Category: Roadside Attractions

The Homesman

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The Homesman Movie

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.

The Homesman Movie

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.”

The Homesman Movie

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.”

The Homesman Movie

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.”

The Homesman Movie Poster

The Homesman

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

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Life of Crime

Life of Crime Movie

Taglines: Right target, wrong woman.

Based on Elmore Leonard’s novel “The Switch,” Life of Crime is a dark caper comedy starring Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey, Will Forte, Mark Boone Junior, Isla Fisher and Tim Robbins. The wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a corrupt real estate developer (Tim Robbins) is kidnapped by two common criminals (yasiin bey and John Hawkes), who intend to extort him with inside information about his crooked business and off-shore accounts. But the husband decides he’d actually rather not pay the ransom to get back his wife, setting off an unbelievable sequence of double crosses and plot twists that could only come from the mind of Elmore Leonard.

Daniel Schechter’s adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s 1978 novel The Switch was the last movie with which the novelist was intimately involved, and this is an unexpectedly winning take from one of the less splashy directors to have attempted Leonard.

It gleams with a faintly tacky, country club sheen. The woman in the crispest whites is Mickey (Jennifer Aniston), playing the stoical socialite wife of fraudster Frank (Tim Robbins, sweaty and repellent). She becomes the target of an ill-planned plot by Ordell (Mos Def) and Louis (John Hawkes), who plan to kidnap her and only release her for $1m. Problem is: Frank wants her out of the picture anyway, having filed divorce papers.

Life of Crime Movie

About the Production

In four dozen novels and scores of short stories, Elmore Leonard has created an engrossing and often electrifying world of tough-talking career criminals, corrupt businessmen, femmes fatales and eccentric outcasts, all scheming to make that one big score. Often set in the shadowy Detroit underworld, his off-kilter tales of men and women fueled by greed and ambition have made him a beloved and bestselling author, and inspired films that include Get Shorty, Jackie Brown and Out of Sight, as well as the hit television series “Justified.”

Daniel Schechter, the director and screenwriter of the newest Leonard-inspired movie, Life of Crime, remembers his first encounter with the work of the man who has been called the “Dickens of Detroit.” “My brother had a copy of Get Shorty when I was younger,” Schechter says. “I liked the movie, so I picked it up.”

The book was what Schechter calls “a gateway drug” to his obsession with the author’s work. “I defy anyone to pick up an Elmore Leonard novel, read the first chapter, the first page, maybe even the first sentence, and try to put it down,” he says. “He’s ruined me for other writers, who, for my money, will never match his wit, his originality or his humanity. He’s been called ‘the King Daddy of crime writers’ and ‘the best writer of dialogue alive,’ two opinions I completely agree with.”

Life of Crime Movie - Jennifer Aniston

Adapting one of the internationally acclaimed author’s darkly humorous crime sagas was a long-held dream for Schechter. “I think I have read every Elmore Leonard book out there,” he says. “His books work so well cinematically because he is able to take things we’ve seen in films before-heists and robberies, in this case a kidnapping-and ground them in as much reality as possible. He makes the people feel so specific and real that the average reader or audience member is able to imagine what it would be like and how they would act in that situation.”

The Switch, the novel on which Life of Crime is based, offered all the elements the filmmaker had been looking for in a directing project. “It had seven juicy characters, a tone I thought I could nail, and it wasn’t too big in scale. I saw it as this awesome and weird meeting of Alfred Hitchcock and the Coen brothers. It was something that I couldn’t write for myself, but it had everything that I wanted to direct. It felt genuinely thrilling and savagely funny.”

Determined to make the most of Leonard’s legendary gift for spoken language, Schechter began by simply transcribing the dialogue from a single chapter and entering it verbatim into a screenplay-formatting program. “It’s amazing,” says Charles Saveur Bonan, who became an executive producer for the film. “The book almost was written like a script. That is Elmore Leonard’s distinctive writing style.”

“Just like that, I had a great scene,” Schechter says. “I decided to see what would happen if I did that to the whole book. Eight days later, after some editing and invention of my own, I had a first draft of a script.”

