Thursday, April 4, 2013

At the Movies – April 2013 – Part 3: Most Anticipated Films

Must-See of the Month:

Mud (Jeff Nichols) – Drama – Apr 26
Plot Summary: Two young boys come across Mud, an escaped convict, and make a pact to help him evade the law so that he can reunite with his true love. Filmmakers: This is the third film from one of independent film’s great new talents writer-director Jeff Nichols. His last film Take Shelter was excellent (and his first Shotgun Stories was good too). He is working with composer David Wingo and cinematographer Adam Stone, both of whom worked on Take Shelter. New to the team is production designer Richard Wright (All the Real Girls). Cast: The film stars Tye Sheridan and Matthew McConaughey. It also has a fantastic supporting group with Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon (who has been in all of Nichols’s films), Sarah Paulson, Sam Shepard, Ray McKinnon, Joe Don Baker, and Paul Sparks. Expectations: Mud was one of the films in competition at last year’s Cannes Film Festival (and was considered by many to be the best American Film on display). It has played to almost universal critical praise during its festival run. It has a great cast and some are tagging McConaughey as an early front runner for a Best Actor Oscar nomination. This is the Must-See of April because it looks like a rich drama from Jeff Nichols, a director known for his gritty look at small town America and garnering strong performances from his actors. Trailer: HereReview: Here.

Worth Checking Out:

Trance (Danny Boyle) – Crime Thriller – Apr 5
Plot Summary: Simon is an art auctioneer. However, to mix things up, he decides to work with gangster Franck to steal a piece of art. The problem is that during the heist he hits his head and forgets where he stashed it. Now, he calls on the help of Elizabeth a hypnotherapist in order to recover the lost painting. Filmmakers:  After making a few ‘prestige’ films with Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, British auteur Danny Boyle is back to directing kinetic/gritty stylish crime thrillers with Trance. He is reuniting with writer John Hodge (who he worked with on his first four features), as well as working again with composer Rick Smith (who scored Boyle’s National Theatre production of Frankenstein), cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (who has shot all Boyle’s films since 28 Days Later… except for Sunshine), and production designer Mark Tildesley (who designed 28 Days Later…, Millions, and Sunshine for Boyle). Cast: The film stars James McAvoy and co-stars Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson. Expectations: Trance debuted in the U.K. in March and has played to slightly mixed reviews (though mostly positive) – coming down to whether or not the viewer liked or did not like Boyle’s brash visual style. As a huge fan of Boyle’s work (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later…, and Sunshine especially), I tend to think the film will be a great stylish crime thriller. And thus, I am excited to see it when it opens here in theatres. Trailer: HereReview: Here.

To the Wonder (Terrence Malick) – Romance Drama – Apr 12
Plot Summary: Taking place in Oklahoma, Marina and Neil are struggling in their relationship. Marina seeks solace in a priest who is himself having trouble in his vocation, while Neil renews ties to his childhood love Jane. Filmmakers: To the Wonder is the new film from auteur Terrence Malick, who is responsible for many of American cinema’s greatest films (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, The New World, and his latest The Tree of Life). He is working with frequent collaborators composer Hanan Townshend (who provided additional music to The Tree of Life), cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (who has shot all of Malick’s films since The New World, including his other two yet to be released films: Untitled and Knight of Cups), and production designer Jack Fisk (who has designed all of Malick’s films). Lubezki and Fisk are currently both among the ten best in their fields. Cast: The film stars Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem, and Rachel McAdams. Expectations: To the Wonder is a romance drama that looks very much like a Terrence Malick film – voice over narration about the meaning of life with aesthetically dynamic photography. That said, it has played to more lukewarm reviews during its festival run than any other Malick film, but many critics also have praised it. Fans of Malick will probably enjoy the film, while everyone else will find it boring. Trailer: Here.

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