15 Directors Meme

I got tagged. This time, by Sebastian over at Films from the Supermassive Black Hole, who was thoughtful enough to pass this Meme along to me. The task? Easy enough. Come up with 15 filmmakers that helped shape the way I look at motion pictures. These are the directors that go to the top of my list – prolific directors who have made, in my estimation, some of the most profound, thought-provoking, and entertaining films in the history of cinema. They are, in no particular order:

 

1. Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather trilogy)
2. Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront)
3. Sidney Lumet (Network)
4. Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange)
5. John Cassavetes (A Woman Under the Influence)
6. Vittorio De Sica (Umberto D.)
7. Charles Chaplin (Limelight)
8. Ingmar Bergman (Scenes from A Marriage)
      my blog’s name is in homage to him so he better be on this list!
9. Woody Allen (Crimes and Misdemeanors)
10. David Lynch (Blue Velvet)
11. Joel and Ethan Coen (Barton Fink)
12. Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull)
13. Oliver Stone (JFK)
14. Billy Wilder (Witness for the Prosecution)
15. Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven)

And now to do some tagging of my own (pinky finger to my lips accompanied by a deep, menacing laugh). I will try and select some of my favorite film bloggers who I don’t think have participated just yet. All awesome blogs that I frequent quite often. Time to give these thoughtful film gurus some homework…Plus, I’d love to see what directors are on their personal lists.

First Look at Coen Brothers’ “True Grit”!!!

Well, it took long enough, but the first teaser trailer for the highly anticipated Coen Brothers film, True Grit was finally released! The movie, a bold remake of the classic 1969 film, comes out Christmas day. The mega-awesome Jeff Bridges (that is “The Dude” to you and me) steps in the mighty big boots left by John Wayne, in his Oscar-winning role as Rooster Cogburn. Matt Damon, Barry Pepper, and the young Hailee Steinfeld co-star. Interesting to notice here how this 1-minute teaser is edited. Not much focus is on Bridges at all. Rather, the spotlight is placed on newcomer Steinfeld and her story of revenge. As is always the case with the films of the Coen Brothers, the music here sets the mood/tone quite brilliantly. I also love the click of the gun as the title of the release date appears at the very end. Do I smell Oscar nominations? I can’t wait!!!

10 Movies To Get Excited About for the 2nd Half of 2010!

So we are well past the halfway point of 2010, and I can say with all sincerity that I have sadly seen only one truly great movie so far. By leaps and bounds, Niels Arden Oplev’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo stands, in my opinion, as the best film of the year thus far (perhaps Catherine Breillat’s Bluebeard was great too, so, ok…two movies) . But we still have five months left and you know those “Oscar-type” films will start creeping into theatres come October, which is always something to look forward to. With the summer lackbuster season headed into its final stretch, I thought I’d highlight ten movies to look forward to for the second half of this year. They are in no particular order — just ten movies to get excited about.

#1. Conviction (dir. Tony Goldwyn)

I caught this trailer in the theatres a couple of weeks ago and it screamed Oscar buzz, especially for its two leading actors – Sam Rockwell and Hilary Swank. Rockwell (Choke, Snow Angels, Moon) may very well be his generation’s most underrated actor and it is high time this man starts getting his due. Here, Swank plays a high school dropout and single mother who spends two decades putting herself through law school in order to overturn her brother’s murder conviction. The rest of the cast ain’t so shabby either — Minnie Driver, Peter Gallagher, Juliette Lewis and the always strong Melissa Leo round out what looks to be one of the highlights of the latter part of the year.

#2. Secretariat (dir. Randall Wallace)

Walt Disney Pictures releases this film which tells the rousing story of Penny Chenery (Diane Lane), whose freak of a horse, Secretariat won the ever-elusive Triple Crown in 1973. Taking over for her ailing father, Chenery enters into the male-dominated world of horse racing and fights against all odds to produce one of the most successful champions of the 20th century. This marks the first film Wallace has helmed since 2002’s We Were Soldiers and looks to be a very heartwarming and inspiring film. John Malkovich, Scott Glenn and James Cromwell co-star in this true story. I was a tremendous fan of the wonderful Seabiscuit and though this is an altogether different tale, I remain hopeful that it is just as good.

