ENJOY THE SHOW
"Fear the man with nothing left to lose." Simple, but perfect tagline for this film, it says it all without saying too much. A24 has launched a sleek new website for The Rover, the second film from Australian filmmaker David Michôd (of Animal Kingdom previously), a post-apocalyptic western thriller starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. Designed by agency Column Five, the site features photos, video, and a "Timeline of the Collapse" and interactive "Remapping the Future" page, which tie into the backstory behind the world the film is set in; think of it like a modern Mad Max, in a way. I'm glad they provide a context - take a look.
It's been just four months since we lost the incomparable Philip Seymour Hoffman. Even as I look back at the tribute that poured from my mind after his death, it's difficult to believe that he's still gone. The man was my favorite actor and at least once a week I'm reminded of one of his films, and immediately become filled with momentary sadness because of his eternal absence. But he lives on in the movies we loved, and now we get the chance to dive deeper into the mind of the great actor in an interview that is heartbreaking in hindsight. PBS Digital Studio's "Blank on Blank" just released a previously unaired, animated interview segment with Hoffman where he talks about happiness in his life. It's kind of difficult to sit through. Watch!
"It's too bad she won't live, but then again who does?" There's a new art show that just opened in Brooklyn themed to Ridley Scott's seminal sci-fi classic Blade Runner, first in theaters in the summer of 1982, 32 years ago. The gallery hosting the show is the Bottleneck Gallery, located right near the Williamsburg Bridge on the Brooklyn side, just off the Marcy Ave subway stop. In the same vein as Gallery1988 from LA, they host kick ass pop art shows in NY, this one featuring Blade Runner art and music inspired by the movie and it's a stellar show, worth visiting if you're in the area. I stopped by the grand opening on Saturday night.
Two weeks have come and gone. The 67th Cannes Film Festival has wrapped up, the awards have been handed out, hundreds (of thousands) of reviews have been written, interviews conducted, parties held, deals closed, cinema experienced, films sold, arguments had. We lost one of the greatest voices in film last year, Roger Ebert, but his presence is still felt everywhere. Ebert, a Cannes regular, was honored with a tribute screening of the doc Life Itself this year. But I am thankful he also joined me at my side through his book, as I navigated the deluge of cinema. "Will you be back next year?" "Everybody will always be back next year."
What are the best films of the festival? Which ones should you be taking an interest in? What should you see? After 12 days at the 67th Cannes Film Festival, after 25 films, it's time to present my 2014 list of my Top 5 Favorite Films. Every year I go back to Cannes, it's genuinely exciting to find out what there is to discover, to wake up every day knowing you may see something breathtaking, or terrible, or hilarious, or moving, or something that will change us forever. This year I was introduced to a few new filmmakers, saw the latest film from many old ones, and caught a glimpse of the future of cinema. Now it's time to introduce everyone else to Xavier Dolan, Ruben Ostlund and the Dardenne Brothers. Let's get right into this list now.
"I could watch you for a lifetime, you're my favorite movie, a thousand endings, you mean everything to me." Here we are at the end again, and while I'm starting to get sad that another Cannes Film Festival is over, I can't help but smile looking back on how wonderful it has been. While I tend to often complain about some of the other critics and their incessant scrutiny or odd moviegoing choices, it was a late night chat with Sasha Stone of Awards Daily and the subsequent blog post she wrote before leaving that made me realize - screw all that. We are truly the lucky ones, sitting here on the Mediterranean, watching the best that cinema has to offer for 12 days straight. Living the life. This is amazing, and I'm so grateful to be here, enjoying this.
"Hey, bub, I'm not finished with you yet." Academy Award-nominated actor Hugh Jackman has played so many unique roles for many different directors, from my all-time favorites including Christopher Nolan and Darren Aronofsky, to many others. This weekend he appears for his seventh time as Wolverine, aka Logan, in X-Men: Days of Future Past, directed again by Bryan Singer who first started it all with X-Men back in 2000. I was incredibly lucky to have a chance to sit down with Mr. Jackman for a 15-minute one-on-one chat about everything from The Fountain to Wolvie creator Len Wein to the lessons he's learned as Logan.
