One of the regrets about my scheduling nearly 50 films at the Toronto International Film Festival this year was that somehow, unbeknownst to me until the festival was in full swing, I lost my ticket to William Oldroyd’s stylistic domestic battle of wills, Lady MacBeth.
It is startlingly clear from the trailer, that the framing, cinematography, and overall filmmaking is of the highest order. In fact, if it reminds me of any film, it is last years equally stylish and sparse debut film, The Witch. Written by Alice Birch, based on the novel by Nikolai Leskov and starring Christopher Fairbank, Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis and Bill Fellow, Lady MacBeth will not be hitting cinemas until (gulp!) June 2, 2017.
It is Rural England in 1865. Katherine is stifled by her loveless marriage to a bitter man twice her age, and his cold, unforgiving family. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a young worker on her husband’s estate, a force is unleashed inside her so powerful that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
One of the most highly anticipated titles of early 2017 is James Ponsoldt’s The Circle.
Adapted by Ponsoldt from Dave Eggers’ best selling novel of the same name, the movie stars Emma Watson as Mae Holland, an optimistic young woman who lands a job at the most advanced internet company in the world called the Circle, a company led by a charismatic leader known as Bailey and played here by Tom Hanks. Mae soon meets a mysterious co-worker, played by John Boyega, and begins to note that perhaps things at the Circle aren’t all sunshine and rainbows as it appears on the surface.
In addition to some great leads, the movie also stars Karen Gillan, Bill Paxton and Patton Oswalt.
I like the concept of the story and the prospect of finally getting a good tech thriller since most of the glossy offerings over the last few years have been mostly forgettable so hopefully this one manages to raise the low bar. It certainly shows potential.
I actually had no idea this was happening until this showed up at the top of my trailers channel on YouTube. I’m up for anything Tom Cruise. I just finished watching Rain Man literally minutes before watching this and right now he’s (almost) the only actor I will see any movie he is in. Period. I’ll go in blind. If Tommy’s stars a movie, I’m going. That’s the end of it. And that holds true here. Although I must admit I’m a bit skeptical. This doesn’t look too terribly interesting, the action looks like it’s trying too hard and I swear CGI has reverted a bit over the past couple of years.
That said, I stick with my previous statements. For now, Tom Cruise can do no wrong (or when he does (rarely), I forgive) and I will be in theaters opening weekend for this. Another remake of The Mummy story? Alright, I’ll take a chance. Even if that’s definitely not him screaming in the plane.
Even most of the Marvel haters out there enjoyed watching Star Lord and Groot goof up the universe a couple of summers ago as Guardians of the Galaxy. So much so that a sequel is just six months away. And Disney wants to make sure we’re all aware. So here’s a little bit more than the first trailer offered. If you don’t know what sort of material to expect from this movie, this will give you a better idea…
A subtle difference between Canadians and Americans is in regards to sex and nudity on screen. For years, movies that have been “R” rated in the United States for (often mild) sexuality or nudity get the softer “AA” (now 14A) rating in north of the border. This is reflected visually in the Canadian-Spanish co-production Menorca, a film about a suburban mom who sheds her domestic shackles on a journey of self-discovery. Clearly, the poster wants to show that ‘soccer moms’ are not dead yet, and if they want to have a beer while sunbathing topless in the wastelands of suburbia, it is a reflection that life doesn’t end with a mortgage. The Canadian version (above) of the poster reflects this. The US version (below) paints a bikini on each of the ladies, which diminishes, somewhat, the impact of pretty effective poster for this kind of drama.
Menorca gets a Canadian release sometime in December. There is no indication (at the moment) if it will even get a release in the United States, let alone the modified poster hang in any American movie house. It it currently playing at the Whistler Film Festival British Colombia, and there is a short trailer tucked under the seat, as well.
OK, perhaps this is not fair, when you have performers this good, namely Denzel Washington, and the incomparable Viola Davis, well, then I am certainly down for a ‘lay its cards on the table’ period family melodrama. Judging form the trailer below, one can likely expect to be told how to feel by the music and pointed dialogue alone, even those these actors could comfortably pull this off without all the cinematic excess. Both of them did, indeed, accomplish this in 2010, during the award winning Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Fences stage-play.
Troy Maxson, is a strong man, a hard man. He has had to be to survive. Troy Maxson has gone through life in an America where to be proud and black is to face pressures that could crush a man, body and soul. But the 1950s are yielding to the new spirit of liberation in the 1960s, a spirit that is changing the world Troy Maxson has learned to deal with the only way he can, a spirit that is making him a stranger, angry and afraid, in a world he never knew and to a wife and son he understands less and less.
Fences gets a limited theatrical release on December 16th before a wide release December 25.
For this Thanksgiving, we are thankful that Martin Scorsese can still make these kind of pictures. The director has been working at getting Shūsaku Endō’s novel, Silence turned into a film for decades, and now it is here. Set in the seventeenth century, the story involves two young Portuguese Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and spread Christianity. Things do not go well, as Japan was in an era of deep isolation, and Christianity was illegal to practice in this time period. The Japanese had however been working on ‘Water Crucifixion’ (Mizuharitsuke) for a while, and certainly strung up a few worshipers – images that appearance in this trailer.
Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Shinya Tsuakmoto(!), and Ciarán Hinds star in the film which is getting released on December 23, 2016.
It appears that Kings of Summer director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, has crafted a good old-fashioned monster mash with the ongoing effort to establish a US-Kaiju franchise. The film is listed oddly enough as a sequel to Gareth Edwards’ 2014 remake of Godzilla, Not Peter Jackson’s wonderful 2005 version of King Kong. However you wish to parse studio franchise building, here we have Helicopters, dinosaurs, white-painted aborigines, explosions, and the big ape himself, King Kong – although judging from the one-liners, it is John C. Reilly that is going be the most fun. He joins Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, Shea Whigham, and John Ortiz in a pretty solid character-actor kind of cast.
It looks fun and rather inconsequential, what a good summer blockbuster should be.
Disney is hard at work grinding out live action version of all their animated features. Emma Watson, Luke Evans and Dan Stevens do exactly what you expect them to do with lots of CGI and flowery movie sets, in this very familiar looking 2017 Beauty & The Beast directed by Bill “Kinsey” Condon. While I have certainly enjoyed Branagh’s Cinderella and Burton’s Alice In Wonderland (I missed Favreau’s Jungle Book, but by all accounts it is serviceable), fair warning that Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid are all on the assembly line for handsome-but-forgettable consumption.