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Entries in Directors (207)

Sunday
Feb212016

Interview: Ciro Guerra on the Must-See Oscar Nominee "Embrace of the Serpent"

Embrace of the Serpent, Colombia's great Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee took so long to arrive in theaters it may have well have arrived by rickety wooden boat after its grueling journey on the Amazon. But it's finally in theaters in select cities and just in time for the Oscars. Do NOT miss it.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the director Ciro Guerra about this cinematic triumph ... which I'm guessing was harder to make than The Revenant.

NATHANIEL: This is an extremely ambitious effort for a filmmaker as new as yourself. It's only your third film. How long have you been working on this?

CIRO GUERRA: I worked on it for about four years before we started shooting. I had done just two very personal films that were close to my experience, and my past, and my culture. So I wanted to go the opposite way, and take a journey into the unknown.

NATHANIEL: You did. It's hypnotically strange.

CIRO GUERRA: For us Colombians, the Amazon is the most unknown thing. It’s half of the country, but clearly we don’t know much about it. So, I had always been intrigued and fascinated and it had been a lifelong dream to do a film in the Amazon, and you know, these are the kind of films you can only do while you’re young. [More...]

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Sunday
Feb072016

The DGA to Iñárritu... Again

Wide open race, people. Following The Big Short's win at PGA, Spotlight's ensemble prize at SAG, comes the Director's Guild Award for... The Revenant.

Getty Images

Bonafide three-way race for Best Picture which is not common. Whoever wins we'll know that it was close -- unless a sweep reveals otherwise. Hell, Oscar's Best Director competition is also fierce though the advantage goes to Iñárritu at this point.

TRIVIA!
Incidentally, this prize for Alejandro González Iñárritu is his second consecutive from his guild. Though several directors have won twice, a consecutive win has never happened before at the DGA. It has happened at the Oscars, though, and twice at that: John Ford won two in a row for The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and How Green Was My Valley (1941). And not quite a decade later Joseph L Mankiewicz pulled off the same trick with A Letter To Three Wives (1949) and All About Eve (1950). Here's their interesting commonality. In both cases those consecutive wins did not come with consecutive Best Pictures. No director has ever helmed two consecutive Best Picture winners. If The Revenant comes out on top on Oscar night, Iñárritu will be the first to accomplish it in the Academy's 88 years. 

Do you think history will be made? (Final Picture/Director predictions are going to be tough this year.)

The complete list of DGA winners and some photos from the event are after the jump...

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Saturday
Jan162016

Best Picture Chart Fun: Rankings, Nomination Formulas, Stats, Etc...

We love who what we love. And one of the things we love is Stats. And Charts! Oh god do we ever    charts. Why don't you marry them then? Okay. I will. Call city hall. I'll throw a veil over my laptop for the big day.

The new charts are now walking down their virtual aisles to you. First up Best Picture. If you smoosh them all together you have a 131 minute violent R rated drama in which a captive mother tells her son the fantastical story of a grizzly fur trapper and a lovely Irish lass who attempt to survive on a harsh inhospitable planet called Mars where a raving band of warboys pursues them relentlessly... but we never hear how the story ends because suddenly a  lawyer negtotiates the mom & son's release and a crack team of Boston journalists swoops in to investigate just what the hell happened and why no one knew about this story until now. 

But that's just a synopsis.

Click to the chart to see how these movies got nominated, how would we rank or compare them and trivia. It was fun working the angles on this charts so please take a look and consider your own rankings in the comments. 

Housekeeping Note: You'll notice the reader poll is no longer part of the Oscar charts. Since we lost our favorite poll site Twiigs... we have yet to find a suitable easy to access poll site that works well for embedding without interrupting the site in question or being ugly or forcing you to leave the site (you'll notice their fun absence on other former poll loving sites like Fug Girls - why is it so hard to find a good poll site?). But I'll keep an eye out and hope some new service emerges. 

Friday
Jan152016

"Perhaps Margot Robbie in a Bubble Bath Could Explain This One To Me"

Now that we've had 24 hours to process the Oscar nominations I polled Team Experience for one last Oscar Nomination reaction roundup. Which nomination did each of our contributors find most mystifying? Here are their answers which amused me so I hope you feel the same. 

