Musings on Quentin Tarantino’s 12 Favorite Films

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Earlier this month, Sight and Sound magazine asked many of the well-known filmmakers today to list their favorite films, you can see the list here.

QT_cameraFor this article, I would like to just focus on Quentin Tarantino‘s favorite films. If you read most of my articles on this site (i.e. ranking favorite Tarantino’s films) then you know that I’m a big fan of QT. Sure I thought Django Unchained was quite disappointing but it’s still better than most films I saw in 2012. If not for Tarantino, I may not have seen some of the classics from the 60s and 70s. Because of his recommendation, I discovered the films of the great late director Sam Peckinpah and some of the lesser known spaghetti western and action films from said decades.

If I remember correctly, Tarantino tends to put out his best of list yearly but I think this list is his top favorite films of all time. I was surprised to see a couple of films on his favorite list, but before we get on that, here are twelve of his picks:

  1. Apocalypse Now (1976) – Francis Ford Coppola
  2. The Bad News Bears (1976) – Michael Ritchie
  3. Carrie (1976) – Brian De Palma
  4. Dazed and Confused (1993) – Richard Linklater
  5. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) – Sergio Leone
  6. The Great Escape (1963) – John Sturges
  7. His Girl Friday (1939) – Howard Hawks
  8. Jaws (1975) – Steven Spielberg
  9. Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971) – Roger Vadium
  10. Rolling Thunder (1977) – John Flynn
  11. Sorcerer (1977) – William Friedkin
  12. Taxi Driver (1976) – Martin Scorsese

Out of the 12 films on the list there, the one I’ve never seen or heard of before is His Girl Friday. Otherwise I’ve seen all of them and four are on my all favorite list films: Apocalypse Now, Rolling Thunder, Sorcerer and Taxi Driver.

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A couple of films that surprised me to see on his list are The Bad News Bears and Dazed and Confused; for the kind of films that he tends to make, I wouldn’t think he’d include a comedies on his list. Over all it’s a good mix of genre and it’s great seeing what kind of films he truly enjoy.

As mentioned earlier, the four films on his list that are also on my list, two of them are well known and highly regarded as some of greatest films ever made, Apocalypse Now and Taxi Driver. No doubt those two were excellent films and deserves all the praises from critics and fans alike. Now other two films were not as well known, Rolling Thunder and Sorcerer, both also came out in the late 70s but they didn’t garner any critical or box office success. I think these two films deserve to be seen by more people and if you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend you seek them out. Particularly Sorcerer which was a remake of a French film from 1953, Wages of Fear. To be honest with you, I prefer Sorcerer over Wages of Fear. It was well directed by the then hot director William Friedkin, who’d just made two very successful films, The Exorcist and The French Connection. I think the film failed because I believe audiences were expecting to see some sort of supernatural thriller not an action thriller about men versus nature.

Rolling Thunder on the other hand, was a gritty shoot’em up revenge action thriller, a genre that was quite popular at the time. For anyone who’ve never seen either of these films, the good news is that both are coming out on Blu-ray real soon. Friedkin has tweeted that he has raised enough money to do a digital restoration on Sorcerer so it can be release on Bluray.

I can’t wait to see it on HD and in widescreen!
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– Post by Ted S.
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So what’s your opinion on Tarantino’s favorite films? Have you seen some or all of them? If so, share your opinion on the comments section.

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New Releases Double Reviews: Jack Reacher & Django Unchained

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Thanks to Ted for these reviews as I was on vacation when the screenings took place.

Jack Reacher

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Tom Cruise continues his “comeback” on the big screen with another action thriller after the success of last year’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, this time he’s playing another super-spy type in Jack Reacher. It’s based on one of Lee Child’s popular series of novels, One Shot. The film starts out with a mysterious person who randomly shot and killed five people in a public place with a sniper rifle. With the recent tragedies in real life, this opening sequence was a bit eerie, so just a warning if you’re still too upset about what happened in Connecticut, I don’t recommend you go see this movie. Now the scene was well shot and staged and to me it didn’t glamorize the violence but I can definitely understand if someone can get upset when they see it. Later an ex-marine sniper named Barr (Joseph Sikora) was arrested for the crime and during an interrogation he asked the detective on the case Emerson (David Oyelowo) and district attorney Rodin (Richard Jenkins) to get him Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise).

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Director Werner Herzog as the Russian mobster known as ‘The Zec’

Emerson and Rodin decided to look up Reacher but couldn’t find anything on him. A few moments later Reacher showed up at their office and asked to see Barr. But Barr is in a coma because he got beat up badly by some other inmates while in custody. So Reacher met with Barr’s lawyer Helen (the gorgeous ex-Bond girl Rosamund Pike). Reacher told her that he’s there just to make sure Barr is behind bars because he believed Barr did the shooting, he and Barr had a history together back when they were in the army. But Helen convinced Reacher to help her investigate what really happened and as both of them dig deeper into the case, they got in trouble with some local thugs, Charlie (Jai Courtney aka John McClane Jr.) and his mysterious boss known as The Zec (the great director Werner Herzog).

Performance wise, I thought everyone did a good job. Especially Cruise who was in the command of the role. I’ve never read any of the books but I know some fans weren’t too thrilled that he was cast as Reacher. But I think many of them will find out that Cruise did well here.

The film is a straightforward procedural thriller; there aren’t any major surprises that will wow you. The humors are well-placed and they didn’t feel forced into each scene. The action sequences were pretty great, I’m so glad that the filmmakers decided to shoot action scenes where we can actually see them. Some directors tends to forget that when we go see action films, we want to SEE the action, not trying to figure what’s going on during a scene or get dizzy from it. Christopher McQuarrie who wrote and directed this film, did a tremendous job with his sharp dialogues and action sequences.

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The climatic shoot out was probably one of the most meticulous action scenes I’ve ever seen. The way he laid out each sequence and edited were quite astonishing to me. Then the mano-a-mano showdown between Reacher and Charlie was well staged and looked like a “real” fight between two grown men. Of course this being an action film, it needs a car chase scene and it was well done too. It reminded me of the chase scene from Bullit but I kind of wish it ended similar to that film, if you saw the trailer then you know how the chase ended. I thought it’s too cheesy and didn’t really make sense.

In the end I thought it was a well made action thriller that didn’t take itself too seriously and I like the fact it has that old school 70s thriller feel to it. I would definitely love to see more of Jack Reacher films in the future.

