Joe Wright

jackman

After Hollywood heard the resounding cries of “I guess that would be okay, whatever!” in response to the barrage of Peter Pan films slated for revival, the writers behind one of the films have decided to do us one better and add double the pirates to the mix. The origin story Pan, directed by Joe Wright, will include the traditional character of Captain Hook, but will also feature the fearsome pirate Blackbeard to antagonize the poor little orphan Peter. Stepping into that role? Hugh Jackman is in negotiations to take the part after Javier Bardem passed. The film follows a young orphan (presumably one who never wants to grow up?) who is brought to the magical world of Neverland, where he becomes a hero to the native people by leading a revolt against the dreaded pirates. In previous incarnations of Peter Pan, Captain Hook took the reins in leading the pirates to torture Peter and his band of misfits. However, this new vision realizes Blackbeard as the main villain with Hook serving as Pan’s “close ally” before turning evil himself. Hey, every villain has their origin story too.

read more...

Peter Pan1

Okay, Hollywood, you can jump ship on this thing right now. As our own Samantha Wilson pointed out just last week with the news that Jon Favreau might be remaking The Jungle Book, Hollywood’s current obsession with giving origin stories to well-tread material is getting just a little bit out of control, especially when it comes to bringing baddies back to the screen (see Maleficent, the new Cinderella, and that recently announced Cruella De Vil feature for proof positive). But it’s not just bad guys that studios and filmmakers want to illuminate – it’s classic heroes, too, like the J.M. Barrie-created Peter Pan, who continues to be saddled with rumors of origin story films that are going for some very different things, all of which are entirely unnecessary. With the announcement of a possible eighth new Peter Pan tale, however, we need to make a stand. No more Peter Pan origin stories. None of them. Not even the one with Channing Tatum’s involvement. Deadline Hollywood reports that director Joe Wright is currently negotiating to direct Pan (not to be confused with two other versions of the story also titled Pan). The film is described as – ding ding! – an origin story as conceived of by screenwriter Jason Fuchs. This one reportedly centers on “ an orphan [who] is taken to the magical world of Neverland, where he becomes the savior of the natives and leads a rebellion against the evil pirates.” THR adds that the film “would give Pan the […]

read more...

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

According to Deadline Hollywood, Focus Features and Playtone are securing the rights to “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” the new novel from Neil Gaiman. Normally, that would be exciting enough news on its own, but there’s a glimmer of hope that this one won’t sit sadly on a shelf somewhere because Joe Wright is on deck to direct the adaptation. The synopsis of the book from Good Reads: “It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.” But you know, it’s the man who made Hanna, Atonement and Anna Karenina taking on a modern literary genius. Do the details really even matter? And when we we getting that “Good Omens” movie anyway?…

read more...

Anna Karenina

The 2012 awards season is coagulating. Thanks to SAG and the HFPA, we now have a solid list of contenders for Best Picture and a narrowing group of potential nominees for everything else. Forgive the metaphor, but it does feel a bit like goop. Both major lists of nominees this week are full of easily predicted choices, and the few unexpected picks that take us by surprise only do so because we thought they were too bland even for the HFPA. (Except for you, Nicole Kidman! There’s nothing bland about The Paperboy.) Don’t get me wrong, I love Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, and Maggie Smith, but this is getting unseemly. And the days are running out for films to make their way in from the sidelines. However, I am going to take this last chance to fight through the often claustrophobic box of awards watching and shout to the heavens a bit about a movie I think should be getting substantially more attention. I was sort of hoping that the Golden Globe nominations would do that for me, given how hard they went for Atonement a few years ago. They like to shake things up in a good way, at least now and then. Alas, it seems it was easier to go out on a limb for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Anna Karenina is the best awards-ready movie of the year that isn’t getting an ounce of awards attention. Frankly, I find it somewhat surprising. Joe Wright’s three literary […]

read more...

The Best Damn Oscar Blog

Some of this year’s big movies are like a Thanksgiving dinner. They’re elaborate, colorful, and delicious. They also take time to digest, as most meals of such size and ambition do. Filling and complex, they remind us of the important things and inspire us to be thankful for art and the movies. In this category I’d put Anna Karenina, Life of Pi, and The Master. Black Friday films are different, though not necessarily opposite. They are marvelously entertaining, extremely well-executed Hollywood productions. They bring laughter and tears, suspense and comfortable resolution, all in familiar packaging. One could compare them to the thrilling, stressful and often rewarding experience of rushing to a 50%-off television, or go even further and point out similarities to the mass-produced and well-advertised objects themselves. This year’s best examples are Argo and Silver Linings Playbook.

read more...

