Polanski Loses Bid To Move Statutory Rape Dismissal Case Out Of L.A.
Polish director Roman Polanski has obviously been in the news of late trying to get his 1978 statutory rape case dismissed because of the judicial wrongdoing and bias revealed in Marina Zenovich's documentary, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired."
But things kept getting tricky. Polanski felt that bias still existed in the L.A. Courts and asked that the trial be moved out of Los Angeles. The L.A. courts then countered by saying, look if you want your trial dismissed, you're going to have to turn yourself in first (Polanski's been a fugitive from the U.S. for over 30 years).
And the Academy Award-winning directors luck just got worse. On Friday he lost his bid to disqualify the Los Angeles County court system from considering his motion to dismiss his case. Polanski's lawyers filed papers asking for the case to be sent to the California Judicial Council for "selection of an impartial, out-of-county" judge.
But an L.A. Superior Judge denied the request and ruled that the defense motion, "discloses no legal grounds for disqualification." A trial is set for January 21, but apparently Polanski has no intention of showing up. The case continues...
Polanski Loses Bid To Move Statutory Rape Dismissal Case Out Of L.A.
Entertainment Weekly recalls Oscars from Zellweger, "Shakespeare in Love," Coburn and more...
Since it's Oscar season and any worthwhile publication knows to offer something more than just annual predictions (if they in fact know what's good for them), Entertainment Weekly created the "Recall the Gold" project. Seemingly designed to stir up calls of "blasphemy!" and "damn straight!" in equal parts, the project involved sending out re-do ballots to a handful of actors, agents, directors, industry people, etc., asking them to offer up their picks for best acting, directing and picture awards for every fifth Oscar ceremony within the last 25 years.
Many awards were "graciously" re-awarded to those that had won them the first time around, but here's a partial list of actors, directors and pictures that EW's industry insiders decided should have had the award in the first place.
Best Supporting Actress:
Actual Winner: Renee Zellweger, "Cold Mountain"
Recall Winner: Shohreh Agadashloo, "House of Sand and Fog"
Actual Winner: "Shakespeare in Love"
Recall Winner: "Saving Private Ryan"
Actual Winner Roberto Benigni, "Life Is Beautiful"
Recall Winner: Edward Norton, "American History X"
Best Supporting Actor:
Actual Winner: James Coburn, "Affliction"
Recall Winner: Geoffrey Rush, "Shakespeare in Love"
Actual Winner: Gwyneth Paltrow, "Shakespeare in Love"
Recall Winner: Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth"
Best Supporting Actor:
Actual Winner: Tommy Lee Jones, "The Fugitive"
Recall Winner: Ralph Fiennes, "Schindler's List"
EW's website has a slideshow with a complete run-down of recall's results. We think the "Saving Private Ryan recall is a pretty dead on sentiment, especially given the exorbitant amount of hype "Shakespeare in Love" was receiving at the time (Oh Harvey, remember when you had that kind of juice?). If you've got an opinion on EW's complete results (or just our truncated list), let us know and we'll see if those choices extend beyond the magazine and their panel to the critical sphere.
Art Directors Guild Drops Their Nominees
Here's the nominees for the Guild not everyone cares about [except 1 or 2 of our writers - ed.]. They have three different categories, so they include a lot of films you wouldn't normally associate with Art Direction. The Academy usually just nominates the period ones, although a fantasy slips in there every once and awhile. Snubs? Well off the top of our head, "Australia" seems to be the major one. "Revolutionary Road" too (although, that's becoming the trend). And there are some advocates for "The Fall." We'll be interested to see if that film appears anywhere on the Oscar nom list.
"Changeling" - Production Designer: James J. Murakami
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" - Production Designer: Donald Graham Burt
"Doubt" - Production Designer: David Gropman
"Frost/Nixon" - Production Designer: Michael Corenblith
"Milk" - Production Designer: Bill Groom
"The Dark Knight" - Production Designer: Nathan Crowley
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" - Production Designer: Guy Hendrix Dyas
"Iron Man" - Production Designer: J. Michael Riva
"Spiderwick Chronicles" - Production Designer: James Bissell
"WALL-E" - Production Designer: Ralph Eggleston
"Burn After Reading" - Production Designer: Jess Gonchor
"Gran Torino" - Production Designer: James J. Murakami
"Quantum of Solace" - Production Designer: Dennis Gassner
"Slumdog Millionaire" - Production Designer: Mark Digby
"The Wrestler" - Production Designer: Timothy Grimes
- Jonathan Helms
2009 is obviously underway, and it could be a really great year. In no particular order, we've written about (or mentioned in brief) 60-plus films that we're looking forward to in 2009 (we actually name roughly 78 films in total, give or take). Sure, some of them we have reservations about, and some could be totally godawful, but it's a new year and we're feeling semi-optimistic. Stay tuned for two more features coming soon: The Least Anticipated Films of 2009 (and some that could be at least entertaining, escapist fun) and the 20 Films Of 2009 We've Already Seen list. Note: You will probably be seeing a lot of Michael Cera this year. Be forewarned. All release dates have been updated as of 4.2.o9.
