Shia LaBeouf is continuing his streak of independent dramas with After Exile. The young actor will join the greatRobert De Niro on screen as his son. LaBeouf will play Mike Delaney who was sent to prison for killing an innocent man after a violent robbery. Once he is finally released, he gets pulled back into the criminal life with his ex-convict, alcoholic father De Niro. Riddled with guilt, the two must save Delaney's younger brother from a life of drugs and crime.
The drama will be directed by Joshua Michael Stern who sat in the director's chair for Swing Vote, Jobs, and the Epix series Graves. Relatively newcomers Anthony Thorne and Michael Tovo are writing the script for the well-rounded stars. The film comes from Pacific Shore Films through producers Anthony Thorne and Steve Snyder as well as executive producer Les Cohen.
Shia LaBeouf is most known for his big-budget tentpole films like the Transformers and Indiana Jones franchises, but After Exile is following a string of powerful, nuanced performances from the former Disney Channel star. Shia can currently be seen in Peanut Butter Falcon, a touching and relatively short independent film that follows a friendly young man with Down Syndrome on a Huckleberry Finn-like journey to become a wrestler.
In the critically acclaimed movie, Shia plays Tyler, a fisherman that is buried in regret, and debt. While on the run from some local crabbers, Tyler meets the runaway Zak and the two build a powerful friendship. Dakota Johnson , Zack Gottsagen co-star alongside LaBeouf. Peanut Butter Falcon boasts a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Unfortunately, LaBeouf is also known for his personal troubles, something that he is now ready to bring to the big screen. The trailer for Honey Boy was recently released and it puts a raw Shia in his own biopic of sorts. From a screenplay by the subject himself, LaBeouf plays his own father, an ex-rodeo clown and felon.
The film explores the life of Otis, a young actor that struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental heh after a difficult childhood and a young adulthood wrought with alcoholism and pressure. The film also stars Lucas Hedges Boy Erased, Manchester by the sea and Noah Jupe A Quiet Place. The Alma Har'el film was released at Sundance and is expected to hit theaters on November 8, 2019.
strong>EXCLUSIVE: Robert De Niro and Shia LaBeouf have committed to star in After Exile. Joshua Michael Stern is set to direct a script by Anthony Thorne and Michael Tovo. Latter wrote the story, based on true events from his life.
The film is being produced by Anthony Thorne and Steve Snyder of Pacific Shore Films, which is backing the film.
em>After Exile is the story of Mike Delaney LaBeouf who, after being released from prison for killing an innocent man after a violent robbery, must re-enter his old life where he and his ex-criminal father De Niro attempt to save his younger brother from a life of drugs and crime. The drama is about the difficult trajectory toward forgiveness and redemption. De Niro will play Ted Delaney, an ex-con who lost his wife years ago and now suffers from alcoholism and guilt. All he has left is the instinct to save his two sons from the dark and destructive paths they are on. Stern Trista Callander
Stern’s credits include directing the Ashton Kutcher-starrer Jobs and the series Graves. Les Cohen is exec producer. Filming starts in October in Philadelphia.
Both actors have big films this fall. LaBeouf can currently be seen in Peanut Butter Falcon, and this fall stars in Honey Boy, the acclaimed Sundance film that LaBeouf wrote, based on his rough road as a child star.
De Niro reunites with Martin Scorsese, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel on The Irishman, also starring Al Pacino. De Niro is a co-producer on that Netflix film, which makes its World Premiere at the New York Film Festival. He also is part of the cast of the Todd Phillips-directed Joker with Joaquin Phoenix.
LaBeouf is represented by CAA, John Crosby Management and Matt Saver; De Niro is CAA and Stern is repped by MGMT’s Ken Stovitz.
