t a practical element and ultimately was achieved in post.

    The other shot I considered from “Milk” was the tilt up from Milk as he enters City Hall on his last day to reveal Dan White stalking the halls in the distance. But I like the slow zoom shot as well.

  • 13 1-14-2009 at 11:19 am

    actionman said...

    The whistle shot is fantastic. A stylized shot like that might have felt more at home in Elephant or Gerry or Last Days. But it still doesn’t detract from the overall artistry of the shot and the entire film.

  • 14 1-14-2009 at 11:23 am

    Jason said...

    My guess is the two shots are from TDK. The shot of The Joker sticking his head out of the police car, and the final shot of Batman riding the Batpod into the light. The shot that missed out was Batman jumping off the building.

  • 15 1-14-2009 at 11:29 am

    Chase Kahn said...

    I’m not a fan of the “whistle shot”, either. But that scene in ‘Revolutionary Road’ is very gut-twisting, although I could easily pick 10 others in that film that I liked even more.

  • 16 1-14-2009 at 11:38 am

    Chad said...

    actionman, have you seen Gerry, Elephant or Last Days? The whistle shot would be twenty times more out of place in those films than in Milk.

  • 17 1-14-2009 at 11:52 am

    mike said...

    Great story post, as I have said, this is my fav ofthe year…

    I just saw Rev Road and Defiance 2 days ago and there where def some great shots in both, looking forward to part 2…

  • 18 1-14-2009 at 11:53 am

    Chase Kahn said...

    By the way, none of these shots will match the image of Daniel Plainview’s hand reaching towards the sky, drenched in oil — haven’t seen anything like it this year.

  • 19 1-14-2009 at 11:57 am

    mike said...

    Or the train shoot from Jesse James (the best of the year, IMO, I agree with Kris from last year)

  • 20 1-14-2009 at 12:23 pm

    actionman said...

    yes, Chad, I have seen ALL of Van Sant’s films. The whistle shot was extremely stylized, much like Elephant, Gerry, Paranoid Park, and Last Days were.

  • 21 1-14-2009 at 12:24 pm

    actionman said...

    And the shot from Rev Road that got to me the most was towards the end, when Michael Shannon is being thrown out of the Wheeler house. He goes off on his tangent, but he never comes into focus. We see Winslet in focus, listening to Shannon go off the rails, and while he’s never in focus, she is. Very powerful moment right there.

  • 22 1-14-2009 at 12:37 pm

    mike said...

    Couldn’t agree more actionman, I also loved that shot the best of that film, maybe it will be on part 2 of the list…

  • 23 1-14-2009 at 1:36 pm

    Adam Smith said...

    That shot from Rev Road hadn’t even occurred to me, but it’s a great one. I should check it out again.

    Also, I feel dumb for forgetting that amazing opening shot from The Wrestler. It seems like a no-brainer now that I think about it.

    Add me to the pro-”whistle shot” column.

  • 24 1-14-2009 at 2:11 pm

    Chad said...

    actionman, not to harp on this but there are many different types of stylization and they don’t all fit in with each other. the loose and playful style with which van sant made Milk allowed a shot like the whistle one to fly but the strict compositions and movements he adhered to for those other films would fiercely deny it.

  • 25 1-14-2009 at 2:25 pm

    McGuff said...

    Agreed with Mike and Actionman about the powerful Winslet-Shannon shot. It goes to only prove that John Givings is less a real character than a device to transition between the Wheeler’s marriage amidst their French dream and their marriage as it’s falling apart. While Shannon and Justin Haythe deserve a lot of credit for this, so does Deakins in shots like that.

  • 26 1-14-2009 at 3:43 pm

    Douglas said...

    Here are my top 5 shots of the year:

