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Film Review: Patriots Day

20 December 2016 5:44 AM, PST | LRMonline.com | See recent LRM Online news »

The age of amateur and security videos has firmly arrived for filmmakers ready to take it on. I don’t mean they can use iPhone dialogue screens or Twitter in their plot lines. A savvy director today, and there is no question that Peter Berg is a savvy director, can make use of the ubiquitous presence of cameras to seamlessly weave recreated scenes with authentic footage to give films a sense of dependability they’ve never had before.

That was the thought that kept coming back into my mind as I watched the bone-chilling, edge of your seat thriller Patriots Day, the third collaboration between Berg and superstar Mark Wahlberg (after Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon). For all of this film’s achievements—of which there are many—the heightened sense that you are watching the real tragedy as it unfolded, but with Hollywood actors, is unshakeable. That, combined with »

- J Don Birnam

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Owen Gleiberman’s Top 10 Films of 2016

8 December 2016 12:14 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

There was once a time when great movies, as often as not, were mainstream movies. These days, it’s easy to feel that those two things are doomed to live on separate islands. Yet not always: A number of the movies on my list, from the bedazzled romance of “La La Land” to the somber excitement of “Patriots Day,” testify to a resurgence, at the movies, of a certain kind of old-school populism. And why not? These may be turbulent and troubled times, but that’s reflected in both the passion onscreen and the passion of moviegoers themselves.

1. “La La Land

Damien Chazelle’s starry-eyed moody confection of a musical is the rare modern movie that does the thing we all (in our hidden hearts) long for: It puts you — and leaves you — in a trance. It’s set against a twinkling magic-hour L.A., with Ryan Gosling’s short-fused »

- Owen Gleiberman

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Sidney Kimmel Entertainment Flying High With ‘Hell or High Water’

1 December 2016 10:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment is shedding its usual low profile, flying high with its Texas drama, “Hell or High Water,” becoming a serious awards contender.

Jeff Bridges has received a Gotham Awards nomination for his role as a Texas Ranger tracking down a pair of bankrobbing brothers. Taylor Sheridan’s screenplay for the film that debuted in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard has also nabbed a Gotham nomination. Domestic grosses on the $12 million project have gone past $27 million for Lionsgate/CBS Films. Not bad for Ske, which seems to have found solid ground in the ever-shifting and contracting independent marketplace.

Carla Hacken, who joined the company in 2014 as president of production after stints at Fox and New Regency, admits that “Hell or High Water” — Ske bought the Black List script in 2012 — required steadfast backing from Kimmel during its development. That included shooting in 110 degree heat in the early summer.

“It’s so »

- Dave McNary

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AFI Film Review: ‘Patriots Day’

18 November 2016 12:43 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

An intense, jittery re-creation of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the four-day manhunt that followed, “Patriots Day” is the movie CBS Films was put on this earth to produce. A couple decades earlier, such a headline-driven retelling of a traumatic news event might have been made expressly for the small screen, the way NBC rushed telepics like “In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco” onto its Sunday-night movie slot mere weeks after tragedy struck.

But “Patriots Day” is no rush-job TV movie; it’s genuinely exciting megaplex entertainment, informed by extensive research, featuring bona fide movie stars, and staged with equal degrees of professionalism and respect — as suggested by the title, appropriated from the holiday on which the incident occurred. It’s also a sober homage from Boston native Mark Wahlberg, who produced alongside “Deepwater Horizon” director Peter Berg, chasing an opportunity to chase that true-story energy that fueled their earlier 2013 collaboration “Lone Survivor. »

- Peter Debruge

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Patriots Day review: Boston marathon bombing movie is tense yet respectful

18 November 2016 12:20 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The latest collaboration between Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg is a moving and compelling homage to a city and its spirit, as well as a gripping procedural

There’s little doubt who the hero of Peter Berg’s retelling of the 2013 Boston marathon bombings is: the city itself. Native Bostonian Mark Wahlberg plays Jimmy Saunders, a police sergeant, who acts as no-nonsense conduit to help cut through the layers of bureaucracy, bullshit and emotion of that day in April 2013 when three people were killed by two homemade bombs.

