Suicide Squad re-shooting to make film more "fun"?

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Rumor: Warner Bros Spending Millions On 'Suicide Squad' Reshoots To Make The Film More Fun


Photo of Kevin JagernauthBy Kevin Jagernauth | The PlaylistMarch 31, 2016 at 2:06PM



It's the fall of the empire. History has consistently proven time and time again that every trend eventually dies. The superhero movie is just that, a fad that has had its day, but will eventually collapse. The domino effect is about to happen, just look at what happened to the Western, and I will love every minute of it.

The Montreal Expos

I met the mayor last night and he seems to be, at least based on my conversation with him, a genuinely nice guy. We spoke about baseball mostly, when I told him I appreciated all the effort he`s putting into getting back our beloved Montreal Expos he said ``You ain`t seen nothing yet!`` which was, quite clearly, the best response.

I do believe the mayor, a major baseball fan, when he says we ain't seen nothin' yet, but we need a downtown outdoor stadium and we need investors that could bring money at the table. It's as simple as that and the way Montreal is going economically I don't know who would have enough dough to shell out for a baseball team. It would have to be a consortium of people, Montreal is as socialist a city as any in North America you don't really have any billionaires here.

I have long been a baseball fan, but some of that passion left when the Montreal Expos left town in 2004. There was the feeling of betrayal that came with their departure, Major League Baseball had done everything to ruin them and the sport was at its lowest at the time as well. Remember when there was no cap? I remember one season the Expos having paying all their players a total of 15 million dollars! Remember, that is 30 Major League ball players! Whereas the Yankees on the other side of the spectrum were nearing 300 million. The sport has changed and now these "poor franchises" can actually afford to have a baseball time dur to a new system where, I believe, but don't quote me, the more rich teams share some of their money to the poorer teams. Baseball would survive in Montreal now.

I have great memories of my time at ball games. I used to go practically every Sunday to the ballpark with my family, tickets were super chap as well, bleacher seats were just five bucks and this is the late 90's! Vladimir Guerrero was and still is the most exciting athlete I have ever seen at a live sporting event. The guy deserves Hall of Fame recognition and I hope he gets it one day. In the era of steroids he was one of the best and cleanest players. I doubt he took it. He was too skinny and too naturally talented to be taking it. His swing reminded me of a golfer's. He was really unique and I'm glad the Expos traded him to the Angels because they took good care of him over there in California, where he won a World Series! I'd think if he ever makes it to the Hall Of Fame it would be as an Angel, but his heart will ways be in Montreal.





There is no funnier show on TV than Broad City



It's Wednesday, which means another 20 minute episode with these two Bed, Bath and Beyond-obsessed, neurotic Jewish gals. If you haven't yet seen Broad City, I wholly recommend it. It's one of those shows that either you get or you don't, but you nevertheless should give it a try. For all its hipster-dominated wisdom, it's a more accurate portrayal of Gen Z cultural underpinnings than HBO's much overhyped Girls. It's like that other great movie about millennials, The Social Network, that is if Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin were girls, dropped out of college, turned hipster, moved to a New York hood, smoked a LOT of pot and had no tact.

A love-letter to Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans

I get asked a lot about what my favorite movie is. The truth being that there is no clear answer. I've never really sat down and pondered what should or shouldn't make up the list. I guess The Godfather Parts I and II would surely be up there, so would Hitchcock's Vertigo, Renoir's Les Règles du Jeu. But the one that always pops into my head whenever the question gets asked is also not the most common answer: "Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans" is a 1927 silent picture by F.W. Murnau, I've seen it only twice in my life, but its had such an impact that I can remember almost every frame. Its images are as haunting as the night sky. Murnau delves into the darkest path of the human soul to create a movie that scares us because of how vulnerable it makes us feel as human beings. The real champion of the picture is Cinematographer Karl Struss, who manages to create shots that are so technically rich, I just can't ever see anyone else replicating all the thought process and effort that went into devising them.

