Paul Greengrass

1984

Unless you’re a superhero movie with a release date set way in advance, it’s not easy these days to know when your movie will wind up produced let alone released. A good example is Selma, which despite being about one of history’s greatest real-life superheroes, Martin Luther King Jr., had initially been slated to shoot back in the Spring of 2010. Four years later it finally went in front of cameras, by this time with a new director and distributor attached, as well as an additional producer by the name of Oprah Winfrey. It opens this Christmas, a few months ahead of the 50th anniversary of the landmark events it depicts, the protest marches in support of voting rights in Alabama, and of course it now seems as perfectly timed as can be. Not just because of the anniversary, either. There are plenty factors that make a movie like Selma relevant today. Many mentioned this summer’s Ferguson protests when the first trailer arrived, and then the cast also acknowledged the connection on the red carpet of its AFI Fest debut this month. Film critic James Rocchi also tweeted this week that “if you don’t think Selma is about 2014 as much as 1965″ you should read the comments on a Breitbart.com article about the movie’s premiere. And with this a significant election year, the issue of voter disenfranchisement has continued to be a big deal. Then again, the latter two things could have provided timeliness in any of the past six years that Selma had been in development. There’s a […]

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Jonah Hill and Leo DiCaprio in WOWS

We’ve known since February that the fabled Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill bromance first seen in The Wolf of Wall Street would continue into a second film. We’ve also known who that film would be about: Richard Jewell, the security guard who saved the ’96 Olympics from a bomb threat and was wrongfully crucified for it. And now thanks to Deadline, we know who’s interested in directing it (“circling” the project, as they say): Paul Greengrass. Makes sense, given that the script is being handled by Captain Phillips writer Billy Ray. Right now, some outlets are referring to the pic as American Nightmare, but it’s not totally clear if that’s the official title or just something taken from the Vanity Fair expose this is all based off of, “American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell.”

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greengrass

Though it’s starting to look to anyone with any sense like Warner Bros. should let their dream of putting together a film adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Stand” go, they seem to still be soldiering on under not just the hope that they’ll soon get a The Stand movie into production, but that they’ll get one into production under the watch of an A-list director. So far they’ve had David Yates on board to helm the film, they’ve had Ben Affleck named as the man in charge, and most recently they’ve had Scott Cooper working to bring the project to life, but one by one they’ve all dropped off of the film and left Warners twisting in the wind, searching for yet another filmmaker who has what it takes to tackle such a huge undertaking. So what are the problems that keep scaring all of the directors that Warners recruits away? If you listen to Cooper, it could be the sheer size and scope of King’s lengthy story—which is packed full of characters and subplots—and the fact that it would be next to impossible to bring everything in the source material together in a singular film that actually did it any justice. The budget on a The Stand movie would necessarily be huge, and there are reports going around that Warners is so confused about how to handle the financials that they don’t even know how many movies they plan on splitting the book into. Given all of the confusion, […]

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Into Silence Header

Captivity/survivor narratives are hardly unfamiliar to our movie screens, and such films tend to come in bunches. Three years ago, for instance, both Buried and 127 Hours boasted solo or near-solo performances from two rising Hollywood stars who spent the duration of their films as the solitary face we see. But last month brought a prominent and concentrated group of such films, all met with overwhelmingly good reviews, promising major performances from their leading survivor types, and coasting on significant awards buzz. While each film explores near misses, false moments of possible redemption, the necessary instance of despair, and ultimately an incredible optimism in the possibility for human beings to survive a conflagration of elements that work overwhelmingly against them, each of these films go about this differently. Yet the major factor connecting J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost, Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips, and Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is that they all stage humans’ fraught relationship to nature through the problems and failures of human commerce and its attendant production of waste. Their respective fights with or on the landscape of nature, in other words, are inaugurated by the failure of humans to wield their own devices.

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Captain Phillips

A boat at sea is a pretty rich place to explore ideology. Bear with me here. The sea, by assumption, bears no visible national borders, no unified language, no tactile culture for human beings. Yet humans travel the sea, conquer it, capitalize on it. Our use of the sea is in no way apolitical, yet an endless horizon subject to the laws of nature conveys something essential, a visage that suggests a false, elusive neutrality. The sea simultaneously erases and amplifies the distinctions we’ve made between ourselves on land. Much has been already discussed about the ideological implications Paul Greengrass’s Captain Phillips. What to make of a popular piece of entertainment that is, at least in part, about global inequality? Are the systemic factors that motivate Somali piracy ignored? If not, might audiences still interpret the film in a simplistic hero v. villain binary de rigueur of Hollywood entertainment? Is the film, as Dana Stevens observes, “a tragedy about the ruinous consequences of global capitalism” or is it, as Andrew O’Hehir argues, “a disturbing celebration of American military power”? Perhaps a film like Captain Phillips, by virtue of its setting and narrative, can be seen as a vessel of ideology that, at the same time, investigates the core processes by which our political identities and assumptions come into realization.