Apparently this is a U.K. poster for "Che" Part Two, subtitled "Guerilla." Is it just us or are they really pimping out part two or is it just the original posters were supposed to stand for Part One? A little confused, but whatever, this one is beautiful and the first poster for the Steven Soderbergh directed film that we've actually really liked. The Roadshow version is over done in L.A. and New York (though moving onto nine other cities), but is moving into two version release now for those that don't want to sit in a theater for around five hours. In New York (and presumably L.A.), both "Guerilla" and "The Argentine" (Part One), are playing side by side so you can go see one after the other or both in a weekend (which is honestly not a bad way to do it if your sitting endurance is low).
'Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans' Soundtrack Features Remixes From Afi, Deftones, The Cure And Puscifer
Lakeshore Records will release their "Underword: Rise of the Lycans" soundtrack digitally and in stores (for the 3 people who still buy CD's) on January 13th. The soundtrack includes remixes from the former Nine Inch Nails member, Danny Lohner (aka Renholder) and tracks from goth rock artist such as Puscifer and Black Light Burns and more well known rock names like Deftones, The Cure, Perry Farrell, AFI and other hard and heavy bands you should only be listening to if you're under sixteen or live in Croatia.
01. Puscifer - Lighten Up Francis (JLE Dub Mix)
02. The Cure (f/ Maynard James Keenan/Puscifer and Milla) - Underneath The Stars (Renholder Remix)
03. Perry Farrell - Nasty Little Perv (Renholder Remix)
04. Deftones - Hole In The Earth (Renholder Remix)
05. AFI - Miss Murder (VNV Nation Remix)
06. Alkaline Trio - Over And Out (Renholder Remix)
07. William Control (f/ Matt Skiba) - Deathclub (Wes Borland/Renholder Remix)
08. Genghis Tron - Board Up The House (Renholder Remix)
09. Blaqk Audio - Stiff Kittens (Jnrsnchz Blaqkout Remix)
10. Thrice - Broken Lungs (Legion Of Doom Remix)
11. Combichrist - Today We Are All Demons (Beneath The World Mix)
12. Black Light Burns - I Want You To
13. Drop Dead, Gorgeous - Two Birds, One Stone (Wes Borland/Renholder Remix)
14. King Black Acid - Let's Burn
15. From First To Last - Tick Tock Tomorrow (Wes Borland/Renholder Remix)
16. Ghosts On The Radio - Steal My Romance
"Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" comes out in wide release on January 23rd. We don't really care, but... well, you know...
Versatile English actress, Kristin Scott Thomas is set to portray John Lennon's Aunt Mimi, the woman who was strongly opposed to her sister's (Lennon's mother) lifestyle and ended up raising Lennon for the majority of his youth, in the upcoming biopic of the troubled artist "Nowhere Boy." She is coming off an Oscar caliber performance as an estranged sister in this year's French-language film, "I've Loved You So Long." The project is being developed by Matt Greenhalgh, the writer behind last year's biopic of Joy Division front man Ian Curtis, "Control."
The film is being adapted from the book "Nowhere Boy," which was written by Lennon's half-sister Julia Baird.
Anne-Marie Duff will play Lennon's mom and relative new-comer Aaron Johnson (who just wrapped on "Kick-Ass") will play the young man himself. The film is being directed by first-time feature director Sam Taylor-Wood, who helmed the winning short starring the music of the Buzzcocks, titled, "Love You More."
Peter Weir's Cast For 'The Way Back' Includes Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess And Saoirse Ronan
Coming off a five-year hiatus, Aussi director Peter Weir has finally set his cast for his WWII project "The Way Back." It will center around a group of soldiers who escape from a Siberian POW camp in 1942. Farrell will play a bad-boy Russian, Harris an American, and Sturgess will test his suspect acting skills as a Polish prisoner.
Weir, the visionary directer behind such 70's gems as "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and "The Plumber," hasn't made a film since his big-budgeted 2003 project "Master and Commander."
"Voy A Explotar!" Coming To North America?
Is the excellent Mexican film by Gerardo Naranjo finally hitting U.S. shores soon? We loved the New-Wave-y ode to youth and included it in our Best Films of 2008 list. Well the director just hit us up and...well, expect an announcement next week...
A little bit more "Watchmen" trial for you before the weekend starts.
Obviously, a settlement looks likely, a Fox lawyer added that “continued exchanges on the subject of resolution that have been productive,” and the New York Times is reporting that Judge Gary A. Feess has set a new date for a hearing for 3:30 pm Monday (we imagine that's PST).
You think we've been hard on producer Larry Gordon (and Levin), but everyone's is not buying his bull. Nikki Finke is telling him to "shut up" already and 20th Century Fox has already responded to his letter.
