Impressive #CrimsonPeak is Vintage Guillermo del Toro

Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, movie, poster

Contrary to those ads you’ve been seeing and the trailers with Nick Cave‘s “Red Right Hand” playing beneath it, make no mistake, Guillermo del Toro‘s Crimson Peak is a true Gothic romance that just happens to have ghosts in it (as well as copious amounts of blood and blood-like substances).What it is not, is a horror movie. The director himself has not called it that. He’s actually compared it to Hitchcock, particularly Rebecca or George Cukor’s Gaslight (both of which are apt comparisons), but it is as a horror film, that it is being marketed. It was shot February through May and completed in December 2014, but Universal wanted to release it at Halloween, so here we are in October 2015. Make no mistake, there are thrills and chills, and it’s full of murderous intent and malice-aforethought, but no real “scares”, at least in terms of what movie-goers born post-Freddie Kruger and weaned on the Paranormal and Insidious series’ as well as remakes of Halloween, The Fog and Poltergeist, would consider truly scary.

Mia Wasikowska is Edyth Cushing, an aspiring novelist, whose biggest champion is her wealthy industrialist father (Jim Beaver). Her aspirations make her something of an outsider to her social climbing contemporaries who prove that the male publishing world isn’t alone in thinking she should be concentrating on getting a husband.  So of course, it is is Edyth that the mysterious Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), a rakish English demi-noble (his title, “Baronet”, is thrown around a lot) plucks from the bouquet of dewy young things presented to him upon his arrival in turn-of-the-century Buffalo. He quickly marries her, after the shocking (and incredibly brutal) death of her father, who had objected to the match on grounds we are not immediately privy to (made known to him by his hired detective Holly, played by Burn Gorman), then whisks her away to a molding, crumbling estate back in (extremely) rural England, full of ghastly secrets and even ghastlier ghosts.

When her heart is stolen by a seductive stranger, a young woman is swept away to a house atop a mountain of blood-red clay: a place filled with secrets that will haunt her forever. Between desire and darkness, between mystery and madness, lies the truth behind Crimson Peak.

The film, written by the director and Matthew Robbins (Mimic) who started it in 2006 and finally finished during filming, is visually stunning in typical del Toro style. All of the colors are rich and over-saturated. Both Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain often look like they belong in a Pre-Raphaelite painting. A lot of the sumptuous fabrics used in designer Kate Hawley‘s costumes are vintage, from the period depicted. The set design (all of which was built from the ground up specifically for the film by art director Thomas E. Sanders) is, in a word, incredible. Every scene, particulary once the film moves to spooky Allerdale Hall, could have been captured by an artist’s brush as well as the lens of Danish cinematographer Dean Laustsen.  del Toro has said that he wanted his movie to look like a Technicolor Mario Bava film (Bava was a painter before he was a director/cinematographer) and, JMHO, he’s succeeded. (You will hear about Crimson Peak come awards season. It will be up for all of the technical awards – as it should be.)

But this film owes as much to Bava as it does Hammer Studios in its hay-day. Charlie Hunnam‘s Dr. McMichael is a “good guy” straight out of their repertory company. The grand score, by Fernando Velasquez, and the dialogue, particularly in the early scenes, is straight out of a period-perfect Penny Dreadful (speaking of which, there are shades of the Showtime series as well – again, not a bad thing at all), with a lot of stilted delivery of the phrase “my child”.

Watching Wasikowska and Hiddleston, it’s hard to imagine Emma Stone and Benedict Cumberbatch in their roles. Hiddleston, in particular, was made for this type of film (if you haven’t seen his tortured, soulful vampire in Only Lovers Left Alive, remedy that. Immediately) and the site of him in white tie and tails is indeed impressive and utterly swoon-worthy. Wasikowska gets to be the heroine of her own story, in a departure from the Gothic formula. del Toro has imbued her with the intelligence and resiliance to not only recognize the dastardly shenanigans of her new husband and his creepy sister, but to defend herself against them.