    5. In “Frost/Nixon” the shot of Richard Nixon after his final interview with David Frost as he sits in his limo. His expression of guilt and sadness as he is driven away somehow connects with the audience. I may be wrong but isn’t that what Ron Howard was hoping to achieve in this film?
    4. In “I’ve Loved You So Long” during the confrontation between Julia (Kristen Scott Thomas) and her mother. Her mother, who has severe memory loss, for a split second recognizes Julia and embraces her. Meanwhile the camera is positioned with the mother’s back towards us and Kristen Scott Thomas’ face visible. Kristen’s expression of disgust is so powerful and her arms are held out almost as if her mother is diseased.
    3. In “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” during the ballet scene when Daisy (Cate Blanchett) is seen dancing on stage with a fellow male dancer. The camera is facing towards the audience (sitting in the auditorium) and Cate abruptly turns towards them, gracefully placing her hand against her mouth. The camera is positioned at a low angle behind Cate as there is a blackout on stage, which leaves her silhouette visible.
    2. In “Slumdog Millionaire” when Jamal is calling out to Latika at the train station. She finally sees him standing on a higher level. The camera is positioned at a high angle looking down at Latika as she smiles and the train passes by behind her. The slight, fast movements of the camera and the bright colours that are seen throughout the film make this shot spectacular.
    1. In “The Dark Knight” there are so many brilliant shots but the one that stands out for me is the last shot of the film. As Batman rides off into a sepia coloured light on the BatPod and his cape furiously flaps behind him, he leaves the camera far behind. This shot combined with the music and the last line of the film (said by Commissioner Gordon; “The Dark Knight”) creates the perfect ending to a film.

  • 27 1-14-2009 at 5:35 pm

    Silencio said...

    It’s pieces like this that remind me how much I love this website.

    There are two shots I’m hoping for. One from Let the Right One in, and one from Benjamin Button. I’ll see if you choose them.

  • 28 1-14-2009 at 5:35 pm

    Lane said...

    One of my favorite shots has to be one in The Dark Knight where Batman is standing on the Sears Tower, listening in on phone conversations…

    It’s a beautiful, beautiful shot that looks especially spectacular on an IMAX screen.

    Remember… the Dark Knight is rereleased next Friday!

  • 29 1-14-2009 at 6:03 pm

    Dut said...

    By far the coolest and most original idea for any post or article in the business. I am really looking forward to your top five tomorrow, and your future top tens to come. This is true love for film as an art form…..thanks.

  • 30 1-14-2009 at 6:09 pm

    Robin said...

    I know it’s not technically cinematography, but Wall-E has some magnificent “shots” aswell, the one that sticks out is Wall-E gliding along the rings of saturn of course. Other than that, my favourite shot in ‘Slumdog’ was actually the Taj Mahal emerging from the mist like a dream. My favourite shot in ‘The Dark Knight’ is probably Batman standing amongst the wreckage where Rachel died, in that amazing blue light with his cape billowing behind. The shot has been used extensively for FYCs.

  • 31 1-14-2009 at 6:26 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    I’m pro whistle

  • 32 1-14-2009 at 6:44 pm

    Andrew said...

    Thank you for these pieces, Kris! I loved the column for last year’s selection, and this is a pretty fantastic half-list, as well!

    It’s a bit comical that Roger Deakins has yet to win an Oscar….and in addition to the Revolutionary Road/Doubt/Reader trifecta mentioned above, let’s not forget that he was a shot consultant on Wall-E, too. That makes a whopping four major composition jobs he was associated with this year, which is just astounding to me.

    There are actually 3 images from Revolutionary Road I would put ahead of the birthday cake shot. One has already been called by McGuff, Mike, and Actionman…the amazing alternating-focus shot of Winslet and Shannon. The other two are from the final scenes of the film, and it’s a bit difficult to discuss them without spoilers: one is a wide shot of Winslet staring out the living room window, the other a tracking shot of DiCaprio running down the street.

    Deakins would definitely be my pic for the Cinematography Oscar, but I’m thinking it’s probably between Wally Pfister and Anthony Dod Mantle at this point. Ah, well…Deakins will get his some day….

  • 33 1-14-2009 at 6:50 pm

    Jeff Cash said...

    I really hate number 7…very poor choice: not minimalist enough to make me wonder what’s missing, not “strange” enough to arouse my fancy…I like the whistle shot though…it really struck some chord with me when I watched in the the theater.

  • 34 1-14-2009 at 6:55 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Poor choice in your opinion, of course. It’s the image that stuck with me the most from the film and I think it’s full of thematic virtue.

  • 35 1-14-2009 at 8:37 pm

    Stewart Chisholm said...

    really cool list.
    i just checked out last year’s as well and i would agree with most. it’s just so hard to narrow it down, especially using individual shots.

    my guess for the top five would be (in no order):

    Australia – tree/jackman on a horse/kidman against the scarlet-splashed sky
    The Dark Knight – the joker behind bars in the jail clapping
    Revolutionary Road (the double nominee) – suburban men walking through the tunnel after the train ride
    Burn After Reading – i know this is probably just wishful thinking, but the shot of Brad Pitt ***SPOILER*** right before he gets shot in the face is my favorite shot of the year.
    probably something from Curious Case, but i can’t think of one that would stand out as both beautiful and meaningful

  • 36 1-14-2009 at 8:59 pm

    Aaron said...

