The tile caption for Dexter Fletcher’s Rocketman is clear enough – “Taron Egerton is Elton John”. It’s a simple caption, indicating a performer who’s focused on bringing a role to life. The same of course could be said about Reginald Dwight, that slightly portly kid from England with an ear for music who had to reinvent himself decade after decade, inhabiting his larger-than-life persona as he conquered the world.
For many, the decades-long career of Sir Elton is easy enough to take for granted, but in the ’70s, particularly in the U.S., he was preposterously successful, claiming some 5% of the total global musical revenue. He made a fortune for himself and those around him, all while struggling with his own demons that can be traced to his childhood.
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With Georgetown, Christoph Waltz joins the steady stream of actors making their transition behind the camera to make their highly anticipated directorial debuts. And indeed, the two-time Oscar winner seems like the perfect candidate to make that leap: a character actor with a keen eye for a riveting script and larger-than-life characters. But unfortunately, despite the talent that he frontloads into his debut film and despite the sordid real-life story upon which it’s based, Georgetown is a snooze.
Based on a real-life couple that was memorialized in The New York Times’ attention-grabbing article “The Worst Marriage in Georgetown,” the scandal at the center of Georgetown seems better suited for the D.C. gossip magazines or whispered furtively among the city’s elites at black tie parties. But in Georgetown, the story is given the same dramatic weight as a film about the president of the United States. And as electrifying as Waltz is to watch onscreen, his Ulrich Mott is no Richard Nixon.
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In the 50 years since the Manson Family committed the brutal murders that shook the nation, the cult and its infamous leader Charles Manson has never really left the public consciousness. And this year, the number of movies attempting to decrypt the notorious Manson and his all-consuming influence has ramped up, with everything from shockingly offensive horror films to star-studded Quentin Tarantino dramas taking on the cult leader. But what about the women who were under Manson’s thrall?
Charlie Says attempts to answer that question, examining the horrific Manson Family murders through the perspective of three of Manson’s most devout followers: Leslie Van Houten (Hannah Murray), Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón), and Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon). But despite the three women bringing this story to life from behind the camera — American Psycho‘s Mary Harron helms while frequent Harron collaborator Guinevere Turner wrote the script, and Dana Guerin produced — the film’s purported female gaze feels partially obscured.
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During a recent trip to London, /Film sat down with Finnish director Dome Karukoski to discuss his newest film, Tolkien, a biopic of the author who created The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Karukoski had just finished making a different biopic when this project came his way, so he was resistant to it at first. But he quickly found a personal connection to the material through the parallels between Tolkien’s early life and his own.
In this interview, we spoke about how the script’s message of changing the world through art resonated with him, how he created the movie’s striking battlefield sequences, the intense fandom surrounding Tolkien and his work, how he reacted when the Tolkien estate released its statement about his movie, and more. Read More »
In the twilight of Judy Garland‘s career, she would perform a five-week sold-out show in London, right before her last concert appearance in Copenhagen in 1969 and right before her tragic death mere months later. The upcoming biopic Judy centers on that week-long show, while touching on her bright career and a life marked by ecstatic highs and depressing lows. Renée Zellwegger transforms into the legendary actress and singer in the Judy trailer.
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Tolkien: it’s much better than it looks! That’s my one sentence review of Fox Searchlight’s new biopic about John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, the author of novels like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and the father of modern fantasy writing, but I’ll devote several more to explaining why it’s worth your time. Read More »
Last week, I joined a handful of other journalists to visit Oxford, England, the old stomping grounds of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit author J.R.R. Tolkien, who is the subject of a new biopic called Tolkien. In addition to interviewing the stars of the film, Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins, I cut together a video featuring several of the locations we visited, including filming locations used in the movie and some key places where the real Tolkien studied, worked, and drank. Check it out below.
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Last night in Los Angeles, A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin moderated a Q&A after a special screening of Tolkien, the biopic about the author behind The Lord of the Rings. You can watch that entire Q&A here if you’re interested, but before the film began, I had the opportunity to speak with Martin about reading Tolkien’s work, how Tolkien impacted his own writing, and one of Martin’s big regrets. Read More »
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Chadwick Boseman is trading his suit of Vibranium for a suit of samurai armor to play the lead in the biopic Yasuke. The Black Panther actor will be leading the Yasuke cast as the titular real-life warrior who became the first and only African samurai in 16th century Japan. This will be the first film adaptation of the amazing true story of the first African samurai.
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The meltdown at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Russia was an international disaster in 1984. Plenty of investigations and reporting occurred in the aftermath, but now whole generations have been born and come of age since then. HBO’s new miniseries Chernobyl puts viewers inside the meltdown with the plant workers, Russian scientists, doctors, nurses and soldiers in the mid-‘80s.
Chernobyl is a change of pace for screenwriter Craig Mazin. Mazin has had a lucrative career in studio comedies, with credits that include the Scary Movie franchise and the Hangover series, as well as plenty of uncredited work on Hollywood blockbusters. Mazin also co-hosts the Script Notes podcast with John August, where they discuss the ins and outs of screenwriting and current trends in the industry.
Mazin spoke with /Film by phone before Chernobyl premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Chernobyl premieres tonight at on HBO and airs in six parts total.
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