When it comes to biopics, there often seems to be one main argument: “How important is historical accuracy?”. Many movies are created by using real life events as inspiration, and in fact, the first screenplays were written by reporters using pulled-from-the-headlines stories for fodder. When most audiences see films that tout the “based on a true story” qualifier, they are inclined to believe that the film is telling what really happened, rather than what every film must do which is take a story and use it to create an engaging and cohesive plot. Life does not usually have a clear story arc, so one needs to be created out of part of a person’s life to make it interesting or relatable. I have never felt that accuracy is as important as crafting realistic characters with a well-rounded and affecting story. What I do care about is when a director takes a real story and injects such melodrama in it that it is unrecognizable from what would happen in real life. It is because of this predilection that I had assumed I would not like Sully, Clint Eastwood’s newest film about the heroic pilot who saved 155 passengers after losing the plane’s engines. I was expecting a film following a harrowing plane crash, with one man single-handedly saving the day. Luckily, I could not have been more wrong.
On paper, Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven has all the makings of a fun popcorn flick. The film, which is a reimagining of the 1960s film of the same name — itself a remake of Seven Samurai (1954) — reunites Fuqua with Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, the actors from arguably his most acclaimed film, Training Day (2001). It’s story comes from an Akira Kurosawa film, arguably one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. Its genre, The Western, has had somewhat of a resurgence in recent years, with True Grit (2010), Django Unchained (2012), and The Revenant (2015), among others, showing us that the genre still has life in it. Despite all this, the film does not really do what it sets out to do. Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven is not the exuberant, thrilling, or even interesting film it seems to think it is, but rather a lukewarm rehash that’s existence has no real purpose, aside from every remake’s purpose of making easy money. It does not even live up to the adjective in its name. Keep reading ›
Films adapted from novels are incredibly common. Nowadays, it is more likely to see an adapted film than a truly originally one. These novels often make it easier on the screenwriter and director, as the story is there, all that is left is figuring out how to make it into something visual. Sometimes, an incredible book comes along that seems impossible to adapt on to the screen without losing what makes it brilliant. Room was one of these books. Lenny Abrahamson did the impossible, and adapted it for the screen, creating a beautiful and poignant film. Keep reading ›
Jason Reitman’s Live Reads are events unlike any other. Once a month at LACMA in LA, Reitman brings together a group of actors, many of whom have never worked together or even met before the occasion, and has them read through a famous screenplay in front of an audience. A week before the show, Reitman will reveal the screenplay being read and part of the cast. Some of the cast remain a secret, only to be revealed at the show itself. The show is not filmed, which turns it into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as the experience will never be recreated and nobody will experience it other than the people in that room. I was lucky enough to be one of about 1200 people to see the live read that Jason Reitman put on at TIFF, a reading of the screenplay of The Princess Bride. Keep reading ›