Director Bryan Singer is circling the Mark Wahlberg suspense thriller "The Prisoners" as his next project, reports EW. The story concerns a Boston father (surprise!) who goes on the hunt for a kidnapper who has nabbed his daughter. EW claims the screenplay, credited to newcomer Aaron Guzikowski, is a combination of "Silence of the Lambs" and "Seven," such a tired, dated frame of reference that it makes us think of Donald Kaufman's pitch for "The Thr3e." The fact that Singer is being mentioned in conjunction with projects like this and Joel Silver's "Logan's Run" suggests that he may finally be removed from speculation over where Warner Bros. is taking "Superman: The Man Of Steel," a project that continues to have no forward momentum. Singer's not fully committed to "Technology Vs. Horse" yet, but after the lukewarm reception for "Valkyrie," we don't see him having that many other options.
Despite no American release whatsoever for Chan-Wook Park's last film "I'm A Cyborg, But That's Ok," anticipation runs high for "Thirst." A massive Korean/American production being brought to American by Universal's Focus Features, a rarity for a Korean film, the story follows a priest who volunteers for an ambitious experiment only to be granted the abilities and addictions of a vampire.
Song Kang-ho, a Park regular, can be seen as the lead, and he's on full bloodsucking display in this Korean trailer, which seems to capture the pathos and black humor of Park's earlier efforts. "Thirst" is expected to be released later this year.
Dormant since chatter began in 2006, "Transperceneige" has been brought to life by director Bong Joon-ho. The sci-fi project, based on a French graphic novel about the end of the world, was originally discussed as a potential follow-up to "The Host" for director Joon-ho, but instead he disappeared from the limelight, letting "The Host 2" end up in another director's hands and putting out an installment of the omnibus film "Tokyo!" He's given a report on the film's development, saying he wants to shoot the massive international project after his next effort, a crime drama called "Mother." "Transperceneige" details a train loaded with the remnants of the human race after a devastating ice age, to which Joon-ho says, "The train is a microcosm of human society with its different classes of passenger mirroring different political and social strata. Once Mother is done, I will be writing the script for [Transperceneige]. I would like the film to be finished by 2011 or 2012."
The great David Cronenberg, director of exciting work as diverse as "Videodrome," "A History of Violence" and the version of "Crash" that doesn't make us want to commit genocide, is set to receive the Medal of Honor from France, the highest honor one can receive from the French government. Cronenberg's been a big favorite amongst French film audiences, specifically the Cannes' filmgoers, but more importantly, this is a gesture that should begin a worldwide appraisal of Cronenberg, who's been churning out a steady stream of brilliant, transgressive, idiosycratic masterpieces since the late seventies. The ceremony will be held April 1st in Toronto, with France's ambassador to Canada Francois Delattre bestowing the honor in lieu of French Republic President Nicolas Sarkozy. Cronenberg is currently attached to re-write and direct "The Matarese Circle" with Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington.
While doing press for "I Love You, Man," Jon Favreau spoke a bit about the development on "Iron Man 2." While he was free to share information with the media during production on the first film, the director has been somewhat more tight-lipped this time around. He has yet to confirm the casting of either Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke, though he cryptically claims he's a "big fan" of the latter, but his excitement for the beginning of shooting seems to dominate the lack of actual information he's dispelled so far.
He also claims there's no complete script yet. "We have a rough basic outline [that is] always evolving as we bring in actors and have rehearsals. I like to adjust it for the specific actors but the action sequences are very far along." While its sad that modern blockbuster filmmaking puts such a low priority on the written word, the first film worked like this as well, allowing the indie-bred Favreau a chance to improvise and retool scenes on the fly. As a result, the first film did end up pretty character-heavy and light on actual plot, but each cast member had a chance to shine by bringing an unusual amount of color to their roles. With a sturdier cast and newcomers like Don Cheadle and Rourke aboard, "Iron Man 2" won't be short on personality.
Still Bill follows the life of Bill Withers, a surprising musical force who wrote and crooned the classic, “Lean on Me,” “Just the Two of Us” and “Ain’t not Sunshine” among other Billboard hits. Don’t worry if Bill who? runs across your head. He’d most likely prefer it that way.
Alex Vlack and Damani Baker, who’s prior success lies in commercial production with their company Late Nights and Weekends, were determined eight years ago to create a portrait of a man who has slipped into anonymity yet whose songs are immortal.
Editors Jon Fine and Sakae Ishikawa stitch together the story of Bill Withers musical past through studio recordings and interviews done by copacetic cats, but it is through the eyes of Vlack & Baker, we meet Bill Withers as he is now.
It isn’t even from the leopard chair where Mr. Withers gives his best grandfatherly advice, or while visiting his childhood home in Slab Fork, West Virginia (which he vowed never to return to prior to meeting the filmmakers) where we really see him—here he still continues to charm people effortlessly just like he did with his music.
Instead, his truth and complexity comes through in the more intimate settings he’s invited us to. Like when he’s in a room full of children who stutter and share his shame. Or when he’s recording a song with his daughter where he comes off more like a musical sergeant.
