20 items from 2015
It is ironic that people want to escape risk all the time but at the same time a large part of the populace is fascinated with gambling. The foremost example of this fascination is the spate of gambling movies which hit the screen every year. Some become part of pop culture, some win critical acclaim, and some set the box office on fire. But one thing is for sure: gambling aficionados watch them with great eagerness, sometimes in the hopes of catching a trick or two. Rain Man is one movie which comes to mind where the autistic lead character counts cards at a casino, but that one is not a gambling movie.
Now, there are different kinds of gambling. Some of them involve gambling as the main plot point while others have gambling going on in the background while the story takes its course. Casino is one example of »
- Gary Collinson
Atlas Distribution plans a September 2015 release for Werner Herzog's portrait of British Intelligence officer and cartographer Gertrude Bell "Queen of the Desert." But don't expect an awards candidate here. Despite kudos for Nicole Kidman's performance as Bell, the romantic drama opened grimly at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival. Kidman stars as Bell opposite Robert Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence (better known as Lawrence of Arabia) and James Franco as British army officer Henry Cadogan. Kidman's buddy Naomi Watts was reportedly originally cast in the role of Bell before it went to fellow Aussie Kidman. Damian Lewis costars. Herzog penned and directed the $36 million epic, which wrapped in Spring 2014 (around the time when we hoped to see the film at his Telluride stomping grounds) and was shot in Morocco, Jordan and London. This is Herzog's first narrative feature since 2009's hilarious, acid entertainment "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" starring. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
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- Christopher Campbell
Scavenger’s Song: Johnson’s Chilling, Stylized Sophomore Feature
Opening with a brooding, atmospheric ambience as we drift through a throbbing drug bust set to an electric synth score, Gerard Johnson’s exciting sophomore film, Hyena, recalls early 80’s efforts from the likes of Abel Ferrara or Michael Mann, an exciting concoction of style and tone overlaying familiar narrative tropes. Though the film doesn’t quite maintain this level of elation, dipping into a customary groove that reveals little outside of the inevitable consequences that accompany the actions we see here, Johnson proves to be a promisingly abrasive new voice coming out of the UK. Utilizing the talents of DoP Benjamin Kracun (For Those in Peril, 2013), and bringing along composer Matt Johnson and editor Ian Davies from his 2009 debut, serial killer film Tony, the end result is an unsettling nightmare sporting an arresting energy often absent from trajectories so recognizable. »
- Nicholas Bell
Ah, 1989. The year the Berlin Wall came down and Yugoslavia won the Eurovision Song Contest. It was also a big year for film, with Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade topping the box office and Batman dominating the summer with its inescapable marketing blitz.
Outside the top 10 highest-grossing list, which included Back To The Future II, Dead Poets Society and Honey I Shrunk The Kids, 1989 also included a plethora of less commonly-appreciated films. Some were big in their native countries but only received a limited release in the Us and UK. Others were poorly received but have since been reassessed as cult items.
From comedies to thrillers, here's our pick of 25 underappreciated films from the end of the 80s...
25. An Innocent Man
Disney, through its Touchstone banner, had high hopes for this thriller, »
Although your humble correspondent missed three days of TriBeCa films in a row due to a back injury, there was no way he could miss Maggie. Director Henry Hobson was able to attract Arnold Schwarzenegger to his low-key zombie project, despite the fact that Hobson was making his feature debut with a budget so small that you could make Maggie two or three times over for the amount that Arnold was paid to appear in Terminator: Genisys. The uniqueness of Hobson’s vision is evident from the first scene, where he is able to establish clearly the particulars of his zombie semi-apocalypse with only the barest minimum of exposition. As society teeters on the edge, both law and medicine struggling to handle the “Necroambulist” virus, Abigail Breslin plays the infected Maggie and Schwarzenegger plays her father, agonizing over the decision of what to do when she turns.