4 out of 5 reels

Django Unchained

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Having read the script last year and loved it, I was very excited to see this film. (Read my script review here.) Surprisingly the film is very close to the script, only a few scenes didn’t make it to the screen. Quentin Tarantino is obsessed with spaghetti westerns and he tends to pay homage to that genre in some of his films, particularly Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds. Well now he’s finally made a film that truly pays homage the genre but he also mix in another genre, blax-ploitation, mostly the slave related subject that were popular back in the 70s, the most popular film from the genre was called Mandingo. Anyone who likes 70s films as much as I do will probably have seen some of these films; even though they were considered “trashy” by most critics, I somehow enjoyed them. It also burrowed a lot of elements from Sergio Corbucci’s films, especially Django and The Great Silence; if you’ve seen either of those films, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The film opens with a “dentist” named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) looking for a slave who can identify three fugitives for him. We then meet Django (Jamie Foxx) who said he knows these three fugitives, so Schultz decided to buy Django from his owners but they refused. Well, Schultz being an educated man tried to reason with these clowns but they still won’t budge. So he used his skills with a pistol to convince them. Django is freed and both of them set out to find the three fugitives. After they hunt down the fugitives, Schultz was quite impressed with Django skills so he asked if Django would like to be a bounty hunter like him and join him in the hunt. In return Shultz will help Django with anything he wants. Django agreed and said he wants to find his wife who’s been taken away from him. The first half of the films was about Schultz teaching Django how to become a good bounty hunter and sharp with a pistol.

A few months later, Schultz found out where Django’s wife is being kept. She’s at a plantation known as Candieland which owns by Calvin Candie (Leo DiCaprio). So in order to rescue her, Schultz came up with a plan by pretending to be a rich German who’s interested in purchasing a Mandingo fighter and Django is his Mandingo expert. The rest of film took place at Calvin’s Candieland plantation.

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I thought the performances by the lead actors were great, especially Waltz and DiCaprio. Jamie Foxx surprised me, I was skeptical when he was cast in the title role but he did a good job. Apparently QT wrote the part specially for Will Smith but Smith turned him down, I was hoping QT would cast someone like Anthony Mackie or Idris Elba. Also, the cinematography by Robert Richardson was excellent, from the snowy landscape of Montana to the muddy streets of Mississippi, every shots looked spectacular. The action sequences were great, there’s a shootout scene that’s similar to the carnage scene in Kill Bill Vol. 1 where the Bride took down the Crazy 88s.

Now I’m going to talk about why I was very disappointed with this film. As mentioned earlier, I read the script (which I reviewed here) and loved it, but somehow the actual film just didn’t deliver in my opinion. It’s clear that QT really needed his long time editor the late Sally Menke to work on this film with him. I thought the first half of the film was sloppily-edited and just wasn’t coherent. The music selection was kind of odd too. I always love the music QT used in his films but when you hear a Tupac song during a shootout scene in this one, it sort of take you out of the film. Now I understand why QT cast a not so well known actress in the role of Broomhilda, Django’s wife, she hardly spoke in the film. She either screams, cries or look scare in each scene she appeared in.

This was one of the films I most looking forward to see this year and unfortunately it was a major disappointment to me. Now I plan to see it again soon since I saw it almost a month ago, so I might change my mind when I see it again. I’m not saying it’s a bad film, it just didn’t lived up to my expectations. I know that I might be in the minority since after the private screening, many people in the theater thought it was great. If you’re a huge QT fan, you might enjoy it. Just a warning though, the film is violent and very bloody. The N-word were uttered constantly by pretty much everyone in the film, so if you’re easily offended, I don’t recommend you go see this film.

In an interview, QT mentioned that he might release a longer extended cut of the film down the road. At one point his producer Harvey Weinstein tried to convince him to split the film into two parts like they did with Kill Bill but QT vetoed that idea. I assume he shot many scenes that were in the script but decided cut them out. I don’t know if a longer version will improve the movie, I mean most of the scenes left in the cutting room floor were probably just violent and rape scenes. I’m assuming here of course because those sequences were in the script.

2.5 out of 5 reels

– reviews by Ted S.


What are your thoughts on these films? Did they live up to your expectations?

10 Favorite Directors’ Quotes Relay Race

Another relay race has been circulating around, similar to the Best Actors and Actress Relay Race I did a few months ago. This time it’s David from Taste of Cinema who started the relay race to share some of our favorite quotes from filmmakers. Thank you John @ John Likes Movies for tagging me!

Here’s David’s explanation of the relay race:
People love wisdom from great minds. As a cinephile, I prefer director quotes more than words from any other group of people in the world. Their thoughts on cinema not only provide insights into a deep understanding of cinema, but also open the window to their own films, their genres, and their filmmaking methods, thus the need to receive more exposure as their films did.

The rules have been altered, but basically the one rule is simple: Replace one director and their respective quote with one of your own.

Here’s who’s participated in the Relay Race so far:

Chris at Movies And Songs 365
Alex at And So It Begins…
Josh from The Cinematic Spectacle
Stephanie at On Page and Screen


And here are the quotes as it stands now…

“I steal from every single movie ever made. I love it – if my work has anything it’s that I’m taking this from this and that from that and mixing them together. If people don’t like that, then tough titty, don’t go and see it, all right? I steal from everything. Great artists steal; they don’t do homages.”Quentin Tarantino

“Unlike all the other art forms, film is able to seize and render the passage of time, to stop it, almost to possess it in infinity. I’d say that film is the sculpting of time.” – Andrei Tarkovsky

“Why make a movie about something one understands completely? I make movies about things I do not understand, but wish to.” – Seijun Suzuki

“I don’t like the idea of ‘understanding’ a film. I don’t believe that rational understanding is an essential element in the reception of any work of art. Either a film has something to say to you or it hasn’t. If you are moved by it, you don’t need it explained to you. If not, no explanation can make you moved by it.”Federico Fellini

“When I make a film, I never stop uncovering mysteries, making discoveries. When I’m writing, filming, editing, even doing promotional work, I discover new things about the film, about myself, and about others. That is what I’m subconsciously looking for when shooting a film: to glimpse the enigmas of life, even if I don’t resolve them, but at least to uncover them. Cinema is curiosity in the most intense meaning of the word.”Pedro Almodovar

“All my movies are about strange worlds that you can’t go into unless you build them and film them. That’s what’s so important about film to me. I just like going into strange worlds.”David Lynch

“You make films to give people something, to transport them somewhere else, and it doesn’t matter if you transport them to a world of intuition or a world of intellect…The realm of superstitions, fortune-telling, presentiments, intuition, dreams, all this is the inner life of a human being, and all this is the hardest thing to film… I’ve been trying to get there from the beginning. I’m somebody who doesn’t know, somebody who’s searching.”Krzysztof Kieslowski

“I wonder whether my bleak-o-meter is set differently from other people’s. I have such passion for what I do that I can’t see it as bleak. When people use that word, or “grim” or “gritty,” I just think, “Oh, come on, look a bit deeper.” My films don’t give you an easy ride. I can see that. The sense I get is that people have quite a physical experience with them. They feel afterwards that they’ve really been through something.”Andrea Arnold

“Truth is hard to tell! And you have to be willing to be criticized for it.”Lee Daniels

“A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end… but not necessarily in that order.” 
Jean-Luc Godard

I’m removing…

There are some directors here I’m not familiar with, but I really like what they had to say so I wouldn’t remove their quotes simply because I haven’t seen any of their films. So I chose the quote that I don’t find as interesting as others, so it’s not a reflection of how I feel about said director. So that said, I bid adieu to…

Francis Ford Coppola 

“An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before?”

