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Tag Archives: Alex Lawther
Friday, July 20, 2018
Mister D: So far only about 500 people have voted on this list and Freak Show is starting out in great shape. Let’s keep her in the spotlight. Make sure to go to Ranker and sign up. It’s easy. Then head on over and Click Here to vote. Ranker Vote for the best drama movies of 2018… July 14, 2018
Vote for the best drama movies of 2018.Whether they’re about historical events or fictional stories of romance, tension, and love, the best drama movies of 2018 left viewers inspired and emotional. What were the best drama movies this year? Help decide below. Featuring romantic dramas, coming-of-age movies, biopics, and comedy-dramas, this list of good 2018 shows includes 12 Strong, Chappaquiddick, Lean on Pete, and Permission. Good drama films usually feature compelling characters and intriguing storylines, avoiding melodrama in favor of more realistic plot lines and complicated protagonists. Which drama movies of 2018 fit such a description? Vote on this list of 2018 drama movies. Give an up vote to the best drama movies of 2018 and down vote anything you feel is overrated or downright bad.
112 Strong Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Peña12 Strong (also known as 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers) is a 2018 American war drama film directed by Nicolai Fuglsig. Following the September 11 attacks, Task…more
2Forever My Girl Alex Roe, Jessica Rothe, John Benjamin Hickey Forever My Girl is a 2018 romantic drama film directed by Bethany Ashton Wolf. After being gone for a decade, a country star (Alex Roe) returns home to the love (Jessica Rothe) he left behind.
3Thoroughbreds Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin Thoroughbreds is a 2018 American drama thriller film directed by Cory Finley. After years of growing apart, upper-class teenagers Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) rekindle their …more
4Final Portrait Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer, Clémence Poésy Final Portrait is a 2017 British-American drama film directed by Stanley Tucci. In Paris 1964, famed painter Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) asks James Lord (Armie Hammer), the American…more
5Freak Show Alex Lawther, Abigail Breslin, Bette Midler Freak Show is a 2018 American drama film directed by Trudie Styler, based on the novel by James St. James. Despite attending an ultra-conservative high school, Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther) decides…more
6The Strange Ones Alex Pettyfer, James Freedson-Jackson, Emily Althaus Strange Ones is a 2017 American drama film directed by Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein. Mysterious events surround two travelers as they make their way across a remote American …more
7Nostalgia Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Amber Tamblyn Nostalgia is a 2018 American drama film directed by Mark Pellington. A group of people is connected through a loss.
8The 15:17 to Paris Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone The 15:17 to Paris is a 2018 American biographical drama film directed by Clint Eastwood, based on the 2015 Thalys train attack. Three Americans (Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek …more
9First Reformed Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer First Reformed is a 2017 American drama thriller film directed by Paul Schrader. Grieving over the death of his son, an ex-military chaplain (Ethan Hawke) is further challenged when a young …more
10Leave No Trace Ben Foster, Thomasin McKenzie, Jeff Kober Leave No Trace is a 2018 American film directed by Debra Granik, based on the book My Abandonment by Peter Rock. A father (Ben Foster) and his 13-year-old daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) are living …more
11Every Day Angourie Rice, Maria Bello, Debby Ryan Every Day is a 2018 American romantic-drama directed by Michael Sucsy, based on the novel by David Levithan. 16-year-old Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) falls in love with a spirit named A, a traveling…more
12Disobedience Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola Disobedience is a 2017 British-Irish-American drama film directed by Sebastián Lelio, based on the novel by Noami Alderman. A woman (Rachel Weisz) returns to her Orthodox Jewish home …more
13Eighth Grade Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson Eighth Grade is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Bo Burnham. An eighth grader (Elsie Fisher) struggles to finish her last week of classes before embarking for high school.
14The Rider Brady Jandreau, Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau The Rider is a 2017 American drama film directed by Chloé Zhao. After suffering a near-fatal head injury, a young cowboy (Brady Jandreau) undertakes a search for a new identity and what it …more
15Breath Simon Baker, Elizabeth Debicki, Samson CoulterBreath is a 2018 drama film directed by Simon Baker, based on the novel by Tim Winton. Two teenage boys form an unlikely connection with an older surfer (Simon Baker).
16Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, Jonah Hill Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is a 2018 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, based on the memoir by John Callahan. After nearly losing his life in a car accident, a slacker…more
17Shock and Awe Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, James Marsden Shock, and Awe is a 2017 American drama film directed by Rob Reiner. Journalists investigate the assertions by the Bush Administration concerning Saddam Hussein’s alleged possession of weapons of …more
18A Fantastic Woman Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco A Fantastic Woman is a 2017 Chilean drama film directed by Sebastián Lelio. Marina (Daniela Vega), a waitress who moonlights as a nightclub singer, is bowled over by the death of her …more
19Lean on Pete Charlie Plummer, Chloë Sevigny, Travis Fimmel Lean on Pete is a 2017 British drama film directed by Andrew Haigh, based on the novel by Willy Vlautin. A teenager (Charlie Plummer) gets a summer job working for a horse trainer and befriends…more
The Catcher Was a Spy ...
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
The National Student Freak Show review -an unapologetic celebration of self-identity Charlotte Hunt at Southampton, University of 28th June 2018 Verdict: “If life kicks you, you just kick higher” – a film for those struggling to find their place.In an unapologetic celebration of individuality and identity, Freak Show delivers a highly relevant message in today’s society. The film follows genderqueer teenager Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther) as he navigates his way through a new, conservative High School. Along the way, Bloom encounters the cut-throat reality of unaccepting high school culture and decides to run for homecoming queen in defiance of those against him.Freak Show’s biggest strength is its central character and the undeniably passionate performance given by Alex Lawther. Known for his other roles as Billy Moon (Goodbye Christopher Robin), a young Alex Turing (The Imitation Game) and self-proclaimed psychopath James (The End of the F***cking World), Lawther once again steps into an ‘outcast’ type role, but by no means gives the same performance.Rather, his emotional and eccentric transformation into Billy Bloom proves his versatility and ability to dominate the screen regardless of who he is working alongside of – even the likes of Bette Midler – cementing himself well and truly within the surge of fresh new talent emerging in the industry. Likewise, the character of Billy Bloom will no doubt become a modern emblem of self-identity as he refuses to conform to the societal norms so prevalent in his conservative high school. It is his individuality in a sea of students begging to fit in that makes him so inspiring. From the off, an intimate and personal voice-over gives the viewer an exclusive insight into his world; one that he carries the audience through with ease, at least in terms of narrative structure. The film itself however, is by no means ‘easy viewing’.Freak Show tackles many important but challenging themes throughout its duration including issues of hate crime, the ignorance of, and intolerance towards the LGBTQ community, and broken family relationships, to name but a few. It approaches these topics through its expressive cinematography that does almost as much speaking as the characters themselves.Through choreographed character movements and beautiful juxtapositions, the film is both brutally honest and comedic – finding that balance very well. For the most part, this allows Billy’s journey to take a realistic path. He encounters highs and lows like any teenager does, giving the film an air of relatability, but the film also ensures it remains focused on the prejudice he faces for his non-conforming self-expression.These themes are slightly weakened by the film’s typically ‘feel good’ teen narrative that, at points, does become cliche and predictable. This predictability comes as a result of both an archetypal narrative structure, but also the scarier reality of how common stories like this – ones of LGBTQ hatred and intolerance – are, even in modern society. This narrative structure does, however, allow a high level of accessibility to an array of audience members so that although one may argue it takes an easy approach to challenging themes, it does allow the film’s message to be heard by a wider audience.Despite its predictable and somewhat cliche narrative, Freak Show teaches that being yourself and fitting in are never synonymous and that, to be truly happy, the former is the only option.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Media Play News Shout! Factory Releasing ‘Freak Show’ on Disc June 5 JOHN LATCHER May 7, 2018 Shout! Factory and IFC Films will release the coming-of-age drama Freak Show on Blu-ray and DVD June 5. The directorial debut of actress and producer Trudie Styler, Freak Show stars Alex Lawther, Bette Midler, Larry Pine, Abigail Breslin, Laverne Cox and AnnaSophia Robb. Lawther plays Billy Bloom, a gender-bending teenager who feels like a fish out of water at a conservative high school.
