Hey folks. The Tumblr move is happening. I will be resuming this blog at directorisin.tumblr.com. With luck, posting will resume this weekend.
I hope to see you there!!!
Thursday, May 5, 2011
That and I really want to steal Ridley Scott’s lighting to use in one of my own films. I was struck this viewing with how stunningly beautiful Blade Runner visually is. It’s no wonder this film has been an inspiration for so many filmmakers.
Monday, April 18, 2011
There has been what I think is an unjust amount of critic hate for Scream 4; frankly, when your original film is incredibly strong, even ground-breaking for the genre any film that follows it is going to be harshly judged and people will be looking for chinks in the armor with each passing film – so by the time you get to number 4 many people are going to be going into the theatre expecting to be disappointed. I was not disappointed.
While I think Scream 4 suffers some from having the inevitable weight of 3 previous films on its shoulders, it plays very well at its new concept and keeps it scary; in a day of horror reboots and remakes, the Ghost Face killer has decided to create a real life reboot and the cast of victims even resemble the victims of Billy & Stew’s original killings. This is a new generation that Sydney, Dewey & Gale must combat – one that has turned the horror story of their life into a parody, spends 24/7 updating each other on their lives and blames Sydney for turning their town into a living horror story. To them the original Woodsboro murders are a joke until the masked killer begins to come after them.
Craven and Williamson play beautifully with the horror clichés that have e3xisted for years as well as the ones they changed in the original Scream making Scream 4 one of the most reflexive films I’ve ever seen. I do have to say that my personal favorite moment in the film would probably be the conversation two of the characters have in the opening film about how horror films now aren’t scary, just gory – something Craven has refused to do in this film. He’s made a film that has jumps, screams and mystery – it’s actually scary.
If you haven’t jumped on the Scream wagon with the original films, I doubt you’re going to with Scream 4; but if you’re a fan of the originals, or want to be, Scream 4 is a fun ride.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Perhaps, Pi eludes me somewhat as I fail at anything mathematic, but it was nonetheless arresting. What draws me in to Pi is what draws me into every Aronofsky film – he’s making a film without concern that the viewer may not understand, he simply wants us to be drawn in and to experience.
Every Aronofsky film is unique and worth whatever effort you have to put in to finding it.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
I don't even know what to fully say about this film yet, partly because I think it will take several viewings for my to fully absorb it, but WHOA. This is a FANTASTIC film. See it. Love it. See it again.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
So for the time being I have to take a break here. Until then you can also catch me at The Director's Narrative blogging about random film related things.
I will be back!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Gilda is one of the most biting love triangles I may have ever seen on film, mostly because the emotions involved don’t seem to be love. Gilda & Johnny hate each other because of their past love, and betrayals; Ballin treats gilda as an object to be desired and lord jealously over others; Gilda seeks to push herself into the arms of any man that shows her attention; and on top of all this Johnny & Ballin jealously continue to test their relationship by using Gilda as their leverage. It’s a heck of a thing.
This is one of the characters that defines the way we look at Rita Hayworth and now that I’ve seen the film I can see why. Gilda is a bundle of contradictions – she is one of the single best film noir women that I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of noir. Hayworth is stunning, provocative, feminine and weak or strong when she needs to be, the perfect vixen with a soul.
The only downside I see in Gilda is perhaps how neatly it ends. For a story that has so much, greed, jealously, and double-crossing the resolution seems to come about in a manner too simple for how complex the rest of the story has been. Due to the era in which Gilda was released I don’t know how much of that was the filmmaking team making decisions versus the censorship of the day taking over and mandating what kind of stories and events the audiences could handle. I would be quite interested to see if perhaps there had been another, or at least more extended ending written for this film.
Director: Charles Vidor
Obregon: You two kids love each other pretty terribly, don't you?
Johnny Farrell: I hate her!
Obregon: That's what I mean. It's the most curious love-hate pattern I've ever had the privilege of witnessing.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
That being said, I still didn’t like Eclipse. It’s much better in terms of visuals, and acting but…the lead characters are still weak and aimless – the plot is lacking. Bella’s decisions, and the drama of this supernatural world just seem petty in comparison to the worlds of True Blood, Supernatural, or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Unless you’re a Twi-hard, I recommend staying away from this film.
Director: David Slade
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Set as England was on the verge of entering the second world war, The King’s Speech follows the man that will eventually become King George VI as his brother is made king, knowing that his brother may be forced off the throne and he would be the next in line. Known as Bertie to his family, the prince has no interest in becoming king, but also knows that he may not have a way to avoid it and since the “wireless” has changed how the monarchy must interact with the people Bertie is forced into constant speech therapy to attempt to lose his stammer. However, as he walks out on lesson after lesson, Bertie finally ends up with an unconventional speech therapist in Lionel Logue.
