The nominations for the 90th Annual Academy Awards were released last week and met with mixed reactions. Some were ecstatic, others were disappointed, but how many were surprised? The Academy has been attempting to present itself in a new light in the years since a slew of all-white nominees was presented in the Best Actor category at the 2015 ceremony. Despite the #OscarsSoWhite movement that followed, the same thing happened the next year, sending organizers into a furor that found them completely revamping the membership list in the hopes of getting more diversified nominations. Although the 89th ceremony saw some changes in terms of the voting body, it seemed more like a desperate attempt to show change rather than a legitimate attempt to actually change. Now, in the age of #MeToo, this year’s nominees also fell shy of expectations. Continue reading →
Two independent films are seeing a limited theatrical release this weekend. The first is a comedy from Oscar-winning director Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentlemen, Ray) titled The Comedian. Robert De Niro stars as an aging insult comic who must learn to adapt his art for the modern world of technology, YouTube, and social media. De Niro is backed by an outstanding supporting cast including Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Danny DeVito (Hoffa, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally, Analyze This), Harvey Keitel (Mean Streets, Reservoir Dogs), Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie), and Patti Lupone (Witness, City by the Sea). Despite having an impressive cast and director, the film has received incredibly harsh reviews from critics, who complain the potential of the cast and director are overshadowed by asinine, old-school comedy. Judging from the trailer, however, it looks like an entirely crowd-pleasing, worthy-of-the-times comedy, so don’t leave it off of your list just because of a few critics with no sense of humor! The Comedian is expected to see an expanded release in early February, so look for it in theaters for a good Valentines date! Continue reading →
On December 1, 1983, director Brian de Palma (The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way) released his modernized version of Ben Hecht and Howard Hawks’ 1930s gangster drama, Scarface. While the original followed a charismatic Chicago mobster in the Prohibition era, de Palma’s version took the character to violent world of the 1980s drug trade in Miami, Florida. Fueled by Al Pacino‘s riveting performance and backed by an outstanding supporting cast that included Michelle Pfeiffer (What Lies Beneath, Batman Returns), Steven Bauer (Raising Cain, Primal Fear), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Abyss, The Perfect Storm) and Robert Loggia (Big, Independence Day), Scarface ushered in a new era of gangster movies far darker than Francis Coppola’s The Godfather series just a decade before. One of the primary reasons is because of de Palma’s direction. Continue reading →
A new sci-fi thriller called 10 Cloverfield Lane is opening in theaters this Friday, March 11th, 2016. Although you might recognize the title, aside from the name, there is apparently no other connection to the original 2008 thriller Cloverfield, which involved a monster of sorts attacking the residents of New York City. This new movie comes from director Dan Trachtenberg from a script by screenwriters Josh Campbell (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Van Helsing), Matthew Stuecken (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra), and Damien Chazelle (Grand Piano, Whiplash) about a woman who is involved in a car accident and is held in a shelter by two men who believe the world has been affected by a widespread chemical attack. Starring in the film are actors John Goodman (The Big Lebowsky, Argo), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Live Free or Die Hard, Death Proof), John Gallagher (Margaret, The Newsroom), Douglas M. Griffin (Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years A Slave), Suzanne Cryer (Wag the Dog, Silicon Valley), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, The Hangover), and Sumalee Montano (Nashville, Veep). The trailer is available here on MADE; check it out on the big screen this weekend!
The new biographical drama Truth, which details the 60 Minutes episode in 2004 that investigated President George W. Bush’s military service, and the subsequent criticism that led to news anchor Dan Rather and his producer Mary Mapes loosing their jobs and effectively ending their careers, is opening in theaters this Friday, October 16th. Screenwriter James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, The Amazing Spider-Man) will be making his directorial debut with Truth, which he also adapted from Mary Mapes book. Starring in the two title roles are Oscar winners Robert Redford (All The President’s Men, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, Blue Jasmine), with Topher Grace (In Good Company, Interstellar), Dennis Quaid (Vantage Point, The Day After Tomorrow), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, Get Him To The Greek), Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek, I Robot), and Dermont Mulroney (About Schmidt, The Grey). The trailer is available here on MADE. Given the talent backing up this screenplay I would expect that this will definitely be worth seeing. Enjoy!