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Entertainment Focus Trudie Styler’s Freak Show starring Alex Lawther & Bette Midler gets a UK release date JASON PALMER August 29, 2018 Trudie Styler’s directorial debut Freak Show, starring Alex Lawther, AnnaSophia Robb, Abigail Breslin and Bette Midler gets a UK release date set. Based on the award-winning cult novel by James St James and rumoured to be in the same vein as Clueless and Napoleon Dynamite, Freak Show tells the moving, heart-breaking and hilarious story of Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther). Billy is a boldly confident and eccentric teenager who faces intolerance and persecution at his ultra conservative high school, and decides to fight back on behalf of all the misunderstood freaks of the world. Trudie Styler’s directorial bow Freak Show stars Alex Lawther (Ghost Stories) alongside Abigail Breslin, Bette Midler, Larry Pine, John McEnroe (Borg v McEnroe), AnnaSophia Robb and Laverne Cox and comes to cinemas across the UK and on demand on 22nd June through Maven Pictures. Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther), once lived a fabulous life in Connecticut, with his equally fabulous mother, MUV (Bette Midler). But when he is suddenly shipped off to his father’s (Larry Pine) Southern mansion, he finds himself a fish out of water. With his closet of extravagant and flamboyant attire, Billy is completely different from the cheerleaders, bible belles and beefy quarterbacks at his new high school. Yet despite the well-meant advice of his father and his housekeeper Florence (Celia Weston) that he should just throw on some blue jeans, Billy is determined to be himself – even if that does mean wearing face glitter to school. A rising British star, Alex Lawther won the London Film Critics’ Circle Award for “Young British Performer of the Year” for his role as the young Alan Turing in the Oscar-Winning film The Imitation Game (2014). Most recently, he was seen in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror (2016), alongside Domnall Gleeson in Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017), and is currently the lead on the wildly popular Netflix Original show The End of the F***ing World (2017). Trudie Styler is an actress, film producer and director. She is married to music legend Sting. In 2011, she formed Maven Pictures with Celine Rattray. The company’s production credits include the award-winning Filth (2013) and Still Alice (2014); American Honey (2016) which won the Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival; and The Kindergarten Teacher (2018), which won the Directing Award for Sara Colangelo at Sundance 2018. Freak Show is her feature directorial debut, premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival and receiving its UK premiere at BFI Flare earlier this year.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Times Picayune ‘Freak Show’ movie review: If John Hughes were alive today … Updated Jan 30, 9:41 AM; Posted Jan 30, 9:41 AM Ask anyone who was a teenager in the 1980s, and they’ll tell you that if one filmmaker more than any other seemed to be speaking directly to them, it was John Hughes. The maker of such films as “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” — while perhaps not a technical master of the filmmaking arts — knew a whole lot about how to talk to kids. His movies were often-silly comedies, but beneath the jokes they were grounded in reality and compassion, honestly capturing the angst of growing up (not to mention the absurdity of adulthood) without ever condescending to their pimply faced target audiences. Hughes died in 2009, but if he were alive today and still making movies, one has to think he would probably be making movies like “Freak Show.” A look a movie, TV projects shooting or preparing to shoot in town. An indie teen comedy, it’s a touch rough around the edges from a technical standpoint, and its characters are, for the most part, fairly one-dimensional. But director Trudie Styler’s film manages to zoom in on the trials and tribulations of the American teenage experience in a way that feels reminiscent of Hughes’ work. Even the film’s setup sounds Hughesian: Thanks to a decision by his beloved but troubled mother (played in a small role by Bette Midler), a teenage misfit named Billy Bloom is forced to go to a new school in a small town where almost no one appreciates his off-the-charts level of fabulousness. “I’ve been hated before,” the vamp-prone Billy says in a voiceover, “but I’ve never been hated by everyone before.” His mother, however, has a saying: When they kick you, you just kick higher. So, to teach his classmates a bit about tolerance, acceptance and the value of originality, he decides to run for homecoming queen. Granted, you’ll probably be able to predict many of the film’s major plot points before they happen, but Styler’s film — while indulging in its share of teenage cliches — never feels stale. Part of that is the film’s message, which is very much a part of the current zeitgeist. Even more, though, is the lead performance of Alex Lawther, who is nothing short of a revelation in “Freak Show.” If you recognize Lawther, it’s probably from “Goodbye Christopher Robin” (in which he played the older Christopher Robin), “The Imitation Game” (in which he played the young Alan Turing) or “Black Mirror” (in which he plays a blackmailed teen). After “Freak Show,” however, you won’t just recognize Lawther. You’ll remember his name. He is that good, filling not just the role but every square inch of the movie screen as the film’s flamboyant, bedazzled and unapologetic teen queen. The best part is that Lawther, smartly, does it all without a trace of irony or meanness. We’re not meant to laugh at Billy. We’re meant to appreciate him and his daring sense of originality — and to pump our fist in solidarity for him when the time comes. Simply, Lawther nails it. He’s also the best reason to go see “Freak Show.” It might not be a John Hughes movie, but Styler makes it feel like it could be one — and Lawther makes Billy Bloom feel as if he’d be right at home alongside Ferris Bueller, Farmer Ted, Duckie Dale and other denizens of the Hughes universe. _____________ FREAK SHOW 3 stars, out of 5 Snapshot: A teen comedy about an unapologetically flamboyant boy who decides to teach his classmates a lesson in tolerance by running for homecoming queen. What works: The young Alex Lawther is tremendous in the lead role, with a tour de force performance that announces him as a talent to watch. What doesn’t: The story has its familiar elements, and its characters tend to be one-dimensional. Cast: Lawther, Abigail Breslin, AnnaSophia Robb, Ian Nelson, Willa Fitzgerald, Bette Midler. Director: Trudie Styler. Rating: Unrated. Running time: 1 hour 31 minutes. Where: Opens Friday (Feb. 2) at the Chalmette Movies.
