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★★★★☆Back from his Hawaiian Island odyssey with George Clooney and The Descendants (2011), Us filmmaker Alexander Payne (Election) returns to the American heartland for Nebraska (2013), a stripped-down family drama set within the sparsely populated state. Shot in colour digital to facilitate international television sales before reverting back to an intended monochrome aesthetic for general release, Nebraska serves as a touching obituary to a long-departed era; one that the film's grizzled protagonist, Woody (an Oscar-tipped Bruce Dern), seems unable to leave behind despite his son's (Will Forte) fervent protestations. »
- CineVue UK
Digital Release Date: Jan. 3, 2014, Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Jan. 14, 2014
Price: DVD $29.99, Blu-ray $39.99
Studio: MGM Home Entertainment/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Directed by Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry), the horror film tells the story of Carrie White, who’s bullied at school and controlled by her overly religious mother (Julianne Moore, (6 Souls). When she’s pushed too far at her senior prom, Carrie unleashes her telekinetic power on her small town.
Despite critical darling Moretz’s starring role, the 2013 Carrie didn’t wow critcs, earning a 49% approval, according to Rotten Tomatoes, compared to a 92% for the original 1976 film that stared Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. Big audiences didn’t show up for the new version at the theaters, grossing Carrie $35 million.
Rated R, Carrie also stars Gabriella Wilde (The Three »
David O. Russell's American Hustle tops the New York Film Critics Circle list of award winners, taking away Best Film, Best Screenplay (Eric Singer & David O. Russell), and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence). The third edition of feminist film journal Cléo has arrived, and the theme this time around is "Doom". Among the juicy contents: an interview with Claire Denis by Kiva Reardon, and a piece on Peter Tscherkassky by Tara Judah. The end-of-year lists are pouring in: Tiff's Canada's Top Ten; Sight & Sound's best films of 2013; John Water's top ten for Artforum.
Above: the first images from Gregg Araki's White Bird in Blizzard, starring Shailene Woodley and Eva Green. We haven't heard whispers about Scorsese's The Irishman for a while, but word is that it's slated to go in production after Silence. For his blog, David Bordwell writes on "Hitchcock, Lessing, and the bomb under »
- Adam Cook
Alexander Payne directed and co-wrote only six films, including Election, About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants, but he’s regarded as one of the best American filmmakers working today. He’s directed some of the best performances from Hollywood’s top actors, including Paul Giamatti, Jack Nicholson, and George Clooney in starring roles, and he and his writing partner Jim Taylor have picked up two Oscars for best adapted screenplay. His new film, Nebraska, stars Bruce Dern, who won the best actor award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Nebraska adds another strong resonant chapter to Payne’s remarkable filmography, so we thought we should take a look back at his career. Here is our list of his movies in order of least favourite to favourite. Enjoy!
Directed by Alexander Payne
USA , 2011
In tone, approach, and general structure, »
Alexander Payne is steadily crafting a body of work that will cement his place as one of America's great filmmakers. He skilfully dissects the small fish in that biggest of ponds - the United States - tracing the spirit of optimism and defeat through films like Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants and, now, Nebraska, a priceless gem of a comedy drama starring Bruce Dern.
The ageing process emphasises that gradual erosion of hope, as does the gritty monochrome print he employs here. And yet, much laugh-out-loud comedy is derived from the futility as Woody (Dern) drags his broken-down body across Middle America to present a certificate that names him the winner of a million dollars. His son David (SNL alumnus Will Forte) bangs his head against a wall »
Confusing a freebie magazine coupon for for a million-dollar lottery ticket, octogenarian Woody (Bruce Dern) is hell-bent on heading 800 miles north to claim his winnings, even if it means walking. So his son David (Will Forte) finds himself compelled to take his dad on a roadtrip via his old hometown in this touching comedy/ drama from Alexander Payne, director of the Oscar-winning The Descendants. »
In the pursuit of 'reality', filmmaker Alexander Payne (The Descendants) has a penchant for casting untrained locals in supporting roles, adding an unquantifiable amount verisimilitude to his pictures. In Payne's latest Nebraska, the cracked and tanned faces of local townsfolk sneak into the foreground and background of nearly every shot. The fact that these "real people" are cast opposite "real actors" (like Bruce Dern and Will Forte) somehow legitimizes the picture. In talking with star Will Forte, he was quick to note just how accurate Nebraska (the film) is to the place it takes its name from. Forte is a natural fit to the "reality" of Nebraska, his low-key charm and aw-shucks smile blending in naturally amongst the locals. One could almost be mistaken into thinking the SNL veteran was some resident talent Payne discovered just before shooting. In the following interview with Will Forte, he discusses shooting in Nebraska »
- Tommy Cook
Alexander Payne, the director of The Descendants, Sideways and About Schmidt, has a new film, Nebraska. It's simple and brilliant, beautifully nuanced, funny, well acted and generous. It's in black and white and begins with an old man walking down the side of a highway in cold weather in Billings, Montana. This is Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), and he's planning to walk to Nebraska to collect his million dollars from a sweepstakes notice he's received in the mail. Every American adult has received such a notice. Printed like a deed, it says you've won a million bucks. Only in the fine print does it say you've won only if your numbers match. It's a trick to sell magazine subscriptions.
