Tag Archives: thomas

Parker’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Stirring Just As Much Controversy as the 1915 Original

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

This Week In Film History….

In a historical week that also saw The Bridge Over the River Kwai released in 1957, Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961, director Don Siegel and actor Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry, Escape from Alcatraz) do their first work together on Coogan’s Bluff (1968), and Lars von Trier drive the film festival circuit wild with Breaking the Waves (1996), we have to recognize one of the sole reasons that any of these accomplishments were able to happen. On October 5th, 1864, Louis Lumière was born Besançon, France. Lumiere and his brother Auguste, would grow up to provide perhaps the most significant contribution to film as both an industry, and an art form. Continue reading

Memorable Movie Moments…

Today’s Memorable Movie Moment takes us back to 1978, for the excellent cinematography in a film called Days of Heaven. Written and directed by 3x Oscar nominee Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life), Days of Heaven is an American epic that follows a young couple, Bill and Abby, during the Expansionist era in 1916. Moving from Chicago to Texas in search of work, the two become involved in a scheme to have Abby marry a wealthy farmer who is close to death in order to gain his fortune. This, of course doesn’t go according to plan and so a dramatic conflict of jealousy and deceit ensues, loosely based on a backstory that first appeared in Alexander DumasThe Three Musketeers.

Starring Richard Gere (An Officer and a Gentlemen, Pretty Woman), Brooke Adams (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Dead Zone), and Sam Shepard (Swordfish, Black Hawk Down), the film received Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design, Best Sound, and Best Music – Original Score. Although it failed to win any of these awards, Days of Heaven did receive the Oscar for Best Cinematography for Nestor Almendros. Continue reading

New Drama ‘Genius’ Now Playing In Limited Locations

A new drama called Genius, which is based on the life of editor Max Perkins, is opening in select theaters across the country this weekend. Based on the best-selling biographical novel by A. Scott Berg, the film follows Perkins’ extraordinary career working for Scribner Publishing, where he oversaw famous works by authors like Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms), F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby), and Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward Angel), and simultaneously dealt with these authors’ personal dramas and often crippling addictions. Screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator, Spectre) adapted the script for director Michael Grandage (The Madness of King George, Bugs), who is making his directorial debut with this movie. Continue reading

New Biopic On US President Johnson Underway With Woody Harrelson

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Actor Woody Harrelson in full make-up and costume on the set of LBJ.

Principle photography is currently underway on a new biographical drama from Oscar-nominee Rob Reiner (The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men), titled LBJ. Leading the film as President Johnson is fellow Oscar-nominee Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, True Detective), with Jennifer Jason Leigh (Road To Perdition, The Machinist), C. Thomas Howell (E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, The Amazing Spider-Man), Bill Pullman (Spaceballs, Independence Day), Jeffery Donovan (Changeling, Burn Notice), and Richard Jenkins (The Indian in the Cupboard, Step Brothers). The plot is expected to range from 1959 to 1964, covering Johnson’s time in the Senate, Vice-Presidency under John F. Kennedy, and his subsequent term as President after Kennedy’s assassination, coming from a script by Joey Hartstone (Project Runway). Johnson faced several large issues during his time as President, including the beginning of the Vietnam conflict and the Civil Rights Movement. We’ll keep an eye on this one as it progresses, but as of now the film does not have an exact release date. Stay tuned.

Catch This Week’s Limited Releases Opening In Theaters This Weekend

she's that kind of funny

Indie films hardly get the public recognition they deserve outside of the circle of internationally known film festivals, or national premieres outside of New York City or Los Angeles (the recently released Mr. Holmes with Sir Ian McKellen and Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence serve as perfect examples). But that’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend seeing any of these. This week several such projects will be seeing limited releases on big screens across the country. First on the list is Grandma from writer/director Paul Weitz (About A Boy, In Good Company), which follows a young teenager, Sage, as she goes to her grandmother, Elle Reid, for help when finding herself in a tight spot. The two embark on a day-long journey of self discovery and life reflection that brings both a sense of comfort and motivation to the audience. Actresses Lily Tomlin (Nine to Five, I Heart Huckabees), Julia Garner (Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River, Into The Wild) will be leading the cast on this one. Next on the list is The Last Picture Show director Peter Bogdanovich‘s She’s Funny That Way, starring Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later, Filth), Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers, Midnight in Paris), Jennifer Aniston (Horrible Bosses, We’re The Millers), and Kathryn Hahn (Step Brothers, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty). Given the plot of this one revolves around a love-triangle on the set of a Broadway production in New York, I would recommend this one as a good date-night movie. Last, but not least, is another romantic comedy (you would think it’s Valentine’s Day weekend!) called Some Kind of Beautiful from director Tom Vaughn (What Happens in Vegas, Extraordinary Measures). Pierce Brosnan (GoldenEye, The Thomas Crown Affair), Salma Hayek (From Dusk Til Dawn, Desperado), Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Awake), and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, The Artist) lead the cast in this tale of a Cambridge poetry professor who comes to a type of midlife crises when he begins to reevaluate his life. All three selections are rated R due to some pretty heavy content, but I think they are all definitely worth seeing, so be sure to check your local theater listings for showtimes in your area, and as always…Enjoy!!