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
WBUR In This ‘Freak Show,’ Conformity Is The Real Bully January 11, 2018 Scott Tobias The funniest throwaway moment in Freak Show, an unsteady coming-of-age fantasy, finds Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther), a gay teenager with a penchant for sequins and feather boas, introducing himself to his new classmates at a private school somewhere in the Deep South. Oblivious to the camera phones and snickers that have already sent a hostile signal, Billy stands up in front of his biology class and announces that he’s transferring from Darien, Connecticut, “the hometown of Chloë Sevigny.” He fully expects they will know and appreciate the reference, and perhaps chat him up later about Sevigny’s eclectic career as a cult actress and fashion icon. Adapted from James St. James’ YA novel, Freak Show treats Billy’s obliviousness as tragicomedy, as a kid who often delights in the fabulous, candy-colored world of his imagination but smarts from the cruelty of those outside of it. He has the jump on his peers because he’s knows who he is, but their own adolescent uncertainties and insecurities are weaponized against him. It’s never easy being “the other,” but it’s never worse than high school, where peer pressure can marshal entire swaths of the student body against you. The real question in the film is whether Billy will conform to the academy or the academy will conform to him. His odds in that fight aren’t as long as they seem. Making her directorial debut after a career producing notable indie breakthroughs like Moon, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Trudie Stylar isn’t interested in examining Billy’s cloistered perspective so much as seeing the world through it. That doesn’t entirely forgive the stereotypes and clichés that populate the film, but it does explain how a young man so estranged from other kids can flatten them out in his mind. There are times when Freak Show seems like a high school film repurposed from other high school films, rather than an authentic vision of life outside Chloë Sevigny’s hometown. Unexamined wealth is a factor. In the omnipresent voiceover narration, Billy recalls a childhood where his glamorous, cocktail-sipping mother, played with a wink by Bette Midler, served as his ally and co-conspirator while his conservative, ultra-rich father William (Larry Pine) existed mainly to throw cold water on their fun. He’s discover the truth is more complicated, but until then, it’s his father’s money and his mother’s encouragement that allows him to flourish as the cross-dressing, Oscar Wilde-quoting, sports-averse wildflower he is. When he’s suddenly shipped South to live with his now-single father under mysterious circumstances, it’s the first time anyone forces him to question who he is. After that initial blast of disdain leads to a daily gauntlet of spitballs and the more serious specter of violence, Billy does find a couple of allies in a cheerful gossip (AnnaSophia Robb) whose name he can never remember and in Flip (Ian Kelly), the school’s star quarterback, who harbors a secret passion for comic books and abstract expressionist painters. Flip advises Billy to “tone down” his look and behavior in order to protect himself and Billy obliges, mostly because he has a crush on Flip. His friendship with Flip buys him a certain period of acceptance, but he throws himself into controversy again when he decides to run for Homecoming Queen against Lynette (Abigail Breslin), a Bible-thumping mean girl who’s unwavering in her odious homophobia. Though Flip’s trajectory is as predictable as everyone else’s in Freak Show —this is the type of film where the biggest bully is the obvious closet case — his character at least has a little dimension, because he has to negotiate between being the most popular guy in school and spending his social currency on its resident outcast. When he expresses admiration for the freedom Billy has to do whatever he pleases, the film’s message starts to surface: Freak Show isn’t just about the virtues of tolerance, but the importance of allowing everyone the space to be themselves. Teenagers have a tendency to enforce conformity on the outside while suppressing the inner desires that might get them shunned. Stylar approaches the story with a bright, hyper-real style that’s seductive at times — Dante Spinotti, the veteran cinematographer of Heat and L.A. Confidential, drops the glitter bomb here — but too often exposes the thinness of the characters, who are as fussily arranged as Billy’s wardrobe closet. Stylar and her screenwriters, Beth Rigazio and Patrick J. Clifton, never suggest they have lives independent of Billy’s self-actualization, which undermines the point about everyone needing to celebrate their uniqueness. It winds up being an exclusive plea for inclusion.
