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Cool Videos: Director John McTiernan discusses his cinematic language

Dec. 27, 2012by:

It's been nearly 10 years since director John McTiernan has delivered a new film, due largely to the legal snafu he's involved in with Anthony Pelicano (which will likely result in a year of jail time if his last appeal to the Supreme Court doesn't go through).  Although that case has stifled the filmmaker from making any new films, there is a healthy roster of hits, most notably the original DIE HARD and the original PREDATOR, two of the most revered action classics ever made.  In addition, he directed THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, MEDICINE MAN, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE, LAST ACTION HERO, THE 13TH WARRIOR, and the unfortunate duo of ROLLERBALL and BASIC. 

In this video (which seems to be clipped from a commentary), McTiernan discusses his filmmaking philosophy and style, really digging into the nuts and bolts of what he does and why he does it.  McTiernan is my favorite director and the very things he brings to light are exactly why.  He tells a story not just with the actors, but with the camera.  That may sound obvious, but with McTiernan, the movement, placement, and aesthetic that goes into his directing style create a storytelling layer that stacks on top of the performances.  This is the guy that owned the lens flare long before J.J. Abrams was a household name and created some of the most iconic action scenes of all time.  If anything, this video makes me yearn to see the director back behind a camera (instead of behind bars) and delivering the kinds of films he excels at. 

Until then...enjoy:

McTiernan has been linked to a number of projects in the last ten years, none of which have come to fruition due to his legal troubles.  Let's hope that they work themselves out soon enough to let the man get back to work, even if it means serving his sentence and getting it over with.

Extra Tidbit: The 13th Warrior is one of the most underrated films of all time. Absolute epic awesomeness from McTiernan with composer Jerry Goldsmith's last great score. I love it from the first to last frame.
Source: Vimeo

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4:01PM on 12/27/2012
He should be the one to direct The Expendables 3!
He should be the one to direct The Expendables 3!
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+6
3:07PM on 12/27/2012

One of the best indeed

He should be the one making another die hard movie.
He should be the one making another die hard movie.
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+5
2:50PM on 12/27/2012

Geography!

So important for action, yet so few filmmakers seem to understand this.
So important for action, yet so few filmmakers seem to understand this.
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1:27PM on 12/27/2012

McTiernan we miss ya!

One of my favorites too. With his contempary Tony Scott passing on recently it makes it sting even more that this guy can't get a film out. Hopefully it'll happen soon.
One of my favorites too. With his contempary Tony Scott passing on recently it makes it sting even more that this guy can't get a film out. Hopefully it'll happen soon.
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9:24PM on 12/27/2012

:(

Studboi has it right. Either Expendables or let him fine the next big action start that I have been missing for the past couple of years.
Studboi has it right. Either Expendables or let him fine the next big action start that I have been missing for the past couple of years.
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8:50PM on 12/27/2012

McTiernan we miss ya!

One of my favorites too. With his contempary Tony Scott passing on recently it makes it sting even more that this go can't get a film out. EDIT: triple post woohoo!
One of my favorites too. With his contempary Tony Scott passing on recently it makes it sting even more that this go can't get a film out. EDIT: triple post woohoo!
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6:21PM on 12/27/2012

Great filmmaker.

Aside from Rollerball, Medicine Man and Last Action Hero, he is flawless. I say the Federal Government give him a break. He isn't beating anyone up or driving drunk.
Aside from Rollerball, Medicine Man and Last Action Hero, he is flawless. I say the Federal Government give him a break. He isn't beating anyone up or driving drunk.
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6:31PM on 12/27/2012
I sort of love Last Action Hero.
The kid is awful but the rest of the movie remains a guilty pleasure.
I sort of love Last Action Hero.
The kid is awful but the rest of the movie remains a guilty pleasure.
8:52PM on 12/27/2012
I second the "Last Action Hero" comment. Movie is awesome.
I second the "Last Action Hero" comment. Movie is awesome.
8:48PM on 12/27/2012

McTiernan we miss ya!

One of my favorites too. With his contempary Tony Scott passing on recently it makes it sting even more that this go can't get a film out. Hopefully one day.
TIDBIT- yes, that is a great epic movie, the only bummer is that was severly cut down. its my dream for it to get a 'directors cut' but it never will.
One of my favorites too. With his contempary Tony Scott passing on recently it makes it sting even more that this go can't get a film out. Hopefully one day.
TIDBIT- yes, that is a great epic movie, the only bummer is that was severly cut down. its my dream for it to get a 'directors cut' but it never will.
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5:28PM on 12/27/2012

Basic was great!

He's always been one of the best. What will a year in jail for him prove other than once again the legal system needs a serious overhaul? He's being sentenced for "lying" by the same judge he is alleged to have lied to when asked about wire tapping a seriously deviant and disgusting movie producer who is actually the one responsible for the mess Rollerball was. It seems strange the government could be so aggressive against phone tapping. Maybe it's because they can get warrants and do it
He's always been one of the best. What will a year in jail for him prove other than once again the legal system needs a serious overhaul? He's being sentenced for "lying" by the same judge he is alleged to have lied to when asked about wire tapping a seriously deviant and disgusting movie producer who is actually the one responsible for the mess Rollerball was. It seems strange the government could be so aggressive against phone tapping. Maybe it's because they can get warrants and do it themselves whenever they want. Shame on the public for expecting they're in any way equal to a civil servant.
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