The Odds May Be Ever In Gary Ross' Favor To Direct CATCHING FIRE, But Is The Money??
The Kidd here...
It had long been assumed that Gary Ross would be back to see THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy through to its next chapter CATCHING FIRE. With Lionsgate already eyeing a November 2013 release date and no search for a different director ever taking place, it would seem like an easy transition for Ross to move right along to Simon Beaufoy's script and expand upon the world of Katniss Everdeen. The odds would seem to be ever in Ross' favor, but perhaps it's the money that's not.
There seems to be a contentious negotiation taking place between Ross and Lionsgate over the director's payday for CATCHING FIRE. The Hollywood Reporter reports that, while Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are contracted for Suzanne Collins' entire trilogy, Ross was only locked up for the first film. He took less than usual in order to direct THE HUNGER GAMES, but now he's looking to make more than his fair share after the first film made some serious bank for the studio. It's up to Lionsgate as to whether or not they want to ante up in order to keep him, or are willing to take their chances that he's not the primary reason for the film doing so well by going with another filmmaker, perhaps someone cheaper.
Ross may be overplaying his hand here a bit, because, if the POTTER films, THE TWILIGHT SAGA or the Marvel movies have showed us, it's that there's not a premium placed on the directors... all of them can be replaced. The audience is going to turn out regardless, and, yes, the goal is to make a quality film, but it is a business, and, if someone can be found for less money to do "as good" of a job, then that's the way it's going to be.
"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"
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April 4, 2012, 4:44 p.m. CST
April 4, 2012, 4:50 p.m. CST
April 4, 2012, 4:50 p.m. CST
by future help
that directing AND editting was terrible. Plus, this is sci-fi...let's mix it up. also, i never read the book. saw the movie, not impressed. Woody was alright. Jen was cool. but, man...lame. Heard Fire is better book...So, if new director, might check it out. Otherwise, I would rather a John Carter sequel first...cause even that was more entertaining than Hunger.
April 4, 2012, 4:54 p.m. CST
by D o o d
he did a grand job on the movie. However, I wouldn't mind them giving the second one to someone else as there are so many talented directors out there. Gary is going to be ok, his career is now established!
April 4, 2012, 4:55 p.m. CST
April 4, 2012, 4:58 p.m. CST
Agreed. Ross did not do as good a job as the source material deserved. If anything it should have been more violent because the whole point of the book is the violence. He disregarded this and made a low budget The Running Man.
April 4, 2012, 5 p.m. CST
That would rule
April 4, 2012, 5:07 p.m. CST
He did a fine job, but it was hardly a movie that couldn't have been made just as good (if not better), by another director. Nothing against the director, but I'd rather see someone else get a shot.
April 4, 2012, 5:15 p.m. CST
Chris Weitz has proved himself a good world builder and deft storyteller. David Slade would also be a good choice.
April 4, 2012, 5:17 p.m. CST
There's a lover of Science Fiction as ever there was one. And he's cheap.
April 4, 2012, 5:31 p.m. CST
But seriously this movie's actions sequences sucked more than Jason Bourne with a seizure. New director please.
April 4, 2012, 5:35 p.m. CST
April 4, 2012, 5:38 p.m. CST
And if you want to say that The Hunger Games was going to be a slam dunk on film no matter what, I will kindly point you in the direction of Eragon, The Dark is Rising, The Golden Compass, Lemony Snicket, or any number of other blisteringly successful YA novel series that flopped both critically and at the box office. It actually takes a lot of talent to make one of these things work, folks.
April 4, 2012, 5:51 p.m. CST
by tj donkey show
...just as long as they knock it off with the fucking shaky cam. I had motion sickness through most of the movie.
April 4, 2012, 5:51 p.m. CST
This is good news to me. Try and find a director who has heard of a strange concept of 'Steady Cam'. The camera work in Hunger Games was more jittery than a meth-tweaked chihuahua with Parkinson's.
