Those knowing tastemakers at the Criterion Collection -- the achingly cool film snob DVD imprint house that lovingly re-releases repackaged "important classic and contemporary films" for other film nerds and cinema dilettantes -- are at it again and have released their schedule for July.
"Repulsion" - Released July 28
Hitting July 28 is Roman Polanski's classic surrealist, psychological thriller, "Repulsion," where the director (enjoyably?) tortured a comely and then 20-year-old Catherine Deneuve in his first English-language film. It would be his first of three collaborations with British screenwriter Gérard Brach (they also collaborated on "Cul-De-Sac" and "The Vampire Killers").
Here's their synopsis: Roman Polanski followed up his international breakthrough 'Knife in the Water' with this controversial, chilling tale of psychosis, starring Catherine Deneuve as Carol, a fragile, frigid young beauty cracking up over the course of a terrifying weekend.
"The Human Condition" - Released July 14
July 14 will see the release of Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi’s marathon-long epic trilogy, "The Human Condition" which threatens to test the wills of even the most dogged and masochistic cinephile with its 574 minute length (That's 9.5 hours for the arithmetically challenged). This beast is naturally four discs long. The film is about a pacifist that has to face and endure the fascism and oppression of WWII and it might as well be the director's personal story as Kobayashi was a well-known pacifist who was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.
Synopsis: Masaki Kobayashi’s mammoth humanist drama is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. A raw indictment of its nation’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best.
"Made In U.S.A." - Released July 21
The Criterion Collection are no dummies and even though, "Made In U.S.A." and "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her," are relatively minor and not-so-relatively unenjoyable didactic and self-indulgent slogs in the Godard cannon possibly best suited to the cost-effective Elipse series, they're very aware that there are enough Godard doormats out there to warrant individual releases. We suggest you rent these before you run out and own them. Essentially companion sister pieces, both films were actually shot at the same time, which is understandable given their similar elliptical and nonsensical political rhetoric qualities (though 'U.S.A' is superficially a crime thriller), but we recommend the susurrant technicolor resplendence of "2 or 3 Things I know About Her" (look for all the qualities Todd Haynes aped for the Heath Ledger scenes in "I'm Not There") over 'U.S.A.' which is only really notable for its Marianne Faithfull cameo (singing "As Tears Go By") and the fact that it was Godard's last full-length collaboration with his muse Anna Karina. Both films are however more enjoyable than the aggressively difficult Marxist-wannabe nonsense that is "Le Chinoise" (pretty, but that's about it).
Synopsis: Like a Looney Tunes rendition of 'The Big Sleep' gone New Wave, this chaotic crime thriller and acidly funny critique of consumerism features Anna Karina as the most brightly dressed private investigator in film history, searching for a former lover who might have been assassinated.
"2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" - Released July 21
Synopsis: In 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, Jean-Luc Godard beckons us ever closer, literally whispering in our ears as narrator. About what? Money, sex, fashion, the city, love, language, war: in a word, everything.
Also coming in July is Al Reinert’s 1989 documentary "For All Mankind" (He wrote "Apollo 13," "From the Earth to the Moon"). Naturally the documentary follows the 1969 space race that ended when the U.S.'s Apollo 11 landed on the Moon in July. 'Mankind' is the story of the twenty-four men directly involved, using their own words and archival footage. And apropos, the film features the otherwordly music of ambient godhead Brian Eno from the gorgeous 1983 album Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks which was practically conceived as a soundtrack to the film before it was even a twinkle in anyone's eye.
Those knowing tastemakers at the Criterion Collection -- the achingly cool film snob DVD imprint house that lovingly re-releases repackaged "important classic and contemporary films" for other film nerds and cinema dilettantes -- are at it again and have released their schedule for July.
Seth Rogen Proudly Admits He Excavated 'Green Hornet' To Make The Super Hero Movie He Wanted; Character Be Damned
There surely are purist fans of "The Green Hornet," and the original TV series, but Seth Rogen is not one of them. He admited to the Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview that he and writer partner Evan Goldberg secured the superhero property to use as a launching pad to explore what they wanted to explore, not out of love for the character.
The five purists out there will likely scream and shout, but we think his candidness is refreshing and really, who the hell out there has a super strong affection for this show? We say use it for what you want and make it relevant today. Obviously we're semi-ignorant of the original and didn't grow up with it, but it just doesn't sound like there is much depth to begin with and anyone who's going to impute a superhero movie with even a modicum of some psychology behind the characters is alright with us.
"Me and Evan always wanted to make a superhero movie about a hero and a sidekick. That's the movie we've been trying to write for years, kind of like deconstructing the relationship between a hero and his sidekick. And we just couldn't crack it. And then one day we got a call saying "Green Hornet" is up for grabs, and we realized that could be the perfect format for us to do our weird hero-sidekick movie. I mean, we liked the 'Green Hornet,' but we were not particularly fond of the character or loyal to it in any real way. But it's worked out well, and I think it has few enough fans that they won't be disappointed because all people really know is that Bruce Lee was the sidekick. That's all they really need to know going in."Filming is expected to begin around June. "The Green Hornet" is being directed by Michel Gondry and is due in theaters June 10, 2010.
