14 items from 2016
With her fourth feature, “American Honey,” British filmmaker Andrea Arnold (“Fish Tank”) has quickly established herself as one of the most original and vital creative voices working today. She is also a director with an incredibly interesting process for making her films.
After reading a New York Times article about “mag crews” — outcast kids from poor American towns who travel around the country selling magazine subscriptions — Arnold spent months road tripping throughout America researching and finding her cast of largely non-professional actors to anchor her own fictional crew.
Arnold recently sat down with IndieWire to talk about her unique approach to scripting, casting and shooting her latest film, which received critical acclaim at Cannes and is being released by A24 at the end of the month. »
- Chris O'Falt
With I Am Not a Serial Killer hitting select theaters and VOD today from IFC Midnight, I caught up with the film’s co-writer/director Billy O’Brien for our latest Q&A feature to discuss working with Christopher Lloyd, what made Max Records the right fit to play John Wayne Cleaver, filming in frigid Minnesota, and much more.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us, Billy. Were you a fan of Dan Wells’ John Wayne Cleaver books before directing and co-writing I Am Not a Serial Killer? What made you want to tell this story on the big screen?
Billy O’Brien: Well, I read the book the summer of 2009 and loved it. But it was a paperback, so I thought the rights would be gone, so I was delighted to find they weren’t sold. I wrote Dan a letter and was just honest »
- Derek Anderson
Easily one of the best genre films of the year, Billy O’Brien’s I Am Not A Serial Killer (review soon)takes the story of a young man with violent tendencies and a series of murders in which the boy becomes obsessed with and offers a unique and interesting take on the genre. An adaption of the book by Dan Wells (the first book in a series), the film hits theaters/VOD on August 26th and we thought it would be fun to throw a few questions at O’Brien to see what led to his involvement in the film, as well as his desire to possibly tackle another adaption of Wells’ series. Read on!
I Am Not A Serial Killer is such a unique film and its story is extremely interesting. What inspired you take it on?
Great writing, the book had a strong visual sense, realistic characters »
- Jerry Smith
Now that the summer is cooling down, we’re entering perhaps the best time of year for cinephiles, with a variety of festivals — some of which will hold premieres of our most-anticipated 2016 features — gearing up. As we do each year, after highlighting the best films offered thus far, we’ve set out to provide a comprehensive preview of the fall titles that should be on your radar, and we’ll first take a look at selections whose quality we can attest to. Ranging from acclaimed debuts at Sundance, Cannes, and more, we’ve rounded up 25 titles that will arrive from September to December (in the U.S.) and are all well worth seeking out.
As a note, these didn’t make the cut, but you can see our reviews at the links: White Girl (9/2), Other People (9/9), London Road (9/9), Goat (9/23), Sand Storm (9/28), Do Not Resist (9/30), The Birth of a Nation (10/7), Desierto »
- The Film Stage
A24 has just released this trailer for Andrea Arnold’s Cannes prize-winning American Honey, starring Shia Labeouf and riveting newcomer Sasha Lane. She’s the new recruit, he’s the troubled showboater and Riley Keough is the bikini-clad capitalist who has cultishly transformed a motley collection of street youth into a band of traveling grifters. Arnold, along with her regular Dp, Robbie Ryan, creates an exuberant and kaleidoscopic vision of contemporary America in a film that creates its own entirely compelling rhythm. »
- Scott Macaulay
Following up Wuthering Heights early this decade, Fish Tank director Andrea Arnold is finally back with American Honey, which picked up the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (and we also named it one of the best of the festival). Starring newcomer Sasha Lane, as well as Shia Labeouf and Riley Keough, it follows teenager who gets caught up with a traveling magazine sales crew as she ventures through the Midwest. Shot once again by Robbie Ryan, it looks like a vibrant drama judging by the first trailer, which A24 has released today.
We said in our review, “European directors have often faltered when crossing the Atlantic. Billy Wilder and Wim Wenders found things to say where Paolo Sorrentino could not. American Honey is certainly the former. Based on a 2007 article from the New York Times, it’s a backwater American road movie directed by an Englishwoman, »
- Jordan Raup
After nearly two weeks of viewing some of the best that cinema will have to offer this year, the 69th Cannes Film Festival has concluded. With Ken Loach‘s I, Daniel Blake taking the top jury prize of Palme d’Or (full list of winners here), we’ve set out to wrap up our experience with our 10 favorite films from the festival, which extends to the Un Certain Regard and Directors’ Fortnight side bars.
It should be noted that The Nice Guys, which screened out of competition, was among our favorites of the festival (review here), but, considering it’s now in wide release, we’ve elected to give room to other titles. Check out our top 13 films below, followed by the rest of the reviews and all of our features. One can also return in the coming months as we learn of distribution news for all of the mentioned films. »
- The Film Stage
With it being around five years since her last feature, a striking update on Wuthering Heights, we’ve been looking forward to Andrea Arnold‘s follow-up for quite some time. She finally returned this year with American Honey, the director’s first feature in the U.S., and judging from the Cannes response it looks to be a rousing success. With A24 set to release the film this fall (no specified date yet), those looking for an early glimpse will be pleased with the first clip, along with the full 40-minute Cannes press conference featuring much of the cast as well as Arnold.
