Director/writer Dean Devlin, best known for his Independence Day and Stargate screenplays, is behind the camera with the underrated disaster epic Geostorm. Recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, the picture had a worldwide gross of $220 million, but it should have received much more attention stateside (it reached just $33 million in receipts).
For one, Gerard Butler is an engaging protagonist as Jake Lawson, the creator of the network of satellites that has kept Earth from succumbing to natural disasters and the destructive effects of climate change. Lawson’s understandable aversion to authority leads to his eventual unemployment, but he’s needed three years later when a “geostorm” threatens the planet.
Jim Sturgess is Jake’s brother Max, a career driven climber in politics who’s tasked by his superior (Ed Harris) to enlist Jake for the latest mission, with Abbie Cornish starring as Max’s girlfriend (and agent) Sarah. Andy Garcia rounds out the A-list cast as the President, a man who, upon seeking reelection, may be a conspirator behind the latest satellite debacle.
Click on the media bar below to hear Butler talk about working with Geostorm co-star Jim Sturgess:
The Blu-ray comes with the featurettes “Wreaking Havoc,” “Search for Answers,” and “An International Event.” In the “Search for Answers” segment, Devlin added that he rifles through his first draft of a screenplay in a quick manner to give even more time for the succeeding drafts and edits. He also adds that Geostorm’s idea came from his own daughter, who asked him why there wasn’t a big machine to actually combat climate change.
With wildfires, earthquakes, and hurricanes wreaking havoc on the Earth, Geostorm’s plotline has a bit of resonance.
On the one hand, the story of the sci-fi action flick has Gerard Butlerplaying an astronaut who must shut down the intricate network of satellites he created to defend against Mother Nature. Independence Day scribe/producer Dean Devlin makes his directing debut with Geostorm.
Amidst all the special effects and action, Butler also appreciated the film’s moments of intimacy, as the brotherly bond between Jake (Butler) and Max (Jim Sturgess) is one of the film’s strongest elements.
“It’s almost a coming of age story for my character,” said Butler. “For a movie of this size, it’s an epic movie and it’s a lot of different things but it’s rare to be able to play a character that has so many facets in such a big movie.”
Click on the media bar below to hear Butler talk about working with Sturgess:
Co-starring Abbie Cornish and Eugenio Derbez, Geostorm opens October 20.
'Lavender' Director Ed Gass-Donnelly. Photo CR: Ed Gass-Donnelly
Lavenderis a thriller filled with twists and turns that, partly thanks to its vivid cinematic compositions, demands a second viewing. The plotline centers on Jane (Abbie Cornish), a photographer whose unbalanced mental state stems from repressed memories of her family’s murder. As she slowly pieces the clues to her past, Jane is faced with supernatural elements which have a profound effect on her day to day reality.
Director Ed Gass-Donnelly describes his film as a “puzzle without a box,” and one of the movie’s greatest assets is enabling the story to organically breathe. If you’re expecting jarring jump cuts or a bevy of cheap scares, then you’ve come to the wrong movie.
“I definitely feel that tension is much more interesting than release,” says Gass-Donnelly. “To paraphrase (Alfred Hitchcock), if you were to see a bomb go off under a table while two people are having lunch, you scare the audience for one second. But if you show the bomb and then you watch people eat, then everybody is filled with all this tension. And I think that’s what I find fundamentally more interesting, because it engages the imagination.”
Lavender is filled with several visually eye-catching moments that, one of which includes a freeze frame sequence that shows instances of the family murder. This moment was shot way before the whole mannequin challenge fad, and it’s a scene that should appeal to movie buffs who love visually driven compositions.
Abbie Cornish as Jane in the thriller film “LAVENDER” an AMBI Media Group release. Photo courtesy of AMBI Media Group and Samuel Goldwyn Films.
“I find moments of magic where you can do something so simple and it feels magical,” says Gass-Donnelly. “The way we shot the opening sequence is comical. There’s been a whole fad of people doing this on the internet but it was everyone holding their breath and (us) running really fast with a Steadicam (laughs). (We) were shooting the scene at 150 frames per second, or something like that. We couldn’t afford the rigs from The Matrix and it was all about the strong placement of a few elements.”
Thanks to filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Brian De Palma, the moving image will always be a seductive art form. Filmmaker Martin Scorsese once remarked that many films of today, however, lack a certain level of visual composition. Thankfully, filmmakers like Ed Gass-Donnelly are carrying that mantle.
“The one sort of downside (with digital cinema), I think, is just because you can pick up a camera and tell a story doesn’t necessarily mean you should,” adds Gass-Donnelly. “Because you can just sort of create lazy or haphazard filmmaking. Verité is a totally valid style, but I do think there’s been a culture of a little bit of laziness when it comes to composition and framing and formality.”
Lavender, co-starring Dermot Mulroney and Justin Long, is now playing in select theaters and is available on Digital HD and VOD.
Logan, inspired by the critically acclaimed graphic novel Old Man Logan, is presumably the last installment of the Wolverine franchise. Hugh Jackman returns as the titular character, but this time out he’s a mutant who’s simply tired of living.
Now a limo driver who uses his money to buy meds for his aching body, a bordering on dementia Professor X (Patrick Stewart), and a mutant named Caliban (Stephen Merchant), Logan burdened with his share of responsibilities. When a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) with similar powers to Logan enters his life, he begrudgingly helps her escape the clutches of Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), the head of a group of soldiers who are tasked of retrieving the girl.
James Mangold, who previously helmed The Wolverine, directs this existential and compelling narrative, and Logan harks back to Mangold’s earlier, gritter offerings (most notably Copland and 3:10 to Yuma). The feature is one of Jackman’s best performances on cinema, as he effectively captures Logan’s tortured spirit. If this is Jackman’s last Wolverine movie, the franchise definitely went out with a bang (hopefully he will continue the role in future X-Men films).
Also covered this week is Lavender, a thriller about a photographer (Abbie Cornish) who understandably still can’t shake the murder of her family members. Dermot Mulroney co-stars as the woman’s uncle, withDiego Klattenhoffas her husband. Filled with its share of twists, Lavender is a visually arresting and atmospheric mystery that should appeal to fans of the genre.
Click on the media bar below to hear this week’s episode of CinemAddicts:
Logan and Lavender (also available on VOD and Digital HD) hit theaters March 3.
Actor Joel Kinnaman (TV’s The Killing) lands his biggest role to date as the lead in the upcoming RoboCop remake. During last weekend’s Comic Con, Kinnaman claimed that the remake had one big change from its predecessor.
“The big difference from the original to our version is that Alex doesn’t die,” says Kinnaman. “They manage to save his life and he’s amputated from the throat down pretty much and he has some form of respiratory system inside the armor. Over the course of the movie he has this internal battle with the artificial intelligence and his own soul, his own humanity. That was the challenge to portray that and that’s what I think we were able to do.”
Click on the media bar to hear Joel Kinnaman talk about the “jaw acting” he did for Robocop.
Robocop, which co-stars Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, and Michael Keaton, is set for a February 7th, 2014 release.