Writer, director, and lead actor Nate Parker (The Great Debaters, Red Tails)’s The Birth of a Nation is now playing in theaters across the country, but not in the light the young filmmaker was hoping for. The film struggled to reach $7 million in domestic box office sales in its opening weekend. Several factors could have contributed to the surprising low, but the most likely cause of the low turn out is Parker’s 1999 rape allegations during his time at Penn State. Although Parker was exonerated, news that his alleged victim committed suicide in 2012 and his handling of the case back in 1999 have caused a great controversy that has women’s rights and sexual assault advocate groups shouting boycott all across the country.
While Parker’s film may be controversial in its own right, the original Birth of a Nation, which was a silent movie released in 1915, was just as controversial, if not more so. The original Birth of a Nation is remembered for its blatantly racial undertones and simultaneous impressive contributions to filmmaking. Continue reading →
We first heard about a film adaptation of Captain Chelsey Sullenberger‘s miraculous 2009 landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River back in June of 2015. Now a year later, we have a full-length trailer for the upcoming drama, affectionately titled Sully, from director Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino, American Sniper). Based on the book co-authored by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow, the film takes a look at the political and procedural implications surrounding Sullenberger’s miraculous effort that ended up saving all 155 passengers on board, although the trailer is reminiscent of the 2012 drama Flight with Denzel Washington. Starring as Sullenberger is Oscar-winner Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan, Bridge of Spies), who is joined onscreen by Anna Gunn (Enemy of the State, Breaking Bad), Aaron Eckhart (Thank You For Smoking, The Dark Knight), Sam Huntington (Detroit Rock City, Superman Returns), and Laura Linney (Mystic River, The Exorcism of Emily Rose). The film is scheduled for release this September 16th. Check out the trailer here on MADE…and enjoy the 4th of July weekend!
A new drama from writer/director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games) titled Free State of Jones is now playing in theaters. The film follows the true story of Newton Knight, a farmer in Civil-War era Mississippi who abandoned the Confederate Army and formed a militia consisting of both white farmers and African-Americans who took over and declared Jones County an independent state. Ross adapted the screenplay from author Victoria Bynum’s The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, although there are numerous publications of Knight’s stance in Jones County. Appearing as Newton Knight is Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar, Dallas Buyer’s Club), who is joined onscreen by Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Concussion, Jupiter Ascending), Mahershala Ali (House of Cards, The Place Beyond the Pines), Keri Russell (The Americans, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Christopher Berry (Django Unchained, 12 Years a Slave), and Jacob Lofland (Mud, The Scorch Trials). This is definitely a lesser-known portion of American history, but one that is definitely intriguing, although I will say that the trailer reads a bit like The Patriot. If you’re looking for an evening out this week, keep this one on your list. The trailer is available here on MADE.
William Monahan (The Departed, Body of Lies) is taking his second jab at directing his own script with a new thriller called Mojave. Starring Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Garret Hedlund (Four Brothers, Tron: Legacy), the film follows a rich, suicidal artist as he ventures into the Mojave Desert, only to encounter his doppelganger: a homicidal drifter. Appearing in the supporting cast are actors Walton Goggins (Shield, Sons of Anarchy), Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter, Lone Survivor), Dania Ramirez (X-Men: The Last Stand, American Reunion), and Matt Jones (Breaking Bad, Red State). Monahan’s last writing/directing project was a film called London Boulevard in 2010, but since The Departed opened in theaters in 2004 the writer has really failed to attain a solid following in terms of highly popular projects, like Edge of Darkness (2010) and the remake of The Gambler in 2014. The trailer does look pretty wild, though, making the film read more like a modern Western thriller with a plot of cat and mouse cowboys. Hopefully it will be enough to get Monahan back on the Oscar-worthy list, but we’ll see. The trailer is here on MADE. Enjoy!
Theatrical poster for John Beck’s 1962 production King Kong vs. Godzilla.
Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are joining forces to bring a trilogy featuring the iconic big screen monsters Godzilla and King Kong together on the big screen. The process is already underway, with director Jordan Vogt-Roberts‘ (The Kings of Summer, Nick Offerman: American Ham) upcoming Kong: Skull Island as the first entry, expected in theaters this March. From there the studios, namely Warner Bros., will release a sequel to Godzilla, with director Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Star Wars: Rogue One) hopefully returning to lead the project, followed by the grand finale that will likely see the two monsters battle it out or join forces against a new foe. Some concerns have been brought up about the comparable size of the two monsters. Edwards brought his Godzilla creature to an epic scale in the 2014 flick, but King Kong is supposed to be able to climb and hang from the top of the Empire State Building. The studios are sure, however, that they will be able to resolve this issue and the productions are, as of now, all set to move forward. We’ll keep an eye out for further news.