It is in this discrepancy of showoff and secrecy we learn about Bill Withers and maybe even why no one really knows his name. And even at the end of the film you may not have a sense that you really know him, but Vlack & Baker take us as close as we can get.
Yes, we're long gone from the SXSW Film Festival personally, but we did write four reports from the 10-something films we saw.
However, As promised, our trustworthy pals Bridget Palardy (cinematographer and Nylon magazine video contributor, who contributed here) and Katie Walsh (former Lionsgate PR flack) were both on the ground and they sent us their thoughts on the films they also saw. Much appreciated, ladies.
It was fitting that the kickoff day of SXSW Music was the day we decided to hit three music documentaries. Starting off with "Still Bill," a sweet and moving tribute to underrated singer/songwriter Bill Withers, of “Lean On Me” and “Just the Two of Us” fame. The man behind the music is a wise, sensitive soul, and this film presents him in an elegant, quiet way, though not without emotion or humor. Our group was tearing up watching Bill and his talented daughter Kori record a song together. "Still Bill" brings the audience on a simple narrative journey, and you’ll have Bill’s words of wisdom and “Ain’t No Sunshine” stuck in your head for the rest of the day. [B+] - KW
"Youssou N’Dour: I Give What I Love"
This documentary about Africa’s most prominent pop musician starts off in typical bio-doc format, but eventually ends up following Youssou during the recording and release of his embattled album Egypt, a tribute to the Sufi Muslim religion of his native Senegal. Recorded with the Cairo Orchestra, N’Dour delayed the release of the album after 9/11, only to have the album rejected by the people of Senegal who found it to be offensive. This film was clearly made over a period of many years, but could use a bit more focus and would benefit from a shorter edit. The best parts of the film are of N’Dour performing, and demonstrate the ability of music to transcend language and culture. The vitality of the Senegalese people shines through, and N’Dour proves to be a compelling subject. [B] - KW
"Anvil: The Story of Anvil"
Canadian metalheads Anvil shared the '80s limelight with the likes of Bon Jovi and Whitesnake, and are largely credited with pioneering the sound of thrash metal as some know it. Despite a fall from the spotlight, Anvil stayed together, largely due to the unbreakable bond between singer/guitarist Lips Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner. Now in their 50s, their hair remains long, jeans tight, and amps go to 11- they are Spinal Tap incarnate, and proud of it. The boyish Lips is a charming protagonist and their pure love for and dedication to rock makes you want to stand up and cheer when they do succeed. Director Sacha Gervasi met the band in England at the age of 15, worked for them as a drum roadie in the '80s, and his close relationship and true appreciation for the band comes through clearly. The Alamo Drafthouse crowd gave Anvil a standing ovation when they showed up at the end of the screening for a Q&A. The film is more about loyalty, dedication and friendship than it is about heavy metal, but these guys embody rock and roll in their unbridled passion for the music and their band. [A-] - KW
2009 Cannes Film Festival talk keeps heating up. A journo friend in France is telling us he'll have a new report on Monday that might reveal more and now the AFP has stepped in with their latest report.
It's a lot of the usual suspects you've already heard guessed, rumored or speculated on: Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces" seems like a sure bet as does Johnnie To "Vengence," starring aging French rock icon Johnnie Hallyday, Lars von Trier's "Antichrist," Jane Campion's "Bright Star" and mindfuck sociopath, Michael Haneke's "Das Weisse Band" (The White Ribbon) (and Tarantino's 'Basterds' of course; presumably out of competition however).
However, the French publication who talked to Thierry Fremaux, who heads up the Cannes festival, to not expect the Coen Brothers' "A Serious Man," Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Bitiful" and Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant" because all three pictures will not be complete it time (they also mention "The Girlfriend Experience," which is complete and they've probably got that confused since it'll appear at Tribeca).
Other possibilities include Park Chan-wook's "Thirst," Korea's Boon Jong-ho's "Mother," Ken Loach's "Looking for Eric" and Fatih Akin's new comedy (of all things, strange) "Soul Kitchen" among others.
A source we talked to in Austin working on Terrence Malick's "Tree Of Life," said the film was in reshoots the week we were there for SXSW and suggested the film was up to at least a year away, so there's probably no way we're going to see it in 2009, let alone at Cannes. [AFP]
It's Friday, it's slow and we generally like to (or should) use this time to just ramble on about whatever, which we don't do enough because we're too busy chasing news. This post by Jeffrey Wells about "Sin Nombre" inadvertently inspired us. He calls the excellent debut, the "second near-great, sterling-silver, belongs-to-the-ages movie I've seen this year. (The first one that qualifies is 'The Hurt Locker'.) It's a tough, fully-believable story about survival, love, family and fate." And as usual he's on the money. Which gets us to thinking: what are the best movies of the year so far? Well, it's super, super early of course and no one wants to lock shit in stone right away (or at least we don't), but so far, here's how we would play it out. And it's not different from what Wells' got. Update: We forgot "Revanche" so we're adding it.
