Month: August 2015
Taglines: Betrayal burns deep.
Trap for Cinderella is a British crime drama film directed by Iain Softley and starring Tuppence Middleton, Alexandra Roach, Kerry Fox, Aneurin Barnard, Frances de la Tour and Emilia Fox. Based on the novel Piège pour Cendrillon by Sébastien Japrisot, the film is about a young woman who loses her memory after surviving a fire that kills her childhood friend. through reading her dead friend’s diary, she begins to put the pieces of her shattered life back together.
The film starts with Micky (Tuppence Middleton), regaining consciousness in an hospital with Dr. Muller (Erich Redman) asking her if she remembers anything. Micky has suffered severe burn injuries and is suffering from amnesia. Over time she under goes reconstructive surgery and during a session of psychotherapy with Dr. Sylvie Wells (Emilia Fox) we are informed that she is 20 years old and lives in London. Her parents died in an car accident when she was 9 years old. Her late aunt, Elinor (Frances de la Tour) took care of her ever since. Elinor had died recently sometime before Micky’s accident. In the hospital Micky is shown photographs of her friends and relatives but she can’t recognize anybody.
Sometime later Micky is discharged from the hospital, she has recovered from her injuries but has not regained her memory. Her aunt’s personal assistant, Julia (Kerry Fox) is her guardian now and she takes Micky home. Jake (Aneurin Barnard) calls Micky on her landline but Julia receives the call and informs him that Micky is not ready to meet her friends. Julia informs Micky later that Jake was one of her boyfriends. Micky sees photos of Do (Alexandra Roach) and inquires about her, Julia tells her that Do is a friend and also that Do’s mother (Elizabeth Healey) was a caretaker at Elinor’s house. Julia also informs Micky that when she turns 21, she would inherit the entire estate of Elinor.
Among the photograph she finds envelope sent by Jake, she keeps the envelope. While Julia is distracted by a call, Micky takes a cab and goes to the address mentioned in the envelope. The address turn out to be the office of James Chance (Alex Jennings), who was Elinor’s lawyer. He informs her that Jake works for him. Chance is worried about Micky and tries to inform Julia, but Micky walks out of the office. She meets Jake outside Chance’s office and goes to Jake’s house to talk. Jake informs her that they had broken up the last time they met. They bond and have sex in his apartment. Jake gives her keys to her old apartment. Micky asks Jake about Do, Jake is surprised that Micky does not know it. He informs her that Do died in the accident that burnt her.
Micky next visits her old apartment, there she finds Do’s suitcase which contains her letters, clothes and a diary. Micky reads the diary and it is shown in the flash back that Do used to work in a bank and they meet there after a long gap and they exchange their numbers. Micky and Do bond over again and Do informs Micky that after they had last met, her father (Tim Wallers) committed suicide and her mom is dead too. It is also revealed in a flash back that in their childhood, Micky had accidentally almost drowned Do and ran away scared. Do follows her and they see something. This causes Do’s father to take his family away from the Elinor’s home.
The film’s soundtrack was music supervised by Universal Music Publishing Group and includes music from Cassius, Cat’s Eyes, Crystal Castles, Crystal Fighters, Fixers, Glasser, James Blake, Joker ft. Jessie Ware, Metronomy, Pauline Croze, Peter Sarstedt, The Chemical Brothers and Nouvelle Vague’s cover of Joy Division ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’.
Trap for Cinderella
Directed by: Iain Softley
Starring: Aneurin Barnard, Tuppence Middleton, Alexandra Roach, Frances de la Tour, Kerry Fox, Elizabeth Healey
Screenplay by: Sébastien Japrisot, Iain Softley
Production Design by: Gary Williamson
Cinematography by: Alex Barber
Film Editing by: Stuart Gazzard
Costume Design by: Verity Hawkes
Set Decoration by: Cathy Cosgrove
Music by: Christian Henson
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: IFC Films
Release Date: December 13, 2013
Taglines: Love will lead you home.
How I Live Now is a British drama film based on the 2004 novel of same name by Meg Rosoff, directed by Kevin Macdonald and script written by Tony Grisoni, Jeremy Brock and Penelope Skinner. The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, Anna Chancellor, George MacKay, Corey Johnson and Sabrina Dickens. It was screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
Set in the near-future UK, Saoirse Ronan plays Daisy, an American teenager sent to stay with relatives in the English countryside. Initially withdrawn and alienated, she begins to warm up to her charming surroundings, and strikes up a romance with the handsome Edmund (George MacKay). But on the fringes of their idyllic summer days are tense news reports of an escalating conflict in Europe. As the UK falls into a violent, chaotic military state, Daisy finds herself hiding and fighting to survive.
Filming began in June 2012 in England and Wales. The film was released on 4 October 2013 in the United Kingdom and was set for release on 28 November 2013 in Australia. On 25 July 2013, Magnolia Pictures acquired the US rights to distribute the film.
About the Production
“The summer I went to England to stay with my cousins everything changed… Mostly everything changed because of Edmond.” – How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
When Meg Rosoff’s novel How I Live Now was first published in 2004, it was widely greeted with acclaim and blossomed into a word-of-mouth best-seller. The London-based American author’s remarkable debut found itself showered with prestigious literary awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.
Written in the compellingly innocent but acerbic voice of its heroine, an intelligent but angry and anorexic 15-year-old New Yorker named Daisy, How I Live Now deftly and movingly touched on themes of love, loss and loyalty beneath the topical shadows of war, chaos and carnage. Exiled by her father from Manhattan to the English countryside, Daisy’s coming of age is a mixture of bliss and heartache, the former generated by falling in love with her cousin Edmond, the latter by the darkness that falls when Britain is plunged into war. Suddenly, this self-absorbed teenager is solely responsible for her youngest cousin Piper and forced to embark on an epic and courageous journey of survival.
It was the imaginative scope of Rosoff’s story, set in a parallel or not-too-distant future, and the relatable poignancy of Daisy’s detached but sharply ironic observations about love, war, cousins and countryside that made the novel appeal to young and adult readers alike. Among its fans were Charles Steel and Alasdair Flind of Cowboy Films, who secured the option on Rosoff’s best-seller and put the adaptation into development at Film4.
Early on, they sent the book to Kevin Macdonald, who Steel had worked with on The Last King Of Scotland. He also read it and loved it but, after The Last King Of Scotland, he was a filmmaker in demand and his schedule rendered him unavailable. Macdonald was always drawn to the prospect of making a serious film about the teenage experience, as well as one that featured a female lead and a love story – both are firsts for the talented director. When the project came back around to him, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
“I think Meg’s book is really beautiful,” says Macdonald. “But as is so often the case, when there’s a really beautiful book, you often have to move further away from it than you would if you were adapting what was a mediocre book. So much of what the book did you can’t do on screen. For one thing it’s Daisy’s internal monologue, which meant that the structure of the book was very hard to replicate. And although Daisy’s voice is so strong in the book, we realized she needed to be slightly different in order for the film to work.”
