Category: Period Films
From the whimsical mind of director Tim Burton, BIG EYES tells the outrageous true story of one of the most epic art frauds in history. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, painter Walter Keane had reached success beyond belief, revolutionizing the commercialization of popular art with his enigmatic paintings of waifs with big eyes.
The bizarre and shocking truth would eventually be discovered though: Walter’s works were actually not created by him at all, but by his wife Margaret. The Keanes, it seemed, had been living a colossal lie that had fooled the entire world. A tale too incredible to be fiction, BIG EYES centers on Margaret’s awakening as an artist, the phenomenal success of her paintings, and her tumultuous relationship with her husband, who was catapulted to international fame while taking credit for her work.
Big Eyes is a 2014 American biographical film directed by Tim Burton, starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz. The script was written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. The film is about the life of American artist Margaret Keane—famous for drawing portraits and paintings with big eyes. It followed the story of Margaret and her husband, Walter Keane, who took credit for Margaret’s phenomenally successful and popular paintings in the 1950s and 1960s, and the lawsuit (and trial) between Margaret and Walter, after Margaret reveals she is the real artist behind the big eyes paintings.
Big Eyes had its world premiere in New York City on December 15, 2014. It was released in theatre on December 25, 2014 in the U.S. by The Weinstein Company. The film was met with positive reviews, praising the performances of both Adams and Waltz. Adams won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical and was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Waltz was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his performance and Lana Del Rey received a Golden Globe nomination for the film’s theme song “Big Eyes”.
Taglines: The Defining Chapter.
Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield, and his Company of Dwarves have unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his wrath down upon the men, women, and children of Lake-town. Meanwhile, unseen by almost everyone but the wizard Gandalf, the enemy Sauron has returned to Middle-earth and has sent forth legions of Orcs in an attack upon the Lonely Mountain.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is an epic fantasy adventure film, directed by Peter Jackson and written by Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro. It is the third and final installment in Peter Jackson’s three-part film adaptation based on the novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, following An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Desolation of Smaug (2013), and together they act as a prequel to Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Produced by New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and WingNut Films, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, The Battle of the Five Armies was released on 11 December 2014 in New Zealand, 12 December 2014 in the United Kingdom and on 17 December 2014 in the United States. It stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Stott and James Nesbitt. It also features Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving and Orlando Bloom.
About the Story
Bilbo and the Dwarves watch from the Lonely Mountain as the dragon Smaug attacks Laketown. Bard the Bowman manages to break out of prison, fights Smaug, and eventually kills him with the black arrow given to him by his son Bain. Smaug’s falling body crushes the fleeing Master of Laketown, along with his cronies, who were escaping Laketown on a boat with the town’s gold.
Bard becomes the new leader of the Laketown people as they seek refuge in the ruins of Dale, while Legolas travels to investigate Mount Gundabad with Tauriel. Thorin, now struck with “dragon sickness”, searches obsessively for the Arkenstone, which was stolen earlier from Smaug by Bilbo. Bilbo learns from Balin that it would be best if the Arkenstone remained hidden from Thorin, who orders the entrance of the Lonely Mountain to be sealed off.
Meanwhile, Galadriel, Elrond and Saruman arrive at Dol Guldur and free Gandalf, sending him to safety with Radagast. They battle and defeat the Nazgûl and Sauron himself, banishing them to the East. Azog, marching on Erebor with his vast Orc army, sends Bolg to Gundabad to summon their second army. Legolas and Tauriel witness the march of Bolg’s army, bolstered by Orc Berserkers and giant bats.
While Bard and the Laketown survivors shelter in Dale, Thranduil arrives with an elf army, supplies and aid, and forms an alliance with Bard, wishing to claim an elven necklace of white gems from the Mountain. Bard attempts to negotiate and reason with Thorin to avoid war, but the dwarf refuses to cooperate. After Gandalf arrives at Dale to warn Bard and Thranduil of the Orc army on the way, Bilbo sneaks out of Erebor to hand the Arkenstone over to Thranduil and Bard.
