Month: May 2015

The Giver

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The Giver Movie

Taglines: Search for truth, find freedom.

THE GIVER tells the coming-of-age story of Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), a young man raised in a seemingly utopian world where everyone appears to be happy. This sense of harmony is created by a strictly engineered existence where the community is deprived of the so-called burden of memories. They have no notion of suffering, hunger, or violence.

On the other hand, there’s no freedom, no choice and no individuality. Being treated with a regimented daily injection, the humans are genetically designed not to feel emotion or see color, and the scientifically-controlled environment prevents any visual distinctiveness that may stimulate sensation and alter the order of their seemingly utopian world. They live in sameness: identical homes, identical clothes, and an identical family structure. Family units in this unusual society each consist of a husband, a wife, and two children: one male and one female who are born to designated “birthmothers.”

Apart from a bright intelligence, and integrity, there is something slightly ‘different’ and exceptional about Jonas. At the Ceremony where youth is assigned their vocations, the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) selects Jonas to inherit the position of the community’s Receiver of Memories. In this, most-honored position in the community, he will become the keeper of ancient memories before the time of ‘Sameness’. Jonas enters into training with the current Receiver of Memories, known as the Giver (Jeff Bridges). The old man is kind, but weary as he carries the burden of memory.

The Giver is an American social science fiction film directed by Phillip Noyce and written by Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide based on the 1993 novel of same name by Lois Lowry. The film stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes, and Taylor Swift. It was released in the United States on August 15, 2014.

The Giver Movie

Development

Lois Lowry’s science-fiction novel The Giver has sold more than ten million copies worldwide and is Harper Collins’s top-selling children’s eBook. Today the ‘young adult’ fiction is assigned reading by middle schools throughout the United States and has assembled a massive fan base in the youth audience.

Co-producing partner Walden Media spent over a decade developing the project, and Chief Operating Officer, Frank Smith, says, “The Giver is the crown jewel of children’s literature, and we are proud to add this film to the list of other great book to film adaptations we have produced like Holes, Charlotte’s Web, Bridge to Terabithia, Because of Winn-Dixie, Romano, and The Chronicles of Narnia.”

The motion picture adaptation of THE GIVER represents the fulfillment of a twenty year-long dream for actor Jeff Bridges, who also serves as a producer on the production. “My daughters read the book, but before I had known that they had read the book, I was looking for some material in which to direct my father, Lloyd Bridges,” he recalls. “I also wanted to make a movie that my kids could watch at the time. I was looking through a catalogue of children books and I came across this wonderful cover of a book, with this old, grizzled kind of guy on the cover and thought, ‘Oh yeah, my dad can play that guy!'”

Bridges says that he was expecting to read a children’s book, “but on an adult level it worked so well, and I thought this was going to be a terrific project for my father to be involved in.” Bridges went as far as shooting, with his own video camera, an entire movie in which he directed his father in the character of The Giver, along with his nephew in the role of Jonas.

Together with his manager at the time, Neil Koenigsberg, Bridges spent a number of years trying to develop the project that went through numerous incarnations with a variety of directors and screenwriters. “Because it was such a successful book, I thought this will be a movie that will be easy to get made, but that proved not true!”

The Giver Movie - Odeya Rush

More than fifteen years ago, a company where producer Nikki Silver was working owned the rights to the property. Silver concedes that it was by good fortune that she was able to acquire the rights herself, “I’ve always been a lover of children’s literature, especially young adult, and The Giver is one of the prize pieces of children’s literature.”

Starting at that time, Bridges and Silver began to develop and nurture the project together, and tenaciously kept it alive. Silver explains, “Jeff had been involved up to the point that I came across the project and I immediately called him to ask if he still wanted do it. I got a resounding ‘yes’ – and from there it’s been a long journey for myself, Jeff and Neil.” Silver adds that she kept in close touch with author, Lois Lowry, over the years. “She loved our vision of it and stayed with us, and here we are today, which is so exciting!”

Silver, who faced similar challenges in getting backing for the project, says, “It was particularly difficult because everybody loved and respected the material. However, it was both a drama and it was for kids, and those words scared a lot of people. But The Weinstein Company stepped up and were willing to take up the challenge with us.”

Lois Lowry’s Unique Sameness

Lowry recalls the genesis of the book that she wrote some twenty years ago. “It was not prompted by any political thought; it was inspired by my father who at that time was very old, and his memories were fading. He was living some distance from me and I’d pay him a visit every six weeks. Over time it became more apparent that he was losing memories that to me were so important. I also saw that he was content, as he had forgotten every sad and scary event that he experienced, including his involvement in World War II, and the death of his first child – my sister – at a young age. This made me think about the importance of memory and how one can manipulate it.”