My addition:

Christopher Nolan

“Every film should have its own world, a logic and feel to it that expands beyond the exact image that the audience is seeing.” 

I choose to go with a contemporary director whose complete feature films I have seen, including his first feature film shot on a shoe-string budget Following. He’s one of my personal favorites and I think the British auteurs is one of the greatest filmmakers working today. I like that quote because he lives up to that concept with his films, they’re cerebral, imaginative and has that sense of wonderment. There’s another quote of his I like where he said that film is first and foremost entertainment, but that it can be both serious and intellectually stimulating. His films definitely has those qualities.

Ok, now the easy part:

I’d like to tag my friend Keith @ Keith and the Movies whose phenomenal blog is one of my favorites. Take it away, Keith!


Well, what are your thoughts on these quotes and my pick in particular?

Musings on Django Unchained First Trailer

So the trailer of one of my most anticipated movies of year has arrived, Django Unchained. In case you didn’t know what it’s about, here’s the basic plot:

With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
 


So what do I think of this trailer? To be honest with you I’m a bit underwhelmed by it. I hate to judge a film base solely on its first trailer but somehow I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be. Some of you may have already read my script review of the movie. From what they’ve shown so far in the trailer, most if not all of the scenes from the script are there. I love the look of the film, even though it’s referred to as a western, most of the film actually took place in the south. Christoph Waltz looks exactly as I had envisioned him when I read the script, although I’m still not sold yet on Jamie Foxx as the hero Django, maybe because when the script was “leaked” Will Smith was being sought for the title role so I pictured him in that role instead. Leo DiCaprio looks like he’s having a blast playing the villainous Calvin Candie, if he’s as good as the role that was written in the script, I predict he’ll get an Oscar nomination.

Now the reason I was underwhelmed by the trailer is the tone of the film. To me it looked too cheesy, I expected the tone to be more of a serious western like The Outlaw Josey Whales or The Wild Bunch. Now I know Quentin Tarantino is paying a homage to the cheesy spaghetti westerns of the 60s and 70s but I didn’t expect to look this cheesy. It looked more like a comedy/western than a serious action/western. Another reason I wasn’t too excited about the film is that QT is working with a new editor since his long time editor/collaborator, Sally Menke, passed away two years ago. He’s now working with Fred Raskin and I’m not sure if he could translate what QT wanted out of the movie. As some of you know, editing is one of the most important parts in filmmaking and if the editor doesn’t have the same vision as the director then the film could be a disaster.

Even though I was a bit underwhelmed by this trailer, I’m quite sure the actual film will be great, heck they’re still shooting it so hopefully when they’re all done, we’ll get a new great trailer. In the mean time, we can all discussed what they’ve shown us so far.


Check out Ted’s profile and his favorite Tarantino movies


So what do you think of the first trailer folks? Are you looking forward to this movie?

007 Chatter: Seven directors wishlist for the next Bond movie

In anticipation for Bond 23, a.k.a. Skyfall coming on November 9th, 2012, Ted and I are starting a new monthly series called 007 CHATTER… look for it sometime in the first week of each month.

I’ve also added a new category for this, so click on 007 Chatter on the category drop-down menu for all Bond-related posts.

Ok, so last month we’ve singled out seven actors we think might be a good pick to play Bond. Now, we set our sights to the directors who’d do the franchise some good.

Skyfall‘s director Sam Mendes is quite an unlikely choice to direct a Bond film given his theater background and his films often deal with troubled ordinary people, a far cry from the ultimate action hero. But that fact is what makes Skyfall so promising to me. Some have said that this next Bond flick will be lighter on action but with heavier character development and I welcome that. Now I think we can still expect some high-stunts action sequences, car chases, what have you, but there’s nothing wrong with giving this 50-year-old franchise more depth and profundity.

Well, without further ado, these are seven directors Ted and I think could do the franchise some good:

TED’s and RUTH’s PICKS:

Kenneth Branagh

Ted: Ah now we are finally talking about a director whom the producers might already be considering to direct the next one. He’s a Brit and he’s just made a big budgeted action film, Thor.  Also, he’s already signed on the reboot another espionage franchise, the untitled Jack Ryan film. So not only is he a Brit but he’ll also have the experience of working on a spy flick, so it’s a win-win for the producers. I think Branagh can bring back those classic styles of the Bond flicks from the 60s.

Ruth: The multi-talented Irish thespian maybe known for his Shakespearean work, but he’s far more versatile than than, as proven with the success of the comic-book adaptation of Thor, among others. I’m certainly optimistic about him directing the fifth Jack Ryan spy thriller with Chris Pine. As an accomplished triple threat, actor/writer/director, he’s also got a knack for casting [case in point: then-unknown Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor] so perhaps we’d have another star in the making with a yet unknown Bond actor.

TED’s PICKS:

David Fincher

Fincher was actually going to direct another spy franchise back in early 2000s (Mission: Impossible 3). But because of the dispute between him and the studio over the film’s tone, he left the project. With Fincher’s style and flare, his Bond flick could be one of the best ever made, heck he already directed James Bond aka Daniel Craig in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo so maybe Craig will help convince the producer to hire Fincher for the next Bond flick. We know Fincher can handle big-budgeted films so that won’t be a problem. He’s never done an action film before but some of his films has some great action sequences, for example the foot chase scene in Se7en and the shootout sequence in The Game, so he can definitely stage great action set pieces. Also, his schedule is wide open since Disney put an axe on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, he was set to direct the remake of the 1954 film but Disney new chief wanted save some cash. But because he’s American, I don’t think he’ll ever be consider for the gig.

