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Film festivals are for everyone. Whether it’s the Tribeca Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival or even Raindance, festivals are exciting events for the community and are designed to bring you and other lovers of cinema together to experience extraordinary stories that ordinarily may never be seen in the mainstream.
In particular, the sometimes-overlooked Short Film program is one experience audiences should make sure to acquaint themselves with and not miss out on. Not only is it an opportunity for you to be one of the first people to discover incredible work from perhaps a top filmmaker of the future but it is also an opportunity to be regaled, beguiled and mesmerised by fulfilling stories told to you in less than a third of feature time. They’re short and sweet – little engines that could – and more often than not, thought provoking in a totally unpredictable way.
The shorts »
- Sacha Hall
[Editor's Note: This post is presented in partnership with Time Warner Cable Movies On Demand in support of Indie Film Month. Today's pick, "Good Kill," is available now On Demand.] How loyal are our drone pilots to their cause, really? What happens when they start to question the ethics of drone warfare? These are just a few of the controversial questions raised in "Good Kill," the new film from writer-director Andrew Niccol, which follows a drone pilot who becomes disillusioned with his video game-esque job when he realizes the extent of the damage his work inflicts. Ethan Hawke ("Boyhood") stars as the drone pilot alongside January Jones ("Mad Men") as his wife and Zoë Kravitz ("Divergent") as a fellow pilot. "Good Kill" is notable in that it looks at a different--though no less controversial--side of drone warfare: how it affects the pilots and their families. After the film's premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film »
- Becca Nadler
Eighteen years after the release of Gattaca, Ethan Hawke and Andrew Niccol are back together for a film called Good Kill. Hawke leads as Tom Egan. He used to work overseas as an Air Force pilot, but now he’s stateside piloting drones from an air-conditioned bunker just outside of Las Vegas. Even though the job ensures he’s safe and sound, and gets to go home to his wife and kids every night, he actually longs for the fear that comes with flying into combat. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Hawke to discuss reteaming with Niccol, the importance of having real drone pilots on set and if his step-brother, who’s a green beret in the military, has seen the film. Check out what Hawke had to say about all of that, his experience working at Burger King and the possibility of making a Boyhood »
- Perri Nemiroff
Good Kill is one of those films that owes everything to its headlining actor. Written and directed by Andrew Niccol, the film is highly character-driven and heavy on the solemn, brooding emotional atmosphere. A well-written film, Good Kill wears its heart on its sleeve and makes no qualms about its political tendencies, but primarily is carried by its star’s performance.
Ethan Hawke plays Major Thomas Egan, a man resigned to spending the rest of his career in a metal box piloting unmanned drones via remote control joysticks. Egan has a wife and child, but has become distant and isolated within himself as he begins to question the ethics of his military and the morality of his actions under orders.
Niccol directs the film with enough prowess to maintain the viewer’s attention, but the down-trodden mood of the film occasionally takes its tole, leaving the audience wanting a touch »
- Travis Keune
Andrew Niccol’s Good Kill centers on Tom Egan (Ethan Hawke), a former Air Force pilot who now operates drones stateside. As one might expect, his wife Molly (January Jones) loves that he’s safe and sound in an air conditioned bunker and gets to come home to her and the kids every night, but Tom’s still eager to get back in the air. With Good Kill currently in select theaters and hitting VOD on May 22nd, I got the chance to talk to Jones about Molly and Tom’s relationship and how she prepared for the role. You can catch that and what Jones had to say about her worst job prior to acting in the video interview below. In case you missed it, click here for my interview Niccol, here for the one with Zoe Kravitz and here to check out what the cast had to say »
- Perri Nemiroff
The Elizabeth Banks-directed Pitch Perfect 2, the sequel to the 2012 film, became the latest number one hit of the year, as the Anna Kendrick-starring feature displaced the reigning champion Avengers: Age of Ultron with a total of $70.3 million. The Marvel feature, while falling to third place on the box office chart, still earned $38.8 million over the weekend, enough to leapfrog it above Furious 7 as the highest grossing feature of 2015 to date. The other big opener of the weekend, the George Miller-directed Mad Max: Fury Road, rounded out the top three by landing in second place with a total of $44.4 million.
