About as sunny as it sounds, Christopher Smith's grim fairy tale Black Death finds a 14th-century knight (Sean Bean, of HBO's Game of Thrones) and his band of mirthless mercenaries traveling the European countryside in search of a rumored necromancer. Reluctantly joining them for the journey is Osmund, a young monk played by The Other Boleyn Girl's Eddie Redmayne, who finds their violent brand of piety less than Christian. Surrounded by the devastation wrought by the onset of the bubonic plague, in a world seemingly forsaken by God, will Osmund allow himself to be seduced by pagans – led by Carice von Houten's alluring high priestess – whose village remains curiously unaffected by pestilence?
Now that Hollywood has exhausted most of the best-known ’70s TV series, directors like Joe Carnahan, 41, can sink their teeth into big-screen adaptations of the shows they grew up with – in this case, Stephen Cannell and Frank Lupo’s family-friendly ’80s fantasy about a team of noble vigilantes-for-hire, framed for robbing a Hanoi bank during the Vietnam War.
Baghdad replaces Hanoi in Carnahan’s flashy update, which finds the fighting foursome wrongfully blamed for stealing U.S. Treasury minting plates, but little else has changed.
When producer Ivan Reitman first approached Atom Egoyan, the Oscar-nominated director of The Sweet Hereafter (1997) and last year’s Adoration, with the script for the erotically charged drama Chloe, it was a story set in author Erin Cressida Wilson’s hometown, San Francisco. Egoyan, born to an Armenian family in Egypt but raised from early childhood in Victoria, British Columbia, knew immediately that had to change.
Sitting before a standing-room-only crowd of 6,500, most of whom had waited hours to catch a glimpse of the silver-haired animation master and greeted him with a raucous standing ovation at last month’s Comic-Con convention in San Diego, Hayao Miyazaki played the part of reclusive auteur to perfection.
He was soft spoken and unfailingly polite as longtime friend John Lasseter, the Pixar Animation chief who describes his films as “unique and inspirational,” questioned him about Ponyo, his wondrously illustrated tale of a fish who turns into a little girl after discovering love in the human world.
If his answers came off as less than revealing, nobody seemed to mind.