Having grown up on military bases around the world, where all the houses were identical and the rules were the same for everyone, was Lowry’s source of inspiration in creating the world of Sameness in which Jonas and The Giver live. “While living by a lot of rules and in an orderly environment makes them content, there’s also the reality that the more you try to exist in that kind of role, the more you are desperately lacking. Now that I no longer live that way, I can appreciate the diversity and the variety of the neighborhoods and places where I now live.”

On why she thinks stories about dystopian, futuristic societies are so appealing to young people, Lowry adds: “They are growing up in a world with so much uncertainty in it and there’s so much out there to be worried about. When I was a kid in the Eisenhower years, I never thought about the future, I assumed it would all be as pleasant as it was then.”

“Kids today are more sophisticated than I was and they have access to media. I didn’t have a television growing up. I think they have cause to be concerned and to try to sort out what their role is going to be in the shaping of the future. That’s why they’re drawn to this sort of speculative fiction.”

The Importance of Memory

The most pivotal of the multi-layered themes in THE GIVER is memory, as a source of wisdom as well as pain. The community that Lowry created in the novel uses strict rules to remove freedom of choice and individuality. While this is done to achieve an existence devoid of conflict and difference, it quickly becomes evident that this is also a world robbed of depth and emotion.

“The question that is put to the audience is: does the end justify the means? What are we willing to do for simple comfort? Are we willing to scrap all these huge polarities in our lives? Can we be rid of the tremendous sorrows and tremendous joys in life in order to just have a neutral, safe, relatively happy existence? Is that good enough for us?” muses Bridges.

The actor reveals that an important personal memory of his was the role his mother played in his youth. “I had a wonderful mother. She used to play with all of us, quite intensely. Each child would have an hour a day when our mom devoted all of her attention to each of us. In my hour, I would say, ‘Okay Mom, let’s go under the table and you be the space monster and I’ll be the thing,’ and she would just love that!”

Brenton adds, “My favorite theme in the story is that it touches on love and the idea that fighting for love is one of our main strengths as humans. Jonas becomes the most curious when he experiences love, and he pushes for that throughout the story.”

Monaghan shares, “What I like most about this story is that there is no real villain. It’s not about bad guys. Most of the rules of deprivation come not from bad intentions, but from quite the opposite, from good intentions. In their purity this community believes that they are doing the right thing. That’s very relatable to reality in that most of the time when people do bad things, they don’t know or believe it’s bad. I think that’s very important to teach kids.”

Thwaites believes that the powerful relevance of the movie will draw an audience. “I also hope that as a young artist portraying Jonas, I will encourage younger people to emote, and to not be embarrassed to voice their opinions or to voice their emotions.”

The Giver Movie Poster

The Giver

Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Starring by: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift, Emma Tremblay
Screenplay by: Michael Mitnick, Robert B. Weide
Production Design by: Ed Verreaux
Cinematography by: Ross Emery
Film Editing by: Barry Alexander Brown
Costume Design by: Diana Cilliers
Set Decoration by: Andrew McCarthy
Music by: Marco Beltrami
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action / violence.
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: August 15, 2014

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The One I Love

The One I Love Movie

With their marriage struggling, Sophie (Elizabeth Moss) and Ethan (Mark Duplass) visit a therapist (Ted Danson). They tell of how the night they met they snuck into a stranger’s pool and went swimming. They were caught and the man came out yelling. They tried to recreate the excitement of their early relationship by revisiting the house and again sneaking in to swim in the pool, but the man doesn’t catch them this time. The therapist recommends they go to a cottage a few hours north for a vacation to rekindle their romance.

On the first night, Sophie wanders out to the guest house and finds Ethan, and the two make love. Upon returning to the main house, she is bemused to find Ethan asleep on the couch. She asks him how he got there so fast and to stop trying to trick her. She tells him how they made love and he tells her now she’s playing a trick. They didn’t make love.

The next morning Ethan goes to the guest house and finds Sophie there and she offers to make him bacon for breakfast. This surprises Ethan because she’s always telling him not to eat bacon. He leaves the guest house and finds Sophie back at the main house and the two realize that something very strange is going on. The guest house seems to possess a double of their significant other who is more accommodating and honest. They try to both go in together but find that they can’t both be there experiencing this phenomenon at the same time.

The One I Love Movie - Elizabeth Moss

They consider leaving, but decide to explore the strange phenomenon with some rules: 1) no more than 15 minutes in the guest house, 2) no intimacy with the double and 3) no spying on the other person. These rules are quickly thrown out.

