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Now we've passed the halfway point of the year and summer blockbuster season is beginning to wind down, what better time to deliver our half-term report on 2015 so far?
From Oscar contenders like Selma and Foxcatcher to blockbusters Mad Max: Fury Road and Jurassic World, it's been a strong year for cinema. Read on to find out our rankings then comment below with your favourites...
15. Fast & Furious 7
The Fast & Furious saga's latest instalment carried with it all the insane action sequences and stunts we've come to expect, but few could have predicted just how emotionally affecting the film turned out to be.
The death of Paul Walker in November 2013 meant that production had to be called off while the filmmakers figured out how to complete the movie without him, and they gave him (and character Brian O'Connor) the perfect send off. Sometimes life presents a fork in the road »
True Story, 2015.
Directed by Rupert Goold.
New York Times journalist Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) has lost his job. Fired for playing fast and loose with the facts, he spots a chance at redemption and financial reward in Christian Longo (James Franco). Having stolen Finkel’s identity Longo is now facing trial for murder. Intrigued enough to meet, these two unlikely men find more than a few things to talk about.
Made under the auspices of Brad Pitt’s Plan B production arm, True Story is a slow burn thriller which will draw inevitable comparisons. Whether that be with the alpha male stand-off of Frost/Nixon, Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs, or it’s under rated cousin Manhunter. There are arguments which could also be made for The King’s Speech, Tim Robbins directed Dead Man Walking or »
- Gary Collinson
In this business you can easily watch up to 200 films in a single year. It's therefore no surprise that it's already hard for this pundit to remember all the films I caught at the Cannes Film Festival, which was less than one month ago. Of course, that doesn't mean some films don't stick with you. One film that made a lasting impression with me over the past 18 months was Maya Forbes' "Infinitely Polar Bear." The autobiographical drama debuted at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and is finally making its way to theaters this week. Inspired by Forbes' relationship with her own bipolar father, the film centers on Cameron (Mark Ruffalo), a man trying to control his behavior after he unexpectedly becomes a de facto single parent to his two young daughters. Ruffalo has delivered many great performances over a storied career, but his work here is unlike anything he's ever done before. »
- Gregory Ellwood
With Channing Tatum stepping into the boots of the Ragin’ Cajun, fan favourite X-Men character Gambit will be getting his own solo movie next year, and Entertainment Weekly are reporting that Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Gambler’s Rupert Wyatt is in talks to bring the charming, playing card throwing mutant to the big screen (at one point, both Foxcatcher’s Bennett Miller and Requiem for a Dream’s Darren Aronofsky were also being considered). Wyatt’s no stranger to effects heavy spectaculars, but he can also cut to the emotional heart of a subject so I think he’s a good fit for the flawed hero. Tatum recently said in an interview with Empire that Gambit would be an unconventional origin story, with the character, real name Remy LeBeau, being a tortured soul and not a clear cut good or bad guy. Those who are »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom White)
In the land of X-Men right now, Deadpool is in post-production, whilst X-Men: Apocalypse is shooting in Canada, under the watchful eye of Bryan Singer. Both films are due next year, and then there's the small matter of a third X-Men related film due towards the end of 2016, the Gambit spin-off.
This is the one that'll see Channing Tatum take on the role of Remy LeBeau/Gambit, and Fox has the movie earmarked for release on October 7th 2016. And by the looks of things, now it has a director for the film as well.
Rupert Wyatt, who brought the Planet Of The Apes franchise back to life with the rightly acclaimed hit Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, is said to be in talks to direct Gambit. He most recently directed the remake of The Gambler, »
Entertainment Weekly reports that Rupert Wyatt, who directed reboot "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," has been tapped to helm the film, which focuses on the New Orleans-born mutant. Tatum is taking over the role from Taylor Kitsch, who appeared as Gambit in 2009's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." This will be the card-throwing character's first solo flick.