Last weekend’s fifth place finisher Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 continued to hold steady in the same spot this weekend with a total of $3.6 million, tying it with Furious 7, while Hot Pursuit fell to fourth place in its second weekend, earning $5.8 million in a »
- Deepayan Sengupta
Zoe Kravitz has a big weekend coming up. Not only does she have Mad Max: Fury Road hitting theaters, but Andrew Niccol’s Good Kill as well. Ethan Hawke leads the film as Tom Egan, an Air Force pilot who now works as a drone pilot in a tiny air-conditioned bunker in the Nevada desert. Kravitz steps in as Airman Vera Suarez, the new sensor operator on Egan’s team. She’s one of the best there is but, similar to Tom, her nerves are rattled when they start taking orders directly from Langley. With Good Kill making its way into select theaters on May 15th and coming to VOD on May 22nd, I got the chance to sit down with Kravitz to talk about her experience making the film. She discussed what it was like shooting the scenes during which her character is operating the drone, the romantic spark between Tom and Vera, »
- Perri Nemiroff
Reviewing American Sniper, I argued its lies of omission about the Iraq occupation were an attempt to turn a criminally bungled, uniquely tragic event into a post-9/11 War Is Hell story — one that gave Americans the hero-martyr they desperately wanted but did nothing to illuminate the larger injustice. Hundreds of comments and Facebook messages explained that Chris Kyle died protecting my right to express my filthy, moronic anti-Americanism. I’d thought I was speaking on behalf of Kyle, who should never have been put in that hopeless situation. Perhaps I could have stated that more clearly.Andrew Niccol presents a radically different view of the “war on terror” in his anti-drone drama Good Kill, which is potent enough to make me wish it were less clunky. It certainly won’t convert the jingoist fighting keyboardists, who probably won’t care that the president at the time the film is set — 2010 — is Obama, »
- David Edelstein
If you’ve been watching the news or paying attention to our military’s ever-evolving technology, you might have noticed that wars are being fought in a very different way. Much like how companies like Amazon are trying to figure out ways to let drones deliver your packages right to your doorstep, the Us Air Force is calling upon drone warfare to keep the lives of pilots safe by plopping them behind a screen. Even if a battle is being waged in the Middle East, a drone pilot can be located in Las Vegas, controlling the done like a real-life video game.
This is the next step for warfare – removing the emotional tragedy of war by reducing lives to blips on a monitor. It would have sounded like a piece of science fiction if Andrew Niccol has presented the topic some fifteen years ago, but as it stands today, Good Kill »
- Matt Donato
[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Good Kill opens today in limited release.] Writer-director Andrew Niccol has some thoughts about drone warfare, and he wants to share them with you. His new film, Good Kill, is one of the first mainstream fiction films to deal directly with the subject as opposed to some wishy-washy, pretentious subtext in a Hollywood picture (I’m looking at you, RoboCop remake). While Niccol once again shows himself to be a great “idea man”, he can’t manage to create a story even half as interesting as his subject. Thomas Egan (Ethan Hawke) is an Air Force pilot who once flew jets, but now sits in a trailer flying drones. After a day’s work, he leaves the box, walks into the Nevada sun, and drives home to his family in Las Vegas. He longs to get back into a real cockpit, but he’s told by his commanding officer (Bruce Greenwood) that it’s a long shot »
- Matt Goldberg
There are important issues running through this, but the film forgets to be sufficiently engaging in the course of being Significant. I’m “biast” (pro): like Andrew Niccol…
I’m “biast” (con): …though he keeps failing to measure up to his earliest work
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
It’s desert warfare, but not as we’ve known it. From a room in the sands of suburban Las Vegas, drone pilots kill people in different deserts half a world away. It sounds like science fiction — and given that Good Kill is from writer-director Andrew Niccol, of The Truman Show and Gattaca and The Host fame, you might be forgiven for thinking that that’s what it is. But this is based on reality; in fact, it’s set half a decade ago, in 2010. Major Thomas Egan (Ethan Hawke: Boyhood) is a former combat pilot »
- MaryAnn Johanson
This was originally reviewed as part of JoBlo.com's Tiff 2014 coverage. Plot: An air-force drone pilot (Ethan Hawke) stationed in Vegas but remotely flying missions in Afghanistan, struggles with the reality of his new position. Review: Good Kill is a film that both could and should have been excellent. Writer-director Andrew Niccol has returned time-and-time again to the idea of technology's effect on the human spirit, and with real drone attacks being such a current »
- Chris Bumbray
Good Kill may not be a summer blockbuster, but it achieves exactly what it sets out to do. Writer-director Andrew Niccol manages to fold his agenda into a compelling and believable story about the perils of high-tech warfare. Ethan Hawke is perfectly cast as a fighter pilot who, having completed several tours of duty in Afghanistan, now finds himself reporting to an air-conditioned bunker outside of Las Vegas where he conducts bombing raids using a drone. The film is set in 2010 and declares that it is “based on a true story.” The idea that he is killing people half a world away, using cutting-edge technology and surveillance cameras, has a strange effect on him. He misses the...
