Yes, I’ve seen all three of Tom McCarthy’s films. He’s a solid filmmaker – The Visitor was probably the best.
As far as character actors turned directors, he’s better than Clark Gregg. :)
I think there might be some confusion – when we say “young director” are you talking about the age of the person or the time they’ve spent directing feature films? I would say Kelly Reichardt is a young director even though she may not be a “young woman”. To me, age has little to do with it (in other words, would you have called Michael Haneke an old director when he made his first film, even though he was 110 years old?)
Looking forward to more from PTA, but I would vanish the gentlemen in the OP before LR.
Pleased to see Ken Lonergan doing well, same league or no.
“Go ahead and blame Phoenix for that. His charade as a rapper really destroyed any chances Two Lovers being taken seriously.
Although in the end, I kinda liked I’m Still Here. haha"
Gray was also pissed that Paltrow didn’t bother promoting the film either apparently, so it was inevitable that the film just sunk on release.
As for Phoenix, i think he has a kind of brooding intensity that isn’t common for actors of his generation. He isn’t on the level of the best guys he is probably influenced by from the old days, but there is something there i believe, something compelling. He doesn’t always star in the best films though, but working with directors like Gray and P.T.A is good for him.
He peaked in Parenthood.
Although I really adore PTA’s films and I am always there looking forward for his new work, I am slightly disappointed noticing that most of his films pose more as student work on a higher scale. PTA is a superb director and has always interesting story to tell. He has done some really great films starting from very early age. He released Boogie Nights and Magnolia when he was not even 30. This is pretty astonishing.
However, after reading more into his films and their production, as well as watching them more closely each time, I started to notice that PTA is a more student that a master. And I mean that particularly in the style he takes for directing his films. Before I list the examples, I have to say this is just my assumption and it can be taken as a series of coincidences between PTA’s works and other directors’.
For instance, his Boogie Nights follows pretty much the steps of Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Casino. A group of people are involved in the same business together, almost like one big loving family. In that group, two types stand out – the older, father-like figure (DeNiro for Scorsese, Reynolds for Anderson) and younger, son-like character (Liotta and Pesci for Scorsese, Wahlberg for Anderson). They soon achieve big success, sometimes for the part of the younger character. Then, they face trouble with the consequences of their actions dozed by their success. Most typically, they would fall into drugs and continuous fights with each other. Then, they split and follow their own paths until they either unite again or end up in a hige cataclysm. Even the montage of shots is applied in the same manner. Now, important to say is that PTA did indeed use for the most part his personal experience growing up in San Fernando Valley and his subject is slightly different, although porn industry does not go far from mafia affairs.
Later on, as PTA helped Altman as an assistant on set, he learns from the master and makes Magnolia, a sort of revision of Altman’s concept of Shortcuts. You have several separate storylines and a whole ensemble of different characters with their own arcs. However, PTA suddenly integrates all the story arcs by inserting in the plot one absurd (not meant in negative way) event, in which frogs start to fall from the skies. Again, it is certainly his peace of work, but you cannot deny certain aspects that would generally link to Altman’s Shortcuts.
Interesting that Altman was the one to introduce Anderson to Kubrick during the making of Eyes Wide Shut. From there on, PTA makes his Punch-Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood. In these films he appears as a more experienced filmmaker and employs his own stories (although TWBB was a loose adaptation of Oil!). Nonetheless, he makes an abrupt shift in his directing style toward something more similar to Kubrick’s. He focuses on only a number of key characters in comparison to his earlier works. He also exposes a lot of symbolism and hidden meaning in certain objects, McGuffins (piano in PDL and oil drills in TWBB), which are present on the course of his films. His primary characters also alter and stories focus now on loners, who follow their journeys. Yet, certain scenes and especially greater reliance on music give out good nods to Kubrick’s 2001, The Shining and A Clockwork Orange (though, this is slightly less evident in PDL, which could actually better link to Altman’s Popeye and French films of the 60s).
All in all, I can say PTA seems rather influenced by other greater directors than simply copying them. He keeps his individual work, but often borrows from others in the less obvious, more clever manner than Tarantino. I can only say that he has definitely grew from a student to a filmmaker with very great potential. I am certainly looking forward to The Master and believe it will be a new step in his evolution into a master himself.
