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Neil Jordan is the director of some of the finest films in modern history: The Crying Game, Interview With The Vampire, Breakfast on Pluto, for example. Byzantium functions as a loose pseudo-sequel to Vampire with the same level of intensity and sensuality as The Crying Game. It’s not like Jordan’s back or anything, the dude never went away, but it’s more of a return to form after the somewhat disappointing Brave One and Ondine.
- Robert Ottone
Forest Whitaker is having himself a British moment, flashing back more than 30 years to his first visit to London. "The first time I ever went out of the country it was to London. I was with the choir from my college and we were touring around all these different churches. I loved it so much I tried to find a way to stay there. I tried to get a job but I had no work permit. I tried anything I could to stay. My feeling then was, this is where I was meant to be. I felt … freedom. I've been back many, many times since, made a lot of friends – and I've played a few Brits, »
- John Patterson
Not even 20 years old, Saoirse Ronan has already made a significant cinematic impression. Most of us got our first glimpse of Ronan in Joe Wright’s operatic, Oscar-nominated literary adaptation “Atonement,” and in the years since she has anchored films for directors like Peter Jackson, Peter Weir, Andrew Niccol, and Neil Jordan. (She’s set to team with Ryan Gosling and Wes Anderson for future movies, which we quizzed her about here.) Her latest film, “How I Live Now” (our review) comes from “Last King Of Scotland” director Kevin Macdonald and is based on the acclaimed young adult novel of the same name by Meg Rosoff. Last week, we got to chat with Ronan about what drew her to the film, and asked her to reminisce about what it was like working with the late, great James Gandolfini.In “How I Live Now,” Ronan plays a bratty American who is »
- Drew Taylor
You may have heard of a little Showtime series called The Borgias. The Emmy-Nominated show created by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, The Company of Wolves, Interview With The Vampire) is an epic depiction full of violence, sex and betrayal that charts the rise of the 16th Century’s most famous family as they slowly dominate Europe and eliminate anyone who stands in their way.
With a stellar cast including the likes of Jeremy Irons, Gina McKee, Steven Berkoff and Derek Jacobi, what’s not to love? If you have an itch for Historical Drama, perhaps this is the next series to scratch that itch for you, and allow you to immerse yourself in the decadent courts of Rome.
And speaking of Late Medieval Italy, G. J Meyer is something of a Renaissance man himself- an award-winning journalist, acclaimed author, historian, academic… his latest novel uncovers the Hidden history of »
- Oscar Harding
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week:
What's It About? This prequel to the Disney-Pixar favorite "Monster's Inc." takes us back in time to when Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) weren't the best of friends. Before the two became big Scarers, they were freshman at Monster's University and quickly became competitive rivals.
Why We're In: Crystal's Mike and Goodman's Sully are undoubtedly one of the funniest and most beloved onscreen animated duos. Unlike most prequels, "Monster's University" is packed with fresh humor, fun and charming moments, and will keep the whole family entertained. The prequel was also ranked one of Moviefone's Best Movies of 2013 (So Far).
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week:
"La Notte" (Criterion Collection)
What's It About? Michelangelo Antonioni's 1961 classic, "La Notte," stars Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni as a deteriorating married couple. The two re-examine their relationship over the course of an evening, »
- Erin Whitney
Every year, we here at Sound On Sight celebrate the month of October with 31 Days of Horror; and every year, I update the list of my favourite horror films ever made. Last year, I released a list that included 150 picks. This year, I’ll be upgrading the list, making minor alterations, changing the rankings, adding new entries, and possibly removing a few titles. I’ve also decided to publish each post backwards this time for one reason: the new additions appear lower on my list, whereas my top 50 haven’t changed much, except for maybe in ranking. I am including documentaries, short films and mini series, only as special mentions – along with a few features that can qualify as horror, but barely do.
Directed by Benjamin Christensen
Denmark / Sweden, 1922
Chicago – There are a few major comedies on New Releases shelves this week along with some interesting, smaller films and one of the most anticipated TV shows of 2013. What options are new in the world of Blu-ray, DVD, streaming and digital TV providers? Some of the most interesting and most unbearable comeedies of the year hit your home viewing radar. Here’s how to rank them from ha-ha to hateful.
Photo credit: Fox
Paul Feig’s mega-comedy proved that star power can go a long way in overcoming the relative shortcomings of a pretty mediocre script. There’s nothing really special about “The Heat” on paper but when you put the incredibly likable Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy (two of the most popular actresses in the world right now when one considers that both this and their other 2013 films — “Gravity” and “Identity Thief” — broke $100 million domestically) in front of the camera, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Also new this week is "R.I.P.D.," a supernatural comedy starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds as two cops tasked with managing ghostly activity on Earth, and "Byzantium," Neil Jordan's atmospheric vampire film starring Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton.
