• Steven Spielberg

 

Steven Allan Spielberg KBE (born December 18, 1946)[1] is an American film director, screenwriter, and film producer. In a career of over four decades, Spielberg’s films have touched on many themes and genres. Spielberg’s early sci-fi and adventure films, sometimes centering on children, were seen as an archetype of modern Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking. In later years his films began addressing such issues as The Holocaust, slavery, war and terrorism.

Spielberg won the Academy Award for Best Director for 1993’s Schindler’s List and 1998’s Saving Private Ryan. Three of Spielberg’s films, Jaws (1975), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993), broke box office records, each becoming the highest-grossing film made at the time. To date, the unadjusted gross of all Spielberg-directed films exceeds $8.5 billion worldwide. Forbes magazine places Spielberg’s personal net worth at $3.0 billion.[2] In 2006, Premiere listed him as the most powerful and influential figure in the motion picture industry. Time listed him as one of the 100 Most Important People of the Century. At the end of the twentieth century, Life named him the most influential person of his generation.[3]

Early career (1968–1975)

His first professional TV job came when he was hired to do one of the segments for the 1969 pilot episode of Night Gallery. The segment, “Eyes,” starred Joan Crawford , and she and Spielberg were reportedly close friends until her death. The episode is unusual in his body of work, in that the camerawork is more highly stylized than his later, more “mature” films. After this, and an episode of Marcus Welby, M.D., Spielberg got his first feature-length assignment: an episode of The Name of the Game called “L.A. 2017.” This futuristic science fiction episode impressed Universal Studios and they signed him to a short contract. He did another segment on Night Gallery and did some work for shows such as Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law and The Psychiatrist before landing the first series episode of Columbo (previous episodes were actually TV films).

Based on the strength of his work, Universal signed Spielberg to do four TV films. The first was a Richard Matheson adaptation called Duel about a monstrous tanker truck which tries to run a small car off the road. Special praise of this film by the influential British critic Dilys Powell was highly significant to Spielberg’s career. Another TV film (Something Evil) was made and released to capitalize on the popularity of The Exorcist, then a major best-selling book which had not yet been released as a film. He fulfilled his contract by directing the TV film length pilot of a show called Savage, starring Martin Landau. Spielberg’s debut theatrical feature film was The Sugarland Express, about a married couple who are chased by police as the couple tries to regain custody of their baby. Spielberg’s cinematography for the police chase was praised by reviewers, and The Hollywood Reporter stated that “a major new director is on the horizon.”[10] However, the film fared poorly at the box office and received a limited release.

Studio producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown offered Spielberg the director’s chair for Jaws, a horror film based on the Peter Benchley novel about an enormous killer-shark. Spielberg has often referred to the grueling shoot as his professional crucible. Despite the film’s ultimate, enormous success, it was nearly shut down due to delays and budget over-runs.

But Spielberg persevered and finished the film. It was an enormous hit, winning three Academy Awards (for editing, original score and sound) and grossing $470,653,000 worldwide at the box office. It also set the domestic record for box office gross, leading to what the press described as “Jawsmania.”[11] Jaws made him a household name, as well as one of America’s youngest multi-millionaires, and allowed Spielberg a great deal of autonomy for his future projects.[12] It was nominated for Best Picture and featured Spielberg’s first of three collaborations with actor Richard Dreyfuss.

  • Quentin Tarantino

 

Quentin Jerome Tarantino (born March 27, 1963) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. In the early 1990s he was an independent filmmaker whose films used nonlinear storylines and aestheticization of violence. His films include Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill (Vol. 1, 2003; Vol. 2, 2004), Death Proof (2007) and Inglourious Basterds (2009). His films have earned him Academy, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Palme d’Or Awards and he has been nominated for Emmy and Grammy Awards. In 2007, Total Film named him the 12th-greatest director of all time.[1]

Early life

Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Connie McHugh Zastoupil, a health care executive and nurse, and Tony Tarantino, an actor and amateur musician born in Queens, New York.[2] Tarantino’s father is Italian American and his mother is of Irish and Cherokee Native American ancestry.[3][4][5] He attended Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California for his freshman year before dropping out of school at age 15. Quentin and his childhood friend, Adam Olis,[citation needed] began to make movies in his backyard using cheap animations. He attended acting school at the James Best Theatre Company in Toluca Lake. At age 22, he held employment at the Video Archives, a now defunct video rental store in Manhattan Beach where he and fellow movie buffs like Roger Avary spent all day discussing and recommending films to customers.[6]

