18 items from 2014
Ever since the Cannes International Film Festival knocked down a few walls between itself and the West in 2001 with festival director Thierry Frémaux coming on board to liven up the Croisette with more of a Hollywood acceptance, the connection between the annual May event and the awards season has become more pronounced. Films like Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge!," Roman Polanski's "The Pianist," Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River," Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel" and David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence" all started their Oscar trajectories in the south of France, while others like Paul Greengrass' "United 93," Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Midnight in Paris" and Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" got high profile beginnings out of Competition. A coveted Palme d'Or win sometimes leads to a significant boost in the Oscar season, even if no recipient of the festival's »
- Kristopher Tapley
Tommy Lee Jones, Bennett Miller, David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan will duke it out with Jean-Luc Godard, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Michel Hazanavicius and the Dardenne brothers for the Palme d’Or at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival, which unveiled its official selection lineup this morning in Paris by fest topper Thierry Fremaux.
The wide-ranging competition slate is typically heavy on French filmmakers, with Olivier Assayas’ international co-production “Clouds of Sils Maria” and Bertrand Bonello’s fashion-designer biopic “Saint Laurent” joining Hazanavicius’ “The Search” and Godard’s 3D experiment “Goodbye to Language.” Fremaux noted that Godard, famously a no-show at the 2010 Cannes premiere of his “Film socialisme,” had “promised he’ll be there — which doesn’t mean he will!”
One of the more intriguing developments of this year’s competition is the unusual dominance of Canadian auteurs. »
- Justin Chang and Elsa Keslassy
Top 10 Ryan Lambie 2 Apr 2014 - 06:07
An all-star cast hunt down a female alien in 1995's Species. Here are 10 remarkable things about this very strange film...
Nb: this article contains some saucy language and imagery that may be considered not safe for work.
Director Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin took a B-movie concept - that of the female alien seductress - and turned it into an arthouse masterpiece starring Scarlett Johansson. 1995's Species, on the other hand, positively revels in its trashiness, with a mutating lady monster (played by Natasha Henstridge) scurrying around Los Angeles and attempting to copulate with its populace.
At the time of release, your humble writer went to a local cinema to watch Species with a group of friends, purely on the basis that it featured some creature designs by Swiss artist Hr Giger - most commonly noted for his work on the classic Alien. »
Debonair leading man Ryan Gosling has spent the last few years doing terrific work for stylists Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) and Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive). But, when it comes to mainstream roles, he is still resigned to being a part of the ensemble. Now, it looks like we’ll be getting to see the actor in an exciting starring part as he’s currently circling the glamorous role of legendary Hollywood choreographer Busby Berkeley for an adaptation of Buzz, a biography of the musical legend from author Jeffrey Spivak.
Berkeley is an icon for fans of the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema, with his extravagant dance numbers featuring many, many chorus girls. Even during a time before colour film, Berkeley’s show-stoppers were lively and animated. Besides his behind-the-scenes role for the innovative musical 42nd Street, Berkeley was also a director of titles like Gold Diggers of 1933 and Babe in Arms, »
- Jordan Adler
Actor to produce and possibly take lead role in film based on biography of celebrated choreographer and director
Gosling has signed on to produce a proposed movie from Warner Bros, which has optioned Jeffrey Spivak's biography Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley. The studio plans to develop the project as a vehicle for the star of Drive and Blue Valentine.
Born in Los Angeles in 1895, Berkeley rose to fame in the 1930s with his work on dance routines for hit Warner Bros musicals 42nd Street, Footlight Parade and Gold Diggers of 1933 – all of which were released in 1933 – and the following year's Fashions of 1934. He was known for his use of kaleidoscope-style imagery incorporating showgirls and props to create elaborate fantasy motifs. »
- Ben Child
"There's no tricks in the photography of Blue Valentine... the artifice of the movie-making isn't getting in the way of the experience, it's allowing for it." This is an excellent and informative filmmaking video that is a must-watch for any filmmaker. One name that many are already familiar with in the movie world online is Kees van Dijkhuizen, a young editor who was crafted some of the best cinematic montages and year-end recaps we've ever featured. His latest work is a video called Insight: Derek Cianfrance, looking at how Cianfrance constructs scenes in his films Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines. Kees uses commentary voiceover and sleek editing to make everything fascinating to listen to and learn from. Enjoy! This combines excerpts from two audio commentary tracks on the DVDs of both films, with video examples from each. The "original cut" has spoilers from Place Beyond the Pines and violence, »
- Alex Billington
Filming has wrapped on indie drama “The Secret Place,” starring Taylor Spreitler (“Melissa & Joey”), Peter Coyote, Gil Bellows, Mackenzie Phillips, Rex Lee, Elizabeth Pena, Amy Davidson and Amy Price Francis.
