by DuongApt at Yesterday, 03:27 AM
The actor also shared a pretty humorous story about his nephews illegally downloading the movie before its North American release date.

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Liam Neeson did not have much faith in Taken when they first shot the movie. He figured it would open quietly in Europe and then go straight to VOD. However, the movie ended up earning over $225 million globally from an initial budget of $25 million. It was obvious that a sequel was going to be made and we've even made it to Taken 3. Neeson was pretty shocked by the success of the movies, which have collectively earned nearly $1 billion at the global box office.

While Taken was a hit at the box office, it was not a hit with the majority of critics. Most of the reviews called the action movie fun, but also "brainless" fun, which doesn't sound too flattering. Whatever the case may be, viewers immediately took to the movie and Liam Neeson's performance as Bryan Mills. Liam Neeson had this to say about his original thoughts on the movie.

Quote:"I've said this before, and no offense to Robert Kamen, our wonderful writer and my pal, but I thought, 'Well, this is going to go straight-to-video. A short little European thriller, it might play okay for a couple weeks in France and then it will go straight-to-video.' But it did well in France and then it went straight to South Korea, and it did very well there."

Before Taken made it to North America and other parts of the world, Liam Neeson's nephews had a chance to watch the movie. Neeson had no idea how they were able to do so since the movie wasn't widely released at that point. As it turns out, they illegally obtained it, which made the actor feel like it was truly the end of the road for the project. Neeson explains.

Quote:"And then I was getting calls from my nephews in Ireland, saying, '[Stoner voice] Um, Uncle Liam, we saw your movie.' I said, 'Which one?" They said, 'Um, Taken.' I said, 'What do you mean? You couldn't have seen it.' They said, 'Well, we downloaded it from South Korea.' I said, 'You can't do that! What are you talking about?!' So I thought, 'My nephews are breaking the law,' which really pissed me off, and also I thought, 'Well, that's it. If you can download it, it's gone into the ether.' But Fox took it and they very cleverly did a good trailer and put it during various sporting events around the country and they made it a real success. I remember the first weekend it came in at No. 3, and then it came up to No. 2 and then No. 1, and then it went down to No. 4, and it came up to No. 3 again. It just had this extraordinary cycle. That's where it started, and then there were plans to do a second one and a third one, of course. So it was luck, and you need some luck in this business."

Liam Neeson really had nothing to worry about. Word of mouth spread about Taken from all over the globe, which helped its fate at the box office and opened the doors for two sequels. The first installment hit theaters in 2008, while the following two opened in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Fans of the franchise are still holding out hope that a fourth installment will be made.

However, even after a successful Taken TV series, Liam Neeson isn't interested in returning for a fourth movie. When asked about the chance of a possible sequel in 2016, Neeson said, "No, there's not. There's only so many times your daughter can be taken." The actor then joked, "Actually if we do have another it will be, 'Please can you take my daughter?'" Despite the humor, Neeson really has no plans of returning to the franchise.

It's also good to point out that Liam Neeson didn't think Taken 3 was ever going to happen. When asked about it in 2012, the actor said, "I don't see [a third film being made]. I don't think it's going to happen. I really don't." He concluded by noting, "I can't see a possible scenario where audiences wouldn't go, 'Oh, come on! She's taken again?'" He was able to pull it together again. But it looks like fans will have to settle with a trilogy and a TV series. The interview with Liam Neeson was originally conducted by Entertainment Weekly.
by clarkkenallstar at 08-09-2020, 02:56 PM
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Madonna has found a new quarantine activity. The singer teased at a screenplay she’s working on with Juno writer Diablo Cody with a short Instagram video.

In a black-and-white video posted to social media platform on Friday, Madonna and the Oscar-winning scribe sit on a couch discussing the details of their upcoming music-centered project. As the Tully screenwriter types  on her laptop, her collaborator asks her to consider what’s coming up next in the script.

“When the music starts, what’s the song?” Madonna asks Cody. “All these details are important. They’re important.”

Madonna, whose three-album deal with Interscope Records has come to an end, per Billboard; captioned the video, “When you’re stuck in a house with multiple injuries what do you do.? Write a Screenplay with Diablo Cody about [film and music emojis]?”

The video then pans to feature a table covered in different notebooks and papers. The teaser also sees Cody and Madonna discussing an outfit the “Like A Virgin” singer once wore. The latter goes on to describe the clothing ensemble, mentioning garters, her iconic cone bra and a double breasted suit coat.