Woody Allen's Cafe Society opening Cannes

Today it was announced that Woody Allen's Cafe Society will be opening the Cannes Film Festival, which I will be attending this May. The French love Woody, and by the time he shows up to the Croisette for the premiere you will be hearing a lot people screaming "voody vee loves you". I love the guy, especially his older classics such as Annie Hall, Manhattan, and Hannah and Her Sisters, but it doesn't mean new Woody is terrible. In the last 10 years he's released Match Point, Midnight In Paris, Vicki Cristina Barcelona and Blue Jasmine. Most directors dream of releasing just one of these during the span of an entire career. Of course he's doing this by releasing a movie a year, but why the hell would you complain? When h passes away we'll regret we ever took this great American auteur for granted.

2008 was the last time a Supherhero movie had shades of greatness



I think I've reached a point where I just can't deal anymore with superhero movies. It just seems like now we've reached a point where one gets released every month. Problem is the quality keeps diminishing and these movies feel more and more like sewn-together marketing products than actual artistic visions. Gone are the days of The Dark Knight. This is, of course, all about money and as long as people keep showing up there will be money to be made. Case in point: Batman VS Superman, which was, to me at least, the equivalence of having to sit in class and have the teacher scratching her fingernails on the chalkboard for two and a half hours.

It also looks like these kind of eruptions are becoming more and more pronounced throughout the web, but don't count on the box-office receipts to be any lower, This is very much a genre that is pushed forward by 13-16 year-old boys, and fact of the matter is they are the ones that buy the most movie tickets in the country, I think I finally had enough around 8 years ago , post Dark Knight/Iron Man being released in 2008 (coincidentally those are widely known as the two best comic-book movies, I'd probably eve add Spider-Man 2 to make it a trifecta of greatness) Anyway, those were the days and the last superhero movies before the "machine" evolved into a mass-marketed billion dollar industry of mold.

Superhero Milestones usually stop at 2008:
2003 X2:X-Men United
2004: Spider-Man 2
2005: Batman Begins
2008: The Dark Knight & Iron Man

Far From Heaven: Best Photographed movie of the last 20 years

Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven is quite possibly the most beautifully photographed movie in modern-day American cinema. Much of the credit must go Director of Photography Ed Lachmann, who decided to use a German Expressionist method to convey emotions. He purposely had the colors in the background of the frame, such as the flowers in this particular scene, match up with the characters' emotions and clothes. Of course when I say "modern-age" that to me is anything post-90's.




Carly Rae Jepsen is a legit great pop artist - more people need to listen to E•MO•TION



So we all know her as the "Call Me Maybe" gal, but much to my surprise Carly Rae Jepsen is a legit, straight up, great artist. Her last album E•MO•TION is indisputably great and seems to have taken up a lot of influences along the way. There's that synth driven, dancing beat that distinguished a lot of Madonna's great hits in the 80's, but it also has a modern-day production, which really lends itself well to the whole kebab. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is you should listen to it. In all honesty this whole album is actually very well-done, catchy pop music.

Paramount holding off on Scorsese's Silence and not showing it at Cannes would be huge mistake

Now that Variety has officially reported what we did not want to hear all along, that Scorsese's Silence chances to bow at Cannes are slim, I have to ask the inevitable question, why? The picture seems to be done, minus a couple of editing tweaks I've been hearing about, but Paramount deciding to not show it at Cannes would be a, not trying to imitate Trump, HUGE mistake.If you have confidence in your film and you know it is worthy, why would you not show it at Cannes? Scorsese gets great reviews in France no matter which film he makes, they love him there because he represents the best of American auteur cinema - Is the movie that divisive that they need to keep it away until the prestige season? Are they that concerned about negative buzz affecting the film's Oscar Chances? I really don't know ... Maybe Scorsese is just being Scorsese and relentlessly editing the picture until the very last minute with Thelma Schoonmaker ... I was actually planning on attending Cannes this year and in the back of my head I would have really liked to have had a Scorsese in competition, the first time since 1986 and After Hours!

The good news, however, is that we might finally get to see Terrence Malick's Voyage Of Time.  You can find the full article HERE

Brussels thoughts: A New World Order

You know, sometimes Donald Trump isn't totally out of his mind. Yeah, I know, that's a terrible way to start a writeup, but it's true. I'm specifically referring to his militant stance on radical Islam. It's actually a bigger problem than many liberal progressives would have you believe and, by the way, I'm a huge Pro-Bernie fanatic! What we are seeing here is a religion that is singlehandedly creating a "New World Order", Radical Islam is poisonous enough to start complete chaos and want "they" truly want, the terrorist, is a New World Order, a caliphate and until we truly come to grips and admit that to be the case we will never win this war. I'm not saying we should carpet-bomb them, not quite the contrary, because really, the "them" here is a quite complicate term and one that we need to reassess as well. There are billions of Muslims in the world, and if this Politico Article is any indication, 20 percent of them want a caliphate, that's millions upon millions of people! A part of the religion has been toxicized by many and until we admit that we are deep trouble.

