Jeff Nichols

dunst

So far Jeff Nichols has only directed three films, but when those three films are as good as Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud, it really only takes three films for pundits to start painting you as being one of the most exciting directors currently making movies. And once somebody gets anointed as being one of the most exciting directors currently making movies, every time they announce a new project it tends to be a momentous occasion of celebration. That’s why we were so excited to hear that Nichols would be keeping his streak of working with powerhouse actor Michael Shannon alive for his next film, a father/son drama with a chase element called Midnight Special. Factor in that Nichols has since added another one of the top acting names working in the business, Joel Edgerton, to the cast, and things have started to look even more promising. With these three guys collaborating, Midnight Special has to be seen as one of the most notable movies currently being made, which is good news for Kirsten Dunst, because Deadline is reporting that she’s the latest name signed to come on board and help out the cause.

read more...

Take Shelter

This is the kind of news that’s always thrilling to hear despite how unsurprising it is. Michael Shannon has acted in all of Jeff Nichols‘ movies, and according to Variety, the streak continues with a sci-fi flick called Midnight Special. Regarding the project, Nichols recently told The Playlist that he “wanted to make a government chase movie. And see if I could make that not suck. Make that not cliché.” So either Shannon will be running from the government, chasing someone for the government, or helping out somehow along the way. The film is set up with Warner Bros. for distribution, and it’s great to see 1) Nichols getting that kind of studio recognition that could lead to broader audiences and 2) that Warners still has faith in some mid-budget projects made by filmmakers with strong voices. Take Shelter is one of the best movies of the last few years — the kind of film that sets up shop in your veins and ignores your eviction notices. Yet, it remains something of a sleeper despite how powerful it is. Nichols was just named by many critics as one of the best directors under 40 (along with some stunning young talent), so hopefully all of this gives him a bigger stage to share his vision. More Jeff Nichols movies are always a welcome development.

read more...

IMG_7996.CR2

Editor’s note: Allison’s review originally ran during Sundance earlier this year, but we’re re-posting it as Jeff Nichols’ film hits theaters in limited release this weekend. What would be most exciting to two young boys living a slightly boring life along a river bank in Arkansas? An adventure, of course. And that is exactly what Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) think they have found when they come across a peculiar sight — a boat trapped high up in the tree tops thanks to a recent flood. But what the two boys end up finding in that boat is a much bigger adventure because they are not alone, and are not the only ones looking to get it down. Enter Mud (Matthew McConaughey), a charming drifter living on the boat who, unlike the boys, is not looking for adventure, he is looking for a way off the island that the boat (and Mud himself) is trapped on. Ellis is quickly drawn to Mud with his cross-heeled boots and endless stories, but Neckbone is more wary, especially when Mud asks the boys for a favor. Ellis remains intrigued, and it becomes clear that it is not simply the prospect of adventure that has his attention, it is Mud’s story explaining why he is stranded on that island — the pursuit of true love.

read more...

jeff

Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter are no lightweight cinematic affairs, and writer/director Jeff Nichols certainly didn’t pull any emotional punches when making them. While both Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter put put their audience through the emotional ringer, his third film, Mud, is a departure. While Nichols’ old-fashioned picture deals with heartbreak, for both youngsters and oldies, it’s more of a crowd-pleaser than the filmmaker has made previously. That’s not because Nichols decided it was time to lighten up and make a movie for everyone, however, but unlike Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter, his last film follows the perspective of two kids. Centering the feature on children gives Mud a more innocent and adventurous spirit, while also pushing Nichols as a filmmaker on a technical level. Here’s what Mr. Nichols had to say about his “big American movie”:

read more...

Mud

If there was one film missing from our 2013 film guide, I’d say it was Jeff Nichols‘ Mud. Although he only has two films under his belt, Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter, Nichols has quickly risen to prominence as an A-list art house director. With Mud, the filmmaker finally has his chance to move into the mainstream, and this first trailer for the film does a decent job of pushing it as something easily digestible. Take a peak at Jeff Nichols’ newest film (via Yahoo! Movies):

read more...

