Five for the Fifth: FEBRUARY 2016 Edition

FiveForFifthVday

Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

TheChoice1. Well, it’s February and V-day is next weekend. It seems that there are always a slew of romance-themed films coming out in February — and it’s the month that’s undoubtedly cornered by Nicholas Sparks. He’s got yet another one of his romance drivel drama out called The Choice, and it made me realize that I’ve only seen ONE film based on his books, The Notebook and since then I have no desire to see another project of his again.

Heck I’d rather watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ten times over before I rent, oh I dunno, Dear John? [Interestingly enough, the actor who’s in the choice was in Seth Grahame-Smith’s crazy mashup Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, ahah] But hey, obviously Sparks must’ve strike a chord with people otherwise his movies won’t continually get made.

So out of curiosity, do you like Nicholas Sparks’ movies? 
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2. Speaking of February, glad there are definitely alternatives to romantic films. Yes I know many of you are excited for Deadpool [which I had just watched last night], but another movie out later this month that’s somehow escaped me is Triple 9. My goodness, how in the world have I not blogged about this movie before? This is a movie I’d watch just for the cast! Casey Affleck, Kate Winslet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Teresa Palmer, Gal Gadot, Clifton Collins Jr. and Aaron Paul. Check out the character posters below:

A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.

Check out the trailer:


Now granted I haven’t seen any of director John Hillcoat‘s films yet (The Proposition, Lawless, The Road) which all sound so dark and bleak, but I’m looking forward to seeing this one. I always love a good heist movie!

Will you be watching Triple 9? 

3. Apparently February 4 is PIXAR’s 30th Birthday!


Since 1986, Pixar has made so many great animated classics, most have stand the test of time. There are 16 total Pixar films so far, three of them are sequels (per Wiki). With the exception of Cars, Cars 2 and the latest one, The Good Dinosaur, I have seen ALL of Pixar movies and pretty much love them all in varying degrees. Though I’ve been watching Pixar films for a couple of decades, it’s cool that some people have just discovered them. Jordan just posted his review of Inside Out which he loved, and he’s never seen a Pixar movie since he was a kid.

Now, would you name three of your absolute favorite Pixar movies? 
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4. I’m so bummed that I missed Hail, Caesar! press screening last Tuesday thanks to the darn snow storm. Now, I’m not one of those people who anticipate the Coens’ movie every time it comes out, but I couldn’t wait to see this one so we’ll definitely go see it on Friday night.

I was reading an interview with the Coens on Variety and one of the questions was the frequent collaborations with the same people. Ethan said they’ve done four films with George Clooney and three with Josh Brolin, and probably a dozen with Joel’s wife Frances McDormand.

Coens_Clooney_Brolin

The Coens on set w/ Josh Brolin & George Clooney

Here’s Ethan’s answer as to why they tend to work with the same actors:

It’s a combination of things. Personally liking them figures into it. You got to not only work with them, but also have lunch; you’re spending time with them. When they are good at what they do, you want to spend more time with them. It’s self-perpetuating. But frankly, it’s also a bit of a crutch. If you know them well, you think: “What would be interesting for them to play?”

I personally don’t mind the frequent collaborations of the Coens and some of his actors. Some other fruitful director/actor collaborations I like are Christopher Nolan + Michael Caine/Christian Bale, Wes Anderson + Bill Murray and Ridley Scott + Russell Crowe, just to name a few. But even after three films, I’m already sick of seeing David O. Russell movies with Bradley Cooper/Jennifer Lawrence combo [shrug]

What director/actor collaborations you think you’d never grow tired of?

5. This month Five for the Fifth’s guest is Tiffany from Presents from the Past blog! It’s a site dedicated to modern reimaginings of the fashion and beauty of period dramas, so naturally her question revolves around costume design.

Some of her favorite costumes are from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the TV movies Lady Chatterly’s Lover and The Go Between. Click each thumbnail to see a larger image:


For me personally, since I’m also a big fan of period dramas, I LOVE Carey Mulligan’s clothes in Far from the Madding Crowd, especially this one:

Carey_FFTMC

So which 2015 film(s) you think have the best costumes?


Well, that’s it for February 2016 edition of Five for the Fifth. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! :D

12 films debuting at Sundance 2016 I can’t wait to see

Sundance2016

I’ve been dreaming of Sundance all week! I had planned on going initially, I even had the press application ready to go last December but I decided it was cutting it too close to my Christmas trip to the East Coast. But I’ve been closely following Sundance and reading some of the buzz/reviews.

“The Sundance Film Festival is truly a place for discovery,” said festival director John Cooper (per Screendaily) and it’s so great to see a variety of genres AND many female filmmakers represented in the lineup. Seems that Sundance is far more progressive in terms of gender/race diversity than Hollywood. For this purpose, I’m only highlighting feature films, though certainly there are quite a few documentaries at Sundance that caught my eye.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the list:

[in alphabetical order – ‘W’ marks films directed by women]

1. Ali & Nino

AliNino

Muslim prince Ali and Georgian aristocrat Nino have grown up in the Russian province of Azerbaijan. Their tragic love story sees the outbreak of the First World War and the world’s struggle for Baku’s oil. Ultimately they must choose to fight for their country’s independence or for each other.

Director: Asif Kapadia

Cast: Adam Bakri, Maria Valverde, Mandy Patinkin, Connie Nielsen, Riccardo Scamarcio, Homayoun Ershadi.

“… an epic love story set against the backdrop of the First World War, expansionist Communist Russia and the independence movement in Azerbaijan.” (per UAE’s The NationalBoy you don’t hear that every day. Nor do you hear a love story between two faiths, which is many parts of the world could be even more problematic than love story between two races. Kapadia is the filmmaker behind two acclaimed docs, Senna and Amy, so I’m curious how he’d fare with his dramatic feature.

2. Birth of a Nation

BirthOfaNation2BirthOfaNation1

Nat Turner, a former slave in America, leads a liberation movement in 1831 to free African-Americans in Virgina that results in a violent retaliation from whites.

Director and screenwriter: Nate Parker

Cast: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, and Mark Boone Junior

This is perhaps the buzziest film out of Sundance this year. I had read last week about how Nate Parker quit acting for two years and raised $10 mil to get this film made. I’ve only seen him in Beyond the Lights so far and I think he’s a pretty charismatic actor. It’s been a passion project for him for years and it seemed to have paid off big time. Fox Searchlight Pictures has bought the worldwide distribution rights for the film for $17.5 million, apparently the biggest deal in the history of the Sundance Film Festival. You can read this THR article about his journey to get this film made. So far the reviews have been universally positive, at least from what I gather on Twitter. Vulture calls it ‘… a beautiful, reflective film even as it is also a brutal, visceral one.’ The subject matter is as timely as ever and it’s definitely a film I’ll keep an eye on.

3. Captain Fantastic

CaptainFantastic

In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

Director and screenwriter: Matt Ross

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, George MacKay, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn, Ann Dowd

The premise sounds intriguing, esp. with Viggo Mortensen in the lead. It seems quirky, even bizarre on the outset, but promises a lot of heart. This Huffington Post reviewer describes it as ‘… a spirited film celebrating life and ingenuity’ that sparked his spirit after a long, hectic day at Sundance.