Joe Wright set up a big challenge for himself with Anna Karenina. The material could easily lend itself to the stuffy brand of period piece, which is the type of film we see all too often during the awards season. Wright didn’t want to make that film, though. With his theater concept, he may have stripped the budget down, but, according to Wright, it was the exact type of challenge where the most creativity comes from. That notably happened with his previous project, Hanna, as well. Everyone adored the long-take fight scenes in that film, and that approach came out of saving time, budget, and, of course, creative impulse. It’s those type of decisions Wright seems the most excited by. Here’s what director Joe Wright had to say about why his brain switches off when filming, the power of limitations, and why Anna Karenina is his least indulgent film:

read more...

Anna Karenina Review

Director Joe Wright’s latest film, a lush and visually striking adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina,” is uniquely suited to the filmmaker’s tastes and tones. Joining his other love-struck and leading lady-centric films like Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, Wright again adapts well-tread material with an eye for emotion, dizzying and overwrought as it may be (or truly, as it can be). Utilizing a “theater-set” concept to frame up his film, Wright’s Anna Karenina offers up his most original film yet, but one that still fails to ultimately come together and connect with his audience. Tolstoy’s novel has been adapted countless times before and in a variety of mediums. While not a complicated story, the trials and tribulations of the young Mrs. Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) are still ripe for discussion and dissection, and Wright’s choice to keep the film in the book’s period setting does nothing to diminish its aching relatability. A dazzling society maven, Anna’s life centers on her husband (the beloved politician Alexei Karenin, Jude Law, whom she seems to simply admire, not adore), parties, and her young son. Mildly upended by the news of her brother’s (Matthew Macfadyen) cheating ways, Anna sets off to visit the broken family in Moscow and to help mend some long-simmering wounds. Upon her arrival in Moscow, she meets the dashing (sure) Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and the pair eventually fall into an all-consuming affair that threatens to destroy every element of Anna’s life.

read more...

Making a movie about the life of Harry Houdini has been a recent priority of Lionsgate’s Summit for a few good reasons. For one, the famed magician just lived a really interesting life, which would probably make for the rare, non-boring biopic. For another, Houdini is a name that lots of people already recognize, but that hasn’t been the subject of a movie in a while, and studios are always looking for something that has name recognition they can get their hands on. Add that to the fact that there’s a biography out there, by William Kalush and Larry Sloman, called “The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero” that’s very cinematic and pretty much ready-made to be adapted into a film (screenwriter Noah Oppenheim has already done a draft), and putting together a Houdini project seems like something of a no-brainer. But, for some reason (Gary Ross looking at it and eventually passing is probably a contributing factor), Summit has been sitting on this project for a while now without it gaining any real momentum. The good news is, that may soon change, because another notable and talented director is said to be circling the screenplay. According to sources that have spoken to the L.A. Times, Hanna helmer Joe Wright has taken a liking to the script and is currently in negotiations to become attached as director.

read more...

Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina

Focus Features has a new behind-the-scenes look at Joe Wright‘s Anna Karenina adaptation that showcases the lavish potential of the movie’s look and the experimental bat pointed toward the left field bleachers of Russia. Wright’s track record is solid for both historical fiction and methods that are out of the ordinary, and it’s excellent to see the two blended here for a Tolstoy novel that’s seen the screen more than a few times already. The only strange thing about this featurette is how joyous and life-affirming it seems in the face of utterly bleak source material. Check it out for yourself, and see how Wright brought Russia onto a stage and filmed it.

read more...

Oh, look, Joe Wright went and directed a historically-set film based on a novel that stars Keira Knightley! I am positively shocked! This time around, Wright and Knightley are taking on no less than Tolstoy (after already going after Austen with Pride and Prejudice and McEwan with Atonement), with Wright directing his frequent muse as the eponymous character in Leo Tolstoy‘s enduring work, “Anna Karenina.” Wright’s Anna Karenina hews close to the basic story – Knightley’s Anna, a high society aristocrat, gets caught up in a consuming affair with the dashing Count Vronsky (Aaron Johnson, sporting one hell of a mustache) that has repercussions far beyond just her unsatisfying marriage to a smarmy-looking Jude Law as Alexei Karenin. It’s tragic, it’s sad, it’s Russian. So let’s see what Wright can do with it with the film’s first full trailer and an overly Moulin Rouge-d poster.

read more...

