Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Untogether’ is a intertwining modern romance

Untogether
Feature Narrative
Country: USA
Director: Emma Forrest
Writer: Emma Forrest
Starring: Scott Caan, Jennifer Grey, Alice Eve, Billy Crystal, Ben Mendelsohn, Lola Kirke, Jemima Kirke, Jamie Dornan
Former writing prodigy Andrea tries not to fall for her one-night stand, while her sister Lisa throws herself into a newfound religious zeal (and the arms of her charismatic rabbi) to avoid the truth about her current relationship in this multi-character romantic drama.

Shockingly, no distribution as of posting.

Full of flawed characters in complicated situations, you’ll be infuriated by their actions, but want to see what they do next. The sisters of Jemima and Lola Kirke play sisters and capitalize on that familiarity making for great scenes. The best part, however, was Ben Mendelson in a fantastic role of a good boyfriend. Finally, not a bad guy.

Review: ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

The expansion of the Star Wars universe is off to an outstanding start at Disney and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story just changed the entire game. The first stand-alone film in the planned anthology series, director Gareth Edwards’ war story centering around the legend of the rebel team that stole the plans to the Death Star is a tale many Star Wars fans have clamored to see and the director has delivered a unique, entertaining and satisfying film that will win over hardcore fans and novice alike.

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) has been on the run since she was a young child. Her father, research scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), was forced to return to the Empire to complete the design of the Death Star by Imperial Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) which, in turn, sent Jyn into hiding with the help of her father’s friend Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). Fifteen years has passed and the memory of her father still haunts young Jyn.  An imperial pilot named Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) has defected and smuggle a message to the Rebel Alliance with information crucial to their cause. The rebel forces have located Jyn with the hopes of recruiting her to help find her father and discover the secrets of the monstrous weapon. Rebel Officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and his droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) accompany Jyn on a mission to retrieve the message from Bodhi Rook on the planet Jedha.

After an encounter with imperial troops, the trio are aided by warrior Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) and mercenary Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) who join the cause to help Jyn retrieve her father. Quickly the mission becomes more about the preservation of the galaxy and the team set their sights on stealing the plans to the Death Star at the high-security base on the planet Scarif. The time is now for the rebels to take their stand, to secure the safety of the galaxy and destroy the most valuable weapon in the Empire’s arsenal, the Death Star.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a near perfect cinematic experience. Director Gareth Edwards and cinematographer Greig Fraser elected for a raw, gritty feel to the film and the tone plays to the subject matter perfectly. The script by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy is smart and engaging and doesn’t over complicate the objective of telling this war story. Each frame of the film was envisioned with excitement and respect for the Star Wars franchise and the filmmakers have created an outstanding compliment film to the original trilogy.  Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed and Wen Jiang, the members of the Rogue One team, were perfectly cast in their respective roles. The voice of Alan Tudyk for K-2SO added just enough comedic relief necessary in the right places. Mads Mikkelsen, in his limited screen time, helped enrich the emotional journey for Jones’ Jyn and provide the redemption factor we all come to know in the Star Wars universe. The stand out star in the film to me was Ben Mendelsohn. His menacing performance as the main protagonist never fell into cliche’s and provided a satisfying character arc.

Overall, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an exceptional movie to be enjoyed on the biggest screen you can find. The journey never wearies and it will enrich your love for the franchise a little bit more. Next up…Episode VIII!!

4 1/2 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

No

Trailer:

Review: Sundance Film Festival Selection ‘Mississippi Grind’ starring Ben Mendelsohn & Ryan Reynolds

Mississippi Grind-poster

Disguised as a buddy, road movie, Mississippi Grind is an intense and intimate story of addiction that reveals the gritty details of a lifetime gambler when he’s paired up with one that’s just beginning. Ben Mendelsohn melts into this fantastic role and he really tears your heart out.

Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) likes to play poker and he’s been on a bit of a losing streak. His luck changes when he’s around the hard-to-read Curtis (Ryan Reynolds). The two embark on a road trip from Iowa to New Orleans and as you may have guessed, learn more about themselves and each other. It could have been cliche and terrible, but all the talent involved from the writing to the directing to the acting, make it a solid movie about another side of addiction, the one that doesn’t destroy you, but those around you.

Yes, I’m a fan of Ryan Reynolds. He may have caught my eye in Van Wilder, but it’s Just Friends that really sealed it. Oh, and he’s actually a great actor. Yeah, he sucked as Green Lantern, but he’s been great in Chaos Theory, Buried and the yet-for-me-to-see Voices (which Liz is still raving about). As Curtis, he’s disheveled yet charming, but not the over-the-top charming that reared it’s ugly head in The Change Up or The Proposal.

