Every January we get to start off the new year with the world-renowned Sundance Film Festival. This year’s celebration takes place between January 19th and 29th at the in Park City. Sundance is known for introducing an array of independent films that provide provocative, yet unique glimpses into the human experience. Famous titles including Blackfish, Little Miss Sunshine, Swiss Army Man, Fruitvale Station, and Whiplash, to cite some examples from the last few years, have all premiered at Sundance. The Competition and Next film line-up for 2017 have already been announced. That list can be found by clicking here. In addition to the competition line-up, Sundance also plays hosts to a number of feature and documentary premiers, including special midnight showings, spotlight features, Sundance Kids, and other special events. To see the full list of premiers and additional line-ups, just follow the link!
Director Sydney Lumet‘s 1973 undercover police drama Serpico earned Al Pacino his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor. While it was another in a long-running streak of Oscar nominations for Pacino that resulted in no wins until 1992’s Scent of a Woman, Serpico‘s other Oscar nomination was for Best Adapted Screenplay for screenwriters Waldo Salt (Midnight Cowboy, The Day of the Locust) and Norman Wexler (Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive). Although Serpico proved to be the last Oscar-worthy project of Wexler’s, Waldo Salt had a much longer, and much darker story in Hollywood screenwriting history.
Waldo Salt was born on October 18, 1914 and grew up in Chicago an accomplished academic. He was so accomplished, in fact, that he graduated from Stanford University at the same time his friends were graduating from high school. Shortly thereafter, Salt was in Hollywood working as a screenwriter for MGM. There he worked on and assisted with various writing projects, but his first solo writing adaptation was with a 1937 film called The Bride Wore Red. The next year, Salt joined the American Communist Party, putting himself on the radar for the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare/McCarthy era 12 years later. Continue reading →
Writer/director Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Manhattan) has had a pretty solid streak since Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine both won Oscar awards. His latest project is a dramatic comedy following a young Bronx native who moves to 1930s Hollywood to follow his successful uncle, who is a Hollywood agent. Instead, he falls in love with his uncle’s secretary and upon returning to New York, becomes engulfed in the high-society night club scene in Manhattan. The film features an all-star cast, including Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Zombieland), Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Snow White and the Huntsman), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher, The Big Short), and Blake Lively (The Town, The Age of Adaline). Continue reading →
A new drama from indie-filmmaker Todd Solondz (Life During Wartime, Dark Horse) will see a limited theatrical release this Friday. Featuring a cast that includes Gretta Gerwig (Greenberg , Miss America), Julie Delpy (Before Sunrise, Before Midnight), Danny DeVito (Hoffa, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream), the film touches on the lives of four dysfunctional individuals, who all, at different points, come to own the same dachshund, who greatly impacts each of their lives. Solondz wrote and directed the film, himself, his eighth full-length feature film since Fear, Anxiety and Depression in 1989, and even scored an Official Selection nod at Sundance with this picture. From the looks of the trailer it should be a really entertaining viewing, so if you’re in the mood for an oddball comedy movie this weekend, be sure to keep this one the list!
Last year, producer-turned-writer/director Marc Abraham (Air Force One, Children of Men) debuted his new biographical drama, I Saw The Light, at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film is a portrayal of the life of country music singer/songwriter Hank Williams Jr., and was adapted by Abraham from the book Hank Williams: The Biography by authors Colin Escott, George Merritt, and William MacEwen. Starring as Williams is actor Tom Hiddleston (Midnight in Paris, The Avengers), appearing alongside co-stars Elizabeth Olsen (Godzilla, Avengers: Age of Ultron), David Krumholtz (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, This Is The End), Bradley Whitford (Scent of a Woman, Saving Mr. Banks), and Cherry Jones (Signs, The Village). Although the film has not been well received by critics, fans have praised the performances of both Hiddleston, and Elizabeth Olsen as his first wife Audrey Mae. Some movie-goers will be able to see it in theaters this weekend, but the trailer is available here on MADE. Check your local listings for showings this Friday.
