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1-20 of 73 items from 2017   « Prev | Next »


Cécile Decugis: French New Wave Editor of ‘Breathless’ Dies at 87

25 July 2017 2:03 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Cécile Decugis, one of the key early figures of the French New Wave, passed away June 11, according to El Watan, the French-language newspaper in Algeria. The news only started to spread throughout the film world when fellow editor and protege Mary Stephens paid tribute to the Decugis in a Facebook post.

At the dawn of the New Wave in 1957, Decugis edited a young Francois Truffaut’s short film “Les Mistons,” which is largely credited as being the first film in which Truffaut found his cinematic voice and being a key early short of the film movement that would dominate international cinema in the ’60s.

Read More: Jean-Luc Godard’s Rare, Early Film, ‘Une Femme Coquette,’ Appears on YouTube — Watch

Decugis also edited Jean-Luc Godard’s first feature, “Breathless,” one the most important pieces of editing in film history and the movie that made Godard a filmmaking sensation. Although the film »

- Chris O'Falt

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First photo released for HBO's upcoming Fahrenheit 451 adaptation is lit!

21 July 2017 11:43 AM, PDT | JoBlo.com | See recent JoBlo news »

So this is exciting! I'm a huge fan of Ray Bradbury's seminal dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, and have been looking forward to a decent movie adaptation for a while now. François Truffaut tried his hand at it once in 1966, but while it was an admirable attempt with some striking images, it didn't really do the novel justice. I mean, there wasn't even a robot firedog! Now it seems Michael B. Jordan and Michael... Read More »

- Damion Damaske

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First Look at Michael Shannon and Michael B. Jordan in Ramin Bahrani’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’

20 July 2017 8:31 PM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

It was just a few months ago it was announced that Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon would be teaming in an HBO adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. Directed by Ramin Bahrani, who previously helmed Shannon in the underseen 99 Homes, the the first image has now arrived as filming gets underway.

Adapted from the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel, Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian saga about “firemen” who don’t put out fires, but rather start them by burning books, which are outlawed in the bleak but probably now not-too-distant version of America the characters inhabit. Jordan will play Guy Montag, a fireman who comes to lose faith in his profession once his eyes are opened to the outlawed printed word. Shannon is Captain Beatty, Montag’s mentor.

Bradbury’s novel was previously adapted as a 1966 film directed by François Truffaut, and served as the inspiration for countless other dystopian sci-fi titles, including the gun-fu extravaganza Equilibrium. »

- Jordan Raup

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First ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Image Reveals Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon Blazing

20 July 2017 11:11 AM, PDT | Collider.com | See recent Collider.com news »

Our first look at the highly anticipated new adaptation of the classic Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451 has arrived, and it’s blazing hot. While Francois Truffaut previously adapted the material into a film (to mixed results) in 1966, a modern adaptation has been in the works for over a decade. At one point Mel Gibson was trying to bring the story to the screen, but it’s now actually happening at HBO with a somewhat uncharacteristically star-studded iteration. Michael B. Jordan stars as Montag, a young fireman who forsakes his world, battles his mentor, and struggles to regain … »

- Adam Chitwood

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‘Fahrenheit 451’ First Look: Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon Set Fire to the Future

20 July 2017 10:26 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Ramin Bahrani has become an indie staple after acclaimed efforts such as “Chop Shop,” “Man Push Cart,” and “99 Homes,” but his most high profile release might just be the upcoming HBO film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.”

Read More: Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler Reuniting (Again) For Cheating Scandal Drama ‘Wrong Answer

The television film marks the second collaboration between the director and Michael Shannon. The actor earned rave reviews for his supporting turn in “99 Homes” and was even a dark horse for a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Michael B. Jordan plays the lead Montag, a young fireman in a dystopian future where media is an opiate and books are banned and burned. Montag battles his mentor Beatty (Shannon) in a fight to regain his humanity. Laura Harrier, Sophia Boutella and Lilly Singh co-star.