When Bard and Thranduil’s armies gather at the gates of Erebor, offering to trade the Arkenstone for Thranduil’s gems and Laketown’s share of the gold, Thorin nearly kills Bilbo in a furious rage. After Gandalf forces Thorin to release Bilbo, the arrival of Thorin’s cousin Dáin with his Dwarf army worsens matters. A battle of Dwarves against Elves and Men is imminent, when Wereworms emerge from the ground releasing Azog’s army from their tunnels. With the Orcs outnumbering Dáin’s army, Thranduil and Bard’s forces, along with Gandalf and Bilbo, join the battle as some of the Orcs, Ogres, and Trolls attack Dale.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom
Screenplay by: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Production Design by: Dan Hennah
Cinematography by: Andrew Lesnie
Film Editing by: Jabez Olssen
Costume Design by: Bob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey
Set Decoration by: Simon Bright, Ra Vincent
Art Direction by: Simon Bright, Andy McLaren
Music by: Howard Shore
Studio: New Line Cinema
Release Date: December 17, 2014
Taglines: Once Brothers, Now Enemies.
Epic adventure Exodus: Gods and Kings is the story of one man’s daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.
Exodus: Gods and Kings is a biblically-inspired epic film directed by Ridley Scott. It was written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian. The film stars Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, María Valverde, Sigourney Weaver, Ghassan Massoud, Golshifteh Farahani and Ben Kingsley. It is a loose interpretation of the story of the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt as led by Moses and related in the Book of Exodus.
Shooting of the film began in October 2013 in Almería. Additional filming was scheduled at Pinewood Studios, England. Shooting begun on October 22 in Tabernas (Almería) as the first and main location is Ouarzazate (Morocco), and in Sierra Alhamilla (Almería). The Red Sea scene was filmed at a beach on Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa. Shooting also reportedly took place in Almeria and in Fuerteventura and lasted 74 days.
About the Story
In 1300 BC, Moses, a general and member of the royal family, prepares to attack the Hittite army with Prince Ramesses. A High Priestess divines a prophecy from animal intestines, which she relates to Ramesses’ father, Seti I. He tells the two men of the prophecy, in which one (of Moses and Ramesses) will save the other and become a leader. During the attack on the Hittites, Moses saves Ramesses’ life, leaving both men troubled.
Later, Moses is sent to the city of Pithom to meet with the Viceroy Hegep, who oversees the Hebrew slaves. Upon his arrival, he encounters the slave Joshua, who is the descendant of Joseph, and is appalled by the horrific conditions of the slaves. Shortly afterwards, Moses meets Nun, who informs him of his true lineage; he is the child of Hebrew parents who was sent by his sister Miriam to be raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses is stunned at the revelation and leaves angrily. However, two Hebrews also overhear Nun’s story and report their discovery to Hegep.
Seti dies soon after Moses’ return to Memphis, and Ramesses becomes the new Pharaoh (Ramesses II). Hegep arrives to reveal Moses’ true identity, but Ramesses is conflicted about whether to believe the story. At the urging of Queen Tuya, he interrogates the servant Miriam, who denies being Moses’ sister. When Ramesses threatens to cut off Miriam’s arm, Moses comes to her defense, revealing he is a Hebrew.
Although Tuya wants Moses to be put to death, Ramesses decides to send him into exile. Before leaving Egypt, Moses meets with his adopted mother and Miriam, who refer to him by his birth name of Moishe. Following a journey into the desert, Moses comes to Midian where he meets Zipporah and her father, Jethro. Moses becomes a shepherd, marries Zipporah and has a son Gershom.
About the Production
On March 15, 2013, It has ben eported Ridley Scott wanted Christian Bale to star in the film; in August he confirmed the role to be Moses himself. On the same day, Joel Edgerton joined the cast to play Ramses and production was set to begin in September. The studio announced the casting calls in Spain’s Almería and Pechina for 3,000 to 4,000 extras and with another 1,000 to 2,000 extras on the island of Fuerteventura. On August 27, Aaron Paul joined the film to play Joshua. Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley and John Turturro were still in talks about joining the cast. On March 27, 2014, the studio changed the title of the film to Exodus: Gods and Kings.
Exodus set in Pechina, Andalusia, Spain. Shooting of the film began in October 2013 in Almería. Additional filming was scheduled at Pinewood Studios, England. Shooting begun on October 22 in Tabernas (Almería) as the first and main location, and in Sierra Alhamilla (Almería). In Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Ridley Scott shot additional footage in Pájara and Antigua.
