The 62nd of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival started on 13 May and ended on 24 May 2009. We had a blast, but we were also extremely exhausted from running around and seeing as many films as we could.
The film's might not have been the quality of past years, but as the Olympics of cinema there were still many filmmaking gems to be found. Here's our complete coverage from the festival including...
- Here's a ton of posters from films that played at the festival.
- 10 trailers from Cannes films you haven't seen.
- What the Cannes film winners mean for the Oscar awards.
- The 10 Most Anticipated films from Cannes that we didn't see (it was a long festival afterall and you can only see so much).
- Reviews of films like, "Agora," "Vincere," "Ne Te Retourne Pas" and "Kinatay."
- 5 Must-See films from Cannes, plus 5 more recommendations.
- Award winners from the Un Certain Regard section, including "Dogtooth," and Police, Adjective."
- 8 Suggestions on how to fix Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds."
- A Cannes Videoblog entry with Alex from Firstshowing.
- Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist" receiving a misogyny prize.
- Press Reports on Gaspar Noe's controversial, "Enter The Void."
- Press reports on Terry Gilliam's perhaps too whimsical and incoherent, "The Imaginariam of Doctor Parnassus."
- The mixed reactions to the jury awarding Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" the Palme d'Or.
- Cannes 2009 Awards: Michael Haneke's 'White Ribbon' Takes The Top Prize, The Palme d'Or
- Reviews of Ken Loach's "Looking For Eric," "Inglourious Basterds," Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces," and two reviews of Lars Von Trier's Cannes-scandalizing, "Antichrist."
- Decidely mixed press reactions to Tarantino's 'Basterds.'
- A review of Jane Campion's masterful 18th century romance, "Bright Star."
- The outraged press meltdown reaction to "Antichrist."
- A review of Bong-Joon-Ho's "Mother"; a thouroughly modern and unique noir.
- A review of the breezy and innocuous "Taking Woodstock" by Ang Lee.
- The soundtrack details of "Taking Woodstock."
- a review of Francis Ford Coppola's uneven, but funny, nostalgic and emotive, "Tetro."
- A review of Park Chan-Wook's absurdist vampire film, "Thirst."
- The soundtrack details of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," and the continued recycling of Ennio Morricone music.
- Cannes prognosticating: How Euro-horror could dominated Cannes.
A ton of Cannes coverage to be sure. Hope you enjoyed it.
The 62nd of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival started on 13 May and ended on 24 May 2009. We had a blast, but we were also extremely exhausted from running around and seeing as many films as we could.
Tony Scott has confirmed previous rumors of a possible new "Alien" film in the works. Scott confirmed that commercial and music video director Carl Erik Rinsch, one of he and Ridley's auspicious protege's, will be helming the project and added that the film will be a prequel to the existing franchise rather than a reboot.
Hopes are for the film to begin shooting by year's end. Interestingly, "Alien 3" was also the feature directorial debut for a music video director (Fincher). Take from that what you may.
Rinsch reel is impressive and /Film has taken the time to put a bunch of his work together. [Collider]
Action fans who like to see some female presence in their films -- for hotness and or T&A factor to be sure -- should start weeping now.
According to the official production blog for the film (which is perhaps only slightly more budget than ours) Brittany Murphy's character in Sylvester Stallone's "The Expendables" has been written out of the picture.
"The script went through a re-write and Brittany Murphy’s character was deleted," was the only explanation given.
Murphy's exit follows Liam Hemsworth who was also written out of the film. There's no teaser trailer yet, but production folks are now debating about whether to show a 60-second sizzler reel online. [via Icon Vs. Icon]
Jim Sheridan's long-completed, practically dormant (if you weren't privy to the backstory) drama, "Brothers," starring Tobey MaGuire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman will finally see a release date during Oscar-bait season on December 4. Previously scheduled for an August release, this probably indicates some strong level of confidence on the studio's part which is Relativity Media/Lionsgate.
David Benioff, a solid scribe known for penning "The 25th Hour" and "The Kite Runner," but perhaps having lost cred for writing "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," also wrote this one.
A source tells us the film received stellar scores at screen tests last summer and was scheduled for release Christmas 2008, but the window was missed, presumably because of editing tinkering (test scores were largely positive, but one character wasn't like as much as producers hoped), money (the Relativity deal), and the fact the picture has Iraq-war connections, which has proven to be box-office poison, so clearly they've been trying to calibrate the correct pitch. Essentially, there's been a lot of careful planning rather than rushing the release just because it was shot and ostensibly completed.