Fahrenheit 451” was first published in 1953. Previous adaptations include François Truffaut’s 1966 film adaptation. »

- Zack Sharf

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‘Fahrenheit 451’ First Look: Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon Set Fire to the Future

20 July 2017 10:26 AM, PDT | Indiewire Television | See recent Indiewire Television news »

Ramin Bahrani has become an indie staple after acclaimed efforts such as “Chop Shop,” “Man Push Cart,” and “99 Homes,” but his most high profile release might just be the upcoming HBO film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.”

Read More: Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler Reuniting (Again) For Cheating Scandal Drama ‘Wrong Answer

The television film marks the second collaboration between the director and Michael Shannon. The actor earned rave reviews for his supporting turn in “99 Homes” and was even a dark horse for a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Michael B. Jordan plays the lead Montag, a young fireman in a dystopian future where media is an opiate and books are banned and burned. Montag battles his mentor Beatty (Shannon) in a fight to regain his humanity. Laura Harrier, Sophia Boutella and Lilly Singh co-star.

Fahrenheit 451” was first published in 1953. Previous adaptations include François Truffaut’s 1966 film adaptation. »

- Zack Sharf

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Antonioni, Godard and Spielberg Films to Headline Venice Film Fest Classics

18 July 2017 6:56 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Venice Classics will include a wide range of restored classics this year, including the 1964 Michelangelo Antonioni Golden Lion winner Red Desert, starring Monica Vitti and Richard Harris. Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 (1976), starring Robert De Niro and Gerard Depardieu, will make its big comeback, as will Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), starring Richard Dreyfuss and Francois Truffaut.

Italian director Giuseppe Piccioni (Not of This World, Light of My Eyes) will chair the jury, which will award the Venice Classics Award for best restored film and best documentary on cinema.

Other highlights of the lineup include Kenji »

- Ariston Anderson

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The Death of Louis Xiv review – a fine royal farewell

16 July 2017 12:00 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Jean-Pierre Léaud stars as the dying monarch in a tragedy tinged with black humour

The French actor Jean-Pierre Léaud is best known for his first major role in François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, in which the closing freeze-frame of his then 14-year-old face is a lingering image of his star persona. When I think of Léaud, I think of him as Alexandre in Jean Eustache’s 1973 film The Mother and the Whore; louche, handsome, just shy of his 30s. In Catalan art-house director Albert Serra’s dramatisation of the pampered monarch’s slow, squeezed death, the face of the French New Wave is a far cry from Alexandre. Here, his rotting body is draped in lace and silk, velvet and ruffles; his pale, papery skin loaded with powdery blush; a wig with the consistency of candyfloss his only visible crown.

Based on Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon and »

- Simran Hans

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The Death of Louis Xiv Review

12 July 2017 7:18 AM, PDT | HeyUGuys.co.uk | See recent HeyUGuys news »

Author: Guest

Spanish director Albert Serra’s telling of the final weeks of Louis Xiv is a remarkable insight into the longest reigning monarch in France’s history. Adapted from contemporary memoirs, Jean-Pierre Léaud, (who was thrust into the French cinema scene, courtesy of his work with François Truffaut, after appearing in Truffaut’s first feature,The 400 Blows), lends his cult status to Serra’s re-telling and takes on the ambitious role of the waning Sun King.

As the King slowly succumbs to gangrene, his valets, doctors and members of the court surround him as he continues to fulfil duties in order to keep up the pretence to the public that he is in good health. His condition worsens over the coming days until he falls into a coma and dies.

The film feels like it spans a wealth of dead time, and at first glance could be perceived »

- Guest

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Julianne Moore to Receive Giffoni Film Festival’s Truffaut Award

10 July 2017 8:01 AM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

Julianne Moore in “Still Alice

Looks like Julianne Moore is going to have to make storage space for yet another prestigious award. The Hollywood Reporter writes that the Oscar-winning actress is set to receive Giffoni Film Fest’s Francois Truffaut Award, the fest’s top prize. Based in the south of Italy, the Giffoni is dedicated to children and teens passionate about filmmaking.

Moore won an Academy Award in 2015 for her portrayal of a linguistics professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in “Still Alice.” She’s also earned nominations for “Far from Heaven,” “The Hours,” “The End of the Affair,” and “Boogie Nights.” She took home an Emmy and Golden Globe for depicting Sarah Palin in HBO’s “Game Change.”

