- Christopher Nolan has announced his next film will hit theaters in 2017, but that’s all we know. Besides Michael Caine.
- Netflix has picked up the fantastic Charlie Brooker series Black Mirror for more original episodes, which is welcome news for those dreading the proposed American remake. For those who’ve yet to see the show, take the first episode with a grain of salt. From the second episode onwards, you’ll be hooked.
- Spectre‘s theme song “Writing’s on the Wall” will be theme sung by Sam Smith, the first British male solo artist to do Bond since Thunderball‘s Tom Jones.
- The Force Awakens will be opening one day early in the U.K., as if I needed another reason to move to Europe.
Continue reading Film & TV News: September 9
Alongside the sixth episode “Guest”, “Two Boats and a Helicopter” provides the most effective hour of character drama in the stellar first season of The Leftovers. The first episode to zoom in on a single character depicts the sad struggle of Reverend Matt Jamison, portrayed with suitable passion by Christopher Eccleston, in the wake of the mysterious Departure. The first and second hours showed glimpses of Matt, passing out flyers at a rally that damn the Departed rather than deify them. “It was not the Rapture!” maintains Matt. In “Two Boats and a Helicopter”, he reveals what he thinks the Departure actually was: a test.
And his sister Nora sums up one side of the episode with perfect succinctness: “if it was a test, I think you might be failing it.” Thus is his post-non-Rapture existence a continuous test of faith wherein Matt attempts to hold onto his beliefs in the face of that unthinkable and impossible event. Matt’s story keeps turning in on itself, offering hope in one instant and ripping it away just as quickly. It’s a cruel-seeming existence, one that forces Matt to eventually view the smallest of occurrences as a direct sign from God. After a certain point, the letdowns are more or less inevitable.
Continue reading The Leftovers 1.3 – “Two Boats and a Helicopter”
Is Ewan McGregor just awesome, or what? He truly brings his A-game to every role, and he refuses to shy away from anything, whether it seems too “out-there” or taboo or even if it seems like a risky film that could damage his career if it fails. I love this about him; I respect this about him. In a recent interview promoting the recent latest blockbuster Focus, Will Smith spoke about his career and said that in previous years, he had been overly concerned with making sure that his movies were hugely popular and that they made a lot of money. If they weren’t, he felt like he had failed. Now, he has let go of this obsessive, limiting mindset and has decided that he is more interested in creating. The beauty of the art of acting, of exploring the human mind by diving into and becoming someone other than yourself is his newfound passion. I think it is evident that Ewan McGregor shares this passion. Examining the list of characters he has played, I believe it must be that he delves into the bodies and minds of these vastly different people because he is unsure who he is himself. I tend to really enjoy watching films with actors who I see this in; Beginners is one of them.
Beginners is really a simple film. The film takes place over three distinct time periods and flips back and forth between them, but this is not confusing, nor meant to be, and there are no grand action sequences or diabolical twists. This film is simple, it’s about people, it’s about life and everything, every emotion rather, that comes with it. We see sadness and happiness, of course. We see sympathy and confusion, we see love. We see it all. Yet, this is still a simple film. There are a hand-full of characters, mostly quite likable, and we get to watch their lives as they are for about a month. Oliver (McGregor) has been through a bit of a rough patch: he lost his mother to cancer; immediately after, his father tells him he is gay; he watches him fall in love with a younger man; and then he watches his father, too, die of cancer. Oliver does not struggle with coming to terms with the fact that his dad is gay, but with the idea that his childhood was a ruse, a lie, it occurred under false pretenses. Oliver struggles not with the fact that his dad loves a man, but that his dad loves any person other than his mom. To make matter worse, he is hurt by seeing his father loving a man his own age and feeling as though his father loves this man more than he loves him.
Continue reading Beginners (2010)
There was a time when I’d never met a movie about con artists that I didn’t like. You name it: the almighty Sting, the classic you-didn’t-even-know-this-was-a-con Usual Suspects, George C. Scott’s The Flim-Flam Man; modern takes like Matchstick Men, Catch Me If You Can, American Hustle; the super-rewatchable original Italian Job and the super-rewatchable remake Ocean’s Eleven. Some of these — like, say, The Spanish Prisoner — technically aren’t that great as far as cinema is concerned. Maybe that’s part of what’s so damn endearing about them: they’re movies, not films, which means they could conceivably appeal to just about anyone because style and fun outweigh technique and competence. I think I was just fine with that for a while, and I might still be.
But I also remember taking issue with Christopher Nolan (you: “who the hell are you to challenge Christopher Nolan?”; me: “I have as many Oscars as he does“) when he made the following comment about heist movies in an LA Times interview while filming Inception:
I originally wrote [Inception] as a heist movie, and heist movies traditionally are very deliberately superficial in emotional terms…they’re frivolous and glamorous, and there’s a sort of gloss and fun to it. I originally tried to write it that way, but when I came back to it I realized that — to me — that didn’t work for a film that relies so heavily on the idea of the interior state, the idea of dream and memory. I realized I needed to raise the emotional stakes.
Continue reading Focus (2015)
– Oscars went to Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything (Best Actor), Julianne Moore for Still Alice (Actress), and Birdman for mostly everything else. A huge fist pump goes to Whiplash for winning three out of their five nominations, including a long overdue acting award for J.K. Simmons. All in all, a fairly good year for movies.
-It turns out Neill Blomkamp actually is directing a new Alien movie, not just Instagramming it. Thoughts?
-After shitting on him a little bit in last week’s news roundup, Kodi Smit-McPhee got cast in X-Men: Apocalypse as the supercool mutant Nightcrawler. We’ll have our apology ready for when he nails it.
-Happily, The Man in the High Castle got picked up by Amazon for a full first season; sadly, Niko and the Sword of Light did not.
Continue reading Film & TV News: February 23