A remake of the 2004 Danish film "Brødre" from director Susanna Bier ("Things We Lost In The Fire") the film centers on the story of a younger "blacksheep" brother (Gyllenhaal) stepping in to take care of the family (Portman and their son) of his older "good" brother (Maguire) after the latter disappears during an enemy skirmish in Afghanistan. So it's like a love triangle with a Cain & Abel vibe and post-war acclimation trouble leanings. In the heart of Oscar season? It sounds like a risky gamble, but Sheridan does have a strong Oscar track record ("In America," "In The Name Of The Father," "My Left Foot," etc.)
Here's the "official" synopsis:
"On his way to report for a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, Danish Army officer Michael (Maguire) stops to pick up his brother Jannik (Gyllenhaal), who is getting out of jail that day. In Afghanistan, Michael's helicopter crashes and he is presumed dead. Jannik and Michael's wife Sarah (Portman) discover that they don't hate each other as much as they had thought, and Jannik decides to reform and make himself useful around Sarah's house. Then Michael comes home with a full-blown case of post traumatic stress disorder because of what he had to do to survive in captivity. Write your own ending and draw your own moral conclusions, if any."Irish stadium anthem rockers U2 have contributed original songs to the film, some of which have already been released due to the film's "delays." [Box Office Mojo]
Eli Roth has spoken about his proposed upcoming feature film based on the "Grindhouse" trailer, "Thanksgiving." "I just want to go, go, go. Get as much footage, and as many kills as possible, and not be self-conscious," said the director about working fast like his buddy Tarantino did on the too-rushed, "Inglourious Basterds." "When you're moving at that speed, you're not thinking, you're just feeling and you're going on instinct. And that's where the best stuff comes from." Like any studio is going to green light that 2 second joke, seriously. Who is he kidding?
Roth also revealed his previously spoken of sci-fi project will be titled "Endangered Species" and will aim to "really do lots of mass destruction and really destroy lots of shit!" [Empire]
Teasing the "Ghostbuster 3," and it's new concept -- the new generation, essentially - and the upcoming Blu-Ray release of "Ghosbusters," Sony has launched a "Ghostbusters Is Hiring" website with an intro by Harold Ramis. [Sony]
Unknown British actress Lucy Punch has joined Woody Allen's upcoming untitled film set in London. Punch replaces Nicole Kidman in a role described as a call girl similar to that of Ashley Dupre, the girl at the center of the scandal surrounding former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. The cast also includes Josh Brolin, Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts and Freida Pinto. [Variety]
Paul Verhoeven is set to helm thriller "The Surrogate," a film that centers on a couple desperate to have a child who find out the surrogate who is carrying their baby is insane. Ah well, at least we had "Black Book" and can remember that fondly. [THR]
Here's a new look at the title character in "Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen." The character Fallen, that is. Exquisite wordplay. [MTV]
Ana de la Reguera is rumored to be up for the role of the female lead in Kevin Smith's "A Couple Of Dicks." She would play a Mexican beauty who holds the key to the millions of laundered money under investigation by the protagonists. [/Film]
Here's the teaser trailer for "Toy Story 3," which is due out June 18th, 2010.
How's this for perfect casting?
Natalie Portman has signed on to co-star in David Gordon Green's medieval-stoner-comedy "Your Highness," according to Variety.
Already starring Danny McBride and James Franco, the film will follow the story of an arrogant lazy prince (McBride) who, along with his brother (Franco), must complete a quest to save the kingdom and his brother's fiancée. Portman will play a warrior princess that the lazy prince falls in love with. McBride described the comic fantasy project as," 'Krull' meets 'Barry Lydon,' " a few months ago when we ran into him at SXSW which made us laugh heartily. Green once said the project was,"about a prince who smokes weed and fights dragons."
As well as starring, McBride also co-wrote "Your Highness" with writing partner Ben Best. The two previously co-wrote and starred in Jody Hill's "The Foot Fist Way" as well as the HBO's series "Eastbound And Down." "Your Highness" will reunite the trio McBride, Green and Franco who worked together in last year's "Pineapple Express."
Production on the film is set to begin in Ireland this July and it sounds like a summer 2010 picture to us.
If you've read our blog enough you probably know that super early Oscar prognosticating gets on our nerves since it's just wildly speculative and usually, making mountains out of molehills. But this is what some sites are dedicated to — and as much as the Oscars mean little in the scope of things, they've become more and more relevant over the years (relatively, anyhow).
When we read that some had rushed to adjust their Oscar predix after Cannes, we couldn't help but laugh, however, this is a super weird Oscar/film year and perhaps even more than last year, any thing's possible. Why?