4. Certain Women [W]

CertainWomen

The lives of three woman intersect in small-town America, where each is imperfectly blazing a trail.

Director: Kelly Reichardt

Cast: Michelle Williams, Laura Dern, and Kristen Stewart

I’m not familiar with Reichardt’s work at all but I’m immediately intrigued by the premise of this film and the mostly-female cast. The Guardian says, ‘Like Reichardt’s directorial hand, the performances are understated across the board, but deeply felt.’ I should check out her earlier film Meek’s Cutoff, which also stars Michelle Williams.

5. Complete Unknown

CompleteUnknown

Michael Shannon plays Tom, a married man who, at his birthday celebration, feels sure he knows Alice (Rachel Weisz), and pursues her during a long, adventurous night.

Director: Joshua Marston

Cast: Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates, Danny Glover, and Michael Chernus

This is one of the two Michael Shannon films that caught my eye from Sundance. Interestingly enough both have romantic tones and I haven’t seen Shannon as a romantic hero before. But I LOVE Rachel Weisz and the premise of her playing a mysterious woman definitely intrigues me. Per Screen Daily‘It’s hard to imagine Complete Unknown working as well as it does without Weisz in the lead role. She is equally adept at embodying some kind of ideal vision of a woman—charming, intelligent, and sociable—as she is revealing the vulnerabilities and insecurities that exist underneath her alluring surface.’ Sounds like it’s worth a watch just for miss Weisz!

6. Equity [W]

Equity Equity_2

The first female-driven Wall Street film, follows a senior investment banker who is threatened by a financial scandal and must untangle a web of corruption.

Director: Meera Menon

Cast: Anna Gunn, James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas, and Alysia Reiner

Ok so Working Girl was technically a female-driven Wall Street film, but this one is not about a woman trying to get into the male-driven industry. As Variety puts it, it’s a female spin of The Big Short and Margin Call about a group of women caught up in the world of high finance. The fact that there’s a female director at the helm naturally made me even more intrigued by it. Oh, and having James Purefoy here doesn’t hurt either. Sony Pictures Classics has bought it so it’s likely we’ll see this in cinemas soon.

7. Frank & Lola

FrankLola

Set in Las Vegas and Paris, this love story covers the full circle of emotions: love, obsession, sex, betrayal, revenge and eventually the search for redemption.

Director & Screenwriter: Matthew M. Ross

Cast: Imogen Poots, Michael Shannon, Justin Long, Rosanna Arquette

Check out this short clip:

It’s billed as a romantic thriller and it’s got Shannon in the romantic lead. Color me intrigued. As I mentioned before, I haven’t seen Shannon in a romantic role before, but he’s a terrific and versatile actor so I’m sure he’d acquit himself well. I haven’t seen Rosanna Arquette in anything for a long time, I wonder what role she’ll be playing here.

8. Love & Friendship

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Set in the 1790s, Love and Friendship centers on beautiful widow Lady Susan Vernon, who has come to the estate of her in-laws to wait out colorful rumors about her dalliances circulating through polite society. Whilst there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and her rather reluctant debutante daughter, Frederica.

Director: Whit Stillman

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel

You already know I have a penchant for Jane Austen. Per Variety, this film is an adaptation of Austen’s earlier work called “Lady Susan” that was published posthumously in 1871. I haven’t seen Kate Beckinsale in ages (I think the last time it was the ghastly Total Recall sequel) so nice to see her in a period drama once again. Here she stars as Lady Susan, described as the most irresistibly devious of Austen protagonists. Yes please! Interesting to see Chloe Sevigny here, I don’t think I’ve seen her in this genre before.

9. Maggie’s Plan [W]

MaggiesPlan

A young woman’s determination to have a child catapults her into a nervy love triangle with a heart-throb academic and his eccentric critical-theorist wife.

Director: Rebecca Miller

Cast: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Travis Fimmel.

I had missed a lot of Greta Gerwig’s films though I realize she’s quite the indie darling. So perhaps this will be my first movie I see her in. But what intrigued me right away was Rebecca Miller directing. She’s the daughter of playwright Arthur Miller and she’s married to acting legend Daniel Day-Lewis, but she’s a multi-talented artist herself being a painter/sculptor/writer/director. This is her fifth film and yet I haven’t seen a single one. [Note to self: watch The Ballad of Jack and Rose which stars Day Lewis)

10. Sophie And The Rising Sun [W]

Sophie_RisingSun

In a small Southern town in the autumn of 1941, Sophie’s lonely life is transformed when an Asian man arrives under mysterious circumstances. Their love affair becomes the lightning rod for long-buried conflicts that erupt in bigotry and violence with the outbreak of World War ll.

Director: Maggie Greenwald

Cast: Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale, Lorraine Toussaint, Takashi Yamaguchi, Diane Ladd, Joel Murray.

Check out this short clip:

Interesting seeing Nicholson and Martindale in a film together again since August, Osage County. Last time Nicholson was paired with Benedict Cumberbatch whose relationship ended up being a shocking revelation in the plot. Well, this time around it’s her relationship with a Japanese man that causes a stir in her community. The whole ‘forbidden love story’ thing always intrigues me, too. As for Greenwald, I haven’t seen any of her work but I really should check out Songcatcher (2000) starring Janet McTeer and Aidan Quinn.

11. Sing Street

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A boy growing up in Dublin during the ’80s escapes his strained family life and tough new school by starting a band to win the heart of a beautiful and mysterious girl.

Director: John Carney

Cast: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Mark McKenna.

Having loved two of Carney’s earlier films, Once and Begin Again, naturally I’m looking forward to what he’s going to do next. Surely it’ll be music-related and who doesn’t love 80s music? I love movies set in Ireland and this one has an Irish cast, too, including Jack Reynor whom I met during his Transformers 4 press tour. The Guardian says Carney ‘…hits the bullseye again with a goodnatured 80s-set comedy’ and many reviewers have called it ‘joyful.’ I can’t wait to see this one!

12. Tallulah [W]

Tallulah

Desperate to be rid of her toddler, a dissatisfied Beverly Hills housewife hires a stranger to babysit and ends up getting much more than she bargained for.

Director and screenwriter: Sian Heder

Cast: Ellen Page, Allison Janney, Tammy Blanchard, Evan Jonigkeit, and Uzo Aduba

My pal Kirsten Gregerson gave me some updates right from from Park City. The reason she was able to attend Sundance in the first place was because her dear friend, Stacey Thunder, played the reporter in Tallulah.  She and Heather Rae, Tallulah‘s producer, have been friend’s for some time, meeting through Kimberly Guerrero who also was in The Jingle Dress with Stacey.

