Man, what a shame. It's been a bad week for director Jon Hillcoat, actor Viggo Mortensen and the Weinstein Company. Hell, it's been a bad week for this Oscar season. It looks like the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," is moving to to 2009 like reports have suggested it might.
First came the news that Hillcoat's film might not be ready and then came a test screening that was met with mixed results. The screenings suggested that "The Road" still had some technical clean-up stuff to do, but if you take all the reports into account, they sing mostly praiseworthy, but of course it's the first and loudest report (a negative one from a CHUD reader), that seems to have done the most damage to the film's rep.
An announcement was expected this week whether the film would vie for a 2008 release or not and now according to a Hollywood Reporter report from last night, a 2009 release seems like a forgone conclusion. THR says no new date has been set, but a February or March release looks likely. Ouch. Almost dumping ground season? Is it that bleak? Does it need that much work? Couldn't they save it for Oscar season 2009?
The Weinstein company has fallen on hard times, and some will suggest they'll be putting all their might behind, "The Reader" and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona,"* instead and might have no choice to release "The Road" in early 2009, as they might not have a Q1 film in theaters otherwise. The economy continues to effect everyone.
The Weinsteins refused to comment, but THR says, "those involved with the film have decided that the movie will benefit from both more post-production time and a less crowded theatrical calendar," and apparently the film straddles the line between a "commercial" and "prestige" release.
With "The Soloist" also moved to 2009, and "Defiance" basically doing the same (it will receive a very-late December opening just to Oscar-qualify), it appears as if studios are saying: Oscars are nice and all, but not necessarily driving the bottom dollar, if we can release a strong film in Q1, it might make us much more money that it would during Oscar season - and right now that might be all that counts.
*Expect the Weinsteins to campaign hard for Penelope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." Rebecca Hall is great too, but she would be a supporting role too and they wouldn't want to dull their chances.
Man, what a shame. It's been a bad week for director Jon Hillcoat, actor Viggo Mortensen and the Weinstein Company. Hell, it's been a bad week for this Oscar season. It looks like the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," is moving to to 2009 like reports have suggested it might.
Is the Oscar Best Supporting Actor category going to boil down to Philip Seymour Hoffman against Heath Ledger? Warner Bros. has just confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that they are 100% going to campaign Ledger's enthralling Joker performance for Best Supporting Actor and not Best Actor as some had suggested they might (smart, the other wouldn'tve been a good look).
None of us have seen "Doubt," yet (the PSH film), but Ledger probably still has the edge, for the sympathy vote at the very least. Seymour Hoffman plays a Priest who diddles kids in "Doubt" and that might be a difficult award to hand over. Well, Jamie Foxx is out of the game now thanks to "The Soloist" push (we figured this one wasn't quite Oscar worthy; though perhaps schmaltz worthy) effectively telling us that the studio didn't have much faith in its chances. And Kodi Smit-McPhee, the kid from "The Road," might be out of the mix too.
That doesn't leave a lot, but we're betting Josh Brolin or Emile Hirsch could nab a spot from "Milk." Vulture picks Michael Sheen from "Frost/Nixon" but he might have enough screen time for Best Actor (and we think that's already been suggested). InContention has Michael Shannon from "Revolutionary Road," but he looks so much like a young Angus MacInnes from "Strange Brew," that we think this will have to work against him in some manner.
We haven't put too much thought into it, but surely PSH and Ledger are the favorites to earn nominations. But with Fox and McPhee out of the game (and the latter mighta been a stretch), the game has changed. Frankly, the game has changed for almost every category now, aside from the women (which is almost locked down, that's another piece). Hey, how about Eddie Marsan from "Happy Go Lucky"? Hell, he was as good as Ledger. En Ra Ha!
Oof, this weekend is pretty painful at the Box-Office. "Max Payne" is expected to win, but it won't win you any brain-cells. In fact you might lose some by attending. "['Payne] a nap-inducing special-effects fest, minus even the excitement of watching someone else play a game. Yawn. This is as cardboard as action-movie-making gets: slo-mo bullets and breaking glass, big explosions, rows and rows of dead bodies," writes Marshall Fine at Hollywood and Fine. Man, that's some funny shit. 'Payne' has a lowly 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The choices from there get slimmer and slimmer. If you're an undecided voter and you think seeing Oliver Stone's "W" will make you vote Democrat due to the incumbent office's pathetic handling of this country over the last eight years, well, then, by all means, please go see the film. But unless you're terribly curious. We're not sure we can wholeheartedly recommend it (and in fact we didn't like it much and felt it was kind of playing it safe, without saying much). We seem to be in the consensus of most critics. It's got an average 54% rating.