#3. Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (dir. Oliver Stone)

I’m usually not one for sequels, but this one just looks too damned good. The trailer, played to the backdrop of the classic “Sympathy for the Devil,” had me right away and thankfully, Stone, one of America’s most powerful directors, is behind it all. And he could use a rebound after a few clunkers in recent years – fingers crossed, this one looks like the real deal, despite the presence of Shia LaBeouf.  The disgraced Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas, reprising his Oscar-winning performance) is out of prison and back on the stockmarket scene. Considering the state of our nation’s current economy woes, the film couldn’t have better timing. Jacob Moore (LaBeouf) is a young trader who teams up with Gekko to alert the financial world of its impending troubles — and also to seek out the murderer of his mentor. Eli Wallach, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, Susan Sarandon — and yes, Charlie Sheen, round out the cast. Ah, greed….

#4. Megamind (dir. Tom McGrath)

This one, from Dreamworks Animation, sets up the ultra heavyweight match we’ve all been waiting for — Ferrell vs. Pitt, and looks like a lot of fun for moviegoers of all ages. Will Ferrell lends the voice for the title character, a super-evil villain who becomes quite bored after killing his arch enemy. Since there is no one left to fight, he creates a new rival in Titan (Jonah Hill). But things don’t really go Megamind’s way once Titan sets out to destroy the world instead! Brad Pitt is the voice of Metro Man and Tina Fey also provides some vocal work to what looks to be a very humorous satire on what we have come to expect of the superhero genre.

#5. Jack Goes Boating (dir. Philip Seymour Hoffman)

This strikes me as being a sleeper hit of the Fall season. Hoffman makes his directorial debut with this film, based on the Robert Glaudini play that Hoffman starred in and helped develop off-Broadway. John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega are also back, reprising their stage roles. Set in New York City, Hoffman plays Jack, a socially challenged hermit who spends the better part of a year preparing for a blind date. Based on the trailer, this looks like a wonderfully quirky, charming and romantic film and you can see that Hoffman is ideal for this eccentric role. This looks like the kind of movie I always embrace, and of all the films on this list, this may be the one I am most looking forward to.

#6. The Fighter (dir. David O. Russell)

Darren Aronofsky was slated to direct this one, but got caught up in his fantastic film, The Wrestler. Enter hothead director, David O. Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees) who is looking to make a comeback. The film stars Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg (who was brilliant in “Huckabees“), Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo (that’s two on this list and I’m so excited she is getting a lot of work). The film focuses on the boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Wahlberg) and his rise to the world light welterweight title. His climb to the top is propelled by his half-brother Dicky (Bale), a former boxer turned trainer with a seedy history of crime and drugs. I’m a fan of sports flicks and Wahlberg has shown himself to be a very gifted actor. From the looks of it, there seems to be a Rocky-like feel to it, not just because it is set in the world of boxing, but in its heart and spirit.

#7. You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (dir. Woody Allen)

OK, if you’re a reader of the Magic Lantern Film Blog, you know that this is a pro-Woody site. Deal with it — I love Woody Allen, despite the fact that his recent films (Match Point, Cassandra’s Dream, Whatever Works) have been pretty good at best. But with the approach of each new Allen project, I remain ever-hopeful that this will be his “comeback film.” The movie had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and stars Anthony Hopkins (in the surrogate Woody character), Naomi Watts, Antonio Banderas, Lucy Punch, and Josh Brolin. Set in London, the word is that this is a romantic farce where Hopkins plays an old crumudgeon who tries to cheat death by leaving his wife and falling for a much younger prostitute (Punch). Watts plays Hopkins’ daughter who is unhappily married (it’s a Woody film, remember?) and has a crush on her boss (Banderas). I’m just glad that I don’t have to sit and watch Nicole Kidman, who was originally slated to play the part played by Punch. I’m sure all of the themes that Allen loves to explore will be prominently displayed here — I’m just hoping for a funny and smart film that can hopefully rank among the better works of this legendary filmmaker.