Hints of autumn are unspooling this weekend with stars fronting Specialty fare opening in theaters. Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Billy Crudup and Abby Quinn headline Sundance '19 opener After The Wedding, starting in New York and L.A. today via Sony Pictures Classics. The film by Bart Freundlich is based on the 2006 Oscar-nominated original by Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier. Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson join newcomer Zack Gottsagen in Roadside Attractions' modern-day Huck Finn-style adventure Peanut Butter Falcon, opening in seven markets this weekend. Doc awards hopeful One Child Nation from Amazon Studios begins its theatrical with exclusive runs in Los Angeles and New York today, while non-fiction title This Changes Everything, featuring a slew of veteran actors and public figures, heads out to three theaters in both cities from Good Deed Entertainment. Following screenings at recent LGBTQ festivals Frameline and Outfest, Samuel Goldwyn Films rolls out Mexican period drama This Is Not Berlin with an exclusive run at IFC Center in New York followed by other cities.
Other limited releases launching this weekend include Berlinale premiere Light Of My Life by writer-director-star Casey Affleck, heading to theaters via Saban Films. IFC Films is opening comedy Ode To Joy by Jason Winer, and China Lion is opening Mandarin-language dramedy Dying To Survive.
After The Wedding Director-writer: Bart Freundlich Writers: Susanne Bier, Anders Thomas Jensen Cast: Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Billy Crudup, Abby Quinn, Alex Esola, Susan Blackwell, Will Chase, Eisa Davis Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Sundance Film Festival opener After The Wedding by Bart Freundlich is based on the Danish original of the same title by Susanne Bier. After The Wedding, which opens Friday via Sony Classics, stars Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams in roles played by men, including Mads Mikkelsen in the Oscar-nominated original. Sony Classics said that Freundlich's version which will be seen in theaters this weekend has been updated from its Sundance debut.
The story centers on Isabel Michelle Williams who has devoted her life to running an orphanage in a Calcutta slum. With funds running dry, a potential donor appears, requiring Isabel to travel to New York, a city she purposely has not returned to in over two decades. After arriving, she meets Theresa Julianne Moore, a multi-millionaire media mogul accustomed to getting what she wants. From the glittering skyscraper where she runs her successful business to the glorious Oyster Bay estate where she lives with her artist husband, Oscar Billy Crudup, 21 year-old daughter Grace Abby Quinn and eight year-old twins Theo and Otto, Theresa's life couldn't appear to be more perfect and different from Isabel's. But appearances are only skin deep and the two women have more in common than meets the eye. When Isabel thinks she'll immediately be returning to the orphanage, Theresa has other plans, insisting Isabel attend Grace's wedding at the estate. The joyful event becomes a catalyst for a revelation that upends both their lives.
“It's the perfect time to open an independent movie you can sink you teeth into,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker. “Audiences are ready for an adult drama by August. We've been through superhero movies and blockbusters, so it's time to see something very different. It's a time of the year that has served us well in the past.”
Barker noted that SPC has had success with late-summer adult releases akin to After The Wedding including last year's The Wife $9.6M as well as titles from further back such as Blue Jasmine 2013, $33.4M and Frozen River 2008, $2.5M.
'After The Wedding' Trailer: Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup, Secrets & Mystery
“After Sundance, we thought about it for a period of time, then actively pursued the film as an August release. After The Wedding has real resonance with characters you can identify with, while also being entertaining... It doesn't get better than Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams. It's a movie reminiscent of Douglas Sirk's '50s dramas with crazy-good actors.”
Sony Classics is looking to women across the board along with college-educated audiences and the gay community to be the film's core as it heads to theaters. After The Wedding will bow in Lincoln Square, Cinema 1 and the Angelika in New York along with the Arclight and The Landmark in L.A. today. The title will then head to 8 – 10 top markets including San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C. next weekend. SPC will break After The Wedding widest over Labor Day weekend.
A winner of grand jury prizes at Sundance and Full Frame, Amazon Studios' One Child Nation is on the doc awards track as it heads out to theaters this weekend. Producer Julie Goldman joined the project early on, having met director Nanfu Wang on the festival circuit and seen her previous film, which had been shortlisted.
“I had seen Hooligan Sparrow 2016 at Sundance and I was wondering at the time, 'Who is this young woman who is so bold and brave?' I just had to meet her,” said Goldman. “We were on the same [festival] circuit and we met. I knew I wanted to have a chapter [in her filmmaking career] and this is that chapter.”