The producers were faced with the challenge of distilling a novel that ventures into both youth and adult terrain in terms of its themes and subject matter, but without losing the poetic vision that made Rosoff’s manuscript such a celebrated success. Different screenwriters with varied skillsets were brought on board: Tony Grisoni (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, In This World) was the first to work on the adaptation, before he passed the baton to Jeremy Brock (The Last King Of Scotland, The Eagle). Acclaimed young playwright Penelope Skinner came on last to put the finishing touches on Daisy, who falls in love with one of her cousins and faces extreme challenges throughout the story.
“We tried so many different voices for Daisy,” explains Macdonald. “The breakthrough was figuring out that the key to Daisy was her willpower. She is somebody who has an amazingly strong sense of self and identity, but she has used that willpower in very negative ways in her life because her life has been very negative. But she ends up using the same thing that’s made her a troubled person to survive.”
Although it’s likely to be classified in the young-adult section of any bookstore, Rosoff’s novel was strongly embraced by both a teenage and an adult audience. The book’s publisher, Penguin Books, even created separate covers to target both markets. Although that crossover appeal is strongly reflected in Macdonald’s adaptation, everyone involved was aware that the more they defined their target audience, the better chance they had of crossing over to reach both groups.
“Driven by Kevin, we’ve fully embraced it as a teenage love story aimed towards a teenage audience,” says Steel.
“What makes the film stand out,” adds Flind. “Is that this is Kevin’s version of a teenage love story. He has the ability to make it real and rough around the edges in all the right ways. He’ll make it stand out.”
Ronan was an actress whose name came up early on in How I Live Now’s development, around the time of Atonement’s release. Although she would have been too young at the time, the Irish actress’ talent and charisma were obvious to all, and she has gone on to become the standout actress of her generation. Call it serendipity but by the time the stars aligned for How I Live Now to move into production, Ronan was the right age to play Daisy.
Initially, Macdonald had considered going with a cast of non-professionals to portray How I Live Now’s group of five, and he arranged open casting calls to find an unknown to inhabit Daisy. Later, he abandoned that plan and began meeting with teenage actresses, but couldn’t find anyone he felt had the edge that Daisy needed. Until he met Ronan and was blown away. “She came in to read and she was just fantastic, I mean jaw-dropping,” says the Glasgow-born director. “The most amazing thing was that she’d come over from Ireland but hadn’t received the new pages we’d sent her so she had literally 10 minutes to prepare when she arrived. But she did it and she was fantastically good.”
The most enjoyable part of the shoot for Macdonald was getting to work with his teenage and younger cast. “They were fun and energetic and obedient, for the most part,” he smiles. “They were just a pleasure to work with and having so many kids around the whole time, even though Saoirse is 18 and George had just turned 20, created a lovely atmosphere for everybody. I was 44 when I shot it so quite distant from those sort of feelings and obviously I’ve also never experienced what it’s like to be a teenage girl so I came to rely on them in different ways than you do when you’re making a film about adults.”
“No matter how much you put on a sad expression and talked about how awful it was that all those people were killed and what about Democracy and the Future of Our Great Nation the fact that none of us kids said out loud was that we didn’t really care.”
How I Live Now depicts its wartime with frightening realism, and yet, seen through the eyes of its largely oblivious teenage protagonists, leaves a shroud of mystery around what’s actually happening. The unknown enemy that manages to seize control of the nation remains a shadowy force. “The world that Meg created is very much about ambiguity and we wanted to leave it in that world,” says Macdonald. “I’m sure that some people will ask, ‘Who are the enemy? What’s going on?’ But I believe it’s the right decision to keep it as vague as possible because, in a way, it’s all a metaphor. It’s not a political film, it’s not a film about the situation in the world, it’s the story of an unhappy teenage girl falling in love.”
“I don’t think it’s necessarily important for the audience to know everything that Eddie’s been through,” says MacKay, agreeing with his director. “What’s important is that the film is about healing damaged people and Eddie heals Daisy through their love. Sex and true love are new discoveries that come with being with each other and at the end of the film; Daisy is on the path to healing him.”
Macdonald wanted to steep the film in the English romantic tradition, which is why songs by melodic folk-rockers Fairport Convention and English singer-songwriter Nick Drake feature on the soundtrack. “It’s about the beauty of the landscape and the threat of the landscape at the same time,” he notes, “and I want to reflect this magical, melancholic version of England in the music.”
More than any film Macdonald has made, How I Live Now rests on a single character’s journey. Daisy goes on a staggering arc during the narrative, conveyed by Ronan with extraordinary conviction; the novel’s numerous fans will be thrilled to witness her performance. “I know teenage girls who got so excited when they heard I was making this movie,” says the actress. “Having a leading young woman like Daisy who’s very messed up and unsure of herself and insecure, I know as a teenager they’re the kind of characters I relate to more because they’re not perfect and they’re not glorified. Pretty much every teenage girl goes through at least some of what Daisy experiences.”
“What I find interesting about Saoirse’s performance is that she’s not always sympathetic in the film and she did sometimes find that difficult because she is, by nature, such a lovely person,” muses Macdonald. “But that makes it a particularly strong performance because it’s Saoirse as you’ve never seen her before. She’s tough, ballsy and the most grown-up we’ve seen her be. In this film, we watch her becoming a grown-up in front of our eyes and that’s exciting. After this film, you’ll see people start casting her as a leading lady.”
How I Live Now
Directed by: Director: Kevin Macdonald
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, Anna Chancellor, George MacKay, Corey Johnson, Harley Bird
Screenplay by: Jeremy Brock, Tony Grisoni
MPAA Rating: R for violence, disturbing images, language and some sexuality.
Production Design by: Jacqueline Abrahams
Cinematography by: Franz Lustig
Film Editing by: Jinx Godfrey
Costume Design by: Jane Petrie
Art Direction by: Astrid Sieben
Music by: Jon Hopkins
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: November 8, 2013
Coming back to accomplish the divorce procedure, Ahmad an Iranian man, arrives in Paris after four years to meet his ex-wife and her daughters from her previous marriage. He notices his ex is in a relationship with an Arab named Samir who also has a son and a wife in a coma. The relationship of the older daughter and her mother is in deterioration because the daughter thinks her mother is the cause of Samir’s wife comatose state. The affairs get more complicated when the older daughter discloses something heinous she has done.
The Past (French: Le Passé) is a French drama film directed by the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi and starring Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim and Ali Mosaffa. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Bérénice Bejo also won the Best Actress Award. It was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The film has been selected as the Iranian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards.