Exodus: Gods and Kings
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Exodus: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Indira Varma, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, María Valverde, Hiam Abbass
Screenplay by: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
Production Design by: Arthur Max
Cinematography by: Dariusz Wolski
Film Editing by: Billy Rich
Costume Design by: Janty Yates
Set Decoration by: Celia Bobak
Art Direction by: Ravi Bansal, Alex Cameron, Alejandro Fernández, Gavin Fitch, Matthew Gray, Marc Homes, Luigi Marchione, Óscar Sempere, Ashley Winter, Matt Wynne
Music by: Alberto Iglesias
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Releas Dat: December 12, 2014
When three women living on the edge of the American frontier are driven mad by harsh pioneer life, the task of saving them falls to the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank). Transporting the women by covered wagon to Iowa, she soon realizes just how daunting the journey will be, and employs a low-life drifter, George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones), to join her. The unlikely pair and the three women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) head east, where a waiting minister and his wife (Meryl Streep) have offered to take the women in. But the group first must traverse the harsh Nebraska Territories marked by stark beauty, psychological peril and constant threat.
The Homesman is an American period drama film set in the 1850s midwest produced and directed by Tommy Lee Jones and co-written with Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley Oliver, based on the 1988 novel of same name by Glendon Swarthout. The film stars Jones and Hilary Swank and also features an ensemble cast that includes Meryl Streep, Hailee Steinfeld, John Lithgow, and James Spader.
The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and received a North American limited release on November 14, 2014 by Roadside Attractions. The Homesman has received positive to mixed reviews from critics.
About the Production
Published in 1988, Glendon Swarthout’s award-winning novel, The Homesman, is a heartfelt and harrowing tale set in the newly created Nebraska Territories. The story of the oft-forgotten frontierswomen without whom America’s Westward Expansion would never have been possible, it is an emotional portrait of the resilient and resourceful pioneers of the American frontier, set against the seemingly endless horizon of the Great Plains.
“It’s 1855,” says director, co-writer and star of The Homesman, Tommy Lee Jones. “Three women who have been driven insane by the hardships of life on the American frontier are being transported in a wagon across Nebraska by another intrepid woman. It was important for me to explore the female condition in the mid-nineteenth century American West because I think it’s the origin of the female condition today.”
The project was brought to Jones’ attention by executive producer Michael Fitzgerald, with whom he had collaborated on his first directorial effort,The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. “I’ve known Tommy for a long time,” Fitzgerald says. “I hold him in a very high regard as an actor and a director, and I’m constantly in awe of his capacity to do both jobs.”
Looking for a new project to pitch to his old friend, Fitzgerald asked Sam Shepard, the writer and actor, if he knew of anything that would be suitable. “He immediately came up with this project,” says Fitzgerald. “It was something that he himself wanted to do for some years, but he’d never been able to get the rights. I agreed that it would be absolutely perfect for Tommy.”
Optioned years earlier by the late actor and filmmaker Paul Newman, The Homesman had never made it to the screen, unlike several of Swarthout’s earlier works, including the western The Shootist (John Wayne’s final film,) the contemporary coming-of-age storyBless the Beasts & Children, and the classic spring-break romp Where the Boys Are. Although the action takes place in the western half of the United States, the filmmakers are hesitant to classify The Homesman as a western.
“I don’t know how you define the term western,” says Jones. “I have the impression that a western is a movie that has horses in it and big hats and that takes place in the 19th century on the west side of the Mississippi river, although I’ve read critics who are bold enough to call a science-fiction movie a western. It’s a term that people use so often that I don’t think it has much meaning anymore.”
Producer Michael Fitzgerald observes that the setting of The Homesman is not the West traditionally seen in American films. “It’s earlier on, in the 1850s, whereas most westerns take place in the 1880s and ’90s. In fact, this is about life on the early frontier of the Midwest, so I wouldn’t call it a western, even though there are certain things that it shares with that genre, like horses, wagons and guns. But more importantly The Homesman is really about the way in which we can be transformed. What does it take to make a decent person? That’s the theme that moved me the most.”
When Jones teamed up with screenwriters Wesley Oliver and Kieran Fitzgerald to create the screenplay, he was shooting Hope Springs with Meryl Streep, who would become one of his co-stars in The Homesman. “In between their scenes, we would work onThe Homesman,” recalls Oliver. “Tommy would do a scene with Meryl, come across the street, work with us, go back across the street and jump 150 years forward in time into a contemporary romantic comedy. It was a remarkable achievement on his part to be able to do that and I think being around the excitement of a film already in production energized our writing process.”
The first draft was completed in an astonishing five days, the writers say. “We worked from early in the morning till late in the evening with almost no interruption,” according to Kieran Fitzgerald. “It was the most productive time ever.”