April 4, 2012, 5:52 p.m. CST
by Johnny Wrong
...did a great job. You claim otherwise? You don't know squat about direction. The only weaknesses I found in the film were directly script-related.
April 4, 2012, 5:57 p.m. CST
Chuck him and get a director with some ideas! The lack of an interesting director is the one and only reason I didn't go see the first one!
Liked the books. Said "Damn, if they're making these into movies that they want to be good, they've got to find a director who really agrees with the ideas behind the books." Felt dubious when I saw who they got. Felt real dubious when I saw the previews. Then felt smug when I read the reviews that said that it could have been a better movie with a more engaging director. Fuck it, even though there's no chance in hell, I'll say it: a Nicholas Refn CATCHING FIRE/MOCKINGJAY would be Un Motherfucking Stoppable. I'll go daydream about that while I listen to Nirvana's fifth studio album...... oh wait, right.
April 4, 2012, 6 p.m. CST
In case the studios are skimming this: HIRE REFN FOR #2 AND 3! #1's success proved that you have a built-in audience with the YA-fiction set, now get the film nerds on board too!
April 4, 2012, 6:06 p.m. CST
Duderino, their one and only goal is to MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE. These are the same people who see TV shows as the space that needs to be filled between ads.
April 4, 2012, 6:12 p.m. CST
April 4, 2012, 6:29 p.m. CST
his directing was average at best. A clever director could have figured out interesting ways to film bloodless death scenes without just waving the camera about so we can't see anything.
April 4, 2012, 6:30 p.m. CST
All those films you mention had lousy scripts, and/or studio demands to cut their narratives down to the bone. Sure, the director may influence the development of the script, but on a film like this the director's influence is minimal.
April 4, 2012, 6:31 p.m. CST
April 4, 2012, 6:31 p.m. CST
by Ben Fong-Torres
terrrrrrrible, horrrrrrrible, my eyesssssss. New director PLEASE.
April 4, 2012, 6:40 p.m. CST
Mind you I haven't read any of the books, but generally speaking as a genre film fan, I was looking forward to it a good amount (and love/lust for Miss Lawrence has been firmly established for many months now lol). I suppose the final 25ish minutes of it were good, but frankly most of what led up to it, I found rather boring. I hate to say it, but it's true. And I certainly had more than just one question about misunderstood plot points/details that I approached some book fans about for clarity.
April 4, 2012, 6:48 p.m. CST
Even if Ross were willing to return. I thought he did a fine job, but it's always more interesting to me to see different interpretations of the same material. I'm not even a big fan of the guy, but I feel like Zack Snyder has it in him to make a kick-ass Hunger Games film.
April 4, 2012, 6:50 p.m. CST
Visually it was well done, except all the shaky cam stuff was really awful. They should have cut out quite a few things in the film in order to make room to develop characters and plot items more. Could have been a much better film than it was.
April 4, 2012, 6:56 p.m. CST
1 hour of shaky cam? I cannot take that again. Not to mention that the second book fails to deliver compared to the first (my opinion of course, but I would be willing to be that I am in the majority with this statement). Gary Ross, do Hunger Games fans a favor and take your shaky cam somewhere else.
April 4, 2012, 6:59 p.m. CST
Then you wouldn't be mentioning the Twilight Saga amongst the Marvel movies and Potter films.
April 4, 2012, 7:15 p.m. CST
by The Ref
Haters gonna hate.
April 4, 2012, 7:35 p.m. CST
April 4, 2012, 7:40 p.m. CST
by Pvt. Duke
For every James Cameron - a well-rounded genius who can write, paint, draw, calculate, inspire - there are a dozen Ratners. You know, creatively-retarded cool kids who couldn't write a birthday card let alone a story with a beginning, middle and end. So why the fuck am I supposed to care that he can point and shoot with a camera? I just think the director profession, more than any other artistic position, is open to charlatans whose jobs are more political than they are creative. Which would be fine, except directors are consistently labeled as the seers of things. If you really have something to say, like Cameron, you should be able to write it, paint it, play it, draw it, sculpt it, or build it. That said, Gary Ross has written Pleasantville and Seabiscuit. But with the Hunger books already writtten, it won't be hard to find another self-important asshole who can hold a camera for less than ten-million bucks.
