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Entries in Directors (157)

Thursday
Jun112015

Lost in La Linka

Recommended Randomness
Movie City News there's been a lot of talk of the sexism of Hollywood hiring in terms of the directors chair. David Poland decided to investigate (albeited in a limited sample way) which studio jobs since 1999 went to previously indie directors. He's since added 2000 and 2001.
VF Hollywood Courtney Love interview excerpts - good stuff on her small role in Empire which she hopes to return to for Season 2
Deviant Art Awesome Seussified illustrations via Dr FaustusAU: Mad Max, Alien, The Exorcist and more 
TimeOut NY talks to Patti Lupone. Did you guys see her on Penny Dreadful. She was surprisingly effective in straight horror drama, no comedy or singing necessary 


MNPP honors the awesomeness that is Simon Russell Beale on Penny Dreadful (I also totally love that performance - S2 is just running circles around S1)
"New York is Dead" My pocketbook can take no more Kickstarter but I would love to see the Gayby stars (besties Matthew Wilkas and Jenn Harris) in this comic series. Sounds morbidly perfect for them
Gene Kelly's Butt is my new favorite tumblr. How come noone told me about this one before? It's a cheeky wonder
Vulture Amy Schumer photobombs a random couples engagement photo in Central Park - lucky guys!

News Catch Up
Variety in news that will surprise no one Hungary has selected Son of Saul as their Oscar entry this year. It's our first "official" player
THR Emmy Nominations will be announced at 11:30 AM EST instead of the customary morning show frenzy. Will this set off a chain reaction? (I always love the early morning thing myself)
Variety Jaden Smith is joining Baz Luhrmann's Netflix series (ugh) as a graffiti artist
Pajiba the actresses who've admitted they want to play Captain Marvel from twins Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard and onward
MTV Joseph Gordon Levitt promises that the Sandman movie will be faithful - i.e. not an "action flick" like other comic book movies
Empire Danger Danger. Terry Gilliam finally has funding for Don Quixote. Do we really need this? I once read a very convincing argument (I forget which critic -sorry) during the release of that 2002 documentary about his spectacular failure to get that made that his entire career was already Quixote myths so it was for the best that he didn't go for the redundancy

Must Read
"AS IF..." you haven't already read this. But just in case you missed it. Vanity Fair has excerpts from an upcoming book on the Oral History of Clueless that seminal teen flick which is now (gulp) 20 years old. Somehow Paul Rudd still looks basically the same but the rest of us who loved it and everyone else involved have aged. I love that one of Amy Heckerling's inspirations for it was the positivity of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

For about a hot minute yesterday I thought "ooh, we should do a 'top ten lines from Clueless' article" but by the end of the hot minute I had thought of 50 with no end in sight so perhaps we'll have to wait until its 25th to come up with that. Daunting... as perfection tends to be.

Wednesday
Apr292015

April Foolish Predictions: Direction, Costumes, Cinematography, Sets! 

The April Foolish Predictions probably won't be quite finished by April's end, damnit! So we'll have to save four categories (Actresses and Screenplays) for May 1st. Blame Nathaniel's BFF who has demanded a Marvel marathon which starts very soon and which will then usurp a good chunk of the next 24 hours of Nathaniel's life. Since the bestie rarely wants to play movie games, Nathaniel obliges. Nathaniel also talks about himself in the third person for which he apologizes. 

But while we're talking Oscar predictions -- even deferred Oscar predictions - let's talk Visual Categories and Best Director. Since more charts are now up!

DIRECTOR
This question will horrify the Birdman haters (they are depressingly legion) but could Alejandro González Iñárritu manage back-to-back Oscars for direction? It's only happened twice before, both times in the 1940s (John Ford in 1940/1941 and Joseph L Mankiewicz in 1949/1950), but since The Revenant will be such an about face from Birdman the fire could still be burning for honoring the Mexican auteur's work. Especially since Oscar has never ignored one of his films. Between the five titles there are 21 nominations and 5 wins so if the new picture becomes a perfect average it's looking at 4 nominations and an Oscar somewhere. Other previous winners that might be in play are Spielberg, Hooper, Howard, Zemeckis, Beatty or Boyle. And will David O. Russell or Quentin Tarantino ever actually win Best Director?

Newbies? On a whim I'm going to predict Denis Villeneuve who I've enjoyed for a long time and who seems very proud of Sicario (his FBI vs Cartel drama led by Emily Blunt) and whose career seems about to explode post Prisoners. If civil rights period drama Suffragette (Sarah Gavron) or The 33 (Patricia Riggen) are good enough might we finally have another female director nominated? 