Fox's official response is:
"We appreciate Mr. Levin’s passion for this project, but he has neglected basic facts and legal rulings. First, Fox notified Warner Bros of our rights in this project months before production on the film began -- they chose to ignore our rights on this occasion and several times after that and proceeded at their own risk; 2) only after having our rights in the film deliberately ignored by Warner Bros. did we take the action of filing litigation in order to have those rights recognized; and 3) on Judge Feess’ Christmas Eve order, he specifically ruled that WB had been timely notified and that Fox, in fact, had the rights we asserted. There is no question of who is right and who is wrong. That has been decided through the litigation that we had hoped to avoid, and we refer interested parties to the court’s ruling to confirm these statements."It's true. Why the geeks gave credence to Levin's open letter when the Judge had basically already ruled on the case is anyone's guess, but our guess is wanton naivete and obviously they're personally invested in the film. Why is WB finally willing to settle now? Because as as one source told Nikki Finke, "Warner Bros is finally freaked out."
Finke also rakes Gordon over the coals for finally coming out of the woodwork to comment. "I'm not sure which is more hilarious -- Larry breaking public silence and feigning righteous indignation, or Larry blaming Fox and his former lawyers Bloom Dekom for the past confusion and current mess, or Larry thinking anybody in their right mind would believe anything he says at this late date."
If the settlement details do come to light, expect them to come in favor for Fox who has WB over a barrel. For all those geek who hate Fox, you're probably going to be indirectly lining their pockets when you go see the Snyder-directed film in March.
Is this a new IFC poster for Steven Soderbergh's "Che" Part Two ("The Guerilla") specifically? Looks that way, huh? We weren't aware that they were making posters, but we nabbed this off of IFC's Facebook page.
We wonder if they'll be a poster for "The Argentine." All we know is we want one and we certainly want a "Che" DVD when it eventually comes out too. We hope that's loaded with extras and any scenes that were cut from the film. Villlage Voice scribe J. Hoberman mentioned one key one scene that was in the Cannes version of the film during the New York Film Festival Q&A, that was missing in the final cut, but we can't remember what it was offhand. We hope that's included. We would also go toe-to-toe with anyone on the web who claimed they did more coverage than us (does that constitute a delivery of a free "Che" DVD when it hits? :D )
Meanwhile, Soderbergh recently spoke to MTV about his next down and dirty, lo-fi project "The Girlfriend Experience" which is apparently already done shooting and possibly even completed (and a film we included in our Most Anticipated of 2009 piece) so it probably will be out in 2009 and maybe even out in the Spring (we were unsure there for a sec).
As we've already noted, Sodbergh has hired porn actress Sasha Grey to play the lead. She's not a real thespian, but that was what the director was actively seeking. "She’s not trained and that’s what I’m looking for. She’s going to surprise people. She’s great in the movie.”
What is the GFE? Well if you're expecting a straight-up arty porn think again. It's more than just an escort service, Soderbergh explains. "[These producer friends] explained this whole world of high end escorts wherein its not just a straight sexual thing. It’s almost like a full on fake relationship. You go out to dinner and you talk and if you saw a transcript of it you’d think these people are in a relationship. I was really intrigued by that and we whipped up a story, a week in the life of somebody who does this.”
"Really, the fact that 'The Dark Knight' is looking like a locked in nominee – and has for a month now – is indicative of a weak field. It’s not a reflection of the film itself, but of the simple fact that a film like that just isn’t what the Academy tends to lean towards. People’s Choice Award? Absolutely. Oscar? Are you kidding?" - David Poland is still not convinced that the "The Dark Knight" has a shot at Oscar. We wish we were as convinced as he was but the evidence seems insurmountable that the film will be there for many major categories. Winning is another story, and maybe that's what he means? But... we agree, it's a weak year and that's why 'TDK' broke through.
First Spielberg and Will Smith want to make a "Oldboy"remake (dear god, please no) and now there's talk of a "Lady Vengeance" remake? What did Hollywood all of a sudden discover Chan-wook Park’s amazing revenge trilogy? Because Danny Boyle's now saying he's been offered the reigns according to an webchat the director participated in that Film School Rejects found.
Though Boyle doesn't say whether he agreed to the gig or not and doesn't say anything other than he was just asked if he wanted the job (probably not if he didn't say so?).
A lot of people seem to simply love the violence in "Oldboy" (and therefore sometimes miss the bigger picture), but the style, and gorgeous grace of "Lady Vengeance" might make it our favorite of the trilogy just by a hair ("Oldboy" is spectacular). It sounds like he probably won't do it which is fine, because who needs a remake when the original is perfect?
As the first full week of 2009 comes to a close, it's time for us to look once again at the choices moviegoers will face in the coming weekend. It's predictably slow--usual for the post-Oscarbait season that turns January into a dumping ground--but there are a few (and not many) rays of light out there this weekend. So, without further ado, the films.
First up is the dismal-looking "Bride Wars" starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. Directed by Gary Winick ("13 Going on 30," "Tadpole,") it's the story of two lifetime friends who both plan a dream wedding to take place at the Plaza Hotel in June. Unfortunately (but predictably), there is a planning snag of some sort that places both weddings on the same day. This catastrophe sets in motion an escalating prank war wherein each bride-to-be tries to force the other to relinquish the wedding date and culminating in a dress-clad catfight. The critics have universally panned this one as it sits with an anemic 12% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. This probably doesn't bode well for all that momentum Hathaway had coming off of "Rachel Getting Married."
