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Entries in Directors (167)


Miscellania: Tarantino's Quotes, Horror's ROI, and Crown's Actors

Dan Callahan interviews Ingrid Bergman's daughters for her centennial
Vulture Quentin Tarantino interviewed. He likes the films of the Duplass Brothers, loves The Newsroom (um, okay?) and disses on Cate Blanchett and Oscar Bait. 
Salon is Daniel (Ralph Macchio) the real bully in The Karate Kid? A contrarian reading
Planet Money Horror films continue to be the best return on investments for producers 
AV Club rumor has it that George Miller is being courted for Man of Steel 2. Danger! There's no way Warner Bros would let him go as expectation averse wild with that franchise as he allowed himself to go with his own franchise for Fury Road 
Grantland rising screenwriter Max Landis (yes, son of John) talks American Ultra, studio franchises versus original material and admits he "despised" Jurassic World

Salon talks to Gaby Hoffman (Transparent, Girls) about her unique roles of late
Mashable now superheroes are even entering the beauty industry with face mask treatments
Variety names ten actors to watch but some of them have been with us a long time like mumbling Emory Cohen (he's got a huge role in Brooklyn later this year, and thankfully he's dumped the mumbling and excessive tics for that one) or are couple of years into it like Short Term 12's Keith Stanfield. Glad to see Tessa Thompson (Dear White People) and Bel Powley (Diary of a Teenage Girl) on the list
Empire the great Alfre Woodard joins the cast of Luke Cage for Netflix in a very big role 
Film School Rejects on the best shows of the summer coming from the most unlikely places (like USA's Mr Robot or Lifetime's UnReal). But maybe they kill their own argument with MTV's "Scream" which I keep hearing is truly terrible. 

About Male Privilege and Hollywood's Resistance to Female Directors
/Film good essay with very solid points on the lack of female directors being offered big studio jobs and Colin Trevorrow's recent responses about the problem. He clearly means well but his response is naive - suggested that women have too much integrity is a bit too flatteringly sexist -- like a 'but women are sugar and spice and too noble to lower themselves thusly!'

Off Cinema
The Hugo Awards this year's sci-fi literary awards had all sorts of drama with shady ballot stuffing and conscientious objecting to said ballot stuffing and so on so they've elected "no awards" in several categories. But big winners were Marvel's "Ms. Marvel" for graphic story "Guardians of the Galaxy" & "Orphan Black" for the drama prizes. The top prize for Best Novel went to "The Three Body Problem".
Boy Culture "Beat it, I'm Madonna" a great video mashup of Michael Jackson & Madonna
Vimeo Penis painting the Queen and Princess Diana. No really. And obviously NSFW 

Actors in The Regular News
Variety turns out one of the all time best French actors was on that Amsterdam to Paris train that was attacked. He sounded the alarm. Well done, Jean-Hugues Anglade.
The Wrap sad about this - Rosie O'Donnell's 17 year old mixed up with drugs, a 25 year old alleged heroin dealer arrested for endangerment of minor. And Rosie just played a sad mom with a troubled teen daughter onThe Fosters.

Netflix is making a series The Crown about the early reign of Queen Elizabeth. Helen Mirren had to step down from her signature role this time since the series takes place when she was but 21 years of age and inherited the thrown. Claire Foy, who played Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall, plays the royal. People magazine has photos but they don't share this one so I thank Kevin Daly for providing. It's John Lithgow as Winston Churchill and the wondrous screen bitch Harriet Walter as someone... not sure who.

Love her. And she doesn't get enough credit. She's so terrifically callous in Sense & Sensibility (1995) and we've seen her several times in other costume dramas: Young Victoria, Downton Abbey, Cheri, A Royal Affair.


Scorsese + Leo: With Six You Get Body Counts...

We knew they would work together again and now we have confirmation:  Leonardo DiCaprio will headline Martin Scorsese's adaptation of Erik Larson's bestseller The Devil and the White City. That's a true crime novel about serial killer Dr. HH Holmes who murdered dozens or possibly hundreds in Chicago in the late 19th century. H.H. Holmes was born just a couple of years before the events in Gangs of New York so they're returning to roughly the same time frame of their first collaboration (hello Oscar nominations in craft categories) 

This will be Leo's first serial killer role (if not his first villain) though it's always amusing to remember that Hollywood intended him to be our Patrick Bateman in American Psycho before history course-corrected and gave us the one we needed: Christian Bale. But let's not get sidetracked.