Please bear in mind that these items do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the management. We each have our pet peeves and our "achievements" we just can't with. Share your headscratchers with us in the comments. What's still antagonizing you this morning a full 24 hours after getting used to it as an "Academy Award Nominee" 

Individual targets after the jump...

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Tuesday
Jan122016

The DGA Nominees. Other directors still blind to the genius of Todd Haynes

Weep with me now my fellow people of good taste for the continual shunning of Todd Haynes at awards shows. Save one. Haynes will always have the Independent Spirits as loyal cheering squad. They've miraculously nominated him for his direction on every single one of his feature films.

Yes well before even the bulk of cinephiles realized he was going to be a legendary filmmaker. They nominated him for his strange triptych debut (Poison) and his then quite divisive/confounding but now universally admired sophomore effort ([safe]) and they've been true ever since. I bring this up to quench the tears and prepare for the worst on Thursday in case Carol is barely acknowledged which is what usually happens with Todd Haynes films on Oscar nomination morning. Even Far From Heaven (2002), his biggest hit, got a weak 4 nominations despite having the kind of "Spectacular Spectacular!" craftsmanship that at least nets filmmakers Moulin Rouge! honors (nope - Far From Heaven was stiffed in both Art Direction and Costumes. Hilarious to contemplate but true.) 

The Academy's directing branch is much more exclusive in numbers and arguably more sophisticated than the much larger voting body of the directors guild, but it's best to lower expectations; the world is often a mysteriously cruel place! Nevertheless it's frustrating that an auteur as singular and consistently wondrous as Todd Haynes has trouble getting honors from peers. He's in good company at least. Great artists in every field throughout time have had to decades for people to catch up with their greatness. Sometimes it didn't even happen until after they died. Remember that Alfred Hithcock never won a Directing Oscar and Douglas Sirk, one of of Todd Haynes's greatest influences, was never even nominated for one. Curiously Sirk, who specialized in the melodrama (those are often about women and you know how Oscar feels about women's pictures - Ewww!) was nominated by the DGA once, for Imitation of Life but an Oscar nomination did not follow. Generally Oscar will boot one of the DGA nominees for someone else but since they haven't gone 5/5 for awhile we're probably due for another year of exact crossover. 

We should probably talk about the actual nominees not just one of our all time favorite auteurs. So let's do that after the jump...

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Thursday
Jan072016

Sicario's Hell in Harmony

Chris here. Available this week on DVD/Blu-ray is Denis Villeneuve's Sicario, a controlled descent into the cartel battles being waged between the Mexican and American borders. Like the ongoing war on drugs, Villeneuve's film presents a complex landscape of violence wherein rulebooks have been forsaken - and on both sides. It's a masterful piece of filmmaking (recently nominated by the PGA, ADG, and WGA), and Villeneuve has assembled an intimidating group of craftspeople working harmoniously to create a living hell.

Front and center is Emily Blunt's idealistic and by-the-book agent Kate Macer, straining composure and grasping for opportunity while in over her head. Blunt is ferociously present and flummoxed, giving as much subtlety and nuance as she has in her broader roles like The Devil Wears Prada. She's so believably rattled that you're reaching for fistfuls of cigarettes along with her. It's a performance that deserves to be right in the thick of the Best Actress conversation, even in such a deep field as this. While many have claimed her to be far too passive, her lack of control is just another element of Villeneuve's all-pervasive synthesis.

more after the jump...

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Thursday
Dec312015

Women's Pictures - Celine Sciamma's Girlhood

In Yes Please, Amy Poehler writes,

If you ever want to see heaven, watch a bunch of young girls play. They are all sweat and skinned knees. Energy and open faces.

Celine Sciamma's 2014 film Girlhood opens with just such a small slice of heaven: a group of French teenage girls play American football in an empty stadium. Unobserved by outside eyes, the girls throw, and tackle, and sprint. If not for the flashes of eyeliner and braids peaking out of their helmets, you'd be hardpressed to figure out who these young athletes were at all. This brief but intense scene is the last time these young women will be so carefree and unwatched. The rest of Sciamma's film is about growing up watched and watching, as one girl tries to break free of the constraints placed on her by class, gender, and race.

Marieme is a tall, shy tomboy living in the outskirts of Paris. Played with openfaced observance by Karidja Touré, Marieme is a frustrated dreamer. Told by her counselor that she doesn't have the grades for 2 years of high school, she leaves school rather than accepting vocational training. [More...]

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