Joseph Kosinski

IntroFirstTimeDir

People don’t just get handed million-dollar blockbusters, nor do studios go door-to-door looking for someone to direct the next Jurassic Park. That’s why the following list of first time directors – while seemingly out of nowhere – certainly had backgrounds directing stuff like music videos or commercials.   Still – they were untested in feature filmmaking, and to the un-obsessed public it would appear that studios simply plucked a dude off the street. Like giving a small child a semi truck, the results were mixed.

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news twilight zone movie

You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension of sight and sound but also of mind; a journey into a wondrous land where a director known for two mediocre science fiction films is given the keys to a classic series- his next stop, The Twilight Zone! That’s right, The Twilight Zone is getting another modern retelling, this time with Oblivion and Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski in talks to direct. This marks the fourth remake for The Twilight Zone, including the 1983 film and the TV revivals in 1985 and 2002. This speaks volumes about what we’re likely to get in our next Twilight Zone remake. For one, there’s only one director being announced- so either Kosinski will be directing all of the film’s segments by himself, or the film will inexplicably be a single episode stretched to feature length. And second, Kosinski’s not known for his horror chops. The only two pictures in his filmography are futuristic sci-fi tales, so could his modern Twilight Zone ease up on the spookiness and send us centuries into the future? The folks at The Hollywood Reporter mention that the script has already been re-written to hell and back, but will be altered to fit Kosinski’s unique style. That’s key as anyone who’s watched and loved Rod Serling’s series knows its memorable greatness came from the stories. No word yet on who, specifically, is in charge of alterations. The big question from here is: who’ll be the narrator/host? My vote goes to Keith David.

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kosinski

With only two films under his belt, director Joseph Kosinski‘s architectural background rings loud and clear. From his approach to framing to the elaborate sets, everything feels deliberate. For Kosinski, that purposefulness doesn’t purely derive from painting a shiny picture, but from building character. For his second feature film, Oblivion, the director follows his dissatisfied protagonist, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), through isolating and contrasting settings highlighting his dillema. Jack’s conflict is what drove Joseph Kosinski to spend the past few years of his life developing the project based on an idea of his own. The TRON: Legacy director wanted to make a character-driven science-fiction film, not a set-piece one. Kosinski’s film isn’t one packed with set pieces, making the movie rest on Jack and Cruise’s shoulders. Kosinski, despite his busy schedule, made the time to speak with us this week after the film’s successful release. Here’s what he had to say about the heart of the film, his favorite set, and how video games differ heavily from movies.

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Oblivion

Oblivion is the kind of science fiction movie that plays with a lot of other movies’ toys and forgets to clean them up afterward. Then we all step on a HAL 9000 doll in the middle of the night when we’re going for that last piece of fried chicken in the fridge, and the bruise reminds us to yell rhetorically at the Tom Cruise-starring movie the next morning. How many times have we told it to pick up its things? The movie’s created some mixed responses, but it’s also left behind some huge questions. Plot holes, really, if we’re being honest. It’s messy for how hard it tries to be smart. Some of those questions are inconsequential, some slightly annoying and some vital to what could have been sci-fi success. On their own, they could have amounted to nitpicks, but the sheer number of them (and the severity of a few) made for a truly confused experience. Spoilers for Oblivion abound so beware, but if you’ve already seen or just plain don’t care, let’s dive in to the bizarre question marks looming high in the sky over Joseph Kosinski‘s latest film.

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review oblivion

Oblivion is many things. [pause for laughter from readers who've seen the film] It’s a thrilling mix of science fiction, action and discovery. It’s visually stunning and filled with beauties both CGI and natural. It’s a major step up from director Joseph Kosinski‘s debut film (Tron: Legacy). It’s a thinly-veiled commentary on drone warfare. It’s scored with occasional energy and life by M83. It’s a rare example of a film that almost demands to be seen on an IMAX screen. It’s the near epitome of style over substance. And it’s the most derivative sci-fi film since Avatar. Jack (Tom Cruise) is a repairman whose sole duty is keep defensive drones functioning. He and his teammate, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), are the last remaining humans on Earth after a devastating alien attack sent our species scrambling for new digs on Saturn’s moon, Titan. A handful of humans including Jack and Victoria’s commander sit aboard a space station orbiting above them, but when Jack’s curiosity regarding alien actions on the planet’s nuclear pock-marked surface causes friction he’s thrown into an unexpected adventure with far-reaching implications.

