7 items from 2015
This is a reprint of our review from the 2014 Venice Film Festival. Perhaps stung by the middling-to-poor reviews for her last film “Texas Killing Fields,” director Ami Canaan Mann (daughter of Michael) returns to screens under cover of absolute directorial anonymity with “Jackie & Ryan,” a movie hamstrung in its attempts to be a “Crazy Heart” or even a “Country Strong”-ish vehicle for Katherine Heigl by being more bland than a mashed potato dinner. It’s a strangely old-fashioned film, yielding a big enough crop of corn to revive the entire Midwestern economy, putting forth a dubiously romanticized view of the philosophical beauty of the train-hopping lifestyle. And while Ben Barnes does the film's decent music great justice with his surprisingly lovely singing voice, that’s really the only authentic feeling thing therein. “Jackie & Ryan" is supposedly all about learning how to git where ya gotta go, but none of »
- Jessica Kiang
Ballad of the Sad Doublet: Mann’s Warm, Simplistic Tale of Lonely Hearts
Recalling an era of simple, but warmly rendered studio features fitted specifically for their romantic lead properties, Ami Canaan Mann’s sophomore film Jackie & Ryan is indeed as plain as its aseptic title would indicate. A portrait of Middle American woes that could have easily been set in the Depression era, Mann’s straight laced storytelling makes for a surprisingly pleasant venture, even as top lined by a pair of dubious leads. But as warmly rendered as the film happens to be, it’s doubtful whether anything will remain very memorable once the credits roll.
Modern day drifter Ryan (Ben Barnes) is an aspiring folk singer, hopping around the country by train, the happy-go-lucky sort who seems to be engaged with life exactly as he wants to be. He stops off in Ogden, Utah, and while performing one day, »
- Nicholas Bell
The criminal caper that goes wrong is always good for a suspenseful, absorbing thriller movie. Just from memory there is The Asphalt Jungle, The Killing, (almost any classic film noir dealing with a criminal undertaking, if it didn’t go wrong it wouldn’t be noir now would it?) Odds Against tomorrow, Reservoir Dogs, Bob Le Flambeur, Rififi, and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.
The list is just about endless, in fact, precious few movies about criminals show the heist going off without a hitch. Add to that list 7 Minutes, a tough, unblinking look at a caper done by amateurs so desperate they are willing to risk everything to try and pull it off.
- Sam Moffitt
Hill Harper has booked a co-starring role opposite Jake McDorman and Jennifer Carpenter in CBS’ drama pilot, "Limitless," which is based on the 2011 feature that starred Bradley Cooper, itself based on the novel, "The Dark Fields," by Alan Glynn. The film told the story of a struggling writer who becomes a financial wizard, with the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access 100 percent of their brain abilities; but it also thrusts him into a dangerous new world. The TV pilot adaptation, which will be executive produced by Bradley Cooper, follows a similar narrative, except the lead character will use his newfound drug-enhanced abilities to solve weekly cases for the FBI. Hill Harper has signed up to play a character named Boyle, who is a former military officer, now an FBI asset with experience testing the effects of Nzt on FBI Special Agents. Marc Webb is directing »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Hill Harper has booked a co-starring role opposite Jake McDorman and Jennifer Carpenter in CBS’ drama pilot, "Limitless," which is based on the 2011 feature that starred Bradley Cooper, itself based on the novel, "The Dark Fields," by Alan Glynn. The film told the story of a struggling writer who becomes a financial wizard, with the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access 100 percent of their brain abilities; but it also thrusts him into a dangerous new world. The TV pilot adaptation, which will be executive produced by Bradley Cooper, follows a similar narrative, except the lead character will use his newfound drug-enhanced abilities to »
- Tambay A. Obenson
John Friedberg, evp of international sales and distribution at Qed International, is the latest high profile exec to exit the La-based production, financing and sales distribution company.
He joined the business in 2006 and his responsibilities crossed into all areas of the company.
In 2011, Friedberg was promoted to vp of international sales and was involved in sales and distribution on films including Sabotage, directed by David Ayer and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; Fading Gigolo, directed by John Turturro and starring Turturro and Woody Allen; and Alex Cross, directed by Rob Cohen and starring Tyler Perry.
He took on his most recent role in 2013 and handled international sales on David Ayer’s tank thriller Fury, starring Brad Pitt, which reportedly carried a $68m production budget and has grossed more than $211m worldwide.
Friedberg was also instrumental in bringing equity to [link »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
Exclusive Q&A: It arrived too late to factor in guild and critics awards, but the Clint Eastwood-directed American Sniper has established such a connection with American movie audiences that its dark horse chances of upsetting the Oscar status quo cannot be ignored. It passed Saving Private Ryan to become the highest domestic grossing war movie ever; it even shot past the U.S. gross of Bradley Cooper’s previous biggest hit, The Hangover, and trails only The Passion Of The Christ for biggest-ever R-rated domestic grosser. This, for a hard R film about the wartime exploits and horrors faced by the most dangerous sniper in U.S. military history, and the price paid by Chris Kyle, wife Taya, and his fellow soldiers tasked with door to door searches in Sadr City when it was the most dangerous place in Iraq.
Nominated for Best Actor for his spare portrayal of the Navy Seal sharpshooter, »
- Mike Fleming Jr
7 items from 2015
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