Widows (Film/Movie Review) – Steve McQueen’s Best Work So Far

Widows is heist film directed by Steve McQueen that is based on the 1983 ITV series of the same name. The movie features a large ensemble cast that includes Carrie Coon, Jacki Weaver, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Brian Tyree Henry, Colin Farrell, Cynthia Erivo, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez and Viola Davis.

The story of Widows focuses on a group of women who attempt a robbery. They do this to pay back a crime boss after their criminal husbands are killed when a heist goes terribly wrong.

My Expectation For Widows

Steve McQueen has not directed a film since 12 Years a Slave. While a harrowing film to watch, it is a very good movie and it went on to garner an Oscar for Best Picture. This was a huge achievement for Steve McQueen.

Clearly, given his past success and the long gap between 12 Years a Slave and Widows, anticipation for Widows has been high amongst film fans. Moreover, the great reviews this movie received certainly increased the hype for Widows, at least for myself anyway.

As a minimum, I was confident that Widows would be a good film and if it did indeed showcase itself as a movie worthy of award recognition then that would be brilliant. With a cast this great, an interesting premise and a director who has shown his worth as a storyteller with 12 Years a Slave, everything was looking good.

My Thoughts On Widows

I liked 12 Years a Slave but I personally think that Widows is a step above in quality and it is Steve McQueen’s best film to date. I had a great and enjoyable time with this movie.

It has fantastic acting, confident direction that is evident in McQueen’s clever use of the camera at certain points in the film and a well-crafted story with depth, twists and mystery. All of this combines beautifully to make a great film and it also helps to negate some pacing issues that Widows has.

I mentioned that the film has great acting in it and that comes from every member of this ensemble cast. Everyone delivers but I have to say that Daniel Kaluuya and Elizabeth Debicki were the standouts for me. They were both terrific in very different ways and the arc that Debicki’s character goes on in Widows is one of the best in the movie.

Widows also really impressed me with how it dealt with important issues such as political corruption, police brutality and racial profiling. It is a film that showcased these issues in an impactful way but, at the same time, it also had the usual thrills of a heist film embedded into its story.

My Final Thoughts on Widows

When we consider all of this, Steve McQueen deserves a lot of credit and I would love it if he and the film was recognised at the 2019 Oscars because Widows is, in my eyes, the best film that he has directed. I can only hope that his next film comes much sooner than Widows did.

widows review

Film News – Scoot McNairy Discusses Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

With upcoming roles in True Detective Season 3 and the Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Scoot McNairy is set to have a great 2019 when it comes to his career in the entertainment industry. In an interview with Collider, Scoot McNairy had the chance to speak about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Scoot McNairy had this to say on working with Quentin Tarantino on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood:

I think this one definitely stands alone, within his expertise of making movies. Honestly, the experience on set was so great and so fascinating to me that what I got most out of it was the time that I was able to spend there, working with all them, and working with this tight knit crew. It was just great.”

I wish all movies were made the way that Quentin makes them. There’s a certain spirit on set, where everybody there wants to be there, and is excited to be there, and they love what they’re doing, and they’re excited about the project. That’s just really contagious. Also, his process and the way that he does it, I’ve never been on a set like that in my life.”

It feels like you’re making movies from the 1930’s. It the organic, raw, way of making films, where everything is in camera. He doesn’t even have a monitor. He just stares at you, next to the camera. It’s fascinating.”

[Once Upon a Time in Hollywood] was probably one of the greatest experiences of my career. Just to watch Quentin be on set and be Quentin, and hold court, was one of the most fascinating things I have probably ever experienced in the movie business. It was an amazing, awesome experience. I would give anything to do it again.”

Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here at theturnertalks.com as well as my reviews which you can also all find at sp-bx.com.

Film News – Screenwriter Christina Hodson On Bumblebee + Batgirl

Bumblebee is a Travis Knight directed film that has been a gift from the gods for many fans of the Transformers franchise. Indeed, these fans have been given a Transformers movie that ticks all the boxes for them. This is something that Michael Bay’s Transformers films did not do. The screenwriter for Bumblebee was Christina Hodson and, in an interview with Variety, she had the opportunity to discuss Bumblebee.

Bumblebee

Here is what Christina Hodson had to say on how the idea for Bumblebee came to her:

In 2007, when Spielberg was doing the press tour for the first [Transformers] movie, I remember him saying that for him, Transformers was this very simple, very timeless notion of a boy and his car. I always thought that makes so much sense.”

