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Natalie Portman and director Anna Rose Holmer (The Fits) appear to have hit it off. Last week, we saw them collaborate on the music video for the James Blake song “My Willing Heart,” a black and white short as beautiful as it is touching, showing a heavily pregnant Portman connecting with her unborn child in some downright amazing underwater photography. Now, after giving birth on February 22nd, she’s already back in the saddle to play the lead in Holmer’s next production, Bronco Belle, summarized as “Rocky on a bull.”
The film follows Raylene Jackson, a female bull rider described as a “vulnerable and determined American woman with a chip on her shoulder,” who’s struggling to be taken seriously in an extremely male-dominated sport. Indiewire goes on to report that Khurram Longi is on script duties and that “interest is already there” – and so it should be! After all, »
- David James
The clip is a meditative exploration that shows a distraught Mara dealing with the tragedy of her deceased spouse, often manifested as a simple ghost in a bed sheet.
“When I was little we used to move all the time,” Mara says. “I would write these notes, and I would fold them really small and I would hide them.”
“What did they say?” Affleck asks.
“They were just things I wanted to remember so if I ever wanted to go back, there would be a piece of me waiting,” Mara responds.
The film, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, takes place almost entirely in a single house in Texas with a ghost wearing the bed sheet after Affleck’s character dies in a car accident. »
- Dave McNary
Last week, Natalie Portman made news when she starred in the new music video for James Blake’s “My Willing Heart.” The black-and-white video was helmed by Anna Rose Holmer, the breakout director of “The Fits,” and features a very pregnant Portman connecting with her unborn child. Now, after giving birth to her daughter on February 22, the actress is already gearing up for a new project, which will reunite her with Holmer.
According to Deadline, Portman and Holmer are teaming up for “Bronco Belle,” which follows a bull rider (Portman) as she tries to make her mark in a male-dominated sport. Khurram Longi is handling the script. The project is being shopped around, and “interest is already there.”
- Yoselin Acevedo
Two of Hollywood’s hardest-working actors have teamed up with the distributor that made history at this year’s Oscars. Needless to say, awards voters will take notice. “A Ghost Story,” writer-director David Lowery’s haunting and poetic love story, will be presented later this year by A24, the company that catapulted “Moonlight” to Academy Award-winning glory. Filmed in Dallas, Texas, the indie premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews. Rooney Mara stars as a widow haunted by the ghost of her recently deceased husband: a figure draped in a white sheet with eye holes. Since procuring her second Oscar nomination in 2015’s “Carol,” the actor has appeared in an impressive amount of buzzy projects, including the recently released “Song to Song.” Casey Affleck, fresh off his Academy win for “Manchester by the Sea,” plays her ghostly companion. Described as everything from “daring” to “cartoonish” to “unforgettable,” Lowery »
If you only know Val Kilmer from his movies, you don’t really know Val Kilmer. The actor, who’s played everyone from Batman to Mark Twain onscreen and onstage, has what some might describe as an eccentric streak that most recently manifested in a series of tweets about Cate Blanchett over the weekend. The two appeared in Ron Howard’s “The Missing” and, more recently, Terrence Malick’s “Song to Song”; their time together appears to have left quite an impression on him.
“Once I flew all the way to Australia just to talk to Cate Blanchett,” Kilmer says in the first tweet, which is accompanied by a close-up photo of part of his face. “Her husband met me first. Or, instead, I guess, to be accurate.” He then introduces a hashtag and takes on »
- Michael Nordine
The Top Gun and Batman Forever star spent the weekend flooding his Twitter account with effusive posts lauding Blanchett, with whom he appeared in the 2003 Western The Missing and whom he again costars with in the new film Song to Song.
His posts included an admission that he once flew to Australia “just to talk” to the actress, only to be supposedly met at the airport by her husband, Australian playwright Andrew Upton. He »
- Michael Miller
Kilmer went on a multi-day tweet-storm about the Oscar-winning actress over the weekend, declaring his affection for her. “Once I did a cameo just to hang w/ #cateblanchett who pickd up a shovel in our sc. I was so dazzled by How she picked it up I forgot my line,” he wrote in one tweet — of many, some since-deleted.
So what about Blanchett left Kilmer so in awe?
In their film The Missing, »
- Lindsay Kimble
Welcome, one and all, to the newest episode of The Film Stage Show! This week, I am joined by Michael Snydel and Nick Newman to discuss Terrence Malick‘s Austin-set, music-centered drama Song to Song, starring Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, and Natalie Portman.