1. "The Hurt Locker"
You've hopefully already written what we've said about this film centered on EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) experts who happen to be in the thick of the Iraq War. We already called it the first great film of 2009 when we first saw it in early March. We wrote, "Shot on 16mm with entirely hand held cameras by "United 93" cinematographer Barry Ackroyd (also known for his work with Ken Loach), director Kathryn Bigelow's 'Locker' is a tightly-wound nerveracker of controlled chaos and the fever pitch of unnerving and anxiety-ridden suspense is masterfully conducted." It's all true. It's also easily Bigelow's best and most fully realized film and apolitical to boot. The principal cast, Jeremey Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty are all fantastic (with Renner showing his finest work to date), the supporting players a nice touch (brief appearances by Guy Pearce, Evangeline Lilly, David Morse and Ralph Fiennes that are not distracting) and it has enough drama, action and tension to please any audience, but its created by an assured filmmaking hand.
2. "Sin Nombre"
Much more than just an immigration drama (which it only is superficially), Cary Joji Fukunaga's Mexico-set tale is an incredibly accomplished piece of cinema and even more remarkable when you realize it's his debut feature film. Socio-political only by proxy, the examination of separate miseries and collision-course stories (Mexican gang members who want to get out and Central Americans trying to emigrate to the U.S.) is hauntingly realistic, extremely naturalistic and documentarian at times and carefully and compassionately told (and also occasionally kind of brutal). As we've probably said two-three times this week already, but this is a bold and startling first work from a filmmaker with a very distinct talents. This auspicious debut is definitely a signal that a new and vibrant director has arrived. Also: Let this be a reminder: "Sin Nombre" is out in limited release starting today.
3. "Summer Hours"
We haven't had a chance to write about this one, but we saw it a few short weeks ago and it's probably the most mature and singular work that Oliver Assayas has ever done. We never quite caught on to the cult of Assayas, "Irma Vep," really doesn't do much for us, "Clean," is strong, but rough around the edges, but recently he seems to be really finding his footing. This all coalesces with "Summer Hours," a film that suggest he should perhaps leave the genre-film genre and perhaps attempt more matters of the heart, because his first real stab at being personal is tender and very alive. You don't need to have had a parent or family member to have died, but the director's mannered examination of family life and death..., really the evolution and inevitably sad thought of, "all things must pass," is moving, well observed and heartrending, but never ever too sentimental. The French-language film centers on a group of siblings (Juliette Binoche is really the only well-known one to North American audiences, but cineastes should easily recognize Jérémie Renier and Charles Berling), who have to weigh out their options over what to do about their beloved summer home in France once their mother passes away. Some have suggested that since it's French and about family, that it looks similar to Arnaud Desplechin's "A Christmas Tale," but they're really at the opposite spectrum of tenor and tones.
Götz Spielmann's Austrian red-light district drama seemingly about prostitutes and their secret romances has two major things going for it before we even saw it: It was shortlisted by the Academy for the Foreign Oscar nomination and Janus Films and its sister company the Criterion Collection loved the film so much when they saw it at Telluride, they picked it up for immediate distribution, a move even they called "unusual." But the film's modest turns slowly reveal the meditative picture to actually be an beautifully unpredictable and brooding tale of revenge and forgiveness. Johannes Krisch delivers an incredibly anguished performance and the slow-burn rhythms eventually unveil so much more humanity and emotional depth than you're average vengeance film. There's a lot going on in this one, including a wonderfully tender father-son subplot, and it's absolutely a must-see.
If we had to do a five and six, they'd probably belong to "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" (even though we included it in our 2008 Best of the Year picks), and other technically-2009 films we saw last year like, "The Headless Woman, "Hunger," "Tony Manero," "The Class," "Tokyo Sonata," etc. (many if not all picked in our Best of 2008 picks again), but of the films, we've actually seen since January 2009 began, this would be the leading pack. We'd also probably have to give a shout out to "I Love You, Man," which is probably the best comedy of 2009 we've seen so far, but that's a tender footed statement, as we really haven't been introduced to any quality comedies yet so far this year ("Observe & Report" hopefully next week).
Also, "Gigantic" is a winning, and off-center indie that's really charming and seemingly being ignored for some reason. If we see one more lazy writer simply write it off as "quirky," we might snap. A stellar cast (including Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel and John Goodman) agreed to be part of this thing because the writing is extremely fresh and unique.
We've been hearing the odd rumor about it and it looks like Spike Jonze is back in the music video game. This fantastic new clip he directed for British group UNKLE just hit the Interwebs today and it, at first, appears to be a return to Jonze's skateboard documenting roots. Then all hell breaks loose as the skateboarders perform a series of more, erm, explosive stunts. By the end of it you're pretty amazed no one's dead.
So can we expect to see more videos out of Jonez while "Where The Wild Things Are" labors on? That's what we're hearing...
IESB (who like to chestpuff a lot of their rumored news of late) is reporting that Warner Brothers is now stopping R-rated superhero movies, and perhaps to what is being perceived, and not entirely inaccurately, as the failure of the expensive Zack Snyder film, "Watchmen."
