Empire’s The Selfish Giant Review
Plot
Poor school kid Arbor (Conner Chapman) persuades his pal (Shaun Thomas) to join him in a scrap metal business. This leads them to the unscrupulous rag-and-bone man Kitten (Sean Gilder), with dire consequences for the pair…
Review
The influence of Ken Loach’s Kes hangs heavily over this modern folk tale, not just in its themes of social injustice but in its seamless blending of pro and non-pro actors. Director Clio Barnard’s 2010 verbatim drama The Arbor used actors lip-synching to audio tapes to tell the story of working-class author Andrea Dunbar, who died of a brain haemorrhage aged 29. That alone should tell you that this is not going to go the Danny Boyle/Millions route, but what’s remarkable about the follow-up is that though it does, like Kes, tick most of the boxes of post-War realist cinema, it also has some of the rebellious romanticism of the French New Wave.
Most of this is to be found in the character of Arbor (the name an obvious but happily unobtrusive reference to Barnard’s debut), who is played quite brilliantly by Conner Chapman, a ragamuffin punk kid with the street-smarts of the Artful Dodger and the Beat-poet soul of The 400 Blows’ Antoine Doinel. Arbor doesn’t see the dereliction around him, he just wants to get up and out of it, an urgency he is amazed to find lacking in the nice-but-dim Swifty (Shaun Thomas). It’s the boys’ odd-couple dynamic that gives the film a clear and grounded sense of reality.
What’s not quite so clear is the film’s debt to Oscar Wilde’s short story of the same name. There’s no Wildean happy ending in the bag for these boys, but Barnard has a lightness of touch that keeps the story’s humanity as important as the drama. Its elements may seem like a recipe for dour kitchen-sink misery, but the effect is much less hectoring and profoundly moving, putting the emphasis not so much on the tragic arc as the unwitting characters. They live in grim times, but Barnard brings us to them, not them to us, until we see beyond their circumstances. As with Kes, the results are real and raw, a story in which we see the people we all could be — if our choices were fewer and our future more bleak.
Verdict
A terrific human drama about two boys about to be consigned to the scrapheap, with standout performances from its young leads.
4 STARS Damon Wise

Empire’s The Selfish Giant Review

Plot

Poor school kid Arbor (Conner Chapman) persuades his pal (Shaun Thomas) to join him in a scrap metal business. This leads them to the unscrupulous rag-and-bone man Kitten (Sean Gilder), with dire consequences for the pair…

Review

The influence of Ken Loach’s Kes hangs heavily over this modern folk tale, not just in its themes of social injustice but in its seamless blending of pro and non-pro actors. Director Clio Barnard’s 2010 verbatim drama The Arbor used actors lip-synching to audio tapes to tell the story of working-class author Andrea Dunbar, who died of a brain haemorrhage aged 29. That alone should tell you that this is not going to go the Danny Boyle/Millions route, but what’s remarkable about the follow-up is that though it does, like Kes, tick most of the boxes of post-War realist cinema, it also has some of the rebellious romanticism of the French New Wave.

Most of this is to be found in the character of Arbor (the name an obvious but happily unobtrusive reference to Barnard’s debut), who is played quite brilliantly by Conner Chapman, a ragamuffin punk kid with the street-smarts of the Artful Dodger and the Beat-poet soul of The 400 Blows’ Antoine Doinel. Arbor doesn’t see the dereliction around him, he just wants to get up and out of it, an urgency he is amazed to find lacking in the nice-but-dim Swifty (Shaun Thomas). It’s the boys’ odd-couple dynamic that gives the film a clear and grounded sense of reality.

What’s not quite so clear is the film’s debt to Oscar Wilde’s short story of the same name. There’s no Wildean happy ending in the bag for these boys, but Barnard has a lightness of touch that keeps the story’s humanity as important as the drama. Its elements may seem like a recipe for dour kitchen-sink misery, but the effect is much less hectoring and profoundly moving, putting the emphasis not so much on the tragic arc as the unwitting characters. They live in grim times, but Barnard brings us to them, not them to us, until we see beyond their circumstances. As with Kes, the results are real and raw, a story in which we see the people we all could be — if our choices were fewer and our future more bleak.

