We are privy to seeing in this finely tuned homage to Altman, how the man worked, thought, and loved the art of movies, and in that way, his thinking was more of that of European filmmakers like Bergman, Fellini and Renoir.
John Wick An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.
Altman A look at the life and work of American filmmaker Robert Altman.
While We're Young A middle-aged couple's career and marriage are overturned when a disarming young couple enters their lives.
Q & A â€” Alessandro Sperduti, star of "Greenery Will Bloom Again".
The Last Five Years Based on the musical, a struggling actress and her novelist lover each illustrate the struggle and deconstruction of their love affair.
Film Fest Follower - Tribeca
Auteur Film Festival Curzon Bloomsbury
EDITORIAL 24th Issue Movies by Mills is celebrating its second birthday and it is
a joyous feeling to know that with each month we have managed to produce a magazine that is unlike any other on the market, that is published with unrestrained passion, and that is because that like the director Robert Altman, who is the subject of the documentary featured in this issue, we have no one dictating to us to what we should or should not feature and that is a luxury that we treasure. Our readers are discerning cinemagoers and filmmakers and our purpose is to guide you to the best films and film festivals and to the arthouse cinemas that will show them. This month, I was privileged to attend the opening of the Curzon Bloomsbury, formerly the Curzon Renoir. It is a multi-screened arthouse cinema and its audience is knowledgeable and 'talk film' with unbridled emotion. The cinema offers cinephiles a perfect location and MbM will be frequenting this coveted venue a lot. This month's cover star is Keanu Reeves in a film that might at first appear to be multiplex fodder, but it is because of the storyline of the character he plays, John Wick, that grabs your intention and holds it because you become emotionally involved with his mission of revenge. Of course the highlight among the reviews are the documentary on filmmaker Robert Altman, who made The Player, Short Cuts, Nashville, McCabe & Mrs Miller, among others, and a preview of what was a pleasant and surprising experience: the musical The Last Five Years, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. There is also an interview with the star of Greenery Will Bloom Again, Alessandro Sperduti. This outstanding film by Ermanno Olmi was reviewed in our last issue as part of The Cinema Made Italy season. And there are our regular features on Film Fest Follower, which this month looks at Tribeca in New York, while EXTRAS celebrates the release on the DVD/Blu-Ray of Luc Besson's classic thriller Leon. And here's a second toast to you the reader for your love and support of this magazine...cheers! Enjoy the read. Brian Mills Magazine Editor Paul Ridler Magazine Designer
JOHN WICK Spoiler Alert Directed by Chad Stahelski Starring: Keanu Reeves. Michael Nyqvist. Alfie Allen. William Dafoe. John Wick had a life as a legendary hitman, an assassin which we come to learn during the course of the film and when we meet him he has walked away from the dark side. He is leading a more traditional life. His wife is ill, his life partner, and she ends up passing. She sends him a letter and a gift of a dog, a companion. And in the letter she says I know you need someone, something to love. And the idea he needs something in this way to ground him. - Keanu Reeves How do you convince people to believe in a character who straddles two lives, one as a happily married man, the other as the most brutal assassin the underworld has ever known? Cast Keanu Reeves. Few actors would ever be able to pull off the contradicting personas so convincingly as Reeves. The opening sequences show us a man who is kind and a loving husband yet emotionally vulnerable when replaying the joyous times with Helen (Bridget Moynahan) his wife. We see him taking the gift she gave him of a puppy and lifting it up and talking to it. It is the one thing he has to remind him of her. It is a beautifully played scene. So when John Wick's memory and love of Helen is trampled upon by a sadistic thug Losef Tarasov (Alfie Allen)who covets John's car and when he refuses to sell it to him, he and his fellow hoods break into his home and steal the car, beating him unconscious and killing his dog. Unbeknown to them - they have woken the darkest side of John Wick - the professional killer. Bridget Moynahan has stated that she did not read the entire script, believing that all she needed to know about John is what Helen knows. There was a large portion of the story that I didn't want to be informed about. I didn't want or need to know that side of John. Helen brought love and light and joy into his life. Knowing the other side of it would make it a www.moviesbymills.com
