Revew: Serena

Starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence!

!

Review: Everly'

Starring Salma Hayek

Review: Focus

Starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie!

Review: The Lazarus Effect

Starring Olivia Wilde!

Harrison Ford Returns for Blade Runner 2!

Directed by 'Prisoners' Director Denis Villeneuve!

2/28/2015

Review: 'Bluebird' starring Amy Morton, John Slattery, and Louisa Krause


The impact of tragedy is concentrated, more devastating in a small town where everybody knows everybody else. That's especially true in the failing, wintry Maine logging town of Lance Edmand's impressive directorial debut, Bluebird. In a place such as this, there are few escapes from the harshness of reality. Work is tedious and unrewarding; recreation amounts to ice fishing or getting drunk at the local bar. As a Maine native, Edmands brings a deep-rooted awareness and sadness to Bluebird, creating a fully-realized if somber world in which everybody is looking for a little bit of light in the darkness.

One of those desperate people is Lesley (Tony-winner Amy Morton), a genuinely good woman with a respectable job as an elementary school bus driver. The children are a bright spot in her life as her husband Richard (John Slattery) has become increasingly isolated over the years. Their marriage has gone from comfortable to distant, and with his job at the mill in jeopardy things aren't getting better. Even their teenaged daughter Paula (Emily Meade) is missing something in her life, which she tries to fulfill in the company of a boy who may not reciprocate her feelings.


Through all of this, Lesley is a good person. When a boy forgets his winter cap she doesn't hesitate to give him hers. But good people still make mistakes, and when an errant bluebird distracts her from emptying the bus thoroughly after a shift, she fails to see a sleeping child in one of the far back seats. When he's discovered the next day, frozen and in a coma, it threatens to shatter the meager existence she has. A tragedy like this touches many, none more so than the boy's deadbeat mother, Marla (Louisa Krause), who barely has any communication with her son. She's the kind of irresponsible parent who misses chances to see her child, forgets when to pick him up, and drops the responsibility of parenting on her mother (Margo Martindale). If it doesn't involve alcohol or drugs, Marla doesn't seem all that interested. However she briefly perks up when a lawyer starts talking about the money she can make from the accident.

Bluebird moves at a casual pace but it isn't slow or boring; there's too much going on for that to ever be the case. Edmands has captured the sleepy mood and tenor of rural life, and it allows him to explore each story development to the fullest without resorting to overdone melodrama. While dialogue is economical, silence speaks volumes in a film such as this. Fading dreams, quiet resentments, hidden secrets, crippling guilt...all pass with barely a sound in the space between anguished people looking for emotional connection. Shot and scored with a frigid starkness by the people behind Martha Marcy May Marlene, one can't help but feel for these terribly isolated, lonely people.


It's already hard to believe that such a confident, nuanced film is the work of a first-time director, but that Edmands was able to get such tremendous performance is another feather in his cap. Make no mistake; part of a director's job is giving the talent the right tools to succeed, and clearly he has done that. Everybody does strong work here, starting with Morton who embodies Lesley's guilt-ridden emotional spiral. Slattery tucks away his Mad Men cool to believably play a blue-collar guy racked by years of back-breaking work with little to show for it. But the stand out is Krause, playing what can be considered a "continuation" of her breakout role as a troubled, promiscuous teen in the indie drama Toe to Toe.  She's got the goods to be a star and a performance like this should, and hopefully will, open more doors. The same can be said of Edmands, who establishes himself as an incredibly skilled director to keep a close watch on. While the conclusion is a touch unsatisfying, it's clear Edmands wants us to keep thinking about these characters and where they will go.  Bluebird isn't just a great first effort, it's just a great movie, period. We can't allow movies the quality of Bluebird to fly under the radar.

Rating: 4 out of 5

New 'Cymbeline' Trailer with Ethan Hawke, Dakota Johnson, and Ed Harris


It was only a few weeks ago the last trailer for Cymbeline hit, and the odd thing about it was the title had been changed to the super-boring Anarchy. Some producer or marketing "genius" probably figured since they were updating Shakespeare's tale with biker gangs, it was a good idea to remind people about Sons of Anarchy. Whatever. Smarter heads have prevailed, and the title has been changed back just in time for yet another trailer.