Verdict

A terrific human drama about two boys about to be consigned to the scrapheap, with standout performances from its young leads.

4 STARS Damon Wise

Empire’s Still Life Review
Plot
When marginalised, dedicated funeral officer John Mays (Eddie Marsan) is sacked from his British council post, his final case is that of recently departed wildman Billy Stokes. Tracking down his friends and estranged daughter Kelly (Joanne Froggatt) brings new possibilities.
Review
Can a film about death be uplifting? Put simply, yes.
Middle-aged John Mays (Eddie Marsan) — quiet, awkward, meticulously ordered — is a funeral officer for his local council, arranging the last respects of society’s forgotten, down to penning the eulogy. In doing so, like a detective for the dead he optimistically attempts to contact estranged loved ones, often to no avail.
In a neatly kept photo album in his modest flat, he lovingly memorialises these departed strangers. They’re the family he’s never had. He’s one of the forgotten living.
When John is let go after 22 years service, there’s one final case to close, that of his unknown neighbour Billy Stokes, leading him to Billy’s daughter Kelly (Joanne Froggatt). In Kelly may be his most meaningful connection with the living yet.
This second feature from writer/director Uberto Pasolini (producer of The Full Monty) is as assured as it is modest; it’s restrained stillness and gentle tone a reflection of the protagonist’s life.
Moments of everyday life and death tinged with subtle humour are mainstays of Pasolini’s thoughtfully, beautifully written screenplay that raises some pertinent truths about society’s maligned, in death as in life.It’s a film with incredible heart, beating loudly in the character of John Mays whose dedication to preserving the memory and dignity of the lonely dead is wholly endearing. Marsan brilliantly succeeds in that fine actorly art — conveying emotions often with little expression at all. His is a finely embodied, indelible performance deserving of every accolade.
Froggatt, best known as warm-hearted, damaged ladies maid Anna in Downton Abbey, brings with her those same qualities to glowing effect.Still Life eschews the clichéd road for an entirely unexpected destination which may ruffle some feathers, but ultimately reaffirms its poignancy. Resonant and life affirming, it’s a tonic for the soul.
Verdict
Anchored by a stellar central performance, a sensitive script and a surplus of heart, this gentle, refreshing take on death is deeply moving and richly rewarding.
4 STARS Jim Mitchell

Empire’s Still Life Review

Plot

When marginalised, dedicated funeral officer John Mays (Eddie Marsan) is sacked from his British council post, his final case is that of recently departed wildman Billy Stokes. Tracking down his friends and estranged daughter Kelly (Joanne Froggatt) brings new possibilities.

Review

Can a film about death be uplifting? Put simply, yes.

Middle-aged John Mays (Eddie Marsan) — quiet, awkward, meticulously ordered — is a funeral officer for his local council, arranging the last respects of society’s forgotten, down to penning the eulogy. In doing so, like a detective for the dead he optimistically attempts to contact estranged loved ones, often to no avail.

In a neatly kept photo album in his modest flat, he lovingly memorialises these departed strangers. They’re the family he’s never had. He’s one of the forgotten living.

When John is let go after 22 years service, there’s one final case to close, that of his unknown neighbour Billy Stokes, leading him to Billy’s daughter Kelly (Joanne Froggatt). In Kelly may be his most meaningful connection with the living yet.

This second feature from writer/director Uberto Pasolini (producer of The Full Monty) is as assured as it is modest; it’s restrained stillness and gentle tone a reflection of the protagonist’s life.

