The 70th Cannes Film Festival wrapped up this year with several big surprises. The Killing of a Sacred Deer and You Were Never Really Here both tied for the best screenplay award. Sofia Coppola became the first female director to win the Best Director award at Cannes in 56 years for The Beguiled, an adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s Civil War novel about a wounded soldier who takes refuge among the inhabitants of a girls’ school in Virginia. Joaquin Phoenix and Diane Kruger were awarded best actor awards for their respective roles in You Were Never Really Here and In The Fade, the latter of which featured Kruger speaking in her native German. Additionally, Nicole Kidman received a special award for her appearances in four of this year’s festival entries, including The Beguiled, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and Top of the Lake. Other noteworthy entries include BPM (Beats Per Minute), a drama focused around the French gay-rights movement in the early 90s that earned this year’s Grand Prix, and Ruben Östlund’s The Square, about a high-class museum curator who is forced to mingle with lower class members when he is pick-pocketed on the street. A full list of this year’s winners is provided below…. Continue reading →
Today (May 26th) marks the 50th anniversary celebration of The Beatle’s revolutionary album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The LP was the first released by the band following their retirement from touring after their final performance at Candlestick Park in 1966. Although The Beatles had already begun a steady transition from being a more traditional pop-rock group with albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s has been hailed as their ultimate creative masterpiece, followed closely perhaps by 1969’s Abbey Road. Released at the beginning of the Summer of Love, it set a new precedent for what a rock and roll record could be. The concept behind the album began following the exhaustion the group experienced after the whirlwind of Beatlemania. Paul McCartney came to Lennon, Starr, and Harrison with an idea that they would record an all new album under an alternative persona, which would free them from the weight of being the Beatles and usher in a fresh wave of musical creativity. Sgt. Pepper’s not only ushered in a new era for the Beatles; it also marked the beginning of the psychedelic rock movement that would see new groups like The Doors, Pink Floyd, and Jefferson Airplane begin to climb the pop music charts. Now, 50 years later, Sgt. Pepper’s is known not only for its conception and importance to 60s rock (and music in general), but also for the history of its production. Continue reading →
Earlier this week, Sir Roger Moore, the third actor to portray Ian Fleming’s British Secret Service Agent, James Bond, passed away at the age of 89. Moore died after a brief battle with cancer at his home in Switzerland, according to his family members. The actor first achieved fame with lead television roles in series like Maverick and The Saint in the 1950s and 60s. His first outing as James Bond came with 1973’s Live and Let Die, the second Bond novel by author Ian Fleming. Moore’s appointment to the role came after Sean Connery returned for one additional film (Diamonds Are Forever) following actor George Lazenby’s dismissal from the the part. He would then go on to star as Bond in an additional six films throughout the remainder of the 1970s and up until 1985’s A View To A Kill. Continue reading →
Fans of director Ridley Scott‘s original sci-fi thriller Alien (1979) were less than disappointed by his 2012 prequel Prometheus. Not only did it lack suspense, but it seemed that most movie-goers failed to even realize that the film was related to the famous flick. But today Scott is making amends to appease fans of the series. Alien: Covenant not only brings back the series title, but reviews say movie-goers can expect a truly horrifying thriller that lives up to the original. Taking place 20 years before Alien, the film follows the crew of the colony ship Covenant as they embark on a mission to a supposedly uncharted planet. There they encounter David, the android survivor of the Prometheus expedition, who unleashes a terrifying threat upon the crew and forces them to attempt a daring escape from otherwise certain doom. Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, 12 Years A Slave) reprises his role as David (now called Walter), along with an all-new cast that includes Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice, Steve Jobs) and Billy Crudup (Almost Famous, Big Fish). This is definitely one to see on the big screen, so if you’re planning on a movie this weekend, I’d keep this one in mind!
Today kicks off the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival in France. A number of anticipated entries are included in this year’s competition. Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled with Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, and Kirsten Dunst is her first indie film since 2013’s The Bling Ring. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s new drama Loveless has high expectations after the director’s last film, Leviathan, earned he and his co-writer Oleg Negin the Best Screenplay award in 2014. Director Hong Sang-soo has two films premiering at this year’s festival, The Day After and Clair’s Camera, but both have been kept well under the radar until their upcoming debut.