I did not expect to love this movie, but I did. From the direction and cinematography to the two leads I found it absolutely flawless. Geoffrey Rush & Colin Firth are perfect and I am glad that Firth is finally getting some acting love after his work the past few years. I also quite enjoyed how the camera angles and shots would get tighter and more exaggerated as Bertie’s tension level would raise – its’ a bit stylized but truly adds to the feel of the film and Bertie’s emotional state.
This film just won the PGA award, and while I’m not sure that will garner it Best Picture at the Oscars this year, I do think it speaks very well of the diversity of films released this year. I’ve never seen another WWII film take quite the angle that The King’s Speech Does, and the only other film I can think of that takes a raw look inside the monarchy is The Queen - it could be my love of Firth or WWII history, but I rather think that The King’s Speech will remain much more relevant to audiences than The Queen.
Director: Tom Hooper
Elizabeth: My husband's work involves a great deal of public speaking.
Lionel: Then he should change jobs.
Elizabeth: He can't.
Lionel: What is he, an indentured servant?
Elizabeth: Something like that
If all melodrama were as interesting and well made as The Kids Are All Right I don’t think I’d have the involuntary habit of rolling my eyes when the term melodrama is used. This film is a drama, one that at first glance may seem that the entire gimmick or buzz around the film lies in the fact that it is about a same sex family; however, in the long run The Kids Are All Right doesn’t rely on the fact that Laser & Joni refer to their parents as “Moms” or anything having to do with the sex of their parents, it has to do with a family that has to embrace difficulty, evolution of their family unit and ultimately change they can’t avoid. These are the things we encounter in every day existence with our families, just more beautifully told by Lisa Cholodenko.
While all of the performances in Kids shine, Annette Benning stands out as she always does. Nic is closed off, distracted and afraid of losing her family and Benning plays her as if it were completely natural and unforced. She is a master at what she does. The entire cast is phenomenal as well, folding together in a genuine feeling, contemporary family unit.
I’ve never seen any of Choldenko’s previous work, but I have to say after Kids I am interested in seeing more. This film was handled with such a delicate touch that it makes the lives of Nic & Jules seem so real that it feels like we’re voyeurs looking in on their life. I do think this film deserved the Oscar nominations it received.
Director: Lisa Choldenko
Jules: ...marriage is hard... Just two people slogging through the shit, year after year, getting older, changing. It's a fucking marathon, okay? So, sometimes, you know, you're together for so long, that you just... You stop seeing the other person. You just see weird projections of your own junk. Instead of talking to each other, you go off the rails and act grubby and make stupid choices...
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
More than just being a cut and dry documentary, Exit is at first a tale of a man (Thierry) who finds and falls in love with street art and falls so hard for it he decides to do a documentary on it. However, Thierry’s documentary is so incoherent that his friend Banksy convinces him to drop the camera and attempt making street art himself – something all of the street artists later regret as he becomes Mr. Brainwash – in essence a street art sell-out.
What I question about Exit Through the Gift Shop, and not in a way that should imply I didn’t love this movie, is how much of the end is real or if it was staged. The entire theme of the film is about how the pure form of street art was corrupted and commercialized over time, and Mr. Brainwash fits that so perfectly it makes me wonder if he was either invented or exaggerated for the sake of the film. Granted, my entire education in street art comes from this film and a Banksy blog so I have no authority when questioning this, but it seems to be so perfect that it makes the writer in me wonder.
Whether Mr. Brainwash is fact or fiction, I know one thing – this film deserved it’s Oscar nomination.
Banksy: Uhmmm... You know... it was at that point that I realized that maybe Thierry wasn't actually a film maker, and he was maybe just someone with mental problems who happened to have a camera.
Monday, January 24, 2011
I am a Christopher Nolan junkie. Now and forevermore, I will see any movie he makes. I can’t think of a bad one in the lot, and in fact with each film I think he improves - and since square one he’s been amazing. I’ve said it before, but if I could apprentice to any director working today I would want to apprentice to Christopher Nolan. I can’t think of any contemporary director that can pull of the perfect mesh of creativity and box office appeal - a mix that would make any studio salivate at the thought of making your movie.
