|SUNDANCE 2020SUNDANCEDEE REES|
The best part about an indie movie becoming a critical or commercial hit is watching what the filmmaker does next. Do they take that success and use it to helm a big-budget blockbuster? Do they follow up with another personal film? If you’re Academy Award-winning writer/director Tom McCarthy, you take the success of the hard-hitting Spotlight and make a detective noir movie for kids co-starring a 1500-pound “pet” polar bear. The result, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is a delightful new addition to Disney+ that somehow still makes sense as McCarthy’s next project, and it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Based on the books by Stephan Pastis, the Disney+ Original stars Winslow Fegley brother of Pete’s Dragon actor Oakes as the titular Timmy Failure, a quirky 11-year-old kid who fashions himself as a hard-boiled detective running his own agency in the streets of suburban Portland, Oregon with his partner, Total, a 1500-pound polar bear. Right out of the gate, Fegley’s performance sells the weird premise of the movie by playing it completely straight. Sure, the bear may or may not be a part of his imagination, and no, he isn’t exactly Sherlock Holmes, but what matters is that he’s completely confident that he’s the world’s greatest detective. Fegley addresses his classmates, teacher, and his mom’s new boyfriend with a deadpan manner, allowing the characters around him to play with the kid’s dry wit to hilarious results.
Timmy usually takes on small cases, like a missing backpack, but one day the Segway scooter he uses as his main source of transportation disappears. Timmy immediately suspects foul play, so he draws out a list of suspects that, of course, includes Russian operatives. And so begins one spectacularly weird case that may or may not be all in Timmy’s head.
What makes Timmy Failure special is the way McCarthy and Pastis who co-wrote the script portray Timmy’s imagination. Not only does this provide an avenue for McCarthy to do some experimenting with ambitious and oddball sequences, such as an extended Broadway musical scene, but it also helps add depth to Timmy by showing us how he uses his imagination as a defense mechanism. The film works as a fun caper movie, but also an exploration of how kids process the world before they fully understand it – like how Total enters Timmy’s life and his kitchen just as his dad abandons him and his mom. McCarthy brings his filmmaking crew back together after Spotlight, which serves to give Timmy Failure some gravitas, like the way DP Masanobu Takayanagi shoots the movie with bird’s eye views and tracking shots that help alleviate the concerns from those who scratch their heads at the thought of a Disney+ movie playing at the Sundance Film Festival.
Though the film has a sizable budget $42 million, it quickly...
High school can be a battlefield, but rarely has that battlefield seemed so dangerous as it does in Amazon’s stylish Sundance drama Selah and The Spades. The feature film debut of writer/director Tayarisha Poe, Selah and The Spades follows a young girl who is chosen to be the protégé of the Queen Bee of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, and discovers that she wasn’t the first to be given this dubious honor. Watch the Selah and The Spades trailer below.Selah and The Spades Trailer
Amazon Studios has released the official trailer for Tayarisha Poe’s feature film debut, Selah and The Spades, a stylish high school drama set in the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school. In this exclusive world, the student body is run by five factions: The Spades, The Sea, The Skins, The Bobbies, and The Prefects. Commanding the top faction is the titular Selah Summers Love Simone, who decides to choose a young protégé to take her place upon graduation. But as that sophomore upstart Paloma Celeste O’Connor soon finds, it’s a treacherous path to the top.
Selah and The Spades seems like a teen drama in the tradition of Brick or Thoroughbreds — stylish, razor-sharp, and populated by very good-looking teens who all act like characters in a noir film. The cast of fresh faces playing those characters include Jharrel Jerome, Jesse Williams, Gina Torres, and Ana Mulvoy Ten.
Here is the synopsis for Selah and The Spades:
In the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, Haldwell, the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old Selah Summers Lovie Simone runs the most dominant group, the Spades, with unshakable poise, as they cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and pills. Tensions between the factions escalate, and when Selah’s best friend/right hand Maxxie MOONLIGHT’s Jharrel Jerome becomes distracted by a new love, Selah takes on a protégée, enamored sophomore Paloma Celeste O’Connor, to whom she imparts her wisdom on ruling the school. But with graduation looming and Paloma proving an impressively quick study, Selah’s fears turn sinister as she grapples with losing the control by which she defines herself.
In her feature debut, writer/director Tayarisha Poe immerses us in a ened depiction of teenage politics. This searing character study encapsulates just how intoxicating power can be for a teenage girl who acutely feels the threat of being denied it. Exciting newcomer Lovie Simone’s performance beautifully embodies both Selah’s publicly impeccable command and the internal fears and uncertainty that drive it.
Selah and The Spades premieres on Amazon Prime Video April 17, 2020....
Dee Rees has found her next project. The director, who earned an Oscar nod for her screenplay for 2017’s Mudbound, is set to write and direct a feature film adaptation of Porgy and Bess, the George Gershwin opera set in the slums of Charleston that became a Tony-winning Broadway musical. Rees’ Porgy and Bess movie adaptation comes more than 60 years after Otto Preminger first brought the story to the big screen with Sidney Poitier in the lead.
Deadline reports that MGM has set Dee Rees to write and direct a Porgy and Bess movie adaptation of the acclaimed George Gershwin opera, and Irwin Winkler and Charles Winkler are set to produce the film. MGM secured the film rights from the Gerswhin Estate, which worked closely with both Rees and the Winklers.
Porgy and Bess is a beloved opera adapted from the 1925 DuBose Heyward novel Porgy, set in a 1930s African-American Charleston neighborhood known as Catfish Row. The opera tells the tale of a disabled beggar named Porgy who “tries to rescue Bess from her violent lover Crown, and drug dealer Sportin’ Life,” per Deadline.
“Porgy and Bess is at its core, a love story,” Rees said in a statement. “So I’m very excited to take on the challenge of this highly venerated, iconic material and lift the architecture of this unlikely love story and re-site it at a place and moment of resistance.” The director added:
“With the help of a terrific artistic team, my vision is to invest this community with a new agency and re-locate the characters from a fictional landscape mostly viewed from the outside to a real geography with actual historical and cultural roots, relevance, and consequence and that has been built and lived from the inside.
By accessing the spirit of the lyrics as they’ve been conjured, reinterpreted, and rearranged by greats like Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, I’m most excited about inviting today’s brightest musical talents to lend new voice and spirit to both the joys and the frustrations of the ongoing struggle of African American citizens in this country.
In this new adaptation, I’m hoping to raise the stakes for our hero and heroine, giving them full expression of existence placing emphasis not just on the circumstantial but on their rich inner lives and emotional pasts.”
Porgy and Bess was originally written as an opera in 1935, making its way to Broadway where it saw massive success and songs like “Summertime” turned into jazz music standards. It was adapted into a 1959 film directed by Otto Preminger starring Sidney Poitier as Porgy and Dorothy Dandridge as Bess, and has since seen its stage revivals win numerous Tony Awards.
Rees earned lots of acclaim for Mudbound, but followed that up with The Last Thing He Wanted at...