Ever since Wayward Pines was announced as an M. Night Shyamalan project, the threat of the twist ending is one that’s hung over the entire series. For better or worse, Shyamalan’s name is associated with stories that try to come out of left field in the apex of the third act and surprise you with the idea that nothing you’ve witnessed is what it seems, ends that enjoy their trickiness so much it keeps them blind to the fact that they don’t bear up under scrutiny. And given the early ads for the show, which were heavy on that symbolism—as well as too heavy on imagery and quotes that invited unflattering Twin Peaks comparisons—it was hard to dissuade yourself of that expectation going in.
Ever since the true nature of Wayward Pines was revealed back in “The Truth,” the idea of sacrifice has hung over the bulk of the show. In order to save humanity, Pilcher, Pam, Megan, and every member of the support team had to give up their lives as they knew them. In doing so, they gave themselves the authority to force the sacrifices of countless other individuals, those they deemed necessary to ensure humanity’s future.
Based on a bestselling novel by Ron Rash, Serena, as brought to the screen by director Susanne Bier and screenwriter Christopher Kyle, feels like a husk of an adaptation even to one completely unfamiliar with the source material. It’s the sort of film that, at least in the form prepped for theatrical release, makes one inclined to believe its makers have completely lost the ability to tell a story. And it’s not like that ever seems like a deliberate stylistic choice, with Bier actually focusing on some thematic flourish off on the sidelines. Serena is always focused on its plot. Its perpetually rushed, choppily told, borderline confusing plot.
What is sure to be one of the year’s biggest films, Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I, has its first trailer. Luckily this film appears to be doing something other than having a second half of the film be another round of the Hunger Games, as Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) becomes the face of a rebellion against Donald Sutherland’s President Snow.
The professional relationship between filmmaker Frank Darabont and author Stephen King is perhaps one of the most notable collaborations in modern cinema, a tale of hero worship turned ostensible business partnership. So many ships it’s a wonder none of the films produced as a result were ever set at sea.
Unless someone conjures up The Gaffer Murders, Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio must be the most affectionate fictional feature-length tribute to a specific technical discipline of filmmaking ever made. Too often, movies about making movies are happy to stick to generalities and well-worn tropes; the demanding director, the exiled writer, the beleaguered star, the starlet no one takes seriously. Strickland takes the opposite tack, luxuriating in the minutiae of moviemaking as a means to investigate not only our relationship with screen violence, but the dynamics that lurk within those who seek to conjure it.
Berberian Sound Studio Written and directed by Peter Strickland UK, …
Snow White and the Huntsman Written by Evan Daugherty, John …