20 items from 2017
Michael Keaton stars as Ray Kroc, the man who turned McDonald’s into a global force, but this is flavourless stuff
If Morgan Spurlock’s gross-out documentary Super Size Me exposed the dangers of the McDonald’s Big Mac, The Founder is the fast-food franchise’s wholesome origin story. An attempt to recast its Henry Ford-style speedy system and memorable golden arches as hallmarks of all-American decency (and capitalist efficiency), John Lee Hancock’s bland biopic offers a sanitised and sympathetic take on the burger chain’s beginnings and the man who turned it into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.
Michael Keaton stars as Ray Croc, a persistent, Machiavellian salesman weaned on self-help tapes, who rebranded and franchised the San Bernardino burger bar started in 1940 by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald (Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch respectively). “Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent,” says Keaton’s Croc to the McDonalds, »
- Simran Hans
This ranking includes only new theatrical releases viewed for the awards year of 2016 (for eligibility for the Academy Awards and the Ofcs and Awfj awards); some films released in the UK without Us releases (and so ineligible for those awards this year) may also be included, for my own bookkeeping purposes. Links go to my review. Numbers after each entry are Date First Viewed/NYC Release Date/London Release Date; year is 2016 unless otherwise noted.
01.03.17: This ranking is not quite final; I will continue to add films and links to reviews through the awards season that ends with the Oscars ceremony on February 26th.
worth paying multiplex prices for
La La Land (10.07/12.09/01.13.17)
A Monster Calls (10.06/12.23/01.01.17)
The Lobster (07.16.15/05.13/10.16.15)
Zootropolis (aka Zootopia) (02.22/03.04/03.25)
A Bigger Splash (10.08.15/05.04/02.12)
Miss Sloane (11.20/11.25/02.24.17)
London Road (06.03.15/09.09/06.12.15)
The Girl with All the Gifts (07.26/02.24.17/09.23)
I, Daniel Blake (10.22/12.23/10.21)
Hidden Figures (12.14/12.25/02.17.17)
A United Kingdom (10.05/02.10.17/11.25)
Eye in the Sky (04.07/03.11/04.15)
- MaryAnn Johanson
The resistance is one man smaller, and it was already a mere trio.
Oh how I hate to use this term, but Colony Season 2 Episode 6 was a transitional hour.
Things were heating up with what's left of the resistance; we were given a sneak peek into the boxes shipping to the Global Authority and learned Nolan doesn't know that much about The Greatest Day.
I'm sorry I missed an episode, but illness overtook me, and I wasn't even moving. Sadly, it was the one in which we lost Thora Birch as Morgan and had her replaced with Bethany Joy Lenz. What a joy, indeed!
Lenz gives the character some much-needed oomph, and the trio finally feels like a reasonable group for Broussard to be leaning on for his technical support.
Even as I write that, though, I wonder why it never occurred to any of them that alien tech might »
- Carissa Pavlica
Tracy Morgan has a good sense of humor about his scary 2014 accident.
The Fist Fight star appeared on Conan on Wednesday with his co-stars in the movie -- Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Jillian Bell, and JoAnna Garcia Swisher -- where Cube joked about how Morgan talks about the incident where he was hit by a Wal-Mart truck driver – more specifically, the settlement money..
Exclusive: Tracy Morgan on Filming 'Fist Fight' After Near-Fatal Accident: 'I Just Started Being Funny Again'
"It's always great to see Tracy," Cube said, when asked by host Conan O'Brien about working with the 48-year-old comedian after his accident. "It's cool 'cause now he just tells me how rich he is now."
"'I got hit by a truck. They paid me, Cube!'" the N.W.A rapper said Morgan tells him. "He said, ‘Thank god I didn't get hit by a...'"
"Bob's Discount Furniture truck. It could've »
From students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Massachusetts, to Hollywood stars with nine Oscar nominations among them, Casey Affleck, his brother Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have come far. And stayed close through it all.
In 1997, Damon and the elder Affleck’s film Good Will Hunting — which also starred Casey — propelled them to fame and their first walk on the Academy Awards stage. Now, 20 years later, Oscar continues to smile on them: Damon is a nominated producer on Best Picture contender Manchester By the Sea, which features an Oscar-nominated performance from Best Actor hopeful Casey Affleck. In 2013, Ben »
- Lindsay Kimble
The 48-year-old comedian is returning to the big screen for the first time since the deadly 2014 traffic accident that left him hospitalized in critical condition — and he said it has been no walk in the park.
“If I’d have thought about it, I might have got shook. So I didn’t think about it, »
- Char Adams
“It’s a really fucking scary time to be alive,” comments Star Wars’ leading lady Daisy Ridley about the first days of Donald Trump being president of the Us. The actress recently attended the anti-Trump women’s march in London, calling it “an incredible show of democracy”.
Ridley is deeply passionate about tales of female empowerment; from her breakthrough role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens to the her latest film, the Bafta-nominated documentary The Eagle Huntress, which she narrates and exec produced.
