The Essential Harry Dean Stanton

One of the great character actors in movies, the legendarily laconic and sad-eyed Harry Dean Stanton passed away this weekend at the age of 91. He possessed the recognizable hound dog face the average moviegoer might recognize as “that guy.” For us cinephiles we knew him as kind of cinematic legend, like a Red Wood tree that would never fall. Even in his 90s, Stanton didn’t look like he was ever slowing down. Deeply underrated as an actor, Stanton was someone who could give us a world of emotions with a single glimpse at his dark, sorrowful eyes. The six essential Stanton performances we chose are not the be all end all, they are only the starting point, the recognizable bunch that the mainstream would no doubt mention with his passing. If you want to be more adventurous you can find countless gems in Stanton’s filmography. Take for example Bertrand Tavernier‘s brilliantly underrated “Death Wish,” in which Stanton’s reality TV tycoon feels more like a prophetic statement for our smartphone times, or how about his great performance in “The Rose,” in which he plays the country music superstar that puts down the ego of Bette Middler‘s Mary Rose Foster” who idolized hm as a kid? Or how about the fake blind man in John Huston‘s “Wise Blood,” a fraudulent sidewalk preacher that represents the ironic contrivances of religion.
Why didn’t he become a leading actor after his breakthrough performance in “Paris, Texas,” the Wim Wenders film that went on to win Cannes’ coveted Palm d’Or prize? He just moved to the beat of his own eccentric drum.
“Yeah, I was offered a series by John Carpenter after I did the movie “Christine,”and I would’ve been a leading man after that,” he explained to Vulture in 2013. “I would have played a private investigator. And I was offered a great deal — I would be involved in the direction, casting, everything, and whatever. It was whatever an actor wants, and I didn’t take it.” But he eventually passed on the role.
“Why didn’t you take it?” the interviewee asked. “I don’t know, I just … I like to do nothing,” replied Stanton.
Stanton was more than just the guy that was killed by a xenomorph in “Alien,” more than just the corrupt polygamist on the HBO series “Big Love,” and if you look closer you’ll find that what he achieved in his career was something nearing a minimalist miracle.
PRETTY IN PINK, Molly Ringwald, Harry Dean Stanton, 1986“Pretty in Pink” (1986)
Set during the era of the famous ’80s brat pack squads, in John Hughes‘ classic teen dramedy Molly Ringwald plays Andie who is torn between two opposite affections, Duckie (Jon Cryer) whose puppy love for her is sweet, endearing and innocent, and Blane (Andrew McCarthy) a handsome rich kid that has girls everywhere swooning over him. Ringwald’s iconic role all but cemented her poster-status on boys and girls’ walls nationwide. Stanton is her sweet-natured loser father Jack, a man disappointed in not only himself but at the lack of opportunities he’s given his daughter’s life. Their scenes together are heartbreaking and bring about a whole other dimension to what is a sweet, but mostly safe and predictable Hughes universe movie. There isn’t a false note in his performance, which is benefited by the sad brooding puppy eyes we’d come to know and love over the years.

