The poster for artist turned filmmaker, Steve McQueen's "Hunger" (no, not that Steve McQueen) is a good excuse to discuss the film that's coming out next month.
We wrote in the fall, "Impressionistic, lyrical and, at times, excruciatingly hard to watch, Steve McQueen's "Hunger," won the The Caméra d'Or at Cannes for good reason. It's an intense and disquieting debut from a filmmaker we must now all watch."
"Ostensibly about imprisoned Provisional IRA member Bobby Sands who lend a hunger strike to protest his prison conditions for 66 days before he died in 1981 at the age of 27, 'Hunger' eschews most overt political statements about the story and uses it to tell a more personal and intimate chronicle of human suffering and the limits one will go to for a cause they believe in."
It can be harrowing at times, but it's also quite beautiful and certainly worth spending your time on. "Hunger" has been showered with awards over the last eight months including the aforementioned Camera d’Or (best first feature), the Discovery Award for Best First Film at the Toronto Film Festival, and the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer in director McQueen. It was also nominated for Best Foreign Film at the recent Independent Spirit Awards. If all that doesn't signal that this is a new voice in cinema, we're not sure what does.
The film stars Michael Fassbender as an emaciated Sands and the world will probably become a bit more familiar with him when he stars in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" later this year. His performance is stellar and devastating. "Hunger" open March 20 in limited release. Here's the trailer if you haven't already seen it.
The poster for artist turned filmmaker, Steve McQueen's "Hunger" (no, not that Steve McQueen) is a good excuse to discuss the film that's coming out next month.
We've already mentioned that Judd Apatow's stand-up comedian dramedy, "Funny People" will host a bunch of cameos. Norm MacDonald, Andy Dick, Sarah Silverman, Dave Attell already have been mentioned and even Owen Wilson will appear, (albeit only in poster form).
Well, add Patton Oswalt too. (there's probably a ton more, but these are the only ones we've noticed so far). Apparently Oswalt worked on the project for a while and did some "punch up" writing on dialogue and jokes and the stand-up routine of different characters. Evidently even Mayor of Comedy Judd Apatow could use help with a funny line here and there. [Collider]
Did Latino Review jump the gun or have bad intel? They reported last week Anton Yelchin was one of the actors inline for the role of "Green Lantern." In a separate Twitter conversation LR suggested he was auditioning. Well, all of that is news to Yelchin.
"I had no idea about that...I have no clue." he told the crowd today at WonderCon during the "Terminator Salvation" panel. "I have no idea. I think I'm probably too young. I mean, no one has approached me. No one has said anything to me. I imagine I'm just too young. I mean, it's a great character but I don't know anything about it...I haven't heard anything about it." Apparently Ryan Gosling turned down the role three times. WB doesn't seem to understand "no." [IESB]
Terrence Howard, Ne-Yo, Barry Pepper Could Star In George Lucas' WWII FIlm, 'Red Tails'; Samuel L. Jackson Once Asked To Direct
We haven't followed George Lucas' first post-"Star Wars" project, "Red Tails," pretty closely, because, well, we don't care for Lucas much and it seems like the guy can never really break away from "Star Wars" related projects, but it seems like it's finally happening and since Lucas is producing, not directing, this action drama about African-American fighter pilots in WWII, it could turn out to be halfway decent.
In October director Anthony Hemingway (episodes of "The Wire," "CSI") was hired, and on Friday Fox News said offers had gone out to Terrence Howard and R&B singer NeYo, Andre Royo (from "Oz"), Nate Parker (from "The Great Debaters"), British actor David Oyelowo, plus Barry Pepper ("Saving Private Ryan") and Bryan Cranston (the father in "Malcolm in the Middle").
Apparently actors like Derek Luke and Micheal Ealy were once under consideration, but are no longer so because of their involvement in the similarly themed Spike Lee's African American WWII film, "Miracle At St. Anna." Fox says, "Lucas and co. are said to be sensitive about not overlapping " with Lee's aforementioned picture. In development since 1990, and probably for Lucas to direct until he got waylaid with the SW Prequels, no studios are behind it yet, but the financiers of Lucas Film will probably have no problem finding a distributor. Hopefully he can find a bigger audience for his WWII African American story as 'St. Anna' was pretty much a disastrous bomb.
Apparently Lucas once asked Samuel L. Jackson if he was interested in directing 'Tails' according to the U.K. Telegraph.
"It's a pretty good script," Jackson told them. "At one point (Lucas) was asking me if I'd ever want to direct anything. I said, 'I don't know, man. I'm trying to find things.' He said, 'Well, let me send you this thing. Maybe you might want to direct it.'" Obviously this never came to pass.
or Mickey Rourke To Play Nonexistent Villain In Movie That Doesn't Exist, Claims Unreliable Brit Tabloid
The Sun, a British rag that constantly fabricates film news and as such, leaves sites like us looking like dupes when we trust them (so we sorta don't this time), reports that Mickey Rourke has been offered a role in Sylvester Stallone's still-incubating "Rambo V." The Sun claims a "source" overheard them having tea at a Four Seasons in LA when conversation about the Oscars turned to Rourke playing a role in the next "Rambo" picture, and by Mickey saying he was "up for it" sans paperwork or agent, we guess that means he's already in, right?