The Sharpes are a tragic pair, certainly not your typical villains, created by equal parts nurture and nature, and it is Jessica Chastain’s Lucille that is the beating pulse of this movie. Lucille is fierce and determined, with a stare that is both ice cold and blazing with intensity. She doesn’t go full-tilt bozo until the final reel, but it is a payoff the film has been ratcheting toward from the start and what we’ve been waiting for. (Even then we feel some small measure of sympathy for her.) I don’t want to spoil anything, particularly since most of the plot twists are easily untangled while you watch, but trust me – there are monsters and there are monsters.

See Crimson Peak and see it at a theater in all its glory. I’m not usually one to endorse what I consider marketing gimicks, but I highly recommend IMAX for this one.  It deserves the biggest screen  you can find. Come back and let me know what you think.

#GerardButler in #Geostorm Now Brewing in 2017 But What Does It All Mean?

Septembers of Shiraz, movie, poster, Iran, based on novel, Adrian Brody, Salma Hayek, Gerard Butler

I’m sensing it’s the end of an era. You know I work really hard at keeping the faith, keeping the torch of Gerard Butler’s career lit (for all the thanks I get from him), but I have no idea what to make of this newest development. We’ve gone from a possible three films in 2015, to no films in 2015. Three films in the can. All three have now been pushed back from their original release dates.

London Has Fallen, the sequel to 2013’s surprise hit Olympus Has Fallen and the closest thing to a safe bet among the three, will, as of this writing at least, be released in January 22, 2016, pushed back from October 2015. I’ve already complained about the fact that the October 2 date was given to what will surely be an execrable remake of 80’s “classic” Point Break (sorry Edgar Ramirez, but I don’t think even you’ll be able to save it). The reason supposedly had something to do with a crowded fall schedule. The original date would have pitted the film, by a director, Babak Najafi, making his English language debut, against Victor Frankenstein with James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe and Robert ZemeckisThe Walk with Joseph Gordon Levitt, among others.

Alex Proyas’ (RepoMan) Gods of Egypt is slated to follow in April 2016, back from an original date of February 12. Despite the fact that I’m a tad peeved that it won’t open on my birthday, The rescheduled date actually bodes well, on the face of it. February is the new January. While the first month of the year used to a wasteland of dumped films that studios had no confidence in, but figured might make a few bucks, and they had to put out something. These days, quite a few studios are “counter-programming” against the late end of December rush to release awards season fodder, by unleashing some films in January that are not meant to garner awards but just entertain those segments of the population that either have no interest in more high-brow fare, or who have already seen everything. So now February has become the dead space between end of year blockbusters and art films and new Spring films. An April date for Gods of Egypt might just signal a little more faith from its studio, Lionsgate/Summit. They’ll need some faith. They’ve got a huge nut to crack. Twelve special effects companies are expensive. $140 million expensive. (Although supposedly, Lionsgate/Summit’s ante was only around $10 million, because of the international pre-sales and Australia tax incentives.)

Lastly, there’s Geostorm which had originally been slated for an October 2016 release. Today it was announced that it has been pushed back to January 2017. Geostorm is the directorial debut of disaster flick maven, writer/producer Dean Devlin. The cast, in addition to Butler includes Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Mare Winningham, Kathryn Winnick, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia. In it, Butler is a “charming but stubborn satellite designer called in to help when the orbiting devices that control the Earth’s weather start to go haywire, leading to fears that the worst storm humanity has ever known could soon befall us all. Sturgess is his estranged brother, with whom he’ll have to work if he’s to stop the meteorological meltdown.”
No reason has been given for this latest move. It’s been deduced that it is to give Devlin (who is also at work on his TNT series “The Librarians”) more time in post-production (where it’s been since March 2015). So it was originally going to be a year and a half from wrap to release, now it’ll be closer to two years. The same can be said of Gods of Egypt, which when into post in July 2014. Both films are ultra- special effects heavy extravaganzas. The latter takes place almost entirely in front of a green screen.

I actually don’t think this will be the final move for Geostorm. Giving Devlin a few more months to tinker is one thing, but the new date is already crowded with the likes of the Magnificent Seven remake, DreamWorks Animation’s Boss Baby, the LONG gestating version of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower (which hasn’t even filmed yet) and the latest Power Rangers reboot. Regardless of what I think of those films, it’s likely that at least one of them will share ticket buyers with Geostorm. So we’ll see.