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Tom Hanks

Editor’s note: Kate’s review of Captain Phillips originally ran during this year’s NYFF, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in theatrical release today. Side note, it’s the best film currently playing in wide release. Go see it. Early on in Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips, the eponymous Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) reads an email advisory from Maersk, the multinational business conglomerate that owns his vessel, that includes detailed information about incidents of high seas piracy in the exact area his Maersk Alabama happens to be sailing through on its way to Kenya. Phillips is already aware of the risks, and he’s taken precautions – later that day, he’ll even request his crew perform a series of safety drills – but all the warnings in the world won’t change his fate, and they certainly won’t remove the audience’s knowledge of what is coming. Based on the true story of the Maersk Alabama hijacking and the real Captain Phillips’ book on the subject, “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea,” Greengrass’ film is tasked with delivering a moderately fictionalized portrayal of a highly publicized event, and the final product is a wonderfully tension-filled and surprisingly even-handed version of events. Hanks excels in the leading role, effectively portraying an everyman trapped in extraordinary circumstances, and Greengrass’ action-savvy direction pairs perfectly with both his story and his lead actor.

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phillips

If you thought the trailer for Captain Phillips looked promising, likely a large part of what sold you on it is the brief glimpses it gives us of the exciting sequence where the ship of the title character (played by Tom Hanks) is boarded by a crew of desperate and dangerous-looking Somali pirates. The whole story is based off of extraordinary real-life events, and even from those small glimpses it becomes clear that the penchant for action filmmaking director Paul Greengrass showed in his Bourne movies as well as the talent for shooting documentary-style accounts of real life danger he showed in United 93 both came in handy as he was realizing this film. Simply put, Captain Phillips looks like it’s going to be some serious shit, and now the film has just released a couple of extendo-clips of the scene where the pirates take over the ship in order to convince you that the words “based on a true story” don’t always have to lead to a movie being a melodramatic snoozefest. Sure, Captain Phillips is bound to feature some hand-wringing, but it clearly has some Under Siege flavor going on in it as well. Click through to check it out.

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jason-bourne

Update: According to Variety, Universal is denying that they’re talking with Damon or Greengrass about returning to the franchise. This might be a tactic to futilely keep the possibility quiet until they can nail down specifics, or it may be the straightforward truth about a project that’s purely wishful thinking. Even though Matt Damon wasn’t down to do another Bourne movie around the time Universal was putting together The Bourne Legacy—which led to the studio going ahead and doing one without him—he’s always been hesitant to make it look like he was handing over the reins of the franchise to Legacy star Jeremy Renner permanently. As a matter of fact, he’s often made it clear that he and Paul Greengrass, who was Damon’s director on the second two Bourne movies, Supremacy and Ultimatum, intend on someday teaming up on another Bourne movie, but on their own schedule and not the studio’s. Well, now there’s a report out there that Universal has once again been getting an itchy trigger finger, and have recently been putting feelers out to see if enough time has passed for Damon to want to once again don Jason Bourne’s trademarked, um—t-shirt and gun, I guess—and go on another adventure. How do their efforts seems to be going this time?

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Tom Hanks

There’s a new trailer online for Paul Greengrass‘ Captain Phillips, so if you’ve been feeling any urges to see Tom Hanks sport a wicked goatee and a somewhat-believable Southern accent (or you just want to see him face off against a band of Somali pirates), do yourself a favor and check it out. This trailer and the previous one open more or less with the same footage (minus a shot and a line of dialogue here and there), but about halfway through, this new trailer veers off into uncharted territory. The rest of the footage is all based around Phillips’ relationship with the lead pirate, and their time together in the lifeboat where the hostage situation famously ended. Frankly, it’s exciting stuff. Every conversation has the potential to launch its characters into panicked violence, and the trailer’s last few moments tease the standoff’s end (even if some of the quicker cuts are a little incomprehensible). It doesn’t even seem to matter so much that this trailer walks us through entire story; something that’s become far too frequent nowadays. Much of this is just a continuation of what we saw in that first trailer. Yet there’s one new element here that’s absolutely, 100% brand-new, and that’s the trailer’s sympathetic eye towards its lead pirate. Captain Phillips doesn’t portray him as a bloodthirsty agent of random violence. Instead, he’s just a guy whose hand was forced a long, long time ago. He’s not a pirate by choice. It’s his only life choice. Check […]