Park Chan-Wook

Another candidate I don’t believe Bond producers will ever consider, but it would be awesome if Park Chan-Wook gets to make a Bond flick. Actually I think the South Korean director should’ve directed Quantum of Solace. Most of his films dealt with vengeance and I think Quantum would’ve been a great film had he directed it. Like Fincher, this man knows how to shoot great looking films, his Vengeance Trilogy are some of the best looking films I’ve ever seen and they’re pretty low budget. So imagine if he has $200mil to shoot a film, it would look spectacular. And with a character like Bond, he could explore the darker side of the character.

Quentin Tarantino

Some may remember right before the producers of the Bond films decided to reboot the franchise, Tarantino was on The Tonight Show and started talking about much he wanted to make Casino Royale (per MI-6 HQ.com). He told Jay Leno, “Just give me $50mil and I can make an awesome Bond flick based on Casino Royale novel.” Well a couple of years after QT made his comments, that movie came out but unfortunately QT didn’t get to direct it. For the next Bond flick, I think the producers should consider QT as their next director and I know it’s very unlikely since they have strict rules against hiring non-European directors. QT is a Bond fanatic so I know he can make a great Bond film but again I don’t think it will ever happen.

Honorable mention:

Kathryn Bigelow – Now here’s a director that I don’t believe the producers will ever consider, she’s an American and well she’s a woman. But look at her resume, she can definitely direct a big action film. Point Break is one of my favorite guilty pleasure action films; she also made another great and very underrated action film, Strange Days. Oh yeah she’s an Oscar winner too. So come on now the Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, let’s put her on the list of the next Bond director.

RUTH’s PICKS:

Christopher Nolan

I know Nolan has expressed interest in directing a Bond movie. In fact, he even admitted on several occasions of that the intense action sequence in the snowy mountain area in Inception was inspired by growing up watching Bond films. Well, considering how astounding his Batman films and Inception were, I think the 42-year-old Londoner could potentially do something very intriguing with this franchise. On his IMDb profile, it’s said that Nolan’s films often have ‘obsessive protagonists with a troubled past,’ well then Bond would be a perfect character for him to tackle. Plus, given his huge fan-base, it’d certainly be a good move financially for the studios as well.

Surely rising star Tom Hardy would be very keen on this idea. He’s even said that he’d do the role if Nolan is directing. He told Metro UK, “I’d love to play Bond with Chris Nolan (as a) director or something, it would be awesome.” Yes indeed!

Matthew Vaughn

Here’s another young, talented Londoner who’s expressed interest in directing a Bond movie. He’s said in many interviews that his X-Men: First Class was partly inspired by the 60s Bond films, describing it as “… part Bond flick and part John Frankenheimer political thriller.” Vaughn quite forthright about his desire to do a Bond movie in this Bleeding Cool article:

I sort of want the Brocollis to regret never hiring me. I was very keen to direct Bond. I don?t know if I am any more, to be blunt, now that I?ve done this. I really love Daniel [Craig], though you know, it might be interesting if they one day decide to cast Fassbender as Bond, then maybe I? ll go ?Hey!?

Fassbender’s Magneto was practically Bondian in his quest for personal vendetta, he even had the strut down pat. It’d be great to see these two team up in a Bond film. Maybe his wife Claudia Schiffer could even have a cameo as a Bond girl :D

Brad Bird

This is the off-the-beaten path pick as Bird is American, but it’d be great if the Broccolis make an exception once in a while. Somehow they don’t seem to mind about the Bond actor not being from the UK, so why not the director?

The critical and box office success of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol proves that Bird could tackle live-action flicks as well as he does animated features. He’s obviously able to take a formidable but stale franchise to new heights with innovative and thrilling action sequences. He’s sort of made an homage to Bond movies with The Incredibles, and given his screenwriting track-record, he’d be able to balance the thrills and gadgets with engaging characters and narrative. Oh, perhaps Michael Giacchino could work on the Bond score? Now, that’d be a winning combo!


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Well, those are our choices, folks. Please vote below and if you pick ‘other’ please let us know who it is and why in the comments.


Guest Post: Ted ranks his favorite Quentin Tarantino films

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[rtm's note: With the recent casting of Jamie Foxx in Tarantino's upcoming film Django Unchained, Ted looks back on some of his favorite films from the Tennessee-born director. Also check out Ted's review of Django Unchained script.]

QT is one of my favorite directors working in Hollywood today and yes I do think he’s a hack but he’s a damn good hack. He’s able to combine his favorite genre films from the 60s and 70s and put in own spin on them. With the news that he’s going to make a western, I thought I should list my favorite films of his. I’ll only list films that he was the sole director, I’m not going to list films or TV shows that he co-directed, co-wrote or starred in. Also, I won’t go into the plot of each film since readers of this site probably know QT’s films pretty well. In order, below are the films:

1. Pulp Fiction
I actually didn’t care for this film the first time I saw it. I thought it was weird and well just plain sucked. So a couple of years later, I decided to give it another shot since it got nominated for so many Oscars. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it the second time around and it’s now one of the few films I’d call a masterpiece. I have seen this film countless times now and I’m still waiting for it to come out on Blu-ray. Highly recommended if you’ve never seen it.


2. Inglourious Basterds
Tarantino spent over ten years writing the script of this film and I think it was well worth it. I love this movie, all the performances were great, especially Christoph Waltz as the sinister Col. Landa. QT said when he first wrote the script, he wanted to cast big named stars in the movie. He wanted Sly Stallone as the Basterds leader then Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Bruce Willis and Adam Sandler will play the Basterds. He wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger as Landa and the film was going to be more action oriented. Of course around this time, those actors were still making $20mil per movie so he figured there’s no way he can cast them all so he decided to re-write it. When he finally was ready to shoot the movie, he met with Leo DiCaprio and offered him the Landa role but Leo told him to cast an actual German for the role instead. We have to thank Leo for that suggestion.


3. Kill Bill
I know there are two films but I count them as one because originally the film was supposed to be released as one movie.  After The Weinstein Bros. saw the film, they told QT to cut it into two so they could make more money from it. Great move since both films earned around $70mil each, had they released it as one, they’d only make $70mil. QT’s take on the kung-fu and spaghetti western was just awesome; he even played homage to Bruce Lee’s Game of Death and Sergio Leone’s For A Few Dollars More.

I thought Uma Thurman got robbed for not getting an Oscar nomination for her role as The Bride. A little tidbit about the second film’s ending, in the script there’s a big fight scene between The Bride and Bill. The scene would’ve taken place right after their conversation near the end of the film. The fight was going to be on the beach and Bill’s demise was quite brutal, I think that’s a correct word for it. Rumors been going around that QT actually shot the scene but he didn’t like it and decided to not use it. Of course he never confirmed or denied those rumors. So hopefully we’ll get to see it in the near future.