    I absolutely love the whistle shot in Milk. I was sitting with a friend while watching that movie and we both turned to each other and said ‘that was absolutely amazing’.

  • 37 1-14-2009 at 10:18 pm

    V.M.L. said...

    I love your choice for #10. I’m hoping you’d include a shot from WALL-E. I also suggest the shot from TWILIGHT where Edward looks like he has wings. I’m not a TWILIGHT fanatic nor a hater, but I liked that shot because that was a nice use of mis-en-scene.

  • 38 1-14-2009 at 10:39 pm

    Glenn said...

    Interesting that you should say “Much like Deakins’s work on “Revolutionary Road,” Mantle’s work here doesn’t easily allow for one or two easily remembered images”, since I thought Mantle’s work on that movie was constantly trying to be images that would get stuck in your head. I don’t want to see “postcard”, but they felt more like photographs surrounded my scenes. Shots of buildings, colours and trains especially are always done in a way that, if shown at a gallery as photographs, people would ooh and ahh.

    Having said that, I thought the cinematography was one of “Slumdog”s best attributes. There were great images in there for sure.

  • 39 1-14-2009 at 10:51 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I feel like you saw a different film if you think it was aiming for the “postcard” look. It’s too energized for that kind of classification.

  • 40 1-15-2009 at 10:47 am

    Pandaloss said...

    One more from Slumdog, I think. The best one. Might even be no 1. Pool scene from LTROI, of course. Maybe the dance scene from Benjamin and one from TDK. The last might be from Synedoche or that agressive, ugly but effective shot from Gomorra.

  • 41 1-15-2009 at 12:47 pm

    Jeff Cash said...

    Oh Kris, don’t be so naive! If art was really just a matter of opinion you wouldn’t have been so crusdaing in your criticism of Wall-E (a criticism I agreed with, by the way). I know that your objections to those robot’s supporters went beyond their certainty in their appraisal of that film.

  • 42 1-15-2009 at 1:07 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I have crusaded against some films in my time, but “WALL-E” was hardly one of those instances. I just offered counter-points that were consistently spun into “anti-’WALL-E’ rhetoric” by the masses.

    So, who’s naive?

    And yes, art is a matter of opinion. To think otherwise is to betray unheard of ignorance.

  • 43 1-15-2009 at 1:27 pm

    Jeff Cash said...

    Oh Kris, stop bothering with semantics. If I say, I didn’t shoot that man, I just pulled a trigger that put a bullet into him, the result is the same. I agree with your Wall-E crusade, but it is a crusade (what else do you call it when you devote enormous amount of time bickering back and forth with morons and creating entire articles dedicated to your cause. If you want to call it a semicrusade, or a quasicrusade, be my guest, but it is a matter of semantics).
    Interesting question there…unless you are going to ask me to dig up your Wall-E battles, please don’t offer rhetorical questions…don’t delude yourself into thinking that I am naive on this issue. Don’t insult my intelligence.
    And please, for the love of your profession don’t insult centuries worth of aesthetic theory that has proved that art isn’t based solely (even significantly) on opinion. Otherwise, things like bad acting, bad special effects, and bad music (just to name a few) could ignored in favor of your lazy, dogmatic relativism.

  • 44 1-15-2009 at 2:24 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Bickering (or as I like to call it, engaging in discourse) is one thing, crusading is another. I didn’t create entire articles dedicated to a cause. I could have done that easily. All I did was post contrary opinions and it becomes a crusade. I’ll argue that point with you whether you agree with said phantom “crusade” or not.

    But I appreciate your argumentative nature. It’s good to be feisty.

  • 45 1-15-2009 at 4:41 pm

    Joel said...

    KRIS LIKED THE FREAKIN’ MOVIE!!! Just, like, three stars, instead 48, like everyone else.

    I disagree with him, but as far as animated films go, I completely agree with him on “Bolt.” Kris, spot on, my friend.

  • 46 1-16-2009 at 5:59 am

    Seany P said...

    Wow, great list. That shot in milk was mesmerizing.

    SPOILERS FOR REVOLUTIONARY ROAD FOLLOW

    I have to say that the one shot in revolutionary road that stuck with me was when the camera pulled back revealing a dress slowly bleeding. This is something that since I saw the film I just couldn’t take my mind off of. It may not be the best shot of the film but man. It hit me hard

  • 47 2-06-2009 at 1:00 am

    Asad Ali said...

    Take care