99 HOMES Review | TIFF 2014

by     Posted 18 days ago

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In my experience, home ownership is viewed as a right of passage in America.  We’ve heard of “the lawn with the white picket fence”, but no one celebrates living in the three-room apartment.  Our homes aren’t just where we keep our stuff or rest our heads.  They are part of our identity and more importantly, our family’s identity.  In the wake of the 2008 economic crash, that identity was ripped away as millions of homes were put into foreclosure.  In a country where we don’t build anything anymore, and instead just move things around, Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes is a heart-wrenching look at the foreclosure crisis, and with the help of incredible performances from Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon, depicts how vultures are feasting in 21st century America.

YOUNG ONES Trailer Features Michael Shannon and Nicholas Hoult in a Fight for Water and Land

by     Posted 40 days ago

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Screen Media Films has released the Young Ones trailer online.  The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where water has become scarce and the only hope for a family becomes an irrigation pipeline that can revitalize their land.  This conflict sets off a battle between the family’s patriarch Ernest Holm (Michael Shannon) and Flem Lever, a young man (Nicholas Hoult) looking to romance Ernest’s daughter Mary (Elle Fanning).  I caught Young Ones at Sundance, and it was one of the most frustrating movies I’ve seen in some time.  Taken at its individual elements—visuals, performances, structure—it’s incredible.  But these parts never built to an emotional impact for me, and it was a struggle to figure out why.  I hope other viewers have more of a connection with the picture.  At the very least, it’s a worthwhile curiosity.

Hit the jump to check out the Young Ones trailer and poster.  The film opens October 17th and also stars Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Full-Length BOARDWALK EMPIRE Season 5 Trailer: Change Is Coming

by     Posted 50 days ago

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HBO has released the full-length Boardwalk Empire season 5 trailer, heralding the final stretch of episodes for the prohibition era drama series.  Though the final season consists of only 8 episodes instead of the usual 12, this trailer isn’t short on teasing the drama to come as “change” appears to be the theme of the 1931-set Season 5.  I haven’t watched the show since the first season so I’m not caught up on the events that fans are eager to see resolve this fall, but it will no doubt be interesting to see how showrunner Terence Winter brings the drama series to an end.

Hit the jump to watch the new Boardwalk Empire season 5 trailer.  The series returns on HBO September 7th.

First 99 HOMES Image Featuring Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon in Ramin Bahrani’s Upcoming Drama

by     Posted 55 days ago

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Less than a month ahead of its Venice Film Festival debut, the first 99 Homes image has gone online.  Andrew Garfield stars as “an unemployed contractor who gets evicted from his family home with his mother and his nine year old son. Desperate to get his home back, he strikes a deal to work for the powerful, greedy, charming, gun-toting real estate broker (Michael Shannon) who evicted him.”  As one of five people who liked Ramin Bahrani‘s previous film, At Any Price, I’m eager to see how the director/co-writer approaches a story that will apparently deal with the housing crisis and economic collapse.  At the very least, we’ll get to see an Andrew Garfield movie that doesn’t involve thousands of VFX shots.

Hit the jump to check out the 99 Homes image.  The film also stars Laura Dern and Noah Lomax.  The Venice Film Festival runs from August 29 – September 7th.  99 Homes, which is currently looking for distribution, will then make its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from September 4 – 14th.

Exarchopoulos Joins BASTILLE DAY; Shannon on Board for FREEHELD; Rourke and Wolff to Lead ASHBY; McAdams and Nyong’o Circling SOUTPAW

by     Posted 138 days ago

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With the Cannes Film Festival underway, plenty of wheeling and dealing is going down, so that means lots of casting news.  Briefly:

  • Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color) is joining Idris Elba in James WatkinsBastille Day.
  • Michael Shannon will co-star with Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in Freeheld.
  • Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff, Emma Roberts, and Sarah Silverman will star in Ashby.
  • Rachel McAdams and Lupita Nyong’o are circling the drama Southpaw.

Hit the jump for more on this casting news.

