15 items from 2015
Could acoustic lightening strike twice? 2006 was a mythical, magical year for John Carney when Once took the Sundance Film Festival and film world by storm. With buffer items Zonad (2009) and The Rafters (2012) only whetting our appetite for another Carney gem, 2013’s surprise box office indie hit Begin Again (with Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine) sort of got us back in the saddle. We now come full circle back to another micro film with potentially lots of heart. Considered a cousin to Once, Carney enlists U2’s Bono and The Edge for the this when Irish eyes are smiling coming-of-ager romance. Currently in the midst of a certain restructuring, the Weinsteins picked up Sing Street in at the Cannes Film Fest in 2014 and it was kept off the 2015 slate. Could this semi-biographical tale be tuned up as a crowd-pleasing Park City item?
Gist: This tells the story of 14-year-old Cosmo, »
- Eric Lavallee
Welcome to today's edition of Nerd Alert, where we have all the quirky, nerdy news that you crave in one convenient spot. What do we have in store for you on this magnificent Monday? The Peanuts Movie gets a new remix, the San Francisco Giants recreate the Full House opening credits scene and Trainwreck's Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow crash a wedding. But first, we have an awesome Quentin Tarantino super cut, and a father creates a wonderful Star Wars baby rocker for his daughter's first birthday! So, sit back, relax and check out all that today's Nerd Alert has to offer.
Quentin Tarantino Supercut
Ollie Paxton has put together a wonderful supercut that showcases the gorgeous cinematography of Quentin Tarantino's films. What's interesting is the filmmaker has only used three Dp's throughout his illustrious career, with Andrzej Sekula shooting Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Guillermo Navarro shooting »
The constant big-budget movie releases with their A-list stars, state of the art technology, and expensive advertising campaigns can make it easy to forget that most of the movie industry just doesn’t have that kind of money. Most filmmakers are working with limited resources, yet producing films that are in many cases better than those big money movies. Other filmmakers work with even less, producing films that, in the end, are often relegated to the more obscure cable channels and the bargain bin at Amazon. B-movies have been called Hollywood’s stepchild, but what they really are is its life blood.
Only a few of these films make money, but they have a greater value than simply being good for business: they are good for filmmaking. With little money, no stars, scripts that are disjointed, and often featuring poor production values, the B-movie is the primordial ooze from which new talent and ideas crawl. »
- Gregory Small
Music and Sex: Scenes from a life - A novel in progress by Roman AkLeff (first installment can be read here; second here; third here; fourth here).
Other opportunities to interact with women included the marching band. It wasn't much of a band, but that didn't bother Walter. That meant it didn't take up much of his time. With the occasional exception, the same songs were played at every football game, so one rehearsal per week sufficed. In high school he'd been the third or fourth best trombonist, but here there was just one other trombonist, and they were on par with each other. If Walter felt like skipping rehearsal one week, nobody cared, since the music was easy and he could sight-read it adequately.
Nor did he have to practice marching formations, because they really didn't bother with that. Their formations were a sort of rebellion, illustrations synced to »
If you're like us and value your sleep, you probably nodded off into your Ambien dreamland before the party started on post-prime time TV. Don't worry; we've got you covered. Here's the best of what happened last night on late night.
It was St. Patrick's Day Tuesday night, so the late night talk shows celebrated. There was a lot of good stuff going on, related to the holiday or not. Jimmy Kimmel got drunk and slurred his words on air while doing squats with Julia Louis-Dreyfus on his back, but wait a minute on that. Seriously, though, it was that kind of night overall.
Will Ferrell was on David Letterman's show - dressed as a leprechaun - and sang his own version of "Danny Boy," focused around snakes. It was very emotional, and left Dave in tears. Will was very serious about St. Patrick's Day and the dangers of snake attacks. »
- Gina Carbone
The thought of snapping your fingers to the tunes of your favorite fictional bands in film seems rather unreal. After all these movie music-makers seem like the “reel” deal in terms of their celluloid artistry and sense of colorful on-screen showmanship.
However, some of the fictional bands or musical acts we know very well and consider so fondly actually morph into real-life acts. Also, there are real-life bands that share a “fictionalized existence” on screen as well (for instance one can try and divide the musical phenomenon of The Beatles as treasured pop cultural entities from the mop top maniacs they portrayed on the big screen in A Hard’s Day Night or Help. Some may argue they were the one in the same in front of and away from the rolling cameras).
Whatever your definition of what constitutes a favorable fictional band in film at the present moment just »
- Frank Ochieng
The story, which is based on David Park’s novel, starts as the peace treaty is signed in Northern Ireland. The U.K. prime minister sets up a body modeled on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is headed by career diplomat Henry Stanfield (Allam). Stanfield soon uncovers some inconvenient truths about those now running the country, which they are not willing to let him reveal.
The cast also includes Sean McGinley (“Michael Collins,” “Braveheart,” “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”), Tom Goodman Hill (“The Imitation Game,” “Mr Selfridge”), Conleth Hill (“Intermission,” “Salmon Fishing in Yemen,” “Game of Thrones”) and Ian McElhinney (“Game of Thrones”). Declan Recks directs.
