Tag Archives: Amy Adams

‘La La Land’ Leads Critics’ Choice Awards Nominations

Posted by Larry Gleeson

“La La Land,” the musical “dramedy” following a jazz musician’s romance with an aspiring actress, takes a  whopping 12 nominations heading into tonight’s presentation of the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s 22nd annual Critics’ Choice Awards, formally kicking off the Hollywood awards season.

These prizes bestowed by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. (BFCA) are renowned as one of the best barometers for predicting the Oscars. Over their 21-year history, these awards have previewed 13 Best Picture Oscar winners as well as 16 Best Director, 14 Best Actor, 12 Best Actress, 11 Supporting Actor and 14 Supporting Actress champs.

The complete list of winners from tonight’s awards are as follows:

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Amy Adams as Louise Banks in ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

The sci-fi adventure “Arrival” and the coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” each have 10 nominations.

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“La La Land,” which reunites Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as romantic interests, is nominated for best picture, actor, actress, director, original screenplay, cinematography, production design, editing, costume design, score and two best song nods.

The best picture nominees are “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Loving,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Moonlight” and “Sully.”

Denzel Washington is one of several double-nominees heading into the ceremony, for his work as an actor and as the director of the best picture nominee “Fences.”

Competing with Washington for best actor will be Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea,” Joel Edgerton for “Loving,” Andrew Garfield for “Hacksaw Ridge,” Gosling for “La La Land” and Tom Hanks for “Sully.”

Nominated for best actress are Amy Adams for “Arrival,” Annette Bening for “20th Century Women,” Isabelle Huppert for “Elle,” Ruth Negga for “Loving,” Natalie Portman for “Jackie” and Stone for “La La Land.”

On the television side of the awards, FX’s miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson” has a leading six nominations, while HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” AMC’s “The Night Manager” and Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” have five each.

Netflix’s “House of Cards,” History’s “Roots” and HBO’s “All the Way” and “Veep” all have four nominations in the television categories.

Nominated for best drama series are “Better Call Saul,” `”Game of Thrones,” “Mr. Robot,” “Stranger Things,” “The Crown,” “This is Us” and “Westworld.”

Competing for best comedy will be “Atlanta,” “Black-ish,” “Fleabag,” “Modern Family,” “Silicon Valley,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Veep.”

The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica and televised by A&E.

(Source:www.nbclosangeles.com)

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Amy Adams to Receive the Chairman’s Award at Palm Springs

Palm Springs, CA (December 9, 2016) – The 28th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Amy Adams with the Chairman’s Award for her Amy Adamsperformance in Arrival at its annual Film Awards Gala.  The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Monday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2-16.

“Throughout her career, Amy Adams has continuously challenged herself with complex roles,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “This is reaffirmed in her most recent project, Arrival, where she anchors the film with an award-winning performance as a prominent linguist,
Dr. Louise Banks, as she attempts to communicate with creatures in one of a dozen spacecrafts that visit Earth. It is our honor to present the Chairman’s Award to Amy Adams.”

Adams received the Spotlight Award in 2009 for her performance in Doubt, going on to receive an Academy Award® nomination.  She also garnered the Ensemble Performance Award for American Hustle in 2014. Past recipients of the Chairman’s Award include Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Richard Gere, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.

When mysterious spacecrafts touch down across the globe, an elite team – led by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) – are brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity. The film is directed by Denis Villenueve and stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlbarg.

Arrival received ten Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress for Adams. Adams won Best Actress from the National Board of Review, which also selected Arrival as one of the top ten films of the year.

Amy Adams is a five-time Academy Award®-nominated and two-time Golden Globe®-winning actress.  In addition to Arrival, her other films in 2016 were Nocturnal Animals and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Her previous film credits include American Hustle, Her, The Master, The Fighter, Big Eyes, Julie and Julia, Doubt, Enchanted, Junebug, Trouble with the Curve, The Muppets, Charlie Wilson’s War, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Catch Me If You Can. Adams recently wrapped production on Justice League Part One and will start production on HBO’s drama series Sharp Objects.