But what he didn’t have were the rights to film the story. The process of getting an unknown writer and director attached to an Elmore Leonard bestseller would take luck, patience, determination and a team of dedicated people, including producer Lee Stollman.

Life of Crime Movie

“I love Elmore Leonard’s world,” says Stollman. “I love his characters and his voice. Dan, to his credit, rolled the dice and adapted the book purely on spec, without anyone’s permission. He then sent it to Michael Siegel and Michael shared it with Elmore. And that risk paid off – Leonard said that other than Scott Frank and Quentin Tarantino, Dan’s adaptation was among the best, and gave him a free option on the book.”

Siegel, Elmore Leonard’s manager and the official guardian of his work, was so impressed by the young director’s vision and commitment that he agreed to give Schechter and Stollman time to try to assemble a cast and raise money for the movie. Working only on a handshake, the filmmakers began to put together financing, but discovered that there was one catch. No one was sure who actually owned the movie rights to The Switch.

“That started a two-year search for the owners,” says Schechter. “It was brutal. Finally we discovered that a French company had taken a 30-year option on the book. It had lapsed a year earlier.”

As the legal issues were being hammered out, Schechter continued polishing and refining his screenplay. “I didn’t work directly with Elmore in putting together the script,” he says. “He tended to keep a distance from the filmmakers who adapted his work. I’d like to think his camp saw how deeply protective I felt of the material.”

Life of Crime Movie

Schechter hewed closely to Leonard’s emphasis on believability, even in some of the story’s most absurd twists and turns. “I believe his genius is taking in the reader and placing them in the center of a surreal scenario and discovering how real people would handle it in a world we recognize,” he says. “As I read, I would ask myself what I would do if I were trapped in a room full of Nazi paraphernalia, or if I were trying to cheat on my wife. I find that Elmore always captures something that feels very human. Even though the book is 35 years old, the story still feels contemporary because it’s so honest and so unexpected.”

The colorful and singular aspects of the characters kept him rooting for everyone, even the seemingly irredeemable criminals behind the kidnapping. “I don’t necessarily believe that there have to be bad guys,” Schechter says. “There are people who do morally awful things in this movie, but I don’t want to demonize anybody. It’s easy to make Mickey the sympathetic housewife and Frank the abusive husband. I felt that finding moments when Mickey is more passive-aggressive makes her in part responsible for the situation, which in turn makes Frank’s unhappiness oddly sympathetic. We see that he’s sad and insecure.

“And that just makes it a more satisfying meal and a more rich film,” he says. “It’s still wildly funny and fun and you’ll want him to get his comeuppance, but when you care about him a little bit, it makes for more of a unique experience.”

If two of the main characters, car thieves-turned-kidnappers Ordell and Louis, seem familiar to moviegoers it’s because they are also central figures in Jackie Brown, Quentin Tarantino’s big-screen adaptation of Leonard’s bestseller Rum Punch. “People have referred to it as a prequel to Jackie Brown,” says Schechter. “It’s not really that. It just happens to have the same two characters, played in that film by Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a really appealing part of whole project, because I’m a massive fan of Jackie Brown. It accurately captured the Elmore Leonard voice and I had a big affection for those two characters.

“But when I watch this film, it doesn’t feel anything like that movie,” he continues. “It definitely has its own tone and it has a bit more action. But those are huge footsteps to have to follow in!”

Life of Crime, he says, is ultimately a story about complex people trying to make the most of a simple plan gone wrong. “It’s my love letter to the work of Elmore Leonard, which now and always will remind me that being honest and being entertaining never have to be mutually exclusive.”

Life of Crime Movie Poster

Life of Crime

Directed by: Daniel Schechter
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Mos Def, Isla Fisher, Will Forte, Clea Lewis, Tim Robbins, Alex Ladove, Jenna Nye
Screenplay by: Daniel Schechter
Production Design by: Inbal Weinberg
Cinematography by: Eric Alan Edwards
Costume Design by: Anna Terrazas
Set Decoration by: Jasmine E. Ballou
Music by: The Newton Brothers
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexual content and violence.
Studio by: Lionsgate Films, Roadside Attractions
Release Date: August 29, 2014

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A Most Wanted Man

A Most Wanted Man Movie

When a half-Chechen, half-Russian, brutally tortured immigrant turns up in Hamburg’s Islamic community, laying claim to his father’s ill gotten fortune, both German and US security agencies take a close interest: as the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish this most wanted man’s true identity – oppressed victim or destruction-bent extremist? Based on John le Carré’s novel, A MOST WANTED MAN is a contemporary, cerebral tale of intrigue, love, rivalry, and politics that prickles with tension right through to its last heart-stopping scene.