After that your mainstream choices are the tea-cup drama "The Secret Lives Of Bees" (54%rating) and "Sex Drive" (41% rating). If your mom is in town, take her to the former. If your seventeen your old brother is around, take him to the latter. Otherwise, go see something that's not mainstream for once and deign to visit an indie, arthouse theater.
Also in theaters this weekend (though some in very limited release) is Madonna's "Filth & Wisdom" (personally, we're gonna skip), Abel Ferrara's "Mary," with the lovely Juliette Binoche playing Mary Magdalene (no one outside of a few dedicated film critics even knew this one was coming out; it's in one New York theater; good luck with that). "'Mary' is a convoluted, hysterical mess of a movie with grandiose spiritual airs and not a drop of humor," writes the New York Times. Ouch.
Hmm, umm, ok, uh... well there's "What Just Happened," Barry Levinson's satirical movie about movies starring Robert DeNiro as a rich, asshole film producer that you're supposed to have sympathy for. It's in limited release and has a not-great, but better-than-most this weekend rating of 57%, And well, that's about it for the most part unless there's old stuff you haven't seen (we still want to see "Man On Wire" and "The Pleasure of Being Robbed," and Max Ophüls' "Lola Montes" at Film Forum). Thanks to L.A. gossip-rag Defamer for the image, we were too lazy and uninspired to make this an image.
Wait, Dakota Fanning gets raped and then all of a sudden shes' in a "riveting action-thriller"? [ed. whoa dude, too soon] It's like, "I'm all growed up, I can put down the tea-cup," and "burrow my way into the deadly world of psychic espionage!" WTF? Ok, maybe not "punk rock" per se, but she's already dyed red stripes into her nappy-looking hair? Wasn't she just in a training bra and playing on a swing last week? What is happening to our children! Man, we lasted about 15 seconds watching this thing until blockhead Chris Evans showed up and guns and bullets started flying. Fanning, a psychic says, "right now the future doesn't look too bright." Seriously, with writers like that maybe the film industry is truly fucked. It looks as cardboard-cutout and pedestrian as you might imagine, but you'll probably be there anyhow on dumping ground season, February 9, 2009.
"Push": A riveting action-thriller, Push burrows deep into the deadly world of psychic espionage where artificially enhanced paranormal operatives have the ability to move objects with their minds, see the future, create new realities and kill without ever touching their victims. Against this setting, a young man and a teenage girl take on a clandestine agency in a race against time that will determine the future of civilization.
Here's the Tennessee hick, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (aka Brad Pitt) in all his glory. The first real character pic of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" (sic) has leaked out to the web and Cinematical has a hold of it (whether they found it or were fed it, they don't say, but Tarantino Archives has it too; maybe it was emailed around). Click here on on the pic for the full sized image.
For those not keeping score:
'Inglourious Basterds' begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.
Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as "The Basterds," Raine's squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own...
We've been all about this flick and revealed who Cloris Leachmen is playing in the film and what European actors are playing Hitler, Winston Chuchill and Joseph Goebbels.
Techmology titan, Wired magazine— perhaps the only monthly on Earth actually increasing in size — has deigned to grace The Playlist in its pages this month in their Playlist section (how convenient, right? We're evidently featured in the November issue; we need to get a copy for moms).
The magazine writes about our bloggity-blog; they seem to enjoy our Playlist Soundtrack Series, which is what got this blog off the ground in the first place:
"The best way to make a movie-blog great: a stellar soundtrack. The Playlist not only posts newsy bits in films... but also features playlists inspired by directors like Spike Jonze, Miranda July and Cameron Crowe."People tug on our shirt tails about the Playlist Soundtrack Series all the time and ask us when the hell the next edition is, and the answer is this: We lost our Ipod and about 20 playlists from 20 different directors. Then our hard drive crashed. It's all up in our head (a crowed place to be, trust us), but it's going to take a long time to recover. Perhaps we should start a paypal account so people can contribute to paying for the cost prohibitive hard-drive resurrection (*crickets*).
Beggars can't be chooser (not that we asked), but they forgot to put our URL in the piece. It's theplaylist.blogspot.com for you first time readers coming in from Japan. Konnichiha. Now if only someone will make us rich. But anywoo, look ma, no hands! The Playlist in Wired magazine! We're sure readership will now increase by about 1.21 percent the blog community will respect us that much more (you can only go up from nothing). The end.
The heartwarming and unforgettable story of a family in the making and the wondrously neurotic dog who taught them what really matters in life."
LOL, are they serious? Oh man, you bet they are.
The cheesy rom-com gets even more seriously dipped in fromage. "They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same."
Holy shit, who writes this stuff? Do they have no shame? Why not just call this movie, "Look, Puppies!" We wonder how this will rate on the "Beethoven" scale of dog movies. Wilson is no Charles Grodin.