Stallone, who's set to shoot "The Expendables" with Rourke later this spring, supposedly has a deal with Lionsgate for a fifth "Rambo" adventure, but movement has been slow since the last one was successful, but not necessarily a blockbuster. He's spoken about a conflict as to whether the film will take place in America or a foreign country, but other than that there's no indication that this is prepared to start shooting anytime soon, or whether the 62-year old Stallone is up writing, directing and starring in two big action movies back to back. Not that Mickey's complaining- in addition to "The Expendables," he's shooting Walter Hill's "St. Vincent," the drama "Broken Horses" and, tentatively, "Iron Man 2," though no contract agreement has been reached yet.
PS, Stallone and Rourke were recently spotted having lunch together in L.A., but they are friends and it could easily be just that.
We'll admit, the Eli Roth-looking torture-porn-y posters and the campy, slightly over-the-top trailer of "Inglourious Basterds," have taken the enthusiasm out of our sails for Quentin Tarantino's new WII movie. Or maybe, they've just managed our expectations: we're probably getting something closer to the B-movie movieness "Kill Bill," or "Death Proof" rater than the rawness of "Reservoir Dogs," or the greatness his script points to, but that's ok. Those films are good and fun, but it's maybe just not the masterpiece hinted at in the screenplay. That's fine, we'll just have to live with that.
But asking if it's "The Worst Movie Ever Made?," just based on the teaser trailer? Shouldn't a publication like the U.K. Guardian be above that kind of reactionary and juvenile hyperbole? One would think, but in a recent "review"/ rant of the film based on the teaser trailer (not even a full trailer yet!) the Guardian has given Tarantino's new movie a full thumbs down.
"Perhaps there will prove to be a level of postmodern self-ironising to this new Tarantino offering, which stars Brad Pitt as second world war soldier Lt Aldo Raine, a Jewish-American determined to take it to the Nazis with extreme prejudice? Perhaps serving up Kill Bill with the Holocaust as a backdrop will be a fabulously worthwhile endeavour? Somehow, though, I doubt it. If this film isn't the work of a man who not only has nothing left to say, but is revelling in his ability to continue not saying it, then I don't know what is. That Gorno king Eli Roth is playing one of Raine's crack troops (he's the one smirking in the trailer) serves as a clear enough pointer as to where this film is heading (well, that and the fact that Raine's speech has the customary "I shall strike upon thee with furious anger" cadences). There's going to be lovingly, lingeringly-choreographed gore galore and, what's more, we're going to be encouraged to cheer at it. Because, you see, the victims are Nazis and they deserve it. Being the objects of our blood-thirsty engorgement, that is."We agree with the sentiments expressed here, the skepticism therein and the not-so-subtle level of disappointment conveyed , but c'mon now, is this what it had come to these days? We'd bemoan the state of journalism, but it is just a op-ed like blog post (sadly becoming synonymous with easily dismissible rants of zero validity) and not a report or review, but still an inflammatory headline like that? Weaksauce. We would have thought the Guardian of all places, would know better.
We'd love to know what critic called the Oscar-snubbed/Martin Scorsese endorsed, Italian crime drama, "Gomorrah," "THE GREATEST MAFIA MOVIE EVER MADE," because this is patently untrue and engages it outright ludicrous hyperbole (oh, it's this quack), but we suppose it's good press for a very deserving film.
Mattaeo Garrone's five-tiered disparate vignettes film wasn't the best thing we saw at the Toronto International Film Festival and tended to be somewhat overhyped, but it was super solid (we had to just manage expectations a little bit cause people were foaming at the mouth).
People who complain that they're cities are just filled with multiplex bullshit and MOR mainstream nonsense will be happy to know the film is expanding into 8 more markets; it's definitely deserving of your hard-earned cash. A lot of it is still centered around the East Coast/New York area, but presumably it has fanned out a little bit before and we hadn't noticed? We honestly haven't kept tabs on its release schedule and well, there's no official homepage pimping the dates and IFC Film's webpage for it sucks frankly. Hopefully more info will be disseminated soon. In the meanwhile, it expands into these eight new places:
RITZ @ THE BOURSE - Philadelphia, PA
THE MUSIC BOX - Chicago, IL
DETROIT FILM THEATER - Detroit, MI
Landmark's KENDALL SQUARE - Cambridge, MA
KEW GARDENS Cinemas - Kew Gardens, NY
MALVERNE Cinemas - Malverne, NY
Clearview's MANHASSET - Manhasset, NY
JACOB BURNS THEATER - Pleasantville, NY
Clearview's CLAIRIDGE - Montclaire, NJ
PS, apparently "Gomorrah" has been doing incredible box-office business in its limited-release according to Variety.
Last we heard about Stephen Soderbergh's "Che" the epic two-part film had moved to IFC's Video OnDemand for the entire nation to potentially watch, but it's been quiet out there and IFC have still yet to qualify the results of its VOD numbers, which frankly suggests they're nothing to write home about or send out a press release about which is a shame.
We've championed "Che" a lot here mostly because it's one of our favorite films of 2008 and lots of readers in smaller cities would always write in bemoaning the fact that they lived in megaplex nowheresville and would probably never get a chance to see it. Well those people now get a chance to put their money where there mouth is.
The two films already expanded to 9 major cities in January including smaller places like Houston and Minneapolis and due to continued success, the film is expanding into 11 new cities this weekend where audiences will finally get their first crack at the ambitious picture.
An IFC facebook note says, "The terrific success of this film owes its thanks completely to dedicated fans across the country, so if you live in one of these new cities be sure not to miss this great movie."
We concur. Hopefully it continues to expand and roll out into smaller markets.
