Joon-ho Bong’s unprecedented combination of stunning combat, stylistic eccentricities and dramatic poignancy is so rich and enthralling, there’s no way one viewing of “Snowpiercer” will ever be enough.
In an effort to thwart global warming, a chemical called CW-7 is released into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2014. Soon thereafter, the temperature plummets and the world is consumed by snow and ice. “Snowpiercer” begins in 2031, 17 years after the only survivors entered Wilford’s self-contained safe haven, a train that circles the globe once every calendar year and is sustained by a perpetual-motion engine. On that train, passengers are separated by class. The wealthy indulge in parties, fancy clothing and sushi up front while the rest are secluded to the tail, forced to live in tiny compartments and live off of unappetizing protein blocks. However, the time for change has come and Curtis (Chris Evans) has a plan to take over the front.
“Snowpiercer” is a downright mesmerizing display of hardship, combat and magnificent environments. Bong does an exceptional job developing the world, every member of the cast delivers a wholehearted performance and cinematographer Kyung-pyo Hong churns out one exceptionally picturesque and telling shot after the next. There are some plot holes and believability issues in the mix, but everything else bears such an all-consuming quality that it’s nearly impossible to pull yourself out of the film long enough to assess those issues, keeping them from effecting the overall experience.
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Even though day one of production is reportedly less than a week away, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire casting seems to have stalled. The announcements poured in all through August until they peaked with the big reveal that Sam Claflin is set to play Finnick Odair. Finnick and Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) were two of the bigger new roles in need of filling, but we’re still missing quite a few tributes, most notably District 3’s Beetee.
Sure, we can continue the dream casting discussion and debate what famous faces would best suit the role, but how about a certain role that–well, we don’t even know what it is! Thanks to Lionsgate’s handy Catching Fire “Meet the Cast” Facebook page (which was up months ago but mysteriously came down this morning — perhaps for a redesign before more casting announcements?), we were all let in on a little secret – there’s a mystery character.
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It’s one thing to make a movie feel unique, but Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom is almost otherworldly. While the film’s centerpiece pre-teen romance packs the power to earn a place in anyone’s heart, some readjusting is required to appreciate the film as a whole. But, if you’re willing to let loose and fall in line with Anderson’s techniques, Moonrise Kingdom proves to be an absolutely unforgettable pleasure.
The film takes place on a small island in the summer of 1965. Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) is home with family, spending her time longingly looking out the window with her binoculars while Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) is out camping with his Khaki Scout troop – or so their guardians think. One morning Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) and the boys of Troop 55 wake up to find that Sam has run away while Mr. and Mrs. Bishop (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) discover that Suzy has packed her things and left.
With a threatening storm on the horizon, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) desperately tries to track down the missing 12-year-olds with the help of Scout Master Ward and his wilderness survival savvy troops. Meanwhile Suzy and Sam enjoy some alone time out in the woods, testing the romantic waters.
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Tilda Swinton is as commanding in person as she is on screen. Her poise instantly attracts all attention and her passion for her work is overwhelmingly present in her answer to even the simplest question. However, there’s nothing simple about I Am Love. Not only has the project been in the works for over a decade, but the final product is oozing with a lavish and classical complexity we rarely see nowadays.
The film stars Swinton as Emma, a Russian native who moves to Milan to be with her textile tycoon husband. She has three grown children and resides in a lush mansion run by a devoted wait staff, with a wardrobe filled with the finest fashion. Most would consider this a privilege, but in Emma’s case, it becomes more of a prison. With her children living their own lives and husband always working, she’s often left to herself. She has all of the riches in the world, but no one to share them with. That all changes when her son introduces her to his new friend, Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini), a chef, a man with the ability to rouse a powerful sensation within Emma through his tasty delicacies, as well his presence.
I Am Love leaves the viewer with many questions and that’s exactly how the filmmakers wanted it. Everything from the message of the film to the characters’ fate is left to the moviegoer’s interpretation. But, of course, during our roundtable interview, Swinton was eager to elaborate on a range of topics including the inspiration for the piece, the thought put into the costume selection and much more.
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We see big budget films put on the fast track and make swift entrances into the theater all the time, but that was certainly not the case with director Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love. The piece took over a decade to complete and the effects of the prolonged thought and development is profound. Even in the midst of a summer packed with explosive blockbusters, I Am Love’s exquisite classical and operatic nature is as bold as ever.
The film is about a wealthy family living in Milan, but the focus is on Emma (Tilda Swinton), the wife of a textile tycoon and mother of three grown children. With all of her loved ones hard at work or away at school, Emma is left to her lonesome in their lavish estate with the exception of their attentive wait staff. Her yearning for more is answered by a friend of her eldest son, a chef named Antonio. All it takes is a delectable shrimp dish to entice Emma to act on her feelings and indulge in her desire, Antonio.
The story is powerful, but there was so much more on Guadagnino’s mind when constructing I Am Love than simply telling of a forbidden romance. Check out all of the details about Guadagnino’s 7-year collaboration with Swinton on this one project (or 11-year collaboration as Swinton would say), his unique method to incorporating a John Adams score and much more in the video interview below.
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If you’re itching for a summer blockbuster packed with explosions, car chases and superheroes, look elsewhere because I Am Love is far from that. In fact, it’s far from anything that’s graced the theaters in quite a while. Writer-director Luca Guadagnino indulges the viewer with a grandiose family drama packed with rich scenery, stirring performances and comprehensive camerawork – if only the rest wasn’t so boring.
Meet the Recchis, a wealthy family living in Milan. They’ve got everything they could want–a lavish mansion, loyal wait staff, any material possession their heart desires–yet each struggles with a pain money cannot assuage. The family patriarch, Edoardo Recchi Sr. (Gabriele Ferzetti), is nearing the end of his life and decides to pass along the family textile business to his son, Tancredi (Pippo Delbono). Tancredi’s oldest son, Edoardo Jr. (Flavio Parenti), is awarded equal control but his younger brother, Gianluca (Mattia Zaccaro), is left out of the deal entirely. Complicating matters further, Tancredi plans to sell the business, which upsets Edo Jr. who values the family tradition.
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