6 items from 2014
By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter
Michelle Monaghan, one of the most underappreciated actresses working today, has starred in two films — both tiny indies — in which she portrays a character employed in a stereotypically masculine job who is struggling to juggle her work responsibilities with the stereotypically feminine responsibility of raising a young child.
The first, which came out six years ago, was James Mottern‘s Trucker, and she deserved a best actress Oscar nomination for her work. (Don’t take my word for it; the late Roger Ebert wrote at the time, “Her performance clearly deserves an Oscar nomination.”) Unfortunately, though, despite the best efforts of the film’s tiny distributor, Monterey Media, the film never quite made it onto the radar of the Academy’s acting branch.
- Anjelica Oswald
The difficulty of being a woman in a man’s world — namely, the U.S. military — is the clear takeaway from “Fort Bliss,” . But it’s hard not to watch writer-director Claudia Myers’ solid, affecting drama without picking up on a similarly bothersome subtext about the dearth of substantial mainstream roles for an actress as good as Michelle Monaghan. Chronically underserved by Hollywood (with the arguable recent exception of HBO’s “True Detective”), she gives a typically fine, flinty and effortlessly moving performance in a low-budget indie vehicle that deserves broader exposure than it’s likely to receive in limited theatrical and VOD release.
A prologue set in Afghanistan’s Helmand province offers a brief, persuasive survey of the horrors of war and immediately establishes how well equipped Staff Sgt. Maggie Swann (Monaghan) is to deal with them, as she calmly and efficiently removes a deadly piece of shrapnel from »
- Justin Chang
• Lionsgate has purchased the North American rights for Dark Blood, the last film starring River Phoenix (My Own Private Idaho) before he passed away in 1993. Directed and written by George Sluizer (The Vanishing), the upcoming thriller follows the story of Boy (Phoenix), a young widower living as a hermit on a nuclear testing site in the desert. While traveling solo on his “second” honeymoon, Boy discovers a stranded Hollywood couple. Desiring the woman, Boy decides to hold them captive because he finds himself under the impression that he can create a better world with her. The upcoming drama, set to be released via VOD, »
- Pamela Gocobachi
Millennium Entertainment's CEO Bill Lee announced today that the company has acquired all U.S. rights to James Mottern's (Trucker) crime-thriller God Only Knows starring Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia, The Words), Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl, The Judge), Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs, Bad Lieutenant), Toby Jones (The Hunger Games), Kenny Wormald (Footloose), and Slaine (The Town). Written by Emilio Mauro (the upcoming Fox series The Middleman executive produced by Ben Affleck), God Only Knows was produced by Matthew E. Chausse and was shot in Rhode Island and Boston last fall.
Ben Barnes plays Nick, an ambitious young man running with the Boston crime syndicate. Once on the inside he realizes that the glory days of the Mafia are long gone. Behind his boss's (Keitel) back he decides to strike out on his own and expand the business. Seemingly on top of the world with more money than »
Story centers on an ambitious young man running with the Boston crime syndicate who realizes that the glory days of the Mafia are long gone. Without telling his boss (played by Keitel), he decides to strike out on his own and expand the business — putting himself and everyone he loves in grave danger.
- Dave McNary
The 37-year-old actress grew up in a town of 700, Winthrop, Iowa, and daydreamed of becoming a journalist.
"I grew up loving current events," Monaghan tells Zap2it. "You grow up looking out when there are not a lot of other things going on in your hometown."
Monaghan lived in town, but her family had a farm and grew corn and beans. Her summer vacations were spent detasseling corn.
"I would go through rows and snap it off for $5 an hour," she says. Monaghan left Winthrop for Chicago, where she put herself through college by modeling for catalogs.
At that point, »
6 items from 2014
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