6 items from 2015
Brian De Palma, the legendary director known for gangster movies like "Scarface," "The Untouchables" and "Carlito's Way," is set to return to the big screen with the action-thriller "Lights Out." The filmmaker was recently awarded the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. He's also the subject of a new documentary by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow, which A24 will release theatrically next year. "Lights Out" tells the story of Lin Shen, a blind Chinese girl who gets caught up in a conspiracy to expose a top-secret assassination program. The movie will be the first joint venture of Arclight Films and Huace Media under the name Aurora Alliance Films. The plot synopsis sits well with the mission De Palma has taken in the past few years. Once a filmmaker that some critics referred to as a "misogynist," he's now trying to skew his perspective to align more with feminist agendas. »
- Jeremy Berkowitz
At the press conference for De Palma, one of the New York Film Festival's engaging Special Events, directors Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow, in a conversation with selection committee member Amy Taubin of Film Comment, disclosed that on that particular day Paltrow considered Blow Out to be Brian De Palma's best movie and Carlito's Way one of his favourites - but that changes. Baumbach cites Body Double and The Untouchables as his first encounters with De Palma in the cinema, an entry way into the world of grown-ups that "felt like I was going to be in on some kind of secret."
The eye-opening documentary follows the filmmaker's career, film by film in chronological order, with De Palma talking about each individual movie. »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Daniel Duran's Bravetown is a textbook example of substance-over-style success: Aside from a showy opening (a tracking shot that snakes through a club, cribbing freely from Carlito's Way, Boogie Nights, etc.), the movie satisfies mainly due to its affecting ensemble and considerable emotional intelligence. Living in New York with his bottle-reliant mother (Maria Bello, in a cameo), seventeen-year-old Josh (Lucas Till) carves out some meaning for himself as an on-the-rise DJ. But when an episode with a pill yields an overdose — it's clear the drug is suspicious when the guy offering it dangles it in front of the camera — Josh is mandated to travel west and reside with the father (Tom Everett Scott) who left him at birth. Josh's ne »
Penelope Ann Miller made a splash early in her career in roles including Carlito's Way and Other People's Money in the late '90s, and now, at age 51, Miller admits that she's been passed over for plum gigs in favor of younger actresses. "It's a fact — [ageism] is out there," Miller said in an April 27 HuffPost Live interview. "The roles that there's interest in for me, it's not the girlfriend part, let's put it that way." Though she's sitting pretty in a talked-about role on [...] »
Sean Penn: Honorary César goes Hollywood – again (photo: Sean Penn in '21 Grams') Sean Penn, 54, will receive the 2015 Honorary César (César d'Honneur), the French Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Crafts has announced. That means the French Academy's powers-that-be are once again trying to make the Prix César ceremony relevant to the American media. Their tactic is to hand out the career award to a widely known and relatively young – i.e., media friendly – Hollywood celebrity. (Scroll down for more such examples.) In the words of the French Academy, Honorary César 2015 recipient Sean Penn is a "living legend" and "a stand-alone icon in American cinema." It has also hailed the two-time Best Actor Oscar winner as a "mythical actor, a politically active personality and an exceptional director." Penn will be honored at the César Awards ceremony on Feb. 20, 2015. Sean Penn movies Sean Penn movies range from the teen comedy »
- Steve Montgomery
Since going mainstream in Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp has trawled for laughs with mixed results in big-budget fare like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dark Shadows and The Lone Ranger. The costume and make-up department has become ever more important in the process of transformation, and his ostentatious 'tache is even a running joke in knockabout caper Mortdecai. This is the last straw.
Depp is a gifted comic actor and the character of Charles Mortdecai, an eccentric art dealer (created by novelist Kyril Bonfiglioli), benefits from his particular brand of effete charm, but this is a performance formed entirely of mannerisms.
The comedy is broad and rather brash, except for Mortdecai's elaborate turn of phrase, peppered with twee English exclamations of "I say," "old boy" and »
6 items from 2015
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