"Repo Men" (1984)
Another movie from 1984. At his best, Stanton proved to be a leading scene-stealer in Hollywood and “Repo Man” is a perfect example. Stanton’s Bud is the guy that sets up the twisted world of “Repo Men” for us. Punk-rocker Otto (Emilio Estevez) is fired from his pathetic supermarket job after being impudent to the boss. Wandering the streets, alone and confused, he meets Stanton’s car repossession agent who offers him a job working as a repo man which, much to Otto’s delight, basically means being a legally-empowered car thief. What ensues is the very lifestyle that Otto seemed to glamorize as a teenager: drugs, car chases, fights, cool cars and lots of money. He also gets to hang out with Stanton’s ornery character who teaches him the tricks of the trade as the more experienced repo man. Stanton is fantastic and his rapport with Estevez hilarious. Who could ever forget Stanton telling Estevez, “I don’t want any communists in this car……and no Christians either!” No one else could play the Repo Man with such chilled out weirdness.
“Lucky” (2017)
With over 60 years of deeply felt performances to his name, “Lucky” caps off Stanton’s career and life in meditative perfection. While “Lucky” is conceptually ordinary, its existential subtext sets the stage for a performance so perfectly nuanced for Stanton but executed in its full potential by none other — it’s a sobering portrait dedicated to one of cinema’s greatest actors. In hindsight of his passing, Stanton’s final performance is quite haunting as he transmits an entire career built upon levity into this grouchy old cynic nicknamed Lucky. Stanton frames this existential experience by infusing his pronounced stoic grace. After watching “Lucky” it’s hard not to notice Stanton’s impenetrable comfort with the inevitability of death — you could hear it in each uttered line and see it within his somber eyes. With being able to work alongside his good friend David Lynch one last time in the return of “Twin Peaks” and his devastatingly beautiful performance in “Lucky,” it’s quite difficult to imagine a more picturesque way for the prolific Harry Dean Stanton to ride off into the sunset. Full review here.

“Paris, Texas” (1984)
Directed by Wim Wenders in what is arguably his greatest film, Harry Dean Stanton plays Travis, a gentle, kind, but depressed man haunted by personal demons. This emotional black hole is forever changed when he is reunited with his brother (Dean Stockwell), who’s been raising Travis’ young son, Hunter (Hunter Carson) with his wife. This sudden reconciliation forces Travis to slowly reassess his past, more specifically to meditate on his long lost wife, Jane (Nastassja Kinksi), whom he still madly loves. Their reunion is part of the cinematic time capsule, a masterful display of restraint from the film’s director. As Travis confronts her through a booth, and tells her what he did and why he did it, he encapsulates a world of emotions in a single speech. It echoes the great scenes of epic literature from Ulysess meeting Penelope to, hell, even the return of the prodigal son. It provides an exemplary power of cinema as great art. Stanton’s performance is poetic, haunting, and just plain beautiful here.

“Wild At Heart” (1990)
By now, you’ve seen David Lynch extol the many virtues of his fallen comrade Harry Dean Stanton on Twitter (see below). While never much of a lead actor in any of his work, aside from “Paris, Texas,” Lynch and Stanton worked together five times (“Wild At Heart,” “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” “Inland Empire,” “The Straight Story” and “Twin Peaks: The Return”), and six if you consider their close collaboration in the aforementioned “Lucky” where the two friends acted alongside one another. Stanton’s supporting roles were all memorable, but perhaps none quite as extraordinary as the small, but unforgettable turn in Lynch’s idiosyncratic fairy tale “Wild At Heart.” Stanton plays Johnnie Farragut, the private detective hired by Marietta (Diane Ladd) to locate her daughter. Farragut, a tender, mild-mannered man is also Marietta’s on-again, off-again boyfriend and really eager to please her in his easy-going, yet pained way. Of course, Marietta is essentially leading him on and manipulating Johnny for her own means. Poor Johnnie Farragut, he’s a two-time loser and as played by Stanton, you can’t help but have an overfull amount of empathy for the can’t-catch-a-break character. Stanton uses his laconic and affable mien to craft a melancholic character just trying to assuage, that sadly meets a gruesome ending. Fun fact: Farragut’s death was originally a graphic torture scene, but Lynch cut it after a torrent of audiences walked out of two test screenings. Instead, the scene, still emotionally brutal, is shot in a less stomach-churning, yet no less disturbing manner.