[edit] Film career

After Tarantino met Lawrence Bender at a Hollywood party, Bender encouraged Tarantino to write a screenplay. He directed and co-wrote a movie called “My Best Friend’s Birthday” in 1987. The final reel of the film was almost fully destroyed in a lab fire that broke out during editing but its screenplay would go on to be the basis for True Romance.[7] In January 1992, Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs hit the Sundance Film festival and was an immediate hit. The film garnered critical acclaim. Reservoir Dogs was a dialogue-driven heist movie that set the tone for his later films. Tarantino wrote the script in three and a half weeks and Bender forwarded it to director Monte Hellman. Hellman helped Tarantino to secure funding from Richard Gladstein at Live Entertainment (which later became Artisan). Harvey Keitel read the script and also contributed to funding, took a co-producer role, and a part in the movie.[8]

 
Tarantino has had a number of collaborations with director Robert Rodriguez

Tarantino’s screenplay True Romance was optioned and eventually released in 1993.[9] The second script that Tarantino sold was Natural Born Killers, which was revised by Dave Veloz, Richard Rutowski and director Oliver Stone. Tarantino was given story credit, and wished the film well.[10] Following the success of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino was approached by Hollywood and offered numerous projects, including Speed and Men in Black. He instead retreated to Amsterdam to work on his script for Pulp Fiction. After Pulp Fiction he directed episode four of Four Rooms, “The Man from Hollywood”, a tribute to the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode that starred Steve McQueen. Four Rooms was a collaborative effort with filmmakers Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, and Robert Rodriguez. The film was very poorly received by critics and audiences. He appeared in and wrote the script for Robert Rodriguez‘s From Dusk Till Dawn, which saw mixed reviews from the critics yet led to two sequels, for which Tarantino and Rodriguez would only serve as executive producers.

Tarantino’s third feature film[9] was Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of Rum Punch, a novel by Elmore Leonard. An homage to blaxploitation films, it starred Pam Grier, who starred in many of that genre’s films of the 1970s. He had then planned to make the war film provisionally titled Inglorious Bastards, but postponed it to write and direct Kill Bill (released as two films, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), a highly stylized “revenge flick” in the cinematic traditions of Wuxia (Chinese martial arts), Jidaigeki (Japanese period cinema), Spaghetti Westerns and Italian horror or giallo. It was based on a character (The Bride) and a plot that he and Kill Bill’s lead actress, Uma Thurman, had developed during the making of Pulp Fiction. In 2004, Tarantino returned to Cannes where he served as President of the Jury. Kill Bill was not in competition, Kill Bill Vol. 2 had an evening screening, while it was also shown on the morning of the final day in its original 3-hour-plus version with Quentin himself attending the full screening. Tarantino then went on to be credited as “Special Guest Director” for his work directing the car sequence between Clive Owen and Benicio del Toro of Robert Rodriguez‘s 2005 neo-noir film Sin City.

The next film project was Grindhouse, which he co-directed with Rodriguez. Released in theaters on April 6, 2007, Tarantino’s contribution to the Grindhouse project was titled Death Proof. It began as a take on 1970s slasher films,[11] but evolved dramatically as the project unfolded. Ticket sales were low despite mostly positive reviews.

Among his current producing credits are the horror flick Hostel (which included numerous references to his own Pulp Fiction), the adaptation of Elmore Leonard‘s Killshot (for which Tarantino was credited as an executive producer but with the movie set for release in 2009 he is no longer associated with the project)[12] and Hell Ride (written and directed by Kill Bill star Larry Bishop).

Tarantino said, “When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.'”[3]

Tarantino’s summer 2009 film Inglourious Basterds was the story of a group of guerrilla U.S. soldiers in Nazi occupied France during World War II. Filming began in October 2008.[13] The film opened Friday, August 21, 2009 to very positive reviews[14] and the #1 spot at the box office worldwide.[15] It went on to become Tarantino’s highest grossing film, both in the United States and worldwide.[16]

  • William Friedkin

William Friedkin (born 29 August 1935) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter best known for directing The French Connection in 1972, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director. The following year he was nominated for his directing The Exorcist (1973). His recent film, Bug (2006) won the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Career

After seeing the movie Citizen Kane as a boy, Friedkin became fascinated with movies and began working for WGN-TV immediately after high school. He eventually started his directorial career doing live television shows and documentaries, including The People vs. Paul Crump which won several awards and contributed to the commutation of Crump’s death sentence. As mentioned in Friedkin’s voice over commentary on the dvd re-release of Alfred Hitchcock‘s Vertigo, Friedkin also directed one of the last episodes of “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” in 1965, called “Off Season”.[1] Hitchcock admonished Friedkin for not wearing a tie while directing.[2] In 1965 Friedkin moved to Hollywood and two years later released his first feature film, Good Times starring Sonny and Cher. Several other “art” films followed (including the gay-themed movie The Boys in the Band), although Friedkin didn’t necessarily want to be known as an art house director.