different story for me. Helen was so devoted to her husband that in the last moments of her life she tried to make sure he was taken care of. And I think that was really wonderful, sweet, thoughtful thing for her to do. From this moment on when John Wick goes on the vengeance to hunt down the killer of his dog and to take back his car, the film becomes a full-blooded action movie. Keanu Reeves contacted the filmmaking team of Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, co-founders of 87Eleven, one of Hollywood's most elite stunt groups. Reeves and Stahelski originally met on the set of The Matrix and Stahelski eventually became the actor's stunt double. Approached to design and film the blistering action sequences of John Wick, Stahelski surprised the producers by asking if he could pitch his ideas as director. After years at the top of his profession, he was ready to move to the next level, with his longtime collaborator Leitch on hand to produce. Stahelski has worked with Reeves for more than a dozen years, this is their closest collaboration ever and he has nothing but praise for him. Keanu was very hands-on. He can turn on a camera, he can shoot, he can edit, and he knows writing, character, directing and, obviously performing. He's always the first on set and the last to leave. As for the intense training for the fight sequences, Reeves started months before shooting began, five days a week, eight hours a day. He carved out his entire summer to become John Wick. It was an ambitious choreography and quite complicated: involving shooting someone, and then throwing and then stabbing. Because of Wick's backstory as the deadliest killer, what he does is believable, it is only when he tackles a female assassin, a Ms Perkins(Adrianne Palicki) that it becomes ludicrous. The producers should have stuck to their original character which was a man. Never for one moment do you believe that John Wick is in danger of losing. The supporting cast is excellent led by Williem Dafoe and Michael Nyqvist as Marcus, the closest thing John has a friend, and Viggo Tarasov the arch villain respectively, but everyone is overshadowed by Keanu Reeves. And Keanu is a very caring man, to quote director Chad Stahelski: Keanu takes the other performers under his wing on the set. Whether he's in a scene with a cast member or not, whenever someone new arrives, he goes out of his way to make them comfortable. He'll knock on the person's door, and say 'Hi I'm Keanu Reeves. Welcome to John Wick. Is there anything I can do for you?
Bridget Moynahan and Keanu Reeves in John Wick
Daisy and Keanu Reeves.
Willem Dafoe and Keanu Reeves in John Wick.
Keanu Reeves in John Wick. 8
ALTMAN Directed by Ron Mann
Featuring: Julianne Moore, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis, Paul Thomas Anderson, James Caan, Keith Carradine, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, Lily Tomlin, Robert Altman, Philip Baker Hall, Lyle Lovett, Michael Murphy. I create films with sandcastles. You get a bunch of guys and you build this great sandcastle and then the tide comes in and washes it away. The structure you made is in everybody's memory and that's it. Robert Altman, the subject of this excellent documentary, was a movie-making maverick who rebelled against the Hollywood way of the big studios controlling everything. The business is run by accountants who, as long as a film makes $40 billion, don't care if it kills the industry. Everything can also be shown quickly in the home - which means that the people who go to the movie theatres are teenagers who just want to get away from home. We are privy to seeing in this finely tuned homage to Altman how the man worked, thought, and loved the art of movies, and in that way, his thinking was more of that of a European filmmaker like Bergman, Fellini, and Renoir. The film is interspersed with clips from home movies, stars like Julianne Moore, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis explaining what Altmanesque means, and impressively going through in chronological order the films which he made. The instant reaction after watching this film is to watch the films again that www.moviesbymills.com
you have in your library: The Player, Short Cuts, McCabe and Mrs Miller and seek out those that you haven't; Images, The Long Goodbye, *Gosford Park, A Prairie Home Companion. Altman also makes a point at looking at films which were total disasters: Popeye, starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall. It was expected to be a resounding box office success but was a disastrous flop. A sequence to a critic's review of how bad the film was is hilarious and is worth watching for the sheer enjoyment of kicking a film when it was already dead. But Robert Altman took big chances and was never afraid to make mistakes and learn from them and reinvent himself. During the 1970s Altman formed a production company called Lion's Gate Films not to be confused with today's Lionsgate. He made three films under the Lion's Gate banner: 3 Women, A Wedding, A Perfect Couple. The film is narrated by Robert Altman's widow Kathryn Reed. What is Altmanesque? Expecting the unexpected. - Robin Williams
The celebrated film critic Pauline Kael called McCabe & Mrs Miller 'a beautiful pipe dream of a movie: Robert Altman's fleeting vision of what frontier life might have been with Warren Beatty as a cocky small-time gambler and Julie Christie as an ambitious madam in the turn-of-the-century Northwest.' 5001 Nights At The Movies.
