Like the rest of the world, we're still waiting to be impressed by Channing Tatum. We first saw him in "Step Up" and wondered when this jive-talking b-boy comic relief was going to get hit by a bus, necessitating the arrival of the real male lead. And then it never happened! Suddenly, the mumbly, muscled young thesp was everywhere, sometimes believably ("A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints" where he played a monosyllabic bruiser) mostly not (everything else).
He's got a financial winner this weekend in "GI Joe" so his future might be in action films, but it is certainly not in mafia films. For a brief time the former model was attached to a mooted film adaptation of "The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer" as mob hitman Richard Kuklinski. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who got Tatum the coveted Duke role in "Joe," was sheperding the project, but it hit a snag when he took the idea of Tatum-as-Kuklinski to the book's author Phil Carlo.
"I had to turn him down. I really hated the idea of Channing Tatum. I told di Bonaventura that this is not the guy to play one of the most feared killers of the 20th Century," Carlo told the NY Post. "I think Mickey Rourke would really be good. He's got that sense of danger, and there's a similarity between the two. But it's not Channing Tatum." This should give you an idea as to the little regard producers have for writers. Di Bonaventura and Carlo had an eighteen month window extended so that they could finally get financing in place to adapt the book, and during that time, they never discussed their vision of the film? Apparently, di Bonaventura imagined some young-skewing, kinetic action picture with a hunky lead, but in Rourke, Carlo sees the film as the story of a wisened tough guy veteran with no time for bullshit.
Channing Tatum is 29 years of age, and he would be playing a guy who was said to have murdered 200 people. We're not sure how often Mafia hit men work, but we're sure a crime family like the Gambinos, who the real life Ice Man worked for, would have employed more than one. Considering their power structure, they probably wouldn't have had that many enemies over a short period of time. Kuklinski claims he killed around 130 after joining the profession (did he kill 70 people as a kid?) over a 30 year period. The math clearly worked in favor of a man named Channing starring in a movie as a hitman in old man makeup, so we may have dodged a bullet.
Like the rest of the world, we're still waiting to be impressed by Channing Tatum. We first saw him in "Step Up" and wondered when this jive-talking b-boy comic relief was going to get hit by a bus, necessitating the arrival of the real male lead. And then it never happened! Suddenly, the mumbly, muscled young thesp was everywhere, sometimes believably ("A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints" where he played a monosyllabic bruiser) mostly not (everything else).
Just the other day, "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" was at the top of its critical heap. It was sporting an impressive 91% fresh consensus rating on Rotten Tomatoes and basking in the rays of what looked like an easy ride to glory. Suddenly, the film opens and where'd the love go? The film's rating plummeted to a dismal 38% and with no sign of recovery in sight. What could it have been? No one can really throw judgement as some of the folks here thought it was good fun. Personally though, many of us are not running out the door to see the thing. However, it is amusing in light of the tightness around the project as Paramount hid it from critics from the very beginning like an ugly stepchild. It was a brilliant move as the film pulled in $22.5 million already on Friday. But will the bad reviews get to people? Perhaps poor word of mouth? Which glancing in some places (Twitter, Facebook) seems to be running wild. Paying for it or not, people aren't exactly liking it.
One of those people is the honest, always open-mouthed director, Quentin Tarantino, who last night gave the film a little jab in the ribs while promoting "Inglourious Basterds" on Jimmy Kimmel. The director was sitting back, while actress and one of the stars of 'G.I. Joe,' Rachel Nichols, discussed the script with Kimmel. The host brought up the veil secrecy that director, Stephen Sommers kept around the film's script and interjected that this unlike Tarantino, who passes his around like hot cakes. Tarantino, quickly and rather cleverly, shot back, "Well, I'm proud of my scripts."Boom, headshot as the geek crowd says. Nichols pretended not to be offended but you could see a little sting in her eyes when the audiences ooooh'ed, with their "Oh, snap!" reaction.
Anyway, aside from the Basterd vs. Joe moment, the Cobra will surely make a mint at the box office regardless of what critics or bad word of mouth says (and that's relative bad word of mouth; do people in the heartland even give a shit about Twitter?) as the film is likely set for a $55-60 million opening weekend. Even if the film is underperforming with critics, it's not like Paramount didn't see this coming, or really gave a shit .PS, did you see that Wall Street Journal "review" from the writer who didn't even see the film, but wrote one anyway because he was so pissed? Brass balls man, and perhaps an indication that even serious critics were angered about being shut out of screenings. - Frank Rutledge
Wanna see Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark talk shop in a donut shop from "Iron Man 2" footage shown at Comic-Con? Get it here while it's hot, surely this won't last long.
