Park Chan-wook's reverence for Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch shines through in his English-language debut, Stoker. It's a tightly wound thriller with psychosexual undertones and shocking — yet artful — violence in which, it seems, no detail is accidental and the details, both visual and auditory, add up to a lavish cinematic experience. more »
When South Korean genre iconoclast Park Chan-wook decided to bring his peculiar gifts to a Stateside production, anything could have happened — and anything pretty much does in Stoker, a splendidly demented gumbo of Hitchcock thriller, American Gothic fairy tale and a contemporary kink all Park's own. Led by a brilliant Mia Wasikowska as an introverted teenager whose personal and sexual awakening arrives with the unraveling of a macabre family mystery, this exquisitely designed and scored pic will bewilder as many viewers as it bewitches, making ancillary immortality a safer bet than Black Swan-style crossover biz for Fox Searchlight's marvelously mad March hare. more »
Park Chan-wook is one of a few successful Korean filmmakers attempting an English-language foray into Hollywood this year (also see: Kim Jee-woon's Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle The Last Stand) and his moody March thriller Stoker continues to tease with a new clip ahead of its Sundance debut this weekend. Take a peek at just under two minutes of Nicole Kidman absolutely owning the screen with a riveting, sinister mother-daughter chat opposite Mia Wasikowska.
Films starring Guy Pearce, Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and Naomi Watts are some of the highlights from world premieres that make up the 2013 Sundance Film Festival's Premieres section. Organizers revealed its selections Monday, which includes Gordon-Levitt's feature directorial debut, Don Jon's Addiction. The eighteen titles include the latest from veteran filmmakers Richard Linklater, Michael Polish, Zal Batmanglij, Michael Winterbottom, Jane Campion, Park Chan-wook and David Gordon Green.
The event also announced 11 non-fiction features that will screen in its Documentary Premieres section, including new work from Oscar winners Alex Gibney and Barbara Kopple in addition to the directorial debut from Foo Fighters frontman, David Grohl (Sound City).
In all, Sundance will include 115 feature-length films, with 101 screening as World Premieres.
"We are pleased to see a number of returning filmmakers in our Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections, indicating that there is sustainability, longevity and personal reward to careers in independent film," said Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper in a statement. "The films announced today build on each filmmaker’s personal artistic legacy and contribute to the ever-growing and inspiring achievements of the independent film community."
The 2013 Sundance Film Festival, January 17-27 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.
Sundance Film Festival 2013 Premiere and Documentary Premiere with descriptions provided by the festival.
A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated dramatic films of the coming year. Presented by Entertainment Weekly.
A.C.O.D. / U.S.A. (Director: Stuart Zicherman, Screenwriters: Ben Karlin, Stuart Zicherman) — Carter is a well-adjusted Adult Child of Divorce. So he thinks. When he discovers he was part of a divorce study as a child, it wreaks havoc on his family and forces him to face his chaotic past. Cast: Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Amy Poehler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clark Duke.
Before Midnight / U.S.A. (Director: Richard Linklater, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater— We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, Ariane Labed, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.
Big Sur / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Polish) — Unable to cope with a suddenly demanding public and battling advanced alcoholism, Jack Kerouac seeks respite in three brief sojourns to a cabin in Big Sur, which reveal his mental and physical deterioration. Cast: Jean-Marc Barr, Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas, Radha Mitchell, Anthony Edwards, Henry Thomas.
Breathe In / U.S.A. (Director: Drake Doremus, Screenwriters: Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones) — When a foreign exchange student arrives in a small upstate New York town, she challenges the dynamics of her host family's relationships and alters their lives forever. Cast: Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones, Amy Ryan, Mackenzie Davis.
Don Jon's Addiction / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joseph Gordon-Levitt) — In Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s charming directorial debut, a selfish modern-day Don Juan attempts to change his ways. Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Rob Brown.
The East / U.S.A. (Director: Zal Batmanglij, Screenwriters: Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling) — An operative for an elite private intelligence firm goes into deep cover to infiltrate a mysterious anarchist collective attacking major corporations. Bent on apprehending these fugitives, she finds her loyalty tested as her feelings grow for the group's charismatic leader. Cast: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez, Patricia Clarkson.
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete / U.S.A. (Director: George Tillman Jr., Screenwriter: Michael Starrbury) — Separated from their mothers and facing a summer in the Brooklyn projects alone, two boys hide from police and forage for food, with only each other to trust. A story of salvation through friendship and two boys against the world. Cast: Skylan Brooks, Ethan Dizon, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Anthony Mackie, Jeffrey Wright.
jOBS / U.S.A. (Director: Joshua Michael Stern, Screenwriter: Matt Whiteley) — The true story of one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history, jOBS chronicles the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs’ life. jOBS is a candid, inspiring and personal portrait of the one who saw things differently. Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, Matthew Modine. CLOSING NIGHT FILM
The Look of Love / United Kingdom (Director: Michael Winterbottom, Screenwriter: Matt Greenhalgh) — The true story of British adult magazine publisher and entrepreneur Paul Raymond. A modern day King Midas story, Raymond became one of the richest men in Britain at the cost of losing those closest to him. Cast: Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Imogen Poots, Tamsin Egerton.