The movie refuses the »
The American Midwest's spare, glum beauty is conjured in Alexander Payne's lugubrious road comedy
At the start of Nebraska, Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), confused and old, is seen slouching doggedly along a highway on the outskirts of his town. "Hey, bud, where ya headed?" asks a solicitous cop. But where can Woody possibly be headed? It takes just one look at the nondescript urban expanse; at the chimney belching out fumes in the background; at the sign reading "Billings City Limits" (that's Billings, Montana) to know he can't be going anywhere special. This is the back of beyond, right? And Woody's surely on the proverbial Road to Nowhere.
In fact, Woody is determined to get to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he's convinced that a million dollars are his for the claiming. It's usual in American cinema to assume that areas such as the stretch between Billings and Lincoln, some 800 miles away, »
- Jonathan Romney
Little White Lies Weekender, London
The best-designed film magazine on the shelf celebrates its 50th issue with a display of its unimpeachable good taste – mostly. The selection is largely overlooked/underpraised auteur classics, such as Harmony Korine's Gummo, Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch Drunk Love, Lynch's Mulholland Drive, and obscure 1970s road movie Wanda. There are also previews of future releases like Lukas Moodysson's We Are The Best!, plus 1980s Irish "thriller" (and Adam and Joe favourite) Taffin – a monumentally bad movie that definitely didn't get Pierce Brosnan the Bond gig. If you're quick, you can still catch Lwl's pop-up shop in Old Street, too.
Ica, SW1, Fri to 8 Dec
Cinema Palestino: Bristol Palestine Film Festival
Two events to bring us up to speed on Palestine's unique cultural and political situation, both of which »
- Steve Rose
I’ve loved acclaimed writer/director Alexander Payne’s work since 1999s hilarious classic, Election (which is still my favourite of his titles). He’s continued to make remarkable, yet low-key personal indie dramas with a biting satirical edge, of which include awards favourites Sideways, About Schmidt and The Descendants.
His latest, Nebraska, is gaining further rave reviews with Hollywood veteran Bruce Dern as an ageing, booze-addled father. He decides to make the trip from his home in Montana to Nebraska alongside his estranged son (Will Forte), after believing an internet spam message has him as the winner of a million dollar Sweepstakes prize.
You can check out our review from the London Film Festival, by clicking on the link. In the meantime, why not check out these amusing character profiles and latest clip.
- Craig Hunter
Starting its limited release in the Us earlier in the month, and arriving in the UK at the end of next week, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska has been one of the most talked-about films on the festival circuit this year.
Last week, Paramount released two new character featurettes for Dern and his on-screen wife, Kate Grant (June Squibb). And as promised, the studio has returned this week with the final profile for Dern’s on-screen son, David, played brilliantly by Will Forte.
- Kenji Lloyd
Team Fox Searchlight should be returning to the winner’s circle at the next edition of the Indie Spirits awards. After winning with Black Swan three years back, and losing out in the Best Feature category with Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Descendants, Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years a Slave leads all other films with seven nominations Best Feature, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography and three of the four acting categories. Alexander Payne’s Nebraska follows with six noms. Both Sundance (Fruitvale Station) and SXSW (Short Term 12) winners figure among the noms, but they weren’t as plentiful with only three noms a piece. Among our favorite titles for 2013 which were left off the scorecard, David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother of George Saints got no recognition, while Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love would have got my vote for the Annual Someone To Watch Award. »
- Eric Lavallee
Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock (The Heat, The Blind Side) and George Clooney (The Descendants, Up in the Air), has captured cinema-goers' imagination everywhere, performing incredibly well in box offices around the world. But it seems this modern masterpiece originally had a different ending.