Past recipients of the Francois Truffaut Award include Hilary Swank, Susan Sarandon, and Meg Ryan.

Amy Adams is also being recognized at the Giffoni Film Festival this year. She’ll receive the Experience Award.

Moore will take home her honor July 16. The fest runs from July 14–22. Her newest film, “Wonderstruck,” premiered to rave reviews at Cannes. The drama centers on the mysterious connection between a young boy in the Midwest and a young girl in New York and will hit theaters October 20.

Julianne Moore to Receive Giffoni Film Festival’s Truffaut Award was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Laura Berger

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Wild Bunch Quits French Film Promoter UniFrance in Spat Over New Leader

7 July 2017 10:44 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris – Wild Bunch, the high-profile but financially struggling Paris-based film group, has ditched its membership in UniFrance, the French film promotion organization, in protest against the election of Serge Toubiana as its new president.

The decision to quit UniFrance was taken by Wild Bunch co-founder Vincent Maraval, who had supported another candidate, Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, a veteran producer who co-created EuropaCorp and launched his own production banner Stone Angels.

Maraval wrote an open letter to UniFrance arguing that Toubiana’s election violated the organization’s eligibility rules, which stipulate that “only a director, producer, actor, screenwriter, talent agent or exporter” can preside over UniFrance.

Although Toubiana is best known for running the French Cinematheque for 13 years and has limited hands-on experience in the film industry, he has nevertheless directed three documentaries: “Francois Truffaut: Stolen Portraits” (co-directed with Michel Pascal), TV doc “Isabelle Huppert, une vie pour jouer” and the short “Chaplin Today: The Great Dictator.”

Toubiana »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Wild Bunch quits Unifrance in protest over Toubiana hire

7 July 2017 8:28 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Update: Unifrance responds to sales outfit quitting French cinema promotion group.

Leading French sales company Wild Bunch has quit the country’s state-backed French cinema export and promotional body Unifrance in protest at the appointment of Serge Toubiana (pictured, top) as its new president.

It is the first time in Unifrance’s near 70-year history that a company of Wild Bunch’s magnitude has quit the body.

Unifrance announced on Thursday that former Cinématheque Française chief Serge Toubiana had been elected to the role by its 48-member executive committee, beating out producers Yves Marmion and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam who had also put themselves forward as candidates.

The appointment was greeted with surprise by many in the French film sales and production community who said Toubiana lacked the export and sales experience to take on such a role, even if they respected his track record as a journalist and at the helm of the Cinématheque.

Letter

In a »

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Julianne Moore to Get Giffoni Film Festival's Truffaut Award

7 July 2017 3:32 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Julianne Moore will head to Italy this summer to be honored with the Francois Truffaut Award at the Giffoni Film Fest on July 16.

The Giffoni is one of the largest film festivals dedicated to children and teenagers. Thousands of young people come from all over the world to learn about filmmaking and judge films on special juries, while meeting international stars.

French New Wave director Truffaut himself visited the festival in 1982 and was so impressed that he wrote a letter saying, “Of all the film festivals, Giffoni is the most necessary.”

The Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actress »

- Ariston Anderson

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Serge Toubiana to Preside Over French Film Promoter UniFrance

6 July 2017 6:30 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris – Serge Toubiana, the former boss of the French Cinematheque, is set to preside over UniFrance, the French promotion organization.

Toubiana was elected Thursday by the 48 members of UniFrance’s executive committee and will take over from Jean-Paul Salomé, who served for four years alongside the organization’s managing director, Isabelle Giordano.

Toubiana will continue to work with Giordano on several events aimed at helping French sales agents and promoting Gallic movies abroad, notably via the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema event in Paris, New York (with the Film Society of the Lincoln Center), and Tokyo, among others.

A well-regarded French industry figure, Toubiana ended his 13-year tenure at the Cinematheque in 2015 and joined Pathe, the venerable French film studio, as advisor to company president Jerome Seydoux in 2016. Toubiana also sits on Pathe’s board.