April 4, 2012, 7:53 p.m. CST
I agree, he added nothing to to the film. After all the hype, he delivered a direct-to-DVD quality film with zero character development
...and I really, really wanted to love this movie.
April 4, 2012, 8:22 p.m. CST
How about the director of the best Harry Potter film and the only one that didn't put me to sleep, btw...
... and the director of a truly amazing future dystopia film, Alberto Cuaron? Though I doubt he wants or needs The Hunger Games series.
April 4, 2012, 8:27 p.m. CST
The movie - while doing nothing discernibly wrong - left us both feeling "meh". <br><br> It's funny, we both wanted so much for this movie to be as good as the novels that we left the theater talking about how kick-ass it was. But 2 days later, it was like it never happened. A non-event if you will. It was obvious that we were just trying to convince ourselves that we hadn't spent the better part of the past year talking about how The Hunger Games movie would rock for nothing! <br><br> Ross was a competent (if uninspiring) choice, but it seems that nowadays I need a director with real vision if I'm to feel it in my loins. <br><br> ...the movie that is. <br><br> I would love to see book 2 with a Nicholas Refn or a Shane Black at the helm. <br><br> Hell, with the money it's generated so far, the studio should go the other way (instead of looking for a "cheaper" hire) & try to hire Peter Jackson. Just open up the fucking coffers! His name (and the resulting product) would assure an historical return on investment. <br><br> Could you imagine?!?!
April 4, 2012, 8:30 p.m. CST
...Quantam of Solace does fucking too rock!
April 4, 2012, 8:37 p.m. CST
But there's even less chance of that happening than Refn. All goodwill Cuaron earned by making HP3 was squandered by his 'difficult' attitude on the Children of Men shoot (read: commitment to retaining the memorable aspects of a film with which he was making a strong personal and political statement), but maybe enough time's passed since then. Between HP3, Little Princess and CoM, though, it's true— you really can't ask for a more perfect pedigree.
April 4, 2012, 8:44 p.m. CST
Check out Cuaron's IMDB page— dude hasn't *worked* since CoM and his only subsequent film is a Sandra Bullock sci-fi drama that's currently in post. I would argue that it's pretty likely he both wants and, if not exactly "needs" the Hunger Games, probably still wouldn't kick it out of bed in the morning.
April 4, 2012, 8:46 p.m. CST
Gotta love a director with some consistency, though.
April 4, 2012, 8:51 p.m. CST
I would have enjoyed Hunger Games a hell of a lot more if it wasn't for the excessive use of shaky cam. Ross is obviously talented at directing actors, but doesn't know shit about how to put together a good action scene. Too many modern directors use shaky cam to hide bad choreography, or are under the impression that shaking the camera all over the place helps the audience "feel" like they're part of the action. Here's a tip to all budding action directors - watch The Raid at your earliest convenience and admire how Gareth Evans lets the choreography speak for itself.
April 4, 2012, 9:05 p.m. CST
by Mike Connor
I remember hearing during shooting (from a friend of a friend who was working sound on Children of Men) what a nightmare Cuaron was to work with on that set. This crew member told me he was working on a film that was going to be a disaster. However Cuaron behaved during the shoot, turned out this guy was dead wrong about the quality of the work.
April 4, 2012, 9:08 p.m. CST
by Andrew Coleman
It hands down ruined the Hunger Games. How about Gareth Evans for Catching Fire?
April 4, 2012, 9:35 p.m. CST
I'd like to thank the guy at least for not filming it in blue "dismal vision" to emphasize the dark theme
Seriously, I don't understand the the disdain for this film on this site. Even with alterations from the books the movie is solid;the lead is near perfect casting; the story is compelling. Thank goodness I didn't have to lay out good money for an accelerated, expanded two hour 90s style music video (sans real music) masquerading as a film. Going in I thought this was some kind of dystopian chick flick. I was wrong. Usually can't stand shakey cam, but how else can you show that kind of carnage? Liked it. End rant.
