Capitol Gains: The dramatic allure of political campaign films

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In 1987, Democratic candidate Gary Hart saw his chances of becoming POTUS destroyed after the press printed lurid revelations about his extramarital affair. Jason Reitman’s latest offering, The Front Runner, starring Hugh Jackman in the lead role, dramatises those events, but it also tells the story of the beginning of the end – the historical moment when a political candidate’s personal life suddenly became more important than his politics.

Regardless of whether you believe that the villain here was the press or Hart himself, the film illustrates the dramatic appeal of political campaigns not only for the tabloid media but also cinema. By necessity – and long before Hart – public politics have seen a gap between behind-the-scenes machinations and in-plain-view presentations, between truth and appearances: two ingredients at the heart of cinema.

Full essay on Little White Lies

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Nadine Labaki on the making of Capernaum, her most ambitious film to date

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“Most of the time, when I was visiting houses or apartments, a three-year-old kid would open the door, then I’d go in, and there would be a four-year-old and a five-year-old left alone in the house, with nobody to take care of them. My first reaction was always anger, like, “where are the parents? Where is the mother? How can she leave them? How can she do that? Why does she have so many children?” You know, that’s our first reaction as a society. The judge and the court in the film are very symbolic — the court is us, and the judge is us judging them and reaching conclusions very quickly, thinking that we know what the solution is and who’s right or wrong. ”

Full interview on Seventh Row

Behind the Lens: Franklin Dow on the technical innovation behind Evelyn

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[…] “We decided from the beginning that it had to be verité. We didn’t want a film that would be all interviews with some cutaways of them walking. It was so important to me that we took the audience on the journey with the family — that you’re really there, and that you could see their faces and the subtle emotions that they go through. You can tell so much just from looking at someone’s face; they don’t need to be saying anything; the emotion is just there on their faces.”

Full interview on Seventh Row

Orlando von Einsiedel discusses his documentary Evelyn

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[…] “I think the film works on a number of levels. People come into this film, and when it begins, they’re watching my family. And what a lot of people seem to take away is that, a third of the way in, they’re really thinking about their own family and their own relationships. Often, after the film and Q&A, people start to share stories. They start to say, “This happened to me. Someone in my family took their own lives, and my family has never spoken about it, and I want to change that.” And then they organise a walk with their family, and they talk about it!”

Full interview on Seventh Row

Bumblebee

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[…] When our heroine Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) finds Bumblebee – years after the alien’s arrival on Earth, mute and with its memory wiped out – she attempts to hide the clumsy, puppy-eyed fellow in her garage, and warns it of the dangers of the outside world. The dynamic is strikingly similar to that of Elliott and E.T. from Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic. Grief-stricken and rebellious since her father died, unable to connect with her new step-father, the teenager Charlie falls in line with Spielberg’s characters.

Full review on Little White Lies

Bird Box – Sandra Bullock shines in Susanne Bier’s post-apocalypse

 

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A disaster film that takes itself seriously sounds like a recipe for… disaster. Yet Susanne Bier’s Bird Box manages to avoid the expected pitfalls of boredom and ridicule by centring firmly on its main character, Malorie. The role sees Sandra Bullock do what she does best: put up with the people around her without a smile on her face. Across her career, she has often played brutally honest characters whose patience is easily shot, and who would only engage in small talk if the circumstances absolutely called for it. When a presence outside pushes everyone who sees it to commit suicide, Malorie has no choice but to barricade herself in the first house that she sees — and to live with people she would otherwise never have spoken to.

Full review on SciFiNow

The House That Jack Built: in defence of the serial killer movie

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Lars von Trier’s searing portrait of a serial killer The House That Jack Built arrived to instant controversy. Graphic scenes showing the murder of women and children, their bodies mutilated, prompted over a hundred walkouts at its Cannes premiere. As it goes on theatrical release, it is a good moment to reflect on the worth and appeal of serial killer movies. Serial killing is one of the most disturbing and brutal of real-world crimes, so what is the value of audiences putting themselves through witnessing it at the cinema?

Full article on The Guardian

Aquaman

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At this point, putting aside exceptions such as Wonder Woman and Black Panther, it might seem futile to still hold out hope for a superhero film that feels like a genuine artistic creation. But the way DC’s Aquaman overextends itself – in all directions – feels just as dispiriting as self-evidently ‘safer’ entries in the ever-expanding canon of superhero sequels and remakes.

Full review on Little White Lies

Nine roles that defined Robert Redford’s on-screen persona

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Robert Redford’s role as a sophisticated and friendly bank robber in The Old Man & the Gun spotlights his legendary charm and elegance. But the film also makes clever use of the more sinister, ambiguous side of his beauty: that it may be a cover for less admirable qualities. Across a career spanning more than 50 years, Redford has constructed and played with his on-screen persona as a beautiful man who has it easy to various effect – whether to seduce, scare, inspire, or simply break our hearts. Here are nine roles which prove he has always been more than just a pretty face.

Full article on Little White Lies

The Christmas Chronicles

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[…] Kurt Russell’s turn as a Father Christmas more wacky than paternal is the film’s strongest asset – slim and agile, this St Nick makes a point of never saying “ho ho ho.” Cracking jokes, cheering up the kids and even bringing the house down in one gobsmacking musical number, Russell’s Santa is nothing short of irresistible. His mad spontaneity dictates the ludicrous tone of the film: when he tells random strangers about their secret Christmas wishes, their reaction is more often one of fear than of wonder, and his reckless behaviour even lands him a brief stint in jail.

Full review for Little White Lies