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With Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and Mud, Jeff Nichols has become one of the most intriguing, and divisive, American directors working today. His latest film, the unclassifiable Midnight Special, will no doubt continue the same trajectory. Starring his favourite actor Michael Shannon, along with Joel Edgerton and Kirsten Dunst, this religious fable in the mold of science fiction is a crowd-pleaser that, despite a crucial directorial misstep, delivers a thoroughly riveting experience.
- Amir S.
The Power of One: Nichols’ Sci-Fi Studio Film a Wispy Homage
Indie director Jeff Nichols makes his first crossover to studio fare with Midnight Special, his auteur clout securing the film a competition slot in the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival just prior to a stateside release. Returning once more with his frequent collaborator, actor Michael Shannon, who has appeared in all three of his previous films, it is a particularly specific homage to popularized names like Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter, particularly from their early, celebrated period of genre infused event filmmaking in the early 1980s. But this highly uneven and distressingly cold narrative never manages to finds its stride, complete with a cast of anemic characters who never come to life behind the notable visage of well-known actors.
Roy Tomlin (Shannon) has abducted his biological son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) from the religious cult he grew up in. »
- Nicholas Bell
It’s hard to believe that Midnight Special is only Jeff Nichols‘ fourth film. Following his last two hugely acclaimed efforts Take Shelter and Mud, the talented filmmaker switches genres to sci-fi with a movie that captivates from the off.
Featuring Michael Shannon once again in the drivers seat, the film opens to a father (Shannon) and son (Jaeden Lieberher) taking to the road, apparently on the run. The police, and members of an organised sect (headed by the wonderful Sam Shephard) are on their tail, but Shannon’s character, Ron, has enlisted the help of his friend and State Trooper Lucas (Joel Edgerton), to guide them to a special place that will fulfill his son’s destiny.
As with his previous films, Nichols also scripts this intense sci-fi/ drama. With obvious »
- Paul Heath
In today's Berlinale 2016 Diary entry, we offer first impressions of three Competition titles: Mohamed Ben Attia's Hedi, a love story set in post-Arab Spring Tunisia with Majd Mastoura, Rym Ben Messaoud and Sabah Bouzouita, Jeff Nichols's Midnight Special, a science fiction adventure with Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher, Sam Shepard, Bill Camp and Scott Haze, and Denis Côté's Boris without Béatrice with James Hyndman, Simone-Élise Girard, Denis Lavant, Isolda Dychauk and Dounia Sichov. » - David Hudson »
Opening with a child abduction and ending with a spectacular sci-fi finale on par with “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” the Bible Belt-spanning “Midnight Special” demonstrates once and for all that indie auteur Jeff Nichols is now the go-to storyteller for the kind of slow-burn supernatural thrill audiences once sought from M. Night Shyamalan — that is, before the “Sixth Sense” director went off the deep end with “Lady in the Water.” Serving up hefty human insight in place of third-act gimmickry, and reuniting him with “Take Shelter” star Michael Shannon, Nichols’ impressively restrained yet limitlessly imaginative fourth feature takes its energy from an ensemble of characters who hold fast to their convictions, even though their beliefs remain shrouded in mystery for much of the journey.
The less audiences know going in, the better, though that could backfire on a movie without a big enough star to attract the crowds »
- Peter Debruge
Earlier on this afternoon, we were lucky enough to be granted access to the press conference for Jeff Nichols‘ upcoming film Midnight Special. The film starts to roll out in cinemas over the coming weeks, and we’ll have a full review of it up on the site later this evening. In short; it’s awesome.
Michael Shannon leads the cast, which also includes Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton and Jaeden Lieberher. All of are in Berlin to promote the film at this year’s festival. Check out our gallery of images of them, along with director Jeff Nichols, in the gallery below. Midnight Special opens on 18th March, 2016 in the USA, and on April 8th in the UK.
The post Berlinale ’16: Gallery: ‘Midnight Special’ Press Conference appeared first on The Hollywood News. »
- Paul Heath
One of Hollywood’s enduring mysteries is how James Franco does it all — acting, directing, writing books, teaching university classes, pursuing multiple post-graduate degrees and, occasionally, (rumor has it) sleeping.
Now the multihyphenate star of “Milk” and “127 Hours” has another new venture, a nonprofit film studio that he says combines many of his passions — making films, teaching student filmmakers and benefiting his favorite charity.
Elysium Bandini Studios brings together the Art of Elysium charity with Franco’s Rabbit Bandini production banner to support the film projects of students and professionals, with any proceeds going entirely to Art of Elysium. The 19-year-old charity brings actors and other artists into contact with people in need — from hospitalized children, to the elderly and homeless to, soon, veterans and prisoners. As many as 4,000 artists work with needy clients on projects ranging from essays to poetry to plays, films and art installations.