Four-time Oscar-nominee Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Boyhood) will be on the big screen again this month with a limited release of his biographical-documentary Seymour: An Introduction. The film was first seen at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2014 and then at the New York Film Festival in the United States, and now will see a limited public theatrical release on Friday, March 13th. Musician/piano-teacher Seymour Bernstein, who left his career as a concert-pianist to become a teacher, is the focus of this documentary as he shares stories and insights from his life with director Hawke. This is Ethan Hawke’s first directing project since The Hottest State in 2006, a movie he adapted from his own novel of the same name following a young actor trying to make his name in New York City while coping with his relationship with his singer/songwriter girlfriend. Be sure to check for theaters in your area that may be showing Seymour this Friday.
Director Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland, State of Play) is best known for his work on documentaries like Touching the Void and One Day In September, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2000, but his next project will be a return to the motion picture genre with a new suspense-thriller called Black Sea. The film stars Academy Award nomineeJude Law (Enemy at the Gates, Cold Mountain) as a submarine captain who, let go by his former employers, sets out for a voyage amid the depths of the Black Sea in search of a lost Nazi U-boat rumored to have been carrying loads of gold. Also starring in the film are actors Scoot McNairy (Argo, 12 Years A Slave), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, Killing Them Softly), and Jodie Whittaker (St. Trinian’s, One Day). Screenwriter Denis Kelly (Utopia, Pulling) wrote the script, and it actually looks like a pretty cool thriller, so keep it in mind when you go to the movies this weekend. You can watch the trailer above.
Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli have been attached to one of the most successful spy film franchises for the last 20+ years. I’m talking, of course, about the 50-year running James Bond franchise, which first began with Broccoli’s father, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman in 1962 with the first Bond adventure, Dr. No. Now the two spy-film writers/producers are venturing into the realm of real-life spy controversy with a new biopic about Edward Snowden, formerly of the CIA and NSA, who is now in exile in Russia for leaking classified information to the press regarding the spy agencies’ questionable tactics behind their information-collecting policies. The film will be adapted from a new book, No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, by The Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald, who first reported on Snowden’s espionage and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Sony Pictures is currently developing the project with the James Bond producers at the helm, but with Bond 24 and 25 already in early pre-production with director Sam Mendes, it might be a while before we see this one really get up and running.
Location: 2105 S State Street, Chicago When: Saturday, December 7th @ 6:30PM
Vic Mensa is still riding the wave of success from his latest project the “Innanet tape”. He recently took over MTV’s Rapfix with A$AP Rocky & Bun B, blowing everyone away with a top notch freestyle; and now he has announced a headlining show at Chicago’s Reggie’s Rock Club. The show will also feature performances from Jean Deaux and The Hood Internet with special guests also supposed to take the stage. This should definitely be a good one, the Save Money crew is probably the hottest collective of artists in Chicago/ the Midwest right now. The show is all ages and tickets are only $10 bucks so if you’re in the CHI on December 7th you should definitely hit this one up.
Location: 1265 N Snelling Avenue, St. Paul When: Aug 22nd-Sept 2nd: 6AM-Midnight (after Labor Day)
Minnesota’s annual State Fair is right around the corner and by the looks of the musical line up and the new foods; it’s going to continue the great tradition that is the Minnesota State Fair. For those that don’t know, Minnesota’s state fair is far from the average; sitting right behind Texas at 3rd on the top 50 Fairs List. Every year you’re sure to find one of your favorite artists performing or a crazy food (usually on a stick) that you’ve never even heard of. This year the Grandstand will be hosting music from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Chance The Rapper, Talib Kweli, Tim McGraw, P.O.S, The Chalice and even comedy from the likes of Kevin Nealon & Dennis Miller. If that wasn’t enough, some of the confirmed new foods that will be featured include bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp on a stick, grilled glazed donuts, porketta pig wings, bbq tacos, candied bacon cannolis and Hawaiian Dogs just to name a few. The fair is definitely one of, if not Minnesota’s biggest event and is always a good time for all ages whether you’re there to ride rides, eat, drink or all of the above. For more information on Park & Rides, Parking, and full food and music line ups click the link below and check out the official website.