One Child Nation focuses on China's policy of population control that made it illegal for couples to have more than one child. The program ended in 2015, but the process of dealing with its fallout and brutal enforcement is just beginning. The doc explores the ripple effect of this devastating social experiment, uncovering one shocking human rights violation after another – from abandoned newborns, to forced sterilizations and abortions, and government abductions. Filmmaker Wanfu Wang digs fearlessly into her own personal life, weaving her experience as a new mother and the firsthand accounts of her family members into archival propaganda material and testimony from victims and perpetrators alike.
Wang mentioned the project that would become One Child Nation to Goldman, who later traveled with the filmmaker to a pitching forum at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam IDFA in 2017.
'Clemency' & Documentary 'One Child Nation' Take Top Sundance Film Festival Awards
“When she was pitching, it was evident that this was her story to tell and that she could tell it in a unique way,” said Goldman. “When speaking to her family and with people in the village she grew up in, she got so many stories and arcs on how this policy has affected families... It's such a deep, disturbing, yet rich story.”
In addition to the IDFA pitch, financing came via another pitch at Hot Docs along with broadcaster support such as ITVS, Independent Lens, Arte, BBC and television in Sweden and Denmark along with some equity funds.
Initially, the thought was to have Wang travel once to China, but then the production had to reevaluate. “We did this one step at a time,” said Goldman. “We had questions of whether she would be followed and tracked. There were a lot of contingencies, though it was less fraught than we thought aside from some tense moments.”
Most of the footage was shot on the first trip, while Jialing Zhang did a follow-up. “[After some editing] we knew we had to go back,” said Goldman. “Nanfu discovered a lot of things about the policy she didn't know. She also had a child [during production] which made her think of things she hadn't considered.” In all, One Child Nation filmed in under two years.
Sales outfit Submarine represented the film at Sundance in January where Amazon Studios acquired the title. “We were hopeful to find a theatrical partner and Amazon was so passionate about it,” said Goldman. “They had a vision for how to get it out in the world and an extremely happy surprise that it happened so quickly.”
One Child Nation opens at Film Forum in New York and the Laemmle Royal in L.A. Friday before its expansion next week to other locations in both cities as well as in Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Austin and San Francisco. The film will head to other markets across the North America throughout August. Added Goldman: “ One Child Nation brings up important issues related to women's reproductive rights from a [reference point] that is not usual.”
The Peanut Butter Falcon Directors-writers: Tyler Wilson, Michael Schwartz Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen, John Hawkes, Thomas Haden Church, Bruce Dern Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Tyler Wilson and Michael Schwartz, the writers and directors of adventure feature The Peanut Butter Falcon first met the actor at the center of the feature, Zack Gottsagen, at a camp for people with Down syndrome. “He said he wanted to be [in movies] and they wrote the story for him,” said Roadside Attractions co-president Howard Cohen. “It included some of his own predilections about a young man living in a facility. Zack himself loves wrestling. A lot of the personality of the character was inspired by him as well. This is the culmination of his dream.”
The Peanut Butter Falcon begins when Zak, a young man with Down syndrome runs away from a nursing home to chase his dream of attending a pro wrestling school. Through circumstances beyond their control Tyler Shia LaBeouf, a small time outlaw on the run, becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor Dakota Johnson, a kind nursing home employee with a story of her own, to join them on their journey.
'The Peanut Butter Falcon' Review: Shia LaBeouf On A Memorable Journey Along The Delta
“It's a true crowd-pleaser, winning audience awards at the SXSW and Nantucket film film festivals,” said Cohen. “While there's acknowledgment that Zack's character has Down syndrome, it's not the central part of the plot. I think that respect is one reason audiences really respond to the movie. It has a 100% on RT [as of Thursday].”
Roadside has worked to capitalize on its festival audience favor with a heavy dose of word-of-mouth screenings, in addition to partnering with well over a hundred organizations including Best Buddies, Global Down syndrome Foundation and Special Olympics to spread the word. The filmmakers have done personal appearances around the country, while LaBeouf has done a “full complement of press and shows,” according to Cohen, in New York and L.A.