4. Reservoir Dogs
I didn’t see this film until after I saw Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, by then I was in the QT fan club and wanted to see all of his work. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started watching this film but was quite surprised of how much I enjoyed it. The film has very intense torture scene, I still having a hard time sitting through it even if I watch it today. But I thought the way the scene ended was quite ingenious; I definitely didn’t see it coming.

5. Jackie Brown
QT’s take on the Blaxploitation genre was very good but it wasn’t well received by the critics or audiences. I think many people were expecting another version of Pulp Fiction even though he kept telling people that isn’t. I remember a guy I used to work with at a video store, he was so excited to see this movie and I kept telling him it won’t be like Pulp Fiction and he said he knew that going in. Well after he saw it, he told me it sucked because it wasn’t anything like Pulp Fiction. I thought it was funny and just laughed at him. I’ve only seen this movie once; it’s definitely one of my least favorite films of QT. I’ll see it again once it comes out on Blu-ray.

6. Death Proof (part of Grindhouse)
I enjoyed this film but can’t say it’s good because the film was pointless and didn’t have any plot whatsoever. Going into this film, I expected to see his version of Halloween or Friday the 13th, but what I got was a movie about pretty girls talking nonsense and they kept talking and talking and talking. Although I thought the chase scene at end was awesome and the little twist was pretty cool too. I can’t recommend the film to anyone unless you’re a huge die-hard fan of QT like I am.


Well those are my ranking of QT’s films, from best to worst. What do you think? If you’re a fan of QT, how would you rank his films?

Guest Post: Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’ Script Review

Script cover courtesy of Tarantino.info

So I got a hold of Tarantino’s new script Django Unchained and have read it three times, it’s probably one of the most exciting scripts I’ve read in a while. In case you don’t believe me, see the image to the right, it’s the front page of the script, if you go to some other sites to read the review of the script, you‘ll see the exact same page.

I also read the scripts of Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds way before the films came out and I thought those were great but Django was much better, so let‘s hope QT can turn it into a great film. Since the film hasn’t even been made or cast yet, I won’t go deep into the story, I have too much respect for QT to ruin his great work and spoil it for those who prefer to see the film. I’ll skim through some of the characters and what you can expect from the film. It’s basically a revenge/love story with Tarantino’s touch.

Fans of QT know that he love the cinemas of the 60s and 70s and this film will be his true homage to the spaghetti western genre and also a little bit of blaxpoitation films. Particularly he played a lot of homage to Once Upon a Time in the West and Mandingo. A lot of people assume it will be a remake of Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Django, but it’s not. Although the star from that film, Franco Nero, will probably have a minor role in Django Unchained, QT wrote a character especially for him. The story took place sometime in the 1800s, he never specify the year and right away we see to our hero Djangoand a couple of pages in we were introduce to our second hero, Dr. King Schultz. Since QT knows how to shoot a great action sequence, this opening scene will no doubt be spectacular once it’s on the screen, again I won’t spoil it for you but let’s just say Dr. Schultz is one bad ass character. Apparently QT wrote the part specifically for Christopher Waltz and if he accepts the role, no doubt he’ll own it like he did with Col. Landa.

Fan-made poster by Federico Mancosu

After we were introduced to our two heroes and a big action scene (trust me you‘re going to love the sequence and it was quite bloody too), just like in other QT’s films, he jump the story to another character with the usual screen fades to black and then title card telling us what we’re about to see now. In this segment we were introduced to Django’s wife Broomhilda and what happened to her after the opening scene. There’s a flashback scene in the beginning of the movie of Django and Broomhilda’s time together but a tragic event happened and they got separated.

Also, here we were introduced to the main villain, the slimy and despicable Calvin Candie. If you think Col. Landa or Bill were great villains, Candie might actually change your mind. I’d compare Calvin Candie to another despicable villain character, Judge Holden from Blood Meridien, a western novel written by Cormac McCarthy. I won’t be surprised at all if QT sort of based Calvin Candie on Holden. Later in this segment, we get to see Candie’s right hand man, a house slave named Stephen; he’s as nasty as Candie. Also there were some minor characters we were introduced to; these include a vicious killer who kills slaves for fun. There’s a scene in the script that’s very similar to a scene from Schindler’s List where Ralph Fienes’ character lined up Jewish prisoners and shot them in the head one by one; in this movie a few slaves were lined up and this character named Ace Woody starts shooting them in the head one by one. Then there was Candie’s lawyer Mr. Moguy, even though he’s in the rest of the film after we met him, he didn’t have a lot of dialog. The rest of the film takes place at Candie’s farm called Candyland, that’s where he pits slave fighters against one another.

As I mentioned before, this is one of the best scripts I’ve ever read and it has QT’s signature unexpected scene in it, you know like the one where Vincent shot Marvin in the face in Pulp Fiction or the shootout scene in the basement bar in Inglourious Basterds. In this one there’s a handshake scene that will make people laugh and jump at the same time, seriously it’s going to be awesome. What’s surprising to me though was how straight forward the plot of the film was, I was expecting something wild and crazy but what QT wrote was a true western with a lot of action and great characters. Now since the story is about slaves in the 1800s, the N-word were uttered by every major characters in the film except Broomhilda, so if you’re offended easily I don’t recommend you go see this film. Also, whichever actress who gets the role of Broomhilda, she’ll have to bear her skin quite a bit. There’s a couple of rape scenes and of course whipping. Just like the other QT’s films, it’s brutal and unflinching; I know for sure some scenes will make people very uncomfortable. One particular scene might not make it to the screen, it involved a runaway slave and huge hunting dogs, and I’ll let you use your imagination as to what happened in that scene.

QT and Christoph at the Governor’s Ball

In the last month or so Will Smith was the front runner to take the role of Django but looks like he’s backing away from it, probably because he doesn’t want to star in such a violent film, which is kind of funny because he was in Bad Boys 2 and that film was quite violent. If Smith won’t take the role then I would like to see maybe Anthony Mackie or Idris Elba. As for Dr. King Shultz, Christopher Waltz have to accept it, I can’t see anyone else in that role but him. If Alan Rickman were a bit younger, I think he’d be great for this role too. Rumors also been going around that Michael Fassbender was offered a role in the film, I assume it’s for Candie’s lawyer role Mr. Moguy, the role is minor and very similar to his character in Inglourious Basterds.

