5 items from 2014
• Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) is reportedly the front-runner to antagonize James Bond in the next film in the series. According to the report, no offer has been made yet. Daniel Craig will return to star as 007, and Sam Mendes, who directed him in Skyfall, is returning to direct. Production is supposed to begin this summer on Bond 24, scheduled for a Nov. 6, 2015, release date. [The Wrap]
• Ryan Reynolds is set to join the Helen Mirren pic Woman in Gold about a WWII survivor determined to reclaim paintings from the Austrian government. Reynolds will play Mirren’s character’s attorney, while Rush »
- Lindsey Bahr
'Ultra-low budgets and a decidedly fugly aesthetic have rendered his body of work an unappealing prospect to UK distributors'
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American indie demigod Joe Swanberg brings his "mumblecore" movement into the mainstream this week with Drinking Buddies, a story of two intersecting romances (a love quadrilateral, if you will) told against the backdrop of Chicago's craft brewery scene. It's the first Swanberg offering to reach UK shores since his breakout Hannah Takes The Stairs introduced Greta Gerwig to a grateful nation in 2007, though the director's apparent radio silence has not been for lack of trying.
Swanberg has written and directed more than a dozen films in the seven years since Hannah, most of them improvised riffs on the state of contemporary relationships, doused in self-reflexive anxiety (he has a tendency to cast himself as skeezy directors with names like Moe Kwanberg). Ultra-low budgets »
- Charlie Lyne
With more than 80 years of history under its belt, it's becoming much easier to pinpoint exactly the type of movies that'll win favour at the Oscars. Big-scale period epics, war films and musicals always tend to find favour with Academy voters, while on the acting front playing a President or a known historical figure is a sure-fire way to get attention.
But what about the movies that never get a look in? There are certain types of films - no matter how successful or how beloved by audiences - that simply never win big at the Oscars. Perhaps it's down to a lack of campaign push from the studio, the perception that they're not "Oscar movies", or Academy snobbery? Digital Spy takes a look at the films that are perennially ignored in the Best Picture race below...
As the Percy Jackson and the Olympians franchise has shown us, good intentions aren’t enough to take a young adult fiction novel series and convert them from the page to the screen in a way that isn’t a chore to watch. The success of Harry Potter, though, has made just about every studio willing to take that gamble in the hopes that their sloppy but serviceable first effort will attract enough attention to generate a blockbuster film series. And while some attempts from this frenzy have given us solid gems like The Hunger Games, far more often we get stinkers like The Golden Compass, Percy Jackson, and now The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box, a film where poor direction and editing drown out any saving grace efforts the exceptional cast (Michael Sheen, Lena Headey, Sam Neill) might have given it.
- Lex Walker
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream on Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.
streaming now, before it’s on dvd
All Is Lost: gripping tale of adventure and survival on the high seas, with an excellent and unexpected performance from Robert Redford [at Amazon Instant Video] Blue Is the Warmest Color: there’s nothing particularly surprising in this French romantic melodrama… not even the tediously obvious 15-minute all-nude lesbian fuckfest [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video] Ender’s Game: the Big Sf Ideas of this strange mashup of Starship Troopers and Harry Potter — gifted kids go to fascist military school! — seem positive only if your heart is made of stone [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]
new to streaming
The Fifth Estate: might be interesting if it had enough passion and guts to take a stand, but ends up in the mushy middle of the road, which surely sprang from a desire to be »
- MaryAnn Johanson
5 items from 2014
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