A fantastic Ethan Hawke, as Chet Baker, infuses Born To Be Blue with some real soul



If there was really any doubting Ethan Hawke`s ability to act it is really gone by the time you watch Born To Be Blue, a bio-pic courtesy of Quebecois director Robert Budreau about Chet Baker`s life and career. Whenever you have the looks or the charisma people tend to take your acting skills for granted, but Hawke really, genuinely is a great actor and I wouldn`t be surprised if he eventually does get an Oscar one day. He did get nominated for his edgy turn in Training Day, obviously overshadowed by his co-star Denzel Washington`s Oscar-winning performance as Alonzo Harris, but guess what? Hawke was just as good as Washington in that movie.

Born To Be Blue has him playing Chet Baker, the famous Jazz trumpeteer who was compared, back in the day, to a James Dean for jazz. A heavy duty comparison, and Baker definitely couldn`t handle it all. The movie showcases the usual tropes that most bio-pics about musical genuises showcase: Alcoholism, drugs, womanzing, a love partner that never gives up on him etc. The difference here is that Budreau really twists the narrative around and has Baker starring in a movie about himself, playing himself and reconstructing the key moments of his life. The film set footage is mixed with Baker off-set struggling with his demons. The lines between reality and fiction do blur up at some point, but it`s all part of the thrill of watching this movie.


Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice - Snyder's days are being counted


I'm all for a young director making it into the Hollywood system and, hell, even getting to direct a superhero franchise. Look at Christopher Nolan, he built a healthy following from making those Batman movies, but he always had an artful, ambitious flair to follow his own vision and never get suckered by the Hollywood machine. Zack Snyder on the other hand ... everything has gone wrong for the guy, except for the massive paycheck he's getting. Warner Bros. thought they had their "guy" with him, but it turns out that the surprising success of 300 was just that, a surprising success that was mostly a one-time deal.

You don't know how disappointed I am by Batman vs Superman? Well let me first start off by saying that all I read were Superman and Batman comic books as a kid. I adored them. I have a collection of more than 500 comic books, many in mint condition and worth a lot of money, and I'd say 70% of them are either Batman or Superman comic books. That's why I truly believe Snyder just doesn't "get it". He had a vision for this film, and Man Of Steel for that matter, but it was the wrong one. The best way to envision Superman cinematically is the way Richard Donner did in Superman II, where you embrace the cheesiness of it all, but still make it effectively dark and intriguing.

I'm also very familiar with the source material of this new movie. There was actually a great animated feature that went straight to DVD around 4 years ago called The Dark Knight Returns which might just be the greatest animated superhero movie I've ever seen. That was Batman Vs Superman, but done magnificently and on a far more coherent scale. Snyder's vision is all over the place, the pacing is absurd and the direction boring in the most over-the-top kind of way.

The film will make money, it has the words "batman" and "superman" in the title, I presume it's going to pull good numbers the first weekend, but it won't have legs. the fanboys are already revolting against Snyder, the guy might have another big budget job after this one. He's quite possibly the luckiest director in Hollywood, but he, pardon my french, fucked it up immensely this time. His directing is atrocious. I cringed when I saw Man Of Steel, but Batman vs Superman is on a whole other epic level a failure.

Snyder is set to direct two Justic League movies ... A well known film critic that will remain anonymous messaged me a few hours after the press screening of Batman vs Superman saying: 'WB is fucked. They put all their eggs in his basket and this movie is going to kill the series. I wonder if they will pull the plug on Justice League if this one doesn't have legs (it'll open big, for sure, but it needs to hold strong)'

That about says it all.

I Saw The Light: Or How The Hank Williams Bio-Pic Became A Complete Dud


This Friday sees the opening of two bio-pics about two brilliant musicians. The first one is Born To Be Blue, starring Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker, I`ll get a little more into that one soon. The weaker of two films is sadly the one I was looking forward to the most. I Saw The Light stars Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams, a brilliant country singer-songwriter that influenced pop music forever with his intimately drawn lyrics about blue-collar folks. 