“I was very thankful to be a part of the Tallulah weekend as well as help Stacey with her new show called Indigenous with Stacey Thunder.  I was able to attend the Sundance Native Forum Brunch and take pictures behind the scenes of her interview with Chris Eyre who directed the film Smoke Signals.” – Kirsten

Tallulah‘s written & directed by Sian Heder (Orange is the new Black), who was pregnant during the shoot and is now the mother of two young children. This is her mini review of the film:

A smart and touching comedy about taking the risk of needing someone and being needed.  I have often felt judged as a mother by other moms, probably the hardest though on myself. This film helped me to realize that mothering is not black or white but shades of grey.  The role of Carolyn played by Tammy Blanchard was a difficult one to play and she nailed it.  She is a woman that desperately wants to feel needed but, like many of us, looks to fill that void with alcohol and men.  She has a child that so desperately needs her and wants her but she can’t see that until that child is taken away from her.

The two leads, Allison Janey and Ellen Page, are magic on screen as we have seen before in Juno. Some scenes are dramatic, others are really funny, kind of like life. It was also refreshing to see the woman who plays Crazy Eyes in Orange Is The New Black (Uzo Aduba) as a reporter in this film, who is also a mother.  Although he had limited screen time, Lu’s (Ellen Page) boyfriend, played by Evan Jonigkeit, gave a memorable and truthful performance.  You will definitely be seeing more of him.

In a nutshell, I absolutely loved the film and left the theater feeling good about what kind of mom I have been over the years.  We are all just trying are best and want to feel loved and needed, but in a healthy way.

I can’t wait to see this one. I’ve mentioned in this post that Netflix has bought this film for $5mil and an unnamed theatrical partner will release the film in the latter part of 2016.

For more info on which films have been sold at Sundance so far » The Wrap

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NOTABLE MENTIONS:

Christine
Christine

The story of 1970s TV reporter Christine Chubbuck who committed suicide on live TV.

Director: Antonio Campos

Cast: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Maria Dizzia, Tracy Letts, and J. Smith-Cameron

Manchester By the Sea

ManchesterBySea

After his older brother passes away, Lee Chandler is forced to return home to care for his 16-year-old nephew. There he is compelled to deal with a tragic past that separated him from his family and the community where he was born and raised.

Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges, Kyle Chandler.

The Hollars

TheHollars

Aspiring New York City artist John Hollar returns to his Middle America hometown on the eve of his mother’s brain surgery. Joined by his girlfriend, eight months pregnant with their first child, John is forced to navigate the crazy world he left behind.

Director: John Krasinski

Cast: John Krasinski, Anna Kendrick, Margo Martindale, Richard Jenkins, Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day.


Sources: Variety | Screen Daily | Buzzfeed


Have you been keeping up with Sundance? Which film(s) are YOU looking forward to the most?

Spotlight on ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi’ – Interview with 3 surviving members of the security forces team

On Friday December 4, I had the privilege to interview three of the real-life soldiers depicted in the 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi film on Friday 12/4 afternoon at the Grand Hotel Mpls.

The film tells the true account of the events of September 11, 2012 when Islamic militants attacked the U.S. State Department Special Mission Compound (or simply – the American diplomatic compound, it was not the U.S. Embassy) and a CIA station called The Annex in Benghazi, Libya from the personal stories of five of the surviving American private security operators that were on the ground that day.

13Hours_poster

Check out the green-band trailer below:

13Hours_bookI have to admit I was a bit nervous meeting them as I had never actually met a US marine nor Army Ranger before in my life, let alone famous ones who were involved in such a major military incident.

You might’ve seen them being interviewed by major media outlets since the novel the film’s based on, written by NY Times best-selling author Mitchell Zuckoff. As I was waiting for my turn for the interview, I continued reading the novel in the hotel lobby. It’s a real page-turner and full of details of the action of that night, as well as the previous nights before the attack happened. 

The three guys featured in the book are:

MARK “OZ” GEIST – Former Marine

JOHN “TIG” TIEGEN – Former Marine

KRIS “TANTO” PARONTO – Ex-Army Ranger

*Oz, Tig & Tanto are their actual radio call signs.

By the time I stepped into the room for the interview, Mark, John and Kris were busy signing the books. They’re friendly and courteous and made me feel comfortable and welcomed right away. Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto went out of his way from the other end of the room to give me a big bear hug which was very sweet. I asked them to sign my book which they obligingly did. As I sat down, I immediately thanked them for their service to our country and that they’ve risked their own lives to save others.

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Q: How did this project come to be? Was the studio aware of the book being written [the book was published in Sept 2014] and wanted to do a cinematic adaptation of it?

MARK: 3 Arts [Entertainment], their literary division was the one who represented us when we did the book. Their primary division is a film production company out in L.A. We initially didn’t know where this would end up, we just wanted to get our story in print and bringing Mitchell Zuckoff as the author, and how he put together the book, the reviews of it, they felt that it would be a great fit for a film. So we went out to L.A. and talked to Paramount, actually we talked to several different groups and Paramount was the one that really, I think it resonated with them and they reached out to us about wanting to do the project and everything sort of fell into place.

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Director Michael Bay, Mark “Oz” Geist, Author Mitchell Zuckoff and John “Tig” Tiegen on the set of ’13 Hours’ – Photo: Paramount Pictures

Q: The book is a real page-turner, it’s very detailed and very intense. It made me wonder how the film would match the intensity. Since the film hasn’t come out yet, but you guys were there, so based on the footage you’ve seen so far, how realistic is it? Are you happy with the depiction?

KRIS: We’ve seen about 20-25 minutes footage, I think the intensity is there.

MARK: That’s why this is… I think this is made for Michael Bay’s [style]. He’s one of the few directors that I think can match the intensity that came across in the book.

KRIS: We’ve been very blessed that this has been handled by very good people. It shows that they had a sense, a sense to represent us correctly. They truly believe in the story, I don’t think if you truly believe in what happened that night, truly believe in how we are and want to know what actually took place that night and felt in their heart about getting it right, it wouldn’t have come out right.

Q: So they’re respectful about what went through that night? I mean, Michael Bay is known for his use of explosions, but there’s an emotional side to this story as well. I mean, this is obviously a very emotional experience for you guys.

MARK:  Things that people will see in the movie, and where he really… and I can’t say that he gets away from everything he’s done in the past in a sense that I mean you’re gonna feel every emotion… just as you read the book, you’re going to feel those emotions and he does the exact same thing, from fear, to sadness to anger. The movie’s not just about the actual event of that night, but it’s about our families too, our wives, our kids and he shows that in little snippets. It relates to how our kids… for example, he shows one scene of one of us with our families and the kid asks his dad ‘Daddy, why he has to go back, can’t you just do this?’ That really resonates with every single one of us, because most of us in the [security] contracting world are a little bit older and most of us have kids, we’re further along in our family life. So the kids are there and they’re talking to us… and that’s when he shows the compassion side of the movie and the troubles that we go through and serve our country the way we do.