This may be for the better, for audiences and critics. For one, “The Dark Knight” put the money in the bank since it had a user-friendly PG-13 rating, and families across America were “allowed” to be captivated. Ditto with “Iron Man,” another critically-acclaimed/audience-beloved superhero flick. The two grosses combined are likely to be more than ten times the total take in of “Watchmen,” which two successful super-hero films together earned a total of 10 Oscar nominations. “Watchmen” is projected to maybe break even or just over, due to its mediocre critical reception and terribly coordinated release time (March?).
But, then again, could you really make a PG-13 “Watchmen” film? It’s pretty tough stuff, gritty and all. The other two were a little more cartoonish than the political, realistically violent “Watchmen,” and we don’t blame parents not taking kids to see the gruesome events of the film. Now, should they stop making R-rated superhero movies? They should stop making bad ones, for one. But to us, in some ways, the restricted rating and men and women in cheesy uniforms, fighting villains, don’t really seem to mesh.
Did Lindsay Lohan's debauched firecrotch days to irreparable damage to her film career? Basically, yes. She was fantastic in "Mean Girls," because she fit the material perfectly, but then became an ugly celebutante after that and went off the rails. Now that's she gone back to normal (relatively) and is enjoying life with girlfriend Sam Ronson, she can't seem to get work.
"It's scary when you realize, 'Oh my God, I'm not working. And have a house to pay for now,'" she told Nylon (via People).
Apparently she tried to get a part in Tim Burton's "Alice In Wonderland" (presumably Mia Wasikowska's lead role or Anne Hathaway's part?), but she didn't get the part. "That didn't work out," she admitted. "It is what it is. You're not right for the part, and that's it. I can take it, I'm a big girl."
She's apparently trying to get Sean Penn and Seth Rogen involved in an unnamed project, but she seems to be having zero success with the latter.
"I'm talking to a lot of people right now. One is Sean Penn – I spoke to him again the other day. We're trying to get Seth Rogen for this project, but Seth won't call us back. So call us back, Seth, if you're reading this!"
Self-unawareness is funny and sad. Honey, we hate to break it to you, but pulling stunts so bad that Jane Fonda has to even call you out on it? You might want to start looking for another line of work. And sublebrities on the rise ("Gossip Girls" ladies, we're looking at you), take this as a cautionary tale.
We won't editorialize this too much, it's not really our wheelhouse (though we loved "Chappelle Show," and it is a slow Friday), but it is interesting and almost shocking to hear Charlie Murphy speak so candidly about his former boss and pal, comedian Dave Chappelle. He's obviously disappointed with him and he assumes they could have dominated comedy on television for a few more years, which is likely true. Sigh... everyone was bummed about the demise of the "Chappelle Show," even those that worked on it.
How many more seasons do you think you could have done of Chappelle's Show?
We probably could have done seven more, easy. We were given the Holy Grail, we were blessed. We could have done seven years.
Dave Chappelle has said he had issues with some of the racial humor of the show. Did that ever bother you?
Whatever Dave Chappelle was saying that he had problems with, that wasn’t really the problems he was having. Cause where is Dave Chappelle?
I don’t know.
You know what I’m saying? We don’t know what was wrong with Dave. I wish him all the best. Whatever his explanation, I think it’s obvious to everyone that’s not what happened. I still get asked about it today. People still say, so, you guys coming back? Which means there’s a market, but I don’t know if Dave can get a job with a network now.
Do you think he blew it a little bit?
A little bit? First of all, to be black, you a lightning rod in that respect already. And to be black and get the opportunity and then throw it away? I don’t know too many guys that did that and still had a career. You can’t name a guy in the history of the show business who thumbed his nose at the industry and still was supported by the industry. But whatever his reasons, Dave’s happy. [Interview via Vulture]
Charlie Murphy also defends Eddie Murphy's "Norbit" in the piece which he co-wrote, which we kinda think is a minor masterpiece. It's so fucking retarded, it's actually kind of funny.
It was rumored that Dave Chappelle was up for a role in Michel Gondry's "Master of Time & Space" and or "Be Kind Rewind," before Mos Def got the part, but who knows. Chappelle and Gondry obviously did "Dave Chappelle's Block Party," in 2005, but he still seems to be awol and lost in the woods. We'd love nothing more for him to come back and working with Gondry would be a great start.
'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' Coming Out In June In The U.K.? Could Effect The Already-Cold U.S. Feet?
We were so busy and focused with EW's brief mention of the then-possibility of Heath Ledger's Modest Mouse-directed video one day surfacing (and yes, now it's coming out), that we totally missed something else in the piece.
Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," has a U.K. distributor and is scheduled to come out in June according to the magazine profile on its deceased star Heath Ledger.
There's obviously already been two reports (including the aforementioned EW piece) that strongly suggest the film could be too bizarro and that U.S. distributors are taking a wait-and-see attitude with the release However, if it premieres in the U.K. in June and is poorly received, does that mean it has even less of a shot of coming out in the U.S. unless a smaller distrib like IFC Films jumps at the chance? (then again, one report also says a U.S. deal could be struck soon)
There's also the potential this reaction to the reportedly-difficult film could happen even earlier if the picture does indeed debut at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival in May as has been rumored/speculated. Either way, we had to note the June U.K. release date because so far, that's officially the first time any of the public will see it. U.K. Playlist readers (especially those in freelance film press), get in touch now! [EW]
The budget to James Cameron's long-gestating sci-fi epic, "Avatar" cost a bundle of money, though not quite as much as first reported.