1. It's unquestionably a weak year for traditional Oscar films. We've known this for a while. Just look at our myriad Most Anticipated Films of 2009 lists (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 pieces in all), there's not a lot of obvious Oscar meat. Jeffrey Wells did the same thing when he looked at our lists earlier in the year and essentially asked, "Damn, where'd all the '09 Oscar-bait go?"
2. Cannes 2009 should have taken up the slack, but was generally a mixed bag of s0-so films — at best. Plus, since when does Cannes awards means Oscars? Almost never. At best a Palme d'Or prize generally means a Best Foreign Film nomination, but even that's not always guaranteed (see the excellent Romanian picture "4 Months 3 Weeks And 2 Days")
But weak years make for very interesting years because the un-obvious films get a chance to sit at the big table. That and the fact that was constitutes "traditional Oscar bait" is changing and potentially radically so (say what you will, no one would have guessed May, 29, 2008 that Danny Boyle's then-upcoming slums of Mumbai film would be an Oscar Best Picture let alone a contender, nominee, etc.).
In this economic climate, the more and more major studios realize that the big money is in dumbed-down franchises and refuse to take anything but sure bets — like Paramount just committed itself to doing — the less they dump millions of dollars into expensive dramas and take up all the for your consideration ads and space, leaving the playing field open for indies or mini majors with truly interesting and deserving Oscar hopefuls rather that seeing banal shit like "A Beautiful Mind" suck up the Oscar oxygen (even "Gladiator" an entertaining recent Oscar winner is not best pic material*).
As Anne Thompson just sagely noted, "These days, [Oscar cred] can be as much a curse as a blessing, as Oscar campaigns can turn a profitable movie into a money loser."
The times they are definitely a changin'. But again, change is always interesting and when the infrastructure in place buckles, cool shit happens. Regardless, post-Cannes.
Christoph Waltz from "Inglourious Basterds" frankly a long shot for a Best Actor nomination even if he did win the Best Actor prize at Cannes. Thankfully, preoccupied folks like InContention, IndieWire and AwardsDaily seem to agree (we say "seem" cause we can't find a post-Cannes Oscar piece at AD). Penelope Cruz for Almodovar's "Broken Embraces"? Hell no, that is unless the rest of the year truly sucks. Again, Charlotte Gainsbourg, who won Best Actress for Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist"? Seems super doubtful. Even if ever major studio would be hit by al Qaeda attacks, it seems doubtful that IFC Films could mount a proper Oscar campaign for her in such a bleak and hard-to-watch film.
So, the only thing that really has a shot at Oscar post-Cannes? Jane Campion's "Bright Star." And not just cause we loved it. It's an obvious choice, it's Oscar-baity, and if the nominations were announced today it would get Best Director for Campion, Best Actress for Abbie Cornish, Best Picture, Best Editing, Cinematography, Costume Design, Art Direction and possibly something for one of the two male actors (Ben Whishaw or Paul Schneider), but that seems unlikely. Lee Daniels "Precious" also would have decent Oscar prospects if the nominations were announced today.
But they're not. They're announced in nine months, which is why none of this really matters right now and why the game will radically change even in three-four months. But wait, what about the big Cannes winners like Michael Haneke's “The White Ribbon” or Jacques Audiard's “Un Prophete”? Pulllease. They've got shots at Best Foreign Film if they're released in the U.S. before the late September Foreign Film deadline and that's it (if you even breathe Brillante Mendoza's name as any kind of a hopeful we will slap you).
So what do we have as Oscar-bait? Eh, it's too early. At best you can speculate. The most obvious film seems to be Rob Marshall's "Nine," and maybe Terrence Malick's "Tree Of Life" if it does actually come out this year. Clint Eastwood is generally at the Oscar ball so that bodes well for his Untitled Nelson Mandela drama, but no one's seen a lick of it, so why bother really getting into it. "The Road" sounds potentially too arty and Marty Scorsese's "Shutter Island" reads like "Jacob's Ladder," i.e., an engaging psychological thriller, but not really Oscar material (he allegedly took this one to please producers so he could do his dry-oats Jesuit priest passion project). Maybe Paul Greengrass' "Green Zone" has an outside shot too.
Even the hype and love for "Up," will die down by Oscar time. We bet you $10 it, like, "Wall-E," does not earn a Best Picture nod as many are suggesting it might. But again, it's waaaaay to early to tell.
*If we were going to point out every movie that won an Oscar, but didn't really deserve it, we'd be here all day.
