The Ides of March

August-Osage-County-Poster-header

In an interview with Rolling Stone, “August: Osage County” playwright, Tracy Letts, said the difference between watching a movie and a play is “…the way people take them in. You don’t work as hard to watch a movie. You work harder to watch a play, so what the audience puts into it is interesting.” Going to the movies is definitely a communal experience, but watching a play can be an intense experience because you are not simply escaping into a story as a passive viewer, you are in a theater with the actors, the presence making you a participant in the overall experience. Before the premiere of the film adaptation of August: Osage County at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, Letts expanded on this comparison saying, “There are a lot of people in a room [when watching a play] and everyone is a living person as opposed to an image that’s already been shot. Meryl Streep is not in the house tonight, just her picture’s up there, so it’s a different experience.” Movies allow for quick location changes and close ups of an actor’s face, but the feeling of being in the same room with an actor is lost when it’s solely their image on a screen – and that is where music comes in.

read more...

Between Us

It is a challenge to take a story originally intended to be performed on stage in front of a live audience and adapt it for the very different environment of the big screen. A compelling story is a compelling story, but sometimes the moment the restrictions of the stage are taken away through “movie magic,” an important element is lost rather than gained. On stage it comes down to the actors and their performances and while that can be an immersive experience when watching live, it does not always translate to film. Movies are about being shown rather than told and plays are more about the dialogue and subtle performances of the actors. There is a connective tissue that does not always exist on stage, but does in film, and can help bridge this gap – music. Films need music to help round out emotion, especially when the actor is not standing right in front of you. But creating the music for a film adapted from a play is a very specific, and not always simple, undertaking. Composer Alexandre Desplat seemed to have cornered this market, having composed for Carnage based on the stage play of the same name and The Ides of March based on the stage play Farragut North, but two new composers, H. Scott Salinas and Tobias Enhus, have thrown their hats into the proverbial ring with their score and sound design for Between Us.

read more...

IntroRedemption

Sometimes a person just doesn’t get along. In films, it can be the other characters that don’t mesh, or sometimes it’s the audience themselves who just can’t stand a single idiot character that won’t go away. I believe the term is “Jar-Jaring” or, if you’re referring to television, “pulling a Lori.” Last year I gave you a pretty okay list of characters that achieved excellent redemptions for their wrongdoings. Today I want to explore those who did not. These are the asshole characters that tried and failed, or simply didn’t try at all. Hey spoilers!

read more...

This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD. I had a root canal this morning. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Redline In the very distant future a group of retro racers who still use wheel-based vehicles take part in an ultimate race called Redline while dealing with the competition, organized crime and an alien group intent on ending the tournament forever. This Japanese anime is a blast, and fans looking for that elusive crossover between Cannonball Run and Animalympics should look no further. The film opens and closes with some wildly fun race sequences while the middle works to mostly setup the main storyline and relationships between the racers and two leads. Plus boobs!

read more...

This Week in Blu-ray

This week provides another interesting round of Blu-ray releases. Just before George Lucas delivers Red Tails, HBO is ready to release the original — and great, if you ask me — Tuskegee Airmen film they produced years ago. But that’s not getting a review this week, as a review copy was not available. Notable as it may be, that original Tuskegee film doesn’t hold a candle to Ryan Gosling’s political career, or Criterion’s take on Steven Soderbergh’s drug trade epic, or even Ed O’Neill duking out with a pretentious kid on the way home for the holidays. It’s an exciting week, despite the fact that we’re clearly caught in the  doldrums of the winter movie season. The Ides of March In its own sneaky way, George Clooney’s high tension political drama stayed under the radar and snuck in late as one of 2011’s best dramas. The Golden Globes took notice, awarding the film four nominations — though it did not take home any awards. The key to the whole thing is Ryan Gosling, in his best performance of a year filled with best performances, as an idealistic campaign staffer who gets caught in some seriously dirty politics. In a world that is most often all talk, it’s his ability to weave a web of words that ultimately leads him through a forest of deception. Clooney delivers as director, assembling one hell of a cast — Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman and himself, to name a few — and keeps the pace with a […]

read more...

Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

read more...

Good morning from Los Angeles, where we announce major award nominations at 5:30AM on a Thursday morning. That’s how much we value your sleep patterns and sanity. Now that I’ve pulled myself out of a state of under caffeinated shock over some of the Golden Globe nominations – namely, that Ryan Gosling was nominated for lead actor in both the drama and comedy and musical categories, though neither of those nods was for Drive (Crazy, Stupid, Love.? really? I had no idea that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was so into abs!). Beyond that jolt to the system, there were a number of standard choices for the awards. The Artist? Well, of course? But all that Ides of March love? Interesting. The Artist leads with six nominations, followed by The Descendants and The Help with five each, and The Ides of March, Midnight in Paris, and Moneyball with four nods. But despite the overwhelming sense that (per usual) the Globes are just softball awards, there are some surprisingly good picks buried amongst the fluff – Tilda Swinton getting a lead actress (drama) nomination, Michael Fassbender earning a lead actor (drama) nod for Shame, Bridesmaids and Midnight in Paris up for Best Picture (comedy or musical), Charlize Theron getting a lead actress (comedy or musical) nomination for Young Adult, The Skin I Live In up for Best Foreign Film, and Albert Brooks getting his nod for supporting actor for Drive (drama). The Golden Globes will air live on January 15. Check out […]

read more...

When I was given the opportunity to interview French composer Alexandre Desplat, the question wasn’t what I would ask him, it was how many questions I would be able to get in. One of the busiest composers in the business, just this year alone Desplat has created the scores for The Tree of Life, A Better Life, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Ides of March, Carnage, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and is already on deck to compose next year’s Moonrise Kingdom. Desplat first caught my attention a few years ago when I realized he was the composer behind both the quirky score for Fantastic Mr. Fox and the epic score for Twilight Saga: New Moon – two very different films with two very different musical tones. Having won Film Composer of the Year at the World Soundtrack Awards, it is clear that the rest of the world is starting to take notice as well. As this year comes to a close, I spoke with Desplat about what inspires him, his composing process, the differences between working on American and French films, and how he balances his various projects while keeping his passion for composing fresh with each go around.

read more...

The Reject Report

What? Tintin? I know what you’re thinking. “I know we had Daylight Saving Time this morning, Jeremy, but you’re taking this “time travel” business a little too far, aren’t you?” You’ve probably notice we’re still at the beginning of November and haven’t been transported magically to December 21st when The Adventures of Tintin gets its US release, and you’d be both observant and right. However, Tintin, world figure that he is, got his release in several foreign markets on October 26th-28th. The ignorant American that I am didn’t bother to address this until now. Well, here you go, foreign markets. It’s your day to shine. The Adventures of Tintin has already pulled in $125.3m in foreign territories, pretty much guaranteeing its worldwide success well before its North American release. The film is already generated income from over 5000 locations in 21 foreign markets, but most of its dollars have come from the United Kingdom and France so far. It made $21 million from France last weekend and $10.9m from the UK. Spain and Germany were also big markets for the film, pulling over $10m from the locations combined.

read more...

This year’s Young Hollywood panel (presented by the Los Angeles Times) brought together rising stars Anton Yelchin, Evan Rachel Wood, Armie Hammer and Kirsten Dunst to discuss how they got started in acting, what it is like working with impressive (and at times intimidating) directors like Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen and David Fincher and how their success is shaping their careers. Hammer and Dunst are each featured in films screening at the festival (J. Edgar and Melancholia, respectively) with Hammer as Edgar’s right-hand man and Dunst as a depressed bride. Yelchin and Wood have been getting attention for their performances as one half of a long distance relationship in Like Crazy and the tempting intern who may undo an entire presidential campaign in The Ides of March. The four came together Friday night (with Hammer fresh off the premiere of J. Edgar the night before) and there was a palpable energy between them as they would get so excited or intrigued by another person’s answer it would sometimes feel like we were simply overhearing a conversation between new friends. It was interesting to see Hammer surrounded by three actors who have been doing this since they were young (as he is just getting started in his career) and how he was just as engaged in their answers as the audience, asking which project they would be referring to in a story or simply being shocked over hearing about directors who preferred to do scenes in a single take.

read more...

