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Entries in Michael Fassbender (93)


Review: Macbeth

Andrew here to talk about a Shakespeare adaptation

There’s a moment in the recent adaptation of Macbeth that’s legitimately surprising for audience, even those who have read the play. Towards the end of the film Marion Cotillard appears on screen for Lady Macbeth’s moment of reckoning – that iconic “Out damned spot!” speech. The scene unfolds, naturally, in a different fashion than it does in the play. The monologue, though, becomes especially striking when the camera draws back to reveal “who” she is speaking to. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but a few of the persons in the row behind me gasped at the cutaway. It’s meant to be a jolting moment in the film, and it is, although it’s also a baffling one. The moment has stuck with me since I’ve seen the film as I’ve tried to make sense of it within the film’s framework. And, the more I think on it, the more it emerges as emblematic of this adaptation.

Let it not be said that Justin Kurzel’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is not without ambition and energy. This Macbeth is transposed to the cinema in language that’s distinctly visual. This is a Macbeth about movement and space and contact, and then the ensuing loss of that same contact. The language of the film is restlessness and mournful agitation from its first shot and the entire fair is slick and confident, but I go back and forth on how effective it is.

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8 Best Things About "Steve Jobs" (First Impressions)

True confession: When I read Jason's breathless rave for Steve Jobs from my sick bed last week I was like "calm down, man,  it can't be that good" Cut to one week later me sitting in the theater, as the end credits rolled: "I gotta read that rave again and nod my head vigorously this time!" While I suspect I don't love it quite as much as Jason, it is inarguably one of 2015's must-see picture and we shan't be annoyed at all when it racks up Oscar nominations in January.

The film goes wide on Friday and trust that you'll want to be there. Here are my 8 favorite things about it at first glance... 

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Familiar Faces: The Ridley Scott Players... do any exist?

Ridley & Giannina on the red carpet last yearThe Film Experience recently had the chance to sit down with director Ridley Scott, currently enjoying one of the warmest receptions (great box office and reviews, of his career, for The Martian. We'll share that interview later in the season but here's one detail up for discussion right now that you won't get elsewhere.

We've always been fascinated at The Film Experience by the familiar faces that pop up in the filmographies of famous auteurs. The average moviegoer knows, for example, that De Niro and DiCaprio are Scorsese pets and that Tim Burton has trouble leaving his bed if it doesn't involve putting a camera and weird makeup and Johnny Depp. But do we really think of any particular faces when we think of Ridley Scott? His tightest collaborations are behind the scenes. The editor Pietro Scalia, and the production designer Arthur Max, both of whom he started working with on G.I. Jane (1997) have worked on most if not all of his films since that Demi Moore military pic. Costume Designer Janty Yates won an Oscar for their first collaboration on Gladiator and she's costumed nearly ever picture since. Ridley's cinematographer of choice at present is Darius Wolski who has shot every feature since Prometheus (2012) but he switches DPs from time to time. He switches casting directors even more regularly which could also contribute to the lack of "familiar faces" that we like to point out in this intermittent series of course. 

I asked him about this in our interview and he quickly cited his most well known collaborations (Russell Crowe and Sigourney Weaver) but shrugged the lack of general repetition off, diplomatically, as a matter of timing. If he made smaller pictures, he explained, he'd jump at the chance to work with actors he enjoyed the first time around again. Before we switched topics he name-checked Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender as happy repeats. Perhaps as a result of the scarcity of examples, any repetition of actors in his filmography feels like something of a happy accident to we moviegoers rather than an intentional choice. 

Let's look at Ridley's repeat actors after the jump... who would you like to see him work with again? 

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NYFF: Sing the Electric "Steve Jobs"

Reporting from the ongoing New York Film Festival here is Jason on Oscar hopeful "Steve Jobs".

