FRANK Review

by     Posted 17 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  Frank opens today in limited release.]

“He’s the sanest person I’ve ever met,” band manager Don (Scoot McNairy) tells keyboardist Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) about their lead singer and songwriter, Frank (Michael Fassbender). Frank wears a giant fake head that he never takes off. Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank is a funny, warm, thoughtful story about crafting an artistic identity, and needing to seize on to someone else’s expression when you don’t have one of your own. It also provides an insightful look at the fault in trying to forge an identity based on the acceptance of others instead of embracing one’s own oddities and shortcomings even if the world at large sees them as “insane”.

Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lenny Abrahamson and Jon Ronson Talk FRANK, Frank Sidebottom, Masks and More

by     Posted 18 days ago

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When you cast Michael Fassbender as your title character, the last thing you’d probably think to do is put a giant mask over his head so you can’t see his face throughout the film, but that’s exactly what director Lenny Abrahamson chose to do in his latest, Frank, and it pays off quite well.  Domhnall Gleeson plays Jon, a guy who takes a risk and follows his dream of becoming a musician only to wind up in a remote cabin with an eccentric band called the Soronprfbs, led by a guy who sings with a mask on and never takes it off – ever.

With Frank making its way into theaters for an April 15th limited release, Abrahamson, Fassbender, Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal and writer Jon Ronson all sat down for a press conference to discuss the unusual music featured in the film, performing with that head on, the connection to Frank Sidebottom and more.  Check it out after the jump.

Watch Michael Fassbender Sing as FRANK on The Colbert Report

by     Posted 25 days ago

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How am I just now hearing about Frank?  This movie looks friggin’ amazing, especially if you’ve ever done time in a band.  The film stars Domhnall Gleeson as an aspiring musician who joins an eccentric band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank, played by Michael Fassbender.  The story is loosely based on Frank Sidebottom with Fassbender sporting an odd, large mask for the entirety of the film.  The film also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal who joined Fassbender and Gleeson on The Colbert Report last night to perform as the Soronprfbs (the band depicted in the film).  Of course, Fassbender wears the mask throughout the entirety of this performance of “I Love You All.” 

Hit the jump to check out Fassbender and the rest of the cast perform the song on The Colbert Report.  You should also see the film’s trailer and read Matt’s review.  Frank opens in limited release on August 15th and this song is available on iTunes

Oscars: Lupita Nyong’o, Josh Hutcherson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Clark Gregg, and More Added to Academy Voting Body

by     Posted 67 days ago

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its list of actors, filmmakers, and others involved in the moviemaking industry that have been invited to join the Academy’s membership.  271 artists made the cut this year, ranging from recent winners and nominees like Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender to more eclectic choices like Rob Riggle, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Josh Hutcherson, and even Jason StathamChris Rock also finally gets a ballot years after hosting the ceremony, and Clark Gregg will bring some Marvel pedigree into the fold.  On the filmmaking side, brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, David Gordon Green, Denis Villeneuve, and Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees) join the directors branch, while DP Sean Bobbitt (12 Years a Slave) has been added to the cinematographers group.  Eddie Vedder and Pharrell Williams (sans hat) are also now Academy members should they accept their invitations.  The full list is still disappointingly short on females, however.

Hit the jump to check out the complete list of 2014 invitees to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  The 2015 race will be here before you know it, folks.

New Trailer and Poster for FRANK Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, and Michael Fassbender

by     Posted 73 days ago

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Magnolia has released a new Frank trailer and poster.  The film stars Domhnall Gleeson as an aspiring musician who joins an eccentric band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank, played by Michael Fassbender.  The story is loosely based on Frank Sidebottom with Fassbender sporting an odd, large mask for the entirety of the film.  I enjoyed the film when I saw it at Sundance, and while it makes sense that the trailer would focus on the weirdness of the band and Frank’s behavior, the movie is really about Gleeson’s character and his desperation to find acclaim despite a dearth of talent.

Hit the jump to check out the Frank trailer and poster.  The film also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairyFrank opens in limited release on August 15th.

TOP 5: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, New GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Trailer, Gareth Edwards to Direct STAR WARS Spinoff, MAN OF STEEL Sequel Gets Official Title, LIFE ITSELF Trailer

by     Posted 100 days ago

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And just like that, my excitement for Marvel’s Ant-Man has been severely diminished. Understanding that making a film of this size is hardly the work of a single person, the loss of Edgar Wright from the director’s chair remains a huge subtraction nonetheless. I’m undoubtedly biased as Wright is one of my favorite working filmmakers, but I can’t see how you let a talent of his caliber walk away from a project that he’s been developing in one way or another for nearly a decade and cite “creative differences” as the culprit. I realize the film industry has brass at the top calling the shots like any other big business, but if I’m made to believe that there are two irreconcilable visions for Ant-Man (Marvel’s and Wright’s) then I can’t help but think that we’ll now be getting the lesser one next July. As unfair as it is, even if the finished product turns out great (which could very well happen), I’ll always wonder how it might have been with Wright at the helm.