Subscribe on iTunes or see below to stream download (right-click and save as…).
M4A: The Film Stage Show Ep. 233 – Song to Song
00:00 – 1:32:20 – Song to Song Discussion
The Film Stage is supported by Mubi, a curated online cinema streaming a selection of exceptional independent, classic, and award-winning films from around the world. Each day, Mubi hand-picks a new gem and you have one month to watch it. Try it for free at mubi.com/filmstage.
E-mail us or follow on Twitter and Facebook with any questions or comments.
- Brian Roan
This weekend, strong holdover “T2 Trainspotting” outperformed Fox Searchlight disappointment “Wilson” at the specialty box office. Jazz documentary “I Called Him Morgan” is the bright spot among new specialty entries — at just one theater. This year, there are so many well-reviewed wide releases enjoying huge success with smart adults that the indies need a strong critical response to compete for moviegoers.
Wilson (Fox Searchlight) Metacritic: 50; Festivals include: Sundance 2017
$330,000 in 310 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $1,065
“Wilson” did not make a splash at Sundance, and even a top-flight specialized distributor like Fox Searchlight can’t transform a film with mediocre reviews into a success. It’s got a great pedigree — directed by Craig Johnson (“The Skeleton Twins”), Daniel Clowes adapted it from his own graphic novel and its includes Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern. Searchlight went with a non-platform wider initial release of 330 theaters. For all that, however, the results »
- Tom Brueggemann
Review by Stephen Tronicek
Terrence Malick makes films that are almost all ambient which means they are almost all mood, and as mood pieces they are masterpieces. Starting with 2012’s To The Wonder, (The Tree Of Life still being firmly rooted by a script and still containing a semblance of pre-planned structure) Malick has started to move away from the more focused narrative efforts that defined his early career and find himself in a more ambient experimental territory. Both Knight Of Cups and Song To Song find themselves deeply nestled in a lack of cohesion, but this lack of cohesion allows both films to present the emotions of their characters with striking clarity. Whether or not you’d like to experience those is up to you.
Song To Song is a frustrating film, that is intentionally so to give its audience emotional clarity. The film focusses on the relationships of four individuals in the Austin, »
- Movie Geeks
A.V. Club film critics A.A. Dowd and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky are fans of Terrence Malick, the legendary (and legendarily reclusive) American director behind Days Of Heaven, The Tree Of Life, and The New World. But is there a limit to how much of the director’s tricks—the wall-to-wall voice-over narration, the constantly gliding Steadicam, the twirling movie stars—a cinephile can stomach? This week, our film staffers are talking about Malick’s new Austin-set love triangle, Song To Song, and why it tried their patience more than the filmmaker’s other recent work.
Watch the full episode of Film Club below.
- A.A. Dowd, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
What Are You Watching? is a weekly space for The A.V Club’s film critics and readers to share their thoughts, observations, and opinions on movies new and old.
Unlike my colleague Jesse Hassenger, who gave it a positive review in these fine digital pages, I thought Terrence Malick’s Song To Song was ass-numbing drivel. It’s an Adam and Eve story that, aside from some scenes filmed at Austin music festivals, has the mise en scène of porn. This is a statement of fact: Much of the movie is set in hotel suites and realtor-ready mid-sized mansions that look like the crew rented them about two hours before filming, with the actors tossing around bed linens and touching each other’s faces in an endless clothed dance that approximates sex. And then there’s the famous Malick backward walk, which has been repeated to the point of »
- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
This year’s Oscars saw the biggest mistake in the history of the Academy Awards when Warren Beatty announced Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” as the Best Picture winner when, in reality, the award belonged to Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight.” While on stage to receive the award that ended up not belonging to his film, “La La Land” star Ryan Gosling caught everybody’s attention for his reaction to the whole chaos: he just couldn’t stop giggling.
The actor had not offered any explanation for his reaction until Wednesday.