“Et voilà, an iconic costume,” Madonna says before sticking two nuts up her nostrils.
by clarkkenallstar at 08-09-2020, 02:53 PM
‘Knight Rider’ Feature In The Works From Spyglass Media & James Wan; TJ Fixman Scripting
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EXCLUSIVE: Spyglass Media Group has teamed with Atomic Monster’s James Wan and Michael Clear to develop a film based on the 1980s classic action series Knight Rider. TJ Fixman, a former video game writer, is adapting the screenplay.

Created by Glen A. Larson, Knight Rider first aired on NBC from 1982-1986 and boosted David Hasselhoff’s career. It’s about a high-tech car named KITT that assists the mysterious crime-fighting driver Michael Knight (Hasselhoff).

The series amassed a significant cult following and spun more TV spinoffs, films, video games, books, and a Knight Rider convention known as KnightCon.

Plot details for this latest installment are being kept under wraps but we hear it will be a present-day take that will maintain the anti-establishment tone of the original.

Judson Scott will serve as executive producer.

As a video game scribe, Fixman wrote and developed Ratchet and Clank and Resistance: Fall of Man. On the film side, Fixman has sold a number of scripts Including One Night On the Hudson to Universal Pictures, Brotherhood of Magic to MGM, and Men Who Kill to Fox with Greg Berlanti producing and Michael B. Jordan starring. Most recently, he sold his original pitch Rogue to STX with David S. Goyers’ Phantom Four producing and feature pitch Legacy to Village Roadshow with Phantom Four producing. Fixman is repped by Grandview and Ziffren Brittenham.

Atomic Monster has upcoming Malignant for Starlight Media and Midas Innovation, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It for New Line Cinema, There’s Someone Inside Your House for Netflix, and Mortal Kombat for New Line.

Wan’s reps are CAA, Stacey Testro International, and Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light LLP.
by clarkkenallstar at 08-09-2020, 02:47 PM
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Actor Robert Pattinson said he lied to filmmaker Christopher Nolan to make it to the screen test for superhero film, 'The Batman'.

In an interview, Pattinson recalled his attempt to sneak away from 'Tenet' set for his 'Batman' audition. He said that he cited 'family emergency' for his absence from the sets of 'Tenet', but the filmmaker was quick to figure out the truth.

"It's funny because Chris is so secretive about everything to do with his movies," Pattinson said, adding: "And then I had to be really secretive about Batman stuff. So I had to lie to Chris about having to go for a screen test a" I said I had a family emergency. And as soon as I said 'it's a family emergency' he said: "You're doing the Batman audition, aren't you?'"

Nolan is known for putting his own spin on Batman with the 'Dark Knight'trilogy.

Pattinson credits 'Tenet' for helping him get in shape for the role of the caped crusader.

"When I'm running on screen I'm generally paired with John David (Washington) who is an ex-NFL player so it was the most unfair thing in the world. The maximum workout I do most of the time is a casual stroll. John David can run all day long. It was good that I ended up being pretty fit. But definitely, at the beginning, there were days I just could not walk afterwards," Pattinson said.

Nolan's 'Tenet' has been described as "an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage". The second trailer of the film came with hints of 'inversion' versus time travel as a part of survival. The latest trailer of the action thriller gives a glimpse into the mission that the protagonist secret agents, essayed by Pattinson and Washington, embark on, in a time-bending mission to prevent World War III.

The support cast includes Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Caine, Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Clemence Poesy. The film has been shot across seven countries India, the US, the UK, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, and Norway.
by DuongApt at 08-08-2020, 06:35 AM
Ryan (Paul O’Brien) is a former assassin that has retired, and is living on his yacht, somewhere near Indonesia.

He soon befriends a local boy and his mom, but this fragile new acquaintance is soon shattered, when local thugs, involved in kidnapping and selling young girls into prostitution, run over the boy with a car. This is enough for Ryan to explode, turning into a bloody assassin he once was.

As he prepares to go on a killing spree to finish off the thugs. He finds out they’re connected to an enemy of his past…

Well, director/writer Corey Pearson is indeed sending one damn bloody message with this film of his. This is while Pearson has done only two films to date. Message Man (Loi Nhan Sat Thu) being one of them, and he wrote and directed both films. So for now, “Message Man” definitely sends a message that Pearson knows his action. If he ever decides to follow it up.