Paul Thomas Anderson To Write New Script For Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘Pinocchio’

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Warner Bros. Pictures has taken a potential new direction with their upcoming Pinocchio production with star Robert Downey Jr. (The Avengers, The Judge). Downey has been attached to the project for several years now, with various names like Ben Stiller being tossed around to direct. But now Warner Bros. is turning to Oscar-nominated filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood, The Master) to re-write the current script by Michael Mitnick with the aim at possibly directing as well. Paul Thomas Anderson writing a Pinocchio script is already pretty surprising, but given his impressive catalogue of work this may turn out to be a really great move! As far as the story goes, Downey is expected to appear as Geppetto, the woodworker who makes a boy puppet that miraculously comes to life, who sets out on a journey to reunite with his lost puppet. Nothing is confirmed yet, but let’s hope this one comes together. Stay tuned for more news.

‘The Wolfpack’ and ‘Set Fire To The Stars’ See Limited Releases This Week


Movie-goers in cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles and few other stranglers will be able to see the limited release of two new films this week. The Wolfpack is a biographical documentary from director Crystal Moselle (Frida, Excavating Taylor Mead) about a family of brothers who spend their childhood sheltered from society in an apartment in Manhattan and learning about the outside world by watching films and reenacting their favorite scenes with props and costumes; but when one of the brothers escapes to the outside, their world is quickly shaken. Making up the cast are the Angulo brothers Bhagavan, Govinda, Jagadisa, Krsna, Mukunda, Narayana. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for three others at the Seattle, San Francisco, and Edinburgh International Film festivals. The trailer is available here on MADE. Also being released this week is the new biographical drama Set Fire To The Stars about Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. The film comes from director and co-writer Andy Goddard (Stacey Stone, Downton Abbey) and co-writer Celyn Jones (who portrays Dylan Thomas in the film) about author John Brinnin’s journey to New York City to find and meet his poet-hero Thomas before his death. Brinnin is portrayed by Elijah Wood (Deep Impact, The Lord of the Rings), with Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes, Flight), Steven Mackintosh (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Underworld: Evolution), and Shirley Henderson (Trainspotting, Marie Antoinette) making up the rest of the cast. Be sure to check your local theater listings for showtimes in your area. Enjoy!

New Dylan Thomas Biopic ‘Set Fire To The Stars’ Now Playing In Limited Release

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Writer/director Andy Goddard (Torchwood, Downton Abbey) will be showing his new biographical drama Set Fire To The Stars at the Seattle International Film Festival. Starring Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Bobby) in the role of author/aspiring poet John M. Brinnin (whose novel is the unofficial source material for the movie) as he embarks on a journey to save his inspiring hero Dylan Thomas, who is portrayed by co-writer Celyn Jones (Shameless, The Healer). Thomas’ career was extensive in the field of literature; some of his more famous poetic works include Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night and In The White Giant’s Thigh, but the writer was also known as a literary show-host on BBC radio during the 1940s, and he is famously credited with inspiring such 20th Century artists as Bob Dylan, who took Thomas’ first name, Dylan, as his own stage-name. John Brinnin would accompany Thomas during the latter years of his life while he was traveling across America on a series of literary tours; this is the era of his life that will be the focus of the film. I haven’t found any information pertaining to a nationwide release, but if you’re in the Seattle area on May 15th, you might want to check this one out!

Seattle International Film Festival

‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ Opening In Theaters This Friday


I will admit I was pretty skeptical about seeing the first Hot Tub Time Machine when it hit theaters in 2010, but when the credits came on I found myself pleasantly surprised at how hilarious it actually was. Now a second installment is scheduled to open in theaters this Friday, reuniting original cast members Rob Corddry (Semi-Pro, Harold and Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay), Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express, This Is The End), and Clark Duke (Greek, Kick-Ass) with new cast members Adam Scott (Step-Brothers, Parks and Recreation), Thomas Lennon (I Love You Man, We’re The Millers), and comedy-veteran Chevy Chase (National Lampoon’s Vacation, Caddyshack). The last time we saw the comedic bunch they had returned from the 1980s to find their friend Lou (Corddry) has made himself the creator of “Louggle” and also the lead of “Motley Lou” among other endeavors that had turned all their lives completely around. This new feature will see Jacob (Duke) and Nick (Robinson) having to go back in time to prevent Lou from being shot by a mysterious assailant. The original film’s writing/directing collaborators Josh Heald and Steve Pink (Accepted, About Last Night) are both back for the new film. Only original lead actor John Cusack is not returning for the new film. The full-length trailer is here on MADE. See the movie in theaters this weekend!