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‘Downsizing’: What Went Wrong with Alexander Payne’s Social Satire

  • Indiewire
‘Downsizing’: What Went Wrong with Alexander Payne’s Social Satire
It’s easy to forget how many times Alexander Payne has pulled off movies that, on their face, were nowhere close to commercial. Payne has crossed over between the arthouse and the mainstream throughout his career. He’s a strong writer-director with a good nose for what will play for smart audiences all over the country. Born in Omaha, Neb., he has a gift for finding the universal in ordinary people; he has the populist touch. Making people laugh is a surefire way of getting stories across — except when they don’t land.

Payne has enjoyed a remarkable run. He and his writing partner Jim Taylor (who dreamed up this “getting small” idea with his brother Doug) are Oscar perennials. They were nominated for writing “Election” (1999; $17 million worldwide) and producing with Jim BurkeThe Descendants” (2011; $175 million worldwide), a Best Picture nominee. Payne has won twice, for writing “Sideways” with Taylor
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Downsizing’: What Went Wrong with Alexander Payne’s Social Satire

‘Downsizing’: What Went Wrong with Alexander Payne’s Social Satire
It’s easy to forget how many times Alexander Payne has pulled off movies that, on their face, were nowhere close to commercial. Payne has crossed over between the arthouse and the mainstream throughout his career. He’s a strong writer-director with a good nose for what will play for smart audiences all over the country. Born in Omaha, Neb., he has a gift for finding the universal in ordinary people; he has the populist touch. Making people laugh is a surefire way of getting stories across — except when they don’t land.

Payne has enjoyed a remarkable run. He and his writing partner Jim Taylor (who dreamed up this “getting small” idea with his brother Doug) are Oscar perennials. They were nominated for writing “Election” (1999; $17 million worldwide) and producing with Jim Burke “The Descendants” (2011; $175 million worldwide), a Best Picture nominee. Payne has won twice, for writing “Sideways” with Taylor
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

'Downsizing' Box Office a Rare Miss for Alexander Payne

'Downsizing' Box Office a Rare Miss for Alexander Payne
Acclaimed filmmaker Alexander Payne and Paramount may have bet big on Downsizing, but the movie is doing miniature-like business at the year-end holiday box office.

If the R-rated satirical comedy doesn't make a miraculous recovery, it will mark the first major miss of Payne's career, whose past films include prestige titles Nebraska, The Descendants, Sideways, About Schmidt and Election.

Downsizing is also the third movie in a row starring Matt Damon that's disappointed in North America after 2017 titles Suburbicon, directed by Damon's longtime collaborator, George Clooney, and The Great Wall. Prior to that, Damon turned out box-office...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Joshua Reviews Alexander Payne’s Election [Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review]

Beginning his career as a shockingly independent voice in the world of film during the rise of American Independent cinema in the ‘90s, Director Alexander Payne has seen the trajectory of his career lead him from indie auteur into the world of studio executives and awards season chatter. Starting off with the controversial abortion drama Citizen Ruth (shouts to the queen Laura Dern), Payne’s career has seen him leap from taboo breaking to award bait making with the likes of The Descendants and this year’s impossibly dreadful Downsizing. However, there likely hasn’t been a high in his career quite like his second feature, Election.

One of the greatest and most well known films of its period, Election tells the story of Tracy Flick, a precocious young student, running for Student Council, and the teacher hell bent on ruining what she feels is her rightful place at the top.
See full article at CriterionCast »

‘Jackie Brown’ at 20: Pam Grier Has a Better Idea for an Ending

‘Jackie Brown’ at 20: Pam Grier Has a Better Idea for an Ending
Quentin Tarantino’s acclaimed crime thriller “Jackie Brown,” which celebrates its 20th anniversary on Christmas Day, was the filmmaker’s valentine to stars Pam Grier and Robert Forster.

Grier came to fame as the groundbreaking female action superstar of such Blaxploitation films as 1973’s “Coffy” and 1974’s “Foxy Brown.” Though Grier continued working in film and television, she hadn’t had a meaty leading film role since the demise of the genre.

Forster, who starred in such classics as Haskell Wexler’s 1969’s “Medium Cool,” was primarily doing “B” films and didn’t even have a manager or an agent when “Jackie Brown” came along.