A Most Wanted Man is a British espionage-thriller film based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré, directed by Anton Corbijn and written by Andrew Bovell. The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Daniel Brühl and Nina Hoss. It premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival[6] and competed in the main competition section of the 36th Moscow International Film Festival and the 40th Deauville American Film Festival. It was also the last film released in Philip Seymour Hoffman’s lifetime.

About the Story

Issa Karpov (Dobrygin), a refugee from Chechnya, enters Hamburg, Germany, illegally. Günther Bachmann (Hoffman), a German espionage agent, leads a team which seeks to develop intelligence from the local Muslim community. The team learns of Karpov’s presence from CCTV footage and confirms from Russian intelligence that he is considered to be an extremely dangerous terrorist. The team also tracks the activities of local Muslim philanthropist Dr. Abdullah (Ershadi) who is believed to be funnelling funds to terrorist activities, though the team is unable to prove this. German security official Mohr (Bock) and American diplomatic attache Sullivan (Wright) both take interest in the two cases.

Karpov contacts an immigration lawyer, Annabel Richter (McAdams), through a local Muslim family and she puts him in contact with Tommy Brue (Dafoe), a banker whose father laundered money for Karpov’s father. Karpov identifies with his maternal Chechen heritage and doesn’t want his father’s money.

Bachmann’s team is able to turn Brue and Richter who convince Karpov to donate the funds to Abdullah’s organisation believing that Abdullah will reroute some funds to a shipping company which is a front for Al Qaeda.

Bachmann plans to capture Abdullah and turn him as well in order to ensnare those higher up in the terrorist organisation. The plan is approved by the interior minister and Abdullah does indeed route funds to the shipping company, but as Bachmann prepares to take Abdullah into custody, he is ambushed by forces reporting to Mohr and Sullivan who capture Abdullah and Karpov.

A Most Wanted Man Movie Poster

A Most Wanted Man

Directed by: Anton Corbijn
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Daniel Brühl, Nina Hoss, Robin Wright, Grigoriy Dobrygin
Screenplay by: Andrew Bovell
Cinematography by: Benoit Delhomme
Edited by: Claire Simpson
Music by: Herbert Grönemeyer
MPAA Rating: R for language.
Studio: Roadside Attraction
Release Date: July 25, 2014

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Gloria

Gloria Movie

A story set in Santiago and centered on Gloria, a free-spirited older woman, and the realities of her whirlwind relationship with a former naval officer whom she meets out in the clubs.

Gloria is a “woman of a certain age” but still feels young. Though lonely, she makes the best of her situation and fills her nights seeking love at social dance clubs for single adults. Her fragile happiness changes the day she meets Rodolfo. Their intense passion, to which Gloria gives her all, leaves her vacillating between hope and despair — until she uncovers a new strength and realizes that, in her golden years, she can shine brighter than ever.

Gloria is Chile’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, and stars Paulina Garcia in a tour de force performance that captured the Silver Bear Best Actress Award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.

Interview with Sebastian Lelio

How did the idea of making this film and telling the story of Gloria come about?

Gloria arises from the question of whether there could be a film about the world of women from my mother’s generation, and what this film would be like. It comes from the intuition that a film can sometimes be closer than you think, sometimes even just a few feet away. I wanted to infiltrate this generation’s unknown planet and see what happened there.

There is something moving about these women approaching their 60s who transit through Santiago, Chile, today. Women who fight to find their place in a world that treats them with harshness, who sing in the car, who have been left somewhat on their own, for whom no one has too much time, and that, in spite of the years that have passed, refuse to give up and want to keep on feeling, dancing and living. The film reclaims that right, and it does so from the fascination with an endearing woman who is clinging on to life with her teeth and nails.