The problem with the film isn`t necessarily Hiddleston, or his partner played by the always great Elizabeth Olsen, it`s more the fact that its writer-director Marc Abraham has concocted an old-fashioned story that is, well, very dull and not that new to the whole musical biopic genre, which, by the way. is the reason why I loved the originally-told narrative of Born To Be Blue. There is nothing new to be said here from Abraham, he seems to think the story is interesting enough to let slide the fact that he can`t really raise a below average screenplay. 

Hiddleston was actually what I was concerned about when I first heard about this movie, but I should have know better. He`s actually pretty damn fantastic here. Abraham is the problem, he`s just not good enough to handle such a task. The soundtrack is great though, I mean how could it not, Hank Williams`songs were little short stories that really tore through the American soul. He was a soul man that was actually white.

Cannes 2016 speculation Part Un, American films


cannes-palais-du-festival
Getty/Images

I will be attending Cannes this year, which also means we will be speculating a little bit more this year on what might be premiering at la Croisette. This post will concentrate more on the American films that might be presented at the film festival. Just like every speculative year you have Terrence Malick's Voyage of Time being a possibility, as I've previously written, it is a "Documentary/ficition mix about the beginning of time, narrated by Brad Pitt no less. Its been rumored completed for the last 5 years now. Every year when the Cannes lineup gets revealed we cross our fingers it's there, maybe this year?"

Steven Spielberg's The BFG is now the latest rumored Hollywood film that might be slotted as the Opening Night film or, maybe even in competition? It's a CGI-based film that is adapted from a children's book - could be interesting, especially now that it stars recently Oscar heralded Mark Rylance, who seems to have turned into Spileberg's newest muse. Any complaints? I doubt it.


There's already been much rumored news of Warren Beatty finally unveiling his Untitled Howard Hughes passion project. Beatty is not a film festival kind of guy though, he actually is a genuinely shy man that doesn't like to watch his films in public, the whole pressure of being judged seems to be pretty frightening to him. He could, I guess, just not show up, but having this film at Cannes will be a long shot IMHO

Martin Scorsese's Silence is the film everybody really wants to be at Cannes. A passion project of over three decades, it stars Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson and is set in 18th century Japan where the Samurai are basically dying and jesuits are coming to convert them. Bad idea. Wouldnt it be something to have Scorsese  come to Cannes and have his film in Official competition?  The greeting he would get from the French, where auteur cinema is like the bible, would be IMMENSE! 

Woody Allen's Cafe Society is a romantic comedy that stars Jeannie Berlin, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll, and Ken Stott was acquired by Amazon earlier this year and has no details as of now about its plot. Woody Allen and France have a rich friendship together, and Im even counting his Oscar-nominated love-letter Midnight In Paris, this is a no-brainer. 

Damien Chazelle has really made a name for himself  with Whiplash and then this year's inventive screenplay 10 Cloverfield Lane. Thatr's why even though the idea of his latest, La-La Land might be risky and bound to fail, I'm betting it will actually be one of the key titles of the year for Awards contention. That's how much I trust the guy. As Jeffrey Wells puts it, "this is an homage to old-fashioned movie musicals, but shot in a modern-day mode". Th kicker to all of this? It stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who couldn't have had better chemistry in Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Jeff Nichols' Midnight Special isn't even a day old in release time and we're already talking about his next movie Loving. This one steers away from the sci-fi of his last film and goes more towards historical conetent as a forbidden interracial relationship gets condemned in the 1958 bible belt as being an "illicit and politically provocative partnership". Yikes. Get ready for fireworks of highest political degree. This could finally be Nichols' ticket to Awards season. 

American Honey is Andrea Arnold's follow-up to Wuthering Heights, but really this is the woman that ghave us Fish Tank,. an incredible movie, and it looks like she's back in modern-day territory here in a film that has Shia LaBeouf leading a gang of tearaway teens who sell magazine subscriptions by day and party all through the night. 

