Elvis and Nixon review 1

At first glance, the 1970 picture of Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon shaking hands in the Oval Office looks flat-out bizarre. The flamboyantly attired musician makes for a striking contrast to the staid politician, and it’s a little jarring to realize that not only did these two people once inhabit the same universe, they actually crossed paths once. Somehow, the story behind that picture is even stranger: To Elvis, at least, this was no mere photo up but a meeting to discuss his swearing-in as an undercover federal agent-at-large for the Bureau of Narcotics.

Liza Johnson‘s Elvis & Nixon is about that how that meeting came to be and what happened when these two larger-than-life figures finally collided, with Michael Shannon as the King and Kevin Spacey as Tricky Dick. But it’s less about the vast differences between this two men than the one thing, even more than a shared distaste for the counterculture of the times, that truly bound them together: the strangeness of fame.  Read More »

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jeff nichols interview

With his fourth feature film to date, Midnight Special, writer-director Jeff Nichols often asks audiences to connect the dots. The filmmaker behind Mud and Take Shelter isn’t exactly making filmgoers work during his sci-fi drama, which stars Michael Shannon, but simply asking them to lean in, watch, and listen. The exposition is sparse, as is typically the case with Nichols’ dramas, and according to the director, he wanted to experiment with Midnight Special in that regard.

Below, read our Jeff Nichols interview (mild spoilers follow).

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midnight special review

If Steven Spielberg was born and raised in Texas, he could have made Midnight Special. But he wasn’t and he didn’t, so the task fell to Jeff Nichols.

While this is undeniably the work of the same filmmaker who made Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud, his particular skill set is being utilized in service of a very different kind of story. Midnight Special is a science fiction road movie that proudly wears its influences on its sleeve while boldly treading into new territory. This is Close Encounters of the Third Kind with a southern drawl, Starman with a lived-in sensibility, and, most of all, it is one of the most stunning original and humane genre films to arrive in a long time.

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midnight special trailer

Writer/director Jeff Nichols says that one of his chief inspirations for Midnight Special was John Carpenter’s Starman, and the new trailer for this mysterious film evokes that undervalued gem and more. While the preview is intentionally bereft of hard information on plot or characters, the vibe here is totally old school Steven Spielberg. This trailer contains that combination of awe and conspiracy that makes Close Encounters of the Third Kind such an incredible work, but there’s definitely a larger Amblin thing going on here. So many of the films produced under Spielberg’s iconic banner where “family movies” that never avoided going for the throat, genre adventures for all ages that never spoke down to the audience.

The new Midnight Special trailer looks like the paranoid sci-fi of the ’70s collided with a classic ’80s Amblin film and it looks fascinating. You shouldn’t expect anything less from the director of Mud, Take Shelter, and Shotgun Stories.

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Midnight Special Trailer

Midnight Special and Loving topped my most anticipated of 2016 list. Two movies in one year from writer-director Jeff Nichols is one sweet deal. Nichols’ last film, Mud, struck a chord with audiences, earning over $20M at the box-office, but it’s the director’s next picture, Midnight Special, that might be his big hit.

After premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, the Midnight Special early buzz is mostly positive for this old school sci-fi road movie. Find out what some of the reviews have to say below.

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Elvis & Nixon

“Everybody loves Elvis.” Everybody also loves Michael Shannon, so who better to play the King than the 99 Homes star? Shannon is playing the rock icon in Elvis & Nixon, with Kevin Spacey playing the latter role. Today’s Presley’s birthday, so to celebrate, Amazon released a trailer and poster for director Liza Johnson‘s comedy.

After the jump, watch the Elvis & Nixon trailer.

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Midnight Special Trailer

Director Jeff Nichols has delivered two rich, fantastic indies with Mud and Take Shelter, but now we’ll get to see how he fares with a studio sci-fi flick, Midnight Special.

The film follows young St. Vincent star Jaeden Lieberher, a young boy who has mysterious supernatural gifts, forcing him and his father (Michael Shannon, because of course) to go on the run from agents who just don’t understand his powers. We just got our first look at the movie this past weekend, and now the first Midnight Special trailer has arrived. Read More »

Jeff Nichols directing Mud

Jeff Nichols‘ Midnight Special was originally scheduled to open in theaters this month. The “sci-fi chase film” is written and directed by Nichols, one the most exciting filmmakers working today. His last previous efforts, Take Shelter and Mud, are easily two of the best films of the past five years. Nichols has made a new kind of movie with Midnight Special, a sci-fi studio picture. With the film only a few months away, promotion materials are starting to come out.

See the Midnight Special poster after the jump and read what Nichols had to say about his latest project.

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The Night Before red-band trailer

Christmas means many things to many people. For some, it’s about spending time with loved ones. For others, it’s a joyful celebration of traditions sacred and silly. The holiday can also be a time to reflect on the year that was, if you’re the introspective type, or an enjoy a well deserved break if you’ve been working hard.

For the “ride or die homies” of The Night Before, Christmas is a combination of all of the above — but the way they celebrate it isn’t exactly the stuff of wholesome family classics. Instead, the three best friends (played by Joseph Gordon-LevittSeth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie) go out on the town for a wild night powered by staggering amounts of booze and drugs.

Along the way they run into all sorts of bizarre situations made even more bizarre by the effects of all those intoxicants, and encounter all manner of colorful characters including ones played by Michael Shannon and Ilana Glazer. Watch the latest The Night Before red-band trailer after the jump. Read More »