One of our favorite film festivals here at MADE, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), is kicking off its 2017 festivities this week. Known for its wide range of genres, independent films, and documentaries, TIFF is the unofficial audition for the annual film-awards season that wraps with the Academy Awards celebrations every February. This years entries are no exception. Some of the more anticipated showings are documentaries surrounding Grace Jones (Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami), Barack Obama (The Final Year), and Lady Gaga (Gaga: Five Foot Two), as well as an under-the-radar entry from comedian Louis CK (I Love You, Daddy) that will appear in black and white. As always there is a plethora of noteworthy entries, so many, in fact, that it seems impossible to filter out a ‘most anticipated’ list.
On September 30, 1948, actor Robert Mitchum (Story of G.I. Joe, Cape Fear) was released from prison following his charge of marijuana possession. Mitchum was an up-and-coming star in Hollywood. He had received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor two years earlier for his role in Story of G.I. Joe, and appeared in four feature films in 1947, including Pursued, Crossfire, Desire Me, and Out of the Past. He also worked with director Robert Wise (The Day the Earth Stood Still, West Side Story) in a western film earlier in 1948 called Blood on the Moon. His recent string of success, however, only made his bust on September 1st that much worse.
Mitchum was found with actress Lila Leeds (Lady in the Lake, Wild Weed) and dancer Vicki Evans. With the 60s still more than a decade out, and public opinion towards marijuana still very much in the light of propaganda films like Reefer Madness (1936), the young actor feared the very public arrest would effectively end his acting career. It didn’t help that industry names like Howard Hughes (Scarface, The Outlaw), David O. Selznick (King Kong, Gone with the Wind), and the press constantly berated him during this period. But his famous bust that could have completely ended his career ended up doing just the opposite. Continue reading →
May 23rd, 1980 saw the release of one of director Stanley Kubrick‘s most iconic films, The Shining. Initially a commercial flop, the film has gone down as an iconic Hollywood masterpiece, and one of Kubrick’s most celebrated films. Based on a novel by author Stephen King (Carrie, Salem’s Lot), who admittedly is not a big fan of Kubrick’s adaptation, The Shining combines a a series of bizarre elements with Kubrick’s carefully crafted filmmaking, exploring the darker side of the human subconscious. Kubrick was a popular director at the time the film came up for production. He had previously released such renowned films as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange (1971), which had earned him a great amount of control when it came to making his films. The production on The Shining, however, was not what anyone had expected, taking more than a year to film at a budget that ended up at $18 million. What’s more, critical reception was incredibly harsh against Kubrick and lead actors Jack Nicholson (Chinatown, The Departed) and Shelley DuVall (Annie Hall, The Portrait of a Lady), even though the film did end up grossing $44 million. Continue reading →
Foreign writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, Alps) has a new comedic drama seeing a limited theatrical release this Friday titled The Lobster. The film was won several awards at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and with nothing but positive review from critics and audiences, anticipation for an American release has been pretty high. Co-written with Lanthimos’ long-time collaborator Efthymis Filippou, the film is set in a future dystopian society, in which single individuals are taken to The Hotel in order to find a romantic partner within 45 days, or be transformed into wild beasts and banished to live in The Woods. Definitely sounds pretty strange, but that is Lanthimos’ style, so it’s actually not far off the mark considering his portfolio. Starring in the film are actors Colin Farrell (Phone Booth, Miami Vice), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener, The Fountain), Jessica Barden (Hanna, Far From The Maddening Crowd), and Olivia Colman (The Iron Lady, Locke), among a supporting cast including John C. Reilly (The Good Girl, Chicago) and Ben Whishaw (Spectre, In The Heart of the Sea). Check it out in theaters if it’s playing in your local area this weekend.
Tom Hanks‘ next project since last year’s Bridge of Spies with director Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln) is a new drama called A Hologram for the King from writer/director Tom Tykwer (Heaven, Cloud Atlas). The film is based on the novel by author Dave Eggers, about a failed American businessman who looks to regain his losses by selling his product to a wealthy Saudi Arabian monarch. Also starring in the film are actors Ben Whishaw (Spectre, The Danish Girl), Tom Skerritt (Alien, Top Gun), Sarita Choudhury (Lady in the Water, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1), and Sidse Babett Knudsen (After the Wedding, The Duke of Burgundy). The latest trailer is now available here on MADE. Check it out before you see it this weekend. Enjoy!
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening in theaters nationwide tomorrow, you can expect movie theaters to be jam-packed this weekend with old and new generation fans alike. There are, however, a number of smaller, independent projects coming out this weekend that we like to take the time to shine the spotlight on. The first is a new war drama titled Son of Saul (originally Saul fia) from writer/director Laszlo Nemes (The Counterpart, The Gentlemen Takes His Leave), which received excellent recognition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Taking place in the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz, in 1944, the film follows a prisoner who attempts to find redemption by saving a boy he adopts as his son from the furnaces of the camp that he has been forced to subject many of his own people to. Starring in the film are actors Geza Rohrig, Levente Molnar (Morgen, Our Big Time), Urs Rechn (Eight Miles High, The King’s Surrender), and Todd Charmont (The Last of the Mohicans, Strangers). 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 →
The Oscar-winning composer behind such famous scores as Titanic, Field of Dreams, Apollo 13, and A Perfect Storm, James Horner, has died at the age of 61 in Santa Barbara, California. Horner was flying a small single-engine aircraft when the plane went down, killing him and potentially another passenger. Horner’s reputation in Hollywood was impeccable; he was a long-time collaborator with director James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) and producer Roger Corman (The Lady in Red, Battle Beyond the Stars), and was nominated for 10 Academy Awards (winning 2 for Titanic) and also won 4 Grammy’s (from a total of 11 nominations) for his work on Celine Dion‘s My Heart Will Go On and Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram‘s Somewhere Out There. Horner’s most recent work include Antione Fuqua‘s upcoming boxing drama Southpaw with Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, and Naomie Harris, and The 33, a drama revolving around the coal-mining disaster in which 33 miners were trapped underground for 69 days. These will become Horner’s final projects; Southpaw is due out July 24th, while The 33 is expected in theaters November 13th, 2015. His work, his passion for music and his influence on film will be truly missed.
The new trailer for Sin City: A Dame To Kill For from directors Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez is now on the big screen, and fans of Miller and his graphic novel are definitely in for a treat. Featuring a good portion of the original cast, including Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Powers Boothe, and Dennis Haysbert, the movie also features new-comers Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ray Liotta, Christopher Meloni, and Eva Green, and is also rumored to feature cameos of Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and Lady Gaga. Director Frank Miller adapted the screenplay from his graphic novel that was the inspiration for the original Sin City film back in 2005. We should see this one in theaters by the end of the summer, so you’ll have to sit tight just a little while longer.