“What really was happening as I was watching, it was surreal anyway, I was watching people start to have this panicked reaction in the crowd and guys were coming on with headsets and I felt like someone had been hurt,” Gosling »
- Yoselin Acevedo
One of the biggest upsets in Oscars history happened this year when La La Land was crowned best picture instead of Moonlight, the rightful winner. While many were visibly shocked, Ryan Gosling seemed unbothered as he smiled during the painfully awkward incident. During an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, the actor was asked about his reaction, to which he responded, "What can you say? I was very happy for Moonlight at the same time. It's such a wonderful film. It's great to see such great work acknowledged." The following day, Ryan spoke at Adobe Summit's digital marketing conference in Las Vegas, and furthered touched on the matter, saying it was "surreal" and he thought someone had been hurt as he "was watching people start to have this panicked reaction in the crowd and guys were coming on with headsets." "I thought there was some kind of medical situation, »
- Monica Sisavat
The South by Southwest Film Festival remains a reliable industry getaway to both catch a first look at A-list Hollywood projects and stumble upon important rising actors and visionaries. This year was no exception, and though the fest’s opening and closing films (Terrence Malick’s “Song to Song” and Daniel Espinosa’s “Life”) received lukewarm receptions, newfound gems abounded elsewhere. The SXSW Jury Awards often highlight promising indie talent, such as past winners Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Short Term 12” and Lena Dunham’s “Tiny Furniture.” This year’s Narrative Grand Jury prize went to Ana Asensio’s “Most Beautiful Island.” Shot on super 16mm, the taut dramatic thriller tracks a few days in the life of an undocumented Spanish immigrant trying to make a living in New York City by increasingly grim means. The film, inspired by Asensio’s personal experiences, is the former telenovela actor’s feature »
By Eric Blume
It’s difficult to review Song to Song, the latest film from Terrence Malick, because based on the standards of cinema (plot, characters, structure, acting, etc.), it’s a pretty terrible movie. But with this film, Malick continues his journey to discover some sort of new cinematic language and style that has a weird beauty all its own.
The story, such as it is, revolves around three people in the music business (played by Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, and Ryan Gosling). They go in and out of relationships with each other and a few other folks (notably Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, and Bond girl Berenice Marlohe). Malick gives you no real sense of time, so it’s never 100% clear what happens when exactly. But there are many, many scenes with those five people running their hands over each others’ bodies while voiceover proclaims banalities about sex and connection. »
- Eric Blume
After helming one of last year’s best films with The Fits, Anna Rose Holmer is continuing to flex her directing muscles. We recently saw her Moonlight-inspired short film and now she’s back with a new music video for James Blake‘s “My Willing Heart,” which he co-wrote with Frank Ocean, and starring a very pregnant Natalie Portman.
The black and white video for the song from last year’s The Colour in Anything is another visually striking work from Holmer as we witness Portman — who was “just days” away from giving birth to her daughter when the video was shot in Los Angeles — in a bedroom and then taking an underwater dive. The moody, evocative piece has us hoping this isn’t the last time The Fits director collaborates with the actress.
Check it out below, with a hat tip to Pitchfork, and if one wants to see more of Portman, »
- Leonard Pearce
Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)
This week’s question: Terrence Malick is back in action and badder than ever, as “Song to Song” is now in theaters, where it’s playing to small crowds and predictably polarized results. Now, as the idiosyncratic auteur appears to be closing the book on one chapter of his career and moving on to another (the producers of “Radegund,” his next film, swear they have a script!), we asked our panel of critics if they’ve lost patience with the legendary filmmaker, and also where they’re hoping to see him go from here.
Joshua Rothkopf (@joshrothkopf), Time Out New York
Terrence Malick wasn’t always polarizing. »
- David Ehrlich
Natalie Portman skipped the Oscars this year because she had given birth to her second child just days before, and for anyone wondering what Portman was up to prior to that, you now have your answer: Shooting a music video for James Blake.
The English musician has premiered the gorgeous black-and-white music video for his song “My Willing Heart,” and it puts a very pregnant Portman front and center as she connects with her unborn child in various locations, including a softly-lit bedroom and a giant pool. Anna Rose Holmer, the breakout director of “The Fits,” shot the video days before Portman gave birth.
- Zack Sharf
What did you see this weekend besides Emma Watson twirling in that yellow gown? Disney spent $160 million making the movie and probably another huge chunk of millions promoting it but they were rewarded with stacks and stacks of gold. It nearly became the top grossing movie of the year (thus far) in a single weekend!
Since I'd already seen the Disney musical, I spent the weekend with a revisit of Grease 2 (more on that soon) as well as some DVR catch up (I will miss you when you're gone Real O'Neals - especially you Martha Plimpton and Matt Oberg). And yes I also tried with Iron Fist but it became white noise in the background as it was too dull to focus sole attention on. Identity politics aside, Finn Jones + the script are the biggest problems as there is so much filler and the hero is the least likeable character on the show, »
- NATHANIEL R
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