Ellen Page

Ellen Page

Slowly but surely, Ellen Page is edging her way towards becoming a bona fide action star. First she phased through a wall or two as Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand (and almost starred in a Pryde spin-off with the rest of Juno‘s creative team). She gleefully hacked and slashed her way through Super with a pair of Wolverine-style claws, and she’ll be sending Wolverine himself back to the seventies in next summer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. But, apparently, it’s time for Page to grab some firearm and lay down the law as an action hero. And she’ll likely be doing so very soon, having entered negotiations to star in the upcoming Queen & Country. Based off the comic book of the same name by Greg Rucka, Queen & Country centers around Tara Chace, a British intelligence operative who navigates through both secretive spy missions, political strife, and government bureaucracy with guns occasionally a-blazing.

read more...

touchy

Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister was one of the best films of 2012, and is still probably criminally underseen, so let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to her new film, Touchy Feely, by spreading around its trailer early and often. The film stars Rosemarie Dewitt as a massage therapist who develops a fear of touching and being touched by other people, and even though that sounds like a difficult enough hurdle to overcome already, probably it’s safe to say that’s not entirely what the movie is about. No, the new trailer for the film makes it seem like a metaphor for the larger issue of human relationships, how we make connections with other people, how important those connections are to our wellbeing, and all of that good stuff. Of course, any movie about human relationships is going to need some talented humans to bring the whole thing to life, so Touchy Feely has gone ahead and brought together a cast of people like Ellen Page, Scoot McNairy, Allison Janney, and Josh Pais to make that happen. Click through to watch the trailer and see how they did.

read more...

brit 2

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij left a positive impression on me a few years ago at South by Southwest. Not only with Sound of My Voice, their first full-length feature film together, but also in person during the brief time I spent sitting down with them. That is a movie that raises quite a few questions, and it was obvious they had every possible answer to these questions in mind. Both on screen and off, the two filmmakers displayed between them a clear confidence and shared interests. With their second collaboration, “the eco-terrorist” thriller The East, the two came to town for a press day near their old stomping ground, Georgetown University. Marling and Batmanglij met for the first time there, and it was fitting interviewing them close to the campus after having discussed their college and city experience a few years ago in Austin. Despite having found a nice little home with Fox Searchlight and having more money to work with now, the duo remain the same, sharing a similar interest in certain themes and the type of stories they want to tell.

read more...

The East

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij stepped onto the indie scene in a prominent way with Sound of My Voice. The collaborators made a surprising movie that truly engaged in a conversation with its audience, asking plenty of questions and giving you the proper amount of clues to form your own answers. Their followup film, The East, isn’t so much about questions, but it’s a shame the movie lays everything on so thick and in such obvious ways, leaving little room for any moral ambiguity. At the end of the day, this is a movie where the good guys are the good guys and the bad guys are kind of the bad guys. One of those characters, who fluctuates between both camps in contrived ways, is Sarah (Brit Marling). She works for a private intelligence firm made for evil corporations and such, has a boyfriend, and a nice life. Sarah, being the up and coming hotshot agent she is, like any other spy protagonist, is assigned to infiltrate an eco-terrorist cell known as “The East.” Assigned by her boss, Sharon (Patricia Clarkson) — who even gets to spew out exposition on a rooftop with that cliche helicopter lingering in the background — she has complete faith in her spy. It’s an obvious B-movie set up, and for the first half, it moves exceptionally well in that regard.

read more...

Page

The last time Ellen Page was onscreen, she played a pseudo intellectual temptation for the protagonist of Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love. It was a comical role, one that really fit in nicely with the oblivious Allen-type characters. Now she can be seen in The East with a performance that couldn’t be more different. Here, playing Izzy, Page is an intimidating presence in the eco-terrorist group the film follows. In terms of genre and performance, it’s a 180-degree turn for the actress. Like most actors, that’s something Page strives for. She’s been making some inspired, or no-brainer, choices of who to craft those diverse performances with. In Christopher Nolan, David Slade, Jason Reitman, Lynn Shelton and James Gunn, Page has worked with some of today’s best talents. The East finds her joined up with an exciting duo in the film world, Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling. We discussed Batmanglij and Marling’s thriller with Ellen Page, as well as her process, the world The East unveils, and more:

read more...

