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Friday
Mar132015

We Can't Wait! #8: Bridge of Spies 

Billy Magnussen (Into the Woods) on the set with Tom HanksTeam Experience is counting down our 15 most anticipated for 2015. Here's Tim...

Who & What: Steven Spielberg directs Tom Hanks for the first time since 2004, working from a screenplay written by Joel & Ethan Coen (whose solitary collaboration with Hanks, 2004's The Ladykillers, saw one of his best performances stranded in their worst movie). It's a true story about a lawyer negotiating the release of an American pilot from the Soviet Union during one of the tensest stretches of the Cold War.

Why We're Excited About It: To paraphrase one of the writers' most iconic lines, "Spielberg. The Coens. What do you need, a road map?" The collision of two of the most distinct voices in contemporary American cinema, and in a genre (political thriller) that neither of them have ever quite dabbled in before, is absolutely worth being excited for regardless of any other considerations. But of course, those other considerations exist: Hanks working reuniting with filmmakers who have drawn out some excellent work from him in the past, the maddeningly under-used Amy Ryan with a big part, a ripe historical setting that Hollywood has been weirdly uncurious about exploring. In my totally private capacity as the most tedious kind of craft nerd, finding out what costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone has lined up after her tremendous work in A Most Violent Year is a pretty big draw, too.

What If It All Goes Wrong? Not only do Spielberg and the Coens have distinct voices, they're diametrically opposed voices, too. The king of audience-friendly sentiment and the court jesters of detached cynicism are perhaps likelier to clash atonally than find some third way that combines their disparate strengths. And so soon after Unbroken, it's hard to get unreservedly excited about the prospect of a Coen script that the brothers aren't also directing.

When:
October 16th in the United States - the same weekend that has recently given us 12 Years a Slave and Birdman, which speaks to Disney's understandable suspicion that they have a major Oscar player on their hands.

Previously...
#9 Taxi
#10 Freeheld
#11 A Bigger Splash
#12 The Dressmaker
#13 The Hateful Eight
#14 Knight of Cups
#15 Arabian Nights
Sidebar 3 Animated Films
Sidebar 2 Tomorrowland
Sidebar 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron
Intro Pick a Blockbuster

Friday
Mar132015

Posterized: Director Kenneth Branagh

Cinderella reuniteds director Kenneth Branagh with his former star and ex-lover Helena Bonham-Carter (in the fairy godmother role)Though Kenneth Branagh had acted in three movies in the 1980s before his international breakthrough, he arrived as a star in a quite a multihypenate way. His adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V (1989) won him instant celebrity as an actor-writer-director. Here's a fun fact -- all five of his Oscar nominations are in different categories: Actor (Henry V), Supporting Actor (My Week With Marilyn), Director (Henry V), Screenplay (Hamlet), Live-Action Short (Swan Song). People forget this now when they wonder about how easily he won a nomination for playing Oscar's beloved Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn but it was something of a inevitability and a cute narrative. Branagh had been compared to Sir Laurence Olivier right from his supernova start in 1989 since Sir Laurence Olivier was also an actor/director who thrilled modern audiences in his time with interpretations of Shakespeare plays for the movies.

Branagh's movie stardom has long since taken a backseat to his directing work -- in truth it began to dwindle as soon as his magical partnership with Emma Thompson crumbled -- but with his 14th movie, Disney's live action Cinderella (2015) opening today, let's look back at his time in the director's chair through movie posters.

How many of these 14 films have you seen? 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar132015

Ask Nathaniel 

How come noone has said anything about the new banner? Don't you like?! What's your favorite movie or performance about photography? Oh, wait. You're supposed to be asking me the questions. 

Time for our weekly collection of reader questions (trusting you enjoyed the last two Q&As and would like another on Monday night) so have at it in the comments. Remember the tighter the question the more likely it is to be answered.

