Dakota Fanning

Coraline

Stop-motion animation is a dying art of cinema. Fortunately, the good folks at Laika have been keeping the artistry alive for years. The Boxtrolls is their latest selection to come to theaters, but the process started with Coraline in 2009 and then ParaNorman in 2012. While these movies have not been a mega-money-makers that we see with the Pixar and DreamWorks films, Laika’s films have made enough money to justify making more of the movies, and that’s a great thing for cinema. Coraline, based on Neil Gaiman’s visionary book, started the Laika ball rolling, and at the helm was The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick. For the 2009 Blu-ray and DVD release of the film, Selick sat down to talk over the film and give some personal insight. Composer Bruno Coulais is also listed as one of the commentators, and he does show up over the final credits to talk about the music, but almost the entirety of the film features Selick’s commentary. This is where pretty much all the relevant information comes from.

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The Last of Robin Hood

With the recent premiere of Maleficient, we’ve all spent a good deal of time talking about Elle Fanning and her career turn as a real life Disney princess. But the focus is about to shift again to the older sister, with Dakota Fanning stepping into the shoes of a young and impressionable 1940s starlet in The Last of Robin Hood. After all, who would know more about struggling through Hollywood and rising to fame as a teenager than someone who has done it herself? The silver screen gal she’s portraying, Beverly Aadland, was in a bit of a different situation than Fanning, however. Aadland was a chorus girl just at the beginnings of her blossoming film career, with only a twinkle of Hollywood in her future and an overbearing stage mom (Susan Sarandon) at her side. It’s the beauty and talents of the — very, very — young beauty that catches the eye of Robin Hood himself, Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline), and the two begin a dangerous affair that crosses a few too many boundaries. At the time, Flynn was the toast of the town, a mega movie star who was virtually untouchable; charming, undeniably handsome and a beloved figure on the silver screen with roles in The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk. He was a dashing action hero that everyone wanted to work with, everyone wanted to be and everyone wanted to be with at the same time.

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Very Good Girls Trailer

It’s possible that bad films — the kind that inspire rage and blackout anger and sputtering misunderstanding — can grow on you. It happens all the time. Even a film like Bachelorette, which sent me into a rage haze back at 2012’s Sundance Film Festival, does’t rile me up so much anymore, and I’ve even come around on the ballsiness of the film, even if it didn’t “work” for me and even if I don’t think it actually earned all its ugliness. Another Sundance film, from just one year later, doesn’t fare quite as well in memory, however. Naomi Foner‘s Very Good Girls actually has some stuff in common with Bachelorette – it’s a movie about friendship for people who hate their friends, or who at least grow to over the course of one hell of a formulaic outing. Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen star in the feature as life-long best pals who form a pact (lose their virginities before heading off to college!), only to find it (and their relationship) thrown for a loop when they both set their sights on the same dude, played by Boyd Holbrook. An obvious storyline, complete with shocking!! (read: not shocking) other developments pushes the film haltingly along, until everyone feels kind of bad and really unfulfilled. And now it’s got a trailer! Let’s take a peek.

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Night Moves

Editor’s note: Our review of Night Moves originally ran during last year’s TIFF, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. Early in Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves, a film about pollution and its effects on the environment is shown to a group of Oregon environmentalists, including Dena (Dakota Fanning) and Josh (Jesse Eisenberg). Post-screening, the film’s director is bombarded with the usual kinds of questions any filmmaker is forced to field at such an event (surely there’s a cut featuring someone asking what the budget was somewhere out there), but a defiant Dena only wants to know what sort of “big plan” can be put into action to right the wrongs against our planet. With just one question, Dena puts all of her cards on the table, and so does the film. Dena and Josh are primarily concerned with big plans – and they’ve got one. Intent on blasting a hole in the burgeoning industrialization taking over their state, the two have been slowly cooking up a plan to do just that, by busting a hole in a nearby dam. Aided by Josh’s friend Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard), the three are already in the final stages of their ecoterrorism scheme by the time Night Moves kicks up, and the film’s first act ticks steadily toward to their criminal (and perhaps criminally stupid) act.

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Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning in Night Moves

Kelly Reichardt, the director of Wendy and Lucy, Old Joy and Meek’s Crossing, is known for her collected and measured filmmaking, and her ability to attract fantastic talent to her projects (like Michelle Williams in two of the above mentioned). With her latest feature, Night Moves, those eerily calm undertones leftover from her previous work are still present, but the stakes are higher in a more nervewracking plot. Reichardt has again attracted a wealth of talent to star in her new film, this time gathering Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard as a group of ecological activists (whatever you do, just don’t even think about calling them ecoterrorists — Sarsgaard isn’t too keen on that label) who hatch a plot to bomb a hydroelectric dam. The first (French-subtitled) trailer for Night Moves (which, if we’re being honest, sounds like a groovy dance flick about an up-and-comer in 1970s NYC and less like a high-stakes ecodrama) has launched, and it shows something different than the average heist or crime thriller. It’s about what happens after the crime has been committed and the bomb has gone off.