In 1971, his The French Connection was released to wide critical acclaim. Shot in a gritty style more suited for documentaries than Hollywood features, the film won five Academy Awards, including Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director.

Friedkin followed up with 1973’s The Exorcist, based on William Peter Blatty‘s best-selling novel, which revolutionized the horror genre and is considered by some critics to be the greatest horror movie of all time. The Exorcist was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Following these two critically acclaimed pictures, Friedkin, along with Francis Ford Coppola and Peter Bogdanovich, was deemed as one of the premier directors of New Hollywood. Unfortunately, Friedkin’s later movies did not achieve the same success. Sorcerer (1977), a $22 million dollar American remake of the French classic Wages of Fear, starring Roy Scheider, was overshadowed by the box-office success of Star Wars, which was released around the same time. Friedkin considers it his finest film, and was personally devastated by its financial and critical failure (as mentioned by Friedkin himself in the documentary series The Directors (1999)).

Sorcerer was shortly followed by the crime-comedy The Brink’s Job (1978), based on the real-life Great Brink’s Robbery in Boston, Massachusetts, which was also unsuccessful at the box-office. In 1980, he directed the highly controversial gay-themed crime thriller Cruising, starring Al Pacino, which was protested against even during its making, and remains the subject of heated debate to this day.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Friedkin’s films received mostly lackluster reviews and moderate ticket sales. Deal of the Century (1983), starring Chevy Chase, Gregory Hines and Sigourney Weaver, was sometimes regarded as a latter-day Dr. Strangelove, though was generally savaged by critics. However, his action/crime movie To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), starring William Petersen and Willem Dafoe, was a critical favorite and drew comparisons to Friedkin’s own The French Connection (particularly for its car-chase sequence), while his courtroom-drama/thriller, Rampage (1987), received a fairly positive review from Roger Ebert despite major distribution problems. The Guardian (1990) and Jade starring Linda Fiorentino received minor success by critics and audiences. Friedkin has also done features drawing attention to artists as different as Fritz Lang and Barbra Streisand.[3]

In 2000, The Exorcist was re-released in theaters with extra footage and grossed $40 million in the U.S. alone. Friedkin’s involvement in 2007’s Bug resulted from a positive experience watching the stage version in 2004. He was surprised to find that he was, metaphorically, on the same page as the playwright, and felt that he could relate well to the story.[4]

Later, Friedkin directed an episode of the hit TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, entitled Cockroaches, which re-teamed him with To Live and Die In L.A. star William Petersen. He would go on to direct again for CSI’s 200th episode, Mascara.

//

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン, Shin Seiki Evangerion, lit. New Century Evangelion?), commonly referred to as NGE, Eva, or Evangelion, is a commercially[1] and critically[2] successful, influential, and controversial Japanese anime that began in October 1995; the series launched the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. It won several major animation awards.[3][4][5] The anime was created by Gainax, written and directed by Hideaki Anno, and co-produced by TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS).

Evangelion is an apocalyptic mecha action series which revolves around the efforts by the paramilitary organization Nerv to fight monstrous beings called Angels, primarily using giant mecha called Evangelions which are piloted by select teenagers, one of whom is the primary protagonist.

Events in the series refer to Judeo-Christian symbols from the Book of Genesis and Biblical apocrypha among others.[6] Later episodes shift focus to psychoanalysis of the main characters, who display various emotional problems and mental illnesses;[7][8] the nature of existence and reality are questioned in a way that lets Evangelion be characterized as “postmodern fantasy”.[9] Hideaki Anno, the director of the anime series, suffered from clinical depression prior to creating the series, and the psychological aspects of the show are based on the director’s own experiences with overcoming this illness.[10]

Setting

The story of Evangelion primarily begins in 2000 with the “Second Impact”, a global cataclysm which almost completely destroyed Antarctica and led to the deaths of half the human population of Earth. The Impact is believed by the public at large and even most of Nerv to have been the impact of a meteorite landing in Antarctica, causing devastating tsunamis and a change in the Earth’s axial tilt (leading to global climate change) and subsequent geopolitical unrest, nuclear war (such as the nuking of Tokyo), and general economic distress. Later, Second Impact is revealed to be the result of contact with and experimentation on the first of what are collectively dubbed the Angels: Adam. The experiments were sponsored by the mysterious organization Seele, and carried out by the research organization Gehirn.