If you live in New York your best bet is easily Carlos Reygadas' stunning and thoroughly beautiful "Silent Light" which is currently sitting pretty with an 80% RT rating. Centering on a a very devout Mennonite facing a spiritual and moral crisis in the form of wanton adultery, we absolutely adored the slow-going, but incredibly moving piece of art. Some with little patience might not enjoy its glacially-paced artfulness, but if you don't trust us, trust Marty Scorsese who also fully loves it. It's in limited release and it's currently unclear what its expansion plans are, but if you do have chance to see this you must. Canadians should note: this is already on DVD in the Great White North.
Larry Gordon: Don't Blame Me In The 'Watchmen' Trial!
Now that WB and Fox will likely settle their bitter "Watchmen" dispute anything that the producers have to say are probably moot points, but Larry Gordon is apparently sick of looking like the bad guy in this case.
According to THR, Gordon fired off an angry letter to the Judge "blaming Fox and his then-lawyers for the debacle and offering his version of events that led to the court's ruling that Fox owns distribution rights to the Zack Snyder-helmed comic-book adaptation."
Gordon is not a party in the case, but Fees decision on Christmas even specifically stated that Gordon did not secure the proper rights to "Watchmen" from Fox before it went to Warner Bros.
The judge ruled this, so this is more evidence to the "Warner Bros. loved us and Fox didn't care!" bullshit argument. If you don't cross your T's and dot your I's in business you can't bring fairness and morality into it. Justice is blind to those tertiary feelings.
Gordon has remained silent throughout this entire debacle, but on Wednesday shot his missive to Fees which stated he felt like had received "significant public scorn" for his role in this case and that he answered all questions to "to the best of his knowledge" [ed. ha, ignorance doesn't hold up in court, btw].
Fees refused to read all of Gordon's letter and called it an "improper communication" that was in violation of court rules, but he did read some of it. But some context from the the Hollywood Reporter to let you fully understand:
"Feess [already] ruled that Gordon did not fully control "Watchmen" because he failed to reimburse Fox its development costs and to resubmit the project when key creative elements changed."But the producer insistes that during those Fox negotiations, the studio sent his lawyer a chain of title that did not include the 1991 quitclaim.
"It is Mr. Gordon's position that the execution of the 1994 turnaround agreement was the result of either a mutual mistake by both parties or a unilateral mistake made by his counsel, on which Mr. Gordon relied."I.e. this is not my fault! This is all pretty much nonsense on Gordon's part and changes absolutely nothing in the case. And even "Watchmen"-friendly sites like /Film find it pretty transparent noting, "[It] seems like a very calculated move on Gordon’s part, as both an attempt to distance himself from the mess and also assist Warner Bros in their claim of distribution rights to the comic property. Bottom line is that both purposes seem completely self serving."
Warner Bros. may have once vehemently claimed that they wouldn't settle, but the writing seems to be on the wall and according to Variety, both WB and Fox are now pursuing a settlement of their "Watchmen" battle.
Attorneys for both parties met today and agreed that to delay the Federal court decision until Monday so they could attempt to hash out a settlement over the weekend.
Despite WB's claims and geeks claiming otherwise, Judge Fees had already ruled that Fox owned distribution rights to "Watchmen' on Christmas Eve thanks to the provision turnaround agreement in the early 1990s, so there wasn't much they could do. Or at least they tried and it obviously didn't really look good.
Feess says regardless of the talks says a trial over whether to block the film's March release is still set for Jan. 20, but if they do figure a way to put down their swords, this trial will likely be nothing but an afterthought were Fees reprimands both studios for being jackasses and nothing more.
Good news for geeks who like clown-y scores that are pretty over-the-top. Danny Elfman has been chosen to score "Terminator Salvation"
"I just started yesterday,” Elfman told MTV News. Asked if the original "Terminator" theme would make an appearance, the composer said, “I think if it comes up and it seems appropriate, we will [use it]. And if it doesn’t, we [won't]. I never really know what to expect when I begin other than just kind of get into it and have fun. Especially a movie like 'T4' – just have fun. So that’s what I intend to do.”
Nerds will rejoice, but man, Elfman is probably one of the most overrated composers in the business and his scores are notable and he's a name because his work is about as subtle as Tim Burton's, ooh, I'm gothy, I'm dark, I'm moody!" work and is the same-y and predictable as well (oh right, they work together all the time, figures).
It seems like we're writing-off 'Terminator Salvation," but no, director McG actually said some pretty convincing stuff to EW recently. He was apparently adamant about casting Christian Bale in the film so the top-notch actor would make the entire thing credible, much like 'Dark Knight.'
'It was important for me to get the most credible actor of his generation to come and add gravitas to what we were trying to achieve,''McG said to EW. ''I wanted to respect the audience, and be very mindful of the mythology. We take this very seriously.''