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Oblivion Movie

Joseph Kosinski‘s Oblivion is a lot like a fireworks display on a Tuesday. It has no real reason to exist, and while the visuals are exciting, they only impress for fifteen minutes before things get faulty and repetitive. In other words, leave it to Kosinski to make fireworks boring. In the film itself, those fifteen minutes are scattered unevenly through a wasteland that feels much longer than its runtime. Around the third hour of the two-hour-long movie, Morgan Freeman‘s gruff survivalist character describes an outside threat as without a soul, without humanity, merely a beautiful machine. He might as well have been talking about this movie. Jack (Tom Cruise) is a handyman soldier stationed at a beautiful house that stands above the wreckage that used to be the planet. His job is to repair drones that have malfunctioned or been brought down violently by Scavengers — the enemy that destroyed the Moon, that doomed mankind to head for an interstellar refuge and that still lives in small numbers despite the utter devastation caused by earthquakes and floods. That war was sixty years ago, but Jack and his romantic colleague Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are doing a tour of earthbound duty  to ensure that a few giant, floating rigs are able to suck up the remaining sea water in order to harvest energy. However, Jack is plagued by dreams of a woman (Olga Kurylenko) standing atop the pre-war Empire State Building and can’t shake the feeling that he knows her. Eventually, that […]

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Oblivion

The fact that Joseph Kosinski‘s Oblivion looks just beautiful in its ads isn’t surprising – his Tron: Legacy may have been a giant disappointment, but that disappointment sure looked nice on the big screen – but now that the wow factor of the Tom Cruise-starring, future-set film has warn off, it’s time we actually examine the meat of what we’ve been shown so far. First of all, no matter what its tagline tells us, we’re fairly certain that Earth isn’t just “a memory.” In fact, we’re also fairly certain that Tom Cruise’s Jack Harper is actually kicking it on Earth throughout much of the film. Gotcha, marketing! Wait, we knew that already? What? Of course we knew that already, but why then is the film’s tagline the bizarrely obtuse “Earth is a memory worth fighting for”? We know that Jack’s down on Earth, tasked with drone repair on a plant ruined after a long war with an alien race (essentially, he’s Wall-E), and we know that he finds people (maybe?) still living on the desecrated planet – so why all this “memory” hubbub? Let’s hope Kosinski has an answer for us to make up for Tron. In the film’s latest trailer, we get more “memory” talk and a greater understanding of Jack’s day to day work. Check it out after the break.

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Years ago, commercial director Joseph Kosinski was one of the hottest up-and-comers, with a bright, bright future. Then we actually saw that his feature debut, Tron: Legacy, didn’t play as much more than a technically impressive showcase for the filmmaker. He took $150 million and had Jeff Bridges saying stuff like, “Bio-digital jazz, man.” Money not put to good use, I say. Kosinski was then written off as a director with nothing more than a nice eye, no true knack for storytelling. But after seeing the first full-length trailer for his new sci-fi epic, Oblivion, I think maybe some of us spoke too soon. This original science-fiction pic, starring Tom Cruise roaming a desolated Earth, seems like a fairly routine hero’s journey, albeit told on a far more ambitious canvas than what we saw on display in Tron: Legacy. This trailer does a fine job of setting up film’s the world and Cruise’s character, Jack Harper (not to be confused with Jack Reacher). Take a first-look at Oblivion for yourself after the break (or on Apple.com).

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Oblivion Poster

No matter how audiences felt about Joseph Kosinski‘s Tron: Legacy (point of fact, this writer did not feel particularly good about it), the film is undeniably a treat for the eyes, so it’s no surprise that Kosinski’s latest outing, Oblivion, already manages to look like a visual feast from a one-sheet poster alone. The Tom Cruise-starrer is based on Kosinski’s (and Arvid Nelson‘s) own graphic novel, and centers on “a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, [where] one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.” The film also stars Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Melissa Leo. We’ll get our first look at the film’s trailer on Sunday but, for now, this poster is jaw-dropping enough. Oblivion will be released exclusively in IMAX on April 12, 2013, with a wide release following on April 19, 2013. [IGN, via ComingSoon]

