15 items from 2013
Alexander Payne directed and co-wrote only six films, including Election, About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants, but he’s regarded as one of the best American filmmakers working today. He’s directed some of the best performances from Hollywood’s top actors, including Paul Giamatti, Jack Nicholson, and George Clooney in starring roles, and he and his writing partner Jim Taylor have picked up two Oscars for best adapted screenplay. His new film, Nebraska, stars Bruce Dern, who won the best actor award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Nebraska adds another strong resonant chapter to Payne’s remarkable filmography, so we thought we should take a look back at his career. Here is our list of his movies in order of least favourite to favourite. Enjoy!
Directed by Alexander Payne
USA , 2011
In tone, approach, and general structure, »
Alexander Payne is one of those filmmakers, like Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino, whose name alone conjures forth the kind of movie you're about to see. In the case of Payne, it's usually a slice-of-life film that combines elements of comedy and drama, in a winning concoction that can only be described as Payne-esque.
Payne's newest movie is "Nebraska," the beautifully shot (in black-and-white, no less!) tale of an elderly man (Bruce Dern) who travels to Nebraska to collect his phony sweepstakes winnings, along with his more-than-tolerant son, played by Will Forte. Featuring typically excellent performances (some from non-actors) and a kind of bittersweet, ramshackle charm, it's a movie that chokes you up and makes you giggle, often at the same time.
Speaking with Payne is a similar experience: he isn't buttressed by the usual Hollywood ego and self-aggrandizing. The closest he comes to boasting is when, during our conversation, »
- Drew Taylor
This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. First of all, let me disappoint everyone by clarifying that The Houseguest is not technically softcore pornography. It doesn’t even include nudity except for a man’s backside. But it is part of one of the anthologies put out by Playboy in the early 1990s called Inside Out, which are comprised of shorts that are predominantly of a a softcore nature. Alexander Payne, whose latest feature Nebraska is out in limited release today, directed three erotica shorts for the label. The earlier two were co-written by himself and regular collaborator Jim Taylor and one of them appears in the first video in the series while the other is lost or buried. The Houseguest, meanwhile, was scripted by Ken Rudman and appears on Inside Out III. But »
- Christopher Campbell
The story is based on Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's final article for The New Yorker, which was published in March before she died in early April. The plot centers on the complicated relationship between an Indian judge in New Dehli and his much younger wife. While they both share a home together, the husband and wife lead very separate lives. With the judge on his death bed, he makes sure she will be cared for and not shunned by society after he passes.
Exclusive: An intriguing package coming together quickly: Fox Searchlight and Alexander Payne are in talks to next team on The Judge’s Will. Conde Nast Entertainment will produce the film, which is based on Ruth Prawer Jhabvala‘s final published work for The New Yorker before she died. Cne will produce with Ad Hominem Enterprises, the company that Payne runs with Jim Burke and Jim Taylor. Jhabvala, who teamed with Ismael Merchant and James Ivory on so many great films, wrote this story about the final moments in the chess game relationship between an ailing Delhi judge and his beautiful younger Bombay wife. Each has separate lives even though they live under the same roof and as he nears death, the judge wants to be sure that his even younger, barely educated mistress is cared for and not cast out. The story was published in March. As usually happens when he makes a film, »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
William H. Macy is one of those actors who you can't help but be in awe of. In everything from "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" to his career-defining performance in "Fargo" and his current role as the hapless drunkard in the beloved Showtime series "Shameless," he exudes a steely professionalism, along with a sense of fatherly warmth that is more than just an impressive combination of skills; it's a talent that seems downright magical.
This week, Macy has a small role in a small movie called "A Single Shot." The film, about a man (Sam Rockwell) who accidentally murders a woman while out hunting, features Macy as a shady small town lawyer, who wears a floppy wig that hangs limply over his forehead, and has an off putting demeanor that makes you want to take a shower immediately after watching him.
