Four Filmmakers Who Deserve The Big Break

james-gunn-guardians-of-the-galaxy-102098It’s rare that I do one of these lazy list posts, but I want to squeeze in one more for the month and I’m not supremely passionate about anything else out there right now so what the hell. It does seem slightly appropriate given that James Gunn is about to take a massive leap towards the mainstream with Guardians of the Galaxy tomorrow, after starting off at Troma and crafting such niche movies as Slither and Super. While I’ve previously lamented the almost-certainty of the studio farming of indie talent, I do also believe that large-scale studio filmmaking can be good under the right circumstances, and the more distinctive the vision behind it all, the better the chances are for success. If nothing else, I do appreciate getting to see truly talented and original voices getting to play on the biggest stages, instead of the anonymous studio hacks that bring nothing specific to the table. So on that note, here are a group of filmmakers that not only deserve this sort of opportunity, but who could really thrive in it and help provide us with more of the quality mainstream films that we deserve.

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Why Fox Isn’t Making A Deadpool Movie… And Why They Absolutely Should

deadpoolI was going to link to the hi-res Deadpool test footage that got loose, but it’s already been taken down by Fox again. Of course there’s absolutely no sense to taking it down; it does absolutely no harm to their brand and only raises awareness of the concept, which would be beneficial to them in deciding whether to actually greenlight the movie. This is the point that everyone has made already, and it’s true. But this is assuming that Fox really wants to make a Deadpool movie, and I don’t really think that they do. So to answer the myriad fanboys screaming “WHY HAVEN’T THEY MADE THIS?!?!?!?” I will attempt to explain the sadly corporate reasoning behind the lack of Deadpool. And for any Fox people out there reading along (fat chance) I will attempt to argue why Deadpool should indeed be a central project for them going forward. Condescending lectures for everyone, after the jump!

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The Strain Recap 1.3: In “Gone Smooth” The Worst Almost Overwhelms The Best

The_Strain_Early_Promotional_ArtThree episodes in and it’s pretty clear where The Strain’s strengths and weaknesses are, but unfortunately they have yet to work out the weaknesses. In this week’s ep, we have some REALLY good strong moments, and some weak moments that might not ruin it, but definitely serve as a reminder as to what makes them weak in the first place. Thankfully, this episode leaves us in a pretty good narrative spot, one that hopefully will see the weak moments fall by the wayside in the coming weeks.

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“Just Keep It Natural”: The Tao of Boyhood

boyhoodYes, this one took me forever to see, but I’m quite glad that I finally did.

It’s hard to even find the words to begin discussing Boyhood, a movie that is both so epic and yet so intimate. Skipping past the logistical/conceptual marvel that the movie is (and it very much is that), as a story and an expression of childhood it is simply beautiful. Even the focal point of “childhood” is really just a way of exploring the nature of time and change, and if that sounds like a pretentious-ass premise for a movie I can assure you that Boyhood is one of the most grounded and relatable films I have ever seen.

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The Strain Recap 1.2: “The Box” Is A Good Next Step

The_Strain_Early_Promotional_Art I liked last week’s premiere of The Strain but there were a couple of issues with pacing and set-up that kept the episode from really taking off. Thankfully this week is a marked improvement, which is either very or not-at-all surprising considering Guillermo del Toro’s lack of direct involvement in the episode. Regardless of why, if you weren’t fully sold on The Strain yet, “The Box” should do a lot to assuage your reservations.

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In Defense of Superhero Cinema

EW1321-1322-Ultron_612x380It’s pretty clear by now that superheroes are a major part of our current pop culture landscape, due in no small part to the steady (but relatively limited) supply of superhero-based blockbusters available each year. So of course there is a ton of backlash from more aesthete moviegoers against not just the perceived predominance of the genre but also the genre itself. Making it worse, even well-respected filmmakers have piled on the superhero-bashing wagon, with the most recent being William Friedkin. Once again, mainstream cinema is under fire folks, and that’s where my big mouth and righteous indignation comes in.

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Movie of the Week 6/30/14: Bringing Up Baby

bringing_up_baby_1938_lobby_cardAs I’ve said before, my biggest area of ignorance in film is old movies, particularly of the black and white era. I’m also not as big a comedy person; comedies are hardly ever a priority for me relative to other genres. All of which makes movies like Bringing Up Baby perfect for Shiran’s side of our tradition, as there’s pretty much no chance in hell I’ve seen it. Much like Howard Hawks’ other great screwball comedy His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby is marked by some committed and engaging performances and some terrifically-written wordplay. It serves as a great precursor to many of the comedy tropes we now take for granted (to the point of dismissal) but accomplishes them with a great deal of charm and grace.

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