As we already know, there have been some really amazing Indonesian action movies released in the last 10 years or so, and “Message Man” fits nicely somewhere in between them. Of course “Message Man” isn’t on the level of “Raid” and “Raid 2”, but it is pretty damn close.

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Action scenes are well shot, they’re bloody, but not in an excessive amount as in the mentioned “Raid” films. By the way, “Message Man” does have a nice connection to the “Raid” films: Alfridus Godfred, who played a machete-armed maniac in “Raid”, basically reprises his role in “Message Man”.

Speaking of the lead, Paul OBrien. He handles himself nicely throughout the film, including the fight scenes. O’Brien, until now, has mostly been known for his Australian “Home and Away” soap opera series. He may not be too much of an attraction in terms of being a known action star.

Overall, Corey Pearson makes a solid, bloody action film (phim hanh dong sat thu), with mostly Indonesian actors, that are getting more and more recognition. “Message Man” isn’t on the same level as “Raid”, but is a really fine addition to Indonesian action films.
by clarkkenallstar at 08-08-2020, 04:50 AM
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Sony has secured a China release for Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-winning Little Women, with the film set to bow in the Middle Kingdom on August 25.

The movie, a re-telling of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel starring Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson and Eliza Scanlen as the March sisters, alongside Timothée Chalamet, has been a hit in international markets, grossing north of $100M since it rolled out in January. It has also taken $108M stateside.

China’s cinemas have been getting back to business in a meaningful way in recent weeks after the coronavirus lockdown. Earlier today, Warner Bros confirmed it had secured a September 4 date for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, following its re-releases of the director’s Interstellar and Inception.

The country saw $17.6M cume across all releases this past weekend, a scratch on where it had been pre-pandemic but still 35% up on the previous session. The signs of recovery are looking positive.
Little Women was up for six Oscars earlier this year, winning the Costume Design award for Jacqueline Durran.
by clarkkenallstar at 08-08-2020, 04:48 AM
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EXCLUSIVE: Looks like Paramount’s plan to next make the Star Trek movie that Noah Hawley wrote and plans to direct has been put on pause for a moment. New film chief Emma Watts, who managed many a franchise at Fox, is in the process of figuring out which way to go.

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The pause on the Hawley project, which had been in soft prep, prompted rumors this week that the filmmaker might exit, but that has not happened yet, sources said. Deadline revealed in 2019 that Hawley made a deal on Trek — the Fargo and Legion EP was driven by his love for the original series, just like JJ Abrams when he directed the first installment. The other two possibilities are the one that The Revenant’s Mark L. Smith wrote for Quentin Tarantino to direct (Deadline broke that one late 2017), and another that was going to bring back the original cast — at one time with talk that Chris Hemsworth would return and play Chris Pine’s father in a time travel narrative. S. J. Clarkson was attached to direct but exited for Game of Thrones.

What we’re hearing is that both the Hawley pic — which calls for a new cast and might be about a deadly virus which might feel awkward given current circumstance — and the Smith version — Tarantino dropped out as director, but the project is still viable based on an episode of the classic Star Trek series that takes place largely earthbound in a 30s gangster setting — might serve the franchise best as Logan-like spinoffs when the core franchise has been revitalized. The other one But that the other one might have the cleanest path toward a relaunch, with an emphasis on boosting overseas gross numbers which have never been the franchise’s strong suit. These decisions will take place over the next few weeks.

Star Trek continues to be a monster franchise for ViacomCBS, so they want to make sure they get it right. One reason the Hemsworth-Pine version stalled is the high price of keeping the original cast in place. Between Fargo and a book he is completing, Hawley (who made his directing debut on the arthouse pic Lucy in the Sky) has plenty to keep him occupied. Stay tuned.
by clarkkenallstar at 08-08-2020, 04:44 AM

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Troublesome indeed. The last time this issue came to a boil, with a real serious attempt to actually take away two each of the contractually-guaranteed writer and director primetime Emmy presentations was in 2009. I happened to be a member of the TV Academy Board of Governors then representing the writers branch. It was very similar reasoning at the time. Emmy ratings were going down and the Academy was concerned.

A key proposal for that year’s show was to move Variety and Limited Series (then known as Miniseries) writer/director awards to the Creative Arts ceremony. This did not go down well with my branch as you might imagine.

At one board meeting my co-Governor Margaret Nagle and I made an impassioned plea to save our spot on the show, and though some were sympathetic, we lost the vote. Someone leaked this to a trade — not us — and the battle became a particularly brutal one. We became the enemy in the boardroom for a while.

