16 items from 2015
Chicago – The movie musical seems to revive every year, and writer/director Richard Lagravenese puts his spin on the genre with a modern touch. A couple, portrayed by Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick, goes through the ups and downs of a relationship while belting out appropriate tunes in “The Last Five Years.”
The film is based on the stage play by Jason Robert Brown, and is the type of musical that is entirely sung. The songs are sad (“Still Hurting”), hilarious (“Summer in Ohio”) and poignant (“If I Didn’t Believe in You”) and are rendered by the couple in a direct and modern approach through Lagravenese’s direction.
Photo credit: Radius-twc
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, the hit comedy written by Matt Murphy, based on the best-selling book by Dan Anderson and Maggie Berman, is celebrating one year of performances this week at The 777 Theatre (777 Eighth Avenue, between 47th and 48th Streets) and has announced the launch of a national tour in April 2015, followed by Las Vegas in Summer 2015 and international productions in Brazil, Australia and Toronto in Summer/Fall 2015. Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man takes the audience on a hilarious and wild ride where no topic is taboo and the insider ‘tips’ come straight from the source: a gay man. Directed by Tim Drucker, Sex Tips began performances on January 22, 2014 and opened on February 9, 2014. The show features Grant MacDermott (Now or Later) as Dan »
- Pietro Filipponi
In space, no one can hear you scream… with laughter. Which is helpful when watching the Wachowskis’ latest effort
“Bees don’t lie…” When it comes to bonkers, overcooked, overambitious sci-fi, writer/directors Andy and Lana Wachowski really are in a world of their own. It took me three runs to get my head around their adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas but I suspect that this colourfully ridiculous (and strangely archaic) Star Wars/Matrix/Flash Gordon mish-mash has delivered all of its riches on first viewing.
The plot is sub-Hitchhiker’s Guide/Guardians of the Galaxy bunkum about extravagantly coiffured extraterrestrials who rule Earth from afar, but whose plans to “harvest” its riches are confounded by the genetic resurgence of intergalactic royalty in the unsuspecting shape of toilet-cleaning Mila Kunis (she is the one!). Channing Tatum is the wolf/man hybrid who plays Clark Kent to Kunis’s »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
Sees no need to engage metaphor or dispense with cliché, so when you haven’t seen it before, you can’t believe what you’re seeing. And not in a good way. I’m “biast” (pro): I am desperate for movies about women
I’m “biast” (con): science fiction isn’t treated so well at the movies these days
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Oh my god, hooray! A space adventure with a woman at its center! And it’s Mila Kunis, who is awesome! She’s gonna be like a new Luke Skywalker, whisked away from a boring life on Tatooine– er, Earth for more exciting interstellar horizons beyond! Woo-hoo!
Yeah, not so much, as it happens. What happens is more like: Kunis (Annie, Blood Ties) gets drugged, attacked, chased, menaced, threatened, rescued, kidnapped, chased some more, rescued again. Rinse and repeat for a good hour and half. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
When you're at a film festival, it saps you, no matter how you arrange your schedule. There's just something about the pace and the sleep and, in the case of Sundance, the altitude, and it takes a toll. There are very few people I would get out of bed early for on the morning after returning from Sundance, but when I got an e-mail from the good folks at Warner Bros asking if I would sit down with Lana and Andy Wachowski on the Friday morning that I got back, I told them without hesitation that I would happily be there. We talked for a few minutes just to catch up personally before I started the formal part of the interview. I think the Wachowskis are genuinely charming people, something I learned during their publicity run for "Cloud Atlas." I was able to spend some time chatting with them, and »
- Drew McWeeny
South by Southwest, the multi-faceted film, music and technology festival held annually in Austin, TX will feature such upcoming films as Paul Feig’s Spy, David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn, Alex Gibney’s documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, and Ondi Timoner’s Russell Brand profile Brand: A Second Coming as headliners in this year’s film festival lineup.
SXSW runs from March 13 to 21 in Austin and is now in its 22nd year. Variety has details of the 145 films and 100 world premieres bowing at this year’s festival. Brand, as previously reported, will be the festival’s opening night film.
Other notable titles on the list are the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard, a rough cut of Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, the directorial debut of 28 Days Later screenwriter Alex Garland, Ex Machina, and a new comedy by Michael Showalter, Hello, My Name is Doris.
On the small screen, »
- Brian Welk
Sometimes a movie can be doomed before it even opens.