Ellen Page

Ellen Page really had two breakout moments. Her first came in 2005 when she blew the doors off of Hard Candy, playing a lost little lamb with incredibly sharp teeth. The second came when she got teen pregnant as Juno and scored an Oscar. One introduced her to the cinephile world as someone to keep an eye on. The second — especially after her supporting role as Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand — secured her place with the larger public as a leading lady.  Now, after 15 years of acting experience, she wants to become a director. According to Deadline Hollywood, she’s found the project that will mark her transition. Miss Stevens will star Anna Faris as a teacher who doesn’t have her life together but learns some valuable lessons from the high school kids she chaperones to the state drama competition. If that sounds like a secular version of Sister Act 2 with theater instead of singing that’s because it also sounds like a hundred other movies. It’s a really common theme. The script comes from newcomer Julia Hart and will be produced by indie outlets Gilbert Films and Anonymous Content. So the hope is that Page brings a unique voice to an otherwise overused high concept. She’s had the opportunity to work with several different directors in her career, so it’ll be interesting if this turns out feeling more like Juno, more like Whip It or like a different beast altogether.

read more...

last stand 55

Maybe it’s the fault of The Avengers, but another Marvel Comics movie franchise seems to be trying to throw together as many heroes together as possible. We’ve been hearing for a while now that X-Men: Days of Future Past will connect the original X-Men trilogy with the 2011 prequel, X-Men: First Class, and in doing so director Bryan Singer is uniting all the old and new (or is that new and old?) characters for a massive mutant ensemble. The three latest additions to the cast, as announced by Singer via Twitter, are Anna Paquin (Rogue), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) and Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat). The last time we saw these three was seven years ago, in X-Men: The Last Stand (not to be confused with the new Schwarzenegger vehicle), the third installment, which also saw Brett Ratner take the helm from Singer, who’d done the first two. In his tweet, Singer thanks Ratner for “letting them live” at the end of his movie. Page was actually the third actress in three films to portray Pryde (the others were Sumela Kay and Katie Stuart), but she was the last, is the biggest name and as an Oscar-nominee seems to be the best person for the part, especially if she’s the main character, as Pryde was in the comic book version of the “Days of Future Past” storyline. 

read more...

TheEast_still3

  So far it has only been seen at Sundance, but The East is giving those of us not in Park City a glimpse of what it has to offer, in the form of a trailer. This is the latest collaboration between director Zal Batmanglij and his co-writer/star Brit Marling, the duo who brought us the weird and interesting cult movie Sound of My Voice last year. The East casts Marling as a private intelligence operative who protects the interests of big corporations and sends her off on a mission to infiltrate and take down a cell of dangerous eco-terrorists. Sounds easy enough, right? Not when you start to fall in love with the operation’s charismatic leader and your loyalties begin to be pulled in two different directions. The trailer for the film doesn’t tell us all of this, though. Instead it masquerades as a sort of propaganda video/audio-visual threat aimed at rich people and big business. A mission statement gets read as we see images of big companies polluting the Earth and oppressing the poor and of this organization of revolutionaries making preparations to fight back. Threats are made and creepy masks are worn. If you’re a business owner with a bursting bank account, you might want to skip this one for fear of it making you squirm in your seat. But for everyone else, prepare to catch glimpses of Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgård, and Patricia Clarkson. For an indie movie, The East boasts a pretty impressive cast.

read more...

Ellen Page

According to The Playlist, Incognito Pictures has agreed to finance Freeheld, a feature project starring Ellen Page as a woman denied the pension benefits of her female New Jersey police detective partner after the latter became terminally ill. It’s not only based on a true story, it’s based on a short documentary that won an Oscar. The screenplay comes from Ron Nyswaner, himself an Oscar nominee for his work writing Philadelphia. With Page’s Oscar nomination, it makes the pedigree of this thing severe, and with docs like How to Survive a Plague and the headline-status of gay rights in the political sphere, the tide seems to be lifting all boats attempting to tell these kinds of stories. If you’re so inclined, you can check out the original short documentary here.  

read more...

Perhaps we were spoiled with last year’s Midnight in Paris, auteur Woody Allen‘s return to (delightful) form after a few years of basically forgettable, minor efforts like Whatever Works, Scoop, Cassandra’s Dream, and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. Suffice to say, Allen’s next cinematic trip to a classic, romantic European city has come complete with heightened expectations, and while his To Rome With Love occasionally harnesses some of the charm and ease of Paris, it’s a wholly different film experience, and a less enjoyable one to boot. Much like Paris, Allen has lined up a sizable and talented cast for his latest outing, though he’s chosen Rome as his own spin on throwaway rom-coms like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day and the far superior Love, Actually, instead of focusing on a single leading character. Allen uses the city of Rome as the (often only) link between all manner of people – Italians, Americans, young, old, famous, common, talented, sexy, unsexy, ambitious, bored, confused, the list goes on – and lets them play out their theatrically-tinged trials and tribulations against a gorgeous Roman backdrop. It’s frothy and fizzy enough, but To Rome With Love isn’t the sort of film that is likely to leave a lasting impact on its audience. It’s popcorn entertainment for the indie set.

read more...

