5 items from 2017
Robert De Niro took dead aim at President Donald Trump during an acceptance speech for the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Chaplin Award in New York on Monday. After several of De Niro’s closest friends and colleagues honored him at the 44th annual Chaplin Award Gala, the iconic actor and filmmaker delivered a heartfelt speech that both paid tribute to the award’s namesake, Charlie Chaplin, while also criticizing the Trump administration for its position on issues ranging from healthcare to education to the environment.
“Everyone knows Chaplin was a great artist, but he made his movies to entertain. It was only later that they became art,” De Niro said in his speech. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because of our government’s hostility towards art. »
- Graham Winfrey
Deadline is reporting that director Barry Levinson is teaming with Billy Crystal for a new feature film comedy entitled Revival, which has been scripted by Phil Primason (5 Doctors). It will mark the first collaboration between Levinson and Crystal, although they did both previously serve as executive producers on Analyze This and Analyze That.
The film will follow “a once-legendary Broadway composer who, after a bitter public divorce, gets stuck composing jingles to make ends meet finds out that a Staten Island high school is staging his most famous musical, and he becomes obsessed with shutting it down. In the meantime, all the money he earns writing stupid jingles goes to keep his only friend — his old, incontinent dog Julius — alive. Oh, yeah, and Crystal’s character, who is trying to kick his smoking habit by using electronic cigarettes, finds himself becoming addicted to the smokeless replacements.”
Levinson’s next film, »
- Gary Collinson
[Editor’s Note: This post is presented in partnership with Amazon Studios’ and Roadside Attractions’ “Manchester By The Sea,” directed and written by Kenneth Lonergan and starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams.]
On the surface, it might seem surprising that one of the most recognized films of this awards season would come from a filmmaker who hadn’t shot a movie in 10 years. For anyone familiar with Kenneth Lonergan’s track record as a screenwriter, director and playwright, however, the accolades that “Manchester by the Sea” has been racking up are very much par for the course.
Long before the film earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, Lonergan had established himself in the theater world as an award-winning playwright. He was first recognized in 1982 at the age of 18 by the Young Playwrights Festival, for his play “The Rennings Children,” which centers on a sister who advocates for her brother’s release from a mental hospital.
Many of the themes in Lonergan’s plays are reexamined in his feature films, starting with his debut “You Can Count on Me, »
- Indiewire Staff
It’s been years, even decades, since watching Robert De Niro attempt comedy could be counted as any kind of novelty. But it’s still strange to consider the way De Niro has developed a parallel career as an awkward comedian, from his unhinged aspiring stand-up in The King Of Comedy to the self-parodying shtick of Analyze This to his unexpectedly recurring gig as a stiff but game Saturday Night Live host and drop-in.
De Niro’s role in The Comedian is more straightforward. The conception of Jackie Burke, a foulmouthed stand-up comic at a career dead end after a successful but pigeonholing sitcom gig, never winks at the legendary actor’s past, either in dramas or comedies. Even so, the uncomfortable yet not unwelcome spectacle of De Niro attempting zingers makes this movie an essential subject for future study of the actor’s comic side. Unfortunately, it is essential »
- Jesse Hassenger
Proof for me of writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s much-vaunted cinematic genius has been a long time coming. Having co-written the Sopranos-lite comedy Analyze This (1999), the acclaimed playwright made his directorial feature debut with You Can Count on Me (2000), a Sundance festival favourite that earned rave reviews and Oscar nominations. But Lonergan’s second feature, Margaret, shot in 2005, became mired in post-production hell, delaying its release until 2011 when it crawled into cinemas, loved by critics but largely unnoticed by audiences. Now, after another lengthy hiatus, Lonergan is back with Manchester By the Sea, the story of a broken man returning to the scene of past traumas. Striking a delicate balance between the sharp focus and sprawling scope of his first two films, this heartbreaking third »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
5 items from 2017
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