Rookie soldier Gary Hook (Jack O'Connell) is already breathing heavy when '71 begins. He and his fellow soldiers are deep in military drills, managing obstacle courses, target practice and running hard miles. Introductions are brief and rote as they meet their commanding officers, only one of whom drops the protocol for a little personality. Lt. Armitage (Sam Reid) attempts to win the new recruits over by admitting that's he's green in his position, too. This isn't comforting to everyone. Just as soon as we've begun the new soldiers get their orders and learn that they're not flying out but staying put in Ireland.
You aren't leaving this country."
For some that sentence will be literal, and a fatalistic omen. But which country are we talking about? Whose country? Belfast in 1971, where the story takes place, was deep into "The Troubles," a bloody and decades long conflict over the identity of Ireland itself. [more...]
Margaret here with a guessing game for you: a studio comedy is in production, and the lead is a woman. Who gets cast? If you're a Hollywood executive, the answer is Tina Fey, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig or Jennifer Aniston. Looking at today's top-grossing movies, you'd be forgiven for thinking that there are only four comic leading ladies; the studio focus on bankability keeps them sticking to a pretty rigid shortlist.
I am in no way saying that the women on the funny-lady short lists aren’t funny; they absolutely are! This is just a gentle reminder that there are other bankable comediennes out there, and that creative casting pays off, (Orange is the New Black, anyone?) because it can oftentimes elevate so-so material. Casting is like dessert: no one really knows what they want until you roll the cart by and show it to them.
McLendon-Covey's suggestions include: casting that all-female Ghostbusters reboot with Carrie Brownstein, Michaela Watkins, and Regina Hall; bringing together Laurie Metcalf, Jane Lynch, and Shondrella Avery as state college professors competing for the same research grant; pairing Gabourey Sidibe and Edi Patterson as proprietors of a marijuana dispensary / cat sanctuary who are looking for love; and putting Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski together as process servers who go around breaking hearts.
(Personally, I would love a movie where Kate McKinnon, Danielle Brooks, Christine Baranski, and Casey Wilson all have a bottomless mimosa brunch with me. Selfish? Probably.)
The New York Film Festival is finally about to begin and here is Glenn on one of the must-sees of the fest, Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language.
Much like the film itself, you’ll have to bear with me here. If I get lost or end up on tangents then don’t worry – it’s not only to be expected, but probably the intent. This will probably be messy, but this is a film titled Goodbye to Language so I feel it’s a safe zone, yes? You see, there is a lot to talk about. How about the use of 3D that is perhaps the best I have ever seen. And then there’s the bravura directions that director Jean-Luc Godard goes even once you think you may have his shtick down. And that’s before we get into the concept of subjectivity of ideas. For all I know, the various ideas that I took from Goodbye to Language might not be at all what Godard intended. But therein lies at least part of the film’s brilliance and the wonder of art: you don’t necessarily have to be right to be valid.
Many people won’t like this movie, and even somebody like me who thinks the film is an incredible example of filmmaking has to see their point of view. It’s a tough film if you’re not on its wavelength, but that very instinctual desire to mess with audience expectations is part of why I loved it so much. I have not seen any of the director’s recent cinematic experiments (in fact, the most recent film of his I have seen is King Lear with Woody Allen, Molly Ringwald, Leos Carax and Julie Delpy from way back in 1987), but the title alone suggests something along the lines of Film Socialisme which took a liberal stance on the use of subtitles, and audiences would be smart to know what they’re getting themselves in for before sitting down rather than complaining about the film and its director. This is an experimental film by its most pure definition. Godard is experimenting with the concept of narrative and if viewed and critiqued in the same way as a more traditional film then people are doing not only themselves a disservice, but the film as well.