The next step was to fill in the backstories of the three women that Mary Bee must escort across hostile territory: “That was in some ways the most challenging part of the writing,” says Oliver. “In the novel, Glendon Swarthout sometimes shows results without describing the steps it took to get there. So we had to imagine background moments. We had to try to piece together in more detail what happened to these women.”
The writers began creating detailed flashbacks, or “memory hits,” as Jones refers to them. “That gave us a chance to get inside their minds and write a lot of scenes along the way,” says Oliver. “It helped clarify for us the lives they lived, the hardships they went through, and the kinds of events that would have led them to break down.”
“Each of the women broke down for a distinct and different reason,” adds Fitzgerald. “That distinguished one character from another and stayed true to real-life events.”
One of the elements that make the film unusual is that it views frontier life primarily from Mary Bee’s vantage point. “We tried to take a woman’s point of view for the story,” says Oliver. “We started that process by reviewing images of women on the frontier. Tommy had a book with a number of really wonderful photographs of pioneers and settlers in the 19th century. Many of those images became part of the cinematic vocabulary we used once we started writing.”
“The image of Mary Bee pumping water at the well in front of her house came from those images,” adds Kieran Fitzgerald. “The photographs of those pioneer women really inspired the movie.”
The resulting film is both historically accurate and relevant to today’s world. “Times have changed and customs have changed,” says Fitzgerald. “The characters in the movie have less access to healthcare and nutrition than we do, as well as to material comforts, but I think the human condition is the same. People have always suffered and they continue to suffer for various reasons. This is a look at the suffering of those people at that time in American history, which is something we have not had the occasion to explore honestly before.”
Oliver adds that the emotional and psychological isolation and alienation on display in The Homesman still loom over our modern world. “The digital age is rife with stories of people more desperate to connect than ever despite, or perhaps because of, the facility of communication today. Mary Bee’s story is very much about trying to find a connection that will sustain her soul.”
Directed by: Tommy Lee Jones
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, Jo Harvey Allen, Caroline Lagerfelt
Screenplay by: Kieran Fitzgerald, Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Oliver
Production Design by: Merideth Boswell
Cinematography by: Rodrigo Prieto
Film Editing by: Roberto Silvi
Costume Design by: Lahly Poore
Set Decoration by: Wendy Ozols-Barnes
Art Direction by: Guy Barnes
Music by: Marco Beltrami
MPAA Rating: R for violence, sexual content, some disturbing behavior and nudity.
Studio: Roadside Attractions
Release Date: November 14, 2014
Mr. Turner explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies.
Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.
Mr. Turner is a British biographical drama film, written and directed by Mike Leigh, and starring Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Paul Jesson, Marion Bailey and Ruth Sheen. The film concerns the life and career of British artist J. M. W. Turner (played by Spall). It premiered in competition for the Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where Spall won the award for Best Actor and cinematographer Dick Pope received a special jury prize for the film’s cinematography.
Leigh has described Turner as “a great artist: a radical, revolutionary painter,” explaining, “I felt there was scope for a film examining the tension between this very mortal, flawed individual, and the epic work, the spiritual way he had of distilling the world.”
Directed by: Mike Leigh
Starring: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson, Ruth Sheen, Sandy Foster, Amy Dawson, Lesley Manville, Sinead Matthews
Screenplay by: Mike Leigh
Production Design by: Suzie Davies
Cinematography by: Dick Pope
Film Editing by: Jon Gregory
Costume Design by: Jacqueline Durran
Set Decoration by: Charlotte Watts
Art Direction by: Dan Taylor
Music by: Gary Yershon
MPAA Rating: R for some sexual content.
Studio: Entertainment One
Release Date: December 19, 2014
Taglines: She doesn’t well with others.
In Miss Meadows, Katie Holmes plays a sweet and proper elementary school teacher whose perfect manners and pretty floral dresses hide a dark secret: when she’s not teaching at the local elementary school or tending to her garden, she’s moonlighting as a gun-toting vigilante.
Miss Meadows is an American drama film written and directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins. The film stars Katie Holmes, James Badge Dale, Callan Mulvey and Stephen Bishop. The film is scheduled to be released theatrically in the United States on November 14, 2014, by Entertainment One Films.
Prim schoolteacher Miss Meadows (Katie Holmes) is not entirely what she appears. Well-mannered, sweet, and caring, yes, but underneath the candy-sweet exterior hides the soul of a vigilante, taking it upon herself to right the wrongs in this cruel world by whatever means necessary. Things get complicated, however, when Miss Meadows gets romantically entangled with the town sheriff (James Badge Dale) and her steadfast moral compass is thrown off, begging the question: “Who is the real Miss Meadows and what is she hiding?”