The Devil in the White City will be the sixth collaboration between the director and star. DiCaprio is still well behind Robert De Niro as Scorsese's foremost muse both in number of films and quality of films, but maybe some day he'll catch up to him? Scorsese turns 73 in November. Though he's definitely not Clint (85) or Woody (79) with the indefatigable prolificness neither is he all that slow. He averages about 5 movies a decade and Silence, currently in post, will be his fourth this decade already. By the time they release this one (2018?), we'll have our five for the decade unless Marty squeezes one more in somehow. But don't hold your breath. We first heard about this project way back in 2011 when they hired a screenwriter so there's finally a little bit of movement on it (presumably the script is written now) 

In honor of Marty & Leo's partnership, their five movies together ranked in four ways just because...


In Order of Release Quality 
(Best to Worst)
Global Box Office Success
According to Oscar (Most Loved to Least)
Gangs of New York (2002) The Departed
Wolf of Wall Street
$392 million 
The Aviator 
(11 noms | 5 wins)
The Aviator
The Aviator
underappreciated at this point
Shutter Island
$294 million 
The Departed
(5 noms | 4 wins incl BP so really it's #1)
The Departed
Wolf of Wall Street
divisive for a reason
The Departed
$289 million
Gangs of New York
(10 noms | 0 wins)
Shutter Island
Shutter Island
The Aviator
$213 million 
Wolf of Wall Street
(5 noms | 0 wins)
Wolf of Wall Street
Gangs of New York
Gangs of New York
$193 million 
Shutter Island
(zero noms)


Have you read this novel? Do you look forward to a Marty/Leo reunion or do you wish they would move on?


Beauty Break: John Huston & The Huston Dynasty

Today is the 109th birthday of the famed director John Huston. Of course he died long ago, just a few weeks after this picture with his daughters Allegra and Anjelica was taken in fact, at the age of 81. But what a filmography! And what a showbiz family.

The Hustons are one of the rare families with multiple Oscar-winning generations. They're also ridiculously photogenic, with faces that march straight past traditional pretty with strong noses held high as if they can't be bothered with generic beauty standards. Their faces fascinate. They have character. They're ideal for storytelling. More...

Click to read more ...


Imaginary Couples: Villeneuve & Vallée

An unexpected treat from our neighboring country to the north and a hat tip to Kevin LaForest for sharing it with us.

Two of Canada's greatest directors Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild) and Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) recently posed for the photographer Olivier Ciappa's anti-homophobia series which photographs heterosexual celebrities as gay couples. (For a long time I actually thought Vallée was gay because his breakout hit C.R.A.Z.Y., which Canada submitted for the Oscars back in its day a decade ago, was a fine LGBT coming out drama in addition to the other things it was good at, but it turns out he's straight.) 

Vallée is riding quite an Oscar wave at the moment post The Dallas Buyers Club and Wild and his next film Demolition with Jake Gyllenhaal premieres at TIFF. (It's planning on 2016 for its US release but don't expect that plan to stick if reviews are sensational.) Villeneuve's career has been building for some time as well. Canada has actually submitted his work three times in the foreign language film category and the last of them Incendies (2010) was nominated for the big show. His newest feature Sicario (see that intense trailer) stars Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro in a drug trafficking drama and could be one of the fall's mightiest films and a possible Oscar player. We shall see. 

Do you like these directors?


Tim's Toons: Auteurs and animation

Tim here. This week brought us the roll-out of the Venice Film Festival lineup, including one animated film, and it's a biggie. Charlie Kaufman's sophomore directorial work and first project of any kind since 2008, Anomalisa, is also his first foray into animation: it's a stop-motion feature for adults, on the same topics of loneliness and frustration that Kaufman has mined for his whole career. In celebration of the Venice announcement, the studio released the first still image from the movie, from which it is possible to draw no conclusions whatsoever.

Kaufman is the latest in a recent trend of established filmmakers dipping their toes into the world of animation. So in his honor, I'd like to share this capsule history of some of his predecessors, who made the jump into a new medium to see what they could do outside of the confines of live-action.

