My Freelance Work

  • ‘Mudbound’ tackles the black experience around WWII, ‘because it’s still going on,’ says director Dee Rees

    L.A. Times Envelope11/30/17

    Dee Rees may be a relatively new director, but she’s unafraid to tackle the big stories — like an adaptation (written by Virgil Williams) of the award-winning book by Hillary Jordan, “Mudbound.” Telling the story of two families in Mississippi — one white, one black — during the tumultuous Jim Crow years before and after WWII, it finds love and warmth amid the daily oppressive horrors of systemic racism. The cast and Rees sat down with The Envelope to explore how the film’s story of the past is also the prologue for modern America.

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  • Directors have unique visions for their stories, but they all know which scene pulls their film together

    L.A. Times Envelope11/30/17

    Remember the scene that sticks with you as the film’s credits roll? The one you’re probably able to remember most readily an hour, a day, a week after seeing a great film? That’s a key scene, and as these award season directors remind us, what makes a key scene crackle can be any number of elements – but mostly, they’re the unexpected, emotional events that make the film worth watching over and over again.

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  • They can write, they can act, but can they direct? Turns out, these Hollywood talents can

    L.A. Times Envelope11/30/17

    “It’s not true that I always wanted to direct,” says Aaron Sorkin, who audiences know best for his balletic verbosity in such screenplays as “A Few Good Men” and “The Social Network,” and from the TV series “The West Wing.” “I’ve never felt that screenwriting was a stepping stone to another job – it was the job I wanted.”

    Yet Sorkin is now a debut helmer with “Molly’s Game” — a Christmas release starring Jessica Chastain and featuring Idris Elba and Kevin Costner — despite his admission: “I can’t pick a long lens out of a police lineup. Jumping into the deep end of a big pool is true on a lot of levels.”

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  • Costume Designers Create Clothes for Period, Place and Character

    Variety - 11/30/17

    The devil lives in the details — and that’s a good thing during this awards season, in which multiple films eagerly tread on one another’s toes, whether with overlapping eras, themes, locations or even titles: think of Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck” and Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” (pictured above) — both of which use New York City as an escapist destination in the 20th century — not to mention “Wonder Woman” and “Wonder.”

    Nonetheless, all these films are starkly different thanks in large part to designers’ visions, particularly when it comes to costume choices. Directors certainly have the overall vision, but it’s the choices in outfits that make for big differences in look, feel, tone and even story.

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  • Here’s all the ‘weird stuff’ people found in their parents’ homes over Thanksgiving

    Today.com - 11/28/17

    It was a simple request, posted on Thanksgiving from Jenn, a woman who works at Cards Against Humanity, who wanted to see the “weird stuff” adult kids discovered at their parents’ home over the holidays.

    And it went gangbusters.

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  • Past Is Prologue in Awards Contenders Based on Historical Moments

    Variety - 11/17/17

    This year’s awards contenders are hoping to take home prizes in 2018, but many are firmly affixed in the past. Stories this year are being told about Amazon jungle explorers (“The Lost City of Z”), World War II in Europe (“Darkest Hour” and “Dunkirk”), a 1967 inner-city riot (“Detroit”), Queen Victoria’s friendship with a citizen of one of her colonies (“Victoria & Abdul”) and post-WWII veterans in America’s deep South (“Mudbound”).

    That’s hardly unusual; movies frequently plumb the past for its rich store of stories, told and untold, particularly during awards season. And each of these films have found tales to spin from history that are both familiar and fresh. But none of these films — in fact, few period films, aside from documentaries — are merely the sum of their parts. Whether audiences are aware of it or not, filmmakers are not simply tugging narrative threads from history’s tapestry: there’s a much more subtle art at work here.

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  • With horror, fantasy and superheroes in the conversation, this is turning into one weird Oscar season

    L.A. Times Envelope - 11/16/17

    It’s awards season! Rejoice, for some of the year’s most dramatic, highbrow films are flooding the theaters — expect lots of British accents. By now everyone knows in their bones what an Award-Winning Film looks like: triumph alongside tragedy; a childhood trauma; often a jingoistic spirit chanting in the background. And pretty uniformly, the stories are noble.

    In recent years, a few auteurs and indies have cut through that formula and received awards recognition with such out-of-the box films as “Black Swan,” “Birdman” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.” And the 2017-18 awards season looks as if it may have taken that spirit and run wild with it with more than a smattering of imaginative, unusual and, well, sometimes downright weird stories.

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  • Clothes may make the person, but costumes make the character — just ask any actor

    L.A. Times Envelope - 11/16/17

    Costume designers understand better than most how clothes make the man – and the woman – in movies. Every item of clothing, accessory or pair of shoes tells the audience something it didn’t already know about the characters parading around the screen. But that’s not entirely a function of either the actor wearing them or the costume designer who created the look: It’s truly a team effort. Here are four teams who are dazzling us this awards season, sharing how they came together to create memorable looks.

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  • Has star power wattage dimmed in recent years?

    L.A. Times Envelope - 11/09/17

    Does anyone care about stars anymore?

    Well, probably if you’re looking to win an Academy Award. But wait: The last time a film starring an A-lister won the best picture Oscar was 2013, when Ben Affleck directed himself in “Argo.” (And no, Brad Pitt‘s fleeting performance in 2014’s winner, “12 Years a Slave,” does not count as a star vehicle.) Since then, we’ve seen “Spotlight” and “Moonlight,” both ensemble films, take home the prize.

    OK, so maybe stars matter if you care about box office. But wait: 2017’s box office titans really don’t include starring roles for A-listers. Sure, there are the fly-by appearances like Robert Downey Jr. in “Spider Man: Homecoming” and Tom Hardy in “Dunkirk” — movies that place in the box-office top 10 so far this year. But otherwise, there’s really just one movie starring a recognized A-lister that’s cracked the 2017 list: “Logan,” with Hugh Jackman.

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  • ‘Jeopardy!’ champ Austin Rogers would prefer you not call him ‘quirky’

    TODAY.com - 10/13/17

    Austin Rogers, as “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek noted over the course of 12 nights, is a New York City bartender.

    But to millions of fans who came to enjoy Rogers’ amusing hand gestures and attitude over the course of his dozen-night streak on the notoriously difficult game show (and for those who did not), the 38-year-old New York native was clearly more than that.

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