Miss Meadows is anAmerican drama film written and directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins. The film stars Katie Holmes, James Badge Dale, Callan Mulvey and Stephen Bishop. The film was released theatrically in the United States on November 14, 2014, by Entertainment One Films.
About the Story
Miss Mary Meadows is a young woman who works as a substitute first-grade elementary school teacher and enjoys taking long walks in her suburban neighborhood and wearing traditional clothing and tap-dancing shoes. Unknown to everyone, she is a secret vigilante who murders local thugs who accost her or when she witnesses them committing crimes. She always carries a small semi-automatic pistol in her purse and speaks in a child-like innocent manner. She lives by herself in a small house and talks occasionally with her mother over the telephone about what she did during the day.
Investigating the vigilante killings is a local sheriff. He soon meets and develops an attraction to Miss Meadows due to her old-fashion clothing and style of speech. When he begins to suspect that the calmly woman he finds himself drawn to may be the suspect he is looking for, the sheriff is torn over whether to arrest her or protect her.
When Miss Meadows meets an ex-convict named Skylar, whom she learns served time for molesting young children, she begins to fear for her young students safety. When Miss Meadows approaches and threatens to kill Skylar if he continues hanging around the school or around her kids, he begins stalking her.
It is eventually revealed that all of the telephone conversations that Miss Meadows has been having with her mother over the course of the film are imaginary. As a young girl, Mary Meadows witnessed her mother’s murder in a drive-by shooting outside a local church after attending the wedding of a family friend. This traumatic incident left Miss Meadows so emotionally scarred that she withdrew into a fantasy world which she imagined that her mother is still alive and caused her to go after and kill criminals who she sees as a threat to society.
When Miss Meadows learns that she is pregnant after a one-time sexual encounter with the sheriff, she decides to accept his proposal to get married. On the day of the wedding, Skylar kidnaps Heather, one of Miss Meadows students, from her house, forcing Miss Meadows to go to Skylar’s house (wearing her wedding dress) to try to stop him, only to end up a captive herself. When she manages to free Heather and struggle with Skylar over her gun, the sheriff, passing by after leaving the church, sees Heather running away from Skylar’s house. Meanwhile, Skyler gets Miss Meadows’s gun and asks her, “Do you really think you can save the world? Well, try saving your self!” Just after saying that, the sheriff arrives and shoots Skylar to death before he can kill Miss Meadows. The sheriff offers to protect Miss Meadows by reporting that Skylar was the vigilante.
Directed by: Karen Leigh Hopkins
Starring: Katie Holmes, James Badge Dale, Callan Mulvey, Stephen Bishop, Ava Kolker, Charlotte Labadie, Elle Labadie, Kate Linder
Screenplay by: Karen Leigh Hopkins
Production Design by: Jennifer Klide
Cinematography by: Barry Markowitz
Film Editing by: Joan Sobel
Costume Design by: Brenda Abbandandolo
Set Decoration by: Carmen Navis
Music by: Jeff Cardoni
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: Entertainment One
Release Date: November 14, 2014
Indiana, 1817. The entire nation, only 40 years old and a few years removed from a second war of independence, is raw. Men, women, and children alike must battle nature and disease to survive in remote log cabins. This is young Abraham Lincoln’s world. Spanning three years of the future president’s childhood, The Better Angels explores his family, the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him forever, and the two women who guided him to immortality.
The Better Angels tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood in the harsh wilderness of Indiana and the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him for ever and the two women who guided him to immortality.
The Better Angels is an American biographical drama-historical film about the formative years of United States President Abraham Lincoln directed by A. J. Edwards. The film had its premiere at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2014.
The film was later screened in the Panorama section of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival on February 8, 2014. In March 2014, Amplify acquired the distribution rights of the film, with schedule to release the film November 7, 2014.
The Better Angels
Directed by: A.J. Edwards
Starring: Jason Clarke, Diane Kruger, Brit Marling, Wes Bentley, Braydon Denney, Cameron Mitchell Williams, Madison Stiltner, Veanne Cox
Screenplay by: A.J. Edwards
Production Design by: Caroline Hanania
Cinematography by: Matthew J. Lloyd
Film Editing by: Alex Milan
Costume Design by: Lisa Tomczeszyn
Set Decoration by: Amy Morrison
Art Direction by: Christopher Tandon, John Vogt
Music by: Hanan Townshend
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements and brief smoking.
