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John Ottman talks Editing/Composing X-Men: Apocalypse on iTalk Movies

Hosts @DMovies1701 & @PDSvitek interview composer/editor John Ottman. They discuss his latest projects – X-Men: Apocalypse and The Nice Guys.
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iTalk movies is a long-form interview series featuring leading members of the film community. In this episode, our hosts Demetri Panos and Phil Svitek interview John Ottman in studio about editing and composing on some of Hollywood’s biggest films including recent movies X-Men: Apocalypse and The Nice on the Popcorn Talk Network.

John Ottman holds dual distinctions as a leading film composer and an award winning film editor. Ottman has often completed both monumental tasks on the same films. Such remarkable double duties have included The Usual Suspects, X-Men 2, Superman Returns, Valkyrie, and Jack the Giant Killer. He has also held producer roles on several of these films, as well as directing, editing and scoring Urban Legends 2.

From an early age in San Jose, California, Ottman began writing and recording radio plays on cassette tapes. He’d perform many characters with his voice (and some sound effects), and called upon his neighborhood friends as extra cast members.

By the fourth grade, Ottman was playing the clarinet and continued doing so throughout high school. But his real concentration turned from audio productions to making films. He turned his parents’ garage into a movie studio, where multiple sets were interchangeable to accommodate productions – invariably some sort of science fiction film. By high school, his films evolved to hour-long productions complete with large sets and lavish scores edited together from his favorite soundtracks.

Having been a veteran of numerous short films, Ottman excelled at USC film school, receiving accolades for his direction of actors and for how masterfully he edited their performances. It was in this directing course that a graduate filmmaker asked Ottman to re-edit his thesis film. John modified the story from raw footage and also designed the film’s extensive sound. The film ended up winning the student Academy Award. On that film, Ottman met a production assistant named Bryan Singer.

Singer, only aware of Ottman’s editing (Ottman stayed awake into the wee hours learning midi gear and composing music), asked him to edit a short film starring Ethan Hawke – a childhood friend of Singer’s. Ottman ended up co-directing the film (Lion’s Den) as well as editing and doing the sound design.

Ottman edited Singer’s first feature, Public Access. His effective sequences and editorial montages became the highlight of the picture. In the eleventh hour, the film lost its composer. Singer asked Ottman to write the score, after much prodding from the editor. Public Access received the Grand Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, with the score and editing being lauded in reviews.

With The Usual Suspects and future Singer films, Ottman held to a promise that, despite his scoring dreams, he would commit to the months required to also serve as editor on Singer’s films. The wary producers of The Usual Suspects gave the go-ahead for him to both edit the complicated picture and write the score, the demands of which no one had undergone. The film was edited in Ottman’s living room on a Steinbeck flatbed and a splicer. The Usual Suspects and Ottman’s work received widespread acclaim, earning Ottman the British Academy Awards for his editing, a Saturn Award for his score, and a nomination by the American Cinema Editors.

Since then, Ottman has scored numerous films with the intent of keeping thematic film scoring alive. Ottman also made a brief foray into television for which he received an Emmy nomination (“Fantasy Island.”)

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Popcorn Talk Network is the online broadcast network with programming dedicated exclusively to movie discussion, news, interviews and commentary. Popcorn Talk Network is comprised of the leading members and personalities of the film press and community including E!’s Maria Menounos, Scott “Movie” Mantz, The Wrap’s Jeff Sneider, Screen Junkies and the Schmoes Know, Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis who are the 1st and only YouTube reviewers to be certified by Rotten Tomatoes and accredited by the MPAA.

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Casino Royale Review | Action Movie Anatomy

Action Movie Anatomy hosts Ben Bateman and Andrew Ghai break down Casino Royale with special guest Cathy Kelley! Casino Royale (2006) is the twenty-first film in the Eon Productions James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Directed by Martin Campbell and written by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Paul Haggis, the film marks the third screen adaptation of Ian Fleming‘s 1953 novel of the same name. Casino Royale is set at the beginning of Bond’s career as Agent 007, just as he is earning his licence to kill. After preventing a terrorist attack at Miami International Airport, Bond falls in love with Vesper Lynd, the treasury employee assigned to provide the money he needs to bankrupt a terrorist financier, Le Chiffre, by beating him in a high-stakes pokergame. The story arc continues in the following Bond film, Quantum of Solace (2008), with implicit and explicit references to characters and events in Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015).

Cat People | Watchalong!

The Historic Hollywood hosts sit in for a WatchAlong with Cat People! Join Lex Michael and Byron Thompson for commentary on today’s movie! Cat People is a 1942 horror film produced by Val Lewton and directed by Jacques Tourneur. DeWitt Bodeen wrote the original screenplay which was based on Val Lewton’s short story The Bagheeta published in 1930. The film stars Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph and Tom Conway. Cat People tells the story of a young Serbian woman, Irena, who believes herself to be a descendant of a race of people who turn into cats when sexually aroused.

The Bourne Identity (Matt Damon) Review | Action Movie Anatomy

Action Movie Anatomy hosts Ben Bateman and Andrew Ghai break down The Bourne Identity with guest Roxy Striar! The Bourne Identity is a 2002 American-German action spy thriller film adaptation of Robert Ludlum‘s novel of the same name. It stars Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a man suffering from extreme memory loss and attempting to discover his true identity amidst a clandestine conspiracy within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The film also features Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Julia Stiles, Brian Cox and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. This, the first in the Bourne film series, is followed by The Bourne Supremacy (2004), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), and The Bourne Legacy (2012). The film was directed by Doug Liman and adapted for the screen by Tony Gilroy and William Blake Herron. Although Robert Ludlum died in 2001, he is credited as the film’s producer alongside Frank Marshall. Universal Pictures released the film to theatres in the United States on June 14, 2002, and it received a positive critical and public reaction.