Franco and producing »
- James Rainey
Ryan Reynolds‘ antihero in “Deadpool” isn’t the only character in the new film who kills comic book stereotypes: Morena Baccarin‘s Vanessa is a prostitute, strip-club waitress, and different kind of subversive hero. Women have come a long way in Marvel films, from the early days of Kirsten Dunst‘s distressed starlet Mary Jane in “Spider-Man” to Gwyneth Paltrow‘s Stark Industries CEO Pepper Potts in the “Iron Man” franchise. Baccarin, star of “Gotham” and earlier seasons of “Homeland,” is Deadpool’s partner in a surprisingly tender love story, playing a sex worker who isn’t a broken woman. »
- Matt Donnelly
The Berlin Film Festival’s competition, Forum, Panorama and Generation sections program a cornucopia of films from all over the world — so it was a tough task for Variety’s chief international critic Peter Debruge and critic Guy Lodge to narrow down their Berlinale wish lists to a handful of features.
In literature as in film, the editor is often the unsung hero, and few have had a greater impact on 20th century letters than Max Perkins (played by Colin Firth), who wrangled such literary lions as F. Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pearce), Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West) and Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law). Incidentally, Michael Grandage’s directorial debut is edited by Oscar winner Chris Dickens. As Berlin-launched biopics go, here’s hoping it’s better than last year’s “Life.”
Out of Competition
More than two decades after “Once Were Warriors,” New Zealand’s own »
- Peter Debruge and Guy Lodge
If you were hoping to see Zac Efron put on a blond wig and dress up as Kirsten Dunst in Bring It On at some point in your lifetime, prepare yourself for greatness. The actor appeared on The Late Late Show With James Corden on Sunday night after the Super Bowl with his Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates costars Adam DeVine and Anna Kendrick to accomplish one very daunting task: sum up the entire history of sports movies in less than seven minutes. In the same vein as fellow late-night host Jimmy Fallon's "History of Rap" video, Corden's "History of Sports" tackles everything from Bad News Bears and Varsity Blues to The Sandlot and Bend It Like Beckham. No movie was safe from their hilariously spot-on impersonations, so check it out above! »
- Quinn Keaney
Arriving on the heels of an array of hypnotic images from earlier this week, the snippet sheds light on the ominous tone underpinning the director’s genre departure, and it’s one that largely emanates from Jaeden Lieberher’s peculiar young boy. Set against the inky blackness of a remote gas station, Lieberher’s estranged character wanders away from the protection of his father (Take Shelter star Michael Shannon), before a chance meeting with a random stranger appears to instigate a sudden meteor shower.
It’s a freak event that the child appears partially responsible for as well, apologizing to Shannon’s frightened patriarch before the camera pans up at the debris scorching through Earth’s atmosphere. But the question »
- Michael Briers
The first of two Jeff Nichols films arriving this year, Midnight Special finds him in sci-fi thriller mode. Inspired by Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., and Starman, the film will finally premiere next week at the Berlin Film Festival, and ahead of our review, we have the first clip, a batch of new images, and an official synopsis from the festival.
Led by Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Sam Shepard, Adam Driver, and newcomer Jaeden Lieberher, it follows a father who sets to protect his uniquely gifted son while being hunted by a pair of dangerous groups. Also set to screen at SXSW (where they just expanded their line-up), hopefully this is one of the highlights of the spring as Nichols expands his scope. Check out everything below.
Every mile that Roy and his eight-year-old son cover on their journey down highways and byways brings us closer to their incredible story. »
- Jordan Raup
Multiplexes worldwide have been crammed front to back for the last few years with superhero movies. But while Jeff Nichols' upcoming "Midnight Special" features a protagonist with paranormal abilities, everything else about the movie seems cut from a different cloth than the Marvel films. Read More: The 100 Most Anticipated Films Of 2016 Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, Michael Shannon, Jaeden Lieberher and Sam Shepard star in the movie about a young boy whose special gifts make him seem like both savior and possible menace by the public and government. Here's the official synopsis: In the sci-fi thriller “Midnight Special,” writer/director Jeff Nichols proves again that he is one of the most compelling storytellers of our time, as a father (Michael Shannon) goes on the run to protect his young son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), and uncover the truth behind the boy’s special powers. What starts as a race from religious extremists and. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
See Full Gallery Here
Director Jeff Nichols arrested our attention with two gritty and realistic dramas in the form of Mud and Take Shelter in recent times, but for his latest creative venture, Midnight Special, the filmmaker is harkening back to a very particular brand of old-school science fiction.
