Category Archives: Filmmakers

Short Film: “A Trip to the Moon”

Martin Scorsese’s recent film Hugo prominently features pioneering French filmmaker Georges Méliès and his works, chief among them is his 1902 short “A Trip to the Moon” (“Le Voyage dans la lune”). This film has the distinction of being the very first science-fiction film. It follows a small group of astronomers who journey to the moon and discover its inhabitants.

This film features innovative animation and special effects. It was named one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century (#84) in a Village Voice poll.


Review: The Artist

NOTE: This review contains spoilers.

Some time last year, I thought to myself, “Why doesn’t anyone make a silent film today? It would be interesting to see a contemporary filmmaker’s take on early cinema.” And then The Artist came along …

I had been looking forward to seeing The Artist since it screened at Cannes mid-last year. The film follows 1927 silent screen superstar George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) as he holds firmly onto his principles at the expense of his career in the wake of the emergence of “talkies.” Following a chance encounter with one of his fans, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), who bumps into him (literally), she is immediately bitten by the Hollywood bug. As her acting career takes off in the talking pictures, Valentin’s begins to flounder. It’s the stuff A Star Is Born is made of.

Typically, I’m a sucker for movies about movies, and being a classic film buff, I was excited about the prospects of watching a modern-day silent film set in the ’20s, a pivotal period in early cinema. Having just watched it, I can say that it’s a terrific film. As is the case with any great film, all elements come together to make one great picture—a reminder that the sum should always be greater than its parts. The film, much like its leading man Dujardin, is debonair, classy, and charming. The beautiful black-and-white cinematography by Guillaume Schiffman merges with some dazzling performances by Dujardin, Bejo, and John Goodman (who plays a Cecil B. DeMille-type studio executive).

Continue reading Review: The Artist

Charlie Kaufman Is Back with FRANK OR FRANCIS

Despite Synecdoche, New York (2008), Charlie Kaufman is still my favorite screenwriter. And he’s back! The Oscar-winning writer of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Adaptation. (2002), and Being John Malkovich (1999), will be directing his second film, Frank Or Francis.

Continue reading Charlie Kaufman Is Back with FRANK OR FRANCIS

Tarsem: Past, Present, Future

There’s plenty that India has given us that is worthy of our utmost appreciation: the Taj Mahal, curry chicken, Bollywood. Nope. Scratch that. I could live without Bollywood. But I couldn’t live without filmmaker Tarsem Singh (or just Tarsem). That’s not true, either. I could live without him, but then the world of cinematic wonders that I so greatly enjoy would be without the color and imagination that Tarsem so expertly infuses into it.

He’s only released two films to date with a third release coming up in November and another currently in production, but even before his films, Tarsem has been a success in the world of music videos and advertising. His first major work was the award-winning video for R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.” From there, he went on to direct some of advertising’s most recognized and awarded TV spots for clients like Levi’s, Nike, Pepsi, Reebok, Coca-Cola, and others.

Continue reading Tarsem: Past, Present, Future

Cake, Presents, and … Muuuurder?!

How could I let August 13th go by without recognizing the fact that today would have been my favorite filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s 112th birthday? In 1979, Hitch was presented with the AFI Life Achievement Award. One of the salutes that night came from my favorite actor and Hitchcock regular Jimmy Stewart. (Hitch died the following year.)

Below are Stewart’s salute and Hitch’s acceptance speech.


Though he received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at the 1968 Academy Awards, Hitch never won a competitive Oscar, despite five nominations for Best Director. A travesty. In fact, only one of his films, Rebecca (1940), went on to win Best Picture. Though the film is good, it’s by no means his best.


My favorite Hitchcock films (in order of release):

Rope (1948)

Dial M for Murder (1954)

*Rear Window (1954)

The Trouble with Harry (1955)

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

*Vertigo (1958)

*North by Northwest (1959)

*Psycho (1960) (This was my first Hitchcock film, and remains my favorite.)

*The Birds (1963)

*Denotes a film that appears on the 170 list

2011 Young Hollywood—Part 1: The Filmmakers

(Re-posted from limité

For our second year, Limité presents its two-part “Young Hollywood” series, which honors filmmakers under the age of 35 and actors under the age of 30. The talented individuals featured here bring Limité back to its roots — as a forum for presenting what’s next in the world of popular and underground culture. In this series, we present you with some of the youngest and freshest talent making its mark in film. Some names are established, while others are on their way up. These are the people who will shape the future of film. It’s worth remembering their names and faces.

The film industry is bursting with fresh, young talent. We encourage you to add to this list by leaving a comment, describing which young talent you think deserves recognition.

Richard Ayoade

by Stephanie Dawson

Age: 34

From: London, England

Credits: Submarine (2011), The IT Crowd (TV)

British comedian, actor, writer, and director Richard Ayoade is best known in the UK for his role as Maurice Moss on The IT Crowd, a sitcom based on the trials and tribulations of an under-valued computer technology staff. Ayoade studied law at Cambridge, but his love of performing lead him to Footlights, the University’s famed drama club, for which he served as president for one year. He acted and wrote many shows while there.

Ayoade co-wrote the stage show Garth Marenghi’s Fright Knight and its sequel Garth Marenghi’s Netherhead, which won a Perrier award in 2001. In 2004, the UK’s Channel 4 aired Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, a continuation of the character Ayoade and his partners originated. Ayoade directed and performed in that series, as well as the short-lived The Mighty Boosh.

Ayoade directed music videos for Arctic Monkeys, Super Furry Animals, Vampire Weekend, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. His live concert video for Arctic Monkeys’ At the Apollo won Best DVD at the New Musical Express.

Submarine is Richard Ayoade’s feature directorial debut and is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Joe Dunthorne. Ayoade also wrote the screenplay for the coming-of-age comedy. While the independent film had a modest box office return, it gained some critical acclaim for Ayoade’s imaginative, visionary directing. Ayoade is a multi-threat and definitely one to watch in the coming years.

Continue reading 2011 Young Hollywood—Part 1: The Filmmakers