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Well, it’s just speculation right now, but this is potentially some very exciting news. Word trickled down over the weekend that Warner Brothers has moved the release date of Ben Affleck’s next project behind the camera, the crime epic Live by Night. Originally, we were scheduled to get it in October of this year, before it was delayed a year to October of 2017, partly to accommodate Affleck becoming Batman. Now, we’ve gotten notice that the WB has it opening in early January of 2017, which is right where American Sniper hit a few years back. As such, it’s almost a foregone conclusion now that it’ll get a qualifying run in December and be a part of the 2016 awards season. Make room folks, as a huge new contender could be joining the early stages of the race, potentially as the last player we’ll get this year. »
- Joey Magidson
Over the weekend, it was revealed that we’re getting Ben Affleck’s “Live By Night” nine months earlier than planned — the star’s return to the director’s chair with his adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s period crime epic was originally set to open in October 2017, but things are coming together sooner than planned, even with […]
- Oliver Lyttelton
On the weekend came word that Ben Affleck's Dennis Lehane's period crime epic "Live By Night" was being moved up by a whopping nine months - from October 2017 to January 2017. This has already led to rumors of an awards-season qualifying run with the film adopting a limited late December release this year followed by a wide opening in January (ala "American Sniper").
What the film gods giveth, they also taketh away. Word comes today that Niki Caro's WW2 film "The Zookeeper's Wife," starring Jessica Chastain and Daniel Bruhl, has been cut from awards qualification this year as its distributor Focus Features has set a March 31st 2017 release.
There's been some other key release date changes as well this week with the Owen Wilson and Ed Helms comedy "Bastards" being delayed from October to January 27th next year, while "How To Train Your Dragon 3" has been moved up »
- Garth Franklin
The Lego Movie 2 was originally supposed to open May 18th, 2018, but it’s one of four movies to have its release shifted by the company.
- Kieran Fisher
The studio has also moved Ben Affleck’s crime drama “Live by Night” forward nine months to Jan. 13, 2017 — which had been the slot for “Geostorm.” Affleck directed “Live by Night” from his own script, adapted from the 2012 novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane. The film stars Affleck, Chris Messina, Sienna Miller, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper and Elle Fanning.
Warner Bros. has two other Lego movies coming in 2017 — “Lego Batman” on Feb. 10 and “Ninjago” on Sept. 17. “The Lego Movie 2″ will open on Feb. 8, 2019,” utilizing the same opening weekend that “The Lego Movie” had in 2014.
“The Lego Movie” was a surprise success, opening with a $69 million weekend domestically. »
- Dave McNary
They’ve made some of the best thrillers of the past six years. We list some of the best modern thriller directors currently working...
Director Guillermo del Toro once described suspense as being about the withholding of information: either a character knows something the audience doesn’t know, or the audience knows something the character doesn’t. That’s a deliciously simple way of describing something that some filmmakers often find difficult to achieve: keeping viewers on the edges of their seats.
The best thrillers leave us scanning the screen with anticipation. They invite us to guess what happens next, but then delight in thwarting expectations. We can all name the great thriller filmmakers of the past - Alfred Hitchcock, Carol Reed, Brian De Palma - but what about the current crop of directors? Here’s our pick of the filmmakers who’ve made some great modern thrillers over the past six years - that is, between the year 2010 and the present.
To think there was once a time when Jeremy Saulnier was seriously quitting the film business.
“To be honest," Saulner told us back in 2014, “Macon and I had really given up on our quest to break into the industry and become legitimate filmmakers. So what we were trying to do with Blue Ruin was archive our 20 year arc and bring it to a close. Really just revisit our stomping grounds and use locations that were near and dear to us and build a narrative out of that.”
Maybe this personal touch explains at least partly why Blue Ruin wound up getting so much attention in Cannes in 2013, signalling not the end of Saulnier and his star Macon Blair’s career, but a brand new chapter. But then again, there’s more than just hand-crafted intimacy in Saulnier’s revenge tale; there’s also its lean, minimal storytelling and the brilliance of its characterisation. Blue Ruin is such an effective thriller because its protagonist is so atypical: sad-eyed, inexperienced with guns, somewhat soft around the edges, Macon Blair’s central character is far from your typical righteous avenger.
Green Room, which emerged in the UK this year, explores a similar clash between very ordinary people and extraordinary violence. A young punk band shout about anarchy and aggression on stage, but they quickly find themselves out of their depth when they’re cornered by a group of bloodthirsty neo-Nazis. In Saulnier’s films, grubby, unseemly locations are matched by often beautiful locked-off shots. Familiar thriller trappings are contrasted by twists of fortune that are often shocking.