I have very fond memories of when I was 12 and I got in my dad’s old BMW. I was washing it, and I remember turning the key in the ignition for the first time, and I wasn’t really meant to. You know that magical feeling when you’re a small person and you turn the key of this big hunk of metal? It just felt like the most magical, forgive me, but transformative thing.”

And I’ve always just loved the idea of taking that to the next level. Pretty early on, I knew I wanted to tell the story of two broken people who are healing each other. So the broken girl and the broken car kind of felt like a romantic notion.”

Batgirl

Christina Hodson also discussed how writing for Batgirl compares to writing for other DC characters like Harley Quinn:

I’m in the middle of falling in love with her. I always feel differently at the beginning, middle, and end […] Harley just feels like my crazy alter ego. When I’m feeling nuts, that’s what Harley is. And Batgirl…honestly it’s funny, there’s a little piece of me in every character I write. They start with me, and then they take on a life of their own. She’s been through so many iterations.”

There’s certain characteristics of hers that are always there that I’m excited to develop further. Whenever I’m writing a character who’s based on someone who’s existed in a previous form, whether it’s comics or a movie or anything, I always hope to bring something new to them and bring them to life in their own way, even if they fairly iconic like Harley Quinn or Batgirl.”

I think fans want the original, to be honest, but they also want to see something they haven’t seen before.”

Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here at theturnertalks.com as well as my reviews which you can also all find at sp-bx.com.

Film News – Steve Coogan On Stan & Ollie

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are starring together in a biopic about iconic comedy duo Laurel & Hardy. The film is called Stan & Ollie and it is going to be released in UK cinemas very soon. So far, this movie has received positive reviews and, in an interview with Collider, Steve Coogan was given the chance to discuss Stan & Ollie.

Stan & Ollie

This is what Steve Coogan had to say on what motivated him to play Stan Laurel in Stan & Ollie:

I had written with Jeff Pope before. I wrote a film called Philomena with Jeff, and it was at the Oscars five years ago. Jeff and I had been writing lots of stuff, in between that. He was my writing partner, but he had written this by himself.”

He said, ‘Would you be interested in playing Stan?,’ and I heard that John C. Reilly was in the offering for Oliver. So, I thought, if John C. Reilly agreed, then I would be in. To me, a green light for me doing it would be if John agreed to it.”

And then, Jon S. Baird, the director, came and met me, talked to me, and had to decide whether he wanted me. I just started talking like Stan and doing an impersonation. Really, I just didn’t want anyone else to do it, although it was a bit of a responsibility.”

Also, anything you do, if you do interesting stuff, you’ve got to carry the risk of failure. Otherwise, you just play safe, all the time. If you’re creative, you can get very bored, very quickly, so you need to roll the dice, and I thought this was worthwhile.”

Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here at theturnertalks.com as well as my reviews which you can also all find at sp-bx.com.

Film News – Guillermo del Toro Discusses Roma + Pinocchio

Guillermo del Toro is one of the most respected creative talents working in the entertainment industry today. After his success with The Shape of Water, I am confident that he will not be short of appealing projects to work on.

At a recent appearance at the Marrakech Film Festival, he gave an exclusive interview to Collider and discussed Roma, a film directed by his friend Alfonso Cuaron, as well as his upcoming live-action remake of Pinocchio.

Roma

Here is what Guillermo del Toro had to say on the possibility of Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma winning Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars:

The beauty of Roma is that you have a guy who wins the Oscar with Gravity, makes all the money in the world and that is his choice of next film. That is extremely beautiful. He’s not only told a great story in Mexico but in black and white.”

“He’s told a story that nobody tells. It’s about his own childhood, but he didn’t choose to tell it from the point of view of the kid. That movie moves me so much. It’s one of my five favourite movies ever made. It’s Number Five.”

Pinocchio

Guillermo del Toro also gave his reasons as to why he wanted to tell the Pinocchio story in a live-action form:

As a kid I felt a kinship with the figure of Pinocchio, not in the happy way or a good boy way. I was very interested in whether he can be himself and be loved. Does he have to turn into a real boy to be loved? Why can he not be loved exactly the way he is? Why can we not be the imperfect children of loving parents? Those are the things I connect with.”

Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here at theturnertalks.com as well as my reviews which you can also all find at sp-bx.com.

Film/TV News – Steve Carell Discusses Welcome to Marwen + The Office

In recent years, Steve Carell has diversified his portfolio by doing a mix of comedic and dramatic roles in films. Indeed, for every Anchorman 2 there is a Foxcatcher and this has showcased the range Steve Carell has as an actor.