So unless you're a non-action nerd living under a rock, you know that Sylvester Stallone's ensemble B-level all-star action movie, "The Expendables" (that began auspiciously with a great potential cast in Ben Kingsley and Forest Whitaker, but quickly devolved into typical B-movie looking trash) is shooting in Brazil and that the 62-year-old macho writer/director/actor Stallone is doing his own stunts (natch, he's also lighting his own cigars).
Apparently, according to the Brazilian Globo Daily, cited by Darik News and finally reported online by Novinite.com (did you get all that?), Stallone broke his arm on set.
"The accident happened in the ocean resort Jacarepagua in the state of Rio de Janeiro, where the filming started April 6. Stallone broke his arm while doing a dangerous stunt on his own."We assume it's bullshit, and yup, turns out the report is false, but it appears that Stallone did injure himself somewhat.
"Rumor control here...Sly didn't break his arm. he has cuts & bruises from the flying, rolling punching stabbing stunt but no breakage," writes Sheryl Main on what has become the official Twitter info place for all things 'Expendables' (she's a producer or something or other, we honestly haven't paid close attention). She has her own blog about the production, but it's down. But amusingly enough the Twitter post right before Stallone's accident reads, "I think Sly's stunt double is getting bored."
While Stallone didn't really hurt himself too badly, we can confirm from looking at the above photo that he did shit his pants and bust a blood vessel in his head from the excruciating awesomeness of the explosion and yelling; that much is obvious. All in a days work, naturally.
"The Expendables" stars Jet Li, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Terry Crews Brittany Murphy and David Zayas and is probably due in theaters in 2010.
Hot on the heels of the just-released trailer for this summer’s "Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince" (below, we didn't race for it obviously) , MTV’s Movie Blog is reporting that David Yates, director of "Order of the Phoenix," 'Half-Blood Prince, and the two-part 'Deathly Hollows,' plans on using the original actors for the coda to 'Deathly Hollows.'
“We will shoot it,” producer David Heyman tersley told MTV.
In the epilogue to the final book, it flashes forwards several years and we see - SPOILER - the surviving characters all grown up (awww – yeah, it wasn’t exactly my favorite part of the book either). Some of the characters are married, have children, etc. So it’s kind of a surprise that the production team is using the original cast members, some of whom look like they’ve barely aged since the first movie.
On one hand, it makes sense – we don’t think any rabid Harry Potter fan would want their final filmic glimpse of these characters to be replaced by somebody else, "Green Mile"-style, but it also leaves the question of HOW they’ll accomplish that…
A.) Use questionable old-man makeup in an attempt to advance the actors’ year?
B.) Use questionable digital makeup effects, a la Benjamin Button, to advance the actors’ years?
C.) Say “fuck it,” and just put them in more dowdy clothing?
Considering the first half of' The Deathly Hollows' comes out in November 2010 and the final half doesn’t hit theaters until July 2011, I’m sure we’ll get the answer sooner or later.
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," which thankfully doesn’t look as BBC miniseries-y as the last Yates yarn, hits theaters July 15th in IMAX and traditional theaters. - Drew Taylor
Back to the weekend box office! As usual, there's seemingly not much to get excited about in wide release this weekend, but there is one political thriller with Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck that surprisingly really outdid all expectations.
Even limited release films are a little quiet this weekend. If you live in a larger city, your best bet is without question the aforementioned "State Of Play." It's not perfect, but it's sadly representing something we hardly ever see anymore: the smart Hollywood film. Otherwise, keep your wallet in your pocket for another week.
The first of the weekend's wide releases is "17 Again," the Matthew Perry-becomes-Zac Efron movie that has been advertised to death over the past week. Comedy vets Leslie Mann and Thomas Lennon put in appearances but that is unlikely to make this appreciably better. Still, it has a noble 67% rating right now, so maybe it's not soooo bad (or maybe it is) and/or at least enjoyable in some dumb fun way.
Also in wide release--and at the other end of the spectrum--is "Crank High Voltage" with the impossibly brilliant tagline "He was dead...but he got better." A sequel to 2006's "Crank," this installment features Jason Statham returning to kill a lot more people. Not bad for stupid fun, but the N/A rating at RT is cause for some alarm and that because it wasn't screened for critics it implies the studio was afraid what they'd say about it. But let's face it, if you're an action nerd, you're probably going to love it; the geeks sites eat this stuff up like pancakes. And if you're not a fan of hyper-kinetic, campy and video-game like movie you're probably going to hate it. You can probably figure out where we stand on it.
Finally in wide release is the film that's easily your best bet, the aforementioned "State of Play," by director Kevin MacDonald ("The King Of Scotland"), a taut and well-crafted political thriller that stars Russell Crowe as an investigative journalist caught up in a congressional murder scandal. Ben Affleck and Robin Wright Penn co-star and the film has deservedly positive reviews (82%) even though we all thought it looked run of the mill initially. A very excellent supporting cast of Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, and Jason Bateman help you overlook the weak link that is Affleck in the film. We obviously thought it was quite good despite a few imperfections (the thriller section is really outdone by the newsroom action, though they are symbiotic eventually).