It should surprise no one that a movie directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin is all about rhythm. The rhythm is established at the start (and Steve Jobs runs zero to sixty so you'd best get a grip quick) and pulses outwards like the blink of a cursor, or a techno beat. You could probably set your watch to it... if you were a maniacal math genius who could work out the exact algorithm they're working off of. 

The new film is structured around three events in Jobs professional life: his first presentation of his Macintosh computer in 1984; the "perfect black cube" of the NeXT machine in 1988 after he was fired from Apple; and his triumphant return to the company a decade later with the crayola-tinted iMac every girl in my college dorm owned. Within each chapter, there are a series of sonnets of sorts, devoted to the folks in his life - his daughter, his work-wife, his boss, so on. The pieces shift once the rhythm is established, but structurally speaking the film is rigorous, in a (and I do not use these words lightly) soul-pleasing kind of way. Once you find your way in to Steve Jobs, there's this satisfaction in expectations, and the massaging thereof. [More...]

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Something Link-ed This Way Comes

The Movies
• How does The Intern stack up to previous Nancy Meyers releases at the box office? It's a bit too early to tell but I totally didn't know and was a bit surprised to realize that they were nearly all bigger hits overseas than in the US [Box Office Mojo]
• Sasha Stone comes up with a new sneaky way to define leading roles as supporting. She's calling them "anchors" as in "anchors to the lead," not "the other lead." Hee. Of course she doesn't mean Anchor as Category Fraud but a rose by any other name... [Awards Daily]
• Singing the praises of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and their upcoming slate for cinema-voracious New Yorkers. And really, sing these praises at full volume. [MNPP]
• Not everyone loves the new Macbeth [Shadowplay
• "The people behind [Sicario] understand that what makes a great thriller is not the abundance of shootings, murders or jump scares and plot twists - it's the fear that something horrible can happen at any moment." [Cinematic Corner

Off Screen
• Oh god. File under totally depressing: If even Meryl Streep doesn't understand what feminism is, the earth is doomed. One of the most successful things conservative thinkers ever did is fooling progressives (and women of any political stripe) into thinking it was a bad word [Refinery 29]
• I mean... Keira Knightley is awesome but shouting marriage proposals at her while she's trying to make her Broadway debut last night. Not cool, drunk stalker! [Playbill]
• "Homophobia unites people of different Christian faiths" - Dan Savage, hero, on the Pope/Kim Davis mishegoss [MSNBC]
• I missed this report last week but The Tony Awards might be leaving their regular home - considering different theaters [NYT]
• "The last time I saw Madonna was on September 6th, 1989, during the live telecast of the MTV Video Music Awards. I was in my parents basement with my mother..."  Love these personal essays about stars when people can pull them off. Must Read. [The Hairpin]

Scream Queens
• Is Nick Jonas too into queerbaiting his fans? [Towleroad]
• Are any of you watching? It's such a mess, strains for laughs and (worst of all) revels in its misogyny (Murphy and his writers really need to stop putting words like "gash" into the girls mouths to demean other girls) to the point where you know it's not parody but just actual feeling disguised as parody. I'm only in it for Jamie Lee Curtis (fun but she's been better) and recent Emmy nominee Niecy Nash (making the very very very most of a small role - what a gift she is!). This quote from Towleroad's recap of the third episode made me LOL:

“Chainsaw” ...crammed in so many obvious red herrings, I think it qualifies as an aquarium.

Image of the Day
Michael Fassbender as MacBeth. I will never for the life of me understand what is taking so long with this movie (remember how long ago we saw the first images -- I swear it was 2013 -- or even why they're going to distribute it like a poor stepchild movie. (sigh).