April 4, 2012, 9:43 p.m. CST
by Navin Johnson
It's time. Darker; grittier. FACT!
April 4, 2012, 9:53 p.m. CST
Typical cheap ass employers. Someone delivers a movie that, regardless of quality, makes them a shitload of money and will give them a potential franchise and make even more shitloads of money. And they still play it cheap. Bullshit. They should get some other hack director like Ratner and have the sequel tank big time. Don't anybody tell me that you wouldn't ask for more money if you didn't have a big hit on your hands. Unless he's asking for some totally unreasonable number (like 50 million dollars), Lionsgate should pony up the dough and be glad he's coming back. Besides, it's typically better in business to go with a known quantity rather than risk it on an unknown one. Having said all that, I didn't like the direction in The Hunger Games, hated the shaky cam and all the close ups and thought that the story was a contrived piece of crap full of convenient as hell deus ex machinas. Can't anybody these days just shoot a straightforward film without shaky cam or fast cutting? Still, I hate the studio's cheap behavior even more. If someone does good work for you, you should reward them with more money on the next job. Not lowball them like a cheap prick and burn bridges. But that's Hollywood for you--and a lot of other jobs for that matter.
April 4, 2012, 9:55 p.m. CST
Before the Piranha 3DD receipts roll in and he prices himself right out of this Hunger Games horseshit!
April 4, 2012, 10:22 p.m. CST
April 4, 2012, 10:36 p.m. CST
I think Ross did a good job with his limitations: budget, time, source material and, most importantly, rating. What I really wanted from The Hunger Games movie I was never going to get, and I know that, so my expectations weren't very high for the film. And it was good. Very good in places, and mostly because of Jennifer Lawrence. (I bet she gets an Oscar nom for this movie. Just a wild guess, really!) But Gary Ross found a nice sweet spot between the book and the movie I had inside my head. That said, I don't know if he's integral to the sequels. But then again, there's no one else that really comes to mind to take his place, either...
April 4, 2012, 10:38 p.m. CST
Although part of that is due to Ross's inexperience with action sequences, I'm sure, you also have to consider that how much of the action in question they could get away with showing was severely compromised. We're talking about a story marketed to the YA crowd (and younger) that had to straddle the line between PG and PG-13 about children who kill each other. Pretty much nobody but Paul Greengrass actually likes shakycam, but it's a reasonable solution for giving viewers a glimpse of the brutality taking place without allowing them to get a very good look at it. It's not ideal, but it's certainly better than not showing anything at all (or the "Disney" version of violence, where people get shot and there are no bullet holes). I get why this bothers the film buff in you, but try to understand why it was done, at least, and that it wasn't completely Ross's fault.
April 4, 2012, 10:53 p.m. CST
If anything, I will hope that this movie is the nail in the coffin for "shaky-cam". May it die a quick death.
April 4, 2012, 10:57 p.m. CST
It has done a lot for the action movie genre. It can be overused, yes, but there's nothing like using shaky cam effectively to make your audience FEEL and experience the heat of the moment. Taken uses it really well, for instance.
April 4, 2012, 11:01 p.m. CST
by Nasty In The Pasty
FIRE that motherfucker (or at least his camera operator/editor). Good movie, but the camerawork was RIDICULOUSLY awful.
April 4, 2012, 11:07 p.m. CST
Ross utterly destroyed the movie with shaky-cam and chop-suey editing...he and the DP (and Steve Soderberg too) should be kicked so far out of "Catching Fire" that they land in somewhere in Iran.
April 4, 2012, 11:16 p.m. CST
Nobody...and I mean NOBODY went to see Hunger Games because of Gary Ross. Nothing against him, but there are plenty of qualified directors who would sell their firstborn to get in on this.
April 4, 2012, 11:33 p.m. CST
Because the camera wasn't shaking as much as you seem to think it was.