The film also acts as a valentine to the dying breed of old school journalism and the diminishing newspaper. And sadly, it seems as if the film is going to represent the dying breed of intelligent, well-formed Hollywood thriller as it is expected to be trounced at the box-office by dumbed-down fare like "Crank 2" and "17 Again," so this is that rare time where we will tell you to go out of your way to go into a megaplex and spend your money on a deserving film (Vulture has a great and somewhat sad piece titled, "Report: Most Moviegoers Too Dumb to Enjoy State Of Play," that is spot-on). Again, it's not perfect (twist upon twist sort of undermines itself), but its raggedy, fast and loose charms definitely make up for some of its plot hiccups.
In Limited Release
There's a smattering of smaller films opening this weekend, the most well-received of which is "Oblivion." With a 91% rating, the movie charts the lives of several ordinary people in Lima, using the city as a backdrop. If you're in the mood for something a little less heavy (and if you're a fan of the American musical), then you could check out "Every Little Step," a documentary that chronicles the production history and most recent Broadway revival of Marvin Hamlisch's "A Chorus Line." Directed by James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo (The Year of the Yao), this movie has gotten largely positive reviews, currently sitting at an 87%.
Elsewhere, there's "American Violet," a film based on the true story of a young Texas mother of four who was arrested and held--in spite of a stunning lack of evidence--as a drug dealer during the 2000 election. With an impressive cast--Alfre Woodard, Will Patton, Tim Blake Nelson, Michael O'Keefe and first-timer Nicole Beharie--the movie has a respectable 81% right now and should make for a rather provocative time at the theatre. Switching gears, there's "Is Anybody There?," a British drama starring Bill Milner ("Son of Rambow") and Michael Caine. Milner plays a young man who lives in a retirement home where his parents work and suffers from terrible boredom until Caine--a former magician--moves into the facility. A decent premise, but the 47% rating isn't awe-inspiring.
Rounding out the weekend, there's "Sleep Dealer," a dystopian sci-fi picture (36%) that is probably best dodged. There's also the Israeli drama "Lemon Tree," about a woman's (the excellent Hiam Abbass) clash with her neighbor--the Israeli Minster of Defense--which has gotten encouraging reviews with an 85%. We really wanted to see this one, but we unfortunately missed our screenings, but as of right now it's the film in limited release we want to see the most.
For rom-com enthusiasts, there's "Golden Boys," the tale of three retired sea captains (Rip Torn, Bruce Dern, David Carradine) living together in Cape Cod in 1905. A fantastic trio of actors -- or at least they were in the '70s -- but reviews have been unkind--40%. Finally, there's the as yet unranked "Desert Dream," the story of a Mongolian man's relationship with two North Korean refugees amidst his plans to reforest the desert.
And that's it. Go see "State Of Play," and recall the greatness of something like, "All The President's Men," (though no, we're not saying it's as good as that classic) and or see "Lemon Tree." If none of these are appealing to you for whatever reason stay home and rent and continue your cinema education. If you're in New York there's a retrospective of Mike Nichols ("The Graduate," "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf") and the great Indian maestro Satjayit Ray (the exalted "Apu" and "Calcutta" trilogies) currently in progress and for cinephiles, attendance is mandatory. Film Forum also has another team-up of the great Jean-Pierre Melville and the estimable New Wave icon Jean-Paul Belmondo in the blasphemous religious drama, "Leon Morin, Priest." In Brooklyn, BAM has a retrospective of the French films by Robert Bresson, Eric Rohmer and Alain Renais and more in honor of Louis Delluc, a pioneer in the field of film criticism, are also a must-see. You'll see at us at all of them at some point. You'd be a fool to miss any of them and if you live in town you basically have no excuse aside from poor taste and cash flow deficiencies.
After the three year break that followed her last film "Marie Antoinette," indie auteur Sofia Coppola has finally come around to delivering another film. Currently titled "Somewhere," the story takes place within the walls of the Chateau Marmont, adding another hotel set film to her resume.
The pictures will follow a bad-boy actor who is wasting away in the celebrity-clad Chateau Marmont when his estranged 11 year-old daughter shows up for an unexpected visit. Stephen Dorff (yeah, that one surprised us too, apparently he is coming back out of the woodwork) will play the lead and Elle Fanning is set to play his daughter.
Coppola's break since 'Antoinette' can be attributed to recent marriage to lead singer of French rockpop band Phoenix and their new child. Her ability to recognize and capture teenage alienation will surely be on full display for "Somewhere," with a confused pre-teen girl trapped in the cold, distant world of the Marmont.