In the year 2010, Gehirn had accomplished a number of its scientific and engineering goals and corporately changed into the paramilitary organization Nerv which is headquartered in Tokyo-3, a militarized civilian city located on one of the last dry sections of Japan; Nerv’s central mission is to locate the remaining Angels predicted by Seele, and to destroy them. However, Nerv has its own secret agenda, as directed by its Machiavellian commander Gendo Ikari: the Human Instrumentality Project, which, according to Gendo in episode 25, is the task of uniting all human minds into one global spiritual entity. Associated with Nerv is the Marduk Institute, which has the task of selecting the pilots for the Evas, the most capable being children conceived after the Second Impact (14 year olds). The institute consists of Commander Ikari, and Nerv’s chief scientist Ritsuko Akagi; supporting the two are 108 companies which are all revealed to be ghost companies.

My Rei Papercraft

  • Elfen Lied

Elfen Lied (エルフェンリート, Erufen Rīto?) is a Japanese manga series created by manga author Lynn Okamoto. A thirteen-episode anime television series adaptation based on the manga (Elfen Lied: Diclonius Report) was produced by the studio ARMS and broadcast on TV Tokyo from July to October 2004; the anime was later licensed in North America on DVD by ADV Films. The anime started before the manga was complete; as a result, the plot differed between the two, especially towards the ending of the story. In 2005, a special original video animation, written to occur between the tenth and eleventh episodes of the series, was released. The title is German for “Elf Song” and takes its name from the poem “Elfenlied“.

Elfen Lied revolves around the interactions, views, emotions, and discrimination between humans and the Diclonius, a mutant species similar to humans in build but distinguishable by two horns on their head and “vectors”, transparent telekinetically controlled arms that have the power to manipulate and cut objects within their reach. The series is centered around the teenage Diclonius girl “Lucy” who was rejected by humans and subsequently wreaks a murderous vengeance upon them.

Elfen Lied involves themes of social alienation, identity, revenge, child abuse, jealousy, regret and the value of humanity.[2] The series employs graphic violence and nudity. So far, only the thirteen-episode anime series has been licensed in the United States, by ADV Films and in Australia, by Madman Entertainment. ADV Films said the series was one of their bestselling and “most notorious” releases of 2005.

Elfen Lied takes place in Japan, focusing specifically onto a new strain of the human race – a species known as Diclonius, creatures almost entirely similar to ordinary human beings, yet greatly different at the genetic level and notable due to physical abnormalities, the most notable being a pair of short horn-like protrusions located on both sides of a Diclonius’ head. One such Diclonius, a girl named Lucy, takes role as the central plot and main anti-heroine of the series: initially held in a facility built for experimentation on the Diclonius race, located off the coast of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, she manages to escape and wreak havoc in the compound, though she’s injured in the process, an event which help develop a secondary, child-like personality known as Nyu, her name being the very first word she ever spoke.

Brought by the sea to Kamakura’s coast, she is then found and rescued by two local residents, Kohta, who just moved in to study at the local university, and his cousin Yuka. They both agree to take in Nyu (they’re the ones who give her the name), though in doing so they become involved with the numerous, often brutal, attempts to recapture Lucy/Nyu, which counts among them a Special Assault Team and a number of other Diclonius, who shift from completely oblivious of everything to murderous killer frequently, often driven by a primitive, violent instinct bent on survival of her species over the human race, deemed both inferior and extremely savage. Also, several characters who were apparently untied to the plot becomes entangled in it, from Bando, a SAT trooper who was mauled by Lucy and infected with the Vector virus, to director Kurama himself, a carrier of said virus.

While the animated rendition of the series ends with the violent fight between Lucy and Mariko, Kurama’s daughter, after which Lucy disappears while fighting the military sent to capture her, the manga continues on by showing the mad plan of director Kakuzawa, leader of the Diclonius’ research, and its ultimate failure due to its own inconsistency. Nevertheless, said plan still brings about a great crisis upon the world, whose side-effects the surviving protagonists witness in the years after the conclusion of the story.

The story is rarely completely action-packed, and while there are instances of brutal fights, they often end abruptly in massacres perpetrated by Lucy or the other Diclonius, or even the humans themselves. Also, humanity is often portrayed as extremely immoral or cruel, with instances such as the experiments the Diclonius constantly endure or the racist view humans and Diclonius give at each other. In fact, it is often confusing to assert who of the two factions is truly evil, given the fact that while humans are demonized through their cruelty over Diclonius, the latter are depicted as bloody murderers since a very young age – in fact, most of them are young children or teenagers at most.