We here at Flickering Myth have unearthed this exclusive alternate take (embedded at the bottom of this article), from when Cuaron and his son, Jonas, were struggling over how the story should end. And, obviously, it contains a major spoiler if you haven't already seen the movie. So turn back now if you've yet to see it...
Seriously, spoiler coming up.
Gonna ruin the movie for ya.
Even the video's screenshot gives it away.
So we're just gonna add a few more lines.
So you don't.
It's all on you now.
Here it is:
- Oliver Davis
Action icon Jean-Claude Van Damme steps into the comedy genre with his latest movie Welcome to the Jungle. Cinedigm has released the first trailer, which follows a former Marine (Jean-Claude Van Damme) who leads a corporate retreat gone awry, with this group of office workers stranded on a remote island. Take a look at the latest footage from director Rob Meltzer's comedy, arriving in theaters and on VOD formats February 7, then read the official press release for more details.
Take a hilarious journey into the heart of madness when Welcome to the Jungle arrives in theaters and via VOD February 7.
Featuring an exceptional cast of comedic talent including legendary action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme (The Expendables 2), Adam Brody (Burning Love, The O.C.), Megan Boone (The Blacklist), Kristen Schaal (30 Rock, Bob's Burgers), Rob Huebel (The Descendants, Childrens' Hospital), and Dennis Haysbert (24, The Unit, Major League), the laugh-out-loud comedy follows »
Take a hilarious journey into the heart of madness when Welcome To The Jungle arrives in theaters and via VOD February 7. Check out the trailer below.
Featuring an exceptional cast of comedic talent including legendary action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme (The Expendables 2), Adam Brody (“Burning Love,” “The O.C.”), Megan Boone (“The Blacklist”), Kristen Schaal (“30 Rock,” “Bob’s Burgers”), Rob Huebel (The Descendants, “Children’s Hospital”), and Dennis Haysbert (“24,” “The Unit,” Major League), the laugh-out-loud comedy follows a group of unsuspecting office workers who find themselves stranded on a desert island when a corporate retreat led by unhinged former Marine Storm Rothchild (Van Damme) goes horribly wrong.
Now Chris (Brody) and his co-workers must battle nature — and each other — to survive!
The Salt Company presents, »
- Michelle McCue
Nebraska is the first film you've directed that you didn't have a hand in writing. How did it come about?
Two dudes who produced Election for me many years ago showed me the script and asked if I knew someone who would be right to direct it. I said, "How about me?" But I didn't want to do it right after Sideways because I didn't want to do a second road movie in a row, so I returned to it after The Descendants.
You grew up in Nebraska and this is your fourth film set there [after Citizen Ruth, Election and About Schmidt]. Is it a case of "film what you know"?
I like filming there. It's filming what I know but also filming what I don't know, because I don't know those rural areas very well. »
- Killian Fox
Payne’s leading star this time around, Bruce Dern, has been abuzz with critical acclaim since the film’s Cannes debut – you can read our review here. And now Paramount has released two new character profiles for Dern and June Squibb, his on-screen wife, who stars opposite him as the rather feisty Kate Grant.
After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father (Bruce Dern) thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son (Will Forte) into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America.
Will Forte’s performance as the duo’s son, David, is nothing short of brilliant, and certainly worthy of going to the Oscars alongside Dern. »
- Kenji Lloyd
After using her break-out performances in The Descendants to attain roles in the coming-of-age drama The Spectacular Now and her very own Ya franchise, Divergent, Shailene Woodley also went down the arthouse route with Mysterious Skin director Gregg Araki. After a shoot late last year, we now have the first still from the project, titled White Bird in a Blizzard. [...] »
- Jordan Raup
Nebraska opens in a handful of theaters this weekend, and while it might not be the splashiest debut at the box office this month, it's one of the worthiest. The family drama is director Alexander Payne's first film since 2011's Oscar-winning The Descendants, and stars Will Forte and Bruce Dern as a father and son who set out on an ill-fated road trip. Shot in black and white with the sprawl of the Midwest as its backdrop, this is a film bound to resonate with audiences. Here's why: It Features One of Those Rare, True Breakout Performances If you thought SNL alum Will Forte would forever be MacGruber in your mind, you have another thing coming. The comedian puts in a surprisingly quiet, defeated, and tender performance in Nebraska, laced with a subtle humor that The Falconer never possessed. It may have been an off-kilter and risky casting choice »
- Lindsay Miller
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