VOH Filmmaker of the Week – Brad Bird

Brad Bird

Before he directed Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which was recently released on video, acclaimed director Brad Bird made his name in the world of animation by directing award-winning films such as The Iron Giant (1999), The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007).  Is Bird deserving of a place in  VOH’s Hall of Visionaries?

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Can a Visionary Have a Tin Ear for Dialogue?

James Cameronby HakSnider
Titanic, one of the the most successful films of all-time, was re-released in 3D earlier this month. The respectable box office receipts thus far are a testament to the enduring appeal of director James Cameron‘s passion project. A technical marvel that pushed the limits of special effects technology of its day, the film also catapulted star Leonardo DiCaprio into super-stardom and established Cameron as a filmmaker who could continue to create big budget blockbusters, while operating with relative autonomy. However, Titanic, like Cameron’s most recent film Avatar, succeeded despite a relatively clunky and cliche-ridden screenplay. Which begs the question, can we really consider a writer/director with a tin ear for dialogue a visionary filmmaker?
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VOH Filmmaker of the Week – Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith
Now that Kevin Smith‘s latest production, the atrocious AMC reality series Comic Book Men, is no longer airing, we have decided to take a closer look at Kevin Smith as a director. Despite a filmography that includes spectacular critical and financial failures such as Jersey Girl, Mallrats, and Zach and Miri Make a Porno, Smith still retains a cult-like following due to his gregarious personality, self-deprecating sense of humor, and of course the impact of Clerks, one of the pioneering films of the low budget American indie film movement of the 1990’s.

Is Kevin Smith a visionary or a hack?

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VOH Filmmaker of the Week: David Fincher

David Fincher

David Fincher

Last month, director David Fincher’s latest film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) was released on video.  The film performed fairly well at the box office and was reasonably well-received by the critics.  However, despite his big reputation as a director, Fincher has not yet been recognized as a member of our own VOH Hall of Visionaries.  In light of the most recent addition to his filmography, should David Fincher now be considered a visionary filmmaker? Read More

The Cabin in the Woods… out with the old (school), in with the new (genre mashup)?

Drew Goddard at the 2012 SXSW premiere of The Cabin in the Woods

By Late Night
First-time director Drew Goddard steps up to the plate in a big way with the sci-fi/government conspiracy/slasher horror/monster movie mashup, The Cabin in the Woods (opening April 13).  Goddard is the writer of the thoroughly entertaining sci-fi/monster movie Cloverfield (2008), but he is better known by his work for the small screen, as a writer/producer for Lost, Alias and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

It is no accident that many visionary directors write their own material.  And it’s readily apparent from this short clip that Goddard can build interest and suspense with just a few words:

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Does It Take a Visionary to Make Sacha Baron Cohen Funny?

Larry Charles knows funny

Sacha Baron Cohen may not be everyone’s favorite satirical comic (I think he’s hilarious), but he has undeniably carved out his own unique space in the pop culture landscape.  One of the keys to Cohen’s success is his steady collaboration with Larry Charles, who directed Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and Bruno.  This team’s latest project, The Dictator (opening May 11), is supposedly based on a novel written by the late Saddam Hussein.  Heh.  Sounds like something you might see joked about on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Hmmm.

The music alone in this clip qualifies it for the kick ass trailer folder:

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Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Hackiest of Them All?

Tarsem

Tarsem

by HakSnider33
MIRROR MIRROR, the fourth feature film directed by acclaimed former music video director Tarsem Singh, will be released theatrically on March 30th.  The film, which is a retelling of the classic fable of Snow White, will star Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer (THE SOCIAL NETWORK) and Nathan Lane.

Despite a rather modest filmography (THE CELL, THE FALL, IMMORTALS), Tarsem has been labeled by many as a “visionary” filmmaker, so highly regarded that he is known on a first name basis by the film community. Is he deserving of such acclaim or does his spotty track record as a feature filmmaker contradict his considerable reputation?

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George Lucas – Visionary or Hack?

Lucas arrested for crimes against Star WarsDirector George Lucas is one of the most famous filmmakers in the world due to the enormous success of his Star Wars series of films.  Starting with the original film, STAR WARS:  A NEW HOPE, Lucas has done much to change the game, when it comes to blockbuster films and the selling of licensed merchandise.  Even three decades after the original film, the marketplace for Star Wars collectibles should be considered an economy onto itself.  George Lucas the marketer and business is obviously one of the titans of industry.  However, what about George Lucas the film director?  Should we consider him to be a visionary filmmaker or is crass hack, only interested in the bottom line? Read More