While all of this may be out of Gerard Butler’s control, probably yet another reason he’s taken to producing his own films (and he only has a hand in one of these, London Has Fallen), he’s been out of the movie-going public’s eye since October 2013. That’s a Hollywood lifetime. I think this was the point. I’d like to believe that even he had tired of the carnival that is his life. While no one has more fun, in terms of his career, it was time to take a step back and reassess. Or at least that’s what I want to believe. While I know it hasn’t all been endless vacations in between Hugo Boss campaigns, none of these three films add up to what I believe is his own (well-deserved) version of a McConaissance. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but they appear, at first blush, to be more of the same. Perhaps his manager/producing partner Alan Siegel knew of where he spoke when, quite a few years ago, he said (and I’m paraphrasing) that eventually Gerard Butler will disappear completely from in front of the camera and reemerge behind it. Perhaps that’s where he’ll find true creative fulfillment.

Butler will likely be in Toronto this month to attend the Gala premiere of Septembers of Shiraz, during the Toronto International Film Festival. It is the first film he’s shepherded as producer from the purchase of the book’s film rights all the way to the screen, and the first that doesn’t have him in it. It stars the other half of my favorite bromance, Adrien Brody, as well as Salma Hayek and Shohreh Aghdashloo.

Here’s the first clip:

(clip first published on

The film, directed by Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) and based on the novel by Dalia Sofer, is the true story of a secular Jewish family and the unexpected journey they face during post-revolutionary Iran.

The clip features Farnez Amin (Hayek), pleading for details on the whereabouts of her husband (Brody), who was taken into custody and accused of espionage. “It’s time you understood, sister Amin, that the times when people like you could demand things from us are over. Now, it is our turn,” forewarns Mohsen (Alon Aboutboul).

As events build toward a dangerous bid to escape, Farnez and her husband Isaac Amin must confront their fundamental identity and what their future may hold.”

Movie 43 it ain’t.

I don’t predict huge box office in the US after its as yet to be determined and probably limited release, but it’ll likely have legs overseas and I have no doubt tireless promoter Butler will hand carry it across the globe if need be.

My point, if I have one, is that as the time between films in which Gerard Butler appears on our screens grows longer and longer, and some might well wonder if by the time these films are finally released anyone will still care, we might also ask, will he?

#GerardButler and #AaronEckhart Are a Dynamic Duo in 1st Trailer for #LondonHasFallen

London Has Fallen, movie, poster, Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart

Lionsgate UK has today released the first trailer for London Has Fallen, the sequel to 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen. I can only assume that the release of the trailer had been scheduled around the original October 2015 release date, before it was pushed back to January 2016*. Not that I’m complaining, It’s been a loooong time since I’ve seen Gerard Butler on the big screen (and no, animated voice acting does not count). Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your perspective. To quote Peter Quill, I’d say it’s a “bit’a both”.

Following the events of the original film, in which Mike Banning (Butler) single-handedly saved the President (Aaron Eckhart) from the clutches of a North Korean terrorist bent on our complete annihilation, Banning has been reinstated as not only a member of the Secret Service, but he’s back on his friend and President’s personal detail.

In the sequel, the two, travel to London to attend the funeral of the British Prime Minister. Terrorists come of the woodwork, seeking to capitalize on this confluence of world leaders.

This is only the first little teaser, but it would appear that President Asher doesn’t have to play the damsel in distress in this one, and gets to assist Banning with the world-saving. Call me crazy, but I like the on-the-nose use of “London Bridge is Falling Down” underneath it.

Radha Mitchell is back as Banning’s wife Leah. Maybe he’ll take her along for that long-delayed honeymoon. (A little snogging would be nice, Butler. Throw your distaff fans a bone.) My guess is that the other returning players, including Head of the Secret Service, Lynn Jacobs (Angela Bassett), Speaker of the House Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), Secretary of Defense McMillan (Melisso Leo)NSA Deputy Director Ray Monroe (Sean O’Bryan) and even blowhard General Clegg (Robert Forster) are probably all left at home manning the switches.

