Posts Tagged director

Director Irvin Kershner (1923 – 2010), A Sad Day in Star Wars

Just as we tweeted earlier: ‘Director Irvin Kershner, maestro of The best Star Wars(EMPIRE STRIKES BACK) has passed. ‘

Having fought in World War II, Kershner began his career by teaching film at the University of Southern California, but quickly made the move behind the camera via a detour as a stills photographer and TV director, calling the shots on Stakeout On Dope Street in 1958.

A decent career followed, in which he directed the likes of Sean Connery in A Fine Madness, Richard Harris in The Return Of A Man Called Horse, and Faye Dunaway in 1978’s Eyes Of Laura Mars (based on John Carpenter’s screenplay).

It was this movie that persuaded George Lucas, looking for someone to take the reins on his Star Wars sequel, to approach Kershner to direct The Empire Strikes Back. The rest is movie history: Kershner’s no-frills storytelling style, coupled with a strong script and an imaginative visual pallet, gave Empire a gravitas that marked it out as an instant classic.

An interview with him at the Colorado Film School lay below.
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Anime Director, Satoshi Kon ( 1963 – 2010 )

The universe remains an unfair ‘verse. We just learned of anime director Satoshi Kon‘s passing via Twitch.

Satoshi Kon worked on several anime classics under Katsuhiro Otomo and Mamoru Oshii, but is most well-known for his own films released by Madhouse: “Perfect Blue”, “Millennium Actress”, “Tokyo Godfathers” and of course “Paprika”. He also made the brilliant 13-episode series “Paranoia Agent”. Currently he was working on his new film “The Dreaming Machine” which was scheduled for release next year.

Kon’s genius will be sorely missed.

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Tuesday Tease: Sylvain Chomet’s THE ILLUSIONIST Reminds What Animation Should Be

Official Synopsis

An old magician on the decline meets a young girl that will change his life forever. Based on an original script by French comic genius, Jacques Tati.

What We Learned:

  • Rabbits are a tricky sort.
  • Wonderful animation is wonderful.
  • This is not the Ed Norton flick that competed with THE PRESTIGE so many years ago. Please do not confuse the two.

Why We’re Gonna Watch:
French director/writer Sylvain Chomet of THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE fame is directing again. After viewing the trailer for THE ILLUSIONIST we considered renaming the film THANK GOD FOR SYLVAIN CHOMET. All signs hint to this being a genius of animation that puts Disney to shame…again.

‘I’ve lived all over the place,” says the great French animator Sylvain Chomet, “but I seem to do well in countries that need their independence.”

Seriously, this guy is fast becoming our new animation hero.

When’s it coming?
ILLUSIONIST has already released in France and several other countries. It’s about to drop in the UK. It won’t hit the US until December. And that will be just a limited release.

Life remains unfair.

Official site(s):

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Re-Examining SPLICE: OK, Guys. You Talked Us into Watching.

What turned us off from SPLICE was the trailer. The trailer gave us Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as reckless scientists mixing human DNA with whatever is on hand to make an “abomination.”

‘Thanks, Hollywood. You’ve produced yet another anti-science schlocky bullshit fest,’ we thought.

This was made more disappointing because we have much love for Vincenzo Natali‘s CUBE and an even greater love for the wrongfully forgotten, CYPHER. It took Guillermo del Toro to shift shift our viewing interest from flat out “no” to a resounding “ok, let’s have a look then.”

How bold is Splice? It’s so wild that del Toro says even he wouldn’t dare to make a film like that himself. “When I produce, I’m trying to produce movies that take you to places that are different than I would,” del Toro said. “When I was reading Splice, there is a particular scene towards the end, there was a left turn that shocked the hell out of me. It shocked the hell out of me and challenged me. I would have never been as brave or as crazy as Vincenzo was in doing that scene. But, reading it, I felt if it’s jolting me, that means it has enormous power, but I don’t know how he’s going to solve it. I was intrigued in seeing this absolutely insane scene come to life. I would have been too prudish and too timid to do that scene.

Here’s to keeping all fingers crossed that Del Toro is not in hyperbolic sell-mode. Because a movie that jolts his senses is a movie relevant to our interests.

Directly below is a list of other reviews and sources talking about SPLICE. And below that is a proper Tuesday Tease trailer write-up you’ve come to know and think was okay.

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TO: Modern Movies. Hayao Miyazaki Thinks You’re Weird

This article contains tons of telling tidbits on one of our favorite directors, Hayao Miyazaki.

Humans face a basic choice between love or money, he believes. “A five-year-old understands that in a way an adult obsessed with the economy and share prices cannot. I make movies that can be understood by that five-year-old, and to bring out that purity of heart.”


“I can’t stand modern movies,” he winces. “The images are too weird and eccentric for me.” He shuns TV and most modern media, reading books or travelling instead. It is no surprise to find that the multimillionaire director’s car, parked outside the Ghibli studio, is an antique Citröen CV, an icon of minimalist, unfussy driving.


“Young people are surrounded by virtual things,” he laments. “They lack real experience of life and lose their imaginations. Animators can only draw from their own experiences of pain and shock and emotions.”

It’s refreshing to know that in a world of McGs and Ratners and Bays, a modest fellow sits there. Tucked away in his corner of the world, Hayao Miyazaki is dreaming up wondrous awesomes like: My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso, Mononoke Hime, Spirited Away, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, etc etc. He’s there, at his desk, making these things and sharing with world at large, just because he can.

We admit to being apprehensive over the comingPonyo on the Cliff By the Sea. But then we recall feeling the same way before viewing Kiki’s Delivery Service and being literally blown away by the emotional impact that film held in store for us. Until he proves otherwise, Miyazaki remains on our list of The Good.

It’s a very short list.


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One-Sheet Wonder: Bang, Zoom…to the MOON

MOON Poster

We can’t help obsessing over the potential awesome of MOON. Obsession is a double-edged blade, making it a dangerous thing to do. It’d be far easier to despair or drink half-empty glasses of cynical tonics. But we refuse to do this. MOON has a lot going for it.
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REPOST: Prize Fighting Oscar Directors

Directors Steven Spielberg(Munich), George Clooney(Good Night and Good Luck), Ang Lee(Brokeback Mountain), Paul Haggis(Crash), and Bennett Miller(Capote) had things to say about their movies and movies in general:

oscardirectorssmall.jpgAng, you grew up in Taiwan. Which movies inspired you?

LEE: I always wanted to be a filmmaker, but I kept it a secret until I did my first movie.

SPIELBERG: You never admitted it?

LEE: No. I always felt ashamed.

Because your father didn’t approve?

LEE: Yes. And because of the society I came from.

SPIELBERG: What would your father have wished for you?

LEE: Anything but this, I guess. Something practical. So film was a very repressed pleasure for me. I always had scenes in my head, but “The Virgin Spring” was an epiphany for me. After that movie, you cannot move for a long time. You feel you will see life differently now. [Pause] I always wished I could do something like that on screen.

(a little later, after Spielberg reveals his start in film was the Night Gallery pilot)

CLOONEY: Was Rod Serling around?

SPIELBERG: He was great with me also. I actually lit his cigarette.

CLOONEY: Did you really?


CLOONEY: You helped him die.[Laughter]

Clooney makes me laugh. He’s a funny fellow.

Funny ha ha.

(via matt fraction)

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