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news dakota fanning night moves

Our real-life world is fraught with with espionage, whistleblowers and radical political movements, so it’s only fitting that the film world is following suit. Kelly Reichardt‘s Night Moves explores a little bit of all three in the form of extreme environmentalism. Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard play three radical environmentalists attempting to pull off the most dangerous, ballsy protest of their lives: blowing up a hydroelectric dam that represents the industrial culture they hate so much. The film focuses as much on the build-up to the plan as it does the execution, as seen in these newly released stills, courtesy of The Playlist. Check out the other two stills below.

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Peter Dinklage

What is Casting Couch? It’s a quick compiling of the day’s casting news. Today it has quite a bit to say about the Fanning sisters. If you had to pick one breakout star from HBO’s wildly successful fantasy series, Game of Thrones, it would have to be Peter Dinklage. Sure, the guy has been doing solid work for years, but post-Game of Thrones he’s now a name. It’s quite a coup for first time director Paki Smith then, that he’s just cast Dinklage in his first film, A Long Way Home. According to Variety, this one is a story of magic, adventure, and a young boy who’s questing to be reunited with his family…which kind of sounds like kids’ stuff. Hopefully it still finds reason to give Dinklage ample opportunity to be drunken and perverse, because that’s when he’s at his best (worst?).

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Very Good Girls

The first thing we’re supposed to learn about Lilly (Dakota Fanning) and Gerry (Elizabeth Olsen) is that they are best friends – no, like, best friends, sisters, totally bonded, deeply close, passionate friends. This is a fine sentiment – really, one of the best – but it’s a hard one to grasp when Lilly and Gerry, the center of Naomi Foner’s Very Good Girls trashcan their years-long friendship because some dude (and, also, this dude? Of all the dudes? This one?) is temporarily sexually attractive to both girls. Yes, it’s this story again. To be fair, Foner’s film does throw a few wrenches into this now-standard formula – namely that both girls are virgins looking for someone to change that before they head off to college, and that only one of the girls is aware that she’s involved in a love triangle – but it’s otherwise just another destructive addition to a genre of romance films that needs to go away, or at least be handled in a far more mature and compelling manner.

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Dakota Fanning

It might sound creepy to hear that a fresh-faced, young actress like Dakota Fanning has been cast as the romantic interest of a crag-faced, old dude like Kevin Kline in a movie, but you have to understand that The Last of Robin Hood needs two actors with a huge age gap between them because it’s telling the real-life story of honest-to-God creep Errol Flynn. The film will be about the final years of Flynn’s life, when he was between the ages of 48 and 50 and carrying on with young actress Beverly Aadland, who was between the ages of 15 and 17. Susan Sarandon will be playing Florence Aadland, Beverly’s mother, who wrote a book that called Flynn out as being a statutory rapist. Sounds like a charming film? [via Deadline]

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

As someone who’s somehow resisted the pull of Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight books but has seen all five films, I feel confident saying the first three movies (Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse) exist on a sliding scale of awfulness. They’re bland, lacking in anything resembling emotion or humanity, poorly acted, terribly written and insulting to the concepts of free will, family, gender equality, canine care, individuality and love itself. Breaking Dawn Part 1 changed some of that for the better. The themes were still offensive to rational people who prefer a uterus be connected to a functioning and free-spirited brain, but director Bill Condon managed to inject a degree of humor and zaniness to the proceedings that embraced the entertainment value inherent in the story but missing from the earlier films. Basically, he made it fun. And thankfully, he returned to helm part 2. To recap part 1, Bella (Kristen Stewart) the human and Edward (Robert Pattinson) the vampire have married, fornicated and given birth to a baby they felt it necessary to name Renesmee. While still a fetus the little scamp had sucked the life from its mother leading to Bella’s death shortly after Edward decided to perform an emergency Cesarean with his teeth. He acts quickly and bites her again, this time in an attempt to save her life by turning her into a bloodsucker, and it works. She opens her inhuman, crimson eyes, and the credits roll. Oh, and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) the werewolf pees on Bella’s newborn daughter […]

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Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning in Night Moves

In somewhat disappointing casting news, Variety reports (via FirstShowing) that Kelly Reichardt‘s next film, the eco-terrorism thriller Night Moves, will not star Paul Dano and Rooney Mara as had been previously reported. Dano had been linked to the film earlier this year, while Mara’s name had been consistently mentioned, though she had never been officially attached. Instead, the film will star Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning, who join the long-attached Peter Sarsgaard to round out the main trio, three eco-terrorists who hatch a plan to blow up a dam. Sarsgaard will be the “mastermind behind the bomb,” with Eisenberg set to play the “ringleader” and Fanning as a rich girl who backs the plan financially. While both Eisenberg and Fanning are interesting actors, Dano and Mara have always struck me as much more compelling, so it’s hard not to feel as if this is a trade down. However, Eisenberg’s role will likely call for him to exhibit some new facets to his craft (it’s hard to imagine that a eco-terrorist ringleader won’t have to rely on something like charisma to pull in new recruits), and working under a performance-minded filmmaker like Reichardt should be good for everyone involved. Also, they don’t really seem to have as much to lose.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? In 2007, Kate Hudson made her first movie as a director (complete with a Humble Pie reference), and the free spirit of youth and antique love is on full display. Kristen Stewart‘s best work might also be on display. She and Dakota Fanning play young girls discovering true desire, but instead of dumb boys, they’re swooning over a classic car and a sweet guitar. Virginia Madsen and Kurt Russell play a father and mother (each responding to their offspring’s Must Have Mentality), and the whole simple story plays out with the tension that comes naturally from needing something badly without knowing if you’ll get it. It’s something anyone who has ever had to haggle over the price of something they’re pretending not to care about knows. Hudson and company capture the sentiment well – the heart of it residing in Stewart’s eyes as she first spots a shiny Cutlass with a price tag on it and the sun rays flood in. Nostalgia and bad ass chicks. Nothing wrong with either. What will it cost? Only 13 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Anton Yelchin