Lovelace / U.S.A. (Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Screenwriter: Andy Bellin) — Deep Throat, the first pornographic feature film to be a mainstream success, was an international sensation in 1972 and made its star, Linda Lovelace, a media darling. Years later the “poster girl for the sexual revolution” revealed a darker side to her story. Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, James Franco, Sharon Stone.
The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman / U.S.A. (Director: Fredrik Bond, Screenwriter: Matt Drake) — Traveling abroad, Charlie Countryman falls for Gabi, a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in Nigel, her violent, charismatic ex. As the darkness of Gabi’s past increasingly envelops him, Charlie resolves to win her heart, or die trying. Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, James Buckley, Til Schweiger.
Prince Avalanche / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: David Gordon Green) — Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind. Cast: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch.
Stoker / U.S.A. (Director: Park Chan-Wook, Screenwriter: Wentworth Miller) — After India's father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie comes to live with her and her mother, Evelyn. Soon after his arrival, India suspects that this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives but becomes increasingly infatuated with him. Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Nicole Kidman.
Sweetwater / U.S.A. (Directors: Logan Miller, Noah Miller, Screenwriter: Andrew McKenzie) — In the late 1800s, a fanatical religious leader, a renegade Sheriff, and a former prostitute collide in a blood triangle on the rugged plains of the New Mexico Territory. Cast: Ed Harris, January Jones, Jason Isaacs, Eduardo Noriega, Steven Rude, Amy Madigan.
Top of the Lake / Australia, New Zealand (Directors: Jane Campion, Garth Davis, Screenwriters: Jane Campion, Gerard Lee) — A 12-year-old girl stands chest deep in a frozen lake. She is five months pregnant, and won't say who the father is. Then she disappears. So begins a haunting mystery that consumes a community. Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Holly Hunter, Peter Mullan, David Wenham. This six-hour film will screen once during the Festival.
Two Mothers / Australia, France (Director: Anne Fontaine, Screenwriter: Christopher Hampton) — This gripping tale of love, lust and the power of friendship charts the unconventional and passionate affairs of two lifelong friends who fall in love with each other’s sons. Cast: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frechevile.
Very Good Girls / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Naomi Foner) — In the long, half-naked days of a New York summer, two girls on the brink of becoming women fall for the same guy and find that life isn't as simple or safe as they had thought. Cast: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Boyd Holbrook, Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss, Ellen Barkin.
The Way, Way Back / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash) — Duncan, an introverted 14-year-old, comes into his own over the course of a comedic summer when he forms unlikely friendships with the gregarious manager of a rundown water park and the misfits who work there. Cast: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Liam James.
Renowned filmmakers and films about huge subjects comprise this section highlighting our ongoing commitment to documentaries. Each is a world premiere.
ANITA / U.S.A. (Director: Freida Mock) — Anita Hill, an African-American woman, charges Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment in explosive Senate hearings in 1991 – bringing sexual politics into the national consciousness and fueling 20 years of international debate on the issues.
The Crash Reel / U.S.A. (Director: Lucy Walker) — The jaw-dropping story of one unforgettable athlete, Kevin Pearce; one eye-popping sport, snow boarding; and one explosive issue, traumatic brain injury. An epic rivalry between Kevin and Shaun White culminates in a life-changing crash and a comeback story with a difference. SALT LAKE CITY GALA FILM
History of the Eagles / U.S.A. (Director: Alison Ellwood) — Using never-before-seen home movies, archival footage and new interviews with all current and former members of the Eagles, this documentary provides an intimate look into the history of the band and the legacy of their music.
Linsanity / U.S.A. (Director: Evan Leong) — Jeremy Lin came from a humble background to make an unbelievable run in the NBA. State high school champion, all-Ivy League at Harvard, undrafted by the NBA and unwanted there: his story started long before he landed on Broadway.
Pandora's Promise / U.S.A. (Director: Robert Stone) — A growing number of environmentalists are renouncing decades of antinuclear orthodoxy and have come to believe that the most feared and controversial technology known to mankind is probably our greatest hope.
Running from Crazy / U.S.A. (Director: Barbara Kopple) — Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, strives for a greater understanding of her family history of suicide and mental illness. As tragedies are explored and deeply hidden secrets are revealed, Mariel searches for a way to overcome a similar fate.