“After we read the script, we knew we had to make and support this film, which also meant giving it the theatrical release it deserves,” noted producers Chris Lemole and Tim Zajaros of Armory Films. “We felt like the film lived on its own and hadn't been done before, which excited us. It is bold, heartwarming, and funny, but the real gift was the opportunity to work and ultimately become close friends with Zack, who is the epitome of what we all should strive to be as humans.”
Roadside Attractions is launching The Peanut Butter Falcon in seven markets Friday, including New York, L.A., Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Austin and Charlotte on 17 screens. The title expand by a few markets on August 16 ahead of going fairly wide to between 800 – 1000 locations on August 23.
This Changes Everything Director: Tom Donahue Featuring: Geena Davis, Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Taraji P. Henson, Reese Witherspoon, Cate Blanchett, Jill Soloway, Shonda Rhimes, Yara Shahidi, Chloe Moretz, Amandla Stenberg, Alan Alda, Sandra Oh, Anita Hill, Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Rose McGowan, Judd Apatow, Rosario Dawson Distributor: Good Deed Entertainment
Good Deed Entertainment caught doc This Changes Everything at its Toronto premiere last year. The company was drawn to the film's messaging and timeliness, picking up the title at the beginning of this year.
“We were totally taken by the film — it was timely, powerful, and frankly, it felt personal to us,” commented Kristin Harris, VP of Acquisitions & Distribution at Good Deed. “Given the industry-centric nature of the film, challenging the status quo to bring a more gender-balanced perspective to the screen, we felt it was important for the film to be distributed by a female-led executive team, as we bring our own unique perspective and experience to the release strategy.”
Executive produced by Geena Davis, This Changes Everything uncovers what is beneath one of the most confounding dilemmas in the entertainment industry – the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of women. It takes an incisive look at the history, empirical evidence, and systemic forces that foster gender discrimination and thus reinforce disparity in our culture. Most importantly, the film seeks pathways and solutions from within and outside the industry, and around the world.
Following its TIFF debut, Good Deed Entertainment has focused on a “robust” festival, social impact and word-of-mouth screening campaign leading up to its roll out this weekend, according to Harris. Businesses and non-profit organizations have also lent support, hosting screenings, including Lyft Entertainment, Bloomberg, Facebook and the Geena Davis Institute for Gender and Media.
“The film is also such an important call-to-action. We want audiences to vote with their media dollars to show up to support socially conscious content,” explained Harris. “In order to 'eventize' the release, we began our consumer-facing run with a one-night-only Fathom event Monday July 22, which included an exclusive panel conversation in approximately 500 screens across the country. We viewed this as a great opportunity to continue to build our all-important word-of-mouth with audiences who might not have had the opportunity to see the film at a festival or impact screening.”
Additionally, filmmaker Tom Donahue along with Geena Davis embarked on a national press tour this week. Good Deed plans to run an awards campaign for the film.
“We know we have a built in core audience of women of all ages who have rallied and supported the conversations surrounding gender rights as civil rights...,” noted Harris. “In addition to that, we've really leaned into bringing men into this conversation as well. We don't see this film or this issue as being strictly 'female.' In order to achieve true parity, we need our male, feminist allies to engage alongside our core audience. As such, we've been leaning into questions about having a male director for such an inherently female-driven film, which initially seems somewhat controversial or confusing, but once you learn that this film was Tom's idea and passion-project – beginning well-prior to the #TimesUp or #MeToo movements, I think it really help us open the conversation to a sympathetic, male audience. “
This Changes Everything opens at the Laemmle Monica and Arena Cinelounge in L.A. as well as IFC Center in New York today, expands to a dozen-plus markets August 16 in addition to on-demand platforms. Davis will participate in a Q&A following the Friday 7pm showing at the Laemmle, while Donahue will be at IFC Center for select Q&As Friday and Saturday.
This Is Not Berlin Director-writer: Hari Sama Writers: Rodrigo Ordóñez, Max Zunino Cast: Xabiani Ponce de León, José Antonio Toledano, Marina de Tavira Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Samuel Goldwyn Films picked up Hari Sama's drama This Is Not Berlin out of the Cannes Market in May after viewing the title at Sundance.
