Every year at award season, The Hollywood Reporter somehow organizes the schedules of basically every single actor, actress and director of the year’s best films to sit down and discuss them. This, in itself, is pretty spectacular. What’s even better is they release the videos of the full conversations so we can watch. For the 2011 Director’s Roundtable, they’ve brought together The Descendants‘ Alexander Payne, Beginners‘ Mike Mills, Shame‘s Steve McQueen, Young Adult‘s Jason Reitman, Moneyball‘s Bennett Miller and The Artist‘s Michel Hazanavicius to discuss their own, and each other’s, movies, all of which have a good shot at multiple award nominations. Check out the video after the jump. Read More »

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Mike Mills is a famous New York graphic artist who designed promotional material and album covers for such acts as Beastie Boys, Beck, Sonic Youth, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. He moved on to directing music videos for such artists as Moby, Yoko Ono and Air, and became a very successful commercial director. Mills made his feature directorial debut in 2005 with a big screen adaptation of Thumbsucker, a novel by Walter Kirn. The film was met with moderately positive reviews, but was considered a disappointment by those who had been following Mills’ short films (watch one of my favorite of his short films, Architecture of Reassurance).

His second feature film, Beginners, premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. The movie is an independent drama about a young man (played by Ewan McGregor) who “is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover.” Christopher Plummer plays Oliver’s father Hal, and Inglourious Basterd’s Mélanie Laurent plays a young French actress whom he meets at a costume party and develops a relationship. I screened the film at TIFF this year but for some reason or another didn’t write a proper review for the site. I can tell you that this film is both well made and touching. Great performances, but a less-than-mainstream plot. I especially love the more quirky touches, like montages that Mills uses to express a sense of year and time (which you’ll see in the trailer). Watch the trailer embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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mike mills short

We haven’t posted a Big Director Small Films column in quite some time. This has happened for a variety of reasons, but mainly due to the fact that we ran through most of the available short films of the big Hollywood directors. I’m hoping to bring the column back with more of a focus on younger filmmakers, some of which you might recognize, others of which you might not, but all of whom have, at very least, directed a feature film. So yeah, the “Big Directors” part of the column title is not completely accurate anymore, but lets move on…

Mike Mills is a famous New York graphic artist who designed promotional material and album covers for such acts as Beastie Boys, Beck, Sonic Youth, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. He moved on to directing music videos for such artists as Moby, Yoko Ono and Air, and became a very successful commercial director.

Mills made his feature directorial debut in 2005 with a big screen adaptation of Thumbsucker, a novel by Walter Kirn (also the author of Jason Reitman’s upcoming film adaptation Up in the Air). The film starred Lou Tayloy Pucci, Tilda Swinton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Kelli Garner, Keanu Reeves, and Vince Vaughn, and premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Mike received the 2005 Guardian New Directors award at the Edinburgh International film festival. The film was met with moderately positive reviews, but was considered a disappointment by those who had been following Mills’ short films.

Today I would like to share with you Mills’ first short film, Architecture of Reassurance, which tells the story of a young girl who is dissatisfied with life at home, and decides to travel through other residences in her suburban neighborhood. It is a voyeuristic look at the utopian concept of suburban America. The 1999 short features Kelly Garner, Bob Stephenson and Sarah Hagan (before Buffy and Freaks and Geeks). The Architecture of Reassurance played in the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Oberhausen short film festival, and The New York Museum of Modern Art’s New Directors New Films.

Watch the short film Architecture of Reassurance embedded after the jump.

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