Moments of everyday life and death tinged with subtle humour are mainstays of Pasolini’s thoughtfully, beautifully written screenplay that raises some pertinent truths about society’s maligned, in death as in life.
It’s a film with incredible heart, beating loudly in the character of John Mays whose dedication to preserving the memory and dignity of the lonely dead is wholly endearing. Marsan brilliantly succeeds in that fine actorly art — conveying emotions often with little expression at all. His is a finely embodied, indelible performance deserving of every accolade.

Froggatt, best known as warm-hearted, damaged ladies maid Anna in Downton Abbey, brings with her those same qualities to glowing effect.
Still Life eschews the clichéd road for an entirely unexpected destination which may ruffle some feathers, but ultimately reaffirms its poignancy. Resonant and life affirming, it’s a tonic for the soul.

Verdict

Anchored by a stellar central performance, a sensitive script and a surplus of heart, this gentle, refreshing take on death is deeply moving and
richly rewarding.

4 STARS Jim Mitchell

Empire’s A Most Wanted Man Review
Plot
Asylum seeker and suspected Chechen terrorist Issa (Grigoriy Dobrygin) illegally enters post 9/11 Hamburg with a key to a vast inheritance. A pawn in the war on terrorism, he’s caught in the crosshairs of anti- terrorism chief Günther (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and US attaché Martha (Robin Wright), while aided by human rights lawyer Annabel (Rachel McAdams).
Review
“There’s no going back for any of us. You can’t undo what’s done.” It’s a sobering line of dialogue delivered from the lips of the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman in this, one of his final screen roles. An actor at the top of his game for his entire career, he was one of an elite circle of performers who could effortlessly melt into character, the viewer instantly hooked. And so it is in A Most Wanted Man.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the city of Hamburg is on high alert after unknowingly harbouring one of the masterminds of that game changing act of terrorism, Mohamed Atta. Out of the harbour and the dark of night crawls Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a tortured Chechen national, Muslim and suspected terrorist seeking asylum. Günther Bachmann (Hoffman), head of a German covert anti-terrorism unit, is on his trail, as is US Embassy official Martha Sullivan (a raven haired Robin Wright). Meanwhile, sharp, beautiful human rights lawyer Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams) takes on Issa’s case and banker Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe) is reeled into proceedings. It’s his bank that holds Issa’s apparent million dollar inheritance.
Is it blood money only to be used to fund further terrorism? In any case, Issa is now a most wanted quarry. The exacting Günther sees Issa and his fortune as quid pro quo bait to bring down an international terrorism network but his government and the Americans have other ideas. It’s a race against time as to who will nab him first.
Race is perhaps too strong a word. This rendition of John le Carré’s 2008 bestseller of the same name — adroitly adapted by helmer Anton Corbijn (whose 2010 second feature was another spy film, The American) and screenwriter Andrew Bovell — is a slow burn, like the previous le Carré adaptation, 2011’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Car chases and fast paced action aren’t the top line stars here, more so old-school variety espionage — on the ground, hands dirty — rather than surveillance from afar, Bourne style. Yet it’s never less than intriguing and gripping.
It’s a story about motive — almost everyone’s is murky. As plot lynchpin, Hoffman’s chain smoking, Günther is a perfect canvass for the story’s grey-dwelling; forceful with a deep, husky baritone and a portly man-who-means-business swagger — but then wry, fatherly and pragmatic. He carries it all off magnificently.
Indeed, the cast is uniformly brilliant, all, thankfully, authentically accented. McAdams has rarely been stronger, Wright is dependably robust, and Dafoe and Dobrygin are an effective contrast as two men caught in the moral morass of their fathers’ blood-soaked legacy. A Most Wanted Man is a film that asks some big questions: what do we sacrifice in the war against terror? Who loses out? Who really is the enemy? It doesn’t dole out easy answers.
But one thing is certain: as Philip Seymour Hoffman exits the frame and the final shot lingers, there’s the resounding pang of a great talent lost.
Verdict
Nuanced and intelligent, this is a thriller for unrushed adults, its plot electric with pertinence. A class act in execution, beautifully acted, it’s a stunningly fitting career near-cap for the late Hoffman.
4 STARS Jim Mitchell

Empire’s A Most Wanted Man Review

Plot

Asylum seeker and suspected Chechen terrorist Issa (Grigoriy Dobrygin) illegally enters post 9/11 Hamburg with a key to a vast inheritance. A pawn in the war on terrorism, he’s caught in the crosshairs of anti- terrorism chief Günther (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and US attaché Martha (Robin Wright), while aided by human rights lawyer Annabel (Rachel McAdams).