KRIS: Michael Bay’s critics don’t see how much he supports vets. The extras you see in the movie, they’re are also military people from special forces and SEAL teams. I don’t think people give him the credit he deserves when it comes to making movies and the fact that he uses real people when he needs an authentic military aspect. The fact that this is a military film and he has the experience because he’s been around military people throughout his film career. There were Seals in The Rock and even in the Transformers movies there were real army rangers who worked as extras and they’re friends of ours who’ve worked with us overseas. So I don’t think he gets the kudos when it comes to stuff like that.

Q: The film was shot in Malta and also Morocco. How involved were you in selecting the location, obviously it couldn’t be shot in Libya but did you have any input in location scouting?

JOHN: No, we weren’t involved in the location as they’d select the location that’d look best to represent Benghazi the way it was. As for input for the set, as far as set design, by the time we got there, they already got the design done so we’re sitting there in front of the set guy. He was telling us what it looks like and how they did it. Well I said, ‘well this is wrong, this wall wasn’t here, this was actually over there…’ and Michael Bay was like, ‘Oh great, you just cost us another hundred thousand dollars’ but they moved it, they did it. Same thing with the actors, I mean one of them took Oz’s (Mark) wife on a date and tried to get into detail how everything was.

KRIS: Best date she ever had, I reckon she said.

[Everyone laughs]

13Hours_cast

From L-R: Max Martini (Oz), John Krasinski (Jack Silva), Dominic Fumusa (Tig) and Pablo Schreiber (Tanto)

Q: Which actor was that?

JOHN: Max Martini. But don’t tell his wife [laughs]

KRIS: Don’t tell Oz, I mean he’s here but don’t tell him.

JOHN: Even on the set, we’re constantly in talks with the actors even before and after we left the set. Like Dominic Fumusa [who played John in the film], I mean he’s emailing me once a week asking me questions.

Q: So John, you have twins don’t you? According to the book, you’ve been there three times?

JOHN: Well I’ve been to Libya four times but three times to Benghazi.

Q: So you did go back to Libya after that?

JOHN: We all went back to work after Benghazi.

MARK: Well not to there [Benghazi] but everybody went back to the Middle East after all. I didn’t because I was injured but we all went back to our security work in different places. 

JOHN: Yes, until about mid 2013 when we finally decided to do the book.

KRIS: This wasn’t exactly our idea y’know ‘oh we got in a firefight, let’s go write a book about it’ We all wanted to continue to work. We just saw that the truth kept getting…

JOHN: hijacked…

KRIS: Exactly, hijacked by both [political] parties, everybody in the media, even by people in general who were writing a book about Benghazi who had no idea what was really going on in there. It got to the point where… first of all, it’s disrespectful to the people who died and disrespectful to those who lived, those who completed the mission and saved lives. I mean, it just wasn’t the truth. So it got to the point where had to vote as a team, as a team we said this is what we’re gonna do, let’s tell the truth… and of course we had to resign and here we are. I mean, I never planned on y’know, when I was younger I never thought I’d write a book that’s gonna be made into a movie, never in my life that I thought that.

13Hours_maincast

Pablo Schreiber as Kris “Tanto” Paronto, John Krasinski as Jack Silva & David Denman as Dave “Boon” Benton

Q: Early in the book, I read about how Jack Silva and Rone Woods, the night before the attack, they were talking about the security of the diplomatic compound and the ANNEX building. They were talking about the holes in the defensive system and how it might be vulnerable to terrorist attack and all that. Now in hindsight, knowing all that and this happened. Have you been contacted or are there improvements being made to make sure this doesn’t happen again? Not just in Benghazi but in other diplomatic compounds in vulnerable locations.

JOHN: They’re still trying to fix the holes that they found in the Beirut bombings [in November 2015]

KRIS: The actual training for state department guys…this is just from our friends in the State Department, they’ve made some improvements. Now I don’t know how much more intense they’ve made it thought they told me it’s pretty intense. But as far as from the state department asking ‘hey what are you guys’ take on this? What should we do? What’s the after action?’ No, that hasn’t happened, I think there are still the same problems overseas. And this is just from the guys that… it’s a small community, we still know guys who work as security contractors. They can tell you right now, that some lessons have been learned, but I don’t think they’ve exploited all the lessons they could’ve learned to make improvements that could be made to these diplomatic compounds overseas.

JOHN: Well, there’s really no reason to do the improvements because there’s nobody ever held accountable. Until someone is held accountable, put their feet to the fire, nothing’s ever going to chance.

KRIS: [holding the book] But this helps. The secret soldiers of Benghazi. Hopefully one day they’ll read this or somewhere down the line someone at the State Department or Government will watch it and maybe a light will click on. This will serve as a reminder forever so that’s important. I mean, we did what we had to do. This is out there, we’ve done all that we can do from our point of view. And the State Department know where we’re at and they can reach out to us. If they want to know our assistance, all they gotta do is ask.

MarkQuoteQ: I don’t want to make light of this event at all, obviously this was very tough for you guys. But there’s one point in the book where I thought, ‘I wonder if it’s going to make it into the film or not.’ I think in the Overrun chapter, Tanto you said ‘I’m getting too old for this.’ I think it’s when you’re about to climb an 8-foot wall. There’s definitely a sense of humor in the book.

[Everyone laughs as they’re playfully poking fun at Kris]

KRIS: Yeah, people think combat is all serious but we actually had a lot of fun. There’s a lot of jokes, I mean that’s your defense mechanism, it’s how you deal with stress, you tell jokes and you have a good times. And you’re with your buddies and that makes it ten times better. I mean you got bullets zipping by above your head and you hear that snap. You gotta put that on your bucket list, one time you gotta let that happen and you’ll see, you’ll think, ‘man this is kinda fun.’

Q: Oh I don’t know about that. Now, you guys seem very happy and calm now. I mean it’s been three years but how’s life been for you guys? Has the memory of the event still haunt you from time to time?

MARK: I don’t know that it necessarily haunt. I mean we’ll carry this memory forever and I’m proud to carry this memory with me, serving with these guys. Even the memories of Tyrone [Woods, former Navy SEAL, played by James Badge Dale] and Bub [Glen Doherty, former Navy Seal, played by Toby Stephens], they got killed right beside me when I got injured in the same explosion. I’m proud to have been able to fight with those types of guys, it’s a sense of privilege and honor to be able to do that. And it’s unfortunate that people died and get injured in these line of work but we’ve been around long enough and doing this long enough to know that this is one of the consequences. We even rationalized, dealt with that, or compartmentalized this long before it even happened.

Who’s who in 13 Hours:

Featurette on the men who lived the Benghazi attack:


THANKS so much Mark, John and Kris for chatting with me.13Hours_interview

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi opens wide in the US on Friday, January 15

Check out the worldwide release date here


Thoughts on the interview and/or the film? I’d love to hear what you think!

Five for the Fifth: JANUARY 2016 Edition

FiveForFifth2015

Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. Well, since it’s the first Five of the Fifth of 2016, I’ll just start with something easy as I reckon it’s still fresh in your mind.

For me, the last one I saw last year was The Force Awakens and the first one of the year was this masterfully-crafted German noir drama Phoenix that I saw on Netflix. I still can’t get it out of my head how beautiful and mesmerizing it was, I can’t recommend it enough folks!