Here’s one of those directors who can pack an overwhelming sense of dread in a single image: in Sicario, his searing drug-war thriller from last year, it was the sight of tiny specks of dust falling in the light scything through a window. That single shot proved to be the calm before the storm, as Villeneuve unleashed a salvo of blood-curdling events: an attempted FBI raid on a building gone horribly awry. And this, I think, is the brilliance of Villeneuve’s direction, and why he’s so good at directing thrillers like Sicario or 2013’s superb Prisoners - he understands the rhythm of storytelling, and how scenes of quiet can generate almost unbearable tension.
Another case in point: the highway sequence in Sicario, where Emily Blunt’s FBI agent is stuck in a traffic jam outside one of the most violent cities in the world. Villeneueve makes us feel the stifling heat and the claustrophobia; something nasty’s going to happen, we know that - but it’s the sense of anticipation which makes for such an unforgettable scene.
Prisoners hews closely to the template of a modern mystery thriller, but it’s once again enriched by Villeneuve’s expert pacing and the performances he gets out of his actors. Hugh Jackman’s seldom been better as a father on the hunt for his missing child, while Jake Gyllenhaal mesmerises as a cop scarred by his own private traumas.
Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin may be the most effective psychological thriller of recent years. About the difficult relationship between a mother (Tilda Swinton) and her distant, possibly sociopathic son (Ezra Miller), Ramsay’s film is masterfully told from beginning to end - which is impressive, given that the source novel by Lionel Shriver is told via a series of letters. Ramsay takes the raw material from the book and crafts something cinematic and highly disturbing: a study of guilt, sorrow and recrimination. Tension bubbles even in casual conversations around the dinner table. Miller is an eerie, cold-eyed blank. Swinton is peerless. One scene, in which Swinton’s mother comes home in the dead of night, is unforgettable. Here’s hoping Ramsay returns with another feature film very soon.
Morten Tyldum - Headhunters
All kinds of thrillers have emerged from Scandinavia over the past few years, whether on the large or small screen or in book form. Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters is among the very best of them. The fast-paced and deliriously funny story of an art thief who steals a painting from the wrong guy, Headhunters launched Tyldum on an international stage - Alan Turing drama The Imitation Game followed, and the Sony sci-fi film Passengers is up next. It isn’t hard to see why, either: Headhunters shows off Tyldum’s mastery of pace and tone, as his pulp tale hurtles from intense chase scenes to laugh-out-loud black comedy.
Granted, Joel Edgerton’s better known as an actor, having turned in some superb performances in the likes of Warrior, Zero Dark Thirty and Warror. But with a single film - The Gift, which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in - Edgerton established himself as a thriller filmmaker of real promise. About a successful, happily married couple whose lives are greatly affected by an old face from the husband’s past, The Gift is an engrossing, unsettling movie with superb performances from Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall as well as Edgerton.
A riff on the ‘killer in our midst’ thrillers of the 80s and 90s - The Stepfather, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and so on - The Gift is all the more effective because of its restraint. We’re never quite sure who the villain of the piece is, at least at first - and Edgerton’s use of the camera leaves us wrong-footed at every turn. The world arguably needs more thrillers from Joel Edgerton.
If you haven’t seen The Gift yet, we’d urge you to track it down.
David Michod - Animal Kingdom
The criminals at play in this true-life crime thriller are all the more chilling because they’re so mundane - a bunch of low-level thieves, murderers and gangsters who prowl around the rougher parts of Melbourne, Australia. Writer-director David Michod spent years developing Animal Kingdom, and it was worth the effort: it’s an intense, engrossing film, for sure, but it’s also a believable glimpse of the worst of human nature. Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver play villains of different kinds; the latter a manipulative grandmother who looks over her brood of criminals, the former a spiteful thief. Crafting moments of incredible tension from simple exchanges, Michod launched himself as a formidable talent with this feature debut.
Affleck’s period drama-thriller Argo won all kinds of awards, but we’d argue his earlier thrillers were equally well made. Gone Baby Gone was a confident debut and an economical adaptation of Dennis LeHane’s novel. The Town, released in 2010, was a heist thriller that made the most of its Boston setting. One of its key scenes - a bank robbery in which the thieves wear a range of bizarre outfits, including a nun’s habit - is masterfully staged. With Affleck capable of teasing out great performances from his actors and staging effective set-pieces, it’s hardly surprising he’s so heavily involved in making at least one Batman movie for Warner - as well as playing the hero behind the mask.
