One film that looks like a keeper, which is rare in January’s usual schedule of bad films, is the animated flick Mary and the Witch’s Flower. Based on the 1971 children’s book The Little Broomstick, the narrative centers on Mary (Ruby Barnhill) who goes on a journey with an old broomstick and a Fly-by-Night flower, a rare plant that appears once every seven years.
Mary’s travels take her to above the clouds and into Endor College, a magic school that is run by Madam Mublechook (Kate Winslet) and Doctor Dee (Jim Broadbent). Winslet and Broadbent previously worked together in the 2001 feature Iris.
Directed by When Marnie Was There filmmaker Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Mary and the Witch’s Flower hits theaters January 18. Check out the trailer and tell us what you think!
Now out on Blu-ray and DVD, the first rate adventure/romance drama The Mountain Between Us centers on two strangers who are stranded in a remote area with little hope for survival. Photojournalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) and brain surgeon Ben Bass (Idris Elba) were the passengers on a chartered plane which crash lands in this snowy and unforgiving environment, and now both have their own viewpoints on how to proceed. Ben is determined to stay near the crash site and wait for help while Alex wants to traverse new ground in hopes of finding civilization. Though the dead pilot’s (Beau Bridges) dog is also a part of the story, The Mountain Between Us is essentially a visually arresting two hander. Filled with spot on performances between the leads, the feature also is blessed with natural chemistry between Elba and Winslet, and their growing affection towards each other is palpable.
Click on the media bar below to hear Winslet talk about shooting in the high altitudes featured in The Mountain Between Us:
The Blu-ray version comes with several featurettes, and audio commentary from director Hany Abu-Assad, and deleted scenes. The fourteen minutes worth of cut scenes are, like most of the film, beautiful eye candy, and it’s interesting to hear Abu-Assad’s commentary on why these scenes are left out. There’s a particular scene in a cave which is particularly eye-catching, but the filmmaker makes a point to show that each of these sequences repeated similar beats that were already part of the story.
The Mountain Between Us is now available on Blu-ray and DVD viaFox Connect.
Filmmaker Woody Allen is often praised for his witty dialogue and the A-list ensemble he manages to collaborate with in each of his features. Allen’s features, however, are also blessed with a beautiful visual sense. During what some may considered his creative peak, Allen extensively worked with cinematographer Gordon Willis (Annie Hall, Manhattan, Broadway Danny Rose). Allen’s work with Carlo Di Palma was also revered thanks to their work on Hannah and her Sisters, Bullets over Broadway,and the criminally underrated Shadows and Fog.
Allen’s latest director of photography choice is Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, Reds), and Storaro’s painterly, golden light was evident in last year’s Cafe Society and now with Wonder Wheel.
Click on the media bar to hear Allen discuss working with Storaro, who’s considered one of cinema’s most talented cinematographers:
Wonder Wheel, starring Kate Winslet and Justin Timberlake, is now playing nationwide.
Filmmaker Woody Allen’s latest New York story is set in 1950s Coney Island, as Wonder Wheel centers on a waitress named Ginny (Kate Winslet) who’s trapped in a loveless marriage with a carousel operator (Jim Belushi). Justin Timberlake plays Mickey, a lifeguard and wannabe playwright who seemingly offers Ginny a way out of her melancholy state of mind.
“I was just overwhelmed by the magnitude of all these characters,” said Winslet, who was recently seen opposite Idris Elba in The Mountain Between Us. “In particular Ginny, the character I play – she’s so multi-layered and very rich and complex and emotionally very powerful.”
The project reteams Allen with acclaimed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, Reds), as they recently worked together on Café Society. Click on the media bar to hear Allen talk about the Coney Island that is envisioned in Wonder Wheel:
Wonder Wheel, co-starringJuno Temple, opens nationwide December 1.
Various Woody Allen films have placed one foot firmly in the past (Radio Days, last year’s Café Society), and now Wonder Wheel takes a look back at 1950s Coney Island.
The story centers on the inevitably intersecting lives of an ex-waitress turned actress named Ginny (Kate Winslet), her rough and tumble carousel operator spouse Humpty (Jim Belushi), Humpty’s estranged daughter (Juno Temple), and a wannabe playwright (Justin Timberlake). Along with Allen’s continuing employment of a stellar ensemble, the director again teams with renowned cinematographer Vittorio Storaro(Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor) for his latest feature. Storaro and Allen worked together on Café Society.
We’ve interviewed Allen over the years, and one of his many wonderful insights has his talking about why the advantages of fame outweighs its eventual price. Click on the media bar below to hear Allen:
Wonder Wheel opens in select theaters December 1. Check out the trailer below and leave us a comment!