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Monthly Must See: Starred Up featuring Jack O'Connell
"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.
What's that? Pierce Brosnan needs a new action franchise now, 12 years after his James Bond stint ended? There's a series of novels ripe for the action genre taking that would suit him perfectly? Let's make that deal. But The November Man, from the novels by Bill Granger, ends up being more than a run-of-the-mill spy thriller. Aided by some superb action directing from Roger Donaldson and a nice turn from its charismatic lead, the film trumps most of the recently standard "old guy in an action flick" turns we've gotten. Brosnan joins the ranks of Liam Neeson and Kevin Costner, and the former 007 prevails.
If dry British humor and stop-motion animation make for a cup of tea that you enjoy, then you're probably excited about the forthcoming release of Shaun the Sheep, an adaptation of the popular TV series from across the pond. The first teaser for the film debuted this past spring, and now we get a better idea of the story as Shaun and a bunch of his sheep friends end up stuck in the big city, leaving them with no choice but to find their own way home. However, since this property is far more popular in the United Kingdom, don't expect a release in the United States too quickly, if it even makes it over here at all. Watch the trailer now!
Over the mountains, and into Telluride. Here we go again. I'm back in Colorado, where I grew up as a kid (I now live in New York City) for my seventh time back to the Telluride Film Festival. The line-up has been unveiled (view the selections in full here), and I can't wait to start watching films. I'm always intrigued by Telluride keeping the line-up a secret until the day before the fest and I was curious how things would shake up with TIFF and Venice complaining about world premieres this time. Why does there have to be so much fighting over what to call a premiere? I'm just here to see good films. Premiere or not, I want to be moved.
For several years now, the NBC comedy series "Community" has evaded cancellation like a ninja. It earned five seasons on the TV network after nearly getting canceled several times, and when they finally axed it before the sixth season, Yahoo Screen revived it at the last minute. And one of the reasons the show has gotten such a big cult following is because of series creator Dan Harmon. The writer and producer has become known for his cynicism and blunt attitude along with his hard work and clever writing. Now the documentary Harmontown has followed him on a podcast and live performance tour, complete with interviews with collaborators like Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, Joel McHale and many more. Watch!
Now you don't have to be a comedy writer to appreciate great comedic filmmaking, but "Saturday Night Live" veteran Bill Hader has an impressive list of 200 Essential Movies Every Comedy Writer Should See. Thankfully, this is also just a great list of comedies that any cinephile with a penchant for good comedy should check out. The list comes from Mike Sacks' book Poking A Dead Frog: Conversations With Today’s Top Comedy Writers, which sounds like a great read for anyone with more than a passing interest in the art of comedy. But we know you came here for the movie list, so keep reading for the goods. Read on!
After earning the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's latest film Winter Sleep will roll out to theaters late this year for an Oscar qualifying run in limited theaters, expanding into more into early 2015. And now you can get a look at the film that clocks in at over three hours long as the first US trailer has arrived showcasing the story of a small hotel owner, his wife (and her sister) who are at odds with each other as the winter weather becomes more fierce, forcing everyone into an inescapable, tense environment from which they can't leave as long as the snow keeps up. Watch below!
Now that The Avengers have assembled on the big screen, everyone is very familiar with Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. But those aren't even the original Avengers, and they're not going to always be the superheroes who assemble to save the world. As Marvel continues to broaden their cinematic universe, they're introducing new characters who will replace the original team eventually. But the question is just who will step up to join the team? Doctor Strange and Ant-Man are on the way, but that's only two people. Well, a new rumor says we might find out next year who else might enter the superhero assembly mix by way of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Read on!
Awareness of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gherig's disease) has been raised exponentially thanks to the online charity trend of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, with donations going to the ALS Association, aiming to find a cure for the disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. All the talk about support to fight disease is mere coincidence as a film called You're Not You is on the way featuring Hilary Swank as a famous pianist who suddenly finds herself diagnosed by the disease, and hires an unconventional assistant, Emmy Rossum, to help her cope. It looks pretty conventional and very melodramatic, but also pretty uplifting on some level, I guess. Watch!
So far there have only been two short but superb teaser trailers for Bennett Miller's Cannes selected drama Foxcatcher, but they've been the perfect way to tease the Oscar hopeful without giving too much of the movie away. Now another brief teaser has surfaced, this time with an ominous voiceover by Steve Carell, who seems to be delivering a performance that is almost guaranteed to get him an Oscar nomination. Carell plays John du Pont, the intense trainer of Olympic champion wrestler Mark Schultz & Dave Schultz (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo), and it's clear their relationship results in some tension. Watch!
"You have a real weapon and you choose not to use it." Though he's better known for his sense of humor covering the week's headlines in politics and world affairs, comedian Jon Stewart is getting deadly serious with his directorial debut, a drama called Rosewater. In the film Gael Garcia Bernal plays journalist Maziar Bahari, a Tehran born man who returned to Iran in 2009 to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But following his shooting coverage of the protests after Ahmadinejad's victory before the polls even closed, Bahari was arrested by police, tortured and interrogated for 118 days as a spy. Now the trailer has arrived and it looks powerful and superb. Watch now!
Once slated for release last fall, and then pushed back to January of 2014, the fantasy adaptation The Seventh Son, based on The Last Apprentice (or The Wardstone Chronicles) book series by Joseph Delaney, is finally coming to theaters. Universal inherited the Legendary Pictures project from Warner Bros. when the production company switched studios, and it's getting an expected dumping ground release in February of next year. It's a shame, because there seem to be some cool creatures and action in this new trailer, and Legendary is pushing their Godzilla street cred alongside a showcase of some big monsters to get audiences on board for the early 2015 release that stars Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore. Watch it!