The Reject Report

Yes, we know. It’s a little early to be celebrating Christmas already. It’s actually a lot early to be celebrating Christmas, but what’s good enough for the weekend box office is good enough for the Reject Report. There is a Christmas movie hitting this weekend, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, and it’ll be looking to take dollars and laughs away from the other new release, Tower Heist. As much as we’d all like to see Brett Ratner go down in flames to the might of Harold & Kumar, that outcome might not be so foregone. Doesn’t matter to our Christmas spirit, though. We’ll still be singing carols and hanging out underneath the mistletoe. Alone. Practicing on the back of our hands. Oh, right, the box office.

read more...

The Reject Report

Just when you thought it was safe to station video cameras in an attempt to capture the nightly doings of some nefarious supernatural entity. Oh, those pesky ghosty things and their habits of turning innocent tea parties into screaming nightmares. That’s not based on first-hand experience, by the way. My tea party days are over. Luckily for Paramount, audiences were in the mood for chills this weekend, as Paranormal Activity 3 had a dump truck of cash backed up to its haunted house doors and unloaded. The third entry in the now-never-ending series not only trounced the competition and stunned box office analysts, its broke the records for both October opening weekend and Fall opening weekend. Both of those records were previously held by last year’s Jackass 3D, which debuted to $50.3m.

read more...

They took the stage. They did their dance. But in the end one side decided to throw mechanized punches while the other side fought a tyrannical small town with the power of fancy footwork. That is to say Real Steel took the top spot from Footloose this weekend but only by a narrow margin. When the actual numbers hit Monday evening, it could be another story altogether, but, as of right now, the robot have it for the second weekend in a row.

read more...

…of the world. Maybe of the entire universe. Who knows what kind of movies or box office receipts they have in the far galaxies? Still, regardless how much money The Sands of WeepWoo makes on planet Brackle, it couldn’t have been stepped up to the how well the giant robots did this weekend. Real Steel didn’t break any box office records. Even for a robot movie, its opening was on the high end but still South of movies like A.I. Artificial Intelligence ($29.3m opening) and Robots ($36m). It did, however, have the biggest opening for a boxing film, topping Rocky IV‘s $19.9m debut from 1985. A nice sized opening like we see hear combined with how crowd-pleasing the film is could prove Real Steel to have some solid longevity.

read more...

If there’s any true horror movie this Halloween, it’s eclectic filmmaker George Clooney‘s The Ides of March. The play adaptation follows a hopeful and naive young hotshot, Stephen Myers, as he loses all of his morals to get ahead, which is apparently what the world of politics requires. If someone in the film sticks to their respectable rules, things most likely won’t turn out too well for them. Like a great paranoia thriller, everyone’s constantly on edge about their place on the political food chain. However, The Ides of March isn’t so much a film about politics, but the downward spiral of a once idealistic campaign runner. Clooney’s fourth directorial feature is a dark and cynical character drama underneath the surface of a low-key thriller. Co-writer/producer Grant Heslov (director of the very underrated The Men Who Stare at Goats) and Clooney delved into the idea of trying to stick to one’s rules in a bloodthirsty world with Good Night and Good Luck, but while that story lent itself to a more optimistic feel, the duo took a far more cynical approach with The Ides of March. Here’s what Heslov had to say about getting this dark character drama made, the film’s idealist-turned-ruthless protagonist, and why he doesn’t wake up dreaming about writing in our spoiler-filled conversation:

read more...

