Meryl Streep

The Giver

Since Lois Lowry‘s The Giver was published 21 years ago there’s been an abundance of YA novels that have explored similar territory, likely inspired by her ubiquitous summer reading assignment. Director Philip Noyce‘s film is at a disadvantage in that regard, playing catch up on a trend launched partly by the material he’s adapting. The slew of recent young adult films haven’t been wildly dissimilar from one another, often dealing with characters trying to break free from a familiar dystopia, yet Noyce’s film manages to standout from the herd by being a surprisingly faithful and, more importantly, good adaptation. In this black-and-white community, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is about to turn 16 years old, which means getting a job assignment. Jonas’s assignment isn’t one he’s ever heard of: receiver of memory. As the job title implies, it’s someone who holds the memories of the old world, where there was war, music, dancing, love, and all other kinds of emotions that have no place in this perfect future, which is led by the chilly Chief Elder (Meryl Streep). The man who prepares Jonas for his position is known as The Giver (Jeff Bridges). He slowly shares memories of the way things used to be, opening the young man’s eyes until he sees his world for what it truly is: a lie. Jonas rebels.

read more...

The Last of Robin Hood

In Maleficent, Angelina Jolie recreates her iconic curse with such perfect charisma that it’s a big letdown when she changes tune about 2.5 seconds later as Disney strives to make her relatable. Our beloved villainess became the reactionary scorned woman, and all of that potential for more evil cackles flies out the window. Thinking about this terribly missed opportunity for excellent evilness, I couldn’t help but think about the many real-life, often larger than life names who have been immortalized in cinematic biographies in ways more bittersweet than satisfying. It’s great to see them and get the rush of their performance, but sad to watch it wasted on an inferior film, or a bit part in someone else’s larger whole.

read more...

The Giver Movie 2014 Black and White

When it came out in 1993, “The Giver” was a rare story. Nowadays a dystopian sci-fi future for tweens is the norm, but back then there was something very special about Lois Lowry’s book. It was a depressing tale of corruption and governmental overreach for us kids! So it’s impressive to see the new trailer for Phillip Noyce‘s movie version because it delivers on a black and white promise that takes guts to pull off with modern cinema. It’s easy to imagine the suggestion of making a black and white adventure aimed at the YA crowd being laughed out of the room, and there were even fan grumblings [raises hand] when an earlier, full-color trailer landed a few months back, so this is encouraging. It’s also what makes the narrative changes so surprising. They had the conviction to hold tight to a semblance of the visual concept, but they’ve transformed the story by leaps and bounds in order to make it look like every other YA adventure on the market. Lowry’s book was — like “1984” and “Brave New World” and others before it — deeply contemplative, particularly for a book focused on an 11-year-old boy. It was introspective and philosophically challenging. The movie? Not so much. Also, you won’t want to watch the trailer if you don’t want to see the entire plot condensed to two minutes. They show pretty much everything here:

read more...

meryl streep in a prairie home companion

With VOD numbers still kept a secret by most of Hollywood, it’s tough to tell if Diablo Cody‘s directorial debut, Paradise, was any kind of success when released last fall. But reviews were not good (our own Jack Giroux gave it a ‘C’), and no one was really talking about it, so let’s just assume it was at least a cultural failure if not also financial. Considering neither Young Adult nor Jennifer’s Body were hits, either, the Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter could use a shot of relevance. And that shot seems very likely to come with a report from The Wrap that none other than Meryl Streep is set to speak Cody’s dialogue in a new movie directed by Jonathan Demme titled Ricky and the Flash. Demme himself hasn’t been in the spotlight much in the past five years and could also use this intriguing project. He’s actually been making a bunch of films — primarily docs like Neil Young Journeys and I’m Caroline Parker (and many others even smaller) — but his last major feature was 2008’s Rachel Getting Married. He has worked with Streep in the past, on the arguably unnecessary Manchurian Candidate remake and, as producer, Spike Jonze’s Adaptation. Also, he’s proven himself to be something of a music film master, having directed one of the best concert docs of all time in Stop Making Sense and been involved with interesting soundtrack-significant efforts like That Thing You Do! (Rachel was a kind of musical, too), so he’s a good […]

read more...