This happens when a film is discussed openly without anyone having firsthand knowledge of (or even having seen) it, and it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy when said movie come out and underperforms, thanks in large part to countless write-ups lacking reliable sources and built on foundations of hearsay and conjecture. Most of the time, these movies are rediscovered years later because, as it turns out, they weren't that bad after all. Right now, swarms of ill will seem to be circling "Jupiter Ascending," which opens Friday, due largely to a shift in its release date, from a coveted summer-of-2014 slot to a desolate winter 2015 position. Now that it's finally here, though, reviewers are sharpening their knives in anticipation. I am here to say that those knives are not necessary; "Jupiter Ascending" is actually a delightful space epic, full »
- Drew Taylor
20. Dead Man Walking
Directed by: Tim Robbins
Susan Sarandon earned herself an Oscar for her work in “Dead Man Walking,” a film directed by her then husband, Tim Robbins. She plays Sister Prejean, a nun who befriends a death row inmate named Matthew (Oscar nominated Sean Penn) as they confide in one another and build a convincing relationship as the days and hours tick down until his execution. Robbins intercuts the scenes with Sarandon and Penn with moments of the actual crime taking place, creating a storytelling rift that both supports and contradicts moments within the film, creating two very carefully drawn and developed characters. In addition to visiting him regularly, Prejean begins the crusade to find him a lawyer to make an appeal, doing all she can to delay his sentence being carried out. But, as she meets the families of the victims, she finds herself torn between right »
- Joshua Gaul
Sand Snakes, dragons, revenge plots, a haggard-looking Tyrion: It's all there in the epic trailer for Game of Thrones Season Five, which premiered this past week during IMAX screenings of Season Four's final two episodes, "The Watchers on the Wall" and "The Children." While the teaser hasn't been officially released, one quick-thinking theater attendee recorded the footage and uploaded the above clip.
"Justice has a price" is the tagline and essential theme of the trailer, which is soundtracked by a droning cover of David Bowie's iconic "Heroes." Other notable »
Jerome Jarre is the most loved person you've never heard of. Eight million people follow the 24-year-old on Vine, where he's probably known best as "that French guy." Jarre's Vines typically preach acceptance and a love for life, and his savviness with the platform has earned him a massive Snapchat following as well. Here are five things to know about this French fellow who's got everyone in such a tizzy. He Taught Himself EnglishJarre taught himself English while living in China, mostly from the audiobook version of Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk. (He and Vaynerchuk are now partners in an »
- Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl
We’re back with another round-up of horror and sci-fi news, including a casting update for Hannibal’s third season, Scream Factory’s new title announcement and their revealed special features for the Exterminators of the Year 3000 Blu-ray, and also an upcoming special screening of Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard that will include a Q&A with director B. Harrison Smith and cast members Billy Zane, Dee Wallace Stone, and Felissa Rose.
TVLine reports that Tony award-winning Nina Arianda (Broadway’s Venus in Fur, Rob the Mob, Midnight in Paris) will play a recurring role on Hannibal in the third season that premieres this summer. Arianda plays a character named Molly—a strong single mother who is a romantic interest for one key character.
- Derek Anderson
Time Bandits (1981) is often called Terry Gilliam's most accessible film, which has always seemed like a back-handed compliment to me. Is there a more neutral term than accessible? Gilliam's work is characterized by anything but neutrality. It's a narrative resume full of strong points of view and a nose-thumbing, even middle-fingering, disregard for authority. His films are often the epitome of high concept, a term that's always made Hollywood bean counters cower. Thematically, especially, Gilliam doesn't settle for challenging adult authority. He demolishes it, rebuilds it and sends it back out into the world with a whack on the bottom. Least neutral of all is his absolute dedication to a singular, if visually sprawling sense, of innocence trapped in the land of evil. In Brazil (1985)...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
This week is a big one for sci-fi fans, as several fantastic films from 2014 are making their home entertainment debuts, including The Zero Theorem, Lucy and Coherence. Horror fans have a lot to look forward to as well with the releases of several notable titles like Wolves, Annabelle and Gnome Alone, which looks to be a hoot of a genre send-up.
From La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element, writer/director Luc Besson has created some of the toughest, most memorable female action heroes in cinematic history. Now, Besson directs Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic. Lucy also stars Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman.
Wolves (Ketchup, DVD)
- Heather Wixson
I loved Terry Gilliam’s Brazil when it first came out 30 years ago, but tried watching it again and didn’t feel it aged well at all. To me, the film now seemed bloated and unnecessarily complex, pushing self-indulgence to the limit. Gilliam’s newest film The Zero Theorem is the Gilliam film most akin to Brazil, another surreal comic take on Orwell’s 1984 focusing on a bureaucrat in a retro-future world. While Gilliam’s troubles with studio interference regarding Brazil are the stuff of legend (and even the subject of a book), it at least received a wide theatrical release. The Zero Theorem had a spotty release, screening in St. Louis just two nights at Webster University, but it makes its way to DVD and Blu-ray from Well Go USA on January 20th.
Explaining the plot of The Zero Theorem is kind of pointless. Something about a computer hacker »
- Tom Stockman
As half the nation is shrouded by below-freezing temperatures, HBO promised this week that "winter is coming" in the middle of April: Game of Thrones will return for its fifth season on April 12th. HBO tweeted the show's premiere date on Thursday, adding that acclaimed comedies Veep and Silicon Valley will also come back on the same day to bring some levity to what promises to be another bloody season in Westeros.
Before Game of Thrones launches its fifth season, fans can check out the final two episodes of Season »
A new year of films may beckon, but there are lots of movies from 2014 you may have missed. Here's a list of 2014's most underappreciated...
There was no shortage of magnificent films in 2014 of every kind, from the expensive and explosive to the low-key and experimental. But it's a sad fact of life that not all movies do as well as they should, either because of poor distribution or simply because they'd been released at the same time as something much bigger and more star-laden.
While the list below is by no means an exhaustive one - there are plenty of great films from 2014 that we're still getting around to seeing - it's our attempt to highlight a few fine pieces of work that didn't get quite as much love as they deserved.
So without further ado - and in no particular order - we'll start with a stunning »
16 items from 2015
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