While at the Cinematheque, Toubiana built bridges with foreign partners and filmmakers to broaden the appeal of the institution. Some »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Close Encounters Re-Release Trailer: The Classic Is Returning to Theaters

5 July 2017 4:03 PM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

Earlier this week, the Sony Pictures Entertainment YouTube released a bizarre new video entitled "This Means Something," with the video and the YouTube description also including the URL WeAreStillNotAlone.com. The website doesn't feature any content other than a form to fill out to receive updates on "UFO sightings," but shortly after the video debuted, a new report revealed that the video is actually a teaser for a theatrical re-release of Close Encounters Of the Third Kind, the sci-fi classic that celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year. Sony Pictures has not yet confirmed what this video really is, but there is some evidence that shows it's connected to Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

The video opens with text that reads, "Every day, air traffic control tracks thousands of planes. But, every so often, they see something... that cannot be explained." The video then goes on to show an air traffic control grid, »

- MovieWeb

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Close Encounters Of The Third Kind 40th re-release trailer

5 July 2017 10:17 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

Joseph Baxter Jul 6, 2017

Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters Of The Third Kind turns 40 this year. And it's heading back to cinemas...

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind arrived on the scene as an existential alien encounter enlightenment for its characters and – especially during the buildup to its November 1977 release – a new marketing showcase for blockbuster movies, with a release built upon cryptic teases. Appropriately, with the film’s 40th anniversary approaching, a teaser trailer for its re-release proves to be as cryptic as the buildup to its original release.

Video of This Means Something

Called “This Means Something,” referencing the famous scene in which Richard Dreyfuss’s Roy Neary turns his mashed potatoes into an impromptu rendition of his portentous alien-inspired vision of Wyoming’s Devils Tower, the Close Encounters Of The Third Kind 40th teaser trailer poses familiar questions about the unexplained mysterious findings of air traffic control, cutting »

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“This Means Something” – Sony release a Close Encounters of the Third Kind teaser

5 July 2017 6:37 AM, PDT | HeyUGuys.co.uk | See recent HeyUGuys news »

Author: Zehra Phelan

The 4th of July, Independence Day holiday of our international cousins saw the start of a rather clever campaign for the re-release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind on what will be its 40th anniversary year. To start that campaign Sony released a teaser trailer which you can view below.

However, no actual footage from the film is featured in the teaser, which is aptly named This Means Something. Instead, we witness 56 seconds of air traffic control radar animation locating an unidentified flying object targeting one of its planes with audio of air traffic control in a mild panic.

To accompany the teaser for the re-release of the film which will have a one-week theatrical viewing slot in September, two months before its actual anniversary, Sony have set up a special website – WeAreStillNotAlone.Com – which takes you to a holding page prompting you to enter your »

- Zehra Phelan

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Sony Teases ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ Re-Release

4 July 2017 12:12 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Sony released a brand new teaser for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” over the long, 4th of July weekend, prompting reboot and re-release speculation. A new website referencing the 1977 original has also popped up to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the science fiction film.

A video entitled “This Means Something” was uploaded to the Sony Pictures Entertainment YouTube page on Monday, which just so happened to be World UFO Day. The video features an air traffic control radar animation locating an unidentified flying object targeting one of its planes.

While many fans expected the clip to be an unofficial announcement of a “Close Encounters” reboot or sequel, the studio actually intends to re-release the film theatrically for a week this September, Variety can confirm.

A website — WeAreStillNotAlone.com — gives believers the opportunity to sign up for “updates on UFO sightings.” In actuality, »

- JD Knapp

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David Reviews Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog [Criterion Blu-Ray Review]

27 June 2017 6:00 AM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

Of all the individuals ever assigned the task of sitting alongside the camera operator to direct a motion picture, I feel confident saying that none have been subjected to closer analytical scrutiny and more widespread popular acclaim than Alfred Hitchcock. Routinely considered one of the greatest, if not the preeminent, cinematic geniuses of all time, the “Master of Suspense” boasts an unparalleled litany of superlative achievements dating back to the silent film era and continuing over the course of five decades. His career can conveniently be broken down and digested in a handful of different eras, with most Hitchcock fans beginning their acquaintance with his work based on the legendary run he enjoyed through the 1950s in perennial “greatest film of all time” candidates like Vertigo and Rear Window, then moving either forward in time to classic shockers like Psycho and The Birds from the 1960s, or backward into his »

