Having been a huge fan of most films that Focus Features has released especially lately I thought I would just put all of the upcoming releases that have trailers and share my thoughts in one post instead of four separate ones. Last year Focus brought us many different types of films ranging from the action-thriller, “Hanna
” to the romantic comedy-drama, “Beginners
”. And over the years Focus has been a company that has produced and distributed many films that have gotten Oscar nominations and or wins. Those films such as “Billy Elliot”, “Lost in Translation” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Atonement” and “The Kids Are All Right” have shaped the way stories are being told and have shown us that there is still plenty of originality out there if you just look. I’m hoping that this year will just be another great year for Focus Features and the films they produce and distribute will get the attention they rightfully deserve.
Being Flynn (In Select Theaters March 2)
Although “Being Flynn” is already out in limited theaters I thought I would share my thoughts on the trailer since I have not idea when or if I’ll get to see it in theaters. What attracted me to this movie is of course the cast involved and also Paul Weitz as director. Paul Dano who has been on my radar since I first saw him in “Little Miss Sunshine” seems to be a somewhat understated actor and in this he seems to be showing his array of emotions though the character of Nick. But from what I hear it seems that Robert De Niro is more the person to watch as he demonstrates his settle turn to paranoia that brings to mind his role in “Taxi Driver”. Overall a story such as this is never something that mainstream audiences would find all that interesting even thought it might just be. A true story about a young writer going though life or “gathering material” as De Niro’s character puts it, and eventually trying to reconnected with his elusive troublesome father. While that might not sound like the most original concept I believe that is not the point, that it’s the performances done that are what makes this a good or bad movie for whoever sees it.
Being Flynn is the new dramatic feature from Academy Award-nominated writer/director Paul Weitz (About a Boy). Adapted from Nick Flynn’s 2004 memoir Another Bulls—t Night in Suck City, the movie explores bonds both unbreakable and fragile between parent and child.
Nick Flynn (portrayed in the film by Paul Dano of Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood) is a young writer seeking to define himself. He misses his late mother, Jody (four-time Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore), and her loving nature. But his father, Jonathan, is not even a memory, as Nick has not seen the man in 18 years.
Jonathan Flynn (two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro) has long defined himself as a great writer, “a master storyteller.” After abandoning his wife and child, Jonathan scrapes through life on his own terms. Despite the occasional grandiose letter to his son, he has remained absent from Nick’s life.
Suddenly facing eviction from his apartment, Jonathan impulsively reaches out to Nick and the two come face-to-face.
Evocatively told, ruefully funny, and moving in its depiction of the ties that bind, Being Flynn tells a story that reveals universal truths.
Moonrise Kingdom (In Select Theaters May 25)
Now with “Moonrise Kingdom” it looks to be another interesting choice of material for the great and creative mind of Wes Anderson who brought out such classics as “The Royal Tenenbaums”, “Rushmore” and of course the adaptation of Ronald Dahl’s book “Fantastic Mr. Fox”. Anderson like with other directors likes to work with past cast members such as Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. But he is also known for getting some of today’s top actors/actresses like Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Bruce Willis. As such Anderson looks to have discovered two new faces that look like they will fit into his world well and will be able to carry the movie. “Moonrise Kingdom” like with Anderson’s previous works shares that same unique look at a world of more intelligent kids that act more like adults than they should as seen in “The Royal Tenenbaums”. Of course the kids aren’t the only ones with interesting and quirky personalities. The same can be said about their parents and the groups associated with them. Together those features are what makes Anderson’s works different from most and entertaining all the same. And with the back drop of the mid 1960’s, it make the story fit all the more together. So with that I look forward to seeing how this story unfolds this summer.
Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, MOONRISE KINGDOM tells the story of two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore — and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle. Bruce Willis plays the local sheriff. Edward Norton is a Khaki Scout troop leader. Bill Murray and Frances McDormand portray the young girl’s parents. The cast also includes Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as the boy and girl.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (In Theaters June 22)
Moving on to the sci-fi comedy “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”. Like with “Moonrise Kingdom”. this too has ignited my interest not just because of the cast that features Steve Carell. Keira Knightley and Melanie Lynskey
, but because of it’s director Lorene Scafaria. To most her name might not seem familiar but to some it will as she wrote the adapted screenplay for the over-looked film “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist”. That being said that is what mostly drew me to this movie as I felt her adaptation hit all the right notes in making the “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” so great. Although “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is her directorial debut I think that she has envisioned a great and entertaining story about the end of the world approaching and trying to find meaning of it all. Having cast Carell with play to the strengths of the movie as he is a very talented comedian and is great at playing some part straight. And as for Knightley who isn’t particularly known for doing comedies seems to fit well and is able to keep up with Carell. In the end this is one of my most anticipated movies of the summer and can’t wait to see it.
Set in a too-near future, a man searches for a meaningful connection as humanity’s last days are at hand. Can he find his greatest love at the worst possible time? As the respective journeys of Dodge and Penny converge, the two spark to each other and their outlooks – if not the world’s – brighten.
ParaNorman (In Theaters August 17)
Now onto the last movie in this list “ParaNorman”, which is a stop-motion animated film of the same variety as “Coraline” (which was done by the same company). This time though the story deals with a misunderstood kid named Norman who can talk to the dead and now has to save his town from a curse. That being said it sounds like a very interesting tale that might appeal to adults more than kids, which isn’t unheard of just look at last year’s “Hugo
” and “The Adventures of Tintin” . It looks to be high energy as Norman must figure out how to save his town, with the help of his one friend and his family. It features an all-star cast voicing the characters, some include Kodi Smith-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, John Goodman, Jeff Garlin, and Leslie Mann, among others. Overall “ParaNorman” looks like it will be a fun ride as it delivers a multi-genre adventures for the end of summer and if it’s predecessor (“Coraline”) is any indication it might end up being Oscar bait as well.
The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteams the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated “Coraline.” “ParaNorman” is, following “Coraline,” only the second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. In “ParaNorman,” a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.