A thrilling and inspiring true story begins on the eve of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.
Gary Oldman is considered right now to be the front runner for Best Actor, which is saying something since his movie doesn’t even open for two months. The second trailer for The Darkest Hour could be mistaken for a trailer for Dunkirk as it borrows not only the ticking watch motif that defined Hans Zimmer’s score for that film, but centers wholly around the event itself. Dunkirk was a huge event in Churchill’s reign as wartime prime minister and for the British people, so it only makes sense that it’s part of the film, but this trailer almost makes Darkest Hour seem like a Dunkirk spin-off. With Oldman, the supporting cast of the film includes Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, and Ben Mendelsohn. Darkest Hour will be released on November 22, 2017.
Last week, we took an in-depth look at Inception (click here to read), one of my favorite films of all-time, and timely since Inception’s director, Christopher Nolan, just turned in the best movie I’ve seen this year thus far in Dunkirk. In my article, I mentioned Nolan’s preference for doing any kind of F/X practically rather than with CGI if it can be humanly done (even when it’s flipping a tractor trailer in The Dark Knight). CineFix, who should be paying me to hype them at this point, doesn’t just make great movie lists, it also has a feature called “The Art of the Scene” where they dissect an amazing scene, show you how it was done and why it works in the film. I almost included this behind-the-scenes piece in my article, but it’s a fascinating look at the rotating hallway fight from Inception. Whereas most directors would have inserted the actors into a CGI environment, Nolan went a very different route. It’s a fascinating look at an amazing scene.
This fight uses no CGI other than to remove the wires Joseph Gordon Levitt and the other actors are wearing. A full-scale hallway was built and then put on a giant gimbal which rotated the room. The fight takes place in a critical moment in the final job, when the van that’s carrying the team around has gone off a bridge, creating a zero-G effect that ripples down the various levels of the dreamworld you see in the map. For Arthur (Levitt), who is in the shallowest level, he loses gravity entirely and the result is an amazing fight scene, made all the more amazing when you know how Nolan and Pfister shot it.
Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week. August is a time where you hope a movie comes along and becomes a critical surprise, and we have that this weekend in addition to the usual August dumping ground material.
Continue reading In Theaters This Week (8/18/2017): Logan Lucky, The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Charlize Theron is the queen of action right now in Hollywood, which isn’t a bad title to attain after 20 years playing mostly deeply serious character roles. Theron, who is originally from South Africa, doesn’t have as deep a resume as some of the actresses from her generation, but it’s not lack of talent that prevents her, more a tendency to take on misguided “message” projects that fall flat. Additionally, if you look for Monster among her 10 Best, you won’t find it as it is one of the few films in my life I’ve walked out of because I found it so deeply unpleasant. Doesn’t mean that she wasn’t outstanding in her acting; just means that there’s only so much hooker/serial killer I can take (and from the eventual director of Wonder Woman….who knew?). She’s on a serious career upswing in the wake of stealing Mad Max: Fury Road (where’s our Furiosa spin-off?) and re-establishing her action dominance in Atomic Blonde. She looks 20 years younger than her actual age, and can beat you up, so it’s unlikely this actress is going to fall prey to the gender wall that eats so many careers. I’d like to see her do more comedy though. She has great timing, and that’s something you can’t teach.
Continue reading Charlize Theron’s 10 Best Movies