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Back Roads movie review: High drama in small town USA

Actor Alex Pettyfer makes his directorial debut with a melodrama that was actually co-written (with Tawni O’Dell) by Fatal Attraction helmer Adrian Lyne. As you might guess, then, there is little nuance in the characters of this movie set against the backdrop of child abuse in small town Appalachia. Pettyfear is a youngish man who must manage the remnants of a household following the killing of their father by their now imprisoned mother. His three younger female siblings are of various ages, all harboring dark secrets with Gothic novel overtones. The filmmaker has given himself the Herculean tasks […]

The post Back Roads movie review: High drama in small town USA appeared first on Monsters and Critics.
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Alex Pettyfer Opens Up About Celebrity and Directing His Sexy Drama ‘Back Roads’

Alex Pettyfer Opens Up About Celebrity and Directing His Sexy Drama ‘Back Roads’
Alex Pettyfer has a conspiratorial glint in his eye. He wants to conduct our interview in the empty screening room of the Crosby Hotel instead of its basement bar.

“It’ll be cool,” he promises, without a trace of anxiety about the fact that the theater looks very much closed to the public.

Pettyfer, outfitted in a baseball cap and a tight-fitting t-shirt that reveals an elaborate series of arm tattoos, is in New York to show “Back Roads,” a moody drama that marks his directorial debut, at the Tribeca Film Festival. He produced the film, as well as stars in it as Harley, a young man struggling to hold his impoverished family together after his mother (Juliette Lewis) is jailed for killing his father.

“The most humble experience I’ve ever had was making ‘Back Roads,’ because I realized as an actor you’re on a solo journey,” said Pettyfer.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Back Roads’ Film Review: Alex Pettyfer’s Directorial Debut Follows a Twisty Path

‘Back Roads’ Film Review: Alex Pettyfer’s Directorial Debut Follows a Twisty Path
The dysfunctional family plot of “Back Roads,” which marks the directorial debut of actor Alex Pettyfer, is so twisted that every 10 minutes or so there is a new revelation meant to shock the audience, and this presumably goes back to Tawni O’Dell’s novel, on which the film is based.

The way this story is told also might have something to do with the participation of Adrian Lyne, who co-wrote the script with O’Dell. This is Lyne’s first film credit since the drama “Unfaithful” in 2002, and the particular emphasis on sex feels like it is his handiwork, so to speak.

Pettyfer also stars as Harley, a young man who has had to take responsibility for raising his three sisters after his mother (Juliette Lewis) was put in jail for murdering their father. This information is relayed to us in a slightly awkward title card at the beginning of the film. We then see Harley in a police station answering questions about having murdered an older woman with whom he had been having an affair.

Also Read: Alex Pettyfer Admits Channing Tatum 'Does Not Like Me'

This plot information is given to us early, and in many other films, these would be the only two points that needed to be dramatized or illuminated in some way. But the story of “Back Roads” is so full of secrets that these seeming giveaways at the beginning are only gestures towards the real, sick truth.

Harley works at a grocery store where there is a persistent buzz from the overhead fluorescent lights. He seems to be sleepwalking through his life and giving out the bare minimum for personal interaction, and there are reasons for that beyond his desperate situation. Pettyfer hews closely to his shut-down conception of his character, and he allows his cinematographer Jarin Blaschke (“The Witch”) to set up some very atmospheric shots of the family home. (These images are aided at key moments by a moody score from John Hunter.)

Harley’s sister Amber (Nicola Peltz, “Bates Motel”) is out-of-control sexually, and she taunts her brother regularly and cruelly. Amber is clearly acting out in a way that is meant to be protective, but we don’t learn the full extent of her problems until much later in the film. Harley’s younger sister Misty (Chiara Aurelia, “Gerald’s Game”) seems disturbed herself, but in a secretive way that is very different from Amber’s dramatics. The youngest sister Jody (Hala Finley, “Man With a Plan”) can never understand what is going on with her family.

Also Read: 'Once Upon a Time': Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, More Stars to Return for Series Finale

Harley finds himself attracted to the married and neglected Callie (Jennifer Morrison) when she visits the grocery store, and they start an affair slowly and grimly, though not without a certain deadpan humor at times. They first make love in a sandpit when Harley is drunk, and he keeps recklessly upping the ante on their sex life even when he knows her husband is home.