COSTUME DESIGN
There are a three potential double dippers this year from Oscar darlings Sandy Powell (Cinderella & Carol) and Jacqueline Durran (Pan & MacBeth) to Jane Petrie (you're saying "who?" but you'll know her by the end of the year since she went from relative unknown to suddenly prolific with four period pieces Suffragette, Jane Got a Gun, '71, and Genius which will all be released in 2015 in the States if Genius gets finished and gets distribution in time.

Elsewhere we have to wonder if the very talented long time costume designer Daniel Orlandi (Trumbo) is ever going to score his first nomination. And can I just say how amusing I find it that the great Jenny Beavan who has only ever been nominated for what some might derisively call 'masterpiece theater' style dramas costumed Mad Max: Fury Road this year? That's too fun! 

PRODUCTION DESIGN, EDITING, CINEMATOGRAPHY
Cinematography could be a murderer's row of great again since Deakins, Lubezki, Kaminski, Deschanel and more all have projects this year. As for the rest and the general overview - i made small adjusments to picture and supporting actor as well due to rethink of craft categories and the hunch that Sicario might really be something with Blunt and Villeneuve both still rising -- check out the all chart index 

As always, your comments are not just welcome but implored. Let's try the wisdom of crowds. What are you sensing at this extremely early date? 

Thursday
Apr162015

Details on the Cannes Lineup

The Cannes Competition Lineup (and more) was announced in the wee wee hours of the morning -- not so wee for France mind you -- and here's what we're looking at. A lot of French and Asian films, a few foreign giants doing their first English language films and at least three directors we haven't had a film from in 7 or 8 years.

International beauties we can safely expect to see walking that Cannes red carpet include but are not limited to: Cate Blanchett, Qi Shu, Marion Cotillard, Diane Kruger, Emily Blunt, Natalie Portman, Catherine Deneuve, and Maîwenn. ANNOUCEMENT: Friend of TFE Diana Drumm will be reporting for us a bit from the festival like last year. If we've written about any of these films before, the links will take you there. Included after the jump are descriptive bits of each film that we know anything about.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr022015

Women's Pictures - Jane Campion's Sweetie

Welcome to Jane Campion month! When I asked you all to vote for our next Female Filmmaker, I was surprised when the New Zealand native won nearly half of the vote. In retrospect, I should have seen it coming. Jane Campion is one of the most honored ladies on our list! She’s been nominated for two Academy Awards (one of which she won) and two Golden Globes for The Piano in 1994, garnered three Emmy nominations for Top of the Lake two years ago, and she won the Palm d’Or in 1986, before our story with her even starts! We pick up with her three years after her prestigious win, with a sad, strange, sometimes silly story of one weird woman’s even weirder family.

If taken at face value, Sweetie is a cautionary about how a daughter's untreated mental illness can cause an already unstable family to disintegrate. But nothing in Campion's surreal story is meant to be taken at face value. With the help of (lady!) cinematographer Sally Bongers, Campion shows a gift for making the mundane malevolent. When cast under shadows and seen through a wide angle lens, plastic furniture, dappled rugs, and the brightly-colored trappings of middle class suburbia suddenly suggest something rotten in the state of New Zealand. Campion refuses to shy away from the ugliness of her characters, instead covering them with candy colors that make them all the more grotesque.

Jane Campion's twisted family story after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar262015

Rebel Assignments: Film Directors + Madonna

David Fincher winning an MTV Movie Award for Se7en (1995) he was already an MTV darling at the Music Video AwardsA reader by the name of David recently asked which direct we wished would do a video from Madonna's "Rebel Heart". Given that David Fincher, now a reknowned auteur, came to fame via some of Madonna's best, it's a great question. More movie directors really ought to moonlight with music videos intead of just graduating from them. It's a unique form, basically both a musical and a short, that gives directors the chance to work faster and looser and play with ideas that they maybe couldn't risk in a feature without a test run.

Successful directors ought to donate their services at least once to either an upcoming band they want every to haer or a legendary artist whose work has meant a lot to them. So we're assigning a director to each Madonna song on her terrific new record "Rebel Heart" in order to pretend we've been gifted a video album specifically for Madonna fans and cinephiles alike.

It's a Venn Diagram niche, sure, but go with it.