As for the villain Calvin Candie, apparently QT offered the role to Leonardo DiCaprio. This is kind of strange since he wrote the character as someone who’s in his late 40s or early 50s. If Leo accepts it then I’m sure QT can change the script and make the character younger. I actually like this move by QT a lot, cast one of the biggest stars in Hollywood as one of the most despicable villains ever and I think Leo can do it. It will be very interesting to see how people will react when he says the N-word to our hero and to all of the black characters in the film and trust me he uttered that word quite a bit. I think for the role of Broomhilda QT can probably cast some unknown actress since I assume some well-known ones might not want to take it. Like I mentioned before, the role will require the actress to be naked a lot and she got raped in a couple of scenes. For the role of house slave and second main villain Stephen, Samuel L. Jackson has apparently been offered the role and he’s perfect for it. In the script QT described him as a tall, skinny and in his 50s. He and Django do not like each other one bit and the showdown between them was pretty awesome, can’t ruin it for you though.

Now QT love to change his scripts so what I read might not be the final script but I hope he keeps most of it when he finally shoots the film. I remember he changed the script of Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds, only about 60% to 70% of script made it to the screen. Whatever he decides to do, I’ll be there opening night. Seriously I can’t wait to see this movie but it won’t hit theaters ’til Christmas 2012!


So there you have it, an early review of QT’s new script that sure to be stirred up some controversies once it hits the big screen. What do you think? Will you go see it or are you not a fan of Tarantino? Feel free to leave your comments below.

Guest Post: Musings on Darren Aronofsky’s departure from The Wolverine… and who should replace him

So late last week, Fox announced that Darren Aronofsky won’t be directing the new Wolverine film. As a fan of Wolverine and the X-Men franchise, this was a huge blow to me. Even though I’ve never read any of the comic books, I was a huge fan of the cartoon show that aired in the 90s. I also enjoyed the first two films quite a bit, not too much with X-Men 3 and the first Wolverine film though. So when Aronofsky said that he’s coming on board to retool the Wolverine movie, I was ecstatic because I think he’s one of the best young filmmakers in Hollywood today and Wolverine is one of my favorite comic book characters right behind Batman.

I thought the first Wolverine film has potentials but the final product was pretty lame. Some of you might even remember that the first film has so much drama behind the scenes too, so maybe Aronofsky didn’t want to deal with Fox executives and decided to just walk away now before he’s knee deep in production and couldn’t get out.

The official statements by Fox and Aronofsky said the shoot was going to be out side of the States and that Aronofsky didn’t want to be away from his family for that long period of time. When I heard that, I didn’t believe it for a second. I will bet anything that Aronofsky left the project because Fox executives won’t let him make the film the way he wants and also they probably gave him a very tight schedule to shoot the picture. I truly believe that Aronofsky wanted to make a very gritty and dark film about Wolverine and Fox executives probably said no, very similar to the first movie.

Fox didn’t like where the movie was going so they ordered the director (Gavin Hood) to make changes so they could market it to younger audiences. Rumor has it that Hood actually walked off the set and veteran director Richard Donner actually was the one who finished directing the movie, Donner’s one of the movie’s producers. I think Aronofsky didn’t want to deal with the stress and just walked away. Now some people will suspect the tragic that’s happening in Japan might have something to do with his decision to leave the movie (the new Wolverine film will take place in Japan), that could be true but I highly doubt it. If they’re so concern about the danger of shooting in Japan, they could go to some other country and shoot it. There are lots of country that can be substitute for Japan, The Last Samurai was in New Zealand.

A few years ago when Singer left X-Men to shoot the new Superman film (Superman Returns), Fox announced that Mathew Vaughn was taking over the franchise. Then a few weeks before shooting begin, both the studio and Vaughn came out saying that he’s leaving the project because he didn’t want to be a way from his family for too long. Sounds similar to last week’s announcement about Aronofsky isn’t it? Here’s the original article where Fox announced Vaughn was leaving X-Men 3. The real reason why Vaughn left the project was because Fox gave him an impossible shooting schedule and they demanded he shoot the film based on the new script, Vaughn wanted to stick with Singer’s original script. Had he or Singer made the film, the main story would’ve been about the Phoenix saga and we’ll finally get to see those giant robots known as The Sentinels, it was seen briefly in beginning of X-Men: Last Stand. Of course we all know what happened, even though Last Stand made a lot of money, I thought the film was quite awful compare to the first two X-Men films.

As of now Fox hasn’t announce who will take over the project yet, I just hope they don’t go and get some of the hacks to finish the job. If they do, you can bet they’ll go after someone like Brett Ratner, Rob Cohen, Stephen Sommers (he was fired from the G.I. Joe sequel so he’s looking for work) and Paul W. Anderson. Since most of my favorite and talented directors are busy with their own projects, I’m afraid Fox might just hired one of those hacks.

But just for fun, these are my ideal candidates to replace Aronofsky: Duncan Jones (Moon), Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy), The Coen Bros. (why not, they haven’t done an action/comic book film yet and this could be very interesting project for them) and Quentin Tarantino.


I know those guys will probably never be on Fox’s list but even if they are, I highly doubt they’ll accept the job. One possible candidate that Fox might actually hire is Bryan Singer, he was in the running to direct the first Wolverine film so maybe he’ll come on board if Fox asks him.


Well, what do you think of Aronofsky’s departure from The Wolverine? Are you as upset as I am and who do you think should fill in the director’s chair for this film?

The Flix List: Seven Great Directors Working in Hollywood Today

TedSaydalavongBanner

A while back I wrote about hack directors working in Hollywood. Well, to balance things out, now how about some of the great ones who are still churning out some great films. I’ll also list some of their upcoming projects that I’m looking forward to see on the big screen. (rtm’s note: also check out my 15 Directors meme, which share a few names in common).

In no particular order, here are the directors:

1. Steven Spielberg

Say what you want about Mr. Spielberg but in my opinion he’s one of the great filmmakers ever. Let’s face it, he practically owns Hollywood. Here’s a man who started the term blockbuster with his mega hit film Jaws back in 1975 and hasn’t slowed down since. He’s one of the few directors from 70s who still has that magic touch when it comes to delivering high quality films. You can’t really say that about some of his peers who started their careers around the same time as him. For example George Lucas seems to just want to stick with his Star Wars franchise; Francis Ford Coppola hasn’t done anything significant since Apocalypse Now; and William Friedkin sort of faded after hits like The French Connection and The Exorcist. Spielberg on the other hand, can make any kind of films, from light summer tent poles to darker-themed ones and still achieve relative success.