We can respect that fully, so 'T4' could be great. The only problem? "The Dark Knight" and "Iron Man" were so fucking good this year, the bar for all action, sci-fi films has been raised significantly. These days you're going to have to be that good if you want to be respected.
Best Comedy Movie: Tropic Thunder
Best Acting Ensemble: Milk
Best Young Actor/Actress: Dev Patel
Best Writer: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Action Film: The Dark Knight
Best Composer: A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Song: Bruce Springsteen, The Wrestler
Best Documentary: Man On Wire
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
Best Foreign Language Film: Waltz With Bashir
Best Animated Feature: WALL·E
Best Movie Made for TV: John Adams
Best Actress: tie!!
Meryl Streep, Doubt; Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
But probably the only moment making it worth watching was when Chris Nolan accepted Heath Ledger's award for Best Supporting Actor. The crowd gave him a standing ovation as Nolan delivered a touching speech.
There was definitely some tension when Sean Penn won Best Actor instead of Mickey Rourke, especially considering the comments Rourke made about Penn's performance (if he actually did, remains to be known). You might remember Penn directed Rourke's emotional scene in "The Pledge," so we assume they have some sort of relationship, but don't know if it's a friendly one. It was also slightly odd the Penn was up against Clint Eastwood, the man who directed his award-winning performance in "Mystic River." But Penn dissipated all that when he casually exclaimed, "At heart this is a beauty contest, so I had an advantage." "Milk" also surprised when winning Best Ensemble, which many thought would go to "Doubt." But the big winner was obviously "Slumdog Millionaire," taking 5 awards including director (Boyle, you rock) and Picture. It also won for it's score which leads me to think, after the guild noms for music and now this, we wonder if Slumdog doesn't have the edge on the competition in that area? Or is this populist forum an indication of absolutely nothing, hmm.. Let's not forget, last year a lot of this seemingly fluffy show lined-up quite well with the Oscars. Don't count it out just yet. - Jonathan Helm
Your Friendly DGA Reminder; Whoever Wins Will Likely Win Oscar For Best Director
Speaking of an Oscar barometer, since the DGA began in 1948, only six times has the winner not aligned with the Oscar winner. And we're not going to bitch anymore about Fincher and 'The Boring Case of Benjamin Button,' but let it be known we'd rather see Sam Mendes (or anyone else for that matter) in this spot, and will, save for makeup and art direction, disagree with all noms it receives. It's just not that good people.
1968: Anthony Harvey won the DGA Award for The Lion in Winter while Carol Reed took home the Oscar for Oliver!
1972: Francis Ford Coppola received the DGA’s nod for The Godfather while the Academy selected Bob Fosse for Cabaret.
1985: Steven Spielberg received his first DGA Award for The Color Purple while the Oscar® went to Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa.
1995: Ron Howard was chosen by the DGA for his direction of Apollo 13 while Academy voters selected Mel Gibson for Braveheart.
2000: Ang Lee won the DGA Award for his direction of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon while Steven Soderbergh won the Academy Award for Traffic.
2002: Rob Marshall won the DGA Award for Chicago while Roman Polanski received the Academy Award for The Pianist.
- Jonathan Helm
Ok, so yesterday evening all the blogs are abuzz because "Watchmen" producer Lloyd Levin wrote an open-letter regarding the lawsuit, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. and whole messy affair.
It's a passionate, from-the-heart letter, but it's also a lot of selective memory, convenient omissions and a lot of bullshit frankly from a Hollywood producer. Naturally, the geeks swallowed this on their knees hook line and sinker. Basically the gist of the letter is that Fox passed on "Watchmen" and Warner Bros. nurtured the project, helped it get off the ground and were "daring" to money into it, so Fox should back down off their claim and essentially let WB release the film scott free.
"From my point of view, the flashpoint of this dispute, came in late spring of 2005. Both Fox and Warner Brothers were offered the chance to make Watchmen. They were submitted the same package, at the same time. It included a cover letter describing the project and its history, budget information, a screenplay, the graphic novel, and it made mention that a top director was involved."Warners were tentative, but brave. Fox had no interest.
"The response we got from Fox was a flat "pass." That's it. An internal Fox email documents that executives there felt the script was one of the most unintelligible pieces of shit they had read in years. Conversely, Warner Brothers called us after having read the script and said they were interested in the movie - yes, they were unsure of the screenplay, and had many questions, but wanted to set a meeting to discuss the project, which they promptly did. Did anyone at Fox ask to meet on the movie? No. Did anyone at Fox express any interest in the movie? No. Express even the slightest interest in the movie? Or the graphic novel? No."And then he turns on the waterworks. This is cry-me-a-river, manipulative bullshit.
"For the sake of the artists involved, for the hundreds of people, executives and filmmakers, actors and crew, who invested their time, their money, and dedicated a good portion of their lives in order to bring this extraordinary project to life, the question of what is right is clear and unambiguous - Fox should stand down with its claim."It's basically a plea to the fans of of course, they're kind of dimwitted. We were pretty aggravated when we read it honestly, it skipped over all of the legalities and got into this convoluted and subjective idea of what was the "right thing to do," but when you break the law you break the law. Someone might be fucking with your life and deserve a shot to the face, but if you hit them you're not getting off. That's not the way it works, sorry. And Levin's logic pretty amounts to "well, hey they were asking for it" only in reverse.