Since the first track and first single "Living for Love" already got a fine toreador and minotaur themed music video -- and it's good if minimalist --  we should leave it be.

No no no. Scratch that.

"LIVING FOR LOVE"
Recreated by Gus Van Sant
We're completists. So we gotta try for the whole album. Gus Van Sant likes a good experiment and he can't just do a traditional "remake" so how about a shot-for-shot reinterpretation with a few inserts as he is prone to do. Madonna likes a good rolling cloud as much as the next Guy Gus (see Frozen/Ray of Light)

"DEVIL PRAY"
Assigned to Lee Daniels
This song sounds conservative but its lyrics are straight up messy mixing drowning metaphors, spiritual yearning, religiosity, the devil and a list of hallucinogenic drugs. So I think the only proper guide is the current king of absolutely fascinating messes, Lee Daniels. Look at the performances he got from Mo'Nique, Kidman, Oprah, and Taraji. Please get your hands on Madonna, you crazy beautiful man, and shake her up!

more assignments follow...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar132015

We Can't Wait! #8: Bridge of Spies 

Billy Magnussen (Into the Woods) on the set with Tom HanksTeam Experience is counting down our 15 most anticipated for 2015. Here's Tim...

Who & What: Steven Spielberg directs Tom Hanks for the first time since 2004, working from a screenplay written by Joel & Ethan Coen (whose solitary collaboration with Hanks, 2004's The Ladykillers, saw one of his best performances stranded in their worst movie). It's a true story about a lawyer negotiating the release of an American pilot from the Soviet Union during one of the tensest stretches of the Cold War.

Why We're Excited About It: To paraphrase one of the writers' most iconic lines, "Spielberg. The Coens. What do you need, a road map?" The collision of two of the most distinct voices in contemporary American cinema, and in a genre (political thriller) that neither of them have ever quite dabbled in before, is absolutely worth being excited for regardless of any other considerations. But of course, those other considerations exist: Hanks working reuniting with filmmakers who have drawn out some excellent work from him in the past, the maddeningly under-used Amy Ryan with a big part, a ripe historical setting that Hollywood has been weirdly uncurious about exploring. In my totally private capacity as the most tedious kind of craft nerd, finding out what costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone has lined up after her tremendous work in A Most Violent Year is a pretty big draw, too.

What If It All Goes Wrong? Not only do Spielberg and the Coens have distinct voices, they're diametrically opposed voices, too. The king of audience-friendly sentiment and the court jesters of detached cynicism are perhaps likelier to clash atonally than find some third way that combines their disparate strengths. And so soon after Unbroken, it's hard to get unreservedly excited about the prospect of a Coen script that the brothers aren't also directing.

When:
October 16th in the United States - the same weekend that has recently given us 12 Years a Slave and Birdman, which speaks to Disney's understandable suspicion that they have a major Oscar player on their hands.

Previously...
#9 Taxi
#10 Freeheld
#11 A Bigger Splash
#12 The Dressmaker
#13 The Hateful Eight
#14 Knight of Cups
#15 Arabian Nights
Sidebar 3 Animated Films
Sidebar 2 Tomorrowland
Sidebar 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron
Intro Pick a Blockbuster

Friday
Mar132015

Posterized: Director Kenneth Branagh

Cinderella reuniteds director Kenneth Branagh with his former star and ex-lover Helena Bonham-Carter (in the fairy godmother role)Though Kenneth Branagh had acted in three movies in the 1980s before his international breakthrough, he arrived as a star in a quite a multihypenate way. His adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V (1989) won him instant celebrity as an actor-writer-director. Here's a fun fact -- all five of his Oscar nominations are in different categories: Actor (Henry V), Supporting Actor (My Week With Marilyn), Director (Henry V), Screenplay (Hamlet), Live-Action Short (Swan Song). People forget this now when they wonder about how easily he won a nomination for playing Oscar's beloved Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn but it was something of a inevitability and a cute narrative. Branagh had been compared to Sir Laurence Olivier right from his supernova start in 1989 since Sir Laurence Olivier was also an actor/director who thrilled modern audiences in his time with interpretations of Shakespeare plays for the movies.

Branagh's movie stardom has long since taken a backseat to his directing work -- in truth it began to dwindle as soon as his magical partnership with Emma Thompson crumbled -- but with his 14th movie, Disney's live action Cinderella (2015) opening today, let's look back at his time in the director's chair through movie posters.

How many of these 14 films have you seen? 

Click to read more ...