One complain I have about him is that he seems to like to please the audience way too much when it comes to his tent pole flicks. For example, in the original script of A.I. the film was supposed to be a hard R-rated story about robots living in our future society but he decided to turn it into sort a light adventure/drama flick. Of course Stanley Kubrick was going to direct it, but then he passed away so Spielberg took over the project in his honor. I wish he didn’t change the script, but I still enjoyed the movie nonetheless. I can only imagine what Kubrick could have done with that project since it would’ve been his true sci-fi project since 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Another film I thought he chickened out by given us a happy ending was Minority Report. I love everything about that movie except the last half hour. I still can’t get pass that clichéd happy ending. Now there are some out there who thinks that the last half hour of the film was actually Tom Cruise’s character dream. I don’t know about that, I’ve seen the films many times and still don’t buy that theory. The film would’ve been perfect had he followed the book’s ending, those who read the short story probably know what I’m talking about.

Here are a few projects he’s working on that I’m looking forward to see on the big screen:

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I don’t know anything about the Tintin story but I’m looking forward to seeing it next Christmas. This was probably one of the few films that Spielberg has trouble green lighting from studio executives.

RobopocalypseBased on the upcoming novel by Daniel H. Wilson, the plot is about the near future, and all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. “Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans – a single mother disconcerted by her daughter’s menacing “smart” toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a ‘pacification unit’ go haywire – but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.”

“When the Robot War ignites — at a moment known later as Zero Hour — humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly-conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us…and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.”

I got the quotes from Amazon. Those sounds very cool to me and he’s going back to do another sci-fi flick and this could be an epic type of a picture. I love futuristic films so I can’t wait for this film and will pick up the book once it’s published this summer.

Oldboy: A remake of South Korean action/thriller masterpiece directed by Park Chan-Wook. The original film was based on a graphic novel published in Japan and at the moment the publisher is suing the film company because they sold the film rights to Spielberg without the publisher’s permission. When it was announced back in 2008 or 2009 that both Spielberg and Wil Smith were going to do a remake, the internet movie world went crazy because many thought Hollywood shouldn’t touch it. But I’m curious to see how Spielberg will translate the film’s dark and twisty theme for western audiences, for those who’ve seen the original film; you know what I’m talking about. The ending of that film still haunts me.

2. Martin Scorsese

Here’s another a guy who started his career in the 70s and is still going strong. No, his films doesn’t have the box office number like Spielberg’s but most of his films are first-rate stuff and you can tell that he didn’t make them just for the sake of getting big paychecks. He even tried making different type of films in the 80s, they weren’t successful but at least he step out of his comfort zone, can’t say that about some of the big name directors out there. (That’s right Michael Bay, I’m talking about you and the rest of the hacks in Hollywood.)

He doesn’t have a lot of projects lined up but I’m looking forward to see Hugo Cabret which at the moment doesn’t have a release date yet. I won’t be surprised if he teams up with Leonardo DiCaprio again soon. (rtm’s note: Sure enough just yesterday, it was announced that Scorsese will direct Leo again in their fifth collaborative effort in The Wolf of Wall Street, based on stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s memoir – per Vulture).

3. Christopher Nolan

I think most film lovers will agree with me on this one, in my opinion Nolan IS the next Steven Spielberg and he just turned 40 years old so he still has a long career in front of him. To me Nolan hasn’t done a bad film yet, knock on wood that The Dark Knight Rises won’t be cursed with the third film syndrome. He has that rare talent of telling a great story while at the same time can entertain us with spectacles we expect from big summer films. He’s one of the few directors in Hollywood that studio executives actually respect, well it helps that his last few films made hundred millions of dollars at the box office.

Of course The Dark Knight Rises is his future project I most looking forward to see but I also hope he goes back to develop The Prisoner for the big screen again. He left the project after the studio decided to make a TV mini-series version, I haven’t seen mini-series yet but I heard it wasn’t that good. I used to watch the old 60s TV show when I was little and always thought that it would have cool to see a movie version. Maybe Nolan will go back to it once he finishes with his Batman saga. At one point he had Russell Crowe signed on to play the lead role but the studio never gave him the green light, this was before Batman Begins came out.

rtm’s note: Since Ted wrote this article, there have been reports that Nolan is interested in directing another Howard Hughes biopic. According to Vulture, he apparently abandoned the long-shelved project when it became clear that Martin Scorsese would beat him to the screen with The Aviator in 2004. Here’s more details from the article: [While] Scorsese’s film is understood to have been heavily based on Charles Higham’s biography “Howard Hughes: The Secret Life” and centered largely on the early years of Hughes’ life up to 1947, we hear Nolan’s movie is based on Michael Drosnin’s “Citizen Hughes: The Power, the Money and the Madness”(first published in 1985), and would focus on the freakier decades of Hughes remarkably secretive and OCD-addled life.

The article suggests that Nolan is planning for a 2014 release for this film, which is a good 10 years after the Scorsese’s version is released.

4. David Fincher

I still have to thank the producers of Se7en for giving Fincher another chance after he got blacklisted by Hollywood for the failure of Alien 3. If they hadn’t done that, we might never have heard of him ever again. Hollywood is truly a rough place for young filmmakers. Anyhoo, for years now Fincher has been churning out great work, yes I even enjoyed The Game. I mean how can someone turned a script about Facebook into a great movie? I don’t know if any other director can do what he did with The Social Network’s script. I truly believe if another director made that film, it would’ve been a clichéd, boring movie, but in Fincher’s hands the film was exiting and beautiful to look at. I do hope he gets that Oscar statue he truly deserves.

A couple of his upcoming films I look forward to:

The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo I haven’t read the books yet but will do before the first film of a trilogy opens this Christmas.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain NemoThis will be his first mega budget adventure film and I’m pretty excited to see what he can do with it. Not sure if Disney will release it in the summer or holiday time but currently its schedule to come out in 2013. Apparently Disney already spent $10 million on pre-production, McG was first attached to direct with Wil Smith as the star but new Disney chief didn’t like the script so he shut down production. I’m sure he’ll keep close attention to see how The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo performs at the box office before he decides to green light this one.

Another project I hope he does is the un-produced Mission: Impossible 3 script, I would love it if he decides to turn that script into his first action/adventure flick.

5. Terrence Malick

He doesn’t make a lot of films but whatever kind of films he decides to make, I’ll go see it since I’m a huge fan of his. I won’t say much about him since he’s one of those directors that either you will enjoy his films or you’ll just hate them. I’m definitely looking forward to see his upcoming Tree of Life. A little behind the scenes tit bid about the film, before Brad Pitt and Sean Penn signed on to the project, Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger were going to star in the film. Of course Ledger passed away and Gibson just went a little nutty.