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- Leonard Maltin
Together with Uma Thurman and Jude Law, the pair made Gattaca, a film that concentrated heavily on the ideas of relentless ambition, the limitations of our own humanity, and the opportunities – or rather shortcuts – that can be unearthed with technology. After eighteen years, Hawke and Niccol return to these themes for this weekend’s Good Kill.
Hawke is once again a pilot, but this time, it’s Afghanistan and not outer space in his sights. Unfortunately, Hawke doesn’t need to pretend to be Jude Law to get ahead, which is always a favourite reoccurring film happenstance of mine (Gattaca, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and all my future screenplays).
In Good Kill, Thomas Egan (Hawke) is a microcosm of the unprecedented situation facing modern drone pilots. Egan »
- Sasha James
With the drone warfare drama, Good Kill, opening in Canada and the Us this week, I had a chance to speak with director Andrew Niccol about the film briefly over the phone. But it was a very dense conversation that offers some insight as to what was keeping him up at night while making the film.The New Zealand born filmmaker has spend most of his career working in Hollywood as a writer (The Truman Show, The Terminal) and double-hyphenate director (Gattaca, Lord of War, In Time). Much like the voice of his films, there is a pragmatic, down-to-earth manner in his conversational tone balanced with a further-reaching inquiry as to what is right and what is wrong with us as we continue to barrel full...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Ethan Hawke has blasted gender inequality in Hollywood, saying that his daughters have turned him into a feminist.
Speaking on Larry King Now, Hawke said: "Patricia is a brass tacks, old-school feminist and I have so much respect for her."
Discussing her speech, he added: "I think it's about time. She's right.
"The movie business is such a boys' club. I have been making movies for 30 years.
Kristen Stewart: "Hollywood is disgustingly sexist - it's so offensive it's crazy"
"I've done probably more than 40 movies, and this year is the first time I've been directed by a woman."
He added: "People think this gender equality thing has happened, but it's fascinating having three daughters and seeing the world through their eyes. It really does turn you into a feminist. »
After hitting Venice, Tiff, Zurich and the Tribeca Film Festival, writer-director Andrew Niccol’s Good Kill is finally making its way into select theaters. The movie stars Ethan Hawke as Tom Egan, a former Air Force pilot who now works stateside as a drone pilot. Even though he’s able to take out targets safe and sound from a bunker just outside of Las Vegas and then head home to his wife and kids, Tom still longs to be up in the air, taking risks. With Good Kill hitting theaters in New York and Los Angeles on May 15th and then arriving on VOD on May 22nd, I got the opportunity to sit down with Niccol to discuss his experience making the film. He ran through some of the unusual military lingo he learned, talked about the challenge of shooting the target footage and about directing his actors during the »
- Perri Nemiroff
I don’t know if many people notice, but there’s almost nothing in the film industry that Ethan Hawke can’t do…and do well. He’s been an awards mainstay of late, as well as being someone who Oscar has nominated far more often than you probably realize. This week, he makes another 2015 appearance (one of many for him this year) in Good Kill, which also reunites him with filmmaker Andrew Niccol. I think this intense role just serves as more evidence that Hawke can pretty much do anything. He’s already had a documentary of his come out in 2015, has some other indies on the way, and always is on the cusp of working with Richard Linklater again, not to mention being an author. He’s a true renaissance man. First of all, we should briefly discuss Good Kill. The film centers around an Air Force pilot »
- Joey Magidson
Fictional movies that tackle topical subjects often have about them the fusty air of a civics lesson, as if we’re supposed to watch pretending that we’re not being led down the path of righteousness. But writer-director Andrew Niccol’s Good Kill is something else; it's immediate and vital, and it doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve got all the right answers. This is an action movie, polished and efficient, where we watch all the action from a safe remove: Ethan Hawke stars as Thomas Egan, a drone pilot who lives in Las Vegas with his wife (January Jones) and two kids. Every day, he leaves his pleasantly manicured, anonymous-looking airbase home for work, where he sits down in front of a console and picks off Taliban — and more than a few unlu »
The ethics of drone warfare are fully explored and debated in Andrew Niccol's Good Kill, a somber and unusual war movie unlike any we've seen. In the film, Ethan Hawke plays Air Force pilot Tom Egan who after years of being on the front lines now sits back in a trailer in Las Vegas, controlling drones hundreds of miles away from the action, killing suspected terrorists with intense precision. He's fighting the good fight, yes, but as he's in no danger himself; he feels detached from his »
- Eric Walkuski
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