The Giver Movie 2014

Lois Lowry‘s landmark YA novel was a massive part of growing up in the era of Jurassic Park. It’s taken a long time to see The Giver in movie form, but it’s finally here with Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep leading the charge into the perfect future. For those who haven’t read the book, it takes place in a pristine, peaceful society, but like in all too-goo-to-be-truetopias, they’ve traded something fundamental for what they consider happiness. Namely, they store emotions, memories of the past, and really any experiences that don’t land on the middle axis inside a single member of society called The Receiver (Bridges). When a young boy named Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is chosen to take over the job, he learns the true nature of pain, pleasure and the high cost of a uniform society. Check out the trailer for yourself and be wooed by all the Oscar caliber acting:

read more...

Oscar Predictions 2014: Actress

Call it the innate sexism that exists in Hollywood, but many years, the Best Actress category is less interesting than the Best Actor category. This can easily be blamed on the fewer great roles for women in movies today. However, this year, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Not only is this an incredibly strong field for the films they’ve appeared in, this is an incredibly strong field for the actresses themselves. All five women in this category are previous nominees – some of them many times over. (I’m looking at you, Meryl Streep, with your list of nominations almost as long as your list of hairstyles over the years.) Regardless, the Best Actress crop is a fertile one this year, featuring some fantastic performances in some really excellent films. As predictable as it might appear, it would be no surprise if things took a turn for anyone on this list. Keep reading for a look at all five nominees for Best Actress along with my predicted winner in red…

read more...

Meryl Streep

By the powers of Athena and all the powerful goddesses who have come before and after her, Meryl Streep, maybe the most righteous female of all, has joined the cast of a film called Suffragette. The film, directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) and written by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Shame) chronicles, naturally, the beginnings of the  women’s rights movement that blossomed in the late 19th century. Streep will portray British activist Emmeline Pankhurst, a significant figure in the feminist movement and the suffragettes’ battle to get the right to vote. Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union and caused a firestorm with her rallying; after one particularly volatile outing, she and her fellow sisters in arms were sent to prison for disturbing the peace, where they then staged a hunger strike to secure themselves better conditions.

read more...

Some people have a routine of eating two eggs for breakfast, reading the news and brushing their teeth before heading to work; Meryl Streep has a routine of getting Oscar nominations. She’s earned her 18th with August: Osage County, and to celebrate her cultural dominance we’ll speak with Karina Longworth, author of “Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor,” about Streep’s rich career arc. Plus, Geoff will answer three of your screenwriting questions, we’ll finally reveal who won the Prestige-Off and Rob Hunter will give us the movies from Sundance you need to look out for. You should follow Rob (@fakerobhunter), Karina (@karinalongworth), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #47 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

read more...

gravity-sandra-bullock-10

Following the announcement of any year’s Oscar nominations, the search for records and other interesting trivia among the contenders is expected. One of this year’s most notable findings has to be that the 86th Academy Awards has broken the record for average age among the best actress nominees: 55. That’s not just interesting, it’s possibly even important. For all that’s said about Hollywood favoring young women and how actresses’ careers are done by the time they reach 40, this could be used as further evidence that older ladies are not unwelcome on the big screen. But is it really relevant to the businesspeople in Hollywood that the leading actresses of prestige pictures are veering older, their average this year being even higher than the best actor contenders (47)? The true measure for whether last year’s movies prove that not older women but women in general deserve more respect in the film industry is instead with the box office. And, well, the grosses of the nominated movies is pretty notable in this case, too. Thanks mostly to Gravity, the average domestic take for the movies nominated in the best actress category is $90M compared to that of the best actor nominees’ $34M. Nearly three times as much.

read more...

netflixbuffering

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

read more...

August-Osage-County-Poster-header

Isn’t it always great to see your family? Don’t you just want to give your parents a call right now and hear what they’ve been up to and also hear at the same time about how you never call? Mmm, guilt. Take a little solace in the fact that whatever you and I are dealing with back at the ranch isn’t as bad as the Weston family’s situation in John Wells‘ August: Osage County. The adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play isn’t hitting theaters until December 25th, but it’s gaining steady buzz for the awards season track up until its premiere.

read more...

