Ben Whishaw

Teenage

This week sees the release of an extraordinary new teen movie, adapted from a book, involving social rebellion. I’m not talking about Divergent. And to be fair the film already opened last Friday but expands to Los Angeles this weekend followed by Austin, Atlanta, Boston and other major cities over the next two months. It’s titled Teenage, and it’s a documentary, and while it’s heavy on the archival footage, it’s very accessible, cleverly constructed and even quite entertaining. It’s produced by Jason Schwartzman, features character narration by Jena Malone and Ben Whishaw and features Alden Ehrenreich. And like any good teen movie should, it has a memorable soundtrack — albeit one totally in the form of an anachronistic electronic store by Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox. Although there were qualifiable entries here and there beforehand, the teen movie really was born in the 1950s, which is also around the time when we think of teen culture first beginning to emerge. The second part isn’t necessarily the case, though, even if it’s when the term “teenager” and the acknowledgement of adolescents’ pop culture finally caught on in the mainstream. Taking its basis from Jon Savage’s Teenage: The Prehistory of Youth Culture 1875-1945, the documentary takes us back much further in time to the last quarter of the 19th century. Think of it as the prequel or back story to every teen movie of the last 60 years. Except maybe Swing Kids, which deals with a social group also included in Teenage. 

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The Hollow Crown

For those of you still hyperventilating because Tom Hiddleston announced he wasn’t appearing in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, breathe easy – your girl BBC got your back. Along with esteemed actors like Jeremy Irons, Patrick Stewart, and Ben Whishaw, Hiddleston appears in the new BBC miniseries The Hollow Crown. The four-part miniseries is an adaptation of four classic Shakespeare plays: Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, and Henry V. And It. Looks. Awesome. In true Shakespearean fashion, the sets and costumes are incredibly ornate, the blood flows copiously and the dialogue is gorgeous. Though the trailer does not give much plot away (dig deep, what do you remember from high school English class?), it leaves us with two great glimpses of imagery: Patrick Stewart with hair, and Tom Hiddleston riding into battle on top of a majestic white steed. Check it out for yourself after the break.

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Matt Damon

What is Casting Couch? It’s not so much a couch as it is a list, a list of recent castings. And it seems to be talking a lot about World War II today. George Clooney and Matt Damon must have decided that they both look super handsome when they’re standing next to each other, because not only have they already worked together on the Oceans movies and Syriana, but now Deadline is reporting that Clooney has decided that he’s going to cast Damon in his next project as a director, The Monuments Men. This is that one about the museum curators who try to save as many artifacts and works of art as possible during the Nazis’ slash and burn campaign that took place during the dying days of World War II. If Damon’s negotiations go well and he signs up, he’ll be joining a cast that already includes Clooney himself, Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban—which is enough big name actors that they should probably just cash in and rename this thing Oceans Monuments Men.

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Skyfall

Skyfall feels, in many ways, like the last film in Daniel Craig‘s tenure as James Bond. It’s only his third go round as the British secret agent, but he’s already haggard, unshaven and tired of the back-stabbing, gun-toting rat race. When a list of MI6’s undercover agents is stolen (that’s right, it’s the old NOC list chestnut!) Bond and Agent Eve (Naomie Harris) are tasked with recovering it, but the mission goes awry and Bond is left for dead. He’s not, obviously, but he’s enjoying the peaceful anonymity and seaside screws too much to give a damn about anything else. But when MI6 is attacked back in London Bond rises from the dead and returns to duty. He tries to anyway, but injuries, indifference and a battered spirit threaten to keep him on the bench. It’s only when the stakes get personal for him and M (Judi Dench) that he musters the will needed to fight back. But will it be too late? Skyfall is big, beautiful entertainment that delivers the expected action set-pieces but adds truly artistic visuals and multiple odes to Bond films of the past fifty years. It’s never dull, occasionally surprising and unafraid to delve into Bond’s life more than any film since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Unfortunately (and unnecessarily), all of that comes at the price of gaping plot holes and staggering lapses in logic.