Keefe Kaupanger-Swacker and Will Newman produced and Bethany Cerrona co-produced for Jay Silverman Prods. Production on “The Secret Place” took place at locations in and around Los Angeles and Moab, Utah.
“In all honesty, choosing to shoot in Los Angeles helped keep production costs down,” Silverman told Variety. “We capitalized on a great horse ranch location within the zone and didn’t have one bad weather day in January or February. Additionally, most all of the cast lives in L.A. so we avoided traveling them to another state plus all the associated costs.”
Based on a true story, »
- Dave McNary
Rose Leslie, Ygritte from Game of Thrones, is accustomed to working in severe locales, like Iceland, so she’s only half joking when she says that one of the things that drew her to Honeymoon, the creepy romantic thriller that debuts on March 7 at SXSW, was the North Carolina weather. “I was very happy that I was allowed to wear t-shirts and shorts… and no more fur,” she says. “I was very happy that I wasn’t freezing.”
- Jeff Labrecque
Celebrating its thirtieth year back in January, the success of Sundance is perhaps most impressively illustrated in its ability to cross the Atlantic for the third year running, bringing Sundance London to our shores once more next month.
This morning Sundance London announced there were screening a series of films from the Sundance Collection, details of which can be found here. Showing films which were discovered at the festival, and those films including the early work of Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino among others, is testament to the importance of the festival – both for audiences and directors.
Every year it’s easy to mark out the filmmakers who have gone above and beyond their peers in bringing some of the finest work to the festival, but it’s not always quite so easy to see who among them will continue to tell greater and greater stories. This year, for example, »
- Kenji Lloyd
“Can this marriage be saved?” isn’t a question that needs asking, since it’s all too apparent the young newlyweds of “Another Year” are on mutually exclusive paths. Oxana Bychkova’s character study plays out over the course of a calendar cycle, charting the wife’s steady progress toward self-realization while hubby remains stuck in a sullen, unambitious immaturity — genus, male; species, Russian. Although comparisons with “Blue Valentine” won’t be favorable, “Another Year” benefits enormously from newcomer Nadya Lumpova’s standout performance, and while overextended, this solid relationship drama could draw niche Euro arthouse auds, spurred by Rotterdam’s Big Screen prize.
Based on a play by Soviet-era author Alexander Volodin, the pic begins on Dec. 27 and ends a year and a day later. Yegor (Alexey Filimonov) and Zhenya (Lumpova) are fresh out of college, married and in love. Despite a degree, he’s driving a gypsy cab, »
- Jay Weissberg
Did you know that over the past seven years, six films that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival have been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars? Or, that last year "Beasts of the Southern Wild's" Benh Zeitlin became only the third Sundance helmer after Peter Cattaneo ("The Fully Monty") and Lee Daniels ("Precious") to earn a Best Director nod? Were you aware of the impressive number of nominated actors whose performances first played Park City, including Melissa Leo ("Frozen River"), Jennifer Lawrence ("Winter's Bone"), Mo'Nique ("Precious"), Terrence Howard ("Hustle & Flow"), Michelle Williams ("Blue Valentine"), Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Laura »
- Gregory Ellwood
The film has opened to positive early buzz amongst festivalgoers, and it’s now officially amongst the early acquisitions. Fox Searchlight has announced that it has acquired worldwide rights to the existential drama, with Deadline hearing that the deal impressively closed around the $3m. mark.
Ian Gray, a PhD student studying molecular biology with a specialty in eye evolution, leaves his lab to go to a party and has an intense, but fleeting, encounter with a mysterious, masked model who escapes into the night. With only a picture of her stunning and iconic eyes, he tracks her down, and they fall in love. Their fundamentally different beliefs about life only serve to intensify their connection, and they vow to spend forever together. »
- Kenji Lloyd
The 2014 Academy Award nominations were announced this week and the relative snubbing of Captain Phillips, Saving Mr Banks, Inside Llewyn Davis and GI Joe: Retaliation is going to have us all cursing the Academy and discussing the actual quality of American Hustle until about May.
