There are few interesting indie releases opening in local theaters this weekend, alongside Jordan Peele’s directorial horror debut Get Out. The first is a war-drama titled Bitter Harvest, starring Max Irons (The Host, Woman in Gold) and Samantha Barks (Les Miserables, The Christmas Candle) as lovers facing the oncoming Ukraine Genocide of 1932-1933 under Joseph Stalin. The film comes from director George Mendeluk and follows a young artists (Irons) as he works to save his love, Natalka (Barks), from being rounded up and executed as part of the death-by-starvation camps that would be made all the more famous during Hitler’s time in Nazi Germany during World War II. The script comes from writer Richard Bachynsky Hoover and co-stars Terence Stamp (Superman, Young Guns) and Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile). 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 →
Recent news reports have surfaced about director Martin Scorsese serving as executive producer for an upcoming feature-documentary about the psychedelic rock band The Grateful Dead. Although the project has yet to be titled, Amir Bar-Lev is already set to direct the film, which will cover the entire span of the band’s career from 1965-1995. Biographer/archivist David Lemieux will be lending a hand to The Tillman Story director, who hopes to have the film ready by the time we reach the Grateful Dead’s 50th Anniversary. The documentary will include lots of archival footage and interviews with late band members Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, plus additional footage from surviving band members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Phil Lesh. The Grateful Dead were formed in Palo Alto, California in 1965 and became well known for their psychedelic sound of rock, folk, and reggae fusion. Scorsese, himself, is well known for covering rock n’ roll icons. His last rock project was the George Harrison documentary Living in the Material World, but he has also covered groups like Bob Dylan, The Band and The Rolling Stones. We’ll keep an eye out for more news on this project. Scorsese is currently working on an upcoming rock n’ roll project for HBO featuring Olivia Wilde from a screenplay by Terence Winter (The Sopranos, The Wolf of Wall Street), so it will really fall to director Bar-Lev to get the project rolling, but we’ll keep an eye out for more news.
Fresh off his run as the villainous Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Jamie Foxx is moving on to future projects, and he may be stepping back into the biographical spectrum. Recent news reports that Foxx is now set to portray heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson in a new biopic from screenwriter Terence Winter. The film has yet to be picked up by a major studio, but you can bet producer Rick Yorn is working hard on finding a buyer with both an actor and writer already in place. We also don’t know what the scope of the film will be, whether it will focus on Tyson’s early life, his fame period in the 1980s or his fall from the top and prison sentence in the 1990s for a rape conviction. Regardless of the specific plot details, Jamie Foxx seems an appropriate choice for the role. Not only did he receive critical acclaim for his portrayal of Ray Charles in 2004, he has also tackled several sports projects, including Any Given Sunday with Al Pacino and the Muhammad Ali biopic Ali with Will Smith. If all goes well it could turn out to be a pretty great movie. We’ll keep our ears open for more news.