Screen sat down with Ridley to discuss the doc, which is the story of a 13-year-old girl in Mongolia who is attempting to become the first female eagle hunter in her country. She also updated on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, talked having to audition for Murder On The Orient Express, and had her say on Piers Morgan’s recent spat with »
Bryan Fogel’s “Icarus” starts off like a Morgan Spurlock documentary as the director, a competitive amateur cyclist, explores what will happen if he follows Lance Armstrong’s performance enhancing drug (PEDs) regimen. Can he vastly improve his cycling speed, while also passing drug tests, just like Armstrong did?
His guide through this journey is Grigory Rodchenkov, the Russian scientist who runs Russia’s Olympic Ped testing lab. What Fogel doesn’t know is that Rodchenkov is the key player in President Putin’s secret efforts to dope Russian athletes and is about to become the center of storm of controversy. What’s most fascinating about Fogel’s film is how, mid-way through its already fascinating plot, it changes gears and becomes a completely different movie as Fogel finds himself in middle of a huge story and his coach/friend finds himself in danger.
We’ll be talking about what »
- Chris O'Falt
In an historic deal for a documentary, Netflix has landed “Icarus,” a buzzy examination of the Russian doping scandal, Variety has learned. The $5 million pact is one of the biggest ever for a non-fiction film.
Bidding for the film was intense from almost the moment it premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. There were several interested studios circling the project at various points, including Sony Pictures Classics, Neon, Magnolia, and Amazon.
‘Icarus’ Sundance Documentary Director Was Scared When Exposing Russian Olympic Doping Scandal
The film contained a killer pitch, and was described by its PR team as a movie that kicks off in the mold of Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”), but ends up in the tradition of Laura Poitras (“Citizenfour”). To investigate doping in sports, director Bryan Fogel, an amateur bike racer, decided to dope himself to see if it would strengthen his endurance. To do so, »
- Brent Lang and Ramin Setoodeh
“Just do it.” That slogan may sell shoes, but as sports mantras go, perhaps the phrase “Everybody’s doing it” might be more appropriate for what drives the international sports community today — where the “it” in question is performance-enhancing drugs. At least, that’s what’s implied by amateur cyclist-turned-cynical documentarian Bryan Fogel in his compelling new film “Icarus.” Taking a page from the Morgan Spurlock playbook, Fogel sets out to prove that he can shoot himself full of anabolic steroids and other banned substances, boost his best time, and then slip through the gauntlet of anti-doping tests that await athletes at the finish line. All he needs is an accomplice with loose enough ethical standards to guide him through the system — and that’s what makes his movie such a game-changer.
Before casting himself as a human guinea pig, Fogel reaches out to a handful of international experts. The »
- Peter Debruge
The Sundance Film Festival has been the launching pad for some of the greatest indie films ever made. The likes of “Reservoir Dogs,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and last year’s “Manchester by the Sea” all got their starts at the mountainside festival. That track record of finding new talent and fresh stories is what keeps studio executives and fan lovers flocking to Park City. So as Sundance gets ready to kick off on Thursday, hope springs anew.
There are a number of films that are already generating massive buzz, sight unseen. They range from Oscar contenders to crowd pleasing comedies to ripped-from-the-headlines documentaries. If they live up to the hype, all of them should score big paydays. Here’s a look at the films that are most likely to spark all-night bidding frenzies.
Director: Dee Rees
Sales agent: Wme »
- Brent Lang
Bidding wars have already begun for the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Buyers snapped up six titles in the days leading up to the fest, including one that A24 purchased sight unseen: David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story,” starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. Other movies acquired in the past two weeks are “Berlin Syndrome” (Netflix), “Call Me By Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics), “Casting JonBenet” (Netflix), “Cries From Syria” (HBO for television rights) and “Long Strange Trip” (Amazon).
Read More: Sundance 2017: Netflix, Vertical Acquire ‘Berlin Syndrome’
With 120 features playing at Sundance, there are plenty of hot titles remaining for acquisition executive, though it will be tough for any film to exceed last year’s $17.5 million purchase of “The Birth of a Nation” by Fox Searchlight, the biggest deal in the festival’s history.
Which movies are likely to have buyers lining up in the cold this year? Here are 14 hot »
- Graham Winfrey
MaryAnn’s quick take… Rather brilliant and kind of inspiring until it turns frightening and even sinister. A dark tale of the beginning of end-stage capitalism as profit above all. I’m “biast” (pro): love Michael Keaton
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
A year or so ago, I had my first McDonald’s hamburger in maybe a decade, probably longer. I plead drinking — I had been out with a bunch of friends — and it was purely to stave off the next day’s hangover by getting down some grease and carbs to absorb the alcohol. But, man, that burger was delicious. Seriously. So good. (I haven’t had another one since.) They really know what they’re doing at Micky D’s.
I have also once attended what was then the world’s biggest McDonald’s, in Vinita, Oklahoma. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
See larger image Go North New From: $9.99 Usd In Stock Release date January 13, 2017.