Studio: Amplify Releasing
Release Date: November 7, 2014
Inherent Vice is the seventh feature from Paul Thomas Anderson and the first ever film adaption of a Thomas Pynchon novel. When private eye Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a looney bin…well, easy for her to say.
It’s the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” that’s being way too overused – except this one usually leads to trouble.
Inherent Vice is an American stoner crime comedy film. The seventh feature film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice was adapted by Anderson from the novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon, and stars an ensemble cast including Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Jeannie Berlin, Maya Rudolph, Michael K. Williams and Martin Short. As with its source material, the storyline revolves around Larry “Doc” Sportello, a stoner hippie and PI in 1970, as he becomes embroiled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld whilst investigating three cases interrelated by the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and her wealthy boyfriend.
About the Story
In 1970, Shasta Fay Hepworth visits the rickety beach house of her ex-boyfriend Larry “Doc” Sportello, a private investigator and hippie/dope head in Gordita Beach, a fictional town in Los Angeles County. Shasta tells him about her new lover, Michael Z. “Mickey” Wolfmann, a wealthy real estate developer. She asks Doc to help prevent Mickey’s wife and her lover from having Mickey abducted and committed to an insane asylum.
At his office, Doc meets with Tariq Khalil, a member of the Black Guerrilla Family. Khalil hires Doc to find Glen Charlock, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood he met in jail, who now owes him money and is one of Wolfmann’s bodyguards.
Doc visits Mickey’s Channel View Estates project and enters the only business in the developing strip mall, a brothel/massage parlor, where he meets an employee, Jade. Doc searches the premises for Charlock, but he is knocked on the head with a baseball bat and collapses. He awakens outside, lying next to Charlock’s dead body and surrounded by policemen. Doc is brought to the police station and interrogated by Det. Christian F. “Bigfoot” Bjornsen of the LAPD. Here, Doc learns that Wolfmann has disappeared without a trace. He is helped by his attorney, Sauncho Smilax, who arranges for his release by the LAPD.
Doc then takes on his third “case” of the film. He is hired by former heroin addict, Hope Harlingen, who is looking for her missing husband, Coy. She was told that Coy was dead; but she believes he is alive because, shortly after his supposed death, there was a large deposit to her bank account. Coy seeks out Doc and says he is hiding at a house in Topanga Canyon. In a second meeting, he reveals he is a police informant and fears for his life, only wanting to return to his wife and daughter.
At his office Doc finds a message from Jade who apologizes for setting him up with the police and tells him to “beware of the Golden Fang”. He meets her in an alley, where she explains that the Golden Fang is an international drug smuggling operation. Doc talks to Sauncho, who gives him some information on a suspicious boat called the Golden Fang and tells him that, the last time the ship sailed, it was with Shasta on board. Thanks to a postcard from her, Doc finds a large building shaped suspiciously like a golden fang and meets with the dentist Dr. Rudy Blatnoyd.
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, Erica Sullivan
Screenplay by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Production Design by: David Crank
Cinematography by: Robert Elswit
Film Editing by: Leslie Jones
Costume Design by: Mark Bridges
Set Decoration by: Amy Wells
Art Direction by: Ruth De Jong
Music by: Jonny Greenwood
MPAA Rating: R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: December 12, 2014
Taglines: The extraordinary story of Jane and Stephen Hawking.
Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, this is the extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde.
Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of – time. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed.
The film is based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, by Jane Hawking, and is directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh (“Man on Wire”).
The Theory of Everything is a British romantic biographical film directed by James Marsh and penned by Anthony McCarten. The film was inspired by the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking, which deals with her relationship with her ex-husband theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, his diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and his success in physics.
A Brief History
Time has always been a subject of fascination to the brilliant astrophysicist Stephen Hawking: when the universe began, when it will end, and all points in between. The renowned professor’s book A Brief History of Time has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. But the concept of time struck him on a most personal level when, in 1963 at the age of 21, he was given two years to live after a diagnosis of motor neuron disease (MND, which is related to ALS; the latter is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). He wanted life, even with the impending constraints on his speech and movement. He wanted love, with the woman who would be his wife. Against the odds, he would have all of that and more.
No matter how strong his will, he could not have done it alone; he was accompanied on his journey by Jane Wilde, soon to be Jane Hawking. A brilliant mind in her own right, she dedicated herself to Stephen and their marriage and family.
Outliving his diagnosis decade after decade, Stephen continued to explore the outer limits of theoretical physics, leading to further breakthroughs. By the 21st century, his name was being spoken of in the same breath as Albert Einstein’s.
