9 items from 2015
We’ve just been alerted that filming has officially started on the upcoming Bruce Lee biopic Birth Of The Dragon. The film is being directed by George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau), and will tell the story behind the legendary 1960s fight between Shaolin Master Wong Jack Man and the young Bruce Lee.
The international cast is headed by Tony Award nominee Billy Magnussen (Into the Woods, Bridge of Spies and the FX pilot Snowfall) as Steve McKee. The film recreates the mid-1960’s fight between Lee and Wong from the point of view of a young martial arts student whose allegiance became torn between Lee and Wong Jack Man. To this day, people still argue about who won the famous fight, but one thing is certain: after his battle with Wong, Bruce Lee reinvented himself and his style of kung fu.
- Paul Heath
Yu Xia will play Shaolin Master Wong Jack Man and Billy Magnussen will portray martial arts student Steve McKee. Jinging Qu plays the love interest of McKee’s character and Jin Xing will portray a crime boss. George Nolfi is directing from a script by Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele, who have writing credits on “Ali” and “Nixon.”
Groundswell Productions is producing the movie. Variety reported last year that Nolfi had become attached as the director.
The film recreates the mid-1960’s fight between Lee and Wong Jack Man from the point of view of McKee. After the fight, Lee reinvented himself and his style of kung fu. Action sequences will be designed by martial arts choreographer Corey Yuen, whose credits include “Lethal Weapon 4,” “X-Men,” “Romeo Must Die” and “The Expendables. »
- Dave McNary
The Ballad of Franks and Beans: Stephens’ Dips Toes and Other Bits into Political Scandal
It is still very much a man’s world, or so the expectedly corrupt judicial landscape seems to be sighing as it unrolls before our eyes with near clinical precision and predictability in Mora Stephens’ sophomore feature Zipper. Another politically minded effort, her first feature in a decade since 2005’s Democrat/Republican ideals face-off Conventioneers, this thriller skirts in and out of issue concerning addiction and the abuse of power without really delving into either beyond superficialities. Featuring a notable, comely cast and co-written by Stephens’ spouse Joel Viertel, there’s a dark cynicism managing to rear its face from time to time, but given we’re never surprised or endeared towards this group of slow-to-strike piranhas, this scandal sheet is a tale as old as time.
- Nicholas Bell
Resolutely striving to satisfy both your personal and professional desires and needs, no matter how drastically they contradict each other, can be a strenuous challenge that not everyone has the audacity to pursue. But ruthless attorneys and politicians are often believed to have the fierce personality to relentlessly seek their goals, no matter what consequences they’re forced to face as a result. Those conflicting ambitions are intriguingly examined in the new political drama, ‘Zipper,’ which is set to be released in select theaters and On Demand on Friday. Director Mora Stephens reunited with her husband, Joel Viertel, after they penned the script for the 2005 comedy, ‘Conventioneers,’ to once again [ Read More ]
- Karen Benardello
The Sundance Film Festival has, over the course of its run, become a ripe place for films to get attention even without explicitly winning awards. One such film in the 2015 incarnation of the festival was Zipper. The second feature from director Mora Stephens was also co-written by Stephens, alongside Joel Viertel. The synopsis is as follows.
Sam Ellis is a man on the rise – a federal prosecutor on the cusp of a bright political future. But what was meant to be a one-time experience with a high-end escort instead turns into a growing addiction. His moral compass unraveling, his new demon threatens to destroy his life, family and career.
Patrick Wilson stars as the lead character, with a supporting cast that includes Lena Headey, Dianna Agron, Ray Winstone, John Cho, and Richard Dreyfuss. The film is set to be released in American theatres and VOD on August 28th, and it now has a trailer. »
- Deepayan Sengupta
Indie distributor Alchemy has snapped up North American rights to Mora Stephens' political thriller "Zipper," a 2015 Sundance premiere starring Patrick Wilson, Lena Headey, Ray Winstone, Richard Dreyfuss, John Cho, Dianna Agron, Christopher McDonald, Alexandra Breckenridge and Penelope Mitchell. Co-written by Stephens and Joel Viertel, "Zipper" will hit theaters and VOD later in 2015. Here's the synopsis: Sam Ellis (Wilson) is a man on the rise — a hotshot federal prosecutor on the cusp of a bright political future. But what was meant to be a one-time experience with an escort turns into a growing addiction threatening to destroy his life, family, and career. In a relatively strong Sundance for female-directed films, "Zipper" garnered mixed reviews upon its Park City premiere, though CraveOnline calls it "The grown-up thriller of the year," akin to David Fincher's "Gone Girl." The Guardian says there are elements to admire »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Just as sex scandals are pretty much as old as politics themselves, as long as we've had films, we've had cinematic depictions of sex scandals, usually serious and sometimes comedic. Whether filmmakers have had to be coy about the nature of the scandals -- see "The Best Man" or "Advise and Consent" -- or whether filmmakers have been able to directly tear sex scandals from the headlines -- see "Primary Colors" -- the ground has been fertile. Fortunately -- Unfortunately? -- sex scandals just keep coming along and we keep lapping them up, from Eliot Spitzer to John Edwards to Anthony Weiner. Bringing the genre to Sundance this year was "Zipper," a largely straight-faced approach to a plausibly finger-on-the-pulse topic, which falls flat because of a middle act in which the drama spirals into dated addiction craziness. When it's a political thriller, "Zipper" is respectably acted and presented and has some merit. »
- Daniel Fienberg
Cargo will represent international sales at the Efm later this week. Alchemy brokered the deal with CAA and Cinetic on behalf of the film-makers.
The Orchard brokered the deal for Finders Keepers with Wme Global and plans a theatrical and digital release in 2015.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
Following a potential political sex scandal through the eyes of the politician, “Zipper” plays like an odd hybrid of “Shame” and a season-long subplot on “House of Cards.” Tawdry but cripplingly self-serious, the second feature from Mora Stephens (a full decade after her little seen, and also politically themed, debut “Conventioneers”) benefits from Patrick Wilson’s committed star turn. Still, the awkward end product would inevitably struggle in theatrical venues, making it more advisable to play to the base and go straight to VOD and premium cable.
Federal prosecutor Sam Ellis (Wilson) is on the fast track in national politics. He’s got it all: high-profile career success, good looks, charm, a well-connected and shrewdly strategic wife, Jeannie (Lena Headey), and a clean-cut image as someone who wants to punish the bad and protect the good. Sam even rejects the advances of comely intern Dalia (Dianna Agron) when they share »
- Geoff Berkshire
9 items from 2015
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