“Alien” (1979)
Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi has incredible talent within its cast (Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt). Harry Dean Stanton doesn’t really utter much dialogue in the film, but his facial expressions tell us everything we need to know about the good-natured traits of his character. Playing Brett, he brings some much-needed comedy relief to the USCSS Nostromo. Too bad then that his affection for Jonesy, the resident cat of the vessel, is reason for his downfall under the hands of the xenomorph, it’s one of the more disappointing departures in the film as Brett turns out to be one of the more likable characters on-board. Couldn’t Ridley spare him a little more time in the films? – with Rodrigo Perez and Kyle Kohner
Additional movies with memorable Harry Dean performances worth tracking down include “Escape from New York” (1981), “Christine” (1983), “The Green Mile” (1999), “The Last Temptation of Christ“(1988), David Lynch’s “The Straight Story” (1999), “Cool Hand Luke” (1967) and even a small part in Francis Ford Coppola‘s “The Godfather: Part II” (1974).

Toronto dispatch: Glenn Close storms to the forefront once again in The Wife

Women dominate Toronto this year. Among the exemplary performances we’ve seen in the last 10 days: Frances McDormand in “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri,” Sally Hawkins in “The Shape of Water,” Emma Stone in “Battle of the Sexes,” Jessica Chastain in “Molly’s Game,” Margot Robbie in “I, Tonya,” Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird,” Judi Dench in “Victoria and Abdul,” Annette Benning in “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” Jennifer Lawrence in “mother!” And yet, for all the well-jusitfied enthusiasm each of those actresses has inspired, another legend might tower above the rest.
Despite being nominated six times, Glenn Close has never won an Oscar. Factor that into the equation as you calculate her chances for her masterful turn in  Björn Runge’s The Wife, A late-screened stunner that has taken Toronto by storm. As Joan, the wife of a newly-announced Nobel Prize-winning novelist Joseph (Jonathan Pryce) whose career she has supported while setting her own ambitions aside, Close is magnificent and exudes a hypnotic screen presence.
Runge’s film opens as the couple first receive news that Joseph has won the prize. They jump up and down on the bed like giddy children as he chants “I won the Nobel Prize.” As the significance sinks in and the full implications bear down, Joan abruptly stops celebrating and leaves the room. Things don’t get any better once they arrive in Sweden in preparation for Stockholm ceremony. Joan is clearly deeply annoyed by something and we can only guess what. As more and more troubling details gradually spill forth, we learn more about their lives together and it’s not a pretty picture. Her husband has been self-obsessed partner, an inattentive father and has had a string of affairs over the years — and those deficiencies don’t even scratch the surface. Complicating a tense situation further, a aggressive biographer who’s intent on chronicling Joe’s life (Christian Slater’s best role in years) has stalked them all the way to Stockholm. He knows this couple’s biggest secret and is threatening to expose it.
As fraught with drama as this powder keg of heightened circumstances may be, make no mistake, The Wife is more than an actor’s showcase. The film itself is indisputably superb, a ticking time-bomb of simmering tension which benefits from the audience knowing as little as possible in advance. It’s rare female-driven films that understands women so well, you might guess that it was conceived by a woman — and you’d be right twice. Screenwriter Jane Anderson has adapted the novel
by Meg Wolitzer with magnificent brilliance, with a striking nuance and wealth of subtle shadings that reveal the slow peeling onion of the film’s core mystery. Pryce, in a reprehensibly villainous role, has possibly never been better, but it’s Close who commands the film with a performance for the ages. When Joan is not lacerating her husband with volleys of icy precision she manifests a lifetime of rage and frustration with a silence that speaks volumes on screen.
Unlike Joan, whose life as The Wife was so cruelly overshadowed, Glenn Close has given the world a lifetime of iconic women who never failed to astonish us. She’s fiercely embodied the power of unbridled womanhood over the course of three and half decades of cinematic classics — Reversal of Fortune, Dangerous Liaisons, Fatal Attraction, The Big Chill, Damages and (coming soon) Sunset Boulevard. Yes, she is unquestionably due, and Joan Castleman might just be the role she was born to play.