Focus Features has just announced a helmer for their Anna Karenina adaptation penned by Tom Stoppard, and while it’s a bit of a no-duh assignment, it’s still a very fine one. Joe Wright will direct the film, adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s classic (read: every high school kid is assigned to read it, and none of them ever do) novel. Despite my more bookwormish tendencies, my familiarity with Anna Karenina is quite lacking, so we’ll turn to Focus’ plotline for the film, which tells us that “the story unfolds in its original late-19th-century Russia high-society setting and powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, from the passion between adulterers to the bond between a mother and her children. As Anna questions her happiness, change comes to her family, friends, and community.” Also, it’s Russian and it’s Tolstoy, so it’s also not a feel-good work by any stretch. But the film has a solid cast already attached to it, including some names that Wright has worked with before, including Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina (in her third role in a Wright production), with Jude Law as her husband Alexei Karenin, and Aaron Johnson as Count Vronksy, with other roles filled by Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfayden (Mr. Darcy in Wright’s Pride & Prejudice), Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Emily Watson, Olivia Williams (from Hanna), and Ruth Wilson.

read more...

Culture Warrior

Last week, as I watched Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber, I noticed that the trailers on the rental Blu-Ray were all of titles sharing space at the top of my queue: titles like Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins, Kim Ji-woon’s I Saw the Devil, and Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun. All, I quickly realized, had been released by the same studio, Magnet Releasing, whose label I recalled first noticing in front of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. After some quick Internet searching, I quickly realized what I should have known initially, that Magnet was a subsidiary of indie distributor Magnolia Pictures. The practices of “indie” subsidiaries of studios has become commonplace. That majors like Universal and 20th Century Fox carry specialty labels Focus Features and Fox Searchlight which market to discerning audiences irrespective of whether or not the individual titles released are independently financed or studio-produced has become a defining practice for limited release titles and has, perhaps more than any other factor, obscured the meaning of the term “independent film” (Sony Pictures Classics, which only distributes existing films, is perhaps the only subsidiary arm of a major studio whose releases are actually independent of the system itself). This fact is simply one that has been accepted for quite some time in the narrative of small-scale American (or imported) filmmaking. Especially in the case of Fox Searchlight, whose opening banner distinguishes itself from the major in variation on name only, subsidiaries of the majors can hardly even be argued as “tricking” audiences into […]

read more...

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a movie news round-up column that comes to you from deep space. It comes as a protector of all that is good and interesting in the movie news world. It also totally swoons over Michael Fassbender. Seriously, have you seen this guy act? He’s the man… man. As my good friend Rusty Gordon pointed out to me this evening, “this summer is already better than last summer,” and it’s just now June. With two-thirds of its movie releasing to go, Summer 2011 is already coming along great. With that, there’s plenty to still be excited about. Like Green Lantern, which continues to look cool as WB dumps a giant batch of photos on the web. So much detail, so much cool.

read more...

This time a week ago I never would have imagined I’d stay up all night Thursday, having my own little tea and scones party, to watch a wedding of two people I didn’t know. Even if the festivities were thrown by the English Royal Family in honor of the most recognizable union of royal and commoner. It wasn’t until Wednesday that I caught the bug and started feeling a connection to these two genetically gifted kids who had the balls to get up in front of 15 billion people and pledge themselves to each other and their country. I had Royal Wedding fever, and I was going to do everything I could to make that moment last. The decision to keep many details of the wedding a secret and the media inflated love story spanning almost a decade was too much for even my cold heart to keep from melting. It was the real life movie version of all those BBC costume dramas and Jane Austen adaptations I spent years watching. The chaste, passionate love of two people who shouldn’t be together defying the odds, marrying, and starting a life so many of us will never experience. But at the same time it was relatable and sweet—just like Jane Austen always promised.

read more...

The Week That Was

What is The Week That Was? Nothing much, just a recap of all that was great and wonderful here on Film School Rejects over the course of the last week. And in a week such as this, when we reviewed controversial and conversation-worthy films from the minds of Ayn Rand, Wes Craven and Robert Redford, it’s important to take a look back at the best of what was written. That, and we interviewed Takashi Miike, so we’ve got that going for us. Also, I have access to the traffic stats. I know that all of you did not read every one of our best articles. What’s the deal with that, beloved readers? Lets right those wrongs on a pantsless Sunday afternoon. Start with the articles listed in this compilation and work your way back. Do it now.

read more...