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Fortunately we had the WGA behind us, plus that contract which I waved around during our argument, but it took covert coordination with the WGA in particular, a full page ad of support in the trades signed by more than 100 showrunners, and an information campaign launched at the TV Critics’ press tour all about that year’s Emmy show plans. We had details of the attempt by the Academy against writers and directors placed under every out of town critic’s hotel room door so the questions would be sure to come up during the panel, and they did.

Ultimately it was that year’s producer, ironically Mischer, who helped put the kibosh on the whole plan by pointing out he didn’t want a lot of miserable nominees in the audience since it was their show. Victory was ours. And though I am no longer on the Board, I have not heard of any attempt by the Networks or the Academy to seriously reduce writing and directing awards on the telecast in the decade since.

There actually was an idea floated to spin off the Limited Series/TV Movie awards in their entirety, maybe even sell it as a separate Emmy show to HBO, but it went nowhere.
Even the actors branch had a close call when the Academy attempted to take Supporting Actor/Actress off the telecast. But after loud complaints from the actors’ branch that plan was wisely deep-sixed before it was ever tried.

Even with the daunting logistics of doing a virtual Emmy show with live feeds from the homes of all the nominees (an excuse I hear may be made), I can’t imagine producer/host Jimmy Kimmel and his team can’t find some way to stay true to the agreement made with the WGA and the DGA on behalf of their nominated members.

By the way the other two categories being relegated to Creative Arts this year are TV Movie and Variety Sketch Series. Variety Talk Series however stays on the primetime telecast. Among the nominees: Jimmy Kimmel Live. 

Finally, ever since I reported last week about a letter sent to all the Emmy nominees — at least to those still in the ABC telecast — with details on how to act and dress in this stay-at-home pandemic Emmys, I have been asking around about what select nominees think about this weird turn of events for their big night. Here are some of the responses I got during my zoom conversations.

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Hugh Jackman, nominee for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie, Bad Education: 

“We have to keep safe, but at least from the waist up I will be dressed. I promise you that. Unlike the actual Emmys I might have a slight bar just behind the camera there. I am not gonna tell you who but I remember hosting the Oscars and I looked down and a certain movie star, who is still a movie star, during the commercial break took out a little hip flask and I thought, ‘yes, that’s how you do it’, but at least in this situation you don’t have to have it stuffed in your pocket.”

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Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, nominees for Lead Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series, Schitt’s Creek:

LEVY: “I think with Jimmy Kimmel involved, and with ABC, I think for a virtual production it is probably going to be as highly produced as you can get for virtual you know. I don’t know whether they are going to have people hooked up in a live sense in terms of nominees. I am not sure about that but that’s what I have kind of heard. It is going to be strange because you are going to be celebrating with whoever you are going to be celebrating with at home, everybody in their own little pod and making believe we are all together in some giant theatre.”

O’HARA: “As far as the audience goes it is the same. It is on a screen. It’s the same experience for the viewing audience that they hope to get for this but really the big difference is for those of us who are invited to the Emmys. We aren’t getting dressed up, we don’t have to go anywhere, and we don’t have a party so it’s really the people who are involved that will be different. For the audience it’s the same experience.”

LEVY: “My son [Daniel Levy, nominated for four Emmys for Schitt’s Creek] has been tossing around the idea that we are doing an Emmy party at the house in Toronto. He’s been going around saying ‘I think we are going to be getting a tent in the yard and having some people over, socially distanced for an Emmy party.’ He hasn’t talked to me about it yet, but it doesn’t sound like a half bad idea to be honest.”

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Rachel Brosnahan, nominee for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

“I’m thrilled, thrilled maybe to be able to wear pajamas on the bottom. It will be sad not to be in the same space with so many of the nominees, and having had that experience a couple of times, just to see the energy and be with other performers and designers and people you admire. It will be missing that element which is sad but it will be more comfortable than any awards show that has ever happened. And now my dog can come to the Emmys for the first time ever.”

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Holland Taylor, nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie, Hollywood
“Are we going to have everybody at home with a laptop and computer ready to turn it on, and then they say, ‘Oh no you don’t have to turn yours on?’ Oh my god. I can’t believe it, but we will all trudge forward. Actually the nomination really is the honor. It’s extraordinary to be selected and what it really means is most of us of are playing really wonderful roles.“

Amen to that, Holland. and good luck to all of you — virtually, of course.
by clarkkenallstar at 08-08-2020, 04:44 AM
Notes On The Season: Oscars Nix Screenings; Emmy Controversy?; Drive In Campaigning; Nominees Stay Home

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A column chronicling conversations and events on the awards circuit.