Let’s face it, there’s nothing new you can do with the post-apocalyptic genre. What we can hope for now is that there’s a visual flair and/or a sincerity and dedication to the characters that will set the story apart, no matter what medium it’s in. Recently, The Maze Runner series brought about an intriguing combination of post-apocalypse and totalitarianism, Mad Max:Fury Road was pure energy on screen, and The Last of Us was an interactive masterpiece. Go North bares the most resemblance to the latter without the terrifying monsters, so slightly less interesting. The inciting incident at the core of Go North is a mystery which we don’t really discover, but it isn’t important no matter how much we might want to know. This is a character movie about finding »
- Mike Hassler
The “Flashdance” alum will appear alongside stars Matt Bomer, Kelsey Grammer, Lily Collins, and Rosemarie DeWitt. Based on an unfinished F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, “The Last Tycoon” follows a Hollywood studio exec in the 1930s battling his father figure and boss for the soul of their studio.
Beals will play Margo Taft, a manipulative and poised star who’s willing to do anything to get her way and establish dominance in every one of her pictures.
Beals is repped by Apa and attorney Patti Felker.
Viceland‘s new six-part series “Hate Thy Neighbor,” starring British comedian Jamali Maddix as he takes on the issue of worldwide racism, will premiere at 10 p.m. on »
- Dani Levy
This year’s Sundance Film Festival is mere days from unspooling in snowy Park City, Utah and, with it comes a brand new year of indie filmmaking to get excited about. As ever, the annual festival is playing home to dozens of feature films, short offerings and technologically-influenced experiences, and while there’s plenty to anticipate seeing, we’ve waded through the lineup to pick out the ones we’re most looking forward to checking out.
From returning filmmakers like Alex Ross Perry and Gillian Robesepierre to a handful of long-gestating passion projects and at least one film about a ghost, we’ve got a little something for every stripe of film fan.
Read More: Sundance 2017: Check Out the Full Lineup, Including Competition Titles, Premieres and Shorts
Ahead, check out 20 titles we’re excited to finally check out at this year’s festival.
The trifecta behind previous Sundance »
- Chris O'Falt, Eric Kohn, Graham Winfrey, Jude Dry, Kate Erbland, Steve Greene and Zack Sharf
Twenty-five of the UK's special effects experts have come together for a good cause. Each artist is customizing a bust of Frankenstein's monster, and 100% of the proceeds raised at the auction of these busts will be donated to Make-a-Wish UK. Also, details on the premiere screening of Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies, Ravenwolf Towers episode 2 details, a new trailer for Pitchfork, and the trailer and tie-in Vr video for Go North.
The Monster Charity Project 2017 Details: From the Press Release: "25 of the UK's top prop-making, sculpting and Spfx make-up artists have been brought together to take part in a unique charity project. Each artist has been given a bespoke Frankenstein-inspired monster bust, created and supplied by Svfx University of Bolton Special & Visual Effects team, with the simple instruction: Customise him into any design you like.
Once customised, the artists then donate the finished bust back to the Monster Charity Project »
- Tamika Jones
“The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” film series may have finished, but pop culture hasn’t seen the last of coming-of-age post-apocalyptic stories. Matthew Ogens’ new film “Go North” examines a world ruled by teenagers and children after a global catastrophe wiped out every single adult.
Executive produced by Morgan Spurlock, the film follows a young boy named Josh (Jacob Lofland) who decides to flee the dangerous confines of his abandoned city and embark on a journey with his classmate and neighbor Jessie (Sophie Kennedy Clark) to the last safe haven in the world. Though they don’t know how to get there or if it even exists, they strive to migrate to the place safe from disaster. The film co-stars Patrick Schwarzenegger (“Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse”), James Bloor »
- Vikram Murthi
In the aftermath of an unknown catastrophe, a community left with zero living adults has descended into a modern-day Lord of the Flies, run by a small cabal of what had been the jocks occupying the athletic and social upper crust of the local high school, headed by Caleb (Patrick Schwarzenegger).
Faced with the bleak despair of their situation, Josh (Jacob Lofland) and Jessie (Sophie Kennedy Clark) strike out on a dangerous journey into the unknown to find family and hope for the f [Continued ...] »
The Founder, about the man who built McDonald’s, is a fitting start to the new era. But Hollywood’s love affair with Trump’s kind of anarcho-capitalism began long ago
It is the early 1950s. A travelling salesman named Ray Kroc, played in the forthcoming biopic The Founder by Michael Keaton, sells milkshake machines to restaurants all over the Us. Then he discovers an extraordinary little place in California called McDonald’s, run by the McDonald brothers, who have revolutionised the fast-food business with menus limited to burgers, fries and soda, walk-up counters, huge grills and fryers for speedy, short-order volume. In a blinding flash, Kroc sees how the brothers can franchise their operation around the country. They could be an American church, as ubiquitous as decent people’s houses flying the stars’n’stripes. When we saw Ray in his scuzzy hotel room, listening to a self-motivation LP on a portable record player, »
- Peter Bradshaw
20 items from 2017
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