10 items from 2011
Vera Farmiga's Higher Ground "admirably tries, on a minuscule budget, to evoke the spirit of American cinema from 35 years ago: the age of Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall, an era much more hospitable to serious roles for women than the current one." Melissa Anderson in the Voice: "As reported in a New York Times Magazine cover story on the actress in 2006 (three years before her Oscar-nominated performance in Up in the Air), Farmiga has expressed her disgust with the roles offered her by setting scripts on fire: 'I stack up all those crass female characters, all those utterly ordinary women, all those hundreds and hundreds of parts that have no substance or meaning and turn them into a blazing pyre.' It's a shame, then, that Higher Ground never really ignites."
Farmiga plays "Corinne, a Midwest rural woman who embraces a hippie-inflected but paternalistic evangelical community with her high »
Amigo, the latest from writer-director John Sayles (Lone Star, Matewan), takes place in 1900 during the American occupation of the Philippines, and it could almost be mistaken for a straight historical feature, if not for Sayles’ established political bent and the hard-bitten colonel played by Sayles favorite Chris Cooper. When Cooper puts a detachment of Americans in charge of a small Filipino baryo, he grumbles about his focus on “winning hearts and minds.” When he thinks a local has information he isn’t sharing, he subjects him to a waterboarding-like torture—then cheerfully proclaims it isn’t torture, since it »
Talks Demise Of The HBO Satchmo Miniseries, 'Girls Like Us,' And More John Sayles is a busy man, a prolific screenwriter and icon of the American independent film movement. Having made his name directing films such “Eight Men Out,” “Matewan,” “The Return of the Secaucus Seven,” "Lone Star," "Sunshine State," and a variety of small but frequently warmly received films, Sayles also made his mark as an occasional Hollywood scribe, most recently co-writing "The Spiderwick Chronicles". With his latest, "Amigo" (our reviewer at Tiff '10 called it "a complex and organically built work that coaxes meaning out of the situations… »
A war movie made for $1.5 million--is that even possible? Certainly not in terms of the Hollywood fare we.re used to, but John Sayles has never made your average Hollywood fare. The director of Matewan, Passion Fish and Lone Star has brought a tight, low-budget focus to the war movie with Amigo, a story set during one of the most overlooked American conflicts, the Phillippine-American war. Sayles narrows the story down to a single baryo and what happens when Us troops take over. Lt. Compton (Garret Dillahunt) is the man in charge and names Rafael (Joel Torre), the village leader, his chief liaison to the people, as Rafael.s declared his opposition to the Spaniards. Trouble is, after the invasion, Rafael.s son runs off to join his uncle and the local band of rebels. While Rafael works to both appease the intruding Americans and keep his loved ones safe, »
Last night, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to present honorary Academy Awards to actor James Earl Jones and makeup artist Dick Smith, and its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award — which has only been awarded to 33 other people (three posthumously) — to philanthropist/talk show host/actress/producer Oprah Winfrey. All three awards will be presented at the Academy’s third annual Governors Awards dinner on Saturday, November 12, at the Grand Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center, an event that has come to mean nearly as much to true cinephiles as Oscar night itself. In addition to receiving tributes from family, friends, and colleagues on that evening, the three honorees will also be acknowledged during the actual 84th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, February 26, 2012.
- Scott Feinberg
There aren't many directors like John Sayles. The man may have begun his career working for Roger Corman, and he has made a living doing studio rewrite gigs (many uncredited) over the years. But he has also carved out a unique career as a director of films that aren't quite like those made by anyone else. He had a great run of films from the mid-'80s to the late '90s (Matewan, Eight Men Out, City of Hope, Passion Fish, The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star and Men With Guns) and has made several films with the great actor Chris Cooper. Their latest is Amigo, set during the Philippine-American war. The film premiered to mixed reception at Tiff last year, and now you can see the latest trailer below. Sadly, this trailer is pretty terrilbe -- the voiceover is awful, and the way the footage is cut underscores »
- Russ Fischer
It’s been a while since director John Sayles (Lone Star, Limbo, Matewan) released an all-out critical favorite, but maybe his new historical war drama Amigo will do the trick. Set in 1900-era Philippines, this relatively low-budget ($1.2 million) affair stars a host of great character actors like previous Sayles collaborator Chris Cooper and personal favorite Garrett Dillahunt. And, uh, DJ Qualls. The film first debuted on the festival circuit around a year ago, and begins its proper theatrical run this August. Below, you’ll find the new trailer:
- Simon Howell
Strathairn will play Secretary of State William Seward, which perhaps sounds a little dry, except Seward was a historical badass.
Not only was Seward a fierce abolitionist and a close ally of the 16th president throughout the Civil War, but he also orchestrated purchase of the land that would become Alaska (known at the time as “Seward’s Folly”). He was at his most ninja when targeted by the same group of assassins led by John Wilkes Booth… »
- Anthony Breznican
He's the director of some of America's finest independent films, but some critics say his "true calling" is as a writer. Does his new novel, A Moment in the Sun, prove them right?
John Sayles has directed films for over 30 years, but some critics suggest he'd be better off writing books. "I can't help feeling that the novel is Sayles' true calling," David Thomson once wrote. Sayles, whose credits include Return of the Secaucus Seven, Matewan, and Lone Star, swore off studio dollars early in his career in order to make films on his own. He succeeded thanks to his ear for dialogue, patient plotting, and what Thomson calls a "genuine feeling for untidy people." Those skills belong, however, as much to the novelist as they do the filmmaker.
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In fact, Sayles was a prize-winning fiction writer before »
- Ben Crair
John Sayles and producer Maggie Renzi tell Cari Beauchamp about their book tour for Sayles' A Moment in the Sun: Since Return of the Secaucus Seven in 1979, John Sayles, along side his long-time producer and partner Maggie Renzi, have been making independent films, telling the stories they want to tell (Lone Star, Matewan, Eight Men Out and more than a dozen others). In between, Sayles has supplemented his income with often uncredited studio writing jobs as well writing short stories and novels. It is exemplary of Sayles, who writes, directs and edits his own films, that he never uses the possessory credit and when speaking of his movies, always uses the word "we"... While he reveres the collaboration necessary for filmmaking (one of the »
10 items from 2011
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