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A certain type of vintage genre score has rightfully earned its place in film music pantheon —think the haunting pulsations of John Carpenter, the woozy dreamscapes of Tangerine Dream, the throbbing disco-synth anxieties of Giorgio Moroder —and that atmospheric spirit as such is currently being channeled by filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn. The director recontextualized the Pet Shop Boys for a new generation with his bruising psycho prison film “Bronson”; he's turned throwback synth artist Johnny Jewel into a kind of modern rock star in the field thanks to his “Drive” score (the film's star Ryan Gosling has turned into a devotee too); and he's also helped transform Steven Soderbergh-collaborator Cliff Martinez (“Only God Forgives,” “Solaris”) into one of the most sought after modern film composers. While Refn is creatively indebted to the mondo-exotica genre films of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s and their soundtracks, the filmmaker has used his recent cache to shine a. »
- Edward Davis
Looking back at the great actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood – the stars like Clarke Gable and Spencer Tracey – and it’s apparent how few A-list actors working today have quite the same sense of style and gravitas. George Clooney is one of the few who follows in their illustrious footsteps and brings a degree of class to his films.
Clooney’s effortless suave and sophistication is apparent in many of the films he’s starred in – from the mediocre rom-coms all actors of his stature appear to be obliged to star in through to the textbook Ocean’s heist movie franchise, few other actors quite manage to exude cool as well as Clooney.
- Andrew Dilks
Cannes — In 2001 Benicio Del Toro won an Oscar for his portrayal of a Mexican police officer attempting to take down the drug cartels in Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic.” Fourteen years later he’s starring in another film about North America’s “drug war,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario,” and the picture makes the disheartening argument that things may have actually gotten worse. The film begins during an FBI operation in Phoenix, Arizona where veteran agent Kate Macy (a superb Emily Blunt) is leading a Swat team to take down a hostage situation. They soon discover a home with no hostages to be found but over 20 dead bodies hidden within its walls, all victims of a Mexican drug cartel. Kate is shaken by the murders enough that she reluctantly signs on to be the FBI liaison for what she’s told is a DEA and Dept. of Justice task force. This group »
- Gregory Ellwood
Two years after making his U.S. debut with the crackerjack kidnapping drama “Prisoners,” French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve ups his own ante with “Sicario,” a blisteringly intense drug-trade thriller that combines expert action and suspense with another uneasy inquiry into the emotional consequences of violence. A densely woven web of compelling character studies and larger systemic concerns, Villeneuve and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan’s bleaker, more jaundiced riposte to Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 “Traffic” may prove too grim and grisly for some audiences and too morally ambiguous for others. But with its muscular style and top-flight cast, this fall Lionsgate release should score solid (if less than “Prisoners”-sized) business from discerning adult moviegoers, along with dark-horse awards-season buzz.
- Scott Foundas
“It’s best not to think of her as a woman. That would be a mistake.”
These words are uttered by Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) to freelance operative Paul (Michael Fassbender) in a scene somewhere toward the end of Steven Soderbergh’s truly excellent but much ignored action movie Haywire. The woman they are referring to is Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) and the reason they are trying to divorce themselves from the notion of her femininity is she is far too dangerous to underestimate. Interestingly, this line also has another meaning; that dwelling at the heart of the film is an argument for gender equality, not only in the world of the film but action movies in general. Critically praised but snubbed by audiences, could the failure of Haywire’s attempt to cement Gina Carano as a bona fide action star be blamed on Hollywood’s oversaturation of familiar tent pole franchises, »
- Liam Dunn
Over the course of its run and subsequent release on home video and DVD, the tv series Twin Peaks has garnered a number of fans, many of whom have lamented the hasty end of the show, brought about by a cancellation and marred by network interference. Fans of David Lynch, who was a driving force for the show, often list the series among the highlights of his career.