The sequel to the worldwide smash hit Olympus Has Fallen begins in London, where the British Prime Minister has passed away under mysterious circumstances. His funeral is a must-attend event for leaders of the western world. But what starts out as the most protected event on earth, turns into a deadly plot to kill the world’s most powerful leaders, devastate every known landmark in the British capital, and unleash a terrifying vision of the future. Only three people have any hope of stopping it: the President of the United States, his formidable secret service head (Gerard Butler), and an English MI-6 agent who rightly trusts no one.

Directed by Babak Najafi ( Easy Money II: Hard to Kill, “Banshee”), written by Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger (who penned the original) and Christian Gudegast (A Man Apart, Den of Thieves**) with Chad St. John, the sequel also stars Charlotte Riley, Colin Salmon,  Patrick Kennedy, Shivani Ghai, Mehdi Dehbi and Andrew Pleavin*** and will be released on January 22, 2016.

More will surely follow.

London Has Fallen, movie, poster, Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart

*I know, I know. The rule is “beware the films of January” – but I’ve also said January is not the wasteland it used to be. I’m holding onto a kernel of hope. It’s Gerard Butler after all. I’m nothing if not loyal. I’m more perturbed by the fact that this film’s date was usurped by the Point Break remake.

**Den of Thieves is in pre-production and also stars Gerard Butler. I have to wonder whether or not it’s in jeopardy, like the oft-rescheduled Hunter Killer, due to Relativity’s financial woes.

***3rd time Pleavin will have appeared with Butler, following the made-for-television mini-series “Attila” and then 300

#MattDamon Knows Help Is Only 140 Million Miles Away in #TheMartian’s First Trailer

The Martian, Matt Damon, Sir Ridley Scott, movie, poster

…and he’s gonna “science the shit out of {it}”.

From Sir Ridley Scott, with a cast as impressive as this one boasts, it’s a safe bet that I will see The Martian, even if it were a live action version of Bugs Bunny’s nemesis Marvin the Martian’s life story.  Judging from the just released first trailer, it is not. What it does appear to be is a combination of both Gravity and Interstellar while managing to up the ante on them both.


Take a look at this:

While I’m on record as not being a proponent of 3D just for the sake of it, I believe a movie like this will probably benefit from every bit of technological wizardry that’s thrown at it. I’ll see it in IMAX 3D if it’s available.

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.

While Sir Ridley needs no introduction, The Martian is based on a best-selling (first) novel* by Andy Weir, and the screenplay was written by Drew Goddard, also responsible for the scripts for Cloverfield (and its upcoming sequel), The Cabin in the Woods, and World War Z, as well as a lot of episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, “Alias” and “Lost”. Oh yeah, and he created current Netflix hit “Daredevil”.

As he did with Prometheus, Scott has embraced the era of viral marketing. The first promo for The Martian has been released, called “Ares Farewell”. In it, Matt Damon’s Mark Watney “interviews” the crew of the Ares (which for some reason he calls the Hermes. I wonder if the ship’s name was changed?**) as they do their final pre-flight checks. It’s designed to be viewed on your computer or device screen and includes pop-up “tweets”. One of which, “Vogel (Aksel Hennie) has to be the #synthetic right…#AresLive”, is a brilliant reference to characters in Ridley Scott’s previous space films, Alien and Prometheus.

Besides Damon, the cast includes Jessica Chastain***, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Hennie, Donald Glover and Mackenzie Davis.

The Martian, Matt Damon, Sir Ridley Scott, movie, poster

The Martian opens all over this planet beginning with the US on November 25 and the UK on 27th November.

*Weir first published the book in blog form on his own site. When people asked for a downloadable form, he offered it on Amazon for Kindle download at the (then) minimum price of $0.99. Now that’s a self-publishing success story.
**Ares is the Greek God of war. Hermes is the Greek God of transitions and boundaries, as well as being a messenger and a protector and patron of travelers. He’s the equivalent of the Roman God Mercury. Both are typically depicted with wings on their heels and/or helmets. JMHO, but Hermes seems like a better name for the spacecraft taking a crew to Mars.
***Both Damon and Chastain appeared in Interstellar, but shared no scenes together.

