Kathryn Bigelow

IntroGenre

By no means are directors expected to make the same movie over and over again – but they also don’t tend to fly genre to genre like some kind of bipolar carnival game either. Here are a few directors who – if they were to put on an autograph signing – would find themselves in the midst of a very polarized crowd of fans.

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Zero Dark Thirty

This contest is now closed. Thanks for entering! Still trying to find bin Laden? Sounds like you need to revisit Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty. In celebration of the home video release of one of 2012′s finest films, we’re giving away two very cool prize packs. Each pack includes one ZDT t-shirt and one script book (you can read it while you watch the movie, you big nerd!), and one pack will include a Blu-ray of the film, while the other will include a DVD. So how do you win? Well, you’re going to have to find us! Ahem, on Twitter. Hit the break to read our very precise, years-in-the-making, social media-fueled instructions on how to win your very own Zero Dark Thirty prize pack.

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Oscar Statue

You know how sometimes your favorite series will do a clip show, or how a popular radio broadcast might replay old segments that tie-in thematically in order to take a vacation? Well, I’m using the occasion of the Academy Awards to do pretty much the same thing. It’s sort of obvious that several of the directors featured in this column are also Oscar winners. It’s a veritable Hall of Fame. Doing an Oscar-themed entry is a little bizarre because several weeks feature a gold-owning alum anyway (so this isn’t a complete list of the Best Directors featured on 6 Filmmaking Tips), but it’s still worth packaging their advice as a kind of collective knowledge set held by people who have statues on their mantel. Which means, depressingly, an excerpt from our most popular entry won’t be featured here. Not to mention others like Kubrick, Cronenberg or PTA. Fortunately, there are some truly immense talents who have hoisted Oscar on high even if some towering talents never had that particular honor. So here are some filmmaking tips (for fans and filmmakers alike) from an incredibly elite club of Best Director winners.

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Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow’s awards season contender and recent winter box office champion Zero Dark Thirty was released wide on the coattails of considerable controversy pertaining to the film’s depiction of torture. Journalists Frank Bruni and Glenn Greenwald, critic David Edelstein, and documentarian Alex Gibney are amongst those who have criticized the film for seemingly forging a direct link between “advanced interrogation techniques” (better known as “torture”) and the actionable intelligence that lead to the death of Osama bin Laden. This controversy has gone far beyond the film community; politicians and CIA spokespersons have called the film out for alleged misrepresentation. After finally seeing Zero Dark Thirty after reading about this controversy for months, I wonder, did any of these people see the same film I saw? And are criticisms like these really what it means to be anti-torture in a post-Cheney America?

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argo_29

One of the big surprises of the 2013 Golden Globe Awards involved a sort of “Argo-f**kyourself” to the Academy Awards, as Oscar-snubbed Ben Affleck was named Best Director of the year. His film, Argo, also ended up winning Best Picture in the drama category. Early in the night, in a brilliantly hilarious monologue by co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the ceremony offered some foreshadowing with subtle jabs at the Oscars with immediate shout outs to Affleck and fellow Academy snubs in the director category, Kathryn Bigelow and Quentin Tarantino. They even fit in a joke directed at Anne Hathaway about her 2011 Academy Awards ceremony co-hosting gig with James Franco. Hathaway expectantly wound up winning for Best Supporting Actress, though, and her film, Les Miserables won Best Picture – Comedy or Musical. Co-star Hugh Jackman was a bit of s surprise as Best Actor – Comedy or Musical. More than who won and what didn’t, people will be talking about the somewhat cryptic speech by Cecil B. DeMille Award winner Jodie Foster and the appearance by Bill Clinton to present Best Picture nominee Lincoln. Speaking of Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis surprised nobody by winning Best Actor – Drama. But at least I ended up surprised that he did a comedy 25 years ago called Stars and Bars, which I need to see immediately. My Golden Globes live-blog co-host, Daniel Walber, alerted me to that. And if you didn’t follow us during the ceremony, which we found far more enjoyable than […]