Review

“There’s no going back for any of us. You can’t undo what’s done.” It’s a sobering line of dialogue delivered from the lips of the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman in this, one of his final screen roles. An actor at the top of his game for his entire career, he was one of an elite circle of performers who could effortlessly melt into character, the viewer instantly hooked. And so it is in A Most Wanted Man.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the city of Hamburg is on high alert after unknowingly harbouring one of the masterminds of that game changing act of terrorism, Mohamed Atta. Out of the harbour and the dark of night crawls Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a tortured Chechen national, Muslim and suspected terrorist seeking asylum. Günther Bachmann (Hoffman), head of a German covert anti-terrorism unit, is on his trail, as is US Embassy official Martha Sullivan (a raven haired Robin Wright). Meanwhile, sharp, beautiful human rights lawyer Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams) takes on Issa’s case and banker Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe) is reeled into proceedings. It’s his bank that holds Issa’s apparent million dollar inheritance.

Is it blood money only to be used to fund further terrorism? In any case, Issa is now a most wanted quarry. The exacting Günther sees Issa and his fortune as quid pro quo bait to bring down an international terrorism network but his government and the Americans have other ideas.
It’s a race against time as to who will nab him first.

Race is perhaps too strong a word. This rendition of John le Carré’s 2008 bestseller of the same name — adroitly adapted by helmer Anton Corbijn (whose 2010 second feature was another spy film, The American) and screenwriter Andrew Bovell — is a slow burn, like the previous le Carré adaptation, 2011’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Car chases and fast paced action aren’t the top line stars here, more so old-school variety espionage — on the ground, hands dirty — rather than surveillance from afar, Bourne style. Yet it’s never less than intriguing and gripping.

It’s a story about motive — almost everyone’s is murky. As plot lynchpin, Hoffman’s chain smoking, Günther is a perfect canvass for the story’s grey-dwelling; forceful with a deep, husky baritone and a portly man-who-means-business swagger — but then wry, fatherly and pragmatic. He carries it all off magnificently.

Indeed, the cast is uniformly brilliant, all, thankfully, authentically accented. McAdams has rarely been stronger, Wright is dependably robust, and Dafoe and Dobrygin are an effective contrast as two men caught in the moral morass of their fathers’ blood-soaked legacy.
A Most Wanted Man is a film that asks some big questions: what do we sacrifice in the war against terror? Who loses out? Who really is the enemy? It doesn’t dole out easy answers.

But one thing is certain: as Philip Seymour Hoffman exits the frame and the final shot lingers, there’s the resounding pang of a great talent lost.

Verdict

Nuanced and intelligent, this is a thriller for unrushed adults, its plot electric with pertinence. A class act in execution, beautifully acted, it’s a stunningly fitting career near-cap for the late Hoffman.

4 STARS Jim Mitchell

Empire’s These Final Hours Review

Plot

On his way to a hell-raising party as the apocalypse rapidly approaches, James (Nathan Phillips) must choose between epic partying and helping vulnerable girl alone Rose (Angourie Rice) reunite with her father as the pair embark on a road trip though a lawless and violent Perth.

Review

It’s the end of the world as we know it. Literally. In These Final Hours, the apocalypse is playing out not in the U.S. of A., but in Perth, where the city is ablaze and suburbia is gripped by hellish nihilism. It’s a refreshing change.

An asteroid is on its way. “We have 12 hours people,” relays the lone-wolf voice narrator of doom on the radio (a terrifically evocative and unseen David Field).