The quiet, almost meditative tone of Anton Corbijn’s movies mean they aren’t necessarily to everyone’s taste, but they’re visually arresting and almost seductive in their rhythm and attention to detail. Already a celebrated photographer, Corbijn successfully crossed over into filmmaking with Control, an exquisitely-made drama about Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis. Corbijn took a markedly different direction with The American, a thriller about an ageing contract killer (George Clooney) who hides out in a small Italian town west of Rome. Inevitably, trouble eventually comes calling.
Corbijn’s direction remains gripping because he doesn’t give us huge action scenes to puncture the tension. We can sense the capacity for violence coiled up beneath the hitman’s calm exterior, and Corbijn makes sure we only see rare flashes of that toughness - right up until the superbly-staged climax.
A Most Wanted Man, based on the novel by John le Carre, is a similarly astute study of an isolated yet fascinating character - in this instance, the world-weary German intelligence agent Gunther Bachmann, brilliantly played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Tragically, the film proved to be one of the last before Hoffman’s death in 2014.
Mention Greengrass’ name, and the director’s frequent use of handheld cameras might immediately spring to mind. But time and again, Greengrass has proved a master of his own personal approach - you only have to look at the muddled, migraine-inducing films of his imitators to see how good a director Greengrass is. Part of the filmmakers’ visual language rather than a gimmick, Greengrass’ camera placement puts the viewer in the middle of the story, whether it’s an amnesiac agent on the run (his Bourne films) or on a hijacked aircraft (the harrowing United 93). While not a huge hit, Green Zone was an intense and intelligent thriller set in occupied Iraq. The acclaimed Captain Phillips, meanwhile, was a perfect showcase for Greengrass’ ability to fuse realism and suspense; the true story of a merchant vessel hijacked by Somali pirates, it is, to quote Greengrass himself, “a contemporary crime story.”
We can’t help thinking that, with a better marketing push behind it, Triple 9 could have been a much bigger hit when it appeared in cinemas earlier this year. It has a great cast - Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus, Anthony Mackie and Aaron Paul as a group of seasoned thieves, Kate Winslet cast against type as a gangland boss - and its heist plot rattles along like an express train.
Hillcoat seems to have the western genre pulsing through his veins, and he excels at creating worlds that are desolate and all-enveloping, whether his subjects are period pieces (The Proposition, Lawless) or post-apocalyptic dramas (The Road). Triple 9 sees Hillcoat make an urban western that is both classic noir and entirely contemporary; his use of real cops and residents around the film’s Atlanta location give his heightened story a grounding that is believable in the moment. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the scene in which Casey Affleck’s cop breaches a building while hunkered down behind a bullet-proof shield. Hillcoat places us right there in the scene with Affleck and the cops sneaking into the building behind him; we sense the claustrophobia and vulnerability.
Hillcoat explained to us in February that this sequence wasn’t initially written this way in the original script; it changed when the director and his team discovered how real-world cops protect themselves in real-world situations. In Triple 9, research and great filmmaking combine to make an unforgettably intense thriller.
Jim Mickel - Cold In July
Seemingly inspired by such neo-Noir thrillers as Red Rock West and Blood Simple, 2014‘s Cold In July is a genre gem from director Jim Mickle (Stake Land, We Are What We Are). Michael C Hall plays an ordinary guy in 80s America who shoots an intruder who breaks into his home, and becomes drawn into a moody conspiracy that takes in crooked cops, porn and a private eye (who's also keen pig-rearer) played by Don Johnson. Constantly shifting between tones, Mickel’s thriller refuses to stick to genre expectations. In one scene, after Hall shoots the burglar dead, Mickel’s camera lingers over the protagonist as he cleans up the blood and glass. It’s touches like these that make Cold In July far more than a typical thriller.
Mickel’s teaming up with Sylvester Stallone next; we’re intrigued to see what that partnership produces.
As a filmmaker, Scorsese needs no introduction. As a director of thrillers, he’s in a class of his own: from Taxi Driver via the febrile remake of Cape Fear to the sorely underrated Bringing Out The Dead, his films are full of suspense and the threat of violence. Shutter Island, based on the Dennis LeHane novel of the same name, saw Scorsese plunge eagerly into neo-noir territory. A murder mystery set in a mental institution on the titular Shutter Island, its atmosphere is thick with menace. Like a combination of Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man and Adrian Lyne’s cult classic Jacob’s Ladder, Shutter Island’s one of those stories where we never know who we can trust - even the protagonist, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
After the trial by fire that was Alien 3, David Fincher found his footing in the 90s with such hits as Seven and The Game. In an era where thrillers were in much greater abundance, from the middling to the very good, Seven in particular stood out as a genre classic: smartly written, disturbing, repulsive and yet captivating to look at all at once. Fincher’s affinity for weaving atmospheric thrillers continued into the 2010s, first with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a superb retelling of Stieg Larsson’s book which didn’t quite find the appreciative audience deserved, and Gone Girl, an even better movie which - thankfully - became a hit.