We got a chance to talk to the actor about »
- Drew Taylor
The 2013 Austin Film Festival had announced its first slate of titles, in addition to retrospectives hosted by the likes of Jonathan Demme, Vince Gilligan and others. On the film front, Alexander Payne's latest feature, "Nebraska," will screen, as will several world premieres, including the dark comedy "Coffee, Kill Boss," the horror "Innocence," and "Speak Now," a romantic dramedy that was shot in just three days. Retrospective highlights include "Out of the Vault: Jonathan Demme," which will include a screening of his latest work in progress "Fear of Falling." "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan will present the classic crime thriller "The French Connection," "Iron Man 3" director will be on hand to show Morrie Ryskind's screwball comedy "My Man Godfrey," while Payne's long-time collaborator Jim Taylor will host a screening of Payne's 1999's satire "Election." Aff’s executive director, Barbara Morgan said, "As the Festival that honors the writer, »
- Nigel M Smith
At the 2012 Academy Awards, “The Descendants” took home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and most viewers were probably surprised to see writer/director Alexander Payne (a previous winner for “Sideways” and nominee for “Election”) flanked by Dean Pelton from “Community” and that dude from “Club Dread.” It was the first time in Payne’s career not collaborating with his usual co-writer Jim Taylor and the first time he had taken to rewriting someone else's screenplay (in this case an adaptation of the novel by Jim Rash ("Community") and Nat Faxon ("Club Dread"). Most people watching Payne's acceptance speech probably assumed that it was his award to take home and the other two were just lucky to be standing up there. For their second screenplay and duo decided to step behind the camera with “The Way, Way Back” and prove that it was no fluke. Inspired by the Rash and »
- Cory Everett
One of the most famous films that Jimmy Stewart ever had to stand to the point of exhaustion in was Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Made almost a decade before his even more famous yet less senatorial It’s a Wonderful Life, the film tells the story of a small-town man who is appointed as a U.S. Senator to replace one that has suddenly died. Stewart stars as Jefferson Smith, an idealistic man who takes his new job almost too seriously. However, Smith’s wide-eyed wonder at the seat of government is soon rocked by political corruption and dirty dealings. Smith tries to arrange the use of public land for boy rangers in his home state, causing a problem for the building of a dam in the same area — a dam that’s a critical part of a bill being pursued by local tycoon and political heavy Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold) who has »
- Kevin Carr
Jurassic Park III (2001) - continues the adventure that began with Jurassic Park (1993) and Lost World: Jurassic Park, The (1997). Directed by Joe Johnston, from a screenplay written by Peter Buckman and Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor. The film starred Sam Neill, William H Macy , Téa Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter, John Diehl, Bruce A. Young and Mark Harelik, with Laura Dern making a special appearance as Dr. Ellie Sattler. »
We’ve got more news from the FX Upfronts today, including the exciting announcement of five limited series with some big names attached to them. The first one up is a 10-episode run of Fargo, that will premiere in the Spring of 2014. Production will begin this fall and Joel & Ethan Coen will be executive producers along with Warren Littlefield. Noah Hawley (Bones, The Unusuals) is going to write series.
President and General Manager, FX Networks, John Landgraf announced that it will be a true crime series with a new case and new set of characters with the trademark Fargo style, sense of humor and charm that made the 1996 murder mystery a cult favorite and Academy Award-winning film.
“For years, people have tried to adapt this Academy Award-winning gem into a TV series with no success,” said Landgraf in a statement. »
- Ernie Estrella
The fourth Jp movie gets a new director: indie filmmaker Trevorrow Colin Trevorrow, whose well-received, (very) low-budget, independently made feature Safety Not Guaranteed won the Screenwriting Award at last year's Sundance Festival, has been named the director of the upcoming Jurassic Park sequel Jurassic Park 4. (Pictured above: Nope, that's not Trevorrow, but the 1993 Jurassic Park's imposing star, Mr. Tyrannosaurus Rex.) Now, why would Universal and executive producer Steven Spielberg bring this particular indie filmmaker aboard the billionaire Jp frachise? Well, why specifically Trevorrow is impossible to say. Yet, it seems clear that his handling of a science-fiction narrative about time travel played an important role in his selection. Another plus: He was surely cheaper than bigger names associated with action films. And let's not forget another crucial aspect of his selection: The director, whose innovative Safety Not Guaranteed was warmly greeted by critics, may bring to the increasingly paleozoic (i. »
- Zac Gille
Feature James Peaty 8 Mar 2013 - 06:24
With Sundance London fast approaching, we've highlighted ten Sundance films you really should watch...
For nearly 30 years the Sundance Film Festival has been the pre-eminent North American independent film showcase. Helping to make the names and careers of filmmakers as diverse as Steven Soderbergh, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino Bryan Singer and Christopher Nolan the festival's reach has now spread even further thanks to the inaugural Sundance London show in 2012.
But despite Sundance’s enviable influence at the top of the film tree not every movie – or even award winner – shown at the festival ends up becoming as ubiquitous as Sex, Lies and Videotape or Clerks.
Fast approaching is the Sundance London 2013 festival (full details on that are here), whose line-up is set to be announced on March 11th. The event runs from 25-28 April, and tickets go on sale at the end of next week. »
The Writers Guild lists the 101 Greatest Screenplays. Among them are many familliar classics, like "Casablanca," "The Godfather," "Chinatown," "Citizen Kane" and "All About Eve," which comprise the top five. Check out the top twenty below and the full list here. The youngest scripts on the list are Charlie Kaufman's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004) at #24, Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman's "Adaptation" (2002) at #77, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor's "Sideways" (2004) at #90 and Christopher Nolan's "Memento" (2000) at #100. The '90s also fared well with "Shakespeare in Love," "American Beauty," "Pulp Fiction," "The Sixth Sense," Being John Malkovich," "Forrest Gump," "L.A. Confidential," "Fargo," "The Usual Suspects," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Jerry »
- Sophia Savage
Back in 2012, “The Descendants” took home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and most people were probably surprised to see Alexander Payne (a previous winner for “Sideways” and nominee for “Election”) flanked by Dean Pelton from “Community” and that dude from “Club Dread.” For the first time in Payne’s career he had not collaborated with his usual co-writer Jim Taylor, but instead rewritten a previously existing screenplay by the aforementioned Jim Rash and Nat Faxon (which was in itself an adaptation of a novel). Many assumed that it was Payne’s award to take home and the other two were just lucky to be standing up there. But with their directorial debut (and second screenplay) for “The Way, Way Back,” Rash and Naxon prove that it was no fluke. Inspired by the duo's summers spent at the beach, going to waterparks and avoiding their parents, the film is a coming-of-age comedy that. »
- Cory Everett
15 items from 2013
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