Coppola noted recently that she has been looking to make "an intimate story set in contemporary Los Angeles," and received permission to shoot at the hotel, which has become notorious in recent years for being a popular, well-documented debauch-hole and lodging of choice for many a vapid sublebrity
"Somewhere" will be shot with Focus Features producing, the same studio that backed the director's immensely popular 2003 film "Lost in Translation." Filming is set to being in June and run through July. We will definitely be keeping our eyes open for more news concerning this one. [Variety]
Sasha Baron Cohen's latest film "Brüno," which was slapped with an NC-17 during its first submission to the MPAA has just received the R rating according to the Universal Pictures Twitter feed, during its second round of review with the MPAA. Many suspected that it was just publicity ploy to build more buzz for what seems like a very intensely outrageous picture.
Either way, this is most likely a relief to the suits at Universal Pictures, since an R rating is required for a wide-theatrical release and to even think about turning a profit.
The film, which was at first denied its request for an R rating due to its objectionable sexual content, will follow Cohen as he masquerades as a homosexual Austrian fashionista shooting features in America for gay Austrian television. It was described by The Playlist as "Like 'Borat' on steroids," shortly following a sneak-peak.
One has to assume the film cut out just enough content to be passable with an R rating and will still have an extremely high count of cringe-worthy moments just like "Borat," which was also slapped with an NC-17 on its first go-around with the MPAA. Universal has conveniently rolled out new press photos too which make the calculated buzz-building conspiracy theories see all too plausible. [Twitter via Chud.com]
Are filmmakers and music supervisors getting lazy, do they have similar taste and or are they just reacting to a certain kind of collective hivethink?
One of our film critic friends from France has aired a grievance with us and we think he's onto something, so we figured we'd vocalize it for him. He keeps pointing to some recent uncreative soundtrack recidivism, namely the constant/overuse of Cat Power in recent films.
We love the kooky Chan Marshall and so does everyone else. Yes, her 2006 album The Greatest, is one of her best. But are filmmakers overusing it?
The titular song, "The Greatest" has been everywhere of late.
Wong Kar-Wai used the song incessantly in his unsuccessful first English-language film, "My Blueberry Nights" (poor WKW, we love him, but...). In fact, he loved the song so much he gave Chan a small part in the film (which we actually loved).
And this year, Swedish director Lukas Moodysson ("Show Me Love") used the track in his upcoming movie, "Mammoth" (starring Gael García Bernal and Michelle Williams) as did Francois Ozon with his upcoming film, "Ricky." The same song is even used in Zac Efron's upcoming, "17 Again"! Ok, that's a lot.
The latest news is that Cat Power's "Werewolf" (from You Are Free) is featured in Pedro Almodovar's forthcoming feature, "Broken Embraces."
Having seen all the uses of the songs in all the aforementioned movies (many have not screened in the U.S. yet) our pal is not impressed with the usage and he's had enough. "I suggest that directors should be punished with a fine for using a Cat Power song without good reason," he writes to us, which makes us laugh.
Maybe we should clarify: perhaps we need a moratorium on Cat Power in international films? Is it a lost in translation reason why an album from 2006 is finally filtering over into the rest of the world? Though to be fair, in the last two years she's surfaced in the "Revolutionary Road" trailer, "Juno," and Justin Theroux's directorial debut, "Dedication" (plus of course the aforementioned Zac Efron film; and those are just the big examples).
Do filmmakers need to discover a new musical muse? Since Almodovar, Ozon and Moodysson's films haven't hit the U.S. yet, we haven't felt like we've been beat over the head with Chan Marshall of late, but perhaps it's a storm a brewing and coming here soon. There's also been ample chatter her about over-licensing songs for commercials (DeBeers Diamonds, Lincoln Cars, Cingular), but that would be another post unto itself (and we're not sure we want to start a co-blog anytime an indie-rocker licenses a song to a commercial; we'd be here all night).
We've already unveiled to you all the music of Jim Jarmusch's "The Limits Of Control," given the soundtrack details (April 28 on Lakeshore Records) and revealed the fact that a separate ITunes disc is coming out from the band Bad Rabbit, whose membership includes Carter Logan and Shane Stoneback and the director himself.
Bad Rabbit wrote some additional music to the film that's also been featured in the trailer which sounds like a mix of instrumental Yo La Tengo, with more expansive psych-rock tendencies and droney feedback. What the trio wrote was ostensibly the score to the film, even though there is no such credit (more details here).
So now comes details of the second soundtrack disc. A four song EP due May 12 via ITunes. Jarmusch calls their music, "“slo-motion psychedelic rock-n-roll.”
In a press release, Jarmusch wrote. “When I’ve finished a film and it’s released into the world, the most important thing to me, besides the film itself, is the soundtrack record. It collects the musical gifts that both inspired the film and, like passing clouds, shaped and shaded its sonic atmosphere.”
We thought the music in the film was pretty fantastic and appropriately hypnotic. "The Limits of Control" is due in theaters May 1 in limited release.
A few weeks before "Adventureland" hit theaters director Greg Mottola was kind enough to give us a rundown of most of the music in the film with his comments on why he chose each track. It was a pretty awesome feature and something we hope to do with a lot more pop-soaked films. However, there was actually more music. The '80s college rock/indie-rock inflected soundtrack disc itself features 14 tracks, but there's actually 44 songs that are not score used in the film. That's a ton of music (hats off to the music supe) and to Mottola's credit, "Adventureland" is not the overwrought music montage nostalgia fest it could have been in the wrong hands. Most of the music is diegetic, and like the film itself, most of the songs are used in understated manners (The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" bumper car sequence is probably the pic's biggest music/movie moment and it's actually quite romantically thrilling; though the Rolling Stones' brief "Tops" introduction to the character Lisa P is pretty awesome too).
