Don’t mistake Juno Temple’s youth, cherubic smile or even her “properly British” bent as signs of weakness. Tease her with the promise of a juicy part and she’ll fight for it with tigerlike ferocity, which might explain why the 22-year-old is tearing through the most prolific year of her young career, highlighted by a star-making turn in Abe Sylvia’s coming-of-age comedy Dirty Girl.
He knows what you’re going to ask, but his lips are sealed. Maybe it’s because he has come to L.A.’s Luxe Hotel to talk about Hesher, the moving, wildly unconventional new drama about a belligerent metalhead who, it turns out, just might be Jesus. Or maybe it’s because Joseph Gordon-Levitt is honoring Christopher Nolan’s gag order. Even that he will not say.
He smiles. He grimaces. He seems quietly exasperated, but the bat is out of the bag: Gordon-Levitt, 30, will play a yet undisclosed role in The Dark Knight Rises, next year’s hotly anticipated return of the Caped Crusader. But today he’s ready to talk only about his chain-smoking, free-spirited headbanger, known only as Hesher.
Having joined the ranks of today’s most promising young directors after first crafting music videos for Morrissey and Dionne Farris, Zack Snyder has skillfully married his passion for song with his inclination to grandiose cinema.
Whether thrusting us into a world on the brink of apocalypse against the haunting strains of Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” in Dawn of the Dead (2004), or opening his adaptation of Alan Moore’s Watchmen (2009) with a condensed century of superhero history backed by Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” Snyder has a Midas touch in the soundtrack department.
With 2010 about to fade into our rearview, it's time to pay our respects to a year that produced its share of very good movies, but precious few great ones. It was a year dominated by memorable performances in supporting roles – Christian Bale as a crack-addicted burnout in The Fighter, John Hawkes as a rough-and-tumble hillbilly in Winter's Bone, Jacki Weaver as an insidious matriarch in the overlooked Australian import Animal Kingdom – and the visual bravura of Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and TRON: Legacy.
The San Francisco Film Society's annual celebration of New Italian Cinema, which closes Sunday with Paolo Virzi's touching drama The First Beautiful Thing, takes center stage at the Embarcadero this weekend, while Harry Potter and his magical minions take the fight to the murderous Lord Voldemort in the first installment of David Yates' Deathly Hallows. Elsewhere:
1. Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
Gareth Edwards won't reveal the budget for Monsters, his thriftily constructed feature debut about two young Americans trying to buy their way back from Mexico following an alien occupation. Yet he’s quick to acknowledge that his acclaimed sci-fi fantasy might never have been possible without advances in filmmaking technology usually associated with big-budget blockbusters like last year’s Avatar.
Morgan Freeman knows this isn’t his defining role. Mention the five-time Oscar nominee – he won once, for his supporting turn in 2004’s Million Dollar Baby – and most people are reminded of the 1994 prison drama The Shawshank Redemption, or maybe Driving Miss Daisy (1989), the role that elevated him from respected character actor to household name.
It isn’t impossible to describe Inception, the wondrous new thriller written and directed by Christopher Nolan, in the limited space afforded here, but it’s close. Rarely is a story this ambitious brought to the screen.
Inspired at times by movie classics, modern and otherwise – Dark City and Minority Report, but also Metropolis, Citizen Kane and the best 007 adventures – it earns its place in the same conversation, a tribute to Nolan’s ingenuity. The breadth and detail of his vision is extraordinary.
Son of an English copywriter and an American flight attendant, director Christopher Nolan split his childhood between London and his U.S. hometown of Chicago, where he would eventually film his career’s biggest hits: Batman Begins (2005) and 2008’s The Dark Knight.
For his latest, the cerebral thriller Inception, Nolan went international again, shooting in locations as far-flung as Paris, Tokyo and Morocco. Yet the most spectacular scenery in Inception, in which a team of tech-savvy thieves extracts valuable secrets from the dreams of their sleeping targets, exists not in the physical universe, but in the mind.
Corey Haim, who starred in popular teen comedies including Lucas (1986), License to Drive (1988) and Dream a Little Dream (1989), as well as Joel Schumacher’s 1987 cult hit The Lost Boys, has died at 38 of what is believed to be an accidental drug overdose.