The Weekly Report
All news contained herein corresponds to the world of film. The Weekly Report will seek to cover general film news that has emerged over the last seven days.
- The End of Sundance
- Sundance 2016 is over and, by all accounts, it seems we have some pretty terrific stuff coming out over the course of the year. Last year the go-to festival for independent cinema awarded its prizes to the likes of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Slow West, Dope and The Diary of a Teenage Girl, not to mention giving a directing prize to the highly-acclaimed upcoming horror The Witch (watch this space, you’re in for a treat). Not a bad selection, right? This year, it comes as no surprise that Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation walked away with both the Grand Jury Prize and an Audience Award. The film instigated what appears to be a bidding riot and finally sold to Fox Searchlight for a record-breaking $17.5 million. Other winners include Elite Zexer’s Sand Storm which was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for world cinema; a directing accolade was given to Daniels Kwan and Scheinert for the odd Swiss Army Man starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe; while Weiner and Sonita took home the big prizes for documentary filmmaking. Kenneth Lonergan’s very well-received Manchester by the Sea was screened out of competition but we await its release through Amazon with great anticipation. Woolly hats off to what looked like one hell of a festival.
- Festivals! Festivals! Festivals!
- Berlin – ‘Tis the season for festivals. Festivals everywhere. Festivals galore! As one ends, another is set to begin, with the 66th Berlinale next up on the premier premieres circuit and offering a eclectic array of films from some of the best filmmakers in the world. As well as having the Coens’ highly anticipated Hail, Caesar! open the festival, Berlin – which counts Meryl Streep and Clive Owen as members of its Grand Jury – will host new works from an exciting array of internationally acclaimed directors. Thomas Vinterberg, Mia Hansen-Løve, Spike Lee, Lav Diaz, Jeff Nichols, Danis Tanoić, Terence Davies, and Michael Moore are but some of those exhibiting new projects, and the excitement is tantalising. Running 11th-21st February ORWAV will be there on the ground, keeping you informed of what’s great and what’s not along the way. You lucky sods.
- Cannes – Unlike Berlin, Cannes is still months away – the festival will run from the 11th to 22nd May – however, there is news incoming from the south of France. George Miller, the Australian mastermind behind the Mad Max and Happy Feet franchises – and only one of those has won him an Oscar so far (spoilers: it’s not Mad Max) – is going to lead the Cannes Jury. Miller is on a hot streak right now. Not only does Mad Max: Fury Road find the director competing for Oscars in the Best Picture and Best Director categories, he will now head up the jury of one of the biggest film festivals in the world! Also, he’s cool as hell (see below). Nice one, George, just don’t forget to find time to work on those Mad Max sequels!
- Awards! Awards! Awards!
- Speaking of the Oscars, they are almost upon us, and last weekend the Screen Actors Guild Awards made them that little bit easier to predict. The Big Short failed to win this time out, despite its victory at the PGAs the weekend prior, and Spotlight‘s Best Cast win at the SAGs helped reclaim its seat at the head of the table as the bookies’ favourite for that Best Picture statuette. As it stands, there is very little to separate the odds for Spotlight and The Big Short, with The Revenant hovering about in third place. In the acting categories, which are the most important to take note of here, Leo DiCaprio and Brie Larson remain as close as they can be to sure things while Idris Elba’s supporting actor win for Beasts of No Nation will no doubt embarrass the Academy. Meanwhile Alicia Vikander’s win for The Danish Girl has made the supporting actress race especially close. At this point Vikander or Rooney Mara could take the Oscar; the odds currently say Vikander but we’ll see. The 88th Academy Awards ceremony will take place on 28th February and you can guarantee that there will be full coverage right here.
Dealing with those projects in production, this is where to come to find out what has been greenlit, what major casting decisions have been announced, what century we can expect Avatar 2 in, and any other related film news.
- Jules Verne
- Bryan Singer may have announced back in September that he was moving ahead with an adaptation of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea but it has taken until now for a studio to back up such words. Now the project has washed up at 20th Century Fox and sports a script by Rick Sordelet and Dan Studney. Deadline reports that Singer has promised his interpretation will boast “some new and original characters and sci-fi plot twists culminating in a timeless adventure for all ages.” Singer’s last stab at reconciling long-treasured fantasy with sci-fi plot twists led to Jack The Giant Slayer (co-written by Studney) so… fingers crossed, eh?
- Elizabeth Banks
- Realising it is strongest when united, the Power Rangers movie has decided to combine its resources (see: money saved by hiring relative unknowns for its principal cast) and bring down its most deadly foe: the dreaded General Apathy. Yes, Lionsgate have brought Elizabeth Banks on board as the villainous Rita Repulsa. Set for a March 24, 2017 release and directed by Dean Israelite (Project Almanac), little is known about Power Rangers‘ plot but, if Israelite intends for this to be an authentic adaptation, it’s not as if it really needs one.
