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Entries in Directors (145)

Sunday
Jan252015

The Linking Point

Write Out of LA on underappreciated directors of 2014's awards season
Playbill Into the Woods cast members sang to Rob Marshall at the Artios Awards
xkcd The Star Wars tipping point
Script Notes talks about the "default male" problem in screenwriting
Empire Warner Bros still wants to make a feature adaptation of The Jetsons
Jason Robert Brown, the great composer of The Last Five Years shares a new live concert online with Tony winner and movie Dreamgirl Anika Noni Rose. It's $5

Vulture cable programmings explosion over the past 15 years. This is why no one can keep up. 
Awards Daily the Oscar bump is helping the indies. Even the long since faded Whiplash was up 114% this past weekend 
Dissolve Martin Scorsese finally approaching production of the long-gestatingSilence about Jesuit missionaries in 17th-century Japan


Comics Alliance casting young versions of the X-Men for X-Men: Apocalypse. Tye Sheridan is a fine young actor so no qualms there but I didn't enjoy Sophie Turner's work on Game of Thrones (I only watched the first season - did she improve?) so I worry about her Jean Grey 
Carpetbagger The Witch still hasn't technically premiered at Sundance (just press screenings) but reviews are so good it's not helping the attempt at a mysterious low profile

Thursday
Jan152015

Interesting Stats About The 87th Oscars

DuPont has something in common with those other sociopaths Lisbeth Salander and James BondDid you know...

• The tiny grossing Foxcatcher is now tied with two blockbusters Skyfall and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for "most nominations without a Best Picture nomination" in the modern Best Picture expanded era. The all time record holder if you include years with only 5 Best Picture nominees is They Shoot Horses Don't They from 1969 which received 9 nominations but not Best Picture. And that one is better than all of the actual Best Picture nominees from its year.

• Grand Budapest Hotel, a very atypical nominee in so many ways (comic, uber-stylized, filled with slapstick) is also the highest grosser currently. The Oscars went very small this year after a few years of big hits peppering their Best Picture lineup

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan152015

Best (Male) Directors - The Chart!

I wish I had time to sketch Wes Anderson riding to the Oscars on a bicycle made of antique tuba parts (thanks Tina & Amy) but alas. It's nomination day. No time for goofing around.

Manly men and the men who love them and direct them and vote for them to win miniature idols of gold men.

The Best Director chart is now up with details on the nominees and gives you the opportunity to vote for your favorite (the poll will be up until two days before the Oscars). If you fuse all the Best Directors together this year into one über Frankenstein director you get a 6 foot tall white brown-haired American man with some Norwegian/Mexican blood in him who's rapidly approaching his half century mark and who has made about 7 movies in his career all told. (There's no way to fuse these five men's temperaments and styles though... despite being very similar in age, height, and Oscar favor they have very different aesthetics and concerns as filmmakers)

On the new Nominated Directors chart, you'll aso learn how each man got his nomination*. Besides having penises that is. That goes without saying in this category so we left their penises off the chart.

• How much did Birdman's showbiz navel-gazing help Inarritu?
• Which was more important for Linklater: conception or execution?
• How crucial was that spring release to Budapest's overall success?
• And did Morten Tyldum benefit from Oscar's World War II fetish?

Find out on the chart! (More charts to follow)

* for entertainment purposes only you understand. We can't know what lurks in the hearts and minds of voters but we love pretending to!

Thursday
Jan152015

The Five Stages of Grief via Oscar Nominations

Though Oscar nomination morning is my Christmas -- the day I anticipate so heavily each year when all the prezzies are ripped open -- it's not all happiness. Oscar also gives out lumps of coal on this day each year. Let us celebrate five big snubs (or omissions if you hate that word) representing each stage of grief so that we can work through it and move on.

Though SELMA got a Best Picture nod, it was ignored in every other category but Song

DENIAL I'm pretending that American Sniper, a conservative leaning (though not unartful) celebration of war heroism didn't crash the party late and win a ton of nominations (which encourages the studios to do that December/January glutting) while the progressive Selma -- which we actually need unlike a film about someone who's good with a gun! -- couldn't muster up more than two nominations.

 

ANGER Ava DuVernay, who would have been the first woman of color nominated for Best Director, should have been among the five Best Director nominees. She handled a large scale historical film and made it reverberate with danger, grief, inspiration, courage, and immediacy which is more than can be said for most historical epics. And it's only her third film! Can't wait to see what number four is like. As a subset of this stage of grief: anger. The Oscar nominations are just another reminder that Oscar does not value female narratives, not behind the scenes or onscreen. Movies about men trying to find themselves, or redemption or triumph over adversity score. Movies about women or people of color doing the same things do not (see: Wild and Selma, this year and examples in many other years; Oscar is a boys club)

BARGAINING The Lego Movie which I felt would meet more resistance than it initially had because it is basically a 2 hour commercial was nevertheless a surprise omission. I hope this doesn't discourage future filmmakers from going above and beyond because, YES, it was a commercial for toy product but it was like the best long-form commercial ever. So much funnier and more stylish and surprising than it had any right to be really. So next time someone overachieves Oscar, toss them a bone okay?

DEPRESSION All year long we (correctly) heard that it was a super strong year for Best Actor and it was. So why is the actual shortlist so disatisfying? Two answers: you could call Carell (against type / prosthetic nose) without even seeing the picture (and if you see the picture it's a heavily stilted performance and you can label Bradley Cooper a "default" nominee now with three consecutive nominations and though he's definitely under this guy's skin, it's a very unchallenging star turn compared to the snubbed competition.