PHOENIXmovie

A disfigured concentration-camp survivor (Nina Hoss), unrecognizable after facial reconstruction surgery, searches ravaged postwar Berlin for the husband (Ronald Zehrfeld) who might have betrayed her to the Nazis.

What’s the last film you saw in 2015 and the first film you saw in 2016? 
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2. Now that I’ve posted my Top 10 films of 2015, it made me think about films that early in the year I thought would likely make my list. Of course we have our list of most-anticipated movies, and we set our expectations high on them. But then as the year wind down, those films barely even crack your top 20!

MacbethStill3For me that film was Macbeth which I thought I’d love given that I usually enjoy Shakespeare. But I find it too tedious and didn’t have the emotional oomph I was looking for. As a friend said to me after the screening, ‘beautiful but boring.’ Oh and Spectre, given that Skyfall was in my top 10 of 2012 the fact that it doesn’t even merit an Honorable Mentions is disappointing.

On the flip side, there are films that critics absolutely loathe than I actually didn’t think was all THAT bad. Case in point: Agent 47. I actually had a good time watching that and liked it more than the first remake from a few years ago.

So, what’s the biggest film surprise of 2015, either good or bad?

3. Five days into the new year, I’m already setting my sights on 2016 films! Despite being dismayed time and time again by my own expectations, I still can’t help anticipating upcoming movies!

Well, it should be no surprise to anyone that the Star Wars fever is as high as ever, just like many things in life, everything old is new again ;) According to Fandango survey, apparently Star Wars: Rogue One, a spin-off of the saga already tops the list of most anticipated movies of 2016! (per Variety)

SW_RogueOne

I’m surprised that Dawn of Justice is more anticipated than Captain America Civil War [huh?]  As for ‘Most Anticipated Comic Book Character Debuting in a Major Role,’ at the top of the list is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and I’m on board with that. I think she’ll be good in the role, but she probably won’t get to do much until her standalone film in 2017.

I’ll be making a list of movies I’m anticipating later this year, but the films I look forward the most in 2016 is pretty much anything my crush Stanley Weber is in [natch!], I don’t care if he’s sporting a dorky haircut as a Cistercian priest!Pilgrimage_still

Stanley’s supposedly got a few films out that’s due out later this year but the most likely one I’ll be seeing first is Pilgrimage with Richard Armitage, Jon Bernthal (who’s playing the Punisher in Daredevil) and Tom Holland (aka the new Spider-man).

Let’s put the big-budget ones aside for a moment, what’s an indie film you look forward to the most this year?
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4. Ok now we’d have to wait two years to see this one but I was excited about it when I read this during my vacation in late December. Even though I wasn’t totally blown away by Interstellar, but Christopher Nolan is still one of my fave directors so naturally I’m still curious what he’ll tackle next.

Apparently French newspapers first reported the news upon learning that Nolan and his brother, screenwriter Jonathan Nolan, had been scouting location in Dunkirk. Per Variety, Nolan will direct Dunkirk from his own original screenplay as his next project. Nolan will also produce the film with his longtime producing partner and wife, Emma Thomas.

Dunkirk

The story is set during the legendary evacuation of the northern French city during WWII. Nolan and his casting department recently began testing teenagers in London for lead roles, but the director also wanted to nail down some choices for the few adult roles in the film before the holiday.

Now, the adult roles casting certainly piqued my interest greatly. Three of them are on my MVP list of 2015, with Kenneth Branagh as director of Cinderella. Anything with Tom Hardy is fantabulous in my book, this will mark the third time he’ll be working with Nolan after Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. Mark Rylance is phenomenal in Bridge of Spies. He’s a versatile actor who I think will elevate everything he’s in. I’d love to see a strong female performer (or two) among the cast as well, hopefully the script isn’t just strictly ‘boys only’ story.

DunkirkCast

Warner Bros. has dated the film for July 21, 2017. It’s certainly a project I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Thoughts about this project and its casting?

5. This month Five for the Fifth’s guest is my pal Ted S. It’s a two-part question, so here goes.

What are your favorite TV shows that don’t have re-watchable appeal? For example, I love The Walking Dead, Justified, Breaking Bad and The Americans but I have no desire to watch the episodes I already saw.

On the flip side, I can re-watch many of my favorite films. So for the second part question, what are your favorite films that you can watch over and over again?


Well, that’s it for first 2016 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! :D

Five for the Fifth: DECEMBER 2015 Edition

FiveForFifth2015

Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. Can’t believe the end of the year is upon us folks! As we anticipate December movies, I can’t help but setting my sights into movies opening in the Spring. Well, it looks to be a battle of Marvel vs DC, in which the two movies will consist of their own heroes fighting each other, ahah. Batman vs Superman aka Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War are initially going to open on the same day, before Zack Snyder moved the release date of Dawn of Justice to March 25.

So here are the two recently-released trailers:

Heh, they pretty much given up the entire movie in the trailer! And despite all the hoopla of Batman fighting Superman, they practically downplayed the most intriguing aspect of the movie to introduce the huge monster Doomsday as the main villain. That’s just idiotic, why not build up more of the tension between the two behemoth heroes? I thought the 50-second teaser was far more interesting and ominous (see below), but the tone of the trailer is too playful it’s almost comedic which is just so messed up.

The only cool part of trailer 2 is seeing Wonder Woman in that last still shot, but man Jesse Eisenberg wins Most Annoying Villain ever as Lex Luthor.

On the other hand, I’m even more pumped to see the battle that goes down between Captain America and Iron Man!

CivilWar_still

The Captain America franchise has become my favorite of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the story arc is definitely the most interesting. I LOVE seeing Bucky in the trailer back on Capt’s side again. The reason why Capt. and Tony Stark are fighting each other make total sense and it’ll be a bad ass and emotional battle for both parties.

CivilWar_BlackPanther

Nice seeing Black Panther here and his ambiguous allegiance makes his character all the more intriguing. May 6th can’t come soon enough!!

So what’s your thoughts on each of these trailers?
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2. Switching gears to one of the most anticipated TV series returning next year. Both are supposed to be premiering in SPRING!!

DaredevilSeason2

One is Netflix’s DAREDEVIL… the teaser is over a month old but it’s still cool to see it again. Between Elektra and Punisher, Matt Murdoch’s got his work cut out for him! BRING. IT. ON.

As for the other series, well most of you who know me well should know by now how much I’ve been anticipating Outlander season 2, given how huge my crush is on hunky Frenchman Stanley Weber ;)

So yeah, one of the biggest reasons I look forward for season 2 is Comte St Germain. But I mean seriously, can you blame me? He still looks so damn hot in powdered wig, but I sure hope the producers know how to make the most of his talents. He’s largely unknown in the States but based on what I’ve seen him in so far, he’s SO much more than a pretty face and be both charming AND menacing at the same time. Can’t wait to see that staredown scene between Le Comte and Claire.

OutlanderSeason2_LeComte3OutlanderSeason2_LeComte1

What’s YOUR most anticipated returning TV series?

