On First Time Directors: What Can Four First Time Directors Teach Us About Modern Movies?

tour naltrexone price This weekend, October 24th to 26th, four movies were released nationwide, each directed by a first time director. This sounds like a rare occurrence but instead this weekend may just be a trend of the near future. Three of these first time filmmakers come from a Hollywood background in acting, special effects and stunt choreography. Based on the works they have delivered this weekend they have been tapped as directors as much for their desire for the job as for their proximity to the director’s chairs.

http://foothillgoldexchange.com/55603-bromhexine-usa.html furnish “23 Blast” is directed by character actor Dylan Baker who’s nebbishy, chinless presence is as familiar to moviegoers as his name is unknown. Baker was damn near an Oscar nomination for his work in the Todd Solondz epic “Happyness” and portrayed an early incarnation of a very popular comic book character, Dr, Curt Connors, in “Spiderman 2; easily his most widely seen performance.

http://kellidphotos.com/39833-zovirax-price.html Turning his attention to directing Mr. Baker has found a story he is clearly passionate about, the true life tale of a teenager who lost his sight but not his desire to play football. “23 Blast” is the inspirational story of Travis Freeman whose faith in God brought him back from the brink of despair after the loss of his sight and his dream of playing football.

http://vulturespick.com/94661-buy-xenical.html forward The story is undeniably cinematic, clearly lending itself to the kind of narrative that made “The Blind Side” a lauded blockbuster. Unfortunately, Mr. Baker’s inept direction dooms the movie to an assemblage of things that happened. Baker brings little style to the direction, and zero wit to the proceedings as one scene fumbles to the next capturing events but giving them no life.

customize http://miikaspray.com/64813-phenergan-price.html He’s not helped by a low rent cast that seem to recite lines as if at a first reading of the script. That too however, is likely the fault of Mr. Baker who shot the film on a shoestring budget and likely wasted little time in helping his actors craft their performances. That the film cannot rouse even the charm of a low rent theater company is testament to the point of this essay, that not anyone can direct a feature, even if they’ve spent their life in front of the camera.

“Ouija” is a slightly more expensive but equally as inept first directorial effort from Stiles White. The emptiness of “Ouija” is forecast by the credit given to the board game company Hasbro, which owns the ‘Ouija Board’ trademark and licensed the creation of the film based on the game to well-known schlockmeister Michael Bay.

“Ouija” is the story of teenagers attempting to contact a dead friend via the popular board game that alleges you can speak to ghosts. The premise is not as limiting as it sounds, indeed given the number of people who believe in this hokum, there is quite a cinematic universe that could be explored with the Ouija Board at the center.

Unfortunately, director Stiles White shows no interest in making anything more thoughtful than a spooky commercial for the board game. Cardboard characters combine with innumerable horror movie cliches to create a pastiche of been there done that scares and half formed ideas unexplored. Characters fates are decided in the clumsy fashion of expedience. ‘Hey, it’s this character’s turn to die, how should we kill them?’

That level of inept, on the fly decision making could be fun in a Roger Corman feature but in this slickly produced studio movie, it just comes off as lazy and thoughtless. Yes, I realize that calling a movie based on a board game lazy is rather ludicrous but it’s the simplest way to state the truth about the movie.

Does Stiles White have talent? It’s hard to say. Working on a Michael Bay production of a board game is not how any director should be judged. Yet, we have the product of his work and it isn’t good. If the idea behind “Ouija” is shallow the direction should, at the very least, come off better by comparison and it does not. Indeed the final film product more than equals the shallow, corporate synergy that inspired it.

Mr. White comes from a background in special effects with 14 credits for such well known movies as “Jurassic Park 3,” “The Sixth Sense,” and “Inspector Gadget.” Mr. White is also a screenwriter, though I am pained to cite the dreck that his laptop has spewed forth, “Boogeyman,” “Knowing,” and “The Possession.” Viewing his resume I am reminded of the Boss’s son who is pushed forward through family business despite showing little acumen for being in charge.

This brings us to “John Wick” which comes from the directing team of David Leitch and Chad Stehelski. “John Wick” is an well directed action movie, highly impressive from a pair of first time filmmakers. That said, Leitch and Stahelski only got the gig because they are the longtime comrades of star Keanu Reeves who hand picked the pair of Stunt Coordinators to direct his pet project.

This type of pseudo-nepotism is nothing new and the finished product of “John Wick,” despite an unhealthy dose of incidental misogyny, seems to redeem the choice but it does serve to underline how much the walls between auteurs like Scorsese and Malick have been breached by the forces of corporate synergy and opportunism.


The fourth new movie of the weekend is by far the most thoughtful and accomplished. “St. Vincent” comes from writer-director Theodore Melfi whose toils in the world of independent short films have finally flowered into his first feature. Working with a veteran cast, including an Oscar-worthy Bill Murray, Melfi has crafted a first feature that is warm and lived in, with the kind of humor and delicacy that seemingly can only come from an independent feature.

The care and craftsmanship Mr. Melfi has brought to “St. Vincent” demonstrates a true and distinct voice, one that could very well round into an auteur in the future. Melfi’s writing talent exceeds his directorial skill but the simple fact that he actually wrote and directed “St. Vincent” certainly sets him far apart from his opening weekend counterparts.

So, what is my thesis statement? Bluntly, Hollywood incest is infecting the cinema with barely qualified neophytes who’s tenuous connection to directing a feature, be it from being in front of the camera, on the effects team of previous features, or a background in stunt choreography, are littering the film world sub-par features barely suitable for direct to video shelf filler. No offense “John Wick,” you’re not bad but you’re not great either.

The true authentic voice is indeed in this day and age outnumbered three to one by the barely qualified corporate drone puppet keen on placing product on the shelves rather than long lasting art that populates and enriches the homes of movie lovers. Perhaps I am being to hard on these hardworking film craftsman but when it is your task to endure this work on a weekly basis bitterness is a nasty side effect.

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