And if you're looking for even more recommendations in a similar vein, Mottola's Itunes playlist acts as a veritable part two to the existing "Adventureland" soundtrack featuring songs like Devotcka's cover of The Velvet Underground's "Venus In Furs," The The's "This Is The Day," Big Star's "Motel Blues," Dinosaur Jr.'s "Freak Scene" and our personal favorite, an acoustic version of Yo La Tengo's "Cherry Chapstick" (the New Jersey indie-rock trio composed the score and full disclosure, we didn't even know an acoustic version of this track existed, so choice).
Anyhow, if you'd ever like to make your own full "Adventureland" playlist. Here's all 41 songs featured in the film.
Bastards Of Young - The Replacements
West Beirut - Civilian Fun Group
Here She Comes Now - The Velvet Underground
Down To Rio - Daniel May
Funiculi, Funicula -Bob Stuhmer
Modern Love - David Bowie
Rock Me Amadeus - Falco
Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely - Husker Du
Looking For A Kiss - New York Dolls
Pleasure Dog - Civilian Fun Group
I’m In Love With A Girl - Big Star
Taste Of Cindy (Acoustic Version) - Jesus & Mary Chain
Tops - The Rolling Stones
Hot Blooded - Louis Grammatico (Foreigner)
Pale Blue Eyes - The Velvet Underground
So It Goes- Nick Lowe
I Need To Know - Rodney Saulsberry
-The Caissons - 5 Alarm Music
Don’t Dream It’s Over - Crowded House
Let The Music Play - Shannon
I Want Action - Poison
Satellite Of Love - Lou Reed
Point Of No Return - Expose
Obsession - Animotion
Girls In The City - Jamison Rotz
Just One Girl - Chris Carlisle
Your Love - The Outfield
America The Beautiful - Bob Stuhmer
Libiamo (La Traviata) - DeWolfe Music
In The Ether - Black Swan Lane
Just Like Heaven - The Cure
Breaking The Law - Judas Priest
Dance Hall Days - Wang Chung
Waltz Of The Flowers - Bob Stuhmer
What Do You Got Against Love - Sarah Taylor
In My House - Mary Jane Girls
Hearts Collide - Rob E C
Limelight - Rush
Here I Go Again - Whitesnake
American Patrol March - Bob Stuhmer
Pale Blue Eyes - The Velvet Underground
Unsatisfied - The Replacements
Adventureland Theme Song - Ian Berkowitz
Don’t Change - INXS
FYI, there seems to be an issue with the disappearance of the INXS song in some prints of the film. We hope Miramax and the director get that resolved.
Steven Soderbergh is not necessarily known for the music in his films in say the (*cough* obvious) ways Wes Anderson is, but the filmmaker is always tapping interesting musicians to score his films.
Electronic music/DJ David Holmes gave the 'Ocean's' films some buoyant cocktail froth and imputed "Out Of Sight," with some sexy noir beats; Cliff Martinez's moody and atmospheric score for "Solaris" is a modern classic (he also composed many Soderbergh films including, "Traffic," "The Limey" and "Sex, Lies, and Videotape") and of course the upcoming musical "Cleo" (which has been pushed to 2011), will feature the music of indie-rockers Guided By Voices (GBV's Bob Pollard also wrote music for "Bubble").
So who's on tap for his upcoming high-class call girl film, "The Girlfriend Experience? A new collaborator in multi-instrumentalist Ross Godfrey, a founding member of the still-going-strong '90s trip-hop band Morcheeba.
Morcheeba songs have been used in plenty of soundtracks, but scoring is a generally new field (In a Jan 2008 interview he said, "I want to do music for film and now I'm looking for a good one.") and the only credit he has on IMDB so far is the 2008 documentary, "A Snow Mobile for George."
So will 'GFE' be filled with dated, '90s trip-hop sounds? Don't count on it. Morcheeba morphed many times over the years and have changed singers three times. Their 2005 album The Antidote, moved in a more acoustic direction and contained traces of psychedelia fused with Burt Bacharach-styled grand pop. "The Girlfriend Experience" will debut OnDemand April 30 and will appear in theaters on May 22 starting in limited release. The picture will also screen at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's the trailer which debuted last night.
Is there distribution hope for Werner Herzog's "Bad Lieutenant" or was there hope all along and we've just been too damn impatient?
In February it was reported the the film still had no U.S. distribution (or any at all?) and Herzog had already moved on to shoot the David Lynch-produced lo-fi horror, "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?"
Call us crazy, but this worried us, however, news now comes from the trades that say 'Lieutenant' has a shot at premiering at the Cannes 2009 Film Festival (though whether it plays in competition seems to be doubtful).