April 4, 2012, 11:34 p.m. CST
It ruined what would otherwise have been a reasonably decent and watchable movie. My wife loves the book, and could barely sit through the movie.
April 4, 2012, 11:43 p.m. CST
Ditch him, the story sold the movie, the directing was average at best. We don't need more "Shakeycam in establishing, non action shots!!!"
April 5, 2012, 12:36 a.m. CST
He'll really make you work for it.
April 5, 2012, 12:40 a.m. CST
He can make art out of dark stuff starring kids.
April 5, 2012, 1:01 a.m. CST
I figure it's used as an editing tool as much as anything, to help cover up the violence. I think the worst shaky cam was in "Quantum of Solace". That was almost incomprehensible, really! Still, when it's done right I think it works...
April 5, 2012, 1:38 a.m. CST
Article lifted and rejigged from here http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/23494/-hunger-games-sequel-director-not-set
April 5, 2012, 1:40 a.m. CST
by Mephisto the Great
When my 15 year old-Xbox-addled-son started complaining at the terrible camera work in that film, that's saying something. Made us sick, and that's coming from someone who had no issues with Cloverfield or Blair Witch. Ross: Steadicam, buddy!
April 5, 2012, 1:43 a.m. CST
by Mephisto the Great
As for those who defend the Shaky Cam in this film, here's the problem - 90% of it was during NON-action scenes. The very first ten minutes of the movie was so quickly edited with shaky-shakes we were laughing at how badly it was done.
April 5, 2012, 3:10 a.m. CST
Seems like most agree the shaky cam sucks. There was absolutely no reason for it. Especially during non action scenes when doing repeated and extremely annoying close-ups of peoples' mouths. Some say it was necessary to avoid graphic violence and keep a PG13 rating, but remember the first movies to be pg13? Mola Ram ripping a man's heart out of his chest and hundreds of kids being gunned down in Red Dawn. This was a book about kids killing kids so I'd think whoever is going to see it should expect a little violence. The action scenes were horrible in this movie and from what I remember, the second book has a lot more Hunger Games action. Could be really cool if they hire a director who knows how to do it.
April 5, 2012, 6:23 a.m. CST
Man does action nicely, probably will work cheap since he primarily does TV.
April 5, 2012, 6:25 a.m. CST
I read that Ross was on 5% of the back end for Hunger Games - so he's done alright in my book.
April 5, 2012, 6:34 a.m. CST
Bob Motherfuckin' Zombie. If anyone can do this cheaper than anyone, it's that dirty fucknugget.
April 5, 2012, 6:56 a.m. CST
the movie was a HORRIBLE adaptation of a very good book. it was like RAMBO: THE ANIMATED SERIES compared to FIRST BLOOD. all of the brutal dystopian atmosphere was gone. watching the movie, i felt like the little kid in the shootout scene in FACE/OFF, experiencing gruesome things while listening to "somewhere over the rainbow". this story CANNOT be told in a PG-13 movie, it just can't. and don't even get me started on all the cool things from the book that they changed into totally lame things in the movie. oh, and it's great that they let handicapped people work on movies, but why as a camera operator?? so please, save us the embarrassment and torture of going through three more of these abominations, and simply reboot it right now with an R-rated script and a production team that can get across the atmosphere of the book, and a camera operator who doesn't have Parkinson's.
April 5, 2012, 7 a.m. CST
Its awful - the fate of an entire nation hinges on an uninteresting teenage love triangle with the depth of a puddle.
April 5, 2012, 7:29 a.m. CST
The city scenes looked like blade runner as done by your high school av team. He's efficient enough, but so bland. So many scenes in the movie that shod have felt nightmarish fell flat
April 5, 2012, 7:31 a.m. CST
LOL.....Catching Fire is awful. Just filler to take you to the finale.
April 5, 2012, 7:34 a.m. CST
I do keep warning everybody that the books get incrementally worse, so maybe all of this is a moot point :)
April 5, 2012, 8:35 a.m. CST
by Mike J
To me it looked like footage shot by someone who had just got their first camcorder and hadn't read the instructions. I'd be more than happy for someone new to come on board.
