Young women bullied by their peers into committing suicide has become a staple of today's news cycle, but as Anna Karenina demonstrates, it's hardly a new phenomenon. Whether you're talking about 19th-century Russian aristocrats or Midwestern teens in the age of Facebook, as Keira Knightley tells me, "The rules of society change, but the way that society works does not." more »
Oscar-nominated actor Jude Law plays a pious aristocrat in director Joe Wright's sumptuous big screen adaptation of Anna Karenina. Almost unrecognizable behind a steely exterior, Law's Karenin is Anna's spurned husband in the film, which begins its roll out Friday and is a possible awards season heavyweight. Law seamlessly pulls off playing the high-ranking nobleman whose position at the heights of Imperial Russian society is rocked when his wife embarks on an affair with a dashing young soldier. Speaking about his role, Law, who turns 40 next month, said that he doesn't think he could have played the character when he was younger — but he certainly would have given it a go.
There's a five-minute tracking shot in the middle of Joe Wright's 2007 film Atonement that is impossible to forget once you've seen it. A wounded Robbie (James McAvoy) is on the beach at Dunkirk, waiting to be evacuated, and in a nightmarish, beautiful single Steadicam take he wanders past crowds of soldiers, burning cars, horses being shot, a beached ship, a choir singing, the ferris wheel still spinning in the ruined background. It's a mind-boggling piece of work, requiring immaculate timing and choreography, and it takes you right out of the movie because it's there to show off. more »
Oscars and Obsession: Keira Knightley Talks About 'Jumping Off A Cliff' For Joe Wright In 'Anna Karenina'
At a time when General David Petraeus' affair with his biographer has become a media obsession, Leo Tolstoy's 19th-century tale of love, adultery and aristocratic downfall, Anna Karenina, is more relevant than ever. And yet, with more than two-dozen film and TV adaptations of the novel in existence, director Joe Wright faced a daunting challenge: bringing a fresh perspective to the classic story. The gamble is whether its unique twist will translate into Oscar nominations. more »
Joe Wright's latest Anna Karenina had a cast, screenplay and plan of action in hand in the spring of 2011, but the acclaimed filmmaker of Atonement and Pride & Prejudice made a bold step a mere two months before beginning the shoot. Instead of another straightforward narrative telling of the story of the epic novel by Russian great Leo Tolstoy, he opted to go for a theatrical angle in depicting the saga of a late-19th century Russian high-society aristocrat who breaks entrenched taboos and embarks in a torrid love affair with affluent soldier, Count Vronsky. In Toronto where the film is having its World Premiere Friday night, cast members including star Keira Knightley and Wright likened the sudden change to "jumping off a cliff," but they were ready for the challenge, though not all were sure if it would ultimately succeed.
Fittingly lavish, new images from Anna Karenina, the splendor of imperial Russia is merely the backdrop for a scandalous love affair. But strict rules and mores adhered to (and then broken) by high society have long been enticing setting for 99 per centers (and their friends) throughout the ages to witness aristocratic crash and burns through fleshly indulgences. And the screen version of Leo Tolstoy's novel appears to not hold back.
If the world were ending imminently — say, in three weeks — would you throw off the shackles of social confines and indulge in every crazy impulse the moment inspired? Would you seek out your loved ones in order to spend your last days in their company? Would you just stay put and continue on as normal right up until the final moment? Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, the directorial debut of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist writer Lorene Scafaria, combines a deviously tragicomic take on the approaching annihilation of mankind with a irritatingly unconvincing and unnecessary love story.
Steve Carell, Keira Knightley and the End of the World: Three Great Tastes That Taste Great Together?
I'll admit it: I groaned a bit when word first broke that Steve Carell and Keira Knightley were set to play opposite each other in a romantic comedy set against the end of the world. Knightley, I dreaded, would be reduced to playing May-December arm candy to Carell in her first non-heavy project since Bend it Like Beckham. But as the first trailer for Lorene Scafaria's Seeking a Friend for the End of the World demonstrates, maybe I shouldn't have worried so much. Maybe.
If you're both a movie fan and a consummate statistician, it's easy to love and appreciate the Oscars for shoehorning the majority of film history into a manageable grading rubric. I'm an Oscar apologist myself, and I still have one bone to pick with the Academy -- and all award-spewing organizations: the unnecessary reliance on gender-based categories. Is it not more thrilling to pit all actors against each other? Is there such an objective difference between Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock? Meryl Streep and Robert Downey Jr.? "Actor" is a gender-neutral term, and I think we'd all better off -- and better entertained -- without the meaningless siphoning. Thus, I'm stacking up the best performances of 2011 without categorical regard for gender or role size. It's a winner-take-all affair, and this winner definitely wants it all. Here's my top 10:
Here it is, the reason I renewed my subscription to the internet: Rich lists. They're just maddening, enthralling and depressing no matter who's on them. Actually, if I were on one, I'd be depressed about it. Like, "I'm the richest? Is this all there is? Time to move to Sedona. Time to open a stationery shop." On the UK magazine Heat's 30 Under 30 Rich List, you'll be pleased to learn that the UK's young movie stars make more money than its pop stars. But who leads the tally?
I'm sure there are more exciting things in life than watching Colin Farrell, dressed in a sleek, dark suit, weave through the streets of London behind the wheel of a saucy black convertible, the Yardbirds' "Heart Full of Soul" rumbling on the soundtrack. But as random weekend movie pleasures go, I'll take it: Farrell is the star, and the unassuming center, of William Monahan's nervy, noir-inflected thriller London Boulevard.
The crowded backdrops of Star Wars movies aren't just populated by Frank Oz puppets, interns, and robots in Rick Baker makeup: There are genuine stars (and famous directors) running around there! We've pinpointed nine folks who made cameos in Star Wars films, and I'm willing to bet you couldn't catch most of these players upon first viewing. Sofia Coppola is practically hiding.
Child actors all grown up, Oscar-winning directors popping their collars, stars going silly for the camera -- anything goes when you stick actors and filmmakers in the studio for some good, old-fashioned family-style portraits. See who came to town for the 2011 Toronto Film Festival and gave good face for the camera, uberdramatic, super goofy, and otherwise, in Movieline's TIFF 2011 Photo Booth.