Sophie finds the guest house Ethan able to articulate his feelings and the struggles in their relationship better than the real Ethan. He is also more spontaneous and seemingly unencumbered with the tension that has grown between them.

When Ethan enters the guest house, he is unable to connect with the guest house Sophie in the same way, because he can’t lay aside his suspicions. He tries to plant his phone on record mode in the guest house so he can spy on Sophie and guest house Ethan. But when he returns later, guest house Sophie has discovered the phone and the recording is just static.

We learn that before they started therapy, Ethan had cheated on Sophie, in a scene in which Guest house Ethan apologizes beautifully, and Sophie allows herself to make love to him, breaking the rules she had set with the real Ethan.

The One I Love Movie

Ethan becomes suspicious that Sophie has been growing more intimate with guest house Ethan. He plays a ruse where he says he’s going to the store, but then drives around the corner and times it perfectly so that when Sophie enters the guest house, she believes Ethan is guest house Ethan. Ethan is comically tongue tied when Sophie gushes about how articulate guest house Ethan (who she believes she is talking to) is. They make love.

Ethan and Sophie begin noticing strange interactions with the outside world. Some of Ethan’s shirts are missing and Ethan finds messages from his friends and family that indicate that guest house Ethan somehow got ahold of his phone and was asking questions about his history. Ethan and Sophie become unnerved enough that Ethan asks again if they can leave, but Sophie finds she is developing feelings towards Ethan’s double.

The One I Love is an American romantic dramedy film, directed by Charlie McDowell. It is written by Justin Lader. The film had its world premiere at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2014. After the film’s premiere at Sundance Film Festival, RADiUS-TWC acquired the distribution rights of the film. It had a theatrical release on August 22, 2014 in United States.

The One I Love Movie Poste
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The One I Love

Directed by: Charlie McDowell
Starring: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson, Marlee Matlin, Lori Farrar, Kiana Cason
Screenplay by: Justin Lader
Production Design by: Theresa Guleserian
Cinematography by: Doug Emmett
Film Editing by: Jennifer Lilly
Costume Design by: Bree Daniel
Art Direction by: Erika Toth
Music by; Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexuality and drug use.
Studio: Radius – TWC
Release Date: August 22, 2014

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Another Me

Another Me Movie

A teenager finds her perfect life upended when she’s stalked by a mysterious doppelganger who has her eyes set on assuming her identity.

Another Me is a Spanish-British film directed by Isabel Coixet. It is based on the novel of the same name by Catherine MacPhail. The film was released in select theaters on August 22, 2014.

The film had its world premiere at the Rome Film Festival in Italy on November 15, 2013. The film was released in Spain on June 27, 2014. and in the United States on August 22, 2014. The film was also released in Germany on September 4, 2014.

Faye’s (Sophie Turner) dad is dying, and she’s able to get the lead in the school play. Johnathon Rhys Meyers plays her acting teacher and Claire Forlani plays her mother. One day while walking down a school hallway, the lights go out and someone starts running after her. She runs into a lit hallway screaming. She later starts to think her understudy – Monica – who wanted to play the lead is the one frightening her.

As she’s being driven home one night, she sees a girl standing on the side of the street, and it’s an exact look-alike of her. She doesn’t pay much attention to it. Apparently, she has problems going up the elevator because she tends to freak out. After she gets home, her mom goes out with “the girls.” However, her mom goes into a car in the back alley and proceeds to have sex (no nudity shown) with a guy. Bad mom! Shocker: Faye’s doppelganger is right up to the car looking inside.

The next day, Faye tells bad mom about her look-alike being seen all over. Bad mom confesses that Faye had a twin who died years ago. Faye starts getting visions. One of the visions is that her acting teacher is also the guy who was having an affair with bad mom. Bad teacher! Faye gets into a fight with Monica because she think Monica is the one impersonating her. Faye tells bad mom she knows about the affair, and she wants bad mom to break up with bad teacher.

Another Me Movie Poster

Another Me

Directed by: Isabel Coixet
Starring: Sophie Turner, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Claire Forlani, Rhys Ifans, Ivana Baquero, Geraldine Chaplin, Melanie Walters, Charlotte Vega, Amanda Edwards
Screnplay by: Isabel Coixet
Production Design by: Marie Lanna
Cinematography by: Jean-Claude Larrieu
Film Editing by: Elena Ruiz
Costume Design by: Rebecca Gore
Art Direction by: Pawlo Wintoniuk
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality / nudity, violence and language.
Studio: Fox International Productions
Release Date: August 22, 2014

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Let’s Be Cops

Let's Be Cops Movie

Taglines: Fake cops, real trouble.