The first 20 minutes recall the signature docu-drama style of Paul Greengrass, who retold a Us terrorist attack with his 9/11 tale United 93. That handheld invasive style is coupled with authentic footage and incredibly accurate re-enactment to piece together the events of the day. It’s also close in feel to Brett Morgen’s 30 for 30 documentary on Oj Simpson’s famous Bronco chase, »

- Lanre Bakare

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What Is the Best Horror Movie Of The 21st Century? — IndieWire Critics Survey

31 October 2016 9:22 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday morning. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?” can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: What is the best horror film of the 21st century?

Charles Bramesco (@intothecrevasse), Freelancer for Rolling Stone, The Verge, Vulture

Everyone knows that the greatest Halloween film of all time is the 1962 nudie-cutie “House on Bare Mountain,” and my slavish devotion to giallo means that personal favorite horror movie of the new century is “Berberian Sound Studio”, but those are both answers to questions nobody asked. The finest horror film of the new millennium is “Cabin in the Woods”, both a dissertation on the history of the American scary movie and a chilling piece of work in its own right. With a fiendishly clever narrative hook, »

- David Ehrlich

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Why Do We Love Disaster Movies? — IndieWire Critics Survey

3 October 2016 8:46 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Every week, the CriticWire Survey asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday morning. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?” can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: Non-fiction disaster movies are a time-honored genre, and they don’t appear to be going anywhere: “Sully” is a huge hit, “Deepwater Horizon” performed solidly at the box office this weekend, and Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg will be re-teaming for “Patriot’s Day” later this year. With that in mind, what is the ultimate value of a blockbuster film that dramatizes tragic (or nearly tragic) events? Why do we keep making them, and — perhaps more importantly — why do we keep watching them?

Richard Brody (@tnyfrontrow), The New Yorker

The difference between movies about recent disasters and historical ones is »

- David Ehrlich

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‘Deepwater Horizon’ Review: A Major Tragedy Becomes a Minor Mark Wahlberg Disaster Movie — Toronto

13 September 2016 7:54 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Deepwater Horizon” ends with a list of 11 people who died aboard the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, but it spends nearly two hours beforehand focused on one survivor. Electronics expert Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) is the courageous figure at the center of this unsettling reenactment, directed by Peter Berg with a sharp eye for fiery details and the morbid suspense leading up to it, but fewer ideas to prop up the mayhem. As the bursting oil gives way to flames, Williams and gruff installation manager Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell on autopilot) squint and grunt their way through the shadowy structure in a hectic escape that forms the movie’s prolonged finale. Even though it takes nearly an hour to get there, the payoff is simplistic. “Deepwater Horizon” fixates on beginning of the infamous oil spill with the superficial intensity of a theme park ride. It »

- Eric Kohn

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Mindy Newell: Ah-Choo!

12 September 2016 10:00 AM, PDT | Comicmix.com | See recent Comicmix news »

Here’s a scenario straight out of a political thriller by Brad Meltzer, a satirical graphic novel by Gail Simone, a seasonal arc of 24, or the warped mind of your columnist:

Reuters is reporting that Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator president orders denies interference with the 2016 American Presidential election following the hospitalization of Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton for suspected polonium 210 chronic radiation poisoning. It was Polonium 210 acute radiation exposure that killed former Kgb officer Alexander Litvenko in just three weeks. The former Kgb officer had been granted political asylum in the United Kingdom.

In response to this news, Donald Trump has tweeted “Told you she was sick!”

Hoo boy, if I posted that on my Facebook page I’d be the darling of every conspiracy nut in the world. And might even warrant a visit from the Secret Service…or Jack Bauer. (Chloe, you rock, woman!)