Review for The Past – Le Passé
Like his previous film, A Separation, Asghar Farhadi’s The Past begins with a deceptively straightforward divorce. Returning to Paris from Tehran to legally terminate his marriage after a four-year absence, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) learns that his wife, Marie (Bérénice Bejo), has been living with another man, Samir (Tahar Rahim). Papers may be signed with minimal fuss but the past cannot be so easily buried, and once again the Iranian director creates an opportunity to showcase his striking ability to use multiple perspectives to tell an infinitely complex story.
Making little use of the suburban Parisian backdrop, Farhadi opts instead for a chamber drama that is as tightly packed as Marie’s rickety old house. In addition to two children from a previous relationship—petite Léa (Jeanne Jestin) and teenage Lucie (Pauline Burlet)—Samir’s young son Fouad (Elyes Aguis) also lives there, reluctantly. For better and worse, the presence of the even-tempered Ahmad sets the already precarious household off balance as he simultaneously mediates and instigates familial problems large and small.
Despite the obvious conflict of interest, Ahmad is able to assuage the furrow-browed Fouad when he throws his violent tantrums and to coax information from an increasingly moody Lucie. Vehemently disapproving of her mother’s latest relationship, Lucie explains that Samir’s wife is in a coma due to an attempted suicide—a suicide she believes to have been catalyzed by her mother’s affair with Samir. But as far as Marie is concerned, this tragic turn of events was merely the grim culmination of the woman’s long battle with depression, and she can furnish a witness to prove it: the illegal immigrant (Sabrina Ouazani), whom Samir employs at his dry cleaning business.
Much like A Separation, the story spirals, whodunit style, around the blame of the suicide—and around and around—propelled forward and nudged backward as details of past events are revealed and contradicted. As each character attempts to offload their sense of guilt onto someone else, Farhadi further elucidates the elusive nature of truth itself. Forcing his characters into moral gray zones, the director weakens the notion of objectivity, allowing the viewer’s allegiances to shift freely among the household’s denizens—even if as individuals, none of them is particularly sympathetic.
Dispensing with A Separation’s primarily handheld aesthetic, The Past demonstrates a thoroughgoing commitment to stillness. While its visual style mirrors the characters’ sometimes frustrating inability to move forward, the careful framing of bodies and faces—whether crammed into doorways or dim hallways—emphasizes private moments of interiority and noncommunication.
Despite a number of melodramatic ingredients—comas, hidden pregnancies, torrential downpours, and secret missives, among others—the film remains subtly understated, thanks in large part to the impeccable cast. Shaking off the plucky flapper she played in The Artist, Bejo is particularly impressive as the hot-tempered Marie and is well paired here with the soft-spoken Mosaffa, who exudes a paternal calm. Rahim, as always, brings a quiet but subtly dangerous power to the screen as Samir, while Burlet demonstrates maturity beyond her young years as the emotionally fraught Lucie.
Though The Past may lack its predecessor’s gripping sense of urgency (the 130-minute running time does not go unnoticed), it is precisely its circuitous structure that imbues the film with a sense of unadorned reality. Never leaning on flashbacks or expository dialogue, Farhadi doesn’t pit the past against the present so much as he presents the two as inextricably—and rather bleakly—linked. If the past can only become clear in the present, what hope does that leave for the future?
The Past – Le Passé
Directed by: Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, Pauline Burlet, Elyes Aguis, Jeanne Jestin, Sabrina Ouazani
Screenplay by: Asghar Farhadi
Production Design by: Claude Lenoir
Cinematography by: Mahmoud Kalari
Film Editing by: Juliette Welfling
Costume Design by: Jean-Daniel Vuillermoz
Music by: Evgueni Galperine, Youli Galperine
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material and brief strong language.
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: December 20, 2013
Taglines: A new funny film about love. With a bit of time travel.
The night after another unsatisfactory New Year party, Tim’s father (Bill Nighy) tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life—so he decides to make his world a better place… by getting a girlfriend. Sadly, that turns out not to be as easy as you might think.
Moving from the Cornwall coast to London to train as a lawyer, Tim finally meets the beautiful but insecure Mary (Rachel McAdams). They fall in love, then an unfortunate time-travel incident means he’s never met her at all. So they meet for the first time again—and again—but finally, after a lot of cunning time-traveling, he wins her heart.
Tim then uses his power to create the perfect romantic proposal, to save his wedding from the worst best-man speeches, to save his best friend from professional disaster and to get his pregnant wife to the hospital in time for the birth of their daughter, despite a nasty traffic jam outside Abbey Road.
But as his unusual life progresses, Tim finds out that his unique gift can’t save him from the sorrows and ups and downs that affect all families, everywhere. There are great limits to what time travel can achieve, and it can be dangerous too. About Time is a comedy about love and time travel, which discovers that, in the end, making the most of life may not need time travel at all.
Love, Family and Time Travel
The genesis for About Time ignited from a conversation that Curtis had with a friend about what they would do if they were told that they had only 24 hours left to live. “We both decided that we’d want a very normal day at home with the family, doing the things you normally do,” recalls Curtis. “I thought it was an interesting observation, and the next step was how I would be able to incorporate this into a movie. It would have to be about someone who could manipulate their final day or manipulate their life in some way to enable them to come to that conclusion. That’s when I thought about time travel.”
Curtis says that About Time is an evolution for him, as his early work very much focuses upon the relationships among friends. He shares: “Four Weddings is, in many ways, as much a film about friendship as it is about love. There were a lot of friendships in Love Actually as well.” Naturally, Curtis’ interest in human dynamics evolved as he grew older. “With my mum and dad passing away within the last five years, and with my children all growing up, I am a family man most of all. This film has as much to do with a brother and sister, a father and mother as it has to do with love. And, of course, when two people fall in love, they are finally going to turn into a mother and a father, and you see that happening during the course of the film.”
The comedy reunites Curtis with Working Title producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, for the eleventh time in 25 years. Remembers Bevan: “We did our first film together in 1983 called The Tall Guy. All of Richard’s films have a lot of familiarities, but are always breaking new ground. The authenticity of a Richard film is that it will make you laugh, cry and think. About Time returns to the ‘Curtisian’ world in the same vein as Love Actually, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, but this feels more grown-up and more reflective. He set out to make a movie to reflect on the good and bad things in life and to make you appreciate what’s in front of you.”
Although Fellner finds it difficult to believe that they’ve spent a quarter of a century creating work together, he’s similarly impressed by his longtime friend’s evolution as a filmmaker. He notes: “Richard never settles for good. He pushes himself as an artist to best his previous work, and audiences respect that drive. His stories are so deeply personal, so intimate that it’s impossible not to be drawn into them. I appreciate that he finds humor in the pathos of our everyday experiences and makes the humdrum extraordinary.”