Both veteran actors found their careers revitalized by the film. Grier earned a Golden Globe nomination for “Jackie Brown” and since has appeared in such TV series as Showtime’s acclaimed “The L Word” and films including “Larry Crowne,” and published her autobiography. Forster received a supporting actor nom as bail bondsman
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Downsizing movie review: let’s get small (#LFF2017)

MaryAnn’s quick take… Absolutely stupendous: smart, funny, poignant, a true original. A thrilling odyssey of ideas that takes its sci-fi concept to the very edges of extrapolation. I’m “biast” (pro): big fan of Alexander Payne; big science-fiction fan

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

There are too many people on planet Earth, and we are having a devastating impact on the planetary environment. What if, instead of reducing the number of people, we just… reduced the people? This is the premise of Alexander Payne’s (The Descendants, Sideways) first foray into science fiction, and it is absolutely stupendous: smart, funny, poignant, a true original. I love this movie: it moved me in ways I wasn’t expecting and craved more of. It’s one of the year’s very best films.

An air of calm academia surrounds the announcement,
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

'Downsizing' Review: Matt Damon Shines in 'Bracing Comedy of Shocking Gravity'

'Downsizing' Review: Matt Damon Shines in 'Bracing Comedy of Shocking Gravity'
Alexander Payne, one of our best and most inventive filmmakers, is thinking big about being small. In Downsizing, a bracing comedy of shocking gravity, Payne and longtime writing partner Jim Taylor posit a future where human beings are offered the chance to shrink down to about five-inches in size and thereby be less of a burden on the besieged environment. And the money part's not bad either in a world where a little truly does go a long way. Any volunteers?

Paul Safranek (Matt Damon at his Everyman finest ) is intrigued.
See full article at Rolling Stone »

‘Downsizing’ Review: Matt Damon Gets Small In A Smart, Funny & Human Movie With Big Ideas

‘Downsizing’ Review: Matt Damon Gets Small In A Smart, Funny & Human Movie With Big Ideas
There is no smarter director of wry and human comedy than Alexander Payne, whose filmography includes gems like Election, Nebraska, About Schmidt and Oscar-winning scripts like Sideways and The Descendants. As I say in my video review above, his latest, Downsizing, fits right in but also might be his most ambitious movie yet — certainly it is technically. In the vein of such great cinematic satirists as Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges, Payne and co-writer Jim Taylor
See full article at Deadline »

Alexander Payne on Tackling His Biggest Themes in ‘Downsizing’ and Why We ‘Need’ Horror Movies Today

Alexander Payne on Tackling His Biggest Themes in ‘Downsizing’ and Why We ‘Need’ Horror Movies Today
Alexander Payne recently had a business lunch with Jason Blum.

It may seem like an odd pairing. Payne is an Oscar-winning auteur known for such salt-of-the-earth comedies as “About Schmidt” and “Nebraska,” films where moments of levity emerge from a kind of hardscrabble realism. Blum, the hugely successful producer behind “The Purge” and “Insidious,” is a mogul of the macabre. But Payne, after seven movies that largely center on middle-aged schnooks, says he’s done with dramatizing the foibles of the pocket-protector set. He’s ready to shake things up.

“I want to do something different,” Payne tells Variety during a recent interview at Viacom’s Times Square headquarters. “How fun would it be to do a horror movie? They’re all the rage right now, and they make a lot of money.”

Before Payne can team up with Blum, however, he’s got a film to release. That’s why he’s flown to New York
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Win Passes To The Advance Screening Of Downsizing In St. Louis

Downsizing imagines what might happen if, as a solution to overpopulation, Norwegian scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall and propose a 200-year global transition from big to small. People soon realize how much further money goes in a miniaturized world. With the promise of a better life, everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha for a new downsized community, taking the irreversible leap that will trigger life-changing adventures when they become small.