Tatum had long desired to see Gambit get his big screen due, though a movie took some time to materialize. First, the studio needed to sign on; then, the flick floundered for months without a director (and was reportedly rejected by high-profile people including Darren Aronofsky and Tatum's "Foxcatcher" director Bennett Miller). But now, it seems that Wyatt is at the helm, and work can finally start on the feature, »
- Katie Roberts
After months of struggling to lock down a director for Channing Tatum's Gambit — Darren Aronfosky and Bennett Miller both reportedly passed — Fox's X-Men stand-alone has finally found a match: Entertainment Weekly reports that Rise of the Planet of the Apes' Rupert Wyatt will direct the Remy LeBeau origin story. The spinoff, which will star Tatum as the mutant previously played by Taylor Kitsch in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is set for release on October 7, 2016. Wyatt also directed last year's The Gambler, which at the very least means he has a lot of experience filming playing cards. »
- Dee Lockett
Although the X-Men spinoff Gambit is set to be released in late 2016, it.s had a tough time securing a director. Talent like Bennett Miller and Darren Aronofsky have turned down the opportunity to tackle the solo adventure of Remy LeBeau, a.k.a. one of the most popular X-Men among fans. Well, after months of pursuit, the search is finally over, as 20th Century Fox has selected Rupert Wyatt will direct the feature. EW reports that the Rise of the Planet of the Apes director has been tapped to helm the Ragin. Cajun.s solo film. Magic Mike star Channing Tatum will play the card-throwing mutant, succeeding Taylor Kitsch, who played the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Gambit is the third X-Men film hitting theaters next year following February.s Deadpool and May.s X-Men: Apocalypse. In addition to directing the first installment of the Planet of the Apes »
At long last, the Gambit movie has found its director. Channing Tatum came onboard the X-Men spinoff last year, and 20th Century Fox quickly staked out an October 7, 2016 release date. But the project has been slow-going when it comes to finding a director, with the clock ticking and October 2016 looming closer. Reports swirled that Tatum reached out to folks like Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher) to take the helm, but EW now reports that Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt has been tapped to steer this particular superhero ship. Gambit aka Remy LeBeau is a fan-favorite character from the X-Men comics, a New Orleans native with a penchant for gambling and turning objects (like playing cards) into throw-able explosives. Taylor Kitsch filled the role in the 2009 misfire X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but with Gambit Tatum aims to jumpstart a new X-Men franchise as the series proper is currently at »
- Adam Chitwood
Read More: Sundance Review: Sheltered Kids Find the World Through Movies in Fascinating Doc 'The Wolfpack' Nearly five months after winning the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, "The Wolfpack" returned to New York City on Tuesday night for its hometown premiere at the Landmark Sunshine Theater. With a handful of celebrity guests in attendance, including Spike Jonze, Bennett Miller, John Cameron Mitchell, Olivia Wilde and rocker Marky Ramone, the event marked a definitive full-cricle moment for director Crystal Moselle and the eponymous Angulo brothers. "It's pretty amazing," Moselle explained on the red carpet of the movie finally premiering in New York City. "I met these boys about three blocks from this very theater. My instincts took over and I ran after them. They were all in black and their hair was long and it was just a beautiful sight. It's just such »
- Zack Sharf
Poor Channing Tatum has been trying to get a Gambit movie made for quite some time. He.s ready to star as the Cajun mutant who is arguably the most popular of the X-Men among fans (second to Wolverine, of course). He has a script written by Josh Zetumer, who wrote the Robocop remake. He has producers in Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg, who are both experienced in working with 20th Century Fox.s Marvel properties. Now, if only he could find a director. It.s not for lack of trying. According to multiple sources a slew of big names have been offered the director.s chair but they keep turning it down. According to Umberto Gonzales both Bennett Miller, who directed Tatum in Foxcatcher and Darren Aronofsky, who was once tapped to direct The Wolverine, have both passed on the job. In addition, the Meet the Movie Press »
Filming on the project aims to begin this Fall with screenwriter Josh Zetumer's first draft already turned in. However getting a helmer hasn't been as smooth. Last month came word via Heroic Hollywood that "Foxcatcher" helmer Bennett Miller and "Noah" director Darren Aronofsky were both offered the directorial gig. It was a gig both apparently turned down.
Today, Meet the Movie Press (via ScreenCrush) reports that both "The Raid" film series helmer Gareth Evans and "A Most Violent Year" director J.C. Chandor were also apparently approached about the gig and turned down the job.
Tatum and the film's producers are obviously pursuing filmmakers with strong cred, but we've learned with a previous "X-Men" film, namely Gavin Hood's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," an auteur can get burned badly by a studio superhero film. "Gambit »
- Garth Franklin
Given the number of films in competition (19), the correspondingly infinite number of possible award/talent configurations, and the sheer impossibility of guessing at the individual and collective tastes of nine jurors, predicting the major award winners at the Cannes Film Festival is obviously a fool’s errand — and one that our critics on the Croisette have gladly undertaken.
Palme d’Or: “The Assassin.” Word on the street — and among British bookies — is that my own favorite film of the fest, Yorgos Lanthimos’ high-wire relationship fantasy “The Lobster,” is the one to beat, though whether that’s based on honest hearsay or a projection of the Coen brothers’ taste for dryer-than-dust comedy, I can’t say. As much as it would thrill me to see such a singular combination of concept-y formalism and perverse heart-tugging take the prize, I have a hard time seeing it as the unifying consensus »
- Guy Lodge and Justin Chang
I approach Mark Schultz with caution. In 1996, the ex-wrestler’s brother, Dave, was shot dead by the man who had been sponsoring them both, John du Pont. Discussing such a tragedy requires sensitivity – and Schultz has proved himself to be a social media firecracker. Having initially been wildly supportive of Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller’s dramatisation of his story, Schultz then viciously rejected the film, after reading how some critics interpreted it.