When Time magazine first wrote about the film, they said the budget was in excess of $300 million dollar which would make it the most expensive movie ever made and bloggers jumped on this with lots of exclamation points. However, Time has made an error and adjusted their report. "The original version of this story misstated the cost of the film Avatar as being in excess of $300 million. The correct figure is in excess of $200 million."
Regardless, $200 million plus is nothing to sneeze at -- isn't that like the GNP of Canada?
In an article about the future of 3D digital filmmaking, Time says "Avatar" is poised to revolutionize moviemaking and Steven Spielberg predicts the film will be "the biggest 3-D live-action film ever."
Apparently Cameron had the idea in 1995, but realized the technology wasn't advanced yet. "We can't do this," he recalled his crew saying. "We'll die." Apparently he's been creating state-of-the-art motion capture cameras ever since.
Time writer Josh Quittner saw some of the footage and noted that while everything was digitally reproduced (trees, backgrounds, fauna, etc.), "I couldn't tell what was real and what was animated--even knowing that the 9-ft.-tall blue, dappled dude couldn't possibly be real. The scenes were so startling and absorbing that the following morning, I had the peculiar sensation of wanting to return there, as if were real."
Sounds impressive and it all actually makes us semi-anticipate the film and Cameron could achieve the impossible: make potential believers out of us.
Richard Kelly's third feature, the "Twilight Zone"-esque, "The Box," and its ever-changing release date has been shuffled around more times than an unwanted and maladjusted teenager in the foster care system.
Which prompt us to ask more than is "The Box" just an accident waiting to happen. It makes us ask: is Richard Kelly a charlatan and not the boy wonder director that some thought he was.
Here's some evidence. "Donnie Darko" (which has gone from really great cult film to overrated classic) was an excellent little diamond in the rough gem. Hold that thought. Then Kelly released the disastrous and laughable, apocalyptic "satire" "Southland Tales," and most of his cinematic goodwill went up in flames. What happened? Further investigation into his work and specifically the director's cut of 'Darko' hints that the filmmaker might have never had the right stuff to begin with. His own cut does everything that 'Darko' didn't, it loses all the ambiguities, it kills the mystery and it puts much of the opaque story out in the open, clear as day. Watching it is actually painful if you enjoyed the equivocal nature of 'Darko' (which we did).
Back to "The Box," it does boast a score by written by members of the Arcade Fire going for it (this time, not a rumor or misreports), but other than that the film feels like a bit of a problematic and unwanted step-child. How many times has the release date been bumped around? It's hard to keep track of at this point, but it feels like at least 3-4 times (at one point it was scheduled for a 2008 release). All of it suggests not a lot of confidence from the studio OR Kelly somehow has a masterpiece on his hands that will confound audiences and is a hard sell. Somehow we don't think so.
So, in keeping with the child being sent to live with his grandma, "The Box" has been moved from a November 6 release to an October 30, release. Not a huge move enough to worry about, but with all the tweaking that's been done so far it does raise eyebrows a bit.
The film stars Cameron Diaz and James Marsden as a couple who are given a mysterious box by a strange man (Frank Langella) who are posed with a gigantic moral proposal: push a button in the box and receive a huge monetary windfall, but however, in doing so, someone will die. Sounds episodic? Yeah, it's basically an episode of "The Twilight Zone," extended into a feature film. [Box Office Mojo/Cinematical]
Arcade Fire And Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs NOT Doing 'Where The Wild Things Are' Sountrack
"Look at these assholes," is probably our favorite line from the not-fantastic, "The Darjeeling Limited." It comes from a moment when Owen Wilson is noticing some stupid kids about to tip over their poorly-constructed raft and subsequently die.
It's kind of how we feel about the assholes who have misreported this story and apparently not read it. You jackasses give all other bloggers a bad name and no wonder the stereotype is perpetuated. Anyhow, we reported that the Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" is going to be used in the trailer of Spike Jonze's "Where The Wild Things Are," which is true.
We also noted that the Karen O of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs was doing the score (old news obviously) and that in the test screenings of the film, the temp music used throughout were Arcade Fire songs and Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs songs. Because of the Montreal orchestral collective song being used in the trailer we asked: could more of their music be featured in the film?
But somehow, the Chinese whispers of the Internet reported: Arcade Fire and Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs Doing The Soundtrack to Where The Wild Things Are. This is WRONG.
We even wrote originally: "[ed. Note for the people reading, but not discerning -- and there seems to be a few out there --, The Arcade Fire and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, did NOT write the score or soundtrack for this film. Their music was used in the temp soundtrack of a test screening. Big, big distinction to be made.]
Look, Karen O is writing the score and some songs as is composer Carter Burwell and it's fun to speculate that the YYYs or Arcade Fire songs could be used in the film, but reporting that as fact is incorrect and stupid. If you're one of these offenders, change your report now and try and save face while you can. But we're not taking the blame for people that actually don't read and understand.