Thus, many were excited to learn of the announcement by cable channel Showtime that Twin Peaks would be returning to the air 20 years after its cancellation. Initial reports added that David Lynch would be returning to direct all episodes of the new season, following in the footsteps of individuals like Steven Soderbergh, who similarly took the directorial reins for the entire season of Cinemax series The Knick. However, concerns over funding caused Lynch to drop out of the project earlier this year, »
- Deepayan Sengupta
The new season of “True Detective” is right around the corner, just over a month away. This time series creator/showrunner Nic Pizzolatto doesn’t have a Cary Funkanaga-like auteur to helm the entire series, but that’s pretty rare in television anyhow (unless you’re Steven Soderbergh and think it’s no big thing). It seems like the dark philosophical tone of season one won’t be repeated either, which is probably a wise choice because you shouldn’t try and recreate an individual as unique and awesome as Rust Cohle. Here's the official synopsis: A bizarre murder brings together three law-enforcement officers and a career criminal, each of whom must navigate a web of conspiracy and betrayal in the scorched landscapes of California. Colin Farrell is Ray Velcoro, a compromised detective in the all-industrial City of Vinci, La County. Vince Vaughn plays Frank Semyon, a criminal and entrepreneur »
- The Playlist
The upfronts have ceased! They are no more! This morning, The CW finished up the annual ballyhoo and announced their three premiering series for the 2015-2016 fall season, including the highly anticipated Legends of Tomorrow, continuing the channel's newfound reputation as the home for DC Comics characters; you can find the trailer for Legends of Tomorrow and Allison's write-up here. As much as a certain contingency of the television-viewing public would wish it so, however, television cannot only be about costumed white dudes saving the world. So, in addition to Legends of Tomorrow, The CW has also dropped the trailers for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a new comedy series, and Containment, a new thriller-drama centered on the international outbreak of an unknown contagion. It's probably too much to ask that it's exactly like Steven Soderbergh's Contagion though, right? Gadnabbit. It's interesting to note that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has a similarly ambitious, bold tone to its comedy, »
- Chris Cabin
Sound on Sight undertook a massive project, compiling ranked lists of the most influential, unforgettable, and exciting action scenes in all of cinema. There were hundreds of nominees spread across ten different categories and a multi-week voting process from 11 of our writers. The results: 100 essential set pieces, sequences, and scenes from blockbusters to cult classics to arthouse obscurities.
Hollywood has had a long love affair with the heist sub-genre. Dating as far back as the silent film era with 1928’s Alias Jimmy Valentine, and transcending various genres like westerns (The War Wagon), war (Kelly’s Heroes) and even animation (Toy Story 3), the heist has tantalized our fantasies and outsmarted our wits for decades. Whether it’s for the very last time before retirement, gathering the gang back together for a big payday or for the thrill of pulling off the perfect robbery, all heist films share one key element: commitment to a plan. »
- Shane Ramirez
Stars: Stephen Tyron Williams, Zaraah Abrahams, Rami Malek, Elvis Nolasco, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Joie Lee, Felicia Pearson, Jeni Perillo, Katherine Borowitz, Donna Dixon, Chiz Schultz, Lauren Macklin, Steven Hauck, Stephen Henderson, Rafael Osorio | Written and Directed by Spike Lee
The respected filmmaker hitting Kickstarter for help phenomenon seems to have died down over the last year or so but along with Zach Braff, Spike Lee was certainly one of the highlights of this short-lived trend. Shaking the virtual tip jar towards a great many people, myself included, he managed to get together a budget of just under $1.5 million, including a $10,000 donation from Steven Soderbergh and so presents us with Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, a somewhat surprise remake of 70’s indie flick Ganja & Hess. Even with my meagre donation, I think it was $10, it’s sad to say that I feel ripped off and I suspect most will.
The question »
- Ian Loring
Hot Pursuit has opened to critical panning and unfavorable audience reactions today. The $35 million Action-Comedy’s 6% rottentomatoes score, lack of persistent marketing and generally-unfunny jokes in its major trailer all point at a financial loss for Warner Bros. But there lies the hope for women filmmakers in this article: this movie was still released amidst all the panning, the negativity generally-aimed at female filmmakers, and the recent backlash from the leaked emails between Marvel CEOs concerning the perceived lack of appeal for female superhero films.
The leaked emails remind us of the general sexist attitude towards female filmmakers, specifically directors. The major studios, including Warner Bros, nowadays produce and distribute just a few dozen films a year with an average budget of over $100 million. All those superhero and mega-expensive films we’ve come to love, hate, and blog about are the proof. By now, we’ve all noticed that a »
- Christopher Ortiz
To many viewers, streaming is just TV on a different screen. After all, you can watch "Seinfeld" reruns as easily on Netflix as you can on TBS. But what if the relatively new medium of streaming TV means a different kind of show?
We're already starting to see something like that in the way that streaming picks up TV's cast-offs. Netflix resurrected "Arrested Development" after its three cultish but low-rated seasons on Fox. Yahoo did the same for NBC's cancelled "Community." And now, it looks like Hulu may be doing the same for "The Mindy Project," another cultish Fox comedy that held out against the Nielsen ratings for three seasons before getting the ax.