Richard Linklater: Waking Life (2001) & A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Using a brand new form of computer-aided rotoscoping to paint over videotaped footage with bright, unreal colors and subdued realism alike, Waking Life took Linklater's established gift for capturing moments in the lives of a huge ensemble, and amped it up. Instead of the laid-back Austin of Slacker, the setting here is the human subconscious, where the director's characteristic musings on all the little moments that happen in the gaps between plot are transformed into surreal explosions of psychologically loaded imagery. It's a great marriage of form and content, which is less true of A Scanner Darkly, a Philip K. Dick adaptation that's much more consistent and sober in its style, save for a few reality-bending moments. Still, kudos to Linklater for recognizing that a thin veneer of digitally heightened reality would create a more receptive mood for the story's druggy weirdness.

Robert Zemeckis: The Polar Express (2004), Beowulf (2007) & A Christmas Carol (2009)

Now that Zemeckis's dream of a perpetual machine of motion-capture films has fizzled out and died- nope, I still can't bring myself to say anything nice about his trilogy of dead-eyed humanoids pantomiming great works of literature, or paying obeisance to their terrifying zombie Santa-god. But we must concede that the films fall squarely in line with Zemeckis's career-wide interest in using the newest tools available (in addition to mo-cap, The Polar Express was the first film in the present 3D era) to find fresh ways into classical storytelling. That technology wasn't up to his ambitions is lamentable, but we can at least defend the films' rich fantasy design and-

Oh God, no, that's still just completely hideous.

Wes Anderson: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

The clearest precursor to Kaufman's new film, Anderson's translation of his shadow-box aesthetic into shaggy, '70s-style stop motion animation netted him a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination and rejuvenated his career: his subsequent return to live action in Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel won him better reviews and box-office than he'd had for years. Still, there's nothing quite like seeing his world-building turned towards literal dioramas in which every square centimeter can be designed precisely to order. It's fussy as it gets, but perfectly matched to the intricacy of the caper narrative, and the arch tone with which Roald Dahl's children's classic is brought to life.

Zack Snyder: The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)
Copious, unnecessary slow-motion, a preposterous fetish for military grandeur, overblown and idiotic internal mythology, dialogue that strives for weightiness and lands in shallow pomposity. Look, just because somebody's an auteur, that doesn't mean they have to be good at it. But hey, the owls look nice.


Early "Revenant" Chatter: Or, how Grantland kickstarted Oscar Season way early

David Upton on an unexpectedly early Oscar campaign kickoff - Editor

It’s only July, but this stuff starts earlier every year: barrels are loaded and sights are set on Oscar season. No one has started earlier than the team behind The Revenant. The recent buzzy Grantland piece on the film harks back to a kind of promotion that is somewhat out-of-fashion: long form, detailed reporting that really digs into what the movie might be. By sheer existence, the piece becomes part of the hype machine, now rolling towards the end of the year when The Revenant sees a release on 25th December.

This is prestige movie promotion at its most precise; why else, you might wonder, would anyone want to see a film that sounds so utterly depressing on Christmas Day

Click to read more ...


Teasing "The Revenant"

I ain't afraid to die anymore. I done it already."

We don't yes no maybe so teasers but if we did this would be a YES with the small NO of "can already tell we won't be able to tell all these bearded sweaty fur clad men apart during action sequences and mayb even some closeups" 

As our Oscar charts have suggested all year we expect this one to go over well but this very gripping teaser makes you wonder: Could Inarittu win Best Director back-to-back? It has only happened twice before and that was several decades back  (John Ford won for Grapes of Wrath and How Green Was My Valley (1940/1941) and Joseph L Mankiewicz for A Letter To Three Wives and All About Eve (1949/1950). No one has ever won Best Picture back-to-back... though David O. Selznick would have in 1939 (Gone With the Wind) and 1940 (Rebecca) if they had awarded Best Picture to producers back then as they do now. Four men have won Best Cinematography twice consecutively including Emmanuel Lubezki(Gravity & Birdman) and since he's lensing this one in what looks like continuous shots with only natural light, he could conceivably break the record and be the sole most consecutive Oscar winning DP.