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“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is a movie intended to challenge the idea that everything has already been discovered, that the world has been completely strip-mined of its wonder. If the message comes across as canned and unconvincing, perhaps that’s because director Tim Burton has spent a large part of the last 15 years ghoulishly repackaging some of the most exhausted stories in Western culture — at this point, his involvement in this project is like John Lasseter making a film that lamented the decline of hand-drawn animation, or Zack Snyder making a film that lamented the loss of quality blockbuster entertainment.
- David Ehrlich
The title may read “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” but there can be no doubt for anyone buying a ticket: This is really Tim Burton’s Home for Peculiar Children. Not since “Sweeney Todd,” and before that all the way back to “Sleepy Hollow,” have the studios found such a perfect match of material for Hollywood’s most iconic auteur. It’s gotten to the point where the mere addition of Burton’s name to a movie title can justify an otherwise iffy prospect: You don’t want to see a “Planet of the Apes” remake? Well, how about a Tim Burton “Planet of the Apes” remake? Now you’re interested! Here, there’s nothing forced about the coupling of Ransom Riggs’ surprise best-seller with Burton’s playfully nonthreatening goth aesthetic and outsider sensibility, which should put the director back on the blockbuster charts.
One of the kid-lit sphere’s freshest recent surprises, »
- Peter Debruge
Keith Maitland’s SXSW prize winner — the film pulled in both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at this year’s festival — “Tower” takes a deeply painful story and lays it out through inventive and expressive animation.
“Tower” follows the events of August 1, 2966 — billed in official materials as “the day our innocence was shattered” — when University of Texas student Charles Whitman took to the school’s iconic tower and opened fire on the campus below. Over the course of 96 minutes, Whitman shot nearly 50 people, killing 16 of them (including an unborn child that people believe he targeted, as his mother was a very obvious 8 months pregnant at the time), before being taken out by police. The event is still one of America’s worst school shootings and, for many years, was the deadliest attack on a U.S. college campus.
- Kate Erbland
San Sebastian — Argentina’s Celina Murga, whose 2014 Berlin competition player “The Third Side of the River” was exec produced by Martin Scorsese, is seeking a foreign actress to star in her next film, “Irene.”
One highlight of this week’s San Sebastian’s 5th Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum, “Irene” is inspired by Roberto Rossellini and Martin Scorsese, more particularly Scorsese’s reflections in “Voyage to Italy” on Rossellini’s “Europe ’51.” “Irene” is a ‘re-reading or visit to ‘ Europa ’51, seen from the present and set, in this case, in contemporary Argentina,” Murga said.
But Murga looks set to depart quite quickly from Rossellini’s original which reflects his ardent Catholicism, she observed in San Sebastian.
In Rossellini’s original, the eponymous heroine ends up interned in a psychiatric ward. Murga’s Irene, who also suffers the death of her son, but by suicide not because of a moment of carelessness, may enjoy a happier destiny. »
- John Hopewell
Clocking in at five-and-a-half-hours, Abel Gance‘s 1927 silent epic Napoleon has undergone a restoration that has been a decades-in-the-making endeavor. It’ll be heavily credited to the BFI, yet historian Kevin Brownlow “spent over 50 years tracking down surviving prints from archives around the world since he first saw a 9.5mm version as a schoolboy in 1954.”
BFI National Archive, Brownlow’s Photoplay Productions, and Dragon Di have restored the film — funding for 35mm elements came in 2000 — while Philharmonia Orchestra recorded the entirety of Carl Davis‘ score, and now it’ll see the light of day this November in the U.K. thanks to a theatrical and Blu-ray release.
Ahead of the release, we have a new trailer, which features quotes from both Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick, as well as a glimpse at the landmark triptych sequences. Amusingly, Kubrick did indeed call the film “a masterpiece of cinematic invention,” but he »
- Jordan Raup
It’s hard to forget the first time you see Toshiro Mifune in Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai.” He prowls and prances like a demented street urchin, giggling with sick glee in some moments and screaming with fury in others. As director Martin Scorsese astutely noted, Mifune often projected the unpredictable screen presence of a caged animal. There was never any telling what he’d do next, only that there was no turning away from it, either.
- Nicholas Laskin
Ever since Olivia Wilde announced the happy news that she is expecting her second child with Jason Sudeikis, she's been showing off her growing belly everywhere from the shores of Hawaii to the fanciest of red carpets. On Wednesday she added yet another adorable outing to her roster when she strutted her stuff at an event put on by the Friars Club honoring Martin Scorsese at Cipriani Wall Street in NYC. The Vinyl actress simply glowed while flashing her megawatt smile in a flowing red dress, posing with members of the armed forces and making a speech on stage. Olivia is one of many stars with buns in the oven this year, and we can only imagine that her and Jason's supercute son, Otis, is thrilled to be a big brother. Related Stories:Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis Stare Lovingly Into Each Other's Eyes on the Red CarpetOlivia Wilde and »
- Quinn Keaney
Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety podcast.