Downsizing is directed by Academy Award© winner Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Sideways), starring: Academy Award© winner Matt Damon (The Martian, Good Will Hunting), Academy Award© winner Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained), Hong Chau (Inherent Vice, Big Little Lies), Academy Award© nominee Kristen Wiig (The Martian, Bridesmaids), Udo Kier (Melancholia), Jason Sudeikis (Colossal), Academy Award© nominee Laura Dern (Wild, Rambling Rose), Neil Patrick Harris
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

How ‘Downsizing’ Dp Phedon Papamichael, Director Alexander Payne Stayed Intimate With the Actors

How ‘Downsizing’ Dp Phedon Papamichael, Director Alexander Payne Stayed Intimate With the Actors
Downsizing,” one of the opening night films at the Camerimage film festival, is the fourth collaboration between director Alexander Payne and cinematographer Phedon Papamichael. Unlike the other three – “Sideways,” “The Descendants” and “Nebraska” – this new mix of comedy, drama and sci-fi uses plenty of visual effects to tell the story of a future in which many people miniaturize themselves in order to enjoy a better life.

Papamichael, who introduced the film, shot on Arri Alexa cameras using older Panavision lenses. Here he reveals how he and Payne were able to maintain the director’s signature style even on a large-scale movie.

Alexander Payne is known for actor-focused, intimate films. “Downsizing” is a bigger movie with lots of visual effects. Was that a big change for him?

It was definitely an adjustment for Alexander. When he and I shoot, we don’t really storyboard or do shot lists, we just bring in actors and see how they move
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Matt Damon and Downsizing Show Audiences an Eerie (and Tiny) Future

Matt Damon and Downsizing Show Audiences an Eerie (and Tiny) Future
Have you ever thought what it would be like to be really, really small? Probably—at least after the requisite childhood viewing of Indian in the Cupboard. Have you ever thought about what it would be like if Matt Damon were really, really small? Probably not. But now you'll never have to wonder. Downsizing, the upcoming flick from Oscar-winning director Alexander Payne (the man behind Sideways and The Descendants), explores that very question. It stars Damon and Kristen Wiig as a husband and wife in a not-quite-dystopic and not-quite-utopic future in which a company has figured out how to shrink humans down to fit in the palm of what used to be your...
See full article at E! Online »

Actresses Say Veteran 'CSI' Casting Employee Coerced Them Into Disrobing

Andy Henry, a veteran casting employee on CSI, was fired from the show and his own firm in 2008 after it came to light that he'd urged actresses seeking co-starring roles to disrobe during private, paid auditioning sessions, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Some of them did so, feeling compelled to please a key gatekeeper for entry-level parts.

The situation has never been publicly disclosed. Henry has gone on to work on major studio films, including as a casting associate on Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Descendants, The Amazing Spider-Man and Elysium.

Five women — who...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - TV News »

‘Daddy’s Home 2’ is Paramount’s Last Big Hope, But It’s Stuck With Last Place

  • Indiewire
‘Daddy’s Home 2’ is Paramount’s Last Big Hope, But It’s Stuck With Last Place
“Daddy’s Home 2” opens today with advance estimates around $20 million. That’s a modest number, but for Paramount that’s great news: Not since “Transformers: The Last Knight” in June has it seen a movie open to as much as $8 million, nor grossed above $18 million. The $69 million-budgeted comedy is a sequel to the original that grossed $150 million two years ago. (In this case, #2 at the box office was great: #1 was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”) The sequel reprises directing, writing and leads (Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell), with Mel Gibson and John Lithgow added as their intrusive fathers.

For Paramount, 2017 is the worst year in its history, and the release comes a week after in which two big news stories have rocked the studio. First, worldwide president of marketing and distribution Megan Colligan resigned, with claims of gender discrimination. Then, Paramount faced the abrupt end of a billion-dollar film financing deal with Chinese investor Huahua,
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Downsizing’ Trailer: Matt Damon Goes on a Shrunken Journey of Self-Discovery

‘Downsizing’ Trailer: Matt Damon Goes on a Shrunken Journey of Self-Discovery
Alexander Payne, the director of Election, The Descendants, and Nebraska, is doing something totally different for his newest movie. Downsizing – a film that features Matt Damon as a character who shrinks down to be only five inches tall – has the most fantastical premise he’s dealt with yet, but a brand new trailer for the movie has shifted […]

The post ‘Downsizing’ Trailer: Matt Damon Goes on a Shrunken Journey of Self-Discovery appeared first on /Film.
See full article at Slash Film »

Oscars Not So White: ‘Get Out’ and ‘Mudbound’ Lead Diverse 2018 Contenders

It would be lovely to think that last year’s “Moonlight” Oscar wins presaged a long and permanent shift in Hollywood movie culture. At the heart of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ complex diversity issue is how much the Oscars reflect the way that the Academy likes to view itself. That helps to explain why the Academy voters did far better with their 2017 Oscar nominations than the year before, when their 6,000 members failed to nominate any actors of color at all.

