Quantifying success can be problematic, especially when it comes to a subjective art form such as cinema. That hasn’t stopped us from looking back through film history and examining the directors we felt have been overlooked or underestimated in terms of their importance, contributions, and artistry. In many cases, lack of commercial appeal can prevent a filmmaker from finding the critical success they deserve — especially since Hollywood measures its greatest achievements by the almighty dollar. Other directors’ films display an unheralded genius too frequently unnoticed. Here are ten underrated filmmakers for your consideration. Feel free to chime in with your own picks, below. … Read More
Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master opens Friday in limited release — his first film in five years, though we certainly could have been waiting longer. Anderson’s oh-so-thinly-veiled portrait of a cult leader who seems an awful lot like L. Ron Hubbard knocked around Hollywood for a good long while before the writer/director finally found outside financing (more on that later); it’s one of several films — most of them related to religion, the movie industry’s primary hot button — that had to go the indie route when the major studios were afraid to touch them. After the jump, a brief history of movies Hollywood was too scared to make. … Read More
Geek god Joss Whedon’s day has come. He’s trading TV slayage and vampires, for filmic mayhem with his horror writing endeavor The Cabin in the Woods, which hits theaters this Friday — the 13th, for added spooky cred. It’s a spoof of sorts on the horror genre, but not in the vein of goofy films like Scary Movie. Think Whedon’s clever brand of humor set in a remote cabin where friends gather for a getaway. The movie also has its share of scares — and hey, Ebert liked it, so that’s something. (Beware of spoilers.)
Whedon’s witticisms have always wooed us, and thanks to an early career as a television writer (Roseanne and Parenthood being his inaugural projects), the filmmaker was able to smoothly segue into a movie career — first with Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1992 and Toy Story in 1995 — both writing credits. From there, Whedon would flip back and forth from TV and film directing/writing/producing, bringing us gems like Firefly and Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along, the beloved Buffy television series, and most recently the highly anticipated Avengers movie — which hits theaters on May 4.
What other filmmakers have danced between TV and cinema, and vice versa? We look at a few multitasking creatives past the break. With increases in technology and more elaborate production values on display, TV no longer feels like a nasty two-letter word filmmakers see as beneath them. More and more accomplished moviemakers are spending time on the small screen, and many got their start there like Whedon. Check out our list below, and share any TV/film geniuses we missed in the comments. … Read More
IFC Films’ Sleeping Beauty — the Jane Campion “presented” movie directed by Australian novelist Julia Leigh — slinks into theaters this Friday. Sounding more like Anne Rice’s sadomasochistic Sleeping Beauty trilogy than the classic tale we knew as children, the film finds Emily Browning as a university student who gets wrapped up in an erotic whirlwind with a dark twist we’ll let you discover for yourself.
Many films have lifted the veil on fairy tale fantasies, revealing the depraved, pitch-black narratives hiding in literature’s fabled legends. One flip through the storybook confirms that our childhood fantasies were a treasure trove of primal fears and sexual anxiety. Coming-of-age nightmares, patriarchal distress, and feminine paranoia are just a few of the Grimm-inspired subjects that Hollywood has explored in its retelling of these mythic stories. Click through for a look at ten films that put a dark twist on our favorite fairy tales. … Read More
There are many ways we can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day: go on a bender, kiss everyone in sight, projectile vomit into some shrubbery, be the bastard who pinches someone for not wearing an appropriate amount of green, or all of the above. In addition to the general acts of vandalism and stupidity that will take place in a matter of hours, we suggest you pick up a copy of The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story, edited by Anne Enright. We’ve come up with a list of ten contemporary Irish authors you need to know, because they’re masters of their craft, and because you’re going to need a big book to hide under when you commute to work tomorrow.
As Enright writes in the introduction: “If Ireland loves you, then you must be doing something wrong.” Here’s to the dreamers, the misanthropes, and the lonely souls contained in this collection, and long live the short story. … Read More