Rudderless

Just when you thought you’d seen William H. Macy do everything, he steps behind the camera with his feature debut Rudderless. Macy co-wrote and directs a complex story of love, loss, friendship and music. Billy Crudup stars as Sam, the successful father of a boy who dies in a school shooting. After years of grief, Sam comes to realize his son was a very talented budding musician. With the help of another young musician named Quentin (Anton Yelchin), the two bring his music to the public.

Rudderless starts like an upbeat, uplifting film. It doesn’t finish there, however, instead delving into much darker issues along the way. These deeper themes definitely distinguish the film from the usual fare, but Macy’s direction in both parts doesn’t feel cohesive. The change is jarring and some of the goodwill the film has earned goes away at the shift. Still, it’s touching movie with a fantastic lead performance and even better music. Read More »

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Jacob Gentry has been making movies for a long time; he made his first feature almost ten years ago, and hit the Sundance jackpot as one of the creators of The Signal in 2007. Earlier this fall we featured Gentry’s two-part short film / music video – both parts embedded below –for the forthcoming Broken Bells album ‘After the Disco.’ (The album arrives in early January.)

The short features Anton Yelchin and Kate Mara as a couple who find one another through a sort of science fiction dreamscape. Together with the performances, Gentry uses great visuals and Broken Bells’ cinema-ready music to create a vision where dreamers can get lost in their own desires.

I sat down with Gentry in LA not long ago to talk about the process of creating the video, and we ended up talking a lot about core concepts of directing. I always love hearing how a small project comes together to be more than the sum of its parts, but it was Gentry’s talk about the actual craft of directing that I think are really great for other young directors to read. Read More »

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The band Broken Bells, aka Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton and James “the Shins” Mercer, makes very cinematic music. For a video to accompany new material the pair had a great idea. Burton took a story concept to Jacob Gentry (The Signal, My Super Psycho Sweet 16) and gave him the freedom to make an extended pair of shorts that effectively act as a music video for the album, rather than for any one song. (Gentry had previously done an earlier video for the band.)

The result is a two-part sci-fi romance starring Kate Mara (House of Cards) and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Only Lovers Left Alive), which uses music from the Broken Bells record ‘After the Disco,’ along with some material that is exclusive to these videos, as the score for the whole story. There are some classic sci-fi influences here, a nice little twist, and an emotionally affecting arc to it all. Check out both parts below. Read More »

World of Warcraft

Briefly: Legendary may have showed off some proof of concept footage for Duncan Jones‘ upcoming Warcraft at Comic Con, but the film isn’t actually cast and shooting just yet. Production is expected to kick off for real early in 2014, and so the movie is starting to hit the casting process now.

The first report we’ve got about possible actors for the film says that Paula Patton is in talks for one lead role and that another has been offered to Colin Farrell. We still know nothing about the script, by Charles Leavitt, so it is impossible to say precisely what sort of characters the actors could end up playing. Patton is evidently pretty far along in the casting process, while Farrell isn’t yet set, and could still end up not taking the gig.

Update: A shortlist for the film also includes Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Prisoners), Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels), and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Fright Night). [Deadline]

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A new film from indie mainstay Jim Jarmusch is always an event, even if he makes films that are much smaller than “event” really suggests. His new picture, his first in four years, is called Only Lovers Left Alive. It stars Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska and Anton Yelchin in a genre-influenced story featuring vampires and music.

Hiddleston has described the film as a “love story,” and the bare bones of the plot are that “an underground musician (Hiddleston), deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover (Swinton).” The trick is that both characters are centuries old.

The press book from Cannes gives us a full synopsis of the film,  but even better also offers a statement from Jarmusch about the film. In addition, we’ve got photos from the press book, along with two clips that surfaced not long ago. Read More »

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With the opening of J.J. AbramsStar Trek Into Darkness just around the corner, we can hardly turn around these days without stumbling across a new trailer or clip or TV spot. Today we have two new videos. The first is the Japanese trailer, which contains a bit of new footage, and the second is a promo centered on Spock (Zachary Quinto) and voiced by John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch).

In inanimate marketing, meanwhile, we have a new still of the other, non-Enterprise ship that’s been spotted in promos, plus character posters for Spock, John Harrison, Kirk (Chris Pine), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Carol Marcus (Alice Eve), Sulu (John Cho), Bones (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), and Chekov (Anton Yelchin). See it all after the jump.

Read More »

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In just over a month, J.J. Abrams‘ second Star Trek film, Star Trek Into Darkness, opens its regular run. (The film will actually premiere in April, with galas set for different countries beginning with an Australian event on April 23.)

As we hit the last stretch until the film opens up to a general audience, we’ve got a new international poster promising the end of the Earth, along with high-res versions of photos that have appeared in magazines and online over the past week. The pics show much of the cast — which includes Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve and Peter Weller — while the poster continues the image of Cumberbatch’s villain as a dominating force. Read More »

Briefly: The new film from indie king Jim Jarmusch is a vampire love story (of sorts) and the first image suggests he has taken a page from Tony Scott’s early ’80s effort The Hunger. This movie, called Only Lovers Left Alive, stars Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt and Anton Yelchin. This first pic, above, shows Swinton and Hiddleston, and the way they’re styled instantly conjured up thoughts of Scott’s film. I don’t expect the two will have much in common in the long run, but the first look is definitely suggestive.

In the film, Hiddleston plays Adam, “an underground musician who’s deeply depressed by the direction of human activities. He reunites with his centuries-long lover, Eve (Swinton), though their idyll is soon interrupted by Eve’s wild and uncontrollable younger sister Ava (Wasikowska).” [Indiewire]

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