Ben Mendelsohn, is the new (dare I say) Gary Oldman. He can do (and does) everything and you’ve probably seen him so many times and you didn’t even know it. Here are a few of my favorite roles:

[imdb id=”tt1674784″ plot=”short”]
Trespass with Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman – watch in on Netflix
A thief who’s plans to rob a family man totally backfire.

[imdb id=”tt1345836″ plot=”short”]
The Dark Knight Rises
The smarmy guy trying to control Bain.

[imdb id=”tt2567712″ plot=”short”]
Starred Up – watch on Amazon
A father in prison who thinks what’s best for his son is to toughen him up. p.s. Even though it’s in English, I highly recommend turning on the captions.

My favorite part about this movie is that I didn’t know if I should root for them or not. The characters are so incredibly developed and presented, that you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s the exact type of movie that’s the bread and butter of great actors, but unfortunately, it’s not the type of movie that appeals to a wide audience. Those who seek it out, however, will be treated to an emotionally layered thinkpiece.

Now available on DirecTV, at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in New York today and October 5th in Los Angeles. It comes to Bluray/DVD December 1st, but I bet you’ll be able to buy it digitally the week or so before.

Battle of The Actors Round 1 Matchups Part 5!

Untitled-1Last Week Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett, Robin Wright and Frances McDormand moved on with Judi Dench beating Jennifer Lawrence by a slim margin in the bonus matchup. This weeks matchups we switch gears and return to the guys…actors showdown! Let’s get it on!

Brad’s Bracket:

[poll id=”63″]

Jeremy’s Bracket:

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Liz’s Bracket:

[poll id=”65″]

Melissas’ Bracket:

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Michael’s Bracket:

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Trailer for ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender is Here

fassbender

A24 has released the trailer for their upcoming western comedy thriller Slow West, starring Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Ben Mendelsohn (Killing Them Softly), and Caren Pistorius (Offspring). The film is written and directed by John Maclean

The film follows a 16-year-old boy Jay Cavendish (Smit-McPhee) on a journey across 19th Century frontier America in search of Rose (Pistorius),  the woman for whom young Cavendish has fallen in love with. Accompanied by mysterious traveler Silas Selleck (Fassbender), who is paid to protect the young man ,the two must contend with a posse of outlaws lead by Payne (Mendelsohn), who looks to get in their way.

Slow West was the recipient of the World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize following its Sundance debut earlier this year.

The film will premiere on DirecTV April 16th and will arrive in theaters and VOD May 15th.

New Featurette for Netflix Series ‘Bloodline’ Released

bloodline

 

On March 20, Netflix will release the newest series from Damages co-creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman, and Glenn Kessler called Bloodline, and it will no doubt become your new favorite obsession. Netflix has released a special featurette online that you can view below!

The show is a dramatic thriller that explores the demons lurking beneath the surface of a contemporary American family. The Rayburns are hard-working pillars of their Florida Keys community. But when the black sheep son comes home for the 45th anniversary of his parents’ hotel, he threatens to expose the Rayburns’ dark secrets and shameful past, pushing his siblings to the limits of family loyalty.

The series stars Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises), Linda Cardellini (Mad Men), Sam Shepard (The Right Stuff), Sissy Spacek (Carrie), Norbert Leo Butz (Dan in Real Life), Jamie McShane (Sons of Anarchy), Jacinda Barrett (Suits) and Enrique Murciano (Without a Trace). The series also includes appearances by Chloe Sevigny, Steve Pasquale, Mia Kirshner, and Katie Finneran.

All 13 episodes of Bloodline will launch only on Netflix on Friday, March 20th so hurry up and finish season 3 of House of Cards!

Michael’s Review: ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’- This One’s Not Heaven Sent

Exodus_Ver2_Wave PosterWhen I first heard of director Ridley Scott’s willingness to make a feature length interpretation of the story of Moses and his quest to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, I had my doubts of the outcome. Scott has not had a very good track record of making historically epic films with duds like 1492: Conquest of Paradise and Kingdom of Heaven in his resume. Armed with a  cast of white actors to play the lead roles of Hebrew and ancient Egyptian characters,  Ridley Scott sets out to retell the story of Moses no matter what the cost and what audience he alienates in the process. The portrayal of Moses which will no doubt leave religious audiences scratching their heads and others with little more than a visually stunning movie with little substance. Read More →

New Trailer: Jude Law in the adventure thriller ‘Black Sea’

Jude Law stars as a rogue submarine captain after sunken treasure in the depths of the Black Sea in Focus Features’ upcoming adventure thriller BLACK SEA, directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald.  Photo Credit: Alex Bailey / Focus Features.

Jude Law stars as a rogue submarine captain after sunken treasure in the depths of the Black Sea in Focus Features’ upcoming adventure thriller BLACK SEA, directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald.
Photo Credit: Alex Bailey / Focus Features.

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