The soundtrack plays an important role in the film. What was the music selection process like?

Gloria is a film about feelings. And music (for what can have more feeling than music?) constitutes a central element in this tale, working almost as a Greek choir, constantly contaminating the story. At the same time, the characters express themselves through music, making the emotions of the songs that they listen, sing or dance to their very own, unconsciously commenting on their own lives, as if the music were a mirror of their own processes and dilemmas.

The film’s soundtrack belongs to Gloria’s generation. It contains songs that range from worldwide hits to Latin American and Chilean cult songs. There are some disco tunes, as well as boleros, romantic ballads, salsas, cumbias, some rock’n’roll and one bossa nova: “Waters of March” by Tom Jobim. This last song is very special to me because it was one of the guides that led me to find the final tone for the film. I aimed for Gloria to have something from bossa nova: a poetic of everyday life, a painful sort of levity, a certain natural charm, a little humor and a little pain, but above all, humanity and emotion.

How does Gloria relate to your previous films?

I think that Gloria is the natural consequence of my three previous films. It’s a larger production, with more characters and more locations, but it insists upon worlds that I have explored before, and enquires, from a new perspective, into certain thematic and formal searches that I have developed before in La Sagrada Familia, Navidad and El ano del tigre: the insistent observation of characters going though an evolutionary crossroads; family as a sacred trap; the interest in the tension that exists between person and character; and the conviction that film is a face-on battle.

How would you define the experience with the film’s actors?

Gloria is a character film. Paulina Garcia, the leading actress, was always at the heart of the project. The film was written to her measure. Her counterpart is Sergio Hernandez, an actor that I greatly admire and whom I have gotten to know filming. Both are powerful and magnetic actors, which made things quite a lot easier.

Starting from the basis that if the screenplay is the map, the shooting is the territory (we worked on the screenplay for two years), we generated a set with space for improvisation so that the actors would be compelled to resort to their own intimacies in order to resolve each scene. This allowed for unconscious elements to emanate, material that had “its own laws”, and that finally infected the screenplay with a new strength and ended up becoming the narration’s essence.

Gloria Movie Poster

Gloria

Directed by: Christian Keller
Starring: Marco Pérez, Osvaldo Ríos, Magali Boysselle, Estefania Villarreal, Ximena Romo, Tatiana del Real
Screenplay by: Sabina Berman
Production Design by: Julieta Álvarez
Cinematography by: Martín Boege
Film Editing by: Adriana Martínez, Patricia Rommel
Costume Design by: Gilda Navarro
Set Decoration by: Martha Camarillo, Roberto Revilla
Music by: Lorne Balfe
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: Roadside Attractions
Release Date: October 20. 2014 (Mexico)

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Barefoot

Barefoot Movie

Taglines: She’s stepping out into the world.

Barefoot is a romantic comedy-drama film directed by Andrew Fleming and starring Evan Rachel Wood, Scott Speedman, Treat Williams, Kate Burton and J. K. Simmons. It is a remake of the 2005 German film Barfuss. The film premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 2, 2014, before receiving a limited release on February 21, 2014.

Barefoot is a romantic comedy-drama film directed by Andrew Fleming and starring Evan Rachel Wood, Scott Speedman, Treat Williams, Kate Burton and J. K. Simmons. It is a remake of the 2005 German film Barfuss. The film premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 2, 2014, before receiving a limited release on February 21, 2014.

Jay Wheeler, the “black sheep” son of a rich family meets Daisy, a young psychiatric patient who has been raised in isolation her entire life. He takes the naïve young woman home for his brother’s wedding to convince his family that he has finally straightened out his life. She impresses the family with her genuine, if unstable, charm. His father, suspecting that something is amiss, presses her for information at the wedding. She suffers a panic attack, and Jay shuffles her into a car and they head to his parents’ house. After searching through his father’s cars for keys, they find a set in a classic RV and set out for home. At Shreveport, Louisiana, he leaves her in a bus station, but ends up having a change of heart and goes back for her and they head towards his home.