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Cloud Atlas Review

Editor’s note: Cloud Atlas finally arrives in theaters today, so please dive deep into it with this review, first published as part of our Fantastic Fest coverage on October 3, 2012. It starts with an old, scarred, and obviously hard-lived man sitting near a campfire speaking to the audience, and it ends with the same scarred old man concluding his story at that same campfire talking to a group of children about past adventures. As the credits start to roll, it evokes a nostalgia that you may have just sat through the kind of immersive and imaginative tale that you wish you could recall all the details to tell it to your children exactly as it was told to you. All that was missing was a stick and a bag of marshmallows. In between these comforting bookends is a story that transcends time, tonal cohesiveness, or convention of almost any kind. Cloud Atlas an elaborate, beautiful, and ever-growing spiderweb of human causality and inter-connectivity that’s woven together by themes that support an idea that we are never unbound from one another or a purpose. Your life is not necessarily your own as you are tied to others in your time, others who came before you, and those who will come long after. What you do is what will define you and will determine the living conditions of those who follow. What you do may seem insignificant, or irrelevant to the plan at large, but most everything matters – and if […]

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Introducing Q in Skyfall

Keep your superheroes and demigods, I’ll take a sharp-dressed Brit with a gun and a penchant for philandering any day. James Bond has returned after a time of uncertainty and he’ll be gracing the big screen again in Skyfall, due November 9. Early reviews have been positive. Those who hated Quantum of Solace (which I quite liked) seem to be back on the Bond bandwagon, while those who enjoyed Quantum also seem to be in good spirits for the 23rd installment. All around, it seems as if we’re in for quite a ride. But more on that later. First, we get a new clip introducing Ben Whishaw as the new Q, or Quartermaster. He’s the man (or in this case, slightly overgrown boy) who provides Bond with all of those fancy gadgets. Wishaw follows a long line of stellar actors who’ve played Q in the past, including Peter Burton, Desmond Llewelyn and John Cleese. Wishaw will be the youngest actor to take on the roll in the 50-year history of the Bond franchise. Check out his introduction in this brand new clip.

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Ben Whishaw

Another day, another bit of Robopocalypse potential casting. Variety is reporting that Steven Spielberg wants Ben Whishaw (I’m Not There, the new Q in Skyfall) to play a hacker called Lurker for the sci-fi flick. Normally, it would be hard to report on a wish list (because they represent casting that’s an inch and a mile away from the finalized deal), but there are two things here that make this unique. One, Whishaw is not on everyone’s wish list (even if he should be), and two, there’s a sentiment that Spielberg wanting something or someone means he’s going to get it or them. If Whishaw does take the role, he’ll undoubtedly nail it and make it look easy in the process. He’ll also be busy, because this project is next once Spielberg gets Lincoln into theaters. For now, it’s still only a possibility.

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One of this fall/winter’s more anticipated films for action junkies is the new James Bond movie, Skyfall. This time around, Bond’s 23rd to be exact, the titular agent is tasked with protecting M and looking cool while doing it. He may also get to slip in a quick shower or two with an attractive woman between all the shooting, running and falling out of things. The official synopsis is here: Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.” Sam Mendes directs Daniel Craig in his third go round as Bond, and they’re joined by Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw. Check below for the new Skyfall teaser that aired during last night’s Olympic Games opening ceremonies. It was a nice pairing with the Bond-themed video featuring Craig escorting the Queen to the games by helicopter before the duo skydived down to join the masses.

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The novels of David Mitchell are densely layered affairs concerned with a complicated multitude of characters facing big and complex issues. Or so I hear. His novel Cloud Atlas is a favorite of many, but even those who would love to see a film version have been adamant that such an endeavor would be a foolish and fruitless undertaking. That opinion didn’t change when Tom Tykwer and Andy & Lana Wachowski announced they had written a screenplay and were looking for funding and distribution. It wavered slightly when the casting announcements started rolling in, but it otherwise stayed steadfast. But now the first official trailer has dropped, and while the possibility of a disaster remains it looks like these three writer/directors have accomplished something amazing. Will it live up to the novel? Who knows, but there’s no doubting anymore that they’ve accomplished something audacious and wonderful here. Check out the extended trailer below (courtesy of Cinema Blend).

