‘American Animals’: Film Review | Sundance 2018

Milena     Jan 21st, 2018     American Animals, Articles & Interviews, Videos & Trailers     0 Replies


Bart Layton’s first narrative film is a 2003-set true-crime thriller starring Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner and Jared Abrahamson.
One of the most esoteric and far-fetched crimes in 21st century annals is recounted in dazzling fashion in American Animals. Borrowing from the best but, at the same time, forging a bold style all his own, British filmmaker Bart Layton, known for his highly successful, U.S.-set 2012 documentary The Imposter, again turns to the history of bizarre American crimes to relate a story that would be hard to invent. While bowing to modern stalwarts of the genre like Michael Mann, Oliver Stone and, above all, Quentin Tarantino, Layton employs the contents of his own large bag of tricks to tell a tale both engrossing and grotesque. This is an indie that could go places.

Layton impudently signals from the outset that he’s not playing the game by the conventional rules when alternating titles announce that “This Is” and “This Is Not Based on a True Story.” Striking opening moments devoted to illustrations of birds of prey and young guys disguising themselves to look older further suggest something unusual is in the works.

And so it is, as the film charges out of the gate in 2003 to expose the roots of a heist unusual both by its very nature and by the characters and motives that lay behind it. Best buds Spencer (Barry Keoghan) and Warren (Evan Peters) have remained in hometown Lexington, Kentucky, to attend Transylvania University. They seem both bright and restless, unsure what they want to do with their lives but certainly equipped with enough smarts and advantages to make a go at whatever they might choose to pursue.

One of the prides of the school is the special collections library, which notably includes original editions of John James Audubon’s extraordinary Birds of America as well as a unique Darwin volume. For no particular reason, it dawns on the boys that it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to steal these books from under the nose of the archive’s librarian (Ann Dowd) and make a small fortune from their sale.

These amateur would-be criminals hatch their plan, deciding they need to recruit two accomplices and soon find them in fellow students Chas (Blake Jenner) and Eric (Jared Abrahamson). They then work out the logistics, which don’t look too daunting. Indeed, for professional criminals, the minimally guarded archive would likely not pose much of a challenge at all, if they would ever think to bother with it.

The basic story is bizarre enough to arrest one’s interest from the outset — well-off kids deciding to become criminals out of no pressing need — but Layton shrewdly adds another layer by gradually introducing present-day on-camera commentary from the actual foursome who schemed to pull off the heist. Perhaps it took a documentary filmmaker to cook up such a dual-perspective narrative. In the event, the device adds a great deal to the film’s impact, as the distance of time provides a more thoughtful consideration of the men’s youthful indiscretions as well as a rueful assessment that adds an almost absurdist comic edge to their increasingly amateurish behavior.

Layton displays an expert’s hand at slowly turning up the heat on the band of amateurs as they try to hatch their plot. They go to New York and beyond to line up a fence (Udo Kier, in briefly), work out disguises, the ideal timing (during finals), their escape plan and so on. But there are also plenty of exigencies they fail to consider, and when you think back on the multitude of classic heist films through the ages (The Asphalt Jungle, The Killing, Rififi, Odds Against Tomorrow, GoodFellas, Reservoir Dogs, et al.), you realize how unprepared and out of their depth this foursome is.

Some of the boys realize this, or have last-minute misgivings for other reasons, but they go ahead, adorning themselves with gray hair and beards, donning heavy coats and hats and, in a sweat, invading the special collections library. But to be sure, what can go wrong does go wrong, and Layton smartly stages the extended robbery and getaway with a combination of visceral excitement, personal panic and absurdist slapstick.

At the same time, the inclusion of on-camera commentary from the real culprits, now 14 years removed from the crime, adds a perspective unique to the genre, endowing the film with a more mature view of youthful misdeeds — as well as forcing the viewer to ponder the question of why these relatively well-off and intelligent students would voluntarily brand themselves as criminals for the rest of their lives for no reason at all.

Both as a writer and director, Layton delivers the dramatic goods here with the skill of a pro at the top of his game while adding the rueful perspective of time’s reassessment of youthful indiscretions; this has to rate among the most accomplished and fully realized big-screen debuts of recent times.

The young actors, the only immediately recognizable one being the off-beat-looking Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) as the nominal lead among rough equals, deliver with bristling, edgy work. Craft contributions, notably the editing by Nick Fenton and Chris Gill and the score by Anne Nikitin, are aces.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


‘American Horror Story: Cult’ Trailer

Milena     Aug 22nd, 2017     American Horror Story, Articles & Interviews, Videos & Trailers     0 Replies

‘American Horror Story: Cult’ Trailer Relives 2016 Election Night


The first look at FX’s politically charged seventh season reveals a polarizing plot with Ryan Murphy horror spin.