thegivers

It seems like director Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger, Salt) is pretty close to filling out the ensemble cast for his upcoming YA adaptation The Giver. Though it was published in 1994, author Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” is one of those stories set in a future world that are aimed at young people and happen to be all the rage these days. Its world is one that’s free of poverty, disease, and most every kind of hardship, but it has a secret about how it got that way–a terrible secret–and always one person, called the Receiver of Memories, is chosen to hold what that secret is. Already Noyce has young Brenton Thwaites signed up to play the protagonist, Jonas, who is the new kid chosen to hold the memory, Jeff Bridges as the title character, who acts as the boy’s mentor, Meryl Streep as the villain of the piece, who also happens to be the leader of the society and the one who gives the children their roles, and Alexander Skarsgard as Jonas’ impossibly attractive father, and now there are new reports that he’s just signed a duo of actresses who are going to pretty up his ensemble even further.

read more...

INTO THE WOODS

[Click to massively largify] This movie looks like it’s going to be awesome. You’ve got the pedigree of Steven Sondheim and James Lapine matched with an intriguing cast that features Meryl Streep in the spotlight, and in our first look at Into the Woods, she’s looking a bit like the witch from Big Fish minus the eyepatch. The character is desperate to regain her youth and beauty, so she makes a bargain with a cursed baker (James Corden) to un-hex him if he brings her a bunch of bizarre items. Along the way, he runs into all sorts of fairy tale characters — Jack with his magic beans, Cinderella and Rapunzel to name just a few. It’s a really fun musical with a dark sense of humor, and we’ll get to see if Rob Marshall and company can bring its spirit from the stage to the screen in December 2014.

read more...

August Osage County

Fresh out of its showing at TIFF (read our own Kate Erbland’s review) comes the second trailer for John Wells‘ August: Osage County, the story of a large and cranky family that comes together for the funeral of their patriarch. The high-profile project, based on Tracy Letts‘ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, is nothing to sneeze at; when most of your cast has already won an Oscar or been nominated, you know it’s probably smooth sailing until awards season. While the first trailer focused more on Meryl Streep‘s vicious Violet Weston and her cutting remarks (here’s Scott Beggs’ writeup of the first trailer for comparison), the new incarnation seems to remove a teensy bit of Meryl’s bite to focus more on the larger family as a whole. And while Lord knows we all love ourselves a mean Meryl, by featuring more of the Westons, it gives a better look into their deep bitterness and dysfunctionality. Celebrities — they’re just like us! Check out the trailer for yourself here:

read more...

August Osage County

The dysfunctional family drama can pack it in now, because the genre has reached its zenith with John Wells’ spectacularly entertaining and unsettling August: Osage County. Adapted for the screen from his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, Tracy Letts has effectively moved the traumas of the supremely effed up Weston family to the big screen, ensuring that droves of film-goers will be able to reason, well, at least I’m not part of that group just in time for an awards season the film will surely clean up during. Starring a tremendously talented cast, the film hinges on Meryl Streep as maddening matriarch Violet Weston and her control freak daughter Barbara (played by Julia Roberts in one of her finest performances), and the two do not disappoint in the slightest. Despite heavy subject matter (suicide, incest, drug abuse, alcoholism, infidelity, oh my!), the film still includes plenty of humor to keep it humming right along, fully engaging its audience all the way. Set in – well, you know this – a steamy week or so in August in Oklahoma’s Osage County, the film opens with Weston family patriarch Beverly (Sam Shepard) conducting an interview of the family’s new cook and aide Johnna (Misty Upham). Before the pair can finish the briefing of duties, the volatile Violet comes to after another night of pill-popping, only to stumble down into Beverly’s booze-filled office to offer color commentary and first class slurring. She’s a wreck, through and through, and it’s no […]

read more...

TDH4

Robert De Niro began repairing years of poor career choices with Silver Linings Playbook last year, and it looks like he might try and continue this trend with The Good House (for sanity’s sake, let’s just sweep The Big Wedding under a rug and never speak of it again). Also starring Meryl Streep, The Good House is an adaptation of Ann Leary’s similarly-titled novel, and it will be written for the screen by Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Hours,” which became another film starring Streep a few years back. There’s no word yet on who’ll direct. The combination of Cunningham with Streep and De Niro (who previously worked together on The Deer Hunter) sounds like a match made in heaven. The book’s subject matter, however, paints an entirely different picture. The novel tells the story of Hildy Good (Streep), a realtor and recovering alcoholic whose perfect routine is thrown into disarray by the arrival of a new friend (who hasn’t been cast yet) and an old flame (De Niro). The story is described as a dark comedy, but the synopsis bears an unpleasant resemblance to sugary-sweet romantic comedies that have been dotting Streep’s filmography in recent years — Hope Springs, It’s Complicated, and the like. Hopefully, The Good House will end up a dark comedy with some bite to it, rather than something you watch solely because it’s on TV and the remote’s too far out of reach.

read more...

