If you're a filmmaker looking for a young, blonde Hollywood darling to star in your next project, the first place you look is usually the Fanning household. So it makes sense that when Charlize Theron optioned the rights to Susannah Calahan's memoir Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, she picked Dakota to star in it. According to Deadline, the actress will play Calahan in a story that follows her year-long battle with an autoimmune disease that resulted in brain inflammation, paranoia and seizures. As of right now, there are no writers or directors attached to the project yet, but with two big names already on board, the film shouldn't have any trouble attracting interest.
Brain on Fire is just the latest high-profile project on Dakota's slate, and her upcoming releases include the eco-terrorism thriller Night Moves, the Errol Flynn biopic The Last of Robin Hood and the Richard Gere vehicle Franny. However, she's not the only Fanning with plenty of attention-grabbing films hitting theaters soon, as Elle is bookending the summer with Maleficent and The Boxtrolls. It's clear that in the battle of the blonde Hollywood starlets, the Fanning sisters reign supreme, but what about the sisters themselves? When it comes to a sibling showdown, which Fanning ends up on top? We’ve decided to put them to the test, and put Dakota and Elle head to head in five key categories in order to determine which Fanning would win this sibling showdown.
Breakthrough Role: Though both Dakota and Elle have been working since they were small children, they started gaining attention at different points in their careers. Dakota's big breakthrough role came at age seven, when she starred opposite Sean Penn in I Am Sam, a role that quickly lead to her becoming Hollywood's go-to child actress. Elle played a younger version of Dakota's character in that film, but she didn't manage to break out herself until she starred in Super 8 at 12. While it did help her gain the industry's attention, it didn't manage to catapult her to the same heights that Dakota's turn in I Am Sam did. Winner: Dakota
Career Highlight: Though she's since starred in many attention-grabbing films, Dakota's biggest project to date still remains her breakthrough film, I Am Sam, for which she became the youngest actress to ever be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, as well as the youngest member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which admitted her in 2006. Elle, however, seems to be hitting her stride now, with her buzziest film yet, Maleficent, arriving in theaters later this month. Since it's a summer blockbuster, it seems unlikely to get the kind of awards coverage that I Am Sam did, but it has established her as one of the hottest actresses currently working, which means plenty of big opportunities are headed her way. Winner: Elle
Career Lowlight: Every actor has one or two terrible films under his or her belt, and the Fanning sisters are no exception. For Elle, it was Daddy Day Care, one in a long line of Eddie Murphy-fronted flops, and one of her first movies. For Dakota, it was The Cat in the Hat, the strange adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss book. And while neither film will be remembered for its quality, at least Daddy Day Care didn't give the world the terrifying image of Mike Myers dressed as a giant anthropomorphic cat. If he didn't haunt your nightmares for years afterwards, you have a sturdier constitution than we do. Slightly Less of a Loser: Elle
Famous Directors: Both Dakota and Elle have worked with some major Hollywood players, and despite their young age, they've each got several films with prestigious directors under their belts. One of Elle's breakout roles was in Sophia Coppola's 2010 film Somewhere, where she played the daughter of Stephen Dorff's washed-up Hollywood actor. Incidentally, Elle was also in Twixt, one of Francis Ford Coppola's least revered pictures. Dakota's most famous director was Stephen Spielberg, who helmed the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds, in which Dakota played Tom Cruise's daughter. Though the Coppola family's films are often held in high esteem, the combination of Somewhere and Twist doesn't quite manage to outrank Spielberg, who is regarded as one of the biggest, most influential directors in cinematic history. Winner: Dakota
Fashion Contracts:The Fanning sisters have established themselves as major fashion players in recent years, and have become fixtures at fashion week and have appeared in ads for several big fashion houses. Elle's first major campaign was for Marc Jacobs when she was 13, and she has since gone on to be the face of Miu Miu and appear in ads for J.Estina alongside her sister. Dakota has appeared in 2 campaigns for Marc Jacobs, including her infamous ads for his Oh, Lola! perfume, which were banned in the UK, as well as playing muse to houses like Uniqlo, Rodarte and Prada. Winner: Dakota
Overall Winner: Dakota, with three wins to two. Of course, with Elle gaining more and more attention and both sisters lining up big projects for the future, the Battle of the Fanning Sisters is still anyone's game. Dakota did have a head start, after all. Let us know your thoughts below!