Director Lynne Ramsay is also looking to impress with her latest project You Were Never Really Here, a drama about a veteran who attempts to help a young girl involved in a sex trafficking ring. Other anticipated projects being tossed around the web are Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Michael Haneke’s Happy End. The festival will open tonight with director Arnaud Desplechin’s Les fantômes d’Ismaël (Ismael’s Ghosts). Another big event at this year’s festival will be a Virtual Reality (VR) film called Carne Y Arena from acclaimed writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant). The film runs a full hour and twenty minutes and is the first Virtual Reality film to ever appear at Cannes. The festival will run from the 17th to the 28th in Cannes, France. You can see a full list of this year’s entries below. Continue reading →
For those die hard fans of the Star Wars film series, May 4th is always a special occasion. It was on May 25th, 1977 that A New Hope, the first ever Star Wars film from writer/director George Lucas made its theatrical debut. The event marked the beginning of a new phenomenon in modern cinema, and changed the way movies were made and even thought of from then on. Drawing from inspiration from early space adventure serials, George Lucas envisioned a modern space epic using classic themes and archetypes that would forever change the movie-going experience. His company, Industrial Lights and Magic, which would go on to create Pixar Animation in the 1990s, created new methods for special effects that gave movie-goers an experience never before seen on film. To celebrate this special fan day, here is the latest trailer for the next installation in the film series, The Last Jedi, which will feature original actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke and Leia Skywalker, along with new vets Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Adam Driver, and Domhnall Gleeson. Enjoy, and May the Fourth Be With You!
*Update – this article originally stated that A New Hope was released on May 4th, 1977, hence part of the reasoning behind “May-the-Fourth Day.” A New Hope actually hit theaters on May 25th of that year, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. My apologies for the inaccuracy!
The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival is once again underway in New York City. Entries in this year’s festival include films from 28 countries, which are being shown from April 19th to April 30th. The festival has already seen a fair share of controversy this year. Photographers and reporters were incensed to find some lesser known actors walking on the red carpet wearing masks of James Franco, Shia LaBeouf, and Greta Gerwig instead of the actors themselves for the premiere of the film Flames. In addition, a commercial for United Airlines, which was originally scheduled to appear at the festival, was pulled from the line up after the controversy surrounding Dr. David Dao being violently dragged off one of their flights. Despite a fair share of controversy, which has always been typical of the Hollywood scene, there have been some impressive displays at this year’s festivities. Continue reading →
Director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Rango) has teamed up once again with cinematographer Bojan Bazelli (Rock of Ages, Pete’s Dragon) for a new thriller titled A Cure for Wellness. The story follows a young business executive who is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a mysterious wellness center isolated in the Swiss Alps and comes to suspect that the center, although renowned for its miraculous (if not unconventional) treatments, is not all it’s made out to be. Leading the cast are actors Dane DeHaan (Lawless, Kill Your Darlings), Jason Issacs (The Patriot, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Mia Goth (Nymphomaniac: Volume II, Everest), Ivo Nandi (Sons of Anarchy, Boardwalk Empire), Adrian Schiller (Bright Star, The Danish Girl), Celia Imrie (Nanny McPhee, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), and Harry Groener (Patch Adams, Road to Perdition). Continue reading →
Director Amma Asante’s latest project, A United Kingdom, is seeing a limited theatrical release this weekend after premiering at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Starring David Oyelowo (A Most Violent Year, Selma) and Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day, Gone Girl), the film tells the story of Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana, who caused an international controversy when he married a white Englishwoman in the late 1940s. Their marriage was met with criticism and persecution in both South Africa, which borders Botswana, and Seretse’s family and local Bamangwato chieftaincy elders. At the time, interracial marriage was illegal in South Africa. To complicate things further, Botswana (then Bechuanaland) was a British protectorate, and England was still recovering from World War II, and so relied heavily on supplies imported from South Africa. As a result, the British government declared Seretse unfit to serve as chieftain and exiled him and his wife, Ruth Williams, from Botswana in 1951. Continue reading →
Sundance 2017 proved a huge success yet again. This year a number of impressive entries from a broad array of categories caught our attention, including Wind River, The Discovery, I Am Not Your Negro, Mudbound, and the outlandish comedy Wilson with Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern. Now that the celebration is over and everyone in Hollywood is looking forward to the Oscars at the end of the month, here are a few more mentionable entries you should look for in theaters in the coming months. Continue reading →