Harley is seeing a social worker named Betty (June Carryl), and as he talks to her, we begin to find out some of the causes of the strange behavior we see at home with Harley and his sisters. Their father used to beat them, but he didn’t beat their mother. It would be spoiler-heavy to go any further with what we learn as this movie goes on, but suffice it to say that there were lots of forbidden entanglements in this particular back roads home.

Also Read: Tribeca Film Festival Announces Full Slate, Nearly Half Directed by Women

“Back Roads” is engrossing, and Pettyfer deserves credit for both holding the movie together with his performance and controlling the tone of it as a director. Given the outlandishness of the material here, it would have been easy to start getting unwanted laughs in the second half of the film, but Pettyfer and his actors find the truth in it, even in a very long and demanding take where Harley confronts his mother in prison.

The writing in the two prison scenes that Pettyfer shares with Lewis has a slightly odd flavor sometimes, as if there are lines of dialogue missing, but that begins to make sense because these are two people who have to circle around the things they need to say to each other, and Lewis has to play the action of desperately not wanting to say anything to Pettyfer’s Harley.

This lack of honesty from Harley’s mother is made up for by the intense engagement that Carryl’s Betty brings to her last scene with Harley. Carryl suddenly reveals how deeply invested Betty is with Harley, and she really sells the idea that Betty has obsessively been thinking about trying to be his savior. It’s a measure of how tough “Back Roads” is that it finally views Betty’s emotion from something of a distance visually.

This is an accomplished debut from Pettyfer as a director. It shows how interested he seems to be in the scarier byways of life, which seemed clear in his performance last year in “The Strange Ones,” a very disturbing and neglected movie about child abuse that seems now like a companion piece to “Back Roads,” a film that stares unflinchingly at some of the rougher human experiences.

Read original story ‘Back Roads’ Film Review: Alex Pettyfer’s Directorial Debut Follows a Twisty Path At TheWrap
See full article at The Wrap »

‘Fifty Shades Freed’ Review: Finally, a Sex Comedy From a Franchise That Took Itself Too Seriously

  • Indiewire
“Why do you defy me?” asks Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) to his new wife Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) as they have passionate sex with the help of handcuffs. “Because I can,” she replies, which only excites her partner more. Compared to how submissive and sapped of all agency the character was in her two previous outings, Ana does seem extremely mischievous in “50 Shades Freed,” the third and presumably last entry in this kinky franchise. Yet all in all, she’s only asking for the respect that she rightfully deserves. In any case, the mutual participation at play in this sex scene makes it a lot more exciting to watch than any of Christian’s theatrical Bdsm tricks, and the rest of the movie follows suit. Finally, the “Fifty Shades” phenomenon has yielded a disarming comedy that makes this ridiculous material fun to watch.

In director James Foley’s second contribution
See full article at Indiewire »

Woody Harrelson movies: 15 greatest films, ranked worst to best, include ‘Three Billboards,’ ‘Zombieland,’ ‘The Hunger Games’

  • Gold Derby
Woody Harrelson movies: 15 greatest films, ranked worst to best, include ‘Three Billboards,’ ‘Zombieland,’ ‘The Hunger Games’
Woody Harrelson received his third Oscar nomination for his work in the 2017 film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri” starring Frances McDormand. The highly acclaimed performance continues a 30-year career that has brought the actor acclaim for both his comedic and dramatic work.

Harrelson started his career on the Broadway stage as an understudy in the hit Neil Simon play “Biloxi Blues.” Just months after that play opened Harrelson would become a household name when he started playing the role of Woody Boyd in the fourth season of the highly successful sitcom “Cheers.” Harrelson faced a daunting assignment when he joined the show since he was replacing the popular Nicholas Colasanto who played Coach on the first three seasons but sadly passed away during the show’s run. Harrelson clicked with the cast and audience and went on to receive five Emmy nominations for “Cheers” and won the 1989 Best Comedy Supporting
See full article at Gold Derby »

Journey's End and Ptsd in films

Edgar Jones Feb 2, 2018

Professor Edgar Jones writes for us on the portrayal in cinema of post-traumatic stress disorder...