3. In the next few weeks I hope to do a Top 10 MVP of both male and female performers of 2015 (in a separate list). I might wait until January though so I can see as many new releases as possible. But I have a pretty good idea who would surely make my list based on what I’ve seen so far, these two would certainly make my top 10:

Charlize_FuryRoad

Thank you George Miller for making Mad Max: Fury Road a female-driven film and infused it with the most breathtaking, fun and emotional cinematic ride I’ve seen on the big screen all year. Charlize Theron is so freakin’ bad ass as Furiosa that it’s definitely one of the most memorable female performances of 2015.

Hardy_Legend

Ahhhh Tom Hardy… the scene stealer in practically everything he’s in gets to show his chops playing TWO characters as the Kray Brothers in LEGEND. He’s really the only reason to see the film. Absolutely mesmerizing despite the so-so script, and practically Bond-like as Reggie Kray. Please Broccolis, you’ve GOT to offer him 007 post Daniel Craig!

So if you could just name one male & female MVP of the year, who would they be?
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4. Now, this question might be an easy or a tricky one. But I hope this topic will spark some discussions amongst you movie lovers.

Do you think 2015 has been a good year for movies? Please let me know your rationale regardless which is your answer.

5. This month Five for the Fifth’s guest is Keith from Keith and Movies Blog!

The question relates perfectly to the one above, as each of us certainly bring different expectations to certain films. I think for me, given how I feel about the recent Bond movies, I’d think Spectre is one of my biggest disappointments of the year.

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With the movie year winding down, what was your biggest movie disappointment of the past year?


Well, that’s it for the year end’s edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! :D

Five for the Fifth: OCTOBER 2015 Edition

FiveForFifthAutumn2015

Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. I feel like I just did my Five for the Fifth not too long ago, September practically ran away from me. But Autumn is my all time favorite season. Not only is the crisp, cool weather is just perfect and refreshing, I also love Fall fashion and the fact that there’s TCFF to anticipate in October as well as a slew of great Fall films to look forward to.

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It made me think of films set in Autumn. Right off the bat I think of When Harry Met Sally, but films like Dead Poets Society, St Elmos Fire, Class, The Village, and another one starring Meg Ryan You’ve Got Mail all have scenes involving gorgeous foliage that put me in an Autumn mood.

So what’s your favorite movie(s) set in the Autumn season?

2. I haven’t done a spotlight on an actor in my FFTF in a while but since yesterday is Liev Schreiber‘s birthday, I thought I’d highlight this underrated but talented actor. I actually haven’t seen too many of his work, to be honest, but of the ones I have seen, I enjoyed his performance, i.e. The Manchurian CandidateThe Painted Veil, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and The Butler. I even saw his directorial debut Everything is Illuminated at TIFF in 2005, which I thought was very good.

LievSchreiber

When I checked on his Wiki page, I was surprised to learn he has won a Tony in 2005 for his performance in the play Glengarry Glen Ross. Right now he’s juggling film roles as well as his Showtime series Ray Donovan. Wow, talk about a versatile talent who can wear many hats. He apparently can speak Russian, too, as he’s playing Russian chess grandmaster Boris Spassky in the upcoming film Pawn Sacrifice. Check out this clip:

What’s your thoughts on Liev Schreiber? Which of his performance(s) is your favorite?

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3. I gotta include some new trailers and I thought I’d highlight two very different films just to keep things interesting. First off, we’ve got the latest one from SPECTRE that finally puts Daniel Craig face to face and bantering with Christoph Waltz.

Well I wasn’t enthused with the new Bond theme song Writing on the Wall which sounds more like writhing against the wall from the excruciating pain of having to listen to Sam Smith’s whiny voice. But I sure hope that the film will be much better!

Now, the second trailer that caught my eye recently is A Bigger Splash that has a rather intriguing premise: The vacation of a famous rock star and a filmmaker is disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old friend and his daughter. It also has quite a cast: Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson.

It looks like a lot of fun but things are likely about to turn real ugly real fast. But hey, Fiennes looks like he’s relishing in his comedic side again.

So what are your thoughts on either one of these films?


4.
I was going to do a separate post on this and I still might do that later in the year. Having just seen ROOM last night and was very impressed by Brie Larson‘s performance, it made me think of other strong female performances of the year so far.

On the top of my head, I immediately thought of these fine ladies…

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  • Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina
  • Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Karidja Touré in Girlhood
  • Carey Mulligan in Far From the Madding Crowd
  • Juliette Binoche + Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria
  • Rebecca Ferguson in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Now, I haven’t seen Sicario nor Brooklyn yet, but I’ve heard lots of great things about the performance of Emily Blunt and Saoirse Ronan, respectively.

If you had to pick just three, who would make YOUR list of best 2015 female performers?

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5. 
This month’s Five for the Fifth’s guest is Anna from Defiant Success Blog!

BooksToFilms

There are so many movies (and potential award candidates) based on books being released in the coming months, i.e. Carol, Brooklyn, The Revenant, The Martian, Macbeth, In the Heart of the Sea, among others. would you read the books as well as seeing the movies?

So would you read the books as well as seeing the movies? If so which one(s)?


Well, that’s it for the October 2015 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! :D

Fall Movie Spotlight: Ridley Scott’s The Martian

You’re probably wondering why I’m suddenly blogging about this film, with just two weeks before its US release (October 2). UK folks actually will get this two days sooner on Sept. 30. In all honesty, up until fairly recently, I had been mostly blasé about this film, given my disappointments with Sir Ridley Scott‘s movies lately. I even skipped The Counselor but I somehow got around to seeing Exodus despite my dread, and though I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would, it still was such a letdown.

MartianBanner

But y’know what, the relentless campaign somehow succeeded in getting me more intrigued about this one and it seems that the reviews suggest that this could be a return to form for the 77-year-old prolific filmmaker. The Rotten Tomatoes summary said the film is “Smart, thrilling, and surprisingly funny…” hmmm, I’m most intrigued by the surprisingly funny part, esp. given the 141-min running time, a bit of humor goes a long way.

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

As for the casting, well I have to admit I was rather meh about Matt Damon casting, but perhaps because I was one of those who don’t care for his casting in Interstellar and he’s playing an astronaut yet again here. But yes I realize it’s a totally different character and I am intrigued by the MacGyver style survival story in space.

I do love the supporting cast! Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara … nice to see a trio of actresses in prominent roles. I’ve always liked Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Sebastian Stan and Chiwetel Ejiofor, so that’s very cool too. Interesting to see Ejiofor playing an Indian character, but apparently Irrfan Khan was originally cast but had scheduling conflict. Hey, even Norwegian actor Aksel Hennie whom I like in Headhunters is here, too!

Martian_cast

Another piece of trivia per IMDb, Drew Goddard, who wrote the screenplay for the film, was also at one point set to direct, but left that role to go direct the Sinister Six film. After that, Scott read the script and jumped into the project, rather than making a Prometheus sequel (I think that’s wise). I also didn’t realize that the writer of the novel Andy Weir first published his book for free on his own site as a blog for fun. Then people asked him to put it in a downloadable form, then people asked him to put it on Amazon for Kindle download which he did at the then min price of $0.99.