Reuniting Ethan Hawke with his Hamlet director Michael Almereyda, and co-starring Fifty Shades of Grey's Dakota Johnson along with Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich, John Leguizamo, Penn Badgley, Anton Yelchin, Bill Pullman, Delroy Lindo, and Kevin Corrigan, the film is about an explosive war between dirty cops and bikers with young love caught in the middle. Great cast, but aren't gritty, modern updates of Shakespeare kind of played out?

Cymbeline hits theaters and VOD on March 13th. 

2/27/2015

'Brewster's Millions' Remake Back On with Robert Townsend Directing


Here's a remake project most either forgot about or thought was long dead. About six or seven years ago Warner Bros. set out on a remake of Brewster's Millions, the 1985 comedy starring Richard Pryor and John Candy. Absolutely nothing has been heard about it since, but now it's being revived with Robert Townsend directing.

Brewster's Millions is actually based on a 1902 novel by George McCutcheon, and centers on a playboy who stands to inherit a large sum of money from a wealthy uncle. Or he can inherit more if he spends the original sum in certain ways in a specific time frame, and he has to keep it all secret from friends and family.The film has been adapted for the screen multiple times, with the Pryor version the most well-known and probably the one that deviated furthest from the book.

Townsend was once a fixture on the African-American comedy scene, directing the brilliant satire Hollywood Shuffle (a must see), the R&B music drama The Five Heartbeats (also great), and superhero comedy The Meteor Man (meh). That he's being entrusted with a film like this means he could be on the verge of a comeback. I was a big fan of Brewster's Millions, of course I was 8 years old at the time, and consider Hollywood Shuffle a classic. So I'm really looking forward to seeing how this develops.

RIP Leonard Nimoy; Dead at 83



Sad news today as the man who for years told us to "live long and prosper" has passed away at the age of 83. Leonard Nimoy, the actor, writer, artist, and poet most famous for playing Spock on Star Trek, died today just days after checking in to the hospital with severe chest pains. It was discovered that Nimoy was in the final stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nimoy had been a smoker throughout a large portion of his life, and recently had begun speaking out about the dangers of smoking. That was par for the course for him, though, as he was always willing to use his celebrity to champion for the causes he believed in.

Recently he had been appearing on the Fox series, Fringe, and reprised his role as Spock in J.J. Abrams' reboot of the Star Trek franchise.

New Images and Poster for Netflix's 'Daredevil' Series



Marvel and Netflix have revealed some new images from their upcoming Daredevil TV series, plus a poster featuring star Charlie Cox smirking like a crazy person. The photos give us our first look at Rosario Dawson as Dr. Claire Temple, plus True Blood alum Deborah Ann Woll (go back to the red hair!!!) as Karen Page, Vincent D'Onofrio as Kingpin, and Elden Henson as Matt Murdock's law partner, Foggy Nelson.

Unfortunately, Daredevil is still sporting that awful black sub Kick-Ass level costume. I understand building up to the reveal of the classic red costume but that's going to be tough to endure for an entire season. Get ready to binge watch Daredevil on April 10th.








Black Widow, Thor, and Nick Fury Featured on 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Posters



So much for Marvel dishing out one Avengers: Age of Ultron character poster per day. Today they've unveiled three one-sheets featuring Thor, Nick Fury, and Black Widow. These go along with the previously revealed posters of Iron Man and Hulk, which all appear to connect into a larger image. Here's a synopsis:

When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Avengers: Age of Ultron opens May 1st. 



Free Advance Screening of 'Unfinished Business' starring Vince Vaughn!



We're happy to offer our DC readers a chance to attend a free advance screening of the new Vince Vaughn comedy, Unfinished Business! Also starring Dave Franco, Tom Wilkinson, and Sienna Miller, the film centers on a businessman and his two associates as they embark on a disastrous business trip in Europe. The screening takes place on Wednesday, March 4th at 4:00pm (note the start time!) at Regal Gallery Place.

If you would like to attend, please go to the Gofobo website here and download one Admit-Two pass. Please keep in mind that having passes does not guarantee entry, and you will want to arrive early to ensure a seat.

Enjoy the show! Unfinished Business opens Friday, March 6th.

Eddie Redmayne Transforms Once More in First Look at 'The Danish Girl'



The Academy loves a truly transformative performance. Just ask Michael Keaton who probably lost out on Best Actor because Eddie Redmayne so embodied Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. And it looks like Redmayne could have a line on another award next year, because he makes another stunning transformation in Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl.