A sobering wave of goodbye messages opens proceedings, followed by some steamy lovemaking between James (Nathan Phillips) and lover Zoe (Jessica De Gouw) by the beach. But as much as she pleads with him to stay, James only wants to get royally wasted to numb the coming pain.
From here it’s headlong into anarchy where death and debauchery reign.

On his way to a chaotic end-of-the-world party hosted by mate Freddie
(a mowhawked, cammo-jocked, gun toting Daniel Henshall) James is compelled to rescue young Rose (Angourie Rice) from the clutches of a paedophile.

After all the madness, what follows isn’t entirely expected; a redemptive road movie (of sorts) more measured and ponderous than the rather action heavy trailer suggests.

This low budget, well-crafted debut from writer/director Zak Hilditch unveils an uncompromising vision of the world’s end, chillingly horrific in its potential reality, quaintly hopeful and cheekily ocker. Special effects are used sparingly and are impressively executed.

The performances of the cast members, many sporting a strine as rigid as an apocalypse party bong, are mixed. But Phillips verges on rock solid as the anti-hero and Rice holds her own opposite him. Hilditch’s screenplay too is a mixed bag, let down by some clangers such as the line “Life is stronger than death.”

Overall it’s an ambitious, bold and slick genre debut from a very promising filmmaker.

Verdict

Brutal, sexy and balls-out-bonkers, this is a different take on the apocalypse impressively envisioned, only let down by some mixed performances and an uneven screenplay.

3 STARS Jim Mitchell

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 Adds New CastGlee’s Harry Shum Jr. joins the martial arts sequel
In Hollywood, everyone and their auntie is getting aboard to the Chinese bandwagon, looking for opportunities in the ever-growing movie market. The Weinstein Co. is no exception and its sequel to Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is gearing up with news of another cast member. Harry Shum Jr., Mike Chang in Glee, is joining the martial arts jamboree.
Shum, who has movie credits in Step Up 2: The Streets and Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, will play a character called Tie-Fang. He’s one of the four martial arts heroes of an underworld world, alongside Silent Wolf (Donnie Yen) and Yu Shu-lien (Michelle Yeo). Between them they’re charged with keeping a sword called Green Destiny out of the hands of the frankly despicable Hades Dai. Nice job with the first name there, Mr and Mrs Dai.The story is penned by John Fusco (The Forbidden Kingdom) from Silver Vase, Iron Knight, the fifth book in Wang Du Lu’s Crane-Iron Pentalogy (the first Crouching Tiger film was taken from the fourth). It’s set two decades after the end of Ang Lee’s film and, according to its writer, has “a Knights Errant” quality. “There is an alternate universe in the books, a martial forest that exists alongside the real world, full of wandering sword fighters, medicine men, defrocked priests, poets, sorcerers and Shaolin renegades. It’s so vast and rich, and I found characters from the second and third books in the series to create a most interesting stew while being as true to the source material as I could be.”
It’s all overseen by legendary martial arts director Yuen Wo Ping, who worked as choreographer on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon back in 2000 and presumably has the flying-fighting action down pat. He’s currently shooting the sequel in China and New Zealand.
That’s not all the Weinstein Co. has up its sleeve of a martial arts nature. Also underway are a pair of Shaw Brothers remakes of King Hu’s seminal Come Drink With Me and Sun Chung’s The Avenging Eagle. Look out for more on those as we get it.
Phil de Semlyen

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 Adds New Cast
Glee’s Harry Shum Jr. joins the martial arts sequel

In Hollywood, everyone and their auntie is getting aboard to the Chinese bandwagon, looking for opportunities in the ever-growing movie market. The Weinstein Co. is no exception and its sequel to Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is gearing up with news of another cast member. Harry Shum Jr., Mike Chang in Glee, is joining the martial arts jamboree.

