Thoughtful and slick, “The East” functions both as a highly engaging and riveting thriller, and also something that’s deeply conflicting, forcing you to juggle all angles of the scenario while the film is rolling and long after, too.
Sarah Moss (Brit Marling) left the FBI and is now a new recruit at Hiller Brood, a private intelligence firm dedicated to protecting some of the biggest corporations in the country. Sarah is hand selected by her boss, Sharon (Patricia Clarkson), to infiltrate an anarchist group known as The East in an effort to stop them from sabotaging the Hiller Brood clientele. At first, Sarah is determined to do the best she can to impress Sharon and jumpstart a successful new career, but after infiltrating The East and spending a significant amount of time with its members, she can’t help but to recognize that stopping them outright might not be the answer.
Like its promotional campaign, “The East” reels you in right from the start via a viral message from the group. In mere minutes the film manages to both relay The East’s motives and goals, and captivate the viewer, making for the ideal transition into the meat of the story.
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Alexander Skarsgård may tower over his tiny “What Maisie Knew” co-star, Onata Aprile, but that didn’t keep the pair from striking an instant connection, something that resulted in an incredible on screen chemistry and also left both with a particularly strong friendship when filming was done.
Aprile leads as six-year-old Maisie. Even while her parents (Steve Coogan and Julianne Moore) still live under the same roof, Maisie spends most of her time with her nanny, Margo (Joanna Vanderham), but now that they’re separated and struggling through a heated custody battle, Maisie’s lifestyle is completely erratic, going from parent to parent and often to Margo or whoever will watch her when their jobs become the priority. Skarsgård steps in as Lincoln, Moore’s character’s new husband, or rather just someone to watch Maisie while she’s working as a musician on tour.
After experiencing their bond firsthand ahead of “What Maisie Knew’s” May 3rd release, it’s a wonder the duo managed to nail the portions of the film during which Lincoln is first winning Maisie’s trust. Skarsgård may not have been able to lift her up or let her swing from his arm on the spot, but you can get a taste of their distinct and charming connection while we talk about their height difference, Aprile’s new turtle, their collaboration, and more in the video interview below.
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With a resume consisting of over 70 titles with shows and films covering a wide array of subject matter, at this point, you’d think Julianne Moore would be experienced and comfortable with everything. However, in the case of her upcoming release, “What Maisie Knew,” not only did Moore adopt the challenge of delivering a particularly intense performance in the company of a six-year-old, but then she also had to appear to be a professional rock star, too.
Moore plays Susanna, a mother who loves her daughter Maisie (Onata Aprile) dearly, but is a bit more dedicated to her career as a musician. Unfortunately, Maisie’s father, Beale (Steve Coogan), is in a similar position, obligated to head out of town frequently for business trips. With two absent parents, Maisie spends most of her time with her nanny, Margo (Joanna Vanderham). While the arrangement does work, when Susanna and Beale’s relationship sours and results in a custody battle, Maisie is bounced from home to home and experiences more volatility and uncertainty than any child should.
In honor of the film’s May 3rd limited release, Moore sat down to discuss the challenge of delivering an authentic performance while ensuring Aprile felt safe and comfortable, very literally putting on her own rock show, and more. Check it all out for yourself below and be sure to catch “What Maisie Knew” in theaters tomorrow.
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With a handful of weighty storylines, “Disconnect” can be a lot to digest, but thanks to impeccable transitions, well-calculated story overlap, and a congealing tone, the film doesn’t feel like a sampling of stories, rather a look inside a well-developed world.
“Disconnect” highlights three scenarios, all with connectivity at the core. Kyle (Max Thieriot) is an 18-year-old kid making money by performing on an adult-only website. When journalist Nina Dunham (Andrea Riseborough) stumbles upon his page, she sees his unique story as the ideal expose. Jason (Jason Dixon) and his buddy Frye (Aviad Bernstein) are your typical high school kids, honoring the social ladder and addicted to Facebook. The pair gets a kick out of bullying class loner, Ben Boyd (Jonah Bobo), by creating a fake profile and convincing Ben that a girl has a crush on him. Then there’s Cindy and Derek (Paula Patton and Alexander Skarsgård), a couple targeted by an identity thief eager to exploit their passwords, bank accounts, and deepest secrets.