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Chicago 7

When Aaron Sorkin first wrote the screenplay for The Trial of the Chicago 7 back in 2007, the safe assumption was that the film would quickly be fast-tracked to fame, glory, and lots and lots of awards. Steven Spielberg was soon attached to direct and quickly began assembling the cast- Sacha Baron Cohen was confirmed, while actors like Will Smith and Heath Ledger were strongly rumored to be involved. Then the 2008 Writers’ Guild strike hit. The film was delayed again and again; Spielberg eventually dropped out and the screenplay was shuffled off into some dark corner, left to do little else besides sit and wait.

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trailer captain phillips

Pirates have made a big comeback in recent years thanks to the lawless activities happening off the coast of Somalia, but while we hear of multiple hijackings and kidnappings from the region they rarely involve American citizens. One of the exceptions though occurred in 2009 when the American cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama was attacked and boarded by pirates. Paul Greengrass is bringing the story to the big screen as his first film since 2010’s Green Zone, and the first trailer promises a thrilling real-life drama happily free of politics. Having Tom Hanks in your title role never hurts either. Check out the first trailer for Captain Phillips below.

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Justified Season 4

With Justified winding down to its season finale in two weeks, it hasn’t lost the high-octane momentum of last week’s amazing episode with “Decoy” continuing to plow along full steam ahead – an apt metaphor, given that Rachel and Shelby/Drew got the hell out of Harlan on the coal train by the episode’s end. Again, this episode upholds Justified’s high standard for the most clever, well-written dialogue on television (this episode was written by showrunner Graham Yost and Chris Provenzano) and at the helm of director Michael Watkins, had a consistently swift and exciting pace, cutting between various high-tension locations and groups of characters. Each character also got their moment in the spotlight – Raylan and Boyd being clever and badass! Tim’s sardonic wit! Colton’s tortured-ness! Art being Art! Johnny’s bleeding heart! Ava being one tough cookie! – which is a difficult feat to accomplish, given this week’s large ensemble-like nature. So many good things again this week, it’s almost difficult to simmer down and make this sound coherent.

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Now that he’s had his screenplay Argo produced as one of the highest-profile films of the year, and one of the front-runners for all of those little golden statues that are going to be given out during the upcoming awards season, screenwriter Chris Terrio finds himself in the position of suddenly being a sought-after talent. So what’s his next move going to be? Variety says that he’s going to be writing a crime movie for George Clooney and Paul Greengrass. To be more specific, Clooney and Grant Heslov, the team behind Argo, will be producing this new feature, Paul Greengrass will be directing, and Clooney will also star. There isn’t yet any word on what exactly this movie is going to be about, but seeing as Argo was such a success, Terrio has had several scripts strong enough to appear on the Black List, Greengrass earned himself quite a few fans with his handling of the Bourne franchise, and George Clooney is one of the few bankable stars left in the business, one would have to consider this new project to be one of the highest profile currently in development, even with no other information available.

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Perhaps it’s time that we all faced facts – this Cleopatra remake just might not happen. In reality, it shouldn’t happen – after all, is anyone really demanding an Angelina Jolie-starring and supposedly more “relatable” take on the Egyptian pharaoh? – but Sony seems bound and determined to keep on with this project, even though no less than three high profile directors have left the project in one way or another. Vulture reports that David Fincher is the latest to jump ship (joining both James Cameron, who was loosely attached back in 2010, and Paul Greengrass, who seemed like a lock in 2011, on the list), after talks with Sony ended. It’s unknown when Fincher left, though he was still talking about the project back in December, and it’s also unclear why Fincher and Sony couldn’t work it out. The outlet does sagely point to the “somewhat cloudy” relationship between the studio and the director, given that Fincher has delivered to them both a huge hit (The Social Network) and a resounding miss (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). Yet, perhaps this will allow Fincher to sign on for the Dragon Tattoo sequel we’re expecting in 2014 (at the earliest). As for a replacement for Cleopatra? Vulture also reports that the studio is looking to others, including Ang Lee, who has not entered into anything resembling a formal discussion with the studio.