Set in Mexico City in 1986, the film follows 17 year-old Carlos who doesn’t fit in anywhere: not in his family nor with the friends he has chosen in school. But everything changes when he is invited to a nightclub where he discovers the underground post-punk nightlife scene, with sexual liberty and drugs that challenges the relationship with his best friend Gera and lets him find his passion for art.
“Outside of traditional marketing and press for the film, we have been playing festivals around the country to help build awareness and expose it to all different audiences,” noted Miles Fineburg, Director of Acquisitions and Theatrical Sales at Samuel Goldwyn Films. “It has received a great reaction from every festival audience including the LGBTQ community after playing both Frameline and Outfest. While taking place in 1986 and bringing forth that underground world of Mexico City, the film is incredibly relevant to the current cultural climate.”
Similar to other companies rolling out new Specialty titles this weekend, Goldwyn is expecting to engage traditional art house audiences that have weathered the summer's traditional blockbusters. The company is also hoping its August start will help spread the word. Noted Fineburg: “We wanted to give the film a chance to breath in the marketplace and to build its audience through word-of-mouth.”
This Is Not Berlin opens Friday exclusively at IFC Center in New York. The title will then head to the Nuart in L.A. along with locations in Miami August 23, with more markets throughout September.
Actor Shia LaBeouf is bringing his own experiences to the big screen in the upcoming film, Honey Boy, and Amazon Studios has released the trailer. Written by the actor himself, the film presents a fictionalized version of Labeouf's experiences as a young actor with a stormy childhood and rocky early adult years. It explores his struggle to reconcile with his father, deal with his mental health, his quick ascent to stardom and "subsequent crash-landing into rehab and recovery".
Directed by Alma Har'el Bombay Beach, LoveTrue, Honey Boy gives us a version of the early life of Shia LaBeouf through the character of Otis Lort. Played by Noah Jupe A Quiet Place in his younger years and Lucas Hedges Boy Erased, Manchester by the Sea in his early adulthood, Otis has to navigate the different stages of his career and the pressure and pain it causes. Dancer-singer FKA twigs makes her feature-film debut as a "neighbor and kindred spirit to the younger Otis in their garden-court motel home." Labeouf himself stars in the film as a version of his father, an ex-rodeo clown and a felon. According to the press release:
"A one-of-a-kind collaboration between filmmaker and subject, exploring art as medicine and imagination as hope through the life and times of a talented, traumatized performer who dares to go in search of himself."
Shia Labeouf has had a very long, successful career riddled with many, very public mistakes. Although his filmography stretches back to his early childhood, Shia really stepped into the bright spotlight on Disney Channel's hit show Even Stevens. A young kid at the time, Shia led the series as its quirky main character.
Related: Shia LaBeouf's Autobiographical Honey Boy Is Coming to Theaters This November
When he portrayed the leading role in the feature film adaptation of the Young Adult novel Holes, Labeouf's name spread throughout the business, ultimately landing him the role of Sam Witwicky in the first four installments of the Transformers franchise which remains a worldwide box office success. His career trajectory kept him in the news with wonderful performances in Lawless, Fury and others, as well as controversial roles in Nymphomaniac Volumes I and II.
The trailer gives us glimpses of some of these monumental moments. It opens with the older Otis strapped to wires as he's thrown back in an explosion, the type of explosion Michael Bay would do in a Transformers film. We see a young Otis enthralled in a high-energy performance with a blonde wig on the set of a goofy sitcom, something Louis Stevens certainly could have done.
Most intriguing, however, are the glimpses of his life that have been adapted for the film. Similar to the accident seen in the trailer, Labeouf was involved in a very public car accident that left him with a damaged hand. He has also had multiple run-ins with police for drunk and disorderly conduct which the film appears to explore. Labeouf's addiction struggles are extensive and well documented, but it seems the talented actor is ready to shed some light on the more private aspects of his life like his relationship with his father, and fans are ready to listen.
The 93 minute film is produced by Har'el, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Anita Gou and Christopher Leggett. Executive Producers are Fred Berger, Rafael Marmor, Daniel Crown and Bill Benenson. Honey Boy is produced by Automatik and Delirio, in association with Stay Gold Features, Kindred Spirit and Red Crown Productions.