- David Blakeslee

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Why Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever

21 June 2017 11:07 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

A few days ago, my colleague Owen Gleiberman wrote a scathing essay questioning whether Colin Trevorrow was the right choice to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX,” suggesting that the “Jurassic World” helmer’s in-between indie, “The Book of Henry,” is such an abomination we have reason to think he could ruin the franchise that has already weathered the likes of Gungans and Ewoks.

It was a tough essay, so much so that I genuinely feared Trevorrow’s job could be in danger. And then a funny thing happened. “Star Wars” producer Kathleen Kennedy fired the directors on a completely different “Star Wars” movie, axing Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Han Solo project. What!?!?

The universe needs directors like Lord and Miller more than ever these days — and not just the “Star Wars” universe, mind you, but the multiverse of cinematic storytelling in general. Lord and Miller represent that rarest of breeds: directors with a fresh and unique vision, backed by the nerve to stand up for what they believe in.

Related

Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive)

Just look at their track record: After starting their careers as TV writers (they created the MTV cartoon series “Clone High” and wrote for “How I Met Your Mother”), the duo made their feature directorial debut with “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” a wildly imaginative reinvention of a 32-page children’s book that heralded them as bold, outside-the-box comedy storytellers.

Then they made the jump to live-action, bringing their trademark brand of hip, pop-savvy self-awareness to the feature-length “21 Jump Street” remake. Few animation directors have survived the leap from animation to live-action (just consider the likes of “John Carter” and “Monster Trucks”), but Lord and Miller took to the new medium like naturals (technically, they had experience from their TV writing days — and I remember hearing stories that they’d actually taken a break from “Cloudy” to write an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” just so they wouldn’t lose their Writers Guild insurance benefits, but that’s another story about animators don’t enjoy the same protection in this industry).

“21 Jump Street” took the concept of a tired old ’80s TV show — two baby-faced cops go undercover as high-school students — and rebooted it with a playful twist, turning the ludicrous setup into one giant joke. Then came “The Lego Movie,” in which they cracked one of the weirdest assignments in 21st-century filmmaking — bring the popular line of kids toys to life — in a wholly original way, embracing the fact that Legos had spawned an almost cult-like sub-genre of fan films (to capitalize on the trend, the Lego company had even released a “MovieMaker Set” in 2000, complete with stop-motion camera and Steven Spielberg-styled minifigure) to make the ultimate wisecracking meta-movie.

After that string of successes, Lord and Miller had become two of the hottest names in town, able to pick their projects. But like so many directors of their generation — children of the ’70s whose love of cinema had been inspired by George Lucas’ game-changing space opera, what they wanted was to make a “Star Wars” movie. For a moment, that seemed possible, since the producers were hiring indie directors like Rian Johnson (“Brick”) and Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”) to helm these tentpoles.

On paper, Lord and Miller’s irreverent sensibility seemed like a perfect match for Han Solo, the franchise’s most sardonic character. One has to assume that it was precisely that take Kathy Kennedy and the “Star Wars” producers wanted when they hired the duo. But this is where modern critics, columnists and the fan community at large fail to understand a fundamental change that is happening at the blockbuster level in Hollywood: These directors are not being chosen to put their personal stamp on these movies. They are being hired to do the opposite, to suppress their identity and act grateful while the producers make all the key creative decisions.