While doing press for his upcoming film “Adventureland,” Ryan Reynolds has responded to much of the speculation and mystery surrounding his character, Deadpool, who will appear in the upcoming “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
Confusion first hit when a strange action figure found it's way online. The action figure claimed to be Deadpool but did not physically resemble the character that fans knew and loved. The mutant from the toy then appeared in the latest trailer for 'Wolverine' further puzzling fans: Is this Deadpool? Or is it Weapon XI? And which actor is behind him; Ryan Reynolds or Scott Adkins?
In an interview with MTV, Reynolds was asked about the mysterious scarred character to which he responded; "That, I would say, is Deadpool…when I'm in the scarred make-up too and, you'll see closer shots obviously in the film, it's hard to even tell that that's me."
He further discussed the character's role in 'Wolverine' with IGN. "[The character's] a favorite of mine too...it was like a dream come true,” Reynolds revealed. “Now do we get to see the Deadpool that the one that is faithful to the comic books? It's tough to say because this character is really just his humble beginnings. We see him fresh out of the Weapon X program and he hasn't yet attained the identity of Deadpool. There's definitely a few little changes for it to fit into the Wolverine universe."
So there we have it for the six Playlist readers that cared. The Deadpool in 'Wolverine' will differ to the one from source material (sound the alarms). Reynolds even goes as far as saying that a "100% faithful adaptation [of Deadpool] straight out of the comic books" is a dream of his and a spin-off film has already been discussed. It remains to be seen how the comic book figure will be portrayed and whether or not the new incarnation will please fans of his comic books and audiences in general, but it's always fun watching fans get their panties in a twist over semi-trivial matters. And curiously enough, the new TV trailer doesn't really feature Deadpool at all.
“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is in theatres May 1st. - Simon Dang
Yes, we're long gone from the SXSW Film Festival personally, but we did write three reports from the 10-something films we saw.
However, As promised, our trustworthy pals Bridget Palardy (cinematographer and Nylon magazine video contributor) and Katie Walsh (former Lionsgate PR flack) were both on the ground and they sent us their thoughts on the films they also saw. Much appreciated, ladies.
"Observe and Report"
Concerning an arrogant, delusional buffoon, much like writer/director Jody Hill's debut, "The Foot Fist Way," Seth Rogen actually tries to do some acting in this movie, which is admittedly quite funny, though very dark. Rogen's Ronnie is an ambitious mall security guard, though this ain't your average "Paul Blart" (a subject Hill had a terse, "no comment" on during the Q&A). Ronnie is kind of an asshole and a bossy one at that, though when it comes down to it, he ends up getting pushed around by his druggie delinquent partner, Dennis (a hilarious Michael Pena), his obnoxious makeup artist crush Brandy (Anna Faris, doing her Anna Faris thing), and the local law enforcement he aspires to join, headed up by Ray Liotta. The supporting cast is great, with a cameo from Danny McBride, being amazing as usual, and the underused Aziz Ansari. The film is well crafted, and I laughed a lot, though that may have been all the Lone Stars consumed prior to the screening. However, it's not a feel-good comedy, more like a feel-icky comedy, when revisited in the light of day. An A+ definitely goes to Ronnie's Color Me Badd-esque date outfit. [B] - KW
"Best Worst Movie"
A celebration of how sometimes everything wrong can be oh so right, as a boy, director Michael Stephenson starred in one of the most bizarre and reviled films ever, the inimitable "Troll 2," and this documentary is an exploration of its subsequent cult status and the elements that came together to make it so -a bossy Italian director, a screenplay written by the director’s wife condemning vegetarianism, and the gem of a man who plays the lead, George Hardy. A dentist from Alabama, Hardy is a born entertainer who is genuinely tickled by the renewed interest in "Troll 2," and he is the heart of "Best Worst Movie," which is essentially about movies and the way they can entertain us even when they are terrible. 'T2' fans are sincere and genuine about their fandom, and 'BWM' is a warm bear hug to the entertaining power of bad-but-fun cinema. [A-] - KW
"Women In Trouble"
Written and directed by Sebastien Gutierrez, and shot in 12 days with volunteer actors (who happen to be well-known celebrities) and locations, "Women in Trouble" is an extremely self-aware campy female melodrama. While the idea is fun, the execution lacks the heart and soul that makes Almodovar’s melodramas classic. An entertaining watch, the movie doesn’t sit well post screening. All I can remember is lots of boobs and talk of pussy-eating. One would think Mr. Gutierrez just wanted an excuse to stick smoking hot actresses Carla Gugino, Connie Britton, and Emmanuelle Chriqui into ridiculous lingerie ensembles and give them some hot and dirty dialogue. Oh, and then also cast his tween daughter as a precocious young witch. The standout performance belongs to Adrianne Palicki as a ditzy porn star, who manages to bring some sweetness and honesty to one of the most uncomfortable monologues ever committed to celluloid. [C+] - KW