- Nicolas Winding Refn
- Could Nicolas Winding Refn finally be starting work on his long-gestating passion project, The Avenging Silence? A shoo-in for Best Film Never Made if he keeps his selfish mitts away from making the damn thing, the Drive and Only God Forgives director has teased a Tokyo thriller with a violent protagonist for a good few years – Only God Forgives was set in Bangko, so it was really very different. With talk of an Asia-set action-thriller on the cards – created with the cooperation of current Bond franchise wordsmiths Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (via Deadline) – The Avenging Silence could finally be heard.
- Alien: Covenant
- With facts bursting forth from his body (primarily the mouthal region) like a rabid xenomorph, Ridley Scott has offered up a few more tidbits on the upcoming installment in the Alien franchise. Alas, it’s bad news for Noomi Rapace fans as, with Covenant set ten years postmetheus, the franchise has seemingly moved onto Katherine Waterston-faced pastures. Scott revealed to the Daily Mail that Rapace’s Dr. Shaw won’t feature and, as the director has already got some “very detailed storyboards” and planned every camera shot “from every angle”, things don’t look likely to change. One thing those detailed angles will be showing, however, is Michael Fassbender’s otherworldly face; his involvement was confirmed back in November (via ScreenDaily) – but then, so was Rapace’s…
- The legendary Zorro, last “seen” in 2005’s The Legend of Zorro, may be swashing and buckling his way back into cinemas and hearts relatively soon. Jonás Cuarón, the co-writer of Gravity, has been attached to Z as both scribe and director, reports Heroic Hollywood. Cuaron’s Zorro flick is being financed by Lantica Media who, according to The Hollywood Reporter last year, were interested in setting an all-new Zorro in an apocalyptic hellscape (no, not 19th Century California) sometime in the near future. It remains to be seen if this vision will carry through to the new pitch.
In Memory Of…
Hopefully this won’t be necessary each week, but on those sad occasions that the film world loses a treasured talent, you can stop here to read the final word on their legacy.
- Jacques Rivette
- Acclaimed as they are, the films of Jacques Rivette are considerably lesser known than the films of his French New Wave contemporaries; certainly beside the works of François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, the late auteur’s films were a little too obscure, avant-garde, or downright difficult for the palettes of mainstream moviegoers. Among his more accessible works is his feature-length debut Paris nous appartient (Paris Belongs To Us), a film that stands as a wonderful depiction of 1950s Parisian life and a great example of the themes of the French New Wave. Other more popular works include Celine and Julie Go Boating and La Belle Noiseuse, although both are well over three hours. Perhaps the work that the director is most famous for, even if it is undoubtedly one of his least seen features, is Out 1: Noli Me Tangere, an almost thirteen-hour postmodern odyssey that follows an eclectic group of theatre performers who stumble onto a secret society known as the Thirteen. It is one of the longest films to have ever had a theatrical release and remains a milestone for the most ardent of film fans. Jacques Rivette died on 29th January aged 87.
- Frank Finlay
- Oscar-nominated British stage and screen actor Frank Finlay passed away on 30th January aged 89. He received his Oscar nomination in 1965 for his performance as Iago in Othello, in which he starred opposite Laurence Olivier, and beside Maggie Smith and Joyce Redman (it was also a notable debut for two other famous British thespians, Derek Jacobi and Michael Gambon). Interestingly, all four primary performers were nominated for Oscars, the only time that has happened for a Shakespeare adaptation. Among his other film roles, Finlay starred as Porthos in Richard Lester’s Three Musketeers trilogy opposite Oliver Reed and Michael York, and claimed a minor part in The Wild Geese beside Richards Burton and Harris. He also played supporting roles in Tobe Hooper’s cult horror sci-fi Lifeforce and in Roman Polanski’s Oscar-winning war epic The Pianist. He was 89.
Trailers of the Week
Want to know what you should be excited about this week? This is the place to come to check out the week’s best trailers and related items including clips, TV spots, and teasers.
Variety is the spice of life, so this week why not sample a trailer and a featurette? First up is a behind-the-scenes peek at Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in which Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a magizoologist visiting New York. A bold move for the Harry Potter universe but will the gambit pay off? Warner Bros. is betting… it will.
And here’s a trailer for Don Cheadle’s tentative step into directing. Starring the man himself alongside Ewan McGregor and Michael Stuhlbarg, Miles Ahead tells the story of legendary musician Miles Davis’s comeback in 1979. It is a biopic; you know the drill.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to come back next week for your weekly film news with One Room With a View.