7 items from 2015
When Johnny Depp‘s mustache comedy “Mortdecai” brought in less than $5 million on opening weekend, it marked the A-list actor’s fifth straight box office bomb. But he’s far from the only top billed actor to endure a tanker or two.
Also Read: 19 Biggest Box-Office Bombs and Bummers in 2014: From ‘The Giver’ to ‘Winter’s Tale’ (Photos)
- Travis Reilly and Todd Cunningham
The 51-year-old actor adds another flop to his already long streak, but other actors aren’t betting their careers on only box-office bankability
The actor plays the Wolf in Disney’s ensemble musical “Into the Woods,” but his last leading man hit was 2011’s installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Last year’s “Transcendence” fizzled, as did 2013’s “The Lone Ranger” and »
- Linda Ge
At the premiere in New York of Kevin Macdonald's action-packed marine thriller Black Sea, starring an intrepid Jude Law with Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn, I asked Law about his relationship to the ocean and talked with producer Charles Steel about the horror of shackled skeletons. Screenwriter Dennis Kelly gives the world an ultimatum and I found out from the director that for him grapefruit rituals differ from continent to continent.
Law's face in Black Sea, looking a bit more roughed up and disillusioned than we are used to, commands the story of survival and greed. Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot meets Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer, meets Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly. The latter because of the team of McNairy [as Daniels] and Mendelsohn [as Fraser]. The two actors form again a wildly entertaining duo of unsavoury immoral characters. »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
While it’s being treated to a December release in his native UK, director Kevin MacDonald’s latest feature film, Black Sea, gets plopped into Us theaters in January, perhaps signaling a wise move so that it will stand out amidst the litter of debris that constitutes the vein of awards fodder holdovers and studio doldrums flooding the theaters during that season. Fresh from his enjoyable dip into Ya dystopia with How I Live Now, MacDonald returns to a tale bearing a bit more historical baggage, spiriting us away into a homosocial space of mounting tensions and rival cultural attitudes. A likeable lead performance from Jude Law plus a handful of nervy twists and turns helps its claustrophobic narrative chug along to a finale of limited possibilities.
Being informed he’s about to be laid off by his employer, »
- Nicholas Bell
The Sundance Film Festival’s Premieres section is “A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated narrative films of the coming year.”
Mississippi Grind — Image courtesy of The Sundance Institute
From the writing and directing duo that brought us Half Nelson and It’s Kind of a Funny Story comes Mississippi Grind, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn as a pair of desperate gamblers on the road. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have thus far earned a solid indie reputation, so there’s not much reason to doubt that they’ll deliver engaging content even if one’s unsure of the acting team that’s being put to task. Reynolds’ name may suffer from overexposure in big studio flops like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Green Lantern, whereas Mendelsohn’s growing respectability flies well below pop culture’s radar. »
- Lane Scarberry
If you are a Hollywood film fan, especially those more into the darker R rated genre, then you probably have seen some of producer Adi Shankar’s films. He has been behind the action thrillers The Grey and A Walk Among the Tombstones (both starring Liam Neeson), Lone Survivor (Mark Wahlberg) and Killing Them Softly (Brad Pitt), among others.
Now, the young producer is bringing the Hindi film epic drama Gangs of Wasseypur to the Us. Gangs of Wasseypur is director/writer/producer Anurag Kashyap’s ambitious and extraordinary blood-and-bullets-fueled crime saga that charts 70 years in the lives – and spectacular deaths – of two mafia-like families fighting for control of the coal-mining town of Wasseypur, India. Inspired by the real-life exploits of local gangs the film, Gangs of Wasseypur is produced by Guneet Monga (The Lunchbox), and boasts an incredible cast, including Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jaideep Ahlawat, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Piyush Mishra, »
- Stacey Yount
While we're in the season of the industry congratulating itself, if there was an Oscar for Keeping Cinephile Hope Alive, it would be awarded to producer Megan Ellison. Under her Annapurna Pictures banner, she has shepherded the kinds of risky, adventurous filmmaking that the studios generally don't want to invest in these days, and this nearly three-minute supercut is a highlight reel of what she's brought to screens from 2012 onward. Why is that such a pivotal year? Well, it arguably marks the start of the run of the movies that made her name, and associated Ellison with some of the most talented contemporary filmmakers of the current generation. Hell, the list of movies speaks for itself: "Lawless," "Killing Them Softly," "The Master," "Spring Breakers," "Zero Dark Thirty," "The Grandmaster," "Her," "American Hustle," and "Foxcatcher." Whether it's a true story military procedural, a »
- Kevin Jagernauth
7 items from 2015
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