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Daniel Radcliffe

James Franco isn’t just known as the greatest Oscars host of all-time, he’s also an actor. An actor who up until now was the most recent man to portray legendary beat poet Allen Ginsberg on screen. Franco played Ginsberg in the movie Howl, which didn’t shy away from the perceived obscenity of Ginsberg’s works, the fact that there was a lot of drug use going on in the man’s life, or the fact that he was pretty openly homosexual. You have to be comfortable dealing with some pretty risqué stuff if you’re going to accurately portray Ginsberg on film, so it makes sense that an actor as concerned with being artsy and progressive as James Franco would take the poet on. But what’s a little more shocking is the newest actor who is going to be stepping into Ginsberg’s shoes. In the upcoming film Kill Your Darlings the poet is going to be played by none other than… Harry Potter?!

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Q has become a very prominent character over the lengthy history of the James Bond franchise. He’s the dude who equips Bond with all of the latest spy gadgets, and most every Bond movie made has at least one scene where some actor portraying the tech wizard (guys like Desmond Lleweyn and John Cleese), gets to give Bond the rundown of all the latest and deadliest gizmos. But ever since Daniel Craig became the new Bond, things have changed. The Craig-starring Bonds have re-imagined the franchise to be something grittier and more reality-based. These days Bond is more likely to just cave in your face with his fists then he is to hit you with a taser hidden inside of a fountain pen. So in the last two Bond films, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, there hasn’t been a Q at all. Don’t fret fans of classic, cheesy Bond. The newest Bond film, now officially titled Skyfall, is set to bring Q back, and according to the BBC, he will now be played by Ben Whishaw. Who’s Ben Whishaw, you might be asking? Probably you’re not British. He’s a young actor who’s been turning heads on the BBC’s drama about 50s era news rooms The Hour, and he’s also set to play Richard II in a new BBC adaptation of the Shakespeare work. Fans in the States, on the other side of the pond, might even recognize him from his role in Julie Taymor’s version of The Tempest. If […]

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The Wachowskis made news when they signed one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, Tom Hanks, for their next feature Cloud Atlas. Hanks is kind of a brand name in the moviemaking business, and has been for quite a number of years now; so he’s not really known for taking chances. The Wachowskis, on the other hand, are pretty much known exclusively for taking chances. Everything they have done so far has been weird, experimental, and up in its own head. The other name involved in the development of this project, Tom Tykwer, is pretty off the wall as well. He’s the guy who made Run Lola Run. And the source material for this new film, a David Mitchell novel also named “Cloud Atlas,” is no exception. It tells six different stories, each taking place in different times and places, but involving characters who are recognized as being the same people, or reincarnations of each other, or something. Basically what I’m driving at is that everyone signing on to this film will have to take on multiple roles, so if the Wachowskis want to pull this off, they’re going to have to get some great actors. Thankfully, so far they have. In addition to having Hanks in the lead role, Cloud Atlas continues to add an impressive list of accomplished actors in supporting positions. Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, and Ben Whishaw had already been announced for key roles, and now when presenting the film to potential buyers and […]

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I love movies. I truly do. But for me there’s nothing that can match seeing actors cut loose from the confines of the screen. Film actors can be at the mercy of the greater good. Their performances can be cut to suit a director’s vision, but on stage they are the masters of their own fate. Seeing actors do their thing in real time is an experience everyone should seek out. And right now the production they should run to is “The Pride” at the Lucille Lortel theater in New York City.

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Matthew Goode is unhappy. He is downright disappointed. His movies are never good enough to contain his prodigious “talent”. The actor who was miscast in Watchmen, made a wanting adaptation of Brideshead Revisited worse, is very talented. At whining, complaining and presenting himself as a stereotype of the self involved, egotistical Actor with a capital A.

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brightstar-review1

Jane Campion’s ‘Bright Star’ is an intensely romantic film that’s never trite or dated, despite its PG rating and early 19th century setting.

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Director Todd Haynes certainly has a vision with his new film I’m Not There but that vision doesn’t translate well onto the screen.

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I haven’t seen the right kind of review for I’m Not There yet. While critics struggle to shove the title into the review template that made up years ago, readers and movie-goers alike are finding out that it just doesn’t fit.

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Todd Haynes’ supposition on the life and music of Bob Dylan, “I’m Not There,” is unlike a film experience you’ll have this year.

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Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There, aka “The Bob Dylan Movie”, attacks, head-on, the hokum that is the standard Hollywood biopic.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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