“The Law Is Shot to Hell” Watch 1st Trailer for #SlowWest with #MichaelFassbender

Slow West, Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, John Mclean, western, Ben Mendelsohn, Rory McCann

Sundance Film Festival poster for Slow West

It has been clear since the days of Jonah Hex, that any western which included Michael Fassbender would not be your typical “oater” or “horse opera” in the vein John Wayne or even Gary Cooper (super duper! C’mon, you know you totally heard Peter Boyle in your head). This would have been true of Jane Got Her Gun, if he’d stayed with the project, and it’s certainly true of Slow West. We’d had hints of its  unconventional nature from the few stills released following the film’s debut at Sundance, but now we have proof with the first trailer.

The film is writer/director John Mclean‘s feature debut after having helmed a few well-received shorts including Man On a Motorcycle and Pitch Black Heist, also starring Fassbender. In Slow West he plays Silas, a “mysterious drifter” who throws in with a 16 year-old Scottish immigrant (Kodi Smit-McPhee). The kid, in true knight errant fashion, is on a quest to find his lady love (Caren Pistorius), whose father (Rory McCann) has spirited her off to the wilds of the American west.

Despite the fact that Fassbender is playing a sort of outlaw Friar Laurence to this 19th century Romeo and Juliet, it would appear that the film is still awash with grubby, saddle-sore villains as well. The always fantastic Ben Mendelsohn (I remember when I saw Animal Kingdom for the first time. Joel Edgerton was already making a name for himself, but everything else I read said that James Frecheville* would be the break-out star. No one predicted it would be Mendelsohn who is suddenly required to be in all the movies. And have you seen “Bloodline” on Netflix?  Do it! Now! As usual I digress.) as Payne, the leader of a gang of money-hungry, cold-blooded bounty hunters, is one such character.  The actor apparently took a shine to Payne’s furry coat. He wore it to the Sundance premiere.

Take a look at this:

trailer via JoBlo

Those lucky enough to have already seen the movie have raved about Mclean’s debut, calling it a fairy tale about doomed romance and unlikely families, defined by its “sharp wit”, and “absurdist violence” remininscent of Tarantino.  When can I buy my ticket!

Produced by the team from The King’s Speech and Shame, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, among others, including Fassbender, Slow West moseys into the Tribeca Film Festival April 18. Its May 15 US opening doesn’t preclude a stop on the French Riviera first, so I wouldn’t be surprised if its included in the upcoming Cannes Film Festival lineup as well. The UK gets it on 26 June.

*last seen in The Drop with Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini

#TomHardy “Keeping It Real” For #DennisLehane, #MichaëlRoskam in #TheDrop BTS Featurette

 

The Drop, Tom Hardy, movie, photo, puppy, Dennis Lehane, Michael Roskam

Is there anything cuter than Tom Hardy and a puppy? The answer is no…no, there is not.

Belgian director Michaël Roskam‘s first English-language feature, The Drop, with Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and featuring the late James Gandolfini‘s final screen performance, “drops” in less than two weeks.

The film, in which a man called Bob Saginowski (Hardy) finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost, and one I’ve been talking about for some time (if you’re not a fan of any of the above, sorry, but there’s more to come) was made from the first ever screenplay by writer Dennis Lehane, who adapted is own short story.  He has subsequently turned the screenplay into a novel, out next Tuesday, September 2.

The screenplay itself was based on an earlier Lehane short story called “Animal Rescue,” (the original title for the film- “what was wrong with that?”, I have to ask), which originally appeared in a short story collection called “Boston Noir”, about a killing that results from a lost pit bull.

The Drop, Tom Hardy, movie, photo, puppy, Dennis Lehane, Michael Roskam

See? Told ya.

As the writer explains in the featurette below, that story was based on a book he started more than a decade ago, but shelved.   After the movie was made, he was asked to do a “novelization” of the script, an idea he hated, but found that there were things from from the original novel that didn’t make it to the story or the script plus things original to the script that were cut either from that screenplay or from the finished film, that he still wanted to explore. Add all of that together and the result was a new book, now also called, “The Drop”.

In the interest of full disclosure, I an ardent Lehane fan. He’s one of the few contemporary writers that I feel will always merit the purchase of an actual book, as opposed to the digital version.