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When director Joseph Kosinski revived Disney’s sci-fi classic TRON with the belated but visually dazzling 2010 sequel TRON: Legacy, the results were a mixed bag to say the least. One thing that pretty much everyone could agree upon when it came to that film, however, is that the score by French electronic group Daft Punk was the best thing it had going for it. Eschewing a traditional film score in favor of the pulsing, electronic sounds of Daft Punk worked wonders when it came to bringing the world of TRON to life and really making it hum, and it’s not hard to imagine that the film could have been far less effective without such a perfect marriage of image and sound. TRON: Legacy isn’t the only film that’s gone the nontraditional route when it comes to finding its music in recent years, either. From Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood scoring Paul Thomas Anderson movies, to Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor scoring David Fincher films, to The Chemical Brothers providing the music for Joe Wright’s Hanna, bringing a mainstream musician in to score your film instead of hiring one of the well-established film score composers seems to have become a full-scale trend, and a trend that has so far provided us with some amazing music. Since it worked for him once, Kosinski is looking to go back to that well for his next sci-fi adventure, Oblivion. The Playlist reports that in order to find the musical accompaniment for this Tom Cruise-starring tale of […]

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Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski’s upcoming sci-fi project Oblivion has grown in hype quite a bit since it was first announced. Mostly that’s due to the fact that Tom Cruise signed on to be its headliner, and whenever that happens a movie suddenly goes from being a project of the director to being a “Tom Cruise movie” in the hearts and minds of the public. But, spotlight-hogging by Cruise aside, Oblivion is a movie that’s been quietly developing into quite the little ensemble piece over the past few weeks. The film is about a man on a post-apocalyptic world who discovers a crash-landed space ship containing a mysterious woman. Cruise is playing the lead, of course, but Olga Kurlyenko has already signed on to play his wife back home, Andrea Riseborough has signed on to play the crash-landed woman, and according to Deadline Nashoba, not only has Morgan Freeman signed on for a critical role, but Game of Thrones’ Jamie Lannister, Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, has also agreed to come on playing the role of Sykes, who is said to be a badass weapons expert. After seeing what he has to offer playing a smug warrior in Game of Thrones, this is a role that I’m confident Coster-Waldau can pull off.

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Talk about cinematic whiplash. Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinksi‘s next project has already gone through myriad incarnations, and the project doesn’t even have an official name yet. Count that as one of the incarnations, I guess, because it’s already had two names and is currently title-less, despite the fact that it’s an adaptation of a graphic novel that Kosinski himself has supposedly written that, you guessed it, has a title. Kosinksi conceived of and wrote the graphic novel, known as “Oblivion,” with Arvid Nelson for Radical Publishing, and the book was the primed for a film adaptation before it even hit the page. The story is set in a future where the Earth has been irradiated to the point that humanity can no longer inhabit it, and follows a man who lives “above the clouds, safe from the brutal alien Scavengers that stalk the ruins. But when surface drone repairman Jak discovers a mysterious woman in a crash-landed pod, it sets off an unstoppable chain of events that will force him to question everything he knows.” Tom Cruise has long been attached to play Jak, but the film’s two female roles (Jak’s wife back at home and the lady he finds) have been the subject of speculation for months. Jessica Chastain was attached to the wife role back in September, but had to leave the project, thanks to her now-crammed schedule. Other ladies that tested for the role, including Olga Kurylenko, Brit Marling, Noomi Rapace, and Olivia Wilde, might have been called back, because […]