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JENNIFER LAWRENCE and BRADLEY COOPER star in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

The 70th Golden Globe Awards will be held tomorrow night, and I invite you to join myself and FSR’s awards guru, Daniel Walber, for live-blog commentary during the ceremony. We’ll try to keep it smart, avoid too much snark and will likely be obeying the rules of the drinking game that co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have devised. It will also hopefully be more conversational than remarks we could have just tweeted, in order that I can turn the discussion around as a more readable post-event recap of the night. In case you’re too busy paying attention to your TV to also read our words simultaneously. Anyway, you can’t head into a big awards telecast viewing without predictions for what you think will win. Daniel and I seem to agree on exactly half of the movie categories. So, maybe it won’t be such a predicable night. Check out our choices after the break and give us your own predictions in the comments. If you do better than either of us, we commend you in advance (and maybe at the end of our GG coverage too).

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catchingfire_firstlook

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a movie news column that cares. Bring Me Your Katniss! – We begin this evening with one of a few new images from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the holiday-releasing sequel to that other movie about a girl with a bow, an arrow and a will to live. The above image is our first look at Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee. Seriously, these names…

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The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty is currently in limited release and about to go wide, but while it’s unclear what the film’s box-office reception will be the critical one has been fairly unanimous. Unless you count the Academy Awards. Bigelow’s previous visit to the Middle East netted six Oscars including Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (for Mark Boal), and like her new one, it faced its fair share of criticism over accuracy. Director and writer both sat down for a commentary track, and while they don’t comment directly on those claims, Boal in particular seems very aware of them. Keep reading to see what I heard with this week’s The Hurt Locker Commentary Commentary…

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Zero-Dark-Thirty

As dissent continues to flourish in this country, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that discordant responses to films is also on the rise. Divisiveness has always been one thing among film critics, with publications throughout the past decade loving to showcase opposing views of everything from Dancer in the Dark to Tree of Life. But it’s another thing for broader American society to not only disagree with one another but to really go at each other over a certain motion picture or movies overall. This is the year that a right-wing political documentary (2016: Obama’s America) outgrossed all but one of Michael Moore’s films, including the gun violence issue doc Bowling for Columbine. It’s also a year, now, when the notion that violent films may have an impact on gun violence more than guns themselves is being spouted by everyone from NRA leaders to actor Jamie Foxx. Does that make Foxx’s new movie, Django Unchained, one of the most dangerous films of 2012? It depends on whether or not you agree with that idea of films and video games being so influential. Also depending on your side of a debate, you might agree with those calling Zero Dark Thirty “dangerous,” as Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side; My Trip to Al-Qaeda) has now done. I haven’t seen the film yet, so I can’t offer any real opinion on the torture scenes provoking discussion, but here’s what Gibney has to say about it in a lengthy article he wrote […]

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Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 12.33.05 PM

A fair amount of critics are touting Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty as her masterpiece. While Bigelow has definitely directed films in her decades of filmmaking that are comparable to the overall quality of Zero Dark Thirty, it is great that between this and her Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, she is getting the acclaim that she deserves. What does set Zero Dark Thirty apart from the rest of the Kathryn Bigelow oeuvre is that is a far more deliberate and slower paced film that her others. At about two-and-a-half hours, it includes only perhaps two or three major “action/suspense” scenes, which are all impeccably executed in her usual fashion. Mostly, however, the film follows the mental unraveling and rise to power of CIA agent Maya (Jessica Chastain) as she follows a seemingly-circumstantial hunch, which results in her looking over Osama bin Laden’s body bag. The film certainly is successful in what it sets out to do. Through Chastain’s Maya, it is a more nuanced study of the disappointments of losing the war on terror against Al Qaeda and then fighting back, resulting in less of a fist pump of exultation, but more of a quiet recognition of accomplishment.