"Wonder Woman is a lame superhero. She flies around in her invisible jet and her weaponry is a lasso that makes you tell the truth. I just don’t get it. Somebody has a big challenge on their hands whoever takes that role but I don’t want to do it.” — Megan Fox won't be playing the D.C. Comics amazonian heroine anytime soon it seems. Somewhere in the world Joss Whedon is offended, and Marvel Studio heads are chuckling. [Times Online]
The Werner Herzog "Bad Lieutenant: Port Of New Orleans" promo trailer making the rounds is probably the talk of the Interwebs this week.
To some it looks terribly awful and to others it looks awfully good in that ironic sense, but pretty much everyone can agree that it does have B-movie-ish qualities and or looks more like a typically wacky Nicolas Cage vehicle than a sublimely odd Werner Herzog film.
Maybe these two were just born to work together and we're all just figuring that out now. Either way, it kinda looks low-budge and weird which might really limit its chances of selling.
According to the L.A. Times, the film, and presumably this trailer, was shopped around at Cannes, but response was tepid and bites were few. Responses from the web aren't entirely kind either which doesn't help. EW called it the "worst trailer of the year?" and the Guardian (and we) asked, "is this thing a comedy??" GQ U.K. titled their headline about the promo, "Looking for the Good in 'Bad Lieutenant."
The guys who financed the film, Millennium Films, seriously sound like the shadiest bunch, as if they broke kneecaps to fund the film which doesn't help. They've been shopping it around, but the LA Times says the reactions are "muted at best." With the indie film community drying up, the film evidently has a very small list of usual-suspect buyers who might even be interested in this kind of film, which more than makes sense. LA Times speculates (with good guesses) that genre-film studios/places that love B-Movies are probably the only potential hopefuls: Lionsgate, Summit, Rogue and Dimension.
Here would be another strange, but not implausible-sounding possibility: straight to DVD? Hmm...let's hope not for Herzog's sake.
Presumably designed and hand-drawn by Michel Gondry, here's the French poster for his upcoming documentary "L'epines Dans Le Couer," ("The Thorn In the Heart") about his Aunt Suzette, a school teacher and obviously an important person in his life.
The film has been bought by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's Oscillioscope Pictures for release, presumably later this year.
According to reports, it's either like watching boring home-movie documentaries about someone's aunt you couldn't care less about or a personal film of discovery depending on who you are. Those that probably just want wow and flutter from Gondry though, we're not really going to trust.
Thoughts from Cannes were mixed, but clearly, we're interested. [ArtsBeat]
Here's a great unencumbered first look at Aubrey Plaza's Julie Powers character from "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.
Plaza's character in the graphic novels is obnoxious, hyper-sarcastic, annoying and always bitching about something and they seemed to have nailed her look here with the big glasses and hoop earrings. She's also the on-again, off-again girlfriend of Stephen Stills so appropriately, she's seen here strangling Mark Webber who plays that musician character.
Update: Plaza echoes our sentiments, describing her character to Rolling Stone. "I play this, like, crazy bitch who works in a record store and throws all these parties," she says. "All the cast is learning cool stuff, like fight training and band practice. I'm not learning any new skills for my character. Except bad customer service."
Is PTA making a western for his next film? We saw shots of Paul Thomas Anderson on the set of Adam Sandler's new super-group comedy, "Grown Ups" and were like, "wtf?," until we realized he was just visiting with the
wife life-partner and kids (Maya Rudolph has a role).
Fine. but we got to thinking, whats PTA up to? IMDB is not really a place to start for new project scoops, but we figured we'd start there and lo and behold under in-development, there's a project called, "Desparadoes," and it's undeniably a western. Synopsis:
"The story of Bob Dalton, the gang of professional outlaws he put together in the late 1800s, and Eugenia Moore, the woman who fell in love with Bob and helped the Dalton Gang rob trains."According to IMDB pro, PTA is only listed as the exec-producer and apparently rights for the project are in dispute, as "The Thin Red Line" producers Geisler-Roberdeau believe they owns them. Ron Hansen, who wrote the novel of which the excellent anti-Western, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," starring Brad Pitt was based on, also wrote the original 1979 "Desperadoes" book too which vaguely bodes well. Charles Eastman, whose last screen credit appears to be Hal Ashby's 1981 film "Second-Hand Hearts" wrote the script.
Cigarettes & Vine, the comprehensive PTA sites seems to have nothing on this development so far. However, a little digging shows that this was simply once a project for '70s cult filmmaker Monte Hellman ("Two Lane Blacktop," "Cockfighter") and PTA (and Scorsese) were simply exec-producers, but this was back in 2006. The same writer (Eastman) was attached so obviously this is the exact same project.