#8. The Tree of Life (dir. Terrence Malick)

Maverick director Terrence Malick brings this period piece to life, examining the lives of a family with three boys set in the 1950’s. It tells the tale of one boy in particular and his journey from childhood innocence to his disillusionment as an adult, struggling as a “lost soul in the modern world.” He sets out on a search to to find the true meaning of life. Knowing Malick’s work, this promises to be a visually stunning film with great characters and rich, lavish designs. After taking twenty years to come out with The Thin Red Line (1998), it’s great to see Malick coming out with this one only five years after his under-appreciated The New World. Details have been a bit hard to find on this one (no surprise), but the movie stars Sean Penn and Brad Pitt, so that’s a pretty good start and reason enough to be excited.

#9. Hereafter (dir. Clint Eastwood)

It’s Clint – what the hell more do you want?! This time, he takes on a supernatural element from a script written by Peter Morgan (The Queen) that focuses on three people from different parts of the world who are touched by death in very different ways. Like most Eastwood projects, there isn’t very much information being released on this thriller, but the man’s resume the past few years is simply indisputable. Matt Damon plays George, a soft-spoken factory worker who has the ability to talk to the dead, but chooses not to. His story, along with two others intersect as the characters search for answers about what lies in store for us after we are gone. Bryce Dallas Howard, Cecile De France, and Richard Kind co-star in what could be another very busy awards season for Mr. Eastwood.

#10. True Grit (dir. The Coen Brothers)

I know that movie purists and John Wayne enthusiasts are ‘gritting’ their teeth at the fact that this classic 1969 film has been remade. I’m not a fan of remakes at all and there are very few that have ever been any good, but three words give me tremendous hope that this will stand out among the others — the Coen Brothers. That’s really all I need to hear and with their ever-impressive body of work since 1984, I fully trust that they would never have set out to make this film if they didn’t think it was going to be terrific. In my opinion, they’ve made one bad film (Intolerable Cruelty) among an abundance of brilliant works that include Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, A Serious Man, Fargo and The Big Lebowski. Their other remake (The Ladykillers) wasn’t such a great movie at all, which gives me some pause, but just look at who is playing Marshal Cogburn, the role that won Wayne his “Best Actor” Oscar — the Dude himself, Jeff Bridges! That’s reason for excitement in itself. 14-year old Mattie Ross looks to hire the toughest marshal she can find to help her seek out the man who murdered her father and she ends up with Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn. I can’t wait to see Bridges in that eye-patch in this ever-slothful, no-good role. Comes out on Christmas Day — a real present for movie lovers, one and all!

Peter Eramo Asks: What Movie are You MOST Excited to see This Year?

With “Iron Man 2” opening on May 7th, the 2010 Summer Blockbuster Season is officially under way. However, with “Clash of the Titans” already released, you may argue the fact that the Season has already begun. Be that as it may, there are a number of movies coming out this year with high box-office expectations…not unlike any other year in Hollywood. The litany of sequels, big-budget action films, and remakes are upon us…with a few films coming out by the more “seasoned” directors like David Fincher and the Coen Brothers for good measure.

I want to know what movie YOU are most looking forward to this year. Yeah, I know there’s plenty of them to choose from, but you only get one choice.

I am hoping to make the poll feature a regular feature on this blog in the hopes of making it much more interactive. Let me know your thoughts here! Take the poll…

What Movie Are You MOST Excited to See This Year???
The Green Hornet (w/ Seth Rogan)
Toy Story (from Pixar)
Iron Man 2 (w/ Robert Downey, Jr.)
Inception (Christopher Nolan’s latest)
Robin Hood (w/ Russell Crowe)
Salt (w/ Angelina Jolie)
Shrek Forever After (yes, another one)
Grown Ups (w/ Adam Sandler)
The Last Airbender (M. Night Shyamalan’s latest)
Black Hole (David Fincher’s latest)
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part I
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (w/ Kristen Stewart)
Eat Pray Love (w/ Julia Roberts)
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Stone’s sequel)
True Grit (Coen Bros. remake starring ‘The Dude’ Jeff Bridges)
The A-Team (w/ Liam Neeson & Bradley Cooper)
What the Hell?! My Choice Isn’t Listed Here!

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