Tim here, wondering if the time has come to start saying very hyperbolic things. This weekend sees the release of The Boxtrolls, the third feature released by the animation studio Laika, also responsible for 2009’s Coraline and 2012’s ParaNorman. I find myself, almost certainly to my eventual disappointment, wondering if this trio of technically audacious and unusually sophisticated stop-motion films has put the studio in line to fill the hole left when Pixar stopped being the most reliable movie-creating force in America, and instead became that place which makes pretty solid cartoons when they can be bothered to stop focusing on Cars pictures.
It’s begging the question from the get-go: there wasn’t a Pixar before Pixar, so there’s no clear reason that there has to be another one now. But Laika’s work so far has been at a level that encourages such dangerous optimism.
NY Daily News truly absurd photos of John Malkovich recreating famous images of Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, and less glitzy iconic art, too, like Piss Christ and American Gothic
Slate great piece on why we need less reboots and more original genre fiction - interesting points made that aren't just the usual bitching
Pink is the New Blog Channing Tatum inviting fans to be part of Magic Mike XXL
The Film Stage an interview with director Pawel Pawlikowski on his Polish hit Ida
Interview talks to the director of Wild Tales, which I loved at TIFF, Damián Szifrón
Shark Robot Avengers as cold cereal t-shirts. The best ones are clearly Thorrios and Loki Charms 'bifrosted!"
In Contention another reason to love Virginia Madsen besides that immortal wine monologue from Sideways - she loves the classic Network. She loves it lots
Variety Looks like it's Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell and Taylor Kitsch as the four leads directing by Justin Lin for True Detective Season 2. Vaughn is a crime boss, the rest are cops. I love Farrell but this does not excite me as much as the promise of Cary Fukunaga directing Harrelson, McConaughey and Monaghan but we'll see
Twitter ...if you must know my general feeling on Rachel McAdams
Variety Julie Delpy's next effort as a triple threat is a French language comedy called Lolo. She's asked the very funny actress Karin Viard to co-star
Awards Daily Freida Pinto's latest vehicle, Desert Dancer, will open the Santa Barbara Film Festival
Rope of Silicon Interstellar is Chris Nolan's longest film yet. This always worries me with directors. If your films get progressively longer it's often indicative of hermetically sealed bubble trouble. Or believing your own hype and forgetting about the actual story you're telling.
Coming Soon ... speaking of. New stills from the film
The Film Stage listen to the score for Gone Girl
NY Daily News Rumors abound that Quentin Tarantino wants Viggo Mortensen for Hateful Eight. So weird that no cast is in place yet given that we've already had a teaser
Today's Must Read/Watch
Extension 765 Steven Soderbergh is goofing around with Raiders of the Lost Ark - it's now a black and white silent - to teach film staging
I value the ability to stage something well because when it’s done well its pleasures are huge, and most people don’t do it well, which indicates it must not be easy to master (it’s frightening how many opportunities there are to do something wrong in a sequence or a group of scenes. Minefields EVERYWHERE....
Oh and remember that time when people were talking up a Costume Design nomination (which of course didn't happen) for Fantastic Mr Fox? Now there's coverage of the costumes for The Boxtrolls. Hey costume designers are needed on stop motion films.
In Contention Casting Society of America nominations and honors. The weird part is that Rob Marshall who just generally casts big stars whether or not they're right for musicals, is being honored. But on a happier front, for the TV Pilot honors Looking was nominated and that show was definitely well cast.
Variety The Cinematographer's Guild are honoring a handful of folks too
I had myself a final getaway last weekend to Fire Island before I am chained to the computer and Oscar coverage for the next four months. While I was there I met Robert Chang who was a lot of fun and we argued* about this article he wrote on Hunger Games and Gary Ross's use of breaking the 180 line. It's an interesting argument but it personally drives me crazy when directors break rules largely because they can. It always looks sloppy to me. Still the argument is interesting that it's only used for emotional reasons rather than action reasons which is where you usually see it. What'cha think? Maybe if there was only that and the action sequences were actually well filmed I'd like it.
* I know you're probably not supposed to debate film theory when you socialize with the gays on Fire Island but I am who I am.