LOL, every time we see these photos of Zachary Quinto as Spock and Eric Bana as a Romulan (pictured above), we can't help, but laugh our heads off. Did everyone really have to play a younger version of the classic cast. Really? So we're basically getting new actors doing their caricature takes on Scotty, Sulu, Kirk, etc.?
Man, that sounds like a horrible idea. Couldn't they have set it around that era? Do the same people in the military ever really serve on the same vessel for like 40-years of their lives? So their careers are frozen in time and they never get promoted or shift around? (Ok, we think they started to around Star Trek 12, it's hard to keep track when you don't give a flying fuck). It's like the Star Wars universe which includes thousands of galaxies, planets and people, but it's always the same 6 people connected to one another (did it really need to be Chewbacca that was the Wookie that met Yoda, couldn't have been any other fucking member of that race? SHEESH).
The film stars... oh, who are we kidding, we don't give a fuck, but note that Winona Ryder is in this thing somewhere too, but it's currently unknown who she hooks up with in lieu of no lead singer.
Ok, where the fuck were we Wednesday night when they were handing out random passes to John Hillcoat's "The Road" with Viggo Mortensen in New York's Union Square? We'll tell you where: not in fucking Union Square, argh!
Apparently it was an impromptu, unannounced test-screening, but people from the media (or at least close to 'em) still got in including members of CHUD and Vulture. The Cormac McCarthy novel which the film is based on is bleak, but ultimately hopeful (in a, umm, sorta bleak kind of way), but CHUD's people apparently had problems with all the grimness (didn't these guys like 'Dark Knight'?) thought it was a "overall mess." Perhaps this is why the film is being potentially pushed to 2009 - perhaps it's not ready like the rumors suggest?
"The focus group I attended railed against the repetitive score, which was probably temp but sounded like a minimalist new Nick Cave score that was heavy on the piano and droned through the heavily dramatic moments [ed. yes, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis composed the score]. There's no 'movie' there." The review continues and is rather scathing.
"The film never pretends to be interested in its opaque story, replacing what I assume would be literary details with bleak, miserablist [sic] moments edited together randomly, none feeling like they emerged from the same film. It might just be unadaptable, because after the first twenty minutes the rest of the film is a crushing bore of a foregone conclusion."One, we may have to punch this focus group in the groin, because Cave and Ellis' repetitive score to "The Assasination of Jesse James" was amazing and lugubrious in the most amazing way (one of the best scores in recent years).
Vulture's intern however was much more positive about the picture. They say, of course, it's bleak, have you read the novel? (which apparently the CHUD reader hadn't).
"Arguably the best parts of the film, aside from some stellar acting, are the postapocalyptic urban exterior scenes — burnt-out malls, crumbling highways, long-abandoned neighborhoods. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Hillcoat did most of the filming in and around Pittsburgh, a bastion of urban American beauty, but every inch of the landscape and set seems to be painstakingly trashed."An unfinished film? Other than from a technical stand-point (color correction and whatnot), Vulture seems to think the film seemed "pretty close to completion."
Hillcoat expands the book's flashback sequences to give Charlize Theron more screen time, and contrasts the grayscale color palette of the movie-present with the vivid one of the movie-past. Viggo Mortensen seems to play a mix of Aragorn from Lord of the Rings and Tom Stall from A History of Violence. His unnamed character is human and believable. As his son, newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee holds his own.Whom to believe: Well, a random person on CHUD's message board, versus a Vulture intern seems like no contest, but the CHUD reader's critique is actually quite articulate. We'll have to split the difference and believe (especially because of the aforementioned potential push), that "The Road," has some problems and is still kind of unfinished (PS, this was suggested back in September by Nick Cave who was still feverishly working on the music). Also, an AICN reader gave it a major thumbs up too (called it an Oscar contender).
But we're greatly anticipating the film, so hopefully, it is ready for the Oscar 2008 season. Here's our in-depth script-review if you want to know more. Update: A reader hips us to the fact that AICN says (further down in the piece) that Cave and Ellis' score is still incomplete and that this test-screening was utilizing a temp soundtrack (maybe that's why it was super repetitive?). Here's some of their brilliant work on the aforementioned 'Jesse James' one of our favorite films from 2007 and certainly one of the most beautiful.
Oscar-Season Madness: 'The Soloist' Pushed To March 2009, Defiance Probably Pushed Out Of Oscar Contention Too
Damn, hold the phone! The Oscar season is being thrown apart and it's like musical chairs. Everyone has to rejigger their picks quick. "The Road" might be pushed to 2009, there's "The Reader," drama, and now "The Soloist" starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx has been officially pushed back to March 2009. Man, what a nutty season this has been so far.
