‘You Were Never Really Here’ Trailer: Joaquin Phoenix Has His Own Particular Set of Skills

You Were Never Really Here trailer

After a six year break from features, director Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) is back with You Were Never Really Here, a film that looks to be a cross between Taken and Taxi Driver. This violent drama debuted at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and earned high praise from those who caught it, and it’s easy to see why: this movie looks like it rules. Check out a new UK trailer for the film below.

You Were Never Really Here trailer

Based on a 2013 novella from Bored to Death creator Jonathan Ames (side note: this movie could not look more different than Bored to Death), the story follows a veteran (Phoenix) who uses his own particular set of skills to find girls who have gone missing. As the violence and intensity ratchets up, things start to spin out of control for him.

If that stylish trailer – with its Taken-esque foray into the sex trade and an overt nod to Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle during the mirror interaction at the end – isn’t enough to get you fully on board, maybe you’ll be interested to hear from those who have seen the full film already. The Guardian says it “teeters perpetually on the verge of hallucination, with hideous images and horrible moments looming suddenly through the fog,” Vulture says that “visually and stylistically, Ramsay has never been more assured,” and The Film Stage calls it “one of the most ferocious indictments of systematic abuse of power and gender violence ever projected on a screen.”

The movie’s score from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is getting some high praise, too, with Birth.Movies.Death referring to it as “possibly [his] best score to date” and “a real scorcher.” That’s especially impressive, considering Greenwood provided the scores for movies like There Will Be Blood, The Master, and Phantom Thread. Ekaterina SamsonovAlex ManetteJohn Doman, and Judith Roberts co-star.

And if all that somehow still isn’t enough to sway you, Ramsay won the Best Screenplay award and Phoenix won the Best Actor award at Cannes for his haunted, physical performance, so it seems like there’s actually some real meat to this movie beyond just a well-cut trailer.

You Were Never Really Here plays at the Sundance Film Festival later this month (where I’m hoping to catch a screening and report back to you all), and Amazon Studios will release it wider on April 6, 2018.

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Why Were So Many Major Animated Movies So Bad in 2017?

2017 animated movies

When I sat down to compile a list of the best animated movies of 2017, I realized that the selection was shockingly meager. Outside of Pixar and Disney, animation has never been the pride of Hollywood, often appealing to the lowest common denominator rather than stretching the limits of what animated storytelling can do. That’s a job for the foreign animated flicks or for the arthouse indie films. Mainstream animated films only have to keep kids occupied while their parents run errands.

But there was something exceptionally horrible about 2017’s mainstream animated offerings. Aside from CocoCars 3, and The Lego Batman Movie, Hollywood has had a pretty bad year for animated movies. Don’t remember what came out this year? The Emoji Movie, The Boss Baby, and Smurfs: The Lost Village, just to name a few. Now you see what I mean.

Compared to last year, which boasted fantastic widely released films from high-profile studios like Disney’s Moana and Zootopia and smaller studios like Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings, this year’s wide-release animated movies have little in the way of critical acclaim. How can there be such a difference in quality in one year? Let’s dive into it.

Approximately 30 animated films were released in the U.S. in 2017. For the sake of this article, I’m not including films that were released internationally in 2017 but won’t premiere in U.S. theaters until 2018 (sorry Godzilla: King of Monsters fans). However, I will be counting films that are on the 2018 Oscars shortlist, which include films that have had a limited U.S. release like Mary and the Witch’s Flower or Birdboy.

COCO set visit

The Good, the Bad, and the Really Bad

Let’s start with the silver linings to the dark cloud looming over animation this year. Coco is a phenomenal, affecting film that was heralded a creative comeback for Pixar, after the leading animation studio saw a brief creative plateau in the past few years with the middling streak of Monsters University, The Good Dinosaur, and Finding Dory (Inside Out being the exception). Coco, with its reverence of Mexican culture and stirring tale about family is easily the best wide-release animated film this year, followed closely by the uproarious The Lego Batman MovieLego Batman (which was a spin-off of the surprise 2014 hit The Lego Movie) and the equally solid Cars 3 (an entry into Pixar’s least-loved series), prove that not all is hopeless with sequels.

And there are the cases of foreign films that make their way to U.S. theaters — cerebral Japanese animes like Your Name and In This Corner of the World were standouts, as well as ambitious European films like the Spanish-language Birdboy — in addition to independent releases like Loving Vincent, My Entire High School is Sinking Into the Sea, and The Breadwinner. But they were vastly overshadowed at the theaters, often barely making a blip at the local independent theater chain before vanishing.