Previously announced honorees attending the 2017 Film Awards Gala are Casey Affleck, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Negga, the cast of Hidden Figures including Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons, and the cast of La La Land, including Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, and director Damien Chazelle.

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About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, an upscale black-tie event attended by 2,500, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who, in recent years, have included Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, David O. Russell, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.

For more information, call 760-322-2930 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Steven Wilson / Lauren Peteroy
B|W|R Public Relations
212-901-3920
steven.wilson@bwr-pr.com / lauren.peteroy@bwr-pr.com

David Lee
Palm Springs International Film Society
760-322-2930
david@psfilmfest.org

(Source: http://www.psfilmfest.org)

FILM REVIEW: Arrival (Villenueve, 2016):USA

Viewed by Larry Gleeson during the Venice Film Festival.

Canadian Director Denis Villenueve’s (Sicario, Prisoners, Incendies) new science fiction drama, Arrival, is based on Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life.” Alien ships have landed across the globe without explanation communicating only a Sanskrit word for war.

The film opens in a reflective voice-over coupled with powerful sound effects and strong camera work to create a feeling of pandemonium. Supersonic jets blaze across the screen as 12 unidentified flying objects descend from the sky and land across the globe. The aliens attempt to communicate with written words and phrases in a never seen before language.  Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist played by Amy Adams (Man of Steel, American Hustle, The Fighter), is charged with communicating with the alien intelligence. Artist Martine Bertrand designed the aliens written language. The Sanskrit word for war is delivered to Louise at her university teaching office for translation. At first she balks. However, the opportunity to put to use all she has learned in a lifetime of study and academia and the mourning she’s gone through over the loss of her daughter provides her the impetus to join the effort.

Initially, Dr. Banks appears anxious. However, she quickly is brought up to speed by the US military. Captain Marks, played by Mark O’Brien, informs the team on what is known about the alien landings. One of the first translations the group deciphers is “language is weapon.” Soon however, the process is stalled. Intelligence about the alien space ship reveals that their doors open every 18 hours granting an opportunity to board the craft. After dialogue and heated conversation, Dr. Banks is granted clearance to board the craft with the team. With the team in position to board the craft, Villenueve amps up the sound effects and music including some very heaving breathing from Dr. Banks as the team waits, attired in Cybex hazmat suits, for the alien ship to position itself to allow boarding. With the ship’s entry encapsulated in smoke combined with some abstract visuals and the surreal effect of slow motion the team boards the alien vessel.

In the end, Dr. Banks proves she’s up for the task and begins the communication process with the aliens but not without difficulty. An interesting reference is made to the Sapir-Whorf theory that once a person starts to learn a language the person will start to dream and think in it. However, when the aliens begin writing a thought one hand begins the thought while the other hand ends it simultaneously. Louise’s mind has difficulty comprehending this and she begins to experience highly vivid, visual flashbacks of her daughter. She begins to wonder why. Once the team members managed to board the ship and attempted to understand and communicate with the aliens they were enlightened with insight into their own human nature. In the end this appears to help Louise move on with her life finding closure to the cancer that took her daughter’s life.

Seemingly, a large part of the film’s aesthetics is augmented and carried out by sounds. Dave Whitehead created the whirrs and clicks of the alien language while Supervising Sound Editor Sylvain Bellemare created the sounds the ships made when moving. Composer Johann Johannsson created the film’s musical score.

Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Bourne Legacy, American Hustle) plays Ian Donnelly, a physicist who attempts to solve the alien communication through mathematics. And is the sidekick to Adams Louise. Donnelly comes across as highly intelligent, energetic scientist who adds warmth and light to the team’s dynamic. Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Lee Daniels’ The Butler) plays Colonel Weber, Military Intelligence, who’s responsible for coordinating the communication process. Weber needs Louise and Ian to succeed and it’s his job to see that they do. Weber pushes the two to do more and to get more from the aliens. Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire, Men in Black III) plays CIA Agent Halpern who’s responsible for reporting to the government the team’s actions.