Andrew Bujalski, director of "Funny Ha Ha" and "Mutual Appreciation," is known for using non-actors, loose scripting, and encouraging performers to put things in their own words. (His work is frequently lumped in with Mumblecore-sters such as Joe Swanburg, reviewed earlier this week.) His most recent film, "Beeswax," premiered at SXSW this week, and showcased a definitive knack for inducing naturalistic performances. We particularly enjoyed the performance of the wheelchaired protagonist Jeannie, played by a charismatic Tilly Hatcher (Hatcher does in fact use a wheelchair.) Bujalski deserves credit for crafting such an intimate couch-side feel and for the film's fearless portrayal of living with a disability. However, some styling, set design and art direction could have helped place the story at front and center. Instead, Bujalski burdens the viewer with distracting "honest" details and unflattering up-the-nose close-ups. "Beeswax" is sticky and far too long, with lots of digressive crap stuck in the narrative, which unfortunately renders it about as artful as a buzzy yellow waiting room. [C] - BP
Well, "Watchmen" fell off pretty sharply last weekend and lost to the Rock's latest vehicle, "Race to Witch Mountain." With three major releases this weekend--and quite a few films in limited release--it should be interesting to see what comes out on top. So, here's the choices:
First up is "Duplicity," the new movie by writer/director Tony Gilroy ("Michael Clayton"). Apparently Gilroy has chosen decidedly lighter fare for his follow up to 'Clayton' in this romantic comedy that follows two corporate spies played by Clive Owen ("Sin City") and Julia Roberts ("Pretty Woman"). Paul Giamatti ("Sideways") and Tom Wilkinson ("Shakespeare in Love") co-star as the heads of the respective companies who presumably set in motion the sequence of hilarious hijinks that constitute the plot. Critics have been fairly kind with the movie clocking in at an above average 64% right now, though most seem to agree the plot is highly contrived and somewhat difficult to follow.
If watching Clive Owen and Julia Roberts repeatedly scam each other doesn't sound like a great time, you could always jump on board with the latest Apatow-ish comedy "I Love You, Man." The pic stars Paul Rudd ("The 40 Year-Virgin") and Jason Segel ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall") as two post-collegeiate dudes enjoying a budding bromance when Rudd's character has to find a friend to serve as his best man. SNL star Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones ("New In Town") co-star in the movie, which is currently sitting at a warm 76% on the Tomatometer. We really enjoyed it, finding it to be a pretty faithful adherent to the Apatow style. Director John Hamburg's ("Along Came Polly") stock would seem to be on the rise.
On the other hand, if you've given up all hope you could go see the new Nicholas Cage bomb "Knowing" which stars the eyebrow-y actor as a professor who unwittingly discovers a numerological code that foretells major disasters and, worse, (or better, depending how you look at it) the possible end of the world. Under the aegis of Alex Proyas ("I, Robot") the film has racked up a predictable 19% right now.
In Limited Release
Outside of major releases, this weekend has a nice array of smaller features. Not among those is "The Great Buck Howard," which we found to be pretty hokey and contrived. The RT folks are less scathing with a 71% but the cast features some big names in John Malkovich and Emily Blunt, as well as Colin Hanks. Directed by first-timer Sean McGinly, the movie is about a law school dropout who becomes the assistant to a second-rate magician. If you're a big fan of indies, you could check it out--but don't say we didn't warn you.
In the mood for a documentary? Then look no further than the mega-acclaimed "Hearts and Minds" which is seeing some limited play this weekend. A stunning condemnation of American involvement in Vietnam, the film is profoundly disturbing and equally moving. The movie has a staggering (but deserved) 100% rating right now and it totally lives up to that reputation. If you've never seen it and you're living somewhere that it will play, then do yourself a favor and go.
Also highly recommended: "Sin Nombre" from first-time director Cary Fukunaga. You can read our extremely positive thoughts from SXSW here or check out the overwhelmingly favorable remarks at RT here (83%). The film weaves together plots about a family emigrating to the United States from Honduras and a brutal depiction of Mexican gang warfare in a staggering accomplishment. Do not miss this film.
Less well regarded is "Skills Like This," a comedy about twentysomething bozos with grandiose ambitions. Though it won an audience award at SXSW, it's gotten pretty tepid reviews that amount to a 43% rating as of press date. If you're still in the mood for a comedy, though, and not that interested in solipsistic youngsters, you could check out the superhero comedy "Super Capers." There's not much in the way of reviews yet but the plot sounds similar to a warmed-over "Mystery Men."
On the other end of the spectrum is the harrowing and beautiful "Hunger," directed by the artist Steve McQueen. We loved this sometimes-brutal movie and highly recommend that you check it out. Opening in limited release, it follows the sixty-six day hunger strike and eventual death of IRA activist Bobby Sands in a British jail during the Troubles. The film stars Michael Fassbinder ("Inglorious Basterds") as Sands and Liam Cunningham as a priest who tries to talk him out of the eventual suicide, both giving unforgettable performances. Another can't miss.
Another well-regarded documentary opens in "Valentino: the Last Emperor" which chronicles the world of high fashion by examining the legendary Valentino Garavani. The film follows Valentino as he and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti wind their careers down to a close. The result is a moving film about passion and commitment in the face of a capricious world. And the 70% RT rating doesn't look too bad either.