I didn’t see »

- Mindy Newell

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How 19 Movies and TV Shows Portrayed 9/11 (Photos)

9 September 2016 4:28 PM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

United 93” (2006) Paul Greengrass took a straight, fact-based approach to tell the story of the passengers who tried to take back the plane.   “World Trade Center” (2006) Oliver Stone‘s drama told the events  from the perspective of first responders.   “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” (2011) Stephen Daldry‘s adaptation of the Jonathan Safron Foer novel followed a kid who lost his father in the attacks.   “Reign Over Me” (2007) Adam Sandler played a man who was still struggling five years after the attacks killed his wife and daughter. “Remember Me” (2010) The Robert Pattinson drama stirred controversy by having a twist ending that culminated in the 9/11 attacks. »

- Linda Ge

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Gary Oldman And Kristin Scott Thomas To Star As Winston And Clementine Churchill In Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour

6 September 2016 7:05 PM, PDT | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

Winston Churchill

Continuing creative collaborations that began over a decade ago, premier specialty label Focus Features is reteaming with both Working Title Films, one of the world’s leading film production companies, and director Joe Wright on Darkest Hour. Focus will hold worldwide rights to the film as part of the company’s renewed global initiative; Focus will release Darkest HOURdomestically on November 24th, 2017 in the U.S. and Universal Pictures International (Upi) will distribute the film around the world, beginning with the U.K. on December 29th, 2017.

Production on Darkest Hour begins this fall.

Mr. Wright will direct Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. »

- Michelle McCue

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Jason Bourne Review

21 August 2016 12:32 PM, PDT | AreYouScreening.com | See recent AreYouScreening news »

The Bourne franchise has been a critical and box office win, so it isn’t at all surprising that we found ourselves with The Bourne Legacy a few years ago, but when it was announced that Matt Damon would return to the series after nearly a decade, that had to make you wonder.

Jason Bourne was either a film with a story impressive enough to pull in the requisite cast and crew, or enough people needed money that they were willing to knock something out. You had to imagine it was one of those.

The first twenty minutes of the film let you know what side we’re on, especially if you’re a fan of the series and director Paul Greengrass.

We open with Bourne apparently going about what has become his humdrum life, traveling from one illegal (I guess) mixed martial arts/boxing/whatever match to another. Audiences »

- Marc Eastman

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Paul Greengrass On Setting Up Jason Bourne For More Sequels, Jimi Hendrix

28 July 2016 3:36 PM, PDT | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Exclusive: When Paul Greengrass told Deadline during the awards season push for Captain Phillips that he would never make another Jason Bourne film, he was sincere. And why not believe him, when he followed two superb Bourne films with that terrific Somali pirate drama, and had so many other hot button projects behind it to spark him? Here, the documentarian-turned director of Bloody Sunday, United 93, Green Zone and now a trilogy of Bourne films based on the Robert Ludlum… »

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Watch Ben Affleck And Anna Kendrick In The New Trailer For The Accountant

28 July 2016 11:11 AM, PDT | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

Warner Bros. Pictures has released a second trailer for the upcoming drama The Accountant.

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town Cpa office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations.

With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

The film also stars Jon Bernthal (“Fury,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”), Jean Smart (TV’s “Fargo,” “24”), and Cynthia Addai-Robinson (“Star Trek: Into Darkness”), with Jeffrey Tambor (TV’s “Transparent,” “The Hangover” films »

- Michelle McCue

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Paul Greengrass’ Top 10 Films

26 July 2016 12:43 PM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Paul Greengrass has spent the past twenty-plus years crafting lean, energetic action films such as his Bourne entries — a franchise he returns to this Friday with Jason Bourne — and equally taut docudramas such as Captain Philips and United 93. His staging and editing of action has become a seminal staple of modern cinema, though it has proven hard to properly imitate as the coherence he often achieves is lost on his imitators. His films explore national paranoia and wounded heroes (often Matt Damon), while his style focuses on kinetic, intimate, and spur-of-the-moment action and storytelling.

Thanks to BFI‘s most recent Sight & Sound poll, Greengrass has compiled a list of his ten favorite films, many of which globe trot outside of the U.S. to everywhere from France (Godard), to Japan (Kurosawa), and Russia (Eisenstein), among others. There’s a clear connective thread between the French New Wave style of »

- Mike Mazzanti

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Jason Bourne Review: Matt Damon Packs a Timely Punch

26 July 2016 9:23 AM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

The original Bourne trilogy movies (The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum) are quite noteworthy for a number of different reasons. First and foremost, it solidified Matt Damon as a bona fide movie star, who could open a big budget film on his own, while showcasing the action movie chops no one knew he had. It's also one of the rare movie trilogies to show big improvement each time out at the domestic box office, with The Bourne Identity earning $121.6 million, followed by The Bourne Supremacy's $176.2 million and The Bourne Ultimatum's $227 million. Despite all of this success, it took nine years for Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass to finally bring this action icon back to the big screen with Jason Bourne, and, thankfully, it was well worth the wait.