While love and family were integral in the creation of Curtis’ vision, the time-travel aspect would make scripting a very calculated endeavour. Curtis was careful to make sure rules were in place for Tim and his Dad as they travel through time, so as to make the film’s concept less fantasy and more endearing. So, what exactly are those rules? The first is that time travel may not happen before a man in this family is 21. The second is that one must go into a small dark place—such as a cupboard, closet or wardrobe—clench his fists and think of the specific time, date, place and address of where he wants to go. The third is that he can only go to an event in his own past that he can remember; he can’t go into the future or way back into history. The fourth? Every decision he makes will have ramifications on his future.
Producer Nicky Kentish Barnes adds that she admired the unorthodox narrative put forth by the film’s writer/director. She says: “About Time is very autobiographical, in a sense; it’s bits of Richard’s life all put together in a beautiful and well-crafted story. The story is very emotional; we had grown men crying on reading the script. It is a slight, sort-of-magic realism with the time-travel aspect, but it adds to the emotional content, rather than feeling that it’s taking you out of the story.”
With the shooting script locked, Curtis and his producers set about the exciting task of finding a young couple who could give voice to his words, along with a set of family and friends to populate this unique world.
Feeling Loved Up: Casting About Time
From the start, the producers and casting director FIONA WEIR knew performer Domhnall Gleeson would be ideal for the role of the time-traveling Tim Lake. However, he did quite shock them upon introduction.
In the midst of filming Anna Karenina, Gleeson arrived at a meeting with Curtis, sporting a head of long hair and bushy beard. Laughs Curtis of the meeting: “At first, Domhnall was very difficult to cast. He turned up with this enormous orange beard, and he looked like a 35-year-old Russian autocrat. It was hard for me to imagine what he actually even looked like, but in the end it was an easy decision. He has a lot of the qualities I most love in an actor and actually has them as a human being. He has doubt, high spirits and optimism, and he is very funny.”
His rugged exterior aside, producers were keen on the Irish actor joining the production as their lead. Compliments Bevan: “Domhnall is a brilliant young actor and has the ability to be extremely dramatic and very funny, which is a very unusual combination.” The producer didn’t mind that his lead, heretofore best known for his pivotal role in the Harry Potter series, was an unorthodox choice. Bevan continues, “It’s refreshing to see a new face playing a lead in a Richard Curtis film—a different face and not a posh boy—he gives the film a whole different feel.”
The minute About Time begins, audiences see Tim as a normal guy. He’s a slightly confused, but very likeable hero, who is going through his life with the same level of confidence the majority of ordinary people can muster. “You love Tim’s character from the beginning,” reflects Kentish Barnes. “You want him to succeed when he meets the love of his life.”
When Gleeson first read the script, he laughed aloud, which he took as quite the promising sign. Reflects the performer: “It was sweet relief reading the script. It had so much to say about a way of living your life that I found valuable and beautiful. That was Richard’s introduction to the film for me, and that was what I tried to keep close to my heart while we filmed.”
With Gleeson on board the production, filmmakers moved forward in casting the role of Mary, the young American woman with whom Tim falls in love, marries and starts a family. Because of Rachel McAdams’ busy schedule, the filmmakers weren’t certain she would be able to join the production. Little did they know, however, that she adored the script.
Curtis was thrilled that an actress of McAdams’ caliber had signed onto the film. He muses: “Rachel is someone, who every time I’ve seen her in a film, I have melted with this sense of comfort and love. We were certainly lucky to get her.”
Bevan agrees that McAdams was absolutely perfect for the role, commending: “Rachel has that great girl-next-door quality. She has the beauty, the humor and the wit, but she also has the ability as an actress to make whomever she is playing against look equally as great.”
McAdams recalls what drew her to the part: “I enjoyed the script immensely and loved what it was about. It was quite moving with a very simple, but so meaningful moral of the story, and I loved all the characters. I knew that signing onto a Richard Curtis film was just a good package deal; he does these things so well. He is very generous with his spirit and brings so much of himself to the project.”
The performer appreciated that the expatriate was as complex as her on-screen love, sharing, “Mary’s got this funny mix of confidence and total insecurity. But then she meets Tim, and she just blossoms. He ushers her in the direction she was meant to go in, and the puzzle pieces fit, finally.”
For the seasoned young performer, working with Gleeson was a surprising joy. She enthuses: “It’s been wonderful to watch Domhnall transform from the younger Tim to the older Tim. He has this endless energy for physical comedy, and his comedic timing is impeccable. He always seems to find humor. Domhnall is so grounded, so rooted in the character, and he makes everything matter.”
Her leading man, Gleeson, returns the kind words: “Rachel brings this gorgeous honesty to her character. She’s very funny, and she brings something that is pure and uncomplicated in the best possible sense. It was joyous being on set with her all the time.”
In casting the role of Tim’s Dad, filmmakers turned to a veteran of Curtis’ films: much-feted performer Bill Nighy, first introduced in a Curtis role as a washed-up rocker in Love Actually. “Tim’s Dad is a strange synthesis of a lot of people I’ve met,” explains Curtis. “There’s a lot of my feeling about my father in the role, and it was a fun idea to have Bill play the part. To cast a friend you actually love in that part was a great pleasure.”
Directed by: Richard Curtis
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Margot Robbie, Domhnall Gleeson, Lydia Wilson, Vanessa Kirby
Screenplay by: Richard Curtis
Production Design by: John Paul Kelly
Cinematography by: John Guleserian
Film Editing by: Mark Day
Costume Design by: Verity Hawkes
Set Decoration by: Liz Griffiths
Music by: Nick Laird-Clowes
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: November 8, 2013
Katie, a young woman, is trying to make it in the cutthroat world of modeling in New York. When Katie innocently accepts an offer to have new photos taken for her portfolio, the experience quickly turns into an unthinkable nightmare – Severely beaten, battered, bruised, and left for dead, she will have to tap into the darkest places of the human psyche to not only survive her ordeal, but to ultimately find the strength to exact her brutal revenge. The film was made by the same creative team as the controversial 2010 film: Director Steven R. Monroe, Producers Lisa Hansen and Paul Hertzberg, and Writer Neil Elman teaming up with Thomas Fenton (Saw IV).
I Spit on Your Grave 2 is an American rape and revenge horror film directed by Steven R. Monroe, who directed its predecessor, I Spit on Your Grave—which was based on Meir Zarchi’s 1978 film of the same name. The film was given a limited theatrical release at one theater and has been received negatively by critics.
About the Story
Katie Carter (Jemma Dallender) is an aspiring model from Missouri who works as a waitress in a New York City restaurant. Desperate to update her modeling portfolio, she answers an advertisement offering a free photography session. She then meets three Bulgarian siblings, photographer Ivan (Absolom) and his assistants Nikolai, known as “Nicky” (Aleksiev) and Georgy (Baharov), who becomes infatuated with Katie.