Seems like Jon Favreau and co. are not dialing down the irreverent humor in this (Stark throws a dig at Fury's eye patch) and thankfully not treating the Marvel Universe so seriously. "Look, I told you I don't want to join your super secret boy band," Stark tells Fury, meaning he doesn't want to join The Avengers group that he's assembling (obviously that will one day change).
It also seems that Stark is pretty hungover in the opening scene. Next from there they go into a Senate hearing with Don Cheadle as Jim Rhodes and Garry Shandling as a badgering senator that wants the billionaire to turn over his "Iron Man weapon" to the U.S. government. The second half of this footage is more like a sizzle reel that shows off footage of Mickey Rourke as Whiplash and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. You may have noticed we haven't closely followed every single little drop of info on "Iron Man 2," because we're not obsessed with the film or anything, but we must admit, this footage looks good and seems to contain all the ingredients that went into making "Iron Man" the original, a very enjoyable success.
Joaquin Phoenix Still Batshit Crazy, Steven Spielberg Rumored To Produce 'Halo' Adaptation, 'A Serious Man' Marketing Nosedives
Not exactly the most reliable sources but nevertheless, Joaquin Phoenix is apparently still batshit crazy. The actor, reportedly "dressed like a homeless derelict and muttering to himself nonstop, was spotted pawing through racks of clothes at Red Balls on Melrose, where he finally grabbed a black velvet cape, black trousers and mesh top, ducked into a dressing room - and began belting rap songs." Haha, love it. Surely the reported Casey Affleck helmed mockumentary is done? Just doing it for the love of it now, Joaquin? [TheInsider]
Rumor has it, Steven Spielberg is set to jump on board as producer for a silver screen adaptation of video game, "Halo." We guess it's not totally beyond the realm of possibility - Spielberg is collaborating with Peter Jackson on "The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn" who was previously attached to produce a "Halo" film with Neill Blomkamp ("District 9") at the helm. Maybe another co-production between the two? [IESB]
After releasing a great trailer a few days earlier, this is what the marketing team behind "A Serious Man" follow it up with? Are they trying to drive audiences away? [InContention]
McG has revealed that he wants to cast Sam Worthington for his upcoming adaptation of "Nemo: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea." But after "Terminator Salvation," will Worthington be game to reunite with the director? Better than Will Smith we suppose... [IGN]
Guillermo Del Toro has added Guillem Morales' Spanish-language thriller "Los ojos de Julia" ("Julia's Eyes") to his already huge slate. While he wont be directing, Del Toro apparently helped broker the production deal with Focus Features and helped supervise writing and casting. Starring Belen Rueda ("The Orphanage") and Lluis Homar ("Broken Embraces"), the film tells the story of a woman slowly going blind as she investigates the mysterious death of her twin sister and will reportedly be shot from "Julia's POV." As in first person view the whole time?! Probably not but that would be ambitious. [Variety]
Channing Tatum has revealed that he will play Marcus Aquilla, the son of a Roman general, in Kevin MacDonald's "The Eagle Of The Ninth," a Roman Empire film set in 122 A.D that will reportedly center on the Roman Ninth Legion, which allegedly mounted an expedition north and never returned. Is it just us or is that guy like acting lead that sinks to the bottom of the ocean every time he opens his mouth? [Collider]
Christopher Nolan's "Inception" will reportedly begin filming in L.A. in early September. One purported location is 1745 E. 7th St, Los Angeles, California on September 3rd, 4th and 9th to 11th. Any LA'ers wanna check that out? Looks they will have finished filming in London by then after moving on from Tokyo. [NolanFans]
"The Hangover" scribes Jon Lucas and Scott Moore has sold comedy spec "Change Up" to Universal. The script is a body-switching comedy involving two grown men - a responsible guy with a wife gets swapped with his best friend, a lazy man child. David Dobkin ("Wedding Crashers") is set to helm. [Variety]
Or The Curious Case of How A Film With Skeet Ulrich And Jewel Somehow Made it To Criterion
Yup, it's true, the Criterion Collection will release Ang Lee's apparently overlooked 1999 American Civil War drama "Ride With The Devil," in May of 2010 according to Anne Thompson. So yes, if you were ever curious how far in advance the often-mysterious operating Criterion Collection schedules their DVD releases, well it now appears like almost a year away, if not more (we don't know what else they obviously have in store).
But, uhh, really? Your ed-in-chief can't speak for the whole team, but I've never seen the full film (it's been on the cable channels before, but I've always zoned out and flipped). It's got Skeet Ulrich (remember when he was the great white hope of young, 20-something Caucasian actors?) and Jewel in it so how friggin' good can it possibly be?? (the film also stars Tobey Maguire and Jeffrey Wright with appearances by Simon Baker, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, James Caviezel and Mark Ruffalo).