Lehane’s work, whatever form it takes, seems to lend itself particularly well to the screen. There have already been memorable adaptations of the novels Mystic River (dir. by Clint Eastwood), Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese) and Gone Baby Gone (which put Ben Affleck on the directorial map). Once Batfleck finally finishes work for Zack Snyder‘s Superman sequel, he’ll be back behind the camera for Live By Night, another Lehane adaptation.

For his part, Lehane is also writing episodes of the final season of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” (JMHO, but that’s reason enough to keep watching)  as well as developing “Ness”, a prospective television project about famed bootleg-buster Eliot Ness.

(Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts, here in his third film for Roskam   is apparently a method actor. Did you catch the Brooklyn accent used throughout?)

The Drop, directed by Michaël Roskam, with Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Elizabeth Rodriguez (“Orange is the New Black”), James Frecheville (Animal Kingdom) and Matthias Schoenaerts will screen at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on Septemer 5. It has also just been announced that the film will screen in competition at the 62nd San Sebastián Film Festival on September 26. It opens in the US on September 12 and in the UK on 14th November.

Latest tv spot:

What I Missed on My Summer Vacation: Part 2 – Tom Hardy Edition

Movie, Poster, Michael Roskam, The Drop, Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace

International Poster for Michael Roskam’s The Drop with Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace

1. The Drop International Trailer, Poster and New Images

The Drop is, without a doubt, on the top of my “must see” list for the remainder of 2014. I probably made that clear when I posted the first trailer. This just ticks too many boxes for me: Tom Hardy, Dennis Lehane, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenarts (working for his Bullhead director, Michaël Roskam), puppies, wise guys… I could do The Muttley right now and I haven’t even seen it. (I still think someone needs to provide a logical explanation as to why the title was changed from Animal Rescue – which was the title of Dennis Lehane’s short story upon which it’s based. Seriously, we can’t complain that our society is collectively losing brain cells like a balloon with a slow leak, and continue to pander to the lowest common denominator. End rant.)

Bob Saginowski (Hardy) finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.

If you haven’t yet made up your mind about this one, take a look at the international version of the trailer. It’s longer and definitely darker than the domestic version, yet provides a clearer picture of what we can expect.

Certainly it appears that The Drop is classic Lehane, in which the protagonist is attempting to turn his life around even as his past comes back to bite him in the ass. As a Lehane fan, there is much I can deduce about the plot from that statement alone, but I don’t want to peer too closely.
I think that I can say with some confidence that James Gandolfini will be nominated for more posthumous awards (for the final time as this was, unfortunately, his last film), Schoennarts and Roskam will be firmly planted on the American map and Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace are brilliant. We have to wait until September to find out if I’m right or full of something.

Mad Max: Fury Road, movie, photo, Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road

2. Mad Max: Fury Road New Images and Official Synopsis

I’m not going to run down all of the drama surrounding the production of Mad Max: Fury Road. I’ve been talking about it for years and you can read it all here.

Let’s focus on the good news that surfaced last week, namely the new images of Tom Hardy as Max and the first official images (via EW) of Charlize Theron as Furiosa.
The official synopsis of the film gives us some insight into her character:

Mad Max: Fury Road is an apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and most everyone is crazed, fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There’s Max, a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Fury Road must be where these two characters and their paths converge.
The rest of the cast includes Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoë Kravitz, Riley Keough and Josh Helman. The movie’s release has actually been moved up (from its Summer 2015 date, which was moved back from its original date…oh who can keep up?) to May 15, 2015 – which indicates some faith in its ability to kick-off the summer blockbuster season – so it’s still early yet for a trailer. I’d bet on some sort of footage, be it a full trailer, just a teaser or a clip, to come out of Comic Con later this month.  I’m keeping my eyes peeled in any case, because I can’t wait.

Lest there be any confusion, this isn’t a Tom Hardy fan blog (any more than it’s a Gerard Butler or Michael Fassbender blog), but it is my blog and so I write about the things (and the people) that interest me. One of the people that has fascinated me for the last (nearly) six years, has been one Edward Thomas Hardy. This isn’t the time to go into his curriculum vitae, as I’ve discussed it many, many times in the past and it can all be found here if you’re interested.
I have written about him so often, in just the past year alone, because Tom Hardy is everywhere lately. He’s achieved that level of fame that means there are camera crews stalking his film sets, but more than that, it seems that rarely a week goes by without the announcement of another film project. If the man makes every movie to which he’s attached at this moment, back to back without a break, the 36 year old Hardy won’t have to sign on for anything else until he’s well into his forties.
Which brings me to the news that just yesterday, Hardy’s reps formally confirmed what we’d heard rumors of about two months ago, that he will reteam with his Inception costar, Leonardo DiCaprio for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant. The director wrote the screenplay with Mark L. Smith (Vacancy, The Hole), based on the book by Michael Punke. It’s a thriller set in the 1820s about “a man called Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), a fur trapper, who treks 3,000 miles of uncharted American wilderness to get revenge on the two men who left him for dead following a bear attack”.
Will Poulter (best known in the US for We’re the Millers, won the EE Rising Star Award at this year’s BAFTAs) has already signed on. Filming is set to begin this September, which makes me wonder what Hardy has dropped to make room for this film, although no announcements to that effect have been made. The Revenant has been tentatively scheduled for release sometime in the fall of 2015.