She leaves the photo shoot after disagreeing with Ivan about a topless shot. Georgy later arrives at Katie’s apartment and apologizes regarding the incident. Katie accepts his apology and is given a flash drive containing her photos. Before leaving, Georgy states that she can keep the pictures for her privacy, upload, or use the photos as she chooses.
Later that night, Katie wakes up to find Georgy filming her and shoots him with an electroshock gun. Although Kate tries to escape, Georgy binds, gags and sodomizes her. Katie’s neighbor, Jayson, arrives and tries to stop the rape but Georgy stabs and kills him. Georgy panics and calls both his brothers. Nikolai and Ivan later arrive and clean up all evidence of the crime. Ivan then force-feeds Katie ketamine, rendering her unconscious.
Katie wakes and finds herself naked and handcuffed to a pipe in an old basement. The brothers relentlessly rape and torture her. She overpowers Georgy and escapes, but discovers that she is now in an unknown city. When she approaches Bulgarian police, she is taken into safe custody by Detective Kiril (Zlaterev), who informs her that she has been abducted to Bulgaria. After an interview, Detective Kiril hands her over to Ana (Stockley), who claims to be from a rape crisis center but is really Nikolai and Georgy’s mother. Katie is returned to the basement and Valko (Silverleaf), a friend of the family’s father, electroshocks her genitals then brutally rapes her, leaving her bloodied. Ivan then beats her.
Katie is then placed in a box with her crucifix necklace and Valko’s electroshock gun and buried alive. The ground beneath the makeshift coffin breaks and she falls into the sewer system below. Naked and hungry, Katie steals from a nearby church and is soon caught by priest Father Dimov (Pelka), who recognizes her as a rape victim. He gives her food, clothing, and a Bible. Katie approaches the U.S. Embassy, but leaves before going inside. Back at the church, Dimov offers support. As Katie goes back to the sewers, she leaves her Bible open for Dimov to read. After reading the passage “vengeance is mine”, Dimov realizes that Katie seeks revenge against her rapists.
Interview with Jemma Dallender
How did you end up working on I Spit On Your Grave 2 – what drew you to playing such a tough role?
Well, initially my agent mentioned that she had an audition for me, and as soon as she said the role contained full frontal nudity, I was like, ‘No way! Not for me at all’- but she persuaded me to head along to the audition anyway and as I got into the process I realised I loved the character and the controversy of the film. It was a role I could get my teeth into and as an actress I’m always looking for new challenges. Also, the plot and the sentiment of the film, you realise why there are such graphic scenes, violence, nudity- it makes sense, it’s not in there just for pure shock factor. I of course watched the original film, and the 2010 remake and I loved the idea and the controversy surrounding this kind of role.
So you think that the audience has to see the character, Katie, pushed to the brink – that it gives reasoning for her behaviour so that you’re rooting for her when she exacts her revenge?
Exactly. She’s made to feel so small, and treated so mercilessly. They [the male characters who kidnap Katie] reduce the character to nothing and she kind of loses her humanity in all ways possible- in order to get to that stage of the film you need to see the graphic and intense stuff she experiences.
Your character goes through a major ordeal to say the least, but she ends up being pretty badass by the end- Do you have a favourite revenge scene?
It has to be the way she gets Ivan [let’s just say it involves a vice certain parts of the male anatomy]. It was so disgusting, but ended up being quite funny to film too… The prosthetics were too big so it had to be changed, and refitted so we had a laugh at that. Although I think Joe [Absalom] was quite uncomfortable by the end, laying there strapped to a table, half naked all day. I felt kind of guilty to be honest so saying I enjoyed them is a bit mean, and an overstatement. The guys felt so bad during their rape and torture scenes, and I was like, ‘it’s fine, we’re only acting’, and they said, ‘wait ‘til you have to do the mean stuff’, and they were right I felt awful! But the vice scene…It’s just the ultimate revenge a female character can get and I’m sure probably the worst scene for any man to watch…
I guess it was important to be able to have a laugh on set as the subject matter was so intense- did you have any other techniques to deal with the intensity of the role?
To be honest, most of the time I would avoid having a laugh and a chat on set so that I could stay in character. I had to be in a really deep and dark place and I find it hard to find that place and then switch between that and happy when the cameras aren’t rolling. I stayed pretty sombre whilst on set. But off-set of course we had a laugh and all got on really well.
You mentioned you watched the original 1978 I Spit On Your Grave and the 2010 remake; did you feel under any pressure following up these infamous female leads with the sequel?
No, not pressure really. I don’t think it’s good to place too much pressure on yourself when tackling a role and this is an entirely new film in its own right so I wasn’t trying to recreate something. Of course I watched them, and they are great- they made me interested in the role. I just tried to make it my own and put my own spin on the character. This instalment in comparison with the other two is a lot more brutal and intense so I was ready for the controversy. People are always going to have an opinion about films like this but I think that’s good- weather they like it or not. It’s better to provoke a reaction, rather than making a film that nobody wants to talk about.
Do you think the film could be described as a ‘feminist’ horror due to taking back control in an otherwise male dominated cast and wreaking rape-revenge?
I definitely think it’s a feminist film- strong female lead roles- lead roles in general are few and far between nowadays, particularly in horror. There is definitely a sense of empowerment. Katie is tough and pulls through, even physically and we don’t see that often in film so it was a really refreshing and challenging role to take on.
Are you a horror film fan?
This may surprise you, but I’m actually quite squeamish- so the blood, guts and gore isn’t really my thing. It wouldn’t be my first choice to watch something like that. But I do like psychological thrillers, and horrors and supernatural stuff too- like, ‘The Conjuring’, I saw that recently. That’s the kind of horror that would keep me awake at night…
I Spit on Your Grave 2
Directed by: Steven R. Monroe
Starring: Jemma Dallender, Yavor Baharov, Joe Absolom, Aleksandar Aleksiev, Mary Stockley
Screenplay by: Neil Elman, Thomas H. Fenton
Production Design by: Severina Stoyanova
Cinematography by: Damian Bromley
Film Editing by: Kristina Hamilton-Grobler
Costume Design by: Desislava Andonova
Set Decoration by: Rosen Stefanov
Music by: Corey A. Jackson
MPAA Rating: R for strong sadistic violence, torture and rape, graphic nudity, language and some drug content.
Studio: Anchor Bay Films
Release Date: September 20, 2013
Taglines: Courage beyond words.
Based on the beloved bestselling book, The Book Thief tells the inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a new family in World War II Germany.
In 1938, the young girl Liesel Meminger is traveling by train with her mother and her younger brother when he dies. Her mother buries the boy in a cemetery by the tracks and Liesel picks up a book, “The Gravediggers Handbook”, which was left on the grave of her brother and brings it with her. Liesel is delivered to a foster family in a small town and later she learns that her mother left her because she is a communist. Her stepmother, Rosa Hubermann, is a rude but caring woman and her stepfather, Hans Hubermann, is a simple kind-hearted man.