*Was funded by the National Lottery.
Robert Altman in Altman.
Robert Altman in Altman
Kathryn Reed and Robert Altman in Altman.
Robert Altman in Altman. 12
WHILE WE'RE YOUNG Directed by Noah Baumbach Starring: Ben Stiller. Naomi Watts. Amanda Seyfried. Adam Driver. I like our life as it is. If we wanted to take off for Paris tomorrow we could. If we are going to do it, we should plan it at least a month in advance. A month is still in the realm of spontaneity.
A lot of great expectations for this film going in, but little enthusiasm for it after seeing it on going out. Baumbach's latest should have delivered much more with such a balanced and talented cast and a story that suggested involvement from the audience from the get-go. But we are forewarned with tired philosophical captions for openers, which only proved how often one hopes that a few minutes wasted screen time is a filmic faux pas that will not be repeated. Wrong. Josh (Stiller) and Cornelia (Watts) have been drifting further and further away from their best friends. They are childless and have given up on the idea of raising a family after miscarriages and a belief that they are happy to continue as they are as a couple with the freedom to choose what they want to do and when they want to do it. But then they meet a quirky but adventurous pair Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), their ideals float away and they become insipidly influenced by their lifestyle. Jamie is in awe of Josh's film documentary expertise and that he is the son-in-law of a revered documentarian Leslie (Charles Grodin). Josh is easily impressed by Jamie and he is soon riding a bicycle, despite arthritic knees, and wearing a hat that Jamie chooses for him. Cornelia warms to Darby and her amazing ice cream recipes and really enjoys her company. Suddenly she is attending www.moviesbymills.com
hip-hop classes with her and drifting further and further away from dear friends Kent and Marina, whom are becoming increasingly worried about her and Josh, particularly when they start taking the hallucinogenic herb ayahuasca and they brag how it cleanses them of their inner darkness by puking after drinking it. Eventually Josh and Cornelia suss out the mendacity behind Jamie's intentions and they become engrossed once more in each other and reconnect with their true friends. Unfortunately none of this really makes much sense because it is such a messy dog-eared script and consequently you have no interest in these characters. The scenes between Stiller and Watts where they are trying to act as the coolest hip-hop dances are embarrassing to watch and should be funny but are not. And ironically the moment that the fun begins to wear off for Josh and Cornelia it has totally worn out its audience. In the same year that Baumbach had directed Mistress America, a follow-up to the excellent Frances Ha, both starring Greta Gerwig, who was the life and spirit of both films, he digresses to make this disappointing movie. The most powerful scenes in the movie involve Charles Grodin who manages to make his scenes work and brings a little sanity to an insane situation, but it is not enough to save the film. As Baumbach has admitted that his films are really semi autobiographical, he should have taken a careful look at his alter ego Josh, who is labouring over the umpteenth edit of his cerebral new film, but has hit a bad patch and knows he cannot go any further until he finds that something that is missing. That was probably when Baumbach should have heeded his character's gut-feeling and left it alone. His protagonist was always searching for the Fountain of Youth becoming a hypochondriac in the bargain. It was treading the path walked by Woody Allen, whom Baumbach admires, and one could imagine what Woody would have done with this material! But it was not all bad, and in all filmographies there are those films that are lowlights. For Noah Baumbach this has been one of them but he will rise again, which by the title of his next film Flawed Dogs, he is totally aware of and working on right now.
Ben Stiller in While We're Young.
Ben Stiller and Adam Driver in While We're Young.
Naomi Watts in While We're Young.
