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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in Michael Shannon (15)


Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton in Loving

Murtada here. The first picture from Jeff Nichols’ (Take ShelterMud) new movie Loving was released. Currently shooting, the film tells the story of Mildred and Richard Loving and the landmark 1967 civil rights supreme court decision that invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Joel Edgerton plays Richard Loving in his second collaboration with Nichols after the still unreleased Midnight Special. Edgerton is riding on a bit of Oscar buzz right now for his supporting role alongside Johnny Depp in Black Mass. Mildred is played by Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) in her first major film role. Did you know Negga played Dame Shirley Bassey for the BBC in 2011? After watching that clip I’m really excited to see her lead a movie. Negga had a varied theater and TV career in the U.K. and Ireland so fans of S.H.I.E.L.D or those more familiar with her other work, please tell us if this is the beginnings of a new actressey obsession!

One of the many photos of the Lovings shot by Grey Villet

Michael Shannon, who’s been in every single movie directed by Nichols, has a supporting part as Grey Villet, the LIFE Magazine photographer who shot the famous photos of the Lovings in 1965. The photo from the film is evocative of those Villet images. The resemblance to the actors is uncanny, no?

As for Midnight Special, which also stars Kirsten Dunst and Adam Driver, it was revealed recently by Dunst that it may premiere at SXSW next March. For a while Midnight Special had a premium November release date that prompted some to peg it as an Oscar movie. Of course once it was pushed back, many speculated that all is not well. Hopefuly a spring festival premiere in Nichols’ hometown will turn around the buzz. 

Possibly two movies from Nichols in 2016. Are you excited to see either or both movies?


Belated Thoughts on "Freeheld"

Freeheld, the civil rights drama based on the Oscar-winning documentary short of the same name, hasn't made an impact at the box office or with critics but it really should've been featured on The Film Experience of all places. We apologize for the delay but better late than never... especially when it involves dying wishes!

First a wee bit of background: Autospell keeps trying to change the title to "Freehold". For what it's worth the Freeholders, a local county governing board, are the antagonists of the picture. They're a group of men who deny local hero cop Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) her dying wish that her pension go to her domestic partner Stacie Andree (Ellen Page) when she dies. The only thing that keeps the Freeholders in the human realm and away from cartoon moustache-twirling is Bryan Kelder (Josh Charles), the most conflicted of them who doesn't see what the big deal is about granting her wish but also isn't conflicted enough to put his career on the line and he's running for a bigger office soon. The boards refusal stirs up a firestorm of activism in her home county in New Jersey

Here are a handful of thoughts on the movie...

Click to read more ...


Yes No Maybe So: Freeheld

Manuel here eager to discuss the new trailer for Julianne Moore and Ellen Page's upcoming lesbian drama, Freeheld. Nat is swamped off-blog today so it's up to me to rush in to talk about this (ugh watermarked!!) trailer that premiered last night. We all know where the TFE readership will fall in pre-viewing collective excitement about Peter Sollet's film about the legal fight of a local cop with the Ocean County, New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders over her pension benefits transferring to her domestic partner after she's diagnosed with lung cancer. But that won’t stop us from submitting it to our handy Yes No Maybe So test, and typing YES several times in the next couple of paragraphs.

The breakdown and trailer after the jump...

Click to read more ...


We Can't Wait! #10: Freeheld

Team Experience is counting down our 15 most anticipated for 2015. Here's Anne Marie...

Who & What: Ellen Page's 6-years-in-the-making passion project teams the tiny Canadian with Oscar-winning goddess Julianne Moore in a story about a dying New Jersey policewoman (Moore) who fights to transfer her pension benefits to her partner (Page). Based on a true story, the film is written by Oscar-nominated Philadelphia scribe Ron Nyswaner, and directed by Peter Sollett of Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist fame. Rounding out the already stellar cast are Steve Carrell and Michael Shannon. With this film plus Carol (more on that later in the series), this promises to be a good year for lesbians in film.

Why We're Excited About It: So many reasons: It's based on an Oscar winning short. It's a true and beautiful story about the fight for equal rights. It's Moore's second film release after winning the Oscar. If it's successful, it will be proof that an actor (Page) can come out and actually raise her profile enough to get films made. Plus on a purely shallow level, Ellen Page and Julianne Moore are adorable separately, and promise to be twice as adorable together. Observe:

What If It All Goes Wrong: The film itself seems to be in good hands, but the MPAA is a concern. Last year, we had two wonderful LGBTQ films, Pride and Love Is Strange, strangled with R ratings despite no content unsuitable for younger viewers. While Freeheld's star power would hopefully help it overcome the box office hurdles caused by an R rating, it would be a cruel irony to allow the prejudiced pearl-clutchers at the MPAA to censor a film about overcoming prejudice. Time will tell.

When: Lionsgate just won a bidding war to distribute the film, so hopefully we should be seeing it pop up in film festivals with a wider release later this year.

#11 A Bigger Splash
#12 The Dressmaker
#13 The Hateful Eight
#14 Knight of Cups
#15 Arabian Nights
Sidebar 2 Tomorrowland
Sidebar 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron
Intro Pick a Blockbuster


James Franco, Disembodied

TFE's coverage of the 51st New York Film Festival (Sept 27-Oct 14) begins now. Here's JA on James Franco's press conference for Child of God...

He came at us as a disembodied voice, booming across the auditorium. There was no face to behold - only his words. His Word? Was it the voice of God? I suppose that depends on your definition. If your definition of God is broad in scope (like, that scope includes all of matter itself) then maybe you find room under the umbrella of godliness for actor slash art-provocateur James Franco. It's really not that big a stretch - he is now the man behind the curtain in Oz, after all. There were no bursting flames or rear projection here, but when you plunk down to watch A James Franco Movie (which I find myself spending an increasing amount of my life doing) the specter of Franco always looms large, even if hes not up on the screen. (Especially if he's not up there on the screen.) It's kind of impossible to watch A James Franco Movie not through Franco-colored glasses. We are all living in James Franco's world... well at least we are when we're looking at it from his perspective.

From our perspective here at the New York Film Festival, where we've just finished screening Child of God, Franco's adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy story about nubile young lady corpses and the hillbilly who loves them, we're just staring at a blank screen. You can follow James Franco on Twitter and Instagram and at, but a room full of press people can't seem to Skype with him directly. [MORE]

Click to read more ...


Man of Steel Post-Script

Release dates are no Kryptonite for me. I can't be bound or weakened by them! I rejoined Panel Culture, a weekly comic book podcast, as their special guest for a discussion of Zach Snyder's Man of Steel five weeks into its successful run. Why did they wait this long to discuss it? They'll tell you.


Listen in and join the conversation about...

  • Whether this Superman is successful as icon, hero and performance
  • If this Lois Lane dynamic (or lack thereof) works
  • How Michael Shannon's General Zod measures up to Terence Stamp's
  • That surprising first half hour on Planet Krypton with Russell Crowe
  • Tornados, mass destruction, and whether or not to save a life or keep on fighting
  • What the sequel should fix or keep or jettison

  iTunes | Podbean | ...or Listen Right Here

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"Kneel Before Zod!"



Man of Steel is just 62 days away.

Do you think this'll be a big year for Michael Shannon what with General Zod and The Iceman hitting theaters soon and possibly the creepy thriller The Harvest (with Samantha Morton!!!) later in the year?  I know that actors generally become far more famous (at least visually) when they're submerged in CGI for blockbusters (see also: Tilda Swinton's Narnia run) but to me Michael Shannon will always be that crazy naked guy with a thing for aphids.

What will Michael Shannon always be to you?