Errol Flynn's widow Patrice Wymore has died at the age of 87. The actress passed away in Portland, Jamaica on Saturday (22Mar14) after a long illness.
Wymore first appeared on the big screen opposite Doris Day and Gordon MacRae in 1950's Tea for Two following several Broadway gigs in the late 1940s, including Hold It! and All for Love.
She fell in love with Flynn while co-starring in Rocky Mountain in 1950 and the pair married later that year.
In 1953, they welcomed a daughter, Arnella Flynn, who went on to become a fashion model in Europe. She died in 1998 from an apparent drug overdose.
Wymore continued to act and appeared in such films as the original Ocean's Eleven, The Big Trees and I'll See You in My Dreams.
Flynn passed away in 1959.
It’s hard to end such a complicated series, or so we thought. Apparently, the most conflicted show on television can be summed up in one sentence, "There is only one story, light vs darkness."
Marty and Rust find one of the killers and unmask the pedophile ring to the mass media. In the process Rust gets stabbed by Errol, the man with the face scars, and Marty gets an ax in the chest. Yet, they persevere. Rust shoots Errol in the head, which is the biggest surprise of all. We expected a torture scene or at least an unfair fight. But we got nothing. Just a couple of injuries, a few tears from each detective, and zero explanation about anything.
We could say that the show was wrapped up quite nicely, the bad guy is dead, the good guys prevail. Just as Rust says when looking at the stars he believes that light is winning against darkness. But we don’t see how that’s possible. There’s still a ring of pedophiles who weren’t caught, a slew of dead children, and honestly, the night sky seems darker than ever.
It was a nice attempt at an end, but we don’t feel wrapped up. Maybe the show should’ve lasted another hour, or maybe that would’ve prolonged the inevitably disappointing ending. Guess we’ll never know.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Treading water at the very surface of RoboCop, there is an idea. A dense concept, ready and willing to provide no dearth of dissection for any eager student of philosophy, psychology, political science, physics — hell, any of the Ps. To simplify the idea on hand: What separates man from machine? It's a question that is not just teased by the basic premise of José Padilha's remake of the 1987 sci-fi staple, but asked outright by many of its main characters. And then never really worried about again.
We have principal parties on both sides of the ethical quandary that would place the security of our crime-ridden cities in the hands of automatons. Samuel L. Jackson plays a spitfire Bill O'Reilly who wonders why America hasn't lined its streets with high-efficiency officer droids. Zach Grenier, as a moralistic senator, gobbles his way through an opposition to the Pro-boCop movement. We hear lecture after lecture from pundits, politicians, business moguls (a money-hungry Michael Keaton heads the nefarious OmniCorp...) and scientists (...while his top doc Gary Oldman questions the nature of his assignments while poking at patients' brains and spouting diatribes about "free will"), all working their hardest to lay thematic groundwork. Each character insists that we're watching a movie about the distinction between human and artificial intelligence. That even with an active brain, no robot can understand what it means to have a heart. But when Prof. Oldman tempers his hysterical squawking and Samuel L. Hannity rolls his closing credits, we don't see these ideas taking life.
In earnest, the struggle of rehabilitated police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) — nearly killed in the line of duty and turned thereafter into OmniCorp's prototype RoboCop — doesn't seem to enlist any of the questions that his aggravated peers have been asking. Murphy is transformed not just physically, but mentally — robbed of his decision-making ability and depleted of emotional brain chemicals — effectively losing himself in the process. But the journey we see take hold of Murphy is not one to reclaim his soul, although the movie touts it as such. It's really just one to become a better robot.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Meanwhile, RoboCop lays down its motives, and hard: Murphy's wife and son (Abbie Cornish and a puckish young John Paul Ruttan) lament the loss of Alex, condemning his dehumanization at the hands of Raymond Sellars' (Keaton) capitalistic experiments, and sobbing out some torrential pathos so you know just how deep this company is digging. Weaselly stooges (Jay Baruchel, Jennifer Ehle, and Jackie Earl Haley) line the OmniCorp roster with comical wickedness. Overseas, killer combat bots take down peaceful villages, unable to work empathetic judgment into their decision to destroy all deemed as "threats." And at the top, figures of power and money like Sellars and Pat Novak (Jackson) speak the loudest and harshest, literally justifying their agenda with a call for all naysayers to "stop whining." Clearly, RoboCop has something to say.
