Tag Archives: Elle Fanning

Review: Maleficent

Maleficent_PosterAngelina Jolie playing Maleficent has loads of potential, but that alone can’t support a movie.

This is “Sleeping Beauty” from Maleficent’s perspective. As a young fairy living in The Moors, Maleficent meets a human boy named Stefan (Sharlto Copley). As they get older, they remain friends until Stefan decides he’s really a power-hungry wannabe king and betrays Maleficent in exchange for the crown. When Stefan’s daughter Aurora (Elle Fanning) is born, Maleficent retaliates by putting a curse on the newborn, one that will have her slip into a deep sleep on her 16th birthday.

However, the story is secondary because prime importance is placed on the fact that Jolie dressing up as a Disney villain will draw a crowd. Minus the light 97-minute running time, there isn’t a single redeeming quality to “Maleficent.” It’s a harsh assessment, but when you’ve got such a talented visual effects artist at the helm, iconic source material, an all-star cast and a hefty studio-sized budget to back it all up, there’s just no excuse to deliver such a lazy film.

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Review: Super 8

After months of mysterious and intriguing promotions, forming preconceptions about Super 8 is inevitable. Now that it’s finally arrived, the question is, does it make due on those expectations? Yes and no and that ambiguity is what makes this film so special and effective. Writer, director and producer J.J. Abrams, knows how to build hype and has no trouble handling it thereafter. Super 8 is what we’ve hoped for, but also so much more.

It’s 1979 in the small town of Lillian, Ohio, and Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) and his friends are in the midst of a big production, a zombie film. With Joe on makeup duty, Carey (Ryan Lee) handling the fiery special effects, Preston (Zach Mills) stepping in as a background actor, Martin (Gabriel Basso) playing the detective and Charles (Riley Griffiths) behind the lens, all the boys are missing is their lead actress. That’s where Alice (Elle Fanning) steps in. The group hits the road and heads to the local train station where Charles sees an oncoming train as a timely “production value.” Well, that is until it crashes, kicking off a chain of events involving a complete army takeover of Lillian.

Joe’s dad, Jackson (Kyle Chandler), the town deputy, is forced to deal with the repercussions himself as the accident triggers a series of strange occurrences including missing dogs, appliances and people that send the town into a panic. With no valid explanation, Jackson must investigate himself all while dodging the intrusive and brutal tactics of Colonel Nelec (Noah Emmerich). Meanwhile, Joe and his friends attempt to finish their zombie film with the train crash site and army presence as yet another “production value.” However, those values ultimately lead them straight into an incredibly phenomenal and dangerous situation.

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Interview: Somewhere’s Stephen Dorff

I had the pleasure of talking to Stephen Dorff a few months ago about another film, but all he wanted to talk about was Sophia Coppola’s Somewhere. Ever since, I’ve been particularly anxious to see the film that he said set a new standard for him and now the time has finally come and Somewhere is hitting theaters.

Dorff stars as Johnny Marco, an actor caught between jobs. His schedule is pretty bare so he spends his time driving around town in his Ferrari, chain smoking, drinking and watching his two favorite exotic dancers, blond twins that come fully equipped with their own portable stripper poles. Johnny is ripped out of this haze when his young daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning), stops by for an unexpected business. Turns out her mother opted to split and now it’s up to Johnny to rearrange his priorities and fit Cleo into his life.

Somewhere isn’t just any old movie for Dorff; it was a truly special experience. He even said, “I’ll have to wait until Sofia hires me again to have fun again.” Well, he’s certainly enjoying this fun while it lasts because during a roundtable interview, Dorff took the opportunity to tell us all about every aspect of this production from his preparation, to working with Coppola and Fanning and even what it’s like making a head cast. Read all about that and more in the interview below.

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Interview: Somewhere Writer-Director Sofia Coppola

We’ve seen The Virgin SuicidesLost in TranslationMarie Antoinette and now Sofia Coppola is gearing up for the release of her fourth feature film, Somewhere, in which she returns to the far more natural and minimalistic style of filmmaking that earned her praise for her first two films.

Stephen Dorff stars as Johnny Marco, a big time actor in between gigs with nothing else to do, but hang out with a pair of exotic dancers, drink, smoke and drive his Ferrari. Johnny is forced to adjust and rearrange his priorities when his ex-wife splits, leaving him with their young daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning).

Somewhere is a film that relies almost entirely on its main character and it seems as though that’s exactly what Coppola intended it to be. As much time as Coppola spent with Dorff developing the character, she also worked closely with her cinematographer, Harris Savides, who was challenged with the task of shooting long yet visually stimulating shots with minimal or no lighting. Somewhere isn’t just any old film that Coppola threw together; it’s something that was meticulously planned and thoughtfully constructed all while maintaining a loose environment in which her cast and crew could expand on her image.

See what Coppola had to say about her experience working in the famous Chateau Marmont, how much of the film is based on her relationship with her father, Francis Ford Coppola and much more in the interview below.

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Review: Somewhere

You can have an immensely interesting story with colorful characters, but if the pace at which the tale is told is slow, it’s an instant killer and in the case of Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, it’s certainly deadly.

Stephen Dorff is Johnny Marco, an actor who enjoys driving his Ferrari, hanging out with a pair of twin exotic dancers and chain smoking. With zero concern for his image, Johnny rolls out of bed just as his car pulls up to take him to a press conference for his latest film where he takes photographs alongside his well-groomed co-star. He’s a little on the paranoid side, constantly checking his rearview mirror for tailgating paparazzi, but otherwise, just goes with the flow never thinking twice about his actions.

The only person that can tear him away from his playboy lifestyle is his 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning). His ex-wife regularly sends Cleo his way, but when a surprise visit catches him off guard and ultimately turns into a longterm stay, Johnny is forced to rearrange his priorities and reconsider the person he’s become.

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Daring to Dream: Casting ‘The Hunger Games’ Movie

I’ve never been a big reader, but in the last few years picked up the hobby of reading books being adapted to film. Even after plowing through dozens, I still never understood the people who would willingly sit all day, flipping pages until they finished an entire book. You know, like the Harry Potter fans. I enjoyed reading, but never felt desperate to see what happens next in exchange for food, sleep or just time to zone out – until I picked up The Hunger Games.

Suzanne Collin‘s book is hands down, the most fantastic piece I’ve ever read. Not only did I read obsessively only stopping to get some work done, but I actually was compelled to read it again, a first for me, and then go on to do the same with the sequel, Catching Fire. You’ll be hooked from the very first page of the soon-to-be three-book series, when you meet the story’s hero, Katniss Everdeen. She lives in Panem, the country formed after the destruction of North America. It consists of the wealthy Capitol and 12 districts, the last of which Katniss calls home. Once every year, each district must select two residents, one boy and one girl both between the ages of 12 and 18, and send them to the Captiol to compete in the Hunger Games, a televised battle to the death.

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