War has served as an enduring theme for the commercial cinema, not least because of the dramatic opportunities it offers for warrior characters. However, since the Vietnam War significant attention has been directed to the ways in which trauma can change people film and cause lasting psychological harm. Both The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino, 1978) and Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) showed veterans struggling to cope with their wartime experiences. Such movies tapped into growing popular and professional concern about the long-term impact of combat on soldiers’ minds.

In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association formally adopted the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (Ptsd) based on clinical evidence largely derived from veterans of the Vietnam conflict. Filmmakers were increasingly drawn to the theme of psychological breakdown as a way of interpreting the war and Ptsd
See full article at Den of Geek »

‘Double Lover’ Clip & Poster: A Secret Is Revealed [Exclusive]

Prolific and acclaimed French filmmaker Francois Ozon likes to shift gears between pictures. Following his black-and-white World War I drama “Frantz,” the director turned up the heat with the sensational “Double Lover.” An erotic thriller in the tradition of Brian De Palma, Paul Verhoeven, and Adrian Lyne, the story will set your pulse racing as its characters cross professional, ethical, personal, and sexual boundaries.

Continue reading ‘Double Lover’ Clip & Poster: A Secret Is Revealed [Exclusive] at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

The Quad Salutes Lois Smith by Screening Her Career Highlights

Smith in “Marjorie Prime

Just days ago Lois Smith received this year’s Golden Key Award for Career Achievement at the Key West Film Festival. Now comes word that the industry vet will be honored at New York City’s Quad Cinema. Four of her career highlights will be screened: “East of Eden,” “Five Easy Pieces,” “Foxes,” and “Marjorie Prime.” Released earlier this year, the latter sees Smith playing a former violinist in the middle stages of dementia. She maintains a close relationship with her late husband who exists in the form of a holographic projection (Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”). Smith received excellent reviews for the sci-fi flick.

“Enjoying her seventh decade onscreen, actress par excellence Lois Smith was recently on view at the Quad recreating her stage triumph with her beautiful multifaceted performance in ‘Marjorie Prime’ — and now she’s back in theaters with ‘Lady Bird,’” an announcement from The Quad reads.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

October Horrors 2017 Day 24 – Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

Jacob’s Ladder, 1990.

Directed by Adrian Lyne.

Starring Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Pena, Danny Aiello, and Matt Craven.

Synopsis:

Jacob Singer is a seemingly normal man living a seemingly normal life when he is suddenly confronted with a series of strange events and even stranger visions. With his life becoming ever more chaotic and his visions ever more nightmarish, Jacob attempts to uncover the truth behind a traumatic event that he was involved with during his time as a soldier in Vietnam.

Psychological horror is perhaps among the most complex and fascinating of horror sub-genres. With it often delving into the intricacies of the mind, madness, life, death and beyond, psychological horror has the rare opportunity to tell much deeper stories than any common garden gore splattered slasher flick.

In my view one of the finest that this sub-genre has to offer comes in the form of Adrian Lyne’s dark
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Director Adrian Lyne Signs With ICM Partners

Director Adrian Lyne Signs With ICM Partners
Exclusive: Adrian Lyne has signed with ICM Partners. Lyne directed the steamy and provocative hits Flashdance, Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal, but hasn’t directed a film since the 2002 Diane Lane-Richard Gere-starrer Unfaithful. Many have waited a long time for Lyne to get back behind the camera, and the agency’s first order of business will be to help Lyne set up that film. The one he is eager to direct is the David Rayfiel-scripted drama Silence. He is starting…
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

Back In The Day: The 10 Best Horror Movies From The 90s

If the ’90s taught us anything, it’s that Tamagotchis were way harder to keep alive than we first anticipated, Edward Furlong’s bangs were cooler than a liquid-metal shape-shifting cucumber and those slap bracelets could severely reduce circulation to your fingers if left on for too long (it was totally worth it, though).