Arrival is a well-constructed film with a stellar cast and talented crew. Notably, Amy Adams is superb as Dr. Louise Banks. The costuming provided by Costume Designer Renee April and the production design provided by Patrice Vermette were excellent as were Carlos Huante’s alien visual effects. In addition, the sound design and musical score brilliantly augmented and sophisticatedly created the atmospheric for the film’s mis-en-scene.  Executive producer and screenwriter Eric Heisserer adapted the short story to screenplay. 21 Laps and Film Nation received production company credits along with producers Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen, Dan Levine and Aaron Ryder. Bradford Young served as Cinematographer capturing delicate moments with sensuality along with the massive “rainy day” science fiction scenes.

Arrival is a must-see story about life and death and the reality between the two. It also speaks volumes on humility within the parameters high stakes, foreign communication . Highly recommended.

(Featured photo courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema di Venezia)

Mill Valley Film Festival: Amy Adams, Emma Stone bring Hollywood star power

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Paul Liberatore

Two of the most glamorous women in Hollywood, Amy Adams and Emma Stone, brought megawatt star power to Thursday night’s opening of the 39th Mill Valley Film Festival.

Wearing a frilly, cream-colored lace dress, Stone arrived first at a kickoff reception at Mill Valley’s redwood-shaded Outdoor Art Club. She was ushered in a side gate as a star-struck throng of photographers and festival officials silently watched her every move.

“Hi,” she said with a self-conscious smile as she stepped gingerly down a garden path. “I just hope I stay up.”

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Stone, who patiently smiled through the de rigueur photo shoot in front of a backdrop emblazoned with the logos of the festival and its sponsors, should be extra light on her feet these days after singing and dancing with co-star Ryan Gosling in one of the opening night movies, “La La Land.” Known for her large expressive eyes, she won the best actress award when the romantic musical opened the Venice Film Festival.

This was her first appearance in Mill Valley.

“And what a first time it is,” she exclaimed at a pre-show press conference. “But I’ve been in Northern California before. I love it up here.”

Minutes later Adams swept in, looking stunning in heels and a black sheath dress sparkling with sequins. She made the trip to Marin to promote the other opening night movie, “Arrival,” in which she stars as a linguistics professor who tries to communicate with aliens who land on earth in what looks like a gigantic Easter egg.

At a press conference, she cracked the assembled reporters up with an imitation of Canadian director Denis Villeneuve.

“He does it much better than I do,” she said, getting an even bigger laugh.

Marin music and film fans may be more interested in a movie she has in development about Janis Joplin, one of Marin’s most famous departed rock icons. This week marked the 46th anniversary of Joplin’s death of a drug overdose in a Los Angeles hotel room.

Asked how the project was going, Adams sighed and said, “Here’s what I say about the Janis project: When Janis wants it to happen it will happen. I think she’s still a powerful force here. Her spirit lives on.”

While opening night normally showcases big-budget Hollywood movies, Mill Valley is known for its support of independent cinema, including movies by local filmmakers like “The Rendezvous,” an action-adventure film based on a book by San Rafael’s Tricia Hellman Gibbs, daughter of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival founder Warren Hellman. The movie, Gibbs’ first as a producer, follows Rachel, a Jewish-American doctor as she tries to solve the mysterious death of her treasure-hunting brother.

It screens at the festival on Saturday and again on Monday.

“This festival is ideal for me because it’s right in my own backyard,” Gibbs said at the reception as she scanned the crowd for director Amin Matalqa. “I can go to the bluegrass festival one weekend and the next one show my movie here, where all my friends can come. All the people I know are right here in Mill Valley.”

Festival founder and executive director Mark Fishkin said this year’s schedule strikes a balance between “fabulous, exciting, beautiful guests” in high-profile films with awards season buzz as well as movies that get lesser attention but deserve to be seen.

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“This year’s program has substantial documentaries that have something to say and very rich international films from something like 40 countries,” he said. “And we have some great local filmmakers. This year’s festival is certainly in line with what we like to do.”