Shum, who has movie credits in Step Up 2: The Streets and Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, will play a character called Tie-Fang. He’s one of the four martial arts heroes of an underworld world, alongside Silent Wolf (Donnie Yen) and Yu Shu-lien (Michelle Yeo). Between them they’re charged with keeping a sword called Green Destiny out of the hands of the frankly despicable Hades Dai. Nice job with the first name there, Mr and Mrs Dai.

The story is penned by John Fusco (The Forbidden Kingdom) from Silver Vase, Iron Knight, the fifth book in Wang Du Lu’s Crane-Iron Pentalogy (the first Crouching Tiger film was taken from the fourth). It’s set two decades after the end of Ang Lee’s film and, according to its writer, has “a Knights Errant” quality. “There is an alternate universe in the books, a martial forest that exists alongside the real world, full of wandering sword fighters, medicine men, defrocked priests, poets, sorcerers and Shaolin renegades. It’s so vast and rich, and I found characters from the second and third books in the series to create a most interesting stew while being as true to the source material as I could be.”

It’s all overseen by legendary martial arts director Yuen Wo Ping, who worked as choreographer on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon back in 2000 and presumably has the flying-fighting action down pat. He’s currently shooting the sequel in China and New Zealand.

That’s not all the Weinstein Co. has up its sleeve of a martial arts nature. Also underway are a pair of Shaw Brothers remakes of King Hu’s seminal Come Drink With Me and Sun Chung’s The Avenging Eagle. Look out for more on those as we get it.

Phil de Semlyen

Latest Expendables 3 Trailer Wants To Punch Your EyesBang and blame
If your life is low on things exploding and leathery old blokes trading quips while shooting people, the final Expendables 3 trailer is here to change all that. Take a look below to see the latest from Sly and the family Stonebanks (that pun will make more sense in a moment).

In this third instalment, an old ally turned very dangerous, obsessive enemy targets Stallone’s Barney Ross. See, Colonel Stonebanks (Mel Gibson, and we told you we’d explain the joke) is his former comrade, and a co-founder of the Expendables who has turned against his old team. Barney decides to fight old blood with new, and recruits a younger crew including Kellan Lutz and MMA star Ronda Rousey. But proving that you should never send a young person to do an old person’s job, the newbies are promptly captured.
What to do? If you’re Sly, you round up the regulars, including Terry Crews’ Caesar, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Trench, Jason Statham’s Christmas, Dolph Lundgren’s Jensen, Randy Couture’s Road, Jet Li’s Yang, plus new oldies Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford, and mount a rescue. Cue bullets, blood, guns and guts.
With Patrick Hughes calling the shots and the bombs this time, The Expendables 3 will be out on August 14.
James White

Latest Expendables 3 Trailer Wants To Punch Your Eyes
Bang and blame

If your life is low on things exploding and leathery old blokes trading quips while shooting people, the final Expendables 3 trailer is here to change all that. Take a look below to see the latest from Sly and the family Stonebanks (that pun will make more sense in a moment).

In this third instalment, an old ally turned very dangerous, obsessive enemy targets Stallone’s Barney Ross. See, Colonel Stonebanks (Mel Gibson, and we told you we’d explain the joke) is his former comrade, and a co-founder of the Expendables who has turned against his old team. Barney decides to fight old blood with new, and recruits a younger crew including Kellan Lutz and MMA star Ronda Rousey. But proving that you should never send a young person to do an old person’s job, the newbies are promptly captured.

What to do? If you’re Sly, you round up the regulars, including Terry Crews’ Caesar, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Trench, Jason Statham’s Christmas, Dolph Lundgren’s Jensen, Randy Couture’s Road, Jet Li’s Yang, plus new oldies Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford, and mount a rescue. Cue bullets, blood, guns and guts.

With Patrick Hughes calling the shots and the bombs this time, The Expendables 3 will be out on August 14.

James White

New Birdman Trailer Flies In
This place is horrible. Smells like balls…

If you love superheroes and Emma Stone, but still feel that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn’t have enough of Edward Norton in very small underpants, then you’re in luck. The new international trailer for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman has just landed and it looks entirely bonkers. Oh, and it’s somewhat NSFW, given all the naughty swear words.