R.I.P Harry Dean Stanton

Harry Dean passed away. I am sad. I'm glad he lived so long and exactly in the way he wanted to. He's the last of an era of character actors who could make all writers sound brilliant and all directors look deeply intuitive. But it was he who was able to reach out and touch us, tap us, prod us into firecrackers and firebombs of emotion. He was a scientist of behavior. I've watched "Paris, Texas" thirty times, for sure. It is one of my all time favorites and he levitates in it. I am sad. The last time I saw HD was at Sean Penn's birthday. He sang a song for us in Spanish. His vibrato that night came like rolling waves, and I felt a young flamenco dancer click her heels away on my heart. He sang not just beautifully, he sang deeply. Where's everyone going? All these greats. All these wonderful people turning to angels. #ripharrydeanstanton
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Could James Franco make it to the Oscars with his account of one of the worst movies ever made?

Though many highlights at TIFF this year that have people talking are arriving after already wowing audiences in Telluride and Venice, we’re happy to report some standout debuts have been creating their own excitement.
The great performances keep coming: “Battle of the Sexes” features another triumphant performance by Emma Stone as tennis great Billie Jean King in a multi-layered account of the events that led to her match with rampant male chauvinist Bobby Riggs (Steve Carrell). “First Reformed,” Paul Schrader’s best film in 20 years, has a pastor sensitively portrayed by Ethan Hawke going through a dangerous identity crisis as the world around him dissolves into nothingness. It’s heavy, heady stuff with a powerful final scene that astonishes. Another mid-life crisis is featured in Mike White’s “Brad’s Status” which has Ben Stiller, back in “Greenberg” mode, accompanying his teenage son to college interviews in Boston as dad struggles to cope with his own personal failures. Narrated by Stiller’s Brad, the film has one of the more effective uses of voice-over color-commentary in recent cinematic memory, using its main characters vulnerable psyche to paint a picture of neurosis that sounds like a Woody Allen picture. And, of course, Judi Dench is in the line-up for Best Actress yet again this year, elevating conventional entertainment in “Victoria and Abdul,”
Guillermo Del Toro, fresh off winning the Golden Lion in Venice, is back home in Toronto where he resides, screening his masterful, surreal and dreamy “The Shape of Water” at the Elgin Theatre. The fact that some of the film was shot at the Elgin, a vintage cinema with beautiful architectural design, made the Canadian premiere of the film even more like a homecoming.
If anyone could possibly manage to steal a bit of thunder from Del Toro’s premiere on Tuesday, it may be James Franco whose “The Disaster Artist” finally screened a full 8 months after premiering at South by Southwest and bypassing every other festival until this week. Franco’s movie is a love letter to awful cinema, very much in the same vein as Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood.”
In 2003, “The Room,” a film financed by self-proclaimed impresario Tommy Wiseau for $6 million, was supposed to be the culmination of his imagined talents, his ultimate artistic statement, and the capstone to his suspiciously vague career. But what turned out instead was what many consider one of the very worst movies of all time.
Wiseau wrote, directed and financed “The Room” in a vain attempt to salvage his own 500-page novel that no publisher wanted to touch. However, the resulting mish-mash was so bad that it has defied categorization to become a cult-classic comedy disaster. The film was such a compellingly inept trainwreck that it seemed too bad to be real. Were Wiseau’s intentions truly genuine? Did he really set out to make a good movie or was he aiming for outrageous satire? As told in the memoir by Wiseau’s best friend Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) upon which the film is based, we discover the horrifying truth that their intentions were sincere. This deadpan passionate delusion adds immeasurably to the allure and charm of the picture.
The fact that Franco and company — which includes Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Kristen Bell as collaborators in the hapless menagerie — have decided to put on a straight face and take it all very seriously, brings a hilariously endearing vibe to the festivities. Wiseau was an L.A. oddball whose age, source of income, and nationality were blatantly fishy. He claimed his entire family haled from New Orleans, but his distinct Eastern European accent belied that tale. Unlike most directors, his only prior claim to fame in the public eye had been as street vendor in San Francisco. One way or another Wiseau somehow amassed a fortune as a real-estate entrepreneur and invested $6 million in his folly “The Room.” Though universally ridiculed, it enjoyed an unexpected resurrection as a cult classic in its own right, with recurrent, raucous screenings worldwide.
Wiseau himself has been fairly quiet about the Franco’s film, but he more or less gave his stamp of approval by showing up to the premiere in Toronto. Franco said “We were unsure of what he was going to think, especially because he said, [mimicking Wiseau’s accent] ‘Greg book only 40 percent true,’” recalls Franco. “It was like, well, that’s what we based it on, so what are you going to think about our movie? I was like, ‘So, Tommy, what did you think of the movie?’ And he said, ‘I approve 99.9 percent.’ And we were like, ‘What was the 0.1 percent? He said, ‘I think the lighting, in the beginning, a little off.’ [Laughs]
The Disaster Artist therefore arrives as a double-dip of cinematic devotion separated by 15 years and a million gasps. It’s a valentine to movies that went wrong in all the right ways, an ode to the stinkers which we love and can’t live without. That it succeeds so effectively is thanks to Franco’s affectionate directing and dead-on performance as Wiseau. Post-screening a gang of Oscar bloggers gathered around pondering the mind-blowing possibility Franco could garner a nomination for this performance. It’s absolutely not out of the question. The role is much more than just a one-note take on an enigmatic and absurdly misguided individual. It manages to explore unexpected layers about the reckless lunacy of movie-making that we often forget exist when the outcome works out well. Can Tommy Wiseau circuitous path at last lead him to the Oscars? I say, why not.