Sundance 2014: YOUNG ONES Review

by     Posted 254 days ago

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There are rare times when everything in a movie can work—its direction, performances, etc.—and yet the picture somehow comes up short.  This is the problem with trying to judge movies piecemeal.  For all of the different aspects that make up a picture, we have to evaluate it as a whole.  Obviously, we can call attention to its outstanding aspects, but they have to lead, for better or worse, to some kind of impression.  Jake Paltrow’s Young Ones is remarkable in how it does so much right, and yet it leaves the viewer completely cold.  Its strengths are undeniable and its flaws are subtle, so subtle that it can be confusing as to how such a technically superb picture can be so ineffective.

Sundance 2014: First Images from RUDDERLESS, THE TRIP TO ITALY, THE VOICES, WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD, and YOUNG ONES

by     Posted 295 days ago

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Our Sundance 2014 pre-coverage continues with some first look images and synopses from a collection of films that will have their world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  Briefly:

  • Rudderless – Directed by William H. Macy; starring Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Felicity Huffman, Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne, and William H. Macy.
  • The Trip to Italy – Directed by Michael Winterbottom; starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
  • The Voices – Directed by Marjane Satrapi; starring Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, and Jacki Weaver.
  • White Bird in a Blizzard – Written and directed by Gregg Araki; starring Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni, Shiloh Fernandez, Gabourey Sidibe, and Thomas Jane.
  • Young Ones – Written and directed by Jake Paltrow; starring Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses.  The 2014 Sundance Film Festival runs January 16 – 26th.

MAN OF STEEL Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 314 days ago

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One of the biggest movies of the year, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, is now available to take home on Blu-ray.  If you only saw the picture once, or even twice in the theaters, there’s likely quite a bit you missed.  Luckily, the Blu-ray is packed full of behind-the-scenes featurettes and a multimedia commentary track that delves into every facet of the filmmaking process.  And for those of you who want to minor in Kryptonian studies, the special features also explore the newly created language and alphabet, technology, and all-around culture of the inhabitants of Krypton, plus an in-depth look at the alien world itself.

Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Antje Traue and Russell CroweMan of Steel is an enjoyable, yet absolutely detailed and expansive entry in the pantheon of Superman films.  The quality of the film alone is worth picking it up on Blu-ray, but the special features put the icing on the cake.

Dwayne Johnson Attached to Star in Supernatural Actioner SEAL TEAM 666; Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon Form Foundation of 99 HOMES

by     Posted 328 days ago

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Here’s some of today’s latest casting news:

Hit the jump for more on each picture.

THE ICEMAN Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 11 days ago

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Writer-director Ariel Vromen’s dramatic adaptation of the life of notorious hitman Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski is now available on Blu-ray.  The Iceman stars Michael Shannon (Man of Steel) in the title role: a loving and devoted family man on the surface, in actuality a brutal and sadistic serial murderer with mafia ties.  Adapted from Anthony Bruno’s book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, the film attempts to examine the duality of Kuklinski, but ultimately ends up being little more than a showcase for Shannon’s terrifying talent.

The Iceman also stars Chris Evans, David Schwimmer, Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, Stephen Dorff and James Franco.  The Blu-ray extras include the standard “making of” featurette and filmmaker interviews, but unfortunately do not include the oft-cited HBO documentary, The Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Hitman.  Hit the jump for my Blu-ray review.

Michael Shannon Joins Andrew Garfield in 99 HOMES

by     Posted 1 year, 17 days ago

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Spidey will have some good company in the indie 99 HomesTHR reports that Michael Shannon has signed on to star opposite Andrew Garfield in writer/director Ramin Bahrani’s (Man Push Cart) indie, which centers on a desperate man (Garfield) who, after losing his house to foreclosure, goes to work for the same real estate broker that took his home.  He soon finds himself evicting homeowners left and right, and gets caught up in helping the broker embezzle money from the government, leading to a rather a heavy conscience.  In an excellent bit of casting, Shannon will be playing the broker.

