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Kiwi native Andrew Niccol, who launched his Hollywood career by writing "The Truman Show," is one of those maverick indies who writes the movies that interest him, from "Gattaca" and "Lord of War" to "In Time." And Ethan Hawke is eager to collaborate with the filmmaker, even when the global marketplace is resistant to thoughtful original movies like "Good Kill." Returning for his third go-round with Niccol, in this film Hawke stars as a former Top Gun who is benched in a Las Vegas military base trailer piloting drone aircraft. He goes home to his wife (January Jones) every night, but dropping bombs in Yemen and Afghanistan from 7,000 miles away is not his idea of how to fight a war--especially when the CIA gets involved. The movie, produced by Voltage Pictures ("The Hurt Locker"), played Venice and Toronto and is seeking a North American buyer; here are some early reviews. »
- Anne Thompson
Read our Toronto International Film Festival review here.
Good Kill reunites Niccol with his Gattaca and Lord of War star Ethan Hawke, who portrays a drone pilot operating out of Las Vegas who begins to question the value of fighting in such a disconnected war. The rest of the cast includes X-Men: First Class stars January Jones and Zoe Kravitz alongside Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Jake Abel (The Lovely Bones).
- Gary Collinson
Ethan Hawke is riding a wave. Having languished for a time amidst unfortunate exploits, such as Daybreakers, Brooklyn’s Finest and Getaway, he returned to critical favour with Before Midnight in 2013. Following that with Richard Linklater’s acclaimed Boyhood, he is now sweeping through the 2014 festival circuit with Cymbeline, and Good Kill. In another example of the compelling creativity that can come of repeated collaboration, Good Kill is the third film that Hawke has made with writer-director Andrew Niccol. Their previous teamings produced Gattaca and Lord Of War, so the prospect of a reunion for the two would seem very promising indeed – as this newly released poster suggests:
The official synopsis for the film is as follows:
- Sarah Myles
Good Kill, 2014.
Directed by Andrew Niccol.
A troubled Air Force officer (Ethan Hawke) charged with directing drone strikes enters a moral minefield as the rationale for targeting purported terrorists becomes questionable.
A former fighter pilot is grounded doing drone missions from the safe confines of Los Vegas, Nevada where the military missions resemble a video game except for the images being real; he is bored being able to go home to his family every night and instead wishes to be back up in sky flying missions. Complications arise when the CIA takes control of the operation and starts making decisions which run counter to the usual military protocol. As the questionable deaths and tactics mount so does the emotional toil, particularly on the veteran airman and the new member of the team.
Leading man Ethan Hawke and »
- Trevor Hogg
The current hot-button issue of drone warfare is explored in the latest movie from director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War, In Time), which follows a former fighter pilot (Ethan Hawke) who now spends his days controlling drones from thousands of miles away. January Jones, Zoë Kravitz, Jake Abel and Bruce Greenwood co-star in this upcoming thriller, which doesn't have a domestic release date set at this time.
The film tells the story of a Las Vegas fighter-pilot turned drone-pilot (Ethan Hawke), who fights the Taliban via remote control for half of his day, then goes home to his wife (January Jones) and kids in the suburbs for the other half. But the pilot is starting to question the mission. Is he creating more terrorists than he's killing? »
The color red. Sony Pictures has released a new Annie poster that features the film's cast (after a teaser poster a few months back that only displayed the tagline). The film stars Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) in the title role as a young, happy, street-tough foster kid living with the mean Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) who is taken in by New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) in a thinly veiled campaign move. The film also stars Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and David Zayas. Annie opens on December 19th You can also check out the teaser poster for Good Kill, the new film from writer/director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) starring Ethan Hawke. I didn't love Niccol's last film In Time, but I'm a fan of most of his other work so I'm really pulling for this one. Good Kill premieres tonight »
- Evan Dickson
We’ve got two very cool posters for you tonight for some great looking movies coming our way. First up is Good Kill, the new film from writer/director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord Of War) starring Ethan Hawke. The movie premieres tonight at the Toronto International Film Festival and the one sheet is looking very nice. The great minimal poster definitely got my attention; check out the synopsis and tell us what you think. The film tells the story of a Las Vegas fighter-pilot »
- Graham McMorrow
Writer/director Andrew Niccol, and actor Ethan Hawke have done two films together, Gattaca and Lord of War, and they’re really Niccol’s two best films. Now the pair have done a new film, Good Kill, which is described as “a unique look at the current state of war through the eyes of a drone-pilot.” The film premiered […]
- Russ Fischer
Plenty of films have enjoyed premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival this month, from Kevin Smith's messed up horror thriller Tusk to Jason Reitman's poignant Men, Women & Children. Some promising films like Noah Baumbach's While We're Young and Anna Kendrick's musical The Last 5 Years have already been picked up from the fest too. And now we have a bit of hype for another film that debuted at Tiff a few days ago, Andrew Niccol's timely drama Good Kill, which examines the current state of war through the eyes of a drone-pilot. That pilot also just happens to be played by Niccol's Gattaca star Ethan Hawke and we have a teaser poster straight from Tiff, though it doesn't feature the actor. Look! Here's the teaser poster for Andrew Niccol's Good Kill from Voltage Pictures: Good Kill is written and directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, »
- Ethan Anderton
The film, starring Ethan Hawke, enjoyed its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 5th.