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"Critics Choice" Ch-ch-changes
It's worth noting that the BFCA, of which I am a member -- yes, I'm still bragging about sitting with Jessica Chastain last year --  is making a major change. They're fusing their fairly new TV arm (which currently holds their ceremony in May each year) with their cinema body for one conjoined show starting in January that's 3 hours long. I don't understand what that will mean for current TV shows (two awards for their favorites in just a seven-month span?) but this will obviously make the Critics Choice Awards far more like their sworn enemy* the Golden Globes. Obviously to make this successful the BFCA will have to axe some of their odder categories from their ever-expanding roster but that was okay because things were getting seriously weird there in their attempts to cover everything but NOT officially categorize anything (resulting in weird 'it's an action movie but it's not... it's a comedy but it's not... it's a drama but... no, scratch that we don't say "drama" about anything --that's the default!') 

I have to admit that it seems odd to have two separate organizations do one event together. Just let us vote on both, and not have to be part of two organizations! Just change the name to Broadcast Critics Choice Awards, dropping the pesky film or tv separations. 

* I'm kidding though for all the heat the Golden Globe take from US journalists, it's perpetually hilarious that US journalists always want to be more like them. 


Michael Snowbender

David here with some festive casting news.

It won't look anything like this.

Variety reports that the ever-present Michael Fassbender is in talks to star in The Snowman. I know what you’re thinking, but no, this isn’t Fassy’s Jack Frost. He’ll star as Harry Hole, in the adaptation of the seventh entry in Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbø’s book series. It’s a chilly series from Scandinavia, which has been owning the crime drama – mainly on TV – for the past half a decade at least, with massive successes like the original The Killing.

You may have heard talk about the series for a few years now – Working Title optioned the rights a while back, with the original intention to create a series akin to the Alex Cross films (Along Came a Spider, etc.), and it even had none other than Martin Scorsese mooted as a director at one point. He’s since moved into an exec producer role, leaving the director’s chair open for a more suitable candidate: Tomas Alfredson, whose next move we’ve been awaiting since Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and whose global breakout Let the Right On In shows exemplary form for bringing the Scandinavian cool to the screen.

Hole (that’s pronounced “Hoola”, according to Nesbø) is standard detective stuff, the “stereotype of the hardboiled, troubled maverick”: abrasive, heavy smoker, alcoholic, and – naturally - an unusually perceptive detective. With Fassbender’s strong, ruminative presence bringing Hole to life, and Alfredson’s detached, observant style, this hopefully makes for a crime drama with all the bracing chill of the books.

What do you reckon? Christmas cheer or a snow-go?


Michael Fassbender X 2

Here's Murtada on two Michael Fassbender Fall movies that have released posters.

First we have Steve Jobs. The poster’s in the same vein as Apple’s minimalist ads. We approve, it does the job, recalls the subject matter and let us know who is involved. The movie is the centerpiece at the New York Film Festival and everyone suspects it will hit Telluride as well. And October 9 isn’t that far away.

When you have huge photogenic movie stars all you need is their faces. Even from behind the veil Marion Cotillard's face is telling a story. Intensity thy name is Fassbender. Sold.

But what is happening with this movie? The posters as well as all the marketing materials are coming from UK distributor StudioCanal. They took the movie to Cannes and released clips, posters and a teaser trailer. The movie is scheduled for release in UK on October 2 and in France on November 18. By the end of December everyone who lives in Europe will probably have had a chance to see it.

So far there is no US release date. The Weinstein Company has announced a deal with Amazon that vaguely states the movie will be available online “relatively quickly” after theatrical release. That release will be through their VOD arm, TWC-Radius. What is happening?

Is this movie the latest victim of TWC’s erratic release plans? And so soon after The Immigrant. Remember that? What does Cotillard have to do to get her performances in theaters in the US? There’s turmoil at TWC so who knows what will happen. But come on, you have 2 major movie stars, a well known story that doesn’t need much explaining and a director, Justin Kurzel, on the rise. Reviews at Cannes have been mostly positive. Release it.

Are you worried for Macbeth? Do we need to start an online petition for its release?

Update : Looks like TWC heard us! A couple of hours after publication they announced a December 4 limited release for Macbeth.