Sometime around Cannes last year we reported that Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning would be starring in a new movie by first time director Naomi Foner called Very Good Girls. It’s a story that Foner penned about a couple of young girls who have made a pact to lose their virginities, who then come into conflict with each other when they fall in love with the same “charismatic street artist.” All these months later it appears that this film is finally gearing up to happen, and there’s some news about who has been cast to play the deadbeat object of their misguided affections. No, it’s not the guy who played Nick from Family Ties like I suggested originally, Foner and company went in a completely different direction. According to a report from Deadline Leningrad, curly-headed manic pixie dream boy Anton Yelchin is in final negotiations to take the role. Those that saw him in last year’s Like Crazy know that Yelchin is no stranger to adeptly playing young love related melodrama, and the kid is just so cheek-pinchingly cute… so I guess this casting was kind of a no-brainer. There’s no telling what Foner is going to be able to deliver as a director, but I now find myself looking forward to this one on the strength of the cast alone. I hope it’s a story interesting enough to deserve so many talented young actors teaming up.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It is a nightly film industry news column dedicated to hacking away with the precision of a drunkenly wielded axe at the world of entertainment news. It has lopped off a few heads in its day, so keep your eye on it. We begin tonight with an image from the special Fright Night event held at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin last night. In attendance were McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Anton Yelchin and Dave Franco, who looks just a little bit less stoned than his brother James. They made people drink other people’s blood and whatnot. Photo by Jack Plunkett

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Big news out of Cannes, a bunch of people are getting together and they’re going to make a movie. Very Good Girls is noteworthy for a couple reasons. Mostly people will probably be interested in it because it’s starring Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning, who are cute young girls. But also, some other folks might be interested to hear that a pretty substantial crew of talent is supporting the two PYTs. Peter Sarsgaard, Dustin Hoffman, and Sissy Spacek are also signed on. You know who they are I’m sure. And most people have caught wind of who Fanning is by now, especially since she’s been in those gigantic Twilight movies. But what about Olsen? She’s become kind of an it girl recently, as she appeared in Martha Marcy May Marlene and Silent House, which both debuted this year at Sundance. In the past few months I’ve gone from having no clue that there was a third Olsen sister, to hearing Elizabeth’s name mentioned all over the place, so I’d say that she’s one to watch.

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VE Day. 1945. The Allied Forces formally accept the surrender of Nazi Germany. For one night only, the teenage Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth are allowed out of Buckingham Palace to celebrate. Did that actually happen? I have no idea, but it’s the premise for the next project from director Michael Hoffman (The Last Station, One Fine Day, Soapdish). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hoffman has cast Dakota Fanning as Margaret and is currently looking for his young Elizabeth (who people now know as the Queen of England (who just celebrated Ascension Day (so hopefully a young princess was allowed to go out and celebrate))). Historical fiction just hits me in the right spot, so I’m on board all the way. Hoffman continues to be an interesting director, and even though his work tends to be better if he writes the script as well, Girls’ Night Out was written by newcomer Trevor de Silva and was on the British version of the Black List (the list of great unproduced scripts) last year. Plus, Fanning has an undeniable talent. Now it’s just a matter of finding the best co-star for the job. Then, of course, there’s the question of how British fans will take the prospect of an American director toying around with their beloved royal family.

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr woos the FSR audience on a Date Night before giving a grade to the high school rockers in The Runaways

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Fat Guys at the Movies

It’s a light week for movies here in the Magical Studio in the Sky. That doesn’t stop the Fat Guys from being The Runaways and having a sweet Date Night.

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The Runaways

The Runaways is a faithful representation of a time and place in music history, and features some pretty decent performances from its cast, but with too little to separate it from all the other rock biopics out there, it hasn’t made much of a case for its own existence.

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The Runaways: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning and Floria Sigismondi

I was able to see The Runaways here at SXSW, which is kind of a cool experience. One minute you are watching some kick-ass girls rock out on the big screen, the next minute you can see some of the impact those girls had on rock n’ roll out on the streets of Austin. I loved the film, and I was pretty excited to be able to speak with the woman behind the curtain. When sitting with The Runaways director Floria Sigismondi I could tell that she was very much in control of how to tell the out of control stories of Cherie Currie and Joan Jett

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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