From the Oscar nominated visionary writer/director of Lord Of War comes a unique look at the current state of war through the eyes of a drone-pilot.
The film tells the story of a Las Vegas fighter-pilot turned drone-pilot (Ethan Hawke), who fights the Taliban via remote control for half of his day, then goes home to his wife (January Jones) and kids in the suburbs for the other half. But the pilot is starting to question the mission. Is he creating more terrorists than he’s killing? Is he fighting a war without end? One soldier’s tale with epic implications.
- Michelle McCue
It's a long, long time since Andrew Niccol came up with the goods: the filmmaker broke through in the 1990s as the screenwriter of "The Truman Show" and director of the excellent "Gattaca," but has struggled to return to form, with films like "Lord Of War," "S1mone," "In Time" and "The Host" ranging from being flawed to being essentially unwatchable. But the New Zealander was back this year with a modest, highly topical project, "The Good Kill," which has been screening at Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. While the film has proved a little divisive, most seem to concur that it's a comeback for Niccol. The film reteams Niccol with regular collaborator Ethan Hawke, who gives what our Venice review called "one of his best performances" as a former pilot-turned-drone operator who becomes increasingly haunted by his actions. It's a film that we called a "sober, »
- Oliver Lyttelton
Ethan Hawke is on a roll. Last year, he was nominated for another screenwriting Academy Award for Before Midnight, while also starring in the horror film, The Purge, his biggest hit since Training Day. This year, he’s kept it going with Boyhood, the best-reviewed film of the year that has him in the hunt for a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
Add to that Good Kill, which debuted last week at the Venice Film Festival and screens at Toronto on Sept. 9. The film marks Hawke’s third collaboration with director Andrew Niccol, who helmed Gattaca and Lord of War, and »
- Jeff Labrecque
Sci-fi futures characterized by complex moral and political architecture have long been writer-director Andrew Niccol’s stock-in-trade. Yet while there’s not a hint of fantasy in “Good Kill,” a smart, quietly pulsating contempo war drama, it could hardly feel more typical of Niccol’s strongest work. To many, after all, drone strikes — the controversial subject of this tense but appropriately tactful ethics study — still feel like something that should be a practical and legal impossibility. Those who haven’t considered its far-reaching implications, meanwhile, will be drawn into consciousness by Niccol’s film, which sees Ethan Hawke’s former U.S. fighter pilot wrestling with the psychological strain of killing by remote control. with the right marketing and release strategy.
- Guy Lodge
Telluride — Actor Ethan Hawke is in the middle of a career high right now. In the space of a year he has been a part of two landmark films from director Richard Linklater, "Before Midnight" and "Boyhood," each of them the result of years and years of work exploring characters as they change across a wide spectrum of time. He has two films set to play the Venice Film Festival next week in Andrew Niccol's "Good Kill" and Michael Almereyda's "Cymbeline" and he's here in Telluride with his own directorial effort, an emotional documentary that is ostensibly a portrait of pianist Seymour Bernstein, but on a deeper level is an exploration by Hawke of finding satisfaction in one's art. It's a delicate piece of work that played like gangbusters to a Telluride premiere audience Saturday, rapt as the so wonderfully well-spoken Bernstein rattled off philosophical nuggets throughout a lively Q&A. »
- Kristopher Tapley
As we look in the rearview mirror of the summer blockbusters, September heralds the start of the fall movie season. Filled with Hollywood heavyweights and A-listers, here’s our Big list of the most anticipated movies coming to cinemas this autumn and during the holidays.
