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
Tiberius is the Roman leader who has forced his way to power through corrupt and violent means, leading defected Roman General Lucius to escape to the East along the Silk Road to the Parthian Empire with his legion and the betrayed younger brother of Tiberius. It's there they encounter Huo An and his small army of warriors, who - after an impressive but fair sword fight - offer to aid Lucius in their fight against Tiberius, who in turn will stop at nothing to seize control over the Silk Road. His army is a huge and formidable one, and so Huo An begins to form a major battalion with 36 nations involved. Sacrifices must be made in order to bring down Tiberius and his men, but Lucius has to rely on strangers - and are they really willing to risk their lives for each other?
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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.
Paul Dano with Brian Wilson and the cast of 'Love & Mercy'
In the early 1960s, Wilson formed the band with his brothers Carl and Dennis, his cousin Mike Love and their friend Al Jardine, adopting the surfer culture as an image (their earliest hits included 'Surfin'', 'Surfin' Safari', 'Surfer Girl', 'Surf City' and 'Surfin' USA'). And their 1966 album 'Pet Sounds' is regarded as one of the best rock albums of all time, featuring such classics as 'Wouldn't It Be Nice', 'God Only Knows' and 'Sloop John B'.
Continue reading: 'Love & Mercy' Takes Brian Wilson Back To Both Good And Bad Days
The Beach Boys songwriter is portrayed by Paul Dano and John Cusack in this moving biopic.
The full story of The Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson is finally hitting the movies in the form of Bill Pohlad's challenging, life-spanning biopic 'Love & Mercy' which stars Paul Dano and John Cusack as the respective younger and older Wilsons.
Paul Dano stars as a young Brian Wilson in 'Love & Mercy'
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).
In the mid-1960s, The Beach Boys were at the top of their game. Having released ten classic albums, a young songwriter and leader of the band, Brian Wilson (Paul Dano), was preparing to create the greatest album in history. His aggressive pursuit of the perfect sound for the band's eleventh studio album, 'Pet Sounds', had a negative effect on his psychological well-being. Almost two decades later in the 1980s, Wilson (John Cusack) is trapped in his own mind, sedated by medication and a troubled psychiatrist. But a young woman, Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks), believes that she can restore him to the great man he once was, through a mixture of Love and Mercy.
Continue: Love & Mercy - Teaser Trailer
The veteran actor spoke candidly of the struggles and risks young stars are faced with in the movie industry.
If any young actor is dreaming of becoming a big star in Hollywood, it would be a good idea to not listen to what veteran movie star John Cusack has to say about the place as he recently took aim on everything that is wrong with the film industry today.
Cusack compares Hollywood to a "whorehouse"
The 48 year-old actor spoke very candidly of life in the limelight in an interview with The Guardian to promote his new movie 'Map to the Stars,' and the comparisons he made with Hollywood are rather shocking.
Continue reading: John Cusack Brands Hollywood A "Whorehouse" Where "People Go Mad"
Following four Academy Award nominations, could 'Maps To The Stars' be the film which finally earns Julianne Moore her Oscar?
Julianne Moore is one of the greatest actresses never to have won an Oscar, even though she's been nominated four times and has a mantle full of SAG statuettes, Emmys, Golden Globes and critics' group awards.
Julianne Moore appears opposite Mia Wasikowska in 'Maps To The Stars'
But that could change this year with her Cannes-winning performance in David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars, a viciously astute attack on the myth of the Hollywood dream. Even the critics who hated the film were mesmerised by Moore's performance as a middle-aged actress desperately clinging to her fame.
Continue reading: 'Maps To The Stars' May Finally Earn Moore An Oscar
As it explores Hollywood's inbred underbelly, this film becomes increasingly deranged and also rather dark and creepy, but it's so fiercely entertaining that it's impossible to look away from the screen. With razor-sharp performances, a brutally witty script by Bruce Wagner and snaky direction from David Cronenberg, the film is perhaps too knowing as it explores a group of fiercely ambitious people who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Things kick off as Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) arrives in Los Angeles and is collected by chauffeur Jerome (Robert Pattinson), who is also of course an aspiring screenwriter and actor. Focussed and determined, Agatha visits the ruins of a Hollywood Hills home before using a friendship with Carrie Fisher to get a job as an assistant to acclaimed actress Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore). Facing middle age, Havana is desperate for a comeback role in a remake of the movie that made her mother a star. Meanwhile, 13-year-old teen pin-up Benjie (Evan Bird) has completed rehab and is ready to act again, encouraged by his manager mother (Olivia Williams) and self-help guru dad (John Cusack), who are unnerved when they hear that Agatha is back in town. Clearly everyone has a secret that can jeopardise their career paths. And they're connected in ways no one wants to acknowledge.