Loving Vincent — a gorgeous rotoscope film animated in the style of Vincent Van Gogh’s impressionist art — was probably the most widely-released independent animated film, opening in 218 theaters. Compare this to last year’s stop-motion Kubo and the Two Strings, which opened in over 3,000 theaters and made $ 48 million domestically. While Kubo admittedly comes from the same production studio that created hits like Coraline, this illustrates a significant disparity between the mostly generic wide-release films and the audacious, smaller films that may have made a bigger impact if not for their modest theatrical releases.

And are these generic wide-release films really that bad? After subjecting myself to a back-to-back marathon of The Emoji Movie, Smurfs: The Lost Village, The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature, and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, I can confirm yes. The Emoji Movie is possibly the worst movie this year, and the embodiment of the shallow, corporate-driven model that has produced this outpouring of awful animated films. A series of clumsily thrown together tropes and plot devices on loan from superior films like Inside Out and Wreck-It RalphThe Emoji Movie is the studio-imposed formula at its finest. It hails from Sony Animation, the studio also responsible for this year’s equally bad Smurfs: The Lost Village and The Star.

It’s easy to blame money-hungry studios for this year’s slate of bad films, but it’s likely a slew of factors. If greedy, corporate studios were the only ones to blame, then all of Hollywood’s films would be equally terrible. There’s something more to why mainstream animation had a particularly bad year.

Despicable Me 3 trailer

Sequel Syndrome

Much like it was argued in hushed whispers that Pixar no longer had its creative spark a few years ago, 2017 was likely the result of a vacillating animation cycle; it’s no surprise that three of the highest profile animated movies this year were sequels to 2013 and 2014 hits. Despicable Me 3, Cars 3, The Nut Job 2, Smurfs: The Lost Village, The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movies are all products of the hits that came before them.

But most of these movies aren’t bad by virtue of being sequels: they’re bad because they’re lazy attempts to cash into the success of the originals. Films like Cars 3 and The Lego Batman Movie were successful because they differed from the formula of their predecessors, while other films only rehashed their last films’ plots and tropes in attempt to keep the kids entertained. And it works, because we don’t demand anything different. Anyone with a kid — or who at least has babysat one for a few hours — know that children love repetition. They will watch their favorite films on endless repeat, much to the chagrin of their beleaguered parents. The worst sequels only manifest this practice. It’s the kid’s favorite film again, only with more colors and explosions, and possibly a new pop song.

Despicable Me 3 was one of the highest-grossing movies of the year, racking in over $ 1 billion worldwide. And I’m sure we’re in for at least five more Lego movies. However, it’s not animated sequels that are inherently bad, but the way that we approach them: as if they are the inevitable hardship that we have to endure in order to get just a little bit of quiet time with the kids.

Smurfs: The Lost Village preview

The Hollywood Babysitter’s Club

In 2017, animation is still considered a “low” medium by many audiences, critics, and filmmakers. Many see animation as nothing more than a genre made exclusively for children, requiring little more narrative cohesion than a “happily ever after.”

But animated movies can be smart. Pixar, Disney, Studio Ghibli, and even a few Dreamworks and Blue Sky Studios films prove just that. Pixar, Disney, and Ghibli consistently make films that can work on several levels and appeal to all audiences — a far harder feat than most live-action films have to accomplish. But at the heart of films like the abstract Inside Out or the trippy Spirited Away, are good, compelling stories. When studios and animators approach films from the story first — and not with the express intention of entertaining kids — that’s when we get timeless classics.

To me, animation is one of the most exciting mediums in film. There are no limits to what filmmakers can do in an animated film — only what their imagination can accomplish. Even when they’re operating in rigorous techniques like stop-motion, claymation, or rotoscoping, animation filmmakers can test cinematic limits that live-action filmmakers could barely reach, either by budget restraints or just human ability itself. Anime is a wonderful example of this, with Your Name reaching new metaphysical heights within the realm of a mundane, sci-fi story, and In This Corner of the World operating within the brutal realism of World War II Japan and the dreamy landscape of its artistic protagonist. But even anime films, with their limited funds and unforgiving industry, can barely live up to what legendary animator Satoshi Kon was able to do with his rapid, reality-bending shots in films like Millennium Actress and Paprika.