Ben Stiller and Charles Grodin in While We're Young. 16
Q & A ALESSANDRO SPERDUTI Star of Greenery Will Bloom Again Directed by Ermanno Olmi Q: About your filmography, why is there a gap of nine years between making I Am David and Love is in the Air. What were you doing? A: Well actually I had been working for television projects and theatre as well and I was studying at school, so it was quite a hard time to organise everything. Q: Did you find theatre a good experience for you? A: Yes. I had a chance to play a character in a play by a famous Italian director and also share the stage with a great actress too. It was a great lesson for me, obviously it is quite different (from film) because you have direct contact with the audience. Q: Can you describe what it was like to work with Olmi? A: It was an amazing experience for me. It was really really intense from the first moment to the last one. You know, with him you never prepare much for the roles, for the character, because he wanted us to be open...to real emotions, so he actually leads you through this path. He takes out all the fears you can have, all the insecurity you can have as an actor. Then you find yourself living that scene, not just learning the lines. When you are not there, he says that immediately, you are not here with us. So you feel it and then he takes you to that level of deep emotion and it is like magic, you are living that scene. Q: What I love about this film is the expressions. There are long takes and you can feel the inner www.moviesbymills.com
feeling coming through. Does he tell you how to do this or does he leave it partly to you? A: Actually he didn't tell us many things before starting. Just that he told us that we were not doing a film about war but we were doing a film about the pain coming from the war and we had to remember this every time we were playing our characters. One more thing he told us that we had to remember constantly, that if we talked a little bit louder, we could have died there. So we had to feel this fear, constant fear of that situation. And the only pleasure of life coming from that situation was looking at each other. So the look of the other soldiers, the eyes of the other soldiers and we had to remember these two things constantly. And then after that, he told us to live those emotions. For example I had to...we had already shot the first scenes of the movie and he told me, you are coming to dinner with me and I will tell you something. And I was scared actually and I was worried. He told me that from now on, you have to take command of the trench, though up until now, you have observed. Your character has observed, now your character must take command of the trench and the other soldiers. So I want to see that you take this responsibility. And I told him and I was sincere, 'Actually, I'm afraid of this responsibility'. And he said, I know. He just looks at you and he sees everything. He understands everything. And he said, have you ever skied? Do you know how to ski? And I said, yes, I know. So when you are skiing, if you are afraid of falling, you will fall. So, I said, yes, that is true. So we had to shoot the first scenes where my character takes command and I was still afraid and he could feel it. And he told me again and again, you are not here with us. You are still feeling that fear. And I had a breakdown actually and after that I didn't feel that fear anymore. So I just carried on acting. I was in contact with the character. It was like magic, I can say that. Like the scene of the letter, where my character writes the letter (to his mother) the emotions and the feelings just came out. It was because of his strength, the way he led us to those deep levels. Q: What was it like to work with Claudio Santamaria? You seem to work well together? A: He was great. Olmi created this beautiful group. We are still in contact with each other. We are friends, we meet, we organise dinners and so on. It was like a family, we were there for two months filming, we stayed at the same hotel. It was 1800 18
metres high, the highest trench. I went out there and the other actors waited for me and when I came back they said how are you? And the next day Santamaria went there and we waited for him It was a very strong and intense experience. Q: What does acting mean to you as an actor? If you had to describe your profession to someone? A: It is a way of evolving myself. I think it is a way of discovering new realities and a way to enrich myself and my knowledge and to express feelings that come from those realities. To make people know and meet those realities. Q: And as an actor, not to be afraid to express your emotions? A: Exactly. And that is what Ermanno taught me. It seems a paradox but not to be afraid of my own feelings and my own emotions. So he was tough sometimes. He was gentle...he was many things. He was always for the best and as I say...he led me through this path and that I was not afraid of my feelings anymore and afraid of not finding them which is strange for an actor, an actor can be insecure about his own feelings when you are acting. And that these feelings are not coming out and working with Ermanno taught me a lot. Q: And do you have any other aspirations in your film career, perhaps another director that you would like to work with? Or going to America to make a film? A: Yes, I would really like to work with Tim Burton. Q: Why Tim Burton? A: Because I have grown up with his movies. I have spent my whole life watching his films. It would really be great to work with him. Q: And so he inspired you. A: So much. Q: Is he quite big in Italy? A: He is really big. He has many fans. Q: What I liked about Greenery Will Bloom Again was the expressions of the actors and I could not take my eyes off the screen for one moment because if I did I may miss an expression. So it was not just the dialogue but the expressions. So that it is amazing and it applies to all of you, so that you have all done a wonderful job. Thank you Alessandro. Interview conducted at Cine Lumiere, South Kensington, London www.moviesbymills.com
THE LAST FIVE YEARS Starring Anna Kendrick. Jeremy Jordan. Directed by Richard La Gravenese. Jamie is over, and Jamie is gone. Jamie's decided to move on. Jamie has new dreams, he's building upon. And I'm still hurting.