Welcome to Marwen is one of his upcoming films and, at a press day for this movie in Los Angeles, Collider interviewed Steve Carell about Welcome to Marwen. He also spoke about The Office, the TV show that really propelled his career to new heights in the entertainment industry.

Welcome to Marwen

Steve Carell had this to say on the reaction he had when he found out that it was director Robert Zemeckis who had the rights to Welcome to Marwen:

Wow! I was a little overwhelmed. I just decided to take a chance, and I’ve never done that before. I’ve never felt compelled to go after something the way that I did this. The themes of the story touched me because it’s about love and hate.”

I’m not telling anyone how to feel about the film, but what I thought, going in, was that here’s a guy who experienced a very traumatic episode in his life, and the way he was able to come out the other side and find a path of healing through his art, was so beautiful and so inspiring. And the fact that from something so ugly came something so beautiful, just really touched me.”

The Office

Steve Carell also spoke about whether he has any desire to reprise his role as Michael Scott in any reunion of The Office and whether The Office would ever come back in the first place:

I’ll tell you, no. I feel like I’m a broken record, talking about this because I get asked about it. The show is way more popular now than when it was on the air. I just can’t see it being the same thing, and I think most folks would want it to be the same thing, but it wouldn’t be.”

Ultimately, I think it’s maybe best to leave well enough alone and just let it exist as what it was. You’d literally have to have all of the same writers, the same producers, the same directors, and the same actors, and even with all of those components, it just wouldn’t be the same. So, no.”

But, I love the show. It was the most exciting time, and all of those people are my friends. We all love it. It was a special thing. It was a special thing before people thought it was a special thing. It was special to us, before other people started feeling that way. But, no.”

Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here at theturnertalks.com as well as my reviews which you can also all find at sp-bx.com.

Film News – Nicolas Cage On Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse + Mandy

Eccentric actor Nicolas Cage could not have picked two more radically different films to star in 2018 than Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mandy. These movies operate in completely different genres and mediums of film but they have both been well received by movie critics. In a wide-ranging email interview with Collider, Nicholas Cage discussed both Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mandy.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Here is what Nicolas Cage said on what he did to channel noir icons such as Humphrey Bogart into his vocal performance for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse:

Nothing specific but more of a recall, more of a collage of memories, to try and bring some kind of flavor or color of it – but nothing 100%. It’s still very fluid. It’s more of an essence of the way those guys would talk in their movies back in the 30s.”

Mandy

Nicolas Cage had this to say on the one thing from the filming of Mandy that will stick with him forever:

We were trying to get this one shot after Red already had the skull juice and turned into a golem of sorts…and he is about to grab one of the cult children and throw him against the tree and Panos had to have it happen just right. It was all about timing, the speed in which I would get him against the tree.”

We did that shot about 15 or 20 times – which we never had happen before, and after I looked at Panos and said ‘That was the shot from Hell.’ and he looked at me and took about a two-second beat and he said, ‘Well, they are all from Hell.’”

Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here at theturnertalks.com as well as my reviews which you can also all find at sp-bx.com.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Film/Movie Review) – Trash of the Highest Order

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a fantasy film directed by David Yates with J. K. Rowling returning to write the screenplay for this sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It is the second instalment in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and the tenth in the Wizarding World franchise that began with the Harry Potter movie series.

The Crimes of Grindelwald features a large ensemble cast that includes Kevin Guthrie, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Callum Turner, Johnny Depp, Zoe Kravitz, Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Eddie Redmayne.

The story of this movie focuses on Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). He is instructed by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to help take down the escaped dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).

My Expectation For Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The mixed reviews for The Crimes of Grindelwald were a real disappointment to see. I wanted to go into this film full of confidence that it was going to be good but I could not muster any optimism. My pessimism was also influenced by the fact that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them did not hold up on a repeat viewing.

I still think the first Fantastic Beasts film is a decent movie but it was not as good as I remembered it to be when I first watched it in 2016. Consequently, my expectations for The Crimes of Grindelwald were pretty low. Still, surely the film could not be as bad as some of the reviews made it out to be.

My Thoughts On Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is absolute trash. A bad and boring first and second act are topped by a gigantic turd of a third act that had me crying with laughter at its absurdity. The whole cinema was silent and I could not contain myself; I was streaming tears with how ridiculous the last half-hour of the film was.

In its defence, there are things in The Crimes of Grindelwald that I thought were positives. No one gives a bad performance and Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore is the standout. He is very good as Dumbledore and everything in the first and second act that had to do with him and Hogwarts was enjoyable to watch.