Much more to come on this one, as well as Child 44, also due this year, Legend, currently filming, as well as Rocketman and Kathryn Bigelow’s The True American, start dates to be announced.

Another Visit to the JMHO Trailer Park

Frank, movie, still, Michael Fassbender, papier-mache head

Welcome to another edition of JMHO Trailer Park, wherein I attempt to bring you the best of (what I consider to be) the best trailers for upcoming films.

First up, to celebrate Michael Fassbender‘s much deserved win for Best Supporting Actor (for 12 Years a Slave) at Sunday night’s Jameson Empire Film Awards, as well as his 37th birthday tomorrow, I bring you the trailer for Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank. which I had mentioned briefly back in July.

Frank is the story of Jon (Domnhall Gleason), a would-be musician, who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an avant-garde  pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Fassbender), and the very scary Clara, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.  Frank is mysterious and enigmatic mostly because he never appears in public (or anywhere else really) without his giant papier-mache head.  The film is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedian Chris Sievey, as well as other outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.  The screenplay was written by Jon Ronson (based on his memoir) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), and the flick’s cast also includes Scoot McNairy, and Tess Harper.

In the world of alternative music, The Soronprfbs are the ne plus ultra of outsiders. A brilliant, ramshackle, barely functioning band, they are built around the eponymous Frank (Michael Fassbender), an unstable yet charismatic musical savant, who at all times wears a large, round fake head with crudely paintedOon features O like Daniel Johnston hidden behind a cartoon smile. His closest musical collaborator is the forbidding Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal); part caretaker, part jailer, Clara is the antithesis of all things mainstream. The band is completed by Nana (Carla Azar), a Moe TuckerOlike drummer, and Baraque (Francois Civil), a beautiful Frenchman who plays bass. Into this mix comes replacement keyboard player, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), after the band’s original keyboardist is hospitalized following an attempt at drowning himself. In his head, Jon’s is a true creative, a maverick musical force; in reality he’s a very ordinary young man trying to escape his humOdrum, smallOtown life. For Jon, this is the break he’s been waiting for, his chance to climb through the looking glass and into the world of artistic collaboration, real musicOmaking, and rock ‘n’ roll adventure that he’s always dreamed of. But he discovers (and perhaps has always suspected) that he lacks the one thing he needs to make his dream come true – genuine talent.

While most of us wonder why anyone would hire Michael Fassbender and then stick a giant fake head on him, I can also imagine that for Fassbender, the reluctant movie star who can probably sympathize with Frank quite a bit, it would be freeing. Having filmed 12 Years a Slave then The Counselor, both requiring a lot of intensity, throwing himself into something so completely different, a comedy of sorts, would almost be a vacation.

Frank premiered at Sundance in January, played South by Southwest last week and will play Sundance London in April before opening in the UK on May 2. No US date yet, but I have no doubt one will be forthcoming, for NY and LA at least. Unless I miss my guess, it’ll be VOD for the rest of us.

Devil's Knot, movie, poster, Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth

It would appear that Michael Fassbender (not to mention James Brown) has some serious competition for the title of “the hardest working man in show business”. Colin Firth has four titles that will be released in 2014. In addition to Railway Man, Before I Go To Sleep and Paddington (all featuring Nicole Kidman), there’s a project called Devil’s Knot, directed by Atom Egoyan and costarring Reese Witherspoon, and is based on the story of the “West Memphis Three”. It played the Toronto International Film Festival last year, but I don’t remember hearing a thing about it.

The story is probably at least a little familiar. In 1993, three teen boys (here played by James Hamrick, Seth Meriwether and Kristopher Higgins)  were convicted of the murder of three eight-year-olds, in what was widely reported at the time to have been a satanic ritual. Subsequently, private investigators were able to pull apart the original prosecution case, but the presiding judge in their appeal, who freed them after 17 years in prison, did not overturn their convictions (so they are not entitled to any form of compensation).