No matter how successful the previous entry was, a lengthy wait between movies doesn't often bode well for some franchises. »

- MovieWeb

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13 great modern thriller directors

14 June 2016 9:59 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »




They’ve made some of the best thrillers of the past six years. We list some of the best modern thriller directors currently working...

Director Guillermo del Toro once described suspense as being about the withholding of information: either a character knows something the audience doesn’t know, or the audience knows something the character doesn’t. That’s a deliciously simple way of describing something that some filmmakers often find difficult to achieve: keeping viewers on the edges of their seats.

The best thrillers leave us scanning the screen with anticipation. They invite us to guess what happens next, but then delight in thwarting expectations. We can all name the great thriller filmmakers of the past - Alfred Hitchcock, Carol Reed, Brian De Palma - but what about the current crop of directors? Here’s our pick of the filmmakers who’ve made some great modern thrillers over the past six years - that is, between the year 2010 and the present.

Jeremy Saulnier - Blue Ruin, Green Room

To think there was once a time when Jeremy Saulnier was seriously quitting the film business.

“To be honest," Saulner told us back in 2014, “Macon and I had really given up on our quest to break into the industry and become legitimate filmmakers. So what we were trying to do with Blue Ruin was archive our 20 year arc and bring it to a close. Really just revisit our stomping grounds and use locations that were near and dear to us and build a narrative out of that.”

Maybe this personal touch explains at least partly why Blue Ruin wound up getting so much attention in Cannes in 2013, signalling not the end of Saulnier and his star Macon Blair’s career, but a brand new chapter. But then again, there’s more than just hand-crafted intimacy in Saulnier’s revenge tale; there’s also its lean, minimal storytelling and the brilliance of its characterisation. Blue Ruin is such an effective thriller because its protagonist is so atypical: sad-eyed, inexperienced with guns, somewhat soft around the edges, Macon Blair’s central character is far from your typical righteous avenger.

Green Room, which emerged in the UK this year, explores a similar clash between very ordinary people and extraordinary violence. A young punk band shout about anarchy and aggression on stage, but they quickly find themselves out of their depth when they’re cornered by a group of bloodthirsty neo-Nazis. In Saulnier’s films, grubby, unseemly locations are matched by often beautiful locked-off shots. Familiar thriller trappings are contrasted by twists of fortune that are often shocking.

Denis Villeneuve - Sicario, Prisoners

Here’s one of those directors who can pack an overwhelming sense of dread in a single image: in Sicario, his searing drug-war thriller from last year, it was the sight of tiny specks of dust falling in the light scything through a window. That single shot proved to be the calm before the storm, as Villeneuve unleashed a salvo of blood-curdling events: an attempted FBI raid on a building gone horribly awry. And this, I think, is the brilliance of Villeneuve’s direction, and why he’s so good at directing thrillers like Sicario or 2013’s superb Prisoners - he understands the rhythm of storytelling, and how scenes of quiet can generate almost unbearable tension.

Another case in point: the highway sequence in Sicario, where Emily Blunt’s FBI agent is stuck in a traffic jam outside one of the most violent cities in the world. Villeneueve makes us feel the stifling heat and the claustrophobia; something nasty’s going to happen, we know that - but it’s the sense of anticipation which makes for such an unforgettable scene.

Prisoners hews closely to the template of a modern mystery thriller, but it’s once again enriched by Villeneuve’s expert pacing and the performances he gets out of his actors. Hugh Jackman’s seldom been better as a father on the hunt for his missing child, while Jake Gyllenhaal mesmerises as a cop scarred by his own private traumas.