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 Get ready to hear the name “Jessica Chastain” much more in the coming months (a little bird tells me that you can even expect to see a couple of reviews for a Chastain film on this very site within the next few days). The actress is set for the big leagues, thanks to being plucked from relative obscurity by Terrence Malick to star in his The Tree of Life that finally opened earlier this year, followed by roles in Take Shelter, The Debt, Texas Killing Fields, and the upcoming star-fest that is The Wettest County. Now Chastain has landed a prime leading lady position opposite Tom Cruise in Joseph Kosinski’s sci-f film that is…well, apparently without a title as of now. But you may know it as Oblivion or Horizons. Let’s call it Obli-zons and be done with it. Tron: Legacy director Kosinski is helming the film is based on an upcoming graphic novel that he himself conceived of and wrote (with Arvid Nelson) for Radical Publishing. The script for the film has been adapted by William Monahan, with a rewrite by Karl Gajdusek and a polish by Michael Arndt. The story centers on the character that Cruise will play, a repairman named Jak. But Jak’s life is just a smidge different than that of any other sort of repairman, because he lives in a future where an alien invasion has irradiated the Earth so severely that it is no longer inhabitable. The population of the planet now lives in the […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movie news. It will not try to sew your face to someone else’s butt. It will, however, make your hind quarters sore. So give yourself over to it — it will be gentle, at first. Fox’s upcoming Planet of the Apes prequel, previously titled Rise of the Apes, has been retitled to give it that ole’ familiar ring. It will now be called Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which should hold until they can figure out a less concise way to title it. Either way, it’s got James Franco, so I’m seeing it.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr enters the grid (which is what he likes to call his local IMAX theater) to try and find an old and hairy Jeff Bridges amidst a bunch of young-looking sexy-time people in tight body suits. Afterwards, he has a pic-i-nic at Jellystone Park and faces a bear attack. It’s a good thing he had his hunting rifle with him… but he still wonders why that grizzly he shot was wearing a hat and tie. Finally, he hands out some grades on two limited release award flicks that really don’t jazz him as much as a big, dumb IMAX 3D movie.

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In 1982, Steven Lisberger gave Tron to the world. It was an ambitious project with visual effects that were unlike anything ever attempted before. The result was a film made for $17 million dollars, a lot at the time, that flopped to a $33 million dollar box office take. For all intents and purposes, that was the end of the road. But here we are, 28 years later with a new Tron that Disney has spent north of $200 million dollars on. Lisberger has handed off the reigns to producer Sean Bailey and a young commercial director named Joseph Kosinski, leaving them with the task of bringing back Tron in a high-resolution way for a new generation of users. When we caught up with the three men at the recent TRON: Legacy press junket for a roundtable discussion, they were eager to talk about the journey of Tron, the technology of Legacy and why the world of cinema has been flooded recently with so many sequels and remakes.

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Tron: Legacy is a thing of beauty. This is what everyone seems to be ignoring this week as Disney’s latest titan of budget and marketing roars into theaters, hell bent on whipping the masses into a consumerist frenzy just before ‘Oh holy night.’ But it’s true: Tron: Legacy, born of concept footage from young director Joseph Kosinski and a Comic-Con crowd who, at the time, had zero expectations for such a project, is a beautiful experience. It may be remembered as a beautiful disaster, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. The great problem is that after several years, three Comic-Cons and millions of dollars in marketing later, it’s hard for heavily invested fans to accept that a concept so cool could yield a film so mediocre. That’s a hard notion to swallow. What we saw on that fateful July day at Comic-Con in 2008 was The Grid, fully realized in a new and exciting way. It was bold and sleek, fast-moving and exciting. It also included Jeff Bridges, our own champion du nostalgia. This final version has all of those things. It’s what’s been added that becomes problematic.

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Tron Legacy: Olivia Wilde

You may have noticed that around here, we’re starting to develop “a thing” for Joseph Kosinski’s hyper-modern reboot (get it, that’s a computer term) of the Tron franchise. It has something to do with the fact that Tron Legacy once again showed up to rock Comic-Con, as we saw in the new trailer released that same weekend. The film looks like and off-the-charts visual spectacle and is perhaps one of the few 3D movies worth looking forward to between now and the end of the year. Save for Drive Angry, of course. To keep you in the mood and keep you locked into the cool blues and electric yellows of the Tron universe, a company called LE Studios X has released a series of desktop wallpapers and iPad wallpapers celebrating Disney’s return to the inside of a computer. They appear to be based on the advertising banners that were previously released, but they’ve been cleaned up to fit perfectly on your desktops. We’ve selected a few favorites and posted them after the jump for your viewing pleasure.

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Oblivion

“In a future where the Earth’s surface has been irradiated beyond recognition, the remnants of humanity live above the clouds, safe from the brutal alien Scavengers that stalk the ruins. But when surface drone repairman Jak discovers a mysterious woman in a crash-landed pod, it sets off an unstoppable chain of events that will force him to question everything he knows.” Nothing like an awesome premise combined with an impressive director (Tron: Legacy‘s young gun Joseph Kosinski) to brighten up a rather bland Thursday afternoon. Details after the jump.

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
A

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