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Emmy season remains in full swing with the so-called phase two running on all cylinders now that nominations are out and so too will ballots be ready for online voting beginning on August 21 and running through the end of the month.

But we begin today with news about Oscar season and word that, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is continuing its shutdown and will not be holding any in person events through the end of the year – at the very least. Notably this means there will be no in-theater member screenings in Los Angeles, New York, the Bay Area, or London this fall, further complicating the already cloudy picture of just what the season will look like after the Fall Festival circuit has already gone through massive change and upheaval, including the out and out cancellation of Telluride’s Labor Day weekend must-stop event.

This all means Academy members will likely to be continuing watching films through the Academy Screening Room digital service, or on DVDs, which will still be available to AMPAS voters for one more season before being ditched in favor of permanent downloading. Of course in the Academy hubs of LA and NY especially it is questionable when even commercial theatres will be up and running again, and the Academy’s closure of their own theatres just reinforces the problem the industry is facing as contenders jockey to be seen in the best possible light. AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson shared the news in an email to members earlier today:

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“As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues, your health and safety, and that of the Academy staff, remains our primary concern. For this reason, we’ve decided it’s in everyone’s best interest for Academy staff to continue working remotely through the end of the year.

“As a result, we will not be hosting in-person live events, including in-theater member screenings in Los Angeles, New York, the Bay Area, or London this fall. I understand what a loss—however temporary—this is. I dream of seeing a movie in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater soon. And we will! But it’s essential to act with an abundance of caution and care during this time.

“Through the Academy Screening Room you will still have the opportunity to view films in contention for the 93rd Oscars from the comfort and safety of your home. You can access the Academy Screening Room through our Apple TV 4 app and through the online member portal. And we will continue to provide stimulating virtual programming and events throughout the fall and beyond. There is so much planned, and we look forward to bringing it all to you. The Academy will always be a place to gather and celebrate the art of motion pictures, even if virtually for now.

“As always, please stay safe. I send my warmest wishes to you and your loved ones for good health.”

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Now back to Emmy season. Fortunately, the Television Academy doesn’t have to deal with problems surrounding getting contenders seen on the big screen. The nominees were designed of course knowing they would be seen on smaller screens, so even though they’ve planned FYC events in their lavish Wolf Theatre and had to cancel all of them, much like their Motion Picture Academy counterparts are doing, the experience of seeing a TV show on TV is of course no big deal.
Oscar campaigners and perhaps the Academy itself might want to take a clue from Disney which will be hosting (with the help of Deadline) a Disney Drive In Series – From Your Car. That’s right. The Mouse House has taken over the Rose Bowl for nightly screenings, dinners, and virtual panels of contenders from brands like Disney+, Hulu, ABC, FX, NatGeo, and Disney Television Studios. It kicks off Tuesday with ABC’s Black-ish and will be followed by The Mandalorian, What We Do in the Shadows, Little Fires Everywhere, The World According to Jeff Goldblum, and Live in Front of a Studio Audience.

The Rose Bowl was recently used by the Tribeca Film Festival to stage their own series of film presentations, so it seems to work nicely as a popup drive in. You can imagine Oscar hopefuls may also find a way to engage voters with this outdoor big screen experience too.

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Meanwhile, that kind of clever Emmy campaign idea is just one clever example we are seeing in the final weeks of the season. At least one hopeful for Documentary or Non-Fiction series is taking a cue from its own subject and echoing her presidential campaign by sending out red, white and blue bumper stickers this week saying : “HILLARY for Outstanding Documentary Series” I’m with her.
Nice to see Mrs. Clinton is back in the race, even if it’s not for the White House this time. What would Emmy loser Donald Trump have to say if his nemesis actually wins?

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On Thursday I reported on the Television Academy’s news that the Emmy presentations next month would be stretched out to six — count ’em, six — nights culminating with ABC’s primetime broadcast on Sunday September 20. In the piece I mentioned (though the Academy’s release curiously didn’t) that four categories had been eliminated from the now virtual Emmy show, reducing the number of awards given out on national broadcast TV that night to 23. Two of them were Variety writing and directing awards. The writers and directors have had a longtime agreement through their respective guilds, the WGA and DGA to waive the otherwise considerable fees for use of clips on the Emmy show in return for an iron clad guarantee that each would have four awards – comedy, drama, Limited Series, Variety – presented on the broadcast. It is contractual and spelled out in a joint legal agreement with the Academy.