April 5, 2012, 8:39 a.m. CST
Seriously, that was the only terrible part of what was a fantastic movie.
April 5, 2012, 8:46 a.m. CST
by Judge Briggs
Completely unneccesary! The first 30 mins of the movie are unwatchable. ...On a related note, call up the dude who directed The Raid - that motherfucker knows how to film action scenes! Fucking love that movie... Saw it last night and will be going again next week.
April 5, 2012, 8:48 a.m. CST
It felt like there were too many shots that were just too close to the subjects. I started to feel claustrophobic in the theater. Maybe it was an attempt to hide minimal sets. IDK but I disliked that way more than the shaky cam.
April 5, 2012, 8:56 a.m. CST
by Judge Briggs
I am glad to see that people agree that Evans is the man for the job. I haven't ever complained about shakey cameras ... ever. But Ross turned in a turd of a movie ... the first 30 mins was brutal. I went into the movie with a headache and walked out with a migraine. Sheesh ...
April 5, 2012, 12:05 p.m. CST
The BATMAN movies, on the other hand, have one director and seem to be getting better with each installment. Let the director grow with the franchise.
April 5, 2012, 12:16 p.m. CST
by Orbots Commander
....the property, and the author, in this case, Suzanne Collins, is the star. The director, not so much. I would argue that even the actors are interchangeable. If the studio decided to replace one of the leads with someone else, there would be an initial kerfuffle among the fans, but they would still go see the sequel. That said, it's not inarguable that Ross brought something to the production. Hell, to me, the real star of the Potter movies was the vastly under-appreciated Steven Cloves; he wrote the screenplays for all of them, and for such a long series of movies, while they varied in quality, none of them outright sucked and were all very successful.
April 5, 2012, 9:32 p.m. CST
by Sound Designer Dan
.....how would The Raid director Gareth Evans do the action scenes? Probably get Joe Wright, Refn, or Paul Verhoeven to direct the non-action scenes and Evans to be action director.
April 6, 2012, 1:27 a.m. CST
by Winston Smith
Editing is everything. So many times I see people react to something or judge something that they see as a result of directing even though it's really the editor's work that they are reacting to... and why editing is seen as part of the "tech side" of things while directing and cinematography are the "art" side of filmmaking makes no sense. In some ways editing, along with writing, is the most purely CREATIVE. As for Hunger Games, Ross didn't make the film, but he did a decent job as a whole. I didn't have a problem with the shakycam but I did think sometimes the film needed to PULL THE FUCK BACK... a lot of close-ups, sometimes needlessly.
April 6, 2012, 1:27 a.m. CST
by Winston Smith
And has directed before. This isn't the beginning of his career.
April 6, 2012, 5:14 a.m. CST
not all directors have a strong enough vision to make a good or great movie, and people don't respect them (unless they are a huge name) because secretly they think they can do it better; and that goes triple for writers. being a good director is not easy. it is definitely a whole shit lot more than point and shoot. that's just stupid talk.
April 6, 2012, 5:20 a.m. CST
so...he's 60 years old, made out like a bandit on the money end (5% is friggin' not small potatoes, by any means), and delivered a passable, if not inspired movie. sounds to me like an older guy who realizes this is his last chance to make some big bucks, and if he has to do some teenie movie to do it (which it didn't have to be- the "love triangle" stuff was lame) then screw it. I think he is powerplaying the time line, and is being a political here. it'll cost them the same or more to find someone that fast who can deliver a movie by late next year, since the wheels are already greased. Smart move on his part, decent gamble...but I don't think he really gives a shit about making this movie Great. I think he just wants to get these things done quickly and pocket the cash and enjoy the rest of his life. He is no Hitchcock. He is a product maker.
April 6, 2012, 5:21 a.m. CST
April 6, 2012, 5:57 a.m. CST
The shaky cam was used for more than just action sequences. It was used, along with the in and out of focus cam, during dialogue in the first 30 minutes.
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