There are numerous moments throughout this musical when it gets close to losing its intended impact and becoming tiresome, but it is thankfully stopped from doing that by its stars: Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan who sing their way out of unintended ennui with dynamic intensity and lyrical empathy. Musicals are not the easiest of genres to sell to an audience, but it helps if the stage version was successful; and The Last Five Years is based on Tony award winning Jason Robert Brown's hit off-Broadway musical. The film tells the story of the five-year relationship between rising novelist Jamie Wellerstein (Jeremy Jordan) and struggling actress Cathy Hyatt (Anna Kendrick). As Jamie's new novel leap-frog's him to the top of the literary scene, Cathy is still doing summer stock in Ohio, and their diverging levels of success create pressing and dire challenges to their love. It is the way their story is told that, though original, may cause the biggest setback for its audience. It starts with Cathy facing the heartbreak of losing Jamie and telling her side of their relationship retrospectively from the end of their marriage, while Jamie's version of events begins when they first meet. 20
Storylines that do not follow a chronological order can be confusing and this is no exception, but as aforementioned, it is the singing of Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan's ability to hold your attention with the songs that they are singing, and the film is told almost entirely in song, that wins us over. Anna Kendrick, our cover star in the February issue of Movies by Mills, for the starring role in Into the Woods, is continually proving that she is not only one of the best musical performers in movies today but can rank with the stature of Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Jane Powell, and Barbara Streisand as being a cinematic treasure. One can only hope that more producers will recognize this fact and she is given further opportunity to prove this by being cast in another musical. Her screen musical debut was in Pitch Perfect. Of course like many musical stars, Anna's credibility was gained by working on stage: her theatre credits include: High Society, winning her a Tony award nomination, and appearing at the New York City Opera House in A Little Night Music. On television Anna was the lead performer with Cabaret's Kit Kat Club at Carnegie Hall Live. Jeremy Jordan is a name that is well established in American theatre as a star. He has appeared in the musical Rock of Ages, starred as Tony on Broadway in West Side Story, and played J.M.Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan in the stage musical version of Finding Neverland. He has also had a successful solo cabaret show in clubs around America, performing songs that has defined his rise to stardom. So what would seem to be a new face to musicals for the UK is an established one in the USA. Richard LaGravanese gained notoriety as the screenwriter of the classic movie The Fisher King, which starred Jeff Bridges and the late Robin Williams. His screenplay won him an Academy Award nomination. www.moviesbymills.com
Poster of The Last Five Years.
Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick in The Last Five Years. 22
Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan in The Last Five Years.
Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan in The Last Five Years.
FILM FEST FOLLOWER TRIBECA 2015 MbM Recommends ASHBY Directed by Tony McNamara Starring: Mickey Rourke. Nat Woolf. Emma Roberts. Sarah Silverman. Ed Wallis needs help fitting in and turns to his neighbour Ashby Holt for help. Ashby's unforgiving brand of tough love soon tests their friendship, and it hardly helps when Ed learns that Ashby is a former CIA assassin. Peppered with upbeat music and standout performances, Ashby is a spirited, self-reverential update on Harold & Maude for a John Wick generation.
BACKTRACK Directed by Michael Petroni Starring Adrien Brody. Sam Neill. Robin McLeary. In this spine-chilling supernatural thriller, troubled psychotherapist Peter Bowers is suffering from nightmares and eerie visions. When he uncovers a horrifying secret that all of his patients share, he is put on a course that takes him back to the small hometown he fled years ago. There he confronts his demons and unravels a mystery 20 years in the making.
BLEEDING HEART Directed by Diane Bell Starring: Jessica Biel. Zozia Mamet. Edi Gathegi. Joe Anderson. Reserved yoga instructor May's peaceful, clean-living life is thrown out of balance by the arrival of her long-lost sister Shiva, a street-smart yet naive young woman trapped in an abusive relationship. May feels compelled to rescue the hapless Shiva, but she finds herself increasingly drawn out of her sedate world and deeper into Shiva's chaotic one.