JJ Abrams directing Episode IX

I had included Abrams as the likely choice in my article for The Playlist 12 filmmakers who could direct Episode IX

Official statement:

"J.J. Abrams, who launched a new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens in 2015, is returning to complete the sequel trilogy as writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IX. Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio. Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm."
“With The Force Awakens, J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy."

TIFF Trio of Best Actress hopefuls: Saoirse Ronan, Jessica Chastain, Margot Robbie

If Telluride has been the place to find the next Best Picture winner, 11 years running now, TIFF has always been the go-to place to give us a sneak peek at potential acting contenders. On Friday that was just the case. Three indelibly great and promising female performances had people talking.
You’ve most likely already heard about Greta Gerwig’s semi-autobiographical “Lady Bird/”. Funny, tender and heartbreaking, its premiere at Telluride made it the toast of the fest. Last night the film had its TIFF premiere at the Ryerson, where Gerwig’s film was thunderously received. It’s destined to become a coming-of-age classic and is powered by a performance from Saoirse Ronan that feels all too real and humane.
In Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut “Molly’s Game,” Jessica Chastain plays real-life “entrepreneur” and self proclaimed “Poker Princess” Molly Bloom. The narrative structure recalls Sorkin’s masterful use of Rashomon-influenced storytelling in “The Social Network.” Going back and forth between Bloom’s rise, as she arranged secretive multi-million dollar poker games for the rich and famous at luxurious hotels, and her eventual fall that we witness in the opening sequence when FBI agents storm Bloom’s apartment arresting her for fraud, the film is an ambitious attempt by Sorkin to fully flesh out a fascinatingly complex woman. As in every Sorkin screenplay, the dialogue cascades at a frenetic pace, but Chastain nails each beat she’s given with a performance that’s sexy, smart and mesmerizing to behold. Once again, she’s the best reason to watch any movie she’s in.
“I, Tonya” is a play-by-play account of what happened during the 1994 U.S. figure skating championship when Tonya Harding and her dead-beat loser of a husband hired a white-trash goon to break the leg of her arch nemesis Nancy Kerrigan. Margot Robbie plays Harding in all her blue-collar, low-rent glory. Harding was the outsider, a figure skater that lacked the class needed in a sport whose judges look for competitors to be elegantly poised. And yet, she was the first female figure skater to attempt and successfully complete a triple axel in competition. The stunningly beautiful Robbie, who admitted at the film’s press conference that before signing on to the role that she didn’t realize the Harding/Kerrigan scandal was real, delivers the best performance of her young career. De-glamming to play a person that most of America found easy to hate in the winter of 1994, it’s not at all far fetched to wonder if Robbie could be rewarded with a nomination come next January. The 27-year-old actress is a superstar-in-the-making and this performance could just bust it wide open for her.

