Tag Archive: cinema audiences


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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Taylor Kitsch is not having a year to remember by any stretch of the imagination. So far in 2012 he has headlined two huge box office flops; John Carter and Battleship. With Savages coming out later this year this could be his last chance to crack Hollywood as a leading man. It could have all been so different for Taylor Kitsch.

Kitsch’s first major role was in television show Friday Night Lights and, despite not having a high viewership it went down very well with critics and, the odd episodes I saw, I really enjoyed it; Kitsch himself was praised for his performance as the hard drinking and womanising running back Tim Riggins. It was his performance on the show that got him his big chances in Hollywood in the first place, so he must have some quality as an actor.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was Kitsch’s introduction to mainstream cinema audiences in the role of fan favourite X-men character, Gambit. This was only a smaller part in an ensemble cast and although the film was heavily criticised (especially by comic book fans) I thought Kitsch portrayed Gambit well and it’s a shame he won’t be reprising the role for The Wolverine.

John Carter of Mars was Taylor Kitsch’s big chance. It was hugely budgeted by Disney and prolifically marketed yet for one reason or another it just didn’t have enough pull to draw in audiences and cost Disney huge losses (which thankfully are now being recovered by The Avengers). Battleship was a chance for Kitsch to win back fans and critics with another starring role in a big budget film and yet this film failed again, largely because of the success of The Avengers. I think anything released at the same time as The Avengers was never going to do as well as it could have done another month.

Later on this year Taylor Kitsch is playing the lead role in Oliver Stone’s Savages. Stone is a well acclaimed director and the rest of the cast includes Aaron Johnson, Benicio del Toro, John Travolta and Uma Thurman so these factors could make Savages a success and bring Kitsch to public prominence which I think he deserves. Before casting Taylor Kitsch in the lead role Stone asked to see 30 minutes of footage from Battleship to get an idea of how Kitsch could handle being a leading man and something obviously impressed Stone enough to cast him.

I think that Taylor Kitsch is a good actor and deserves a proper chance. Perhaps it was a bit unfair throwing him in at the deep end in films with huge budgets because huge budgets tend to take away from actors performances and so people will see Kitsch as a failure because of the loss of money rather than his performances. If he started with movies that were more low budget then he would have had a better chance at making it as a leading man; it would have been helpful to build up an audience first before throwing him in as a lead action hero. However, I don’t think this is his fault, it is that of the studios.

Savages could be Kitsch’s last chance at being a leading man without having to start again because with potentially three huge flops with his name on it in the space of a year will not look good on his CV.

Cabin in the Woods Review

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!***

Filmed in 2009, Cabin in the Woods hit delay after delay and finally saw its release recently, three years later. Was it worth the wait?

The majority of the film takes place, rather unsurprisingly, at a Cabin in the Woods. Five friends go for a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods but soon find out that all is not as it seems with this innocent looking little shack. Working together, the group must find out what is the truth about the cabin in the woods.

The cast of the film is relatively unrecognisable to mainstream cinema audiences. The most famous member of the protagonist group is Chris Hemsworth who was pretty much unknown himself at the time of filming but has since rose to international fame with Thor whilst the only real star of the cast is Sigourney Weaver and her part is just a cameo really. The rest of the cast features Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz and Richard Jenkins.

There is a lot to enjoy about Cabin in the Woods. I have read a few blogs that have described this film as being a reinvention or a revitalization of the horror genre, I disagree. Instead of being any of these, I think that Cabin in the Woods is a critique and a very clever pulling apart of the genre, something which Joss Whedon (producer) wanted to do as him and Drew Goddard (director) set out to do.

Lots of common elements of horror films are exaggerated and emphasised within Cabin in the Woods. Starting with the characters, the story of the ritual which the organisation of the film are trying to carry out requires five very different types of people: the athlete, the dumb blonde, the stoner/fool, the academic, the virgin. Sound familiar? These are stereotypes that can be found in most, if not all, horror films.

The 'monster board' from Cabin in the Woods

The fact that the organisation takes bets on which monster will be set loose to kill the five teenagers offers a lot more references to horror movies, from the curse the teenagers unknowingly decide upon to the monsters that it could be; aliens, killer clowns, mermen, jack o’ lantern, vampires and werewolves.

As well as the deep critique of the horror genre there is also a lot to enjoy on the surface of the film. The first two acts build up the characters and the idea of the organisation behind it all, whilst the third act really gets the blood pumping and is really quite exciting. Watching the third act makes it clear why the cast is pretty unknown and locations are limited: their entire budget went on the action scenes during the last half an hour. It is a budget well spent as the monsters and the havoc they reap really becomes real at the end of the film.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of the horror is lost from the film because of what it is trying to accomplish. By this, I mean that the main thing that makes horror work, for me, is the sense of ‘not knowing’, the tension and suspense growing throughout the film because we, the audience, know just as much as the protagonist and nothing more. Here, though, because we are placed inside the organisation from the off, the suspense and tension cannot be created. We are told, pretty much, or it is hinted at largely, what is going to happen to the five teenagers before it happens. While there are still a couple of moments to make you jump, it is not something I would call scary.

Overall, there is a lot to enjoy for film fans of all ages and experiences in Cabin in the Woods. It’s something very new and very original at a time where reboots, remakes and sequels are prominent in cinemas. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard have created something very clever here and well deserve credit for it.

My Rating: 7/10.

Aged just 20, Jennifer was nominated for an Oscar.

Jennifer Lawrence is not a name that mainstream cinema audiences may not be all that familiar with. Yet, now starring in what look set to be two of the decades biggest franchises (X-men and The Hunger Games) she looks set to conquer the world of cinema.

Lawrence began her career in television, having parts in Monk, Cold Case and Medium (although she only featured in one or two episodes of these) before she got her break in the American sitcom The Bill Engvall Show. This ran for three seasons and gave Lawrence a platform to build upon which she did.

Her first project after the sitcom was cancelled was a film called Winter’s Bone. Now, many people may not recognise the name but Jennifer Lawrence’s performance here was very well received and she became the second youngest person to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. As well as the Oscar nomination she also won several awards at film festivals for this role. And so began a very promising film career.

As Mystique in Matthew Vaughn's X-men: First Class.

Roles in Like Crazy and The Beaver followed before Jennifer Lawrence made her debut in mainstream cinema with the X-men reboot/sequel (still nobody is quite sure what it is) X-men: First Class in which she played Mystique. This was the first real chance that mainstream audiences had to see her work and I thought she did a great job as Mystique and brought real character to the role and a believable friendship with Xavier and a sense of wanting to fit in that everyone feels at some point in their lives. This was her first big commercial success.

In 2011, it was announced that Lawrence had been cast in the leading role of The Hunger Games as Katniss Everdeen. This series looks set to be Hollywood’s next big film series to be adapted from books following Harry Potter and Twilight. And with Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role it can only elevate her career even more.

Jennifer Lawrence takes on the coveted role of Katniss in The Hunger Games.

It seems like she is choosing her roles carefully as she continues to interchange between mainstream movies and those that may not get her mainstream audiences but where she can put in a strong and heartfelt performance. House at the End of the Street is her next film and looks set to go under the radar before she returns with The Silver Linings Playbook and Serena, both co-starring Bradley Cooper.

On the red carpet, Jennifer Lawrence has been turning heads. Not just because of her looks but for her fashion choices as well which are always impeccable. With the acting talent she has combined with her image, she could well be a huge star in Hollywood for years to come. After all, she is still only twenty one.