One of the bigger festival hits of this past year was Jeff Nichols‘ second film Take Shelter, starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. (Check the trailer for Take Shelter here.) The director has been planning to follow up that film with Mud, a story about a fugitive aided by a 14 year-old boy in a plan to reunite with the woman he loves. Earlier this year Chris Pine was said to be set for the title role. He seems to have dropped out, and now Matthew McConaughey will play the part instead, with Reese Witherspoon playing the object of his affection. Read More »
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If you’re more interested in the typical fall slate of festival entrees than summer’s glut of tentpole action fare, this is a great week. The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films that will play the fest in September. This is a batch of about 50 titles, which makes up only a small chunk of the programming. Usually TIFF features between two and three hundred films. But these are some of the highest-profile entries.
Below you’ll find rundowns on the new films from George Clooney, Bennett Miller, Jay & Mark Duplass, Todd Solondz, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Sarah Polley, Fernando Meirelles, Lars von Trier, Marc Forster, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and Lynne Ramsay. No announcement yet of the Midnight Madness programming choices, always some of my faves, but this is a great start. Read More »
I’m going to avoid really embracing any obvious gags like ‘Take Shelter really took Sundance by storm,’ but the fact remains that Jeff Nichols‘ film about a man’s deteriorating mental state really made an impression on viewers both at Sundance and at Cannes. The film stars Michael Shannon as a man who dreams of an apocalyptic oncoming storm, and features Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life) and Shea Whigham. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the movie at Sundance, and now there is a great trailer. Read More »
One of the better-received films at this year’s Sundance was Take Shelter, starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. The film is playing to good reviews at Cannes now as well, and the writer/director, Jeff Nichols, is prepping his second film. Mud, as the picture is called, has Chris Pine in talks to star as Mud, a fugitive that is assisted in his escape from an island in the Mississippi river by two 14-year old boys.
The LA Times has the news, and says, “the ambiguity of the story lies with Mud, who is both an unsavory and a redemptive character and who teaches the boys as much as he learns from them,” making the obvious and obligatory Huck Finn reference immediately afterward. Stand By Me is also name-dropped. The reviews for Take Shelter are all I need to be interested in what Jeff Nichols does next, and picking Chris Pine for a definitively non-blockbuster sort of role sounds like a good move.
After the break, Matt Dillon may beat up a pretend Linda Lovelace, and a shortlist emerges for the Great Gatsby role that Ben Affleck had to give up. Read More »
With each subsequent role, Michael Shannon seemingly gets better and better. His latest film, Take Shelter, features the Oscar-nominated actor as an blue-collar, Ohio father and husband who begins to develop some mental issues. Issues such as he believes there is massive impending doom on the horizon. As his premonitions become more and more vivid, his mental state begins to adversely affect his family.
Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter is the definition of a slow and steady burn powered mostly by Shannon’s performance. Read More »
I expect we’ll be hearing a lot about Jessica Chastain in the coming year. She’s one of the leads in Terrence Malick’s long-awaited The Tree of Life (see the trailer here) and will be showing up in the adaptation of The Help, in Ralph Fiennes’ Shakespeare revamp Coriolanus, in The Fields, and, probably in 2012, in John Hillcoat’s The Wettest County in the World. Quite a resume for an actress with only three other feature credits, one of which is in John Madden’s The Debt, held up in the Miramax sale.
But before all of that she’ll be seen with the great Michael Shannon in Take Shelter, an indie drama with an odd, almost high-concept premise. That’s the first image of the pair, above, and there are more shots and some info after the break. Read More »
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In the new rock biopic, The Runaways, a glum Kristen Stewart sits poolside, suckling vodka from a water pistol before pushing it suggestively down the front of her stomach. In a separate scene, she coaches a bathing teenage band mate on how to get wet using a mental image of Farrah Fawcett and a shower head. And then there’s co-star Dakota Fanning, better known as Hollywood’s 15-year-old precocious precious, who hoovers enough blow on an airplane to soar with Kenny Powers. These scenes are presented as the on-tour lifestyle of the titular ‘70s all-girl rock band, assembled and curated by the group’s wiry and rude L.A. producer, a man named Kim Fowley. Foreseeing the popularity of The Runaways for their jail-bait appropriation of the aggression, punk music, and horniness typically associated with adolescent males, Fowley had no qualms with solidifying a legacy by way of the girls’ quicksilver paths to self-destruction.
Actor Michael Shannon plays Fowley with a commitment and intensity welcome and familiar to any viewer who saw his performance in the new Southern indie classic Shotgun Stories or as the best part of Revolutionary Road (which earned him an Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actor). In recent days, Fowley has come out in support of Shannon’s performance, calling him the Christopher Walken of a generation. Given Shannon’s unflattering if amusing portrayal of the guy as an id swimming in midnight oil and the naivety of young girls, the endorsement is mildly surprising. But the comparison is astute. After interviewing the actor this week in a hotel in NYC, I couldn’t shake similar comparisons with the cornhusk steeliness and alertness of a 30something David Letterman and the seen-a-lot-of-shit-ness of Ray Liotta. In our below interview, Shannon discussed the contradictions of Fowley, HBO’s forthcoming Martin Scorsese series Boardwalk Empire, and the time he hid in a doghouse.
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