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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
CAA brokered the deal and fielded multiple offers after showing early footage to buyers on Friday, the day when Nichols’ Midnight Special premiered to great acclaim in the competition.
Edgerton plays Richard Loving and Negga plays Mildred, an interracial couple from Virginia who incurred the wrath of the authorities and ended up in prison in 1958.
The Lovings were banned from Virginia but found redemption when they sued the state and their case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which struck a blow for the Civil Rights movement when it upheld their right to marry. Big Beach financed the film.
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
The day after the premiere for his latest film Midnight Special, Jeff Nichols' next project, Loving, has been picked up by Focus for North America and several other international territories including UK, Germany and Latin America. The film, based on a true story, stars Joel Edgerton (who also stars in Midnight Special) as Richard Loving, whose interracial married to Mildred (Ruth Negga) caused them to be sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958. They were later banished from the state, but the couple took their case, Loving v. Virginia, all the way to the Supreme Court, which reaffirmed their
- Rebecca Ford
Update: I’m now told that the deal was worth $9 million for North America and most international territories by Focus, which sees the Loving’s struggle through racism as a love story for the ages. Exclusive: In its first statement acquisition since Focus Features was overhauled, the Universal-based specialty label has won an auction for Loving, the Jeff Nichols-directed drama that stars Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga and Michael Shannon. The deal was made off of promo footage… »
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
What if there were something entirely new in this world? What if it were your son? The idea that your child might be a semi-messianic, unprecedented creature of ungovernable, infinite potential is fairly common among parents, but what if it were proven to be a literal fact? Great science fiction is almost always founded on such simple but paradigm-shifting what-ifs, and the fourth feature from director Jeff Nichols ("Shotgun Stories," "Mud," "Take Shelter") brings this premise thrumming and throbbing to life. Structured as a low-key chase movie, unfolding with the dark urgency of a conspiracy thriller, living mostly not in your heart or even your mind but in the hairs on the back of your neck, "Midnight Special" actually emerges most resonantly as a mournful homage, or maybe a psalm, to the primal instincts of fatherhood. Read More: Eerie First Clip From Jeff Nichols' 'Midnight Special' With »
- Jessica Kiang
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
Jeff Nichols, director of Berlinale competition screener “Midnight Special,” a supernatural thriller about a boy with extraordinary power who is being hunted by the U.S. government, cited not only the beloved films of his youth as inspiration for the film, but also, as a father, the feeling of dread that most parents feel when they realize the fate of their children is ultimately out of their hands.
Describing it as a “sci-fi chase film,” Nichols said at a press conference in Berlin on Friday that it was movies like John Carpenter’s “Starman” and Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” that inspired his latest work, his fifth collaboration with actor Michael Shannon. The director cited Spielberg’s works and their “sense of mystery that leads to a sense of awe,” which he sought to capture in his own suspenseful drama. But it was a »
- Ed Meza
Read More: Watch: Michael Shannon Faces Otherworldly Dangers in 'Midnight Special' Clip Starting today at 8:15am Est/5:15am Pst, you can watch a live stream of the Berlinale press conference for Jeff Nichols' "Midnight Special." Nichols is expected to attend the conference, as well as various cast members from his secretive new sci-fi outing. In the film, Michael 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. You can watch the live stream right here, on the official Berlinale Live Videos website (not embeddable). The film will next screen at SXSW and will open in the U.S. »
- Kate Erbland
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
For the second year in a row (and the first time they’ve ever handed out back-to-back awards), the Directors Guild of America has honoured Alejandro G. Inarritu with the top prize at the Directors Guild of America Awards, with Inarittu collecting Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The Revenant.
Inarritu won the DGA Award last year for Birdman, and went on to collect the Best Director award at the Oscars. Should he repeat the feat this year with The Revenant, he’d become only the third director in history to win back-to-back Best Director Academy Awards after John Ford and Joseph Mankiewicz.
And, should The Revenant also win Best Picture, it would be the first time a director has ever won back-to-back Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture.
Here’s the full list of winners from last night:
- Gary Collinson
"The Revenant" director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has won the top honor at the Directors Guild of America awards.
This marks the second year in a row Inarritu won the DGA trophy following last year's "Birdman". Inarritu beat out Tom McCarthy ("Spotlight"), George Miller ("Mad Max: Fury Road"), Adam McKay ("The Big Short") and Ridley Scott ("The Martian") for the honor.
Another big winner was Alex Garland who took home the First-Time Feature Film Director honor for "Ex Machina" ahead of Joel Edgerton ("The Gift"), Laszlo Nemes ("Son of Saul"), Fernando Coimbra ("A Wolf at the Door") and Marielle Heller ("The Diary of a Teenage Girl"). Matthew Heineman won the documentary award for "Cartel Land".
On the TV side, David Nutter won the Directors Guild drama series award for the "Game of Thrones" episode "Mother's Mercy," Chris Addison won the comedy series award for the "Veep" episode "Election Night". Dee Rees »
- Garth Franklin
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
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