Tag Archive: best original screenplay


You won’t find many female directors among the big blockbuster films or many among mainstream films in general really. If you ask someone to name a female film director everybody could probably name one, some may even name two, but to name three or four would present a challenge to the majority of cinema audiences. I have put together this list of who I believe to be the best 5 female directors working today.

5. Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold made her debut with the twenty six minute long short film Wasp, which won her the Oscar for Best Short Film back in 2005. Her films have continued to create a great sense of poverty in Britain and she has gone on to direct Michael Fassbender in one of my favourite films of all time: Fish Tank.

Arnold’s previous 3 films: Red Road (2006); Fish Tank (2009); Wuthering Heights (2011)

4. Deepa Mehta

Mehta is an Indio-Canadian director who is most famous for her Elements trilogy which contained the films Fire, Earth and Water. These films tackled strong political issues in India and due to Mehta making Water from an outsiders point of view (looking back at India from her Canadian home) a lot of controversy was caused in the filming of the climax to her trilogy, involving riots and violence forcing the filming to move to Sri Lanka, rather than India.

Mehta’s previous 3 films: Water (2005); Heaven on Earth (2008); Midnight’s Children (2012)

3. Sofia Coppola

Daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia has carved out a very different path from the The Godfather director. She won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay after writing Lost in Translation, which was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. She continues to write and direct her own films with her latest, The Bling Ring, out this year.

Coppola’s previous 3 films: Marie Antoinette (2006); Somewhere (2010); The Bling Ring (2013)

2. Susanne Bier

Bier never seems to miss the mark with any of her pictures. Despite never being nominated for an Oscar in her career I can’t help but think that she should have been. Bier studied in Jerusalem and London before retuning to Denmark to attend film school. The majority of her films have been made in Scandinavia but she has dabbled in American cinema with Things We Lost in the Fire.

Bier’s previous 3 films: In A Better World (2010); Love Is All You Need (2012); Serena (2013)

1. Kathryn Bigelow

Could it be anyone else? Over the last couple of years Bigelow has become the major figurehead for female film makers. The Hurt Locker defied expectations to take home the Best Picture Oscar when up against Avatar and won Bigelow the Best Director Oscar over James Cameron. She was the first to take on the Osama Bin Laden manhunt with Zero Dark Thirty, which was also nominated for Best Picture. Her next project is unknown at the minute but the Bigelow name seems to be a sure signifier of quality in modern cinema.

Bigelow’s previous 3 films: K-19: The Widwomaker (2002); The Hurt Locker (2008); Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

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Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s latest adventure into history following the success of Inglourious Basterds. ‘Unchained‘ delves deeper into America’s past and examines, in a way that only Tarantino could do, the ugly side of American history that is often brushed over in the mainstream.

Jamie Foxx is Django, a slave freed by bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Schultz employs Django to help him bring three overseers of slave farms to their demise and the two grow a mutual respect between one another as they journey. Upon learning of Django’s wife being a slave at Candieland, owned by Calvin Candie, King Schultz decides to train and help Django embark on a revenge mission to free his wife.

It’s a fantastic story of revenge and as you would expect Django Unchained is wonderfully written. Tarantino is famous for his dialogue and while he seems to reign that in here there are still a few scenes where you get the back and forth, quick moving dialogue which is fun to see and listen to. One thing Tarantino doesn’t reign in, however, is his love of violence and gore; the blood flies everywhere at such ridiculous angles and guts come flying out of dead bodies in a way that is hilarious, but that is what makes Tarantino so enjoyable. As a person in interviews he is so over the top and you expect that from his films, it’s brilliant.

Jamie Foxx’s lead performance helps to make Django one of the coolest characters ever committed to film in my opinion. Django is just a complete character, he is so likeable and has so many different colours to his personality which makes him very interesting to watch, so credit to Tarantino for his creation but also Foxx for bringing him to life. There is one scene in particular that springs to mind involving Django and two of the Brittle brothers where Foxx really lets loose all of Django’s pent up anger and this makes this particular scene difficult to watch but so enjoyable at the same time because you’re on his side; there’s a wildness in his eyes.

The rest of the cast is almost flawless too. Christoph Waltz is nominated for an Oscar for his performance as Dr. King Schultz and rightly so, he’s such a likeable character and Waltz’s performance is the root of a lot of laughs due to his mannerisms. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of my favourite actors and it is great to see him playing a villain for the first time in his career and this gives him a chance to really let go of himself and bring a very intense and uncomfortable feel about his character; it’s so different to what he has done before but it is up there with his best performances. For me, there were only two let downs: I thought we would get to see a different side of Samuel L. Jackson after the early hype about him but he was just the same as always and largely disappointing for me; and all the way through I was hoping for a Tarantino cameo but when it finally came it was just underwhelming and restrained.