THE CUT Directed by Faith Akin Starring: Tahar Rahim. One man's journey through the Ottoman Empire after surviving the 1915 Armenian genocide. Deported from his home in Mardin, Nazareth moves onwards as a forced labourer. When he learns that his daughters may still be alive, his hope is revived and he travels to America to find them.
DIRTY WEEKEND Directed by Neil LaBute Starring: Matthew Broderick. Alice Eve. A sharp-edged comedy treat about the ripple effects of desire, whether its followed or left unredeemed. Two colleagues with secrets who come to depend on each other for understanding as they go to find a spark of excitement in Albuquerque, after dark.
THE DRIFTLESS AREA Directed by Zachary Sluser Starring: Anton Yelchin. Zooey Deschanel. John Hawkes. Alia Shawkat. Frank Langella. Pierre Hunter, a bartender with unyielding optimism, returns to his tiny hometown after his parents' death. When he falls for the enigmatic Stella, Pierre is unknowingly pulled into a cat-and-mouse game that involves a duffel bag full of cash, a haphazard yet determined criminal, and a mystery that will determine all their fates.
GRANDMA Directed by Paul Weitz Starring: Lily Tomlin. Julia Garner. Marcia Gay Harden. Sam Elliott. Reeling from a recent breakup and still mourning the loss of her long time partner, once-famous poet Elle Reid is surprised to find her teenage granddaughter on her doorstep in need of $600 and a ride. The two embark on an all-day road trip that ends up rattling skeletons and digging up secrets all over town.
HUNGRY HEARTS Directed by Silverio Costanzo Starring: Adam Driver. Alba Rohrwacher. After a chance meeting and a whirlwind romance in New York City, Jude gets Mina pregnant. Convinced their child will be harmed by the pollutions in the outside world, Mina becomes consumed by protecting her baby, forcing Jude to recognise a terrible truth why his son's life could be in danger.
JIMMY'S HALL Directed by Ken Loach Starring: Barry Ward. Simone Kirby. James Gralton returns from exile and reopens a public dancehall, bravely pushing back against the sharply drawn religious and political margins of his time. Ken Loach paints a romantic drama about a leftist leader, and a 1930s Ireland that celebrates free speech and thought in the face of oppressive dogma.
MAGGIE Directed by Henry Hobson Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Abigail Breslin. Joely Richardson. There's a deadly zombie epidemic threatening humanity, but Wade, a small-town farmer and family man, refuses to accept defeat even when his daughter Maggie becomes infected. As Maggie's condition worsens and the authorities seek to eradicate those with the virus, Wade is pushed to the limits in an effort to protect her.
SLOW WEST Directed by John MacLean Starring: Michael Fassbender. Kodi Smit-McPhee. Ben Mendelsohn. At the end of the nineteenth century, 16-year-old Jay Cavendish journeys across the American frontier in search of the woman nhe loves. He is joined by Silas, a mysterious traveller, and hotly pursued by an outlaw along the way.
TUMBLEDOWN Directed by Sean Mewshaw Starring: Rebecca Hall. Jason Sudeikis. Dianna Agron. Blythe Danner. Griffin Dunne. Years after the accidental death of her folk-singer husband, yet to fully accept her small-town life without him. Then approached by a charming New York writer intent on penning a on her late husband's life, and Hannah finds herself opening
Hannah has she is biography up again.
THE WANNABE Directed by Nick Sandow. Starring: Vincent Piazza. Patricia Arquette. Gotti-obsessed and hopelessly in love, Tommy and Rose are New York nobodies who get their moment in the sun when they begin robbing New York's mafia elite in this real-life crime story of mob culture and amour fou. Based on true events surrounding the 1992 trial of John Gotti.
WHEN I LIVE MY LIFE OVER AGAIN Directed by Robert Edwards Starring: Amber Heard. Christopher Walken. Jude is a would-be-singer-songwriter still struggling to make her mark. Cash-strapped and homeless she begrudgingly returns to the Hamptons home of her father, an over-the-hill crooner desperately charting his musical comeback, in this spunky, soulful drama/comedy about the personal costs of artistic ambition and the bonds that carry us through.