Shannon is also attached to reteam with Taking Shelter director Jeff Nichols on the sci-fi film Midnight Special, but it’s unknown whether that or 99 Homes will go first.  He can currently be seen on the fourth season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

15 New Images from BOARDWALK EMPIRE Season 4 Featuring Steve Buscemi, Ron Livingston, Patricia Arquette, and Jeffrey Wright

by     Posted 1 year, 60 days ago

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The fourth season of the HBO drama series Boardwalk Empire kicks off on the pay cable network in a little over a month, but in advance of the premiere, HBO has unveiled some images from the new season that give fans a tease of what’s to come.  Regular cast members Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, Kelly Macdonald, Michael K. Williams, Jack Huston, and more are joined this year by a bevy of newcomers including Jeffrey Wright, Ron Livingston, and Patricia Arquette, all of which are seen in these new photos.  For those worried of spoilers, these images give away next to nothing by way of plot, but they do serve as a nice appetizer for the 12-episode fourth season.

Hit the jump to take a look at the high-resolution images.  Season four of Boardwalk Empire begins on HBO September 8th.

TOP 5: MAN OF STEEL, First Trailer and Poster for THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, THIS IS THE END, New ELYSIUM Trailer, E3 2013 Recap

by     Posted 1 year, 107 days ago

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Was there really a chance of writing about something other than Man of Steel in this week’s opening paragraph? Well, maybe. I did really enjoy This Is the End. But, alas, this week is about Supes’ return to the big screen. I watched the film (in 2D) for the first time last night and, as far as superhero movies go, it elicited an emotional response from me that few in the genre have. Sure, there were times where the grand scale of destruction left me cold and the product placement took me out of the moment (if only to admire some beautiful appliances meeting their untimely demise). Nevertheless, the themes of love, sacrifice, acceptance, and trust were beautifully woven into the film’s text in such a way that it made me do something I’ve only done one other time (while reading Grant Morrison‘s excellent All-Star Superman run): become emotionally invested in the Man of Steel.

While this is undoubtedly Kal-El’s weekend, in addition to Man of Steel interviews and more, this week’s Top 5 also includes the first teaser trailer and poster for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, This Is the End interviews with Seth Rogen and more, the new Elysium trailer, and a recap of E3 2013 from the convention floor. Learn more about all of the above via a link and brief recap after the jump.

MAN OF STEEL Review

by     Posted 1 year, 112 days ago

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Who is Superman?  Is he Kal-El, the Last Son of Krypton?  Or is he Clark Kent, the adopted child of Smallville farmers?  Is it even a choice?  Can’t he both?  Superman has been dismissed as the “blue boy scout” by those who aren’t willing to take the time to consider his fascinating origin.  He’s an immigrant from a destroyed planet, he’s the loneliest guy in the world, he’s an outsider, and he’s humanity’s shining beacon even though he’s not human.  He’s the best of both worlds, and arguably belongs to neither.  Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel tries to get to the heart of this conflict, but ends up missing the heart of Superman.  Almost everything that surrounds the character is amazing from the set pieces to the restructured origin story to the score to the acting to his path before putting on the cape.  But inside the iconic suit, there is no Superman.

Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon and Russell Crowe Talk MAN OF STEEL, Making Lois Lane More Active, Getting the Flying Right and Fight Sequences

by     Posted 1 year, 113 days ago

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One of the most highly anticipated summer blockbusters is Man of Steel, which takes the Superman story back to its origins, in a fresh and more grounded way. When the young Kal-El/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth, he struggles with becoming the hero that he’s destined to be. From director Zack Snyder, screenwriter David S. Goyer and producer Christopher Nolan, the film also stars Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne.

During a press conference at the film’s junket, co-stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon and Russell Crowe talked about making Lois Lane more active, what it took to get the flying right, the fight sequences, the sense of responsibility that comes with playing Superman, channeling evil, and playing a parent. Henry Cavill also talked about whether or not he’d like to be involved with a Justice League movie, at some point. Check out what he had to say after the jump.

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