Lynne Ramsay - We Need To Talk About Kevin

Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin may be the most effective psychological thriller of recent years. About the difficult relationship between a mother (Tilda Swinton) and her distant, possibly sociopathic son (Ezra Miller), Ramsay’s film is masterfully told from beginning to end - which is impressive, given that the source novel by Lionel Shriver is told via a series of letters. Ramsay takes the raw material from the book and crafts something cinematic and highly disturbing: a study of guilt, sorrow and recrimination. Tension bubbles even in casual conversations around the dinner table. Miller is an eerie, cold-eyed blank. Swinton is peerless. One scene, in which Swinton’s mother comes home in the dead of night, is unforgettable. Here’s hoping Ramsay returns with another feature film very soon.

Morten Tyldum - Headhunters

All kinds of thrillers have emerged from Scandinavia over the past few years, whether on the large or small screen or in book form. Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters is among the very best of them. The fast-paced and deliriously funny story of an art thief who steals a painting from the wrong guy, Headhunters launched Tyldum on an international stage - Alan Turing drama The Imitation Game followed, and the Sony sci-fi film Passengers is up next. It isn’t hard to see why, either: Headhunters shows off Tyldum’s mastery of pace and tone, as his pulp tale hurtles from intense chase scenes to laugh-out-loud black comedy.

Joel Edgerton - The Gift

Granted, Joel Edgerton’s better known as an actor, having turned in some superb performances in the likes of Warrior, Zero Dark Thirty and Warror. But with a single film - The Gift, which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in - Edgerton established himself as a thriller filmmaker of real promise. About a successful, happily married couple whose lives are greatly affected by an old face from the husband’s past, The Gift is an engrossing, unsettling movie with superb performances from Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall as well as Edgerton.

A riff on the ‘killer in our midst’ thrillers of the 80s and 90s - The Stepfather, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and so on - The Gift is all the more effective because of its restraint. We’re never quite sure who the villain of the piece is, at least at first - and Edgerton’s use of the camera leaves us wrong-footed at every turn. The world arguably needs more thrillers from Joel Edgerton.

If you haven’t seen The Gift yet, we’d urge you to track it down.

David Michod - Animal Kingdom

The criminals at play in this true-life crime thriller are all the more chilling because they’re so mundane - a bunch of low-level thieves, murderers and gangsters who prowl around the rougher parts of Melbourne, Australia. Writer-director David Michod spent years developing Animal Kingdom, and it was worth the effort: it’s an intense, engrossing film, for sure, but it’s also a believable glimpse of the worst of human nature. Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver play villains of different kinds; the latter a manipulative grandmother who looks over her brood of criminals, the former a spiteful thief. Crafting moments of incredible tension from simple exchanges, Michod launched himself as a formidable talent with this feature debut.

Ben Affleck - The Town, Argo

Affleck’s period drama-thriller Argo won all kinds of awards, but we’d argue his earlier thrillers were equally well made. Gone Baby Gone was a confident debut and an economical adaptation of Dennis LeHane’s novel. The Town, released in 2010, was a heist thriller that made the most of its Boston setting. One of its key scenes - a bank robbery in which the thieves wear a range of bizarre outfits, including a nun’s habit - is masterfully staged. With Affleck capable of teasing out great performances from his actors and staging effective set-pieces, it’s hardly surprising he’s so heavily involved in making at least one Batman movie for Warner - as well as playing the hero behind the mask.

Anton Corbijn - The American, A Most Wanted Man

The quiet, almost meditative tone of Anton Corbijn’s movies mean they aren’t necessarily to everyone’s taste, but they’re visually arresting and almost seductive in their rhythm and attention to detail. Already a celebrated photographer, Corbijn successfully crossed over into filmmaking with Control, an exquisitely-made drama about Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis. Corbijn took a markedly different direction with The American, a thriller about an ageing contract killer (George Clooney) who hides out in a small Italian town west of Rome. Inevitably, trouble eventually comes calling.

Corbijn’s direction remains gripping because he doesn’t give us huge action scenes to puncture the tension. We can sense the capacity for violence coiled up beneath the hitman’s calm exterior, and Corbijn makes sure we only see rare flashes of that toughness - right up until the superbly-staged climax.