#TomCruise is Still Trying to Get That Door Open in 2nd Trailer for MI:5 – Rogue Nation

Mission Impossible, Rogue Nation, movie, poster, Tom Cruise

The Avengers may have kicked off the summer tent-pole season, but for my money, it won’t be official until I hear the opening strains of Lalo Schifrin’s “Mission Impossible” theme.

Call me crazy, but I still get excited whenever I hear the “dun dun dun dun DUN dun”. I still look forward to whatever shenanigans that Ethan Hunt and company are likely to get up to in the latest installment of the Mission Impossible film franchise. Despite how looney tunes Tom Cruise is, may be, or you perceive him to be, he continues to provide a pretty reliable return on the investment of  whatever you paid for your ticket. JMHO, but I think he’s crazy like a fox. He’s still one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, whatever we think of him here at home. And I don’t think the fact that he puts 110% into his performances (or at least 110% of what he has left after the Thetans have taken their cut) can be called into question. Those big global bucks ensure that, even at 52,  Paramount is still willing to let Cruise run amok by doing his own stunts, (which seem to get more outrageous the older he gets and despite the fact that he was injured six times on this film) and the special effects wizards keep getting to invent at least semi-plausible weapons and gadgets. (Can you imagine if Ethan Hunt were to team up with James Bond?)

The IMF team once again includes Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames. The new addition is Rebecca Ferguson (“The White Queen”) plays the film’s Ilsa Faust (a better name for a femme fatale has not been cooked up since, well, since Natasha Fatale), stepping into the shoes vacated by Paula Patton as Ethan’s arm candy. Faust, judging from the trailer, would seem to have some skills as well.

Natasha Fatale

Other newcomers include Simon McBurney, the always excellent and usually menacing Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin as the head of the CIA who apparently wants the heads of the IMF on a plate.

Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.

The Syndicate is the name of the organization that regularly provided the baddies for the original “Mission: Impossible” tv show. (What SPECTRE is to Bond and T.H.R.U.S.H.  is to the Man From U.N.C.L.E. – both of which will be revisited this year. That’s why Paramount moved the release date up from Christmas. MI5 gets to be first. Here’s a bit of trivia: Cruise was cast as Napoleon Solo, but dropped out to focus on MI5.) The film starts where Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (hard to believe that was 3 1/2 years ago) ends, with Ethan prepping his team to investigate the Syndicate.  Anyway, watch this:

“This may be our last mission. Let’s make it count.”  As if. As long as they keep making money, Tom Cruise will keep making Mission Impossible movies. I’m sure someone can figure out how to turn a walker into a weapon.  Bring it.

Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (who has become Cruise’s go-to collaborator of late), Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation opens in the UK on 30th July and in the US on July 31.

JMHO Trailer Park: Blue-Eyed #JasonMomoa, #MichaelShannon Becomes Nucky,#JakeGyllenhaal Goes Up a Mountain & #CareyMulligan Takes a Stand

Debug, poster, movie, Jason Momoa, David Hewlett

I’m already skeptical whenever I find out about a film just prior to its release, after filming has taken place, posters put out, clips slipped to media outlets, etc.  I’m especially suspicious when the star of the flick is someone to whom I usually pay rather close attention. In this case, the movie is Debug and its “star” is Jason Momoa.

So, what exactly is going on here?

“Deep space. Six young hackers on a grueling work release program attempt to clear out – debug – the computer systems of a massive derelict space freighter. They quickly fall prey to the ship’s vengeful artificial intelligence, a program that would kill to be human. As the fractious team is forced to match wits with this rogue program, they discover that the ship holds a deadly secret, and a fate far worse than death.” 

Uh huh.

JoBlo has gotten their hands on an exclusive clip, in which Jason Momoa as Iam is doing battle with someone called Kaida (Jeaneann Goossen) which you can take a look at below:

Momoa’s the only “name” in the cast and his face is front and center on the poster, but he’s listed with “and”, which leads me to believe that it’s a cameo and there isn’t much more of him than in the clip.

