After six years of production, research, and documentation, filmmaker Laura Poitras‘s personal look at the minds behind Wikileaks, a documentary called Risk, is now playing in theaters. Risk is not so much an investigation into Wikileaks, itself. Rather, Poitras walks the audience through a series of character studies surrounding the organizations’ founders and chief players, specifically Julian Assange and Jacob Applebaum. Early on in her investigation, the filmmaker views the acts of Assange and Applebaum as courageous and heroic. Over the course of her six-year endeavor, however, her work and personal life became irreversibly interlaced with Wikileaks. She went to Applebaum (whom she has had a personal relationship with) for advice on how to handle information provided by a top secret informant, who we now know was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. She also co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation to raise money for Wikileaks, an organization that she goes back and forth with in terms of legal journalism and moralistic integrity, which she explores in the new documentary. Continue reading →
After hearing about this project months ago and getting no more than an image of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) in costume as a military recruit, we finally have an official trailer for the upcoming drama Snowden from writer/director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Any Given Sunday). The film is based on two books, one called The Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena and the other simply titled The Snowden Files by author Luke Harding (who also wrote the book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy that inspired the similarly themed 2013 flick The Fifth Estate). Snowden tells the story of infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden, from his time as an armed forces recruit all the way to his efforts to bring the National Security Administration’s practice of tracking individual cell phones for the sake of security into question. Screenwriter Kieran Fitzgerald (The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández, The Homesman) co-adapted the script with Stone (although I can’t speak as to how accurate the material is). Continue reading →
The new World War II drama, Fury, with Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf opened last weekend and effectively knocked Ben Affleck’s Gone Girl from the top-spot to a close second. The film hit theater audiences with just under $24 million in opening weekend box-office sales alone, and the pace doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The highly advertised, but apparently unpopular animated feature The Book of Life with Channing Tatum only brought in $17 million, also falling behind Gone Girl‘s third week of release. This week will see another set of uninteresting features, including the Keanu Reeves action flick John Wick (no rhyme intended), and the new horror movie Ouija. There are some pretty interesting projects coming out, however, that will unfortunately only see limited releases. One of these include director Greg Araki‘s dramatic thriller White Bird in a Blizzard with Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, and Christopher Meloni, but the more intriguing release is the documentary Citizenfour, which features interviews with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong with documentarian and reporters Laura Poitras, Glen Greenwald, and Ewen MacAskill. “Citizenfour” was the alias used by Snowden when he contacted Poitras in 2013 via encrypted emails containing Snowden’s evidence of the NSA’s covert surveillance program. Wiki-leaks founder Julian Assange is also featured in the documentary. So if you don’t want to waste your money on another terrible movie about ghosts or featuring Keanu Reeves, put these down on your list. Other limited features to look out for include writer/director Justin Simien’s dramatic comedy Dear White People, the high school football drama 23 Blast, and directors Wai-keung Lau and Andrew Loo’s Revenge of the Green Dragons, a crime-drama following young men involved with the Chinese mafia in 1980s New York City. Enjoy!
Julian Assange struck a chord a few years back when he released classified government documents on a website, appropriately titled “Wiki-leaks.” Since then he has been dodging an arrest warrant from the Swedish government for a sexual assault charge by taking up residence within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been granted diplomatic asylum. Now director Bill Condon is bringing the story of Assange to the big screen in a film called The Fifth Estate, starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role. Assange, himself, has already discredited the film, saying that it will most likely put a negative image of Assange and his collaborators, but from what I’ve seen in the film’s trailer, it may actually turn out to be an objective (and elaborated for Hollywood of course) representation of the WikiLeaks phenomenon and those involved in it. Whether or not the whole story is ever released to the public, this is as close as we’re going to get for now. The movie comes out this Friday. Check out the trailer right here on MADE.