The ’90s ruled. Not only did they introduce us to Pogs, rollerblades, Ring Pops and Angelica’s spine-chilling nightmare sequences from Rugrats (oh god, no), but they also introduced us to a multitude of wicked and wonderful horror flicks, too. So, for your reading pleasure, we’ve separated the weak from the chaff and hand-picked a selection of the best horror movies that went on to define a decade. Before we kick off though, we’d just like to touch on a few honourable mentions.

We really wanted to include Stephen King’s It, however, it
See full article at We Got This Covered »

Olivier Martinez Signs With Apa (Exclusive)

Olivier Martinez Signs With Apa (Exclusive)
Olivier Martinez has signed with Apa, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned.

The French actor is best known stateside for his role as Diane Lane’s lover in Adrian Lyne’s 2002 adultery drama Unfaithful. His performance in 1993’s Un, deux, trois, soleil won him the Cesar Award, France’s highest film honor, for most promising actor.

Martinez most recently starred on National Geographic Channel’s Mars. His other feature credits include Julian Schnabel’s Before Night Falls (starring opposite Javier Bardem); S.W.A.T., opposite Colin Farrell; Taking Lives with Angelina Jolie; Dark Tide (where he met former wife Halle Berry); and The Physician...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Olivier Martinez Signs With Apa (Exclusive)

Olivier Martinez has signed with Apa, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned.

The French actor is best known stateside for his role as Diane Lane’s lover in Adrian Lyne’s 2002 adultery drama Unfaithful. His performance in 1993’s Un, deux, trois, soleil won him the Cesar Award, France’s highest film honor, for most promising actor.

Martinez most recently starred on National Geographic Channel’s Mars. His other feature credits include Julian Schnabel’s Before Night Falls (starring opposite Javier Bardem); S.W.A.T., opposite Colin Farrell; Taking Lives with Angelina Jolie; Dark Tide (where he met former wife Halle Berry); and The Physician...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - TV News »

Hoffman vs. Streep and Sharon Stone’s On-Set Affair: Biggest Bombshells from Revealing New Hollywood Tell-All

Hoffman vs. Streep and Sharon Stone’s On-Set Affair: Biggest Bombshells from Revealing New Hollywood Tell-All
Hollywood’s real leading lady is telling all.

Sherry Lansing, the first woman to ever head a major movie studio, is the subject of Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker, a biography by Stephen Galloway that details her rise from struggling actress to Hollywood power player.

The Illinois native worked at MGM as a script reader and briefly worked at Columbia Pictures before becoming 20th Century Fox’s first female president in 1980. She then went on to become CEO of Paramount Pictures in 1992.

Lansing, who greenlit smash hits such as Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Here’s Why ‘Unforgettable’ Director Denise Di Novi Will Be the Woman Who Gets Another Shot

Here’s Why ‘Unforgettable’ Director Denise Di Novi Will Be the Woman Who Gets Another Shot
This weekend, veteran producer Denise Di Novi saw her directorial debut, Warner Bros.’ “Unforgettable,” make an underwhelming box-office debut with an estimated $4.8 million for the weekend. For most women, that would be the kiss of death: Very few women get the chance to direct studio films, and underperformance means there won’t be an encore. That won’t be the case for Di Novi.

Read More: ‘Unforgettable’ Review: Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson Are in Two Very Different Movies, But It Almost Works

Di Novi is like very few women in Hollywood. She’s an unapologetic product of the studios: After 20 years, she still has a rare overall deal at Warner Bros, where she was Tim Burton’s longtime producer (“Edward Scissorhands,” “Ed Wood,” “Nightmare Before Christmas,” his “Batman” films) as well as the shepherd to romantic hits like “Nights of Rodanthe” and Nicholas Sparks’ “A Night to Remember.” And,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Here’s Why ‘Unforgettable’ Director Denise Di Novi Will Be the Woman Who Gets Another Shot

Here’s Why ‘Unforgettable’ Director Denise Di Novi Will Be the Woman Who Gets Another Shot
This weekend, veteran producer Denise Di Novi saw her directorial debut, Warner Bros.’ “Unforgettable,” make an underwhelming box-office debut with an estimated $4.8 million for the weekend. For most women, that would be the kiss of death: Very few women get the chance to direct studio films, and underperformance means there won’t be an encore. That won’t be the case for Di Novi.