On today’s show Jenelle Riley and I are back to chew on the season’s lead acting Oscar races. The best actress field is stacked with so many contenders it seems a guarantee that a few deserving candidates will be left out of the equation. From Emma Stone (already a prize winner for “La La Land”) to Natalie Portman (causing a stir in Venice and Toronto with “Jackie”) to great performances we’ve seen from the likes of Ruth Negga (“Loving”) and Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”) and possible contenders we haven’t, like Taraji P. Henson (“Hidden Figures”) and Viola Davis (“Fences”), it’s just incredibly competitive.
Meanwhile, the best actor race is uncharacteristically soft. No one, really, seems like a lock. Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”) is certainly a strong candidate among the performances we’ve seen, while Denzel Washington »
- Kristopher Tapley
“Heavenly shades of night are falling…it’s twilight time”, and we’re not talking about sparkly teen vampires. No, those lyrics from the Platters golden oldie could very well be used as the theme for this movie, and perhaps its iconic lead actor. As many “golden age” film stars reach their “golden years”, they often look toward a project that may be the perfect coda to their long career, maybe a farewell to their screen persona. Hey wouldn’t you rather ride into the sunset with The Shootist (as John Wayne did) than headline a flick called Trog ( Joan Crawford’s finale’)? Perhaps this is the case for fabled film funny man Jerry Lewis. At the tail end of the “golden age” of Hollywood (1948), he and then partner Dean Martin ruled the box office for eight years. After their split, Jerry had even greater success as a solo for a good twelve years, »
- Jim Batts
Everybody loves Marty.
Martin Scorsese became the seventh recipient of the Friars Club Entertainment Icon Award Wednesday night in New York at Cipriani Wall Street.
“He tells a story well, that’s what a great director does,” said Larry King (the Friars Club’s current dean) on the red carpet. “He never fails.”
It was clear that the entertainment industry has a unique love and respect for the legendary director.
The extravagant ballroom of Cipriani was filled with some of Scorsese’s closest friends — Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Olivia Wilde, Sacha Baron Cohen, Juliette Lewis and Ellen Burstyn — all of whom presented speeches, which were shared in the form of funny stories, unforgettable moments and humbling words of appreciation.
“I thank you for everything you’ve done for me and our craft. You are my director, my collaborator, my friend,” DiCaprio said in his speech. “You are part of »
- Christina Dun
Not for nothing is Toshiro Mifune one of the most renowned actors of world cinema. Known mostly for his many collaborations with Akira Kurosawa — including such classics as “Rashomon,” “Seven Samurai” and the “Yojimbo” cycle — as well as Hiroshi Inagaki’s “Samurai Trilogy,” the Japanese thespian appeared in nearly 170 films before his death in 1997. Steven Okazaki directed the new documentary “Mifune: The Last Samurai,” which just released its first trailer.
Narrated by Keanu Reeves and featuring interviews with the likes of Martin Scorsese (who offers that “Mifune’s performance is layered, complex. He studied the movement of lions. He’s like a caged animal”) and Steven Spielberg, the trailer touches on Kurosawa and Mifune’s joint influence on American cinema as well as the actor’s two main vices: alcohol and cars.
Read More: »
- Michael Nordine
It’s been a busy last few weeks for Sarah Paulson, who just won an Emmy for her role in “The People v. O.J. Simpson” and premiered her new film “Blue Jay” at the Toronto International Film Festival. Directed by a debuting Alex Lehmann, the black-and-white romantic drama co-stars Mark Duplass. Watch its first trailer below.
Paulson and Duplass two play former high-school sweethearts who run into each other later in life, launching a “Before Sunset”–style walk-and-talk before getting into some serious reminiscing.
Duplass also wrote the script and serves as executive producer along with his brother Jay. “Blue Jay” will be released in theaters by the Orchard on October 7 before heading to Netflix later this year. »
- Michael Nordine
A24 has released the first trailer for “Trespass Against Us,” Adam Smith’s upcoming thriller starring Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson. The film, which just had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, is due out in theaters in early 2017.
The film follows three generations of an outlaw family living in Britain’s countryside: patriarch Colby (Gleeson), heir apparent Chad (Fassbender) and young Tyson (Georgie Smith), whose future remains uncertain. “When Colby learns of Chad’s dreams for another life he sets out to tie his son and grandson into the archaic order that has bound the Cutler family for generations,” reads the official synopsis. “He engineers a spectacular piece of criminal business involving a heist, a high-speed car chase and a manhunt, which leaves Chad bruised and bloodied and with his very freedom at stake. »
- Michael Nordine
De Palma, 2016
A documentary exploring the life, work and influences behind the films of Brian De Palma
Brian De Palma may be popular among cineliterate enthusiasts but he’s never had the same popularity elsewhere. When you list his movies, it’s easy to imagine audiences being taken aback by the sheer quantity of classics he has under his belt. Carrie, Scarface and Mission Impossible are difficult to group together, spanning vividly different genres, and yet they fall under the impressive banner of Brian De Palma. De Palma, jointly directed by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow, is primarily an interview, but it fills the screen with footage from each of his movies (and the classics that inspired them) and weaves this chronological canon together effortlessly.