But before we could even articulate our frustration, good ol', pragmatic, and very insightful David Poland broke the whole thing down in plain and simple chapter and verse. He calls the its weak argument total "bullshit" and then proceeds to sharply rip it to shreds. Poland begins:
"Is there anything more pathetic than a movie producer… a producer of expensive movies… suddenly wanting to sit around the campfire, hold hands, and sing Kumbaya, and talk about what’s 'right?' "Poland bitchslaps Levin for thinking the issues lies in 2005, when the turnaround eras in 1991 and 1994 when people should have been paid are the real issues.
" [Levin]: 'From my point of view, the flashpoint of this dispute, came in late spring of 2005.' Well that’s lovely. For you. Right now. But 1991 and 1994 do not disappear from the planet when it is convenient for you. That is the reason – the only reason – why Fox is in the position it is in today. It has nothing to do with loving the script, hating the script, burning the script in f-ing effigy. Fox’s lawsuit is 100% about business and making it about the love of filmmaking is what someone who has lost an argument does to try to save face and to embarrass their conqueror."
Yup. Fuck this guys is good and really articulates what we felt but didn't even bother to spit out once we read his sage rebuttal.
"All of Levin’s stuff about how daring WB is… puh-leeze n-word! Warners does not have a [Fox head] Tom Rothman rubbing some people the wrong way. But it is a business, first and last. They were “daring” enough to do a second film with Zack Snyder.... When did the daring, gutty production of Watchmen start shooting? Six months after 300 opened. Would WB have moved into production with Zack Snyder had 300 bombed?"To Levin's sanctimonious, "for the sake of the poor crew!" (who already did get paid for their work, btw).
"If Fox went away tomorrow, would Lloyd Levin have WB distribute all the money to which Fox is legally entitled to the cast and crew of the film?"A lot of people are getting into the absurdly flawed logic that Fox sucks so Warners should be able to release the film because Fox would just fuck it up.
"[Stop] falling into the [distracting] game of "they don't make good movies." Does anyone make all bad movies or all good movies? Are they crazy when they make the crap or geniuses when they make the good ones? How do smart people get into this thing where you seem to believe there is some moral process going on?"And that's exactly right. Getting into the morality of who is deserving of putting out the film is nonsense. It's a legal matter baby. This could have been solved years ago as Poland says:
"Warners knew the score. They made a bad call. They are getting hit with it now. If they had paid out the $350k or $1 million or whatever, it would have been over that day. Fox would have no rights against the picture had they been paid what their deal said they were owed... not profit... not a percentage of Gordon's piece... nothing."We're no lawyers, but the NYTimes called this months ago and it really seems that because of producer Lawrence Gordon's non due-dilligence that Warner is in this pickle and Variety, the L.A. Times and the Hollywood Reporter have all pointed to Gordon as being a central part of this case. He's got his own rebuttal which we'll get to in a sec. It's a little annoying that the already-too receptive geeks are, "yeah, take that fox!" to the righteousness in Levin's letter yesterday.
C'mon people, we're a bit smarter than that, aren't we? As Poland says, "This is not a poet’s corner. This is an industry in which tens and/or hundreds of millions are invested in ideas and the talent that will bring them to fruition and then the marketing artists who will sell them on an unsuspecting public.... But all the geeks will yelp, “Boo Fox! We hate Rothman! Boo hiss! When can we start buying Wolverine tickets online?”
If you happen to have something against the former "Human Giant" comedian turned comedy guest-star extraordinaire, Aziz Ansari, be forewarned, he will be everywhere in 2009 and it seems like the Apatow-crew and all its related members love him too.
"In the summer, I filmed a part in 'Observe and Report,' a new movie about Seth Rogen being a mall cop that should be out in April. I play a lotion stand operator named Kevin that loves Chick-fil-A (a trait I brought over from my real life). I also filmed a small part in this movie 'I Love You, Man' starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, where I play one of Rudd's fencing pals. ."In the past few months, I've been shooting on 'Funny People,' Judd Apatow's new movie and that has been amazing. I play a standup comedian named Randy that is very high energy in a Katt Williams like way and is obsessed about telling jokes about receiving fellatio. It's been a lot of fun, because I was able to write all my character's standup and Judd let me bring a lot of my own ideas to the character."
The Golden Globes Website recently indicated that Anne Hathaway will win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for her extreme hysterical overacting in Jonathan Demme's overrated "Rachel Getting Married." This is most likely error on the behalf of the website manager, as only a idiot would choose Hathaway performance over Kristin Scott Thomas, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet or post it before the Golden Globes air Sunday night (the star has recently been removed).
However, if this is indicative of the actual outcome, and the website let the public know the outcome days before the show, the website producer might want to take some time today on their lunch break to polish up the old resume.