Box Office: $267 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 78% Fresh
Storyline: In this prequel to Pixar's animated blockbuster "Monsters, Inc.," we get to see how the pint-sized walking green eyeball Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) met towering furry beast James P. Sullivan, aka Sully (John Goodman), at college. Although the two mismatched monsters don't like each other at first, "Monsters University" shows how these two overcame their differences to become BFFs.
Extras!: "Monsters University" comes in a bare-bones DVD/Blu-ray combo with no extras as well as »
- Robert DeSalvo
By Mark Pinkert
In a recent interview with A.O. Scott of the New York Times, Joel and Ethan Coen admitted they first auditioned only “real musicians” for the part of the eponymous 1960s folk singer in their latest film, Inside Llewyn Davis (CBS Films). The role was to be heavily performance-based, so casting a proven guitarist/singer seemed only logical.
The Coens realized quickly, though, that it would be difficult to marshal an inexperienced actor through an entire movie, regardless of his musical proficiency, telling one outlet: “It’s often possible — sometimes it’s even easy — to get somebody like that through a scene or two scenes or three scenes or whatever, and it’s great, it’s fine. But this character’s literally in every scene in the movie, so we realized we were going the wrong direction, and we just started seeing actors who could play, as »
- Mark Pinkert
Director, writer, producer, and actor Larry Fessenden has slogged his way to becoming a prominent force in the horror genre over the course of more than two decades. His first film to really start turning heads was the provocative thriller No Telling (1991). He secured his place on the horror film map by writing, directing, and starring in the gritty vampire nightmare Habit (1995), which was followed by Wendigo (2001) and The Last Winter (2006).
His acting roles have ranged from brief glimpses in films like Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out The Dead (1999), Brad Anderson's Session 9 (2001), Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers (2005), and Neil Jordan’s The Brave One (2007), to leading roles in Glenn McQuaid's I Sell The Dead (2008) and Chad Crawford Kinkle's Jug Face (2013). Fessenden can also be spotted in this year's You’re Next, directed by Adam Wingard, Hellbenders, directed by J.T. Petty, and We Are What We Are, »
- Eric Stanze
Betrayal, incest, arson, suicide, theft and corruption abound in this Emmy® nominated final season; The Borgias Season 3 is released on DVD on 21st October from Paramount Home Media Distribution. A The Borgias Seasons 1- 3 box-set containing every episode of this lavish series and exclusive special features will be released on the same date.
We have three copies of The Borgias Season 3 DVD to give away to our readers.
The final season opens with Academy Award® winner Jeremy Irons returning as Pope Alexander after narrowly surviving an assassination attempt. Prepared to go to any length to protect his father and family, Cesare (Francois Arnaud) and Borgias enforcer Micheletto (Sean Harris) start to trace the assassination plot to its source. Meanwhile Catherine Sforza (Gina McKee), hell bent on revenge, dispatches her own assassin to dethrone the Pope and it is left to Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) to stop her. With deadly rivals closing »
- Matt Holmes
This week is exactly the sort of round-up I would love to be writing every week in terms of the diversity and general quality. We have a lovely mix of the new, the old, the obscure and the cult which means there is something for everyone.
There are even some things this week that I did not have space and time to write about like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film from 1990 on Lovefilm which I have a fondness for that somehow hasn’t dimmed.
Netflix also has come out swinging grabbing the week’s award for most diverse line up of new content. Regardless of its actual quality, Seven Psychopaths is exactly the sort of exclusive that Netflix should be getting on a regular basis over Lovefilm and Now TV. If they can also start adding forgotten older titles weekly like Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and Cropsey as »
- Chris Holt
The box sets of three American TV dramas are great for those of us who crave bawdy fun, while Blinkbox threatens to upstage Netflix
I've never cared for the term "guilty pleasure", which ascribes an odd moral burden to honest fun, but it's how most would describe three gleefully salacious Us television dramas, all with new box sets out tomorrow, and all ones I've devoured while sensing that I'm supposed to be cracking on with Breaking Bad.
Revenge (Disney, 15) may be the least fashionable good series on TV right now. Pacing primly at the corner of Dynasty and Desperate Housewives, it's a knowingly ludicrous Hamptons-set mystery swaddled in bales of white linen – all the better to show up the blood. The second season finds knife-lipped Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) continuing in her quest to bring down the billionaire family that in turn brought down her late father. (For baffled newcomers, »
- Guy Lodge
It's a crowded weekend at the movies in Austin. Polari (formerly the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival) is in full swing at venus across the city until Sunday. If you didn't get a badge for the fest, $10 individual tickets will be available for most screenings (capacity permitting) including Pj Raval's powerhouse doc Before You Know It. Raval will also be hosting a special Austin Film Society presentation of Paris Is Burning in 35mm on Wednesday night at the Marchesa.
