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Entries in Directors (97)

Monday
Dec172012

Life of Link

GQ John Smedley's Ian McLean has really good taste. Check out his shoutouts to Michael Fassbender and Cate Blanchett
Stale Popcorn Jean Valjean and Fantine strike a pose 
In Contention on the various screenplays that are ineligible for the WGA and can't therefore get the Oscar bump. As usual there are a lot of them rendering the WGA fairly ineffective as both a predictive precursor and as a competitive prize since it's dealing with so few of the year's movies!

Cinema Blend Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair, Anna Karenina) is a starlet in demand now. Once you've seen both of those movies, you'll demand her too!
Jean-Pierre Jeunet shares his storyboards from Life of Pi back when Fox was considering him to direct it years and years ago. Interesting inside glimpse of filmmakers grappling with movies they didn't make.
NPR on the hunt for Bin Laden and the accuracy of Zero Dark Thirty. Was it really a woman at the center?

"I think it's a literary device. It's not inaccurate, but it's not wholly accurate," says writer Peter Bergen, who himself has spent many years tracking bin Laden. 

Movie|Line turns out that a very disturbing NC-17ish scene towards the end of Django Unchained (MILD SPOILER: Django is hung upside down completely naked and receives two malevolent visitors) was even more cruel in an earlier cut --  Samuel L Jackson says his character burned Foxx's nipples off.
Celebuzz celebrates the shortest male stars from Jason Statham to Daniel Radcliffe in an infographic
Fox Searchlight you can pretend you're an awards voter by downloading FYC booklets! 

Saturday
Dec152012

Interview: Michel Franco, Director of Mexico's Foreign Film Submission "After Lucia"

Amir here. This year’s foreign language film race at the Oscars is so unusually packed with auteur names and festival successes that the typically middle-brow branch will really have to try hard not to get things right. Among this wealth of possibilities, one of the titles we haven’t heard much about is Mexico’s submission, After Lucia. I recently had the chance to watch the film and I was blown away by it. So much so that it now sits at the number one spot on my favourites of 2012.

It’s a confidently directed, outrageously frank study of bullying in the schools of Mexico through the experience of a teenager named Alejandra (brilliantly played by newcomer Tessa Ia). The richly conceived film reveals much while saying very little. Economically filmed and sharply edited, After Lucia is a devastating experience but an absolutely vital one. Yet, it’s too easy to see why Oscar pundits haven’t given it much thought. The voters in this branch have often preferred their social commentary sugar-coated and this type of brutality can make them feel like they’re subjected to the Ludovico technique. But before we write off its chances, let’s remember that Greece’s Dogtooth, winner of the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes -- which After Lucia also won,  found its way to the ceremony. And After Lucia might benefit from its tender subject matter and the delicate story of Alejandra and her single father who are dealing with death of the family's mother (the titular Lucia).

On the occasion of the film’s submission to the Academy, I spoke with the film’s director, Michel Franco, who took time off from post-production work on his next film to chat about After Lucia, the issue of bullying and his cinematic influences.  

AMIR: What was the starting point of the project for you? The family angle or the bullying angle?

MICHEL FRANCO: The point of the project, at first, was to deal with a father and daughter coming to terms with the death of the family’s mother. It had nothing to do with violence or bullying. As the project developed the bullying story became more important. The thing is, in life you always deal with a lot of things at the same time. The way each of these characters dealt with grief led me to the violence that exists in our society on a daily basis. Those things combined, and that’s what I thought was worth making this film about. [MORE AFTER THE JUMP]

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Friday
Dec142012

Is a Spike Lee Comeback in Store?

Amir here looking back into the non-fiction pool. With so many films still left to watch from this year’s crop, I haven’t yet had the chance, or in fact the desire, to sit down and sift through the list of 2013 releases. But there are a few titles that I’m sure will pop up on my eventual list of most anticipated films and chief among them is the remake of Oldboy; not just because the Korean original is one of the most divisive films of the past decade, but also because I’ve been waiting for a long time to see a real comeback by Spike Lee.

