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 →
Author Stephen King is making a big cinematic comeback in 2017. A new adaptation of his 1986 horror-classic It is opening in theaters this September, and is expected to be a two-part installation with the second film following soon after. Before It hits theaters, however, another Stephen King adaptation will see a nationwide release in the form of The Dark Tower. Based on the final novel in his eight-part series, The Dark Tower, the film follows a man named Roland Deschain, the Last Gunslinger, who faces off with the Man in Black, Walter O’Dim, in an effort to stop him from destroying the Dark Tower, a mystical building that serves as the center of all universes. In writing the series, King drew inspiration from several sources, including the Arthurian Legend, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and the American West. Continue reading →
The Lord of the Rings has already spawned two epic film trilogies, the first in the form of Tolkien’s classic novels, and the second an extended adaptation of his first journey in Middle Earth, The Hobbit. That’s without mentioning all of the affiliated material that takes place within his mystical world, from the original novels to the chronology of The Silmarillion, to Tolkien’s own languages that he created for the many inhabitants of Middle Earth. As well known as The Lord of the Rings is to pretty much everyone these days, very few people can tell you anything about its author, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (J.R.R. Tolkien). That story, however, will soon come to light in the form of a new biopic surrounding Tolkien’s life, appropriately titled Middle Earth. Continue reading →
This week will see a whole collection of independent limited releases happening across the country. First on the list is The Big Short from director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby), starring Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, American Hustle), Steve Carell (The Office, Seeking A Friend for the End of the World), Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Place Beyond the Pines), and Brad Pitt (Babel, By The Sea). The film, based on the novel by Michael Lewis, follows four friends who predicted the housing market collapse in the mid 2000s and bet against the odds with the national banks, becoming nearly instant millionaires. The film was last seen at the AFI Film Festival in LA earlier this year, and a further nationwide expansion is still expected for 2016. Continue reading →
Director Paul McGuigan‘s Victor Frankenstein is opening in theaters nationwide this Friday. Starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Woman in Black) as Igor, the movie is a new take on the classic Mary Shelley story, told from the perspective of Igor and how he met Victor Frankenstein in medical school at a time of technological innovation, and how Frankenstein nearly drove himself to madness with his ambition to challenge science and test the bounds of life and death. Although the story looks like it might be pretty drawn out and exaggerated, it does look like it will be a pretty fun watch. James McAvoy (Wanted, X-Men: First Class) co-stars as Victor Von Frankenstein, with Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey, Winter’s Tale) and Andrew Scott (Locke, Spectre) included in the supporting cast. McGuigan (Wicker Park, Lucky Number Sleven) directed from a script by screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra). The trailer is available here on MADE; you can decide for yourself how you think it will turn out. Let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Movie-goers in cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles and few other stranglers will be able to see the limited release of two new films this week. The Wolfpack is a biographical documentary from director Crystal Moselle (Frida, Excavating Taylor Mead) about a family of brothers who spend their childhood sheltered from society in an apartment in Manhattan and learning about the outside world by watching films and reenacting their favorite scenes with props and costumes; but when one of the brothers escapes to the outside, their world is quickly shaken. Making up the cast are the Angulo brothers Bhagavan, Govinda, Jagadisa, Krsna, Mukunda, Narayana. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for three others at the Seattle, San Francisco, and Edinburgh International Film festivals. The trailer is available here on MADE. Also being released this week is the new biographical drama Set Fire To The Stars about Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. The film comes from director and co-writer Andy Goddard (Stacey Stone, Downton Abbey) and co-writer Celyn Jones (who portrays Dylan Thomas in the film) about author John Brinnin’s journey to New York City to find and meet his poet-hero Thomas before his death. Brinnin is portrayed by Elijah Wood (Deep Impact, The Lord of the Rings), with Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes, Flight), Steven Mackintosh (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Underworld: Evolution), and Shirley Henderson (Trainspotting, Marie Antoinette) making up the rest of the cast. Be sure to check your local theater listings for showtimes in your area. Enjoy!
Writer/director Andy Goddard (Torchwood, Downton Abbey) will be showing his new biographical drama Set Fire To The Stars at the Seattle International Film Festival. Starring Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Bobby) in the role of author/aspiring poet John M. Brinnin (whose novel is the unofficial source material for the movie) as he embarks on a journey to save his inspiring hero Dylan Thomas, who is portrayed by co-writer Celyn Jones (Shameless, The Healer). Thomas’ career was extensive in the field of literature; some of his more famous poetic works include Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night and In The White Giant’s Thigh, but the writer was also known as a literary show-host on BBC radio during the 1940s, and he is famously credited with inspiring such 20th Century artists as Bob Dylan, who took Thomas’ first name, Dylan, as his own stage-name. John Brinnin would accompany Thomas during the latter years of his life while he was traveling across America on a series of literary tours; this is the era of his life that will be the focus of the film. I haven’t found any information pertaining to a nationwide release, but if you’re in the Seattle area on May 15th, you might want to check this one out!
Forrest Gump was first published as a novel in 1986 by author Winston Groom. The book was then adapted into the award winning film by director Robert Zemeckis and actor Tom Hanks in 1994, in what is probably his most famous role to date. The story follows Forrest Gump, a southern man with an IQ of 75, and his lifelong friend Jenny Curran as they live out the course of their lives in the turbulent latter half of twentieth century America. Beginning in the 1950s with Elvis Presley and the early Civil Rights demonstrations, Forrest goes on to play college football, become a war hero in Vietnam, go to China as an international ping-pong player, and run across the United States for 3 years, ending up in the 1980s and the Reagan administration.
The movie costars Gary Sinise, Robin Wright, and Sally Field, and features appearances by some noteworthy historical figures such as JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, George Wallace, Dick Cavett, John Lennon, and Abbey Hoffman thanks to the film’s award winning visual effects. Hanks’ portrayal of the character won him an Academy Award for Best Actor, but his adaptation was much softer than the author originally envisioned. The movie won 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Film Editing and Visual Effects. Since it was first released in 1994 the movie has become a cultural phenomenon and is known as one of Tom Hanks most famous roles. Hanks and Zemeckis reunited for Cast Away in 2000, which also earned Hanks another Oscar nomination. Forrest Gump will turn 20 years old this July, so be sure to celebrate sometime this year.