Well, that does it for me. Here at Visionary or Hack, I was the lone holdout for iconoclastic director Kevin Smith. I actually ranked him as Visionary, while Mr. Ridley and HakSnider33 both list him as Hack. Our highly scientific (hardly) ranking system requires a uninamimous vote, so Smith languished in the undecided area for a long time. That changes today. as Smith’s latest has made me seen the error of my ways. As far as I’m concerned now, based on this dreadful film, he’s a hack.
Don’t get me wrong, though, I still like the guy and think he’s tremendously funny. I remain interested in seeing what he does next. But following up the immensely entertaining Red State with the half-ass horror show that is Tusk is simply unforgivable.
Remember, hacks are often technically proficient, if not talented even, so don’t be surprised if you feel like seeing this dreck after viewing the trailer. Just don’t. Check out my 5 things after the jump:
Talk about an outstanding film. Winner of both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year, Whiplash is quite the achievement for first-time writer/director Damien Chazelle. The film tells the riveting story of the conflict between a soft-spoken musical prodigy and his rabidly domineering music instructor. My poor description doesn’t do it justice, so take a look at the trailer; you’ll be hooked, too. My 5 things follow after the jump:
When I first started seeing theatrical trailers for Fury, I would inwardly (and sometimes openly) groan with displeasure, because I feel that the last thing this world needs is another movie that glorifies the violent taking of other people’s shit, commonly known as war. So I was pretty much planning on not seeing it… until I read some of the reviews and learned that glorification was the absolute last thing on director David Ayer’s mind. Which makes sense for someone who claims that his favorite movie is Apocalypse Now.
David Denby of The New Yorker (whom I usually ignore) calls it “one of the great war movies…” I might take issue with that, but I readily admit that it is an involving piece of cinema about the very harrowing prospect of life and death in a tank in an old, bloody war. Many people will not like this film, just as many didn’t like other war movies bent on telling the truth about the ultimate futility of fighting, but it is hard to argue this film’s visceral impact. Check out the trailer and then my 5 things:
Although it’s really not much more than an under-achieving version of Mel Gibon’s entirely entertaining Payback (1999), Keanu Reeves’ hitman-comes-out-of-retirement to get revenge thriller John Wick does deliver some wickedly funny, IMAX-sized moments of mayhem. First, the trailer and then 5 things I liked about it:
Will Smith teams up once again with his son Jaden, and for the first time, with director M. Night Shymalayan, to bring us a pretty cool looking sci-fi flick for the summer of 2013. Looks pretty cool to me; what do you think?
Directed by Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, who is better known as The RZA (a rapper/producer/composer, founder of hip hop group Wu Tang Clan and reportedly distant cousin of Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav), this film also stars Russell Crowe. Not sure when it is coming out, but IMDB lists a 2013 release date for Sweden…!
Charlize Theron as perhaps the hottest evil queen ever.
By Late Night
Unlike most of the directors featured on Visionary or Hack, not much is known about first-time director Rupert Sanders. He is one of the latest television commercial specialists to make the crossover into features, and his debut film, Snow White and the Huntsman, is a dark, action version of the famous fairy tale. Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth star in the title roles, backed-up by Academy Award-winner Charlize Theron as Ravenna, the Evil Queen. Snow White opens wide on June 1st.
Rupert Sanders, in a photo taken by Gage Skidmore
According to the data on IMDB, Sanders was nominated for a DGA award in 2009 for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in commercials, for spots promoting Monster, Travelers Insurance and Brand Jordan. Okay then, if the Director’s Guild of America likes him, perhaps we should take a look: Read More
By Late Night
All of the spectacular action sequences we’ll enjoy this summer at the movies are made possible by the same computerized image manipulation that make the most popular videogames possible. Check out this mix of 3D game action versus feature film super hero action, served up by trailer-slicer supreme Crispafull (the “live action” stuff starts about halfway through, featuring clips from The Avengers, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and many, many more):
Is it possible we may be witnessing the birth of a new artform?
By most accounts, Tim Burton is one of the most accomplished directors working in Hollywood today. And this weekend, he releases his latest, Dark Shadows, an adaptation of the 1970’s gothic television soap opera. Starring Burton’s ace in the hole, Johnny Depp, as the patriarchal vampire Barnabas Collins, and featuring sexpot Eva Green as the witch who done him wrong, this film can’t help but be entertaining.
Writer/director Rian Johnson with Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz, star of Johnson's 2008 film The Brothers Bloom (photo by Adam Bielawski)
For most new directors, merely getting their first film made and distributed is a significant accomplishment in of itself. Having that debut warmly received with festival awards and critical acclaim takes that achievement up another notch, and is usually a good sign of promising talent. With the September release of his third film, Looper, writer/director Rian Johnson looks to be delivering on his early promise.
Johnson’s debut film, Brick, was a smart film-noir mystery staged in the unlikely setting of a modern-day, sun-washed California high school. Brick was nominated for Grand Jury prizes at Sundance and the Deauville Festival in 2005, and won the Sundance Special Jury award, as well as the San Francisco Film Critics Circle award for Best Original Screenplay. Johnson also went on to win the Most Promising Director award from the Chicago Film Critics Association, and Best First Film from the Austin Film Critics Association, among many other awards. Here’s the trailer: