Whether he does it on purpose or not, writer/director and renowned cinephile Rian Johnson has a genuine gift for selecting a genre in which to work, pulling said genre apart to see what makes it tick, and then putting it back together in new and interesting ways to make something that feels genuinely fresh, even though he’s using familiar tools of the trade. He says he’s just trying to make the best version of whatever sandbox in which he chooses to play, and I’d say he’s accomplished just that with film noir (Brick), heist movies (The Brothers Bloom), time travel (Looper), and even the Star Wars universe (The Last Jedi, and let’s be honest: Star Wars is its own genre at this point).
With his latest and arguably greatest work, Knives Out, Johnson strolls through the world of murder mysteries, crafting a modern, Agatha Christie-style whodunit with a family full of lying suspects and just as many false leads, as private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig, wielding a razor-sharp Southern accent) investigates the murder of world-famous crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), who is found dead at his estate just after celebrating his 85th birthday. Blanc interviews every member of Thrombey large family and the house staff to get to the truth, which may not even be the truth the true killer realizes it is.
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Knives Out is one of the year’s most entertaining movies, and it has one of the year’s best casts to boot. Rian Johnson‘s whodunnit has Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer all turning in memorable performances as an eclectic cast of characters, many of whom are suspects in a possible murder. To better help acquaint you with this line-up, new videos introducing you to the Knives Out characters have arrived. Watch them below. Read More »
Actor Michael Shannon has been a staple on the Chicago theater scene for decades, thanks in large part to his regularly appearing in productions at his own A Red Orchid Theatre company, but most of you know Shannon as a film actor, first appearing in smaller roles in such works as Groundhog Day, Chain Reaction, Pearl Harbor, Vanilla Sky, 8 Mile, and World Trade Center. Shannon caught many people’s eyes in the film adaptation of the Tracy Letts’ play Bug, in which Shannon had originally starred. But it was in the late 2000s that he really exploded and became the actor of choice for both new and established directors looking to tap into his intensity and inherent creepiness. He scored major roles in Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and Jeff Nichols’ first feature Shotgun Stories (the two have collaborated on every Nichols’ film since, including Take Shelter, Mud, Midnight Special, and Loving).
But it was Shannon’s Oscar-nominated turn in the Sam Mendes-director Revolutionary Road that turned a corner for the actor, who might be best known for playing Nelson Van Alden, the FBI agent turned low-level associate of Al Capone, in five seasons of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, and as General Zod in Zack Snyder’s reworking of the Superman legend in Man of Steel. Easily one of the busiest and most in-demand actors working today, Shannon was nominated for his second Academy Award for 2016’s Nocturnal Animals and made quite an impact in Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, as well as in recent miniseries like Waco and The Little Drummer Girl.
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With Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker arriving in December, there will be plenty of blockbuster action arriving just before Christmas. But let’s not forget that Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has another movie arriving just before we all stuff out faces on Thanksgiving. And what better way to celebrate the holiday than with a family gathering turned tragic by a murder mystery where everyone is a suspect. Ladies and gentlemen we present to you a new Knives Out trailer, and don’t worry, they’re not giving any of the mystery away at all. Read More »
The Current War had its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival back in 2017. The reaction from the audience in attendance: considerably mixed, bordering on mostly negative. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon understood where this was coming from: he wasn’t happy with the film, either. The filmmaker had been rushed to finish the film in time for TIFF and delivered a cut he was unhappy with. The urging for the rush job came from the film’s producer: Harvey Weinstein. After the TIFF screening, Weinstein, as was his habit, recut the film himself – a development that only made Gomez-Rejon more miserable.
And then everything came crashing down: numerous sexual misconduct accusations against Weinstein came to light, The Weinstein Company imploded, and The Current War was pulled from its November 2017 release. Now, the film about the battle between Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) is finally being released with a cut approved by Gomez-Rejon – a cut that uses a new score, adds a few new scenes, and presents a much tidier narrative. After all this time, will The Current War spark – or flicker out and go dark?
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John C. Reilly is being called to substitute for Michael Shannon. The Oscar-nominated actor will be leading the HBO Lakers series cast as team owner Jerry Buss in HBO’s drama pilot, replacing Shannon in the role. The casting reunites Reilly with frequent collaborator Adam McKay, who is directing the pilot and executive producing the series.
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After appearing on Boardwalk Empire, Waco, and The Little Drummer Girl, Oscar nominee Michael Shannon is heading back to television once again. He’ll play former Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss in a new HBO pilot which chronicles the high-flying “Showtime” era of the team during the 1980s. Adam McKay (Step Brothers, The Big Short) is executive producing the show and directing the pilot. Here’s what we know. Read More »
Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon are ready to do the electric slide in The Current War, the delayed film about the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. The Current War debuted at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, only to be pulled from the release calendar following the many allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. Now, the film is finally ready for release, with director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon having re-edited the flick to his own satisfaction. Watch The Current War trailer below.
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After premiering at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, The Current War was set to open in November of that year. The film was supposed to be a Weinstein Company release, but when the sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein effectively killed TWC, The Current War was pulled from the release schedule. Now, the film – which tells the story of the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse – will finally see the light of day.
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Two years ago, The Current War was being primed to be a key Oscar candidate. A historical drama about the race for electricity dominance in 19th century America starring awards darlings Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon and directed by Martin Scorsese protégé Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, The Current War had all the right elements to make it a frontrunner in the awards race. It was met with lukewarm reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, and that might have obstructed it, sure, but critical acclaim isn’t always a driving force come awards season. But then its distributor The Weinstein Company imploded amid the Harvey Weinstein scandal that rocked Hollywood. And The Current War disappeared.
But sparked by a Scorsese clause in the film’s contract, The Current War flickered back to life. Now the film has been acquired by 101 Studios, which will finally set The Current War US release for an overhauled cut that is 10 minutes shorter and has five additional scenes.
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