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And when it's devoted to its outrage, RoboCop is terrifically charming. The buzzing political world is just a tiny step closer to ridiculous than our own; the pitch meetings at OmniCorp are fun enough to provoke a ditching of all the material outside of the company walls. And one particular reference to The Wizard of Oz shows that the movie isn't above having fun with its admittedly silly premise. But it loses its magic when it steps away from goofy gimmicks and satirical monologues and heads back into the story. We don't see enough of Murphy grappling with the complicated balance between his conflicting organic and synthetic selves. In fact, we don't see enough "story" in Murphy at all. First, he's a dad and a cop. Then, he's a RoboCop. But can he also be a RoboDad? With all of its ranting and raving about the question, the film doesn't seem to concerned with actually figuring out the answer.
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The filmmakers behind a new documentary about beloved movie critic Roger Ebert have surpassed their crowdfunding campaign goal and will premiere the film at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. Last November (13), Hoop Dreams director Steve James started an online campaign via Indiegogo.com to help fund his movie, Life Itself, based on the memoir penned by Ebert, who died last year (Apr13).
His goal was to raise $150,000 (£91,274) to help complete the movie and pay for promotional costs, and thanks to the generosity of online contributors, he raised $153,875 (£93,632).
In the film, James interviews many filmmakers whose lives were impacted by Ebert, including director Errol Morris and Martin Scorsese, who serves as an executive director on the film.
James plans to donate the extra money raised to some of the critic's favourite charities, including The Ebert Foundation, which supports educational and arts organisations.
Life Itself is slated to make its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday (19Jan14).
Hollywood veteran Kevin Costner is auctioning off a selection of personal items and film memorabilia to help an employee at his South Dakota tourist attraction cover his college costs. The actor was moved by the story of 47-year-old Lakota tribe interpreter Phillip Red Bird Frame, who is determined to return to school to study sociology and obtain his degree, and he has offered up items including his childhood baseball and bat, and a sports jacket he wore in 1988 film Bull Durham to help raise funds.
Chief David Bald Eagle, head of the Minnicoujou Tribe, has also donated some of his movie keepsakes, including a signed copy of Errol Flynn's Captain Blood, in which he appeared as the actor's bodyguard, and a signed buckskin shirt he wore for the picture.
Frame, who works at Costner's Tatanka: Story of the Bison museum near the city of Deadwood, is flattered by the stars' generosity and he tells local publication the Rapid City Journal, "I am humbled but that's too small of a word. I am obviously appreciative that I am getting this chance to help other people through Mr. Costner and Chief Bald Eagle."
The sale will take place at Lead's Dakota Plains Auctions on Saturday (21Sep13).
A pair of boots worn by Errol Flynn in 1938 film The Adventures Of Robin Hood are expected to fetch at least $3,000 (£2,000) at auction later this month (Sep13). The actor's rust-coloured boots were used in what was the most expensive Warner Bros. film ever made at the time, and they are among 20,000 theatrical costumes at the sale.
The auction, due to take place in Nottingham on 21 September (13), is being held to sell items belonging to former hire shop owner Andrew Wilson-Jenner.
Movie legend Errol Flynn was once the subject of a private investigation in England after he failed to cover the cost of a large clothing bill. Jonathon Williams, the current store manager of Northampton menswear shop Montague Jeffrey, recently unearthed a handful of letters in the store's archives, which revealed the late star had wracked up a large debt back in the 1950s.
The shop owner hired detectives to track down Flynn in a bid to recover the funds, and when confronted, the Australian, who was working in the area, admitted he was strapped for cash.
He vowed to pay the store back in full within a week, although it is unclear whether Flynn ever made good on his promise before he died in 1959.
The actor acknowledged the issue in a handwritten note to the store, dated January, 1955, which reads, "If you would care to wait about a week longer I will be able to pay your account in full. The only reason it has not been settled previously is inability, not disinclination."