A few months back, the movie’s maiden trailer evoked memories of Steven Spielberg’s seminal Close Encounters of the Third Kind, though Midnight Special and its familial dynamic is tailored more to the realm of the supernatural as opposed to extra-terrestrials – so far as we can tell, anyway. Reuniting with frequent collaborator Michael Shannon, the story centers on the relationship between Shannon’s father Roy and his young son (Jaeden Lieberher), who harbors a raw and inexplicable power.
- Michael Briers
Organizers for the South by Southwest film festival have officially rolled out the initial lineup for SXSW 2016, boasting 137 features and no less than 89 world premieres across 12 sections.
Those include the star-studded Headliners, Narrative Feature Competition, Documentary Feature Competition and Midnighters among many others, and today’s comprehensive breakdown gives budding attendees the opportunity to pinpoint exactly which films deserve a place on their radar.
Among those premieres include Jean-Marc Vallee’s domestic drama Demolition, while Jeff Nichols’ starry sci-fi Midnight Special continues to draw our attention – with a cast that includes Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver and Jaeden Lieberher, can you really blame us? Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some, meanwhile, opens the festival on March 11, where it will run through until March 19.
For the full comprehensive breakdown, check out the official site for SXSW 2016. For now, we’ve included the rundown for Narrative Feature Competition, Documentary Feature Competition and Headliners. »
- Michael Briers
While The Big Movie of March 2016 is surely "Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice," Warner Bros. has another movie opening that I'm much more excited about —Jeff Nichols' long awaited "Midnight Special." Today, a few more images have dropped to tease the movie, but plot details are still thin on the ground. Read More: The 100 Most Anticipated Films Of 2016 Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, Michael Shannon, Jaeden Lieberher and Sam Shepard star in a sci-fi thriller about a young boy with special powers who is wanted by government officials and religious extremists and who goes on the run with his father. It seems like the picture will be mixing different genres, and given that Nichols is behind the apocalyptic domestic drama "Take Shelter" and the almost fairy tale like "Mud," that sounds about right. "Midnight Special" opens on March 18th. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
This Friday, the Natalie Portman Western Jane Got a Gun hits theaters. The film has Portman playing the all-too-rare Western film heroine - a wife and mother who must fight off a gang of outlaws. (Watch a clip exclusive to People here.) The film, often described as a passion project of Portman's, has been a long time coming. The actress first became attached to the project back in 2012, and various delays held up production. Michael Fassbender, Jude Law and Bradley Cooper were each attached as playing one of the film's two main male characters, but then left due to conflicts »
- Drew Mackie, @drewgmackie
Jessica Capshaw definitely has that pregnancy glow! The Grey's Anatomy actress, who is currently expecting her fourth child with husband Christopher Gavigan, showed off her baby bump while attending Elle's sixth annual Women in Television dinner in West Hollywood on Wednesday. Jessica looked gorgeous in a peach dress as she smiled and posed for photos on the red carpet. Other attendees at the event included Nina Dobrev, Kirsten Dunst, Priyanka Chopra, and Viola Davis. Keep reading to see more of the star's sweet bump, then check out 16 times Grey's Anatomy kicked us right in the heart. »
- Caitlin Hacker
Veteran Hollywood executive Fred Bernstein has launched Los Angeles-based Astute Films as a motion picture financing and production company, Variety has learned.
Bernstein, who headed production at Columbia and Universal, has assembled an initial $50 million of private equity financing and is looking to back films with mid-range budgets rather than franchises.
“We’ll be very judicious and strategic as to our spending,” Bernstein told Variety.
The company has acquired movie rights to Albert French’s novel “Billy” and set up the project with Marty Davidson (“The Lords of Flatbush”), Wendell Pierce (Selma,” “Treme”) and Jerry Leider (“On the Road”) to produce with Davidson directing from his own script.
Set in rural Mississippi in 1947, the film depicts a racially-charged incident of taunting and bullying that results in the tragic death of a 14-year-old white girl at the hands of a 10-year-old black boy named Billy. The values of the community are »
- Dave McNary
Last night I had a chance to attend the 21st Annual Critics’ Choice Awards and I wanted to share with you readers some photos I got to take at the event.
It was pretty cool to actually hang out and chat with Aziz Ansari and how funny that he still remembered our video interview while he was promoting "30 Mintues or Less," which you can see Here.
"I really can't wait for you to see it."
Check out the pics below and all the winners from the event. Overall I had a great time and can't wait till next year.
The Broadcast Film Critics Association (Bfca) and Broadcast Television Journalists Association (Btja) announced the winners of the 21st Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, »
- Kellvin Chavez
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