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr strips down to his boxers and starts a new training regimen to make him look more like Huge Jackman. He’s got a head start, considering his torso looks almost like Jackman’s… if you turn it upside down. After duking it out with some robots in a boxing ring, Kevin tries his hands at politics because it’s the kind of business where you don’t necessarily have to look like Ryan Gosling to get a young hottie like Evan Rachel Wood. But the primary system leaves him depressed and cold, so he takes a trip to the Sudan to play target practice with some warlords. He hears the Sudan is simply lovely this time of year.

read more...

Audiences are no strangers to political films these days. While they usually have more of a thriller angle and focus on government figures already in power, there have been a decent number that follow candidates on the campaign trail and as such, any new film tackling old ground needs to make a conscious effort to distinguish itself in some way, to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, The Ides of March makes no such effort and seems content to languish in probable obscurity. The film is a character study following Ryan Gosling‘s Stephen Meyers, a whip-smart but naive young campaign staffer during his time working for Governor Mike Morris. Morris, played by George Clooney who also co-wrote the screenplay and directed the film, is a presidential hopeful, and the film takes place during his campaign to win the Democratic party nomination. Meyers is essentially the number two man on the campaign at only 30 years old working directly under campaign manager and political mainstay Paul Zara, played with zeal by the incredible Philip Seymour Hoffman. Their competition is technically a Senator Pullman (Michael Mantell), though the opposition is almost entirely represented by Paul Giamatti, who plays Pullman’s campaign manager, Tom Duffy. Duffy and Zara are old school, both having come up around the same time, with Duffy seeming to have been in Zara’s shadow to a certain degree. Duffy and Zara are hardened political guys, but Meyers is still idealistic, believing in a man who can truly bring change to the country. He’s put […]

read more...

The Reject Report

It’s time to pop the head off that other report, the one we don’t like. I don’t know. Take your pick. This is the Reject Report, where we mash down our buttons so fast and furiously we knock out the competition that comes before us. That’s precisely what two new films are looking to do to their own competition this weekend. We’ve got a huge robot movie starring Hugh Jackman and a political drama starring Ryan Gosling and George Clooney. Plenty of eye candy in the theaters this weekend, but only one of these movies is going to have what it takes to take that box office top spot. Perhaps you would say one of these movies is going to have to have real steel? Perhaps not. Let’s see how our combatants are looking this weekend.

read more...

Considering how much I like striped shirts, pasta, and films from controversial Greek directors, it looks like I may need to stow away in someone’s suitcase and get over to Italy next month for the 68th Venice Film Festival. The fest, which runs from August 31 to September 10, has just released their lineup for the year, and I may be speaking out of my macaroni here, but this batch of films really wets my noodle. Nathan already reported last month that George Clooney’s The Ides of March was likely to join the festival, and today’s announcement confirms that twofold – Ides will not only show at the festival, it will serve as opening night film. Other good stuff here includes Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (which has one of my favorite trailers of the year), Roman Polanski’s adaptation of play God of Carnage (shortened to Carnage), Ami Canaan Mann’s Texas Killing Fields, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, Steve McQueen’s Shame, Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse, Madonna’s W.E., Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, and Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos’s Alps. In short terms, this is an incredible lineup of films that I cannot even remotely snark on, because I would probably do something violent if it meant I could go to the festival. Check out the full list of films after the break.

read more...

Let’s just be honest here and admit that George Clooney is one incredibly attractive guy. I’m referring to more than just his roguish charm, unflappable sense of humor, and boyish grin of course as his most appealing characteristic is his professional ethos. He’s popular, wealthy, and capable of being cast in as many big budget films as he could want, but he consistently returns to to smaller, more personal films that tell stories and explore ideals that he values even when it earns him flack. That and his villa on Italy’s Lake Como make him someone that I would not rush to kick out of my hypothetical, friends only, no-touching-unless-we’re-having-a-pillow-fight bed. As an actor he’s balanced studio pics like the Ocean’s Eleven films with smart, adult thrillers like Michael Clayton and The American. As a director he’s countered the brilliant Good Night, and Good Luck with… Leatherheads. Okay, bad example, but the point is the man has range. Check out the trailer for his latest directorial effort below.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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