16 items from 2014
The Persian Gulf, where film distributor Gulf Film holds the lion’s share of the cinema market, looks radically different today than it did when the company launched 25 years ago.
The staggering growth of this high-striving region is evident in its sparkling skyscrapers, its smooth superhighways and its couture-packed malls.
But there’s another indicator that the Gulf’s growth remains firmly in the fast lane: its multiplex theaters, which have gained a serious foothold in this once cinema-shy region thanks primarily to Gulf Film.
Headquartered in Dubai and owned by Qatar Media Services (q.media), the media arm of the cash-flush Qatari government, Gulf Film has a 51% market share and distributes 150 titles per year, the vast majority of them Hollywood blockbusters and thrillers. One of every two films that comes to the Middle East today is handled by Gulf Film.
It holds an exclusive deal to distribute Paramount Pictures’ films in the Middle East, »
- Debra Kamin
(Note: This piece reveals details about the ending of “Magic in the Moonlight.”)
Amid this unusually busy season for faith-based cinema — or whatever we should call 2014’s bumper crop of Christian-themed and/or spiritually inclined movies, from “Son of God,” “Noah,” “God’s Not Dead” and “I Origins” to the still-forthcoming “Left Behind” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings” — the arrival of one of the year’s more prominent anti-faith movies should not go unnoticed. I’m talking about “Magic in the Moonlight,” the latest sun-drenched romantic travelogue from that fitful cinematic genius and self-styled nihilist philosopher, Woody Allen.
Fittingly enough for a story about professional magicians and wily con artists, the film unfolds against the French Riviera in 1928, a setting ripe with all manner of enchanting and seductive possibilities. But don’t let that title fool you: Earnest as it may sound, it actually begs to be read sarcastically. Allen »
- Justin Chang
Last year HBO announced it was turning Michael “Jurassic Park” Crichton’s Westworld into a TV series, and if it were anyone other than Home Box Office I’d have told them not to bother. There were attempts to remake the 1973 film which made more sense, but an entire season of faulty robot-based escapades…? The show Beyond Westworld didn’t fare well but still… the pedigree alone is enough to hold anyone’s interest. Add to that the production team of one J.J. Abrams and Jerry Weintraub (Tarzan), not to mention Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight, Person Of Interest) and it gets better. But the new casting announcement of Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood has officially kicked this project into the watch zone for me.
This version appears to take the emphasis away from theme parks gone wrong and has reimagined the concept as a Truman Show-type exploration of identity and artificial intelligence. »
- Steve Palace
In my opinion a new Woody Allen movie every year is a bit of a treat. Yes, they can disappoint such as Whatever Works, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and To Rome with Love, but they can also be true knock outs such as Vicki Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris, along with the stunning performance from Cate Blanchett in last year's Blue Jasmine, and that's only looking at the last six Allen films. He's directed nearly 50 over his illustrious career and I'd say his latest, Magic in the Moonlight, falls somewhere in the middle. Set in France in the 1920s, the film is complete with all the acerbic wit, pessimism for life and otherwise charm the better Allen films often exude. Magic in the Moonlight's first two-thirds are delightful as we're first introduced to Colin Firth in the role of Stanley Crawford, a pompous and arrogant »
- Brad Brevet
Legendary actor Larenz Tate is super busy right now promoting his new USA show Rush along with the film Gun Hill, but luckily we both just happened to be in the same VH1 elevator on the same day. Whew!!!
I mean, he’s been one of my favorite actors since way back in his Menace II Society days, so how could I Not freak out? 20 years later and he still looks good — thanks to the apparent vampire blood running through his veins. (Whatever works, right?) I never thought I’d stalk him in an elevator, let alone get acting lessons and advice on how to play twins. Awesome! I think meeting Larenz Tate defiantly counts as a life moment for me. Woohoo!!!!
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As a Woody Allen fan of long standing I don’t tend to see his movies based on the poster. Manhattan is obviously a standout but generally the emphasis is on the star names the director has managed to attract. Whatever Works featured a half-arsed shrug from Larry David as the credits emblazoned his crotch and the forthcoming release of Magic In The Moonlight takes a similarly thrown-together approach…
I think the idea is supposed to be that Emma Stone’s character annoys Colin Firth, but whatever the concept the flat, washed-out style of this doesn’t do it for me. What does grab the attention are the players, laid out in classic Allen font – a blend where Hollywood types rub shoulders with Eileen Atkins (Upstairs Downstairs) and Simon McBurney (Rev). They’ll be surrounding Firth’s master magician, who is summoned to the Jazz Age French Riviera to investigate Stone’s suspicious spiritualist. »
- Steve Palace
Woody Allen has opted to shoot his next film in Rhode Island, with lensing starting in July.
No distributor is yet on board. Sony Classics is opening “Magic in the Moonlight,” starring Stone, on July 25 and has handled distribution in the U.S. on Allen’s last six films, dating back to “Whatever Works.”
Casting on the untitled film is beginning next week with the movie is described as a “contemporary story” with academics, graduate students and middle and working-class characters.
The news was first reported by the Boston Globe.