For film listing and ticketing click here!

The festival runs through Oct. 16.

(Source: http://www.marinij.com)

Highlights From Tom Ford’s TIFF Interview About His New Film, “Nocturnal Animals”

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Anjli Patel

Nocturnal Animals, the second feature length film directed by Tom Ford, centers on a man’s cathartic, vengeful healing process in the aftermath of a great love lost. Taking the form of a story-within-a-story, Ford employs precise visuals — a skill mastered in his day job as a fashion designer — to segue from one story to the other.

Set simultaneously in the upper echelons of Los Angeles and barren West Texas, these distinct backdrops symbolize the great divide that Susan, Amy Adams’ art dealer character, perceives between her and Edward, her novelist ex-husband played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Susan’s inability to reconcile her needs and desires is the cause of her unhappiness and the couple’s demise. However, nearly two decades later when she has long since moved on with her life, Susan is forced to come to terms with that relationship when she unexpectedly receives a novel written by Edward and dedicated to her.

The film is emotionally gripping and at times difficult to watch, a departure from the melancholy A Single Man, Ford’s directorial debut, which seven years ago also premiered in North America at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Last week following the second screening of Nocturnal Animals, Ford sat down with Cameron Bailey, the artistic director of TIFF, to discuss the film at length. Below are highlights from their conversation.

Ford on the role of style in his films:

“I think because of my other life [as a fashion designer] people usually gravitate to style. In filmmaking unless [style] serves a purpose and helps tell the story, it’s not important. Substance is for me what’s important.”

Ford on the take home message of the film:

“When you find someone in your life, someone that’s important to you, someone who you connect to, don’t let them go. Hold on.”

Ford on fueling consumption:

“Style really has to serve a character, and so there is a real purpose for Susan’s very pristine, cold life. I think it’s something that our society and our culture constantly tells you, ‘this is going to make you happy; you’ll be happy if you have this, you’ll be happy if you have that’ and in my other life I am one of those people responsible for doing that, but I’m very divided about it. I grew up in New Mexico in a much simpler way. Whenever I can, I escape to my house there, to the desert, to the sky, and I feel much more in touch with the earth, and the planet, and why we’re here. And so it is something that I struggle with.”

Ford on the West Texas narrative in the film:

“I have a couple of lives. I grew up in Texas. I know West Texas very well. I have so many cousins there. I lead a life in Los Angeles, in London, but I also have a ranch in New Mexico. I ride horses, I have cattle, I know that world very well, and what I wanted to do was contrast those two worlds — Susan’s slick, cold world is colored in a way that is very blue-toned, it’s very cold. Yet when we have color in her world, it’s quite sharp and quite garish, whereas the inner novel is green, the colors are different, they’re deeper, they’re richer, and then of course her flashback. I think often when many of us remember the past, it’s very vivid and warm because we have a tendency, at least I do, to remember the past in a nostalgic way.”

Ford on Amy Adams:

“Editing Amy, there is not a bad take, a bad moment. She does so much with her face, she is a spectacular actress. … I would say [Amy is] one of the best actresses working today who can tell — she telegraphs with her face what she’s feeling. And I find Amy’s eyes incredibly soulful. … If you know Amy and look into her eyes, you can’t help but feel something, and I wanted that to really come through in the part of Susan.”

Ford on the art in the opening scene:

“All of the art in the film is real. The original artists let us use their work. I usually don’t like a film about the art world where the art is fake because somehow it doesn’t have the same emotion that real art does. [The art in the opening scene] is the one and only piece of art that I created because I had to imagine myself, ‘okay, I’m an artist, and what is it that I want to say.’ I’ve lived in Europe for the last 27 years, so I decided, ‘alright, I’ll tell a European perspective of where America is today.’

