It was an acting challenge that Naomi Watts couldn’t pass up.
In “Lakewood,” the Oscar-nominated star of such grueling exercises in cinematic heroics as “The Impossible” and “King Kong,” spends the bulk of the movie running through the forest, struggling with spotty cellphone reception while trying to make her way to her teenage son’s school, which is under lockdown with an active shooter.
It’s Watts and Watts alone on-screen for much of the film’s 84-minute run time. Not since Tom Hardy had a psychological meltdown via speakerphone in “Locke” has an actor been so isolated and exposed.
“It scared the shit out of me, and that’s always an interesting thing,” Watts tells Variety the morning after “Lakewood” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“I feed off other actors. You rely on your cast. As an actor, you don’t want to be out there on your own. You want to be interacting and reacting. Even if you have a well planned out idea, you need someone to jolt you into another rhythm or another place.”
The film “Reminiscence” is set in a Miami of rising waters and scorching heat, where people have now flipped the clock to work at night and sleep by day. Nick, a war vet who’s now a private eye, uses a technology that floats people in a tank, so they can relive cherished memories.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “REMINISCENCE”)
HUGH JACKMAN: (As Nick Bannister) You’re going on a journey, a journey through memory. Your destination – a place and time you’ve been before. To reach it, all you have to do is follow my voice.
Within seconds of the opening of Roadrunner, a new documentary from the Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom,Won’t You Be My Neighbor?), the writer, chef, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain is already talking about death.
Sitting at a table with an unseen companion, he says that he has no investment in what happens to his remains after he is gone, except insofar as it might provide “entertainment value” for his body to be, say, fed into a woodchipper and sprayed around the London department store Harrods at rush hour.
Given that Bourdain died by suicide in 2018 during the filming of an episode of his CNN show Parts Unknown in Alsace, France, this mordant joke takes on extra-gruesome meaning—and as a montage later on in the movie shows, it was far from the only time he cracked wise on camera about his own death.
In its mix of playful irreverence and punk-rock attitude, the put-me-in-a-woodchipper-at-Harrods line is pure Bourdain, an example of the way he could charm, seduce, shock, and amuse all at the same time.
It’s been 25 years since the first time I ever bought advanced tickets to see a movie.
I know this because that movie was Independence Day, and it opened 25 years ago this week. After seeing its unforgettable Super Bowl commercial, I immediately became obsessed with the movie and knew I had to see it as soon as possible.
So on July 2, 1996, I walked into the theater optimistic I was going to see something special and the film delivered. In the 25 years since that day, I’ve probably seen it 25 times. Not only has it become my go-to film to watch over the U.S. holiday weekend, anytime it’s on TV, I have to keep it on. It’s funny, exciting, massive, I loved it. I still do, mainly because watching it brings me back to being that geeky teenager seeing an amazing movie on its opening night.
Since July 2, 1996, that’s basically all Independence Day has been to me: an entertaining dose of nostalgia. But revisiting it last week in anticipation of its 25th anniversary I realized it’s so much more. It plays differently with a few decades of life experience under your belt and as much as I adored it in 1996, I may love it even more in 2021.
The robot has barely moved from its landing spot, but it’s sending back a steady stream of visual data that’s freely available for anyone to play with.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover landed in Jezero Crater on the red planet less than two weeks ago, but the advanced robot has already sent back some of the most memorable motion pictures in history.
Cameras on the rover and the descent module that carried it through the Martian atmosphere documented the last few minutes of the long journey from Earth in a remarkable and spectacular way. With the dramatic landing out of the way, the far more chill but no less intriguing task of exploring the surface begins.
UK filmmaker Sean Doran has taken some of the first images taken by Perseverance from within Jezero Crater and processed them to create This is Mars, a short film that’s one of the most captivating 30-minute panning shots you’ll ever see.