Screen shot via Vulture
Seeing both Steven Soderbergh's "Che" films in one four 1/2 hour sitting used to be the exclusive privilege of us assholes living in New York and L.A.
Fear not, those of you living in smaller markets, the "Che" Roadshow release/ experiment that IFC has put on has done so well in NY and L.A., (it was even extended beyond the original one-week plan in mid December), that is is now moving to markets in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Seattle, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC starting on next Friday, January 16.
Great news for cinephiles who aren't on the two coasts' largest cities that wanted to see this sprawling achievement of film in one grand, big sitting.
It is admittedly a bit tough experience though; not because the films are dull, but because sitting for five hours in total is rough and you should get some rest before you dive in. The special collector's edition programs are pretty sweet too, we assume they'll be more of those on hand.
In a press release, Soderbergh seemed completely ecstatic about the expansion plans. "A lot of people told me I was crazy to push for a roadshow presentation of 'Che' because, I was told, American moviegoers aren't adventurous enough. Fortunately, the results in New York and Los Angeles prove otherwise. IFC Films has backed the roadshow idea from the beginning and I am totally psyched that they are taking this version out on the road, where it belongs."
While this doesn't exactly restore our faith in humanity, it is a very nice thing to see. Karina at Spoutblog who didn't even like 'Che' wrote this pretty cool piece about why she was "thrilled" that the Roadshow did so well and the promising things it meant for independent film and we couldn't agree more.
The decision as to whether 20th Century Fox can block the release of Warner Bros.' March 6, "Watchmen" release is in the hands of the courts and to be decided January 20th, right?
Maybe D-Day will come sooner; Warner's is actually pressing for the decision to be made asap, as soon as Monday (January 12) because "time is critical," the studio said in papers filed this week, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
There's two key issues at hand and one hurdle. Basically the judge has to decide if Fox can block the release, if they're not allowed to do so or "whether the parties should proceed to a trial over money damages." So that could be a better options for fans who don't care if any studio loses money and just wants to see Zack Snyder-directed film.
If Fox is allowed to block the film, well, then hell... we can't even go there, that seems ugly and it's hard to even imagine where things go from there. That's for lawyers and people who actually have their hands on the legal documents to speculate.
In arguments this week, Warners actually cited a precedent-setting case involving EBay.
"[It states] a plaintiff in a copyright-infringement case must, among other things, prove that it will be irreparably harmed without an injunction and that money damages will not be an adequate remedy."WB is actually claiming the opposite, that Fox "abandoned" the project and that they have "carefully orchestrated" its release.
"Barring the release will cause grave damage to Warners and third parties like exhibitors who are counting on the release of the movie, the studio argues."Fox claims the EBay case has no barring here and the infringment still entitles them to block the films release. Yet another status update on the case with Judge Gary A. Fees is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday, January 09) to determine when this new decision date will happen. God, we would've flunked law school long ago. BTW, because of these court proceedings WB has had to fully disclose their numbers and they say that after the marketing and promotion of the film, they will have spent over $150 million on "Watchmen." No wonder they're so fucking nervous. They really can't afford to lose.
MEANWHILE! One of the "The Dark Knight" scribes David S. Goyer, who notably was absent from the names on the 'TDK' Writers Guild nominations, has said that a lot of WB/D.C. comic book films are being put on hold.
"A lot of the DC movies right now at Warner Brothers are all on hold while they figure out — they're going to come up with some new plan, methodology, things like that — so everything has just been pressed pause on at the moment," Goyer told IESB.net Continuing their reasoning he said, "I think D.C. Comics was responsible for 15% of Warner Brothers' revenue this year, something crazy like that, so they realized that comic books — it's become a new genre and it's become one of the most successful genres."
Does this mean they want to proceed ahead slowly and surely or is this damn Watchmen trial scaring them and they want to wait and see what happens before they greenlit anymore projects (after all even a trial over money damages could hurt them bad).
Unfunny Man For 'Funny People'
Very bland, unfunny television comedian, Ray Romano, apparently has a cameo in Judd Apatow's latest film, "Funny People." While out promoting his movie, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," Sandler groupie Kevin James let it slip that Romano may be making an appearance.
"I think Ray Romano's in it," James told Cinema Blend while complaining that he wouldn't be making the cut, "I'm not in the movie, only because I guess I've been hanging out with Adam too much." Geez, that's a crying shame.
Dark Knight Creators Still Don't Know Anything About Batman 3
According to 'Dark Knight' producer Charles Roven, who recently spoke to MTV News, Christopher Nolan and writing partner David Goyer are currently brainstorming ideas for the third installment of their widely successful franchise. This is most likely conformation that Nolan is indeed on board for a third film.
However, even a high placed suit like Roven knows little to nothing on the ideas thrown around by the writing team, despite the hordes of absurd Internet rumors, "I know what Chris [Nolan] and [writer] David Goyer are talking and thinking. We're hoping, of course, that they find and rest on something that they'll find is worthy to do, but we don't know anything more than you do right now."
Bad news for Quentin Tarantino, folks looking forward to his WWII epic "Inglourious Basterds," and connoisseurs of sweeping film music, legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone won't be writing the score to QT's crazy war film.
