Juan Antonio Bayona

Sigourney Weaver in Abduction

If you’re going to have someone on your side to protect you from bad guys and guide you through life’s trials and tribulations, there is probably nobody better than Sigourney Weaver to get the job done. But although she’s one of the most badass action stars in film history, she’s leaving the niceties to Liam Neeson this time around. Weaver has signed on to the cast of the children’s fantasy flick A Monster Calls, an adaptation of the brilliant 2011 novel from Patrick Ness that will be directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible) and feature Neeson as the title creature. The actress is taking on something a little more frosty in the film, playing grandmother to 13-year-old protagonist Conor, whose life is especially complicated with a double whammy of brutal bullying from classmates at school and his mother’s (Felicity Jones) prognosis of terminal cancer. The teen doesn’t have much of a support system either, just a father (Toby Kebbell) who’s virtually nonexistent — never bothering to check in on his miserable soon — and a terrible relationship with the grandmother. 

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commentary-theimpossible

Some films labeled as Oscar bait actually go on to win Oscars, but others simply get shunned for their supposed efforts to manipulate audiences. Sadly, Juan Antonia Bayona‘s The Impossible fell into the latter category. The film follows a vacationing family caught up in the 2004 tsunami that devastated coastal areas in Thailand, Indonesia and elsewhere, killing over 230,000 people in the process. The family’s experience is brought to immediate life through powerful performances and Bayona’s dedication to crafting terrifyingly realistic sequences. The film attracted criticism for casting Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as part of a “whitewashing” of the true story, but that’s just people being willfully ignorant and missing the point of the film altogether. Instead the takeaway should simply be that this is a story of love, loss, hope and the realization that there is no guarantee of a tomorrow. Keep reading to see what I learned from the commentary track for The Impossible.

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The Impossible

The ocean is a beautiful and terrifying body of nature that can both entice and trap. Anyone who has been caught in a riptide or had an unexpected wave suddenly crash over their heads knows the power of the ocean, and the fear it can cause if it overtakes you. When the tsunami hit Southeast Asia in 2004, we all saw the devastation that disaster caused to the area and heard about the lives lost and families torn apart because of it. Based on a true story, The Impossible goes a step further and actually takes us into the experience through the eyes of a family on an idyllic vacation that suddenly gets turned on its head. Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor) have traveled to Thailand with their three sons Lucas (Tom Holland), Simon (Oaklee Pendergast), and Thomas (Samuel Joslin) to spend the Christmas holiday at a luxurious resort making their biggest question whether they want to swim in the resort’s pool or the nearby ocean. The day after Christmas the entire family is out by the pool, playing and relaxing, when the tsunami hits, proving to be as unexpected as it is relentless.

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Culture Warrior

When the trailer for Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible debuted on the web – an upcoming holiday release starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as the parents of a living-comfy British family vacationing in southeast Asia in 2004 when the Indian Ocean Tsunami hit – it caused quite a stir. Nathan Adams referred to the trailer as “melodramatic,” and our comments section was abuzz with seasoned FSR writers and readers alike assessing the merits of a film about a real-life natural disaster that devastated the lives of countless people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and India which focuses instead on a white, ostensibly wealthy British family on holiday. David Haglund of Slate called the trailer “deeply troubling” and “horribly misjudged,” going so far as to say that, out of the hundreds of thousands of lives adversely affected by the tragedy, …The Impossible is, so far as one can tell from this trailer, about the uplifting story of five, well-off white people. Which is not to say that the lives of well-off white people don’t matter. But movies like this one create the unmistakable and morally repugnant impression that their lives matter more. The whitewashing of the silver screen has been proven to be an issue that is neither small nor unfamiliar when it comes to the enterprise of Hollywood representation. As Cole Abaius pointed out in a recent editorial, one of the more ironic repercussions of a globalized Hollywood economy dependent upon foreign sales is that Hollywood studios are still hesitant to […]

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One of the most reliable ways we’ve devised of making sure a movie will be affecting, engaging, and able to jerk tears out of its audience members is to base its story off of a real life tragedy. And, in the 2004 Indonesian tsunami, direct Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) has picked himself a doozy of a tragedy to set his latest film, The Impossible, during. The tsunami, which was generated by a massive earthquake off the coast of Sumatra on December 26 of that year, caused massive damage in 11 countries, killing 150,000 people and leaving millions more homeless in the blink of an eye. The Impossible takes a look at how one family (made up of Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, and three young boys) gets unexpectedly swept up into the destruction, find themselves separated, and have to try desperately to find their way back to one another.

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Culture Warrior

Editor’s Note: With Landon Palmer busy (read: probably writing a thesis on Sexual Deviancy in John Wayne Films in the Greater Context of Post-WWII America As Seen Through the Work of Southern Filmmakers), the excellent, insightful Adam Charles has stepped in to write this week’s entry. Enjoy. Few things have been as equally discussed and deliberated over the past few weeks than that of who Lionsgate was going to choose to take the reigns from Gary Ross to direct the second installment in The Hunger Games franchise. The first film had one of the biggest opening weekends in history (and it didn’t even require 3D price-hikes to get there), earned a positive majority from critics, and has a dedicated fanbase that defies demographic lines of fandom; and they’re chomping at the bit to see the next adaptation in the series, Catching Fire, as quickly as possible. Neither Lucas, Spielberg, or even Peter Jackson’s franchises could replicate just how much of the domestic populous is waiting for the next picture.

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31daysofhorror-reckoning

Since we’re talking about movies that involve creepy kids, its time to take a trip to Spain, where director Juan Antonio Bayona wants to take you to an orphanage with a creepy history, and an even creepier present.

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bayona-header

Director Juan Antonio Bayona and writer Sergio Sanchez, the duo behind the spectacular 2007 thriller The Orphanage are teaming up once again for what Variety is saying will be Bayona’s second feature film.

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Juan Antonio Bayona

Listen up Twilight fans, this movie franchise is about to get a little bit dark (and potentially good as well). Come inside and meet the creepy-good director who will be delivering your Eclipse.

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Juan Antonio Bayona

Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona, who made a major splash last year with the Guillermo Del Toro-produced film The Orphanage, has signed on with Universal to make his English-language debut with Hater.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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