Nonetheless one of the great tragedies of my life is that I cannot actually watch absolutely everything ever that comes out and try as I might to rectify this, there simply are not enough hours in the day. There are a couple of films available on the streaming services that have just been nominated for academy awards this week which I have not had a chance to see thus far.
Those films are; The Square, nominated for Best Documentary Feature and now available on Netflix. The Square is about the uprising in Egypt in early 2011 that made the news around the world and the circumstances around this. »
- Chris Holt
The Hollywood producer explained that he had hoped to secure the British actress to promote The Weinstein Company, which he runs with his brother Bob.
He told Shortlist magazine: ''For whatever reason, somehow, we've done controversial movies and you end up being the face of your company.
"We desperately tried to get Keira Knightley to be the face of our company, but so did Chanel, and they paid better.''
He said: ''Michelle Williams got two Oscar nominations in the last two movies I did with her, and she chose Louis Vuitton. We couldn't find anybody else so me and my brother do it. We work for cheaper - not for free, »
Just ahead of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, AMC and Regal-owned indie distributor Open Road Films is replacing Ben Cotner, its departing senior VP of acquisitions, with new executive vice president of production and acquisitions, Peter Lawson. He'll have a chance to check out the Sundance world premiere of "The Case Against 8," which Cotner co-directed, which has already been acquired by HBO and will screen in competition in Park City. Lawson reports to Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films. Lawson was president of production for two years at Thunder Road, before which he was exec VP acquisitions and co-productions at The Weinstein Company, working on such films as "Lawless," the Oscar-winning "The Iron Lady," "Blue Valentine" and "Company Men." Before that he worked on the acquisition teams at Miramax Films and First Look Pictures. Lawson executive produced Thunder »
- Anne Thompson
Exclusive: A week before Sundance, Tom Ortenberg’s Open Road Films is strengthening its film acquisition team by hiring Peter Lawson and giving him the newly created title of executive vice president of Productions and Acquisitions. Lawson is a top-flight acquisitions exec who served stints most recently at The Weinstein Company and before that Miramax. He left to get a taste of production experience in big-sized studio films by joining Basil Iwanyk’s Thunder Road as production president. After two years, I’m hearing that he has shaken up his career Gps and is taking the exit from Thunder Road onto Open Road. Before he left TWC, Lawson worked on such films as the John Hillcoat-directed Lawless, The Iron Lady, The Company Men, Blue Valentine, The Intouchables and the docus Undefeated, Bully and The Tillman Story. At Miramax, his acquisition deals included The Diving Bell And The Butterfly. Before that at First Look Pictures, »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
Odd List Ivan Radford 7 Jan 2014 - 06:37
Last year may only be a memory, but its film themes linger in the mind. Here's Ivan's pick of 2013's best soundtracks...
Just a quick scan down the list below reveals an extraordinary breadth of genres and subject matters, from imposing, expensive science fiction films to quiet, intimate stories about men at sea on boats or outlaws breaking out of prison to be with their wives. Disparate though the films are, they're all linked by at least one common motif: their music is utterly brilliant.
So with 2014 already well underway, and an entire new wave of films with great music in them beckoning, join us as we look back to the movies of last year, their finest soundtracks, and the must-listen pieces of music you can dig out on each one.
Must-listen track: Don't Let Go
When does sound »
Oscar Predictions 2014: Best Actress (photo: Meryl Streep in ‘August: Osage County’) (See also: "Oscar Predictions 2014: Best Actor.") Compared to the vibrant Best Actor field, the 2014 Academy Awards’ Best Actress category looks somewhat anemic. Not in terms of quality, but in terms of quantity. Whereas ten actors could be called strong competitors for the Oscar 2014 shortlist, only five actresses can be considered truly strong candidates for this year’s Best Actress shortlist. Besides these five, there are three unlikely runners-up and a handful of long shots — and we mean "long" as in "light-years-away long." Note: Exact SAG Award and Academy Award matches are actually less common than you might think for the reasons mentioned in our previous Oscar 2014 predictions post (see link in the paragraph above). For instance, last year Marion Cotillard and Helen Mirren were both shortlisted for the Best Actress SAG Awards for, respectively, Jacques Audiard’s »
- Steve Montgomery
18 items from 2014
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