The Director of a film (or a play, or a television show episode) is the person responsible for the creative vision of the piece. They create a concept from the script (which may or may not be something concretely found in the script, it may be metaphorical or tangential) and from the concept lead the design and production team towards a collaborative vision. Once rehearsals/filming have begin, the director blocks the piece (i.e. tells actors where to move), provides objective and subtextual support to the actors (i.e. tells them why they are saying the things the writer wrote) and ensures that the visual style and setting are within the original vision or concept parameters.
In film, they also work closely with the DP, first story-boarding the script, and then, once on set, making sure that each shoot is framed, blocked and shot per their vision. Including ALL design aspects, from the color of the walls to the type of purse a character might wear.
In essence they are the Captain of the ship. A lot of my notes below can also be laid at the feet of bad writing, but in film (less so TV and theatre) directors have a great deal of oversight on the writing, so they are typically held accountable if the writing is terrible.
A film which has been directed badly will usually (but not always, the problem with a collaborative art form, which is what film is, is that there are many, many chefs in the kitchen. However, since the director tends to get the credit when everything works, they also tend to get the blame when it doesn’t)–usually show the following flaws:
“I’ve seen horrors… horrors that you’ve seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that… but you have no right to judge me. It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face… and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember when I was with Special Forces. Seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate the children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for Polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember… I… I… I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized… like I was shot… like I was shot with a diamond… a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought: My God… the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we. Because they could stand that these were not monsters. These were men… trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love… but they had the strength… the strength… to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral… and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling… without passion… without judgment… without judgment. Because it’s judgment that defeats us.”
Did it ever happen in your life that you’ve seen such a beautiful movie, such a perfect piece of art, such an unbelievable example of man-made splendor, such a gorgeous masterpiece that it hurt your eyes? Well, I did. And it wasn’t the Schindler’s List or the Lord of the Rings. No, it was the BEST action movie ever made. The BEST interpretation of the Governator. The BEST explosions. The BEST one-liners. The BEST plot. And the BEST tag-line. This movie is like the Art of Japanese gardening. Simple and beautiful. Balanced. Proportioned. There’s just the right amount of everything. And there is just about everything that should go into an action movie: car chases, explosions, drug-lords, sex, an invincible hero, sitting-duck-like enemies, humor, knife duels, fist fights, rocket launchers, blood, death, bullets, glass, pectorals, muscles, some more muscles, explosions and more explosions. You need more? It’s got Arnold. Need more? It’s got Arnold with a sense of humor. Still more? It’s got Arnold with a sense of humor and a rocket launcher. Put these three elements together and try to guess what happens. Destruction. On a mass scale. I won’t give away the plot, because it is too intricate and surprising. Basically it is Arnie on a mission to save his daughter. That’s about it. But what is important is not the fact that Arnie will save his daughter, but HOW will he save his daughter. Oh, are you saying that The Matrix is the best action movie of all time? Does The Matrix have Arnold Schwarzenegger? NO. Does Commando have the Matrix? YES. JOHN MATRIX, in fact. Oh, so you are saying that Neo dodges bullets? John Matrix doesn’t need to. He is bulletproof. He eats bullets for breakfast. Need more proof? I thought so… I gave this Caravaggio painted on celluloid a 10 only because IMDb doesn’t go to 11. This movie is so eye-blindingly beautiful I can’t find the words to properly end my commentary and render justice to this cinematic masterpiece. So I will just use the movie’s tag-line: Somewhere… somehow… someone’s going to pay!
Filming title sequence
The helicopter and camera rig used to film the title sequence, in which we follow Jack Torrance’s yellow Volkswagen on its way to the Overlook Hotel. The 2nd Unit crew had permission to film in Montana’s Glacier National Park, but they were not allowed to land in the park except in an emergency. As such, they would often have to hover just a foot or two off the ground so that 2nd Unit Director Greg MacGillivray (who was also driving the Volkswagen) could check the cameras and clean the lenses, which would become encrusted with squashed bugs.
The Torrance Family
The helicopter footage shot for the title sequence was originally intended to be used only for that sequence. For the later sequence where Jack Torrance returns to The Overlook with Wendy and Danny, Kubrick had originally planned to use a series of ground-based shots showing the yellow Volkswagen towing a small trailer with the family’s possessions. Those shots were filmed by the 2nd unit crew, but during the editing process, Kubrick decided not to use them. He instead made use of more of the footage that had been shot for the title sequence. Many have speculated as to how the Torrance family could have possibly brought all the luggage shown in the hotel’s lobby when they arrive. This explanation answers that question. 2nd Unit camera operator Jeff Blyth, Jeff’s wife, and their camera assistant doubling for the Torrance family in many unused shots of the car and wearing costumes from the film. Note their “Tony” finger poses.
This is one of those very rare films that combines good black humor with bloody, messy gore and does it perfectly. Long before `28 Days Later’ appeared, `Return of the Living Dead’ presented us with FAST zombies, zombies who could run, jump and work together like a football team, tackling people and making it a group effort to tear their victims apart. There are very few slow, shuffling monsters here; these are zombies to contend with. They talk, they think, they problem solve. Who could ever forget the Tar Man (my personal favorite) rigging up a device to tear down the metal closet doors, behind which our heroine has locked herself?
This film never lets up, not for one minute. There are no long explanation scenes, no boring set-up, just in-your-face excitement from the very first scene. It is the perfect homage to the Romero films; there is no happy ending here, only an ironic twist which will make even the most cynical doomsayer grin. This film is already a cult classic and deserves its status. It’s as close to flawless as you can get.
Forget Godfather, forget Citzen Kane, forget Schindler’s List, forget what you read, forget what you watched, The Room is hands down the best movie ever made. Written, directed and produced by Tommy Wisseau, The Room is everything and anything and even more than you could ask for in a movie. It’s drama, it’s suspense, it’s mystery, it’s an exploration into the human condition, it’s timeless, it’s a masterpiece. I could go on and on but my words are futile to such a genius piece of work….
I bought it from a comic-con about ten years ago. He had it hidden under the table. It was very much like buying a monkeys’s paw from a bazaar in Morocco. The wrinkly old man in the crimson robe (to be fair he was dressed like a sith lord) warned me. “I will sell it to you, but you must never watch it. For if you do bad luck and misfortune will infest your pathetic soul for all eternity.” So I said “yeah whatever.” And threw my ten bucks at him whilst snatching it from his hand. I quickly returned home to watch it. The horrors contained inside that little blue box can’t be described. The acting, the effects, the mole men! Oh god why? Since then I’ve lost my job, my wife left me, and my pets keep dying. I can’t sell or trade the damn thing because I don’t want anyone else to go through what I’ve seen. So it just sits there on my DVD shelf waiting to claim it’s next victim.