Read More: ‘Unforgettable’ Review: Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson Are in Two Very Different Movies, But It Almost Works

Di Novi is like very few women in Hollywood. She’s an unapologetic product of the studios: After 20 years, she still has a rare overall deal at Warner Bros, where she was Tim Burton’s longtime producer (“Edward Scissorhands,” “Ed Wood,” “Nightmare Before Christmas,” his “Batman” films) as well as the shepherd to romantic hits like “Nights of Rodanthe” and Nicholas Sparks’ “A Night to Remember.” And,
See full article at Indiewire »

Fate Of The Furious Faces A Forgettable Foursome -- The Weekend Warrior

Welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly look at the new movies hitting theaters this weekend, as well as other cool events and things to check out.

Will This April Dump Weekend See Any New Movie Open Over $10 Million?

After the decent opening of last week’s The Fate of the Furious--though not quite as much as I predicted--it’s going to be hard for any new movie to make a mark against its second weekend even if it drops 55% or more this weekend, which is very likely.

Probably the best bet to make money this weekend is the thriller Unforgettable (Warner Bros.), which pits Kathryn Heigl against Rosario Dawson and is the directorial debut by producer Denise Di Novi (Crazy, Stupid, Love). It also stars Geoff Stults as the ex-husband of Heigl’s character Tessa, who becomes engaged to Dawson’s Julia, making her the stepmom to the former’s daughter,
See full article at LRM Online »

Alex Pettyfer to Make Directorial Debut With ‘Back Roads’ (Exclusive)

Alex Pettyfer to Make Directorial Debut With ‘Back Roads’ (Exclusive)
Alex Pettyfer, the British star of “Magic Mike,” “Endless Love” and last year’s “Elvis & Nixon,” is set to make his directorial debut with “Back Roads,” a murder mystery in which he will also star opposite Jennifer Morrison and Juliette Lewis.

The drama marks the debut feature of Upturn Productions, the label set up by Pettyfer and partner Craig Robinson in 2015. Filming has begun in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Based on the 1999 debut novel of the same name by American author Tawni O’Dell, “Back Roads” tells the story of Harley Altmyer (Pettyfer), who finds himself caring for his three younger sisters following the death of their abusive father and imprisonment of their mother for his murder. Altmyer’s life takes a dangerous turn when he develops a relationship with a married mother of two and a series of staggering family secrets threatens to consume him. Eventually he finds himself the
See full article at Variety - Film News »

In a fix, part 2 by Anne-Katrin Titze

Michael Sheen, Lior Ashkenazi and Richard Gere in Norman: The Moderate Rise And Tragic Fall Of A New York Fixer

Joseph Cedar for his latest film (his previous two having been Oscar-nominated) has assembled an outstanding cast - Lior Ashkenazi, Harris Yulin, Hank Azaria, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dan Stevens, Michael Sheen, Steve Buscemi, Josh Charles, and Isaach De Bankolé - to work with Richard Gere in Norman: The Moderate Rise And Tragic Fall Of A New York Fixer.

Joseph Cedar on the costumes: "Michelle Matland is the person I should be crediting. We did these wardrobe trials at Ann Roth's studio." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Meeting me for breakfast, the director spoke about Gere's films - Rob Marshall's Chicago, Adrian Lyne's Unfaithful, and Oren Moverman's Time Out Of Mind and The Dinner, screening at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. An aside to Terry Jones's Monty Python's Life Of Brian
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Secrets of Fatal Attraction! Crew Boiled a Real (Dead) Bunny in Shocking Kitchen Scene

Secrets of Fatal Attraction! Crew Boiled a Real (Dead) Bunny in Shocking Kitchen Scene
Animal lovers might want to sit this one out.

In a newly published excerpt in The Hollywood Reporter from an upcoming biography about film executive Sherry Lansing, new details have been revealed about the making of the smash 1987 film Fatal Attraction.

And while the book recalls the drama to get the film made and the fight to keep the original ending, perhaps the most shocking revelation came from “that” scene — better known as “the bunny” scene.

In it, Glenn Close‘s unhinged character boils a live bunny owned by the family of the man she has an affair with, played by Michael Douglas.
See full article at PEOPLE.com »
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