15 items from 2014
FX premiered The Strain this week, its terrifying new show from creator Guillermo del Toro, and one thing is certain: it is not for the faint of heart. The show follows Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), an epidemiologist who finds himself at the center of an outbreak - only this is no ordinary outbreak. When a plane full of dead passengers lands at New York's Kennedy International Airport, Ephraim fights to be on the case, assuming the cause of death must be some new strain of ebola or any other, you know, "normal" virus. Nope! It's a vampire virus and a variety that looks closer to the zombies of The Walking Dead than the sexy night walkers of The Vampire Diaries. The premiere sags in parts, but it definitely has its gruesome moments. Let's dive in! The dead plane. The opening sequence itself isn't too scary, but the aftermath is. »
- Maggie Pehanick
Justin Chang: Andrew, if you’ll allow me a brief (sort of) digression before we get down to business: A few nights ago, as part of our foolhardy mission to rank the films of Richard Linklater, I watched “Waking Life” for the first time since I’d seen it at a college screening in 2001. Back then, we were both sophomores at USC (though we didn’t know each other at the time), and presumably of the ideal age and mindset to groove on the film’s kaleidoscopic visuals and similarly trippy discourse. I recall having been more bored than seduced at the time, though I’m happy to say that my very different reaction following this second viewing — which began around midnight, all the better to cultivate the optimal bleary-eyed dream state — was enough to move “Waking Life” a few notches up my own list.
At a certain point late into the movie, »
- Justin Chang and Andrew Barker
While Richard Linklater was making "School of Rock," "Bad News Bears," "Before Sunset" and "Bernie," he was also quietly making "Boyhood," a film that's production spanned 12 years. It's an unprecedented experiment, one that's met with unqualified raves as Linklater follows one boy, Mason (newcomer Ellar Coltrane) from age 5 to 18.
Much of the film is inspired by Linklater's own life and he cast Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason's divorced parents, and his own daughter, Lorelei, as Mason's sister. All agreed to the unconventional project, which Linklater had mapped out but was never sure exactly where it would go.
The director sat down with Moviefone (while an exhausted Coltrane took a nap in the same room) at the film's Los Angeles junket to discuss how his own daughter wanted to bail on the film, forcing Ethan Hawke to wear Dockers, and waiting to see what kind of kid Mason was »
- Sharon Knolle
A mere 10 minutes of The Battered Bastards of Baseball will have you convinced that its namesake, a ragtag minor league team named the Portland Mavericks active in the '70s, must have served as the inspiration for the Bad News Bears.
A celebratory family affair to a fault, the film was directed by team owner Bing Russell's grandsons Chapman and Maclain Way. It also features interviews from his son Kurt, whom you may know as the star of such entertainments as Overboard and Sky High.
The result is true to the rough-around-the-edges spirit of the team itself — which is to say, vibrant, rebellious, and fun as all hell — if also utterly biased. The Brothers Way aren't as innovative behind the camera as their subjects were on the field, but t »
Kevin Costner’s Durham Bulls. Charlie Sheen’s Cleveland Indians. Walter Matthau’s Bad News Bears. Wildly rambunctious baseball teams that became beloved cinematic all-stars. But they were no Portland Mavericks, the real-deal franchise that grabbed minor-league baseball by the short hairs in the mid 1970s.
In the Netflix documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, directors Chapman and Maclain Way turn back the clock to 1973, when their grandfather, Hollywood actor Bing Russell (Bonanza), purchased the Class A Portland franchise and fielded a completely independent team against a league of teams stocked with Major League Baseball prospects. He held open tryouts »
- Jeff Labrecque
An exciting team is coming together to bring Larry’s Kidney to the screen. The Wrap reports that Richard Linklater will direct The Campaign stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis in an adaptation of Daniel Asa Rose’s memoir Larry’s Kidney, which recounts Rose’s journey to China with his black sheep cousin Larry and his mail order bride in order to save Larry’s life by securing him a kidney transplant. Ferrell will play Rose while Galifianakis will play Larry, and with Linklater at the helm we can probably expect something a tad more thoughtful than a simple outlandish comedy. This looks to be Linklater’s most “commercial”-sounding film since 2005’s Bad News Bears and 2003’s excellent School of Rock, as he’s been bounding between genres as of late to fantastic results. His last three films are all top-notch (Bernie, Before Midnight, and the upcoming Boyhood »
- Adam Chitwood
Whoa - where did this come from? A press release has announced that Gravitas Ventures has acquired Us release rights to release a documentary about the filmmaking career of Richard Linklater, who just debuted his 12-year project Boyhood at Sundance earlier this year. Titled 21 Years: Richard Linklater, the feature-length doc "examines the first 21 years of Linklater's career and includes intimate interviews with many of the filmmakers' longtime collaborators and animation by Austin-based Powerhouse Animation Studios." His first 21 years of work includes classic films like Slacker, Dazed & Confused, Before Sunrise & Sunset, Waking Life, School of Rock, Bad News Bears, Fast Food Nation and A Scanner Darkly. Read on. The documentary is made by Paste Magazine's movies editor Michael Dunaway and Tara Wood. Here's the full description of the project direct from the press release, detailing some of the people interviewed: Drawing on the idea that the first 21 years of work defines the career of an artist, »
- Alex Billington