Based on Gillian Flynn’s novel (and adapted by the author herself), Gone Girl is both a gripping thriller and a thoroughly twisted relationship drama. Fincher’s mastery of the genre is all here: his millimetre-perfect composition, seamless touches of CGI and subtle yet effective uses of colour and shadow. While not a straight-up masterpiece like the period thriller Zodiac, Gone Girl is still a glossy, smart and blackly funny yarn in the Hitchcock tradition. If there’s one master of the modern thriller currently working, it has to be Fincher.
See related John Hillcoat interview: Triple 9, crime, fear of comic geniuses Jim Mickle interview: Cold In July, thrillers, Argento Jeremy Saulnier interview: Green Room, John Carpenter Jeremy Saulnier interview: making Blue Ruin & good thrillers Denis Villeneuve interview: Sicario, Kurosawa, sci-fi, ugly poetry Morten Tyldum interview: The Imitation Game, Cumberbatch, Headhunters Paul Greengrass interview: Captain Phillips & crime stories Movies Feature Ryan Lambie thrillers 15 Jun 2016 - 06:11 Cold In July Triple 9 Shutter Island Gone Girl David Fincher Martin Scorsese John Hillcoat Directors thrillers movies »
Jean-Marc Vallée's wrecking ball of a movie, Demolition, written by Bryan Sipe, stars Jake Gyllenhaal with Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Judah Lewis and Heather Lind in a world of loss and destructive confrontations. At Essex House, Jake Gyllenhaal said he loves Chris Cooper's brutal honesty since Joe Johnston's October Sky, David Fincher's work ethic on Zodiac and A Single Man director Tom Ford's script for Nocturnal Animals with Amy Adams, Michael Shannon and Isla Fisher and questions having a Gene Kelly moment. Chris Cooper compares Benedict Cumberbatch's maternal instinct to his own in John Wells' drama August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Sam Shepard as head of household. Working with director Ben Affleck on Dennis Lehane's Live By Night, »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
With the mixed reviews of of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice still ringing in everyone’s ears, one positive that’s not being overlooked is Ben Affleck’s portrayal of The Dark Knight. To capitalise, it looks like DC and Warner Bros will be moving forward even quicker than anticipated with the stand-alone Batman movie.
It has been confirmed via William Morris Endeavor co-ceo Patrick Whitesell (whose agency represents Affleck) that a script has been completed for the Batman movie by Affleck himself. In a report for Entertainment Weekly, who also reported last year that Affleck would direct, co-write and star in the movie, it’s been revealed that Affleck will also be working very close to DC’s chief creative officer Geoff Johns on this film. Johns, it’s believed, will be co-writing the script.
When asked about the script Affleck told EW that the he »
- Kristopher Cook
The pair have four projects currently under development: The long gestating film adaptation of Erik Larson's historical serial killer novel "The Devil in the White City" which Scorsese will produce, the film adaptation of Kayla Olson's climate change apocalypse novel "Sandcastle Empire," a currently untitled film about the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, and a limited TV series based on A. Scott Berg's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Charles Lindbergh.
- Garth Franklin
Warner Bros. Pictures has announced some of its upcoming slate for 2017, with four new films added to the studio’s eclectic line-up for next year.
Firstly, the studio has given upcoming Dennis Lehane adaptation Live By Night a prime Oscar spot with a release date set for October 20th. The film sees Ben Affleck in the directorial chair for the fourth time (as well as star) and tells the story of a “petty Boston thief who rises to become the Gulf Coast’s most successful rum runner.”
Next, Ice Cube comedy Fist Fight has been scheduled for February 17th, something of a prime comedy location after both Cube’s Ride Along films performed well in similar slots. The film follows a school teacher (Charlie Day, »
- Scott J. Davis
- Jazz Tangcay
If you were wondering when to expect Ben Affleck's directorial follow-up to Argo, we now have a date: October 20, 2017. The film, adapted from the Dennis Lehane novel of the same name, follows Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck), the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain who defies his proper upbringing by climbing the ladder of organized crime and encountering a number of dangerous individuals... Read More »
- Sean Wist
Warner Bros. has added four new movies to its 2017 calendar today, including Ben Affleck's next directorial effort, along with a new original comedy, a horror sequel and an untitled mystery project. Deadline reports that the studio has handed out an October 20, 2017 release date for Live by Night, which was written and directed by Ben Affleck, who also stars alongside Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller and Elle Fanning. The movie is currently the only project slated for release on that date, coming one week after Universal's thriller The Snowman, starring Michael Fassbender.