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the running time and how Django Unchained sort of falls short because of this but I didn’t feel this to be the case. I did feel like it could have ended at earlier points and been drawn to a close quicker but then what followed those points I really enjoyed and was glad that they carried it on. On the whole, Django Unchained is just a really cool and incredibly stylish film. The beginning is good, the middle is better, and the end is fantastic. Not a realistic choice at the Oscars for Best Picture in my eyes but Tarantino could easily pick up Best Original Screenplay.

All in all, not Tarantino’s best, but far from his worst!

My Rating: 8/10.

UK Release Date: 7th December 2012.

Stars: Martin McDonagh (director), Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, Olga Kurylenko, Abbie Cornish

Plot: A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu.

Seven Psychopaths is a film I have had my eyes on for what seems like an eternity, I had been awaiting a trailer for months and then had to wait even longer for a release date for the United Kingdom to be announced before I uploaded this, but it is definitely worth the wait. This film sees McDonagh and Farrell team up once more after the successful In Bruges.

Farrell is pretty hit and miss but he stars in one of my favourite films (Pride & Glory) and I really like him and here he is alongside a very good cast given a brilliant offbeat story. Sam Rockwell is terrific, Christopher Walken is a proven great, Woody Harrelson never fails to put in a memorable performance and given a storyline that involves kidnapping dogs in order to make money from the rewards and then getting mixed up with gangsters after kidnapping the wrong dog can only lead to plenty of laughs!

And the trailer certainly looks promising. It seems as though Rockwell and Walken are going to get the majority of the comedy lines while Farrell is just along for the ride (despite being the main character). The trailer reminds me a little bit of Sideways in terms of how the comedy looks; it feels different, fresh, new and not too forced which has already made Seven Psychopaths a hit at preview screenings.

The only bad thing is that it is being released in December which is primarily Oscar time when all the big films come out (however in America Seven Psychopaths comes out in October). However, early talk is saying that Seven Psychopaths could be in the frame for a Best Original Screenplay nomination.

Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt is a name that you may not be familiar with, although when shortened to Ben Affleck it is very difficult to avoid. Ben Affleck is arguably one of the biggest celebrities in the world and has been for some years, both for his work in the film industry and his relationships with a string of big name Hollywood ladies including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and his current wife Jennifer Garner. But what I know him for is his acting, writing, producing and directing of some brilliant and some not-so-brilliant, slightly below average films.

One of the most famous friendships in Hollywood: Affleck and Damon.

After appearing in small extra roles in a number of films including Field of Dreams and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Affleck really became known for his turns in Kevin Smith films Mallrats and Chasing Amy, however it was Good Will Hunting in 1997 that made him a household name. Good Will Hunting was nominated for nine Oscars including a Best Original Screenplay win for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon who shared the writing credit and both starred in the film too. This success then allowed Affleck to move into bigger roles and he pretty much became a huge success with all of his films becoming massive hits at the box office; Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and The Sum of All Fears. Affleck was acting among some big names and becoming one of them too whilst still doing smaller films including Shakespeare In Love, Dogma and Boiler Room.

A year after The Sum of All Fearswas released something bad happened to Ben Affleck’s acting career that he has never really recovered from. Ben Affleck states that his favourite comic book when he was growing up was Daredevil so when the chance arose to play the Marvel hero naturally Affleck jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, despite being praised for his casting and his role in the film it is not a very good film at all to be honest (although the director’s cut is actually meant to be a huge increase in quality) and since appearing in Daredevil Affleck has not really tastes any of the huge success he once had as an actor. Instead, he has appeared in a number of critical and commercial flops including Gigli, Surviving Christmas and Smokin’ Aces. He has however had smaller success with Hollywoodland in which Affleck received huge praise for his role as George Reeves in the biographical docudrama.

In order to get his career back on track Affleck decided to get behind the camera and begin directing films. His first feature was an adaptation of the Dennis LeHane novel Gone Baby Gone in which he cast his brother Casey Affleck¬† (a better actor than himself) in the lead role. The end product worked out brilliantly, the film was praised and Affleck directed it very very well; it is one of my favourite films. Whilst he does still act it is in the directors chair where Affleck is getting a lot of praise, more praise than he ever got as an actor. In 2010, Affleck directed The Town and starred in the lead role as well (ego?) but nonetheless the direction received huge praise again and Jeremy Renner got a surprise nod for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance under Affleck’s direction.

Affleck’s latest feature film as director is Argo and is due out later this year and there is a lot of expectation of the film as it is based on real life events and incorporates a lot of different themes so it will be interesting to see how Affleck brings them all together and whether he is successful or not. Also, and this is just a rumour for now, everyone knows that DC comics and Warner Bros. are trying to put out a Justice League movie after the success of Marvel’s team up in The Avengers but it is being reported that Ben Affleck is being lined up to direct. This would be a master stroke.

There is no doubt that Ben Affleck is a film star, but he should definitely star behind the camera from now on and continue his success in the director’s chair.