The film's website still says it's set for a11.29.08. release date, but according to Variety late last night, Paramount has pushed the film back to March 13, 2009, which pretty much mean its Oscar hopes are over and that the studio probably didn't have much faith in it winning in the first place (and are probably going to concentrate their efforts on 'Benjamin Button' and "Revolutionary Road" instead).
DreamWorks had high hopes for the film and its Oscar potential and it's probably only a matter of time until someone says this is some dickmove on Parmount's part because of the split, but apparently, Robert Downey Jr. wouldn't have been around for press and junkets cause of shooting on Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes."
According to Variety, "DreamWorks declined comment, but insiders said brass are very disappointed by the move while conceding that it might benefit the film's box office prospects due to the competitive field of year-end films."
It may also have something to do with Paramount's recent announcement of scale-back plans to only release 20 films a year. That probably means only one film to deal with for the Oscars and putting your best and only foot forward instead of deluding your money across multiple Oscar campaigns.
Defiance Dead For Oscars Too?
Another Parmount film pushed back, but still in 2008, is Ed Zwick's "Defiance" starring Daniel Craig that was scheduled for a December 12th, and it now being pushed for a late-minute Oscar-qualifying run on December 31st according to DeadlineHollywood who also said the reasons for the 'Soloist' push are economic (which are the same reason for the Paramount scale-back, parent company Viacom is feeling the economy crunch like all of us). Hollywood Elsewhere seems to think that the "Defiance" move (it won't go wide until January obviously) signals the fact that it's dead in the water, Oscar-wise, and we're inclined to agree with his posit.
Brad Pitt Is Now Too Busy To Take Your Phone Calls; Signs On For Sci-Fi 'Odyssey' And Baseball Flick
Maybe the reason Brad Pitt dropped out of Darren Aronofsky's "The Fighter," is because he's seemingly going to be everywhere at once?
Pitt has signed on to join George Miller (the guy who will direct the 'Justice League' film in 2050) for an adaptation of Greek poet, Homer’s epic "The Odyssey." However, instead of making it like "Troy" (which was an adaptation of Homer's "Illiad"), the plan is to set it in outer-space (whaaa?) Warner Bros. have apparently "quietly" set-up the film. Obviously, "The Odyssey" is about Odysseus long journey home after the ten-year war and Troy has fallen.
Meanwhile, writer Steve Zaillian ("Gangs Of New York") has signed on to adapt the novel, "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game," as a vehicle for Pitt to star in. The story is about a Major Leagues baseball manager who "assembles a contending baseball club on a shoestring budget by employing a sophisticated computer-based analysis to draft players," according to Variety.
Pitt's been a busy man and has been working with a ton of contemporary auteurs. Up next for him is David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" then Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life," and of course, Quentin Tarantino's"Inglourious Basterds," which just started shooting in Germany.
The proposed idea to make the most homo-erotically charged action/adventure film since "300" is dead in the water. Latino Review is reporting that the plans for a remake of "He-Man," are done and Warner Bros. are no longer interested.
Apparently name directors like Doug Liman and Bryan Singer passed on the project and WB weren't exactly jazzed about the film either. LR loved the "Grayskull" script, but they're wont to do that whenever a toy or comic-book character hits the page and says something even remotely ghey.
Dolph Lundgren and Mattel could not be reached for comment.
Things are looking up for Kevin Smith. His "Red State" horror might not be getting off the ground anytime soon, his sci-fi film "Ranger Danger and the Danger Rangers," isn't apparently going anwhere and his upcoming comedy "Zack and Miri Make A Porno," is getting cockblocked by conservative newspapers and radio stations that refuse to run ads for the film simply because it has "Porno" in the title.
But a new sci-fi comedy (that has nothing to do with 'Ranger Danger') has been greenlit. Wait, no that would be too much of good luck. The futuristic sci-fi comedy is being, wait for it... developed (i.e. the director announced he's writing something new).
According to THR, the film will reference other sci-fi films (duh, when can't Smith do this), and will center on father-son relationship in a futuristic outer-space world. The Weinsteins could reteam with Smith again for the film which will have an estimated budget in the $45 million-$50 million range, but they're not exactly in the money these days and will wait and see.
THR says, "Red State" will come first, but Smith's been saying no studio is going to touch the film. Meanwhile it seems no one is going to touch this new sci-fi project until a script is complete.
Yup. "Inside Bob Dylan's Jesus Years: Busy Being Born... Again!"opens today in New York in one theater tonight (for free!) and the filmmakers will be there for a Q&A after the screening. They're giving this shit away.