Saturday, January 13, 2018
The Observer Trudie Styler’s ‘Freak Show’ Is a Laudable Plea for Tolerance By Rex Reed • 01/12/18 12:45pm The hot-button topic of gender transfer, not always neatly accomplished by anything as simple as surgery, is addressed, re-dressed and undressed in Freak Show, about an unconventional teenager who has no interest in being a boy, or in acting out any of the socially accepted behavior connected with being normal, whatever that is. He would rather wear zombie mascara, bridal veils and pomegranate lipstick than baseball caps and Wrangler jeans, and the movie follows him through episodes both harrowing and hilarious to declare his independence. The results are a mixed bag of charm and calamity, marking the feature-length directorial debut of Trudie Styler who, in real life, is the wife of singing star Sting. She’s a talent worth watching. Encouraged in adolescence by his bosomy, vodka-swigging, self-indulgent mother (a small but rich performance by Bette Midler), Billy quotes Oscar Wilde and drifts easily into the kind of swishy son for whom his disillusioned father slowly abandons hope. Delighted when his parents split, Billy and his mom become soul mates for seven glorious years, but when she disappears one day into rehab hell, the boy confiscates her gowns, shoes and gaudy makeup, and moves with his father (Larry Pine) from Darien to a fresh hell of his own in a hostile red state where he shows up on the first day of high school dressed like Marilyn Monroe. The girls pepper him with spitballs and the boys beat the crap out of him, landing Billy in the hospital. He is, to put politely, not only unconventional but freaky enough to make Boy George look like a heavyweight boxing champion at Madison Square Garden. Played with a brave blend of wide-eyed sweetness and uncompromising conviction, Alex Lawther makes a sympathetic, self-proclaimed sissy. I mean, you gotta shake your head and laugh at the same time when, in the hospital, covered with abrasions and suffering from contusions, concussions and internal hemorrhaging, Billy comes out of a coma and asks for lip gloss. When the doctors tell him what happened, he says “I guess they didn’t like the dress.”
The movie coasts along on the clever attempts by screenwriters Patrick J. Clifton and Beth Rigazio to make Billy as outrageous as possible. Then things change, and a plot begins to form, when—and this is the heart-shaped lump-in-the-throat part—poor Billy is rescued from his misery by Flip (Ian Nelson), the school football hero. He doesn’t understand Billy either, but he’s a decent, non-judgmental chap with a sympathetic nature, naïve enough to think he can turn the school freak into a guy’s guy. He’s a perfect friend, because he’s not exactly a clichéd jock, either. Enamored of art, with a secret desire to be a painter, he once even told his father he was going to New York for an exhibition at the Met—his dad thought he meant a Mets game.
Hanging out together raises eyebrows, but the friendship eventually curdles when Billy announces his candidacy for Homecoming Queen, announcing to the student body, “I didn’t choose to be fabulous. Fabulous chose me!” His policy? To put an end to bigotry and hate and promote “glamour, pageantry and good hair.” The election gives other students who are “different” the power to find their own voices. “Vote for me and you’re voting for the freak in all of us” is Billy’s motto, while his mean-spirited opponent for the school’s homecoming tiara is snobby bigot Lynette (a grown-up Abigail Breslin) who stands for “decency vs. depravity.” No spoilers about how it all turns out when the ballots are counted, but director Styler’s parallels to a recent U.S. election are not exactly subtle.
The cast is sublime, including John McEnroe as the demanding school coach who tortures Billy in gym class, and Celia Weston as the housekeeper who plays more of a mother role in Bill’s life than the real mom in whom his adoration turns out to be a life-altering mistake. Freak Show peters out in the end, leaving many issues unresolved, but it is never boring, and its plea for inclusion, acceptance and tolerance over bullying in the confusing fabric of a changing society is laudable.
FREAK SHOW ??? (3/4 stars) Directed by: Trudie Styler Written by: Patrick J. Clifton and Beth Rigazio Starring: Alex Lawther, Bette Midler, Ian Nelson, Abigail Breslin, John McEnroe, Celia Weston and AnnaSophia Robb Running time: 95 mins.