Netflix plans to debut three original documentaries over the next few months. First up is The Battered Bastards Of Baseball. It chronicles how in 1973 Bonanza actor Bing Russell formed what at the time was America’s sole independent baseball team. Seen as a real-life version of the Bad News Bears, the Mavericks lasted three years before they were pushed out of Portland by the return of the major-league-backed Portland Beavers. The pic was co-directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, produced by Juliana Lembi, exec produced by Nancy Schafer and includes cast members Kurt Russell (Bing Russell’s son) and Todd Fields. It’s set to premiere July 11 on Netflix. Also on the slate is Mission Blue. It tells the story of legendary oceanographer, marine biologist, environmentalist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle and her impassioned campaign to save the world’s oceans from modern threats like climate change, »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
I could not possibly care less about football, and I fell hopelessly in love with this movie, and with the can-do amateur team it introduces us to. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): not a fan of football/soccer
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
We film critics are a jaded, jaded lot. We tend, as a group, not to respond in overtly obvious emotional ways while watching a film. It’s not that we don’t care — it’s that we’ve seen it all and it’s much harder to take us by surprise. Could be, too, that the majority of critics are men, and many men will stifle sniffles, especially, quicker than women will. (I’ve sometimes been the only critic in a screening room who needs a Kleenex or three at the end of a film.) So when »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Exclusive: As The New Republic turns 100 years old, Sony Pictures and Escape Artists have made a pre-emptive acquisition of “The Year Of The Pigskin,” a just-published feature by Christopher Beam about the unlikely success of the Chongqing Dockers, one of the first teams in the very first American football league to form in China. The catalyst was a 26-year-old American, the son of police detectives whose pro football dreams were dashed after a shoulder injury incurred while he was a star player at the University of Michigan. He became the team’s coach and star player. The feature is a template for a Bad News Bears-like film that will be shot in China, as the Dockers and its players with names like Fat Baby, Bobo, and Weezy get molded from undisciplined players afraid to hit one another into a group of warriors that battled for the championship against archrival Shanghai Warriors. »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
Earlier this month, Avengers: Age of Ultron producer Kevin Feige revealed that both Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) will have bigger roles in this Marvel Phase Two sequel, since neither characters has had a stand-alone movie. During an interview with Variety, Jeremy Renner confirmed this expanded screen time, though he wouldn't offer any specific details. He also offered insight on his new costume.
The actor has been shooting in Northern Italy, under the direction of Joss Whedon, with production shifting to South Korea next week, and then it's off to London. When asked about his expanded role in this Marvel Phase Two sequel, Jeremy Renner couldn't say much.
"I can't give you any details, but yeah, there seems to be more to do this time. I'm excited about that."
We also reported this week that Hawkeye gets a new costume in this sequel. The actor reveals that he »
Jeremy Renner started to wield Hawkeye’s bow in 2012′s “Avengers,” a role he reprises in April when filming begins on the sequel “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” With “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opening next weekend, Renner spoke to Variety about working with Chris Evans and joining the Marvel universe.
Do you have any funny Chris Evans stories?
Oh dude, I have the funniest one. I don’t know if I can say. When I think about it every time, I love it. The coda scene that happens at the end of “The Avengers,” we shot it at the premiere, when we were all together. A year had gone by, and Chris was in the middle of doing another movie, where he had a full beard and he couldn’t shave it off.
They had to do all these prosthetics over his face. The poor guy, he was »
- Ramin Setoodeh
There’s no escaping Captain America — especially for the actor behind the blue mask. That’s not just a career assessment. It’s a physical reality. To gear up as the iconic Marvel superhero, Chris Evans, the star of the upcoming “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” once again dons his trademark patriotic suit, which requires the actor to wear a snug latex undergarment that keeps the uniform from clinging to his sculpted muscles.
Given the confines of the zip-from-the-back costume, Evans jokes that there’s one thing audiences won’t see Captain America do — head to the bathroom. “Not to get too graphic,” he says, “but you’d better hope you’re on a nice schedule in that thing. There are all these zippers and buttons.” And he only sheds the suit with the help of a wardrobe entourage. “You could fight all day; you’re not getting out of it. »
- Ramin Setoodeh
The wait is over, true believers. The first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy is here. Guardians star Chris Pratt was onhand during Tuesday's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which premiered the trailer for the Marvel Studios tentpole. Aliens, spaceships and hijinks dominate the footage. Photos: 35 of 2014's Most Anticipated Movies "The Guardians of the Galaxy are a group of misfits who are brought together to win a baseball game. They use a trick play," Pratt joked to Jimmy Kimmel, before admitting he was describing the Bad News Bears. In addition to Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy also stars Zoe
- Aaron Couch
It’s funny how things start to pair up over festivals. You’ll notice themes across at least two films, maybe more. Could just be the exhaustion. The six films I’ve seen since I last filed a diary definitely partner nicely and yet one can also trace through lines through them, despite their completely different genres. Let’s get going…
The first pair are related by being so completely distinct in the history of film. There’s Steve James’ “Life Itself”, a documentary about the most important film critic of all time, and Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”, a film with a production process like no other. These films represent a pair of experiences that I’ve never had before and likely will never have again. My personal connection to “Life Itself” made the world premiere an emotional, powerful night, and “Boyhood” the next morning took 12 years to make. The »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
15 items from 2014
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