It’s the ultimate buddy cop movie except for one thing: they’re not cops. When two struggling pals dress as police officers for a costume party, they become neighborhood sensations. But when these newly-minted “heroes” get tangled in a real life web of mobsters and dirty detectives, they must put their fake badges on the line.

Let’s Be Cops is an American comedy film directed by Luke Greenfield and co-written with Nicholas Thomas. The film stars Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. as two friends who pretend to be Los Angeles police officers. Also co-starring Nina Dobrev, Rob Riggle, and Keegan-Michael Key, the film was released on August 13, 2014.

About the Story

Two long time pals, Justin, a reject video game designer, and Ryan, a washed up college quarterback, recall a pact they once made: if they hadn’t “made it” in Los Angeles by the time they were thirty, they would head back to their Ohio hometown. While exiting a bar, their car is hit by a vehicle full of Albanians, who intimidate them into doing nothing.

Justin attempts to pitch a game about policemen, but his boss bullies him down. Later, Ryan convinces him to use the police uniforms from his presentation as costumes for their college reunion party. Upon attending, both are confronted with their failures and mutually accept to honor their pact. As they walk home, they are treated like real cops and decide to enjoy the gag. It allows Justin to finally get the attention of Josie, a waitress to whom he is attracted and who works at a local diner, Georgie’s.

Let's Be Cops Movie

Ryan decides to take the hoax further than one night. He learns official procedures and buys a used police cruiser, modifying it to resemble the genuine article. Although reluctant, Justin agrees to continue the charade, and through it begins a relationship with Josie. Ryan gets revenge on the Albanians who hit his car, unaware that they are mobsters blackmailing the owner of Georgie’s. During their many shenanigans, Ryan and Justin end up on a real distress call with Patrol Officer Segars. The experience shakes Justin, who realizes they face serious jail time if exposed. He tries to “retire,” but gets a phone call from Josie about a man frequently harassing her at work. It turns out to be Mossi Kasic, leader of the Albanian mobsters. Once more, the pair are intimidated into doing nothing.

Via Segars, Ryan obtains surveillance equipment to gather evidence and put Mossi away, along with an unidentified partner who has been investigating the pair. Ryan convinces Justin to do an undercover operation to obtain information on an incriminating shipment of crates. During the mission, they discover the crates full of SWAT equipment, along with secret tunnels in which they are shipped that run between Mossi’s club and Georgie’s restaurant. This necessitates the acquisition of the restaurant, explaining the blackmail. After a few close encounters, they barely escape. Fed up, Justin insists on mailing the evidence anonymously, but Ryan, finding purpose in his life again, is set on delivering it personally. They fight, and part ways.

Ryan brings his evidence to Segars, who recommends it go to the highest authority, which is Detective Brolin. Unfortunately, Brolin is actually Mossi’s partner. After instantly recognizing each other, Ryan makes it out of the station, but his sudden threat has blown their cover. Meanwhile, Justin decides to man up and, in uniform, assertively pitches his game again. One of Brolin’s officers shows up to try and kill him, inadvertently helping to sell the pitch. Ryan is abducted, and Mossi sends a threatening message to Justin. Overwhelmed, Justin pleas to Segars for help after admitting everything. He also confesses to Josie, which he had made previous attempts to do, and she disgustedly leaves him.

Justin goes into the tunnels alone while Ryan pits Mossi and Brolin against each other, prompting Mossi to shoot and kill the detective. Justin attempts to save his friend, but is overpowered. Segars arrives, causing Mossi and his crew to retreat. Segars admonishes the duo for their deception and orders them to leave before going after the mobsters without waiting for backup. Ryan and Justin agree they can’t abandon him, and suit up with the SWAT equipment. They save Segars, but he becomes incapacitated. The pair then face Mossi alone, during which the two reconcile. They fail to take him out, luckily, Segars is able to show up and shoots Mossi in the back of the chest, killing him.

Let's Be Cops Movie Poster

Let’s Be Cops

Directed by: Luke Greenfield
Starring: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., Rob Riggle, Nina Dobrev, Natasha Leggero, Rebecca Koon
Screenplay by: Luke Greenfield, Nicholas Thomas
Production Design by: William Arnold
Cinematography by: Daryn Okada
Film Editing by: Bill Pankow, Jonathan Schwartz
Costume Design by: Debra McGuire
Set Decoration by: Jennifer M. Gentile
Music by: Christophe Beck, Jake Monaco
Studio: : 20th Century Fox
Release Date: August 13, 2014

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Life After Beth

Life After Beth Movie

Taglines: Some girls just want to watch the world burn.