Sean Penn's latest The Last Face is almost certainly making it according to Variety. Set in Africa this film was a little more known as the film set where Penn and co-star Charlize Theron feel in love in their doomed-to-fail romance ... Penn has proven himself to be a formidable director with The Pledge and Into The Wild, this could be a great movie.

Post- Super Tuesday notes




Now that the dust has settled, the Hilary vs, Trumo matchup seems more and more as a certainty. Only a fool would bet against Hilary, who took all five states last nights, and Trump seems to be the favorite, even though it seems like the Republicans will go all the way to the convention.

What does a Trump-Clinton matchup mean exactly ... It means that we are in for a bloodbath of epic proportions, dont think for a second that he will make it easy for Hilary, he has said he will attack her and he does have a ton of ammo ... She does as well on him! Its a battle for the presidency and having two candidates that would pretty much do ANYTHING to get it battling it out against each other is going to make for a hell of  contest.

Now, I know that Trump hasnt even garnered the nomination yet, hell even Hilary hasnt, but this is where we are heading folks and as much as Id love to see Bernie win, last nights colossal failure in the Sanders camp sealed the deal for Hilary, the problem is that many  Bernie voters said they wouldnt vote Hilary if he didnt make it ... whereas Republicans would probably support their candidate, whomever that may be. This will be a much closer race than many think it will be.

Zootopia and 10 CloverField Lane

This is not necessarily a review as much as a solid recommendation and acknowledgement that there are two genuinely great studio offerings out there at the moment, which is rare for this time of the year. Zootopia is fantastic animated film with great visuals and a well-told story with a genuinely great message about acceptance. The message actually hit me like a jolt by the end, it`s about the current plight of muslims in America! Whereas 10 Cloverfield Lane should not be talked about as the more you know the less you will get haunted by its incredible surprises. Producer JJ Abrams and writer Damien Chzelle have concoted something very unique here and its originality did not go unnoticed by this film enthusiast. These are films that actually matter in a spring of mostly muck.


Eye In The Sky

Eye in the sky is what happens when you take a pertinently relevant subject matter, one which hasn't really been depicted yet in a mass marketed movie, and you take advantage of the situation at hand by making an action movie out of it. Good movie? I'd say so.

Directed with visual flair by Gavin Hood, a seolid comeback for him might I add, the film is tighlty knit and takes place in the span of only a few hoursbin the day of British and American intelligence.
Drone warfare has been very much part of the Obama presidency, so much so that you'll find many anti people giving him such names as President Drone. What this system of warfare really does though is prevent mass casualties on the ground by instead focusing on a specific target from the sky down.

The characters in Eye In The Sky seem to have a moral-based set of values, at least most of them , which means they push forward the main conflict of the film: if you had the chance to hit a specific, important, target, but run the risk of killing innocent bystanders in the process, would you do it? In the film there is enough intelligence to know that a top dawg terrorist is hiding in a bunker, but playing around the bunker is an innocent child, one whom might not survive if a drone hits. Hood keeps the tension running, even when you feel like he's really just trying to stretch this thing out to feature length level.

 I first saw the film at TIFF last year where reviews seemed to be mostly positive from critics. It won't shatter records and it's not a ground breaker, but its artistry is fantastic, leaving you on the edge of your seat until the inevitable climax. I do look forward to the next few films that will tackle this subject, and they will come quickly and swiftly, because there's a lot to chew on here and Eye In The Sky is a good starting point.

B

New Linklater? Hell Yeah

Everybody Wants Some Poster

We hadn't heard from Richard Linklater since his triumph 2 years ago with Boyhood. On April 1st the director of such incredible works as Dazed and Confused, Waking Life and Before Sunset is back at it, this new film entitled Everybody Wants Some is actually a spiritual successor to Dazed. Early word of mouth has been truly tremendous for Everybody Wants Some, originally titled That's What I'm Talkin' About, with Peter Travers even tweeting late last year about his delighted reaction. It's premiering at SXSW this week and will be screened for critics throughout the country the next few weeks. I know there's a screening in San Francisco on March 15th, I am in San Fran at the moment, but it seems like I will just miss the cut as I am leaving the day before.

Linklater has been a peculiar kind of guy, as he has kept reinventing himself throughout his 20+ year career as filmmaker. This seems to be the total opposite of his more contemplative work, but that's where his roots began as well. Dazed and Confused was the iconic Linklater picture before he decide to pull a Rohmer and make Before Sunset, Waking Life, Tape, Boyhood, Before Midnight etc.