WONDROUS BOCCACCIO Directed by Paolo & Vittorio Taviani Starring: Riccardo Scamarcio. Jasmine Trinca. Flavio Parenti. Set against the backdrop of a black plague-stricken Florence, ten young men and women escape to a country estate where they spend their days telling different stories of love, fate, and resurrection. The film is a tribute to the stories that emerged from one of the darkest periods in Italian history, and the imaginations that quietly fuelled them.
BRIDGEND Directed by Jeppe Ronde Starring: Hannah Murray, Josh O'Conner. Sara and her dad arrive in a town haunted by a spate of teenage suicides. When she falls in love with Jamie, she becomes prey to the depression that threatens to engulf them all. Jeppe Ronde's debut is based on the real-life Welsh county borough of Bridgend, which has recorded at least 79 suicides since 2007.
MEADOWLAND Directed by Reed Morano Starring: Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Kevin Corrigan, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Moss, Giovanni Ribisi, Juno Temple, Merritt Weaver. Sarah and Phil's son goes missing, shattering their life together and forcing each other to find their own way to cope. Cinematographerturned-director Reed Morano presents a masterfully crafted contemplation on a relationship strained to the breaking point
THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES DOCUMENTARY Prolific writer/director Michael Winterbottom & comedian/provocateur Russell Brand join forces in this polemic expose about inequality and the financial crisis. From London to New York the film combines documentary style, archive footage and comedy to explore how the crisis has gravely affected the 99% and only benefited the 1%.
FAR FROM MEN Directed by David Oelhoffen Starring: Viggo Mortensen. Reda Kateb. During the height of the Algerian War, an unlikely bond forms between a reserved French teacher and an elusive dissident he must turn over to the authorities. Based on a short story by Albert Camus. David Oelhoffen's classically conceived period Western is a tense and timely study of war's political and personal sacrifices. 27
FASTBALL DOCUMENTARY Directed by Jonathan Hock. Since 1912, baseball has been a game obsessed with statistics and speed. Thrown at upwards of 100 miles per hour, a fastball moves too quickly for human cognition and accelerates into the realm of intuition. Fastball is a look at how the game at its highest levels of achievement transcends logic and even skill, becoming the primal struggle for man to control the uncontrollable.
GOOD KILL Directed by Andrew Niccol. Starring: Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Zoe Kravitz. Major Tommy Egan is fighting a war from the safety of a Nevada trailer, but commitment to the mission comes at a price. Gattica director Andrew Niccol reunites with Ethan Hawke for this timely drama about the human costs of advanced war technology.
MOJAVE Directed by William Monahan Starring: Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund. A delirious trip from the fringes of the desert to the centre of the film industry. Armed with little more than a knife and two handles of vodka, an on-edge Hollywood director sets out to the Mojave Desert, where he finds a drifter brandishing a rifle and claiming to be the Devil.
THE OVERNIGHT Directed by Patrick Brice Starring: Judith Godreche, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Adam Scott. Alex and Emily have just moved to LA with their young son. Eager to make new friends, they accept an invitation to a party from the father of their son's playground mate. After the kid's fall asleep, the 'playdate' takes a bizarre turn in this racy and hilarious romp.
SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE Directed by Leslye Headland Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, Natasha Lyonne. Two romantic failures whose years of serial infidelity and self-sabotage has led them to swear that their relationship will remain strictly platonic. But can love still bloom while you're sleeping with other people
DVDS/BLU-RAY OF THE MONTH
LEON Director's Cut
Directed by Luc Besson Starring: Jean Reno. Gary Oldman. Natalie Portman. Twelve-year-old Mathilda lives within the desperate confines of a squalid New York apartment block. On returning from a shopping trip Mathilda finds that her abusive, dysfunctional family (and her beloved younger brother)have been slaughtered by a psychotic, drug dealing police officer. In fear of her life she takes refuge with her reluctant, mysterious and solitary neighbour. His name is Leon and he is one of the world's deadliest assassins. And while Mathilda begins to teach him how to live, Leon begins to teach her how to kill.