Zach (Dane DeHaan) is devastated by the unexpected death of his girlfriend, Beth (Aubrey Plaza). But when she miraculously comes back to life, Zach takes full advantage of the opportunity to share and experience all the things he regretted not doing with her before. However, the newly returned Beth isn’t quite how he remembered her and, before long, Zach’s whole world takes a turn for the worse.

Life After Beth is a 2014 American zombie comedy film written and directed by Jeff Baena. The film stars Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Anna Kendrick, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Matthew Gray Gubler, and John C. Reilly. The film premiered in competition at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014 given a limited release on August 15, 2014.

About the Story

After his girlfriend Beth dies from a snake bite while on a hike, Zach is devastated. After Beth’s funeral, Zach begins to spend time with Beth’s parents Maury and Geenie as a source of comfort. One day, while playing chess and smoking marijuana with Maury, Zach reveals that he and Beth were having problems in their relationship and that she had expressed desire to see other people in the days before she died. Zach feels remorse and guilt due to the fact that he never did any of the things Beth wanted to do.

Life After Beth Movie - Aubrey Plaza

One day, Maury and Geenie stop answering the door and block his phone calls, which upsets and confuses Zach. Later, while looking through the window, he sees Beth. He attempts to break in, but her parents call Zach’s older brother Kyle, who is a security officer and Zach is forced to leave. The next day, he goes to Beth’s grave and sees that there is a large hole. He returns to Beth’s house and successfully enters and discovers that Beth’s parents had been hiding her. Her parents explain that soon after the funeral Beth suddenly appeared and aside from having no memory of the past week, appears and sounds completely normal.

Beth and Zach go to the attic of her house where they have an emotional conversation about their relationship. Though still confused about the situation, Zach is thrilled that she is back and promises to go hiking with her like she always wanted. They decide to go on a hike, but Maury and Geenie convince them to stay in the house since they are scared that people will see her. Zach is able to eventually convince Beth’s parents to let them go outside, and he and Beth go to a park where they have sex.

As time goes on, Zach notices that people around town are acting strangely and similar to Beth, who has grown increasingly violent and has mood swings. He is now growing tired of Beth and cannot handle her violent tendencies, especially after she flies into a violent and jealous rage when she sees him having lunch with his childhood friend Erica. Zach tells Beth that she died and somehow came back, she doesn’t believe him until he takes her to her grave. While at the gravesite, Zach attempts to break up with Beth, but she grows angry and steals his car.

After Zach walks home, he discovers that his dead grandfather is also resurrected, as well as the previous owners of his house. Maury picks up Zach and tells him that Beth is extremely upset and that he must tell her that he lied about her death and to promise to be with her forever. Zach initially refuses, but relents after Maury agrees to call his former housekeeper, who is Haitian, to see if she has any information about the events surrounding them. Zach attempts to talk to Beth, but after she eats a neighbor, he drives away with her in the car.

Life After Beth Movie Poster

Life After Beth

Directed by: Jeff Baena
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Matthew Gray Gubler, John C. Reilly
Screenplay by: Jeff Baena
Cinematography by: Jay Hunter
Film Editing by: Colin Patton
Production Design by: Michael Grasley
Cinematography by: Jay Hunter
Film Editing by: Colin Patton
Costume Design by: Negar Ali
Set Decoration by: Lisa Goldsmith
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, some horror violence, sexual content, nudity and brief drug use.
Studio: A24 Films
Release Date: August 15, 2014

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The Expendables 3

The Expendables 3 Movie

Barney (Sylvester Stallone), Christmas (Jason Statham) and the rest of the team comes face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, now is making it his mission to end The Expendables — but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables’ most personal battle yet.

The Expendables 3 is an American ensemble action film directed by Patrick Hughes, and written by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, and Sylvester Stallone. It is a sequel to the 2012 action film The Expendables 2, and the third film in The Expendables film series. The film features returning cast members Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Robert Davi, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The story follows the mercenary group known as “The Expendables” as they come into conflict with ruthless arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), the Expendables’ co-founder, who is determined to destroy the team. The film was released on August 15, 2014. Unlike the previous two films which were both rated R, The Expendables 3 is the first film in the series to be rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America.