Director Henry Alex Rubin doesn’t waste a second, pulling you right in using a single shot to follow Kyle through his home. The place is packed with kids who seem fairly typical and in good spirits, but then comes the reveal – the building is actually a teen-driven online porn operation. But still, Kyle clearly feels good about his work and it’s no wonder; he’s particularly nice to look at and quite the charmer. While you’re remorsefully admiring Kyle for being the best of the best, when Nina steps in to offer him a way out, you’re presented with a surprisingly conflicting scenario. Clearly the right thing to do is to help Kyle live a more noble life, but he’s happy and really is being taken care of by his boss. There are glimmers that suggest Kyle isn’t the brightest of the bunch and every now and then Thieriot loses his charm and feels more like a threat, but the chemistry between him and Riseborough is powerful enough throughout that their scenario forces you to juggle all the various potential resolutions at once, hoping both can wind up having what they want while also knowing it’s just not possible.
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Riggins and Landry in the Navy, Peter Berg Does Michael Bay, Transformers-esque, Not Really Battleship; any of those titles are just as fitting if not more so than Battleship.
Back in 2005, after finding a planet similar to Earth, NASA opts to beam a signal to what they dub “Planet G” in an effort to communicate. Also in 2005, Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is jobless, has to live with his brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgård), and gets busted for stealing a burrito. On the bright side, he snags a model of a girlfriend, Sam (Brooklyn Decker).
One unconvincing time jump later, Alex is a lieutenant in the Navy alongside his big bro and under the command of Sam’s father, Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson). Alex may have developed into a smart and talented solider, but he’s still got a knack for screwing things up, so after the RIMPAC naval exercises wrap, Alex will likely get the boot. However, before Alex can even get back to shore, something unprecedented happens, aliens attack.
Sure, you’ve got to suspend some disbelief when watching any alien invasion movie, but it’s tough to tell whether or not Battleship even takes itself seriously. The opening sequence detailing this whole Planet G effort is a little on the ridiculous side, but digestible enough to get you on board. Then, the attention switches to Alex who’s drowning his sorrows in booze on his birthday. Things get amusing when Alex meets Sam and his desperation to win her over via a chicken burrito results in a rather comical failed robbery.
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As someone who’s generally not a Lars von Trier fan, I feel compelled to encourage everyone to toss aside your preconceptions and inhibitions and give Melancholia a shot. No, it’s still not your standard, straightforward Hollywood fare, but that’s what makes it such a unique and genuinely special experience and, after chatting with stars Kirsten Dunst, Alexander Skarsgård and Charlotte Gainsbourg, it seems as though von Trier’s unique way of working is what made creating Melancholia such a genuinely special experience for them.
Dunst stars as Justine, a newlywed who attempts to kick off her marriage to Skarsgård’s Michael the right way, but is plagued by depression at their wedding reception. Even with her sister, Claire, played by Gainsbourg, doing everything she can to keep Justine on her feet, her sorrows are all consuming. Meanwhile, a rogue planet called Melancholia looms in the background, threatening to destroy the world as we know it.
Dunst says it herself, Melancholia is a sci-fi movie, but it’s like none you’ve ever seen before. In fact, the film in its entirety is like nothing you’ve ever seen before and that certainly requires an exceptional mind to have behind it.
In honor of Melancholia’s run at the New York Film Festival as well as its upcoming November 11th release, Dunst, Skarsgård and Gainsbourg sat down for a particularly intimate roundtable interview to discuss their experience working on the film from their early days on set with von Trier up until seeing the finished film for the first time. Check it all out in the interview below.
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As someone with an appreciation for a more literal approach to storytelling, taking to Lars von Trier’s style of work has never been easy. However, with <I>Melancholia</I>, von Trier finds an absolutely impeccable middle ground, providing the audience with a uniquely sensible tale, but not holding back when dousing the piece with his authorial expressivity, giving us something that’s tremendously stirring.
Broken up into two sections, the first part of <I>Melancholia</I> focuses on Justine (Kirsten Dunst). Right after marrying Michael (Alexander Skarsgård), the newlyweds head out to her sister Claire’s (Charlotte Gainsbourg) estate for a majestic night of fine food, lavish décor and wholesome traditions. Justine should be as happy as ever, especially when her boss and husband’s father, Jack (Stellan Skarsgård), turns his toast into a job promotion announcement, but just a short while into the party, a familiar predicament taints the happiest night of her life, a chronic case of depression.
Part two is dedicated to Claire, her family and a planet called Melancholia. A planet that once hid behind the sun, Melancholia is now on the move, missing Mercury, Venus and, hopefully, Earth. Claire’s husband, John (Kiefer Sutherland), assures her the planet will pass right by as scientists suggest, but a foreboding sensation still looms.
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