Grads on Today’s New Releases: ‘Gangster Squad’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

It used to be that January was a dead zone for new movie releases, but 2013 is starting off strong with a pair of high profile films in theaters today – both of which featured contributions from Full Sail alumni.

First up is Gangster Squad, the latest project from Ruben Fleischer, director of the horror/comedy Zombieland. The film is set in Los Angeles during the 40s and 50s, and features an impressive cast, with Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, and Sean Penn in lead roles.

Two graduates are credited on the crime drama. Matthew Fortino (Film, 2003) worked during principle photography as a set production assistant, while digital compositor Donald Stubler, Jr. (Computer Animation, 2009) contributed to the visual effects during postproduction.

Zero Dark Thirty also sees a wide release today, and is an adaptation of the U.S. military effort to find Osama Bin Laden, told from the perspective of a CIA operative played by Jessica Chastain. The film has already received wide critical acclaim, having been nominated in five categories at the 85th Academy Awards – including Best Picture and Best Actress for Chastain.

It’s also in the Oscar race for Sound Editing, so it was exciting to see that 1995 Recording Arts grad Oliver Hug worked on the film’s soundtrack as additional music editor. Oliver has had a long career in motion picture audio, with credits that include Pitch Perfect and The Other Guys, as well as previous Academy Award winners The Blind Side and Sideways.

Two very different choices for your weekend – Gangster Squad and Zero Dark Thirty kick off what looks to be another big year at the movies, and we’ll be checking back in with other alumni involved with many of 2013’s most anticipated projects.