Series Created by Tony Gilroy — Available on Disney+ now.
Since Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars, it has been somewhat of a bumpy ride. Their so-called sequel trilogy features a safe-but-satisfying opener (The Force Awakens), an excellent and thrilling second film that divided the fanbase and revealed toxicities (The Last Jedi), and a conclusion that, in trying too hard to satisfy toxic fans, went back on what the previous film had set up and ended the trilogy on a whimper (The Rise of Skywalker). Even the spin-off films have divided opinions due to them over-explaining things that needed no explanations. As live-action Star Wars has embraced streaming, it has been with similar ups and downs. The Mandalorian is a bonafide hit (but in its most memorable moments it has still clung to fan service). The Book of Boba Fett was good in glimpses but its best episodes are essentially episodes of The Mandalorian. Finally, though richly satisfying, Obi-Wan Kenobi was a safe and fan-service-laden limited series that was yet another reminder of how insular Star Wars storytelling can often feel. As a huge Star Wars fan, it pleases me greatly to be able to affirm that ANDOR, a prequel spin-off series of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is a breath of fresh air in that it is a mature, dark, and gritty series that makes the Empire and the Rebellion feel real again.
There is something very exciting about a directorial debut. Obviously, the filmmaker is excited about their first chance to step behind the camera on a feature film, but, as an audience member or film writer of any kind, it is so fascinating to see the choices being made. Sometimes some of the boldest and most imaginative filmmakers present us with instant classics, other times newcomers deliver a product that may not be extraordinary filmmaking but which may still be a moving or exciting motion picture. In this month’s best of the decade list, I’m honoring the very best directorial debuts. Some of them are first works for potential auteurs, while others are impressive blockbuster entertainment from untested new filmmakers just learning the ropes. Continue reading “Best of the 2010s: Directorial Debut Films”→
The following is a review of Velvet Buzzsaw — Directed by Dan Gilroy.
In 2014, Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut — Nightcrawler — became a hit with critics and audiences alike. It gave us a brilliant and rivetingly unhinged performance from its leading man, Jake Gyllenhaal, and it showed us that Dan Gilroy was a supremely talented filmmaker.
With his second directorial effort, Roman J. Israel, Esq., Gilroy stumbled a bit, even though that film had another committed lead performance — this time from Denzel Washington. Now, Gilroy and Gyllenhaal have reteamed for a horror film about the art world with Netflix’s Velvet Buzzsaw, and, though it isn’t quite a return to form, it shows us that Gilroy is perfectly capable of having fun with his art. Continue reading “REVIEW: Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)”→
The following is a review of Jon Schnepp’s The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened?
For more reasons than one, this is the perfect time for Jon Schnepp’s documentary to be released. Not only is Ant-Man out in theaters in the summer of 2015 – a film infamous for the Edgar Wright-problems – but Avengers: Age of Ultron suffered from problematic quotes from its director back in April 2015. Meanwhile, Superman has not been this relevant since 1978.
The following is a review of Nightcrawler — Directed by Dan Gilroy.
In Nightcrawler, the directorial debut of The Bourne Legacy-co-writer Dan Gilroy, we meet Louis Bloom (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) a guileful thief, desperate for a chance at a job. As Bloom traverses through Los Angeles at night, he, at one point, encounters Joe Loder (played by Bill Paxton), a so-called ‘stringer’ who makes a living by selling footage of violent crimes or accidents in the Los Angeles nightlife to local news stations. Bloom becomes intrigued, acquires a cam-corder and a police scanner, and slowly begins to climb up the ladder of relative success as an unscrupulous freelance photojournalist. But when Bloom then becomes an employer, he becomes decidedly unhinged. Bloom is a quick learner, and if he wants something, he’s prepared to take it by any means necessary. Continue reading “REVIEW: Nightcrawler (2014)”→