CHE opens today, Feb. 27th in:
TIVOLI AT MANOR SQUARE - Kansas City, MO
SUNDANCE Cinemas - Madison, WI
19th STREET Cinemas - Allentown, PA
PLEASANT STREET Cinemas - Northampton, MA
BALLANTYNE VILLAGE - Charlotte, NC
VALLEY PLAZA Cinemas - Bakersfield, CA
The TOWER THEATER - Salt Lake City, UT
Landmark's VARSITY - Seattle, WA
The LOFT - Tuscon, AZ
PS, here's Silvio Rodriguez performing "Fusil Contra Fusil" live circa 1979. The song plays at the conclusion of "The Argentine" (Part One), and holy shit, watching him perform it live is just breathtaking. It's an arrestingly passionate song.
One of our astute readers already told us that they caught Jon Favreau on E! lamenting the fact that Emily Blunt had dropped out of "Iron Man 2," due to unfortunate scheduling conflicts with "Gulliver's Travels," and she reconfirmed the news to AceShowbiz yesterday saying she was sad she couldn't be part of the film.
Responding to a reporters' reassuring suggestion that sequels are almost never as good as the original, she said, "I'm glad you said that, not me. It's a little disappointing is all I can say."
Blunt definitely tried to put on her best face though. "I'm okay. I just have to do this Fox movie, and it's fine and I'm gonna have fun," she said referring to "Gulliver's Travels" rather unconvincingly. She sounds rather pained about the whole event. "The whole beginning of the year has been rather dramatic, so I'd just rather go in with fresh eyes and know that I've made the right decision. You just don't know until it's all finished and done with, do you?"
Since it's Friday afternoon, we are really fucking tired and today is an annoyingly slow news day we threw these stories into a shortcuts piece, so live with it.
Fresh off his Oscar win, "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle has already turned down two directorial offers. One was for "Texas Killing Fields," an uber-dark script penned by an ex-cop from Galveston, Texas and "Ponte Tower," which is based on a novel about apartheid South Africa. According to Boyle he still has no idea what he is going to do in his post-Oscar career. [MTV]
The new vulgar n' vile "Friday The 13th" reboot produced by huckster Michael Bay has already made a whopping $70 million so far. With the low overhead of this new one, suffice to say that probably means there's more torture-porn style Jason to come. [THR]
Boner Christmas for cinephile nerds. Remember Stanley Kubrick's legendary and abandoned "Napoleon" project that he wrestled with for over twenty years after finally tossing up his hands in the air and saying, "fuck this? it's unfilmable?" (or he could just never find a script he loved). Well the tastemaking photobook company Taschen has put together an amazing coffee-table book called "Stanley Kubrick: The Napoleon Film." It should only run you around $500 and it's 1,900 pages long. Fitting for a picture once called "the greatest film that Kubrick never made." [Hollywood Elsewhere]
Edgar Wright's "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," has scored cinematographer Bill Pope. His work has been featured in kinetically charged films like "Army Of Darkness," "The Matrix" trilogy, and "Spider-Man 2," and his fast-moving camera is probably perfect for the cartoonish and wire-fu fight sequences we'll see in the film.[/Film]
Michael Clarke Duncan says if "Sin City 2" ever happens and his character were to somehow live, be resurrected or be featured in a prequel style film, he'd be game to do it again. Too bad "Sin City 2" is never going to happen. All one needs to do is look at what happened with"The Spirit" and have a vague idea of what was supposed to come next to know that. That's a hint, btw. [Splashpage]
Anne Thompson just saw "Watchmen" and she says that it is going huge among the virgin-nerd contingent, but may leave something to be desired in the eyes of everyone else. Thomas said the film "will play like gangbusters for fans of the legendary Alan Moore graphic novel, but will likely leave everyone else on the outside looking in." We have a feeling Mrs. Thompson is exactly right. [Variety]
Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts and Freida Pinto have joined the cast of Woody Allen's U.K set next film (after "Whatever Works"), yes? Well, it seems to be gathering an international flavor, a Yank (Brolin), a Brit (Hopkins) an Aussie (Watts), an Western Indian (Pinto) and now a Spaniard in Antonio Banderas who has just joined the cast. Wait, Banderas is the worst, and terrible for comedy, no? Absolutely not. Check the old Pedro Almodovar films like, "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!," he's stellar in those films. Maybe Allen can bring him back to former glory much like he did with Penelope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"? Here's to hoping. [Variety]
Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, in a last ditch-effort to somehow convince a studio to let them do "Goodfellas 3" (lets face it, "Casino," was essentially the sequel) are rumored to be in talks with Leonardo DiCaprio, attempting to talk him into starring in an Italian version of the 'Ocean' pick-a-number heist films. [Cinematical]
The Coen Brothers apparently took a break from shooting their latest black-comedy "A Serious Man," to go subversive with a new, hilarious Public Service announcement debunking the "clean" coal campaign. Click through to watch the video. [Cinema Blend]
In an attempt to mine some money in this bleak economic climate, Pixar Studios is rumored to have set 2013 as the date when they will release a sequel to the immensely popular "Monsters Inc." We can't blame them, animated films seem to be the way to pull in much needed profits for film studios. [Firstshowing.net]
Exclusive: Gil Kenan Was To Be Your 'Green Lantern' Director; Script Possibly Excises His Contributions
On the eve of a "Green Lantern" release date (Dec, 2010) and a possible pre-teen to play the role, we have a script review! How convenient, huh?