With the biggest night in Hollywood quickly approaching, and all the controversy surrounding this year’s nominee selections, we thought it would be appropriate to look at some historical actors that have either boycotted the Oscar ceremonies, or blatantly returned the award to the Academy. The first incident that comes to mind is Marlon Brando‘s famous refusal to accept the Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather in 1973. He completely skipped the ceremony and had a woman named Sacheen Littlefeather refuse the award on his behalf in the name of Native American rights. George C. Scott also famously boycotted the Oscars when he won for Patton, even returning the award the next day when it was presented to him after the ceremony. Although it’s never really a surprise, Woody Allen has rarely ever attended an Academy Award ceremony, even though he has won numerous times for films like Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, and Hannah and Her Sisters. Paul Newman also refused to attend the Oscar ceremony when he finally won after six previous nominations and two honorary awards. And finally, John Gieglud was also absent to accept the Supporting Actor award for Arthur in 1982, later writing that, “I really detest all that mutual congratulation baloney and the invidious comparisons which they invoke.” As for this year, director Spike Lee and acting couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith already said they would boycott the ceremony, owing to the lack of ethnic diversity amongst this year’s nominees, but they have since rescinded following the Academy’s pledge to diversify its membership by 2020. Hopefully we’ll see some drastic improvements in the upcoming years, as it’s definitely been long overdue in Hollywood. Stay tuned.
Last year, one of the big selections at the Toronto International Film Festival was acclaimed director Ben Wheatley‘s new suspense-drama High-Rise. Wheatley (Down Terrace, Sightseers) worked again with screenwriter Amy Jump (Kill List, A Field In England), who adapted the script from author J.G. Ballard‘s novel about the residents of a high-rise building, in which strange events begin to take place. Starring in the film are actors Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, Midnight in Paris), Jeremy Irons (The Lion King, Die Hard with a Vengeance), and Sienna Miller (American Sniper, Foxcatcher). Along with a Platform Prize nomination for Wheatley at Toronto, the film also received high marks at the British Independent Film Awards and the San Sebastian International Film Festival. A new teaser trailer was released just this week in preparation for the big-screen release happening this March. You can watch it here on MADE.
Also opening in theaters today is the new acclaimed drama from Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) titled The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Departed) and Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless). We have a review for The Revenant available here on MADE at the link below. Enjoy the weekend!
Director Justin Kurzel‘s new adaptation of William Shakespeare‘s Macbeth is opening in theaters this Friday, December 4th. The film features Oscar-nominated actor Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, 12 Years A Slave) in the role of Macbeth, Shakespeare’s tragic Scottish Thane who murders his king in order to come into his kingdom and then watches his new empire unravel before his eyes. Co-starring as Macbeth’s ambitious wife is fellow Oscar-nominee Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises, Midnight in Paris), with Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby, The Man from UNCLE), Sean Harris (Deliver Us From Evil, Mission Impossible-Rogue Nation), and David Thewlis (The Omen, The Theory of Everything) appearing in the supporting cast. Screenwriters Jacob Koskoff (The Marc Pease Experience), Michael Lesslie (Airlock or How To Say Goodbye In Space, Skirt), and Todd Louiso (Jerry Maguire, Thank You For Smoking). The trailer is available here on MADE. Enjoy!
Reactions by fans to the news that there would be a second Zoolander was pretty mixed, although it didn’t necessarily come with any real surprise considering Hollywood insists on banking on 20-year-old franchises these days. Nevertheless the rumors were true and production has been underway for sometime now, with the upcoming release for Zoolander 2 scheduled for February 12, 2016. Ben Stiller (Meet the Parents, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) and Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers, Midnight in Paris) are reprising their roles as fashion models Derek and Hansel, whose careers are now threatened by a new company attempting to put them out of business. Ben Stiller is once again behind the director’s chair, working from a script by himself and original Zoolander screenwriter John Hamburg (Along Came Polly, I Love You Man), along with Justin Theroux (Tropic Thunder, Iron Man 2) and Nicholas Stoller (Yes Man, Get Him To The Greek). Continue reading →
This holiday season is sure to be full of enough big releases to keep you busy until next Spring, especially with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Before Star Wars mania overtakes the holidays, however, there are a number of feature releases that will definitely be worth your time to go and see. One such release comes in the first week of December, a new dramatic war-adaptation of William Shakespeare‘s Macbeth from director Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders, The Turning). The classic tragedy of Macbeth, a Scottish Thane who kills his king after three witches prophesize his taking the thrown but who then becomes divided by his own ambition and paranoia, was adapted for the screen by writers Jacob Koskoff (The Marc Pease Experience), Michael Lesslie (Airlock or How to Say Goodbye in Space, Skirt), and actor-turned-writer Todd Louiso (Jerry Maguire, Thank You For Smoking). Starring in the lead as Macbeth is Oscar-nominee Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave, The Counselor), with Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises, Midnight In Paris), Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby, The Man From UNCLE), Sean Harris (Deliver Us From Evil, Mission:Impossible-Rogue Nation), and David Thewlis (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Theory of Everything) included in the supporting cast. The movie will be opening in theaters this December 4th. Check out the trailer here on MADE.