Instead he's chosen to work with longtime collaborator and "Cinema Paradiso" director Giuseppe Tornatore once again on his new film, "Baaria - La porta del vento." And it stands to figure, Morricone has written the music for every Tornatore feature aside from his 1986 debut, "Il Camorrista"
Morricone's site is in Italian, but the gist of it says that because of his obligations to Tornatore, "the Maestro has had to renounce writing of the sonorous column [music] of the new Quentin Tarantino film."
This shouldn't be entirely surprising since Morricone already said last year that he would write the music, but added the caveats that he might not be able to do it all and he certainly wouldn't be rushed. Obviously, the 'Basterds' production is moving at a super fast clip, so that on-the-horizon scheduling might have proved impossible. In November he warned, "Tarantino will finish shooting the film in February and has to deliver it by the end of April in time for Cannes. That doesn't leave me enough time to do the music. Either I start working on it before he stops shooting -- after we discuss it together -- or I just can't do it."
Honestly, this really sucks. We were looking forward to Tarantino's first movie with an original score, but this doesn't mean he can't pilfer old, already-existing Morricone scores for 'Basterds' like he did bountifully on the "Kill Bill" films (there was at least half a dozen of the maestro's old score songs in those flicks, plus a few in Death Proof" too). Thanks to this Spanish Tarantino website that gave us the head's up. This is the second time Morricone's turned down the director, he also turned down an offer to write some music for "Pulp Fiction" in 1994.
Now let's just hope QT doesn't use hip-hop in the film like he once threatened to.
BAFTA finally got around to posting their foreign language nominees:
"The Baader Meinhof Complex"
"I've Loved You So Long"
"Waltz with Bashir"
The first one seems like an odd duck, but the others are all strong picks. And interestingly enough, there's two animated films on the list. "Persepolis," of course, was nominated for Best Animated Film at last year's Oscars, the BAFTA's eligibility rules are based on British release date, naturally enough.
The Directors Guild of America has announced their nominees:
Danny Boyle - "Slumdog Millionaire"
David Fincher - "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Ron Howard - "Frost/Nixon"
Christopher Nolan - "The Dark Knight"
Gus Van Sant - "Milk"
If you are looking for snubs, you could count John Patrick Shanley's work on "Doubt," Sam Mendes for "Revolutionary Road," or Woody Allen for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." Other possible contenders were Darren Aronofsky for "The Wrestler" and Stephen Daldry's "The Reader."
Really, though, the expected five were nominated, and since the DGA's are such a strong predictor of the Academy, it sure seems a safe bet that this will be the same group receiving Oscar nominations in a few weeks. A little boring and predictable maybe, but they're not here to rock the boat or make people tired of seeing the same picks happy. All are very deserving frankly.
Sundance 2009, which runs January 15 - 25, is just around the corner and things are starting to already heat up with lots of PR outlets trying to generate buzz by giving different publications exclusives.
- First off Sony Pictures Classics has already sealed-the-deal and acquired, the pre-Sundance screening of the reteaming of "Y Tu Mama Tambien" homeboys, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal for the Spanish-language comedy "Rudo y Cursi," directed by Carlos Cuaron (Alfonso Cuaron's younger brother and the writer of 'Tambien' and Cuaron's earlier screwball-ish comedy, "Sólo con tu pareja"; it's great, btw). Apparently SPC fought off a bid from one other studio to win the picture. The friends play dimwitted brothers recruited by rival soccer teams, and it's already doing winningly well in Mexico where it opened up in December. The film is the first produced by Cha Cha Cha (prodcution company of Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu).
- "I'm not dumb like everyone says! I'm smart! And I want respect!" Maybe this is the idea for the new documentary by Richard Shepard on the under-appreciated (and amazing) John Cazale called, "I Knew It Was You" (a reference to "The Godfather") , the short-lived '70s actor who burned through Hollywood in about seven years only earning only five feature-lenght credits to his name, but god, what a resume.
His amazing 5-film CV is: "The Conversation," "Dog Day Afternoon," 'Godfathers' I and II' and "The Deer Hunter." He was dying of bone cancer during the filming of Michael Cimino's 'Deer Hunter,' and when the producers found out they wanted to replace him. When his co-star and fiancé Meryl Streep, found out, she threatened to quit if he was fired. They obviously kept him and he died shortly after filming was completed. Crazy story, huh? Hollywood Elsewhere has the poster.
- Hollywood Insider has a first look at the sex-comedy "Spread" the Sundance flick starring Anne Heche and Ashton Kutcher. Eh.
- Spoutblog also has this cool, 13 films we're looking forward to at Sundance feature that's worth checking out.
- Anne Thompson also has a fist look trailer of "The Greatest." We'll let her explain: " Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon quickly signed on to this story of parental love and loss. It's about two parents (Brosnan and Sarandon) rocked to their foundations when they suddenly lose their teenage son (Aaron Johnson). Then his old girlfriend (Carey Mulligan) turns up. "Revolutionary Road"s Michael Shannon also stars."