All Ant-Man talk aside, this week’s Top 5 features our interviews for and review of X-Men: Days of Future Past, the new trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, the news that Godzilla director Gareth Edwards will direct the first Star Wars spinoff, the lengthy official title for the Man of Steel sequel, and the first trailer for director Steve JamesRoger Ebert doc Life Itself. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Review

by     Posted 102 days ago

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As I’ve re-watched all of the X-Men movies over the past week, it’s been a little difficult to nail down a common theme, especially since two of them are spin-offs.  Ignoring the Wolverine movies, the plots are similar: mutants-vs-humans mixed with mutants-vs-mutants with an emphasis on how to deal with persecution.  Xavier always wants peace, but from Magneto’s perspective, he’s tried assimilation (X-Men), annihilation (X2), mobilization (X-Men: The Last Stand), and retribution (X-Men: First Class).  But thus far we’ve only seen a nebulous notion of “Peace Is Good” from Professor X.  X-Men: Days of Future Past brings substance to Xavier’s beliefs and brings a new characteristic to the series: salvation.  Although this approach mostly removes the ensemble aspect I’ve enjoyed in these movies, the latest X-Men has the most admirable values thus far.  And while the action, pacing, and visuals aren’t quite as sharp as a couple of the other movies, director Bryan Singer has still managed to reclaim the series’ past, present, and future.

“A Very Groovy Mutation”: Matt Revisits X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

by     Posted 104 days ago

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[With X-Men: Days of Future Past opening on Friday, I'm taking a look back at the X-Men movie franchise.  These reviews contain spoilers.]

As I said in my X-Men: The Last Stand review, Professor X and Magneto were the pillars of the franchise’s narrative.  X-Men Origins: Wolverine wasn’t an outright flop, but it certainly underperformed, and combined with the scathing reviews from fans and critics, the X-Men franchise wisely returned to a central problem about how to fight persecution—with peace or with fury? Then they brought these characters to the forefront, and wrapped the subtext in a movie with vibrant visuals, humor, charming performances, and terrific action.  By going back to the beginning in more ways than one, X-Men: First Class was giving the X-Men franchise a fresh start.

Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy Talk X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, the Ambition of the Sequel, Future X-MEN Movies, the PROMETHEUS Sequel, More

by     Posted 105 days ago

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Opening this weekend is director Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.  As most of you know, Days of Future Past finds Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) having his consciousness sent back to 1973 in order to help Professor X (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and the rest of the X-Men: First Class crew stop the rise of the Sentinels, giant robots programmed to exterminate mutants.  The film also takes place in the future, so we’re going to see the original X-Men cast and what will happen if Wolverine fails.  I caught a screening last week and am very happy to report the film is great.  It’s loaded with awesome character moments and tons of mutant action.  You’re all going to love it.  For more on the film, watch these five clips and nine minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, and click here for all of our coverage.

At the New York City press day, I landed a great video interview with Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy.  They talked about the ambition of the sequel, signing a multi-picture deal to play the characters, future movies, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus sequel, and so much more.  Hit the jump to watch the interview.

Watch 5 X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Movie Clips and 9 Minutes of Behind-the-Scenes Footage

by     Posted 107 days ago

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With X-Men: Days of Future Past opening next weekend, 20th Century Fox has provided us with five movie clips and nine minutes of behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film.  If you’ve ever wanted to see what it’s like on set, you’ll really enjoy the clips of Bryan Singer directing the cast and seeing your favorite actors in between takes.  As most of you know, Days of Future Past finds Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) having his consciousness sent back to 1973 in order to help Professor X (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and the rest of the X-Men: First Class crew stop the rise of the Sentinels, giant robots programmed to exterminate mutants.   The film also takes place in the future, so we’re going to see the original X-Men cast and what will happen if Wolverine fails.  I caught a screening last week and am very happy to report the film is great.  It’s loaded with awesome character moments and tons of mutant action.  You’re all going to love it.

Hit the jump to watch the X-Men: Days of Future Past clips and behind-the-scenes footage.  The film also stars Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Ian McKellan, Patrick StewartPeter Dinklage, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, and Halle Berry.