Liesel befriends her next door neighbor, the boy Rudy Steiner, and they go together to the school. When Hans discovers that Liesel cannot read, he teaches her using her book and Liesel becomes an obsessed reader. During a Nazi speech where the locals are forced to burn books in a bonfire, Liesel recovers one book for her and the Major’s wife Ilsa Hermann witnesses her action. Meanwhile Hans hides the Jewish Max Vandenburg.
The Book Thief is an American-German war drama film directed by Brian Percival and starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nélisse. Based on the novel of the same name by Markus Zusak and adapted by Michael Petroni, the film is about a young girl living with her adoptive German family during the Nazi era. Taught to read by her kind-hearted foster father, the girl begins “borrowing” books and sharing them with the Jewish refugee being sheltered by her foster parents in their home. The film features a musical score by Oscar-winning composer John Williams.
About the Story
In April 1938, a voice representing Death (Roger Allam) tells about how the young Liesel Meminger (Sophie Nélisse) has piqued his interest. Liesel is traveling on a train with her mother (Heike Makatsch) and younger brother when her brother dies. At his burial she picks up a book that has been dropped by his graveside (a gravedigger’s manual). Liesel is then delivered to foster parents Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and Rosa (Emily Watson) Hubermann because her mother, a Communist, is fleeing Germany. When she arrives, Liesel makes an impression on a neighboring boy, Rudy Steiner (Nico Liersch).
Rudy accompanies her on her first day of school. When the teacher asks Liesel to write her name on the chalkboard, she is only able to write two “X”s, showing that she doesn’t know how to read. Later that day, she is taunted by her schoolmates who chant “dummkopf” (“fool” in German) at her. One of the boys, Franz Deutscher, challenges her to read just one word to which Liesel responds by beating him up. She impresses Rudy, and they become fast friends. When Hans, her foster father, realizes that Liesel cannot read, he begins to teach her, using the book that she took from the graveside. Liesel becomes obsessed with reading anything she can get her hands on.
Liesel and Rudy become members of the Hitler Youth movement. While at a Nazi book burning ceremony, Liesel and Rudy are bullied into throwing books onto the bonfire by Franz, but Liesel is upset to see the books being burned. When the bonfire ends, and everyone but she has left, she grabs a book that has not been burned. She is seen by Ilsa Hermann (Barbara Auer), the mayor’s (Rainer Bock) wife. Hans discovers that she has taken the book and tells her she must keep it a secret from everyone.
One day, Rosa asks Liesel to take the laundry to the mayor’s house. Liesel realizes that the woman who saw her taking the book is the mayor’s wife, and she is scared she will be found out. Instead, Ilsa takes her into their library and tells Liesel she can come by anytime and read as much as she’d like. Liesel also finds out about Johann here, who was the son of Ilsa and is now missing. Ilsa feels the loss of her son profoundly and has kept his library intact to commemorate him. One day Liesel is found reading by the mayor who not only puts a stop to her visits but dismisses Rosa as their laundress. Liesel continues to “borrow” books from the mayor’s library by climbing through a window.
There is a night of violence against the Jews (known historically as Kristallnacht). Max Vandenburg (Ben Schnetzer) and his mother, who are Jewish, are told by a friend that one of them (but only one) can escape, and Max’s mother forces him to go. Max goes to the Hubermanns’ house where Rosa and Hans give him shelter. Max is the son of the man who saved Hans’s life in World War I.
Max is initially allowed to stay in Liesel’s room while recovering from his trip, and they begin to become friends over their mutual hatred of Hitler since Liesel blames Hitler for taking her mother away. World War II begins, initially making most of the children in Liesel’s neighborhood very happy. Max is later moved to the basement so that he can move around more, but it is colder in the basement, and Max becomes dangerously ill. Liesel helps Max recover by reading to him with every spare moment.
The Book Thief
Directed by: Brian Percival
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse, Ben Schnetzer, Nico Liersch, Sandra Nedeleff
Screenplay by: Markus Zusak, Michael Petroni
Production Design by: Simon Elliott
Cinematography by: Florian Ballhaus
Film Editing by: John Wilson
Costume Design by: Anna B. Sheppard
Set Decoration by: Mark Rosinski
Music by: John Williams
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: November 15, 2013
Taglines: Remember who the enemy is.
The film begins as Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a Victor’s Tour of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow (Donald Sutherland) prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games, The Quarter Quell – a competition that could change Panem forever.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is anAmerican science fiction adventure film based on Suzanne Collins’ dystopian novel, Catching Fire, the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy. The film is the sequel to The Hunger Games, and the second installment in The Hunger Games film series, produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik and distributed by Lionsgate. Francis Lawrence directed the film, with a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt. Francis Lawrence took over from Gary Ross as director. Adding to the existing cast, the supporting cast was filled out with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Lynn Cohen, Jena Malone, Amanda Plummer, Alan Ritchson, and Meta Golding.
The plot of Catching Fire takes place one year after the previous installment; Katniss Everdeen has now returned home safely after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Throughout the story, Katniss senses that a rebellion, against the oppressive Capitol, is simmering through the districts. Filming began on September 10, 2012, in Atlanta, Georgia, before moving to Hawaii.
About the Story
One year after the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark return home to District 12. After a hunt in the woods with her friend Gale Hawthorne, Katniss is visited at her home by President Snow. He tells her that her decisions in the arena have triggered rebellions, especially in District 8, and also warns her to use the upcoming Victory Tour to show Panem that her acts of rebellion in the arena were just to show love towards Peeta. She reluctantly accepts.
During the first visit in the Victory Tour, which is held in District 11, an old man holds up the three-fingered sign that’s occasionally used in District 12 to show respect and admiration for someone. Peacekeepers interpreted this as an act of rebellion, and dragged the man to the front of the stage in the square and shoot him dead with a pistol, much to the horror, shock and dismay of Katniss. Haymitch angrily tells her “you never get off this train” which means that Katniss and Peeta are mentors for the District 12 tributes and act as a “distraction” to the districts so that the people of Panem will forget “what the real problem is.”
Katniss, Peeta, Effie and Haymitch return home and Katniss quickly goes to Gale. They both devise a plan to run away, but fail. The Capitol sends Peacekeepers to District 12 to crack down on the citizens. The new head Peacekeeper, Romulus Thread, whips Gale after Gale attacked Romulus to stop him from killing an old woman. Haymitch convinces Thread to leave Katniss, Peeta and Gale alone as they are loved ones to the country. While Katniss is watching TV with her family, she, Peeta and Haymitch learn that the previous victors from each district will be selected for the 3rd Quarter Quell. At the reaping, Effie draws Katniss and Haymitch’s names, but Peeta volunteers to take Haymitch’s place.
