17 items from 2016
Wil Jones Published Date Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 05:19
A 2015 New York Times investigation found that 74 percent of Us law enforcement agencies considered far right extremists a bigger threat than Islamic terrorists. Which makes the new thriller Imperium an important film, if just because of its subject matter.
When a shipment of smuggled Cesium is discovered by the FBI, the agency is quick to presume it was intended for a radical Muslim terrorist cell. But case agent Angelina Zampino (Toni Collette) suspects it was the work of white supremacists, and against her superiors wishes sends idealistic young analyst Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe) undercover to investigate. He shaves his head, reads up on Timothy McVey and Mein Kampf, and soon enough he's in deep, way over his head.
On paper, it’s Donnie Brasco with Neo-Nazis instead of the mob. And that’s a mostly accurate take on the film. If you've »
Wil Jones Sep 28, 2016
Daniel Radcliffe’s latest effort to throw off the image of a boy wizard and establish himself as a daring young actor is Imperium, an undercover thriller that sees him shave his head and infiltrate a gang of Neo-Nazis who the FBI fear may be plotting a major terror attack. As well as offering a stand-out role for Radcliffe, the film also shines a light on a very serious issue: the white supremacy movement in America.
Domestic terror is a problem that doesn’t enter the public consciousness as much as other forms of terrorism, and this is something the film wants to draw attention to. It’s a taut, exciting thriller regardless of the subject matter, but there’s a lot more being attempted here. We caught up with first time director »
★★★☆☆ The Infiltrator does exactly what is says on the tin. This Bryan Cranston-led real life crime drama, telling of a lengthy undercover sting operation to ensnare Pablo Escobar's mid-80s Florida drug operations, may not reach the blood-splattered heights of The Departed or Donnie Brasco but like director Brad Furman's former project, The Lincoln Lawyer, the success of his latest rests at the more than capable feet of an actor in the form of his life. As for the role that proved Matthew McConaughey's acting chops involved a lot more than perma-tanned abs, Furman brings out the big screen best from Cranston, famed for the totemic acclaim of AMC's Breaking Bad.
In the years since graduating from (or surviving) Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe has shown a consistent and fiercely impressive desire to use his fame in order to follow his muse. And Radcliffe’s muse has led him to a number of comically dark places, letting the Brit actor’s willingness to forge his own gnarled path become a reliable talking point, rehashed and reinvigorated with every performance as a pariah who grows devil horns or a hunchbacked assistant to a mad scientist.
But “Imperium,” in which he plays a fresh-faced FBI recruit who goes deep undercover with a group of scheming neo-Nazis, is the first of Radcliffe’s post-Potter roles that isn’t delivered with a wink, the first that — if it went terribly awry — couldn’t be written off as an elaborate goof. As serious as sedition itself, the icon’s wholly »
- David Ehrlich
“Did you ever kill anybody, Charlie?”
Penelope Ann Miller’s Gail asks this of Al Pacino‘s Carlito Brigante throughout Carlito’s Way, a thoroughly impressive piece of studio entertainment from Brian De Palma, the first of the director’s trio of films with accomplished screenwriter David Koepp (Mission:Impossible, Snake Eyes). Released a decade after Scarface, this film plays, in many ways, as a more intelligent, more mature counterpart.
The parallels are obvious. Both Scarface and Carlito’s Way are gangster films starring Pacino, directed by De Palma, and produced by Marty Bregman. Cocaine is a large motivator in both. Carlito is set in 1975. Scarface is set in 1980. There’s even a prevalence of cockroaches (said and seen) in either. It’s the differences that reveal how De Palma grew as a filmmaker painting on a large canvas. Gone is the over-the-top turn by Pacino as Cuban refugee Tony Montana, »
- Dan Mecca
“The Magnificent Seven” might not be the only high-profile remake on Antoine Fuqua’s schedule. Deadline is reporting that the filmmaker is in talks to direct “Scarface” for Universal — the third take on the classic gangster picture after Brian De Palma’s 1983 version starring Al Pacino and Howard Hawks’ Pre-Code classic from 1932.
This new film would move the action to Los Angeles — the first two took place in Chicago and Miami, respectively — and retain the rags-to-riches premise. The most recent draft was filed by Jonathan Herman (“Straight Outta Compton”), though Paul Attanasio (“Donnie Brasco”) and David Ayer (who just directed “Suicide Squad”) have turned in their own versions as well. Fuqua, who first came to wide attention for directing “Training Day,” has also helmed “King Arthur” and “Southpaw,” among others.
