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Monday, August 31, 2015

Folks are Talking About an Oscar for Cynthia Nixon. I Approve.

Wait, is Hollywood trying to give Cynthia Nixon an Oscar? Um, yes please and thank you. I don't even need to see the film in question to appreciate the utter amazingess of Cynthia Nixon aka Miranda Hobbs aka Vivian Bearing (Broadway's Wit). She has an ability to cross genres and mediums with incredible ease, and wows us each time.

Apparently The Film Arcade, the independent film distribution company that's backing her latest feature, JAMES WHITE, is kicking off an awards campaign for Nixon. The actress stars in the coming-of-age film as a mother battling a serious illness with an adult son who's struggling to find his way. Read more from the press release announcement:

JAMES WHITE is a coming-of-age story about a young New Yorker struggling to take control of his self-destructive behavior in the face of momentous family changes. A confident and closely observed directorial debut by MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE producer Josh Mond, JAMES WHITE explores loss and the deep relationship between a mother and son. James White (Abbott) is a troubled twenty-something trying to stay afloat in a frenzied New York City. He retreats further into a hedonistic lifestyle, but his mother's battle with a serious illness forces James to take control of his life. As the pressure mounts, James must find new reserves of strength or risk imploding completely. Shot on location in New York City with an intimate visual style, the film follows its lead into deep, affecting places while still maintaining its fragile humanity.

I can only hope this is on the same level of Martha Marcy May Marlene, but I know Nixon wouldn't be a part of something awful. I am truly intrigued. 

JAMES WHITE will open theatrically on November 13. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

How About That Jennifer Lawrence/Amy Schumer Collaboration?

I suppose this is the collaboration much of the world has been waiting on for the last few months. I...really have no opinion on it.

It was announced last week that comedienne of the moment Amy Schumer and Hollywood gal pal Jennifer Lawrence together will write what will likely be called the next great American comedy, no matter how good or awful it actually ends up being. I say this with snark because while I do appreciate the little I've seen from Schumer, Lawrence just seems too "cool girl who tries too hard" for me. But, you know, maybe this will in fact be a genius story...Maybe.

The two plan to co-star as sisters in the production. That's really all I know about it right now, but I'm sure we'll be inundated with minute-by-minute updates as it develops.


KNOCK KNOCK Looks Like the Most Eli Roth Movie Ever

Okay first, let me just say that I love that we're talking about Keanu Reeves again. Second, this film KNOCK KNOCK looks like the most Eli Roth film ever, just based off its poster alone. It's the director's usual trademark of cheesiness and intrigue that will likely be the talk of its opening weekend. Check out the synopsis:

When a devoted husband and father is left home alone for the weekend, two stranded young women unexpectedly knock on his door for help. What starts out as a kind gesture results in a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse. A sexy new thriller from director Eli Roth and written by Eli Roth & Nicolás López & Guillermo Amoedo, KNOCK KNOCK stars Keanu Reeves as the family man who falls into temptation and Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas as the seductresses who wreak havoc upon his life, turning a married man’s dark fantasy into his worst nightmare.

So yeah, I don't know how good this will be, but I guess we'll see on October 9 when Lionsgate Premiere releases KNOCK KNOCK in theaters and On Demand.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Watch the Trailer and Check Out a Few Images from the Epic Drama, EVEREST

Those who love mountain climbing movies will now have two to choose from. You may have already heard about Meru, the documentary that follows three expert climbers as they struggle to ascend the one of the most challenging Himalayan mountains (which I have seen and is actually really decent). Now there is EVEREST, a fictionalized retelling of a true story surround two groups of climbers facing a dangerous snowstorm.

The cast is pretty amazing for a film about which I've heard very little. Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Keira Knightley and Emily Watson and Jake Gyllenhaal are just a few of the names that make up the cast. I have high hopes for the film, whose screenplay was co-written by Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire). Find out more about it in the synopsis:

Inspired by the incredible events surrounding an attempt to reach the summit of the world's highest mountain, Everest documents the awe-inspiring journey of two different expeditions challenged beyond their limits by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever encountered by mankind. Their mettle tested by the harshest elements found on the planet, the climbers will face nearly impossible obstacles as a lifelong obsession becomes a breathtaking struggle for survival.

Watch the trailer:

And check out a few more images from the film:

EVEREST opens in theaters September 18.

Get It Fassy: Check Out Michael Fassbender in a New Image from ASSASSIN'S CREED

I don't even know what this is, but I am all over it. I mean, just look at this picture of Michael Fassbender (aka Fassy). Looking all badass...

The actor stars in ASSASSIN'S CREED, the upcoming video game-turned-big screen epic that sees him as the heroic and almighty Callum Lynch. More in the synopsis below:

Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day.