Woody Allen continues his European tour with his next film, To Rome With Love. This time around, the auteur appears to stick with the light fluffiness that made his Midnight in Paris such a delight to behold, but with a much deeper cast of characters to suit the film’s vignette style. The film’s synopsis tells us that it “is comprised of four separate vignettes and tells the story of a number of people in Italy—some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors—and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into.” Players in those various vignettes include Allen himself, Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Robert Benigni, Judy Davis, Alison Pill, and Greta Gerwig. With the film’s first trailer, we get our first glimpse what we can expect from each section – Allen being neurotic (shock); a potential love triangle involving Eisenberg, Gerwig, and Page; a flimsy and flighty Cruz; and Benigni becoming famous for something. I can already guess which vignettes I’ll feel the most amore for – can you?

read more...

The latest stop in writer/director Woody Allen’s tour of Europe has, up until this point, been referred to as Nero Fiddled, which is a clever title referring to the myth that the Roman Emperor Nero played a fiddle while watching the city burn to the ground. Clever though it is, it’s also a little high-brow, and probably would go over the heads of most mainstream audiences. Normally going over the heads of the masses wouldn’t be much of a problem for a New York intellectual like Allen, but following the substantial and slightly surprising success of Midnight in Paris, one would imagine that the studio is looking to bring all those people that made their way out to the theater back for Woody’s next any way that they can. Perhaps to that end, the movie has been retitled, right before its marketing campaign looks to begin. From now on the project that stars names like Ellen Page, Penélope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, and Woody himself will known as To Rome With Love, a title that once again mentions the city in which it is set by name, and that feels right at home sitting next to Midnight in Paris.

read more...

Commentary: Hard Candy

In honor of our brave rejects battling the snowy terrain and darkened theaters of Sundance, we felt it best to revisit a recent breakout hit from the film festival. As luck would have it, a shiny, slightly used copy of Hard Candy ended up in the DVD player this week. It’s called serendipity. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a fine film, and there is sure to be plenty to gleam off of the actors involved. That’s right. Actors. We’re giving the directors/writers/producers/best boys a break this week and delving into the minds of Hard Candy‘s two leads, Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson. It’s the first time we’ve checked out a commentary involving only actors. This uncharted territory could be rocky, or it could be fascinating. One thing is for sure, though. The chances of it being boring are about as slim as Wilson’s character ever getting the upper hand in this film. So here, in all of its uncomfortable glory, all the great things we learned from listening to Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page talk about Hard Candy. We’ll keep the Goldfrapp comments to a minimum.

read more...

Midnight in Paris is still out there making money and finding new audiences, so it’s less than surprising that Sony Pictures Classics has already picked up Woody Allen‘s follow-up film, Nero Fiddled, which was produced last year. According to Cinema Blend, the movie is described by Allen as a broad comedy with several overlapping stories. It stars Jesse “Woody Allen” Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Greta Gerwig, Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni and Judy Davis. Woody Allen is also playing a role, but he lamented earlier in the year about not being able to play the romantic lead anymore. Which is ridiculous. Who wouldn’t want to see a hunky 76-year-old man embroil himself in the heart and loins of a gorgeous counterpart? Exactly. As long as it takes place in Rome, it’ll be romantic. I’m pretty sure that’s even where we get the word. So if you were at all worried that you’d go a year without hearing from the workhorse of filmmaking, fear not! More Allen is on the way. Just try not to loudly pontificate about the meaning of his work while waiting in line at the cinema.  

read more...

The casting news for Zal Batmanglij’s next film with co-writer and leading lady, Brit Marling, continues to be my latest obsession. We know that the pair’s film The East will focus on an eco-terrorism group that is infiltrated by a hired agent, and that plotline, paired with Batmanglij and Marling’s apparent interest in fringe groups and their draw (look no further than their Sundance hit Sound of My Voice for proof of this), is enough to get me outrageously excited for the indie thriller. But as the film rounds out its casting, my excitement level is verging on simply unmanageable. Marling is already in to star as the undercover agent, dispatched by a private security firm that works to protect large corporations from eco-terrorist groups like the titular the East. Marling will get more involved than she anticipated, however, as her character will end up falling for the leader of the group, to be played by Alexander Skarsgard. Ellen Page is also on tap to play a member of The East, one who also has a romantic past with Skarsgard. The production has now added Patricia Clarkson in the role of Marling’s corporate boss, along with Brit Toby Kebbell, who is in negotiations for a role as “a doctor who was treated with a tainted drug that caused him to have Parkinson’s-like symptoms.”

read more...