Mystery solved, right? Well, our only ray of hope that this is a PTA project (no offense to Hellman), is that it's listed in development on PTA's IMDB page, Eastman's page, but not anywhere on Hellman's page; and there's the fact that it seemed to pop up on IMDB only within the last 3-4 days. Perhaps there's some new development either way? Let's face it, it's probably not a PTA directorial project, but hey, if it's just being thrown back into the mix now, perhaps that means something new, which can lead to some very wishful thinking?
Your new box-office choices this weekend — if you're a multiplex denizen only — seem pretty obvious (though remember you don't have to just see what's new). You have on one side, the populist, feel-good, by all accounts wonderful, Pixar 3D animated adventure, "Up," and you have Sam Raimi's goofball horror comedy, "Drag Me To Hell."
We loved "Up" and hated "Drag Me To Hell," but both have extremely good Rotten Tomatoes ratings. The Pete Docter animated film with a 98% rating and the Raimi flick with a 95% rating (though apparently less-discerning people OK with Raimi exactly revisiting 1981's "The Evil Dead" without moving it an inch forward are fine with it; though the former is loads better).
And that's it for mainstream fare. These two will go toe-to-toe at the box-office without competition outside of last week's new openers ("Night At the Museum 2" which probably has legs and "Terminator Salvation" which likely doesn't).
It's a super sloooow weekend as if, all the other studios didn't want to go up against "Pixar" and or figured that the Memorial Day weekend would be so gangbusters, to release a film the weekend afterwards might shortchange it monetarily.
From there it's all indies and mostly weak ones. You have the Foreign Film Academy Award winner of this year, Japan's "Departures" which is cloying and an awful mishmash of screwball comedy and wannabe-profound drama (somehow it still managed a 71% rating). But there's also "Munyurangabo," a sure-to-be little-seen Rwandan drama — the first full-length, narrative film in the Kinyarwanda language — that explores the friendship between two boys as they try to overcome the gap between their long-warring group of African tribes. It has a stellar 100% rating so far, but it also has all of six reviews so far.
Our indie pick of the week would certainly be Bruce McDonald's subversive "anti"-Zombie fim, "Pontypool" which we saw at SXSW. It's not perfect per se, but it is tremendously enjoyable and does feature an excellent lead performance by Stephan McHattie (known for playing Hollis Mason/Nite Owl in "Watchmen") who doesn't normally enjoy a chance to take on a lead role and he knocks it out of the park. The film is about an embittered morning radio DJ (McHattie) who finds himself reporting on a mysterious virus that is infecting the small, rural Canadian town he lives in. It turns out to be transmitted from speech and sound — definitely a twist on the zombie infection genre — and is a rollicking good midnight-madness-like time. We'd certainly recommend high and above over Raimi's silly gore-lite nonsense.
The film "What Goes Up" with Steve Coogan and Hilary Duff, looked like a marginal indie curiosity, but currently has 12 reviews on RT with a abysmal 0.0%. Go see "Up" to beat the summer heat and if you're in a limited release city, be sure to go see "Pontypool" late at night. Other than that, stay home and bone-up on DVDs. Might we suggest the work of Cannes-Grand Prix winner, Jacques Audiard.
Speaking with the U.K. Independent , Robert De Niro has revealed his intentions and hopes to develop two sequels to his sophomore directorial effort "The Good Shepherd."
"I'd like to do another story from 1961 until 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall," the actor-director revealed. "That's what we're talking about now. Then I'd like to do a third film from 1989 to the present. I'd like to make it a trilogy." Makes sense, the film was a pet-project that DeNiro tried to get off the ground for nine years.
The long (just shy of 3 hours) and slightly snoozey 2006 thriller about the birth of counter-intelligence featured an illustrious cast that consisted of Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, William Hurt and Billy Crudup who all reportedly made strong impressions on De Niro.
"If I couldn't have worked with certain actors in 'The Good Shepherd' - Matt Damon and a couple of others - I wouldn't have done the movie. To make a film is hard work, and if you don't have the right combination, it's not going to work," he admitted. "I like to direct actors. Casting is 95 per cent of it - if you find the right actor, most of your problems are solved. You just make adjustments along the way."
'Shepherd' was originally written for Francis Ford Coppola by Eric Roth ("The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button") in the mid '90s, but was rejected by the "Godfather" director. De Niro then agreed to helm the project on the condition that Roth would write a follow up about the CIA's time between the Bay Of Pigs invasion and the fall of the Berlin Wall - a project De Niro had originally wanted to set up and now looks ready to develop.