The victors from each district visit President Snow’s palace for a royal dinner party. While having a dance, Katniss meets new head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee. After the dinner party, the victors are sent to the training center and a hotel. Haymitch warns Katniss that the tributes are furious at being returned to the games and advises a reluctant Katniss to make allies. During the interviews with Caesar Flickerman, Katniss wears a wedding dress, but her stylist Cinna rigs it to transform into the representation of a mockingjay. President Snow witnesses this and sends Peacekeepers out to kill Cinna before Katniss is elevated into the arena.
Katniss and Peeta make alliances with the District 4 tributes, Finnick Odair and Mags, a few minutes into the games. Finnick saves Katniss by throwing a trident into a male from District 5 who was trying to kill Katniss. While the group is trudging through the jungle, Peeta accidentally hits his machete against the force field, electrocuting him and stopping his heart. Finnick resuscitates him.
Before going to sleep, Katniss notices a poison fog coming for them at a fast pace, and the group flees. When Peeta is incapacitated by the fog, Mags walks into it, sacrificing herself and allowing Finnick and Katniss to carry Peeta to safety. After fleeing from a group of wild and extremely ferocious mandrills, Katniss, Peeta and Finnick escape to a beach where they ally with Wiress and Beetee from District 3, and Johanna Mason from 7.
Wiress is in shock from a blood storm and repeatedly says “Tick-Tock.” Katniss realizes that the arena is set up like a clock, with disasters occurring every hour and lightning striking at midnight. The group is then attacked by the Career pack in which Wiress is killed in the fight but Katniss and Johanna kill two of the Careers, sending the surviving Careers back into the jungle. Beetee devises a plan to electrocute the last two Careers by combining a spool of wire and lightning, sending Katniss and Johanna to help prepare the trap.
The women are ambushed by the remaining Careers; Johanna attacks them, incapacitates Katniss and slits the tracker out of her arm before disappearing. Shaken by Johanna’s assault, Katniss returns to the tree and finds Beetee knocked out next to a metal tipped spear wrapped with the wire. Katniss is now suspicious of potential secret foes and attempts to kill Finnick, but he reminds her to ‘remember who the real enemy is,’ as Haymitch had advised her prior to the games. Seeing that the lightning is about to strike, Katniss attaches the remaining wire to an arrow and shoots it into the force field just as the lightning hits, taking down the dome’s force field as well as the Capitol’s surveillance.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Jena Malone, Amanda Plummer
Screenplay by: Simon Beaufoy
Production Design by: Philip Messina
Cinematography by: Jo Willems
Film Editing by: Alan Edward Bell
Costume Design by: Trish Summerville
Set Decoration by: Larry Dias
Music by: James Newton Howard
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Taglines: He’ll be everything she likes but himself.
A young writer (Justin Long) woos a cute and quirky barista (Evan Rachel Wood) by creating an embellished online profile. When she falls for his alter ego, he must keep up the act or lose his dream girl. Directed by TFF alumna Kat Coiro and featuring a cast of hilarious cameo performers including Peter Dinklage, Sam Rockwell, Vince Vaughn and Sienna Miller, A Case of You is a winning romantic comedy for the social media age.
A Case of You is an American romantic comedy film that was featured at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. The film was directed by Kat Coiro and produced by Justin Long, who wrote the script with his brother Christian and Keir O’Donnell, who also stars in the film.
About the Story
Sam, a young New York City author, is dissatisfied with his life. Although his novelization of the blockbuster film Teen Vampire is popular he does not want to write the other novelizations his agent Alan urges; Sam suffers from writer’s block with his own work, however. He is infatuated with Birdie, a street artist and barista at the local coffee shop, but does not know how to meet her.
After his roommate Eliot suggests checking Birdie’s Facebook profile, Sam decides to pretend that he shares the interests she lists on her profile. He begin to learn how to play the guitar and cook French cuisine, and buys books by Walt Whitman and songs by Joan Baez. After pretending to accidentally meet at a comedy club Birdie mentioned online the two become friends and partners at a ballroom-dance class, and Sam begins to write a novel based on their relationship.
To spend more time with her Sam pretends to share Birdie’s other interests, including pedicures and bourbon. They begin to fall in love, and Birdie accompanies Sam, Eliot, and Eliot’s girlfriend Ashley to a spiritual retreat where they sleep together for the first time. Although Sam enjoys spending time with Birdie he finds participating in her many interests to be difficult, and is intimidated by her skill in such areas as caricature, singing, and rock climbing.
After Birdie tells Sam that she loves him and mentions her parents’ plan to attend their impending dance recital, an insecure Sam discourages her interest in him. At a pitch meeting Alan and another agent praise Sam’s novel as a superb portrayal of a pathetic “eunuch” who, after foolishly breaking up with his girlfriend, is doomed to remain alone. Realizing that he has made a mistake, Sam rushes to the recital where Birdie is about to perform with another partner. He states his love for her and confesses to using her Facebook profile to adjust his public persona. She tells him that she knew all the time, even adding items to see whether he would respond. They begin to dance together.
A Case of You
Directed by: Kat Coiro
Starring: Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Peter Dinklage, Sam Rockwell, Vince Vaughn, Sienna Miller
Screenplay by: Justin Long, Keir O’Donnel, Christian Long
Production Design by: Rick Butler
Cinematography by: Doug Chamberlain
Film Editing by: Adam Catino, Matt Landon
Costume Design by; Lynn Falconer
Set Decoration by: Nicole Duryea
Music by: Mateo Messina
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexual references and drug use.
Studio: IFC Films
Release Date: November 6, 2013
Ambushed charts the dark, seductive underbelly of Los Angeles, told from the point of view of two of its seedier denizens, mid-level drug pushers Eddie (Gianni Capaldi) and Frank (Daniel Bonjour). They want a chance to hit the big time. Unfortunately, they decide to achieve their goal by ripping off their middleman in a murderous bid for greatness, setting off a dangerous chain of events involving a ruthless crime boss, a dirty cop and the Federal agent chasing them all.
Ambushed (also released as Hard Rush) is an action-thriller film directed by Giorgio Serafini, written by Agustin, and starring Dolph Lundgren, Vinnie Jones, Randy Couture, Gianni Capaldi, and Daniel Bonjour. Lundgren, Jones, and Capaldi would go on to work with Serafini in Puncture Wounds and Blood of Redemption.
About the Story
Mid-level drug dealers Eddie and Frank grow restless with their limited growth potential and set up a meeting with their supplier, Madsen. Instead of negotiating, Frank impulsively murders Madsen and takes his cocaine. Eddie’s excitement quickly turns to apprehension when he hears about Madsen’s death, but Frank talks him into bluffing their way back into drug lord Vincent Camastra’s good graces.