Turning "Jack and the Beanstalk" into a Lord of the Rings-style fantasy epic sounds like the premise of a MADtv sketch, but director Bryan Singer (X-Men, Superman Returns) finds a happy medium between grand action filmmaking and the dapper whimsy of an Errol Flynn adventure with Jack the Giant Slayer. The movie nods to its storybook origins: the characters are slight, the villains are goofy, and every action is painted in the biggest, boldest, most colorful stroke possible. It's fluffier than Rings, and that's not knock on the film. Jack is light on its toes, making it the perfect entry-level fantasy film for genre buffs and their kids to enjoy.
Jack suffers most of its problems in the first 10 minutes, a plodding, stylized recounting of man's history with giants. It's a tedious stretch that also introduces us to Jack (Nicholas Hoult), a farm boy whose dreams of a thrilling soldier life cloud his ability to do anything right. His kingdom's princess, Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), suffers from the same inability to escape her life. When she finally goes on the run in one last effort to escape her suitor Roderick (Stanley Tucci), the princess takes refuge on Jack's farm. The two instantly connect, but their rainy night in is rudely interrupted by a few misplaced magic beans, which produce a towering beanstalk straight through Jack's bachelor pad. Jack watches as Isabelle and his home disappear into the clouds. The king and his army immediately spring into action to rescue the princess, and Jack's newfound connection to Isabelle drives him to join the team.
RELATED: 'Jack' Might Have Just The Right Amount of Nonsense — Trailer
Jack the Giant Slayer's lengthy setup feels frivolous in both script and execution, a series of hurdles in the way of the real fun of the movie. Jack partners with head knight Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and the king's advisor Roderick (like Jafar!) — who hides a secret connection to the towering beasts — to climb the beanstalk and track down Isabelle. Singer knows his way around an action set piece and turns the scaling of the beanstalk, even with CG enhancements, into a dizzying vertigo experience. When the group arrives in "Gantua," the land of the giants, they immediately encounter the floating land's residents and are outnumbered (not to mention, outscaled). Singer has his cake with the design of his monstrous ensemble: they're both cartoonish (maybe a bit so in the case of Bill Nighy's General Fallon, who has a second, blabbering head) and realized with detail and familiar motion. The giants have distinct personalities, and they clash with both their human adversaries and each other. Most of Jack the Giant Slayer is from Jack's ant-like perspective, like a medieval Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
Hoult is up to the physical task of outrunning (and occasionally slaying) the giants, a gimmick that never gets too repetitive thanks to Jack's 90-minute runtime. Livening up the set pieces are McGregor and Tucci, who both chew up their fair share of scenery along the way. McGregor is sprightly as the noble knight. At one point, the actor finds himself wrapped in dough, fated with becoming a human-sized pig in a blanket. Silly, but McGregor knows it — and plays it through for laughs. Tucci has a ball as the diabolical villain, sneering and sniveling against the computer animated giants. The man knows what he can get away with in a fairy tale movie and takes full advantage. The two eventually share a duel and its the highlight of the movie.
RELATED: Nicholas Hoult Goes to War In 7 New 'Giant Slayer' Pics
Teased in the trailers, Jack and the Giant Slayer caps off with a grand battle. The movie takes one too many cues from the fantasy films of yore (moments in the score feel directly ripped from Rings), but impressively, Singer's stamp never disappears, even in the biggest scenes. A sequence where the beanstalk is cut and topples over across the open fields is expertly crafted, while the warring finale moves swiftly from small moments, like Elmont and Jack organizing troops for battle, to vistas filled with destruction. When giants attack, they go big. Singer always knows just where to have us looking — at a firing catapult, at a bellowing giant, at knights pushing against the castle gate to ward off intruders — and it's cut together for maximum thrills.
Jack the Giant Slayer is blockbuster entertainment built upon fairy tale logic. Scrutiny does it no justice, but from a giant's point of view — or atop the beanstalk, if you're a pesky human — the big picture is good fun.
What do you think? Tell Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and read more of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes!
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
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The Last Of Robin Hood will focus on the controversial relationship between Flynn, played by Kevin Klein, and teenage actress Beverly Aadland, who was with him when he died in 1959 at the age of 50.
Flynn, who was cleared of statutory rape charges in 1942, was married to actress Patrice Wymore until his death, but romanced Aadland after casting her in his final film, Cuban Rebel Girls.
Susan Sarandon will play Beverly's mum Florence Aadland, who wrote 1961 book The Big Love about Flynn's relationship with her daughter.
The film is due for release later this year (13).