How 'Mad Max: Fury Road' lured Oscar winner John Seale back behind the camera

How 'Mad Max: Fury Road' lured Oscar winner John Seale back behind the camera

'If it was going to be George Miller, it was going to be exciting.'

John Seale was retired. Then George Miller dangled a "Mad Max" movie in front of his face and, well, how can an Aussie say no? The 40-year veteran jumped right into the maelstrom Miller and his team were conjuring in the desert of west Africa and, along with killer second unit teams, captured one of the most innervating experiences of the year in "Mad Max: Fury Road." Oh, and he turned 70 years old while doing all of this.

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How will the 2015 Cannes Film Festival set the stage for this year's Oscar race?

How will the 2015 Cannes Film Festival set the stage for this year's Oscar race?

New films from Todd Haynes, Denis Villeneuve and Paolo Sorrentino could get a great head start

Last year's edition of the Cannes International Film Festival brought with it the usual early awards possibilities. Some went the distance (Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" in a number of categories). Others fell short (Mike Leigh's "Mr. Turner"). But while Sundance is certainly stepping up its awards-relevance game, the Croisette is where people really start pondering how the film year will shake out once the Oscar drums start banging late in the fall.

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A Perfect Shot: John Seale on the piano reflection from 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'

A Perfect Shot: John Seale on the piano reflection from 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'

How serendipity on the set led to one of the great images in modern cinema

Before Oscar-winning cinematographer John Seale shuffled off to retirement, only to be lured back into the fray by director George Miller for the virtuoso stylings of "Mad Max: Fury Road," he clocked a lot of hours working with filmmaker Anthony Minghella. The two collaborated on three major productions: 1996's "The English Patient," 1999's "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and 2003's "Cold Mountain."

The 1999 entry is, full stop, a masterpiece of modern cinema. With shades of latter-day Hitchcock pulsing through a narrative wound uncomfortably tight, "The Talented Mr. Ripley" might be the finest work Minghella, who passed away in 2008, ever committed to the screen. It features more than just evocative, but rather outright palpable atmosphere and a detailed sense of place. Minghella coaxed incredibly layered performances out of actors like Matt Damon, Jude Law (Oscar nominated for his work), Philip Seymour Hoffman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett and, as ever, told the story visually in captivating ways.

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Universal schedules Angelina Jolie Pitt's 'By the Sea' for Oscar season release

Universal schedules Angelina Jolie Pitt's 'By the Sea' for Oscar season release

'A story about a relationship derailed by loss,' the director calls it

If at first you don't succeed…

Last year's big Universal Pictures/Angelina Jolie (Pitt) prestige fall/winter release, "Unbroken," didn't exactly make Oscar season waves upon arrival. But the actress/filmmaker was hard at work on her follow-up throughout, so I'm sure that did a lot to take her mind off how many nominations the film wasn't receiving (and how many nasty things were being said about her in hacked corporate emails). And so she and the studio will give it another go later this year with "By the Sea," starring Jolie and husband Brad Pitt.

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Legendary Pictures and Paul Greengrass moving forward on Jimi Hendrix biopic
Credit: AP Photo

Legendary Pictures and Paul Greengrass moving forward on Jimi Hendrix biopic

A deal has been struck with the rock icon's estate

Jimi Hendrix is proving popular for the big screen lately. Last year brought with it John Ridley's "Jimi: All Is By My Side" with Spirit Award nominee Andre Benjamin in the starring role. Now comes word that Legendary Pictures will finally move ahead on developing a biopic about the musician with "Captain Phillips" helmer Paul Greengrass set to direct.

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Jason Bateman and Ginnifer Goodwin ready to bring Disney's 'Zootopia' to life

Jason Bateman and Ginnifer Goodwin ready to bring Disney's 'Zootopia' to life

Disney Animation's first movie since 'Big Hero Six' arrives next year

Within the next two weeks Pixar will officially debut its latest animated feature, "Inside Out," at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.  It's the Disney division's first new movie since "Monster's University" which hit theaters almost two years ago.  Pixar will make up for the long absence by also releasing a second picture, "The Good Dinosaur," in November.  While Pixar steps back into the spotlight its sister division, Walt Disney Animation Studios, is taking 2015 off after an incredible run of back to back animated Oscar winners, "Frozen" and "Big Hero 6."  Walt Disney Animation Studio's next film is "Zootopia" which doesn't hit theaters until March, 2016.  Today, they finally revealed who will be voicing the move's main characters.

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Amy Berg's Hollywood child sex-abuse doc 'An Open Secret' is destined to provoke
Credit: Rocky Mountain Pictures/Vesuvio

Amy Berg's Hollywood child sex-abuse doc 'An Open Secret' is destined to provoke

Oscar-nominated director's latest film is set to screen at Cannes

If HBO's Scientology documentary "Going Clear" is any indication, the American public is hungry for damning exposés on the Hollywood establishment. Enter "An Open Secret," a new documentary by Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg ("Deliver Us from Evil," "West of Memphis") that shines a light on the sexual exploitation of young boys in the entertainment industry.

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Meryl Streep channels Diablo Cody's rockin' in-law in the 'Ricki and the Flash' trailer

Meryl Streep channels Diablo Cody's rockin' in-law in the 'Ricki and the Flash' trailer

Will Jonathan Demme help extend Streep's Oscar nom record to 20?

Everything about the general details of "Ricki and the Flash" is like a giant flashing "YES" sign to me: Jonathan Demme directing Meryl Streep as a rock star going back to her roots, from an original screenplay by Diablo Cody. I've been quietly sort of stoked for this film all year. And now we get a taste thanks to the first trailer.

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Exclusive: Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin in images from Cannes' premiere 'Sicario'

Exclusive: Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin in images from Cannes' premiere 'Sicario'

Denis Villeneuve's latest debuts this month in competition

There are a number of movies with familiar faces premiering at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival this month, but Denis Villeneuve's "Sicario" might feature the most intriguing trio of them all.  

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Ian McKellen tackles a cold case in the trailer for 'Mr. Holmes'

Ian McKellen tackles a cold case in the trailer for 'Mr. Holmes'

Bill Condon reteams with the star of his 1998 drama 'Gods and Monsters'

I've been eager to see Bill Condon get back on top of things. Hopefully that "Twilight" gig kept the gas tank full, but "The Fifth Estate" apparently didn't work out (I confess I never saw it). I'm super intrigued by his forthcoming live action "Beauty and the Beast," but in the meantime, we have "Mr. Holmes" opening this summer.

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