Trailer: Suffragette

“I‘ve worked there part-time since I was 7, full-time since I was 12.”

Sarah Gavron’s Sufragette, is set in the early 20th century film about the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement in the UK, stars Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter and Natalie Press. Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson are on hand to represent the types of male authority at the time.

In 1912 England, women were forced underground to pursue a dangerous agenda with an increasingly brutal State. In other words, the film is a document on being a working filmmaker in Hollywood these days. The trailer even ends with Ms. Streep solemnly intoning, “Never give up, Never surrender.”

Suffragette opens in UK cinemas on October 30, 2015. The trailer is below:

Terry Gilliam’s “The Zero Theorem” Trailer


I’m never sure quite what to make of Terry Gilliam; what’s going on in his head and quite often what he chooses to display on screen. In the world of art, this is a good thing. With The Zero Theorem already having played a number of festival and screenings, there seems to be no light at the end of this surrealistic tunnel for the hopes of a theatrical release States-side.

And just to tease that notion a little bit more, a foreign trailer has dropped and I have to say it looks quite imaginative in only the way Gilliam can dream. It’s got all of his signature, Brazil-like set designs and canted angles. It also boasts quite the impressive cast; including a shorn Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Thierry, Matt Damon, Ben Whishaw, Tilda Swinton and thank the heavens someone has cast David Thewlis!

With the French subtitles, I feel a little bit like I am watching a trailer for a Jean-Pierre Jeunet picture (which again is a good thing), but check it out and see what you think. If we can ever get any kind of release over here, I will be one of the first in line.

Trailer: Teenage

This trailer came out earlier this week, but we somehow missed it. (Hat-tip to indiewire for the reminder.) A sharp and informative ‘Ken Burns-ish’ documentary from Matt Wolfe on the evolution of the ‘Teenage’ demographic – something that has only existed for about 100 years in human history, starting in the early 20th century – which changed the old model of ‘child, then adult’ by squeezing the phase of adolescence as culturally significant. Using non-teens such as Jenna Malone and Ben Whishaw as voice-over over archival photos and video, the film offers an very interesting bit of context as this part of life as something we take as ‘always-granted’ at this point.

Teenage will get a limited theatrical release on March 14.

Review: Skyfall (IMAX)

Director: Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road, Away We Go, Jarhead)
Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan
Producers: Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Albert Finney
Director of Photography: Roger Deakins
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 143 min.




From moment one of Skyfall’s trailer hitting the tubes of you, I’ve been strangely excited for the film. I say strange as I’m not all that much of a Bond fan and can’t remember ever really looking forward to the next bit in the franchise. Don’t get me wrong, I like 007 as much as the next guy. If an “episode” is on TNT at 10:30 at night I’ll tune in and dig it for what it is. But something here excited me in a way in which I’ve never been before and certainly wouldn’t have predicted. Was it the new possibilities that exist with bringing on a director mostly known for quirky little suburban dramas in Sam Mendes? Certainly. Was it the promise of Roger Deakins adjusting the light bulbs? Most certainly. How about Javier Bardem in the lead villain role? Bonus one more. The list keeps going for various reasons. Still the trailer, for the most part, was just a well cut actioner that had all the typical Bondisms thrown in between some big explosions and bright lights. So what was it about this trailer that had me itching for November 8th? I couldn’t tell you with 100% certainty. But I can tell you, my instincts, in this case, were right on the money(penny). This is easily my favorite Bond movie I’ve ever seen. I’m not a big enough of an aficionado to claim it’s the best (in fact I’m pretty sure I haven’t even seen them all), but it’s got to be up there. High up there.

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TIFF 2012 Review: Cloud Atlas

Where to begin with Cloud Atlas? The interminably long film is basically the Voltron of off-beat science fiction movies. This is what happens when you take five (or six) familiar genre-stories and juxtapose them (ok, put them in the blender and hit frappe!) in an effort say something profound about the human condition. That the end results is merely a structural confection, its ambition successful in making all the pieces fit more or less together into a grand puzzle but sacrificing the very reason why we like these tales. The sacrifice on the altar of science fiction grandiosity is empathy, character development and me ever giving a damn. The films basic ideas and premise agree with me: That social boundaries are made to be broken (as per director Larry Wachowski crossing genders to Lana); that we process the human condition through narrative; that we’ve not grown as much as we like to think as a species over the past few thousand years, and maybe, that we never will. These are all great things to tackle in your science fiction blockbuster, yet each and every one of them is treated here in the most facile (and banal) fashion. Remember all the flat, unnecessary shenanigans in The Matrix Reloaded around the Zion (The dreadlocked rave, Link’s domestic situation, et cetera)? So much of Cloud Atlas felt that way to me: Lifeless and tedious. In blockbuster adventure movie terms, it makes the handsome, turgid pile of good intentions that was John Carter seem as fresh and rollicking as The Empire Strikes Back.