Barefoot Movie

They then have fun along the way. But when they make a stopover, he makes a phone call to the doctor who was handling Daisy. She then overhears his conversation that he is going to take her back to Los Angeles only to bring her back to the psychiatric hospital. She then cries and goes to the RV alone and drives the RV in circles before the crashing it. Jay then opens the RV’s door and hurries to take her to a diner. Jay, curious about Daisy who tells him that she killed her mother then asks her what she means by her killing her mother. Later, he discovers that she didn’t kill her mother – her mother was dying and Daisy never heard voices, it was her mother who heard them.

As Jay kisses Daisy, the cops come in, handcuff Jay and take Daisy away from him. Jay’s mother finds out that Jay is in jail and then persuades Jason to bail him out. When Jay is bailed out, he returns to his apartment, only to find out that the door is busted and someone has broken into his apartment. He then looks at the window and sees the man from whom he owes money. He then runs from the guy and hurries to the psychiatric hospital to see Daisy, but the security and the Doctor tell him to leave.

Barefoot Movie Poster

The Barefoot

Directed by: Andrew Fleming
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Scott Speedman, J.K. Simmons, Treat Williams, Kate Burton, David Jensen, Jaqueline Fleming, Ashleigh Borman, Andrea Moore, Julie Ann Doan
Screenplay by: Stephen Zotnowski
Production Design by: Toby Corbett
Cinematography by: Alexander Gruszynski
Film Editing by: Tara Timpone
Costume Design by: Caroline B. Marx
Set Decoration by: Leonard R. Spears
Music by: Michael Penn
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual content including references, partial nudity, brief strong language and a scene of violence.
Studio: Roadside Attractions
Release Date: February 21, 2014

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In Secret

In Secret Movie

Taglines: When you have something to hide, the truth must remain.

In Secret, previously titled Thérèse, is an American erotic thriller film written and directed by Charlie Stratton. Based on Émile Zola’s 1867 classic novel Thérèse Raquin, the film stars Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Lange. It was screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The film received a regional release on February 21, 2014.

Set in the lower depths of 1860s Paris, In Secret is a tale of obsessive love, adultery and revenge based on Emile Zola’s scandalous novel, Thérèse Raquin. Therese (Elizabeth Olsen), a sexually repressed beautiful young woman, is trapped into a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille (Tom Felton), by her domineering aunt, Madame Raquin (Jessica Lange).

Therese spends her days confined behind the counter of a small shop and her evenings watching Madame play dominos with an eclectic group. After she meets her husband’s alluring friend, Laurent (Oscar Isaac), she embarks on an illicit affair that leads to tragic consequences.

Kate Winslet was attached for a long time to star in the lead role of Therese Raquin. Jessica Biel then replaced her with Gerard Butler as Laurent. In the fall of 2011, Elizabeth Olsen was announced as a replacement in the lead role. Glenn Close was originally cast as Madame Raquin but dropped out and was replaced by Jessica Lange.

In Secret Movie Poster

In Secret

Directed by: Charlie Stratton
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Jessica Lange, Dimitrije Bogdanov, Matt Lucas, Shirley Henderson, John Kavanagh, Lily Laight
Mackenzie Crook Mackenzie Crook
Screenplay by: Neal Bell, Charlie Stratton
Production Design by: Uli Hanisch
Cinematography by: Florian Hoffmeister
Film Editing by: Celia Haining, Leslie Jones, Paul Tothill
Costume Design by: Pierre-Yves Gayraud
Set Decoration by: Michael Fechner
Music by: Gabriel Yared
MPAA Rating: R for some sexual content.
Studio: Roadside Attractions
Release Date: February 21, 2014

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Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter Movie

Taglines: Sometimes you have to leave home to find your family.

16 year old street-wise Apple (Vanessa Hudgens) has never had an easy life. Her mother, June Bailey (Rosario Dawson), is an addict and prostitute, is verbally and physically abusive, and is grooming her daughter to follow in her footsteps. Apple knows the streets, alleys and motels like the back of her hand but wants more from her life. She possesses a tenacious, tough, indomitable spirit, and will not surrender to fate.