American Horror Story: Cult is ready to relive the 2016 presidential election.

The official trailer for the FX anthology series released on Tuesday begins in Michigan 2016 on election night, with Sarah Paulson’s character screaming in horror at the results that Donald Trump has been elected president.

In another home not too far away, Evan Peters’ blue-haired maniac offers an emphatic reaction, thrusting his body up against his television screen in shrill delight.

The polar opposite responses are meant to serve as an entryway into the American divide showrunner Ryan Murphy has promised to tackle with the latest cycle of his horror anthology.

“[Cult is] about illuminating and highlighting people who don’t have a voice in our culture — people who are ignored by the current administration and who are afraid and feel terrorized that their lives are going to be taken away,” Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter about this season, which has been revealing more about its cast and plot each week as the horror story inches its way closer to a Sept. 5 premiere.

Trump’s win triggers several phobia’s for leading lady Paulson’s character, who is named Ally Mayfair Richards and is married to Ivy (played by franchise newcomer Alison Pill).

“Since election night it has all been getting so much worse,” Ally tells Cheyenne Jackson’s therapist, Dr. Rudy Vincent, of her coulrophobia — a fear of clowns.

Meanwhile, Billie Lourd’s character, Winter Anderson, tells Kai Anderson (Peters) that children “fill her heart with dread” and gives Ally and Ivy’s son a Twisty the Clown doll. The clown, played by John Carroll Lynch, is a fan-favorite villain from previous cycle Freak Show and his return was all-but confirmed by Murphy in recent weeks.

“If you get people scared enough, they will set the world on fire,” Kai says amid a montage of clowns and dread. The trailer ends with Kai standing before the cult’s symbol and whispering “Join me,” a phrase that has been heavily utilized in the season’s unique and interactive marketing campaign.

The 11-episode season begins on election night, but the real events only serve as a jumping off point for the season. No actors will be taking on the roles of Trump or Hillary Clinton. Cult’s opening credit sequence, which was absent during last season’s mysterious Roanoke, showed what is presumed to be cult members donning Trump and Clinton masks amid images of bloodied American flags.

This season’s returning cast also includes Emma Roberts, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham and Adina Porter, along with newcomers Colton Haynes, Leslie Grossman and Lena Dunham (for one episode).

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


‘Dabka’ Exclusive Clip: Evan Peters And Barkhad Abdi Meet Somali Pirates

Milena     Apr 20th, 2017     Dabka, News, Videos & Trailers     0 Replies


EXCLUSIVE: Written and directed by Bryan Buckley (Asad) comes Dabka, the true story of one reporter’s risk-taking adventure that ultimately brought the world an unprecedented first-person account of the pirates of Somalia. Ahead of its world premiere in the Narrative Spotlight section at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 27, Deadline has an exclusive clip from the film starring Evan Peters and Barkhad Abdi.

Based on Jay Bahadur’s New York Times bestselling book The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World, Dabka centers around rookie journalist Bahadur played by Peters. When he has an inspiring chance encounter with his idol (Al Pacino), he uproots his life and moves to Somalia looking for the story of a lifetime. Hooking up with a local fixer Abdi (Barkhad Abdi), he attempts to embed himself with the local Somali pirates, only to find himself quickly in over his head. The biographical comedy-drama also co-star Melanie Griffith.

Buckley is known for his 2013 Academy Award-nominated short film Asad. His feature film debut The Bronze, about a foul-mouthed former gymnastics bronze medalist who reluctantly trains a rising Olympics aspirant, was the opening film at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was bought by Relativity for $3 million. Buckley has also helmed more than 50 spots for the Super Bowl, and his production outfit Hungry Man is one of the world’s largest commercial production companies.

Source: Deadline Hollywood


X-Men: Apocalypse | Trailer #2

Milena     May 10th, 2016     Videos & Trailers, X-Men: Apocalypse     0 Replies

Following the critically acclaimed global smash hit X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer returns with X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction. In Theaters – May 27, 2016.


Elvis & Nixon | Trailer #2

Milena     Apr 20th, 2016     Elvis & Nixon, Videos & Trailers     0 Replies


X-Men: Apocalypse | Super Bowl TV Commercial

Milena     Feb 23rd, 2016     Videos & Trailers, X-Men: Apocalypse     0 Replies

Following the critically acclaimed global smash hit X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer returns with X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction. In Theaters – May 27, 2016.


Elvis & Nixon | Official Trailer #1

Milena     Feb 5th, 2016     Elvis & Nixon, Videos & Trailers     0 Replies


X-Men: Apocalypse – Official Trailer #1

Milena     Dec 13th, 2015     Videos & Trailers, X-Men: Apocalypse     0 Replies

Following the critically acclaimed global smash hit X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer returns with X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction. In Theaters: May 27, 2016.