Morten Tyldum

The Imitation Game

“Pay attention,” Alan Turing implores to a dazed police officer (and, quite frankly, to a likely dazed audience, who don’t understand why a film about World War II code breaking kicks off in 1951 England). Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, the long-in-the-making biopic about forward-thinking computer genius and prodigious cryptographer Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a mostly paint by the numbers affair, lifted by consistently compelling performances and the kind of dramatic narrative that could only happen in the real (and very cruel) world. Adapted by screenwriter Graham Moore from Andrew Hodges’ book “Alan Turing: The Enigma,” The Imitation Game leads us through the highlights (and the horrifying lowlights) of Turing’s life, principally focused on his time working for the British government, assigned to crack the German Enigma code during the height of WWII. Turing was, to put it extremely simply, a complicated fellow – highly intelligent, socially awkward, and mostly interested in being alone – and Cumberbatch captures his various moods and modes with ease. The Imitation Game may be a touch more neat and nifty than it should be, but Cumberbatch’s work is enough to mark it as something very special indeed.

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The Imitation Game

Plink. Plink. Plink. Plink. Plink. What’s that? Oh, just the sound that signals that a serious, dangerous, historical trailer is coming on through (consider it on par with the “brrrrannngghhh” of setting a mood). Plink. Plink. Pllllunk. The Imitation Game is indeed serious, dangerous, and historical — fortunately for all involved, it also looks pretty good. After years of development back and forth (remember when Leonardo DiCaprio was going to star in this?), Graham Moore‘s Black List script about the life of Alan Turing (“the father of computer science”) is finally an actual movie with a bunch of actual stars and enough street cred to push it into “hey, maybe we need to think about awards or whatever” territory. Cool beans, and maybe it will get kids interested in computer science! It’s a win-win! (Although we wonder what kind of kids will be checking out the historical Benedict Cumberbatch film this fall, but c’est la vie.) The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing, with Keira Knightley on board as his best pal/early cool coding girl Joan Clarke and Matthew Goode, Charles Dance and Mark Strong around to add some gravitas. Ready your ears for the plinking, after the break:

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Cumberbatch Knightley

Well this is interesting. After appearing on The Black List in 2011, Graham Moore’s The Imitation Game was going to tell the story of computing pioneer Alan Turing under the wing of Leonardo DiCaprio and Warner Bros., but the studio dropped the project in August 2012. Black Bear Pictures (Broken City, A.C.O.D.) took over production duties and then signed Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) to direct, but things have been quiet for almost a year. This week, news broke that Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley would star in the film — playing Turing and code-breaker Joan Clarke respectively — and now we can report that principal photography has actually started as of yesterday. The film focuses on Turing’s life, particularly during WWII when he and a team were attempting to crack the Nazi Enigma Code, and it also stars Matthew Goode, Mark Strong and Rory Kinnear. Obviously a lot of events from 2011 are culminating into an interesting project here. Black Bear was launched that year, Moore’s script hit The Black List then and Tyldum’s breakout Headhunters premiered at festivals in 2011 as well. It’s excellent to see this vision finally come to fruition, and it looks on track for its planned 2014 release. Now if they can only get the movie to trick people into think it’s a sentient being.  

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Morten Tyldum

If you’ve yet to check out Norwegian director Morten Tyldum’s 2011 release, Headhunters, then it’s high time you tracked it down and finally gave it a go. Not only is it one of the most brutal, gross, unique, and exciting action thrillers that have come out in a long time, but you’re also going to need to know what Tyldum is capable of in order to properly get excited for the news that he’s just signed on to make another movie. Deadline reports that his new project is called The Imitation Game, and it’s coming from a Black List script by Graham Moore that was adapted from an Alan Turing biography that Andrew Hodges wrote called “Alan Turing: The Enigma.” The film was originally set to be made by Warner Bros., with J Blakeson on to direct and rumors that Leonardo DiCaprio would star, but the studio dropped the project back in August. For those that might not know, Turing was a pretty interesting guy whose rich life could make for good movie fodder in a number of ways. Just take a look at the source material’s Amazon description, which states: “Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936–the concept of a universal machine–laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a […]

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Editor’s Note: This review originally ran as part of our Fantastic Fest coverage, but it hits select theaters this weekend, so it’s time to check it out once more. Headhunters has an instinct about it that’s cutthroat with a smile. It’s a comedy of errors with a gun pointed at its head, and it all works with an intensity that manages to be thrilling right up to the end. In the movie, Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is in over his head (which he considers already too low to the ground) because he thinks his wife (Synnøve Macody Lund) needs the finer things in life. He’s a well-respected job placement rep, connecting the highest salaries to the biggest companies, but he has to supplement his lifestyle by stealing art. When he catches wind of a new client (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) with a criminal career-endingly expensive lost masterpiece, he jumps at the chance, but there are forces much larger at work which see him running from his life and fighting for his marriage.

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Another day, another lineup announcement from AFI FEST 2011 that sends me positively reeling. Today sees the film festival rolling out their World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight, and Short selections. Today also sees me jumping up and down and repeatedly screaming, “ALPS! ALPS! ALPPPPSSSS!” As has been the trend with AFI FEST’s recent lineup announcements, this crop of films guarantees that the festival is a can’t-miss for any film buffs in the Los Angeles area. There’s a number of titles here that festival-obsessed cinephiles will recognize from recent events – films like Ben Wheatley‘s Kill List, Morten Tyldum‘s Headhunters, Jean-Baptiste Léonetti‘s Carre Blanc, Nacho Vigalondo’s Extraterrestrial, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi’s This is Not a Film, and for Dogtooth obsessives like me, Yorgos Lanthimos‘s Alps. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). Free, guys, free. After the break, check out the full list of the films to be featured as AFI FEST World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight, and Short Film selections.

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If you somehow aren’t aware by now, we take Fantastic Fest pretty seriously ’round these parts. America’s largest genre festival will kick the doors off the hinges for its 7th incarnation this September, and your faithful crew here at Starship Reject could not be more excited. As always, we’ll be assembling our Fantastic Fest Death Squad to attempt the insane goal of reviewing each and every film that plays this year. Take a gander at some of the titles that have jumped out at us from this latest batch. First up is Lars Von Trier‘s Melancholia. Antichrist was huge at Fantastic Fest back in 2009, and the buzz out of Cannes and from a brief run in LA has me chomping at the bit to see Von Trier’s latest as soon as possible. While certainly polarizing, Von Trier is also an extremely versatile and uncompromising filmmaker, and I can’t wait to see him put his own unique spin on a story with sci-fi elements. You can bet the Rejects will be first in line for this one come September. You also know we’re looking forward to You’re Next, the new film from the team behind last year’s A Horrible Way to Die. While their previous effort wasn’t a perfect film, the last 20 minutes in particular were chilling and showed quite a bit of promise with their fresh take on serial killer celebrity. Adam Wingard returns to direct You’re Next, and genre favorite AJ Bowen joins a cast that includes […]

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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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