The Expendables 3 Movie Poster

The Expendables 3

Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, Ronda Rousey, Kellan Lutz, Jet Li, Antonio Banderas
Screenplay by: Sylvester Stallone, Creighton Rothenberger
Production Design by: Daniel T. Dorrance
Cinematography by: Peter Menzies Jr.
Film Editing by: Sean Albertson, Paul Harb
Costume Design by: Lizz Wolf
Set Decoration by: Kelly Berry, Valentina Mladenova
Music by: Brian Tyler
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language.
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: August 15, 2014

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Frank

Frank Movie

Acclaimed Irish director Lenny Abrahamson follows up his award-winning films Adam & Paul, Garage, and What Richard Did with an offbeat comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and his terrifying bandmate Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats), FRANK is based on the memoir by Jon Ronson. It is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as other outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.

About the Film

In the world of alternative music, The Soronprfbs are the ne plus ultra of outsiders. A brilliant, ramshackle, barely functioning band, they are built around the eponymous Frank (Michael Fassbender), an unstable yet charismatic musical savant, who at all times wears a large, round fake head with crudely painted-on features – like Daniel Johnston hidden behind a cartoon smile. His closest musical collaborator is the forbidding Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal); part caretaker, part jailer, Clara is the antithesis of all things mainstream. The band is completed by Nana (Carla Azar), a Moe Tucker-like drummer, and Baraque (Francois Civil), a beautiful Frenchman who plays bass.

Frank Movie

Into this mix comes replacement keyboard player, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), after the band’s original keyboardist is hospitalized following an attempt at drowning himself. In his head, Jon’s is a true creative, a maverick musical force; in reality he’s a very ordinary young man trying to escape his hum-drum, small-town life. For Jon, this is the break he’s been waiting for, his chance to climb through the looking glass and into the world of artistic collaboration, real music-making, and rock ‘n’ roll adventure that he’s always dreamed of. But he discovers (and perhaps has always suspected) that he lacks the one thing he needs to make his dream come true – genuine talent.

Desperate to belong, but hopelessly out of his depth, Jon becomes more and more infatuated with the enigmatic and talented Frank: if only he could understand him, what makes him tick, how he goes to those furthest, creative corners; if only he could ‘get inside that head inside that head’.

From a lakeside cabin, where the band spend 18 months – and all of Jon’s savings – recording their new album, to the stages of South by Southwest after the band becomes a viral internet sensation, FRANK tells the story of Jon’s struggle with Clara for control of Frank, his rise to power within the band, and how, ultimately, he comes close to destroying the thing he’s come to love.

About the Production

Acclaimed Irish director Lenny Abrahamson follows up his award-winning films Adam & Paul, Garage, and What Richard Did with an offbeat comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender). Frank is a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and is always accompanied by his closest collaborator and fellow bandmate, the terrifying Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Frank Movie

Written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats), FRANK is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as other outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart. The idea sprung from a memoir by Ronson, who was himself the keyboard player in Sidebottom’s band.

Ronson teamed up with his The Men Who Stare At Goats co-writer Peter Straughan and wrote a screenplay about an aspiring musician who gets caught up in the world of an oddball band fronted by an unconventional genius who hides behind an enormous fiberglass head.

The project was brought to Tessa Ross and Katherine Butler at Film4 by producers David Barron and Stevie Lee. They then brought on board director Lenny Abrahamson and his long-time producer Ed Guiney. Abrahamson worked closely with Ronson and Straughan, developing and honing the script.

Abrahamson has a track record in films about oddball characters who have the uncanny ability to engage audiences, so it was no surprise that he would be drawn to the character of Frank. But he was also very taken by the Jon character, through whose eyes the story is told.

“We laugh at Jon because he clings to an idea of himself which is so ridiculously at odds with the person we see in front of us,” says Abrahamson. “But we also recognize ourselves in him; wanting to have, maybe kidding ourselves we really do have, capacities and talents we deep down know we lack. Most of us are smart enough to avoid situations where we might have to put our fantasies to the test, but the film takes Jon on a journey where he has to do just that.”

“It’s a hard film to categorize,” continues the director. “It’s very playful in tone and has some sequences of out and out, broad slapstick. But it has subtle, darker, more moving aspects as well. Frank is both a real, complex person and a kind of cartoon character. The head, with its fixed expression becomes a sort of blank canvas on which Jon can project his clichéd ideas of what creativity is all about. Jon, himself starts as the butt of the joke but evolves into something much more than that. So tonally the film is pretty rich – funny, tender, broad in parts, quiet and moving in others.”

Producer Ed Guiney concurs: “One of the things that is really striking about the film is the way it seamlessly combines various different types of comedy. Lenny has a great facility for using humor to get to the core of the characters, and can do so in a wonderfully entertaining and often very affecting way. You can see his love of pure, old-fashioned slapstick in some of the scenes, which hark back to old-fashioned comedies. The film also has some wonderful, delicate character comedy as well as being very poignant and emotionally resonant.”

