10 items from 2015
Alex Garland, screenwriter of “28 Days Later,” “Sunshine” and “Never Let Me Go,” makes an impressive directorial debut with cerebral sci-fi thriller “Ex Machina” (in theaters today), but Garland waves off the achievement of leaping to directing as “just next in a continuum.” “The truth was that there was no epiphany moment about directing, because I just don’t dignify the directing role the way we’re supposed to,” the British filmmaker told The Dissolve. “There are a few people — like Woody Allen, he’s an auteur, and I’m cool with that. But for me, directing is about collaboration.” Whether directing is a logical next step or a hard-sought achievement for screenwriters, it’s often done by telling studios, “Hey, here’s my next screenplay. You can have it as long as I get to direct.” Preston Sturges — at the time the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood — is noted for »
- Emily Rome
Director David Cronenberg (Eastern Promises, A History of Violence) returns with a provocative satire about the Hollywood film industry and the demons of celebrity obsession in the Focus World release Maps To The Stars, now available on Digital HD and debuting on Blu-ray with Digital HD and DVD on April 14, 2015 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
Academy Award winner Julianne Moore (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay) stars with Mia Wasikowska (The Kids Are All Right), Olivia Williams (Hyde Park on Hudson), John Cusack (Being John Malkovich), and Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga) in this unforgettable darkly comic thriller written by Bruce Wagner (I’m Losing You). Hollywood actress Havana Segrand (Moore) is unraveling as her career flounders. Her self-help psychotherapist (Cusack) and his wife (Williams) are busy managing the career of their child-star son. But when a mysterious young woman named Agatha (Wasikowska) befriends a limo driver and aspiring actor (Pattinson) all their lives get together, »
- Michelle McCue
Are you curious about how director Spike Jonze frames his films? How his moments can become both filled with reality and fantasy? It seems like the director has a knack for keeping the audience balanced between both realms.
In a new video essay, Jacob Swinney shows what makes Jonze’s four feature films (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., Where the Wild Things Are, and Her) so special and how they create the belief of fantasy within a very real world. The essay focuses on Jonze’s use of lens flares, floating camera movement, centered framing, and wide-angle close-ups, and how they help the create this atmosphere that make his film seem both real and fantastical.
It also takes the time to look at some of the shots that made each of these films unique and how he has started to shift his atmosphere from the more realistic aesthetic of Being John Malkovich »
- Zach Dennis
He’s been a Hollywood star since his teens, when he starred in Class, Sixteen Candles and The Sure Thing, but thankfully John Cusack was never like the characters in David Cronenberg’s Maps To The Stars. A brutal satire about the players, wannabes and has-beens of Hollywood, Cusack plays Stafford Weiss, a self-help guru who peddles his therapies to the weak-minded. Father to the foul Benjie (Evan Bird), a rehab-hopping teen star of the ‘Bad Babysitter’ franchise, Stafford is just one of the soulless ghouls that haunts the Hollywood Hills in what is the Canadian Cronenberg’s first real foray into Tinseltown terrain.
For Cusack, it represents yet another impressive notch in a career that’s seen him work with Stephen Frears (The Grifters, High Fidelity), Woody Allen (Shadows and Fog, Bullets Over Broadway), Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), Terence Malick (The Thin Red Line) and Clint Eastwood (Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil »
- Phil Wheat
It’s such a good time to celebrate the talents of Kevin Spacey. This month marks the 20th anniversary of the festival premiere of The Usual Suspects, which earned the actor his first Oscar. We recently furthered its accolades by naming it the best movie ever to screen at Sundance. Spacey also just won his first Golden Globe on his eighth try, for his leading role on the series House of Cards. The third season of that show is about to drop on Netflix in a month, too, so that’s exciting. The guy should be on top of the world, getting more prestige gigs like his role as Richard Nixon in the much-anticipated Elvis & Nixon. But instead, today, we’ve received the news, via The Wrap, that he’s going to play a guy who becomes trapped in the body of a cat. Of course this movie will be huge, especially »
- Christopher Campbell
The Conversation is a new feature at Sound on Sight bringing together Drew Morton and Landon Palmer in a passionate debate about cinema new and old. For their inaugural piece, they will discuss Tom Tykwer’s film, Run Lola Run (1999).