We said in our review, “European directors have often faltered when crossing the Atlantic. Billy Wilder and Wim Wenders found things to say where Paolo Sorrentino could not. American Honey is certainly the former. Based on a 2007 article from the New York Times, it’s a backwater »
- Jordan Raup
European directors have often faltered when crossing the Atlantic. Billy Wilder and Wim Wenders found things to say where Paolo Sorrentino could not. American Honey is certainly the former. Based on a 2007 article from the New York Times, it’s a backwater American road movie directed by an Englishwoman, Andrea Arnold, and shot by Irishman Robbie Ryan. We spot a few cowboys and gas stations and even the Grand Canyon, but it’s nothing to do with any of that. It’s about America (duh) but it’s also about friendship and money and learning to look out for yourself, and that primal connection young people make between music and identity. It’s visually astonishing and often devastating, too. This might be the freshest film about young people in America since Larry Clark’s Kids from 1995.
Arnold opens in shallow-focus Academy ratio, the concentrated square shaped format she and Ryan employed on Wuthering Heights. »
- Rory O'Connor
Mere minutes into “American Honey,” her scrappy, sprawling astonishment of a fourth feature, Andrea Arnold hits the audience with a song choice almost too perfect to work. As a girl’s gaze meets a boy’s across the packed aisles of a Midwestern Walmart, the euphoric Edm throb of Calvin Harris and Rihanna’s 2011 smash “We Found Love” hijacks the busy soundscape, setting a love story emphatically in motion by the time he hops up to dance on the checkout counter. “We found love in a hopeless place,” the song’s chorus ecstatically declares, over and over, as well it might — does it get more hopeless than Walmart, after all? It’s a gesture so brazenly big and romantically literal that it can’t help but have your heart, and it’s such an early, ebullient cinematic climax that Arnold dares repeat it two hours later, cranking up the song again in a more fraught, »
- Guy Lodge
I, Daniel Blake team line-up at the media gathering, from left: Dave Johns, Ken Loach and Hayley Squires Photo: Richard Mowe A veteran of no fewer than 16 Cannes Film Festivals, Ken Loach has returned to the Croisette with I, Daniel Blake – a film that slams Britain’s welfare system – despite the fact he had announced his intention to retire at a previoius festival.
As you would expect from Britain’s most politically and socially engaged director, Loach and his screenwriter Paul Laverty along with stars Hayley Squires and Dave Johns plus producer Rebecca O’Brien and cinematographer Robbie Ryan, his encounter with a media gathering was suitably highly charged and critical of the benefits systems. He also touched on teh upcoming Referendum on EU membership and the prospects of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
More than 50 years after Cathy Come Home looked at the plight of the homeless, Loach says he »
- Richard Mowe
The platform has acquired North American and Latin American rights to Billy O’Brien’s thriller and recent SXSW premiere.
O’Brien and Christopher Hyde wrote the screenplay based on the novel by Dan Wells. The Irish Film Board, Quickfire Films and The Fyzz Facility financed the film and Floodland Pictures and The Tea Shop & Film Company produced.
Nick Ryan, James Harris and Mark Lane produced and the executive producer roster features Wayne Marc Godfrey, Robert Jones, James Atherton, Jan Pace, John McDonnell, Rory Gilmartin, Billy O’Brien, Avril Daly, Ruairi Robinson, Robbie Ryan, Bertrand Faivre, Ruth Kenley-Letts and Afolabi Kuti.
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
Suzanne Collins famously stumbled on her inspiration for “The Hunger Games” trilogy while channel surfing between newscasts of war zones and reality competition shows. In the case of “I Am Not a Serial Killer,” based on the first book in Dan Wells’ Ya series, it’s not hard to imagine its author slipping into a similar fever dream after binge-watching all of “Dexter,” “Fargo” and “Six Feet Under” in one go. The tale of a likable teenager, raised by a mortician family, whose own nascent sociopathic tendencies make him a perfect amateur sleuth when a serial killer strikes his folksy Midwestern town, director Billy O’Brien’s film adaptation strikes a tone that’s far more unique and endearing than that premise might imply, helped in no small part by a sharp-witted performance from former child star Max Records. A strange, clumsily handled third-act turn undoes some of its charm, »
- Andrew Barker
[Guest reporter Jenny Nulf shares her impressions of three movies from this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, including I Am Not a Serial Killer, I Am a Hero, and Pet.]
I Am Not a Serial Killer: What happens when a movie gets stuck in limbo for three years? Well, the director is given enough time to create a slow-burning monster movie that will lurk in the back of your mind long after viewing it.
In a tiny Midwestern town, John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records) works with his mother and aunt at a funeral home, helping her embalm the dead bodies. A possible sociopath, John also chats regularly with his psychologist, Dr. Neblin (Karl Geary), about how to subside his murderous tendencies. Then things start to go wrong when an actual serial killer sweeps through the town, and when Max discovers the identity of the killer, it takes him down a terrifying path of self-discovery. This is not your average, sweet coming-of-age story.
I Am Not a Serial Killer’s slow and methodic pace will keep some at bay, but director »
- Jenny Nulf
14 items from 2016
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