Some of the most explorative biopics ever made.
Here at Contactmusic, we can't get enough of a good musical biopic whether it's 'The Runaways', 'The Doors' or 'Nowhere Boy' - the list is endless. There are only a handful, however, that make for a truly evocative and memorable experience of some of the most influential artists in the world.
Here are our seven favourite musical biopics of all time:
Continue reading: From Love & Mercy To Sid & Nancy: 7 Best Musical Biopics Of All Time
As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising that the resulting movie defies genres. Not only has it sparked a debate about Netflix-produced films that people want to see in cinemas, but it's also a story with huge political resonances laced through its premise. That said, this is essentially a movie about a girl and her beloved hippo-sized pig. And it's warm, witty and remarkably engaging.
Swinton plays twins Nancy and Lucy, who take over their family's multinational corporation after their ruthless father dies. With a desire to feed the world, Lucy has bred a series of gigantic pigs and placed them with farmers around the globe. Ten years later, her celebrity judge Johnny (Jake Gyllenhaal) crowns the winning pig as Okja, raised in the Korean mountains by teen Mija (An Seo Hyun) and her grandfather (Byun Heebong). But now Mija is horrified that they are taking her best friend away, so she sets out on an epic quest to Seoul to find Okja before she's put on a plane to America. Meanwhile, a group of animal rights activists led by Jay (Paul Dano) is also trying to free Okja, and they hatch a plan to take Mija to New York and stage a very public rescue.
The film has a snappy, witty tone that propels us into the story, with moments of satirical comedy, earthy humour and some exhilarating, inventively staged action. And the reason it works so well is due to the title character: thanks to seamless digital effects, Okja emerges as a smart, playful and brave creature whose bond with Mija is very strong indeed. This adds a powerful emotional kick, balancing the cartoonish but still remarkably textured performances from Swinton and Gyllenhaal. By contrast, An nicely underplays Mija, while Dano and his gang (including Lily Collins and The Walking Dead's Steven Yuen) add an intriguing edge of soulful compassion.
Continue reading: Okja Review
Just 30 minutes after the watershed the BBC showed a fully naked solider on Sunday evening and viewers couldn't believe their eyes.
The BBC’s adaption of ‘War and Peace’ has already been described as a ‘sexed-up’ retelling of Tolstoy’s original tale, but nothing prepared viewers for Sunday night’s episode. At approximately 26 minutes after the 9pm watershed on Sunday, viewers were faced with full frontal male nudity and no one knew quite where to look.
In June 2015, the biopic of one of music's greatest living legends, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, was released to a rapturous response. Depicting him in two major decades of his life, 'Love And Mercy' was directed by the Oscar nominated Bill Pohlad ('12 Years A Slave', 'Brokeback Mountain') and captured both the intense pain and the immense happiness that he struggled with throughout his successful career.
Mick and Fred have been friends lifelong friends, now both reaching their more senior years they find themselves wanting very different things in their immediate life. Fred's daughter Lena feels her dad is in need of a health check and some R&R so she books them into a luxury spa in the beautiful Swiss mountains.
Whilst Mick feels the pressure to finish his latest screenplay, Fred on the other hand, much to his daughters dismay, has no desire to return to his career scoring and conducting music. Whilst visiting the retreat, both men meet many interesting characters and find themselves in a retrospective mood only to be rejuvenated by the experience in more than one way.
The film score features contributions by many celebrated artists but perhaps the most poignant from Mark Kozelek AKA Sun Kil Moon, Kozelek also makes a cameo appearance in the film. Paloma Faith also has a song on the film and makes a cameo. Youth will open in US cinemas December 4, 2015
An unusually inventive approach brings this story to life, as the filmmakers get into the mind of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson to reveal how he created those unforgettable songs. Even more impressive is the depiction of Wilson's troubled personal life, which plays out with an unnerving resonance rarely matched by rock-star biopics. This is due to artful direction and writing plus committed performances from Paul Dano and John Cusack, who play Wilson at two key points in his life.
As a young man in the 1960s, Brian Wilson (Dano) is a prodigious genius, preferring to stay in the studio while his brothers Dennis and Carl (Kenny Wormald and Brett Davern) and their bandmate Mike Love (Jake Abel) head out to meet girls on tour. They don't understand Brian's obsession with oddball sounds, but let him do his thing until it becomes clear that he's mentally unstable. Years later, in the late 1980s, Brian (now Cusack) falls for Cadillac saleswoman Melinda (Elizabeth Banks), who realises that he is being over-medicated and possibly abused by his controlling psychiatrist guardian Eugene (Paul Giamatti). And instead of leaving, as Eugene orders her to do, she fights for Brian.
These two time periods are interwoven together in a strikingly seamless way, shifting back and forth to build a potent dramatic and emotional momentum. By seeing everything from Wilson's perspective, the filmmakers are able to take the audience on a remarkable journey through his life, avoiding the usual predictable formula. Wilson's life may follow the usual trajectory of success followed by drug abuse, but his mental illness adds an involving angle that's depicted with sensitivity by Dano and Cusack, as well as director Bill Pohlad and writers Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner. Even more impressive is Banks' performance, which is the key that takes us right into the story. It's a beautifully textured turn that reminds us that she can do a lot more than steal movies in comical roles (see Pitch Perfect, Magic Mike and The Hunger Games).
Continue reading: Love & Mercy Review
The cast and crew of the forthcoming Brian Wilson biopic 'Love and Mercy' discuss their experiences of depicting the life of one of the greatest musicians of all time, from his beginnings with the Beach Boys, to the complex emotional troubles of his later life. Among the stars are John Cusack, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Brett Davern, Kenny Wormald and Jake Abel.
Continue: Love And Mercy - Featurettes
Having given consent to both Paul Dano and John Cusack, Brian Wilson took the time to watch the biopic about himself, revealing that it was a lot kinder than some of the actual events.
After garnering acclaim on the festival circuit, the Beach Boys biopic 'Love & Mercy' finally hits American cinemas this weekend (it opens in the UK next month), offering audiences a powerful glimpse into the complex mind of musician Brian Wilson.
While being responsible for writing one of the most important rock albums in history, 1966's 'Pet Sounds', Brian Wilson was at the most fragile stage of his life during that decade. Dragged down mentally and emotionally by the stress of song-writing he took comfort in drug use and was subsequently forced to seek a range of psychological treatments. As tensions within the band grew, he became more and more erratic and lost in a confusing world of hallucinations and psychosis. Paul Dano plays Wilson's enthusiastic younger self, while John Cusack takes on the role of the broken man that came decades after. Paul Giamatti also makes an appearance as Wilson's crooked psychologist Eugene Landy who fed him excessively high dosages of medicative drugs and prevented him from seeing his partner Melinda Ledbetter (who is played by Elizabeth Banks).
Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano - Photographs from the red carpet as a vast array of stars arrived for the World Premiere of Disney's film musical 'Into The Woods' which was held at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 9th December 2014