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Monthly Must See: Starred Up featuring Jack O'Connell
"Rome is finished, my friend." Pier Paolo Pasolini is one of the most iconic filmmakers Italy has ever produced, and he also had his hands in many other arenas as a poet, novelist, journalist, playwright, actor, painter, philosopher, and more. Now Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, Out of the Furnace) will bring him to life in the aptly titled Pasolini, the latest film from Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant, Mulberry St.). The film chronicles the final days of Pasolini's life and the events surrounding his murder. Now the first trailer for the film has arrived (the film plays at TIFF), and this looks to be a promising turn from Dafoe. Watch!
A remake of John Carpenter's revered action thriller Escape from New York has been gestating for years, but no one seems to be able to get it off the ground. The most recent attempt in the works was reported about a year and a half ago with Studio Canal teaming with super producer Joel Silver (The Matrix, Lethal Weapon) and his Silver Pictures banner to start from scratch on the project. Now it sounds like they're making some progress as a rumor from Starlog (via Badass Digest) has surfaced saying that Pacific Rim and recently crowned King Arthur star Charlie Hunnam is the top contender to play Snake Plissken. Read on!
Does our ego control us, or do we control our ego? Where can it/where does it take us? Will we fly or will we fall? Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest film Birdman is easily lovable for many reasons - from its honest characters and original story to the technical prowess behind the lens and many layers of its style. It's also one of those films where there are so many moments, so many lines, so many scenes where as soon as I've watched them, I want to pause, rewind, and watch them again to delve deeper into the context. Birdman is a sensational, extraordinary creation of artistic elegance that examines the great struggle of growing older.
"Business or pleasure?" I just saw this film at the Telluride Film Festival and it was outstanding, worthy of being highlighted above and beyond the trailer, but I'll start with this since not that many people (outside of South America) have heard about the film yet. Wild Tales is a feature made up of six separate stories, an anthology film made by one director that focuses on the ridiculousness of modern society, and how it causes some people to snap. Each one is hilarious, each one is brilliantly conceived, each one has real characters and situations, and I loved every second of it. It's dark, violent, crude, but incredibly funny, extremely smart and reflective, and a worthwhile cinematic experience. Especially if you want to laugh your ass off. Enjoy!
You never know who will change the world, it might be someone we can't imagine. There's nothing like that feeling of euphoria after sitting through an outstanding film, one that surpasses expectations and provides so much more on top of any/everything one could imagine. That's how I felt at the end of The Imitation Game, a film by Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) about British mathematician Alan Turing, who helped crack the uncrackable Engima code during World War II. The film tells his life story jumping between his youth, his work during WWII, and time after when he was prosecuted for "indecency" because he was "a homosexual". It's an exceptionally compelling film lead by remarkable performances.
Premiering at the 2014 Telluride Film Festival is Jon Stewart's Rosewater, his directorial debut based on a true story he was involved in about Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, played by Gael García Bernal. The film tells a rather straightforward version of the story, focusing on the weeks leading up to and surrounding Bahari's arrest, eventually leading to his time in prison. While the film has some impressive creative choices (including a hashtag moment and some other sleek visuals) it's obviously made by a first-time director, and lacks a bit of the nuances that more experienced directors include. That said, its heart is in the right place.
We just got word that Wes Ball's adaptation of the young adult novel The Maze Runner will heading to IMAX theaters the same day it hits standard theaters on September 19th. But the film will also be the first to try out a new projection system that could make the big screen experience even more immersive. THR has word that digital cinema maker Barco and their new Escape projection configuration will debut to the public with a little help from The Maze Runner. The film will be the first feature that has been specifically modified to project extra elements on two other screens to the left and right of the center screen. Read on!
We've already gotten one look at Simon Pegg as an assassin in the forthcoming comedic thriller Kill Me Three Times, and now the film is poised to premiere at TIFF 2014. And to hype up the unveiling of the film at the festival, a special animated poster has been released for the film that also stars Sullivan Stapleton, Alice Braga, Teresa Palmer, Bryan Brown, Callan Mulvey and Luke Hemsworth. This is one is just for TIFF because you'll notice that the smoking matchbook (the only animated part of the poster) says TIFF on it, which is actually pretty cool. Apparently the film is a "must-see" according to TIFF programmer Jane Schoettle. We'll see if that's true soon enough when we hit the Canadian festival. Look!
The use of found footage has become a bit of an eye-rolling endeavor in horror, almost nearly as much as the penchant that iconic horror slashers like Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees have for defying death. It has become hard for horror films to use the narrative style effectively without just being a gimmick, and the explanation for this approach is usually weak, with characters inexplicably never putting down a video camera in moments of terror or being shown in what couldn't possibly be "found" footage. But with As Above, So Below, an engrossing adventure plot mixed with familiar horror elements from Legendary Pictures, those problems are not only explained, but make for some real suspense and terror. More below!
Following yesterday's US trailer for the Cannes Palme d'Or prize-winning film Winter Sleep, we have another much buzzed about title from the French showcase of cinema debuting a trailer. This year, Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return, Elena) returned to Cannes with his drama Leviathan, the story that is described as a gripping parable of class, faith and corruption, centering on a land dispute between a small-time mechanic and his local authorities that reaps unimaginable consequences. The film is actually inspired by the Biblical tale of Job, and looks like a provocative, masterfully shot piece of cinema.
Plenty of people are familiar with the failed Superman Lives project that director Tim Burton tried to put together with a script from Kevin Smith and wacky actor Nicolas Cage in the lead role. We've featured a couple trailers for a Kickstarter documentary showcasing the making of the movie that never was, but there's another attempt to make a Superman movie that fewer people might know about. Before Bryan Singer would direct Superman Returns, Warner Bros. tried their hand at a film called Superman: Flyby, with a script from J.J. Abrams and questionable director Brett Ratner behind the camera. Watch now!
"Becoming less an art show than a city-wide, full-contact game of hide-and-seek." We occasionally make exceptions to feature HBO movies and documentaries, and this is worth your attention. It's a documentary titled Banksy Does New York, inspired by Banksy's Better Out Than In (the real name of the show), profiling the controversial street artist's residency in New York City last October. Every day for the entire month, Banksy would reveal a new piece of art hidden around the city, and it caused a flurry of interest and activity. The doc, which will be airing on HBO, is made up of footage from the masses and it looks fantastic. I was involved in the Banksy mayhem myself, scouring the city and chasing the art, and it was so much fun.