I'm all over this. ASSASSIN'S CREED hits theaters December 21, 2016. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#BlackWomensLivesMatter, Too: A Look at Stanley Nelson's New Black Panthers Documentary

There are the documentarians who choose to approach their topics from a very conscious, political standpoint (like how Gabriela Cowperthwaite approached Blackfish). Then there are the filmmakers whose approach is more objective, journalistic. That's just how I'd describe Stanley Nelson's new film, THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION.

That's not to say that either style is better than the other, but I do find the former more compelling to watch. In THE BLACK PANTHERS, Nelson's temporal narrative of events is peppered with commentary from its subjects, but the film itself doesn't really have a point of view of its own. So I struggle with that here, but I praise Nelson for exploring a significant political group that remains one of the most misrepresented yet relevant entities of American kind. The film is a 360-degree look at the rise and fall of The Black Panthers, exploring the tumultuous political climate at the time (predominantly throughout the 1960s and 1970s), featuring interviews from some of the surviving members and other influencers of the time who give the film a much needed perspective. A benefit of Nelson's objectivity is that it allows the film to breathe on its own. We get to hear from people like co-founder Bobby Seale, whose late-career run as mayor of Oakland, CA, made headlines, leader Huey P. Newton whose imprisonment launched its own new movement, spokesperson Eldridge Cleaver ,whose unpredictable moves led to a divide among the Panthers. From navigating often fatal police raids to providing insight into what it was truly like to be a part of a group that was revolutionary yet unwelcome, the interviews underscore a message that is now its own hashtag: black lives matter.

But there is an aspect of the film that has been weighing on my mind for weeks, because the subject is introduced but never explored: the women of the Black Panthers. While people like Kathleen Cleaver, Eldridge's wife, and others are among those represented in the film, their stories are not told beyond mentioning that they were a part of the movement and bared witness to many of the injustices served to their male counterparts. Though some of the men featured offer that the women were often seen as sex objects or in the kitchen cooking for the guys, not as much on the frontlines--despite some of them having shown interest in "carrying a rifle." It is clear from the old footage captured in the film that women were certainly present on the scene, and passionate about the cause, but their perspectives are neutered afterthoughts. Which bothered me watching the film, and still frustrates me to write it today. That's a layer that could have really distinguished this film and told a more pointed story that few people discuss. It made me wonder how many women's lives were lost in police raids, how they treated one another, where their voices of command fell among each other. Where is this story?

Granted, this is likely not the story Nelson was trying to tell. But is it right in this day and age to tell a story, especially as one as broad as this, about the Black Panthers without the female voice? It further separates the idea that the women were separate from the actual movement, and that's not accurate. As briefly mentioned in the film, they were as important as their counterpart yet not visible. If you're doing general research on the Panthers and a need resource, or interested in learning more about their story (from a male perspective only), THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION is definitely for you. But while it highlights Nelson's sophisticated storytelling, it marginalizes a deeper layer to the Panthers' biography.

THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION opens at Film Forum in New York on September 2, with a national roll-out to follow in the fall.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I Am Irrationally Excited about Jill Marie Jones and Lucy Lawless in ASH VS. EVIL DEAD

I didn't even love the Evil Dead franchise (its ridiculously fake 80s gore tactic was just silly to me), but I am geeked about the idea of an episodic series. I think it will give the writers more time to develop the scant premise into something far more substantial than a "haunted cabin in the woods" type story that has been done to death (literally). Plus, Jill Marie Jones (Girlfriends) and Lucy Lawless aka Xena, Warrior Princess team up with Bruce Campbellthe franchise's sole surviving actor?! Sold. If ASH VS. EVIL DEAD isn't kickass, I will be highly upset. (I realize movie-to-film adaptations don't exactly have a good track record, but I am still keeping hope alive).

In case you're unfamiliar with this series, which will debut on Starz on Halloween, read up on it below:

“Ash vs Evil Dead” is the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror films The Evil Dead. The 10-episode half-hour series is executive produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell, the original filmmakers, and Craig DiGregorio who serves as executive producer and showrunner.

Campbell reprises his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario, and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons –personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip.

The cast is led by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, “Burn Notice”) in the role of Ash Williams, Lucy Lawless (“Salem,” “Spartacus,” “Xena”) as Ruby, a mysterious figure who believes Ash is the cause of the Evil outbreaks, Ray Santiago (“Touch,” Meet the Fockers) as Pablo Simon Bolivar, an idealistic immigrant who becomes Ash’s loyal sidekick, Dana DeLorenzo (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) as Kelly Maxwell, a moody wild child trying to outrun her past, and Jill Marie Jones (“Sleepy Hollow”) as Amanda Fisher, a disgraced Michigan State Trooper set to find our anti-hero Ash and prove his responsibility in the grisly murder of her partner.

And watch the trailer here.

Anyone else psyched? ASH VS. EVIL DEAD premieres Saturday, October 31, at 9:00pm ET/PT exclusively on STARZ with a 10-episode season.

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