Amazon Studios will release Honey Boy in theaters on November 8, 2019. Check out the Official Trailer and the slightly longer Red Band trailer below.
On paper, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” sounds like a cursed film; like a straight-faced parody of the quirkiest and most nauseatingly schematic American indies. The title alone takes you back to the awful darkness of “Napoleon Dynamite,” and the premise — a winsome young wrestling fan with Down syndrome escapes from his care facility with the help of a depressed crab fisherman played by Shia LaBeouf — could've been cobbled together by a computer program that's been fed 20 years' worth of rejected Sundance scripts.
And the opening few minutes of the actual movie, in which our hero attempts a cute and kooky jailbreak while a banjo-tinged b-side from the “Beasts of the Southern Wild” score wails on the soundtrack, seem determined to confirm your most cynical suspicions. In hindsight, however, that rope-a-dope of a start is actually a fitting introduction to a warm if somewhat overcooked dramedy about people who've lost faith in themselves, and in what unique value they have to offer to the world.
The feature debut of filmmakers Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” wouldn't work without LaBeouf's raw and endearingly turbulent performance, but it wouldn't even exist without Zack Gottsagen, a one-of-a-kind talent who the co-directors met at a camp for actors with disabilities. Gottsagen, who's so natural on screen that he grounds the film in reality during even its most precious and prescriptive moments, inhabits his role with enough nuance and dimensionality to embarrass the very idea of casting an enabled person in a role like this. It's a performance that doesn't have any need for asterisks: Gottsagen is sympathetic without being pitiable, sweet without being saintly, and funny without making himself the butt of every joke. While the writing is often perfunctory, Gottsagen has a way of making every story beat feel sincere.
To Nilson and Schwartz's credit, it helps that Gottsagen's character is defined by his strength. His name is Zak, he's confined to a North Carolina facility because he doesn't have any family who can look after him, and his dream is to become a wrestler like his hero, the Salt Water Redneck Thomas Haden Church, who first pops up in the faded VHS tapes that Zak obsessively rewatches, and then returns in the third act to fulfill the numbingly predictable demands of his role. There are plenty of things that Zak may not be able to do with his life, but wrestling isn't necessarily one of them — his entire living situation is conditioned upon the weaknesses that people see in him, but the kid is built like a diesel-powered SUV. When Zak breaks out of his “home” wearing nothing but his underoos, his rascally old roommate Bruce Dern, being very Bruce Dern jokes that he just pulled the window bars apart.
Eleanor Dakota Johnson, the beautiful — but damaged! — aide who's cared for Zak for the last two-and-a-half years, isn't amused. Neither is Tyler LaBeouf, a bearded and brittle fisherman who's too busy mourning the loss of his actual family to entertain the idea of making a new one Jon Bernthal plays his dead brother in a distracting cameo. Tyler isn't the hardest trawler in the delta, but he might be the most desperate. And when he loses his precious fishing license, he decides to steal a boat from the two scariest men you could ever expect to find south of Raleigh John Hawkes and the rapper Yelawolf bring a few unleaded gallons of toxic masculinity to their maddeningly basic villain roles. Little does Tyler know that Zak is stowing away onboard, and in desperate need of someone to see his worth. And maybe give him some pants.
And so begins one of recent cinema's more unusual riffs on “Huck Finn,” as Tyler and Zak sail through the mythic coastal waters in search of a long-retired wrestler, and a measure of the strength that you can only get from other people. Nothing about their adventure is the least bit unpredictable — the bad guys show up exactly when you expect them to, and Eleanor's manhunt ends with her getting roped into being the mother of the film's makeshift family — and the plot beats that push the movie downstream range from tired to exasperating.
A scene where Zak is almost crushed by a shrimp boat is well-staged, but transparent in its purpose of drawing he and Tyler closer together. An extended bit where the boys meet a mystical, blind, shotgun-toting black man would be suspect even if it didn't feel like this movie's equivalent of the rubber plantation scene from “Apocalypse Now Redux,” and only exist so that someone else can “see” the goodness emanating from these two fugitives.