A Most Wanted Man, based on the novel by John le Carre, is a similarly astute study of an isolated yet fascinating character - in this instance, the world-weary German intelligence agent Gunther Bachmann, brilliantly played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Tragically, the film proved to be one of the last before Hoffman’s death in 2014.

Paul Greengrass - Green Zone, Captain Phillips

Mention Greengrass’ name, and the director’s frequent use of handheld cameras might immediately spring to mind. But time and again, Greengrass has proved a master of his own personal approach - you only have to look at the muddled, migraine-inducing films of his imitators to see how good a director Greengrass is. Part of the filmmakers’ visual language rather than a gimmick, Greengrass’ camera placement puts the viewer in the middle of the story, whether it’s an amnesiac agent on the run (his Bourne films) or on a hijacked aircraft (the harrowing United 93). While not a huge hit, Green Zone was an intense and intelligent thriller set in occupied Iraq. The acclaimed Captain Phillips, meanwhile, was a perfect showcase for Greengrass’ ability to fuse realism and suspense; the true story of a merchant vessel hijacked by Somali pirates, it is, to quote Greengrass himself, “a contemporary crime story.”

John Hillcoat - Lawless, Triple 9

We can’t help thinking that, with a better marketing push behind it, Triple 9 could have been a much bigger hit when it appeared in cinemas earlier this year. It has a great cast - Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus, Anthony Mackie and Aaron Paul as a group of seasoned thieves, Kate Winslet cast against type as a gangland boss - and its heist plot rattles along like an express train.

Hillcoat seems to have the western genre pulsing through his veins, and he excels at creating worlds that are desolate and all-enveloping, whether his subjects are period pieces (The Proposition, Lawless) or post-apocalyptic dramas (The Road). Triple 9 sees Hillcoat make an urban western that is both classic noir and entirely contemporary; his use of real cops and residents around the film’s Atlanta location give his heightened story a grounding that is believable in the moment. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the scene in which Casey Affleck’s cop breaches a building while hunkered down behind a bullet-proof shield. Hillcoat places us right there in the scene with Affleck and the cops sneaking into the building behind him; we sense the claustrophobia and vulnerability.

Hillcoat explained to us in February that this sequence wasn’t initially written this way in the original script; it changed when the director and his team discovered how real-world cops protect themselves in real-world situations. In Triple 9, research and great filmmaking combine to make an unforgettably intense thriller.

Jim Mickel - Cold In July

Seemingly inspired by such neo-Noir thrillers as Red Rock West and Blood Simple, 2014‘s Cold In July is a genre gem from director Jim Mickle (Stake Land, We Are What We Are). Michael C Hall plays an ordinary guy in 80s America who shoots an intruder who breaks into his home, and becomes drawn into a moody conspiracy that takes in crooked cops, porn and a private eye (who's also keen pig-rearer) played by Don Johnson. Constantly shifting between tones, Mickel’s thriller refuses to stick to genre expectations. In one scene, after Hall shoots the burglar dead, Mickel’s camera lingers over the protagonist as he cleans up the blood and glass. It’s touches like these that make Cold In July far more than a typical thriller.

Mickel’s teaming up with Sylvester Stallone next; we’re intrigued to see what that partnership produces.

Martin Scorsese - Shutter Island

As a filmmaker, Scorsese needs no introduction. As a director of thrillers, he’s in a class of his own: from Taxi Driver via the febrile remake of Cape Fear to the sorely underrated Bringing Out The Dead, his films are full of suspense and the threat of violence. Shutter Island, based on the Dennis LeHane novel of the same name, saw Scorsese plunge eagerly into neo-noir territory. A murder mystery set in a mental institution on the titular Shutter Island, its atmosphere is thick with menace. Like a combination of Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man and Adrian Lyne’s cult classic Jacob’s Ladder, Shutter Island’s one of those stories where we never know who we can trust - even the protagonist, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

David Fincher - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl

After the trial by fire that was Alien 3, David Fincher found his footing in the 90s with such hits as Seven and The Game. In an era where thrillers were in much greater abundance, from the middling to the very good, Seven in particular stood out as a genre classic: smartly written, disturbing, repulsive and yet captivating to look at all at once. Fincher’s affinity for weaving atmospheric thrillers continued into the 2010s, first with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a superb retelling of Stieg Larsson’s book which didn’t quite find the appreciative audience deserved, and Gone Girl, an even better movie which - thankfully - became a hit.