So many »
- Mark Young
On behalf of his 2012 film "The Motel Life," Stephen Dorff will attend the 17th annual Ebertfest this year. Directed by Alan Polsky (a producer on Herzog's "Bad Lieutenant") and Gabe Polsky (director of 2014 doc "Red Army"), this working-class crime drama got a very positive review from Roger Ebert. The film was part of Dorff's career renaissance after getting a boost from Sofia Coppola's meandering "Somewhere." Also revealed is a list of panel discussions taking place at this year's Ebertfest from April 15-19 in Champaign-Urbana. On Sunday, April 19th following a screening of director Ethan Hawke's "Seymour: An Introduction," the film's subject, famed pianist Seymour Bernstein, will conduct an onstage master class with University of Illinois students. This year’s panel discussions, featuring many of the directors, actors, critics and other festival guests, including Heloise Godet, Godfrey Cheshire, Scott Foundas, »
- Ryan Lattanzio
I’m not the world’s biggest Abel Ferrara fan, but even I must admit that the 64-year-old director of Bad Lieutenant, King of New York, and Ms. 45 — he of the extended stretches of cataclysmic addiction and self-destruction and career implosion — seems like the ideal person to take on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. Strauss-Kahn (or Dsk as he’s more commonly known) was the former Imf head and budding leftist political savior busted for allegedly raping a maid in a New York hotel in 2011. Though the charges were later dropped, the case and its fallout uncovered a world of almost unimaginable debauchery and scuzziness, of international high-level sex rings and sex parties and, as one later accusation disturbingly (but memorably) put it, “aggravated pimping.” This is not the kind of material for a stately biopic or a political drama. This is nasty, strange business — perfect for Ferrara, whose work often »
- Bilge Ebiri
“If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning.” —Aristotele OnassisFor over forty years now Abel Ferrara’s cinema has spewed out from the gangrenous wounds of our civilization of images. Never mind how ugly it was, it was always in your face. And unapologetically so. The damnation of life, as low as it could possibly get, and the existential dirt polite society and cinema sweep under the carpet have been Ferrara’s carnal muses. If crime and the underworld were often his preferred milieu, it never was out of teen-aged fascination for the dark side of society but because there he senses and lenses the bio-illogical matrix of our lives: the law of the jungle rationalized into the language of the Bible. Redemption in his cinema is never a concrete possibility, it functioned as a sort of moral mirage for lost souls—the »
- Celluloid Liberation Front
Dunham is executive producing with her "Girls" partner Jenni Konner an HBO doc about Hilary Knight, the creator of "Eloise," as well as starring in Shonda Rhimes' "Scandal." And why Hollywood should follow TV's lead ("Empire," "How to Get Away with Murder," "House of Cards") and add some diversity to their slates. We talk about Abel Ferrara's run-in with French sales and production company Wild Bunch's usually close-mouthed Vincent Maraval, and trace his rise and fall, from "The King of New York" and "Bad Lieutenant" to his refusal to cut his latest film to a contractual R rating. Sometimes directors need protection and leadership from strong producers, we decide--from Ferrara to newcomers Damian Szifron ("Hollywood Tales") and Yann Demange ("'71"), who have been welcomed with open arms by Hollywood.Neill Blomcamp may need support too, as his latest "Chappie" has »
- Anne Thompson
Abel Ferrara, the rascally perennial New York filmmaker behind seminal tales of urban grime like "Bad Lieutenant" and "The Funeral," has never taken kindly to the idea of compromise. At the same time, the unruly, anarchic sensibility visible in his movies also colors his business dealings, to the point where the legitimacy of his routine complaints with collaborators are difficult to discern. Read More: Sex, Soul Searching & a Naked Gerard Depardieu: Abel Ferrara's Dsk Drama 'Welcome to New York' is Bonkers Such is the case with "Welcome to New York," Ferrara's gleefully vulgar portrait of disgraced French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn, which IFC Films releases in the U.S. on March 27. The movie, which stars Gerard Depardieu in the lead role, premiered at an unofficial screening in Cannes last May at the same time that it became available on VOD platforms in France. But it wasn't until the fall, »
- Eric Kohn
I am not sure about you, but I have not anticipated a film starring Gérard Depardieu in a long time. Come to think of it, I don't recall ever seeing a trailer for one of Depardieu's films and thinking that I just had to see it. But, when you team up with the director of Bad Lieutenant and Ms. 45, anything is possible. Abel Ferrara's Welcome To New York is one of those films that plasters the fact that it is based on a true story all »
- Alex Maidy
Abel Ferrara's Welcome to New York premiered at last year's Cannes Film Festival and will finally be hitting theaters and On Demand on March 27, though not without its share of controversy. IFC picked the film up for domestic distribution, reportedly with a contract from Wild Bunch that ensured it would be rated R upon release. Well, Ferrara wasn't too happy with that, quoted by The Hollywood Reporter saying, "Welcome to New York is not being distributed in the U.S. because of this company, IFC, which I'm totally disgusted wit... They knew from day one when they bought this film that they had the final version and that it wasn't going to becchanged." Well, I can tell you now the film is rated R "for strong sexuality, graphic nudity, a rape and language" and runs 108 minutes, 17 minutes fewer than listed at IMDb and with phrases such as "soft-core porn" being included in some reviews, »
- Brad Brevet
Cult favourite Nicolas Cage has carved out an eclectic and brilliant career spanning the decades and across genres, with forays into action, drama and comic book adaptations to name but a few. To celebrate the release of his latest film, Dying of the Light, out on Blu-ray and DVD from the 2nd March 2015 courtesy of Signature Entertainment, we take a look back at some of his greatest roles.