“Frank is someone who wants to hide away from the world” continues Guiney, “and the film is about how he moves away from his trusted allies and collaborators and takes a step onto a bigger stage, and what happens when he does that. The head is a barrier but it’s also a comfort and protection to him.”

After reluctantly accepting that there may be limits to his natural creativity, Jon appoints himself the band’s Svengali, hoping to give them the recognition he thinks they deserve. Jon initially believes either Clara, or else the band’s chaotic disorganization is holding the them back, but he discovers that there are other, more poignant reasons for their inability to achieve mainstream exposure.

“Jon disturbs the band’s perfect equilibrium,” explains Guiney. “He’s got more worldly ambitions – he wants to be a rock star. That desire rubs up against a group of artists who are happy making music for its own sake, so there are two opposing creative drives.”

Frank Movie Poster

Frank

Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, Phil Kingston
Screenplay by: Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan
Production Design by: Richard Bullock
Cinematography by: James Mather
Film Editing by: Nathan Nugent
Costume Design by: Suzie Harman
Set Decoration by: Marcia Calosio, Jenny Oman
Music by: Stephen Rennicks
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: May 9, 2014

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The Trip to Italy

The Trip to Italy Movie

Taglines: Anyone for seconds?

Years after their successful restaurant review tour of Northern Britain, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are commissioned for a new tour in Italy. Once again, the two comedy buddies / rivals take the landscape as well as the cuisine of that country in a trip filled with witty repartee and personal insecurities. Along the way, their own professional and personal lives comes in as these slightly older men’s friendship comes through.

Michael Winterbottom’s largely improvised 2010 film, The Trip, took comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon—or semifictionalized versions thereof—on a restaurant tour around northern England. In this witty and incisive follow-up, Winterbottom reunites the pair for a new culinary road trip, retracing the steps of the Romantic poets’ grand tour of Italy and indulging in some sparkling banter and impersonation-offs. Rewhetting our palates from the earlier film, the characters enjoy mouthwatering meals in gorgeous settings from Liguria to Capri while riffing on subjects as varied as Batman’s vocal register, the artistic merits of “Jagged Little Pill,” and, of course, the virtue of sequels.

Winterbottom trains his camera to capture the idyllic Italian landscape and the gastronomic treasures being prepared and consumed while keeping the film centered on the crackling chemistry between the two leads. The Trip to Italy effortlessly melds the brilliant comic interplay between Coogan and Brydon into quieter moments of self-reflection, letting audiences into their insightful ruminations on the nuances of friendship and the juggling of family and career. The result is a biting portrait of modern-day masculinity.

The Trip to Italy Movie Poster

The Trip to Italy

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
Starring: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Rosie Fellner, Claire Keelan, Ronni Ancona, Rebecca Johnson, Flora Villani, Alba Foncuberta Bufill
Bcreenplay by: Michael Winterbottom
Cinematography by: James Clarke
Film Editing by: Mags Arnold, Robbie Gibbon, Paul Monaghan, Marc Richardson
Visual Effects by: Matheus Lacava
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: IFC Films
Release Date: August 15, 2014

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Megan Fox

Taglines: The city needs heroes.

Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O’Neil and her cameraman Vern Fenwick to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a 2014 American science fiction action comedy film based on the franchise of the same name. A reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film series, the film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, and stars Megan Fox, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, William Fichtner, and Will Arnett.

The film was announced shortly before Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird sold the rights to the franchise to Nickelodeon in 2009. It was produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Michael Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film was released on August 8, 2014 and received generally negative reviews, but was a box office success, grossing over $353 million worldwide. A sequel is scheduled to be released on June 3, 2016.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

About the Story

April O’Neil is a reporter for Channel 6 news in New York who has been researching a gang called the Foot Clan which has been terrorizing the city. She questions a dock worker about shipments of chemicals that may be linked to the Foot Clan. April eventually learns that something is being brought in by the docks. That night, she returns and sees the Foot Clan unloading cargo. April tries to record footage using her phone, but a shadowy figure arrives and takes out the Foot Soldiers one by one. She tells her coworkers and her boss Bernadette Thompson, but no one believes her story.

The Foot Clan next attacks a subway station. April rushes to the scene, hoping to encounter the vigilante or find evidence confirming his existence. She sees four figures this time, who disappear after defeating the Foot Clan. She follows them to a rooftop and tries to photograph them. The Turtles Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael notice her and delete the camera’s images, warning her not to divulge their existence. She asks them who they are as they leave, and they say, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

April runs home and opens a box filled with documents, pictures, and July 1999 videos on “Project Renaissance”, which involved her now-deceased father. She notices that the turtles she cared for from her father’s laboratory fifteen years earlier seem similar to the Ninja Turtles. She recalls that her father was developing some type of mutagen. She continues researching and eventually realizes that the Ninja Turtles are the turtles from the laboratory.