“The Peanut Butter Falcon”
“The Peanut Butter Falcon” saves the worst for last, as the plot kicks into gear during the third act and blunts the film's delicate emotional texture into a contrived drumbeat of dull choices. Church's inevitable reappearance adds yet another broken character to a story in which even the most capable of people feel left behind, and Nilson and Schwartz's script broadens things out at the exact moment that it should be digging a bit deeper into the drama it's already laid out. So many strained and nonsensical turns are packed into the last 30 minutes, just so the movie can arrive at a climax that makes good on its themes while stranding the characters who brought them to life.
But when “The Peanut Butter Falcon” trusts in the strength it finds in Zak, Tyler, Eleanor, and even Salt Water Redneck, it can be a thing of beauty. The best and most affecting scenes are also its least explicitly purposeful, as the film transcends its iffy story mechanics whenever things slow down enough for everyone to really see each other. The bond that forms between Tyler and Zak is so rich and believable, as both actors are casually able to sell us on the idea that their characters fit together.
Shia LaBeouf, proving once again that he's talented enough to get away with being Shia LaBeouf, evinces a genuine affection for his new friend and surrogate son — a feeling born from his own perilous notions of weakness and self-worth. Gottsagen beautifully internalizes the sentiment that the world will only let Zak be a burden or a heel, and he lets Tyler shake him free of that delusion with grace, levity, and a few killer lines “What's rule number one?” Tyler asks about life on the lam. “Party!,” Tyler matter-of-factly replies.
For a movie that often seems weighed down by prescriptive notions of personal betterment, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” takes flight in moments like the one where Tyler and Zak just sit on the shares of some inlet and playfully slap each other in the face for a minute. Not soft enough to be condescending, but not hard enough to hurt. For the first time in a long time, these two men are cognizant of their own strength.
Roadside Attractions will release “The Peanut Butter Falcon” in theaters on Friday, August 9.
One of the buzziest titles at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, “Honey Boy” is set to re-enter the indie movie conversation this fall with a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival and a November release from Amazon Studios. “Honey Boy” is an autobiographical drama written by Shia LaBeouf and directed by Alma Har’el, the Israeli filmmaker who’s become a rising star thanks to hybrid documentaries “Bombay Beach” and “LoveTrue.”
“Honey Boy” stars “A Quiet Place” breakout Noah Jupe and “Manchester by the Sea” Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges as fictional versions of Shia LaBeouf. In the film, LaBeouf goes by Otis Lort. Jupe plays the young Otis, who is a child actor forced into the spotlight, while Hedges plays the young adult Otis, an addict damaged by his famous life and his contentious relationship with his father. LaBeouf takes on the role of his father, while the supporting cast also includes FKA Twigs, Maika Monroe, Natasha Lyonne, Martin Starr, and Clifton Collins Jr.
“There was definitely an urgency in the script that I think anybody that read it felt,” Har’el told IndieWire about the film at Sundance. “An outpour, you know? [Shia] was basically court-ordered to go to rehab and write his memories. That's how I got the script, like you see in the film, while he was in rehab. And I think you can sense that in the film, too.”
In his positive review out of Sundance, IndieWire’s chief critic Eric Kohn wrote, “‘Honey Boy’ remains a fascinating cultural object and essential viewing for anyone obsessed with the actor's bizarre ups and downs.”
Jupe earned rave reviews at Sundance for his performance as young Otis. Per Kohn, “Jupe, briefly glanced in ‘A Quiet Place,’ takes center stage in ‘Honey Boy’ as a bonafide breakout, imbuing the pint-sized figure with a fiery confidence to resist his father's cruelty over the course of the concise story.”
While LaBeouf has made headlines as of late more for his behavior offscreen, the actor has been steadily delivering strong performances over the last several years. LaBeouf earned acclaim for his supporting turn in Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey,” which was followed by “Borg vs McEnroe.” The actor stars in “The Peanut Butter Falcon” opening August 9 before the release of “Honey Boy.”
Amazon Studios will release “Honey Boy” in theaters November 8. Watch the trailer below.