Live by Night is based the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, which follows Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck), the son of a police captain who gets dragged into the world of organized crime. The story is set in the Prohibition Era of the 1920s. Zoe Saldana also stars as Graciella Suarez, who Joe meets while he's on business in Tampa. »
Originally pegged to arrive in December, 2017, Warner has reserved October 20, 2017 for Affleck’s latest directorial effort – his first since the Oscar success of Argo, no less – with the only tangible competition on course to arrive in the same window being Michael Fassbender’s The Snowman.
Elsewhere, New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow’s Fist Fight will drop on February 17, 2017, opening opposite long-gestating adaptation The Dark Tower, The Great Wall and Fox’s Maze Runner: The Death Cure – presuming it isn’t delayed to accommodate Dylan O’Brien’s injury.
Annabelle 2, meanwhile, is now due to arrive on May 19, 2017 where it will face stiff competition in the form of Paramount’s Baywatch movie reboot. Lastly, August 11, 2017 has been reserved for a WB event film, »
- Michael Briers
The studio had decided last August to move “Live by Night,” Affleck’s first directorial effort since “Argo,” out of its been Oct. 7, 2016, release to an unknown date in 2017. It’s the first title to land on the 2017 date.
Warner Bros. has also set a Feb. 17, 2017, release date for “Fist Fight” through New Line. Village Roadshow is co-producing and co-financing the comedy, starring Cube, Charlie Day, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert, and Tracy Morgan.
- Dave McNary
Warner Bros. announced this morning four additions to its 2017 slate. Ben Affleck’s fourth feature as director Live By Night is getting a prime fall spot of October 20. Affleck directs, adapted and stars in Dennis Lehane’s Prohibition-era set novel about a Boston petty thief who rises to become the Gulf Coast's most successful rum runner. Currently the only other title scheduled on that weekend is a Blumhouse film from Universal. New Line/Village Roadshow’s comedy Fist Fig… »
Warner Bros. has dated a quartet of films including Ben Affleck's Live by Night. That film, which Affleck directed and adapted from a Dennis Lehane best-seller, will bow Oct. 20, 2017 (Affleck also stars). There are currently no films in that slot, though Universal will open the Michael Fassbender starrer The Snowman — another gritty adult-skewing drama based on a best-seller — the week before. The studio also has added Fist Fight to the calendar for Feb. 17, 2017. The film, from New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow, stars Christina Hendricks and Ice Cube and will open
- Tatiana Siegel
With Warner Bros. Pictures preparing to launch "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" in cinemas this weekend, release dates for four of its other releases have now been locked in.
First up, the Charlie Day and Ice Cube-led comedy "Fist Fight" has been slated for February 17th 2017. That will be followed by the sequel to the horror doll tale "Annabelle" on May 19th 2017. After that comes an August 11th 2017 release date for an untitled event film which, at best guess, is probably the "San Andreas" sequel.
Finally there's an October 20th 2017 release date for the Ben Affleck-directed "Live By Night". That puts the film, an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel, smack dab in the middle of awards season and only a few weeks out from the first "Justice League" film in which he also stars.
They aren't the only company setting dates today though as The Weinstein »
- Garth Franklin
On this week's Trailers from Hell, Boston novelist Dennis Lehane ("Gone Baby Gone," "Mystic River") narrates the trailer to William Friedkin's visceral New York actioner "The French Connection," which won five Oscars including Best Picture. Based on the exploits of NYPD detective Eddie Egan, who envisioned himself being played by Rod Taylor, the movie gave Gene Hackman his breakthrough role. The Department, annoyed by screenwriter Ernest Tidyman's portrayal of the force, canned Egan seven hours before he was to sign his retirement papers! Lehane sees Egan as driven by anger to bring down rich criminals living the high life. »
- Anne Thompson
Ben Affleck has posted the first photo from the set of "Live By Night", the adaptation of Dennis Lehane's Prohibition-era crime thriller which Affleck is both starring in and directing. The shot includes both Affleck and his cinematographer Robert Richardson in between takes conversing. The film itself is slated for release in 2017. [Source: Twitter]
An adaptation of Peter Liney's trilogy by scribe Grant Myers ("The Maze Runner"), the story is set on an island from which there's no escape. Christian Angermayer and Basil Iwanyk will produce. [Source: Deadline]
- Garth Franklin
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