Read More: Sylvester Stallone To Star, »
- Michael Nordine
We should all be happy that Bryan Cranston has become a highly sought-after movie actor. Yet the very thing that brought him to that position — the pop-culture quake that was “Breaking Bad” — has now given him the ultimate tough act to follow. How do you top, or even rival, what he accomplished playing a gentle-souled family-man chemistry teacher who turns himself into a violent drug badass? “The Infiltrator,” a sensationally intelligent and exciting true-life thriller directed by Brad Furman (“The Lincoln Lawyer”), offers the answer: Have him play a gentle-souled family-man law enforcer who goes undercover as a money launderer to Pablo Escobar.
Robert Mazur, the man Cranston plays in “The Infiltrator,” actually did that. In 1986, he realized that the war on drugs was going after the wrong target — the drugs themselves, massive shipments of cocaine that even if seized could be replaced within days. Mazur figured out that the »
- Owen Gleiberman
John Cusack has made 17 films in four years. We've found the ones that have gone all-but straight to DVD and watched them...
John Cusack is a bit of a Hollywood oddity. There’s no pattern to the type of movie he will choose to do, so he’s always kept us on our toes. Sure, he’ll make a dumb action movie, but that will often afford him the chance to make a few smaller gambles later on. Up until the last few years he’s played the system very well, but recently his ethic appears to have, um, waned? A little?
Since the heady days of Say Anything and Sixteen Candles he’s come to represent a sort of slightly weird-looking, awkwardly charming, offbeat everyman that men aged 18-49 can look at and go 'me'” - which is fine. There’s a place for that, as »
In a 2005 episode of “Entourage” a super-agent played by Malcolm McDowell tells Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold that his eight-year-old daughter knew that Johnny Depp was going to be a star when she watched “Platoon.”
“You showed her ‘Platoon’ when she was eight years old?” the hyper-caffinated Gold asks incredulously.
The joke may be about bad parenting, but the reality is that Depp was marked for stardom by Hollywood almost from the time he first turned heads in the Vietnam drama. After a brief detour into teen heartthrob-dom with the TV show “21 Jump Street,” Depp began justifying that initial enthusiasm, amassing well received turns in the likes of “Ed Wood” and “Edward Scissorhands.”
The movie industry was so convinced that the actor possessed that rare alchemy of talent and charisma that marks a true star, that it stuck by Depp for over a decade until he found his box office footing. »
- Brent Lang
Paris — While Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp has been dominating headlines in recent years with films such as “Taken” and “Lucy,” the company’s TV division has been growing at a steady pace since opening an L.A. office and is lining up a strong roster of franchise-based spinoffs and original drama.
EuropaCorp Television, formally Cipango, is fully in the hands of division head Thomas Anargyros now that his former co-chief, Edouard de Vesinne, has been named deputy CEO of EuropaCorp. The TV outfit, which is headquartered at La Cite du Cinema on the outskirts of Paris, launched EuropaCorp TV Studios USA shepherded by Matthew Gross in May 2014 and is already on track to deliver the TV spinoff of “Taken” for NBC in 2017. The American division has five other shows in the pipeline, including “Bulletproof” which has pre-sold to Amazon Studios.
Today, TV accounts for about 20% of EuropaCorp’s business, and »
- Elsa Keslassy
From Bond to Brasco, our love affair with undercover agents in Hollywood has stood the test of time.
In his latest film, Bastille Day, Idris Elba plays a field agent who must team up with a criminal to help solve a large-scale conspiracy. To celebrate the film’s release, in UK cinemas April 22, we take a look at our favourite undercover agents in film.
Sean Briar – Bastille Day (2016)
Whether he’s playing a murder detective or an anti-apartheid revolutionary, Idris Elba can do no wrong. In his latest film, high-octane action thriller Bastille Day we see him partnering up with Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden for a hugely entertaining game of cat and mouse. Michael Mason (Richard Madden) is an American pickpocket living in Paris who finds himself hunted by the CIA when he steals a bag that contains more than just a wallet. Sean Briar (Idris Elba), the field agent on the case, »
- Paul Heath
Muse Entertainment’s four-hour miniseries, starring Katie Holmes as Jacqueline Kennedy and Matthew Perry as Ted Kennedy, is slated to bow in spring 2017 on Reelz Channel. Siddig takes on the role of the Greek shipping tycoon who married Jackie Kennedy in 1968 in the follow-up to 2011’s eight-hour “The Kennedys” miniseries. Muse is shopping international rights to “After Camelot” this week at the MipTV conference that begins today in Cannes.
