8 items from 2015
“I don't think there is a popular imagination,” muses a debutante in the iconic 1990 film “Metropolitan.” Clearly, the character hasn’t seen her own movie. 25 years later, Whit Stillman’s portrait of New York socialites has a permanent place in the popular imagination. Its characters, dressed in upscale attire that locates them in no particular era, bask in a haven for the one percent in the twilight hours of the sleeping city. It’s “deb season,” and the teenage offspring of New York’s elite meet to play bridge, challenge each others’ morality and pontificate on everything from privilege to Jane Austen. We have been afforded a backdoor entry to their world through Tom Townsend, a socialist-turned-social-climber who finds himself ushered into a deb meeting by chance. The stilted parlance and démodé customs seem to seal them in a vacuum. Like Tom, we remain outsiders; all we learn of the »
- Emily Buder
It's been 25 years since the garrulous "UHBs" of Whit Stillman's Metropolitan arrived on screens, paving the way for everything from Wes Anderson to Gilmore Girls. In the years since, Stillman has directed three more features (Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco, and Damsels in Distress), made a pilot for Amazon, and started work on Love and Friendship, an adaptation of Jane Austen's The Lady Susan. Now, to celebrate the anniversary rerelease of Metropolitan, Stillman spoke with us about the films, books, and music that have influenced his own work.Jane Austen I came late to Jane Austen. I read the wrong novel when I was in college, which was Northanger Abbey. I thought it was terrible. In Northanger Abbey, there are really two things happening: One, there's a typical Jane Austen story about characters involved in romantic situations, and maybe they're funny and maybe they're being mocked. And »
- Nate Jones
When Whit Stillman's Metropolitan was released in 1990 it became a sleeper hit, grossing nearly $3 million after being made for $230,000 and receiving an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. The film, which centers around a group of upper-class Manhattan teenagers attending debutante balls and their Park Ave. afterparties over Christmas break, was Stillman's first but has gone on to be regarded as one of his signature movies. But neither Stillman nor star Chris Eigeman, who went on to make two more movies with the writer-director, can explain Metropolitan's enduring appeal. "I don't know how we've
- Hilary Lewis
When Whit Stillman's "Metropolitan" hit theaters in 1990, it seemed like an overnight success. But the low-budget film about a group of self-proclaimed "urban haute bourgeoisie" in Manhattan hardly had an easy time making it into the world. On the occasion of its 25th anniversary re-release, Indiewire recently spoke to Stillman and cast members Carolyn Farina, Taylor Nichols and Chris Eigeman, who reflected on the challenges -- and joys -- of making the film. Read More: Whit Stillman's 'Metropolitan' to Get 25th Anniversary Re-Release Set "not so long ago" during winter vacation on Manhattan's Upper East Side, "Metropolitan" follows young Ivy League student Tom Townsend (Edward Clements), who falls in with a clique of upper-crust preppies (portrayed by Farina, Nichols, Eigeman, Bryan Leder, Will Kempe, Elizabeth Thompson, Dylan Hundley, Isabel Gillies and Allison Parisi) who attend winter debutante balls. The low-budget film shot in borrowed »
- Paula Bernstein
On the 25th anniversary of Whit Stillman's feature debut, Rialto Pictures is sending Metropolitan, featuring Edward Clements, Chris Eigeman, Taylor Nichols, Carolyn Farina and Elizabeth Thompson, out on limited runs in New York, Los Angeles and Maryland. "Few will identify with the ludicrously wealthy characters, who speak in perpetual bon mots and are virtually never seen in anything but formalwear," grants Mike D'Angelo at the Av Club, "but their stubborn refusal to evolve with the culture—forever sounding as if they’re in one of the Jane Austen novels they so earnestly discuss—is part of their charm." We've got the new trailer and we're collecting more reviews. » - David Hudson »
“Metropolitan” will open Aug. 7 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, followed by a launch in Los Angeles seven days later and a national rollout throughout the late summer and fall.
Stillman’s screenplay received an Oscar nomination, and the film had a solid box office performance, grossing nearly $3 million domestically.
- Dave McNary
Jane Austen’s wealth of fiction has been adapted for the screen time and time again, with the seminal Pride & Prejudice being the most notable example of the late author’s work. How and ever, one of Austen’s lesser known novella’s has attracted the attention of Metropolitan director Whit Stillman, who is adapting the period piece in the form of Love and Friendship.
With Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny – reuniting with the filmmaker following ’98’s The Last Days of Disco – on board in the two lead roles, shooting began earlier this year in Dublin, Ireland, and as is the case with the majority of on-location shooting, the first image from the set has found its way online, showing the two leading ladies in costume. Beckinsale will play the role of Lady Susan Vernon, a widow who searches far and wide for a husband for herself, while also catering »
- Michael Briers
The Sundance Film Festival’s Premieres section is “A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated narrative films of the coming year.”
Mississippi Grind — Image courtesy of The Sundance Institute
From the writing and directing duo that brought us Half Nelson and It’s Kind of a Funny Story comes Mississippi Grind, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn as a pair of desperate gamblers on the road. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have thus far earned a solid indie reputation, so there’s not much reason to doubt that they’ll deliver engaging content even if one’s unsure of the acting team that’s being put to task. Reynolds’ name may suffer from overexposure in big studio flops like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Green Lantern, whereas Mendelsohn’s growing respectability flies well below pop culture’s radar. »
- Lane Scarberry
8 items from 2015
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