So apparently this movie had the coolest premiere ever… in the International Space Station! I guess that made sense as NASA was consulted while making the film in order to get aspects of space and space travel, specifically in relation to Mars, with the most accuracy.

FEATURETTES

Well I’m seeing the film later tonight, and I thought I’d post three featurettes from the film. The marketing budget for this film is pretty massive, so we’ll see if it pays off.


So are you looking forward to seeing The Martian?

Five for the Fifth: SEPTEMBER 2015 Edition

FiveForFifth2014

Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. Since this is Back to School week for many of you, or will be after Labor Day weekend, I figure I’ll borrow the question of this week’s Thursday Movie Picks topic. Since I didn’t participate, I figure I’d name three movie teachers who made an impression on me:

  • Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) – Dead Poets Society
  • Jean Brodie (Maggie Smith) – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  • Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris/Michael Gambon) – Harry Potter series

So what’s your favorite teacher(s) in movies?

2. September is a boon for film lovers as there are a plethora of film festivals going on. The big ones like TIFF, Venice, Telluride, etc. are going on this month, but this one you might not have heard of: The Deauville American Film Festival (Festival du cinéma américain de Deauville). It started on the day I was born, 1975, and took place in Deauville, the closest seaside resort to Paris in Northwestern France.

Deauville2015

I actually heard of this film fest thanks to my dahling Stanley Weber who’s a member of the The Révélation Jury this year. There are tons of my most-anticipated films premiering there as well: Knight of Cups, 99 Homes, Sicario, Everest, etc. I had to laugh at their picks of this year’s honorees though. I mean Michael Bay?? Orlando Bloom?? Seriously?? Though I have no problem that they’re honoring Keanu Reeves though.

What’s your most memorable film and/or moment at a film festival? Local or otherwise.

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3. FIRST LOOK of a couple of films I can’t wait to see that I’ve talked about off and on on this blog. First, we’ve got the trailer of the sci-fi romance comedy The Lobster starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw.

In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.

The trailer made me laugh so hard! The idea is absolutely bonkers which would make for an amusing comedy, so hopefully the funniest bits aren’t all in the trailer. I’m especially curious to see Weisz, Seydoux and Whishaw who I normally associate with serious films.

KnightOfCups

Now, the Terrence Malick drama Knight of Cups that I’ve been waiting for over four years now is getting closer to be released. Well by close I mean within a year, we are talking about Malick after all. A new featurette is just released, including interviews with some of the cast, but no Christian Bale who’s the lead.

Rick (Bale) is a screenwriter living in LA tries to make sense of the strange events occurring around him.

In typical Malick fashion, the movie looks exquisitely-shot, again working with his regular DP, Emmanuel Lubezki. Per IMDb trivia, there was apparently no script and all of the scenes were improvised. Only Malick could get three Oscar winners to do his movie with no script, wow! So does that mean the film would not be eligible for a Best Screenplay award then? Not that I’m suggesting there’s ever a chance it would be nominated. I just think it must be quite an adventure working for this eccentric filmmaker, but hey, it’s got Bale AND Cate Blanchett so I’m still highly anticipating this one. Plus Bale looks so damn hot in this film, ehm :P

So what are your thoughts on either one of these films?

Lucy_Desi4. Gotta have a casting news update on FFTF, especially when it concerns the incomparable miss Blanchett! Per Variety, she’s set to play the comedic icon Lucille Ball in a biopic that’s being produced by her two children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. Aaron Sorkin is in talks to pen the script, which will center on Ball’s 20-year marriage to Desi Arnaz. She eloped with the Cuban bandleader in 1940, and the two created the massively successful sitcom “I Love Lucy” — in which she won four Emmys — in 1951 through their Desilu Productions.

I think this is great casting as Blanchett can pretty much tackle any role. They haven’t cast the actor to play Desi yet but I’d LOVE to see Guatemalan-born Oscar Isaac in the role. I think the role should be filled by a Latin actor and I’d love to see Isaac do a comedic role. Plus I think he’d be smokin’ paired up with Blanchett. Both are massively talented actors, so please Hollywood, make it happen!

Blanchett_Isaac_LucyDesi

Thoughts on Blanchett’s casting and who should play Desi?

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5. 
This month’s Five for the Fifth’s guest is Margaret from Cinematic Corner!

Margaret was inspired by the fact that Mad Max: Fury Road finally won something and soon it’s gonna be Oscar season.

Are people going to forget all about the great movies we had in the first 9-10 months of the year? So before the Oscar season starts, I thought it would be fun if everyone shared their line up for Picture and Actor/Actress/Supporting Actor & Actress categories before the big Oscar baits start premiering.

So if the Oscars were to be handed out this month, which film and the four major acting awards would you pick to win?


Well, that’s it for the September 2015 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! :D

Five for the Fifth: AUGUST 2015 Edition

Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. Thank you thank you Netflix for adding more Stanley Weber‘s movies available to stream [happy dance] So this first question is inspired by my recent watch of  Sword of Vengeance over the weekend, which is a sword-and-sandals movie is set in 11th century England.
SOV

Here’s the trailer:

Though it’s not really my genre, I actually enjoyed it more than I thought. Yes of course having the charismatic French actor in the lead naturally adds the enjoyment factor for me, but the cinematography is quite beautiful to look at despite the small budget. I’m also diggin’ the music, I liken it to John Wick if it were set in the Middle Ages. It’s a no-frill plot and not much dialog but for a violent vengeance flick, it’s pretty effective. This THR review states that the filmmaker’s influenced by Japanese samurai epics and the Italian spaghetti westerns, hence the protagonist is suitably taciturn.

So what’s your favorite vengeance movie?
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2. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Relativity Media, which up until recently was the third largest mini-major film studio in the world (per Wiki). It was founded in 2004 by Ryan Kanavaugh and was quite prolific for the past decade or so, co-financing movies like Pinneaple Express, Fast & Furious, The Social Network, The Bourne Legacy, Les Misérables, Oblivion, etc. Well, reportedly it’s filed chapter 11 bankruptcy, which THR said as one of the biggest bankruptcies in Hollywood history.

RelativityStudios

Now, whilst two films from its slate are still on schedule to be released, a heist comedy Masterminds starring Zach Galifianakis and Owen Wilson, and the thriller Kidnap starring Halle Berry, there are quite a few movies that are now on limbo. Some of those are …

  • Jane Got a Gun, a Western starring Natalie Portman
  • Collide, the action-thriller starring Felicity Jones, Nicholas Hoult and Anthony Hopkins
  • The Tribes of Palos Verdes, the YA adaptation starring Jennifer Garner and Tye Sheridan

And it seems that The Crow reboot probably isn’t meant to be as it’s also one of films caught in Relativity’s fallout. They should just pull the plug on that once and for all!

I’m curious if any of you’ve been following the news about Relativity, and if so, what are your thoughts?