Separately, Reelz has picked up U.S. rights to the docu series “The Real Story” from the U.K.‘s World Media Rights. The six episode series will tell the stories behind real events that inspired high-profile movies, including “Unbroken,” “American Sniper,” “Munich” and “Donnie Brasco.” ITV is distributing “Real Story” outside of the U.S.
All3Media and Rumpus Media are shopping »
- Variety Staff
Netflix and HBO Now aren't the only places to see great shows and movies in April! Hulu has so many titles coming, including the season finales for a bunch of your favorite shows. Ferris Bueller's Day Off and My Best Friend's Wedding will also be available, among several other vintage films. Check out the full list below, and get a load of Netflix and HBO Go's new picks, too! Available April 1 Shades of Blue, season one finale You, Me & the Apocalypse, season one finale Barbershop, complete season one Alfie American Loser Amistad And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird! Arctic Tale The Arrival Away From Her Bad Boys II Bananas Basic Instinct 2 The Bear Bloodsucking Bastards Brighton Rock Carlos Chelsea Walls Cinema Paradiso Count Yorga, Vampire Cube Cube 2: Hypercube Cube Zero Dead Heat Dead Man The Dead Zone Death Wish Deuces Wild Donnie Brasco Dr. T. and the »
- Maggie Pehanick
The Hollywood-based producer has has worked for many years in film and television..
He has produced and been involved in projects including: Rain Man, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Rectify, Good Morning Vietnam, The Natural, Tin Men, Avalon, Diner Bugsy, The Chronicles of Narnia franchise, The Notebook, Galaxy Quest, The Rookie and Donnie Brasco, to name a few.
..Since I first read Breath and began discussing it with Simon, I.ve dreamed of filming in Western Australia, »
- Staff Writer
Santa Barbara, Calif. — It was a rare treat for those who managed tickets to Thursday night’s presentation of the Maltin Modern Master Award to Johnny Depp to kick off the 31st annual Santa Barbara Film Festival’s roll call of fetes this year. After all, the “Black Mass” star never does this kind of thing, a two-hour sit-down chat about his career with plenty of fireside-like anecdotes and even a streak of dead-on impressions of Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Donald Trump.
“I’m scared to death,” Depp said at the start of the discussion, moderated by film critic Leonard Maltin, after whom the festival’s highest honor was named last year.
Maltin began by noting that few would have expected the star of television’s “21 Jump Street” to one day immerse himself in the role of ruthless mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. “That’s a journey,” Maltin said of such an unlikely trajectory. »
- Kristopher Tapley
It would appear that Johnny Depp enjoyed brushing back up against the world of organized crime in last year's Black Mass. His work in the film, where he played Whitey Bulger, earned him rave reviews and award nominations- things that Depp hasn't received in the years since he took his career on a more commercial path. Variety is reporting that Depp is in very early talks for Paramount's high-profile thriller Triple Frontier.
How high-profile is the picture? Well, it's being directed by J.C. Chandor, who handled the 2014 critical darling A Most Violent Year, and actors like Tom Hanks and Will Smith have also been approached.
Here's how Variety describes the film, which is an ensemble crime thriller:
"The film is set in the notorious border zone between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil where the Iguazu and Parana rivers converge — making “la triple frontera” difficult to monitor and a haven for organized crime. »
- Mario-Francisco Robles
What jumps to mind when you hear the phrase "Quentin Tarantino movie"? Hyperviolence? A bunch of different B-movies pastiched into something new? A lot of dialogue with a lot of bad language? That one "F" word in particular? Any of those could be right, but there's another thing many of Tarantino's movies have in common: a big, meaty role for an actor who's maybe in need of a career boost. In the case of the Tarantino movie currently in theaters, The Hateful Eight, the role is that of Daisy Domergue, a wily, foul-mouthed criminal played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. Now Leigh hasn't been without work. »
- Drew Mackie, @drewgmackie
17 items from 2016
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