A Most Wanted Man

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

June ended with a blockbuster that encapsulated everything wrong with most summer movies. Bloated, thin, self-indulgent, mean-spirited, and incomprehensible are a few ways to describe Michael Bay‘s Transformers: Age of Extinction. It’s not the worst film of the series, but it’ll definitely go down as one of the worst films of the summer. Still, audiences love Bay’s brand and the film made more money domestically in its opening weekend than Edge of Tomorrow has thus far stateside, which is just heartbreaking. Thankfully, we have summer movies like Edge of Tomorrow and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to remind us not all blockbusters are run-of-the-mill studio products. Besides Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or another viewing of Edge of Tomorrow there’s plenty of other movies to check out this month. Here are the must see movies of July 2014:

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Phillip Seymour Hoffman in A MOST WANTED MAN

When he passed away this past February, Phillip Seymour Hoffman left a lot of work behind. Specifically, there are four films — God’s Pocket, A Most Wanted Man and the last two Hunger Gameses — plus the pilot for a Showtime series called Happyish. This is good news (as good as good could be under the circumstances, anyway) if you’re a fan of Hoffman’s work, because 2014  is overstuffed with remembrances of the actor and his abilities. Now, the trailers for Hoffman’s many posthumous performances are rolling out online. Newest among the bunch is God’s Pocket, a crime drama directed by Mad Men‘s John Slattery from a novel by Pete Dexter. Here, Hoffman is Mickey Scarpato, a working-class dude from the working-class Philadelphia neighborhood of God’s Pocket. His stepson is found dead under questionable circumstances, so naturally the rough-edged bastard with a heart of gold must crack the case, please the grieving dame (Christina Hendricks) and witness the beatings of various mooks. The whole thing seems more than a little film noirish. This being Slattery’s feature debut, he’s used every ounce of his “remember me from Mad Men?” pull to attract the ideal indie cast. Along with Hoffman and Hendricks, this trailer shows off John Turturro, Richard Jenkins and Eddie Marsan. Keep a careful eye peeled and you’ll also spot Domenick Lombardozzi (Herc from The Wire) and Glenn Fleshler (True Detective‘s hulking lawnmower gentleman). Looks like True Detective might keep Fleshler in the impossibly huge man-mountain business for a long time. Also, […]

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review a most wanted man

The 9/11 attacks were planned from the beautiful, immigrant-friendly city of Hamburg, and Germany swore afterwards that it would never happen again. In addition to tightening security for those coming into the country, part of their efforts to stop terrorist cells from operating so freely within their borders included the creation of a small intelligence unit whose sole purpose is prevention. Günther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman) heads up the team (which also includes Daniel Brühl and Nina Hoss), but his latest mission challenges more than his skill-set and determination. It shakes his drive, moral compass, and dedication to “making the world a safer place.” A Most Wanted Man is exactly what you’d expect from the director of The American, and while that assessment will mean different things to different people the film remains a meticulously crafted adaptation of John le Carre‘s bestselling novel.

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laggies

There’s no science when it comes to picking the big winners at a film festival before the first film strip unfurls (or someone hits play on a digital file, as is most often the case these days), no proven method to the madness, no guaranteed formula to finding the best of the best. It’s a gamble every single time, and that’s precisely where much of the joy in attending a film festival comes from. That discovery, maddening as it may seem. This year’s Sundance Film Festival is predictably stuffed with all manner of films and talents – from the star-studded to the utterly up-and-coming – and while it’s certainly easy to pick out pictures that “sound” like they might be good or at least feature “bankable” talent, there are always a few sleepers that sneak in and captivate an unsuspecting audience. That all said, we here at Film School Rejects have attempted to apply our expertise and our personal interests to this year’s festival in order to pick out a handful of films that just might be the best of the fest, but that are at least guaranteed to send us running into a theater to see them once the festival kicks up. It’s time for Sundance! And it’s time for films! It’s even time for anticipation! And now it’s time for some anticipated Sundance films!

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A Man Most Wanted

Back in February it was reported that there was a new adaptation of a John le Carré novel being developed, and that it was looking to put Philip Seymour Hoffman in a leading role. It all sounded very exciting, but Hoffman’s involvement wasn’t official. Well, some time has passed since then, details on the project are starting to solidify, and the crew has even started to put together a cast of familiar faces to join Hoffman in supporting roles. But first, let’s recap exactly what this project is. A Most Wanted Man is a story about a half-Russian, half-Czech immigrant who comes to Germany—scarred and starved—looking for his father’s lost fortune. His past is mysterious, his motives are suspect, and eventually his pursuits get the attentions of a British banker and a young female lawyer, who both try to help them in their own way, and who end up forming a strange love triangle in the process. There’s no time for romance, however, as the man’s arrival also gets the attention of a group of spies from three different nations, and soon all of the players converge in ways that are likely steeped in intrigue and double crossings.

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Now that John le Carré’s spy novel “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” has been adapted into a highly acclaimed film of the same name that made a bunch of money on a worldwide level, we can probably expect to see a flood of his other works suddenly making their way to the big screen. And at the head of that pack is director Anton Corbijn, who plans to make an adaptation of Le Carré’s “A Most Wanted Man” the followup to his 2010 film The American. The screenplay has been adapted by Edge of Darkness writer Drew Bovell, and tells the story of a mysterious Russian immigrant in Germany. Or, as the book’s Amazon description puts it: “A half-starved young Russian man in a long black overcoat is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night. He has an improbable amount of cash secreted in a purse round his neck. He is a devout Muslim. Or is he? He says his name is Issa. Annabel, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, determines to save Issa from deportation. Soon her client’s survival becomes more important to her than her own career. In pursuit of Issa’s mysterious past, she confronts the incongruous Tommy Brue, the sixty-year-old scion of Brue Freres, a failing British bank based in Hamburg. A triangle of impossible loves is born. Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the so-called War on Terror, the spies of three nations converge upon the innocents.” The big news about this film is that the […]

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You know what former MI6 operative writes ridiculously great spy thrillers? John Le Carré. Did you know his real name is David John Moore Cornwell? Can you see why he’d change it to sound more spy-like? Of course you do. His seminal novel “The Spy Who Came In From the Cold” allowed him to start writing full time, stands as an icon of the genre, and was adapted into a wickedly good film starring Richard Burton. Now, another one of the author’s books will see the big screen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Anton Corbijn will live a bit longer in the world of secretive killers by directing A Most Wanted Man with a script from Edge of Darkness writer Andrew Bovell. Corbijn last directed George Clooney in The American, but unless Clooney can become a convincing Chechian Muslim man, it’s unlikely that he’ll star here. The story follows said Chechian Muslim, named Issa, who illegally enters Hamburg with a mysterious mission and falls under the eye of the German intelligence service. This pairing is fantastic, because even though there will be similarities in tone compared to other Corbijn films, the story sounds like something completely different. With one foot in the wheelhouse and another outside of it, he sounds like the perfect choice for the job. The book has received healthy praise since its publication in 2008, and you can watch a trailer for it here:

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