This may be a slow-burning thriller about eco-terrorists, but it's also directed by Kelly Reichardt (Meek's Cutoff), a filmmaker who maintains an oddly aloof perspective while moving at her own steady pace. While this original approach offers fresh insight into the subject matter, it also creates a distance with the audience. But the subtle tone and complex morality add a strong resonance to the subject matter.
It's set in the rural American Northwest, where organic farmer Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) is collaborating with zen-retreat worker Dena (Dakota Fanning) and ex-military loose cannon Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) to plan a bombing that will make people stop and think about what humanity is doing to the planet. Their target is a dam in Oregon that provides hydroelectric power, and their rationale is that no one needs to run their iPods 24 hours a day. After painstakingly setting up their subtle but devastating attack, they neglect to consider one possible outcome. And what follows forces them to re-examine their actions and motivations. It also causes a rift in their camaraderie that makes the outside threat feel even greater.
Despite the intense plot, this is definitely not an action movie, as Reichardt traces these three people's careful plan in sharp detail while quietly exploring the big issues that compel them to act. Oddly, these activist-terrorists seem oblivious that their violent plan is unlikely to make any difference in the grand scheme of things, and that very few people will ever understand their point. But they're such true believers that they simply can't see outside their circle. The acting is subdued and bracingly honest, creating complicated characters who say more without dialogue than with it. Sarsgaard has the most intriguing role, since Harmon has an undercurrent of menace that the others can't help but notice. And Reichardt lets the actors carry the scenes, using their expressive faces to fill in the details of the plot.
Continue reading: Night Moves Review
Josh (Jesse Eisenberg), a radical environmentalist teams up with high school drop-out, Dena (Dakota Fanning), and ex-marine Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) in an attempt to send a message to the industrialised world they stand against: the bombing of a hydro-electric dam. The suspenseful political thriller delves into the world of extremists, desperate to protest in favour of their beliefs - even if it pushes them into illegal activity, doing so.
Night Moves comes to us courtesy of indie film director Kelly Reichardt, and having made the rounds of various, prestigious film festivals, it is due for a UK release this month. It has already been chosen for the official selection for the London, Venice and Toronto International Film Festival, and has enjoyed favourable reviews from critics and the public worldwide.
It has, however, been criticised for having major similarities in both in both character and plot with Edward Abbey's novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang. In 2012, a lawsuit was filed against the film, as it clashed with the novel of which a film adaptation was in pre-production.
Zach is a total mess following the sudden death of his girlfriend Beth and turns to her equally grief-stricken parents for support. However, when they stop contacting him, he becomes confused by their evasiveness and begins to suspect their daughter is still alive. Sure enough, there's a hole in the ground by her presumably previously occupied grave and she appears to have resurrected from the dead. Zach doesn't know what to think, but when he sees her looking just the same as she did before she died, he is overcome with emotion and decides to tell her everything that he wished he'd said before she passed. However, their happy ending is quickly cut short when Beth starts displaying increasingly erratic behaviour - such as biting and eating a man. Realising that she's a zombie complicates things for Zach, who'll give anything to keep her around but struggles to cope with her newfound brutality.
Continue: Life After Beth Trailer
Even as this comedy strains to be goofy and transgressive, it catches us by surprise simply because it dares to explore first-time sexual experiences through female eyes. And Aubrey Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed) brings her usual sardonic wit to the lead role, merrily offending the more timid moviegoers while making more adventurous fans wish the film went even further.
Plaza plays Brandy, who graduated at the top of her Boise high school class. But with that goal achieved, she wonders if she neglected to prepare properly for university social life, so she makes a summer to-do list of sex-related tasks leading, hopefully, to losing her virginity to the hunky guitar-strumming lifeguard Rusty (Porter). She works with him at the local swimming pool along with her nice-guy best pal Cameron (Simmons), who's of course secretly in love with her. But as Brandy works through the list with the help of her friends (Shawkat and Steele) and her experienced big sister (Bilson), she starts to worry that her emotions are getting in the way.
Thankfully, writer-director Carey refuses to let this turn into a romantic slush-fest, keeping the encounters jagged and often very funny. The script is packed with hilariously squirm-inducing conversations about sex, many involving Brandy's far too helpful mother (Britton). Although her dad (Gregg) and her loser boss (Hader) understandably don't want to know. Meanwhile, when the local guys (Glover and Mintz-Plasse) find out about Brandy's list, they are sure to tick off a few items themselves, as does a visiting rock star (Samberg).
Continue reading: The To Do List Review
CBS Films has released a teaser of their upcoming summer chick-flick comedy The To-Do List. The film follows the pre-college antics of goody-two-shoes A- grade student and virgin Brandy Clark. Her to-do list changes from the mundane trivialities of her teenage life to include slightly less virtuous tasks, including losing her virginity to lifeguard Rusty Walters.
The To-Do-List stars Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreations), Rachel Bilson (The O.C.), Bill Hader (Men in Black III), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Pitch-Perfect), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development), Andy Samburg (Hotel Transylvania) and Scott Porter (Music and Lyrics).
