Trailer Tracking: Star Trek Into Darkness

JJ Abrams
JJ Abrams

Fans of JJ Abrams’ 2009 reboot of the classic Star Trek universe were excited to finally see the first trailer for Abrams’ sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.

For his first Trek film, Abrams carefully balanced the need to respect the Star Trek canon, while establishing the world of Kirk, Spock and Bones for a new generation of audiences.

But will Abrams have the vision to forge new ground with his Trek films?

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Who is Rupert Sanders? And How Did He Get $70 Million to Direct Snow White and the Huntsman?

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:
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David Cronenberg: The Return of the King (of Venereal Horror)?

David Cronenberg

He’s been called the “King of Venereal Horror” and the “Baron of Blood.”  And while his films have not always been understood upon their initial theatrical release, he has stayed his course, building an oeuvre of artistic integrity and visionary endeavors, until audiences finally realized the error of their ways.

Due to his marked departure from the explicit horror genre in more recent fare, some purists believe that Cronenberg has wandered off the ranch and betrayed his earlier successes in the horror genre.

Next month at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, all eyes will be watching for critical reaction to Cronenberg’s latest – his adaption of Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel Cosmopolis.  Is this a return to horror for Cronenberg or an intriguing new direction in his ever-expanding artistic capacity?


No matter – regardless of the reception for Cosmopolis, Cronenberg is a true visionary.

This is part one of a four-part series on the oeuvre of visionary filmmaker David Cronenberg.

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The Hack’s Toolbox – Recycled Cliches

Michael Bay's Epic Opus The Rock

by HakSnider33
Previously, we examined one of the tools used by visionary filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Orson Wells, Park Chan-Wook and Martin Scorsese – the long take.  Today, we will look at one of the most prominent tools in the hack filmmaker toolbox – the recycled cliche.  A cliche is something that is trite or overused, and according to our definition of a hack filmmaker, one of the primary things that make a filmmaker a hack is the creation of dull, unimaginative, mediocre or banal work. Read More

The Visionary’s Toolbox – The Long Tracking Shot

Touch of Evil

Touch of Evil (1958, dir. Orson Welles)

by HakSnider33
One of the trademarks of the hack filmmaker is the way that they often bombard you with a dizzying array of MTV-style short takes. Such rapid-fire ADD sequences may be used to mask a multitude of film-making sins, including poor fight choreography and mediocre shot composition. This visual style only requires the hack director to worry about coverage, as the footage will be handed over to a professional editor to “make the magic happen”. Conversely, a true visionary filmmaker possesses the confidence to let the action in front of the camera speak for itself.
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Is ‘X-Men: First Class’ Director Vaughn the New Comic Book Adaptation King?

Matthew Vaughn

Does Vaughn have the X-factor?

by HakSnider33
English filmmaker Matthew Vaughn first burst on to the international film scene as a producer of his friend Guy Ritchie’s breakthrough films LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS and SNATCH.  He then made to transition into directing with the 2004 film LAYER CAKE, which starred Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller.   Layer Cake, a stylish British gangster film based on a hit novel, not only established Craig as a superstar (and the new 007), it turned Vaughn into a hot commodity in Hollywood.

His next two films, STARDUST and KICK-ASS, were adaptations of popular graphic novels.  The 2010 Kick-Ass was an independently financed film that Lions Gate placed high hopes on after footage from the film stole the show at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con.   Unfortunately, the film underperformed badly at the box office as the marketing campaign for this R-rated film failed miserably.   However, his work on the film impressed 20th Century Fox enough to select him to be Bryan Singer’s replacement as director of the upcoming X-MEN:  FIRST CLASS, which opens nationwide on June 3rd.  Does Vaughn have the chops to resuscitate an X-Men film franchise that has suffered nearly mortal wounds due to pathetic films directed by hack filmmakers such as Brett Ratner (X-MEN:  THE LAST STAND) and Gavin Hood (X-MEN ORIGINS:  WOLVERINE)?

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13 Assassins Director Miike – Too Prolific to be a Visionary?

Takeshi Miike

Takeshi Miike - Hardest Working Man in Show Business

Japanese director Takeshi Miike’s latest film, 13 ASSASSINS, a big budget remake of a 1963 classic samurai film, has been receiving a lot of hype due to its current simultaneous theatrical and VOD release by Magnolia.  Starring, top acting talent such as Koji Yakusho (SHALL WE DANCE, BABEL) and Yūsuke Iseya (MEMORIES OF MATSUKO), it has already been positioned for top awards since its premiere at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.   However, Miike first made his mark directing straight-to-video Japanese “V-Cinema” exploitation films, churning numerous films each year, including an insane 15 films in 2001 and 2002 alone.  Read More

A True Hero… A True Hack?

Justin Lin: Hack

He arrived on the film festival scene with an original and daring look at the Asian American experience. “Better Luck Tomorrow” created waves of excitement and anticipation for the potential that was Justin Lin.

And what of Justin Lin today?

I’m just hired to make the movie and I love the idea that we have, but there’s no connection at all.

Later this month, Justin Lin proudly presents “Fast Five” – the fourth sequel to the popular “The Fast and The Furious” franchise.  Try not to think about what could have been.