5 things I found incredible about Interstellar

Yes, this is actually a kickass sci-fi movie. And a father-daughter tearjerker too.

Okay, Christopher Nolan is back in my good graces. I’ve been seeing the trailer for Interstellar seemingly all year, and started to get worried that it might be overpromising a good time. Turns out I was worrying in vain, as this movie rocks its socks off. This is the science fiction/space exploration/save the world/time travel action/adventure everyone has been waiting for. Nolan delivers big time with this one.

Even though I’ve been a big fan since Memento, I was seriously ready to cast Nolan into the Closet of Hacks after the deep disappointment of that logical mess of a movie, The Dark Knight Whatever.

First the trailer (and believe me, this trailer barely scratches the surface of what the film actually shows) and then my 5 incredible things after the jump:

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Ridley Scott’s Prometheus

Ridley Scott

This past summer, Scott returned to the Alien universe that he so skillfully established with the highly anticipated film, Prometheus.  Or did he?

For months leading up to Prometheus’ release, Scott played coyly with fans, hinting that “Once you start into the evolution of the story, it moves so far away from Alien that there’s only the mere DNA of the original in Prometheus.”


In addition to Scott’s tantalizing comments, Prometheus’ promotional campaign included viral videos, trailers to announce trailers, as well as the return of familiar creative forces, such as renowned Swiss surrealist, HR Giger (his grotesque, yet beautiful, design work is at the core of the Alien look). All of this fanned the flames of anticipation.

So is Prometheus the creator’s return to one of his most beloved creations?

It turns out that Scott wants to have his cake and eat it too – a decision that serves to effectively inhibit Prometheus from ultimately delivering on its glorious promise. Read More

Prometheus… A Return to Form for Sir Ridley?

Ridley Scott

A king has his reign, and then he dies – it’s inevitable. ~ Prometheus

After months of teasing and taunting, Ridley Scott’s latest film, Prometheus, lands in theaters this week.  The legendary filmmaker has been directing features for over 30 years, but his recent output has been less than stellar. 

Is Prometheus a return to form for Sir Ridley?

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Can TV Showrunners Become Cinematic Visionaries?

AMC's Mad Men

by HakSnider33
Ever since HBO’s groundbreaking series The Sopranos changed the television landscape forever with its debut in 1999, the cable television drama has rapidly developed into a vital art form that has, in many ways, stolen a substantial amount of thunder from the Hollywood motion picture industry. Cable television series, such as Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and The Wire, have deservedly received critical acclaim, while pushing the envelope of cinematic storytelling. Among the most influential of the series currently airing is AMC’s Mad Men, a dramatic series created by showrunner Matthew Weiner. With its unique brand of dark, edgy drama and black comedy, Mad Men has made an indelible mark on pop culture, both in terms of fashion (the return of the 60’s) and the creation of new stars, such as Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks.

However, Weiner will make his feature film directorial debut in 2013 with You Are Here, which will star Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler. Will Weiner’s skills translate from television to the big screen and can a visionary TV creator/showrunner become a visionary feature film director?

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Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, a Perfect Film

Roman Polanski

This week, Roman Polanski’s classic film, Chinatown, returns triumphantly for new audiences when it is released for the first time on Blu-ray.

Chinatown (1974) rightfully shares company with some of the most highly regarded films of the American cinema.  The film delivers on all fronts – from writing, directing, photography, production design and editing, to a fabulous cast of actors.  Chinatown’s creative forces integrate effortlessly to create a timeless film, which transcends genre.  In this respect, it is a perfect film.

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Park Chan-Wook is an All-Around Talent

Park Chan-Wook

Visionary Oldboy Director Park Chan-Wook

by HakSnider33
Although he is conspicuously absent from VOH’s Hall of Visionaries, Park Chan-Wook is one of the most acclaimed and respected filmmakers in the world.  And with his upcoming film Stoker, Park will make his English language directorial debut.  Not much is currently known about the film, which will star Matthew Goode (Watchmen), Mia Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman.  However, it should be noted that the track record of international filmmakers that have made the transition to Hollywood film is mixed at best, especially for the filmmakers who were not native English speakers.

Visionaries such as Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener), Guillermo de Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Amores Perros, Babel), Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Professional) and Bernardo Bertolucci (The Conformist, The Last Emperor) have all successfully made the transition. However, there are countless others, such as Wim Wenders (Wings of DesireParis, Texas), Wong Kar-Wai (Chungking ExpressMy Blueberry Nights) Ringo Lam (Maximum Risk)and George Sluizer (The Vanishing), whose skills did not completely survive the translation.

JSAJoint Security Area (2000)

Does Park Chan-Wook have what it takes to make the leap to directing English language films?  There is no way to know for certain until at least Stoker comes out, but at this point we can still make determinations regarding whether or not Park is a visionary filmmaker, as we can place much more confidence in an international visionary’s skills surviving a transition to Hollywood, based upon the successes of people like del Toro, Meirelles and Bertolucci.  Furthermore, if Park is not a visionary, we should not even care whether or not his skills will get lost in translation, since Hollywood is already filled with fungible, replacement-level directors.

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“Discovering” Jee-woon Kim: this is why we have VOH

Visionary: Jee-woon Kim

Wow.  In keeping with my practice of late night movie viewing, I just enjoyed the 130 minute long epic, rock-n-roll, western-themed THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD by Korean director Jee-woon Kim.    Great characters, unbelievable action, and epic (yes, I used that word again) cinematography.  I’ll even go so far as to say it was a cinematic tour de force, a highly energized and stylized mishmash of the old with the new.  Check out the kick ass trailer after the jump:

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“What this movie needs is a good chase scene…”

Master of motion

Although acclaimed director John Frankenheimer (1930 – 2002) is probably most well-known for his classic mind control epic THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962), I’d like to take a brief moment to recognize him for his ability to craft intensely realistic car chase scenes, something that is absolutely required of any director wishing to make a living in the action/thriller genre. Read More