January 22nd, 2017       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

…and no one’s there, the title should say. While director Alexandre Moors and actors Tye Sheridan and Jack Huston were in attendance at last night’s world-premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, but the “stars” of the film – Jennifer Aniston, Toni Collette, Jason Patric and Alden Ehrenreich – were not there. To make news worse, reviews for the film have been disappointing so far. That comes as a surprise, given the talent involved and the book it’s based on. Plus, Ehrenreich is one of the most promising actors of this day – and the next Han Solo. Nevermind, let’s see where “The Yellow Birds” is going. Here’s the first press echo after its screening.

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
An excellent novel about the Iraq War and its homefront fallout has been turned into a rather flat and disappointing film in The Yellow Birds. […] Then there’s Bartle’s poor white trash mom Amy (Toni Collette), a woman distraught about her returned son’s aimless life once he’s back. No matter the talents of the actresses playing the mothers, what they’re asked to do is strictly one-note stuff dramatically, so little is gained by having them enact so many repetitive scenes.

Owen Gleiberman, Variety
It’s unusual, at the Sundance Film Festival, to see a drama about a subject like the Iraq War. The economics of scale required to stage an authentic combat scene don’t tend to mesh with indie-film budgets — and besides, there are enough towering war films in our time that the bar for them has been set extraordinarily high. […] We get endless scenes of Brandon lying around in bed, skulking over to the convenience store to buy a six-pack, or warring with his mother (a convincingly emotionally bedraggled Toni Collette). He’s got his big secret about what happened over there, and he’s going to take forever to tell it, even as he’s stalked by a dour CID officer (Jason Patric) and by Murphy’s mother, Maureen, played by Jennifer Aniston, who conveys a truth-at-all-costs desperation, even though she’s a shade too punchy and telegraphed about it.

Mike Ryan, Uproxx News
In Alexandre Moors’ The Yellow Birds (based on Kevin Powers’ book of the same name), Ehrenreich plays Brandon Bartle, a 20-year-old from Virginia who enlists in the Army during the Iraq War. The Yellow Birds has been kind of billed at Sundance as “the Iraq War movie,” but even though a large portion of the film takes place in Iraq, it doesn’t feel altogether like a war movie. It feels more like a movie with a mystery. The Iraq scenes are shown in flashback after Bartle returns to Virginia a very different human being than he arrived. And Ehrenreich almost seems like two different people, transforming from the confident soldier, to the depressed and volatile man comes back, one his mother (Toni Collette) barely recognizes.

  January 7th, 2017       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

Toni Collette has double-duties at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Besides the premiere of “Fun Moms Dinner”, she also co-stars in the world-premiere of Alexandre Moors’ “The Yellow Birds”. Adapted by David Lowery, from the acclaimed 2012 novel by Iraq War veteran Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds unfolds like a mystery, conveying its story in stark flashbacks and haunting fragments from the frontlines. Director Alexandre Moors follows up his striking debut feature, Blue Caprice, with an enigmatic but unflinching drama about the costs of war—to both those who fight and those they leave behind. At the film’s center, Alden Ehrenreich gives a startling performance layered with toughness and vulnerability, revealing an inner battle between competing codes of silence and friendship. Twenty-one-year-old Bartle (Ehrenreich) and 18-year-old Murph (Tye Sheridan) become fast friends in army training before shipping off to fight insurgents in Iraq. Taken under the wing of a hot-headed sergeant (Jack Huston), they wander into the fog of war, but Murph never comes back. Bartle returns home with the secrets of Murph’s disappearance held close to his aching chest, while a shrewd military investigator (Jason Patric) and Murph’s anguished mom (Jennifer Aniston) demand answers. Toni plays Alden’s mother. “The Yellow Birds” premieres on January 21.

  May 20th, 2016       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

Among the projects that Toni Collette has under her mantle for 2016/2017 is “Yellow Birds”, a contemporary war drama featuring a cast that includes Jennifer Aniston, Alden Ehrenreich, Jack Huston and Tye Sheridan. Deadline‘s Pete Hammond wrote about the film in his piece about its production company, Cinelou, with some interesting background and some praise for its acting: Although “Yellow Birds” is slated for 2017, the company plans to qualify it for this year’s Oscar race in several categories. I got a look at 11 minutes of it, and though it definitely has the feel of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, there also seems to be some strong female supporting roles for Aniston and Toni Collette that could figure into acting races if all goes well.

  December 12th, 2015       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

Toni Collette and Jason Patric have joined the cast of The Yellow Birds, the Iraq War drama from Cinelou Films. Jennifer Aniston, Jack Huston,Tye Sheridan and Alden Ehrenreich are also starring in the movie that will be directed by Blue Caprice helmer Alexandre Moors. David Lowery wrote the script. Birds tells of two young soldiers (Sheridan and Ehrenreich) who bond in boot camp. They make a promise to keep one another safe but when one dies, the other struggles to keep the balance between the truth that he vowed not to speak, and the peace that a mourning mother seeks. Huston is their commander while Aniston is one of the soldier’s mother. Collette plays the mother of the soldier who returns. Patric, who will be seen in the family adventure movie Lost & Found, plays a captain. Filming is currently underway.