The Austin Film Society's "Terror In The Aisles" series continues tonight at the Marchesa and Sunday with a 35mm screening of the 1960 Hammer Horror film The Brides Of Dracula. Essential Cinema's focus on the masters of Japanese cinema will also deliver Kenji Mizoguchi's 1946 film Utamaro And His Five Women at the Marchesa on Thursday in a 35mm print direct from Janus Films.
As always, there's a diverse »
- Matt Shiverdecker
A troubling, recurring dream leads creative wife and mother Annette Bening to believe she has a psychic link with Robert Downey Jr's child killer. But how can she stop him from ending up in a mental institution? With a strong cast including Aidan Quinn and Stephen Rea, versatile director Neil Jordan (Interview With The Vampire) builds a palpable supernatural atmosphere; imagine David Lynch taking a trip down Elm Street. »
Five Irish directors invited by Korea’s Busan Intl. Film Festival to discuss their country’s industry ended up talking about the dominance of the U.S. over the international biz.
The quintet – John Butler (“The Stag”), Lance Daly (“Kisses”), Neil Jordan (“Byzantium”), Brendan Muldowney (“Savages”) and Jim Sheridan (“Brothers”) – mostly agreed that success in the American market has always been a big boost to the local box office.
Sheridan held up Jordan’s 1992 “Crying Game” as a prime example. The film had a hard time finding audiences in Ireland and the U.K., but after Harvey Weinstein promoted it effectively in the U.S., it took root on its home turf.
“It’s a one-town industry,” he added hyperbolically. “If a movie doesn’t go on a U.S. screen, it doesn’t feel like a movie.”
- Peter Caranicas
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Oct. 29, 2013
Price: DVD $24.98, Blu-ray $29.98
Clara (Arterton) and her daughter Eleanor (Ronan) have been sating their need for blood for 200 years. Sensitive Eleanor relies on the elderly to survive, but Clara is far less compassionate, working as a prostitute and bringing a violent end to those who would take advantage of women. When the trail of bloodless corpses left in their wake forces them to flee to a coastal town, Clara sees an opportunity to set up a brothel in an old resort and provide for her daughter. But Eleanor, unwilling to continue living on the run, yearns to tell her story of life in the past, not anticipating the grave consequences doing so may have. »
After its limited theatrical engagement in June, it has been announced that we’ll see a Byzantium Blu-ray / DVD release later this month. We have a look at the official cover art, along with details on bonus features:
“Eleanor and Clara, two mysterious and penniless young women, flee the scene of a violent crime and arrive in a run-down coastal resort. They try to find money and refuge along the tawdry seafront and in the dilapidated hotels.Clara, ever-practical, sells her body. She soon meets shy and lonely Noel, who provides a roof over their heads in his seedy guesthouse, Byzantium. Clara, always looking towards the future, turns it into a ‘pop-up’ brothel.
Meanwhile Eleanor, the eternal schoolgirl, meets Frank, a kindred spirit who unwittingly prompts her to tell the truth about her life. She tells him that Clara is her mother; yet Clara is only a few years older. »
- Jonathan James
A few weeks ago, we reported that Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, best known for breakout roles in Atonement and The Lovely Bones, was rumoured to have auditioned for a pivotal lead role in J.J. Abrams’ forthcoming Star Wars sequel. While it’s not yet confirmed by Disney or Lucasfilm – or even if she landed the role – Ronan has now announced that she has indeed read for a part in the as-yet-untitled Episode VII.
The 19-year-old Irish actress, whose last big-screen outing was in Neil Jordan’s vampire yarn Byzantium and will next be seen in apocalyptic indie drama How I Live Now, admitted the rumours were true but added, “so has everyone”. Unfortunately, when asked to divulge any more, the Oscar-nominee replied that Disney and Lucasfilm would ”chop off her head with a light-sabre”.
- Craig Hunter
The historical drama was cancelled by Showtime in June this year and a planned two-hour finale was scrapped, being released only as an e-book script.
"It would have been great to finish it," Jordan told Digital Spy.
"It's kind of tragic to not be able to finish the whole story. I kind of got a sense that a new regime came into Showtime. They were kind of moving on, there's not much I can do about it in the end.
"There was a huge campaign and people wanted me to get involved in a Kickstarter campaign. The problem was that the finale I wanted to shoot was going to cost about $15 million and Kickstarter financing doesn't reach that far does it, as far as I know."
Asked if programmes like Kickstarter »
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