Want to know why Trevorrow was picked to direct “Jurassic World” when his only previous credit was a nifty little sci-fi indie called “Safety Not Guaranteed”? It’s because he plays well with others, willing to follow exec producer Steven Spielberg’s lead when necessary. Going in to the assignment, Trevorrow had no experience directing complicated action sequences or overseeing massive-budget special effects. He didn’t need it, because those aspects of the movie were delegated to seasoned heads of department, while Trevorrow focused on what he does best: handling the interpersonal chemistry between the lead characters. (Personally, I hold Trevorrow responsible for the decision to film Bryce Dallas Howard running in high heels, but not the turducken-like gag where a giant CG monosaur rises up to swallow the pterodactyl that’s eating Bryce’s assistant. Surely someone else oversaw that nearly-all-digital sequence.)

Independent schlock producer Roger Corman memorably observed that in the post-“Jaws,” post-“Star Wars” era, the A movies have become the B movies, and the B movies have become the A movies — which is another way of saying that today, instead of taking risks on smart original movies for grown-up sensibilities (say, tony literary adaptations and films based on acclaimed Broadway plays), the studios are investing most of their resources into comic-book movies and the equivalent of cliffhanger serials (from Tarzan to Indiana Jones).

To Corman’s equation I would add the following corollary: On today’s tentpoles, the director’s job is to take orders, while producers and other pros are called in to oversee the complicated practical and CG sequences that ultimately define these movies. It’s an extension of the old second-unit model, wherein experienced stunt and action-scene professionals handled the logistics of car chases and exotic location work — except that now, such spectacular sequences are the most important part of effects-driven movies. Meanwhile, the one ingredient the producers can’t fake or figure out on their own is the human drama, which is the reason that directors of Sundance films keep getting handed huge Hollywood movies: to deliver the chemistry that will make audiences care about all those big set pieces.

How times have changed: In the 1980s, the only one who would make a movie like “Fantastic Four” was Corman, which he did for peanuts, whereas two years ago, Fox dumped more than $125 million into the same property. And the director they picked? Josh Trank, whose only previous feature had been the low-budget “Chronicle.” Let’s not forget that Trank ankled his own “Star Wars” spinoff, which I suspect had everything to do with realizing what happens when forced to relinquish control of a project in which he’s listed as the in-title-only director.

Back in the ’60s, a group of French critics writing for Cahiers du Cinéma coined what has come to be known as “the auteur theory,” a relatively quaint idea that the director (as opposed the screenwriter, star or some other creative contributor) is the “author” of a film. In the half-century since, critics everywhere have fallen for this fantastical notion that directors have creative autonomy over the movies they make — when in fact, as often as not, that simply isn’t the case.

The auteur theory makes for a convenient myth, of course, and one that lazy critics have long perpetuated, because it’s much to difficult to give credit where it’s due when confronted with the already-cooked soufflé of a finished movie. Critics aren’t allowed into the kitchen, after all, and though countless chefs (or heads of department, to clarify the metaphor) contribute to any given film production, it’s virtually impossible to identify who was really responsible for the choices that make the film what it is.

How much of “Citizen Kane’s” creative genius can be attributed to cinematographer Gregg Toland? Would “Jaws” or “Star Wars” have been even half as effective without composer John Williams? Did editor Ralph Rosenblum save “Annie Hall”? And most relevant to the discussion at hand: Is it correct to think of “Rebecca” as an Alfred Hitchcock movie (he directed it, after all), or does the result more thoroughly reflect the hand of producer David O. Selznick?

This is all complicated by the fact that an entire class of filmmakers — the so-called “film-school generation” — seized upon the auteur theory, turning it into something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the likes of Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas and so on left their signature on the movies they made. Meanwhile, the Cahiers critics (several of whom went on to become directors, among them Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut) were protected by a uniquely French copyright law dating back to the 18th century, known as the “droit d’auteur,” which entitled them to final cut (a privilege precious few Hollywood directors have).

But these remain the exception, not the rule. In the case of the “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars” franchises, the director is decidedly not the auteur. To the extent that a single vision forms the creative identity of these films, it’s almost always the producer we should hold responsible. To understand that, we need only look back to the original “Star Wars” sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back,” a movie “directed” by Irvin Kershner, but every bit George Lucas’ brainchild (he reportedly hand-picked Kershner for his strength with character development). The same goes for Richard Marquand on “Return of the Jedi.”