Birdman - or, to give it its full title, Birdman, Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance - tells the tale of an actor famous for having played an iconic superhero decades ago, now trying to put on a play. Michael Keaton stars, presumably drawing somewhat on his experence post-Batman Returns, alongside Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and - of course - Edward Norton in his underpants.

This is Iñárritu’s first feature film since 2010’s Biutiful, though you can expect to see a few more explosions and giant mechanical birds in this one. In addition, rumour has it that cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki has worked with Iñárritu to make Birdman appear as one continuous take, from beginning to end.

It all looks utterly bonkers and intriguing, though we’ve got a little while to wait yet. Birdman will open the 71st Venice International Film Festival on August 27, however, Aussie will have to wait for a release date.

Ben Kirby

John Goodman In Talks For TrumboHe may co-star with Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren
They may not have shared any scenes, but Bryan Cranston and John Goodman were both great inArgo. Now they may get the chance to shine together as director Jay Roach has Goodman in talks for a role in Trumbo, which Cranston is locked to star in alongside Helen Mirren.
It’ll be based on the experiences of Dalton Trumbo, who was locked up in 1950 for refusing to answer questions before the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy. The panel was obsessed with rooting out suspected communists in Hollywood (and elsewhere) and for his stance, Trumbo was blacklisted and refused work. He managed to score assignments under various pseudonyms, but it wasn’t until Spartacus in 1960 that he got public credit for his work again.
Assuming he accepts the job offer, Goodman would play Frank King, a powerful producer in Hollywood who hires Trumbo to work for him despite his presence on the blacklist. The writer scored an Oscar for his work on King’s The Brave One. And according to The Wrap, Mirren will not, as previously thought, be playing Trumbo’s wife, but is instead set as Hedda Hopper, the gossip columnist who supported the writer’s blacklisting.
Roach will direct from John McNamara’s script, and he’s getting set to shoot soon. Goodman, who was last heard rather than seen as Hound in Transformers: Age Of Extinction, will next show up in The Gambler alongside the Michael Bay film’s human star, Mark Wahlberg.
James White

John Goodman In Talks For Trumbo
He may co-star with Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren

They may not have shared any scenes, but Bryan Cranston and John Goodman were both great inArgo. Now they may get the chance to shine together as director Jay Roach has Goodman in talks for a role in Trumbo, which Cranston is locked to star in alongside Helen Mirren.

It’ll be based on the experiences of Dalton Trumbo, who was locked up in 1950 for refusing to answer questions before the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy. The panel was obsessed with rooting out suspected communists in Hollywood (and elsewhere) and for his stance, Trumbo was blacklisted and refused work. He managed to score assignments under various pseudonyms, but it wasn’t until Spartacus in 1960 that he got public credit for his work again.

Assuming he accepts the job offer, Goodman would play Frank King, a powerful producer in Hollywood who hires Trumbo to work for him despite his presence on the blacklist. The writer scored an Oscar for his work on King’s The Brave One. And according to The Wrap, Mirren will not, as previously thought, be playing Trumbo’s wife, but is instead set as Hedda Hopper, the gossip columnist who supported the writer’s blacklisting.

Roach will direct from John McNamara’s script, and he’s getting set to shoot soon. Goodman, who was last heard rather than seen as Hound in Transformers: Age Of Extinction, will next show up in The Gambler alongside the Michael Bay film’s human star, Mark Wahlberg.