Dying of the Light (2015)
This brilliant thriller, directed by Paul Schrader and executive produced by cinematic wunderkind Nicolas Winding Refn, stars Cage as Evan Lake, a desk-bound Langley CIA agent, forced into retirement by signs of early onset dementia. At the same time he discovers that his former nemesis, Jihadist Muhhamed Banir (Alexander Karim – Zero Dark Thirty, TV’s Tyrant), is not dead as has been assumed for the last two decades, but alive and receiving experimental medical treatment. Banir’s exact »
- Phil Wheat
An appearance from Nicolas Cage in a good film now seems as common as a unicorn sighting or finding a Freddo that’s still only 10p. Whilst we still await the other two occurrences with great anticipation, Deadline have revealed that Cage will be making a potential comeback, courtesy of the Edward Snowden biopic from Oliver Stone which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Based on Luke Harding’s book ’The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man’ and ‘Time of the Octopus’ by Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden will tell the story of the U.S. whistleblower who sought asylum in Russia after leaking classified files from the Nsa to the media in 2013. Levitt is set to star as the titular secret-spiller, whilst Cage is down to play a former U.S. Intelligence official.
The Oscar winning star (yeah, that happened once) is just the recent »
- Nicholas Staniforth
What does it say that we've both put off discussing the new Werner Herzog film? I must admit my profound disappointment at Herzog's first fictional feature film since his two-shot salvo of The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and My Son, My Son, What Have You Done? in 2009 and certainly his most expansive drama for decades. With a cast of James Franco, Robert Pattison, and Damian Lewis led by Nicole Kidman, Queen of the Desert adapts the true saga of Gertrude Bell, an utterly unique woman who at the turn of the last century plunged into the deserts of the Middle East by herself and become better acquainted and more influential among its myriad tribes and factions than anyone else before and probably since.
Yet for a director so adept at discovering, eliciting and pursuing a kind of inspired mania and adventurousness in his fellow man, »
- Daniel Kasman
Featuring narration from The Craft's Fairuza Balk (and with clips of Robin Tunney, Devon Sawa and co), it made us feel a sudden pang of nostalgia and sent us on our own trip down memory lane to find out where they - and the rest of the '90s teen movie crew - are now.
So, here are 11 stars from some of our favourite '90s teen movies, and what they've gone on to do since:
He went on to play teenage prophet of doom Alex Browning in Final Destination (2000), and appeared as similarly unstable Stan in Eminem's controversial music »
Exclusive: Shawn Hatosy, who’s set to do a guest arc on Amazon’s February debut series Bosch, has signed with Mgmt Entertainment (née The Schiff Company) for management. The Faculty and Outside Providence thesp earned a Critics’ Choice nomination for his turn on the NBC/TNT police drama Southland and most recently co-starred as a deliciously complex dirty cop on CBS’ short-lived legal drama Reckless. Onstage he earned raves last summer for his turn in Neil Labute’s Reasons To Be Pretty at the Geffen Playhouse. Hatosy’s credits over two decades of screen acting include Nick Cassavetes’ John Q and Alpha Dog, Wayne Wang’s Anywhere But Here, In & Out, The Cooler, Public Enemies and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. He continues to be repped by Paradigm.
- Jen Yamato
Along with seven other films from Jafar Panahi, Benoit Jacquot, Bill Condon and more, Germany's biggest film festival added Werner Herzog's latest to its competition slate this morning. Herzog will attend the Berlin premiere of "Queen of the Desert," starring Nicole Kidman as British Intelligence officer and cartographer Gertrude Bell opposite Robert Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence (better known as Lawrence of Arabia) and James Franco as British army officer Henry Cadogan. Naomi Watts was reportedly originally cast in the role of Bell before it went to fellow Aussie Kidman. Damian Lewis costars. Herzog penned and directed the $36 million epic, which wrapped in Spring 2014 (around the time when we hoped to see the film at his Telluride stomping grounds) and was shot in Morocco, Jordan and London. This is Herzog's first narrative feature since 2009's hilarious, acid entertainment "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" starring Nicolas Cage. Now celebrating its 65th. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Five months after a management team led by Lee and Virgo Investment Group LLC partnered to acquire Millennium's 665 catalog titles and its distribution platform from a consortium of investors, they're calling the new company Alchemy. The key going forward for Lee will be rebranding Alchemy so that the expectations generated by the former management team headed by Avi Lerner no longer apply. Lerner is known for a certain kind of low-budget B-movie that plays off fast and does not demand substantial marketing investment--even when a quality film such as "Bernie," "What Maisie Knew," or "Bad Lieutenant" might need some special handling. Other Millennium releases included "Elsa & Fred," "Fading Gigolo" and "Rampart." Up next Alchemy will release director Barry Levinson’s "The Humbling," starring Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig. Clearly, Lee wants to proceed with new branding for this new »
- Anne Thompson
20 items from 2015
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