Last month, we featured a video that looked at the evolution of filmmaking from all the way back in 1878 to the films of 2014 Now another film reaches all the way back to the same year in the past, but this time with a focus on how visual effects have evolved over the years. It's a little hard to really get a significant vibe for the evolution of these special effects with such brief clips and using only one film to represent an entire year, but it's very interesting to see how far we've come in a very short period of time as technology becomes better and better exponentially every single year (and sometimes more frequent than that). Watch below!
Thomas Tull is a certified geek through-and-through, but is also the CEO of one of the best movie studios in all of Hollywood. Tull (seen above at Comic-Con previously) runs Legendary Pictures, the production company behind everything from Christopher Nolan's movies to Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim to Zack Snyder's movies to The Hangover series to The Town, Where the Wild Things Are, Watchmen, 300, Trick 'r Treat, and plenty other stellar genre movies. They just finished Gareth Edwards' Godzilla, which I sat down to talk with him about, and they're currently financing and working on Nolan's Interstellar, Jurassic World, Crimson Peak and Warcraft, too. Our interview covers everything from monsters to epic budgets.
Just recently we featured a visual essay focusing the spirals and symmetry of director Darren Aronofsky, an auteur filmmaker with a trademark visual style. However, now we have an extensive visual essay focusing on a director who is even more well-known and iconic, but whose visual style isn't immediately noticeable. That's because Steven Spielberg is the kind of filmmaker that doesn't let his direction stand out more than the story, which is why his single takes have gone unnoticed without pomp and circumstace. That doesn't necessarily make him a superior filmmaker when compared to others, but just one who doesn't draw attention to the movement of his camera, letting his story and characters do the heavy lifting. Watch now!
"Tetsuooo!!" There's a very impressive live-action Akira fan-film going around the web we must share. While we wait for Hollywood to figure out what the heck to do with their own Akira movie, still stalled somewhere in development, we at least have this to keep us anxiously awaiting a feature adaptation that turns out awesome. Nguyen-Anh Nguyen directs this crowd-funded live-action take on the manga titled The Akira Project, which is finally ready to be shown off in trailer form. The cast includes Osric Chau as Kaneda and Xavier Yuvens as Tetsuo, with Simon Li as Yamagata and Judy Wong as Kei. There's some great work in here for a fan-film, showing Hollywood how it should be done before they even had a chance.
This weekend Seth Rogen does just a little bit of growing up in the fantastic comedy Neighbors (read my glowing review right here), directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). Thankfully, Rogen had some time to sit down and talk about being the guy that everyone wants to smoke weed with and how that effects his maturing on the big screen at 32 years old. Our chat mostly focuses on comedy on the big screen in general, but we also dive into working with Zac Efron on an improvisation heavy set, the staying power of Christopher Mintz-Plasse after being discovered for Superbad, James Franco staring in all of his movies, and how PG-13 comedy just doesn't work for him and collaborative partner Evan Goldberg.
When you think of films that have enough visual effects to show off a reel, you think of directors like Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, and any big budget blockbuster. But nowadays, some visual effects just make production easier, even on films that don't have to create dragons, monsters, or entire environments from scratch. One such surprising collection of visual effects comes in this reel showing off some of the post-production work on Wes Anderson's latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. They're not necessarily all visual effects in the way we're used to seeing since some of it is just selective color correction, but there's some great work here you otherwise might not be aware of yet. Watch!
In the short history of filmmaking, the advancement of technology has allowed the face of cinema to change quickly, sometimes with audiences not always prepared to keep up. Whether it's the jump from silent films to talkies, hand drawn animation to computer animation, or 2D to 3D, there's always something new being added to how we experience motion pictures. Now an impressive three-minute montage called The Evolution of Film from Humber College graduate Scott Ewing (via SlashFilm) takes a brief look at the history of cinema from the dawn of the moving picture all the way back in 1878 to the films of today. Watch!