EXTRAS **** LEON:10 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE FEATURETTE Luc Besson came up with the idea for Leon to fill a gap before making The Fifth Element. He thought that he would base the character on Reno's character of Victor the Cleaner in La Femme Nikita. But what was intended as a stop-gap film turned out to be a massive hit. This excellent featurette revisits the crew and cast 10 years after the original release of Leon. In Paris with producer Patrice Ledaux, editor Sylvie Landra, costume designer Todd Thadler, actor Jean Reno, and in New York with Natalie Portman. The casting director searched and searched for the right girl to play Mathilda. All the tests were sent to Besson who was infuriated with them because they were all fifteen year-olds and he wanted someone who thought she knew what sex was but didn't. Finally they had this young girl of twelve, Natalie Portman, who tested perfectly for the role. Luc Besson invited Jean Reno to dinner and presented him with a package. When Jean opened it, it was the script of Leon, emotionally he told Besson he was ready. www.moviesbymills.com
JEAN RENO: THE ROAD TO LEON. FEATURETTE Casablanca, Morocco was Jean Reno's birthplace and as he explains it is a place where you observe people and the colours. When he moved to Paris he trained as an actor but there is a time when the introspection has to stop and you have to express and act and he did. He met Besson who had then made a short film and both became friends and Luc Besson cast him in all his early films. And after Jean had been cast as Victor the Cleaner in La Femme Nikita, Besson enlarged that character into the professional killer Leon for his next film, three years later. The part totally changed Reno's career as an actor. His perception of the character was that Leon was a loner, he had lost his parents. He was not smart, spoke little because he had nothing to say. He was like a child and naive which balanced his relationship with Mathilda, who was mentally strong and so she could control him. It left Leon with his feelings. When he went to New York for the premiere in 1994, Jean Reno was suddenly an international star and people, men, women and children alike, were hugging him. He had to learn how to translate fame. Fame is not a good advisor. He wanted to be a kid with dreams again. He wanted to do different kinds of parts and not repeat the same character and he looked to working in comedies.
NATALIE PORTMAN: STARTING YOUNG. FEATURETTE Privy to Natalie's screen tests for Mathilda. When she read the script she really wanted to play the part but her parents were totally against it, but she kept on to them that they would ruin her big chance and finally they relented, but it came with conditions. The first was smoking cigarettes. They told Besson that she would not be allowed to smoke the cigarettes and he agreed (you see her with cigarettes but not actually smoking them) another condition was that she must be seen quitting smoking in the film, and again Leon is telling her to stop and we see her finally tossing a cigarette away. Her parents were also quite adamant that a shower scene where Mathilda asked Leon to hand her a towel should be cut from the movie. While the scene where she enters wearing make-up and the dress that Leon had bought her, was removed from the US version when it was laughed at by the preview audience who did not know how else to react to the scene, however it is included in the Director's Cut. Another scene which Natalie's parents were very concerned about was their daughter assembling and dismantling the guns she would use. They were worried that an accident would happen as it did in the film The Crow, when Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee's son, was accidentally killed when a real bullet instead of a blank had got trapped in the barrel and when fired killed the actor. To assure Natalie's safety, Luc Besson acted out the scene on himself. Leon had its premiere in Paris and launched the successful film career of Natalie Portman. 30
On Friday 27th March the Curzon Bloomsbury opened at the Brunswick Centre, Russell Square, with the Auteur Film Festival, a tribute to some of the world's greatest filmmakers: Roy Andersson, Dario Argento, John Cassavetes, Sofia Coppola, Terrence Davies, Claire Denis, Vittorio De Sica, Michael Haneke, Werner Herzog, Krzysztof Kieslowski, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Lucretia Martel, Hayao Miyazaki, Yasujiro Ozu, Sally Potter, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Orson Welles. Curzon Bloomsbury, formerly Curzon Renoir, has five screens. 1: Lumiere. 2: Minema. 3: Phoenix. 4: Plaza. 5: Renoir. They are all named after historic venues operated by Curzon since 1934, including the Renoir. There is also a 6th cinema Bertha Doc/House which screens only documentary films.
PHOTO CREDITS Warner Bros. Pictures UK 18.104.22.168.32. Soda Pictures 9.11.12 Icon Film Distributors/Grapevine Digital 13. 15. 16. 20. 22. 23. Pietro Coccia 17.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Movies by Mills would like to thank the following for their help and support. Clare Leach. Premier Comms.com Fabrice Quakinine Premier Comms.com Charlotte Aston Warner Bros.com Nicola Barnes. Grapevine Digital Sheena Patel. Grapevine Digital Olivia Jarvis. Soda Pictures Dheeraj Agnihotri. Organic-Publicity
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