6. Quentin Tarantino

Some people will call Tarantino a hack and I don’t have problems with that because in a way he is a hack but a very talented hack. If you look at all of his films, they’re all remakes of crappy 60s or 70s films that he loved when he was young. He’s able to turn crappy and cheesy premise into great storytelling, look at Kill Bill for example. When you read the plot of that film, didn’t it sound silly to you? A beautiful blond who’s great in kung fu and samurai sword goes on a killing rampage after her old gang left her for dead. That sounds pretty silly to me, but the actual film turned out to be great and the fight scenes were even greater.

I thought Uma Thurman should at least have gotten nominated for an Oscar for her performance in that film. She got robbed in my opinion. I’m referring Kill Bill as one film because it was supposed to be released as a three hour epic but The Weinstein Bros. convinced Tarantino to cut the film in half and release it separately. Great marketing move because each film earned about $70mil at the box office, had they decided to release it as one film, they wouldn’t have gotten that other $70mil. Back in 2008, Tarantino planned to release Kill Bill 1 and 2 as one film on Blu-ray/DVD but The Weinstein Studios went bankrupt so not sure when it will come out now.

Of all of his films the two I like the least are Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown, don’t get me wrong those are very good films but compare to the others they’re pretty weak.

The only project I saw listed on IMDb for him was Kill Bill 3, not sure when the movie will come out and will it still be called Kill Bill since Bill is already dead in the second movie? I guess we’ll find out soon.

7. The Coen Brothers

These guys have been making great films after great films since the early 80s and don’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Most of their films have a simple premise but somehow they’re able to turn them into great storytelling and of course most of the actors who’ve worked with them always give great performances.

They don’t have any upcoming projects lined up yet but I assume they’re enjoying the big success of True Grit, it’s their most successful film when it comes to box office numbers. I do hope they decide to tackle another western, Blood Meridian, a novel by Cormac McCarthy. Currently James Franco is trying to convince the producers to hire him to direct the project. When I heard that it terrified me, Franco doesn’t have the experience or talent to tackle that kind of a project. Ridley Scott tried to bring it to the big screen but left so I hope the producers won’t let Franco take over the project.

(rtm’s note: Actually last week there were rumors circulating that the Coens might do a full-on horror film next. Here’s a quote from Empire: When asked if he’d consider ever doing a full-on horror, as opposed to merely dabbling in the likes of Blood Simple, E. Coen replied,“Funny you should ask, yes, we’re working on a couple of scripts now, one of which it would be fair to call a full-on horror movie. Frances McDormand is the monster.” Now, that last part is most likely a joke, but the first part could be true.)


Honorable mentions:

1. Michael Mann – after Collateral he seemed to be repeating himself with Miami Vice and Public Enemies. I’m talking about the way he shot the films, he seems to love to shoot them in that home video quality and I’m not digging it. He doesn’t have any future projects listed but hopefully he can make a big comeback with a new picture.

2. James Cameron – I’m not a big fan of either Titanic or Avatar but I thought they were quite entertaining to watch. But I’m a huge fan of his earlier work; T-2, Aliens and The Abyss were some of his best films. I can’t exclude a man who every time he decides to make a film; he sets the bar higher and higher for big budget tent pole films. Terminator 2 was the first film to actually cost $100mil to make, that was significant back at that time. Then Titanic was the first film to have cost $200mil in production back in 1997 and again it was something people in the industry never heard of before. Now $200mil is the average budget for tent pole films and many films have already surpassed Titanic’s budget. Pirates of the Caribbean 3 cost around $300mil, Spiderman 2 & 3 both cost well over $200mil and Superman Returns cost around $260mil to make. Of course we’ve all read about Avatar’s budget, anywhere from $300mil to $500mil. But it really doesn’t matter because it made tons of it back. Apparently he’s working on Avatar’s sequels and planning to shoot them back to back. But I’m more excited for his other project as a producer of At the Mountains of Madness to be directed by Guillermo del Torro.

3. Ridley Scott – his last couple of films were a disappointment to me. I do hope he can deliver the Alien prequel, Prometheus or whatever it’s called. I still think he should team up with DiCaprio again and make A Brave New World, a great novel by Aldous Huxley. If you read the book then you know it’s a great project for him. Apparently DiCaprio pitched it to him a couple years back when they were shooting Body of Lies together but Scott wanted to do Robin Hood instead.

4. Darren Aronofsky – he’s done mostly smaller art house type of films but you can’t deny how great of a talent this man is, I haven’t seen Black Swan yet but looking forward to it. Requiem for a Dream and Pi are still my favorite movies of his, I thought The Wrestler was a bit overrated and The Fountain was just too much mumble jumble and didn’t make a lot of sense. Of course he didn’t have the big budget to shoot The Fountain after Brad Pitt left the project; so he had to trim a bunch of stuff from his original script, which was pretty great. I’m looking forward to see what he can do with his first big budget superhero flick, The Wolverine. Maybe if the movie turns out to be great and makes tons of cash, we might actually see his version of Batman.


TedS_post


Well those are my list of great filmmakers, agree or disagree? Feel free to name your own list of great directors or let me know your thoughts about any of their upcoming projects.

31 Days Movie Meme Day #10: Movie I ended up loving

A movie you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving:
Inglourious Basterds

The marvelous IB opening sequence

When the buzz for this movie started even months before it opened, I had no interest whatsoever in seeing it. I’ve never been a Tarantino fan and though I enjoyed Pulp Fiction, I’m not familiar with his work. Plus, Brad Pitt’s mug all over the poster isn’t what I’d consider enticing. But then a girlfriend—whom I thought are more into chick flicks—said how much she enjoyed this movie. My guest blogger and loyal FC reader Mike also raved about it, I mean rave with a capital ‘R,’ marveling about QT’s masterful filming style and how spectacular the opening sequence was.

Needless to say I was intrigued and you know what, they were right. I loved the movie! If you read my glowing review in five parts, clearly I was pleasantly surprised by it. Despite some of the violence and highly suspenseful scenes, I was blown away by the story and the distinctive way it’s presented.

The lethal beauty Shosanna Dreyfus

Though Pitt got top billing, the movie really belongs to Christoph Waltz! He deserved all the kudos for his bravura performance, a perfect mix of menace and whimsy. I just wish French actress Mélanie Laurent had gotten her share of nods as well as her performance was equally amazing. The always-watchable Michael Fassbender also delivered a memorable performance as Lt. Hicox, an English soldier who goes undercover as a German Captain.

In any case, I’m glad I gave the movie a chance. In fact, I was rooting for it to win Best Picture, alas, another movie that didn’t blow me away walked away with the Oscar. Oh well, I stand by this one and out of the 10 Oscar nominees last year, Inglourious Basterds is definitely one I wouldn’t mind watching again.