From 1974 to 1988, director John Carpenter was pretty much unstoppable. His films were scary, funny, strange, and thrilling. Adam Wingard’s The Guest feels like a lost Carpenter film from the director’s golden age. The picture effortlessly moves between a nerve-wracking mystery to a gleefully dark comedy, and at its best it even mixes the two together. While Wingard carries the Carpenter-esque tone by making excellent use of Robby Baumgartner’s cinematography and Stephen Moore’s score, his greatest asset is Dan Stevens’ tremendous lead performance. And even when the picture starts to get away from Wingard, it never ceases to be an entertaining ride.
The American Dream is based on keeping the nuclear family intact and creating uninterrupted growth of property. Our families can always be closer, and we can always have more wealth. That’s the “dream” part, since families can’t stay close if some members expect to grow their independence, and acquiring more wealth usually means taking it away from somebody else. Ramin Bahrani‘s At Any Price doesn’t show the corruption of the American Dream; it shows the American Dream’s complexity. Set in the American heartland and revolving around farming—the industry our nation was built on, and one that still relies on family relationships—At Any Price is a thoughtful, rich exploration of how there’s not enough dream to go around.
Director Jason Reitman has commenced production on his next feature, the drama Labor Day. The film is based on the Joyce Maynard novel of the same name and centers on a 13-year-old boy who convinces his reclusive mother to take in a drifter over Labor Day weekend. It’s later revealed that the man is an escaped convict and the three spend a weekend together that will “shape them for the rest of their lives.” Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin star as the two leads, and Reitman felt so strongly about his cast that he pushed the production schedule back a year until both Winslet and Brolin were free.
Reitman wrote the screenplay himself and is directing Labor Day as his follow-up to last year’s Young Adult. As a big fan of Reitman’s past work (Thank You For Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air), I’m eager to see him tackle this weighty dramatic material. Clark Gregg and James Van Der Beek also star in the film. Hit the jump to read the full press release, which includes the updated synopsis.