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Five first-time feature filmmakers discovered they’d been nominated for a prestigious new Directors Guild of America award they didn’t even know existed.
“I was surprised,” says “Son of Saul” director Laszlo Nemes. “I didn’t expect the call. I didn’t know about the category. It’s a big deal, I guess.”
The DGA’s latest award, which recognizes the directorial achievement of a first-time feature director, includes one woman, Marielle Heller, among the nominees.
“The DGA is making a major effort to reach out to young filmmakers and make the union accessible to indie filmmakers and first-time filmmakers — and women,” says “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” director and recently minted DGA member.
Industry-wide pressure to diversify has impacted the insular guild whose director membership is only 14% female, 3.6% African-American and 2.7% Latino. With this new category, the guild expanded its reach, softening the blow that the traditional feature film nominees are all male. »
- Thelma Adams
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
Jeff Nichols has been on an unstoppable roll thanks to "Shotgun Stories," "Take Shelter" and "Mud," and now the writer-director is making a big return with the sci-fi drama "Midnight Special." Reuniting with his longtime collaborator Michael Shannon, Nichols seems to have imagined his most ambitious story yet, one that brings some menacing adult sensibitlies to what, on paper, sounds very much like a Spielberg-esque childhood saga. Read More: Watch: Michael Shannon Must Protect His Super-Powered Son in Menacing 'Midnight Special' Trailer Shannon plays the father of Jaeden Lieberher's Alton, an eight-year-old boy with special powers. As religious extremists, local law enforcement and the federal government all try and hunt down the boy, the father must embark on a dangerous quest to bring his son to safety. Kristen Dunst, Adam Driver, Joel Edgerton and Sam Shepard co-star. The mysterious debut clip below teases that the »
- Zack Sharf
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
If you don't already think of Joel Edgerton as a polymath, it might be time to take another look at his résumé. The very busy thespian delivered his feature directorial debut last summer with "The Gift" (which he also wrote), appeared in "Black Mass" and "Life," and this past weekend rode into theaters with "Jane Got A Gun." However, sitting in the saddle wasn't Edgerton's only job on the western. When Gavin O'Connor came aboard to replace the suddenly departed Lynne Ramsay, Edgerton helped rewrite the script for the director's sensibilities. And while, in this interview on Happy Sad Confused, he does get into some of the behind-the-scenes drama, he suggests that Ramsay's side of the story has yet to be revealed (indeed, she's remained mum so far). “For more than one reason, Lynne left the process and while it didn’t look good for her, there’s a bigger, »
- 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
Director: Anton Corbijn
Special Features: Cast & Crew Interviews
Chronicling the iconic 1955 Life magazine photo spread of James Dean and the actor’s friendship with photographer Dennis Stock, Life is an interesting if slightly unusual subject for a film. Directed by Control’s Anton Corbijn (a former photographer himself), the film stars Robert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan as the two young men trying to make a name for themselves in 50’s Los Angeles.
Following a chance encounter with rising star James Dean (Dane DeHaan) at an La party, red-carpet photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) attempts to further both their careers by masterminding a photo feature to coincide with the release of East Of Eden. Planning to sell the feature to Life magazine, Stock agrees to follow the reticent Dean to New York and Indiana, taking natural photos of the actor as they go. »
- Mike McCarthy
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
After a scare last year, Tropfest returns on February 14 and will be broadcast on Sbs 2..
The broadcast from Sydney.s Centennial Park kicks off at 9.00pm. »
- Staff Writer
Jane Got A Gun, 2016.
Directed by Gavin O’Connor.
A woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him.
Jane Got a Gun was riddled with production delays and other issues (even key ingredients such as the director and starring roles were shuffled around, as the project lingered on in development hell until being picked up by The Weinstein Company following the death of Relativity Media via bankruptcy), but once the credits roll for the finished version, you wouldn’t really suspect that the inner workings were so problematic.
Fundamentally, Jane Got a Gun successfully operates as a Western with its own flourishes of home-invasion plot threading and a unique role reversal take on the genre regarding gender. What’s most pleasant and intriguing »
- Robert Kojder
It’s a wonder that Jane Got a Gun is even out in theaters right now. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with its production headlines will have read about its hellacious development cycle – whether it be the multiple delays, or the revolving door of talent like previous director Lynne Ramsay, and departed headliners like Michael Fassbender, Jude Law, and Bradley Cooper.
Gavin O’Connor, who’s built a sturdy reputation through elevated genre hits like Miracle and Warrior, was given the unenviable job to pick up the pieces. And while he’s created a fleet, nasty western that feels uncompromising in its violence, it’s also just as quick to jettison any of the themes that have the possibility to weigh down the story. In the last third, O’Connor isn’t so much tying up loose ends, as forcing the groundwork for the tidiest ending possible.