In all of its 2 hour 45 minute run time, the only real surprises, you know, those big ‘Ooooh!’ moments in any film (either pop art or art house) are during the closing credit sequence when you discover how the make-up department slapped on goop and facial prosthetics to disguise each member of its ensemble. This is a fundamental problem, one of Python-wannabe-ism and Cloud Atlas ends up an act of accidental and unfunny sketch comedy. Even if it has little in the way of intentions to be funny, outside of the thread where Jim Broadbent is imprisoned in an old age home by his brother, too much of the generic story telling in each of the individual stories comes across as half-sketched ideas where gimmicks and not actual humanity, are the glue that binds. One can only take so many cringe-worthy Tom Hanks accents in a film. The most egregious of these is his Tru-Tru speak as a middle aged man running around in rags with Halle Berry in a Ridley-Walker-lite post-apocalyptic world (which is not even Earth, but who cares at this point, right?) I’ve always wanted to see an attempt a film of that iconic yet ‘unfilmable novel,’ and it pains me here to see the form used just as a mere building block. The filmmakers reach very much exceeds their grasp and they are so swallowed by the breadth of their ambitions that they lose sight of the very humanity they are trying to encompass. The film decides that one trip with Jar-Jar-Hanks is not enough and so revisits the character as a goofy old codger. A storyteller that Hanks ‘matures’ into after ‘winning’ Cloud Atlas’s karmic video-game (Spoiler Alert – A typecast Hugo Weaving and a surprisingly versatile yet often unrecognizable Hugh Grant come out as the big karmic losers.) Hanks’ is the Ur-narrator, the everyman, even though his thread is end-story chronologically, it is also the most primitive. Get it? Get it? Any time in human history, we have the same problems and we strive onward and that the striving may seem futile but it is not. I like the idea, but this is kindergarten Buddhism in the telling.

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Clips and Images for Taymor’s “The Tempest”

Which is really all I need to know I’m seeing this asap. Kind of a lover her or hate her director it seems, I personally love the visual flair and flavor of Taymor’s style. The only other director that is comparable in the original and fantastical look of their films is probably Tarsem.

I personally can’t wait for this adaptation. Taymor seems to like her Shakespeare and with Mirren, Whishaw, Cumming, Molina, Cooper and Strathairn, how can anyone not? Definitely in my most anticipated list of movies for December.

Collider was kind enough to let me steal all of their images and mash all of the clips into one long streaming experience of rad.

clip and more stills below the seats…
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Campion’s Bright Star Trailer

Bright Star Movie StillEarlier this week, the Anne Thompson shared the first gorgeous one sheet for Jane Campion’s Bright Star. The film had its debut at Cannes earlier this year where it garnered a fair bit of praise though I was more interested in the fact that Campion seemed to be back on track (she lost me with In the Cut).

Written by Campion, the film is a drama based on the three-year romance between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, a romance which was cut short by Keats’ death at the young age of 25. Not only does the film look fantastic but the casting of the brilliant Ben Whishaw as Keats and up-and-coming Australian actress Abbie Cornish as Brawne is, in and of itself, a win but the prospect of seeing these two talents on screen together is exciting and the trailer certainly suggests there is a whole lot to be excited about.

At the moment, Bright Star doesn’t have a release date but it is scheduled to play TIFF and if all goes well, I hope a release will follow shortly thereafter. For now, feast your eyes on the beautiful trailer.

Review: Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited One Sheet

Director: Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots, Becoming Jane)
Writers: Jeremy Brock, Andrew Davies
Producers: Robert Bernstein, Kevin Loader, Douglas Rae
Starring: Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Hayley Atwell, Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 135 min

There is a certain amount of expectation that comes attached to a work adapted for film from a novel as prestigious as Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited”. Things are even trickier when the book has already been transferred, to much acclaim, to the small screen starring Jeremy Irons in the lead role. Few novels can survive multiple treatments but Austen has done just fine and though I’ve never seen the mini-series, Brideshead Revisited is just as successful.

Brideshead Revisited Movie StillAdapted from the novel by the multiple award winning writing team of Jeremy Brock and Andrew Davies, the film is a recounting of the memoirs of Captain Charles Ryder, a painter whose life becomes intertwined with that of the aristocratic Marchmain family when he meets Sebastian Marchmain at school. Sebastian and Charles become good friends, though it’s clear from early on that Sebastian is interested in more than just friendship, but things get complicated when Charles is invited to Brideshead, the Marchmain’s ancestral home, for the summer. While there, Charles falls in love with Sebastian’s sister Julia and becomes acquainted with the family matriarch, the cold Lady Marchmain and from that point on, his life becomes forever connected with that of the Marchmain’s. That is the bones of the plot that hold up Brideshead Revisited but as with any great film, it’s the meat on those bones that makes it unforgettable.

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