House Logo

Armie Hammer (#110 of 9)

Luca Guadagnino’s Gay Love Story Call Me by Your Game Gets First Trailer

Comments Comments (...)

Luca Guadagnino’s Gay Love Story Call Me by Your Game Gets First Trailer

Sony Pictures Classics

Luca Guadagnino’s Gay Love Story Call Me by Your Game Gets First Trailer

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino’s upcoming Call Me by Your Name, adapted by James Ivory from a novel by André Aciman, first earned plaudits at its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Less than a month later, at Berlinale, our correspondent on the scene praised the film for the way that Guadagnino funnels the romanticism of the film through an intimate character-based perspective. Call Me by Your Name, which has already been pegged as an Oscar contender, tells the story of the verbally and physically charged relationship that develops between a 17-year-old boy, Elio (Timothée Chalamet), and the older Oliver (Armie Hammer), the new assistant to Elio’s archaeologist father (Michael Stuhlbarg).

Berlinale 2017: Call Me by Your Name Review

Comments Comments (...)

Berlinale 2017: Call Me by Your Name Review

Sony Pictures Classics

Berlinale 2017: Call Me by Your Name Review

Those put off by the aesthetic flashiness of Luca Guadagnino’s prior two features, I Am Love and A Bigger Splash, may be surprised by Call Me by Your Name’s relative stylistic restraint. The film, based on a 2007 novel of the same name by André Aciman, traces the maturation of Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), but the story’s coming-of-age arc is so delicately rendered that audiences may not even realize the growth Elio has made until they’ve had time to reflect on his behavior after the credits have rolled.

Romantic desire, both acted-on or sublimated through gestures, was the subject of I Am Love and A Bigger Splash, one that Guadagnino reflected through his impulsive filmmaking style. The roving camerawork, the lurid colors, and the operatic soundtracks all served to viscerally evoke passion, so much so that the characters at times barely needed to say any words to each other for us to grasp how they felt at any given moment.

Toronto Film Review Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation

Comments Comments (...)

Toronto Film Review: Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation

Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto Film Review: Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation

In one of the few clever directorial flourishes from Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, a young Nat Turner, a slave on a Virginia plantation, sees the white mistress, Elizabeth Turner (Penelope Ann Miller), of his household leave a book on the back of her rocking chair before heading indoors. A POV shot of the child slave noticing the book cuts to a shot of the boy running back to his parents’ quarters and, then, a final shot that returns to the chair to find it gently rocking, the book now gone. When the lady of the house discovers his literacy, it’s only her fascination with his ostensibly rare intelligence that saves his life. The sequence of the child’s boldness to steal a book, just so he can read, is arguably more rife with a sense of genuine defiance and danger than the portrayal of the adult Turner’s (Parker) shepherding of a slave revolt throughout Southampton County, Virginia.

Toronto Film Review Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire

Comments Comments (...)

Toronto Film Review: Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire

Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto Film Review: Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire

A location-contained action film, Free Fire charts a weapons sale gone wrong when a petty personal issue between henchmen of both buyer and seller set off a firefight that rages through an abandoned factory. Director and co-writer Ben Wheatley uses the derelict concrete and metal that fill the facility to set up a few clever ricochet shots, adding to the pandemonium of a group of well-armed individuals firing blindly at one another in a conflict that doesn’t so much escalate as immediately scale a cliff.

Toronto Film Review Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals

Comments Comments (...)

Toronto Film Review: Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals

Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto Film Review: Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals

Fashion designer du jour Tom Ford could only go up from the travesty he made in 2009 of Christopher Isherwood’s superb 1964 novel A Single Man, one of the greatest, most complex works of queer fiction (hell, of fiction in general), which he transformed into a visually garish, monotonously self-pitying dirge. With Nocturnal Animals, an adaptation of Austin Wright’s 1993 novel Tony and Susan, he’s found a much more apropos subject: Superficial Los Angelinos behaving superficially. As long as the emotions have all the depth of a Vogue or Vanity Fair cover, Ford’s in his element.

Oscar Prospects: J. Edgar

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar Prospects: J. Edgar
Oscar Prospects: J. Edgar

It’s extremely fitting that Clint Eastwood uses film in J. Edgar to illustrate changing public opinion, charting the evolution of America’s view of law enforcement as it was reflected by Hollywood, with screenings of James Cagney’s crime-denouncing G Men replacing those of its pro-gangster predecessor The Public Enemy. Such cinematic shifts in perspective are directly applicable to Eastwood’s work, as the 81-year-old has had one of the more erratic late careers of any active filmmaker. The Oscar-favored Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby marked a marvelous artistic peak, and led to a wave of grand ambition and varying success. Good and bad were neatly juxtaposed with Letters From Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers, while the appealingly self-reflective Gran Torino was followed by the insufferable Invictus and the listless Hereafter. Though already panned by some, J. Edgar is likely to readjust viewers’ mindsets yet again, as it’s Eastwood’s most accomplished movie since 2004. All but gone is the palpable detriment of his hasty shooting style, which in recent years has yielded a great many subpar takes. And while there will be those who’ll dismiss J. Edgar as textbook-ish, its adamant leafing through history proves increasingly fascinating, and for Eastwood, the film represents not a return to form, but a new horizon.

AFI Fest 2011: Introduction and J. Edgar

Comments Comments (...)

AFI Fest 2011: Introduction and <em>J. Edgar</em>
AFI Fest 2011: Introduction and <em>J. Edgar</em>

Isn’t it positively joyous to get excited about something on the horizon? The feeling of honest and pure anticipation is truly infectious, and for me there’s nothing like an upcoming film festival to get the heart pounding. Film festivals are a special kind of wonderland for cinephiles, a place where rare and unreachable experiences suddenly becomes personal. AFI Fest 2011 represents this kind of opportunity for many Southern California filmgoers, screening pertinent works previously unveiled at Berlin, Cannes, Venice, and Toronto. This year’s edition feels extra special, as if the programming hive mind heard the screams of cinephiles everywhere yearning for more challenging films by underrepresented directors as opposed to simply promoting the traditional Oscar bait.

Bookened by Clint Eastwood’s long awaited J. Edgar (more on that below) and Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, this year’s AFI Fest showcases a number of West Coast premieres throughout its week-long run from November 3—10. A few big screen experiences to target: Roman Polanski’s Carnage, Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky’s The Turin Horse, Oren Moverman’s Rampart, and Gerardo Naranjo’s Miss Bala. For more adventurous cinephiles, the International and New Auteurs/Young American sections will be a prime hunting ground for new talent, including challenging work from Julia Lokkev, Nuri-Bilge Ceylan, Aleksandr Sokurov, and Yorgos Lanthimos. Also of interest is a special sidebar on indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg, who has three films (Silver Bullets, The Zone, Art History) premiering at the festival. Most important of all, though, may be the Friday-night screening of This Is Not a Film, by imprisoned filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb. It’s sure to be an unforgettable experience for those who care about the future of cinema.