“You think I’m going to sit back and watch you destroy my name and the reputation I sweat blood for?” he spat at Miller on Twitter. “You ain’t seen nothing yet, dude.” Similar threats followed: Schultz hated the film now, hated Miller, hated everything “that scum” touched. Then, a fortnight later, he apologised, saying he loved Foxcatcher, »
- Alex Godfrey
Senior Staff Writer and Blu-ray nut Scott Davis takes his weekly look at what’s new and hot in the world of Blu-ray…
In this week’s UK edition, we have Steve Carell and Channing Tatum wrestling in Foxcatcher, lots of singing in the woods with Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick in Into The Woods, and arguably the best film of 2015 so far, A Most Violent Year, starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain…
One of the outstanding films of 2015 so far, J.C. Chandor’s magnificent epic stars Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola and Albert Brooks and is set in 1981, New York City’s most violent year ever.
See Also: Read our review of A Most Violent Year here
Acclaimed with a huge standing ovation at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, director Bennett Miller’s excellent sports drama was not as successful »
- Scott J. Davis
The wrester said that Miller turned his life into a "horror story" by focusing on the murder of his brother Dave, who was played by Mark Ruffalo in the 2014 film.
He told ShortList: "I'm happy that my brother was immortalised. That was the main reason I did it.
"I'm very happy that it got five Oscar nominations and that they got Channing Tatum to play me, I keep telling people the only guy they could come up with to play me was the sexiest man in the world!
"But I didn't expect Miller to choose the darkest part of my life to focus on - Dave's murder - and expand that into a movie. I thought they'd focus on the wrestling, becoming the ultimate cage fighter, being victorious.
"It ended up being almost the complete opposite - a nightmare, »
While the topic of wealth inequality is a hot-button issue, the indie market place has blossomed as a new breed of producer — several are independently wealthy, all are smart, savvy — has stepped in. They are making the kinds of mid-budget movies that Hollywood isn’t making anymore, self-financing their own projects and making an effort to fill the void created by the studios’ overall change in strategy to one that focuses on tentpoles.
Producers like Megan Ellison, Jeff Skoll, Gigi Pritzker and Teddy Schwarzman have lately been joined by new players like Monika Bacardi and Todd Courtney, with their own philosophy about filmmaking, as well as specific criteria about the kinds of projects they choose to develop and, ultimately, produce.
- Neil Turitz
Last year's edition of the Cannes International Film Festival brought with it the usual early awards possibilities. Some went the distance (Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" in a number of categories). Others fell short (Mike Leigh's "Mr. Turner"). But while Sundance is certainly stepping up its awards-relevance game, the Croisette is where people really start pondering how the film year will shake out once the Oscar drums start banging late in the fall. One person who has leaned into the fest heavily the last couple of years is Harvey Weinstein. He has consistently held an event showcasing materials for The Weinstein Company's upcoming releases there, but this year he has a pair of films actually in competition that could make waves on the circuit. And it all starts with one of the most long-awaited films of the bunch. Todd Haynes' adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's "Carol" is, along with »
- Kristopher Tapley
Photo: Warner Bros. / Lionsgate / Paramount Christopher Nolan was asked, during a Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival, to choose which sequence from his films he considers his favorite. The log chase scene in Insomniac The semi-flip in The Dark Knightc The docking sequence in Interstellarc Every single one of themc Nope. The director answered as some may have expected, with the opening scene from The Dark Knight Rises, often discussed as his most impressive stunt sequence thus far in his directorial career. Call it the prologue scene, call it the airplane hijacking scene, call it what you want, Nolan is proud of it no matter what title you give it. "It took us about two days in Scotland," he told host Bennett Miller and the crowd. He continued: "It was an incredible sort of coming together of months and months of planning by a lot of different members of »
- Jordan Benesh
During his conversation with Bennett Miller last month at the Tribeca Film Festival, Christopher Nolan lavished praise on 2014’s taut and tense “Whiplash,” calling it “an incredible piece of work. That was the kind of film where when you see it, it’s very precisely put together and you’re very jealous.” A new video essay from Matt Marlin takes a look at the precision and craft of the film’s climactic scene, and breaks down the reasons why it is so effective. Read More: Entertainment Weekly Picks 'Whiplash' As The Best Movie Of 2014 Running nearly 10 minutes long, “Editing and Cinematography in Whiplash’s Ending (Framing the Picture)” focuses on — you guessed it — the final scene of the movie, the bravura musical set piece that is as nerve-wracking to watch as anything in any action thriller. Marlin focuses on everything from the eyelines of the actors to the placement of »
- Cain Rodriguez
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