15 items from 2014
Starring Academy Award winner Adrien Brody as The Great Harry Houdini, Kristen Connolly and Evan Jones, the scripted four-hour event chronicles Houdini’s extraordinary life as he finds fame while defying death with his incredible stunts and illusions.
His ability to escape from handcuffs, strait-jackets and water tanks is legendary – breaking the shackles of his past proved more challenging. History’s Houdini follows the world-renowned master of escape’s transformation from immigrant into the world’s first superstar. Driven, disciplined and actively chasing the American Dream, Houdini constantly pushed his physical limits to accomplish feats of strength that amazed audiences in an age of spectacle. And though they saw what he wanted them to see, his reality was more elusive than his escapes.
Houdini is based »
- Michelle McCue
Once we got over the urge to roll our eyes at the prospect of yet another re-imagining of a classic movie – albeit one with a great literary source – we were overcome with the urge to roll our eyes at the announcement of competing versions of that re-visitation. The Jungle Book will return to screen, courtesy of both Disney and Warner Bros but, if we’re honest, it’s Disney that currently has us most excited.
Firstly, it’s directed by Jon Favreau, who helmed Zathura: A Space Adventure, and drop-kicked Robert Downey Jr.’s career into hyper-drive with Iron Man. Secondly, it has attracted one of the most mouth-watering casts since Soderbergh asked Clooney and his friends to impersonate the ‘Rat Pack.’ Let’s just break it down, and imagine the dulcet tones of these esteemed performers filling these iconic roles.
- Sarah Myles
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present “Movies in Your Brain: The Science of Cinematic Perception,” a two-night event on Tuesday, July 29, and Wednesday, July 30, at 7:30 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.
Actor-director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man 2), Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”), and neuroscientist and screenwriter Ari Handel (“Noah”) will be joined by esteemed cognitive scientists from around the world for a program exploring how experiments in cinematic perception have advanced our understanding of the human brain. Both evenings will be hosted by Dr. Tim J. Smith, a senior lecturer and leading researcher on visual cognition at Birkbeck, University of London.
Filmmakers, cognitive scientists and other special guests will come together for a unique two-night exploration into the science of how movies move us, discussing how filmmaking has evolved to carefully shape the mental and physical responses of audiences.
- Michelle McCue
While attending the Bizarre AC II in Atlantic City, we had a chance to chat three-on-one with Killer Klowns from Outer Space creators, the Chiodo Brothers, and the subjects ranged from their most famous film to contemporary genre cinema and lots more.
Settle in because the three of them, Stephen, Edward and Charlie, covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time. They have thick Bronx accents and talk very fast with great excitement and enthusiasm but without the hand gesticulation you would expect from a bunch of New Yorkers. Or perhaps the space in the booth was too tight to really see that kind of display in action.
Each brother built upon the other’s remarks, fast from topic to topic. Stephen added pointed conversation when necessary, but he, much like me, sat back while Edward and Charlie took center stage. Along with Killer Clowns from Outer Space of course, »
- Heather Buckley
Anghus Houvouras on the Marvel Movie Model….
Edgar Wright quitting Ant-Man over ‘creative differences’ might be the most predictable cinematic event of 2014. A lot of people saw this coming, and frankly it’s a bit disappointing. But let’s be real honest here: Marvel doesn’t want auteurs or unique voices helming their films. They’re not looking for great, passionate directors who will fight to see their particular vision brought to life. They’re looking for line towing, rank and file directors who play by the rules and fall into line with a single snap of the fingers. Marvel established a principle behind their creative teams that almost falls into the strategies of sabermetrics highlighted in the movie Moneyball: if you can’t afford (or want to pay) big name talent, you go look for those players that can get on base.