This year of all years isn't time to lean on gimmicks or default status. Not when you had Ralph Fiennes's gloriously civilized sly performance keeping Grand Budapest Hotel grounded in gravitas and culture and wit when it could theoretically have defaulted to diorama kitsch. Not when Jake Gyllenhaal is doing the best work of his career in Nightcrawler. Not when David Oyelowo is becoming a great Southern orator. Not when... etcetera...

This was very disrespectfulACCEPTANCE Jessica Chastain missed out on a nod for what may well be her best screen performance yet in A Most Violent Year. But the film arrived very late and just didn't catch on quickly enough. And people got hung up on the Pfeiffer/Scarface look and missed the fact that the ubiquitous actress was doing interesting things with a more complicated character than her entrepeneur's wife first appeared to be in clip form.  (For what it's worth Pfeiffer also missed a nomination for Scarface, one of her many awful snubbings.) But we know that Chastain, who makes three movies a year and most of them high profile, will be back so we'll let this one slide. 

Who and what would represent your five stages this morning?

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Wednesday
Jan072015

Soderbergh's Viewing List Includes "Magic Mike XXL" Three Times! 

By now you've probably heard mention that Steven Soderbergh, he who is officially retired but not really because nobody totally believes it and he still works in various capacities, just posted his list of everything he watched and read this past year. I love Soderbergh's List-Mania more than I even love Soderbergh because I relate. This is now my favorite celebrity listing tradition of each year, not that there are very many consistent ones.

 The whole list is worth reading but I wanted to share nine highlights in the order in which they delighted me.

NINE HIGHLIGHTS IN ORDER OF HOW THEY DELIGHTED

09 He watched Lisa Kudrow's The Comeback the same day he watched Birdman... a very meta Hollywood day was November 9th.

08. I can't imagine what his Oscar ballot looks like since it appears in the middle of all his TV viewings and plentiful 1970s movies, he only watched nineteen 2014 movies (in order): The Monuments Men, Gone Girl (twice), Under the Skin, Pioneer (the Norwegian film), Finding Vivian Maier, Boyhood, Citizenfour, Birdman, Whiplash, The Babadook, Ida, Nightcrawler, American Sniper, A Most Violent Year, Foxcatcher, Unbroken, Inherent Vice, Selma, The Interview and Top Five. Given that that's all he watched

Let's guess what his Director ballot looks like... Maybe:

  1. Fincher - Gone Girl
  2. Inarritu - Birdman
  3. Linklater - Boyhood
  4. DuVernay - Selma
  5. ...????????? Gilroy? Chazelle? Miller? Anderson?

07. While his TV preference are very typical (all the acclaimed stuff) he seems to really appreciate funny women since he watches:  Inside Amy Schumer, Getting On, Girls, and Veep regularly.

06. Like me and many of you, he read Mark Harris's "Five Came Back" this summer

05. Since he watched American Graffiti again right before our 1973 Smackdown with Dana Delany we're free to pretend that he did it in preparation for enjoying our event! 

04. I can't fathom a double feature of Selma and 2001: A Space Odyssey just before Christmas which is why it's fun.

03. But nothing beats the double feature of Poland's awesome Ida followed by... wait for it... Peter Pan Live! 

02. On Valentine's Day he watched Ice Castles (1978). Love it. Okay maybe it was Ice Castles (2010) but it's more fun to imagine the earlier film. Take it away Melissa Manchester

Please, don't let this feeling end
It's everything I am
Everything I want to be
I can see what's mine now
Finding out what's true
Since I found you
Looking through the eyes of love

01 Look at how many times he's already watched Magic Mike XXL (2015). JEALOUS. Looks like he saw the first cut just five weeks after shooting began. And then twice more within another month. (If you missed our interview with an actress who appears briefly in Magic Mike XXL and told us about it, click here.) For the record, though Soderbergh isn't directing the sequel, he's still involved in multiple aspects including (according to IMDb) as cinematographer, editor, and executive producer. So it's still very much a Soderbergh picture... especially since his long time first assistant director/producer Gregory Jacobs is in the director's chair this time.

Monday
Dec292014

Interview: James Marsh on (True) Storytelling from "Man on Wire" to "The Theory of Everything"

It's rare for acclaimed documentarians to make a dramatically successful leap into narrative features but with The Theory of Everything, a marital drama about Stephen and Jane Hawking, the 51 year old British filmmaker James Marsh (of Man on Wire and Project Nim fame) is finally doing just that. Man on Wire was one of the most successful documentaries of the past decade but his new affecting biopic, which is actually Marsh's fourth narrative feature, is already his most successful film having racked up an impressive $26 million and counting worldwide to date.

It's also been collecting plentiful Oscar buzz.  The Film Experience had a chance to chart with this articulate thoughtful Oscar winner so we jumped right in. Here's our conversation:

Nathaniel R: Given your filmography, both documentaries and features, The Theory of Everything is...

JAMES MARSH: Go ahead. You can say it.

Nathaniel R: Ha. Well, it's a much different direction for you. It's romantic drama and it's also old school biography. What prompted your interest?

JAMES MARSH: You’re right in terms of its scale for sure and perhaps its emotional spectrum. But it’s a true story and that’s my background in films I’ve done. It’s a story of a marriage as much as a biopic. That felt like an interesting challenge: to try and examine a relationship that evolves and changes over time given all the impediments and unusual and very difficult circumstances. It felt also that I could go somewhere that a documentary could not go in terms of the intimacy of the relationship. 

You're right that it's different but it does have curious connections with Man on Wire. [More...]

Click to read more ...

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