Will Brittain, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Anthony Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Blake Jenner, Glen Powell and Wyatt Russell make up the ensemble which seems to be as much of an ode to the 80's as Dazed was to the 70's, the big question really is: Will it be Dazed and Confused level great? Or will this be a good, thoroughly watchable Linklater ala Suburbia? The release date is April 15th.



My colleague Chris Bumbray from Joblo never knew that in Montreal there's a gem of a movie theater called CineStarz Cote Des Neiges where it's 5 dollars a movie, and these are new releases! I'm planning on going there to check out the new releases I missed while I was out of town. Whenever I miss a press screening I go there, it's such a bargain, I don't even think it cost that little to watch a movie in NYC during the 90's or even the 80's. Sometimes, if I don't have to review a particular movie, I'll skip the 10am press screening and opt out for a release day CineStarz matinee where there basically is nobody around. Sometimes I'm literally the only person in the theater. Ah, good times.

Indiewire, Oscar, Cinematographers


Here is a link to my "Cinematographers who have never won and Oscar" article, much thanks to Kate Erbland for being the editing Queen that she is and to IW for posting this crazy freelancer's work.

http://www.indiewire.com/article/cinematographers-never-won-oscar-20160223

I've been a little behind this week's new releases, having missed the press screenings this week for Zootopia and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, but my thoughts on these should be up by the weekend, Zootopia is actually getting surprisingly excellent reviews, as we stand, it has a 100% fresh rating on RotenTomatoes and is already well positioned to be an Animated Oscar frontrunner by season's end ... that is until a Pixar by the name of Finding Dory steals its thunder ...

In other news, did Donald Trump actually defend the size of his penis last night?

11 filmmakers that have never won a Best Director Oscar RE: IndieWire




It’s the 2002 Academy Awards ceremony, Best Director gets announced, the winner, Ron Howard, gets out of his seat and makes his way to the stage to accept the award for A Beautiful Mind. For a few seconds, as he makes his way up to the stage, the camera pans to fellow nominee David Lynch going up to other nominee, the late great Robert Altman, and consoling him about the defeat. With one arm around Altman, we can’t quite make out what Lynch is telling him, but rest assured it wasn’t “the best man won”. At that point we kind of had a feeling that this was Altman’s last shot at getting the golden statuette. Just five years later the director of classics such as Nashville, MASH, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Player, 3 Women, Shortcuts, and The Long Goodbye would pass away at the age of 81 years old. Sadly, stories such as Altman’s aren’t uncommon. One can go through a list of late great filmmakers who never won a Best Director Oscar: Altman, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Sidney Lumet, Howard Hawks, Arthur Penn – and that’s only the American-born list.

The sad tradition of not honoring the right filmmakers will likely continue for the Academy. Further proof can be found with these 11 greats who haven’t won yet, with some not even having a single nomination to their name; unfortunately they will likely never muster a win because of the visionary daring they bestow upon their every film. Originality can sometimes be so ahead of its time that it will scare voters away. It takes time to comprehend and acknowledge how some were just ahead of their time and produced some of the most important cinematic experiences imaginable. One only hopes that a few of the following eleven directors will make it up to the stage in the near future.


Ridley Scott
Although The Martian wasn't the greatest thing he's ever done, most people were not only predicting a Ridley Scott nomination, but even a win! The fact that he was snubbed, put all those hopes to rest and put the 78-year-old director in a precarious position at the tail end of his illustrious career. Don't get me wrong, this master still has quite a few more gems left in him, but The Martian was his best shot – a crowd-pleaser that made a ton of money and solidified his stamp as a great visionary of sci-fi. Up next for him is Alien: Covenant, a prequel to the famous series and a follow-up to his much debated 2012 film, Prometheus.

Five Best Movies: Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, American Gangster, Black Hawk Down
Oscar Nominations for Directing: Three.

