monster review

Originally published in 1999, Walter Dean Myers’s novel Monster has been a favorite among young-adult readers, using both a third-person screenplay device and first-person diary format to tell the story of honors student Steve Harmon, a black teenager with dreams of becoming a filmmaker, who is arrested and tried for felony murder in New York City after a bodega robbery goes wrong and the owner is killed. Was this kid from a supportive home a part of this crime? Or is he simply guilty of being young, black and on trial when he walks in the courtroom?

Music video veteran and first-time feature director Anthony Mandler has been desperate to bring Monster to the screen for years, and now he’s done so with a cast that includes such heavyweights as Jennifer Ehle, Jeffrey Wright, and Tim Blake Nelson, as well as musicians-turned-actors like Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, Nas, and A$AP Rocky (real name Rakim Mayers) as Harmon’s co-defendant. Told in a non-linear fashion, Monster moves from Harmon’s life just before the crime to his time in prison and the eventual trial, all culminating in a look at the actual events surrounding the robbery. Various versions of the truth are told, and Mandler illustrates how a kid who wanted to capture the reality of his neighborhood got caught up in way he could never have imagined or wanted.

Harmon is played by Kelvin Harrison Jr., best known as the son in last year’s It Comes At Night. However, he was also in the Oscar-nominated Mudbound and was in two other Sundance films this year: Assassination Nation and Monsters and Men. Harrison delivers some truly rage-filled inner monologues in Monster that add a depth and level of frustration to both the character and the experience of watching the film.

This interview with Mandler and Harrison took place at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where Monster debuted. /Film spoke with the two about the process of bringing the novel to the screen and the movie’s fluid definition of “the truth.” Monster has yet to announce a distributor or release date.

Read More »

 

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we get the UK version of Inside Llewyn Davis, literally raise the roof, get weird with Lana Del Rey, catch something worse than the herps with a one night fling, and be entranced by a blacksmith…blacksmithing.
Read More »

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe‘s faced some pretty formidable figures in his time on screen, including Voldemort and the Woman in Black, but his next project might see him dealing with even more terrifying. Radcliffe has signed on to star in Tokyo Vice, as an intrepid reporter locking horns with a yakuza boss. (Not to be confused with PTA’s upcoming Inherent Vice.)

The fact-based thriller marks the feature film debut of music video and commercials director Anthony Mandler. Hit the jump for more details.

Read More »

How things change in a year. The last time we got an update on The Last Days of American Crime, it was that Law Abiding Citizen director F. Gary Gray had signed on to direct Sam Worthington. Now it seems Gray and Worthington are both out, while commercial and music video director Anthony Mandler has entered talks to make his feature debut on the comic book adaptation. Meanwhile, on the other side of the camera, Noomi Rapace may or may not still be attached to star. More details after the jump.

Read More »

Fantastic Four and Barbershop director Tim Story is going back to work after not having a film on big screens since the 2009 picture Hurricane Season. He’ll direct Kevin Hart in Think Like a Man, which is based on Steve Harvey‘s book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy and Commitment. Mr. Hart will be “a self-professed relationship expert who is quick to give advice to his crew of friends, even as his own marriage heads toward divorce.” The book has sold well, but I expect this will draw a different crowd from either Tim Story’s Fantastic Four films or Hurricane Season. [Deadline]

After the break, a man has been hired to make Zac Efron Die in a Gunfight. Who will rejoice? Read More »