There have been four documentaries made about this case: Joe Berlinger’s Paradise Lost series of three films, and Amy BergWest of Memphis, but this is the first dramatization. Witherspoon plays the mother of one of the victims, and Firth a private investigator trying to discern fact from fiction in a scared and angry community.

“The savage murders of three young children sparks a controversial trial of three teenagers accused of killing the kids as part of a satanic ritual.”

Take a look at the trailer:

This one may not have been on my radar before, but it certainly is now. Also starring Alessandro Nivola, Amy Ryan, Mireille Enos, Elias Koteas, Stephen Moyer, Kevin Durand, Martin Henderson, Bruce Greenwood and Dane DeHaan, Devil’s Knot has been given a US release date of May 9. It’s already played Egoyan’s native Canada. The UK will get it 13 June.

Under the Skin , poster, movie, Scarlett Johansson

Under the Skin has gotten a lot of attention because Scarlett Johansson walks around Glasgow  (and into the wet-dreams of a million fanboys) stark naked.  It’s also garnering director Jonathan Glazer comparisons to less a master than Stanley Kubrick. I enjoyed Glazer’s first two films, the gangster flick Sexy Beast with Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley and the under-rated (at least at the time) Birth with Nicole Kidman and Danny Huston, I’ll have to see Under the Skin before I can endorse that kudo. (Not that anyone’s holding their breath for my endorsement lol).  Birth, about a woman’s husband who may or may not have been reincarnated in the form of a young boy who is determined to convince her,  would seem to have more in common with Under the Skin at least visually, with it’s scenes of a stark New York in winter filled with gray half-light and chilly fog.

The premise is simple: “An alien seductress preys upon hitchhikers in Scotland. ” But from the accounts of people who’ve seen it at festivals, that’s only the beginning and it is pretty damn scary. Sounds good to me! Check out the the ethereal posters by artist Neil Kellerhouse (via TotalFilm) below.

Under the Skin doesn’t have a big name cast. In fact you probably won’t recognize anyone other than Johansson. It opens here this Friday, April 4. Counter-programming for Captain America?

Only Lovers Left Alive, movie, poster, vampires, Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton

And in the third and final Michael Fassbender reference in this post, we have the trailer to Jim Jarmusch‘s imagined lives of vampires,  Only Lovers Left Alive. The vampire love story which would seem to ooze even more cool than blood (and it won’t be short of that I’m sure), pairs Tilda Swinton with Tom Hiddleston. What’s that got to do with Fassbender? Michael Fassbender dropped out,  making way for Hiddleston. I have no problem with that whatsoever. It would undoubtedly have been great fun watching Fassbender with Swinton, but  it would definitely appear that T.H. OWNS the role of Adam, a vampire who has been in love with Swinton’s Eve for eons, drifting in and out of each other’s “lives” and the centuries, searching for meaning.

Much like Anne Rice’s vampire prince, Lestat, Adam is a musician – in this century a rock musician. Unlike Lestat, it appears that Adam does not crave the spotlight. The movie begins when Adam’s  depression over the direction human society has taken sparks a reunion with his lover Eve.  Their romantic interlude is interrupted by the appearance of her little “sister” Ava, played by Mia Wasikowska. (Every time I see the trailer I have to remind myself that it is Wasikowska, and not Juno Temple.)

“Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangiers, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister. Can these wise but fragile outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?”

Jarmusch uses his usual light, sly touch with an emphasis on the humor of the situation and the intelligence of his characters… and his actors. Despite the fact that it’s a movie about vampires, this might be the director’s most accessible film yet. Watch the trailer and then watch the clip below it as these two impossibly and preternaturally beautiful people discuss the merits of Mary Wollstonecraft (mother of Mary Shelley and an author in her own right) and suck blood…on a stick.


I have an admitted vampire fetish and I have been waiting for this one for a long time. Also featuring Anton Yelchin, John Hurt, and Jeffrey Wright, Only Lovers Left Alive opens here in the US on April 11

The Drop, movie, Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, poster

And finally, “Tom Hardy Week” rolls on with the very first trailer for Michaël Roskam’s The Drop (formerly known as Animal Rescue) that we told you about a few days ago.