I think America used to be thought of as kind of a country of beautiful, tanned, tits and ass, Farah Fawcett in a little red swimsuit, all teeth and hair, and I think a lot of the world today thinks of America as gluttonous, overfed, aging, decaying in a sense. And that was my original intention, which is why these women are wearing little bits and pieces of Americana. So I wanted to create a sort of absurd, conceptual art because Amy then later says everything is junk, our culture is junk.

However, that completely changed. I shot these women — they were the most beautiful people. They were so free, they were so excited, they were so happy, they were so joyful, and I fell in love with them. I fell in love with everything about them. And I realized after I shot them that in a sense they were a microcosm of what I was trying to say about the world. … They’re so glad to be here, and it’s because they have let go of our perception of what they’re supposed to be, and that is what is trapping Amy’s character Susan — she’s trying so hard to be what she thinks she is supposed to be, and she’s miserable. And these women were so joyful because they’ve let go of that. They’ve let go of this idea of what we’re supposed to be. And so [the art] became something quite different in the film.”

(Source: http://www.papermag.com)

Photo by Joe Schildhorn/BFA.com

Which movies are in the running for the 2017 Oscars?

 

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La La Land with Ryan Gossling and Emma Stone is already a favorite to win the 2017 Oscar for Best Picture. (Photo courtesy of SND)

LOS ANGELES, Sept 25 ― What were the films and who were the actors who stood out at the latest film festivals? In the wake of the Venice, Toronto and Telluride festivals, here is an update on the movies and players potentially in the running for the 2017 Oscars.

In the period from September to December, the pace of superhero epic and action blockbuster releases slows down to make way for potential Oscar-winning works. This year is no exception with studios and distributors preparing to launch the movies they feel stand the best chance in the 89th Academy Awards at a time when they will still be fresh in the minds of the 2017 jury. What are the movies that will benefit from this Hollywood marketing strategy?

Top favourite ‘La La Land’

Having won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, La La Land is now a serious contender for the 2017 Oscar for Best Picture. The Canadian accolade should not be overlooked. In fact it is a more than reliable indicator for the likely winner of a much-coveted gold statuette, having been awarded to such previous Oscar winners as Twelve Years a Slave, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire and American Beauty.

But it would be unwise to bet on the musical comedy which features Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling without evaluating the chances of some of the other movies that have come to light in the latest festivals: notably Manchester by the Sea, which is buoyed by a remarkable performance by Casey Affleck, Jeff Nichols’ Loving, Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, Nocturnal Animals by Tom Ford, which won the Silver Lion at the 73rd Venice Mostra, and the biopic of Jackie Kennedy, Jackie, which could harvest a second Oscar for Natalie Portman.

However, competition for Best Actress in a Leading Role looks set to be fierce this year. Having garnered an award in Venice, Emma Stone has every chance of gaining a nomination. Ruth Negga (Loving), Amy Adams (Arrival), Viola Davis (Fences) and Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures) are other likely contenders, as is French actress Isabelle Huppert for her much-noted performance in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle. As for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Joel Edgerton (Loving), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals), Denzel Washington (Fences), Dev Patel (Lion) and Tom Hanks (Sully) could all be in the running.

A more diverse Oscars?

Several films that stand to be selected could also turn the page on the controversy surrounding the 2016 Oscars which was judged to be too “white.” Even if The Birth of a Nation does not currently look to be a competitor, the film which tells the story of a slave revolt may nonetheless be nominated. Other films that look likely to garner nominations include Moonlight, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival. The story of an African-American growing up in a Miami neighbourhood has already been hailed as major work of independent cinema.

Hidden Figures which casts Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson as mathematicians who, in spite of being overshadowed by their male colleagues, contributed to the success of the Apollo space program, and Denzel Washington’s Fences, which features Viola Davis, have also been tipped for Oscar nominations.

However, we will still have to wait close to five months to see which way the jury votes in the 2017 Academy Awards which will be held on February 26 in Los Angeles. The nominations for the Oscars will be announced on January 24. ― AFP-Relaxnews

(Source: http://www.themalaymailonline.com)

FILM REVIEW: Nocturnal Animals (Ford, 2016): USA

Viewed by Larry Gleeson at Venice Film Festival.