August Osage County

Emerging from work that won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2008, Tracy Letts has adapted his black comic play into a film with John Wells at the helm, and August: Osage County is downright overflowing with prestige. It also looks awkward enough to make Home For the Holidays feel like an old, warm blanket. To that first point, let’s do the math on the people involved: Oscar Winners: Meryl Streep (3), Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, George Clooney and Grant Heslov (Producing) Oscar Nominees: Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Sam Shepard Not too bad. Undoubtedly, a lot of people will be clamoring pre-release for Streep to win her fourth Oscar, but you know what would be even better? Getting Margo Martindale her first. That woman is a powerhouse whose earned her spot on the Academy stage. If this trailer is any indication, she might find herself with a nice shot at Best Supporting Actress and Best Inappropriate Comments. Check it out for yourself:

read more...

Bully Contest

One of the most popular and powerful documentaries of last year, Lee Hirsch’s Bully is a film about the continuing crisis of bullying, which affects kids nationwide. In our own review, we call it “an intense, heartbreaking movie that every parent and school official should see.” Now it’s also a particularly important topic relevant to discussions of school violence. And it finally arrives on home video this Tuesday (February 12) on the heels of winning the Audience Choice award at the 2013 Cinema Eye Honors and finishing out the year as the fourth highest-grossing doc of 2012. You can go ahead and buy a copy right away, or you can try to win a DVD from Film School Rejects, and we’ll throw in a couple promotional anti-bullying rubber wristbands, on which are printed “IT’S TIME TO TAKE A STAND.” The DVD, from Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Compay, features a bunch of bonus tracks, including six deleted scenes (half of which star the teen subject Alex and then one each for Kelby, Caine and Jake). There are also other videos of Alex updating us on how he’s doing today and his appearance on Good Morning America. Another bonus video stars Meryl Streep talking about the film and the issue. 

read more...

As any of us who’ve dressed up as movie characters for Halloween know, it’s the distinctly designed roles that make for the most interesting costumes. Nobody is dressing up as Alex Cross or Aaron Cross this year — not because their movies weren’t popular, but because the characters don’t have a very recognizable look. Peruse the popular suits for sale and clever homemade ideas this year and you’ll find mostly characters who wouldn’t be what they are without the craftwork of costume designers and makeup artists. That’s why I consider theirs the Halloween categories at the Oscars. And yet, the best and most common outfits and frightening faces aren’t necessarily those that tend to be recognized by the Academy. This year’s list of popular movie-related costumes predominantly consists of superheroes, which has been the norm for a while, but there are even more timely examples represented now thanks to the The Avengers featuring so many masked and caped crusaders. Also, we had another movie starring the Caped Crusader. And while once again Linda Hemming will be nominated for a Costume Designers Guild Award for a Batman movie (she was nominated for Batman Begins and won for The Dark Knight), it’s very unlikely that The Dark Knight Rises will earn her a second Oscar nomination let alone win (she won her first time nominated, for Topsy-Turvy).

read more...

“Newsweek,” the 79-year-old magazine is stepping into the present by axing their print edition to go fully digital in 2013. Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown announced the shift yesterday (tellingly on the Daily Beast site), and the polarized responses of crushing nostalgia, predictions of ultimate failure and it’s-about-time praise came from all corners of (again tellingly) the internet. Whether it’s a signal of internal trouble or not, it’s where our world is heading, which is why it’s particularly encouraging in this time of transition to look back on some of the “Newsweek” covers of the past to discover that history tends to repeat itself. Someone should package that up and coin a phrase about it. Of course, all of our choices are movie-themed, but as you’ll see from the selections, the ghost of the present seems to haunt the past even in the examination of the popular art. Even without the deep sentiment, it’s still fascinating to let nostalgia well up for the times gone by caught by these covers.

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.
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