James White

Elle Fanning Finds A Storm In The StarsShe’ll play a younger Mary Shelley 
The story of how Mary Shelley came to write Frankenstein has been well documented, but how about how she came to be Mary Shelley? A Storm In The Stars promises to explore the younger romantic life of the real-life author, with Elle Fanning set to star.
A Storm In The Stars finds Wadjida director Haifaa Al-Mansour working from a script by Emma Jensen that charts the passionate love affair between the 17 year-old Mary Wollstonecraft and Percy Shelley, the charismatic poet and her future husband. It’s set just one year before Mary would craft her tale of man trying to create life from death.
"Elle is amazingly smart and talented and very much relates to Mary as a young woman," producer Amy Baer tells The Hollywood Reporter. "She is going to do something extraordinary in this role that will transition her from a compelling young adult to a formidable leading lady."
Fanning, who most recently appeared opposite Angelina Jolie in Maleficent, has also recently signed to star in How To Talk To Girls At Parties, adapted from Neil Gaiman’s short story. She’ll next be heard in Laika’s latest animation The Boxtrolls, which arrives here later in the year.
James White

Elle Fanning Finds A Storm In The Stars
She’ll play a younger Mary Shelley 

The story of how Mary Shelley came to write Frankenstein has been well documented, but how about how she came to be Mary Shelley? A Storm In The Stars promises to explore the younger romantic life of the real-life author, with Elle Fanning set to star.

A Storm In The Stars finds Wadjida director Haifaa Al-Mansour working from a script by Emma Jensen that charts the passionate love affair between the 17 year-old Mary Wollstonecraft and Percy Shelley, the charismatic poet and her future husband. It’s set just one year before Mary would craft her tale of man trying to create life from death.

"Elle is amazingly smart and talented and very much relates to Mary as a young woman," producer Amy Baer tells The Hollywood Reporter. "She is going to do something extraordinary in this role that will transition her from a compelling young adult to a formidable leading lady."

Fanning, who most recently appeared opposite Angelina Jolie in Maleficent, has also recently signed to star in How To Talk To Girls At Parties, adapted from Neil Gaiman’s short story. She’ll next be heard in Laika’s latest animation The Boxtrolls, which arrives here later in the year.

James White

Luke Wilson Heads For MeadowlandJoining Olivia Wilde
First announced earlier this year, Olivia Wilde is both producing and starring in the psychological thriller Meadowland. She’s now joined in the cast by Luke Wilson, along with Elisabeth Moss and Natasha Lyonne.
The scant synopsis of the film we have so far sees Wilde playing a character called Sarah. She’s a mother who, following the disappearance of her son, finds her healing process “taking an unforseen turn” as she “goes down an unexpected and dangerous path towards acceptance”. Wilson will play her husband, a New York cop. Lyonne and Moss’s roles haven’t been revealed yet, although Moss’s character is apparently called Christa.
The film stems from an original screenplay by Chris Rossi, a newcomer with a handful of short films under his belt (and a voice credit as “Tiberium Trooper” in Command & Conquer 3). Reed Morano is the director, making his debut in the chair after working as a cinematographer on the likes of Kill Your Darlings, The Place Beyond The Pines and Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes.
Meadowland is currently in pre-production, for a shoot in the near future.
Owen Williams

Luke Wilson Heads For Meadowland
Joining Olivia Wilde

First announced earlier this year, Olivia Wilde is both producing and starring in the psychological thriller MeadowlandShe’s now joined in the cast by Luke Wilson, along with Elisabeth Moss and Natasha Lyonne.

The scant synopsis of the film we have so far sees Wilde playing a character called Sarah. She’s a mother who, following the disappearance of her son, finds her healing process “taking an unforseen turn” as she “goes down an unexpected and dangerous path towards acceptance”. Wilson will play her husband, a New York cop. Lyonne and Moss’s roles haven’t been revealed yet, although Moss’s character is apparently called Christa.

The film stems from an original screenplay by Chris Rossi, a newcomer with a handful of short films under his belt (and a voice credit as “Tiberium Trooper” in Command & Conquer 3). Reed Morano is the director, making his debut in the chair after working as a cinematographer on the likes of Kill Your DarlingsThe Place Beyond The Pines and Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes.

Meadowland is currently in pre-production, for a shoot in the near future.

Owen Williams