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All Movie Talk

Welcome to All Movie Talk! In this audio podcast, Samuel Stoddard and Stephen Keller talk about old and new movies, famous directors, historical film movements, movie trivia, and more.

All Movie Talk

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All Movie Talk, Episode 14

Show contents, with start times:

  • Best of the Year: 1990-1999 (1:35)
  • Trivia Question: Hollywood Walk of Fame (21:25)
  • Oscar Watch 2006: Nominations Update (22:28)
  • Film Buff's Dictionary: Tracking Shot (31:44)
  • Top 6: Travelling Shots (36:31)
  • Good Bad Movie: Night of the Lepus (53:07)
  • Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of Next Week (64:48)
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Show Notes:

Best of the Year: 1990-1999 Trivia Question: Hollywood Walk of Fame

Only one person has five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for each of the five disciplines honored.

Oscar Watch 2006: Nominations Update

Not too much has changed since our first Oscar Watch. The various critics associations and other groups, such as the Golden Globes, have handed out awards and/or nominations. Despite the hype in the media about the Globes, neither of us feel they're a particularly good indicator of Oscar success.

Probably the only real surprise of the early awards is the traction that United 93 has received, thanks to being named the film of the year by quite a few critics groups. Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren have snagged a lot of recognition from the critics, and Martin Scorsese appears to be the leader for director, along with his film The Departed for Best Picture.

Be sure and listen to Episode 11 and use the special code when you play the Academy Awards Predictions Game.

Film Buff's Dictionary: Tracking Shot

A tracking shot is a camera movement where the entire camera is mounted to a cart of some sort and the cart runs on tracks laid on the ground. The cart and the camera are pushed along the track, creating a very smooth movement (contrast it to the much less smooth handheld shot).

The term "dolly shot" is often used as a synonym for tracking shot, as the cart the camera is placed on is a dolly. If you read screenplays or hang around film geeks, you will find references to camera movements such as "dolly in" or "push out," and these generally refer to a tracking shot that moves the camera toward or away from the subject of the shot.

Tracking shots are generally expensive to set up. Laying track takes time and whenever you move the camera around in an unbroken shot everything about shooting a scene is more complicated. Thus, generally directors like to reserve them for fancy moves. Often tracking shots are quite long, and many of the most celebrated shots in the movies are extended tracking shots.

Combining the tracking shot with a zoom is a very famous effect that Alfred Hitchcock brought to prominence in Vertigo, where he used it to illustrate the fear of heights exhibited by the story's protagonist. By zooming out as the camera is pushed in, the perspective of a shot changes in a very noticable and unnatural fashion, causing a sense of strong disorientation for the viewer. Many filmmakers since have used this type of shot; recently, Peter Jackson used it in The Fellowship of the Ring to suggest the menace posed by the Ringwraiths.

Top 6: Travelling Shots

See our separate Top 6 entry for more information about our picks.

Good Bad Movie: Night of the Lepus

The 1972 film Night of the Lepus shirks even cheap special effects techniques and settles for miniature sets and cross-cutting to try to make cute little bunny rabbits look gigantic and imposing.

Even Dr. Bones can't save this flick, which -- and we wish we were making this up -- is about giant rabbits terrorizing the American southwest and "threatening man's very existence." And it's not a comedy. It may be a parable about nature and overpopulation, but mostly it's about bunnies stomping over houses in slow motion.

The funniest normal-creature-becomes-giant-and-terrorizes-people movie ever made? Quite possibly, and this is a sub-sub-subgenre that's full of unintentional comedy gold. Worth your time if you're looking for a movie to mock, unless you suffer from leporiphobia. But if you do suffer from an irrational fear of rabbits, you probably already figured that out.

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