The Academy had no comment for me when I reached out to ask about what might seem like not such a momentous thing to the layman, but to those closely involved has been a long-standing and hard-fought big deal. My colleague Nellie Andreeva further revealed late yesterday that when she inquired both WGA and DGA reps said – on the record – that it was news to them. They said they have had no talks with the Academy about giving up one of their televised awards (instead to be shuffled off to one of the five Creative Arts ceremonies).

As Andreeva points out, the attempt to reduce writer and director categories is not a new one and has come up more than once, with networks favoring more face time for recognizable stars due to dwindling ratings for the show. Andreeva even got a quote from frequent Emmy show producer and guild member Don Mischer in this regard.

“It’s tough producing the telecasts because you are serving two masters — you are trying to help the network get high ratings and trying hard to have people on the show who are recognizable to viewers across the country,” Mischer said. “But as a director, I can say unequivocally that directors are incredibly important to television as an audio-video medium, and the attempt to cut them out is incredibly troublesome.”
by DuongApt at 08-08-2020, 04:43 AM
There are few people in Hollywood who can be considered living legends on par with 76-year-old Robert Redford. And with all he’s done for independent film with his creation of the Sundance Film Festival. He continues to direct his own movies, rarely going in directions that might be expected while exploring drama with a political bent.

For his latest movie, Redford works from a script by veteran screenwriter Lem Dobbs (“The Limey,” “Haywire”) that tries to create something akin to “All the President’s Men,” and though the basis of the story is based in the reality of the Weather Underground. The characters and situations in The Company You Keep (Truy Tim Cong Ly) are fictionalized.

After an introduction to the Weather Underground via newsreel footage. We’re brought into the story as we watch Susan Sarandon’s Sharon Solarz being arrested by the FBI. You may wonder why the FBI are so persistent about going after wanted criminals thirty years after their crime. But that’s only one of the questions that may persist while watching the movie. We then meet Redford’s Jim Grant. A lawyer who has been contacted to help Sharon, who may have a connection to the Weather Underground.

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In fact, Grant is wanted for the murder of a security guard during a bank robbery by one faction of the Weather Underground. But knowing his innocence, he leaves his teen daughter with his brother (Chris Cooper). And goes looking for his former colleague Mimi Lurie. Who can vouch for the fact Jim wasn’t there on the day of the bank robbery. Even if she’d have to turn herself in to clear him.

Dobbs has written another strong dialogue-heavy script, which takes a two-pronged course. Following Shia LaBeouf’s Ben Shepard as he looks for answers while Jim Grant tries to reconnect with his former colleagues in order to find Mimi. Redford is good. But he’s clearly become a stronger director than he is an actor. And playing a role that involves a lot of running around and keeping ahead of the FBI. A bit like a significantly older Jason Bourne, only goes so far. Whatever you want to say about Shia LaBeouf. The kid can act, and his half of the movie, following a journalist trying to track down answers. Makes for a far more interesting movie than watching a 70-year-old man trying to outrace the FBI. Surprisingly, they only have a few scenes together.

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Robert Redford has assembled an impressive ensemble of fine actors around them from Chris Cooper to Brendan Gleeson to Richard Jenkins and Sam Elliot, many of them just popping up for a scene or two and then they’re gone. Meaning some are more memorable than others, depending on their amount of screen time. Considering how little we get to see Julie Christie on screen anymore. She deserved a much more prominent role. Although she brings more to her scenes as Mimi than many of the others.

Likewise, Susan Sarandon has a great moment with LaBeouf in prison. But then she disappears for the rest of the movie and surely Stanley Tucci could have been given a stronger role than Ben’s boss at the Albany Chronicle, a performance he literally could give in his sleep. Terrence Howard doesn’t come off as a very good choice for the FBI agent looking for Grant while Anna Kendrick’s FBI agent serves very little purpose to the overall story, so this is a classic case of a story involving too many characters, mostly introduced to try to make things more interesting, but just muddling things up.

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Shepard eventually learns that Grant had a baby daughter with Mimi and he follows her to Ann Arbor, Michigan. But as terrific as Brit Marling is in the role of the grown-up daughter unaware of her parents’ history. It’s the type of plot turn that adds very little to the story. Without it, the film would have been perfectly fine and maybe 20 minutes shorter, which would ultimately improve it. This review comes from
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