The writer/director of this magnum opus is one David Hewlett. Yes, “Stargate: Atlantis” fans, THAT David Hewlett. I can only surmise that Mr. Momoa signed on as a favor to an old friend. The rest of the cast includes Tenika Davis, Adrian Holmes, Adam Butcher and Kerr Hewitt. JMHO, but I can’t see anything to recommend Debug, other than as a curiosity.

Jason Momoa, movie, photo, Debug, David Hewlett

Except that it’s hard to find fault with a blue-eyed Jason Momoa. Yes, I’m that shallow.

Debug gets a simultaneous (limited) theatrical, dvd & blu-ray bow on June 12.

99 Homes, Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern, movie, poster

At the other end of the spectrum, 99 Homes has been making a splash on the festival circuit for nearly a year, screening to critical acclaim at 2014’s Venice, Telluride and Toronto Fests, as well as Sundance 2015, among others. I’ve been wondering when or even if, it was going to get a domestic release. The answer is yes, on September 25.

The always excellent, always watchable Michael Shannon stars with Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern, Tim Guinee and (our social-media friend) Noah Lomax, in writer/director Ramin Bahrani‘s look at the fall-out from the economic collapse that forced millions of Americans from their homes. Frankly, I can’t wait to see how he fashioned a thriller out of the very real pain from which a lot of those people are still reeling.

A father struggles to get back the home that his family was evicted from by working for the greedy real estate broker who’s the source of his frustration.

Bahrani’s previous films have all been interested in social justice, from 2005’s award-winning Man Push Cart to 2012’s undervalued and underseen At Any Price (with Dennis Quaid).

Here, Garfield plays single dad Dennis Nash and Shannon, Rick Carver, the real estate agent who took his home. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that Laura Dern is old enough to play Andrew Garfield’s mother, but all glibness aside, the trailer alone will gut-punch you. Likening the housing crisis of the early 21st century to the Great Depression of the 20th, let me say that this isn’t Henry Gondorff and Johnny Hooker trying to take down fat-cat Doyle Lonnegan. This is The Grapes of Wrath with oranges.

The trailer:

99 HOMES hits theaters September 25, 2015.

Everest, Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal, movie, photo

Based on a true story, Baltasar Kormakur‘s Everest, tells the tale of two climbing expeditions trapped on the titular mountain by a severe storm. Personally I don’t know why anyone would want to climb the world’s highest peak, but then again, I can’t climb to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument without getting severe  .

I would, however, pay for a ticket to watch Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley and Jason Clarke battle the elements as they attempt to reach the summit of said mountain. Especially when the screenplay comes from Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and Lem Dobbs (The Limey) among others.

As revealed in the trailer sets up an understandably intense battle of man versus nature when one of the biggest snowstorms in recorded history bears down on the two groups  of climbers.

The cast also includes Robin Wright, Josh Brolin, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Kelly, John Hawkes, Martin Henderson and Vanessa Kirby, to name but a few.

Take a look:

Everest opens in the US on September 18 and in the UK on 25th September.

Anne-Marie Duff, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Romola Garai, photo, movie, Suffragette

It’s 2015 and we’re (hopefully) about to elect the first female President of these United States. How is it possible that Suffragette is the first feature film to tell the story of the movement that that led to the right of women to vote, first in Great Britain and then in America. Call them suffragettes or call them early feminists, these women risked everything for what should be a basic human right in a civilized society, something as simple as having a voice that counted.

The foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State.

Maybe it’s because, while there have been victories, the war continues, maybe it’s the raw humanity that star Carey Mulligan so effortlessly projects, or maybe it was just the ethereal version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” sung by Robyn Sherwell, but this trailer gave me chills.

It was smart to limit La Streep’s appearance in this first trailer. As the head of the movement Emmeline Pankhurst, I expect Meryl Streep to have little more than a cameo and the film shouldn’t be sold on her name alone.  Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff and most especially, Mulligan, are obviously the heart and soul.