What do these shows have in common, besides not drawing enough viewers to stay on network TV? They're all the creations of idiosyncratic TV auteurs, writers who put their own offbeat, recognizable, personal stamp on the material. »
- Gary Susman
"Sicario," slang for hitman, stars Emily Blunt as an FBI agent and Josh Brolin as the CIA official who lead the charge against a horrific drug lord on the streets of Juarez, just outside El Paso, Texas. Tasked with doing the deed is Benicio del Toro's titular assassin. New images below, courtesy of Hitfix. Villeneuve described the film to The Guardian as “a very dark film, a dark poem, quite violent... It’s about the alienation of the cycles of violence, how at one point we are in those spirals of violence and ask ourselves, ‘Is there a solution?' My movie raises the question; it doesn’t give any answer.” The Canadian filmmaker is aware of the connections to Steven Soderbergh's powerful "Traffic," del Toro's 2001 best supporting actor winner that also dwelled in the far-reaching runoff of the Mexican-American drug trade. Villeneuve said that while “The drug problem on the Mexican border, »
- Ryan Lattanzio
"Are you ready to be exalted?!" I hope so. Warner Bros has debuted the fun, full-length theatrical trailer for Gregory Jacobs' Magic Mike Xxl, the sequel to Steven Soderbergh's breakout 2012 summer hit Magic Mike, about male strippers from Florida. The whole gang is back: Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash and Adam Rodriguez. Tatum actually co-wrote the script for this. The rest of the cast includes Amber Heard, Elizabeth Banks, Jada Pinkett Smith, Andie MacDowell and yes that was a glimpse of Donald Glover. Even if this isn't your thing, you have to give it to WB - they've fully embraced the marketing on this one, and it works perfectly. The opening to this trailer is hilarious. Enjoy! Here's the second official trailer for Gregory Jacobs' Magic Mike Xxl, direct from WB's YouTube: Watch the first teaser trailer for Magic Mike Xxl here and see »
- Alex Billington
“We’re like healers… or something.”
Newcomer – oh, god, the puns – Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect 2, The Hunger Games) joins the Channing Tatum-led cast that also includes hardbody eye candy (also professional actors) Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Joe Manganiello.
Magic Mike’s creator Steven Soderbergh retired (sort of), passing along directorial duties to his longtime friend Gregory Jacobs, and Matthew McConaughey is nowhere in sight, but that won’t stop the Kings of Tampa. In the sequel, they go on the road to Myrtle Beach for a – wait for it – stripper convention.
Well, this should be fun.
We talked to Tatum, Bomer, Maganiello, and Rodriquez about just how much nudity is onscreen in Magic Mike Xxl:
- Sasha James
Warner Bros has high hopes for the sequel to breakout smash hit Magic Mike when it's released later this summer. Magic Mike Xxl brings Channing Tatum back in the lead role, in a film that picks up three years after the original film.
Not returning - at least not as director - is Steven Soderbergh. In his place is Gregory Jacobs, although Soderbergh is executive producer, and helped shoot the movie. Tatum, for his part, co-wrote the film again, along with Reid Carolin.
Joining him in the cast are Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Glover and Andie MacDowell. And a new trailer for Magic Mike Xxl - as you've probably already guessed - has landed...
The film is due in cinemas at the start of July. »
Joe Manganiello and Channing Tatum take some of the heat off Hollywood for objectifying women. They’re back in beefcake heaven in the first full-length trailer for “Magic Mike Xxl,” a sequel to the 2012 comedy-drama directed by Steven Soderbergh. The crew includes Matt Bomer as Ken, Kevin Nash as Tarzan, Adam Rodriguez as Tito and Gabriel Iglesias as Tobias. Andie MacDowell, Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett Smith and Elizabeth Banks also star. ...Read More »
Much of the trailer focuses on Channing Tatum’s titular character as he demonstrates his moves — along with Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash and Adam Rodriguez, who are all reprising their roles.
The original became a sleeper hit in 2012, grossing more than $167 million worldwide on a production budget of just $7 million. Steven Soderbergh directed the first film, while his producer Greg Jacobs stepped in to helm the sequel from a script co-written by Tatum and Reid Carolin.
The plot, such as it is, involves Tatum’s burly band of dancers taking off on a road trip from Tampa to Myrtle Beach for a stripping convention. Amber Heard, Michael Strahan, Donald Glover, Jada Pinkett Smith, Elizabeth Banks »
- Dave McNary
Magic Mike was a firm favourite here at Thn when it was first released a couple of years back (read Joe Upton’s original review here), and we’re very excited to see what the filmmakers have done with the second movie, Magic Mike Xxl, which hits in July.
Picking up the story three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, “Magic Mike Xxl” finds the remaining Kings of Tampa likewise ready to throw in the towel. But they want to do it their way: burning down the house in one last blow-out performance in Myrtle Beach, and with legendary headliner Magic Mike sharing the spotlight with them. On the road to their final show, with whistle stops in Jacksonville and Savannah to renew old acquaintances and make new friends, Mike and the guys learn some new moves and shake off the past in surprising ways. »
- Paul Heath
Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike was a thoughtful examination of the American dream, but of course the real draw was the gyrating hardbodies on stage. So far, Magic Mike Xxl seems to be leaning into that raunchy appeal, with a marketing campaign heavy on half-naked torsos and naughty puns. Not that we’re complaining. The newest Magic Mike Xxl trailer […]
- Angie Han
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