 

Fashion Designer and Film Director Tom premiered his new film, Nocturnal Animals, at the Sala Grande Theater during the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. Nocturnal Animals received the Silver Lion – Grand Jury Prize (generally considered runner-up to the Golden Lion – Best Film). This was Ford’s second feature film. His first film was the critically acclaimed, A Single Man (2009) starring Colin Firth. Firth receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his efforts.

 

Nocturnal Animals, is a tale of redemption, revenge, love and cruelty. Ford opens the film with a strong musical score to reveal rotund, morbidly obese girls dancing topless upon pedestals seemingly pretending to be debutantes. Adding to the fanfare special effect confetti drops down and through the frame. All-American girls showcasing their goods and talents. Bordering on the macabre, the tone for the film has been set.

 

Hollywood, A-lister Amy Adams plays a real-life West Texas debutante, Susan Morrow, who lives an unfulfilling life of daunting privilege with her handsome husband, Hutton Morrow, played by Armie Hammer. As Hutton prepares for yet another last-minute weekend high-finance business meeting in New York relationship fissures widen. A pensive Susan reflects on the state of her union with Hutton after a ‘not-so-discreet’ phone conversation from Hutton’s elevator arriving at a penthouse suite amid feminine gaiety as she opens a plain, white, mail shipping box. Susan opens the box to a black and white manuscript titled, “Nocturnal Animals,” by Edward Sheffield, Susan’s former husband and first true love.

 

In dramatic fashion, Ford begins a journey into the past yet grounded in the present as the manuscript opens up a world fictional, yet etched within Susan’s consciousness. Using parallel storylines, present and fictional coupled with flashbacks to when Edward and Susan first met and the ensuing courtship and short-lived marriage. Laura Linney, plays Susan’s West Texas Republican mother, and delivers some of the film’s more memorable lines during a martini lunch where she unleashes her verbal diatribe lambasting Susan for even considering a marriage to “weak’ Edward. Notwithstanding, however, the real storytelling takes place within the pages of the manuscript. Self-reflective and dramatic the narrative is full of conflict and escalating tensions as a husband and wife, Tony and Laura Hastings, played respectively by Jake Gyllenhaal and Isla Fisher, travel at night across rural West Texas with their teenage daughter, India, played by Ellie Bamber. Without even as much as a lit billboard, out of a pitch dark blackness a vehicle approaches the family’s suburban mid-sized car at a high-rate of speed. The car is driven erratically and its occupants are behaving wildly as they pass. Not too much to worry about until they decide to force the Hastings car off the road. Mayhem ensues as the hellions carjack the Hastings vehicle with the women inside leaving Tony on the side of the road in the dark by his lonesome. Soon a vehicle returns to pick up Tony. He’s informed he gang leader wants to make amends and that Laura and India want Tony brought to where they are being held hostage. Fearing the worst Tony manages to escape and eventually makes his way to a law enforcement office to make an abduction/missing persons report to lawman Bobby Andes, played by Michael Shannon. Susan is shocked and awed at the power of Edward’s writing and the visceral strength of Edward’s character, Tony. By the end of the manuscript, Susan’s life perspective has shifted as she and Edward make plans to meet.

Unquestionably, Ford delivers an emotional and psychological thriller with Nocturnal Animals. Superb acting, exquisite production values and strong storytelling are the film’s hallmarks. Shane Valentino (Straight Outta Compton) handled the film’s production design. Seamus McGarvey (Godzilla, Atonement, The Avengers) provided the cinematography. Costuming was assembled by Arianne Phillips (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Walk The Line, 3:10 To Yuma). Abel Korzeniowski (A Single Man, We) orchestrated the music. Along with directing Ford takes a screenplay writing credit along with Austin Wright, the author of “Tony and Susan,”  for writing the novel the film is based on. Nevertheless, the Casting Director, Francine Maisler (The Revenant, Birdman, The Big Short, 12 Years a Slave) and performances by the actors are above and beyond. This is a Don’t Miss film waiting for Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences nominations. The Oscars.

