Victor Frankenstein (1)

Cobble together a composite image based on stereotype ideas about child stars and you’d end up with something that is exactly the opposite of Daniel Radcliffe. The man who grew up in public as Harry Potter has followed that film series with a set of eccentric, sometimes adventurous jobs, playing Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings and a suspect young man in Horns. A tendency towards genre is the only tentative unifying factor.

Radcliffe’s latest film, Victor Frankenstein, is perhaps his most conventional post-Potter film yet, and even this one is hardly a typical studio picture. A revisionist vision of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein created almost explicitly as a meta-assembly of good ideas from other Frankenstein adaptations, the movie is really a two-hander that pairs Radcliffe with James McAvoy, who plays the egocentric Victor Frankenstein.

Speak to Radcliffe and you’ll enjoy the thoughts of a young man who is as passionate about his craft as he is aware of its unusual aspects. I visited the set of Victor Frankenstein at Shepperton Studios outside London over a year ago. Now, finally, we can present the talk I and a few other writers conducted with Radcliffe, in which he spoke about being tossed around by McAvoy, the relationship between Victor and Igor, and the rare but terrifying potential of being attacked by a lion on set. Read More »


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Victor Frankenstein trailer

James McAvoy is stepping away from the science of mutant behavior to explore a more experimental form of early research in Victor Frankenstein. He plays the title character in the film, a new take on Mary Shelley‘s original novel and a pastiche of elements, in a way, inspired by other interpretations of the story, with the hopes of synthesizing a new whole. Appropriate, really.

McAvoy is a physical actor, one who literally likes to throw some weight around in scenes, and in Victor Frankenstein his prime partner in mad science is Daniel Radcliffe. The former Harry Potter plays Igor, if not exactly a version of Igor that looks like the one you probably have in mind, and the two sought to create a version of Frankenstein that has its own soul and personality.

A few editors and I spoke to McAvoy on the film’s set back in March 2014; our conversation, about Victor and mad science and the art of pushing around other actors, is below.
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Victor Frankenstein

Victor Frankenstein has been just about everything a man can be in the course of many film incarnations: inventor, scientist, madman, lover, villain. He’s not someone we often think of as a friend, however, and so the new film Victor Frankenstein might be pretty weird simply for indulging that concept. James McAvoy plays Victor in the movie, which co-stars Daniel Radcliffe as Igor, and features Jessica Brown-Findlay as a former circus performer named Lorelei and Andrew Scott as a Scotland Yard inspector suspicious of Victor’s projects.

There is a monster in the film, but he’s a mysterious sort. On the film’s circus set during a March 2014 shoot, the filmmakers refused to reveal any details about his nature, or even the actor playing the creature. Surprisingly, those details remain hidden even in the last weeks leading up to the film’s November 25 release.

The relationship between Victor and Igor, however, which is a different thing than we’ve seen in films featuring the characters before, is on full display as the film rolls in a detailed circus tent set, complete down to the dirt floor and rank odor, built on a cavernous stage in England’s Shepperton Studios. Read More »

A Tale of Love and Darkness

UPDATE: An updated A Tale of Love and Darkness trailer with English subtitles has just been released, and you can check it out after the jump. Original story from 08/12/2015 follows.

For her feature directorial debut, Natalie Portman also wrote and starred in A Tale of Love and Darkness, an adaptation of the autobiographical novel by Amos Oz, effectively an account of the founding of the state of Isreal as recounted through events in Oz’s own life. The story begins in 1945 in Jerusalem, honing in on Oz’s family — young Amos (Amir Tessler), parents Arieh (Gilad Kahana) and Fania (Portman) — as tensions mount between Jews and Arabs towards the end of the Mandate for Palestine.

There’s no domestic trailer for the film just yet, but we do have an international trailer for A Tale of Love and Darkness. While there’s no English language dialogue here, the trailer still communicates quite a lot through the imagery captured by Portman and her cinematographer Slawomir Idziak (Black Hawk Down, Gattaca). Have a look after the break. Read More »

Son of Saul Review

Son of Saul is a significant achievement made all the more astonishing by the fact that it is the director’s debut feature. This intimate story from within the Holocaust avoids World War II movie cliches, turning away from convention to embrace an unflinching vision of one man’s quest for redemption in the inferno of Auschwitz.

The phrase “Holocaust movie” may inspire an instinct to avoid rather than rush towards a film; in this case please don’t give in. Son of Saul approaches its subject without gingerness or caution, but this film’s spirit never falls into exploitation. More important, focusing on one man’s experience does not trivialize the weight of the story’s context. Seeing the Holocaust through Saul’s own personal mission gives us a view of the genocide that is unlike any other in cinema. Read More »

‘Lethal Weapon’ TV Pilot Ordered by Fox

Lethal Weapon TV Series

The Lethal Weapon film series has been dormant for almost two decades, with the 1998 release Lethal Weapon 4 standing as the final chapter… so far. The series really relied on the interplay between a young(ish) Mel Gibson and a slightly less young(ish) Danny Glover, and without one or both of those factors, well, it just wouldn’t be the same.

There have been rumors of a reboot, and talk of a revival (with Mel Gibson saying a firm “nope” to that) but now Lethal Weapon is the latest well-established film series going to television. A Lethal Weapon TV series pilot has been ordered at Fox, from writer Matt Miller (Forever). Naturally, there will be a few changes to the basic story, and we’ll run those down below. Read More »

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Director Lucile Hadzihalilovic, who previously directed Innocence and is a creative partner to spouse Gaspar Noe, keeps the final details of this story shrouded in shadow. She draws on the mysteries of the sea and the pains of growing up to synthesize her own powerful new fable.    Read More »

‘The Choice’ Trailer: Nicholas Sparks Is Back

The Choice trailer

Like the seasonal return of locusts, Nicolas Sparks is back. It would be unfair to call Sparks movies a plague — there’s an audience for every movie — but films based on Sparks novels are certainly numerous, and now there’s one more that you can struggle to distinguish from the rest. The new film is The Choice, which features Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, and Tom Welling in the story of a romance that spans years and tries to overcome tragedy.

The Choice trailer showcases so many of the elements we’ve come to take as given in a Sparks movie: pretty young leads, a romantic triangle, golden North Carolina landscapes, and that one horrible event that changes everything. Check out the footage below. Read More »