Call us crazy (or faithless), but we're pretty wary of music docs with zero buzz and one barely-publicized screening that are basically going straight-to-DVD (October 28 release). It's telling that the only review we can find comes from The Christian Post. If someone wants to send us a screener or a review, cool, otherwise we'll just stick with the newly released 8th Bootleg Series disc, Tell Tale Signs, thanks. For more info on the free screening if you're brave enough, go here.
Download: Bob Dylan - "Series Of Dreams"
Posted by Rodrigo at 9:07 AM
The G and PG scene is, on the whole, pretty grim. "The Ratatouilles" and "Were-Rabbits" of the world are few and far between, and the 'Pirates' franchise wore out its welcome quick. "City of Ember" succeeds in being one of those rare PG films that both children and their parents can enjoy, thanks to thoughtful storytelling, excellent casting, and beautifully bleak set design as effective as the underground worlds of "The City of Lost Children"* or "The Goonies" [*ed. a masterful film].
An unexplained catastrophe has sent the last of our population underground, where engineers known as "Builders" have created a city meant to last for 200 years, complete with instructions each mayor is meant to protect and pass on for the last mayor – instructions that went missing years ago. We find Ember several years past its expiration date and literally falling apart. It is led by a corpulent and creepy Mayor Cole (played with sinister geniality by Bill Murray), who has no idea that the Builders intended for him to eventually lead the people of Ember to the Earth's surface. All he knows is that blackouts are getting longer, food and supplies are running out, and that his vague assurances won't soothe the public much longer. His call for an investigation into the blackouts by a specially selected task force is reminiscent of, oh, every clueless politician ever. The only other people who seem to sense that Ember's time is up are our two young heroes: Doon Harrow, played by Harry Treadaway (Joy Division's drummer in "Control"), and Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan, of "Atonement" fame).
Lina and Doon quickly find that Ember is running on fumes. When she's not sprinting around time delivering messages in a tattered red cape, Lina finds a dusty box in her grandmother's closet that contains tattered instructions left by the builders, but the paper is torn and missing pieces, rendering the instructions meaningless. Meanwhile, Doon explores the pipes and tunnels under the city, stumbling upon a locked room, hidden tunnels, and notably, a giant star-nosed mole with pink, slimy sausage-sized tentacles and an appetite for human flesh. In a genre overrun by super special effects galore, ghost pirates and killer robots, there's something refreshingly scary about being chased by a giant tentacle-y mole. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned. Our heroes do what heroes always do, put together clues so that at the last possible moment they might escape the disaster.
Rounding out the fantastic cast are Tim Robbins as Doon's father, a slightly defeated mechanic who builds strange, unsafe, and highly specialized inventions in an apartment littered with whirlygigs and doodads; Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Clary, a local farmer with a rebellious past and a secret tunnel in her greenhouse; Mary Kay Place as a religious nut in deep denial; the delightful Martin Landau as Doon's single-minded boss; and Toby Jones of "Infamous" infamy as the mayor's skuzzy underling. There's even a delightful cameo by kooky hipster folksinger Lavender Diamond as the choral master (she wrote the song for the choir).
The set design was surprisingly tasteful and impressive, making great use of small-scale details. The look is Bavarian village meets WPA, with crumbling edifices, dusty, near-empty storerooms and hoarded canned goods. The pitch-black surrounding the city silently menaces, and Director Gil Kenan ("Monster House"), counteracts this by reflecting light off Saoirse Ronan's milk-saucer eyes any chance he gets. When the lights in Ember threaten to flicker out forever, she looks at them like a lover she'll never see again.
Something nagged at us for awhile after seeing "City of Ember," something I thought of as a hole in the plot, a general lack of character development. Now it seems like the sort of theme that's so obvious it takes you awhile to articulate. Why are the citizens of Ember so complacent in the face of what is clearly an imminent and grisly demise? (And I do mean grisly. This is a dark movie with some heavy ideas for kids and adults to chew on. Aside from the whole post-apocalyptic setting, you've got corruption, complacency, starvation, and the images of being trapped in pitch-black darkness miles underground, with nothing to do but starve and wander blindly while listening for sounds of giant, hungry, man-eating moles and beetles.) Food is running out, storerooms are clearly devoid of supplies, and blackouts occur with increasing frequency and length, yet no one is freaking out except for our two heroes. Clearly the complacency they face provides the contrast for their courage and initiative, but isn't it also a mirror of the audience? Will future generations look back at us and wonder as we did in the theater, "Why didn't they do something?!" More importantly, will families leave the theater today thinking, "Why don't we do something?"[A-]
[*ed. Instead, Dad got him a small spot in "W" as one of Dubya's head speechwriters]
Kirsten Dunst Possibly Not Part Of 'Spider-Man 4 & 5'; Sam Raimi May Direct, Is A Wealth Of Useless Information
You'd think director Sam Raimi would know something about "Spider Man 4 & 5" after all, Sony wants him to direct the films. But he doesn't sound totally confident that actress Kirsten Dunst will be back. Then again he has no clue.