Based on Gillian Flynn’s novel (and adapted by the author herself), Gone Girl is both a gripping thriller and a thoroughly twisted relationship drama. Fincher’s mastery of the genre is all here: his millimetre-perfect composition, seamless touches of CGI and subtle yet effective uses of colour and shadow. While not a straight-up masterpiece like the period thriller Zodiac, Gone Girl is still a glossy, smart and blackly funny yarn in the Hitchcock tradition. If there’s one master of the modern thriller currently working, it has to be Fincher.

See related  John Hillcoat interview: Triple 9, crime, fear of comic geniuses Jim Mickle interview: Cold In July, thrillers, Argento Jeremy Saulnier interview: Green Room, John Carpenter Jeremy Saulnier interview: making Blue Ruin & good thrillers Denis Villeneuve interview: Sicario, Kurosawa, sci-fi, ugly poetry Morten Tyldum interview: The Imitation Game, Cumberbatch, Headhunters Paul Greengrass interview: Captain Phillips & crime stories Movies Feature Ryan Lambie thrillers 15 Jun 2016 - 06:11 Cold In July Triple 9 Shutter Island Gone Girl David Fincher Martin Scorsese John Hillcoat Directors thrillers movies »

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Insiders launch Lynne Ramsay thriller starring Joaquin Phoenix

10 May 2016 10:00 PM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Exclusive: Slate also includes Mustang director Deniz Gamze Erguven’s La riots picture Kings, starring Halle Berry, and Westgate terror attack drama. 

Joaquin Phoenix is set to star in Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, a character-driven thriller with heart revolving around a tormented war veteran with a troubled past. 

It is one of four high-profile projects being introduced to the market this Cannes by Insiders - the La-based sales company headed by Wild Bunch co-chief Vincent Maraval — alongside Oscar-nominated Mustang director Deniz Gamze Erguven’s Los Angeles-set Kings, starring Halle Berry, contemporary noir Under the Silver Lake and terror attack drama Westgate.

Ramsay project

In Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, Phoenix will play a damaged war veteran, now a freelance rescuer of women trafficked into the sex trade.

When the extraction of a girl from a Manhattan brothel goes wrong, a storm of violence and corrupt power is unleashed against him, stirring »

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United 93, ten years on

28 April 2016 4:20 PM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

David here, looking back at one of 2006's most contentious films ten years down the line.

I don't imagine many of us have watched United 93 more than a couple of times in the ten years since it debuted. Five years on from 9/11, it felt painfully raw and keenly sensitive, its depiction of the tragic events rendered with a wrenching immediacy borrowed from the handheld footage that had dominated the news coverage of events. It was, gruesomely, a cultural moment that instituted the world of smartphones and social media, news bursting from unpredictable sources, the traditional media outlets left as responsive collators of private material. United 93 showed us the reality of events with such intimacy that cinema's own mannered approaches towards realism rapidly became outmoded.


- Dave

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The Movies That Changed My Life: 'Between Us' Star Olivia Thirlby

20 April 2016 11:15 AM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Some young actors go for the brass ring immediately after getting a hit. Others just care about the material and doing good work. It may not always please their agent, but it creates a staying-true-to-your-sensibilities career path that’s filled with a palpable authenticity. Outside of “Dredd,” talented 29-year-old Olivia Thirlby has hardly ever starred in big-budget studio films. She burst onto the screen with magnetic charisma in David Gordon Green’s “Snow Angels,” and before that, she had a small but memorable role in Paul Greengrass’ “United 93.” She also turned heads with an unforgettable role in Jason Reitman’s “Juno,” as the perfect object of affection in Sundance hit “The Wackness,” as one half of a crumbling relationship in "Red Knot," and with quiet presence and sexual power in Ry Russo-Young’s deeply underrated “Nobody Walks.” Not all of these films are particularly big hits, but they are »

- Rodrigo Perez

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