5 items from 2014
The original book, which was published in 1973, follows an American scientist who contacts the Kgb, claiming he wants to defect to Russia with U.S. military secrets. Ken Nolan changed the setting to modern-day, following an intelligence contractor who defects to North Korea, bringing a mysterious bag with him, in the immediate aftermath of the Edward Snowden case that made headlines around the world. The CIA brings in a washed-up officer who was trained during the Cold War and specializes in defections to help them with a case that becomes more complex than anyone can imagine.
Like most actors, Michael Keaton claims he doesn’t enjoy watching himself in his own movies. But when it comes to his buzzy starring role in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Birdman,” which Fox Searchlight opens in limited release Friday, he can’t stop watching himself — as if in disbelief that it’s really him up there onscreen. “I like this movie so much, I just can’t get enough of it,” he says over a recent lunch at Santa Monica’s Miramar Hotel, the day after he’d seen “Birdman” for the third time, at an Academy screening attended by his old “Batman” sparring partner, Jack Nicholson. “I’m watching this movie and I’m thinking, God, I love this movie. And then I realized: Wait a minute, I’m in this movie!”
Coming from most people, a statement like that would sound like false modesty at best and willful self-delusion at worst, »
- Scott Foundas
With The Company, Coco Before Chanel, Howl, Ginger & Rosa, Devil’s Knot and American Hustle under his belt, and a role in J.C. Chandor’s upcoming A Most Violent Year, Alessandro Nivola is quickly becoming the go-to actor for directors working on period pieces. Now, he’s added another one to his busy schedule in the form of civil rights biopic Selma.
Nivola will play civil rights activist John Doar in the movie, which Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere, ABC’s Scandal) is directing for Paramount and Pathe. Though the film is being marketed as a Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, it actually focuses on “the three attempts of black marchers to walk from Selma to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, in 1965 in order to gain voting rights. The first two times they were beaten back by police, and by the third time it had become a national crusade.”
- Isaac Feldberg
Cannes — French pay TV company Canal Plus has greenlit crime drama “Spotless,” which was co-created by Ed McCardie (U.K. version of “Shameless”), and Corinne Marrinan (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”).
The 10-episode series is to be produced by Tandem Communications, which is owned by Canal Plus’ production arm Studiocanal. Principal photography is set to begin this summer on location in London. The first two episodes will be directed by Pascal Chaumeil (“Heartbreaker,” “A Long Way Down”). Principal casting will be announced soon.
The show, which will be peppered with black humor, centers on a troubled man, Jean, whose tidy life is turned upside down when his outlaw brother, Martin, crash lands into his world, and gets both of them involved in the deadly dynamics of organized crime.
Played out against a backdrop of Jean’s niche crime-scene cleaning business, with gangsters, corruption, drugs and death a constant hazard, Jean, Martin »
- Leo Barraclough
A low-budget thriller that conserves its resources by restricting most of its action to the titular cold room, “Freezer” is a mediocre work built on a flimsy, nonsensical premise that squanders its modest potential with a cornucopia of bad plot twists. The film occasionally comes alive thanks to the strength of Dylan McDermott’s wise-cracking performance as a wronged man trapped by Russian mobsters, but the strained script rarely provides more than an occasional inventive moment. First theatrical feature in 15 years from prolific TV director Mikael Salomon (“Coma,” “The Company”) may find a niche genre audience on VOD.
Shot in an appropriately drab, low-grade style befitting the plot, the film opens with former con turned nice-guy mechanic Robert (McDermott) awaking in a meat freezer with ties around his hands and legs. He soon finds himself in front of two Russian thugs (Milan Malisic and Andrey Ivchenko) who only speak a single word of English: “money. »
- Peter Labuza
5 items from 2014
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