The knotted mess of the plot is carefully unpicked over the course of the film, which only makes everything that much more intense and nasty. While it's blackly funny, the movie's overall tone is extremely grim, as these wealthy stars are crippled by emptiness and desperation. They're also willing to do just about anything to get ahead, from celebrating someone else's misfortune to blatantly lying about their pasts.
Continue reading: Maps to the Stars Review
Spanish director Eugenio Mira combines slick filmmaking with a dark and nasty plot as this fast-paced thriller unfolds almost in real time. So even if the premise doesn't quite stand up to scrutiny, it's packed with characters and twists that keep the audience glued to the screen as the mystery charges inexorably forward. Suspense comes in some gruesome surprises along the way, as well as in the actors' urgent performances.
The film opens as Tom (Elijah Wood) heads to Chicago for his first piano performance in five years, organised by his movie-star wife Emma (Kerry Bishe). She's even flown in the custom piano owned by Tom's late mentor, whose fortune mysteriously vanished after he died (cue an ominous chord!). Despite enormous pressure from the press and his fans, Tom is quietly confident about his long-awaited return to the stage. An old friend (Don McManus) is conducting tonight, and his assistant (Alex Winter) has everything under control. Then just as he begins to play Tom sees words in red ink on his score: "Play one note wrong and you die!" Using an earpiece and a laser gunsight, an angry fan (John Cusack) leads Tom on a wild cat-and-mouse game right through the performance.
Yes, the idea is pretty preposterous, and not just because Tom can play outrageously complicated pieces note-perfect while a maniac shouts in his ear. Tom even manages to make phone calls and send text messages while playing, darting off-stage to crank up suspense along the way. The main threat is against his wife, whose demanding friend (Tamsin Egerton) and her browbeaten husband (Allen Leech) also get involved in the mayhem, which no one else in the theatre seems to notice until the over-the-top finale. But through all of this, Mira directs with a Hitchcockian grip on the suspense, deploying gallows humour, sweeping camerawork, dramatic music and complex long takes tighten the screws.
Continue reading: Grand Piano Review
'Maps to the Stars' looks a real curio of a movie. Check out the trailer below.
Ok, so David Cronenberg's latest movie Maps to the Stars - which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May - will more than likely pull in a sizable teenage audience, given it stars Twlight's very own Robert Pattinson. Though without making too many assumptions, a chunk of those paying their $20 may have thought better of it by the end of the satirical drama, which delves into the celebrity-obsessed culture that made Pattinson's vampire franchise a global hit.
Robert Pattinson in 'Maps to the Stars'
It's written by Bruce Wagner, the tattooed Ambulance driver turned novelist who Cronenberg has compared to James Joyce. "He's unafraid to express the moment . to go to the darkest places. Hollywood is his Dublin," he told the Los Angeles Times, adding that Wagner is "a kind of star on the red carpet. He's not a typical writer. He's comfortable with cameras and microphones.
Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) is an actress struggling with her insecurities and desperate to reprise her late mother Clarice's star role in the remake of the latter's 60s film. Constantly haunted by her mother's image and feeling like a less attractive version of her, she seeks comfort from her psychotherapist Dr Stafford Weiss (John Cusack). Weiss is struggling in his own life, with his wife managing his child star son's comeback acting career after a stint in rehab - and he's only 13-years-old. His other child, daughter Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), has been discharged from a mental hospital unbeknownst to them, and lands a job as a PA for none other than Havana. Stafford starts to become suspicious when Havana talks of her unnamed PA having a scarred face from a fire and warns his wife and son that their daughter may have returned. Meanwhile, Agatha becomes close to a limo driver named Jerome who has his own Hollywood dreams.
Continue: Maps To The Stars Trailer
Steven (Ryan Phillip) and Shannon (Rachelle Lefevre) want nothing more than to have a child of their own. After some deliberation, the couple decide to adopt a child from Haiti, although when she goes missing the same evening, they realise that things are not as they seem. After consulting the local police, they discover that this known practice of 'reclaiming' is a scam, set up to take large amounts of money from wealthy individuals. Soon, the couple begin to spiral further into the seedy underworld of child trafficking as they battle against the sinister Benjamin (John Cusack) to keep either their money or their lives.
Continue: Reclaim Trailer