Ellen Page is reportedly in “final talks” for a role in Zal Batmanglij’s The East. Batmanglij has written the script with the film’s star, indie up-and-comer Brit Marling, with the film marking the pair’s first collaboration after their Sundance hit, Sound of My Voice. The film has been billed as a sort of thriller, set in the world of hardcore eco-terrorist groups. We’ve known that Marling would play some sort of “agent” who infiltrates a group, called The East, which is led by Alexander Skarsgard, but today’s news on Page’s casting comes with some additional information on the film’s plot, which is now further explained as a “story [that] concerns a private contracting firm tasked with protecting big corporations from radical environmentalists and anti-business extremists that assigns its best and brightest agent to infiltrate a mysterious anarchist organization known only as ‘The East.’” Marling is the agent employee of said contracting firm, who “finds herself falling for the leader” of the group. As if that didn’t sound like trouble enough, “Page will play Izzy, a member of The East who used to be Skarsgard’s lover and is now jealous of the attention he pays Marling’s character.” Who wants to bet that it’s Page’s character who uncovers what Marling’s character is really up to and reveals it all in one snarling torrent?

read more...

Super isn’t tied to the world of comics. Writer/director James Gunn didn’t make a satire or a spoof; instead Super is its own extremist beast. The Taxi Driver-inspired religious tale is a gritty, dirty, and dark comedy that just so happens to have the leads sporting superhero costumes. These aren’t your fluffy and perfect men-in-tights leads, but some seriously damaged individuals. There’s a jarring dichotomy to the film and its characters, which is something that split both critics and audiences back in April. Frank D’Arbo, a.k.a The Crimson Bolt, is a sympathetic and understandable protagonist, but you question his sanity. Libby, a.k.a. Boltie, gains great glee from slicing up goons in the bloodiest ways possible, and yet has an endearing charm to her psychopathic and wish-fulfillment ambitions. These are repellant characters on the outside, but understandably unstable in the inside. Here’s what James Gunn had to say about the fluctuating tone, writing a character driven film versus a set-piece driven film, and making possible psychotics sympathetic in Super:

read more...

Even though Woody Allen’s latest film Midnight in Paris is still doing gangbusters in theaters, it’s time to start talking about his next project. I mean, the guy does one of these things a year, there’s no time to sit back and soak up any success. His next film, The Bop Decameron, sees him continuing his tour of Europe by filming in Rome. Makes sense, seeing as ever since he stopped filming in New York City we’ve already gotten movies from him set in England, Spain, and France. Why wouldn’t Italy be next on the itinerary? The films location isn’t the thing worth talking about though. What’s really newsworthy is that earlier today Allen made a show of announcing the official cast. His first announcement was that he himself would be returning to acting for this one, something we haven’t seen him do for half a decade, since 2006’s Scoop. The rest of the casting news is that The Bop Decameron will star, alphabetically, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Ellen Page. There are just too many actors I love, especially young actors, in that list to even begin dissecting why this is an awesome cast. I’ll just say I’m gushing at the thought of hearing Eisenberg deliver Woody dialogue and leave it at that. In addition to these names, Allen also says that the film will co-star Antonio Albanese, Fabio Armiliata, Alessandra Mastronardi, Ornella Muti, Flavio Parenti, Alison Pill, Riccardo Scamarcio and […]

read more...

Everywhere you look there’s another superhero movie these days. Countless studio dollars, a stream of big stars and endless articles have been expended on the subject. Thor, Captain America and the Green Lantern headline an upcoming summer movie season that’s chock-full of various forms of masked avengers. Concurrently, there’s arisen a far less prolific counter-industry of satirically oriented films, such as Kick Ass, that attempt an indie-friendly examination of the questionable sanity and real world practicality of these figures. It’s these latter films that I’ve personally flocked to, having long-grown tired of the formulaic non-Christopher Nolan big-budget superhero aesthetic. Thus, James Gunn’s Super is – in the same vein as protagonist Frank’s heavenly calling to justice – a gift from above. In framing the birth of a real-life superhero as a disturbed man’s religious awakening, the Slither filmmaker gets to the heart of the grandiose self-absorption at the core of superherodom. To don a mask and tights, formulate a nickname and spend your nights prowling the streets, seeking out drug dealers and other unsavory elements, you’d have to be, well, more than a little bit crazy. Frank (Rainn Wilson), the luckless, depressed everyday schlub central figure here fits the bill, driven to unhinged rage when his wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) leaves him for scuzzy drug kingpin Jacques (Kevin Bacon).

read more...

There are certain expectations that come with any filmmaker’s work based off the movies that have come before. Their styles, attitudes, and overall creative skill-set are usually visible to some degree throughout their career. James Gunn is no different. His last feature, Slither, was an incredibly fun and gross monster movie that maintained a good balance between the laughs and the horror. That combined with his previous efforts should leave you unsurprised that his latest would include copious amounts of bodily fluids, a complete disregard for good taste, and a face made of fecal matter floating in a bowl. What you don’t expect to see are scenes of real beauty, wit, and sincerity floating in a sadly disjointed mess of a film.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3