Inception is a movie that makes me want to make movies. That is a powerful thing, and something I am incredibly grateful for.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Phil Wenneck: Would you please put some pants on? I feel weird having to ask you twice.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Erin is a grad student majoring in journalism and working at a summer internship in NYC when she meets Garrett at a bar the night he breaks up with his girlfriend. The two go in their relationship with a devil may care attitude knowing that Erin leave for California in a few weeks and that they don’t want anything serious - that is until they fall for each other. In a desperate move not to end the best relationship they’ve ever had Garrett and Erin decide to be long distance and make their bi-costal relationship work. What neither of them expects is for the job market to be as big an issue to them as the distance and their friends and family to be able to interfere so much.
I know I am a Barrymore fan, but I downright loved this movie. While it doesn’t reach When Harry Met Sally greatness, this is a romantic comedy that doesn’t try to be typical - it decides to populate itself with great characters, and genuinely funny actors to create a real comedy that just happens to be romantic.
Bottom line is if you’re looking for a fun romantic comedy to netflix this Valentine’s Day, I think this is the movie for you.
Director: Nanette Burstein
Friday, January 21, 2011
I saw this movie the morning of the Golden Globes, and I have to say I’m glad I did as it made my enjoyment of Christian Bale’s win even better. Bale disappears into every role he takes on, and has probably deserves accolades before, but I am glad he’s getting recognized for Dickey. However, no one in this cast is a slouch. From Melissa Leo to Mark Wahlberg the entire cast delivers.
This film will probably be up for many accolades this awards season and I’m excited to see where it goes.
Director: David O. Russell
Mickey Ward: I'm the one who's fighting. Not you, not you, and not you.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Like I said, this is not a John Wayne movie; though both of the True Grit films are based off the same source material the Coen’s version is like a rouge wave washing away the softer edges and homey feel of the classic. This film is rough, gritty, dirty and tough – much like what I imagine the reality of that day was. Mattie Ross is determined to get justice for the death of her father, and Rooster is the tool that she uses. It’s a wild world, and definitely not a safe one.
Unlike the original, in this film Mattie Ross is played at her true age – 14. Taking the mantle this time is newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, and I have to say the power of this performance reminds me very much of Anna Paquin’s burst into the acting scene with The Piano. For such a young talent, the maturity of her skill is evident and startling. Steinfeld holds her own against Damon, Brolin & Bridges, usually stealing the scene and is undoubtedly the most memorable character in the film.
If I had a vote in the Oscar nominations I’d throw my hat in for Jeff Bridges again. I know he won last year for a fantastic performance in Crazy Heart but I have to say that his turn as Rooster Cogburn is one of my favorite performances of the year. This Cogburn is rough, anti-social and has a wicked sense of humor. Bridges & the Coen’s bring out the changes in Cogburn very subtly as he goes from grumpy old marshall who cares about no one, to the man willing to risk anything to help Mattie.
There’s really nothing I didn’t like about this movie. With every Coen film that comes out I can see their talent growing – something that shouldn’t be possible for two people that are already some of the finest artists working today. True Grit is a masterpiece.
Directors: The Brothers Coen
Mattie Ross: You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free except the grace of God.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Part of why this film has such power for me is because it’s the kind of film that I want to make. Not just because it’s a noir, but because it takes something familiar and flips it on it’s head a bit. It changes things. It has the mark of people who love the craft and a director with a very clear style and vision.
I’m still hoping that someday someone will be saying that about a film of mine.
Brendan: No, bulls would gum it. They'd flash their dusty standards at the wide-eyes and probably find some yegg to pin, probably even the right one. But they'd trample the real tracks and scare the real players back into their holes, and if we're doing this I want the whole story. No cops, not for a bit.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
While I knew The Big Sleep was going to be a difficult adaptation because of the time in which it was made, I do have to say that the film was slightly dampened for me because I felt like I could see the censorship board all over it. Bogart was great as Marlowe, and Bacall was ravishing as his clients daughter, but there was too much changed from the book and the bite was taken out. An audience in 1946 may not have known the difference as very few hard hitting films were around in that day, but I can tell you that I’ve seen enough hard edged noirs in my time that I wanted the edge there.
One of the biggest changes script to screen was in Bacall’s character, Vivian Rutledge. In the book Vivian flirts with Marlowe, but is a scandalous spoiled woman, several times divorced and married to the man Marlowe is helping to hunt down. In the film Vivian is single and shares much screen time with Marlowe – not that I could blame the studio for making Bogey and Bacall an onscreen pair, the duo had so much onscreen chemistry a blind man could see it.
All in all, The Big Sleep is an enjoyable noir, but very ripe for a faithful-to-the-book remake.
Director: Howard Hawks
Vivian: You go too far, Marlowe.
Marlowe: Those are harsh words to throw at a man, especially when he's walking out of your bedroom.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Clark: Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.