James Marsh

Focus Features

It’s easy enough to get an audience worked up during the end of an inspirational biopic – that’s basically the point of most films in the genre – but James Marsh’s moving and magical The Theory of Everything does a neat trick: it starts the waterworks flowing early. They never really abate. Marsh’s take on beloved thinker Stephen Hawking is an intensely, richly emotional feature that boasts big, star-making performances by both its very talented leads and a narrative that doesn’t flinch when it comes time to get down to the dirty stuff. Ostensibly a feature about Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), The Theory of Everything also gorgeously captures the story of Stephen and his first wife, Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones), gracefully winding the two tales into one. Stephen and Jane are initially attracted by virtue of the most basic of human instincts: they like the look of each other. Eventually, however, the seemingly different pair discovers that their disparate fields of study (Jane’s a poetry buff with her own designs on getting a PhD) surprisingly intersect, and even what later becomes a long-standing debate about the existence of God helps bond the pair together. It’s still early days in their pairing when Stephen falls ill and the disease wreaking havoc on his body finally reveals itself, but even it proves to be no match for the pure force of Jane’s affection and dedication.

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Focus Features

The name Stephen Hawking conjures up a certain image of the genius scientist, who is currently confined to a wheelchair and has been for many years, unable to speak with his own voice, using the assistance of a electronic voice box to express what he couldn’t say on his own. But the upcoming film The Theory of Everything from director James Marsh introduces audiences to a different Hawking (played here by Eddie Redmayne of Les Miserables), a young and absolutely brilliant student pursuing a Ph.D in physics at Cambridge to become a cosmologist while falling madly in love with a fellow student named Jane (Felicity Jones). The first trailer for the film, written by Anthony McCarten (Death of a Superhero), paints an idyllic picture of campus life in Cambridge as Hawking and his love frolic in carefree bliss after meeting cute at a party. We watch them ride carousels, steal kisses and make pretty frequent comparisons to their love and Hawking’s work attempting to figure out the mysteries of space and time. It’s especially tragic when the young lovebirds don’t know about the storm brewing ahead — Hawking’s life-altering diagnosis of motor neuron disease, which comes on fiercely, robbing Hawking of his ability to move normally and speak.

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review shadow dancer

Editor’s note: We’re re-running Scott’s review from last year’s Berlinale Film Festival as Shadow Dancer opens this weekend in limited theatrical release. The image of the bomb is an apt one for Shadow Dancer. As a hunk of parts with a timer, there’s nothing naturally threatening about a bomb; it’s the explosion that matters. Hitchcock was right, and in this IRA thriller from James Marsh, incendiary devices are all over the place. Some are literal, most are figurative, and Bomb Theory abounds. It opens with the shocking death of a young boy, surrounded by his family as blood pours from a bullet hole in his chest. It’s a direct insight into the fight the members of the IRA hold as sacrosanct and the guilt that the boy’s sister feels over sending him out into the streets on a simple errand. That sister, all grown up, is Collete McVeigh (achingly performed by Andrea Riseborough). After dropping off a suspicious bag in a tube station, she’s picked up by the authorities and taken to see Mac (Clive Owen) who dangles the promise of hard jail time in front of her until she turns reluctant informant for the MI5. The people she’s betraying forced her into a war, but they’re also her family.

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It seems somewhat strange that two of the UK’s hottest acting imports have never actually worked together, but that’s about to change when it comes to Oscar-winning doc director James Marsh‘s latest narrative project, now titled Hold On To Me. The film, formerly known as Nancy and Danny, has had Carey Mulligan attached for months, but Deadline Hollywood now reports that Robert Pattinson has signed on to co-star. So what sort of hijinks are these two little crumpets going to get up to with each other? Oh, bad ones. Very bad ones indeed. Penned by Brad Ingelsby (who also wrote Scott Cooper’s upcoming Out of the Furnace), the film is “based on a true story about a femme fatale who with her boyfriend kidnaps and ransoms the town’s richest man. They bury him in a box and things go horribly awry.” Naughty Mulligan! And while it would certainly seem as if Pattinson would be playing that boyfriend role, the outlet notes that instead he is set to play “the flashy supporting role of the woman’s life love, Jimmy, who isn’t involved in the crime.” While we’re not sure exactly what a “life love” is, it’s nice to know that old Pattycakes isn’t going to kidnap or kill anyone.

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Carey Mulligan

Though Carey Mulligan is an actress who’s shown quite a big of range in her young career, she’s generally always been cast as the nice girl, the one who’s going to end up being a victim. She was the naive girl who got her feelings trampled in An Education, the bright student who would never get to achieve her dreams in Never Let Me Go, and the struggling single mother in Drive – all roles that made her easily relatable to the audience, but which didn’t allow her to explore her dark side. Well, according to a report from THR, that’s about to change. Apparently Mulligan has been pursuing the lead role in a darkly comedic thriller called Nancy and Danny, and her pursuits have been effective enough that she’s now in negotiations to take the part. The movie is about a scheming woman who comes back to her hometown after her plans to make it in the big city fail. Once back, she wastes no time scheming to land a high school crush, using people as pawns, and involving herself in get rich quick schemes that go terribly wrong. The film sounds like a less cynical and more sinister version of Young Adult, and has been described as being similar in tone as Gus Van Sant’s To Die For.

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The Hobbit

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news collection that doesn’t usually involve so much nudity, or Dance Dance Revolution references, but Mondays are always a little special. We begin this evening with a new shot from The Hobbit, a film you may have heard about. It’s also a film that will undoubtedly be filled with little people, tall wizards, shires, middling earths and rings inscribed with “From Sauron, with love.” This one features Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, standing amongst friends.

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Collette McVeigh seems to be a fairly normal little girl, creating beaded necklaces and bribing her younger brother into running a quick errand for their father that she does not want to do herself. Unfortunately, this errand ends in tragedy, with her brother getting shot and killed. As her mother weeps over his body and her father fixes in on her with a look that could kill, Collette stands frozen, devastated. Shadow Dancer focuses on the life of a now grown-up Collette (Andrea Riseborough) who has a son of her own and is tied up in the “family business” (the IRA), rooted in taking down the English government which cost their brother his life.

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Adorable primate or your future master? Oscar-winning documentarian James Marsh has a new movie coming out this summer that takes a look at yet another icon of the 70s. Man on Wire was a crazy, tightrope-walking Frenchman and Project Nim is a crazy, sign language-learning chimpanzee. Clearly, Marsh has a type. Nim digs into the science of the world famous experiment that first set out to bridge the gap between the two species, and from the trailer, it looks like it will unearth heartwarming and unpleasant aspects alike. Check it out for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? Only the most high-octane dose of movie news you could possibly have in the middle of the night. Everything in here is worth reading, friends. Except for my commentary. You could probably take or leave that, depending on your mood. The image above marks the first official image from Fright Night, the Craig Gillespie remake 3D remake of the 80s horror film of the same name. In this shot, Colin Farrell plays the vampire next door, and he appears to be looking to start a diet comprised completely of Anton Yelchin. Over at Cinematical (which I feel dirty linking to…) they have shots of Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Imogen Poots, who has one of the more adorable names ever.

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vatican-header

Director James Marsh, who brought us last year’s best documentary (in my opinion) Man on Wire, is taking the jump to genre filmmaking with the upcoming supernatural thriller The Vatican Tapes.

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Man on Wire Header

Magnolia Pictures’ documentary release Man on Wire, which tells the story of Frenchman Philippe Petit’s daring dream of walking a tight-rope between the towers of the World Trade Center in ’74, has emerged as the ‘Best Reviewed Film of All-Time.’

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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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