Animators aren’t daring to dream anymore, and the ones that do don’t have the budget or resources of The Emoji Movie. But there is still hope. Studio Ponoc, a studio founded by Ghibli animator Yoshiaki Nishimura, has kicked off what is hopefully a new era for anime with the vibrant Mary and the Witch’s FlowerGKids, a small New York-based distributor behind The BreadwinnerThe Girl Without Hands, and more, has pushed for the release of more audacious foreign animated films in U.S. theaters and is starting to move into production.

Maybe 2017 has been a bad year. But the future can only get better — there has to be an emoji for that.

The post Why Were So Many Major Animated Movies So Bad in 2017? appeared first on /Film.


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Quentin Tarantino Star Trek Movie In The Works, And We’re Not Making This Up

Quentin Tarantino Directing Star Trek

Here’s a story that sounds so out-of-this-world that I almost thought it was a prank: Quentin Tarantino might be joining the Star Trek franchise. A new report indicates Tarantino pitched a concept for a new Trek film to Star Trek producer J.J. Abrams, and that Abrams is planning to assemble a writer’s room to make Tarantino’s idea a reality. If it works out, Tarantino might direct the next Star Trek film himself. Again, we’re not making this up. The Quentin Tarantino Star Trek news is below.

Deadline has a breaking story that claims that Quentin Tarantino, the acclaimed filmmaker behind Kill BillPulp FictionThe Hateful Eight and more, might be beaming aboard the Star Trek franchise. Per Deadline, Tarantino pitched an idea for a new Star Trek film to Star Trek reboot director and producer J.J. Abrams, and the idea was such a hit that Paramount is going to assemble a writer’s room to hash-out Tarantino’s idea. Deadline says that if the idea works out, Tarantino might direct the film himself, with Abrams producing.

This sounds wild, and not exactly the type of thing you’d expect Tarantino to be attached to. Then again, the filmmaker has expressed interest in Star Trek in the past. The filmmaker once said he would be more interested directing a Star Trek film than Star Wars, and when later asked if he would be willing to tackle the Trek franchise, Tarantino said, “It would be worth having a meeting about.” Tarantino fans will also recall that Kill Bill opens with the quote “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” attributed to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Still, all of that sounds like rumor and conjecture, but Tarantino was apparently very serious, to the point where his name is now being mentioned in connection with the franchise. J.J. Abrams rebooted the Star Trek films in 2009 with Star Trek, a blockbuster hit that breathed new life into the stagnant series. Star Trek was followed-up by the less-than-stellar Star Trek Into Darkness. At that point, Abrams left the franchise to go make Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Justin Lin took over to helm the third film, Star Trek Beyond. While audiences seemed to have a lot of fun with Beyond, it underperformed at the box office. Beyond grossed $ 158 million at the domestic box office, a massive drop from the previous films, both of which grossed north of $ 200 million. Its final total of $ 343 million worldwide was the lowest among the new franchise. This underperformance has seemingly sidelined the new Trek, with actors Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock, and Karl Urban, who plays Bones, both claiming they had no idea when, if ever, a new film would happen.

At one point, the idea for Star Trek 4 was going to center around time travel bringing Chris Pine’s Kirk together with his deceased father, played by Thor star Chris Hemsworth. This latest news involving Tarantino’s involvement seems to indicate plans for that film are dead unless Tarantino somehow worked them into this potential story. But that seems unlikely. In fact, it seems doubtful that Tarantino would even want to do a sequel to someone else’s film. Could Paramount be rebooting the franchise again? Stranger things have happened.

Tarantino is currently putting together his next project, a still-untitled film revolving around the Manson Family murders, due out August 9, 2019. If rumors about Tarantino directing the next Star Trek are to be believed, look for it to hit theaters sometime after 2019.

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Were Rey’s Parents in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Just Spoiled by Adam Driver?

Rey's parents

We’re less than two months away from the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and for the most part, everyone involved with the production has remained tight-lipped about spoilers. But that rascal Adam Driver may have just let slip a big clue about Rey and her secretive parentage. Driver, you scamp! Stormtroppers from Disney are probably speeding toward your house right now to give you a stern talking to. Get the possible details on Rey’s parents below!

In the new Star Wars saga, there’s one still unanswered question that towers above the rest: when will Sy Snootles make an appearance? Oh, also, fans want to know who Rey’s parents are. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new series hero Rey (Daisy Ridley) has been stranded on Jakku for most of her life, waiting for her family to return. And just who are Rey’s family? We don’t know, and there’s a sense Rey doesn’t really know either.