Warner Bros. and DC Comics are finally getting their act together. With Marvel Studios striking out on their own, DC knew they were going to have to make a big splash to compete with titles beyond Bats and Supes. With a “Wonder Woman” project stalling repeatedly over the years, and “Justice League” proving an impossible challenge, DC moves down the totem to the next most franchiseable character, the Green Lantern (arguably as B-list as "Iron Man," and look how well that paid off). With a script in place, and Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”) directing, “Green Lantern” is set to be a big 2010 release. But is the script any good?
If we were a studio executive or an undemanding audience member, after reading this script we'd say “Heck yes!” The current draft has it has a wonderfully light tone, a mixture of “Iron Man” and “The Last Starfighter” in both its endearingly goofy science fiction touches and its made-to-order main character arc. But, we're not a studio exec, nor are we undiscerning moviegoers, so as of now, we have to comment on the unsatisfying villain, the weak character work, and the terrible, terrible jokes. But more on that later.
The Origin Director Is NOT Listed On The Script
While originally Greg Berlanti (“Brothers And Sisters”) was hired to pen the script with an eye towards directing, this current draft has Berlanti above the names Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim. What The Playlist sources have learned is that there should be another name in this group- “Monster House” wunderkind director Gil Kenan. It's not known whether the portions of the script Kenan worked on remain, or were excised by Green and Guggenheim, but Kenan has long been attached to the project and was set to direct until the opening weekend receipts on his “City Of Ember” came in. As is, Campbell's a credible action director, but Kenan would have been a much better fit for the material. Not sure how Kenan's skill wasn't defined by the well-reviewed “Ember” but rather on how well the film did with an extremely small marketing budget and zero public exposure, but that's Hollywood.
The Set-Up: Origins
The geek-friendly property opens with narration detailing the existence of the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic law enforcement institution that protects the universe, we begin the story fifteen years from present day, where we encounter a young Hal Jordan, helping his pilot father Martin get ready for an airshow. Before what we can guess is his fateful flight, he shares a moment with Hal and spills a whole lotta words of inspiration, a tender moment that you can be sure will be revisited more than once.
Years Later- How Hal Jordan Becomes The Lantern
After an airshow tragedy, we cut to modern day, when Lantern Abin-Sur tangos with a dangerous tentacled force known as Legion, one that is ruthlessly killing Lanterns without motive or purpose. Abin Sur takes the battle to Earth, where we meet an older but not much more mature Hal Jordan. Now a pilot himself, he participates in a particularly dangerous presentation/action sequence, before being admonished by friends and family despite success. It's then when Abin Sur's ship comes crashing into the atmosphere, landing in the desert, and his ring sends out a distress signal, partly for help, partly to find a successor that it finds Hal. Among the people it flies by are a football coach with the jersey name “Gardner” (one of many Green Lantern mythos nods the film makes- lots of fan service in this) and a “glasses-wearing reporter at THE DAILY PLANET.” Eventually, it settles on Hal, who is hit by a mysterious green beam of energy moments before his car is transported to the site of the wreck, but not before a crash course given by Abin Sur's and a flash of images to teach Jordan of the history of the Green Lanterns. As Jordan reaches the dying body of the Alien guardian, he bestows upon him the ring, the source of all his powers.
And that's pretty much the first act. We then see Jordan learn the abilities of the ring, meet and join the other Corps, eventually finding the inner strength to become the man his father would be proud of while also trying to take down Legion and woo his lady love. At the same time, Jordan's origin is mirrored by an egotistical army pathologist named Hector Hammond, also with daddy issues, who allows the segment of Legion recovered from the crash site to infect him and give him astronomical superpowers, which he uses to cause widespread mayhem and carnage for little real purpose.
*The action. The massive galactic clashes between the Lantern Corps and Legion should be worth the ticket alone. There's one move that Jordan pulls near the close of the script that we recall only faintly happening in the comics, a moment that will be a big rewind scene when the film hits DVD.
*The light approach. It's not dark and brooding. It's epic, and there's a lot at stake, but it's big, colorful action sci-fi. The script is very short and moves quickly- there's no reason this should be over two hours long.
* The story introduces a number of story possibilities for not one but several sequels and prequels. A late scene explores the notion that Jordan was very obviously not the first Green Lantern, nor will he be the last. There's a sense of history, a legacy at play, and the promise of later stories should excite even non-nerds.
*Finally, a superhero movie where the character has a fully functional family life. This is a nice detail, since most “heroes” are abandoned or orphaned, either as an affliction like Batman or oddly unmentioned like Spider-Man. He's still got the tragedy with his father, but he also has a wisecracking brother and a concerned mother who doesn't have a whole lot to do but has her complex relationship with her son illustrated in only a few moments.
*Unlike the comics, Green Lantern has no weakness to the color yellow (no not cowardice, the color).
-Greg Berlanti comes from the world of television, having created the soapy “Brothers And Sisters.” However, that's no excuse for the dialogue to play so broad and sitcom-y. There's a lot of uninspired verbal humor, with the loquacious Jordan often remarking incredulously on what's going on in a TV snark manner that makes the reader imagine a Nathan Fillion type in the lead instead of a Ryan Gosling. They definitely modeled Jordan on movie raconteur Tony Stark, but they removed that film's wit and added slapstick, witty kids and obvious comic relief characters.
-The script's second act cross-cuts between Hal Jordan and Hector Hammond learning their own abilities. However, a lot of the Hammond stuff plays like deadweight- he's a snarky, obnoxious nothing of a character, and there's an awful lot of build up to his inevitable coronation as a bad guy. Hammond and Jordan don't cross paths until near the end of act two, and it feels like a heavily-trumped-up, empty conflict.