TRAILER: Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals

From writer/director Tom Ford comes a haunting romantic thriller of shocking intimacy and gripping tension that explores the thin lines between love and cruelty, and revenge and redemption. Academy Award nominees Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal star as a divorced couple discovering dark truths about each other and themselves in Nocturnal Animals.

A Focus Features presentation of a Fade To Black production. A Tom Ford Film. Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal. Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Karl Glusman, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Sheen. Casting by Francine Maisler, CSA. Costume Designer, Arianne Phillips. Music, Abel Korzeniowski. Film Editor, Joan Sobel, ACE. Production Designer, Shane Valentino. Director of Photography, Seamus McGarvey, ASC, BSC. Co-Producer, Diane L. Sabatini. Based upon the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright. Produced by Tom Ford, p.g.a., Robert Salerno, p.g.a. Screenplay by Tom Ford. Directed by Tom Ford. A Focus Features Release.

(Excerpt from Nocturnal Animals Press Notes)

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(ctr l-r.) Academy Award nominees Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon star as Tony Hastings and Bobby Andes in writer/director Tom Ford’s romantic thriller NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, a Universal Pictures International release. Credit: Merrick Morton/Universal Pictures International

Wrap Up: 73rd Venice International Film Festival Continues to Mesmerize

 

I attended my first Venice International Film Festival at the Cinema del Palazzo complex in Lido this year from the Pre-Opening Night event August 30th through Closing Night September 10th, 2016 as an accredited media entity.

 

The Venice Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world with a history dating to 1932. This year was the 73rd edition showing little signs of its age. Steeped in glamor and tradition, the festival remains a testament to the cinematic arts with its viewing venues and its programming.

 

 

Set in Lido with a plethora of screens each only a score or two steps away, these hallowed cinema grounds created a magical setting  adorned with cafes, raised walkways, and abundance of shade trees.

 

 

 

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Last night and final view of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

 

The real magic, however, took place inside the cinema!

 

Leading the way were the spell-binding performances of Lily-Rose Depp and Natalie Portman in Planetarium from Director Rebecca Zlotowski.

 

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Planetarium Director, Rebecca Zlotowski. (Photo courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema)

 

Award-winning, Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, took home the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize  for Best Film.  Nocturnal Animals captured my eye and imagination with it’s captivating story lines, exceptionally rich, mise-en-scen and wildly, powerful acting. Damien Chazelle and crew mesmerized audiences with their dazzling La La Land.  The lovely Emma Stone received the Best Actress Silver Lion Volpi Cup for her heartful, soul-revealing performance as Mia.

 

 

 

 

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Director Lav Diaz, left, with Ang Babaeng Humayo film delegation at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema)

 

This year’s Golden Lion for Best Film went to Lav Diaz for his painstaking drama, Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left), an epic story with a runtime of 226 minutes. The film follows one woman rediscovering her homeland after a 30 year stay in a correctional facility.

For a complete list of winners click here.

 

Other noteworthy films, not already mentioned, included: Paradise, a Russian Federation film, set amidst the Nazi WWII reign of terror (Director Andrei Konchalovsky garnered Silver Lion for Best Director for his Paradise efforts); Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey, winner of the 5th Green Drop Award awarded by Green Cross Italy to films that bring attention to the values of ecology and sustainable development; Jackie, Pablo Larrain’s portrait of the iconic First Lady, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Noah Oppenheim won Best Screenplay for Jackie); and Orecchie, a Biennale College – Cinema Production, directed by Alessandro Aronadio and produced by Costanza Coldagelli.

 

 

A special note of thanks to this year’s ushers for their efforts in ensuring my safety and well-being at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. Until next year, Ciao’!

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Ushers at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

 

 

*Featured photo courtesy of Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee

Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals

From writer/director Tom Ford comes a haunting romantic thriller of shocking intimacy and gripping tension that explores the thin lines between love and cruelty, and revenge and redemption. Academy Award nominees Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal star as a divorced couple discovering dark truths about each other and themselves in Nocturnal Animals.