Apple runs away from her mother and tracks down her father whom she has never known, as he was only 19 when he got Apple’s mother pregnant. Apple begs her now Wall Street Broker father, Tom Fitzpatrick (Brendan Fraser), to take her in. In the few days under her father’s care, she learns she’s become pregnant by a kid from the streets she met on the train, who now wants nothing to do with her. She is forced to leave her father’s home because of her choice to give birth to the baby she is carrying. Apple runs away again, and is eventually taken under the wing of Father.

Based on a true story centering on 16-year-old Agnes “Apple” Bailey (Vanessa Hudgens), Gimme Shelter uncovers the struggle for survival and the hope of redemption through the harsh realities of life on the streets. As a pregnant teenager, Apple’s journey plummets her into a perilous struggle until finding salvation in a suburban shelter for homeless teens. With provisions of unprecedented comfort, a collective sisterhood connection and female empowerment, the shelter inspires Apple to break the shackles of her past and inspires her to embrace the future with clarity, maturity and hope not only for herself but her unborn child.

Gimme Shelter - Vanessa Hudgens

16 year old street-wise Apple (Vanessa Hudgens) has never had an easy life. Her mother, June Bailey (Rosario Dawson), is an addict and prostitute, is verbally and physically abusive, and is grooming her daughter to follow in her footsteps. Apple knows the streets, alleys and motels like the back of her hand but wants more from her life. She possesses a tenacious, tough, indomitable spirit, and will not surrender to fate.

Apple runs away from her mother and tracks down her father whom she has never known, as he was only 19 when he got Apple’s mother pregnant. Apple begs her now Wall Street Broker father, Tom Fitzpatrick (Brendan Fraser), to take her in. In the few days under her father’s care, she learns she’s become pregnant by a kid from the streets she met on the train, who now wants nothing to do with her. She is forced to leave her father’s home because of her choice to give birth to the baby she is carrying. Apple runs away again, and is eventually taken under the wing of Father.

AboutThe Production

Ron Krauss has been writing, producing and directing intensely personal movies since his first short film, Puppies for Sale (starring Jack Lemmon), began collecting rave reviews and international awards in 1998. Whether making documentaries or narrative films, Krauss’ focus is always on reflecting real-life issues with compassion, hope and authenticity. When his recent project, Amexica, a devastating drama about human trafficking, was screened at the United Nations, Krauss unexpectedly discovered the subject of his next film.

Gimme Shelter - Rosario Dawson

There he was introduced to Kathy DiFiore, a remarkable woman who was being honored at the UN for her work with teenaged mothers. Formerly homeless, DiFiore managed to put her life back together before founding Several Sources Shelters, a network of resources devoted to helping women in need. “I was immediately intrigued,” Krauss says. “I arranged to visit one of her shelters and I was awed by what I saw.”

At the shelter, Krauss met pregnant, homeless teenagers as young as 15 who had been turned out of their homes with nowhere to go. His initial thought was that he had found the perfect subject for his next documentary. Moving into the shelter to get an up-close look at the lives of these young women, their babies and the dedicated workers who support them, Krauss stayed a year and recorded close to 200 hours of interviews with the shelter’s residents.

As he learned more and more about his subjects, the compelling stories he heard fired his imagination and he began to reconceive his ideas about the project. “The shelter began to seem like holy ground to me,” he says. “As I became close to several of the girls and heard their stories, I began to write this screenplay based on their lives.”

Being at the shelter was a profound, even life-changing experience, says Krauss. “It opened my eyes. Just like the movie, I went from fall to winter, spring and summer with the girls. Even for me, staying there was one of the hardest times of my life. The girls who live there are relying on this place for survival.”

Gimme Shelter Movie

He witnessed first-hand how lives are changed through DiFiore’s work. “When I’d only been there a short time, I saw a young girl standing in front of the shelter,” the filmmaker recalls. “She didn’t have a coat and it must have been 18 degrees outside. I thought she lived there, so I let her in. When Kathy showed up, it turned out she wasn’t a resident. In fact, no one there knew her. She had heard about the shelter and walked about 25 miles to get there, with no coat and three months pregnant.”