The first image from The Danish Girl shows Redmayne as Einar Wegener, one of the first men to ever undergo a sex change. Alicia Vikander co-stars as Einar's wife, artist Gerda Gottlieb, who supported her husband's decision even as she knew it would end their marriage. The film also stars Amber Heard and Matthias Schoenaerts, with a screenplay by Lucinda Coxon based on David Ebersoff's novel.

While there's no release date yet you can bet this one will be arriving in the thick of awards season. [DailyMail]

Neill Blomkamp Has No Plans to Change 'Alien' Continuity




"I want this film to feel like it is literally the genetic sibling of ‘Alien.' So it’s ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and then this movie.”

Those sound like the words of someone who doesn't much care for David Fincher's Alien 3 or Alien Resurrection from Jean-Pierre Jeunet. But that is what Neill Blomkamp said a couple of days ago in regards to his upcoming Alien film which will see the return of Sigourney Weaver as Ripley. However it sounds like Blomkamp has had a change of heart, or perhaps his words were misinterpreted, because he tells Allocine that he has no desire to ignore continuity.


“I want to make a film that’s connected to ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens,’ that’s my goal. I’m not trying to undo ‘Alien 3’ and ‘Alien Resurrection,’ I just want it to be connected to ‘Alien 1’ and ‘2.’”

Yeah, okay, and that makes some degree of sense that he wants to have his film be most closely associated with the first two movies which everybody likes. There's also no denying that to bring back Ripley and possibly Michael Biehn's Corporal Hicks would be to change Alien continuity radically. That much he can't get around, so either this new film is a parallel universe story or a major retcon (retroactive continuity) is in the works.

With Blokmamp and Weaver on the Chappie press tour, expect them to get asked about Alien more than anything else. 


Review: Savagely Funny and Uneven 'Wild Tales'


When the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film was announced last weekend I was secretly hoping Wild Tales would win. Not because it's a great movie, or even the best out of all the nominees, but because it was dark and silly and twisted in a way the category rarely sees. Plus it's a dreaded anthology, which nobody wants to make anymore because they're so friggin' tough. Just ask the folks behind the awful V/H/S horror franchise. While the film has all of the inconsistencies apparently native to the genre, what it has is a surly attitude, a scathing wit, and a fresh directing voice in Damian Szifron.

Produced by Pedro Almodovar, and gifted with his sardonic sense of humor, Wild Tales is a series of six vignettes loosely tied together by one theme: vengeance. An anthology is basically a series of short stories, and the problem is crafting complete narratives in a limited time frame. Wild Tales has this problem, too, but not right off the bat. The first story is both the shortest and the most fulfilling, centering on a fateful airplane flight full of passengers who share an unfortunate connection. It's a hilarious piece that hits you in the teeth and makes a promise that the rest of the film tries hard to keep but turns out to be about 50/50 in execution.

The rest of the shorts are a mixed bag of ever escalating violence perpetrated by angry people. The second story follows a poor waitress who encounters a customer who had previously destroyed her family. While she contemplates murdering the man, a sadistic cook inflames the already-volatile situation. It works as a breather from the first story, but isn't especially clever. The third film works best because it's simple and sadistic, following two men of different social classes involved in a road rage incident that explodes into a no holds barred melee. The fourth stars Ricardo Darin (The Secret In Their Eyes), probably the most recognizable face of the entire movie, as a demolitions expert who lets a parking ticket fuel his hatred for the governmental power structure.

At this point, Szifron's screenplay has run out of things to say and is merely coasting by on piss and vinegar. The fifth film, about a rich family trying to cover up their son's crime, is so dull it drags the rest of Wild Tales down. However, the sixth and final story is a blast and one that best could have made a separate film. It follows a just-married couple who have their wedding reception hilariously destroyed by infidelity. Szifron pulls back on the savagery just a little to spin an unconventionally sweet story about forgiveness. 

Two hours turns out to be way too long for Szifron to tug on the vengeance thread, and Wild Tales could have been amazing if it lost about 45 minutes and maybe two segments. But he knows how to keep things moving, has a deft hand with comedy, and manages to make each scene feel different from the rest yet connected as part of the larger whole. That's no small feat for a young filmmaker, and who knows? Maybe he was showing Almodovar a new trick or two?

Rating: 3 out of 5