Written by Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady), Suffragette also stars two of the cast of her BBC drama “The Hour”, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw.  The patriarchal oppressors are represented by Brendan Gleason, Geoff Bell, and Samuel West. The rest of the cast includes Morgan Watkins, Natalie Press and Adrian Schiller. Directed by Sarah Gavron, Suffragette will open the BFI London Film Festival on 7th October before opening in the US (23rd) and the UK (30th) later in the month.  Expect this to be  major player come awards season.


Watch #JasonSegel and #JesseEisenberg Have a Great Conversation in #TheEndoftheTour

poster, movie, The End of the Tour, David Foster Wallace, Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, James Ponsoldt

The first trailer for Sundance favorite, The End of the Tour, directed by James Ponsoldt and starring Jason Segel as the late David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as his erstwhile biographer (actually he’s a writer for Rolling Stone), has just been dropped by A24.
Let me start by reiterating that I am not a huge fan of Jesse Eisenberg. Anything past Zombieland, when I wasn’t all that familiar with him, including The Social Network and Now You See Me, all I ever see is Jesse Eisenberg. While it might be difficult for the actor to portray himself onscreen, and that might account for the kudos usually showered upon his performances, I never see a “character”. I never forget who I’m watching.
That out of the way, let me just say that I’ve been a Jason Segel fan since “Freaks and Geeks”. While I still mourn that show’s untimely demise (yes, fifteen years later), I take comfort in the fact that nearly every member of the cast has gone on to bigger and better things. Many of whom are even household names. (Poor Samm Levine. Quentin Tarantino put him in Inglourious Basterds, but I don’t think I’ve seen him since. Apparently, he’s done a lot of television *shrug*.)
These days Segel is probably best known for seven seasons of “How I Met Your Mother”, as well as comedic turns in Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I Love You Man (all having at least a little something to do with Judd Apatow) and The Muppets.
Stretching toward “dramedy” in 2011, Segel did Jeff Who Lives at Home for the Duplass brothers. (It costars Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon. It’s on Netflix. See it, if you haven’t) He co-wrote, co-produced (along with Apatow, among others) and starred in 2012’s The Five Year Engagement, with Emily Blunt. The cast also included Chris Pratt, Alison Brie and Jacki Weaver, and by all rights should have done better at the box office. The film’s release was delayed a number of times for various reasons, but I have to believe that not knowing which box it fit into and therefore the ability to sell it, is chief among them.
My point is that it’s not really a surprise that Segel is venturing into more serious territory. His contemporaries, most of which are also in the “Apatow Reperatory Company”, have certainly paved the way. (Sitting in the dark watching Superbad, who in their right mind would ever have predicted that Jonah Hill would now be known as a “two-time Academy Award nominee”? Insanity!)
Those who have already seen The End of the Tour, primarily at Sundance, have already put his name together with the phrase, “Best Actor contender”. Take a look:

While the movie is not about his death, knowing that Wallace committed suicide in 2008 makes all of this all the more poignant.

THE END OF THE TOUR tells the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest. As the days go on, a tenuous yet intense relationship seems to develop between journalist and subject. The two men bob and weave around each other, sharing laughs and also possibly revealing hidden frailties – but it’s never clear how truthful they are being with each other. Ironically, the interview was never published, and five days of audio tapes were packed away in Lipsky’s closet. The two men did not meet again. The film is based on Lipsky’s critically acclaimed memoir about this unforgettable encounter, written following Wallace’s 2008 suicide. Both Segel and Eisenberg reveal great depths of emotion in their performances and the film is directed with humor and tenderness by Sundance vet James Ponsoldt from Pulitzer- Prize winner Donald Margulies’ insightful and heartbreaking screenplay.

The End of the Tour is director James Ponsoldt’s fourth feature film and is being hailed as his best to date.(I admit that while I loved Smashed from 2012, which showed Aaron Paul was much more than Jesse Pinkman, I have yet to see 2013’s, The Spectacular Now [which launched Miles Teller], or his first film, Off the Black, from 2006.) It’s been playing film festivals non-stop since January. (Including the Boston Independent Film Festival in April. Sadly, I missed it.)
The cast also includes Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Gummer, Ron Livingston, Mickey Sumner and Joan Cusack. The film will get a (limited) release in the US on July 31. We can hope that also means a VoD release of some sort as well.