But will someone fund it? The original had a budget of approximately $80 million, only grossed $59 million domestically and topped out around $100 million internationally. With marketing, promotion, etc. that's little profit if any at all. Reviews were mixed too. An almost 3 hour CIA thriller with no action and a "gentlemanly" approach to retribution and murder? Maybe there's a reason it took nine years to get the first one off the ground initially.
Dreamworks Animations has unveiled information regarding its slate to 2012. 2010 will see "How To Train Your Dragon," "Shrek Forever After" (yes, they're rolling out that dog and pony show one more time) and "Oobermind," a film superhero film featuring the voices of Robert Downey Jr. and Tina Fey. The studio will also release "Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom Of Doom" and "The Guardians" in 2011 and "Puss In Boots," a "Madagascar" sequel and an unknown original project (the first of three) in 2012. These films are practically licenses to make money with kids and their audiences and perhaps the only truly recession-proof pictures out there.[THR]
Chevy Chase has joined the ever-growing cast of "The Hot Tub Time Machine," the story of a bunch of unsatisfied guys who get thrown back to their younger days in 1987 via their old hot tub hang out. The film stars, among others, John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Lizzy Caplan, Crispin Glover and Craig Robinson. Chase will play a mysterious repairman who may or may not be behind the metaphysical road trip. [THR]
Kieran and Michele Mulroney's indie-dramedy "Paper Man" is set to open the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 18th. Starring Jeff Daniels, Ryan Reynolds, Lisa Kudrow and Emma Stone, the film is described as a coming-of-middle-age story of a writer (Daniels) caught between the pressures of deadlines, the expectations of his wife (Kudrow), and the constant presence of the superhero (Reynolds) who’s lived inside his head since 2nd Grade. [IndieWire]
Concept art for James Cameron's "Avatar" has leaked, showing the previously mentioned powersuits and the alien planet of Pandora. The pics should be exciting to those that like pre-historical jungle swamps and art that looks slightly more dialed down then Roger Dean work. [MarketSaw]
The German Federal Supreme Court has lifted it's ban for Martin Weisz’s controversial cannibals film, "Butterfly – A Grimm Story (Rohtenburg)," a film based on the true story of the “Cannibal of Rotenburg” who was sentenced to life imprisonment in May 2006 for killing and eating a man he had met over the internet in 2001. Helllo, romantic comedy remake anyone? [Screen Daily]
Pixar's "Up" looks like its set to dominate the box-office weekend. Why are you not remotely surprised? [Reuters]
"The Yellow Handkerchief" has been picked up by Samuel Goldwyn and will star William Hurt, Kristen Stewart, Maria Bello and Eddie Redmayne. It's a three-strangers-on-a-road-trip film through post-Katrina, New Orleans. You remember that winning genre. [Variety]
The 1985 teen comedy "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" starring Helen Hunt and Sarah Jessica Parker is going to be remade at Fox. Considering those of us who grew up in the '80s barely remember it, its actually a good sign as it's the bad films that should be remade, not the good ones. Bad ones, people. How many times do we need to tell you? [Variety]
At the beginning of 2008 we were describing Danny McBride to you and telling you why he was going to be a huge star. Cut to mid-2009 and the comedian is practically a household name. Studios love him and we can't remember the last time there was such a meteoric rise from nobody to star like this. Warner Bros. has just signed him up for "Hench," a comedy that he will write with an eye to star with "Eastbound & Down" friend and co-writer Shawn Harwell.
McBride will play a pro-footballer who suffers a career-ending debilitating accident that precipitates the need for a job, so he signs up as a henchman for a successful super villain. The film idea is an adaptation of the graphic novel by Adam Beechen and Manny Bello. McBride has "Land of The Lost" with Will Ferrell next, then David Gordon Green's stoner, fantasy buddy comedy,"Your Highness" and then a second season of the aforementioned HBO comedy.
Update: Apparently, since "Hench" is already at WB, McBride's trying to persuade the studio to let him play with their large collection of D.C. Comic book supervillains. "Essentially McBride wants to do a comedic version of the as-yet-in-development-hell 'Supermax,' writes a blog called Chud. [Variety]
'The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn' Set For December 2011 U.S. Release, Two Months After International Release
Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn" will hit U.S. theaters December 23rd of 2011, almost two months after the feature will be released in international markets, according to Variety.
In a move aimed to combat Tintin's relative "obscurity" in the U.S. (as if that's been scientifically tested by Paramount/Sony), 'Secret Of The Unicorn' will first be released late October to early November internationally where it is hoped the film can build up hype when it reaches American shores in December. Sony Pictures Int. will be handling the film's European, Latin America and Indian ventures, Paramount will distribute through Asia, Australia and the U.K while both Sony and Paramount will be distributing in the U.S.