Screenwriter and producer Anthony McCarten has long been fascinated by Professor Hawking, in particular the time and effort it took for the severely physically compromised man to write his seminal book. “He has illuminated physics for the world, and there is a sense of the profound in all his work,” says McCarten. “That was enhanced by Stephen’s own physical situation, which only allowed him to compose his communications at the agonizing rate of one word per minute; here, in one man, was an unprecedented juxtaposition of extraordinary mental prowess and extraordinary physical incapacity.
“His mind continued to open up one frontier after another in relentless exploration, so he was contracting yet also expanding which was apt for a man whose life is devoted to studying the universe.”
McCarten was moved to read Jane Hawking’s memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen. He discovered “a marvelous love story between two people, incredibly intense and challenged in the extreme: first by the physical decline, and then by the advent of fame in their lives. When news of his imminent death proved exaggerated, and two years became 10, then 20, their situation demanded that their love take bold and unorthodox forms if it was to survive. Theirs was a love story without precedent.”
Envisioning the couple’s story as a feature film, he began writing a screenplay adaptation of the book with no guarantees in place; he met with Jane at her home to discuss the project. “I will always be grateful to her for answering that buzzer and welcoming me inside. No promises were made that day, and our dialogue continued over time,” he notes.
After multiple drafts, he was introduced to producer Lisa Bruce via their mutual ICM agent, Craig Bernstein. Knowing of Stephen Hawking only as the brilliant man in the motorized wheelchair who communicated via a mechanical voice activated device, Bruce found the script to be a revelation.
She remarks, “A lot of people don’t even think about Stephen Hawking’s domestic life, much less know that he walked and talked, and they certainly don’t know that he fathered children. When you look deeper into his life, you see so much more than just the genius: you find a father, a husband, and under it all an eternal optimist. But, for me, the most powerful element of this story was the sense that he would never have achieved what he did without a partner like Jane.”
What also struck Bruce was how Stephen and Jane’s love story was simultaneously unique and universal. She explains, “Nobody has ever lived what the Hawkings experienced as a couple; here were two young people with their whole lives in front of them, full of nothing but promise, and then this bomb drops on them with Stephen given two years to live in effect, a death sentence delivered at age 21. Yet, instead of running from it, they chose to face this impossible life together; in that regard, I think they are one of the most inspirational love stories of our time.”
The marriage would evolve and adapt while Stephen made significant strides in his work. Bruce notes, “Jane and Stephen’s relationship in this movie spans 25 years, as we seem them achieve things the most able bodied among us can’t even imagine. On that level, it’s unique. At the same time, what is completely universal is loving and caring for someone.”
“Jane had done this extraordinary thing,” says McCarten. “She said to Stephen, yes I’ll marry you and I’ll take that ride with you. This was essential to Stephen, since, as he admits, he was in a bit of a dark hole at the time. He was just beginning his life when he was told that it would end very soon. Despite the uncertainty, with Jane he entered into marriage joyfully and optimistically.
“It was a personal and professional turning point all at once. With Jane’s help, he overcame his depression, and the ticking clock of his prognosis sparked his mental process. In a very short time he began to achieve his full potential as an astrophysicist. The Theory of Everything charts this intellectual ascent alongside his physical deterioration; through it all Stephen somehow finds the courage and internal drive not only to cope but also to actually prevail which is astonishing.”
It would take McCarten and Bruce several years to secure the full legal rights, and the blessing and permission from Jane and Stephen, to allow this love story to become a movie. During those years they worked tirelessly together on the story, promising to eschew sensationalizing or sentimentalizing the couple’s history, and committing to conveying the complexity of the marriage.
McCarten asserts, “For them to have marched through that difficult terrain together and had a marriage that lasted decades was nothing less than a triumph. Stephen and Jane both show us all what human beings are capable of when they set their minds to something. But in writing the script, I had to allow for showing their moods and frustrations that were completely understandable. Our film celebrates Stephen, but it doesn’t try to mythologize him; he had very strong negative emotions about the loss of his physical powers and we show that, as well as the highs and lows of the marriage.
Oscar winning filmmaker James Marsh joined the project. The award winning Working Title Films producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, with whom Bruce had made the telefilm Mary and Martha, also came on board.
Bruce notes, “Tim and Eric cared deeply about this story, and about getting our telling of it to deliver the truth and emotional power that was in the Hawkings’ lives. The support of Working Title was overwhelming.