Indeed, the best scene of the film is when Dumbledore solemnly looks into the Mirror of Erised. This was a great link to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the Dumbledore/Grindelwald relationship. It was a great piece of visual storytelling.

The Negatives Of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

However, there is more bad than good in this film so let us move on to everything else in The Crimes of Grindelwald that ranges from bad to atrocious. For one, the film is woefully paced. I mentioned earlier that the first and second acts are boring and this was all down to how sluggish this film feels. For a lot of the time, it was a real struggle to be engaged with what was happening in The Crimes of Grindelwald.

I also thought that a decision made by Queenie (Alison Sudol) came out of absolutely nowhere. The reasons for this decision being made were not established well and it was one of many examples of the overall poor storytelling in this film. Still, the biggest crimes that The Crimes of Grindelwald commits is how, firstly, the universe is made smaller by ridiculous twists and connections between characters that contradicts established canon.

Indeed, it was a certain exposition scene which explained a mysterious part of the plot that started off my uncontrollable laughter but I was already laughing at parts of the film prior to this. The other huge crime is that this movie is not fun and for a Wizarding World film to not be fun is an utter disgrace in my opinion.

I also thought the lighting was awful. I was straining to see what was going on at various times during the movie. All of these overwhelming negative aspects absolutely establish Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald as the worst film I have seen in 2018.

Fantastic Beasts 2 The Crimes of Grindelwald Film Movie Review

 

Film News – Cinematographer James Laxton On If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins has, for many, followed up Moonlight with a film as equally impressive in the form of If Beale Street Could Talk. From the reviews I have read and/or watched for this movie, one of the qualities that unites both Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk is the impressive cinematography.

James Laxton was the cinematographer for both films and, in an exclusive interview with Collider, Laxton had the chance to speak in-depth about If Beale Street Could Talk.

If Beale Street Could Talk

One of the things James Laxton discussed was the initial conversations he had with Barry Jenkins about If Beale Street Could Talk:

So I guess I knew about Beale Street not long after Moonlight, in terms of when it was discussed. He wrote them at the same time, so being a close collaborator of Barry’s, I learned about Beale Street around the same time that I learned about Moonlight and then making Moonlight first, but this story and this movie adaptation was long coming.”

That’s something I think is a good benefit of Barry and I, we get to hash out ideas over the course of months if not years of sharing thoughts and perspectives about a project long before we even get to the set.”

So while we like to use natural light and work quickly, the basic vocabulary of films, and the more fleshed out concepts of what we apply on screen kind of comes from having conversations weeks, months, years back. So I learned about Beale Street somewhere around 2016 probably, 2015 maybe even.”

And yeah I think the early conversations were just sort of poking at the surface of an idea of what the language of the film could be. Closer to when the production started, during pre-production I think we talked about sharing Mr. Baldwin’s written vocabulary—how he writes, his style of writing—to try and adapt that to the screen in terms of how do we move the camera.”

Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here at theturnertalks.com as well as my reviews which you can also all find at sp-bx.com.

Film News – Laurence Fishburne On Apocalypse Now + His Career

Laurence Fishburne is an actor who commands respect. Indeed, his roles in classic movies such as The Matrix, Boyz n the Hood and Apocalypse Now as well as his role as Perry White in the DCEU have given him a successful career in the film industry.

He has no plans to stop now with upcoming roles in John Wick 3 and Clint Eastwood’s The Mule. In an interview with Collider at the Marrakech Film Festival, Laurence Fishburne discussed Apocalypse Now and his career in general.

Apocalypse Now

Laurence Fishburne had this to say on how important Apocalypse Now was for him:

That movie was really the beginning of me thinking of myself as an artist. It was the beginning of my understanding of cinema, it was the beginning of my understanding of the world, because I was suddenly taken out of Brooklyn and I was in the Philippines in the middle of Asia.”

I was in a place where most of the people looked like me, so it opened up a whole world of possibilities. My work with Francis on Apocalypse Now and all the films I did afterwards with him (The Cotton Club, Rumble Fish, Gardens of Stone) really shaped me and formed me as an artist.”

His Career

Laurence Fishburne also spoke about whether he has seen any progression in the film industry from his perspective as a black actor:

Things have been changing. People have been trying to change things throughout my career. For people of color, for women, for everybody and I think now people are succeeding in a way that we haven’t seen before. So it’s a great time.”

Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here at theturnertalks.com as well as my reviews which you can also all find at sp-bx.com.