Transformers
Credit: Paramount Pictures

'Transformers' sound mixers reveal how they kept your ears from caving in

Greg. P Russell and Scott Millan have 25 Best Sound Mixing nominations between them

Greg. P Russell and Scott Millan are masters of an art that can be difficult to appreciate. Great sound mixers take essential tracks — dialogue, score, and effects, all crafted and fighting for ear space — and meld them together to match, or enhance, the visuals on screen. In a film like “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” the balancing act is like a Philippe Petit tightrope walk, one rogue robo-BRAAM tipping the controlled chaos soundscape into cacophony. In a new installment of Variety’s Artisans series, senior VP Tim Grey talks to Russell and Millan about the fourth “Transformers” and Michael Bay’s increasingly difficult audio challenge.

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Albert Wolsky on costuming 'Birdman' and working with legends like Bob Fosse

Albert Wolsky on costuming 'Birdman' and working with legends like Bob Fosse

Legendary outfitter was able to bridge his legacies of stage and screen on the film

Somehow I haven't gotten around to talking to legendary costume designer Albert Wolsky in my time, but "Birdman" presented the opportunity and here we are. With seven Oscar nominations and two wins, Wolsky is one of the titans, with a legacy on both stage and screen. Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest, then, was a fascinating project for him in that it bridged the gap between those two disciplines.

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The inside story on 'Birdman's' instantly iconic superhero costume

The inside story on 'Birdman's' instantly iconic superhero costume

What was Guillermo del Toro's connection?

Legendary costume designer Albert Wolsky was tasked with outfitting Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest film, "Birdman." But perhaps the film's most stand-out piece of wardrobe ended up landing in a different industry realm: special effects.

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Mark Wahlberg - The Gambler
Credit: Paramount Pictures

'The Gambler' trailer rolls the dice on Mark Wahlberg and f-bombs

William Monahan dialogue keeps Rupert Wyatt’s remake snappy

Karel Reisz’s 1974 drama “The Gambler,” an autobiographical drama by James Toback, is a slow burn portrait of addiction. Every little bit literature professor Axel Freed (James Caan) makes on the Blackjack table, he sinks a few steps lower until he drowns in his melancholy reality. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” director Rupert Wyatt’s remake, swinging into the Oscar race at the tail end of the year, has a bit more bounce, channeling the Scorsese crime drama spirit with Mark Wahlberg as its troubled keystone. A totally different movie — and an intriguing departure (with plenty of cussin’ so you know it means business).

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Force Majeure
Credit: Magnolia Pictures

'Force Majeure' director on 'Captain Coward,' 'Worst Man Cry' and more YouTube influences

How the Internet assisted Ruben Östlund in an exploration of relationships and gender

YouTube is a procrastinator’s dream, a narcissist’s platform, an entertainer’s rocket, and a dumping ground for the mesmerizingly mundane. Snowballed together, it’s the perfect screenwriting tool, a breadth of humanity’s successes and failures available to stream. As Ruben Östlund pieced together “Force Majeure,” his new comedy and Sweden’s entry into the Best Foreign Film Oscar race, the writer-director turned to YouTube for doses of reality. If someone captured an event or action or pang of emotion on camera and uploaded to the Internet, then it happened in real life. And it could happen in “Force Majeure.”

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Patrick Stewart
Credit: Brad Barket/Invision/AP

Patrick Stewart to play a killer white supremacist in 'Blue Ruin' director’s next

'Green Room' is currently in production, eying a 2015 release

The genial, Instagram-loving Sir Patrick Stewart isn’t the first actor one might think of for a “ murderous skinhead” part, but his cranium does come fit for the job.

Broad Green Pictures (BGP) announced late Tuesday that the “X-Men” and “Star Trek” actor has joined the cast of “Green Room,” the next thriller from “Blue Ruin” writer-director Jeremy Sauliner (there’s a pattern there, I just can’t put my finger on it…).

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Christopher Nolan praises Matthew McConaughey's quest for truth
Credit: AP Photo

Christopher Nolan praises Matthew McConaughey's quest for truth

A roll call of the star's leading ladies, from Reese Witherspoon to Jennifer Garner, turned out to pay tribute Tuesday night

BEVERLY HILLS — It was time for a victory lap for last year's Best Actor Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey as the "Interstellar" star was honored by the American Cinematheque at the Beverly Hilton's famed International Ballroom Tuesday night. A roll call of the star's leading ladies was on hand to take part in the tribute, which closed with "Interstellar" director Christopher Nolan doing the honors of presenting the hardware.

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Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant in Florence
Credit: AP

Meryl Streep will sound dreadful alongside Hugh Grant in operatic 'Florence'

The director 'Philomena' takes on an unusual biopic.

Florence Foster Jenkins was the William Hung of the early 1900s. An objectively awful opera singer convinced of her own melodious quality, Jenkins concertized across New York City at her wealthy family’s expense. People couldn’t look away. Staging elaborate shows in opulent costumes, Jenkins sang Vivaldi and Strauss for audiences keeling over from disbelief. Her earnest brand of cacophony became so revered, she was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in 1944, at the age of 76.

Sound like the makings for a biopic? Well, get ready for Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins.

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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 2015: Contenders include J.K. Simmons, Edward Norton and Miyavi

Best Supporting Actor Oscar 2015: Contenders include J.K. Simmons, Edward Norton and Miyavi

Will a Japanese pop star steal a lot of the talk this year?

The Best Supporting Actor race is always a bit mercurial in the early stages but this year it seems positively volatile. The "unknown" factor is always pronounced when you can't draw a lot of conclusions based on role, etc., but in general this year, it seems like this race could go a number of different ways. Naturally, that's exciting.

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Noah
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Humane Society honors Darren Aronofsky for use of CG animals in ‘Noah’

Organization thrilled that no animals were harmed in the making of his Biblical epic.

Remember when animal wranglers involved with “The Hobbit” movies revealed that Peter Jackson’s production resulted in the death of 27 animals? That did not sit well with the zoological protection organizations! If the Humane Society ran its own version of The Razzies, 2012’s “Unexpected Journey” would have picked up the award. Lucky for Team Hobbit, it doesn’t. In fact, after several recent cases of animal mistreatment (the death of three horses on the set of HBO’s “Lucky” comes to mind) the Humane Society turn the other cheek in 2014 and praise the people of Hollywood who are getting it right. The Wrap reports that Darren Aronofsky will be the first recipient of the the organization’s Filmmaker Award, for the “compassionate decision” to use CG animals in his March tentpole “Noah.”

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