Friday
Mar132015

We Can't Wait! #9: Taxi

Jafar Panahi poses as a taxi driver in "Taxi"Team Experience is counting down our 15 most anticipated for 2015. Here's Amir...

Who & What: Politically troubled Iranian auteur, Jafar Panahi, returns with his third film in four years. Any other director would be considered prolific with numbers like that, but consider that Panahi has managed it despite being under an official, though increasingly lenient, ban on filmmaking. His latest film, a realist comedy set in the confines of his car, stars him as a taxi driver whose interactions with his passengers form the narrative. It won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, making him the only Iranian filmmaker with two top prizes from the big three festivals – the first was Venice’s Golden Lion for The Circle.

Why We’re Excited About It: Panahi has been cranking out masterpieces with such regularity that his inventive, powerful cinema is often taken for granted, especially since his political situation pushed discussions about his films to the background. His insightful, heartfelt and often humorous social studies are some of the best films of the past two decades and Taxi seems to be a return to his earlier interests, after a couple of self-reflexive experiments. The reviews from Berlinale showered the film with unanimous praise, and coming off the best film of his career, Closed Curtain, Panahi continues to work at his very peak. (Nick Davis discussed that film and Panahi’s earlier work with me at length on the Hello Cinema podcast.)   

What If It All Goes Wrong: Before the film had its premiere, my only fear was whether the car setup of the film would read as gimmicky or become tiresome. Reviews suggest those fears were baseless. Otherwise, I don’t see how this can go wrong.  

Jury Chairman Darren Aronofsky presented Jafar Panahi's crying niece with the Golden Bear in his absence.

When: Specialty arthouse distributor, Kino Lorber, has acquired the North American rights. Whether they want to build renewed momentum in the fall festival circuit or capitalize on the film’s Berlin win earlier in the summer isn’t yet clear.

previously in 'we can't wait'

Friday
Mar132015

A Twist On a Classic With "Ever After" (1998) 

Cinderella Week continues with abstew ...

The Barrymores and the Hustons. Two dynasties that over decades and generations left their legacy on stage and screen, taking their place as acting royalty. It's fitting that the classic tale of the young cinder girl that manages to actually become royalty would finally bring these two families together on film. Other than a 1939 documentary about the history of America called Land of Liberty which contained footage of John and Lionel Barrymore and Walter Huston (and if you look at the cast list from IMDB, apparently every star in Hollywood at the time...), it was 1998's Ever After that marked the first time a member of the Barrymore family acted alongside a member of the Huston family. And for Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston, representing their respective families, the pairing proved to be as enchanting as the timeless tale. 

Unlike the other magical, musical versions of Cinderella that we've been discussing, in this version, made during the height of late '90s "Girl Power" our main character is far from passive and pet mice aren't trying to help win her the love of a prince. Renamed Danielle de Barbarac, you are more likely to find her reading a tattered copy of Sir Thomas More's Utopia and debating the worth of all human beings than you are to see her harmonizing with songbirds. Tough, determined, and able to fend for herself, thank you very much (punches, daggers, and apple throwing employed when need be), at one point in the film she even rescues the prince (Dougray Scott) by throwing him over her back and carrying him away. Screenwriter Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) created a modern woman (that just happens to be living in the 16th century) for modern audiences perfectly embodied by modern-day Drew Barrymore. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar132015

15 Tweets: Wes, Thor, Shearer, Dietrich, Bond Girls

It's that time again. An incredibly random collection of the week's best showbiz themed tweets. Or at least the best ones that we happened to see on our timeline at incredibly random times of the day. Herewith a dozen byte-sized amusements curated just for the TFE crowd for those with similarly truncated attention spans that made us laugh or think or nod this week. 

Please note that we already shared the Julianne-centric tweet from our friend Ali Arikan that wins the week all weeks which is why you don't see it here.

Anyway, proceed...  

 more enjoyables follow. You know you wanna see them all. It's just a little click and you have the time.

Click to read more ...