The predominantly British cast features Jamie Bell as the 3D motion-captured projection and voice of the title character, Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock, Daniel Craig as Red Rackham, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Thompson and Thomson with the likes of Toby Jones, Mackenzie Crook, Gad Elmaleh and Daniel Mays rounding off the cast. Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat collaboratively wrote the script based on the globally popular comic book series by Hergé which chronicles a young reporter with the Pee-Wee-like hairdo from Belgium and his do-good adventures.
'Secret Of The Unicorn' is the first of a planned 'Tintin' potential trilogy with Spielberg helming the first, Peter Jackson (who was co-directing the film via iChat) to helm the second though the third film's director has yet to be decided. The existence of it at all (the third film) probably depends on how well or how poor the first two films do overall.
By all accounts — including a recent Indiewire poll of American critics that conspicuously excludes us (therefore it can't be that scientific) — Jacques Audiard's prison drama was the best film of the festival even if it only won the runner-up "Grand Prix" trophy. And with good reason; few modern French filmmakers possess a style as effortlessly elemental as Audiard's. His skillful evocation is evinced in his ability to communicate his deaf heroine's fragile auditory perception in 2002's relentless suspenser, "Read my Lips." And Audiard's sensory filmmaking prowess is even more impressive in his mature character study, 2005's "The Beat That May Heart Skipped" (a remake of James Toback's 1978 feature "Fingers"), in which the filmmaker burrows deep inside the mind of a paranoid con artist and gifted pianist. Audiard's new picture, his third crime drama in a row (and his 5th film overall), is the saga of an illiterate 19-year-old who is jailed and tasked with completing "missions" for the prison's resident gang leader, in hopes to earn the respect of his inmates and gain the experience necessary to survive and escape his hostile environment. It sounds great, everyone loved it and Sony Pictures Classics snatched it up immediately. Sign us up.
2. "Enter The Void"
Gaspar Noé is the French-Argentine provocateur behind the controversial and hard-t0-watch "Irreversible" and "I Stand Alone." His third full-length feature is — depending on who you believe, or where your taste lies — either the worst, self-indulgent piece of garbage to hit Cannes in several years, or a masterpiece of experimental cinema. Truthfully, it sounds amazing, even some of the bad reviews criticism sound like pluses in our book. The divisive film centers on young Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), a small time drug dealer who promises to protect his little sister, a nightclub stripper (Paz de la Huerta, the sexy and very-naked temptress of "The Limits of Control"), after the brutal death of their parents. One night, Oscar is caught up in a police bust and shot. Left for dead and remembering his pact to his sibling, he refuses to exit the world of the living. His spirit then wanders the city and begins to grow a distorted, nightmarish vision of a past, present and future milieu that create a hallucinatory and violent pandemonium. One thing's for certain: it's visually stunning (see: all the stills released for the picture). What concerns us is the claim that some of the actors (Brown and a few others) are wooden and stiff. Still, it sounds like an ambitious piece of art and we're certainly intrigued.
3. "The White Ribbon"
It won the Palme d'Or, so of course we have to see it! The Cannes Film Festival organizers love the bleak and finger-wagging moralist Michael Haneke. Dubbed the "minister of fear" by the New York Times last year, the Austrian filmmaker has had a whopping nine of his ten features shown at Cannes, with five of them in direct competition, and obviously this year he finally won the top prize (like we wouldn't have seen it regardless). Set in the early 1900s, just before World War I, 'Ribbon' centers on a German rural school — the children, teachers and families that circle it— and the strange accidents that occur and gradually take on the character of a punishment ritual. Who is behind it all? Sounding typically Haneke-ian, most critics said the film was severe, indicting, austere and sometimes difficult, but even those who seemed to dislike it generally found something interesting in the film (and many noting the beautiful b&w photography). It wouldn't be Cannes if the top winner wasn't a controversial choice that divided audiences.