Michael Fassbender in Talks to Star in Derek Cianfrance’s THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS

by     Posted 111 days ago

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An incredibly promising actor/director pairing is in the works.  THR reports that Michael Fassbender is in talks to star in the M.L. Stedman adaptation The Light Between Oceans, which The Place Beyond the Pines helmer Derek Cianfrance will direct.  The story takes place on a remote Australian island following World War II and “follows a lighthouse keeper and his wife who are faced with a moral dilemma when a boat washes ashore with a dead man and an infant.  When they decide to raise the child as their own, the consequences are devastating.”

David Heyman (Gravity) is producing the DreamWorks drama, and it appears that the pic is firming up as a shoot in Australia is being eyed.  Fassbender most recently completed Macbeth and will also lead the upcoming Assassin’s Creed.  Of course, he’ll next be seen onscreen in X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Hit the jump for a synopsis of The Light Between Oceans.

Michael Fassbender Says PROMETHEUS 2 Is a Go; Doesn’t Know When They’ll Begin Filming

by     Posted 116 days ago

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During the press day for 12 Years a Slave, Steve asked Michael Fassbender the status of Prometheus 2, and Fassbender quickly responded, “I don’t know.”  Today at the junket for X-Men: Days of Future Past, the question came up again, and this time he said the project is a go, although he didn’t know when it would begin filming.  When we last reported on the film, it seemed like filming was already given the greenlight, but then another report said that there was no release date, it’s unclear if Ridley Scott would return to direct, and that they’ve only hired a new writer (Michael Green).  It’s still unclear if Scott wants to get in the director’s chair again, but Fassbender’s confirmation is still a step forward in the project’s development.  I, for one, am excited to see the continuing adventures of David’s disembodied head.

Hit the jump to check out what Michael Fassbender had to say about the Prometheus sequel.

10-Minute Featurette and New Clip from FRANK Starring Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson

by     Posted 117 days ago

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A new Frank featurette has gone online along with a new clip.  The film stars Domhnall Gleeson as an aspiring musician who joins an eccentric band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank, played by Michael Fassbender.  The story is loosely based on Frank Sidebottom with Fassbender sporting an odd, large mask.  The featurette is really fascinating as Gleeson, Fassbender, writer Jon Ronson, (whose time with Sidebottom was the inspiration for the story), and director Lenny Abrahamson talk about the various aspects of the film without giving away any of the plot.  I really liked the movie when I saw it at Sundance, and even though it’s strange, it’s also funny and moving, and I hope it finds an audience.

Hit the jump to check out the featurette and the clip.  The film also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairyFrank opens in the U.K. on May 9th and in the U.S. on August 22nd.

23 New Images of Character Art for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Starring Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender

by     Posted 119 days ago

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20th Century Fox has released twenty-three new images of X-Men: Days of Future Past character art.  The story finds Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) having his consciousness sent back to 1973 in order to help Professor X (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and the rest of the X-Men: First Class crew stop the rise of the Sentinels, giant robots programmed to exterminate mutants.  This art use the same images as the ones from the Empire Magazine covers we saw a few months back.  The only thing that’s different is that the backgrounds are different and the Empire text is gone.  There were twenty-five posters for Empire; the missing two from this set: director Bryan Singer (no surprise) and Rogue (slight surprise), although it looks like she probably has a brief cameo in the finale cut.

Hit the jump to check out the character art.  The film also stars Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Ian McKellan, Patrick StewartPeter Dinklage, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, and Halle Berry.  X-Men: Days of Future Past opens in 3D on May 23rd.

Michael Fassbender’s MACBETH Director Justin Kurzel in Talks to Helm ASSASSIN’S CREED

by     Posted 125 days ago

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Though the project has been in active development for over a year and already has an August 7, 2015 release date, the Assassin’s Creed movie had thus far been moving ahead without a director.  It appears that this has changed, though, as Variety reports that Justin Kurzel is now in talks to helm the video game adaptation for New Regency.  Michael Fassbender is producing and attached to star in the pic, and Kurzel last helmed the upcoming Macbeth feature film adaptation in which Fassbender is also the star.

Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) had been rumored as a possibility to direct Assassin’s Creed a few months ago and Gareth Evans (The Raid) was also apparently eyed for the gig, but Variety adds that Fassbender lobbied hard for Kurzel to land the job.  Screenwriter Michael Lesslie performed the most recent rewrite on the script, and wouldn’t you know it, he also wrote Macbeth.  Kurzel is currently in post-production on the Shakespeare adaptation, but he’ll likely move right into Assassin’s Creed once he’s finished.

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