Notes from Toronto – Mudbound, The Florida Project, The Square, Call Me by Your Name

Now that Venice and Telluride have showcased a few of the likely and formidable frontrunners in our current awards season, all that’s left for this deluge of Oscar-friendly films before their arrival in theaters and screeners begin to stream though voter mail-slots is a final festival assessment in Toronto. After it wraps up its 41st edition on September 17th with the closing-night film, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s “C’est La Vie,” more than 250 movies will have been screened at TIFF in a span of ten days, and that’s despite festival heads Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey claim that they “cut out the fat” from this year’s edition by having 20% fewer movies in the lineup.
Okay, fine. Though this year’s lineup may be featuring some of the buzzier titles that have already made their bow at Telluride and Venice (“The Shape of Water,” “Battle of the Sexes,” “Three Billboards,” “mother!” “Lady Bird,” “Darkest Hour”), what’s most intriguing about this edition are the number of potential contenders that have not yet been screened at any festival. There’s Roman Gilroy’s “Roman J. Israel, ESQ,” Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s “The Current War,” Aaron Sorkin’s “Molly’s Game,” Sebastien Lelio’s “Disobedience” and John Curran’s “Chappaquiddick,” among many more.
TIFF did have two films premiere as part of its opening night. The first being “Papillon,” a watchable remake of the 1973 classic set in the fictional prison known as “Devil’s Island.” Charlie Hunnman continues to prove just how talented of an actor he is as Henri (Steve McQueen’s original role), the falsely convicted prisoner with the butterfly tattoo that slowly, but surely, plots his escape from the deep pits of hell.
The official opener was a little on the lighter side, both in tone and execution. “Borg/McEnroe” is a dissection of the legendary tennis rivalry between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. It stars Sverrir Gudnasson, who is actually Borg’s son, and Shia LaBoeuf, in the role he was born to play, as the flamboyantly hot-tempered McEnroe. Despite their hatred on the court, the two players ended up in later years becoming friends. Borg was McEnroe’s best man at his wedding! If it’s possible to find political resonance in the “Battle of the Sexes” — an oafish loudmouth chauvinist challenging a prodigious but unappreciated talent -– there’s no subtext beneath “Borg/McEnroe.” Director Janus Metz Pedersen’s entertaining movie is basically a by-the-books account of the legendary 1980 Wimbledon finals match between the two legendary players. It’s all pure, pleasurable facade and is anchored by LaBoeuf’s performance.
Typically the first day of press screenings at TIFF is reserved for Cannes, Sundance and Berlin favorites, which has critics who didn’t have the chance to attend these fests scurrying all around the Scotia Bank theater to catch what they’ve missed.
There’s Dee Rees’ Mudbound, A complex and invigorating account of post-WWII racial tensions in 1940’s Mississippi, the film addresses with astute sensitivity the timeless racial struggles still at play in America. Rees, whose Pariah remains one of the most underrated films of this decade (Roger Ebert named it the best film of 2011), tells the story of two soldiers, one white and one black (Gareth Hedlund and Jason Mitchell), returning home to rural Mississippi, having seen the horrors of war and struggling to deal with racial injustices they must confront. They form a friendship that gets the townspeople talking. Neither man cares about the other’s skin color, they just need comfort in each other’s bruised souls,and Rees nails the touching friendship they build. “Mudbound” is truly one of the best movies of the year.
Fresh off its Cannes Triumph, Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” will screen tomorrow, no doubt to more raves. After “Tangerine,” Baker sets up his camera with an eye towards uncharted America. This time his setting is the endless rows of makeshift motels that clutter the main avenues leading to Disneyland, distilling a moist, colorful, and shimmering visual atmosphere. The film, paradoxically decadent and disenchanted, mixes what Baker himself calls “pop verité” cinema, to create a hybrid of hope and misery that feels both transcendent and groundbreaking. On summer break, six-year-old Mooney and her ragtag group of friends look for adventure as they roam through the outskirts of a rundown motel while the adults around them struggle to make ends meet. Baker shoots his own “400 Blows” with a diminutive band of insolent misfits. A touching and funny Willem Dafoe is the hotel’s concierge and an Oscar nomination for the 62-year-old actor is not out of the question. Despite the flirtations with squalor, Baker never succumbs to the sirens of miserabilism. Instead, he prefers the fanciful fantasy of the children who, in their flight forward, can glean moments of happiness for themselves from the simple light of a blue sky.
Winning the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Ruben Ostlund’s “The Square” has been met with a spirited mix of reactions. This is a movie that dares to challenge political correctness with its ferociously unhinged tackling of the human psyche. What exactly binds us to communicate and be civil with each other is the primary question its writer-director asks. In Ostlund’s world, the answer is much more complicated than one might ever expect. The brilliant moments in the film should come as no surprise to well-seasoned cinephiles, Ostlund was marked as a talent to watch after “Force Majeure,” his 2014 festival hit that put him on the mp with critics worldwide.
Although surprisingly it didn’t screen at Telluride, Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name,” continues to garner ecstatic reviews. With this love story between a seventeen-year-old Italian lad named Elio (Timothée Chalamet), and an American summer guest Oliver (Armie Hammer) staying at his parents’ cliffside mansion, Guadagnino has made one of the year’s best movies. Sensual, sexy, and touching, it’s a film that is simply told, but packs a wallop. The film is filled with intense emotions as Gudagnino lingers on the sheen of sweat that shimmers in an southern Italian summer filled with first love. Armie Hammer’s performance is a career-peak and merits every award destined to come his way this season. Ditto newcomer Chalamet who also stars in Greta Gerwig’s Telluride-crowning “Lady Bird.” This is an erotic and mesmerizing movie that exemplifies cinematic artistry in scope, theme and tone. 