At the same time, dirty cop Jack Reiley investigates the murder and is annoyed when DEA agent Maxwell takes over the investigation. As Frank attempts to save his relationship with his naive girlfriend, Ashley, Reiley violently bullies his informants for information, and Camastra sends assassins to kill Eddie. After Eddie engages in a brief gunfight with the assassins, Camastra himself beats Eddie unconscious. Ashley, who has become suspicious of Frank’s secretive lifestyle, is shocked when Kathy and Beverly, Eddie’s friends, interrupt them to explain that Camastra has kidnapped Eddie.
Beverly, an undercover DEA agent, is in a relationship with Maxwell, who is concerned that she has gone too deep. However, she protests when he requests that she abandon the case. Beverly and Maxwell expand their investigation to include Reiley, but they are forbidden from taking action until they can also get Camastra. Frustrated, they bide their time until Camastra makes his move. Frank visits Camastra, and Eddie successfully buys them two days time to pay Camastra back.
At the nightclub Frank owns, Reiley attempts to blackmail him, only to be shot in his hand and left on the side of the road. Unable to explain his predicament, Reiley is put on unpaid leave and learns that Internal Affairs is preparing a case against him. Forced to abandon his plans to retire comfortably, Reiley becomes even more unstable and kidnaps Ashley. He breaks into Eddie’s apartment, takes Kathy and Beverly hostage, and waits for Frank and Eddie to return.
Directed by: Giorgio Serafini
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Vinnie Jones, Randy Couture, Gianni Capaldi, Carly Pope, Susie Abromeit, Cinthya Bornacelli
Screenplay by: Agustin
Production Design by: F. Joseph Burns
Cinematography by: Marco Cappetta
Film Editing by: Scott Evans
Costume Design by: Samantha Kuester
Set Decoration by: Allison Schenker
Music by: Brian Jackson Harris, Justin Raines, Michael Wickstrom
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality / nudity and drug content.
Studio: Anchor Bay Films
Release Date: November 12, 2013
American Hustle is a drama film directed by David O. Russell, from a screenplay written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell based on the FBI Abscam operation. It is scheduled to be released on December 25, 2013 (in limited release December 13, 2013) by Annapurna Pictures. The film stars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro.
American Hustle is based on the true story of a notorious financial con artist (Christian Bale) and his mistress/partner in crime (Amy Adams), who were forced to work with an out of control federal agent (Bradley Cooper) to turn the tables on other con artists, mobsters, and politicians. At the epicenter of the entire tale, is the passionate and volatile leader of the New Jersey state assembly (Jeremy Renner) who is also the local hero and mayor of impoverished Camden.
Originally titled “American Bullshit”, Eric Warren Singer’s screenplay was #8 on the 2010 blacklist. The film was set up at Sony Pictures Entertainment with Charles Roven and Richard Suckle producing through Atlas Entertainment and was initially considered by Ben Affleck to direct, before David O. Russell ultimately signed on to helm the film.
Principal photography started on March 8, 2013 and wrapped in May 2013. The film was shot using locations in and around Boston, Massachusetts (such as in Worcester) and New York. Filming had to be put on hold in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings with the city in lockdown. After lockdown was lifted, the film wrapped its Boston shoot and spent its final few days of production in New York City.
About the Story
In 1978, con artists Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser have started a relationship and are working together. Sydney has improved Rosenfeld’s scams, posing as English aristocrat “Lady Edith Greensly”. While Irving loves Sydney, he is hesitant to leave his wife Rosalyn out of fear of losing contact with their son, Danny. Rosalyn has also threatened that she could report Irving to the police if he leaves her.
FBI agent Richard “Richie” DiMaso catches Irving and Sydney in a loan scam, but offers to release them if Irving can line up four additional arrests. Sydney opposes the agreement. Richie believes Sydney is English but has proof that her claim of aristocracy is fraudulent. Sydney tells Irving she will manipulate Richie, distancing herself from Irving.
Irving has a friend pretending to be a wealthy Arab sheikh looking for potential investments in America. An associate of Irving’s suggests the sheikh do business with Mayor Carmine Polito of Camden, New Jersey, who is campaigning to revitalize gambling in Atlantic City but has struggled in fundraising. Richie devises a plan to make Carmine the target of a sting operation, despite the objections of Irving and of Richie’s boss, Stoddard Thorsen (Louis C.K.). Sydney helps Richie manipulate an FBI secretary into making an unauthorized wire transfer of $2,000,000. When Stoddard’s boss, Anthony Amado, hears of the operation, he praises Richie’s initiative, pressuring Stoddard to continue.
Richie’s overeagerness to make Carmine accept a cash bribe causes the mayor to leave their meeting. Irving convinces Carmine the sheikh is legitimate, expressing his dislike toward Richie, and the two become friends. Richie arranges for Carmine to meet the sheikh at an airfield, and without consulting the others, has Mexican-American FBI agent Paco Hernandez play the sheikh, a move Irving is not pleased with.
Carmine brings the sheikh to a casino party, explaining mobsters are there and it is a necessary part of doing business. Irving is surprised to hear that Mafia overlord Victor Tellegio (Robert De Niro), right-hand man to Meyer Lansky, is present, and that he wants to meet the sheikh. Tellegio explains that the business needs the sheikh to become an American citizen and that Carmine will need to expedite the process. Tellegio also requires a $10,000,000 wire transfer to prove the sheikh’s legitimacy. Richie agrees, eager to bring down Tellegio, while Irving realizes the operation is out of control.
Richie confesses his attraction to Sydney but becomes confused and aggressive when she drops her English accent and admits to being American. Irving arrives to protect Sydney and tries to stop their deal with Richie, but Richie says if they back out, Tellegio will learn of the scam and murder them both, as well as Rosalyn and Danny.
Rosalyn starts an affair with Pete Musane, a mobster she met at the party. She mentions her belief that Irving is working with the IRS, causing Pete to threaten Irving, who promises to prove the sheikh’s investment is real. Irving later confronts Rosalyn, who admits she told Pete. She agrees to keep quiet but wants a divorce.
With Carmine’s help, Richie and Irving videotape members of Congress receiving bribes. Richie goes over Stoddard, convincing Amado that $10,000,000 is needed to get Tellegio, but only gets $2,000,000. A meeting is arranged at the offices of Tellegio’s lawyer, Alfonse Simone, but Tellegio does not appear. Richie records Simone’s admission of criminal activities.
Directed by: David O. Russell
Starring: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Colleen Camp
Screenplay by: Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell
Production Design by: Judy Becker
Cinematography by: Linus Sandgren
Film Editing by: Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Costume Design by: Michael Wilkinson
Set Decoration by: Heather Loeffler
Music by: Danny Elfman
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence.
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: December 25, 2013