As the coronavirus shuts down film and TV productions and cinemas (among many, many other businesses) around the world, director/producer Timur Bekmambetov is finding a way around social distancing restrictions to keep hope alive for his World War II film V2. Escape From Hell. A new report says the Russian filmmaker will continue production on his war epic remotely, directing his lead actor in a dogfight scene using the Microsoft Teams collaboration platform. And you’ll be able to watch the filming remotely, if you’re interested. Read More »
Barack and Michelle Obama have reportedly found their next producing project. The duo will team up with Anthony and Joe Russo (Avengers: Endgame) to produce Exit West, a feature film adaptation of author Mohsin Hamid’s bestselling novel, and Riz Ahmed (The Night Of, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Nightcrawler) is currently attached to star. Here’s what we know so far. Read More »
Did you know there’s a new war movie starring Tom Hanks headed our way? It’s called Greyhound, and Hanks both wrote and stars in the film, which has America’s favorite actor playing a US Navy Commander during World War II. The film is an adaptation of a 1955 novel called The Good Shepherd – which is a title this movie probably couldn’t use since Robert De Niro’s 2006 CIA movie already took it. Watch the Greyhound trailer below.
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Dakota and Elle Fanning have acted in the same movies before, lending their voices to the English dubs of My Neighbor Totoro and appearing in I Am Sam when they were very young. But now actress/director Mélanie Laurent will bring the sisters together in a major way in her newest film, The Nightingale, an adaptation of author Kristin Hannah’s bestselling World War II novel from 2015. Get the details below.
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The hottest new trend in movies is World War I, baby! World War II? Get the hell outta here! We’re going back to the days of trench warfare, Mustard Gas, and Archduke Franz Ferdinand. After 1917 nabbed plenty of praise and Oscar nominations, it was only a matter of time before a producer said, “Hey, the kids these days seem to love that World War I. Let’s give it a go.” The result: A new adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front, based on Erich Maria Remarque’s classic anti-war novel. Edward Berger is set to direct, while Daniel Brühl will star.
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The 2020 Sundance Film Festival kicks off today, and one of our most anticipated movies playing up in the mountains of Park City, Utah is the latest directorial effort from Mudbound and Pariah director Dee Rees.
The Last Thing He Wanted, based on Joan Dideon’s novel of the same name, finds Anne Hathaway as journalist Elena McMahon, who ends up caught in the middle of the Iran-Contra scandal. The affair saw weapons being sold to the Khomeini government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to fund Contras, various U.S.-backed and funded right-wing rebel groups in Nicaragua, and Elena’s father (Willem Dafoe) just so happens to have dropped some unfinished arms deals in her lap.
Watch The Last Thing He Wanted trailer that was just released by Netflix to get a taste of this thrilling drama. Read More »
The denizens of Film Twitter aren’t the only folks out there ranking their best movies of the last decade. Quentin Tarantino decided to get in on the action as well, stopping by The Ringer’s Rewatchables podcast to sing the praises of Christopher Nolan‘s Dunkirk. Tarantino says that Nolan’s World War II epic is his number two movie of the decade – a revelation that seems to even surprise Tarantino himself.
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1917‘s seemingly death-defying camera work from master cinematographer (and recent Oscar winner) Roger Deakins is extraordinary as it moves through varying terrains in the guise of a single take, with no place to hide lights (he’s working in natural light most of the time). The result is a powerful antiwar statement couched in a tense and emotionally gripping work, as the camera seems to hover around the action as both a ghostly observer and a character in the trenches with the film’s leads.
1917 comes courtesy of director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall, Revolutionary Road) and his co-writer (and rising talent) Krysty Wilson-Cairns, the Penny Dreadful veteran who has also co-written Edgar Wright’s next movie, the horror-thriller Last Night in Soho. /Film spoke with Mendes and Wilson-Cairns in Chicago recently to discuss the intricate process of mapping out the geographic journey of the movie’s two lead actors and how that impacted every other phase of the production, the emotional immediacy of making a film appear to occur in real time, and why the project was a deeply personal one for Mendes.
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The World War I epic 1917 is so much more than the sum of its single-take gimmick. The film is the story of two brave Lance Corporals — Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman, from Blinded by the Light and Game of Thrones) and Schofield (George MacKay, of Captain Fantastic and Ophelia), who make an arduous and tense trek across what is supposed to be one active battlefield after another. The two young British soldiers are asked to deliver a message to the front line of a battle that is expected to launch the following morning. The message is meant to stop the 1,600 troops from charging into a trap that will result in the massacre of most of the men, one of whom is Blake’s brother. Along their journey, the pair stumble upon what is essentially the totality of the war experience at the time — when men with guns on horses were just beginning to be replaced by massively destructive tanks. As a result, the film gets more unbearably immediate with each passing minute.
This outstanding technical and heartfelt achievement comes courtesy of director/co-writer Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall, Revolutionary Road), who rehearsed both the geographic and emotional beats more like a stage play than a film where editing can be used to hide mistakes or combine the best parts of multiple takes. But by constructing 1917 to look like a single take, many of his directing tools were stripped away, leaving only the performances to carry the weight of this devastating story.
/Film spoke with stars Chapman and MacKay in Chicago recently to discuss how they made personal connections to a World War I story, the months-long rehearsal process that was required to pull off the single-take appearance of the film, and remembering the emotional heart of the story as well as their choreographed movement.
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1917 is a masterful piece of craftsmanship. Sam Mendes‘ one-shot epic takes a forward-thinking approach to its depiction of World War I, which is an almost apocalyptic vision. It’s a rare vision, too, in which the camerawork and technique are noticeable yet don’t detract from the experience. To write the ambitious war movie, Mendes called Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who was a writer on the Mendes-produced Penny Dreadful and recently co-wrote Edgar Wright’s next film, Last Night in Soho.
Over the last few years, Mendes and Wilson-Cairns collaborated and wrote a handful of scripts together, but for one reason or another, they never became movies. After what they’ve accomplished with 1917, we can only imagine what they could’ve done together sooner. They aimed high and didn’t miss their target on this one. Recently, Wilson-Cairns told us about the earliest ideas for 1917, influential war poetry, and the advantages of writing a one-shot movie. [Warning: this Q&A contains spoilers.]
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