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3. No new trailer piqued my interest in the past few days. I couldn’t care less about Deadpool‘s trailer, I have no interest in watching that movie anyway.

This FIRST LOOK however, did caught my eye and I hadn’t even heard of it before. TRUTH is a political drama starring Robert Redford as Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett. Well, the casting alone is awesome.
Truth_FirstLook

Per Variety, the film is based on the Mary Mapes book Truth and Duty, and Blanchett plays Mapes, a CBS News journalist and Rather’s producer. It follows Mapes and Rather as they uncover allegations that George W. Bush may have been AWOL from the U.S. National Guard for over a year during the Vietnam War. Four documents were presented as authentic in a “60 Minutes” broadcast aired by CBS on Sept. 8, 2004, less than two months before the 2004 election, but it was later determined that CBS had failed to authenticate the documents. The ensuing scandal ruined Rather’s career — he stepped down six months later — and caused profound changes at CBS News. The network fired Mapes, several senior news executives were asked to resign, and CBS apologized to viewers.

It’s to be writer James Vanderbilt’s directorial debut also stars Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss and Dennis Quaid. Well, the only good film Vanderbilt’s written is Zodiac, so hopefully his directorial debut is a good one.

What’s your initial thoughts of this one?

4. Just saw this yesterday and I have to say I was geeking out so much even though I’m not even a Trekkie. But come on, who wouldn’t want to win this thing!!  Check out this Star Trek Beyond Walk-On Role Contest video…

I’ve watched the video repeatedly just for Idris Elba breaking into a dance (breakdance?) at the end… [swoooon]. Man, I’m drooling over this so much, I mean I don’t really care about the walk-on role, I just want to hang out with THIS cast on set all day!

StarTrekWalkOnRoleContest

So did you/would you enter this contest? 

5. This month’s Five for the Fifth’s guest is Adam from Consumed by Film:

I’ve recently been reading Mark Cousins’ The Story of Film as well as Mark Kermode’s Hatchet Job, the former about the history of cinema and the latter Kermode’s take on the future of film criticism.

StoryOfFilm_HatchetJob

Do you have any favourite non-fiction movie-related books that you’ve spent countless hours peering over?


Well, that’s it for the August 2015 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! :D

Musings on the Han Solo spinoff & who we’d like to see as young Solo

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So a couple of days ago when Twitter was all abuzz with news of the upcoming Han Solo spinoff movie, I was rather ho-hum about it. I’m not exactly clamoring to see this, nor the throng of other spin-offs as Disney’s milking the Star Wars franchise for all its worth. $4 Bil is really chump change considering the potential it could rake from it.

ChrisMillerPhilLordI suppose out of all the inevitable spin-offs, the Han Solo movie could be a fun action/adventure movie, that is if they get the casting right. Before I get to that, at least on paper they seem to get the directing pick right. The LEGO Movie directors Chris Miller & Phil Lord are going to be helming this, and it seems that directing duos seem to have worked well for the company [i.e. Anthony & Joe Russo w/ the excellent Captain America: The Winter Soldier]. The also have a father/son duo Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan to pen the script, the former has written Star Wars Episode V and VI, as well as Raiders of the Lost Arc. According to THR, Miller was apparently an intern at Lucasfilm, and he was once asked to step into a Stormtrooper costume for one of George Lucas’ Special Edition Star Wars movies. How cool that life seems to have come full circle for him!

Now on to casting!

There have been a bazillion posts in the past couple of days and frankly, some of the choices they listed on some major sites are so preposterous. I mean Shia LaBeouf? Dave Franco? Zac Efron?? [smh] EW even suggested Ted and my worst nemesis, Jai Courtney, who’s more wooden than the Pechanga Oak Tree!

Now, I texted my pal Ted what his thoughts are on this whole project, so let’s start with that…

Ted’s thoughts

Like many Star Wars fans, Han Solo is my favorite character from the original trilogy. Personally I don’t really have the urge to see a film about Solo, even though he’s my favorite character from the franchise, I don’t know if his back story would be that interesting since he wasn’t involved with saving the universe until he met Obi-Wan and Luke years later. I’ll have an open mind and hope that the writers can come up with some good story about Solo’s past but till then count me as one of the people who don’t really have that much interest about this potential franchise for Disney.TaronEgerton2

Of course people have already about which actor should be playing young Solo, I’ve read somewhere that Aaron Paul is the favorite? Well I’m in the minority here and say that he would be an awful choice if he was cast in the role. Nothing against Aaron, he’s great in Breaking Bad and I can never see him as any character but Jesse.

I think they should go with an unknown for the role and my choice would be Taron Egerton. He’s not that well known yet and I thought he’s great in Kingsman: The Secret Service. If Disney decides to go with a better known actor then my choice would be the current golden boy Chris Pratt.


Ruth’s Thoughts

Funny that as I was driving home, I was exactly thinking that they should cast an unknown. I mean, Ford was still a carpenter when Lucas hired him to read lines for actors auditioning for parts in Star Wars! [per Wiki] Now, I’m not suggesting they cast some dolly grip or something, after all Ford did have supporting roles already by the time he was cast.

Well, the first person that came to mind was the same one that Ted suggested. We thought Taron Egerton has that mischievous, rebellious quality that fit the role of the space scoundrel. Solo is one of the great leaders of the Rebel Alliance so he should have that commanding presence but doesn’t take himself so seriously. The 26-year-old Taron is Welsh, but hey, it never stops Hollywood from casting UK actors in quintessentially American roles.

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Now, my second choice is an even more obscure actor who’s actually been in a film with Ford himself. Anthony Ingruber played the younger version of Ford’s character in The Age of Adaline and his resemblance to Ford is uncanny! I literally yelped when I first saw him in the trailer, I thought they did a ‘digital facelift’ technique or something like they did with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in X-Men 3.

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He’s also done amazing impressions of Solo in this video he posted back in 2008, but now seven years has passed so he’s more mature looking and hopefully has more acting experience as well. Anthony is 25 and 6-feet tall (a mere inch shorter than Ford) and if you watch the video, even his voice is so similar to Ford’s.

I hope they’d at least consider inviting this guy for an audition. I realize that good acting takes more than just the ability to do impressions of the original actor, but hey it’s a good start.

Another young actor that might fit the part is Ansel Elgort whom I’ve met when he was promoting Divergent. He’s only 21 though, so a little on the young side, but he’s got quite a swagger and ‘old soul’ quality about him even when two years ago. He’s a NYC native, VERY tall (6’4″) with a rather deep voice. He’s quite popular with the teen crowd I reckon, thanks to The Fault in Our Stars, and I think he’s a decent actor.

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Another name that keep getting a mention every time there’s a reboot of one of Ford’s many lucrative franchises is Chris Pratt. Now, I think he’s practically already playing a Han-Solo type role in The Guardians of the Galaxy, I’d rather see him as Indiana Jones.

The project is now set for a May 25, 2018 release, so we’ll probably be hearing casting news in the next few months.

 


So let the casting discussion commence… who would YOU like to see cast as Han Solo?