11 items from 2016
Though T.E. Lawrence is often considered the person who most affected the modern Middle East, historians point to Gertrude Bell, the British explorer, spy and political powerhouse who was recruited by British Military Intelligence to shape Mesopotamia after World War I, and eventually drew the borders of Iraq. A new documentary “Letters From Baghdad” tells Bell’s story in her own words using Bell’s own letters, alongside archival films and photos, featuring actress Tilda Swinton as the voice of Bell. Watch an exclusive trailer for the film below.
Read More: Project of the Day: ‘Letters From Baghdad’
Directed by Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum, the film features astonishing never-before-seen films clips from 25 archives around the world, which tells its own story contrary to popular ideas about Mesopotamia.
“Much of what we found was buried in reels that had been in storage for more than half a century,” says Oelbaum. »
- Vikram Murthi
This week, Neil Calloway questions whether casting in movies need to be more diverse…
Tim Burton has been defending Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and its apparent lack of diversity. Personally, I can’t believe people are complaining about a lack of diversity in a Tim Burton film; he’s been making the same movie for more than 25 years (sometimes he does it well, and sometimes he does it badly). The problem is, Miss Peregrine… is a film set in rural Wales during the 1940s, and that wasn’t exactly a diverse place.
This follows a recent piece (subsequently removed) in NY Magazine calling David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia sexist because it didn’t feature a single woman in a speaking role. Initially that’s a shocking fact, but the more you look at it, and the more you think about it, the more it’d be »
- Neil Calloway
Our national nightmare is over: After more than a decade of dystopian futures, obtuse love triangles, and weak Charli Xcx singles, Hollywood’s flash-in-the-pan love affair with Ya film adaptations has finally run its course. You can feel it in the air, and you can see it in the dwindling box office returns. The climactic installments of “The Maze Runner” and “The Divergent Series” are still on the horizon, and an unusually promising adaptation of John Green’s “Looking for Alaska” continues to percolate in pre-production, but bodies tend to wriggle for a little while after they’re officially pronounced dead. The fact of the matter is that Voldemort has been vanquished, the people of District 12 have overthrown The Capitol, and Bella Swan has stopped pouting. There will always be movies made for the tween audience, but make no mistake: The Ya world as we know it has come to an end. »
- David Ehrlich
A spoiled melancholy Hollywood brat and a menacing drifter meet in the desert, talk about T.E. Lawrence and Jesus, and stalk each other back to Los Angeles. An unwitting cautionary tale about toxic masculinity quickly descends into a deadly dick-measuring contest — featuring exchanges of faux-deep philosophies about life, fame, sociopathy, and death — that you will hope neither survives. I’m “biast” (pro): love Oscar Isaac and Garrett Hedlund
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
(My Ratings posts are a quick way for me to share my reaction to a film. This post will be updated if/when I ever write a review. Feel free to discuss the movie in depth in the comments section.) »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Originally targeting a Fall release last year before weak reviews out of the early Fall film festival circuit scuttled those plans, Werner Herzog's new Gertrude Bell biopic "Queen of the Desert" still remains without a release date.
Nicole Kidman stars as Bell and Robert Pattinson plays T.E. Lawrence in the film about the former, a British explorer and adventurer who became a crucial player in Middle Eastern politics during the early 20th century. James Franco and Damian Lewis also star in the film which scored a new trailer today that you can check out below:
- Garth Franklin
It seems almost impossible that Werner Herzog‘s first narrative feature in several years could arrive with almost no fanfare, yet such is what’s been bestowed upon Queen of the Desert. It’s been clear that this would be the case: after spending years in development, the picture was quickly cast aside upon premiering at last year’s Berlinale, often chided by critics for its uninspiring vision of Gertrude Bell, T.E. Lawrence, and their shaping of the modern Middle East. But there is, of course, a chance that its initial reception won’t be the guiding rule. If one James Franco-starring, Berlinale 2015-featured drama directed by a legend of New German Cinema surprised me, why not another?
- Nick Newman
Outside of a limited festival run along with a premiere at last year’s Berlin Film Festival, a theatrical release continues to elude Werner Herzog’s regal drama Queen of the Desert, though a new trailer has surfaced today reminding us all that the film is still teetering on the edge of release.
Revolving around Gertrude Bell – played with elegant grace by Nicole Kidman – Herzog’s latest tells the inspired tale of the British traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché who becomes a powerful political player in the Middle East circa 1920.
Also starring James Franco, Damian Lewis, and Robert Pattinson, on paper Queen of the Desert simply screams awards potential, though the prolonged gap between production and release suggest otherwise. Either way, Herzog’s feature is inspired by Bell’s globe-trotting adventures, who wrote her name in history as a powerful confidant for the British Empire during the »
- Michael Briers
Imagine your parents or maybe your grandparents gathered 'round a 21 inch television on February 18th, 1966 on ABC to watch this. If you were born in October 1966 I apologize that the weirdest things got your parents frisky.
Wowee Wow. Here's Our Dolly now! »
- NATHANIEL R
Former Sons Of Anarchy executive producers Art Linson and John Linson are developing Lawrence In Arabia, an HBO period drama series set in the Middle East. The project is based on Scott Anderson’s bestselling book Lawrence In Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly And The Making Of The Modern Middle East, published in 2014. Written by Oscar-nominated Anthony McCarten (The Theory Of Everything), the drama is described as chronicling the adventure of T.E. Lawrence, David… »
Andy Mientus will reprise his role as metahuman Hartley Rathaway, aka Pied Piper, in the seventeenth episode of the second season of The CW's "The Flash". In the episode Hartley returns to wreak havoc on his former S.T.A.R. Labs colleagues when The Flash impossibly revisits an earlier timeline. [Source: TV Line]
Gabriel Mann ("Revenge") has been cast in a recurring role in Showtime's "Ray Donovan" for its upcoming fourth season. Mann will play Jacob Waller, an aggressive attorney who represents high-profile clients, in at least three episodes. [Source: Variety]
"Once Upon a Time" actors Elizabeth Mitchell and Elizabeth Lail have joined the cast of Freeform's supernatural horror series "Dead of Summer" which has a straight-to-series order. Set in the late 1980s at a remote camp where an ancient evil has returned, Lail plays a nervous camp counselor while Mitchell plays the camp's new owner. [Source: Deadline]
- Garth Franklin
Another year, another slate of films dominated by all the things that men do. While there were some great stories about women at the cinema in 2015 (though stay tuned: I noticed something suspicious about many of them, which I will write about soon), The Movies as a cultural monolith were dominated by men. So it felt like time to update my list of men I am tired of being asked to sympathize with. As the new additions — as well as the original list further below — demonstrate, there is almost nothing that men can do, think, or be that The Movies will not deem worthy of telling a story about.
Note: I didn’t necessarily hate all the films referenced here, and I quite liked a lot of them. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem that movies are overwhelmingly about men’s stories.
men walking up a »
- MaryAnn Johanson
11 items from 2016
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