-The entire structure of the script is pretty familiar, in set-ups and payoffs. In a way, it's a good thing, because it forces Hal Jordan to show growth and inner strength as a character, but it's pretty transparent third act maneuvering when Jordan is forced to accomplish many tasks without the power of the ring. It feels very “Rocketeer,” especially with the hero pilot echoes, but it also implies we're more interested in the character than the crazy action, and without an excellent actor in the lead, this is a deadly gamble.
There's no reason that “Green Lantern” won't be a bigtime release in 2010's holiday season. The kids will love the action, the fans will love the straight-faced embrace of history, and action nuts looking for a quick fix. Still, we're this far into the superhero genre, and its surprising to still see such a timid approach. “Lantern” has less to say about the world than the usual film of this type, and the material suggests it's a notch decidedly below “The Dark Knight.” But if Martin Campbell can work within the realm of major greenscreen effects, there's no reason this wouldn't be the start of a modestly entertaining big budget franchise.
Tuesday night we caught new anthology film "Tôkyô!", composed of three thirty-minute segments directed by Michel Gondry, Bong Joon-Ho and Leos Carax. The prospect of the film is pretty loaded. After all, Gondry and Joon-Ho are responsible for two of the most exciting pomo hipster and monster films of the last few years ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "The Host," y’all) and Leos Carax hasn’t made a film since 1999’s "Pola X" (which Scott Walker scored). Plus, you know, anthology movies are always fun, since they facilitate even more discussion than normal (which one was your favorite? Which one was your least favorite? Do you need a ride home? Etc. etc.) and remember "Creepshow"? That pretty great.
And how does this Pacific "Paris Je T’aime" fare? Pretty well actually.
Each section offers something different; Leos Carax gives us a hilarious politicized farce about a sewer-dwelling terrorist based on Godzilla with "Merde"; Bong Joon-Ho does a kind of apocalyptic love story about earthquakes and pathological shut-ins titled, "Shaking Tokyo"; and Michel Gondry delivers a much more somber, low-key and Kafka-esque take on the Gondry whimsy some adore and some can only now tolerate called, "Interior Design." We got a chance to attend a press event with Carax and Gondry, both of them crazy (and crazy talented) Frenchmen and talk to them about the movie.
Things that were funny/interesting/notable:
* On why his absurdist section was called “Merde” (the French word for shit), Carax said that, "It was a word I like in French,” and with the film he was “tried to make a masterpiece of shit.” Gondry added: “In France, you don’t piss off someone, you shit on them.” Thanks guys.
* Another journalist asked if Carax would describe his work as “punk.” He just shook his head, talked about the punk music movement and said, “I’ve never heard that.” Gondry tried to egg him on a little, talking about the title was “provocative.”
* On the subject of magic realism, posed to both directors, Gondry said that, “It’s much more interesting to have magic in a more grounded environment.” He then went on an incredibly engaging speech about how “When there’s something simple like someone disappearing,” like if a camera moves and someone’s there and then when the camera comes back, that person is gone. He cited "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir" as a great example of this and “that movie with Robin Williams going into dreams or the afterlife” as an example of CGI gone horribly, horribly wrong.
* We asked if they had more footage and if they could have spun their sections off into an entire feature. Gondry said that they had been working on a feature film of the same story (based on a brief comic book by the co-screenwriter Gabrielle Bell, who was also at the interview), then toyed with the idea of doing it as a stage show, and that the running time for "Tokyo" was the perfect amount of time to do the story.
* Carax said that he could have made twenty films on the vulgar and obnoxious terrorist at the center of his film, but that there wasn’t any extra footage for the eventual DVD. Later, he said that he might actually do a sequel to his Tokyo story, with Merde going to America, saying, “maybe it’ll be set in New York City and I’ll make it a 'Beauty & the Beast' story,” pitting Merde against romance. He also noted that the film was the first project he had shot digitally.
* Gondry said that he directed his Tokyo segment from the point of view of a Japanese director. When I pressed him for who he was inspired by, he said that it was just as if he imagined himself as a Japanese filmmaker. Pretty interesting.
- Drew Taylor
The film comes out March 6 in limited, and we've already shown you one version of the poster, some clips from the film and the fact that Gondry's former bandmate in the French pop group, Oui Oui, guitarist/singer Étienne Charry, composed the score for the directors' "Interior Design" vignette. Composer musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto's new project Hasymo's new song, "Tokyo Town Pages" plays throughout all three films. Here's the trailer again too.
We were once taken to task for being unfair and facetiously dismissing the Wayne Kramer film, "Crossing Over." But the diagnosis, frankly didn't look positive. Harvey Weinstein had allegedly (meaning very probably) taken his scissor hands to the picture and mutilated
Kramer's "Crash"-like intersection of race, immigration and bigotry in a multi-tiered Angelenos drama.
Obviously a picture on this subject needs to be handled with grace and an even hand, but Sean Penn found the finished version so vile he reportedly asked for his six-minute cameo to be excised from the film, and indeed, he's not in it. We might have been a tad presumptuous - it wouldn't be the first time, and frankly we love being proven wrong - but the reviews are in and "Crossing Over" are critics are giving it a savage beating as if they were cops and it was Rodney King.
Writing for the Village Voice, L.A film critic Scott Foundas - who also writes for Variety and other major publications - thrashed the film within an inch of its life saying it had a "tasteless" vulgar touch "concealed under a paper thin plaster of Oscar-worthy self-importance."
