Johnny Depp is coming for you haters. Sure, you mocked him for a string of bombs over the past few years including "Lone Ranger," "Transcendence" and "Mortdecai," but now word is spreading that he delivers the performance of a lifetime as mobster Whitey Bulger in the new drama "Black Mass." Warner Bros. released a new trailer for the Scott Cooper directed flick today and, well, Johnny's coming for you.
Movies that slip under the radar are nothing new. Just last year the press thought so little of "Still Alice" that only HitFix and the entertainment trades were on hand to review its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. We all know how silly that must have seemed when Julianne Moore was taking home Oscar gold five months later.
In 2009 "Precious" (then known as "Push: A Novel by Sapphire") debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to an rapturous audience filled with few members of the media because some "other" film was the hot ticket at the same time (a movie that was so hot no one remembers what it was now). "Precious" starred Mariah Carey and Mo'Nique. How good could it be? Well, quite amazing it turns out.
While there will no doubt be a surprise or two amongst the deluge of new films screening at Venice, Telluride and Toronto, the new teaser for A24's "Room" will make sure this indie drama isn't a complete unknown when it makes its expected debut at that annual Colorado film festival held over Labor Day weekend.*
Movie trailers are starting to scare us a bit. Last week Lionsgate released a preview for "Freeheld" which made the gay rights drama look like a Lifetime movie. Today we have the first look at "Spotlight," the new ensemble drama centered on The Boston Globe's investigation into child abuse by Catholic priests and the Church's subsequent cover-up. We're hoping the movie is better than the first preview.
Some of the most anticipated movies of the Fall will make their debut at the four major festivals that annual suck up the movie world's attention during a five-week period beginning in September. The New York Film Festival has already revealed that "The Walk," "Steve Jobs" and "Miles Away" will be its major galas. The 40th Toronto International Film Festival announced its initial wave of selections on Tuesday giving away many of the "secret" premieres at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend. Earlier this month Venice announced it would open with Universal Pictures' "Everest" and debut Scott Cooper's "Black Mass" with Johnny Depp out of competition. Now, the festival has unveiled a majority of its slate with some very exciting surprises.
The 40th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival now has something of a slate. Festival toppers Cameron Bailey and Piers Handling presided over a press conference Tuesday morning where more than 34 films were announced including the world premieres of "The Martian," "The Family Fang" and "Demolition." It's an intriguing initial lineup for the venerable Canadian institution and something of a steadying the ship after losing some major debuts to Venice, Telluride and the New York Film Festival over the past few years.
There has to be some irony in the fact I missed a key opportunity to ask Jesse Eisenberg about a very incendiary comment while interviewing him about a movie where he plays a journalist who scored a rare interview with one of the greatest authors of the 20th Century. It may not fully fall under the definition of irony, but it certainly deserves some sort of shake of the head.
Excuse us for a moment as we pick our jaw off the floor. We've just watched the first preview for the drama "Freeheld" which is pretty much a lock to debut at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival in September. Trailers are meant to sell a film to a wide audience and are not always indicative of the final product (see "The Gift"). Still, "Freeheld" has to be better film than the initial trailer Lionsgate has just released for it. It has to be.
For a large segment of the audience anticipating “Paper Towns”, one review isn’t going to matter much. Author John Green wrote the young adult novel on which it is based four years before “The Fault in Our Stars,” his breakout hit. Both properties have passionate, young fanbases that will likely forgive whatever problems the movie has just to see their favorite characters on screen. While Shailene Woodley’s incredible performance may have driven those viewers to tears in the big screen version of “Fault” I'm not so sure they will be as enamored with the offering this time around.
It goes without saying that the impact of social media is a constantly changing, organic experience. You may communicate with someone who lives minutes from your door more virtually than in person. Families keep in closer touch with each other and friendships are fostered across thousands of miles with often up to the minute updates. And, for better or worse, people who decades ago would have faded from your life are still able to find you. Yes, you can’t hide from your High School graduating class anymore. If one former classmate finds you that means another 100 can and the social pressures of accepting or declining a connection make the latter choice a rare event. But what if you had purposefully avoided everyone from that period of your life? Should that give your partner pause? That would be somewhat strange, no? It’s a question deftly explored in the new drama “The Gift.”
First off, let's make one thing clear. We're not scratching our heads at Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" making the BBC's 100 greatest American films. That movie, of which an image accompanies this post, not only made the list, but ranked appropriately at no. 25. It's the rest of the selections that have us scratching and, yes, shaking our heads in disbelief.