Alejandro Amenábar's latest swords and sandals drama is quite a departure from his previous works, such as "The Others" and "The Sea Inside." His epic, but hardly classic, film about the ungodly rise of Christianity (pretty sexy subject, huh?) "Agora" is a long-winded (a grueling 2 hours and 20 minutes), ungratifying portrait of history set in Roman Egypt in 391AD a lot like history class while eating raw vegetables and dry oats. It's largest strength is having powerhouse Rachel Weisz portray the feminist astrologer and atheist Hypatia, but her storyline — her obsession with figuring out Earth's place in the universe — while mildly interesting on its own, is not nearly as compelling as the religious feuds going on at the time, and ultimately distracts from and diminishes the historical drama's core. The love triangle between Hypatia, her personal slave Davus (Max Minghella), and Orestes (Oscar Isaac) had dramatic potential but is ultimately unfulfilled when the three characters go their separate ways midway through the film. The picture has all the basic necessities of an epic, the impressive set design and the swelling operatic score, but what's missing is a strong personal storyline that might have brought the whole saga together. Unless, it's (mis) sold as a "Gladiator" this thing is fucked commercially. [C]
"Vincere" - How perverse (and perhaps retardedly misguided) is our commitment to cinema? We skipped out on a chance to hit the "Inglourious Basterds" party in favor of seeing a film about Il Duce — a biopic about the secret life of Italian WWII fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Initially the film was a hard-road slog, assaultingly operatic and unsubtly expressive, but eventually this tale about Mussolini's secret (polygamous) marriage and the son he sired — acknowledged then denied — was salvaged by the excellent performance of Giovanna Mezzogiorno (the Italian Marion Cotillard in beauty and skill). The aptly over-the-top Filippo Timi as Mussolini himself was pretty grand as well. Marco Bellochio's 'Vincere' was actually favored to win the Palme d'Or — which seems greatly overestimating the film's overall worth, good, but not that good — but in the end came up empty handed. [B]
"Kinatay" - Let's not mince words and or lie. We practically fell asleep through Filipino director Brillante Mendoza's "Kinatay," his eighth directorial effort in four years (holy shit that's fast), about a dumb kid who somehow gets roped into a "job" for extra scratch which turns out to be riding along in a van to witness the murder of a stripper -- then no joke, we walked the fuck out (30 other people, at least, did the same thing at the same vile and pointless moment, this was about the 1 hour 20 minute mark). The film was routinely reviled at Cannes, but when Mendoza won the Best Director prize at Cannes, we thought? Were we asleep? In a dream state? Did we miss something brilliant? We thought what we experiences was 45-minutes of a car ride (looking like it was shot on a butt-ugly camcorder) that went fucking nowhere, but we weren't completely sure afterwards. Then Cannes jury member Asia Argento confirmed what we saw. "It felt like the director had no idea how to do it and picked up a camera and was shooting the first movie of history," she told Vulture. "The 45-minute scene in the car where nothing happens I thought was incredible." Translation: the director had no idea what he was doing. Ok, that's a lie. His last film, ""Serbis" was quite good, but honestly, you probably couldn't pay us to sit through that again. By all account Mendoza winning the Best Director prize at Cannes was the most contentiously argued award of them all.
"Ne Te Retourne Pas" ("Don't Look Back")
If there's a mighty lesson we learned at Cannes this year that will always stick with us, it's most films in the Out Of Competition section are out of competition for good fucking reason. Perhaps because they suck ("Agora" was in this dubious section too). Marina De Van’s doppelganger identity mystery starring Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci was laughably bad. A poor excuse for a French movie-of-the week, the weak picture is about a woman who seemingly goes mad after writing about her childhood unlocks horrible memories and yields strange visions of a young girl (ghost?). Then her husband's face — via hysterically poor CGI — starts to morph into the visage of a stranger she doesn't know and her family, children and the world around her seem totally alien. Clues lead her to Italy where the mystery unravels, and or hilariously falls apart in loathsome melodrama. Avoid at all costs. [D]
We saw "The Answer Man" (formerly known as "Arlen Faber") at the Independent Film Festival in Boston and were charmed by the sharp writing of first-time director John Hindman's romantic comedy starring Jeff Daniels ("The Squid and the Whale"), Lauren Graham (“Gilmore Girls”) and Lou Taylor Pucci ("Thumbsucker"). Now the trailer, poster and release date have all hit (it was also a minor Sundance hit earlier this year).
Arlen Faber (Daniels) is the reclusive author of "Me and God," a book that has redefined spirituality for an entire generation and has been translated into over 100 languages. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of his still wildly popular book, Arlen is still sought after as the man who has all the answers. Arlen's life collides with Elizabeth (Graham), a single mom raising her seven year-old son, and Kris (Taylor Pucci), a young man fresh out of rehab who is searching for meaning. Both Elizabeth and Kris are hopeful that Arlen has the answers, but the truth is, he hasn't got a clue. The film also stars Kat Dennings ("Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist") and Olivia Thirlby ("Juno").
Magnolia Pictures will premiere "The Answer Man" On Demand June 26 and will release in theaters July 24.