Jean-Luc Godard
Although the academy has never awarded a foreign film the Best Director award, exceptions could have been made in the 1960s for Jean-Luc Godard's tremendous streak of films. The films Godard churned out on a yearly basis were astounding. Starting with 1960's Breathless, his role in France's Nouvelle Vague movement helped shape not only his country's cultural movement, but also influence the way films would be shot and told in the American studio system. Now 85 years old, he strays far away from conventional cinema and instead opts for a requiem-sensed way of telling a story: It's bold, original, but vital filmmaking that still allows him to win awards at Cannes. Just don't expect him to win any Oscars for these films, as they are way too groundbreaking for the Academy's tastes. That's why a couple of years ago he was awarded an Honorary Oscar: they know.

Five Best Movies: Breathless, Contempt, Alphaville, Pierrot Le Fou, Band Of Outsiders
Oscar Nominations For Directing: Zero.

David Fincher
If a case could ever be made about how awards-worthy David Fincher is, he probably wouldn't want to hear about it anyways. That's how much he cares about awards. He's more interested in making vital art. If his films are at first met with polite approval, check out release date reviews of Seven, Fight Club and Zodiac, they instead end up lingering in our heads, aging like fine wine and becoming stone-cold classics. His static, highly controlled camera compositions enhance feelings of dread and coldness to the characters and situations he portrays. In fact, his cold, detached style has made him become the heir apparent to Alfred Hitchcock, whose films shared similar traits to and were also widely divisive back in the day. Next up for Fincher is a remake of Hitch's Strangers on a Train, set on a plane. A match made in heaven.

Five Best Movies: The Social Network, Zodiac, Fight Club, Se7en, Gone Girl
Oscar Nominations For Directing: Two.

David Lynch
The day David Lynch wins an Oscar will probably be the day our society has a significant cultural shift and abstract surrealist cinema would actually be making millions at the American box-office. Suffice to say, this will not be happening in the foreseeable future, which probably means Lynch will have to wait for his much-deserved honorary Oscar. But imagine a society where a David Lynch could potentially become mainstream; it briefly happened in the early ‘90s when, for one season, ABC'S Twin Peaks was the toast of the town and the obsession in millions of American homes. Of course Lynch couldn't help it and slowly veered the series' tone into, well, a David Lynch kind of world filled with abstract ideas, unresolved mysteries, and the strangest of characters. With all that being said, the fact that he has been nominated three times for Best Director is quite a beautiful miracle in itself.

Five Best Movies: Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, Wild At Heart, The Straight Story
Oscar Nominations for Directing: Three.


Pedro Almodóvar
Although he hails from Spain, Pedro Almodóvar has gained a solid following in the United States. His films, critical hits, also tend to make quite a bit of money. He even got a Best Director nod in 2002 for his masterwork, Talk to Her. He is such an imposing cinematic force that his movies usually get presented as an "Almodóvar film". Often portraying strong female characters, his films have that acerbically comic wit that we've all grown to love ever since his 1987 breakout hit, Law of Desire. His aesthetic brilliance goes far beyond surface beauty, he has written some of the strongest, most eloquent roles for female actresses in the history of the art form and basically kick-started Penelope Cruz's career into Hollywood stardom. If there ever was a foreign filmmaker who could defy the odds and become the first one to ever win a Best Director Oscar for a foreign film, it's Almodóvar.

Five Best Movies: Talk To Her, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown, Broken Embraces, The Skin I Live In, All About My Mother
Oscar Nominations for Directing: Zero.

Paul Thomas Anderson
Starting off his career with the Altman/Scorsese-inspired Hard Eight, Boogie Night, and Magnolia, there seemed to have been a shift in his style post-Punch-Drunk-Love in 2002. The best living filmmaker working today, P.T. Anderson has quintessentially reinvented cinema with his twin peaks There Will Be Blood and The Master – two bold, unique, ambitious films that signified a forward step in American filmmaking. They were character studies that defined the American character and the dark soul of this country. These were such exceptional works, from a director boldly going into new places, that comparisons to Kubrick were inevitable. These were movies that would surely be remembered in all their lasting glory in the years and decades to come. In fact, if there ever was a director today who could be compared to Kubrick, it would P.T. Anderson. Kubrick never got his due, winning only Best Special Effects, and one can only hope that Anderson won't be given the same fate.

Five Best Movies: There Will Be Blood, The Master, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk-Love
Oscar Nominations for Directing: One.