This has, of course, lead to much fan speculation, with the fan consensus being that Rey is related to Luke (Mark Hamill) in some capacity – although that seems too obvious to be true. The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has said in the past that his film will address Rey’s parents in some form, but co-star Adam Driver may have just dropped a pretty big hint. It goes without saying that this should be considered a potential SPOILER, so be warned!

Driver, who plays Darth Vader’s angsty grandson in the series, gave a recent interview to GQ wherein he discusses several things related to The Last Jedi. Among them was this bit of information about his character and also Rey:

“I remember the initial conversations about having things ‘skinned’, peeling away layers to evolve into other people, and the person Kylo’s pretending to be on the outside is not who he is. He’s a vulnerable kid who doesn’t know where to put his energy, but when he puts his mask on, suddenly, he’s playing a role. JJ had that idea initially and I think Rian took it to the next level…You have, also, the hidden identity of this princess who’s hiding who she really is so she can survive and Kylo Ren and her hiding behind these artifices.”

Using the phrase “princess” to describe Rey is very specific. Is there a chance Driver misspoke? Sure, but it seems like the actor may have just revealed a big Star Wars secret. Of course, the question remains: if Rey is a princess, who are her royal parents? The logical conclusion many will draw is that Rey is the daughter of former princess turned general Leia (Carrie Fisher), which would make her Kylo Ren’s sister. But again, this seems a little too obvious. And Leia gave no indication of this in the scenes she shared with Rey in The Force Awakens. Feel free to speculate wildly about what this means! We’ll likely have more answers when Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters December 15, 2017.

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‘These Girls Were Disposable’: 3 Lessons from ‘Alias Grace’ Director Mary Harron’s TIFF Master Class

The maverick director of American Psycho delves into why her provocative stories work so well.

Canadian director Mary Harron has brought her distinctive, indie sensibilities to five feature films. With the premiere of the first two episodes of Alias Grace, Harron’s new miniseries for CBC and Netflix, adapted from the novel by Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), the director sat down at TIFF on Wednesday for a master class, in which she discussed everything from punk rock to feminism and her approach to casting and directing.

Here are three highlights from the hour-long conversation with this fiercely intelligent, maverick filmmaker.

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No Film School

10 Movies We’re Excited to See at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival

Wondering what to see at Tribeca 2017? We’ve got you covered.

This year, Tribeca Film Festival programmers pared down the lineup by 20% in order to better showcase quality films. The efforts seems to have paid off; the 16th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from April 19 to 30, features a robust slate of thought-provoking documentaries, international spectacles, and narrative work from some of American’s finest indie filmmakers. Here’s what we can’t wait to see.

The Reagan Show

Directors: Pacho Velez, Sierra Pettengill
Section: Documentary Competition

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No Film School

We’re voting yes. But.

In this special mini-episode, John and Craig talk through the upcoming WGA strike authorization vote — what it actually means, and why they’re both voting yes.

Voting begins Tuesday in person, and Wednesday online.

We also discuss how strike authorization votes are a strange bit of negotiation theater, which Craig in particular would like to see end.

Links:

You can download the episode here.

johnaugust.com

Mark Hamill tells scandalous, funny, tender tales of Carrie Fisher, and now we’re all in tears

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ORLANDO — This was the wake Carrie Fisher would have loved to attend. 

Speaking off the cuff for an hour on stage at Star Wars Celebration, Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill shared hilarious and not-at-all-sanitized stories about the late princess — such as the time they made out on a couch during their time filming Star Wars in 1976.

That’s right — even as Fisher was beginning an affair with Harrison Ford, which she discussed in her final book The Princess Diarist, Luke and Leia were getting hot and heavy as well. This was ostensibly to settle the question of which of them had the better kissing technique, as actors.  Read more…

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Mashable

We don’t need April Fools’ Day anymore because we’re living a fake news nightmare

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I remember the halcyon days when April Fools’ Day was a bit of harmless fun. We’d read fake stories from the newspaper over our cornflakes and have a good chuckle. Fake news was just something that happened once a year. But, those days are gone

We are now living in the age of fake news; where mistruths are presented as truths, and believed at face value. Fake news is no longer a once-yearly event, it’s a 365-day-a-year news cycle. And, that’s why April Fools’ Day needs to die. 

“April’s Fool Day is a day when you have to constantly engage the critical and sceptical part of the brain so you don’t get duped,” says Claire Wardle, Director of Research and Strategy of First Draft News. “Now that we are increasingly encountering information that has been fabricated, manipulated or is downright misleading, we need to be engaging those same parts of our brains every day and questioning what we’re seeing in our social feeds.” Read more…

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