Our exhaustive list includes films that are playing at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival as well the ones that already have a theatrical release date. With the awards season on the horizon, we also added a few bonus films at the end to keep your eye out for in the months ahead.
Pull up a chair, grab a pen and paper and get ready for Wamg’s Guide to the 100+ Films This Fall And Holiday Season.
We kick it off with what’s showing in Toronto at the film festival that runs September 4 – 14.
- Movie Geeks
“Who’s Mr Bout?” is the first thing anyone asks on hearing the title. Think Nicolas Cage’s unscrupulous arms dealer in Lord of War (2005) and you have the answer. However, whereas Cage’s fictitiously-named Yuri Orlov, who is based on Mr Bout, the ‘Merchant of Death’, is slightly insane, the real-life character in directors Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s documentary comes across as anything but – initially, more jolly capitalist cashing in on a lucrative shipping market in post-Soviet Russia than abject rogue.
The film is pieced together with homemade video from filmmaking enthusiast Viktor Bout to build a picture of him at home and in ‘the workplace’. It then follows the timeline of events until his arrest in Thailand in 2008, following a Us government sting operation that all seems too ‘easy’ to be true. There is also ‘present-day’ commentary from his loyal wife, Alla, as she bravely faces »
- Lisa Giles-Keddie
★★★☆☆On 6 March 2008, Viktor Bout was arrested in Bangkok after having been recorded apparently selling arms to an alleged terrorist organisation, the Columbian Farc, and conniving in the murder of American citizens. He had already achieved an international level of notoriety as 'The Merchant of Death', an embargo buster, shady operator and arms dealer who made a fortune selling his lethal merchandise to all comers regardless of their affiliation or human rights records. Such was his fame that he had graced The New York Times Magazine cover and was even played by Nicolas Cage in Andrew Niccol's fictionalised treatment of his life, Lord of War (2005).
- CineVue UK
It’s hard to believe it, but the fall film festival circuit is fast approaching. Things kick off with the Venice Film Festival on August 27th, and today new images from three films that will be showcased in Italy have landed online. Briefly: Good Kill – Writer/director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) returns to timely material by telling the story of a Las Vegas-based drone pilot. The film stars Ethan Hawke and January Jones. Your Right Mind – Actress Katherine Heigl fronts director Ami Canaan Mann’s (Texas Killing Fields) contemporary romance as a former country singer fighting for custody of her daughter. Ben Barnes and Clea DuVaal also star. Hungry Hearts – Rising star Adam Driver leads this offbeat love story of a couple that meets, gets married, and anticipates the arrival of their baby until they are told that they will have an “indigo” child. Alba Rohrwacher and Roberta Maxwell also star. »
- Adam Chitwood
We don’t go to the cinema much, because we hate people. We also don’t go because there’s always the risk of accidentally going to see the wrong film. It's not helped by the fact that there's no way of telling until it’s too late, because there are no bloody opening credits on lots of modern films. And by the time you do realise, you’ve eaten all your popcorn and you can’t be bothered to move.
The movies on this list won’t give you that problem. These opening credits are perfect scene setters for the movies that follow, so you won’t have to worry about awkward popcorn wasting moments. It's not a top 50, rather a selection of 50 interesting credits sequences, »
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream.
new to stream
Upstream Color: a confounding intellectual mystery, an enigmatic philosophical science fantasy that’s like a cinematic Moebius strip; it must be experienced to be appreciated, even as it defies full understanding [my review] [at Netflix] The Frozen Ground: in a rote cat-and-mouse cop-and-serial-killer story, Vanessa Hudgens’ “victim” is far more compelling than either cop Nicolas Cage or killer John Cusack [my review] [at Netflix] Vacancy: Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale are trapped in the creepiest motel ever; the first Hollywood film from Nimród Antal [at Netflix]
recent movies new to streaming
Endless Love: shockingly not terrible, and says some things that need to be said more often, like how dads do not own their teenaged daughters [my review] [at Amazon UK Instant Video] The Pretty One: far too blithe and cheery, yet nowhere near madcap and comic enough, for its potentially powerful switched-twins »
- MaryAnn Johanson
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