^strong analysis. i have enjoyed PTA’s earlier work more than his latter. so not sure what that says about my taste. perhaps i like the student eye better…there might be more hiccups but the highs are higher?
Films like The Godfather and Chinatown are well-made and are quality films, but to a degree they rely on their plot and storyline for their greatness, and I don’t find them very interesting to watch from an artistic standpoint.
I’m back reading through this thread. Rossi, who is no longer a member here, said the above quote. I know it’s a fairly straightforward point, but it articulates something I’ve been attempting to do for a quite some time.
I’m a huge fan of what I have termed, ‘character driven mood films’. When I favorite films, it’s usually these types. The Lost in Translations of the film world. Thin on plot, heavy on mood and character. They grab my attention through emotion rather than intellect.
Like I know The Social Network is a great movie. It is well written and executed to perfect by the director and actors. It’s pacing is perfect. I gave it 5/5.
But it’s not a film I fell in love with. I didn’t embrace the characters, the aesthetic of it did nothing for me. Don’t get me wrong, the DP work is A+. But I wasn’t drawn into the characters’ world. I was viewing it.
Lost in Translation…I’m in it baby. I’m right there with the characters, inside the director’s head.
Earlier ITT you asked people to justify what made The Social Network, and another film, so great. Read above. Sure there was an emotional disconnect for me while watching it. But my intellect can clearly see how great of a job everyone involved in the film did. It hits on all cylinders, the actors sure/comfortable/knowledgeable of the zeitgeist they are portraying and the director, writer perfectly syncing up everything with the story. And the score was perfect.
Ramin Bahrani, and he’s got a new film coming out
As for Aronofsky, I have re-watched Black Swan recently. To be honest, I have never came to like it more than the first time and that time I gave it 3.5/5. The film visually is quite stunning and Portman’s acting is top thrill.
However, storywise I was never so absorbed into the film. I liked Aronofsky’s psychologizal analyzis of the protagonist. Yet, I was not sold on that whole idea of her transforming into black swan, her alter ego, as it seemed very much like a trick rather than a smart move.
I have to say that another reason I was underwhelmed by the film is because there is one film, which deals with the very much similar story, but makes it ten times more captivating and runs its pace very smoothly. I guess, if you watched Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue, you know what I mean. The film was released like 12 years prior to Black Swan and it was one of the top anime thrillersI have seen in my life. Full of suspence, gore and emotional hysteria, the film also prevails in its story, which absorbs the viewer in keeping an eye at every single scene. It’s a hell of a ride.
Now, I remember reading Aronofsky actually bought the rights and intended to remake it. Not sure if it would be a great idea, but I can’t say so either as for his Black Swan. His film is indeed visually impressive and has Portman ruling the party, but I have to say its story is what seemed to me more as a flaw. Moreover, it is the reason why I so much prefer Perfect Blue to it.
Lost in Translation is pretty special that way. I too find myself much more interested in mood, character, and the “feeling” of films, the rest is all gravy but thems the meat and potatoes.
What’s with all the American names – have you guys never heard of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Albert Serra, Nicolas Pereda, Sharon Lockhart, Reygadas, Jia Zhangke, Xavier Dolan, Denis Cote?
OP did say that non-American directors are welcome, after all (though it feels painfully redudant that OP even felt the need to mention that. What does that say about how American-centric MUBI users are?).
Haven’t read all the posts here, but I think Martin McDonagh is a real talent. In Bruges is, for all its faults, perfectly constructed.
“have you guys never heard of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Albert Serra, Nicolas Pereda, Sharon Lockhart, Reygadas, Jia Zhangke, Xavier Dolan, Denis Cote?”
Most of those are fourtysomething, which is really pushing the definition of “young”.
Sorry, I just saw your post now.
But my intellect can clearly see how great of a job everyone involved in the film did. It hits on all cylinders, the actors sure/comfortable/knowledgeable of the zeitgeist they are portraying and the director, writer perfectly syncing up everything with the story. And the score was perfect.
But is the film really about and what is it saying about this? It just seemed pretty empty to me in terms of content—i.e., a good story; evoking a strong emotional response; revealing interesting insights, etc.