Star Wars: 8 Director Rian Johnson Discusses Who The Last Jedi Is

In an interview with The New York Times,  Star Wars 8 diector Rian Johnson says the film's title is explained on the opening crawl of "The Force Awakens" and that Luke Skywalker is the last Jedi. There you have it folks. Although he says there is some "wiggle room" in there which surely implies Rey could be the next and last Jedi ....
"It’s in the opening crawl of “The Force Awakens.” Luke Skywalker, right now, is the last Jedi. There’s always wiggle room in these movies — everything is from a certain point of view — but coming into our story, he is the actual last of the Jedi. And he’s removed himself and is alone on this island, for reasons unknown."


10 Best Movies of Summer 2017

The full list of 18 can be seen on The Playlist

We’re right on top of things calendar-wise, right?…
A little late to the party, but, it’s become a recurrent trend every summer for journalists to look back at the movies that were released and, well, complain. The gist of some articles would be “don’t you remember the days when they used to release great movies in the summer”? 1982 and/or 1984 are usually mentioned and, in all honesty, those were pretty great years. In fact, they’re pretty much known as the peaks of summer movie seasons. This year, AFI is running a 1982 retrospective and, of course, a whole segment focuses on that incredible summer full of cinematic treats. Just look at the films that were released between May and August of that year: “E.T,” “Blade Runner,” “Poltergeist,” “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “John Carpenter‘s The Thing,” “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Porkys,” “Diner,” “Conan the Barbarian,” and “Tron.” Impressive.
Well, watch your back 1982 and 1984 because the summer movie season we just witnessed in 2017 will no doubt become stiff competition for your title. What’s astounding about this year’s summer movies is just how good they were despite people’s misconceptions that we are somehow living in this kind of cinematic doomsday filled with one dreadful movie after another being released on a weekly basis. Quite the contrary, almost every weekend this summer saw the release of a cinematic delight, with films by Christopher Nolan, Edgar Wright, Kathryn Bigelow, Steven Soderbergh, Sofia Coppola, the Safdie brothers, Bong Joon-Hoand Ridley Scott to name a few. So embrace it, people. Relish in the cinematic treats we got this year, it’s a just cause for celebration. The following are 18 great movies that were released between the months of May and August.