Discussing each and every film in his eclectic filmography, De Palma is affably honest. He’s outspoken »
- Simon Columb
"A lot of people try to imitate Mifune, but nobody can." Stop and watch this now! The first official trailer has debuted online for a fantastic documentary called Mifune: The Last Samurai, profiling the life and work of Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune. If you're a cinephile you're already very familiar with Mifune - he starred in numerous Akira Kurosawa films including The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo and Rashomon, as well as tons of other classic Japanese films. This doc examines his life work with old footage and photographs and tells his story from the early beginnings of his career, to his falling out with Kurosawa and final roles. Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are two of the filmmakers who talk about how incredible Mifune was, with more special guests. I caught this film at the Telluride Film Festival and loved it - highly recommended. Here's the first trailer for Steven Okazaki »
- Alex Billington
Directing movies, Quentin Tarantino has said, “is a young man’s game. Directors don’t really get better as they get older…I’ve been studying all these directors’ careers, and boy, you tell me the one I haven’t thought of and I’ll bow my head.” Tarantino is right. For the most part, directors don’t get better as they get older. (The rare ones remain just as good.) There are exceptions to that rule, however, and none may be more dramatic, in its way, than the career of Curtis Hanson, who died Tuesday at 71.
For a long time, he worked under the radar. Then, in his forties, when he’d achieved a certain medium-grade commercial success, it was for making a handful of serviceable if not exactly indelible genre movies: the yuppie exploitation noir “Bad Influence” (1990), which played — with an entertaining hint of crassness — off the Rob Lowe sex-tape scandal. »
- Owen Gleiberman
There may be no actor who so forcefully brings budding film lovers into world cinema as Toshiro Mifune, the Japanese wild man who redefined period epics and still puts most action stars to shame. Given the (very) rarified place he occupies in cinema, his enshrinement via documentary is an inevitable thing. While Steven Okazaki didn’t get there first, his Mifune: The Last Samurai appears to have done it well.
With the likes of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa regular Kôji Yakusho on hand for interviews — as well as narration from Keanu Reeves — the film appears to follow a standard career-and-life walkthrough, admirers and co-workers alike singing his praises while clips and archival photos move us along. (A less-than-glowing review, one of the only published thus far, indicates as much.) So be it: any excuse to revisit his work, even in bite-sized form, is always welcome, and some »
- Nick Newman
Dailies is a round-up of essential film writing, news bits, videos, and other highlights from across the Internet. If you’d like to submit a piece for consideration, get in touch with us in the comments below or on Twitter at @TheFilmStage.
Edward Yang’s little-seen The Terrorizers will get its first theatrical run at BAMcinematek from October 21 through 27.
Watch a video essay on the search for family in There Will Be Blood:
If Hitchcock is a language, then De Palma has been fluent in it for decades: Obsession is Vertigo, Body Double is Rear Window, and so on. “I was the one practitioner that took up the things he pioneered,” De Palma asserts in Baumbach’s film. Alternatively, there’s Blow Out – often deemed the most representative of his aesthetic – which »
- The Film Stage
“Mifune’s performance is layered, complex. He studied the movement of lions. He’s like a caged animal,” says Martin Scorsese in the (above) trailer for Mifune: The Last Samurai, the new documentary about Toshiro Mifune, the greatest actor from the Golden Age of Japanese Cinema. Directed by Academy Award-nominated director Steve Okazaki and narrated by Keanu Reeves, Mifune: The Last Samurai features rare archival footage and interviews with Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Koji Yakusho as well as Mifune co-stars Kyoto Kagawa, Haruo Nakajima and Yoshio Tsuchiya. Mifune appeared in nearly 170 films, including Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and Red Bear. The film […] »
- Paula Bernstein
John Huston's 1948 masterpiece, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, examines the dark psyche of humanity; and continues to influence cinema into the 21st Century. Humphrey Bogart, one of our finest actors, encapsulates the greed, power, betrayal, and violence that looms inside humanity.
In the 1940s, overshadowed by the Second World War, Hollywood began to produce darker and more cynical films to reflect the mood of the nation. In this decade Hollywood saw the birth of film noir and a boom of gangster pictures; writer/director John Huston and his frequent collaborator, Humphrey Bogart, contributed to these genres with The Maltese Falcon and Key Largo, respectively, both classics in their own regard, but it’s 1948’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre which dug deeper into the human psyche, and whose influence extends into the 21st Century’s best cinema.
The story is simple: Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) is looking for work in Tampico, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Collin Llewellyn)
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