Based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free northern man who was kidnapped and sold into bondage in the 1840s, 12 Years a Slave doesn’t shy away from the horrific aspects of a slave trade that existed for hundred of years, sweeping up more than 12 million souls. Familial separation, abuse, torture, the idea that the slaves were no better than beasts; it’s all laid bare for the audience to witness.
Though not a “light” film by any measure, this is a well-executed drama dealing with a horrific historical occurrence. Director Steve Mcqueen has proven that he’s a burgeoning young auteur, a vibrant force that should deliver us a slew of great films in the decades to come. Just as with his previous film, Shame, this is a gutting experience, and McQueen, as channeled through the extremely capable cast of Chewitel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, and Brad Pitt, crafts a two-hour story that can’t help but leave you drained as the credits come up. Read More »
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The new film from director Steve McQueen (Shame, Hunger) is based on the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free black man who was kidnapped and held as a slave for over a decade. In 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Northrup, and we see his horrific journey and what amounts to years of imprisonment as a slave as he is tormented by captors and owners.
The impressive cast also includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Dwight Henry, Quvenzhane Wallis, Lupita Nyongo, Scoot McNairy, Michael Kenneth Williams and Garret Dillahunt. The story is wrenching — if Django Unchained played fast and loose with history, this is the film that attempts to tell the story of a slave’s emancipation from more true-to-life details. The trailer has an air of Oscar bait about it, but the emotions it calls up are undeniable. And knowing the way McQueen’s films work, the trailer could be a much more audience-friendly experience than the final film will be. Read More »
Summer only officially started a few days ago, but for those who don’t want a long procession of super-powered tentpoles, summer movie fatigue is here in full force. If you’re in that crowd the fall festival season may seem like a great promise on the horizon, and one of the first films in that season is Denis Villeneuve‘s Prisoners. The story follows a family (Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello) whose daughter is kidnapped; Terrance Howard and Viola Davis play another couple whose child is also missing. Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, and Jake Gyllenhaal factor in to the plot, too.
We just saw one fairly heavy trailer for the film a few weeks ago, but now there is already a second. Like the first look at the movie, this positions Prisoners as a tense and very promising fall entry. Read More »
The films of Denis Villeneuve stick with people. Movies like Incendies, Polytechnique, and Maelstrom demonstrate a knack for plunging recognizable characters into difficult situations (some based in reality, some purely fictional) and exploring the outcome in ways that most audiences won’t readily forget. His work is strong enough to attract an incredible cast to Prisoners, a drama in which two young girls go missing, shattering the complacent lives of their parents.
Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Paul Dano are the core cast, and the film was shot by the stunningly talented Roger Deakins. This first trailer for the movie is very intense, but may also give away more than you’d like to know. (Or it gives that impression, at least; I bet there’s a lot more than we see here.) I stopped watching 2/3 through, but what I saw was enough to confirm the September release as a must-see. Check out the footage below. Read More »
Posted on Friday, January 18th, 2013 by Angie Han
With one Beach Boys biopic already on the way, another is gaining momentum. Paul Dano has signed on to star as Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy, a new film by Oscar-nominated producer Bill Pohlad (Tree of Life, Into the Wild). Specifically, he’ll play the younger version of Wilson. Another actor is being sought to portray Wilson in his more current state.
The big question with most musical biopics is whether the film has actually managed to nab the rights to the artist’s tunes. So I’ll just get that out of the way — yes, Love & Mercy will include Wilson’s real music. It’ll also feature additional soundtrack material and sound design by Atticus Ross, who picked up an Academy Award for scoring (with Trent Reznor) The Social Network a few years ago. More details after the jump.
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Excited for Looper? You should be. Rian Johnson‘s return to the big screen featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano and a whole bunch of time-travelling awesomeness is fantastic. Lots of new posters, videos and more have been popping up leading up towards the September 28 release and now two videos of behind the scenes footage have come online.
Both are certainly filled with spoilers but, if you’ve seen the film or don’t care about a few small things being revealed, there are much worse ways to spend 12 minutes. Check them out below. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 by Angie Han
Having played struggling writers in Being Flynn and Ruby Sparks, Paul Dano is switching gears to play a struggling musician in For Ellen, his third feature of 2012. Directed by So Yong Kim (Treeless Mountain), the indie drama centers around a wannabe rock star named Joby Taylor who never quite attained the fame and fortune he set out to achieve.
He faces failure in other aspects of his life as well: After years of absentee parenting, he suddenly faces the prospect of losing his kid completely when his lawyer (Jon Heder) hands him divorce papers giving his estranged wife (Margarita Levieva) sole custody. He decides to reach out to his daughter in a last-ditch effort to reconnect. Jena Malone and Dakota Johnson also star, along with newcomer Shaylena Mandigo as the titular six-year-old. Watch the trailer after the jump.
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Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 by Angie Han
I’m starting to suspect Steve McQueen watches the same TV we do. The British director of Hunger and Shame has already cast Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch, Saturday Night Live‘s Taran Killam, and Raising Hope‘s Garret Dillahunt in his upcoming Twelve Years a Slave, and he’s now added another small-screen favorite. Michael K. Williams, a.k.a. Omar Little on The Wire, has just boarded the cast, which also includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt. More details after the jump.
UPDATE: A few hours after this post went up, it was announced that Beasts of the Southern Wild star Dwight Henry had also joined Twelve Years a Slave.
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A young, struggling author begins to fall in love with the woman he’s writing about and then, one day, she manifests herself in his apartment. Is she real? Where did she come from? Is their love something that can endure? These are the questions central to Ruby Sparks, a new film by the directors of Little Miss Sunshine, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. It’s written by and stars Zoe Kazan as the title character along with her real-life boyfriend, Paul Dano, as the author. The supporting cast isn’t too shabby either: Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan, Elliott Gould and Chris Messina.
Fox Searchlight will open the film July 25 and you can check out the first trailer below. Read More »