"Kirsten, I’d love to work with her again," told Splashpage sounding unsure if she'd be back. "I hope she’ll be written into it. I couldn’t imagine making one without her, and I think she’s an important part of the movies.”
Doesn't dude have any say? So what's the it going to be about? Who will be the villains? Is he even directing the films? Umm, maybe.
"I’m really excited about Spider-Man, and I’m hoping to direct it. I don’t have a script yet, but production would start probably by March of 2010, I’m guessing. It sounds like a long time away, but we need a script first, and a lot of pre-production has to take place.”Gee, this guy is a wealth of knowledge. Some rainy day we'll get around to watching "Spider-Man 3," but don't bank on it.
Interesting. We were just thinking about this film today for some random reason. When word first came out there would be a fourth installment of the Jason Bourne series we sort of scoffed. Both director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon seemed done with the series, it had ended on a relatively high note and the franchise never embarrassed itself (quite the feat with most McFranchises these days).
So there would seemingly be no reason to go back because life is to short and you want to take on different creative avenues, right? Well, Universal is dead serious about moving forward and they've hired George Nolfi, a co-writer of the "Bourne Ultimatum" film to write the next film in the soon-to-be quadrology.
But Tony Gilroy, the man writing braintrust of the series who wrote the first two installments and provided the story of the third film won't be involved. In fact, though the series is based on the Robert Ludlum novels, this fourth film will actually be an original story.
But most importantly, Greengrass and Damon are attached to the next film. And that to the fans, is all that really matters.
How do you add extra fromage to an already semi-cheesy musical? Take it to the Broadway where people can siiiiiiiing! And emo-te! That's the plan with the feel-good indie movie, "Once," about buskers looking for love in Ireland (or whatever it was about). The Oscar-winning film that starred Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of the band the Swell Season (Hansard also plays in The Frames) and their love-dovey songs, is aiming to hit the Broadway stage around 2010 or 2011 once they find the most over-the-top actors for the roles and musicians who can take the existing songs and wring them free of any emotional truth so they'll be more sentimental and saccahrine then they already were.
The musical will feature songs from the film plus tracks penned by the duo that did not make it into the film, because they weren't that great, but hey, it's Broadway, anything will do. [Variety]
Our belated review, we saw this almost two weeks ago now.
If Steven McQueen's "Hunger" is one of the toughest films of the years to watch because of the physical atrocities people endure, than Lance Hammer's "Ballast" might be one the emotionally toughest film of the year to sit through.
Much less lyrical than we expected (all those David Gordon Green references threw us), "Ballast" is an an arresting experience suffused with striking performances of disquietude, in-the-moment handheld visuals, clipped unsentimental editing and hauntingly raw and real emotionally bleak scenarios.
Visceral in a gut-wrenching manner, "Ballast" is gutsy enough to keep the viewer in the dark in the beginning until the core slowly comes into focus when its ready (but note this is no mystery, it's just patient storytelling). Centering on a family we don't know is connected initially, "Ballast," starts with Lawrence (an amazing Michael J. Smith Sr. who delivers a heartwrenchingly quiet-sad performance) who attempts suicide when his brother is found dead from a purposeful pill overdose.
The other family is James (JimMyron Ross) and his single mother Marlee (Tarra Riggs) who works as a janitor to scrape out a poverty-stricken living in a small trailer house. Left to his devices as school is out for the summer, James courts danger by stealing Lawrence's gun while he's in recovering in the hospital, running with drug dealers and smoking crack seemingly more out of boredom and wanting to fit in with the older crowd than any real addiction.
Eventually it naturally (and nonchalantly) materializes that Lawrence is James' uncle and his deceased twin was the boy's father. He and Marlee have history and now that his brother and her husband are dead, most of it illustrates itself in her ugly fits of rage and his internalized somberness.
Twins share an unexplainable bond and the moment when Smith quietly says to Riggs "you will never understand my love for my brother," is a disarming and it packs a heavy emotional wallop. Through his run-ins with his extended family, both fractious and sometimes tender, Lawrence must decide if life is worth living without his other half. The answer of course is never clear and sometimes just despondent sounding.
As bleak and heavy as "Ballast" is, the film is a series of small heartache blows rather than any one movie moment or a "reveal" telling us "this is where you're supposed to be sad."
A closely-tracking, jarring and handheld camera (which generally follows from behind the back of the head ala the Dardenne brothers) keep you very much in the moment. When these people walk we feel like we're right behind them. This kinetic camera promotes a nervous, raw energy and the preoccupation of the gun still under Lawrence's couch creates a long-running subcurrent of anxiety.