Amongst the many films included in 1999’s “year that changed movies,” Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run seems an essential text. Fifteen years ago, the film blew through national and arthouse borders, presenting an exhilarating image of an approach to filmmaking free from formal restraint or linear narrative logic. An engrossing exercise in style, Tykwer’s breakthrough film seemed to simultaneously beat Hollywood at its own game of fast-paced entertainment, integrate music video aesthetics harmoniously into the machinations of feature filmmaking, and present an art film thoroughly interested in film as an art form looking toward the 21st century, free from the modernist concerns that previously united festival-friendly European exports. »
- Drew Morton
The Sundance Film Festival announced today that it will hold a series of panels titled the "Art of Film Weekend" which will take place Jan. 29-31. This new initiative should create more buzz worthy moments during a period when the Festival is traditionally winding down. The slate will kick off with a conversation between Festival founder Robert Redford and George Lucas that will be streamed online at Sundance.org. In a release, Festival Director John Cooper noted, "Exploring cinema, body and soul, Art of Film Weekend will take aspiring filmmakers and film-loving audiences behind the scenes to see the creative, collaborative spirit of artists at every stage of the independent filmmaking process that is so core to our Festival." A full rundown of the panels are as follows: Power of Story: Visions of Independence — Kicking off Art of Film Weekend, join Robert Redford and George Lucas—two iconic filmmakers who »
- Gregory Ellwood
The Sundance Film Festival is launching an “Art of Film Weekend’ series of programming, kicking off Jan. 29 with Sundance founder Robert Redford and George Lucas discussing their careers and creative process with Leonard Maltin.
“Exploring cinema, body and soul, Art of Film Weekend will take aspiring filmmakers and film-loving audiences behind the scenes to see the creative, collaborative spirit of artists at every stage of the independent filmmaking process that is so core to our festival,” said festival director John Cooper.
The first panel — “Power of Story: Visions of Independence” — will be live streamed on sundance.org.
Other panels include “Art of the Score: A Performance and Discussion with Harry Gregson-Williams.” His credits include the “Shrek” series, “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, “The Town,” “Man on Fire,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Spy Game” and the upcoming “Blackhat.”
A panel on “A New Language in Filmmaking: Virtual Reality” will include Chris Milk (Beck’s “Sound and Vision, »
- Dave McNary
A quick back story: back in 2008, the film was under the direction of acclaimed director David O. Russell (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook), who was also co-writing. However, during a turbulent production when filming was shut down four times due to money problems, the film was canned after financing fell through, causing the crew to work unpaid. Now Millennium, the company behind The Expendables, is releasing the film across VOD platforms and in cinema in the Us this February under its new title Accidental Love, with Stephen Greene (perhaps the new “Alan Smithee” pseudonym) now credited as the film’s director.
The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Howard Birdwell, a clueless congressman who comes in contact »
- Scott J. Davis
The former Batman actor is ideally cast as a faded star once famed for his superhero roles
Sometimes a film’s success very much depends on having the right actor in the lead, especially if the film is essentially about that actor. You can’t imagine Being John Malkovich working if Spike Jonze hadn’t persuaded Mr M to take the bait; yes, there are other elegantly eccentric leading men, but Being Jeremy Irons? Being Julian Sands? Hardly the same. Similarly, backstage comedy Birdman – about a faded Hollywood actor once famous for a superhero role – touches a nerve partly because it stars Michael Keaton, whose career declined steadily after Batman Returns (1992). Of course, director Alejandro González Iñárritu might have considered Keaton’s successor in the Batcape, Val Kilmer, but you can’t imagine him being nearly as good; as for the next incumbent of Wayne Manor, George Clooney, playing a shop-soiled also-ran, »
- Jonathan Romney
10 items from 2015
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