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Kathryn Bigelow on The Hurt Locker set

Hanging with bikers, vampires and surfing bank robbers, Kathryn Bigelow has made a name for herself chasing after adrenaline. After mixed reviews and a bad box office break for her Soviet submarine flick K-19: The Widowmaker, Bigelow developed one of writer Mark Boal‘s articles into a television series for Fox called The Inside, then chose to work with him to turn his experiences embedded in Baghdad-patrolling bomb squad into The Hurt Locker. The film — which she never took to studios, opting instead for independent financing and freedom — was a marvel, earning a massive amount of critical love and earning both the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director for Bigelow. She’s a fierce talent who has weathered a decades-long career to emerge as an important modern storyteller who takes on difficult, true-life events and spins them into profound works. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a woman who likes to blow things up for a living.

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point break skydive

“90 seconds Johnny. That’s all I ask for, just 90 seconds of your life, Johnny, that’s it. This is our tactic, is we strike fear. Once you get them peeing down their leg, they submit. Also about fear, fear causes hesitation, and hesitation causes your worst fears to come true.” – Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) As Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty is about to be released (limited opening this Wednesday) and is already getting lauded as a masterpiece, it is difficult not to take pause and think of her past works. Sure, The Hurt Locker won a Best Picture Oscar, but, it is hard to argue that any of her films have struck such a resonant chord in the hearts of film nerds and pop culture at large as Point Break. The movie features Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves at the peak of their physical beauty. It has dozens of quotable quotes, ranging from “Vaya con dios, brah” to “Little hand says it’s time to rock ‘n roll.” There are also not one, but TWO skydiving sequences. More important than anything else, though, Point Break is a legitimately great film. Bigelow’s action sequences are shot to perfection and the grandiosity of testosterone-infused bromance and is downright awe-inspiring. Also, poor Keanu Reeves gets a lot of flack for being a bad actor, yet as Point Break more than proves, when used properly, Keanu can be very effective. His Johnny Utah can emote with the best of them, perform the hell out of any action […]

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Zero Dark Thirty

If you’ve somehow managed to avoid the massive praise that’s already been heaped on Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty – so far, they include four Golden Globe nominations, three National Board of Review wins, inclusion in AFI’s list of the best films of the year, countless critics associations nominations, and that’s just going top-of-the-head here – you’ve managed to stay insanely out of the loop on one of the year’s very best films. Congrats to you. Now let’s correct that. Sony has just sent out their final trailer for the Jessica Chastain-starring, Osama Bin Laden-killing, truth-based tale, and it may be your last chance to jump on the ZDT bandwagon before that train pulls out of the station (forgive these mixed metaphors). All aboard? (Shh, secret time, I didn’t even watch this trailer, and I already know it’s awesome.) Check it out after the break, as if you need a reason.

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THR Directors Roundtable 2012

One of the highlights of the Oscar season is the series of round table discussions produced by The Hollywood Reporter, and for good reason. We spend much of the fall and winter comparing drastically different films only on the most basic of levels, who is deserving of awards and who isn’t. Any real conversation between the creators of the best movies of the year is therefore worth watching. Unfortunately, the list of the participants is not often as diverse as the films themselves. This year’s directors’ round table was made up entirely of men, as was the one last year. The same is true of this year’s writers’ panel. Meanwhile, the one real opportunity for us to hear a genuine dialog between women in cinema, the actresses’ panel, was bungled by the typical soft and silly questions that plague American actresses. As Monika Bartyzel so astutely points out in her piece over at Movies.com, it might not be intentional on the part of THR but that doesn’t make it any less problematic.

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Sure, this latest trailer for Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty is a lot of things: cool, collected, awesome, awesome, exciting, cool all over again, bold, vibrant, but it’s also dominated by one overwhelming force that encompasses all those adjectives. Jessica Chastain. Did we somehow miss that this film, Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal‘s true life take on the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, was really The Chastain Show? Looks like it, and we’ve already got our ticket in hand. Check out the latest Zero Dark Thirty trailer after the break.