Apparently Ray Liotta's character likes to buttfuck in exchange for green card status (Foundas makes two such references for his anal blackmailing ways) and Foundas writes, Kramer doesn't seem to like people very much" nor "encounter a cultural stereotype he can't repurpose."
Why Harrison Ford decided to star in anything besides "Indiana Jones and the Fun Time Bucket Of Cash" is sort of beyond us, but at least he's trying?
We'd give you further quotes and opinions for deeper context and perspective, but we're not sure it would help. The film has a wretched 14% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes. But...
Slate: "All of its plot threads are equally dreadworthy." (their headline is: "Deport this movie.")
Armond White: "This focus on uneasy spiritual and political transformation runs into thematic banality. Although more than a set of patchwork, Crash-like homilies, Crossing Over is almost as didactic."
Nymag hates it to, but does give it one positive note, "it's better than 'Crash'."
Hmmm, that's not saying a lot... We hopefully don't need to tell you to stay away from this one this weekend. We will note the one negative fallout of these brutal reviews, mostly comparing the film to an even-lamer version of "Crash," is the fact that Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu's "Babel," is being lumped into this mess. Yes, on the surface, Iñarritu's multidimensional drama did seem like a ham-fisted metaphor for global non-communication and how it effects us all, but it's actually a much more soulful, rich and resonant allegory for human suffering and it should never be lumped in with this kind of trash.
Kari Skogland’s "50 Dead Men Walking " is a film we had on our radar at TIFF, but missed it. Based on the a true-life story of a British police recruit who infiltrates the IRA, the film stars Jim Sturgess, Sir Ben Kingsley and Rose McGowan. IMDB calls it an action thriller, but what do they know? McGowan caused a major controversy in the U.K. by claiming she would have been part of the IRA had she grown up in Belfast during those troubled times. Is it any good? Who know, but here's the trailer. What do you think?
We told ourselves we're going to stop re-reporting every damn trade story under the sun because half of them just don't interest us. We've gotten into the bad habit -- as have others -- of just regurgitating whatever Variety and THR report and again, most of the projects we couldn't care less for, but it was just too hard to resist the urge to make this graphic.
So the gist is Jake Gyllenhaal and Jim Carrey are teaming-up for a contemporary film realization of the musical "Damn Yankees."
Meh, we suppose it's "movies and music" and while we do like some film musicals and many of them are very underrated or just dismissed by the ignorant, but these two actors are basically Hollywood lead. Gyllenhaal turns in a good performance every two-three years, but he does a lot of chum. And Carrey, well, we don't need to tell you about him now do we? We're honestly not familiar with "Damn Yankees" either, but on the surface it doesn't sound like our sort of thing. But, 'Yankees' is about a baseball player who makes a Faustian pack with the devil to ensure his team will always be winners. Carrey naturally will play the devil and Gyllenhaal naturally play the bland, every-man ballplayer. [Variety]
The only real thing interesting about this article is that is says Jim Sheridan's "Brothers" which Gyllenhaal starred in last year is complete. Now when the hell is it coming out? It's seemingly been in limbo for a while now.
There's also going to be an "Addams Family" on Broadway about the creepy "Munsters"-like family. It has a date now scheduled for April 2010. We don't care about that either. [Vulture]
Where's the "The Hurt Locker"? That's what everyone who was at TIFF wants to know. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow ("Point Break"), the intense action drama about explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) experts in Iraq has been coveted by a small, but vociferous group of people. We're definitely one of them. We saw footage in February and it looked fantastic. Last we heard the film was coming out late August, but Summit Entertainment's refusal to lock in a firm release date has only made it more sought after. Well, according to another champion of the film who has actually seen it, Jeffrey Wells, the film could be coming out June 26. Right now it's a rumor and apparently an internal leak from Summit, but it if turns out to be true its apparently a NY, L.A. limited release and then will slowly expand around the country.
We get to see it next week in New York as part of Film Comment's Walter Reade selects (tickets probably still on sale), so we're psyched, but it's good news regular audiences will hopefully see it soon. It's sounds like a deserving film. "The Hurt Locker" stars Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Guy Pearce and hopefully you'll see it mid summer.
We know Summit Entertainment doesn't like to fuck around. Not only is the "Twilight" sequel, "New Moon," shooting soon and coming out in November, the studio has already pegged their new cash-cow's third film "Eclipse," to appear next summer and June 30, 2010 to be exact.
That means the threequel shoots less than eight months after "New Moon"s November release which means director Chris Weitz won't have time to shoot that film. Looking to go the "Harry Potter" route of new installment, new director Summit Entertainment is already canvassing for new directors to helm "Eclipse."
The newest name making the rounds is Drew Barrymore according to EW, who is apparently is a in a select group of directors in talks which probably includes James Mangold ("3:10 To Yuma") and Juan Antonio Bayona ("The Orphanage") as has been previously reported.
But Barrymore? They do know it was McG who shot "Charlie's Angels," right? Or have they seen a cut of the Ellen Page roller rink comedy, "Whip It!" that Barrymore has directed and that somehow convinced them she'd be capable of the action sequences in the "Twilight" franchise? Or is that what second-unit action directors are for and they want Barrymore for her female touch? Well, either way, she's apparently in talks. Summit moves so quick trying to capitalize on this thing, you'll probably hear about directors for installments four and five -- "Breaking Dawn" and the still unpublished, "Midnight Sun" (which leaked early) -- soon enough. Maybe they can convince Stephenie Meyer to write more so they can sign up Robert Pattinson for a nine picture deal? Either way, Kristen Stewart will never be happy.