In the late 80s and early 90s, Lee became one of America’s most influential cinematic voices and directed two masterpieces that remain among his very best work to this day: Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X. But I think it’s fair to say that none of his recent films, at least since the 2006 double punch of When the Levees Broke and The Inside Man, have been able to enter public conversation or the awards race. Fiction projects like Miracle at St. Anna were coolly received and documentaries like If God is Willing... didn’t make a dent either. [more after the jump]

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Sunday
Dec092012

(Do You Know) What It Feels Like For a Girl?

Variety 10 Directors to Watch gets very international this year including the Norwegian directors behind Oscar submission Kon-Tiki and the Argentinian Andres Muschietti who directed Jessica Chastain in Mama.
Pretty Dead Hair dreams up alternative terrible Spielbergian endings to Lincoln. 
Drawn A short history of the GIF. Super cute animated film 
MNPP "today's mood" god, i only wish that had been my mood this weekend! The second gif maybe. At least the stage is set for my weekend of the sick. 

Atlantic looks at beautiful storyboards of classic films from Psycho to Spartacus. And speaking of... happy birthday Kirk Douglas!
The New York Times looks at Working Title and their hunt for awards and a new beginning with Les Misérables
MovieLine becomes obsessed with a supposed Michael Cimino twitter account 
In Contention on the BIFA winners 

List Mania
The Popcorn Reel Middle of Nowhere, Compliance, Lincoln and more... 
Mix Tapes for Hookers Songs of the Year 
Pajiba chooses the Best Posters of the Year. Lists like those are always fun but what the F on The Dark Knight Rises. That rainy Bane poster is SO boring.
Time Magazine's Best and Worst of the Year in Everything has a hundred things to recommend it. My favorite bits are James Poniewozik on Mad Men's "At the Codfish Ball", Richard Corliss on Anna Karenina and Mary Pols on Cloud Atlas.

Today's Must Read Part 1
The New Inquiry has a sensational thought-provoking piece on Pixar's Brave which seeks to rescue the movie from the extremely lazy criticism it suffered upon its release.

"Brave" Sketch by Matt Nolte 2007. From the book "The Art of BRAVE"

A stranger to our film industry might reasonably suppose, reading those sentences, that the American cinemascape is littered with “spunky princess movies” that center around the main character and her mother...

It’s a well-worn genre, the Spunky-Princess-Who-Doesn’t-Get-Married-(Or-Experience-Any-Attraction-To-Anyone)-And-Her-Mother story.

I recently watched the movie again to prep for an interview with one of its directors and it was only on this second viewing when I realized how thoroughly new it is when it comes to its mother/daughter focus. It's well worth a second look as animated pictures go and deserves to be in the mix of answers to the question of "Which are the Best Animated Features of 2012?" 

Today's Must Read Part 2
Some of you will already have read this but I can't in good faith not sing its praises. A.O. Scott has written a wonderful comprehensive essay about the problem of gender imbalance in this era's film narratives touching on the glorious exceptions of a handful of this year's most talked-about films including Beasts of the Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty, and The Hunger Games. Scott doesn't mention it but an interesting trivia note that would have fit perfectly within the context of this article is that the character of Hushpuppy was originally a boy. The film's screenplay was adapted by the director and original playwright and they reassigned Hushpuppy's gender. 

Wednesday
Nov282012

Roundtables Galore. Tarantino to Retire?

The annual Actress Roundtable (pt 1 & pt 2) is the only member of THR's delightful tradition of one hour conversations that I can carve out time to cover in full but since the Directors video has arrived, you should watch it!

Quentin Tarantino's threat of retiring is very annoying. He hasn't been prolific enough to earn retirement. If he is ever going to retire I pray he does it in the Steven Soderbergh all bark and no bite kind of way. I'm not counting but I think Soderbergh has already made as many movies as Tarantino has ever made SINCE he announced his retirement.

I also love Tarantino's comments about editing his writing. I don't mean to single Tarantino out in the conversation but he is a chatty one.

Are all of these men draws for you when they're the name behind the movie? Who do you wish had been included and who would you boot out to make room for them? For me I'm wishing Kathryn Bigelow and

After the jump, in case you missed them, the Actors and Writers Roundtable

Click to read more ...