“Everyone felt that, given the way he has empathized with real life people in his films, James would have the sensitivity needed to tell this story.”
Marsh, who had won the Academy Award for his documentary Man on Wire, was continuing to work on both narrative and nonfiction features. When he received the script, the director admits, “I had the fixed image of Stephen Hawking as the great scientific mind with the wheelchair and the voice machine.
“But I quickly became infatuated with Anthony’s take. He found the fascinating point of view, which was to tell the story from the perspective of the woman who was falling in love with an able bodied man; she then makes the critical choice to stay with the man she loves when he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. The moving and unusual love story that Anthony wrote was quite original in demonstrating what it’s like to live with someone who is both disabled and a genius, and the burdens it placed on Jane’s career and on her as a wife and mother. This was very rich territory.”
The director was also drawn to The Theory of Everything because its spirit recalled Man on Wire for him; both are about men who defy conventional human boundaries and limitations. He muses, “There is definitely an affinity, and there is also a cosmic irony: Stephen is physically constrained and yet mentally he is able to go wherever he wants. His mind can and does travel to the outer limits of the universe, but his body is confined.”
The tonal challenge that Marsh zeroed in on was that “Stephen Hawking’s story, while bittersweet, is not a tragedy even though a near fatal illness befalling a young able bodied man with promise has all the elements of one. It’s Stephen’s character which takes that out of the equation; his defiance of the illness with humor, perseverance, and grit makes this story the opposite of a tragedy in the end.
Already a man who has upended our concept of the creation of the universe, Professor Hawking continues to challenge and inspire us well into a new millennium.
The Theory of Everything
Directed by: James Marsh
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Charlie Cox, Charlotte Hope, Anastasia Harrold
Screenplay by: Anthony McCarten
Production Design by: John Paul Kelly
Cinematography by: Benoît Delhomme
Film Editing by: Jinx Godfrey
Costume Design by: Steven Noble
Set Decoration by: Claire Nia Richards
Music by: Jóhann Jóhannsson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material.
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: November 7, 2014
Taglines: War never ends quietly.
April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.April, 1945.
As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
Fury is an American war film set during World War II written and directed by David Ayer. The film stars Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Michael Peña, Jason Isaacs, and Scott Eastwood.
Rehearsing for the film began in early September 2013 in Hertfordshire, England, followed by principal photography began on September 30, 2013, in Oxfordshire. Continuing filming for a month and half at different locations including Oxford, shooting for the film concluded on November 15. The film was released on October 17, 2014.
About the Story
The film is set during the last month of the European Theater of war during World War II in April 1945. As the Allies make their final push into Nazi Germany, a battle-hardened U.S. Army sergeant in the 2nd Armored Division named Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) commands an M4A3E8 Sherman tank called “Fury” and its five-man crew, consisting of Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LeBeouf), Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal) and Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Peña). After losing the assistant driver in battle, he gets a recently enlisted typist, Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), as a replacement.
The crew, which has been together since the North African Campaign, initially despises Norman for his lack of experience and excessive compassion towards Germans (Norman refuses to shoot a captive German artilleryman, and cannot bring himself to shoot at Hitlerjugend teenagers because of their age), so Wardaddy makes Norman shoot a captive German soldier to break him of his innocence.
The bond between Norman and Wardaddy becomes stronger after capturing a small German town, where Wardaddy and Norman meet a German woman named Emma and her cousin. Norman (presumably) sleeps with Emma, then joins Wardaddy and Emma’s cousin for breakfast. However, the rest of the crew barge in and cause tensions while at the table. Shortly afterwards, a German bombardment hits the town, killing Emma and some of the American forces.
The platoon of tanks, led by Wardaddy, gets a mission to hold a vital crossing (protecting a clear way to supply trains), but after encountering a German Tiger I, only “Fury” remains. The vehicle is immobilized after hitting a landmine; shortly afterwards, a German column of three hundred Waffen-SS infantry approaches. Wardaddy refuses to leave, and the rest of the crew, initially reluctant, decides to stay and plan an ambush.
Directed by: David Ayer
Starring: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs, Scott Eastwood, Alicia von Rittberg
Screenplay by: David Ayer
Production Design by: Andrew Menzies
Cinematography by: Roman Vasyanov
Film Editing by: Jay Cassidy, Dody Dorn
Costume Design by: Anna B. Sheppard, Owen Thornton
Set Decoration by: Lee Gordon, Malcolm Stone
Music by: Steven Price
MPAA Rating: R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout.
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: October 17, 2014