Clipped and fragmented in its own brand of austere poetry, "Ballast" forces you to infer key parts of the narrative and motivations which is always bold and refreshing. Incredibly moving in subtle, non-narrative forced manners (the director never once tells the audience how to feel), "Ballast" is deeply touching, distressing, depressing and very much electrifying alive and acutely aware. It's no wonder the film scored the most nominations at the 2008 Gotham Awards.[A]
Awards Daily points us to Facebook which is hosting a Jon Brion song from Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York."
The track is the sad, torch song, "Little Person," which is the film's musical mantra, is used in the movie's trailer and features the vocals of jazz vocalist, Deanne Storey.
"Synecdoche, New York," the soundtrack comes out as a digital release via Lakeshore records on Oct 21; the physical release will follow at a to-be-determined date. We previously gave you a first listen to Brion's "All Plays Out (Fire Sale Version)," which alludes to a unexplained burning house in the film. 'Synecdoche' the film comes out in theaters on October 30. Our reviews lay here (it's a film that many have a hard time writing about in one sitting and we were no exception to its mind games).
We already posted the original trailer for this a week ago or so ago. "Let The Right One In" getting all the buzz in the indie-horror community and this Swedish-made flick is supposed to be grand. We'll see it this week. We hope it lives up to the hype.
Synop: Terrorized by bullies, lonely 12-year-old Oskar befriends a new neighbor, a mysterious young girl whose arrival coincides with a series of gruesome deaths and attacks. Though Oskar realizes that she's a vampire, his friendship with her is stronger than his fear.
Blah, blah, blah. "Inglorious Basterds." Yes, we're obsessed, but it's because we got into a WWII kick earlier this year and Quentin Tarantino's film dovetailed with that historical fetish. It's just coincidence. Reader of the blog will know we don't necessarily love everything QT's done and have been hard on the guy, but 'Basterds' the script, is probably his Everest.
Anywhoo, Tarantino Archives have confirmed some more of the cast members of the film - or at least confirmed who plays who, so we thought we'd take a deeper look.
Sylvester Groth as Joseph Goebbels
As we noted a few days ago, Sylvester Groth played Joseph Goebbels in the German comedy "Mein Führer" in 2007 and he looks like he did such a good job, he's been tapped to play the Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda once again. He doesn't have a huge role in the film and appears in scenes even less than Hitler does, but the Nazi right-hand man is present and accounted for.
Rod Taylor As Winston Churchill
78-year-old Australian actor Rod Taylor ("The Birds," "The Picture Show Man") joined the cast a few days ago and he's been pegged to play the great Winston Churchill. Who knows what obscure film (or TV show for that matter) that Tarantino saw him in and loved him in, but either way, he'll play the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in a small cameo. The scene will see Taylor acting and cigar-chomping alongside Michael Meyers as a British General and Michael Fassbender who plays a English field Lieutenant who was also a film critic before the war (which actually comes in handy). Their mission is to rendezvous with the American Basterd soldiers and attempt to take out the Nazis in an undercover mission in occupied France.
Martin Wuttke As The Führer
Let's face it, almost every older German actor has probably played a Nazi at some point or another (often multiple times), and Martin Wuttke is no exception. He too had the privilege (?) of playing Joseph Goebbels in 2003's "Rosenstrasse,"and in Tarantino's WWII epic, he gets to play the big kahuna himself - Chancellor Adolf Hitler. Hitler doesn't have a lot of screen time either, but he does have one juicy interrogation scene early in the story.
Lastly, we know we said there was no way Tarantino could have the film ready for Cannes of 2009, but we also didn't think Oliver Stone could shoot and edit "W" in five months and have it ready for release this Friday. We were proved dead wrong there and it looks like we could be eating our words again as Tarantino is apparently shooting and editing as he goes along. There's a real possibility that he could make Cannes. So we're backing away from any claims that he can't before we look even more foolish.
Man, the problems for the Weinstein Company keep looking worse and worse. First it's "The Road" that might not be ready for release in 2008 and now it's the embattled and infamous "The Reader"? Man, could both of Harvey Weinstein's Oscar hopefuls not be ready for release this year leaving the whole ugly 'Reader' scandal all for not?
God, that would be some serious karmic payback, no? Rope Of Silicon has received some secondhand info.