Could 19-year-old Anton Yelchin be your "Green Lantern"? A little wet behind the ears, no? D.C. Comics is ramping up its 2nd-tier hero for an upcoming film adaptation to be directed by Martin Campbell ("Casino Royale") and apparently most of the more ideal possibilities are either unavailable or passed.
Worthy candidate Sam Worthington is apparently busy with the "Clash Of The Titans," remake. Ryan Gosling ("Half Nelson") has reportedly passed on the role as has Emile Hirsch ("Speed Racer"). Near the bottom of the totem-pole, apparently Yelchin's name has come. So basically they'll have tweak the story so it's the tale of "Green Lantern," as he just breaks his cherry and graduated high school? We thought teen "Justice League" was dead. "Green Lantern" is set for December 17, 2010. [Latino Review via ScreenRant]
If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you do it to?
For us the answer is apparently: Yes. If it's ok for Jeffrey Wells to ask for and trade script publicly, it's evidently fine for us to jump off a cliff and do the same, right? We're bad at remembering what we're looking for so Wells' picks help. We're looking for Rob Marshall's "Nine," "The Men Who Stare At Goats," Jim Sheridan's "Brothers," Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life," Sam Mendes' "Away We Go," Werner Herzog's "Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans," Ang Lee's "Taking Woodstock," Jim Jarmusch's "The Limits of Control," Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience" (does a script even exist?), "Youth In Revolt," Ellen Page's "Whip It!," "The Time Traveler's Wife" (when the hell is that thing coming out?), Noah Baumbach's "Greenberg," "The Expendables," Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist," Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Biutiful" (if a script exists in English, which it must) and... that's all we can think of off the top of our head. We trade obviously, you probably know where to find us by now.
- Also, you should probably follow us on Twitter now that we've given into that nonsense phenomenon (but how do you monetize it!?). Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how long that thing lasts?
'Australia' Continues To Defy Box-Office Expectations
Baz Luhrmann's "Australia" was supposed to be a bomb, yes? In the U.S. one can definitely say it underwhelmed as it stalled just shy of $50 million (its budget sans marketing was $130 million). Well worldwide it's almost surpassed the $200 million mark and today it added another $36.8 million to to its total, opening up in the country of Oz to the second-highest grossing ever (sorry, no one can outdo "Crocodile Dundee," that's probably legislated down under).
Fresh off his winning Oscar-hosting duties, this makes it quite the successful week for Hugh Jackman.
In other related box-office still-going news, it's been reported/suggested that "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" will need to surpass the $300 million mark and if that's the case, David Fincher's film in on track to do so and has grossed $277 million so far and climbing. It probably won't do that much more in the U.S., being that there won't be an Oscar bump (if such a thing exists in this climate these days), but 'Button' has grossed a very healthy $124 million in the U.S. Who says it's too long and dour?
Kristen Bell Wants 'Veronica Mars' Movie Greenlit Before She's An Old Hag
The "Veronica Mars" television series, which we think is about some sort of supernatural teen detective may make the jump to the big-screen in the near future. When MTV news talked to the series star, Kristen Bell, she hinted that if the money comes together, the project is basically a go. "I cannot give you an update, but I will tell you we’re trying to make it happen. When making a movie, there are a lot of different entities that have to be involved — mainly money.”
Another issue the star thinks could get in the way of her playing a teen detective is the fact that she is almost 30. "“I think we’d have to start in college, ’cause we’re getting up there,” she said. “I keep telling them to make it before I get too old.”
Director Bill Condon sure likes Eddie Murphy. And maybe he's good for Murphy too. In 2006 he almost rescued (and surely reinvigorated) the comedian's sullen career by directing him into a very fine performance in "Dreamgirls"which led to Murphy earning an Academy Award nomination and winning a Golden Globe. It also earned Murphy the respect of his peer group that had long since abandoned him assuming he was the guy who did stupid fatsuit fart movies (which was essentially true).
Well Condon apparently believe in Murphy's dramatic potential, because he's looking to cast the funny man in a biopic based on the life of the late great comedian Richard Pryor, himself a huge influence on Murphy's career (and every black comedian who came after him).
According to EW, Condon is shopping the scripts "Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?," Murphy is attached and Fox Searchlight are interested.
Apparently it was once set up over at The Weinstein Company, but Condon rescued it himself when they put it into turnaround (i.e., we don't want it). The $30 million dollar budget has reportedly shrunk to $25 million. Hey, it's the economy. Presumably, Murphy will have to take a paycut if this thing actually happens.
Ang Lee's latest film "Taking Woodstock," chronicles a closeted-gay twenty-something residing in his parent's upstate New York hotel who inadvertently sets in motion the generation-defining concert in the summer of 1969. It stars Demetri Martin as Elliot Tiber. Martin, a stand-up comedian, who until landing the leading role had only been in a handful of film scenes and was mostly known for his music-oriented stand-up routine, sketch writing gig for Conan O'Brian and his occasional appearances on "The Daily Show." The comedian talked to the A.V. club about how he has the cultural phenomenon Youtube to thank for his landing a leading role in an Ang Lee film.
"They were developing a script and were thinking about casting, and [producer] James Schamus later called me at home. He has two daughters—they have a table in their home, I guess, where he can work on his computer and his daughters can do their homework. And he was working on the movie, and his daughter ended up showing him a clip of me on YouTube. And I guess he thought, 'Oh, that guy looks like he might work.' So I got called in for a meeting, and that led to an audition."