Porter and Bilson have previously worked together on TV series Hart of Dixie. They are typical examples of the sort of actors who will be appearing in this wholesome American comedy. Many have experience in comedy, Mintz-Plasse, Samburg and Hader have all frequently appeared on Saturday Night Live
Written and directed by Maggie Carey, The To-Do List will be her first feature film as she has previously only produced shorts and documentaries.
Continue reading: CBS Films Release Trailer For Summer Comedy 'The To-Do List' [Trailer]
Brandy Clark is a smart, high-achieving though particularly naive high-school graduate whose finding the prospect of a new life at college daunting. Tired of being relentlessly teased for her sexual inexperience, she compiles a list of bedroom adventures she would like to have before beginning her first year as a freshman. However, trying to catch-up with her friends becomes a shame-filled rollercoaster as she attempts to seduce handsome, floppy-haired lifeguard Rusty Waters who she met at her first college party. She manages to lose her head, as well as her top, as she discovers that there's more to having trysts with guys than just getting physical as the much more confusing emotional side comes into it. The question is, will she survive her first year at college, or will this new world of passion and parties drive this straight-laced girl crazy?
Continue: The To Do List - Green Band Trailer
Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat - The UK premiere for the launch of Netflix Original Series, 'Arrested Development' Season Four, at the Vue Leicester Square - Arrivals. - London, United Kingdom - Thursday 9th May 2013
John and Alice are a married couple in their mid-twenties struggling with trying to find their place in a world that they can't afford to live in. John has been laid off at work, while Alice's fruitless attempts to compete with more experienced career seekers aren't paying off. One day they discover an antiques store on the side of the road and Alice is immediately enchanted by an old looking brass teapot. She discovers that every time one of them hurts themselves, the pot explodes with cash leading them to believe they've found the future they've been dreaming of at last. The pair start waxing, tattooing and beating themselves to their hearts' content as they become richer and richer by the hour, and while they initially insisted they would stop after reaching one million dollars, Alice finds herself unable to stop wanting more. They put themselves in grave danger as the teapot's history comes back to haunt them and their once perfect relationship is now being tested for the first time.
Continue: The Brass Teapot Trailer
There's plenty of potential for jagged black humour in this suburban comedy-drama, but the filmmakers never take a single risk. So with its soft and simplistic approach, the movie is never as quirky or hilarious as it should have been, or as the filmmakers seem to think it is. The only pleasure in watching it comes through understated touches the gifted cast members manage to inject here and there. And what a great cast!
It's set in West Orange, New Jersey, where two families have been best friends for decades. David and Paige Walling (Laurie and Keener) have two grown children: Vanessa (Shawkat) lives at home while Toby (Brody) drops in to visit every now and then. Across the street are the Ostroffs, Terry and Carol (Platt and Janney), whose wayward daughter Nina (Meester) is home for Thanksgiving. Everyone thinks a romance between Toby and Nina would be wonderful. But as the Wallings try to work out some marital problems, it's David who drifts into a transgressive affair with Nina. Which sends these long-time friendships into spiralling chaos.
The plot is so perfectly suited to a black comedy that we wonder what happened along the way. Director Farino smooths every edge, instead straining for silly farce that leads to some sort of emotional catharsis. But he fails to recognise that these people are all intelligent adults, so the fallout from David and Nina's fling feels contrived and obvious. The script also never makes us feel like they are doing anything besides reacting to their previous relationships: this isn't real love, so why should we care?
Continue reading: The Oranges Review
Brandy Clark is an ordinary high school senior who finds herself suffocated under the pressures of pre-college life. As a sexually curious virgin, she is determined to explore the world of bedroom pleasures before starting her first year at college. From the most bizarre to the most unpleasant and unimaginable, she is resolute that she will experience every sexual adventure she's ever heard of and makes a long, colorful list of everything she hopes to err. 'achieve' in the short time she has left as a senior. Locating willing participants doesn't prove too difficult with many members of the opposite sex on a similar quest to her, and her new found promiscuity proves a lot for her anxious parents to handle.
This hilarious new romantic comedy is not like regular Valentine's Day flicks; it's frank and explicit with no room for censorship, just like a normal pre-college teenager. 'The To Do List' has been written and directed by Maggie Carey in her first feature length movie and its set to be released bang on time on February 14th 2013. Prepare to cover your ears and eyes as you venture into that world you thought (and hoped) you'd long forgotten.
Starring: Connie Britton, Aubrey Plaza, Rachel Bilson, Andy Samberg, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alia Shawkat, Clark Gregg, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Scott Porter, Nolan Gould, Donald Glover, Adam Pally, Sarah Steele & Lauren Lapkus.
Continue: The To Do List Trailer
With the 56th BFI London Film Festival up and running, it's red carpet night every night in Leicester Square. And it all kicked off earlier this week with the European premiere of Frankenweenie, which was attended by director Tim Burton and his partner Helena Bonham Carter, as well as voice cast members Martin Landau, Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara. Later in the festival, Burton and Bonham Carter will receive the BFI Fellowship for their contributions to cinema.
The big movie release in non-festival UK cinemas this week is Walter Salles' adaptation of the iconic 1957 novel On the Road, by Jack Kerouac. The film stars Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund and Kristin Dunst in a hip, rambling journey through America. It opens in the USA in December.
Continue reading: A Week In Movies - 12th October 2012