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 →
Director Amma Asante’s latest project, A United Kingdom, is seeing a limited theatrical release this weekend after premiering at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Starring David Oyelowo (A Most Violent Year, Selma) and Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day, Gone Girl), the film tells the story of Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana, who caused an international controversy when he married a white Englishwoman in the late 1940s. Their marriage was met with criticism and persecution in both South Africa, which borders Botswana, and Seretse’s family and local Bamangwato chieftaincy elders. At the time, interracial marriage was illegal in South Africa. To complicate things further, Botswana (then Bechuanaland) was a British protectorate, and England was still recovering from World War II, and so relied heavily on supplies imported from South Africa. As a result, the British government declared Seretse unfit to serve as chieftain and exiled him and his wife, Ruth Williams, from Botswana in 1951. Continue reading →
Director Adam Smith’s family-crime drama Trespass Against Us received an Official Selection nod at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), as well as top nods at the British Independent Film Awards and the Zurich Film Festival. Following a number of runs at various film festivals here in the United States, the film received a brief limited release back in January, but as of now we have yet to see it picked up for major distribution in theaters nationwide, but here’s hoping that changes! Written by documentary director Alastair Siddons (Turn it Loose, Inside Out), Trespass Against Us follows a man who comes into conflict with his outlaw father and family after he decides he must find a way out of his own criminal world in order to provide a better future for his own family. Michael Fassbender (Macbeth, The Light Between Oceans) and Brendan Gleeson (Cold Mountain, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) lead the cast as Chad and Colby Cutler, the father and son who come to arms with each other over the former’s desire to break free of his criminal past. Continue reading →
Last night the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards were held at the Beverly Hilton. Jimmy Falon hosted the event which was filled with surprises, including a politically-driven speech from Meryl Streep. But perhaps the most impressive part of the evening was the new musical from Whiplash director Damien Chazelle, La La Land, which set a new record with 7 Golden Globe awards, including Best Picture – Musical or Comedy. Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine, The Big Short) and Emma Stone (The Help, Birdman) both took home the Globe for Best Actor/Actress in a Musical or Comedy, and Chazelle won the Globe for Best Director. La La Land also won for Best Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song. Congratulations to all the winners! The full list of winners is provided below. Continue reading →
Alone in Berlin and 13 Minutes, both dramas centered upon characters living in WWII Germany, have new trailers available for their upcoming US releases. Alone in Berlin, which tells the story of real-life Nazi-protestors Otto and Elise Hampel, received mixed reviews at last year’s Berlin Film Festival. Although the story of Hampel, named Quangel in the film, is both amazing and inspiring, critics have come down hard on director Vincent Perez having the actors speak in English, but use German accents and because of overwhelmingly amateur and obviously staged set and camera work. The ending is also reportedly horrible and undeserving of such a powerful story. Had the project been in the hands of a more experienced, or dedicated filmmaker, it might have really done well, especially considering the material. Continue reading →
The Lord of the Rings has already spawned two epic film trilogies, the first in the form of Tolkien’s classic novels, and the second an extended adaptation of his first journey in Middle Earth, The Hobbit. That’s without mentioning all of the affiliated material that takes place within his mystical world, from the original novels to the chronology of The Silmarillion, to Tolkien’s own languages that he created for the many inhabitants of Middle Earth. As well known as The Lord of the Rings is to pretty much everyone these days, very few people can tell you anything about its author, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (J.R.R. Tolkien). That story, however, will soon come to light in the form of a new biopic surrounding Tolkien’s life, appropriately titled Middle Earth. Continue reading →
Happy Halloween! October is traditionally known for the fall season and for hosting Halloween on the last day of the month. Likewise film distributors tend to look at October as a good time to release horror and slasher films for Halloween on fight-seeking audiences across the country, and around the world. October, however, has a long history of major motion picture releases that is not strictly limited to the horror genre. Read on to see our list of impressive October releases, and enjoy your Halloween Weekend! Continue reading →
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’s Memorable Movie Moment takes us back to director John Sturges‘ 1963 war-era classic, The Great Escape. Set in a POW camp in Nazi Germany, the film follows the true story of a group of Allied prisoners who sought to accomplish the biggest jail break ever conceived, scattering more than 200 Allied troops across the country in an effort to divert Nazi war efforts on finding and re-capturing the escaped soldiers. The Great Escape is famous for a number of reasons. It featured an all-star cast including Steve McQueen (The Cincinnati Kid, The Sand Pebbles), James Garner (The Rockford Files, The Notebook), Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park, Elizabeth), Charles Bronson (Once Upon A Time In The West, Death Wish), Donald Pleasance (Halloween, Escape From New York), and James Coburn (The Muppet Movie, In Like Flint), several of which were actual POWs with the Allied Forces during World War II. It also set and broke a number of on-screen records, ranging from the scale of the production (an entire replica of a real-life German POW camp was built in which to shoot the film) to the impressive array of stunts. Continue reading →
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.