Terry Gilliam
Starting off with the Monty Python comedy troupe in the ‘70s would have been enough to love this man, he gave us Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but the fact that he also became an influential filmmaker in the eighties and nineties fully justifies his inclusion on this list. Terry Gilliam is a visionary. He saw stuff that was far beyond anyone's reach at the time. In 1985 he made Brazil, an important cinematic milestone that wasn't even going to get released until the L.A. Film Critics Association managed to screen it for its members and consequentially named it their Best Picture of 1985. His heavy use of wide angle lenses might take you aback at first – actually every single unusual camera angle he concocts would – but his style is unmistakably Gilliam, and the wonder of the worlds he creates are claustrophobic, dreamy, and richly detailed. He's never been nominated for Best Director, which is a crime, but if one looks at his filmography, they'll find something better: lasting works of art.

Five Best Movies: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Brazil, The Fisher King, 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Oscar Nominations for Directing: Zero.

David Cronenberg
If one theme keeps resonating among the directors of this list, it’s that they never seem to play it safe; these are directors who don’t make movies that are meant for Awards consideration. Oscar bait they are not, which perfectly describes the films of Canadian master David Cronenberg. He’s never gotten a single writing, directing, or producing nomination in his 40+ year career. That means classics such as Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers, A History of Violence, and Eastern Promises were not even mentioned in their respective years – as if they never existed. Time always has a way of making things better and that’s what’s happened to these films: they’ve lasted. Cronenberg will turn 73 in March, and he still makes smart, urgent films about his deepest obsessions, and never strives for the conventionality that wins awards. His parasite-filled, sexually tabooed and ultra violent films are what dreams are made of. Or is that nightmares?

Five Best Movies: Videodrome, the Fly, Dead Ringers, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises
Oscar Nominations for Directing: Zero.

Brian De Palma
If David Fincher has been channeling Hitchcock for the last two decades, Brian De Palma has been doing it for the last five decades. De Palma has referenced Hitch by constantly casting blondes as leading ladies, using Hitchcock regular Bernard Hermann’s scores and – more importantly – copying camera techniques of such films as Vertigo, Rear Window, and Psycho. Of course De Palma still managed to infuse his own “auteur” voice in the films; he’s one of the very best filmmakers for the long take/tracking shot and his constant use of the split screen has been nothing short of revolutionary. If you are too young to have lived through the ‘70s and ‘80s you wouldn’t know that at one point he was releasing one great movie after another. His familiar obsessions still linger inside him as he continues making movies this decade, but an Oscar nomination, in any category, still hasn’t happened.

Five Best Movies: Blow Out, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Carlito’s Way, Scarface, Body Double
Oscar Nominations for Directing: Zero.


Spike Lee
If any director can attest to getting the shaft from the academy, it’s Spike Lee. His greatest movie, Do the Right Thing, didn’t even get a Best Picture nomination in 1989, with the academy instead opting for the safer, gentler, but nevertheless forgettable, whimsical depiction of racism in Driving Miss Daisy. We all know which film stood the test of time and which film, as Lee pointed out recently, is taught in film schools all across the U.S. It wasn’t just that movie, either: his incendiary film about Malcom X couldn’t muster anything, except a Best Actor nomination for Denzel Washington. Just like some of the great directors of his time, Lee’s films have aged very well and he keeps pushing the envelope, most recently in last year’s undervalued Chi-raq. He’s also responsible for starting the whole #Oscarssowhite debate when he refused to accept his honorary Oscar for this year’s upcoming ceremony.

Five Best Movies: Do the Right Thing, Malcom X, The 25th Hour, Summer of Sam, Inside Man
Oscar Nominations for Directing: Zero.


Quentin Tarantino
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny the impact Quentin Tarantino has had on film culture over the last 25 years. Contrary to the other filmmakers on this list, he has actually won an Oscar before, actually two, both for Best Original Screenplay. No Best Director Oscar, which I guess he can’t really be too bummed about, especially since he keeps saying he’s going to retire after his tenth film, and well, let’s face it, his films are polarizing and always split the Academy vote. It’s already pretty impressive how his brand of filmmaking has transferred to the mainstream and actually makes money. Even when Pulp Fiction came out in 1994 nobody would have thought Tarantino would release a film 15 years later that would amass 320 million dollars in worldwide box office receipts (Inglourious Basterds).

Five Best Movies: Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds

Oscar Nominations for Directing: Two. 

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