Olivia Williams

mars

It’s not often that a director will amass a fanbase before he’s ever even helmed a feature, but that’s exactly what Ruairi Robinson managed to do, thanks to the buzz that surrounded his short films like The Silent City and BlinkyTM. Movie pundits have been predicting for years now that Robinson is a future name in the world of genre films, and now he’s getting his chance to prove them right, because his first feature, The Last Days on Mars, is ready to be released in the UK on September 19, and has put together a trailer to promote the occasion. In addition to watching it because of the buzz surrounding Robinson, you’re also going to want to give this trailer a chance if you enjoy biology-based horror movies, or thrillers in space, or when the two come together in something like Alien. And you’re going to want to check it out to appreciate the cast that Robinson has put together, who aren’t close to being A-listers, but who are really underrated talents down to the last performer. Robinson is probably really good at making mix-tapes. I’m jealous of all his teenage crushes. Click through for some Liev Schreiber goodness.

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The Ingredients is a column devoted to breaking down the components of a new film release with some focus on influential movies that came before. As always, these posts look at the entire plots of films and so include SPOILERS.  There are two films in particular that I thought about while watching Hyde Park on Hudson, the new historical film about an alleged love affair between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Bill Murray) and distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley (Laura Linney). Three films if you count Rushmore, due to the reunion of Murray and Olivia Williams, who plays First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and the much-talked-about scene depicting a handjob in a car (not a bloody Jaguar, unfortunately), but I don’t consider this one to be an ingredient in the same way. The two that I do think of as more content-based precursors are Dave and The King’s Speech. Regarding the former, I’m surely highlighting the wrong film as an earlier instance of a leader and his wife who are all but legally separated behind closed doors, the wife fully aware of the husband’s mistresses. But Dave does involve the POTUS and First Lady, and Williams’s Eleanor did remind me at times of Sigourney Weaver’s character in the 1993 doppelganger comedy. There are very likely other dramas of adulterous true stories that relate more to the overall plot of Hyde Park. I haven’t seen the JFK-mistress movie An American Affair, which might more closely fit. But given that I really despised every moment […]

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Editor’s note: Hyde Park on Hudson cruises into theaters this week, so please get handsy with our New York Film Festival review of the film, originally published on September 30, 2012. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is considered to be one of our greatest presidents — a strong, charismatic leader during World War II, beloved by his nation. Roger Mitchell’s Hyde Park on Hudson reveals FDR to be all those things… and also quite the Don Juan. The film tries to reveal FDR “the man,” a history-making president who can also seduce the ladies, befriend shy kings, and possess a mean stamp collection. While Hyde Park on Hudson is consistently entertaining, its tendencies to meander in tone and to veer too far into the ridiculous prevent it from succeeding as a whole. One fortuitous day, FDR (Bill Murray) requests that his fifth cousin Daisy Suckley (Laura Linney) visit him at his country home in Hyde Park, New York. Naturally, Daisy obliges, and shortly after being dazzled by FDR’s stamp collection she becomes a fixture at his country home. Their visits turn into full days of merriment and long aimless drives on country roads. When FDR stops the car in the middle of a field of purple wildflowers one afternoon, however, there is only one direction their relationship can go in (not to reveal too much, but watching Bill Murray as FDR receive pleasure in a car is mildly disturbing and somewhat hilarious). Eventually, though, Daisy comes to realize that besides the First […]

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After The King’s Speech won the Oscar for Best Picture and got multiple theatrical releases, it was always just a matter of time before Hollywood tried to capitalize on its success by releasing a whole slate of King George VI movies. So here we are, getting the release of the trailer for the first of these films, Hyde Park on Hudson. It’s not quite as exciting as the inevitable news that King George will be joining The Avengers in the summer of 2014, but for now it will have to do. Seriously though, all joking about King George showing up on the cover of “Tiger Beat” aside, everyone is actually looking forward to Hyde Park on Hudson for one reason: the chance to see Bill Murray play Franklin Roosevelt. So, how does he do? From what we can tell from this first look at the film, it seems like he does wonderfully. He’s not quite doing an F.D.R. impression, but he’s not just being Bill Murray either. Most importantly, it seems as if Murray’s version of Roosevelt is a charismatic troublemaker – something of a Woody Woodpecker archetype – who’s not just being portrayed as a historical figure and a powerful man, but instead as a multi-faceted individual with his own quirks, hang-ups, and small pleasures. Quite simply, it appears as if getting the chance to watch Murray live in the skin of this character for a couple of hours is going to be a terribly entertaining experience.

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The above image of Billy Murray chomping his cigarette filter behind the wheel of an antique comes courtesy of Hyde Park on Hudson (and an interview USA Today did with director Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Morning Glory). It’s a striking resemblance that almost makes him look like Franklin Delano Roosevelt by way of Kevin Kline. This is the kind of prestige role that comes in the twilight of a career, but Michell isn’t yet known for crafting Oscar-worthy content. Maybe this is the film that will turn that around, maybe it will earn Murray some Academy recognition, or maybe it’ll just be a fun gambol through an odd culture-clashing, affair-while-President moment in our country’s fair history.

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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.

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With The Ghost Writer, Polanski manifests dense atmosphere, brooding tension, and complex political corruption in a way similar to the best paranoid thrillers of the 1970s (a category which included some of the director’s greatest cinematic achievements), and the adaptation of this format to the 21st century filmic and political landscape proves largely successful, even if it occasionally flirts with being middling and awkward.

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Sony Pictures Classics has released the first theatrical trailer for Lone Sherfig’s period drama An Education, and in it we see the bright shining star that is Carey Mulligan.

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Perhaps this year’s most buzzed about Sundance movie, director Lone Scherfig’s period drama accomplished more than few things during its Sundance ’09 run. First and foremost, it was one of the most well-executed period films of the festival, bringing to life 1960s Britain in a very authentic way. It also introduced us to a brilliant new talent named Carey Mulligan.

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