This shouldn’t be a scandalous revelation. It just doesn’t fit with the self-aggrandizing narrative that many directors have chosen for themselves. Yes, the 1989 “Batman” is without question “a Tim Burton movie”: Burton has such an incredibly distinctive aesthetic, and the personality to push it through a system that’s virtually designed to thwart such originality. But when it comes to the incredibly successful “X-Men” franchise, there’s no question that producer (and “Superman” director) Richard Donner deserves as much credit as those first two films’ director, Bryan Singer. Simply put, that franchise owes its personality to both of their involvement.

But when it comes to “Jurassic World,” that movie probably wouldn’t look much different in the hands of someone other than Trevorrow. And the same can almost certainly be said for the “Star Wars” movie he’s been hired to direct, because in both cases, it’s the producers who are steering the ship. When the stakes are this high, it would be downright reckless to give complete autonomy to relatively unproven directors.

That’s increasingly the case in Hollywood these days. Director Dave Green (who’d made a tiny Amblin-style movie called “Earth to Echo”) went through it on a franchise project produced by Michael Bay. He was tapped to helm “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” only to discover that he had no autonomy. Granted, Green was still wet behind the ears and had no experience with a nine-digit budget or big union crew. But that wasn’t the job, because Bay never expected him to handle everything. Instead, the producer pulled in more experienced professionals to oversee much of the action and visual effects, while Green followed orders and worked his magic with the actors.

You can bet Tom Cruise’s paycheck that the same thing happened on “The Mummy,” in which Alex Kurtzman is listed as director, but the producer-star was reportedly calling most of the shots. How appropriate that a Universal monster movie reboot should be the victim of what amounts to a kind of creative Frankenstein effect.

Likewise, Marvel has had more success (both financially and artistically) forcing directors to conform to an inflexible set of aesthetic guidelines than it did when art-house “auteur” Ang Lee experimented with his own ideas on 2003’s “Hulk.” And though Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón is celebrated for the personal touch he brought to the Harry Potter franchise, it was relatively malleable British TV director David Yates whom writer-producer J.K. Rowling approved to direct four more films in the series.

So where does that leave us with “Star Wars”? On one hand, it’s perfectly understandable that the producers would want Trevorrow to direct Episode IX, since he’s already demonstrated his capacity to play along with the producers. Meanwhile, it’s disheartening — but not altogether surprising — that a directorial duo as gifted as Lord and Miller have been fired from the Han Solo film, since they’ve been known to fight for the creative integrity of their vision.

But it’s a loss to the “Star Wars” world, since Lord and Miller’s previous credits demonstrate the kind of unique take they might have brought to the franchise. Warner Bros. trusted the duo enough on “The Lego Movie” to let them poke fun at Batman — arguably the studio’s most precious IP, previously rendered oh-so-serious in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Lord and Miller’s minifigure Dark Knight was a brooding egomaniac and the funniest thing about that film, so much so that Warners ran with it, producing a spinoff that stretched the joke to feature length.

Sony Pictures Animation (where Lord and Miller made “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) was similarly enthusiastic about their input on Spider-Man, greenlighting the pair’s high-attitude idea for an animated movie centered around Miles Morales, the Black Hispanic superhero who took over web-slinging duties after Peter Parker’s death. Though they’re not directing, the script is said to bear their fingerprints — which it seems is exactly what Kennedy and company don’t want on the Han Solo project.

With any luck, Lord and Miller will see the “Star Wars” setback as the opportunity that it is: Rather than being forced to color within the lines of a controlling producer’s vision, they can potentially explore the more individual (dare I say, “auteurist”?) instinct they so clearly possess on a less-protected property. Heck, maybe Sony’s Spider-Man project will be the one to benefit. Or perhaps they’ll be in the enviable position of pitching an original movie. Not all directors have such a strong or clear sense of vision that they can be trusted to exert it over a massive studio tentpole, but Lord and Miller are among the few actively reshaping the comedy landscape. Now is their moment, although as Han Solo would say, “Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.”

Related stories'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Firing Is Latest in Long Line of Director Exits'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive)'Star Wars' Han Solo Film Loses Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller »

- Peter Debruge

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