On the surface, Hanna is just the latest action flick centered on a petite, butt-kicking young woman and the sinister world she inhabits. Yet, were that all it was, the new film from director Joe Wright (Atonement, The Soloist) would be a tired, forced enterprise, arriving in theaters a mere two weeks after Sucker Punch and just about one year following Kick-Ass. Fortunately, Wright is too sharp a director for that. His keen visual eye and knack for character-driven nuance turns the story of highly-trained teenage killing machine Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) into an engagingly twisted fairytale/coming of age drama. With a soundtrack fueled by electronica wizards The Chemical Brothers, tightly coiled supporting work from Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana and a schema that offers a world of out-sized colors, foreboding shapes and demented villains, the Focus Features release is an offbeat, engaging blend of David Lynchian and kinetic action tropes. We spoke with the acclaimed filmmaker about his latest directorial effort.

read more...

Culture Warrior

This editorial features some spoilers for Hanna and Kick-Ass. Consider yourself warned. In preparation for this post I ran a quick Internet search on child assassins and found this video from New York Magazine. While I wasn’t promised a video exclusively on child assassins here, and instead got something that explores the notion of child killers at large, this video conflates two categories of child killers that I think deserve remarkably different types of consideration. The great majority of killings performed by children in this video are from horror movies. From Rosemary’s Baby to The Omen to The Brood to Firestarter to the other Omen and beyond, the child/killer is an exhaustively repeated horror trope to the point of cliche (and is often confused with the simple overlapping category of “scary children,” like in The Shining and The Sixth Sense). But every so often a child-killer horror film comes along that works in line with the formula (The Children, anyone? Bueller? Okay, how about Let Me In?), reminding us why child killers still have the capacity to be engrossing and entertaining even if they’ve lost the ability to be outright horrifying: because they play on our society’s veneration of childhood innocence, replacing the ignorant bliss of childhood with benevolent, malicious intent to do harm to the much taller individuals that surround them. But child assassins are quite different from the overall category of child killers. And while two recent films in two subsequent spring movie seasons that feature child assassins, […]

read more...

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr spends a long day in the multiplex, checking out a variety of films from alcoholic romantic comedies to nature documentaries with elephants and orangutans. He drinks himself silly and hits on Greta Gerwig in Arthur, narrowly escapes being killed by ass-kicking teen assassin Hanna, narrowly escapes getting his arm bitten off by a tiger shark in Soul Surfer and peeps in on Natalie Portman undressing for a swim in Your Highness. Too bad she’s pregnant now, ‘cause Kevin just ain’t into that scene.

read more...

Hanna opens on the blinding white tundra of Finland like a blank page before the beginning of a fairy tale, and that’s fitting for what the film ultimately delivers. It’s a coming of age story about a young heroine forced to grow up amidst the harsh outside world, and while it’s missing a bag of breadcrumbs it does feature several other elements of the genre including a literal entrance into the maw of a big, bad wolf and even an evil step-mother of sorts. It’s the Brothers Grimm set to the beats of The Chemical Brothers and is as sublime an entertainment as you’d hope to find in a pre-summer action movie. Young Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) has lived in rural seclusion with a father Erik (Eric Bana) who’s been her sole source of knowledge. He’s trained her to be self sufficient, aware, and deadly with everything from guns to her bony white hands, and now that she’s turned sixteen the time has come for her to enter the real world. She’s not venturing out aimlessly though as her father has prepared her for a very specific mission. That quest will put her life in danger as well as those she meets along the way, but completing it is her only way to freedom. If only good old dad had thought to show his daughter a picture of her target…

read more...

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the hero you need right now; a way to get all the most interesting movie news without having to read through a bunch of padded articles. It’s quick, to the point and personable. An efficient killer of your will to waste time reading a thousand movie blogs before you go to bed. It’s also way into girl power, whatever that means. Hanna director Joe Wright, whose latest film is filled with the legitimate girl-power of a teen assassin played by Saoirse Ronan, has called out director Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, saying that the girl-power angle of the film was all “marketing bullshit.”

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
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.
SXSW 2014
Game of Thrones reviews
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