If you're in New York, don't forget that Costa Gavras' political thriller, "Z" is playing at Film Forum, director Robert Mulligan's ("To Kill A Mockingbird") retrospective plays at Walter Reade, and David Cronenberg's minor masterpiece, "The Dead Zone," with Christopher Walken plays the IFC Center at midnight over the weekend. That just about rounds up the weekend--good viewing!
Mary J. Blige Joins Tyler Perry's 'Bad'; Michael From 'The Wire' Added To Lucas' WWII Film, 'Red Tails'
Your morning trade news not worth writing stories in earnest about...
R&B singer Mary J. Blige has joined the cast of Tyler Perry's next Lionsgate monstrosity "I Can Do Bad" which also stars Taraji P. Henson (the best part of "Benjamin Button"). Blige will stretch her abilities by playing a singer and a nightclub manager, no "plot" is known yet. [Variety]
Catherine Hardwicke and Summit Entertainment have kissed and made up. She'll be directing the fantasy-drama "If I Stay." Summit once said they fired her off "New Moon," and Hardwicke said she quit. Now Summit all but calls her a "visionary" director. "When we were thinking of the perfect director to capture the emotion, grace and passion of this beautiful book, one filmmaker became the clear and only choice: Catherine Hardwicke." Maybe some had nude photos of the Summit Prez. [Variety]
George Lucas Loves "The Wire"?
Though offers have apparently 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, it's former "The Wire"/ current "90210" star Tristan Wilds (Michael Lee from David Simon's epic show) who has signed on for the George Lucas-produced/created film, "Red Tails," which centers on African American fighter pilots in WWII. Another 'Wire' actor, Rick Otto -- who played one of the semi-minor Caucasian cops -- has also joined the cast. Maybe they should hire Omar too. [THR]
Rainn Wilson and Sarah Silverman are in negotiations to join Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") and comedian Ben Schwartz have been cast in the family drama, "Peep World," which chronicles squabbling siblings fighting about a thinly veiled novel that describes them unfavorably. The guy who helmed "The Ringer" with Johnny Knoxville (Barry Blaustein) will direct. [THR]
Brett Ratner Pisses Away Even More Of Inexplicably Everlasting Studio Cred: Says There's No Comics Left To Adapt
Attention Hollywood: Brett Ratner doesn't want your stinking comic book movies anymore. According to MTV, he claims "there's nothing left" to adapt into what he perceives as a mainstream, big budget tentpole flick. We here at The Playlist would like to piece through his quotes. Thanks to MTV for the heads' up- calling him "love him or hate him" really takes some chutzpah, since we're pretty sure anyone who knows the name 'Brett Ratner' loves ovarian cancer more than him.
From the interview: “I would do any superhero movie that I was asked to do,” Ratner told MTV News. “But I wouldn’t have been interested in 'Iron Man.' I have a lot of respect for [Jon Favreau], because to me, it was a B-character. 'Iron Man'? … But look what he did.”
Translation: Don't get me wrong- I am a whore. Drive some money up to my doorstep, and I'll even sign on to "Beverly Hills Cop IV." And trust me, that shit is radioactive. Still, I love superhero movies, and would love to do one, because they make a lot of money and are easy to [hire other people to] storyboard. But I never read them, because I was too busy in my youth chasing tail, and comic books are for virgins, not people who aggressively pretend to be sexual mack truck daddies. You like that? A character says it in my 'Guitar Hero' pitch that no one wants to make. Anyway, when they greenlit "Iron Man," I thought they were making a movie out of the song, and I thought it was cool until I realized I never listened to the lyrics of any song I've ever heard. Then the movie made a fuckload of cash, and I realized they've been making Iron Man comics for forty years. Good for Favreau- this should have been a lesson to me, that literacy may someday pay. Then again, Favs only has one movie under his belt- I'm a franchise man, dawg.
From the interview: “I was so upset when I left ‘Superman,’” said Ratner. “[Bryan] Singer has his 'X-Men,' [Christopher] Nolan has 'Batman'— there’s nothing left. 'Hulk' has been exploited already. There’s nothing left for me. I mean, I’m not going to go and do the Silver Surfer or something.”Translation: After I left the WB lot for Superman [once they fired me], I realized I had to catch on to one of these properties quick. I made X-Men 3 and laughed my way to the bank, but then no one hired me because they made me kill all the characters, so I had to promise Chris Tucker I would give to some black kids charity or some shit to do a third 'Rush Hour,' and then no one liked that either! At that point, the superheroes that show up on vintage little boy underwear I require my girlfriends to wear to bed with me had been taken. Even characters I've never heard of became blockbusters- what the hell is "Wanted"? I was so far down the fucking totem that Marvel wouldn't even let me have their sloppy seconds "Hulk" movie- hello, I worked with Ed Norton! Some superhero movies have even killed other potentially awesome superheroes I would do- I wanted so badly to do "Silver Surfer" until I realized he was in a kiddie "Fantastic Four" movie that nobody saw and I heard Adam Shankman talking shit about the other day.
Brett Ratner currently has a movie adaptation of "Youngblood," a comic book no one has ever liked, in development.