- Leo Barraclough
The musical collaboration of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová in 2005’s Once plays just like a summer romance – passionate, unforgettable, and short lived. Once tells the story of a street musician (Glen Hansard) and a Czech immigrant (Markéta Irglová) during an eventful week as they write, rehearse and record songs that reveal their unique love story. The duo’s performance in the film was the couple’s first time working together, making Once an extremely unique and one of a kind cinematic experience. Originally meant for Cillian Murphy of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy fame, the role of “Guy” was given to director John Carney’s former bassist of his band The Fames. Met with critical appraisal, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune called it, “the most charming thing I’ve seen all year,” and even Steven Spielberg was quoted as saying “A little movie called Once gave me »
- Christopher Clemente
There are only two weeks left of blind auditions, so it's going to take someone pretty special to get those coaches to turn around - they're running out of space on their teams pretty quickly, after all...
There are 12 acts we get to see on Saturday who are hoping that they've got what it takes to impress and make it through to the battle rounds. But if you want a little bit more info on who they are and what they'll be singing, you're in luck - we have all the gossip here...
1. Karl Loxley - 24, Coventry
Song: 'Nessun Dorma' - Turandot
What you need to know: Karl - who studied musical theatre at Guildford School of Acting - works in a supermarket but also performs at residential homes, working men's clubs and festivals. He has a lot of elderly fans, including a friend called Liz in her »
The actor-musician will sing “Lost Stars,” nominated for Best Original Song
Also Read: Oscars 2015: The Nominees (Photos)
“Adam Levine is an exceptional and dynamic artist. We’re thrilled to have him make his Oscars stage debut this year,” said Zadan and Meron.
“Lost Stars” is written by former New Radicals »
- Linda Ge
By Anjelica Oswald
Of the five Oscar-nominated original songs for the 87th Academy Awards, Selma’s “Glory” and Beyond the Light’s “Grateful” are the only songs that solely play over the end credits of their respective film. The other three songs — “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie, “Lost Stars” from Begin Again and “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me — are all performed at some point during the film.
Now, that’s not to say that the end-credits songs aren’t relevant to the plot. Both “Grateful” and “Glory” stick with the themes of their respective films and summarize relevant events, even if they aren’t integral to each plot’s progression.
“Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie is featured in the film as a popular song in the Lego universe, one the characters sing along to, but »
- Anjelica Oswald
It has been seven years since Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová stood on an Oscar stage, stunned and humbled while accepting the Best Song award for their timeless ditty, “Falling Slowly,” from Once. Slowly, the imitators of that modest Irish masterwork have started to appear. Song One, the debut film from Kate Barker-Froyland, owes much of its flavor and feeling to John Carney’s gen. From the downbeat acoustic touches and low-fi feel to the location shoots inside Williamsburg music stores and concert halls, her film tries to depict both the joy and grit involved in making music that Once displayed with ease. However, despite some lovely chemistry from the lead actors, Song One is too pleasant and not powerful enough to hook you into the central romance. Mere minutes after viewing the film, one also strains to remember how any of the tunes went.
Like an early scene from Once, »
- Jordan Adler
Can a song save your life? That was the question posed in “Begin Again,” John Carney’s followup to the beloved indie musical “Once.” That film, formerly titled “Can A Song Save Your Life?” wasn’t so hot, but a more authentic version of the same kind of story and organizing principle is realized in “Song One.” Starring Anne Hathaway, Johnny Flynn, Mary Steenburgen and Ben Rosenfield, “Song One” is set in the singer-songwriter music scene in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and is about a young woman (Hathaway) who strikes up a unlikely relationship with her ailing brother's favorite musician. The movie features original songs written by Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice and features live performances by musicians like Sharon Van Etten, The Felice Brothers, Dan Deacon, Paul Whitty, Naomi Shelton and Elizabeth Ziman. Here's our review from Sundance, and here's the movie's official synopsis: Oscar® winner Anne Hathaway (Interstellar, »
- Edward Davis
After Gravity blew your eardrums out of the airlock in 2013 with its seamless mix of sound effects and music, it was hard to imagine a film wowing just as much the year after, but 2014 was a year in which movie soundtracks became, if anything, even more intricate, from films about the nature of being a musician to those that replicated the noise of human existence for alien senses.
Before 2014 becomes a distant ringing in the ears, here are the top 14 movie soundtracks of the year.
Once you've heard Mica Levi's soundtrack to Under the Skin, everything else sounds both disappointing and even more exciting. I say 'soundtrack' because, like the best movies, Jonathan Glazer's sci-fi understands that sound and music are two halves of the same hastily-conceived metaphor. »
One of the most disappointing realities about 2014 was that as box office shrank compared to last year, independent films were often hit the hardest. Despite stellar reviews, even festival darlings like “Whiplash,” “Foxcatcher,” “The Skeleton Twins” and “Dear White People” each grossed less than $10 million domestically. Here are the 17 most underrated movies of 2014 that deserve a second look in the opinion of Variety’s film critics and reporters.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s biggest, most buzzed-about performance of 2014 may have been in “Nightcrawler,” but his best work could be found in “Prisoners” director Denis Villeneuve’s existential thriller about a mild-mannerded Toronto history professor who discovers he has a doppelganger in the form of a bad-boy bit-part movie actor. Virtually a solo — make that dual — performance piece, with Gyllenhaal playing most of his scenes opposite himself (and, in one case, a giant tarantula), this freewheeling mash-up of Davids Cronenberg and Lynch »
- Peter Debruge, Ramin Setoodeh, Scott Foundas and Jenelle Riley
15 items from 2015
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