Fortunately, there happened to be a bed available at the shelter. “All this time, she had been acting like everything was fine, but in reality she was desperate for a place to stay,” says Krauss. “When she heard there was room for her, she grabbed me and hugged me so hard she almost knocked me over. That hug was the inspiration for the movie.”

The girl, Darlisha Dozier, became one of the primary inspirations for Apple’s story. “Darlisha came from a very abusive home,” says Krauss. “There’s a shockingly violent incident in the movie between Apple and her mother that really happened to Darlisha. She has a small part in the film, as does a girl named Alison Bailey, who also provided inspiration for the character. The story is real and the girls are real.”

Another pivotal part of the story is Apple’s relationship with Tom Fitzpatrick, her biological father. The character is based on a real-life Wall Street executive whose young daughter is a resident at the shelter. “Teen homelessness and pregnancy are not limited to any economic strata,” observes Krauss. “It happens to rich and poor families. I felt those two characters embodied some of the most important things I learned.”

To ensure the film would be as authentic as possible, Krauss began to involve the girls themselves in the writing process. He scheduled “script nights” where they would read sections of the movie and share their thoughts on the story as it developed. “They helped me find the reality of their lives,” Krauss says. “They shared their deepest emotions about what it is to be homeless, to not know where you’re going to be tomorrow.”

When Krauss eventually showed his script to people in the entertainment industry, he was surprised by the overwhelming emotional response he received. “Homeless teens and crisis pregnancy are an unusual subject for a mainstream film,” he says. “I wasn’t sure anyone would care. In fact, there was enormous interest. Many young actresses saw this as a showcase for their talent. The character is in virtually every scene and goes through so much.”

While he was writing the script, Krauss says he never imagined casting a Hollywood star in the lead role. He had planned to scour local high schools in search of an unknown with the emotional transparency and resilience to embody Apple’s formidable spirit. But after meeting with Vanessa Hudgens, best known as perky A-student Gabriella Montez in the three High School Musical films, Krauss began to reconsider. “Vanessa was a little different from anyone else I met,” he says. “And she was hungry for the transition.”

In fact, the actress was so eager to play the part that she came to her audition in character as Apple. “I knew I could bring her to life,” Hudgens says. “It was an opportunity to completely transform myself. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see myself. The story, which is based on the lives a several young women who stayed at the shelter, is completely terrifying, which was all the more reason why I wanted to do it.”

Her transformation and her enthusiasm for the role impressed Krauss, but the filmmaker kept his options open, narrowing down the field to a mixture of about a dozen rising stars and complete unknowns. Then, in an unusual move, he screened their auditions for the girls at the shelter.

“I was already focused on Vanessa, but I needed confirmation from them,” he says. “They had no idea who she was. Some of them had never even been to a theater until I took them to a movie night while I was staying there. But they confirmed what I already felt. They said that Girl Number 8-Vanessa-was the most like them.”

Landing the role was just the beginning of a long and challenging journey for Hudgens. As Apple, she is a far cry from the actress and pop singer that her fans look up to. Drastically deglamorized, Hudgens is almost unrecognizable after adding about 15 pounds to her diminutive 5’1″ frame. The only makeup she wears is designed to mask her wholesome beauty.

“I chopped all my hair off,” she says. “I had a neck tattoo with fake piercings and I wore baggy old clothes. When I walked around the building I lived in and no one recognized me, I started to get really excited about the role. The hardest thing was trying to stay away from paparazzi. I wanted the way I looked to be a complete surprise.’

Gimme Shelter Movie Poster

Gimme Shelter

Directed by: Ron Krauss
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, Brendan Fraser, Stephanie Szostak, James Earl Jones, Laneya Wiles, Emily Meade, Ann Dowd
Screenplay by: Ron Krauss
Production Design by: William Ladd Skinner
Cinematography by: Alain Marcoen
Film Editing by: Marie-Hélène Dozo, Mark Sult
Costume Design by: Ciera Wells
Set Decoration by: Stephanie Beaurain, Cathy T. Marshall
Music by: Ólafur Arnalds
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving mistreatment, some drug content, violence and language – all concerning teens.
Studio: Roadside Attractions
Release Date: January 24, 2014

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