- Dave McNary
Every Wednesday, FM writers Simon Columb and Brogan Morris write two short reviews on Woody Allen films … in the hope of watching all his films over the course of roughly 49 weeks. If you have been watching Woody’s films and want to join in, feel free to comment with short reviews yourself! Next up is You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and Everyone Says I Love You…
Simon Columb on You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger…
Squeezed between Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris are two less-known features. Whatever Works harks back to earlier scripts while You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is a mish-mash of actors and threads of stories that are, ultimately, forgettable. Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) divorces his wife, Helena (Gemma Jones), while daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) struggles with her own husband, Roy (Josh Brolin). Roy falls for younger-model Dia (Freida Pinto) as Sally »
- Gary Collinson
Since we never really know much about Woody Allen projects as the develop, this is a short but important update. The director and writer, who has been on a great run of films in the last decade that include Midnight in Paris, Blue Jasmine, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Match Point and Whatever Works, has picked one hell of a lead for his next film as Deadline reports The Master and Her star Joaquin Phoenix has been signed to lead the unknown project that starts shooting in July. This comes as we're still waiting to see a trailer for his forthcoming Magic in the Moonlight, slated to hit theaters late this summer on July 26th. Plot details are pretty scarce on Allen's summer release, but we know the film follows "an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle in the south of France in the 1920s against a backdrop of wealthy mansions, »
- Ethan Anderton
Friday is Manhattan‘s 35th birthday, and while Woody Allen‘s black and white love story may not have the prestige of an Annie Hall or the out and out hilariousness of a Love and Death, it does have one unique aspect — one of greatest May/December affairs in cinema. Plus we’re still three years from Annie Hall‘s 40th anniversary, and we’ve got to kill time somehow. But what is it that’s so special about the love between Allen’s balding, bespectacled Isaac Davis and Mariel Hemmingway‘s genteel young Tracy? Well, part of it is that Manhattan isn’t the story of Isaac and Tracy. It’s not really about anyone. It’s a film about a city; something made achingly clear in the title and the first three and a half minutes. We view the scenery of New York, we hear the music equivalent of New York (George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue »
- Adam Bellotto
Now I'm not saying I'm not a fan of Adam Brody and Chloe Sevigny, but I don't like seeing their names as the leads of Whit Stillman's upcoming Amazon pilot "The Cosmopolitans". It's just casting that's too on-the-nose given the show's plot -- a group of young American expatriates in Paris who are searching for love and friendship in a foreign city. As much as I love the synopsis for a Stillman venture, with these two in the lead I can almost hear the whiny, "witty", back-and-forth banter now, increasingly grating with every punchline and sip of espresso. It's like when Larry David starred in Woody Allen's Whatever Works (my review), the writing was on point, but the actor delivering it just seemed a little too perfect for the part. It doesn't make it necessarily bad, but just not as good as it could have been. Both Brody and Sevigny are Stillman veterans, »
- Brad Brevet
Destin Cretton (I Am Not A Hipster), who as well as this version also wrote and directed the short film on which Short Term 12 is based, is certainly a director to watch after his work on this movie, released in November of 2013 in cinemas and on Blu-ray and DVD just a week or so ago.
Set in a facility that cares for and houses foster kids that are in-between homes and for whatever reason are no longer with their birth families, the story of Short Term 12 follows a twenty-something manager of the facility named Grace, played with subtlety, heart and a wonderful sense of realism by Brie Larson (The Spectacular Now). Grace is juggling her work at the facility, her secret relationship with co-worker Mason, »
- Chris Cummings
News Ryan Lambie 13 Mar 2014 - 15:03
A stop-motion film by Terry Gilliam? The director's exclusively revealed that the makers of Coraline have approached about making one...
"The whole point of animation to me is to tell a story, make a joke, express an idea," director Terry Gilliam once said on the 1974 TV programme, Bob Godfrey's Do -It-Yourself Animation Show. "Whatever works is the thing to use."
Once he started directing live-action feature films with Monty Python And The Holy Grail (which he co-directed with Terry Jones) in 1975, Gilliam put aside the wonderfully creative cut-out animations that appeared in shorts like Storytime (1968) and Miracle Of Flight (1974), not to mention the surreal moments he brought to the TV series Do Not Adjust Your Set and Monty Python's Flying Circus.
For Gilliam, live-action became "the thing to use" for much of his feature directing career. But wouldn't it be great if he one day returned to animation, »
**Nothing about the personal life of Woody Allen will be discussed herein. This is a feature about his work and only that.**
Blue Jasmine has not only put Woody Allen back on the map, it’s given Cate Blanchett a career defining role. But you know that because you’ve seen it… Oh you haven’t seen it? Then you may not know it also stars Louis Ck, one of the world’s greatest stand-up comedians. In fact, over the last decade, the diminutive director has released a film a year, from the terrific (Midnight In Paris) to the downright forgettable (Cassandra’S Dream… No, me either). In that time he’s worked with some people you might not expect. For instance…
- John Sharp
Sony Pictures Classics has snapped up their seventh Woody Allen acquisition, taking North American rights to the director's next film, "Magic in the Moonlight," a period piece set in the South of France in the 1920s. It stars Colin Firth as an Englishman who arrives to investigate a possible scam among the high society of the Riviera. Eileen Atkins, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden, Simon McBurney, Hamish Linklater and Jacki Weaver also star. Spc also nabbed 2013 hit "Blue Jasmine," "Midnight in Paris," "To Rome with Love," "Whatever Works," "Sweet and Lowdown" and "You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger." Meanwhile, Allen will be honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at Sunday's Golden Globes, but as per usual he's not expected to make an appearance; Diane Keaton will instead do the honors on his behalf. »
- Beth Hanna
It's become quite obvious what draws me to the theater more than anything, the work of directors I've come to admire, appreciate and expect great things from. Certainly a film's subject matter adds to that excitement, but most often it's because the directors I most anticipate tell stories I most want to see brought to life. However, what today's list of my top ten most anticipated movies of 2014 illustrates is that even when the subject matter isn't necessarily something in my immediate wheelhouse, the thought of a new movie from one of my favorite directors makes such subject matter immediately more interesting. Or, as in the case with one particular film on this list, the subject matter, the development of the film itself and the talent involved makes it an obvious choice for my top ten, which we'll get to right now... If you've missed any of the previous installments »
- Brad Brevet
16 items from 2014
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