Read More:Barry Jenkins and Jordan Peele Among the 774 Invited to Join the Academy As It Pushes for Inclusion

The Academy’s recent diversity push added more younger and international members; its 7,000 voters are now 28 percent women and 13 percent people of color. But will the new membership shifts make a major impact on the 2018 Oscar nominations? Despite the new voters, the organization is still under the
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Oscars Not So White: ‘Get Out’ and ‘Mudbound’ Lead Diverse 2018 Contenders

It would be lovely to think that last year’s “Moonlight” Oscar wins presaged a long and permanent shift in Hollywood movie culture. At the heart of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ complex diversity issue is how much the Oscars reflect the way that the Academy likes to view itself. That helps to explain why the Academy voters did far better with their 2017 Oscar nominations than the year before, when their 6,000 members failed to nominate any actors of color at all.

Read More:Barry Jenkins and Jordan Peele Among the 774 Invited to Join the Academy As It Pushes for Inclusion

The Academy’s recent diversity push added more younger and international members; its 7,000 voters are now 28 percent women and 13 percent people of color. But will the new membership shifts make a major impact on the 2018 Oscar nominations? Despite the new voters, the organization is still under the
See full article at Indiewire »

Watch George Clooney Choose Between His Famous Friends in "Who Would You Call?" Game

Watch George Clooney Choose Between His Famous Friends in
George Clooney has a lot of famous friends in Hollywood. In a new game with E! News' Sibley Scoles, the Suburbicon director picked which pals he would call on for various scenarios. For instance, the Ocean's Eleven actor said he'd probably call Brad Pitt over Matt Damon to babysit the twins if he was going on a last-minute date night with his wife Amal Clooney. "Brad's got six kids. How many has he got? Matt's got four," Clooney said, pondering his response. "I guess I'd have to go with Brad on that one. He's got more kids—better juggling." Some questions were easy for The Descendants star to answer. When asked if he'd rather take dance lessons from...
See full article at E! Online »

Lff 2017: ‘Downsizing’ Review: Dir. Alexander Payne (2017)

Downsizing review: Four years after the stunning Nebraska, Alexander Payne returns with this incredible, shrinking-man movie.

Downsizing review by Awais Irfan.

Downsizing review

Four years since his last film, the Academy-Award nominated Nebraska, and director Alexander Payne finally returns with a bang with his latest film: Downsizing.

Matt Damon is Paul Safranek, a kindly occupational therapist. Him and his wife, Audrey (Kristen Wiig), are looking for a new home but, strapped for cash and wanting more out of life, the pair decide to “downsize” – a new procedure that shrinks its subjects to around 4/5 inches tall, one that is affordable and also environmentally friendly. Payne is perhaps best known for telling very different, very character-driven stories and Downsizing is no exception. This is as original and rich a story as they come.

Of course, similarly to Sideways and The Descendants, Downsizing is hilarious. It boasts a very mature, smart sense of
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Lifetime Achievement Award for Clooney by Amber Wilkinson - 2017-10-06 11:09:58

Clooney received a Best Actor nomination for Up In The Air Photo: Paramount Pictures Actor and filmmaker George Clooney is to receive the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award for his career.

Clooney, whose social satire Suburbicon - starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore - recently had its world premiere at Venice Film Festival, will receive the award on June 7, 2018.

Chairman of the AFI Board of Trustees Sir Howard Stringer said: "George Clooney is America's leading man. Director, producer, writer and actor - a modern-day screen icon who combines the glamour of a time gone by with a ferocious passion for ensuring art's impact echoes beyond the screen. AFI is proud to present him with its 46th Life Achievement Award."

Clooney is no stranger to accolades. He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Syriana and received Best Actor nominations for Michael Clayton, Up In The Air and The Descendants.
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »
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