"I got a tip from someone claiming to be close to the production saying “editing is not even half-finished” but the biggest problem is apparently the score. Our tipster says, “Although Alberto Iglesias will probably do the score, the other two finalists are still in the game - Ozren K. Glaser, a brilliant young Croatian composer and Nico Muhly, a dark-styled Peter Glass assistant.”Hmm, consider it a rumor. If it's the editing, that's a serious issues, but scores aren't a huge concern and many are done at the last, last minute and cranked out and recorded super fast. Too fast? Sure, but they get completed. This could also be just a tipster trying to throw fuel on the fires of Weinstein's existing problems cause he's so persona non-grata at the moment and some people are loving it with major schadenfreude, but who knows.
Either way, "The Reader" isn't scheduled until December 19, so we wouldn't hit the panic button just yet. Alberto Iglesias is a lovely composer too. His work on "Volver" was stunning and he was shut out of the Oscars that year despite many contemporary composers considering this to be a crime. Including the Oscar-Score winner that year, Gustavo Santallalo. Iglesias' understated work on "Che" was also quite beautiful, especially in "Guerilla." It would not hurt "The Reader" if they did nail him down for the job.
We just finished the Mike-Johnson-written script of "Sherlock Holmes" that's currently being shot by Guy Ritchie in London. At best it's fun, harmless romp through the Holmes mythos, revitalized for audiences assimilated with the 'Bourne'-style, action, smarts and authenticity vibe. At worst its "Pirates of the Caribbean" set in Scotland yard - mindless, escapist entertainment that's trite and hokey.
But the 'Bourne'-angle is how they draw you in. 'Sherlock 2000' (what we like to sardonically call it) is no more realistic than say 'Indiana Jones 3' (its not quite as ridic as 'Indy 4') and from we get from the script, we shouldn't expect anything much more than a fun PG-13-ish summer popcorn flick with a smidgen of edge unless Ritchie can really dig into this thing, but there's not a ton of depth to mine.
They promised action-adventure, so with that in mind, the writer has succeeded, but there would have to be a miracle for this thing to land even anywhere near the shoehorn of the Indiana Jones classic films or even "Romancing The Stone" (which granted, if it came out today, it'd be laughed out the door).
One can't help but hearken back to Catherine Zeta Jones' "Zorro," or the three's-a-crowd dynamic of the 'Pirates' series (which obviously isn't at all new).
Like Johnny Depp in 'Pirates,' Robert Downey Jr. will probably make watching Holmes a lot of fun (for the first episode, err, franchise installment anyhow). The new Sherlock is a curious fellow who's not so stiff as past incarnation. He loves to get soused, to box in underground clubs for free and more than anything lives to to detect and do his job. The writer posit him as an aimless man who only comes alive when there's a serious riddle, challenge or villain to solve/tackle (and of course all three the better).
A old school cross between Batman and CSI (version 1.0) Holmes is almost MacGyver like in his seemingly impossible (and amusing) makeshift levels of deduction (Scratches on his door frame? He's an alcoholic cause he can't fit the key in the door soberly!)
His method of true detecting meditation - when it really counts! - is unintentionally hilarious. He squawks away on a violin, parsing his mind rapidly through the labyrinth of clues and possibilities and as he gets closer to solving the dilemma, the cacophonous music begins to subside and become smoother and listenable - of course it does, he's almost figured the complex riddle out! He knows where the bad guy is. Elementary my dear Watson!
Watson 2000 (to be played by Jude Law) on the other hand wants out of the game, he's getting engaged and wants to free himself from the detecting racket despite the excellent asset he is. This friction between the two friends is a dynamic that vacillates back and forth, but you can surely figure out where it goes as its arc is all too predictable and even eye-rolling at times.
The semi-invented character of Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams; her character was only in one of the many Holmes stories) is basically a thorn-in-the-side script device. A rival of Holmes, their flirtatious relationship is a love/hate one and in this story its not immediately clear who's side she's on. The uber-crafty character is both ally and out for herself, but she's also a love interest... of course.
Finally, Mark Strong villain is pure comic-book evil. An occult leader and a seemingly super-human badguy. One dimensional or not the viciousness ("bad-assness" to geeks) of his character will surely appeal to less discerning audiences.
A lot of action adventure films have a hokey, whoa-what's-going-on! corny thrill ride vibe to them (we can't help but going back to 'Pirates') and "Sherlock Holmes" is no exception. The story is meant to begat a Mcfranchise (and look for a famous villain cameo near the end) and that means asses-in-seats and nothing too wild or edgy. Let's bring in the whole family and entertain them. So perhaps it's nothing more than it aims to be: a tentpole vehicle for next summer which is fair enough, we suppose, but even "Iron Man," proved you could make a smart and enjoyable popcorn flick, but on the page, there's not much here to suggest that kind of quality, spark or vitality (let's not even go there with 'Bourne', it can't hope to compare with even the worst of any three).
So a fresh new take on the series? We suppose. But make this new batch, extra large and don't hold back with the butter, please. Oh and nachos while we're at it too.