"Suddenly I was cast in the movie, and I think I was the first person they looked at. It’s crazy. Suddenly, I found myself in upstate New York on the set of this movie, wearing clothes from the ’50s, playing this character, and I’m thinking, 'Wow, this is a once-in-a-lifetime situation.' I mean, I’ve been in maybe three movies, and I had about two scenes in each of those, tops. More like one scene. Yeah, I think I average a scene and a half per movie. And now I’m in this one and I’m in like, just about every scene."
Martin, in a separate interview (via /film) delved into the personal journey his character, Elliot Tiber, takes as a closeted-gay living with his conservative parents in the the 60's.
"There’s a scene where I kiss a guy – the only scene where I have a real kiss – and I’m on a dance floor and these girls pull me in to dance with them in my family’s bar in the motel, and they pull me onto the dance and a girl plants a kiss on me and then I push away from her. And then a guy grabs me and swings me around and kisses me, and at first I pull back, like who’s kissing me? And then I see him and I’m like, ‘Oh my god – it’s you!’ and then I go back in for the kiss and it’s more passionate and it’s real and there’s a catharsis and everybody cheers.”
"Taking Woodstock," which other than Demetri Martin stars Paul Dano, Emile Hirsch, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Liev Schreiber, and Imelda Staunton, among others. James Schamus scripted the movie; he also happens to be the CEO of Focus Feature. The film is set for a limited August 14th release date and is possibly screening at this springs Cannes Film Festival.
We won't deny that we're not 100% sure how good "Watchmen" will be (we see it next week). We think that these fawning "review leaks" let alone the sheer expectation that this movie's the Second Coming are a little asinine. Both Jeffrey Wells' and David Poland's blogs have heard that the movie's going to be style over substance and the trades (real reviews) today suggest that as well. Let us chime in on that note and tell you why you need to settle your hyperactive anticipation down in order to give the movie a FAIR ASSESSMENT. It's honestly a little gauche and embarrassing some of the panting and gushing reviews. Have you no professional pride? Some of your are only reinforcing your geek stereotypes, btw.
100% Faithful Adaptation You Say? Congratulations?
We think the constantly reiterated fact that Zack Snyder prided himself upon directing the movie with a copy of "Watchmen" at his side to help him complete a "100% faithful adaptation" is not necessarily the unequivocal win that everyone seems to think it is and we're deeply troubled with the blind and utterly naive notion that "100% faithful" all of a sudden became a synonym for amazing and thumbs up postulating. Says who? Do you have any critical faculties? Are you a discerning person? Or do you just eat any scrap off the floor?
Is the Tone And Spirit Captured Above The Xerox?
What that suggests is an indicator of a director who is fetishizing the material, and too afraid to put his artistic spin on the source material for fear of worrying the fans and not preoccupying themselves with what might serve the onsreen-story best (god, do we need to get into what an adaptation is and why comic books, novels and the film medium are two different forms? Do we need to break out
Marshall McLuhan Alan Moore to explain how the mediums are actually quite different?). And face it, breaking the record for most slo-mo/speed-up Matrix-style effects in a single film does not count as putting the story through an artistic scope (and if you think action and this kind of speed-ramping captures the tone and spirit of Moore's book, you grossly misunderstand what it's actually about).
Sure the movie is going to LOOK like the comic book, but is it going to FEEL like it?
This book-in-hand business screams "creative crutch" to those who know that directing doesn't work the same way as having a cheat sheet at a test. Adapting material to the screen should come from both a director and a screenwriter internally understands the story, its characters, their emotions, and their fluctuating interactions and repercussions among other intangible phenomena. Tone is an ineffable element that must be captured above all and tone isn't conveyed in by-the-book storyboards. How that process can be approximated by having the book on set to make sure it all looked the same is a mystery. It's also kinda fucking mentally-retarded to think that should further enhance anyone's enjoyment of the film.
The potential xerox factor has us worried that "Watchmen" is going to look purty, but lack all of that tightly-woven subtext that Moore penned. The "Black Freighter" story that is truly one of the best allegories within a story in the past few decades? Straight-to-DVD. Sure the movie's long as hell as is, but a better adapter would know what is and isn't essential to the story instead of worrying about getting every last word and panel into the film. Stronger directors have tried and failed to put the book onscreen (Darren Aronofsky, Paul Greengrass, Terry Gilliam), which also makes us feel like we could've seen a better (and SHORTER) version in an alternate reality (no pun intended).
Yet the less attractive option of a visually literal adaptation has the geek community in erect rapture. Forget the fact that directors have adapted books for decades and that the best comic book films ("The Dark Knight", "X-Men 2" and Iron Man) were not adapted word-for-word and panel-for-panel to the screen. They weren't even culled from one single story!
Just because the movie is a chance for geeks to loudly proclaim the film represents their (not at all) marginalized culture, doesn't mean they should. The whole "I was there/I read that before it was cool" reasoning behind providing one's "expert" opinion is the most shallow point on which to base an argument, but that's basically how these early praises and reviews have been written. All this fawning is accomplishing is building expectations way too high (not to mention further discredits any reviews pretending to be non-partisan) and perhaps not being very realistic about what's actually onscreen.
Or maybe that's cool. Maybe idolatry is specifically part of the game, but then stick to being a fan and don't try and mask yourself under the guise of being a journalist.
Here's the thing: come March 6 are just going to see a story that you've already read that hasn't been given any further artistic development? That should be of concern to us all.