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From the aesthetic to its own protagonist, Tony Gilroy did some work to distance The Bourne Legacy from the previous, Jason Bourne-led trilogy. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) isn’t Bourne, and The Bourne Legacy isn’t a carbon copy of the voices Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass helped shaped this series with. His mythology-expanding feature focuses on one man with one simple goal – which doesn’t involve his identity, finding forgiveness, or getting revenge for his girlfriend’s death. As Tony Gilroy told us at the start of the summer, the Michael Clayton director didn’t want to “lose the balls.” With an edgy anti-hero in the lead – one who’s capable of using either a wolf or a fire extinguisher to save his own skin – Gilroy kept the balls of this series intact while also exploring new thematic corners of the Bourne universe. If Gilroy is correct, we’ll soon see more episodic and expansive mega-blockbusters told in the vein of The Bourne Legacy, and it’s a prediction the Academy Award nominee seemed excited by.

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The Bourne Legacy is not only one of the most highly-anticipated films of the summer, it’s a unique chance to revisit the blockbuster franchise with a different star at the helm. Meanwhile, co-writer/director Tony Gilroy, one of the key creative voices behind the original trilogy, is preserving the series’ lore while giving its events a broader and more epic context. As the film’s trailer observes, “Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg,” and Gilroy’s insights about the direction he took the franchise in, for the first time as both writer and director, suggest that this expansive view of the world of Bourne was part of his plan all along. But as if embodying the director’s perspective, Jeremy Renner’s character Aaron Cross isn’t an unknown entering a larger world, but an experienced agent who knows exactly who he is and what he’s meant to do. Speaking to the Academy Award nominated filmmaker recently, Gilroy talked about reviving the franchise via The Bourne Legacy, revealing how he paid tribute to longtime fans even as he looked to a broader horizon, and the organic approach he and cinematographer Robert Elswit approached the picture with.

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While doing some publicity for his current release Contagion, actor Matt Damon sat down to have a few words with The Shortlist, and they managed to get a couple quotes out of him that could spell good news for fans of Damon’s previous work. The next movie in the Bourne franchise, The Bourne Legacy, will be the first one made without Damon or his lead character Jason Bourne, instead Jeremy Renner will star as a completely new character existing in the same universe. When asked if this means he’s done playing Jason Bourne forever, Damon responded, “I was always fine with them doing another Bourne movie as long as it didn’t preclude me and Paul [Greengrass] from doing another Bourne. From what I understand, it doesn’t at all, so that’s fine. I really want to do another one with Paul and I’m sure it’ll happen someday, but for now they’re doing this.” That’s kind of surprising to me, as I thought them moving the franchise on to Jeremy Renner specifically meant that Damon was done with the property. Maybe next we can get a big Renner vs. Damon movie where Matt returns to the character. I could see that making a ton of money. That wasn’t the only moment in the interview where Damon waxed nostalgic, however. Back when he was just 28-years-old, Damon co-wrote the script for Good Will Hunting with his unofficial life partner Ben Affleck. The script won them the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, yet […]

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After leaving the Bourne franchise behind, Paul Greengrass made Green Zone (which might as well have been called The Bourne Historical Rewrite) and has been attempting to get his Martin Luther King, Jr film Memphis off the ground with Scott Rudin. As it turns out, Rudin may have something different in mind. According to Deadline Mogadishu, Greengrass has been offered the directing job for the Somali pirate movie based on Richard Phillips’s memoir “A Captain’s Duty.” The book chronicles his experience as the skipper of the Maersk Alabama, which was taken by Somali pirates. Phillips was held hostage before being rescued by Navy SEALs. Tom Hanks has signed on to star. This project has been percolating at the script phase for a year and a half, and there’s an honest question about whether the subject matter is all that compelling. At the very least, it’ll be culturally fascinating to see a boom in Navy SEAL movies coming out all around the same time, and Christmas Entertainment also has a Somali pirate movie called Dawn on the Gulf of Aden in development. Otherwise, the main question is how much shakier Greengrass’s camera would be on the open ocean.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly thing about movie stuff. Tonight’s edition features mini-ninjas, talk about naked pictures of Blake Lively, Sly Stallone set to music, an explanation of who Jane Lynch is, a joke about Michael Bay, an even less funny joke about Blake Lively and a profile of Richard Ayoade. That and more, we assure you. Above you will see something I never thought we’d lead with in a Movie News After Dark entry: someone’s grave stone. But there it is, the resting place of actor Leslie Nielsen. Modest, simple and complete with one last fart joke for the road. Nielsen may not have lasted forever, but his penchant for the fart joke will forever stay in our hearts.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s all business tonight. Movie news, fascinating articles, at least 12-minutes of grown men screaming. All business, baby. Vulture has an interesting piece on how Jeremy Renner landed the Bourne franchise, essentially boiling it down to the Hurt Locker star winning Matt Damon’s sloppy seconds. All-in-all, the guy will probably make an excellent action star. He’s one hell of a last-ditch effort for director Tony Gilroy.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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