8 items from 2016
Animation’s storied Year of the Animal yielded five unforgettable characters.
Brought to life through superb writing, direction, performance, animated ingenuity, and tech innovation were: Judy Hopps, the eternally optimistic rookie bunny cop from “Zootopia,” badass Moon Beast from “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Hank, the cantankerous and camouflaging octopus from “Finding Dory,” Princess Poppy, the eternally happy heroine from “Trolls,” and Buster Moon, the impresario koala bear from “Sing.”
Judy Hopps (“Zootopia”)
But it’s a good thing that screenwriter Phil Johnston (“Wreck-It Ralph”) switched protagonists from Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) to Judy a year and a half into production when his cynicism dragged the story down.
“And we figured out if the movie’s about bias, then that »
- Bill Desowitz
Back in September, Focus Features introduced Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayona’s fantasy fable “A Monster Calls” at the Toronto Film Festival. I was wowed, as I had been by his first English-language film “The Impossible” (2012). This is a gifted filmmaker, as attested by his mentor-producer Guillermo del Toro, who hired him to direct “The Orphanage” and by Steven Spielberg, who hired Bayona to direct Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in “Jurassic World 2,” accompanied by his essential right-arm producer Belen Atienza, the Brian Grazer to his Ron Howard. They’re in prep now.
Bayona is poised to be the next Paul Verhoeven, Baltasar Kormákur, or Denis Villeneuve, someone who becomes a star in their own country and also can bridge the challenging cinematic culture of Hollywood. Bayona knows how to handle, with empathy and without sentimentality, intimate, emotional scenes with adults and children, plus action and VFX. He insisted on »
- Anne Thompson
Every December, a slew of releases are tagged as “obvious Oscar bait.” What does this mean? Typically, they’re projects that focus specifically on a theme weighty enough to be marked as “important,” are shot with “seriousness,” and boast a cast of A-list names chasing Academy gold. The implication is that said film’s ultimate intention is winning awards, disregarding audience approval in the process.
“Oscar bait” generally gets a bad rap, but for a film like Fences – which is undoubtedly Oscar bait – a focus on Best Actor/Actress nominations makes for two of 2016’s most compelling performances. Stuffy cinematography does no favors based on August Wilson’s stage production (there’s a definite attempt to remain theater-savvy that does not work), but Denzel Washington and Viola Davis make this showcase piece worth the Oscar chase.
Both will be nominated for their respective acting categories, and there’s a damn-good »
- Matt Donato
For many years, Romany Malco has been the go-to “funny black guy” for many movies and television shows, though he’ll probably always be remembered for his role as Jay in Judd Apatow’s The 40 Year Old Virgin, where he got his big break. Since then, he also played Conrad on the show Weeds and appeared in quite a few movies produced by Will Packer.
In the David E. Talbert ensemble comedy Almost Christmas, Malco takes on a more serious role as Christian Meyers, the eldest son of Danny Glover’s Walter Meyers, who has returned home to spend Christmas with the family. At the same time, Christian is campaigning for the Senate, something that tends to distract him from the family drama while putting Malco in a more serious role.
Lrm got on the phone with Malco last week for the following interview where he talked about his role in the ensemble comedy, »
- Edward Douglas
The actor Bill Nunn, who has died aged 63 of leukaemia, was a gentle giant who appeared frequently as a supporting player in mainstream American movies. He was most closely associated with the writer-director Spike Lee, who cast him in four films. The most widely admired of these was the incendiary Do the Right Thing (1989), set over the course of one hot day in Brooklyn during which racial tensions boil over into violence. Nunn played Radio Raheem, who blasts out Public Enemy’s Fight the Power from a boom-box bigger than most home stereo systems. With the exception of one memorable speech on the nature of love and hate, he is a brooding and taciturn figure. His death while being held in a chokehold by police shifts the picture’s climactic riot to another level.
Nunn claimed »
- Ryan Gilbey
Resistance to the “female-centric” film is an affliction that has plagued Bollywood for most of its history; despite the few dozen films over the years that have proved actresses’ ability to hold their own without needing a male costar (dating back to 1957’s Oscar-nominated “Mother India”), screenplays that place women in the spotlight have been disappointingly infrequent.
Thankfully, with Vidya Balan’s “Kahaani” in 2012, Kangana Ranaut’s “Queen” in 2013, Deepika Padukone’s “Piku” in 2014 and Priyanka Chopra’s “Mary Kom” that same year, Bollywood has increasingly warmed up to the reality that female star power and strong stories can draw in crowds, box office returns, and critical acclaim. While you won’t see a fan following for an actress as rabid as that of, say, Salman Khan, the concept of a woman-oriented film is approached with less trepidation and more curiosity now than ever before by both filmmakers and audiences. »
- Anisha Jhaveri
Rob Leane Simon Brew David Crow Nov 16, 2016
Michael Shannon has been chatting to Fandango about his presumably-finished-now work in the DC Extended Universe.
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It turns out that Shannon took the role of General Zod in Man Of Steel because he found the film rather topical. Here's what he said about it:
“When I did Man of Steel I thought the story was interesting; I thought it was relevant. It was about a civilization that destroys the planet they live on and goes looking for another one. Ring any bells? That’s why I did it. »
Glasgow Film Festival (Gff) has announced its full programme for its upcoming 12th edition, running Feb 17-28.
This year’s festival will host 60 UK premieres, 59 Scottish premieres, four European premieres and three world premieres among its line-up of 174 films. As previously announced, it will be bookended by the UK premieres of Hail, Caesar! and Anomalisa.
Richard Gere will attend Glasgow for the UK premiere of his new film Time Out Of Mind, while other guests include Ben Wheatley for the Scottish premiere of High-Rise, Game Of Thrones star Natalie Dormer for the UK premiere of The Forest, Joachim Trier for the UK premiere of Louder Than Bombs, veteran director Peter Greenaway and stuntman Vic Armstrong.
“The festival keeps moving forward, with new developments like our Industry Focus conference, whilst also maintaining our roots as an audience-focused festival where everyone can come »
- email@example.com (Ian Sandwell)
8 items from 2016
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