A new drama from director Ken Kwapis (Malcolm in the Middle, The Office) titled A Walk in the Woods is now playing on big screens across the country. Screenwriters Bill Holderman (Lions for Lambs, The Conspirator) and Rick Kerb (who is actually Little Miss Sunshine writer Michael Arndt) adapted the film from author Bill Bryson‘s book about his returning to the United States after living abroad in England for nearly two decades and the “walk in the woods” trek across the American Appalachia he undertook with his oldest friend. Starring as Bryson in the lead role is Oscar-winner Robert Redford (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men), with fellow Oscar-winner Emma Thompson (Love Actually, Men in Black 3) and Oscar-nominee Nick Nolte (Affliction, Warrior) appearing in the supporting cast. Oscar-winner Mary Steenburgen (Elf, Step Brothers) and Nick Offerman (Parks & Recreation, 21 Jump Street) can also be seen in the film. The trailer is available here on MADE. Enjoy the weekend!
Author Harper Lee pictured on-set with actress Mary Badham, who portrayed Scout in the film adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird with Gregory Peck.
Celebrated Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Harper Lee, has remained quite dormant over the last 50 years of her life, ever since she gave her last interview in 1964 regarding her American literary classic To Kill A Mockingbird. The novel became one of the most powerful and important literary reflections of racism in our modern society, taking place in Depression-era Alabama amidst hard economic times and astronomical segregation laws and practices that would remain in place until the Civil Rights Movement nearly 30 years later. And now, during a time when racial tensions are once again dominating news headlines in this country, Lee will be publishing a long, lost manuscript that she wrote prior to the publication of Mockingbird, titled Go Set A Watchmen. The novel, whose pages ended up being the earliest draft for Mockingbird, follows Jean-Louise Finch (Scout) as a 26-year-old woman living in New York City who returns to her home in the South to confront her father, Atticus, about the issues and lifestyles that people deemed as appropriate and necessary during her childhood. Lee’s writings of the character’s childhood in the form of flashbacks in Watchman became her inspiration to tell the story of Mockingbird from the perspective of Scout as a child instead of an adult, and thus To Kill A Mockingbird was written and published. Much controversy has already been stirred at the news of Go Set A Watchman‘s publication, including concerns about how readers will react to Lee’s writing about the issues, questions as to whether or not Lee is coherent enough to give her permission for the novel’s publication (which reporters and friends and Lee, herself, says she is) and what the reaction will be to Lee’s further development/portrayal of such beloved characters, especially Atticus Finch. Nevertheless the novel will be available on bookshelves this July 14th, and pre-sales have already made the book a Bestseller. So if you are a fan of Harper Lee or of To Kill A Mockingbird, I would definitely put this on your ‘To-Read’ list.
Filming has just wrapped up on the upcoming Star Wars sequel from director J.J. Abrams, and the director will now be moving the project into the post-production period as he spends his days working with editors Maryann Brandon (Star Trek: Into Darkness, Super 8) and Mary Jo Markey (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Star Trek: Into Darkness) as well as the visual effects department before the film is ready for theatrical release. Disney has already confirmed a release date of December 18, 2015, so the director still has time to get the film all wrapped up, but fans are definitely getting anxious, and talk of a trailer being released before the year is out is already getting around twitter, but for now everybody needs to be patient. Filming did just wrap up, but I guess Abrams could throw together a short teaser for audiences to see in the Christmas releases. We’ll keep an eye out for it if it happens!
The long-awaited sequel to 1994’s classic hit comedy Dumb & Dumber is finally coming to theaters this month, and just in time for the original’s 20th Anniversary celebration! Dumb & Dumber To will reunite comedic geniuses Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels on another wacky adventure as Lloyd and Harry, along with new castmembers Laurie Holden (The X-Files, The Walking Dead) and Kathleen Turner (Romancing the Stone, The Virgin Suicides). The film is directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Shallow Hal). You can see the trailer again here on MADE.
Haifaa Al-Mansour, fresh off her breakthrough film Wadjda, will be moving closer into the Hollywood spotlight with a new project from writer Emma Jensen, titled A Storm In The Stars. The story follows the relationship between poet Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft, who would later go down in history as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. Elle Fanning will be starring in the film as Wollstonecraft, which will be produced by Amy Baer under Gidden Media with executive producers Joannie Burstein and Rebecca Miller. Fanning just appeared in Disney’s summer release Maleficent opposite Angelina Jolie, and should be a good fit for the character considering she was only 17 at the time. Filming should begin sometime in 2015, and the producers are still searching for a distributor, but with a writer, director, and star already attached, we may see filming begin even earlier than expected. Stay tuned.