That aptly describes the vast majority of »
- Anghus Houvouras
This new release about a highly successful artist returning to his more modest roots in order to re-ignite his passion for his craft could not only apply to the main title character, but to the man who plays him on-screen (who’s also the screenwriter, co-producer, and director). Over the past 20 years Jon Favreau’s had quite an interesting Hollywood career. The then struggling young actor channeled his career frustrations (and the night life exploits of his posse’) into a screenplay that became the low-budget indie hit of 1996 Swingers. From there he called the shots behind the camera on the equally independent Made and soon graduated to bigger studio fare, the holiday-themed smash Elf and the kiddie Sf tale Zathura: A Space Adventure. Then came the man in gold and red. Favreau helmed the initial entry from Marvel Studios, Iron Man and its sequel, which were box office behemoths. But his next studio foray, »
- Jim Batts
In real life Jon Favreau is a huggable bear of man who wears his insecurities on his sleeve. So why be surprised when his return to scruffy indie filmmaking, "Chef," shows the same qualities? An 8-page outline came to the writer-director in a flash. He showed it to his friends and they encouraged him to write a full script, which he then enlisted his agency CAA to help finance. Many of his "Iron Man" pals--Robert Downey, Jr. and Scarlett Johansson have small roles--helped him out for SAG minimum, along with ace comedic actors Dustin Hoffman, Bobby Cannavale, Oliver Platt, and John Leguizamo. "Nobody got paid anything," said Favreau at this past SXSW's Paramount opening night premiere. "This felt like it wanted to happen. Every once in a while it clicks." Born in Queens, Favreau started out making his living as a funny character actor and occasional screenwriter and director »
- Anne Thompson
When you look back at it, Marvel Studios has almost always taken the unconventional route when it comes to picking the directors for their movies. When most Hollywood studios would select the proven blockbuster director, indie darling or recent Oscar nominee looking for a payday Marvel has always gone in a different, um, direction. It started with Jon Favreau on "Iron Man." The former "Swingers" star and "Elf" helmer was coming off "Zathura," a critically lauded kids flick that was a bomb at the box office. Kenneth Branagh, on the other hand, had been in director's jail following four misfires in 10 years. "Thor" turned out to be his best film since 1996's "Hamlet." Joss Whedon was a geek icon for his legendary TV show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and had major comic book cred after dabbling in writing Astonishing X-Men," but studios weren't banging down his door after "Serenity" fizzled in theaters. »
- Gregory Ellwood
Actor/filmmaker Jon Favreau has gone through multiple creative phases in his career, from crafting free-wheeling adult indie fare (Swingers, Made) to churning out wide-eyed family entertainment (Elf, Zathura: A Space Adventure), before he made a splash in the world of genre blockbusters with Marvel Studios’ Iron Man, which he then followed in fairly rapid succession with Iron Man 2 and the western/sci-fi mashup Cowboys & Aliens.
Most recently, Favreau took a break from Hollywood tentpoles in order to return to his personal indie roots, with the dramedy Chef, which premiered this past week at the 2014 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival. (Watch a clip from the movie ...
- Sandy Schaefer
When Jon Favreau released the first Iron Man, he was still seen as an exciting young director on his way up despite having credits like Made, Elf, and Zathura. Then came Iron Man 2 and Cowboys & Aliens, and his name started to elicit more eye-rolls than smiles. But at SXSW this year, he unveiled […]
- Angie Han
Austin — A small-scale personal-growth comedy from a filmmaker recently known for SFX blockbusters, Jon Favreau's Chef enlists a top-shelf cast for a film as earnestly emotional as Swingers and his family-centric adventure Zathura. The story, revolving around food but really concerned with any sort of personal creative drive, may lack the ingredients of a mainstream comic hit; but audiences drawn in by its franchise-worthy cast will likely respond warmly. It wouldn't take much effort to parse this film's back-to-your-roots storyline as a response to the critical and commercial failure of Favreau's
- John DeFore
Jon Favreau was best known for indie roles in movies like Made and Swingers before he became known as the man who ushered in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man. As a director, Favreau has ventured from indie to big budget fare like Elf, Cowboys And Aliens and Zathura, but his first post-Iron Man 2 directorial effort will feature nothing in the way of science fiction, comic books, or CGI effects. Premiering at the SXSW Festival, Favreau's Chef is a very different movie than we have »
- Alex Maidy
I’m always happy to report another sci-fi novel making its way to the big screen and the latest is Marcus Sakey’s novel, Brilliance. This adaptation will be coming to us courtesy of Legendary Pictures and director Julius Onah, whose directing credits have mostly included short films.
THR is reporting that once Julis Onah signed on to the project, Will Smith was quick to follow and is in early talks to star as Nick Cooper. For those of you not familiar with the book, here’s a synopsis.
In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called “brilliants,” and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper »
- Jess Orso
Odd List Ryan Lambie Simon Brew 16 Jan 2014 - 06:20
Another 25 unsung greats come under the spotlight, as we provide our pick of the underappreciated films of 2005...
It's underappreciated films time again, and this week, we delve deep into the year 2005 - a collection of months dominated by the likes of Star Wars: Episode III, another Harry Potter, Steven Spielberg's War Of The Worlds, Peter Jackson's King Kong, and CG family movie Madagascar.
It was also the year Pierce Brosnan formally bowed out of his role as James Bond, and Martin Scorsese's The Aviator was hyped to win the director his first Oscar, but didn't. Still, the contents of this list received nothing like the acclaim of The Aviator, nor the financial pickings of a Star Wars or Harry Potter. As ever, we've focused on 25 films which we think deserve a bit more love.
So with apologies to »
A graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, David Koepp has a name that is familiar to moviegoers around the world, although they may not realize why. It’s one of those names that crops up regularly, on all kinds of film posters and credit rolls, in all sorts of capacities. He has worked as a Producer, Actor, Second Unit Director, Assistant Director, Director, Writer and even Songwriter, on an epic roster of films that would make even Spielberg’s toes curl – though he had a hand in some of them.
While his resume shows him to be a man of many talents, it is screenwriting that has made his name internationally recognizable. David Koepp is one of the most prolific screenwriters in Hollywood, »
- Sarah Myles
15 items from 2014
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