Sound City / U.S.A. (Director: Dave Grohl) — Through interviews and performances with the legendary musicians and producers who worked at America's greatest unsung recording studio, Sound City, we explore the human element of music, and the lost art of analog recording in an increasingly digital world.
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks / U.S.A. (Director: Alex Gibney) — In 2010, WikiLeaks and its sources used the power of the Internet to usher in what was for some a new era of transparency and for others the beginnings of an information war.
When I Walk / U.S.A., Canada (Director: Jason DaSilva) — At 25, filmmaker and artist Jason DaSilva finds out he has a severe form of multiple sclerosis. This film shares his personal and grueling journey over the next seven years. Along the way, an unlikely miracle changes everything.
Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington / U.S.A. (Director: Sebastian Junger) — Shortly after the release of his documentary Restrepo, photographer Tim Hetherington was killed in Libya. Colleague Sebastian Junger traces Hetherington's work across the world's battlefields to reveal how he transcended the boundaries of image-making to become a luminary in his profession.
The World According to Dick Cheney / U.S.A. (Directors: R.J. Cutler, Greg Finton) — How did Dick Cheney become the single-most-powerful nonpresidential figure in American history? This multi-layered examination of Cheney's life, career, key relationships and controversial worldview features exclusive interviews with the former vice president and his closest allies.
Once, Nicole Kidman barely had to raise an eyebrow to get awards attention. Now, she barely can raise an eyebrow and her best work in years is being completely ignored in the Oscar conversation. The Paperboy stars Kidman as Charlotte Bless, a damaged attention-seeker who becomes sexually obsessed with a convicted murderer (John Cusack), while cock-teasing the only man—or really, teenager—who truly loves her (Zac Efron). It's Kidman's bravest, boldest, and most committed performance ever, and no one cares for the short-sighted reason that the movie is terrible.
How unfair. The Nicole Kidman of To Die For used to have a bright future before that bright future came true and blinded everyone to her comedic gifts. Once Kidman scored her first Oscar nomination for 2002's Moulin Rouge, she became the prey of the Hollywood awards hunt, in which the chase for For-Your-Consideration goes like this: take one prestigious actress (see Kidman, Berry, Jolie, Swank), make her play someone vulnerable (see Cold Mountain, Things We Lost in the Fire, The Changeling, Conviction), then cross your fingers. This is why we've had a full decade of Kidman drifting about in period costumes or, god forbid, stretching herself to play a movie star in Nine. And people, this is why the Oscar season is boring. This formula guarantees a chase to the middlebrow, and it's why every Best Picture Oscar winner since Silence of the Lambs is something your grandma would see at an arthouse matinee.
There's only one thing we can do to save the Academy Awards: nominate Nicole Kidman for The Paperboy.
Just because The Paperboy is bad doesn't void the bravery it took to make it. Kidman's Charlotte is a balls-out wonder. She's pure sex and need, at once over-confident and fragile. Slithering around in her neon polyester pants, Kidman is fully alive for the first time since Baz Luhrmann murdered her with tuberculosis. And The Paperboy even has not one but two stand-out scenes that will live on in infamy—Sally Field standing on a table in Norma Rae can't compete with Kidman peeing on Zac Efron or giving John Cusack an orgasm just by breathing at him from across a prison cell.
Imagine if Oscar voters were able to parse the jewels from the schlock. Why should Les Misérables clutter up every acting category? What if this year's ceremony didn't just include the dull favorites like Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln and Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty—roles everyone respects, but no one loves—but made room for Michael Shannon in Premium Rush and Michael Sheen in Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Imagine just being able to say, "The Academy Award-nominated bike messenger thriller Premium Rush."
Plus, this wouldn't be the first time we've given an actor a statuette for good work in an awful film. We did it three years ago when Mo'Nique won for Precious. It's no coincidence that Precious and The Paperboy were both directed by bizarro auteur Lee Daniels, a former casting agent and producer with the clout to get serious actors to take him seriously. He convinced the likes of Helen Mirren, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Joseph Gordon-Levitt to star in his debut film, Shadowboxer—-and that's despite a script which opens with Stephen Dorff shoving a pool cue up a guy's ass.
In fact, let's go one step further. Not only does Nicole Kidman deserve a Best Actress nomination for The Paperboy, Lee Daniels deserves Best Director. He's clearly one of the greats. Not because his films are any good, but because his actors would do—and do do—anything for him. Anthony Minghella, Sidney Pollack, Rob Marshall only wish they could pull as passionate of a performance out of Kidman, and Daniels behind-the-scenes alchemy is that powerful with every single one of his actors. He not only convinced Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr. to shoot a strip scene in Shadowboxer, he convinced them to commit to it like it was high art. And The Paperboy performs more stunt-casting miracles: An American sweetheart, John Cusack, is loathsome; Macy Gray is the next great actress and Zac Efron, convincingly, can't get laid. Could Steven Spielberg swing that? Never.
