CAST: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton
DIRECTOR: Joon-ho Bong
In a new Ice Age, where earth has been frozen for 17 years, Snowpiercer is the only place for survivors. Climate change has made the planet uninhabitable. Those few who survived the planet’s demise live aboard a train that perpetually circles the same track. The tail section is like a slum, filled with people who are cold and hungry, forced to live by their wits, while the front section contains the chosen few, who indulge in alcohol and drugs amid luxurious surroundings.
The world inside the train is far from equal. In the 17th year of the train’s infinite course, a young leader from the tail section stirs up a riot that has been brewing for some time. In order to liberate the tail section and eventually the whole train, this hero and his fellow passengers charge toward the engine located at the front of the train, where it’s creator, the absolute authority, resides in splendour. But unexpected circumstances lie in wait for humanity’s tenacious survivors.
Director Bong Joon Ho first encountered the French graphic novel ‘Transperceneige’, on which ‘Snowpiercer’ is based, in a bookshop near Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, during the winter of 2005. He read through the entire volume while browsing in the store and became mesmerized by the cinematic potential of a train filled with bustling human lives hurling through the aftermath of a global apocalypse. He was determined to turn it into a film.
“The first thing that grabbed my attention was the unique cinematic space of a train, and the vision of hundreds of metal pieces moving like a living snake carrying people squirming inside,” Bong admits. “And the people inside were fighting against each other after being divided into separate and distinct cars — they were not equal in this Noah’s Ark-like contraption that held the last survivors on Earth.”
For his work on the script, completed in late 2010, Bong remained true to the themes of his previous works, which examine the nature of human beings under extreme circumstances: a case involving a brutal serial killer, (‘Memories Of Murder’); or a monster sprung from the depths of the Hangang River in Seoul (‘The Host’); or a mother who is gradually going insane (‘Mother’).
“The original graphic novel was magnificent and it started from an original idea,” Bong admits. “But I had to come up with a completely new story and new characters in order to create a ‘Snowpiercer’ that was packed with cinematic exhilaration.”
The most pressing challenge was creating a sense of constricted space inside the perpetually moving vehicle at the heart of his adaptation. “There is no detour inside a narrow, linear train,” Bong explains. “You have to advance forward in order to get anywhere. Bodies clash against each other and sweat is mixed up with blood.
I wanted to portray the formidable energy and cinematic sensation that exploded out of this dynamic.”
For the part of Curtis, the leader of the uprising who guides passengers from the tail section through the body of the train into the front section, where the mythical engine is housed, Bong looked to Chris Evans, the American-born star of Marvel Comics adaptations, including the ‘Avengers’ and ‘Captain America’ films.
For Evans, it was Bong’s meticulous preparation on ‘Snowpiercer’, including the director’s artful storyboards, which made this film stand out from his Marvel predecessors. “The way he shot the movie is so unique,” Evans insists. “In a way he has already edited it in his brain. It’s like he’s building a house and instead of asking for bag of nails, Bong asks for 53 nails. He’s committed to a vision ahead of time and when you work with someone like that, it feels like you’re watching someone operate on a higher plane. Bong knew exactly what he wanted, and what he was doing.”
FILM: THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU
CAST: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn
FILM: Shawn Levy
When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in humorous and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide.
The dramatic comedy – based on the humorous and poignant best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper – is directed by Shawn Levy, who helmed the blockbuster ‘Night at the Museum’ films, as well as ‘Date Night’ and ‘Real Steel’. To date, his films have grossed over $2 billion worldwide. His youthful, enthusiastic approach to filmmaking is evident in the storylines and characters he creates – blending humor, humanity and spectacle in the cinematic stories he tells.
Jason Bateman, who plays protagonist Judd Altman – one of the four combative siblings of the Altman family who recently caught his wife cheating on him with his boss – was honoured with a Golden Globe Award in 2004 for Best Actor in a Comedy Series and earned an Emmy Award nomination and two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for his irreverent portrayal of Michael Bluth in the Mitch Hurwitz-created, multi-award-winning comedy series ‘Arrested Development’. Since then, the actor, producer and director has attained leading-man status in front and behind the camera. Since ‘Arrested Development’ ended in 2006, Bateman has secured one major film role after another, the most recent of which was ‘Bad Words’, a dark comedy that also marked his feature film directorial debut.
Tina Fey plays Wendy Altman, another of the four siblings; a married, responsible mother of two. Fey is perhaps most well known for her portrayal of Liz Lemon in the celebrated and award winning sitcom ’30 Rock’, which she also created. Currently, Fey is in production on the feature comedy ‘The Nest’ with Amy Poehler. Directed by Jason Moor, it will be released in December 2015.