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 22nd, 2017       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

“xXx: The Return of Xander Cage” is playing in theaters today, and critics are either embracing or dismissing the third installment of the series for the loud, action packed nonsense that it is. Returning to the franchise he launched in 2002, Vin Diesel reprises the titular role as an extreme-sports thrill-seeker-turned-government-operative long presumed dead by the NSA. Cage is a man with his own very particular set of skills, and the ruthless agency chief (Toni Collette) enlists his help for a high-stakes operation that involves racing against a band of renegade evildoers in pursuit of “Pandora’s Box,” a curious device that’s knocking military satellites out of the sky and into densely-populated areas. Here’s a couple of reviews with more highlights on Toni Collette’s character (and the critics consensus that she is too good of an actress for this).

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Who wanted Xander Cage back? Is it you? It sure as hell isn’t me. […] Toni Collette, who is way too good for this crap, also shows up as Agent Marke, another suit barking orders at Cage. The Australian actress must be wondering how she went from being nominated for Oscars and Emmys to starring in this toxic fluffball.

Mike LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Toward the end, the action becomes repetitive and tiresome, but there are pleasures to be had. Diesel is a terrific action star, in that he can give a movie a lift just by being there. Collette embraces the cold-blooded extremes of her role.

Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com
A disaster ensues, and stern buttoned-up spymaster Marke (Toni Collette, here probably earning more to merely maintain an erect posture than she usually does when she’s actually being an incredible actor) calls a meeting at an appropriately eerily-lit CIA boardroom.

Matthew Lickona, San Diego Reader
There isn’t much point in reviewing a film that summarizes itself thusly: “Kick some ass, get the girl, and try to look dope while you’re doing it.” But a job’s a job: Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) is, according to this third entry in the XXX series, the guy you call when you need “someone that can walk into a tornado and come out the other side like it was a damn gentle breeze.” (This line is spoken by Academy-Award nominee Toni Collette, who looks appropriately miserable throughout.)

  January 13th, 2017       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

The promotion for xXx’s January 20 release is in full swing, and while Toni has not participated in any of the public appearances at press junkets and premieres so far, she’s featured in a few of the film’s featurettes and cast interviews. Most of these official clips only have a couple blink-and-you-miss-it blips, with the exception of the b-roll, which shows more of Toni’s work behind the scenes. Three clips have been added to the video archive, with hopefully more to come.

Video Archive – Career Videos – xXx3 – Cast Interviews
Video Archive – Career Videos – xXx3 – B-Roll
Video Archive – Career Videos – xXx3 – Featurette 01

  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.

  December 28th, 2016       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

One of Toni’s upcoming films, the comedy “Fun Mom Dinner”, will have its world-premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27. Here’s the film’s official synopsis: At some point, Emily stopped being “Emily”—high-powered lawyer, strong woman, sexual being—and became, simply, “Mom.” It’s like, her kids and husband are great, but there’s got to be more to life than diapers, playdates, and fingerpaint, right? RIGHT?!? When some of the other moms at school propose a Chardonnay-soaked night out, Emily is IN. She even drags her reluctant friend Kate along for the ride. But what starts as gossip and tapas quickly turns into a night that these ladies will never forget (even though they’re all super duper high). Deftly infusing zany hijinks with real feeling, director Alethea Jones and writer Julie Rudd deliver a riotous comedy that spares no rods and spoils no children. The titular moms (Katie Aselton, Toni Collette, Molly Shannon, and Bridget Everett) make a truly formidable ensemble, dispensing dick jokes and tearful revelations with equal aplomb. Together, they prove that “mom” is more than a dirty word—it’s a badge of honor.

  December 15th, 2016       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

Madman Films has released a wonderful theatrical trailer for the upcoming “Jasper Jones”. Adapted from Craig Silvey’s bestselling Australian novel and featuring a stellar cast including Toni Collette, Hugo Weaving, Levi Miller, Angourie Rice, Dan Wyllie and Aaron McGrath, JASPER JONES is the story of Charlie Bucktin, a bookish boy of 14 living in a small town in Western Australia. In the dead of night during the scorching summer of 1969, Charlie is startled when he is woken by local mixed-race outcast Jasper Jones outside his window. Jasper leads him deep into the forest and shows him something that will change his life forever, setting them both on a dangerous journey to solve a mystery that will consume the entire community. In an isolated town where secrecy, gossip and tragedy overwhelm the landscape, Charlie faces family breakdown, finds his first love, and discovers what it means be truly courageous. “Jasper Jones” releases Australian cinemas on March 2, 2017.

  December 10th, 2016       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

According to Variety, Toni Collette and Matthew Goode are starring in the independent comedy “Birthmarked,” with shooting underway near Montreal and Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais directing. Collette and Goode are joining Andreas Apergis, Michael Smiley, Fionnula Flanagan and Suzanne Clément in the cast. Pierre Even of Item 7 is producing with co-producer Susan Mullen of Parallel Film Productions. The duo recently collaborated on “Brooklyn,” starring Saoirse Ronan. Executive producers are Jeff Sackman and Berry Meyerowitz who will also handle international sales, and eOne’s Mark Slone. The film will be released in Canada by eOne. The script is written by Marc Tulin, from an original story by Hoss-Desmarais and Marc Tulin, who previously worked together on Hoss-Desmarais’ first feature “Whitewash.” Collette and Goode are portraying two respected scientists who quit their university jobs in 1977 to conduct an experiment they think will revolutionize understanding of human identity. The project aims to raise three children contrarily to their genetic predispositions to prove the ultimate power of nurture over nature with a newborn girl adopted from two feeble-minded parents, is raised to be smart; a newborn boy adopted from two anger-prone parents is raised to be a pacifist; and their own biological son, who comes from a long lineage of scientific brains, is raised to become a revered artist.

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