Set in »
- Michael Snydel
In a movie-verse full of Katnisses, Black Widows and whatever that “Divergent” girl is supposed to be, pioneer homesteader Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) doesn’t quite stand out as a superheroine. But when her husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) arrives home with five bullets in him, Jane’s resolve not to fall victim to his vengeful shooter overtakes her in a tale with more feeling than sense. That’s not exactly a dismissal. All three of this Western’s central characters — Jane, her former betrothed Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton), and the villainous outlaw Colin Bishop (an unrecognizable Ewan McGregor, with a black broom resting. »
- Inkoo Kang
There are movies that can make you feel nostalgic for a more innocent time — i.e., the pre-Internet era — when audiences (and critics) could approach each new release unburdened by detailed knowledge of its production history. “Jane Got a Gun,” a solidly made and conventionally satisfying Western, is one of those movies. For those who have perused the countless accounts of last-minute cast changes, musical directors’ chairs and repeatedly delayed release dates, it may be difficult to objectively judge what actually appears on screen here without being distracted by thoughts of what could have been, or should have been.
To be sure, a hefty percentage of the folks most likely to enjoy an old-fashioned oater such as this normally won’t devote massive quantities of time to consuming showbiz blogs and trade papers. But those unplugged genre aficionados may not know “Jane Got a Gun” exists, since the Weinstein Company »
- Joe Leydon
G’Day USA hosted its annual Los Angeles Gala on Thursday night at Vibiana in Downtown L.A., where distinguished Australian guests and celebrities including Hugh Jackman, Mariah Carey, Nicole Richie, Joel Madden, Brett Ratner and 5 Seconds of Summer gathered to honor key Australian figures in entertainment and celebrate the relationship between the U.S. and Australia.
The diplomatic networking event, which was hosted by Australian actresses and previous Oscar nominees, Rachel Griffiths and Toni Collette, kicked off with a duet performance of “My Romance” by Seal and “The Voice” Australia winner Harrison Craig.
“I would like to take a moment to express our great gratitude to this great nation for welcoming all of us Australians and giving us the opportunity to share our passions on the world stage, to take over your casinos, to steal your Oscars,” said Griffiths. “I just really hope that Donald Trump doesn’t build »
- Alyssa Sage
The January doldrums strike hard in Jane Got A Gun, an otherwise competent and richly shot Western that places far too much stock in its bland characters and unsurprising structure. The film, directed by Gavin O’Connor, is notably far more concerned with characters over action, but with clichéd personalities and paper-thin motivations spurning the drama into motion, it never truly gets off the ground.
Set in the New Mexico Territory sometime in 1871, the movie starts off with a bullet-ridden Bill Hammond (Noah Emmerich) riding back home to warn his wife Jane (Natalie Portman) that a specter from their past, Colin McCann (a mustachioed Ewan McGregor) is hunting them down. This doesn’t sit well with Jane, so she packs up her daughter, heads to a nearby town, and pleads for help from former fiancé Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton), who refuses to aid her initially because she might have broken his heart, »
- Mitchel Broussard
“Kung Fu Panda 3,” which has been expected to dominate with at least $40 million at 3,955 theaters, is heading for a $13 million opening day — dwarfing a trio of Friday launches for Chris Pine’s “The Finest Hours” with $4 million at 3,143 sites, Marlon Wayans’ “Fifty Shades of Black” with $3.2 million at 2,075 locations and Natalie Portman’s “Jane Got a Gun” with a miniscule $300,000 at 1,210 screens.
“Kung Fu Panda 3,” distributed by Fox for DreamWorks Animation, appears likely to finish with $44 million, or close to 2011’s “Kung Fu Panda 2,” which opened with $47.7 million domestically on its way to $162.5 million. The 2008 original bowed to $60.2 million and ended its U.S. run with $215 million.
The cartoon is a tonic for the box office following a weekend »
- Dave McNary
This year’s crop of 15 Oscar-nominated short films heads to North American theaters Friday via Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures. The annual showcase has grown since first rolling out in 2006, reaching hundreds of theaters and grossing seven figures at the box office. The Weinstein Company, meanwhile, will open Jane Got A Gun starring Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton. The title had initially been planned for an early September release via Relativity. Lazer Team… »
Plot: After her husband is nearly killed, a woman must seek out her ex-lover to help protect her family from a deadly gang looking for blood. Review: The most surprising thing about the latest western featuring Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton is not only that it actually got made, but it’s actually not bad. In fact, this wild west tale is much better than it has any right to be. After problems with... Read More »
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