I’m mentoring a young friend through the process of writing and directing his first feature, which he’ll shoot in a year; he’s still in development tweaking the script before it goes out to cast. His executive producer, the former president of a major studio, said to him the other day, “Your cinematographer is the most important person on set after you.” I couldn’t agree more.
There’s nothing like working with a great DP, it makes all the difference in the world to the outcome of your film on many levels. The most important level for me is the personal, the experience of making a film. I don’t get to direct often, so when I do I want to enjoy it, to be carried away by, yes, the quasi-spiritual experience of creating something worthy in harmony with my crew, as cheesy as that might sound.
I had no true concept of the scope of television content until I embarked on this thankless task of predicting this year’s Emmys, and by thankless I mean that about three of our regular readers seem to be interested in this — we’re getting far fewer hits than our Oscar predictions. The categories are so many that I thought I’d have Tuttle weight in to ease the workload by taking a stab at the reality-show noms,
Kimball and Killough decide to strip down to the basics with their video review of MAGIC MIKE. As Killough says in the review, “If Matthew Macconaughey can take his shirt off, so can I… he’s close to my age. Or my age in my Manhunt profile.”
Enjoy the show:
by James Killough @James_Killough
I had completely forgotten while I was watching Haywire that Gina Carano was cast from the TV show American Gladiators. Director Steven Soderbergh has chosen to film the fight sequences without hip-hop, rapid-cut editing; rather, he holds the camera steady while we watch the real actress, not a stunt double, kick the living daylights out of actors who aren’t trained up as fighters to anywhere near her degree.
It reminded me of when I was about nine and used to practice judo with my nanny, Diane, a horsey butch lass from Coventry with bad acne and a brown belt in aikido. She’d just toss me across the living room like a rag doll. Watching Carano do the same to Channing Tatum, who lists a film called Fighting in his credits, is quite something. I’d almost say this is the first time I’ve ever felt that the female lead in a film was a bully.
by James Killough
Shortly after his disastrous foray into animation with Arthur and the Invisibles in 2006, semi-auteur Luc Besson announced he was retiring from directing. Steven Soderbergh did the same thing last year. Both have been directing since they were in their mid-twenties, and the process has clearly long since lost its appeal. As Marcello Mastroianni, playing an uninspired director in Federico Fellini’s autobiographical 8 ½, says in a panic to his lading lady Claudia Cardinale, “Ma non c’ho niente più da dire!” But I have nothing left to say!
Or, as Michael Bay’s putative natural father John Frankenheimer—who was so furious that Bay claimed to be his son that he tried to disprove it, but failed—said in an NPR interview shortly before he died, “Directing is for younger men.” What Frankenheimer, who directed the seminal thriller French Connection, was referring to was the sort of hyper-kinetic action adventure films he helped pioneer with Connection, and which his natural son took to an extreme that I am not alone in considering unwatchable, despite the fact my dog Henry co-starred in Bay’s graduating student film at Wesleyan University.
by Eric J Baker
Think back. You’ve touched your face within the past minute or two, haven’t you? You’re probably doing it now, after running your hands over that bacteria farm of a keyboard no less. Bad move. Oh, and take that finger out of your ear. You don’t know where that finger’s been!
Those last two lines belong to a scene from the movie Airplane! (1980) in which a man offers that sage advice to another character who is using his ear for a nose. Yes, you know the sequence, but I bet you don’t know who that man was. He was acclaimed movie director Steven Soderbergh.
That’s actually not true at all. I made it up. I’m sorry. But you’ll excuse me for getting confused, because Soderbergh’s new film, Contagion, dispenses the same message as Airplane! did 31 years ago: Take that finger out of your ear! It’s dirty.