Herzog recently talked to the U.K. Guardian about the film. Why take on this
remake re-imagining of what he has called a "film noir" now? Apparently because he had assurances this wasn't going to be anything like Abel Ferrara's original with Harvey Keitel.
"I was assured [by the producers] that this was not related to another film of a similar name. I told them, 'If you swear on the heads of your children.' I also had hints from Nicolas Cage that he wouldn't sign unless he knew I was directing, which is a good way to start a film."
Every production is shooting in New Orleans these days because of tax breaks (the film was once, maybe still titled, "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans") and 'Lieutenant' was no different.
"The producers were adamant about New Orleans because of tax incentive. It appealed to me because, after Katrina, you were in a situation where civil life came to a breakdown. Not merely because the hurricane caused a lot of material destruction, but it also created a collapse of civility - looting and, by the way, the police were heavily involved in that, too. This basic situation I found fascinating - way beyond the tax incentives, of course."
Herzog also clarified that his aforementioned next project, 'My Son' -- which stars Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Chloe Sevigny, Michael Pena and Grace Zabriskie -- is "sort of a horror movie." It's interesting that modern auteurs like he and Lars Von Trier are breathing new life into this stale and generally cheap genre. Look for them both to subvert it in interesting ways.
Meanwhile, "Bad Lieutenant" also stars Xzibit, Eva Mendes and Val Kilmer and will hit theaters... sometime in 2009?
Renowned Academy Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris ("The Thin Blue Line," "Standard Operating Procedure") is set to take on his second-ever narrative feature (the first was "The Dark Wind" in 1991) inspired by the Robert F. Nelson memoir "We Froze The First Man" and a story on NPR's "This American Life" titled "You're As Cold As Ice."
According to Variety, the dark comedy is being scribed by Zach Helm and will follow Nelson in the 1960's as he joined a group of fellow enthusiasts who believed they could cheat death through cryonics.
Helm's previous writing efforts include "Stranger Than Fiction" and "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium," with the latter also marking his directorial debut. Morris' last effort, meanwhile, was 2008's "Standard Operating Procedure," a documentary that explored the Abu Ghraib prison photography scandal that plagued U.S. soldiers, but pretty much every documentary he has helmed is par excellence.
The cryonics project is currently known simply as the "Untitled Cryonics Project" and is being backed by Mandate Pictures and Film Rites.
Ang Lee's 'Taking Woodstock' Apparently Accepted For The 2009 Cannes Film Festival; Official Announcement Imminent
Speculation about what will appear at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival has almost reached a fever pitch and the announcement is due next week on April 23. Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have written many a speculative and educated guesses piece (and sometime armed with info they pretty much know, but can't say), but Todd McCarthy's Variety article from yesterday seems the most informed.
The most recent news? Apparently Ang Lee's "Taking Woodstock" has been officially accepted.
In addition to this most recent "announcement" (sort of buried in McCarthy's piece), so far we already know that Pixar's "UP!" will kick off the festival and also premiering will be Quentin Tarantino's audacious, almost 3-hour WWII flick, "Inglourious Basterds," and Lars Von Trier's psychological horror, "Antichrist" (that is unless the trades jumped the gun).
Films that appear out of the running are Jim Jarmusch's "The Limits Of Control," which now comes out May 1 in the U.S. (so you can cross that one off the list, and evidently a trio of big-name auteur driven pictures, the Coen Brothers' "A Serious Man," Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Biutiful" and Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant" which apparently will not be completed in time.
What gives McCarthy's article insight is that he's privy to what the Cannes organizers are screening in consideration for the festival. Films that have been mentioned almost ad nauseum and that Variety now basically confirm are Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces," Johnnie To's "Vengeance," starring aging French rock icon Johnnie Hallyday, Jane Campion's "Bright Star" and Austrian Minster of cinematic fear/ sociopath, Michael Haneke's "Das Weisse Band" (The White Ribbon), Ken Loach's "Looking For Eric" (his 2006 film "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" won the Palm d'Or that year)
As noted by FirstShowing, Francis Ford Coppola's "Tetro" has evidently been shot all in black and white and is up for serious consideration (Haneke's picture is apparently all B&W too). Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," featuring Heath Ledger's final performance has been rumored for some time (and leaving some Gilliam fan sites to report the film's inclusion as official), but the trade calls this "less confirmed," i.e., they're screening it and it's still under consideration. It also sounds like Park Chan-wook's vampire film, "Thirst," and Bong Joon-Ho's "Mother" are shoo-ins as well.
Jockeying for midnight slots (probably not in award contention) may be Werner Herzog's "Bad Lieutenant," starring Nicolas Cage (which is good news because it still has no U.S. distribution and we've barely heard a peep from it this year) and Sam Raimi's "Drag Me To Hell." Overall, it doesn't sound like there's going to be a lot of big American fare at the festival, much like last year, but that's fine with us.
The 2009 Cannes Film Festival runs from May 13-24. And guess what? The Playlist has been accepted as press (now all we need to do is beg for change and or shamelessly point you towards a paypal account). That's pretty great for a film blog that's been only running for two years and is still 100% independent and doggedly ad-free. It's a labor of love and no one gets a paycheck here. That may change at some point and we hate to underline the obvious or chestpuff, but we do think this is pretty decent validation.