Take Shelter

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Take Shelter (2011) Curtis LaForche (played by Michael Shannon) lives a relatively uneventful, normal small town life. He and his wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain in one of many standout performances in a quite busy 2011 year in film) get by on his income as a construction worker and her selling of homemade pillows at a flea market. Despite their financial troubles trying to afford a surgical procedure to aid their young daughter’s hearing disability the two don’t have much in the way of a disheartened life. Then, Curtis gets struck with a nightmarish vision of a looming mega-storm that could represent the apocalypse. Initially, he brushes it aside as just a terrible dream, but as the experiences get increasingly more frequent, personally violent, and unsettlingly ‘real’ Curtis decides to throw caution to the wind and prepare for his family for what he believes to be an imminent threat of a frightening, indescribable major disaster. As he succumbs further and further to his visions Curtis also battles the known reality that paranoid schizophrenia is not foreign to […]

read more...

Jeff Nichols

One of my most anticipated films of the year is Jeff Nichols‘ Mud. Nichols is behind one of, if not the, best films of 2011: Take Shelter. With only two pictures under his belt, he’s quickly established himself as a filmmaker to get excited about. Earlier today Nichols was kind enough to make the time for an interview to discuss Take Shelter, for the upcoming Blu-ray release. We discussed an array of topics, and Mud was briefly covered. Nichols was hard at work in the mood swing-sounding editing room when we spoke, and although he stated he’ll have clearer answers for the movie once it comes out, the writer-director shared enough details to give us a small sense of what to expect from Mud. After talking about the love-hate relationship with editing, the joy of shooting the Mississippi river with 35mm anamorphic cameras, the no bullshit (and awesome) attitude of Sam Shepard, Nichols touched upon the themes of the film:

read more...

Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

read more...

The main deception of Jeff Nichols’ apocalyptic drama Take Shelter is that its plotline can be summed up so quickly and cleanly, though the film itself neither passes quickly nor lets anyone get away cleanly. And that’s meant as a compliment to the film (and Nichols and his entire cast and crew), one that mines a simple idea to its most fulfilling (and often unsettling) ends. The film stars Michael Shannon as Curtis, a family man who starts having disconcerting visions of nature gone mad (black rain falling from the sky, clouds that roll and swirl too swiftly, birds dropping dead at his feet), and responds in the only way that seems wise – he builds a souped-up fall-out shelter for his wife and daughter. As the layers of Curtis steadily get peeled back, it becomes obvious that it’s not just this singular (and relatively new) fixation on the end of the world as we know it that’s driving the man, as Curtis’ creeping concerns that he’s actually going insane have a real world root. His mother is crazy, and in a basic, hard-and-fast way. And she has been since, well, since approximately the same age Curtis is now. The delusions and nightmares and visions and creeping paranoia would be enough to make anyone worry, but with a possible genetic predisposition to psychosis, it’s a wonder that Curtis hasn’t broken down sooner.

read more...

Mud is being described by the LA Times as a coming of age story. Two teenage boys stumble upon a fugitive (named Mud) and then help him escape. It’s unclear how that will play out, but it’ll definitely make you grow up in a big damned hurry. Chris Pine is in talks to play the convict, which would continue his path of making smaller dramas while waiting to captain the Enterprise or step into the boots of Jack Ryan. The movie will be directed by rising talent Jeff Nichols, whose Take Shelter is currently playing Cannes. Producer Aaron Ryder evoked the name Stand By Me when describing the project, but the plot synopsis also has a slightly older A Perfect World feel. Making the former comparison is a gamble considering how nostalgia-covered Rob Reiner’s film is, but it’s enough to get my attention. Who wouldn’t love another great, sweaty summer-set coming of age tale? Especially one testing the acting range of Chris Pine?

read more...

Director Jeff Nichols’ first film shows quite a lot of promise…

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

published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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