Susan Morrow (portrayed by Ms. Adams) lives an incredibly privileged yet unfulfilled life with her husband Hutton Morrow (Armie Hammer). One weekend, as Hutton departs on one of his too-frequent business trips, Susan receives an unsolicited package that has been left in her mailbox. It is a novel, “Nocturnal Animals,” written by her ex-husband Edward Sheffield (Mr. Gyllenhaal), with whom she has had no contact for years. Edward’s note accompanying the manuscript encourages Susan to read the work and then to contact him during his visit to the city. Alone at night, in bed, Susan begins reading. The novel is dedicated to her…

…but its content is violent and devastating, as Edward tells the tale of Tony Hastings (also portrayed by Mr. Gyllenhaal). Driving across a lonely stretch of Texas one night, Tony and his family are harassed by a trio of joyriders, and forced off the road into a confrontation initiated by the gang’s ringleader, the disturbingly insinuating Ray Marcus (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Tony is all but powerless to act as his family is kidnapped and he is left stranded. When day breaks, Tony manages to reach the police for help, and laconic Lieutenant Bobby Andes (Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon) takes on the case. Andes forges a strong connection with the distraught Tony, and dedicates himself to pursuing the suspects once Tony’s worst fears are realized…

Moved by Edward’s writing, Susan cannot help but reminisce over the most private moments from her own love story with the author. Trying to look within herself and beyond the glossy surface of the life and career that she has made, Susan increasingly interprets the book as a tale of revenge, a tale that forces her to re-evaluate the choices that she has made, and re-awakens a love that she feared was lost – as the story builds to a reckoning that will define both the novel’s hero and her own.

 

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(l-r.) Academy Award nominees Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon star as Tony Hastings and Bobby Andes in writer/director Tom Ford’s romantic thriller NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, a Universal Pictures International release. Credit: Merrick Morton/Universal Pictures International

 

This is a beautifully shot film. With credits being overlaid, the spectacular opening sequence, complete with confetti special effects, not only sets the tone for a splendid cinematic experience, it also provides psychological value into Amy Adams’ character, Susan while illuminating the film’s contextual structure and framework. Furthermore, I can’t say, I’ve seen a better cast film. Jake Gyllenhaal continues to expand his acting repertoire as Edward. Michael Shannon turns in a powerful, tour de force performance as a cancer-striken Texas lawman. Laura Linney nails the role of aristocratic mother to Adam’s Susan – delivering a few of the film’s most memorable lines. But the actor that caught my attention above and beyond was Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a wild, log-haired, maniaical, hellion leading the vicious roadside assault inside Edward’s novel. In addition, Armie Hammer, Isla Fisher, Michael Sheen, Andrea Riseborough, and Karl Glusman all give compelling performances. My hat off to Francine Maisler for her casting.

For a second directorial effort, Ford makes a phenomenal leap. His first effort, A Single Man, starring Colin Firth, is an exceptionally solid film. Most enjoyable with considerable depth. Notwithstanding, Nocturnal Animals is a whole other beast – it’s powerful storytelling with strong production values encapsulated in a style that spans genres utilizing techniques in the form of cross-cutting, parallel story lines, flashbacks and real-time moments without confusion. Brilliant work!

A must see film…

 

A Focus Features presentation of a Fade To Black production. A Tom Ford Film. Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal. Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Karl Glusman, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Sheen. Casting by Francine Maisler, CSA. Costume Designer, Arianne Phillips. Music, Abel Korzeniowski. Film Editor, Joan Sobel, ACE. Production Designer, Shane Valentino. Director of Photography, Seamus McGarvey, ASC, BSC. Co-Producer, Diane L. Sabatini. Based upon the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright. Produced by Tom Ford, p.g.a., Robert Salerno, p.g.a. Screenplay by Tom Ford. Directed by Tom Ford. A Focus Features Release.

(Excerpt from Nocturnal Animals Press Notes)