We've already told you about "My Dinner With Herve," a biopic of the "Fantasy Island" little guy, Richardo Montalban sidekick Herve Villechaize that's going to be directed by Sacha Gervasi, the director behind the winning metal documentary, "Anvil! The Story of Anvil."
Who will play Villechaize, the famous, diminutive Tattoo on the 70s TV series, "Fantasy Island"? Gervasi tells EW (not online, it's in a small sidebar) that actor Peter Dinklage is going to play the part (he was fantastic in "The Station Agent," one of our favorite indie films of 2003).
"I'm going to do the true story of Herve Villechaize from Fantasy Island. I was the last journalist to interview him. A week later, he killed himself. It's a dinner interview as he flashes back on his life," Gervasi explained about the project and its planned narrative structure.
Gervasi told us last week that the film will shoot in the Fall and recently updated us with the fact that he's currently giving the script one more rewrite pass to have it ready.
Our hardnosed friend Edward Douglas at ComingSoon.net will say this is not news if it's not official, but if it's Gervasi's intention to have Dinklage star in the film, that's definitely of note. But hey, if you want to wait until the trades announce it and link them, be our guest. ;)
Presidential candidates, and politicians in general, are typically very well informed, secured and protected people but, in the case of senator Ron Paul, something seems to have gone awry.
Congressman Paul was reportedly tricked into an interview with Sacha Baron Cohen and is set to feature in a five minute scene in Cohen's upcoming film, "Brüno." The scene apparently features Cohen's Bruno character attempting to seduce the senator in a Washington hotel room where Paul was led after excuses regarding malfunctioning studio equipment was made by producers.
"I was expecting an interview on Austrian politics," Paul later explained in an interview available at Huffington Post. "Why in the world didn't I sock the guy in the nose?" A spokeswoman for Paul also confirmed the appearance but, of course, did not disclose any further information.
"Brüno" was recently slammed with an NC-17 rating (some say to generate buzz) but is being edited and smoothed-over for the desired R rating. Any cut footage, though, will likely see a release on DVD according to the Variety, who have chimed in on the NC-17 story what seems like a decade later. The film see a release on July 20th.
This is probably one of our favorite "Brüno" clips from the original "Da Ali G" show whence it came. If masculinity becomes hyper masculinity, does it bring it round full-circle to full-blown gay? Brilliant.
Eli Roth To Helm Sci-Fi Blockbuster, Martin Campbell's 'Green Lantern' Set To Shoot In November, 'Revenge Of The Fallen' Is Michael Bay's Best Work?
Eli Roth has revealed that he'll be following up his work on Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" with a blockbuster that is "along the lines of 'Transformers' or 'Cloverfield.'" The film, which is set to begin shooting this fall, will be "science fiction based with a lot of chaos and mass destruction." When asked about the source of all this hoohah, Roth simply stated "It is not aliens or robots or a virus - it's a little more grounded. But when people hear it they are going to be like 'That is going to be insane!'." Roth also added that he is hoping to backend the shoot for this film with a feature based on his "Grindhouse" trailer "Thanksgiving." We're more interested to see how Roth's film in a film for 'Basterds' goes or Roth and RZA's martial arts film but this sounds interesting enough. [MTV]
As previously reported, Martin Campbell's "Green Lantern" is set to start shooting this November in Sydney, Australia. The film will have a production budget of $150 million dollars and is looking at a December 2010 release for the feature. Better find that lead soon, hey? Shooting is now set for November (it was September a few weeks ago).[THR]
Apparently, Steven Spielberg thinks "Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen" is Michael Bay's best film yet. As in, better explosions? [Michael Bay Forums]
Recently, a lot has been made of nothing regarding Seth Rogen and Michel Gondry's "Green Hornet," but here's a little more. "The villain is going to be horrible. He has a gun with two cannons; he can shoot people in both eyes with one shot," said Gondry. You mean a double barrel shotgun, Michel? [MTV]
Thomas Dekker (TV's "Sarah Connor Chronicles") has been added to the cast of the upcoming "Nightmare On Elm Street" remake. As you probably would have already heard, Jackie Earle Haley is playing Freddy Krueger. [ShockTillYouDrop]
Megan Fox is set to star in "The Crossing," a film about a couple who are carjacked on their way home from a Mexican holiday. Fox's wife character must then...does it really matter what this film is about? [THR]
McG on the ending of "Terminator Salvation": "The ending is indeed elliptical. And it challenges the audience. It’s not a happy little bow of an ending at all. The ending is tough and requires reflection, and in some degrees it bifurcates the audience. You walk back to the car and one person thinks it means this, and the other person thinks it means that." To translate that for you: not even McG really knows what the ending means, but it's cute he's been consulting a thesaurus of late. [MTV]
In other 'Salvation' news, the lawsuit that was set to plague the film's release has finally been settled. Moritz Borman had originally sued 'Salvation' producers Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek for unpaid producing fees. [Variety]
'Drag Me To Hell' Rated PG-13, Francis Ford Coppola's 'Tetro' In Black And White, 'An Evening With Kevin Smith' Set For June In New York