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Jason Clarke in Lawless

Lawless features some towering performances. Tom Hardy commands with every grunt, Guy Pearce snarls in every scene, and Gary Oldman gives a quietly vicious performance. Then there’s Jason Clarke, playing the oldest of the three Bondurant brothers, Howard. He’s the brute of the group, the unhinged ox who’s seen a mass-scale violence, and he has clearly been affected by it. Clarke, like Hardy and his grunts, walks through the film with a lumbering physicality, as if he’s not even in much control over his own violent tendencies. That physicality is a factor Clarke put a lot of thought into, from using a smaller heel on his boot to wearing weights on his ankles. It’s that sort of commitment which seems to have earned the actor gigs with the likes of Baz Luhrmann, Kathryn Bigelow, John Hillcoat, and the two peas in the pod, Roland Emmerich and Terrence Malick. The actor was kind enough to take time off from walking around the White House for Emmerich to discuss his love for research, finding a character, and how you should never be afraid to go big.

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After the Academy Award-winning success of their The Hurt Locker, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal really only have themselves to beat when it comes to their next drama, a film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty (or as we all called it for awhile, Kill Bin Laden). So how convenient for them that the film’s first teaser trailer looks, oh, what’s the word? Awesome? It looks awesome? It looks awesome. The film stars Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, Edgar Ramirez, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, Nash Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau, and Frank Grillo. And this first teaser speaks for itself (occasionally loudly). Check it out after the break.

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Over Under - Large

Kathryn Bigelow is the sort of director who’s been defying perceived gender limitations her entire career. The biggest of those accomplishments came when she became the first woman in history to win the Oscar for Best Director. Her Oscar-winning film, The Hurt Locker, was a tense look at military bomb defusers that created more movie chills than 99% of the horror films that get released in any given year. And it showcased a strong performance from Jeremy Renner that essentially made his career and catapulted him toward being one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Before she ever won her Oscar, however, she was already defying expectations by shattering the myth that a woman couldn’t direct kick-ass action movies. Her 1991 film Point Break is probably one of the most manly movies ever made. It’s about extreme sports-loving adrenaline junky bank robbers, and it stars Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze as the cops and robbers. But, despite the fact that Point Break has a cult audience, it’s viewed by most as being a guilty pleasure, a relic of the early ’90s when cheesy action movies ruled the day. Maybe it’s because Keanu is milking his dense, surfer persona for all it’s worth, or because the movie is so unapologetically an action film, but people just don’t take Point Break seriously these days. And that sucks, because it’s really well-made.

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Everyone is currently lining up to fictionally kill the mass-murdering asshole Osama Bin Laden (South Park) for Kathryn Bigelow. It’s obviously a wonderful opportunity for actors to work with the Oscar winner, especially considering how Jeremy Renner’s career blew up after defusing bombs for her. The good news is that all the names that are signing on the line happen to be worth their weight in statues. According to Deadline Destry, Jessica Chastain might continue her dominance with the now-untitled project alongside Mark Strong and Edgar Ramirez (Carlos). Meanwhile, Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) is now confirmed, and Joel Edgerton is double confirmed. Bringing on Chastain, Strong and Ramirez would be a strong move for the production. Bigelow is of course re-teaming with writer/producer Mark Boal for a project that will most likely be controversial due to the subject matter. They’re currently slated for a December release (a date conspicuously after the Presidential election). It’s possible that the date might be moved back due to a congressional investigation into whether the production was given information it wasn’t supposed to have, but December is what to watch for currently. And all of it sounds fantastic. The big question is how star-spangled this thing can get.

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Pixar

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of links and things that will make you smile, make you think and perhaps aid you in getting to that restful state known as deep sleep. Either way, it’s always a pretty fun read. We begin tonight with a new image from Pixar’s Brave, a film I placed on my shortlist as one of the 5 most anticipated movies of the year on my triumphant return to Reject Radio this week. This one shows Princess Merida and her family. There’s so much red hair…

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