Source: Rian Johnson Will Most Likely Replace Colin Trevorrow as Director of Episode IX

EXCLUSIVE: Put Rian Johnson atop the short list of directors who might replace the recently departed Colin Trevorrow in Star Wars: Episode IX. Insiders said that nothing is done yet, but that prospect is certainly in the air right now. The Looperhelmer fit seamlessly into the Lucasfilm machine, which is no small feat given the number of star directors who’ve been chewed up and spat out under the “creative differences” line in exiting Star Wars movies.


Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in 'Bohemian Rhapsody'

Colin Trevorrow Exits 'Star Wars Episode IX'

Here’s the official press release from Lucasfilm. MORE TO COME….
"Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on Star Wars: Episode IX. Colin has been a wonderful collaborator throughout the development process but we have all come to the conclusion that our visions for the project differ. We wish Colin the best and will be sharing more information about the film soon."

Colin Trevorrow is coming off his own worst nightmare: "The Book of Henry." I decided to catch a press screening of the film earlier last month because, well, I wanted to see some of Trevorrow's chops before the "Star Wars" storm hits next year. What I didn't expect was the worst movie of the year, which, as it stands now, "The Book of Henry" most definitely is. A sentimental, misguided, confused and jumbled mess of a movie. A horrid mix of genres that never adds up. I warned "Star Wars" fans to buckle their seat belts because there would be no end to the disruptors claiming that Trevorrow is not suited for Episode IX's director chair. 

In all honesty, Disney can probably make any sub-par filmmaker look competent enough. These movies are, after all, creatively controlled by them so the scope is very limited in how Colin could have frankly fucked this up. Sure, it's a little different with Rian Johnson as he has had a considerable impact on the creative process with Disney, but Colin not as important. We do know he was on a tight leash so this news wasn't unexpected.

During the filming of "Borat", the FBI started a file on Sacha Baron Cohen after receiving numerous complaints about a strange man traveling around the country in an ice cream truck

“[The FBI] got so many complaints there was a terrorist traveling in an ice cream van,” the actor said. “So the FBI got so many complaints that they started compiling a little file on us and eventually they came to visit us at the hotel. I obviously went missing when I heard because [the film crew] were like, ‘FBI’s downstairs. Sacha, disappear.’”

[US Magazine]

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' as the cover of 'Empire'

What Leonardo DiCaprio Could Look Like As The Joker

bosslogic joker dicaprio

Courtesy of BossLogic

Matt Damon claims Donald Trump insisted on having a cameo in movies shot on his properties

It is no secret that Donald Trump likes to be in movies. The last year there have been stories unearthed about the 45th President of the United States threatening to sue Sharknado 5 because they chose Mark Cuban to play the President instead of him. 

Now comes another story involving Trump forcing people to include him in a cameo if they shot at any Trump hotels nationwide. 

“The deal was that if you wanted to shoot in one of his buildings, you had to write him in a part,” Damon, 46, claimed. “[Director] Martin Brest had to write something in Scent of a Woman — and the whole crew was in on it. You have to waste an hour of your day with a bulls— shot. Donald Trump walks in and Al Pacino’s like, ‘Hello, Mr. Trump!’ — you had to call him by name — and then he exits.”

New Poster for George Clooney's Dark-Comedy 'Suburbicon' - Written by Coen Brothers and Also Starring Oscar Isaac & Julianne Moore