Once again, she tries to convince Bernadette Thompson that the Turtles are real. Bernadette becomes so infuriated that she fires April. April tries telling her cameraman Vern Fenwick about them, but he does not believe her either. He does agree to take her to the old laboratory, though. There she finds her father’s lab partner Eric Sacks.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Poster

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Tony Shalhoub, Madison Mason
Screenplay by: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec
Production Design by: Neil Spisak
Cinematography by: Lula Carvalho
Film Editing by: Joel Negron, Glen Scantlebury
Costume Design by: Sarah Edwards
Set Decoration by: Debra Schutt
Music by: Brian Tyler
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: August 8, 2014

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The Hundred-Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Taglines: Life’s greatest journey begins with the first step.

In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant – the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai.

That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), gets wind of it. Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from her own escalate to all out war between the two establishments – until Hassan’s passion for French haute cuisine and for Mme.

Mallory’s enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), combine with his mysteriously delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Mme. Mallory cannot ignore. At first Mme. Mallory’s culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan’s gift as a chef and takes him under her wing.

The Hundred-Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey is an American comedy-drama film directed by Lasse Hallström from a screenplay written by Steven Knight, adapted from Richard C. Morais’ 2010 novel The Hundred-Foot Journey. The film stars Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon and tells the story of a feud between two adjacent restaurants; one operated by a recently-relocated Indian family and the other managed by a Michelin-starred French chef (Helen Mirren).

About the Story

The Kadam family has run a restaurant in Mumbai for several years. The second-oldest son, Hassan (Manish Dayal), is being groomed to replace his mother (Juhi Chawla) as the restaurant’s main cook. The family’s dreams are disrupted when a mob attacks and firebombs the restaurant over an election dispute. Papa Kadam (Om Puri) and his family successfully evacuate the guests, but Mama is killed in the fire. Seeking asylum in Europe, the family first settles in London, where their residence proves ill-suited for a restaurant. They depart for mainland Europe.

Shortly after crossing the border between Switzerland and France, the brakes on Papa’s van fail near the village Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), a sous chef at an upscale French restaurant named “Le Saule Pleureur” (literally “The Weeping Willow”), passes by and offers to help the Kadams to find an auto repair shop and a guest house.

The Hundred-Foot Journey

She also brings the Kadams to her apartment and treats them to food. Papa is amazed at the quality of the food in the village and its availability. He learns of an abandoned restaurant building on the outskirts of town available for purchase. Seeing this as divine providence, Papa decides to renovate it into an Indian restaurant named “Maison Mumbai”.

The building is directly across the street, a hundred feet from “Le Saule Pleureur”. Its widowed owner, Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), tries to sabotage the Kadams by purchasing all the locally available ingredients needed to cook their dishes on opening night. A cold war erupts between Papa and Madame Mallory. The war peaks on Bastille Day, when one of Madame Mallory’s chefs and two others vandalize the Kadams’ restaurant by spray-painting the outer wall and firebombing the interior. Hassan catches the would-be arsonists in the act and scares them off, but his hands are burned in the process.

The following morning, Madame Mallory convenes a meeting of her chefs and asks if they know the words to “La Marseillaise”. After citing lines from the national anthem concerning equality, justice and fraternity, she fires the chef responsible for the vandalism and then voluntarily cleans up the graffiti. Hassan, having heard that Madame Mallory hires potential chefs by taste-testing an omelette they prepare for her, asks if he may cook an omelette for her to his recipe. Due to his injured hands, he asks Madame Mallory to help him with the process. After sampling Hassan’s omelette, Madame Mallory concedes Hassan’s potential to be a great chef and invites him to work for her. Papa is initially dead set against the move, but reluctantly agrees.

The Hundred-Foot Journey Movie Poster

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Directed by: Lasse Hallström
Starring: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon, Amit Shah, Farzana Dua Elahe, Dillon Mitra, Aria Pandya, Juhi Chawla
Screenplay by: Steven Knight
Production Design by: David Gropman
Cinematography by: Linus Sandgren
Film Editing by: Andrew Mondshein
Costume Design by: Pierre-Yves Gayraud
Set Decoration by: Sabine Delouvrier, Seema Kashyap, Marie-Laure Valla
Music by: A.R. Rahman
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality.
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: August 8, 2014

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