According to the latest MPAA bulletin, Sam Raimi's "Drag Me To Hell" has been given a PG-13 rating for "sequences of horror violence, terror, disturbing images and language" while Ang Lee's "Taking Woodstock" has been slapped with a R for "graphic nudity, some sexual content, drug use and language." We don't know about you but wouldn't a normal human body, despite nudity, be safer for kids' minds than a human body being mauled by pure evil? Though we saw "Drag Me To Hell," and it literally should be rated SC for super cornball. [RopesOfSilicon]
Francis Ford Coppola's "Tetro" will apparently be all in black and white. The film will possibly premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and follows the rivalries of an immigrant Italian family and is somewhat based off Coppola's early life in New York. Another Cannes contender, "The White Ribbon," by Austrian minster of fear, Michael Haneke, will also be shot in glorious black and white. [FirstShowing]
Jenny Lumet has been hired to scribe "This Strange Thing Called Prom," a film that will chronicle the experiences a group of immigrant students and their prom night. Lumet's first script was the critically acclaimed "Rachel Getting Married." [Variety]
Footage from Joel Schumacher's "Creek" has found its way online. The film stars Henry Cavill, Dominic Purcell and Michael Fassbender and follows the story of two brothers on a mission of revenge who become entangled in a strange experiment dating back to the Third Reich. [Movieline]
Catherine Keener has joined the Christopher Columbus' adaptation of "Percy Jackson." The film will portray Greek Gods as modern day people and follow the story of Poseidon's half-human son, Percy, on his quest to stop a war between the gods. Pierce Brosnan, Uma Thurman, Sean Bean, Kevin McKidd and Melina Kanakaredes co-star with Logan Lerman playing the title role. Fancy cast for a horrible sounding film. [THR]
Kevin Smith will be holding another "An Evening With..." event June 17 at Carnegie Hall in New York. Online tickets are not available until today but have been available by phone. Good luck, say what you will about Smith, but he generally shines in this setting, and arguably more so than in a cinematic one. [ViewAskew]
"Watchmen's" Patrick Wilson has joined the J.J. Abrams-produced "Morning Glory," about a struggling news team (Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton) and the up-and-coming producer (Rachel McAdams) trying to make things work. Wilson will play McAdams' boyfriend. Lucky bastard. [THR]
All 11 released video clips from Armando Iannucci's "In The Loop" are now available for viewing. [Cinema Blend]
She charges $2000 an hour...
Set in the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election, THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE is five days in the life of Christine (adult film star Sasha Grey in her mainstream film debut), an ultra high-end Manhattan call girl who offers more than sex to her clients, but companionship and conversation – “the girlfriend experience.” Chelsea thinks she has her life totally under control—she feels her future is secure because she runs her own business her own way, makes $2000 an hour, and has a devoted boyfriend (Chris Santos) who accepts her lifestyle. But when you're in the business of meeting people, you never know who you're going to meet...
Steven Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience"' hits OnDemand on April 30 and opens in New York and L.A. on May 22
Yesterday we noticed indie-folkie Will Oldham had dissed Wes Anderson for his seemingly random, "Iphone-mix" use of music in his films (we'll mostly lead that contentious swipe alone, but we'll say Anderson's use of pop is not what it was).
What we didn't realize that there was more to Oldham's griping in the original A/V Club interview. Here's the excerpt, but it's candid and amazing and it's kind of awesome that Oldham points out the bullshit politics and dubious choice of music supes and their "special relationships with record labels." But not that we're thinking about anyone in particular or anything.
AVC: You mentioned talking to Richard Linklater and Caveh Zahedi about your ideas on movie music. Can you summarize those ideas?WO: Well, for a while, it seemed like you were always seeing movies where all the music was determined by the music supervisors and their special relationships with certain record labels. And I just felt like, “Wow, I’ll bet they spent months or years writing this screenplay, and I’ll bet they spent months shooting this, and I’ll bet they spent months editing this, and now they’re spending no time at all picking these completely inappropriate songs with lyrics to put under a scene that has dialogue.”
How does that even work? How can you have a song with someone singing lyrics under spoken dialogue and consider that mood-music, or supportive of the storyline? As somebody who likes music, when that happens, I tend to listen to the lyrics, which have nothing to do with the movie. And then I’m lost in the storyline. Not only is that a crime, but it’s a crime not to give people who are good at making music for movies the work. It’s like saying, “We don’t need you, even though you’re so much better at it than I am as a music supervisor.”
People are constantly contacting me saying, “I’ve been editing my movie, and I’ve been using your song in the editing process. What would it take to license the song?” And for me it’s like, “Regardless of what you’ve been doing, my song doesn’t belong in your movie.” That’s where the conversation should end. Music should be made for movies, you know?
A-fucking-men, brother. Down with weak use of pop music in movies. When was the last time you saw a music and movies moment that was truly inspired? It's not that often these days.