The story, once again centers on Bob (Hardy) and Marv (James Gandolfini), the bar where they both work and the mob:

THE DROP is a new crime drama from Michaël R. Roskam, the Academy Award-nominated director of BULLHEAD. Based on a screenplay from Dennis Lehane (MYSTIC RIVER, GONE BABY GONE), THE DROP follows lonely bartender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) through a covert scheme of funneling cash to local gangsters – “money drops” – in the underworld of Brooklyn bars. Under the heavy hand of his employer and cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), Bob finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.

The action has been moved from Boston to Brooklyn, but The Drop still feels very “Lehane” to me.  (And while I think Hardy’s Brooklyn-ese is pretty good, it would kill me if he butchered a Boston accent.) Matthias Schoenaerts is obviously a heavy (since he’s seen menacing the doll, played by Noomi Rapace) but judging from the synopsis, it sounds like the real villains will be the Russian mob and there may be more to his story.

In yet another WAY TOO EARLY Oscar prediction, if The Drop is as good as it looks from this first trailer,  James Gandolfini might just have one more shot at a posthumous Oscar.

It’s going to be a long wait until September. At least it looks like it’s shaping up to be a pretty good spring, at the multi-plex anyway.

 

Locke Got The Drop on Tom Hardy

Locke, movie, poster, Tom Hardy

Let’s just declare it “Tom Hardy Week”, at least here at JMHO. Earlier in the week, over at the Facebook page, we had a new still to share from Mad Max: Fury Road. The word is that we will finally get a look at Hardy as Max Rockatansky sometime in 2015. Digits crossed, breath not held.

Yesterday, we got a first look at The Drop (aka Animal Rescue) that I first told you about in September of last year. The film features Hardy along with Noomi Rapace (in the first of their two films due out in 2014. The other, of course, is Child 44). The new pics give us a first look at Hardy with costar James Gandolfini (in his final screen appearance). I don’t want to sound cynical, and with all due respect to the late Mr. Gandolfini (as well as the rest of the cast and crew), The Drop will probably get a lot of attention for this reason alone. I’m not suggesting that it won’t deserve to have a light shone on it. Not having seen any of it yet I can’t say for sure, but the director beginning his press tour with stories of the immediate chemistry that his two male stars shared, as well as screenwriter Dennis Lehane (who wrote his first script from his own short story) talking about how he had lobbied for Gandolfini to play the part of Cousin Marv, are the stuff of which PR dreams are made.

The Drop is directed by Michaël Roskam, known primarily for the Oscar-nominated Bullhead and this one also features the lead in that film, Matthias Schoenaerts. I’m hoping the release of pics means a trailer is coming soon, but it doesn’t open in the US until September, so it more likely means it’s about to be added to the Cannes line-up which will be announced in the next week or so. In any case, I have no doubt that there will be much more to show and tell before the release.

Finally we get to the real purpose of this post, which is to bring you the latest “trailer” for Locke.

Lionsgate UK has just dropped a final tease (a UK television spot unless I miss my guess) before the 18th April release of that film. (The US will get it April 25. Actually, make that NY and LA. The rest of us will have to wait and see. So talk it up if you want to see it! And use hashtags lol)

The plot of Locke is deceptively simple:

“Ivan Locke (Hardy) has worked diligently to craft the life he has envisioned, dedicating himself to the job that he loves and the family he adores. On the eve of the biggest challenge of his career, Ivan receives a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will unravel his family, job, and soul. All taking place over the course of one absolutely riveting car ride, LOCKE is an exploration of how one decision can lead to the complete collapse of a life.”

Considering that Hardy’s costars are heard over the phone and never seen, Locke has a very impressive cast, including Ruth Wilson (“Luther”), Andrew Scott (“Sherlock”), Ben Daniels (“Law & Order: UK”), Olivia Coleman (“Broadchurch”, Tyrannosaur), Tom Holland (The Impossible).

Director Steven Knight (writer of Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things, as well as director of Redemption – or Hummingbird as it was originally known) gathered all of the supporting players in a hotel room and had them call Hardy in the car that he was driving around London as the movie was filmed. So not only does Locke play out in real-time and Hardy is on screen (and in that car) for every second of it, it was practically filmed in real-time as well. (Close. They took all of eight nights to get the job done.)

Here’s the first UK trailer:

The Domestic Version:

and the final 30 second UK trailer, which believe it or not, does have a bit of new material.

Judging from the superlatives listed at the end of these clips alone…it’s possible my ridiculously early wish list for the 2015 awards season will have another name on it by the end of next month.