Luckily, we're not alone in appreciating this wonderful, terrible gem. In October, a group of rogue cinephiles launched a For Your Consideration Facebook page flogging Nicole Kidman's outstanding work in The Paperboy. As of today, the page has 10 fans. Let's get that number growing.
Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe played a crazily estranged couple in Lars von Trier's erotic/thriller/surreal Antichrist in 2009. And now, Dafoe is set to return to Von Trier's latest, Nymphomaniac along with Gainsbourg, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Stellan Skarsgard and Uma Thurman. Others are joining the cast, while one big name has pulled out.
When The Paperboy premiered at Cannes earlier this year, some people were delighted. Some were downright appalled. According to the film's director and cast, that's exactly what they hoped to accomplish.
When I spoke to them on the red carpet at the 50th Annual New York Film Festival on Wednesday, they were passionate about the film — and its right to offend. more »
All decked out, Nicole Kidman received a gala tribute at the New York Film Festival Wednesday night ahead of the U.S. premiere of her latest starrer, The Paperboy, directed by Lee Daniels. Appearing like audiences have never seen her before, Kidman said she pushed her boundaries in the role in which she plays a sultry vixen who is carrying on with a convicted murderer in prison (played by John Cusack). Kidman opened up about the role and why she decided to take on the part which required her to — among other things — spread her legs and even pee on fellow co-star Zac Efron; she also shared why she never spoke to John Cusack on the set outside of their characters. But despite pushing herself into admittedly uncomfortable territory, there was one thing she would not do.
The act of directing suggests, well, direction — that whether it comes together as planned or not, a filmmaker is pursuing a particular vision he or she wants to put on screen. But this is not the sense you get from The Paperboy, the new film from Precious' Lee Daniels, a feature that feels like it's been assembled scene by scene on whatever whims were guiding the director that day. No return to an opening framing sequence with narrator Macy Gray? Zac Efron's face superimposed over the bright Florida sky? The already infamous jellyfish-enabled watersports scene? Another in which Nicole Kidman and John Cusack have mind sex in a prison visiting room in front of an audience?
Actress Nicole Kidman and retiring Film Society of Lincoln Center Program Director Richard Peña will receive gala tributes at the upcoming 50th New York Film Festival. Kidman stars in Cannes world premiere The Paperboy, which has also joined the NYFF lineup. Kidman's tribute will take place Wednesday October 3rd, while the gala in Peña's honor will take place Wednesday, October 10th.
Nicole Kidman Joins Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac; Paz Vega to Play Maria Callas in Grace of Monaco: Biz Break
Also in Thursday morning's round-up of news briefs: Warner Bros passes the domestic $1 billion mark again. A Prometheus sequel is moving forward, Christopher Eccleston is a Marvel villain and Broadway to honor Gore Vidal.
The new trailer of Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels' The Paperboy hit Wednesday. Shots of the film, which premiered in Cannes this past May give a great tease including Zac Efron dancing with sex kitten Nicole Kidman in his tighty-whities and it shows John Cusack as the frightful villain (stalking in a Florida swamp no less).
This is Thursday in Cannes: Zac Efron in tighty-whities, Nicole Kidman as a luscious sex kitten, Matthew McConaughey as a journalist with a sexual secret and a very creepy John Cusack. Such was just the tip of the iceberg this morning in Lee Daniels's outrageous The Paperboy, which will have its world premiere tonight as the festival hits its final swing. Opinions seemed to range wildly in all directions following the film's early morning screening: Applause and cries of "Bravo!" mixed with boos, laughter and a swift rush out of the huge Lumière Theatre to get reaction from Daniels and the cast at the press conference. The conversation in the press room took cues from the film's flamboyant flare, and then it went from there.
A flurry of new images recently hit offering a sweaty, revealing look at Lee Daniels' Precious follow-up, the '60s-set adaptation The Paperboy -- so how's about a round of Caption This! After the jump, help Movieline caption this startling image of Nicole Kidman as the sensual woman at the center of this dark Southern potboiler, here seen having what I can only imagine is quite a moment while sandwiched between Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, and David Oyelowo.
Why it's an Inessential Essential: It's admittedly a little strange to think of this fairly well-known film as needing endorsement of any kind. However, Lionsgate recently released a new Nicole Kidman box set, packaging the first film in Lars von Trier's acerbic but still incomplete "America Trilogy" in the same collection as more high-profile and easy-to-swallow Kidman roles like Cold Mountain, Rabbit Hole and The Others. The juxtaposition is striking, and as the clear odd film out in the four-disc set, Dogville emerges as perhaps Kidman's most inessential essential.