9 items from 2015
A filmmaker known primarily for his perceptive melodramas about women, from “Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her ” to “Mother and Child,” now turns his attention to a primal tale of fathers and sons — including the Son of Man himself — in “Last Days in the Desert,” a quietly captivating and remarkably beautiful account of Jesus’ time in the wilderness before the beginning of his ministry. Deliberately paced, sparely imagined and suffused with mystery, writer-director Rodrigo Garcia’s seventh feature is nonetheless quite lucid and accessible in its themes of empathy, compassion and sacrifice, and grounded by a Christ/Satan dual performance by Ewan McGregor that plays vastly better onscreen than it sounds on paper. While many will find the drama as arid as its parched surroundings, with a thoughtful and concerted marketing approach the picture might well appeal to art-minded nonbelievers and Christians open-minded enough to accept an off-Scripture narrative. »
- Justin Chang
You're seeing that damn J-Lo movie this weekend, right? I already saw it! Get this: creepier and better than you think! Definitely better than "Obsessed," which was not good or campy enough for human consumption. After you get your fix of the delicious Ryan Guzman, check back online to watch some of these classic stalker titles. Fatal Attraction (Netflix) Glenn Close is right: This movie is dated and treats mentally ill people unfairly. Here's where Glenn Close is wrong: It's still a watchable, entertaining movie still because Glenn Close is the best damn actress of the past 40 years. She is a risky artist who somehow got to be a gigantic star, and she did it by choosing projects that almost no one else could tackle. Adore her forever. "Dangerous Liaisons" is also an insane treat. Why did she do "Albert Nobbs" to us? Stalker (Hulu) The world did the right »
- Louis Virtel
Broad City, Season 2, Episode 2, “Mochalatta Chills”
Directed by Michael Bleiden
Airs Wednesdays at 10:30pm on Comedy Central
As many have already noted, 2015 (much like the previous year, really) looks to be the year of the half-hour comedy. As television becomes ever more saturated, it appears that the best work—comedic or dramatic—is happening in half-hour chunks. Transparent season one had more emotionally resonant, dramatic moments than any current drama series, but it’s typically classified as a comedy mostly because of the episodes’ 30-minute runtime. The fact is that television’s most remarkable work is being done in this format, and Broad City is certainly no exception.
In that spirit, let’s talk about the direction of the show, which is always impressive, but rarely discussed. Take several examples from this episode: How about Abbi’s glorious naked dance and lipsync to »
- Jake Pitre
Scott Davis on films to look out for at Sundance 2015…
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when many of Hollywood’s big hitters gather together to be awarded a variety of different prices on the Awards circuit, culminating with the 87th Academy Awards on February 22nd. But on Thursday weekend in west USA (namely Utah) the Sundance Film Festival kicks off again, and many of the world’s best independent films will get their debuts to the public, and the press, over the next few weeks.
Staff Writer Scott Davis takes a look at some of the films making their debuts, and digs deep to find the next gems that could be coming out way in 2015.
When an aging travel writer sets out to hike the 2,100-mile-long Appalachian Trail with a long-estranged high school buddy, the duo learn that some roads are better left untraveled. »
- Scott J. Davis
Chicago – This Thursday marks the beginning of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and yours truly will be in attendance to cover the fest for HollywoodChicago.com. Last year, the Park City, Utah event introduced the world to its 2014-defining sensations like “Whiplash” and “Boyhood”.
Those titles followed in the paths of indie landmarks such as “sex, lies and videotape,” “Clerks,” “Hoop Dreams,” “American Movie,” “Memento,” “Frozen River,” “Winter’s Bone,” and “Fruitvale Station,” among many others.
In pursuit of new favorite films for a new year, I’ve composed a relatively solid schedule so that I can devour as much diverse Sundance goodness as possible. Narratives, documentaries, white supremacists, nasty babies, Neil Hamburger, Chiwetel Ejiofor, stolen cop cars, and much, much more are all in play. But with hopes that everything I witness is the next “Boyhood”-like zeitgeist, I’ll be sure to report back here on what’s worth, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Mexican director Rodrigo Garcia has directed a variety of independent films, including the award-winning "Nine Lives "; the three-time Academy Award-nominated feature "Albert Nobbs, " starring Glenn Close; and "Mother and Child, " starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Samuel L. Jackson. In 2000, his first film as a writer and director, "Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her," won the Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival. His Sundance film "Last Days in the Desert" stars Ewan McGregor as Jesus Christ. What it's about: After several weeks fasting and praying in the wilderness, Jesus meets a family that lives in the desert, and becomes entangled in their problems. What it's really about: The influence of fathers on sons, and the sons' struggles to make their own life. Biggest challenge: The low budget was challenging, but I will admit that only with some embarrassment, since I'm sure it was »
- Casey Cipriani
Guillermo del Toro, Tommy Lee Jones, Luke Wilson and Bonnie Curtis will be inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in March as part of the Austin Film Society’s 15th annual Texas Film Awards, which celebrate the work of prominent Texans in the film industry.
Mexico native Del Toro, the director of films including “Pacific Rim” and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” has been deemed an honorary Texan, since he relocated to the state while making his films “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Blade 2.” Actor-director Jones — whose pic “The Homesman” is currently on the awards circuit – as well as producer Curtis (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Albert Nobbs”) and actor Wilson (“Anchorman,” “The Skeleton Twins”) all hail from Texas.
Posthumously inducted into the hall of fame will be L.M. Kit Carson, the filmmaker and journalist.
The Texas Film Awards are set for March 12 in Austin, just before the start of the SXSW Film Festival. »
- Gordon Cox
Take Me Out returned to an average audience of 2.97 million on ITV.
The dating show, which returned for its seventh season, attracted a 13.7% audience share from 8.30pm. A further 284k (1.4%) watched on ITV+1.
It was followed by The Hangover, which entertained 2.36 million viewers (13.3%) from 9.30pm.
Despite drawing criticism from some viewers, Frank Sinatra: Our Way debuted to an average audience of 4.16 million (20.9%) on BBC One at 7pm. The one-off crooning competition began the hour with 4.49 million viewers and ended with 4.05 million.
The National Lottery: Win Your Wish List followed with 4.11 million, while Casualty secured an evening high of 4.44 million (21.1%) at 9.05pm.
It was sandwiched between Sacred »
Blitzkrieg Bop: Harper’s Demurely Serviceable Horror Sequel Revels in Cheap Thrills
Director James Watkins scored a sleeper hit with his 2012 sophomore film, The Woman in Black, a UK period piece horror film concerning a nasty spirit stealing village children for her own very personal reasons. Moody ambience, a distinct creepy curio motif, and headlined by the dependable likes of Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds and Janet McTeer (the film receiving release around the time her Oscar nod for Albert Nobbs was announced), it was surprisingly adept in comparison to the usual effort administered in such derivative genre fare (though it isn’t nearly as taut as Watkins’s 2008 debut film, Eden Lake). And so, without further ado, a sequel was born (to be fair, this is the first sequel from Hammer Productions since 1974), this time directed by Tom Harper and sans any original cast members for The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death. »
- Nicholas Bell
9 items from 2015
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