So was this thing actually stellar despite the fact that we skipped it in theaters and it was a box-office bomb?
Maybe not. However, what Criterion is doing with this DVD is releasing the director's cut of the film, which presumably and hopefully is much much better than the picture at least looks. “Of the 11 films I worked on with Ang, it’s the only one that was not his cut,” Lee’s longtime writer-collaborator James Schamus explained to Thompson (Schamus also wrote the upcoming Lee film, "Taking Woodstock").
This makes perfect sense. Two weeks ago we noticed that the Walter Reade theater in New York was putting on a "The Films of Ang Lee" retrospective from August 1–11, and we thought it seemed rather odd that the one film Lee would be making a personal appearance at was "Ride With The Devil." Here's why: the August 10 screening that he and Schamus will be attending will be the rough-cut in-progress version of this director's vision, so if you're in New York and around on August 9 & 10, you might be one of the first few people on the planet to see the cut of a film that won't be on DVD until some eight months later. Sounds enticing even to us (but don't get too excited, the one screening on the 10th with Lee & Schamus in person is already sold out).
So what happened, Universal/Polygram/Gramercy who released the film fucked him? The original was already two hours and eighteen minutes, but apparently he wanted more time (Great, what is this "Heaven's Gate"?) “Most of all, the new movie has breadth and pacing,” Lee said. “More plot and action. All the information is laid out. There’s a big action war sequence that is longer and more detailed. It feels more epic. It makes a big difference to me.”
Hmm, probably sounds great to many, but what are we lookin' at here, 3 hours or just the additional 11 minutes Thompson says were cut from the original film? Cause seriously, our time is tight and you know Ulrich and Jewel. Here's the official trailer from back in the day. One question though. Did it really need to take two years for Hollywood to figure out Skeet Ulrich couldn't really act? Oh yeah, and skeet, skeet skeet!
Not that you ever doubted our sleuthy and stealthy reporting or anything, right? But in case you have any reservations.... Edgar Wright himself says Jason Schwartzman plays the 7th evil boyfriend Gideon Graves in "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," and actually shows him for the first time unfettered in this new video blog. If only we were Nikki Finke about things like this. Gotta love the "Paul" Frisbee finally coming back around too. ;)
The search is over (and man, you're relieved, right?) Columbia Pictures' presidents Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach announced today that they have officially recast the role of Kato for "The Green Hornet." And the winner is...... Jay Chou. The Taiwanese musician/singer/actor/producer/director beat out all other actors including Kwon Sang-woo. Columbia has been trying to recast the role since Stephen Chow left a month or so ago.
The 'Hornet' director, Michel Gondry, had this to say about his new star, “Jay is incredibly unique and charming and fights like a wild dog! When I filmed him next to Seth, they had such great chemistry, and I knew the movie will be great." The chemistry between the two characters is probably going to be a major aspect of the movie so let's hope he's right. When asked about the role, Chou said, “It’s an overwhelming experience to take on a role made famous by Bruce Lee. I won’t try to be Bruce Lee’s Kato – I will try to bring my own interpretation to the part. Of course, it’s a dream role, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
That is probably the smartest (or at least most politically correct) response he can give at this point. Pretty much anyone that would try and fill Bruce Lee's shoes straight up is destined to fail in one way or another. Let's hope, for his sake, he does the role justice while also stepping out of the shadow of Lee. [DeadlineHollywood]
Coming out in the U.K. on October 16 via Lionsgate, the international trailer for Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," with of course, the final onscreen appearance of the late Heath Ledger is finally here.
And Jesus, if you had issues with the effects in Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones," which admittedly, we're beginning to have second thoughts about, you're really going to have some problems here as well. Marred by a horrible and cornball narration, we do get some glimpses of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell, but the picture is largely looking like the incoherent mess that most critics felt it was during Cannes.
It's also incredibly "hey, wacky!" and you kind of expect Howard The Duck to waddle in, midway through. It's like many have said before, was it Vulture? It sounds like/looks like a hodgepodge mish-mash of everything Terry Gilliam has done in the past, crammed into one overwrought kaleidoscope of color and un-subtlety. It kind of reminds us of that "Mr. Show" skit where the host says in a goofy ass tone, you can do it if, "you imagineer it!" Honestly, after the iffy reports from Cannes and considering Gilliam's sketchy output of late, we kind of figured this would be a mess. Alas. Like usual, we still want to see it, but we're not holding out that much hope. We sort of knew this would be troublesome when we read the script back in 2008.
A number of noteworthy new trailers debuted this week, including Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are" and Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones." Then… there's this.
It's "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant," which has to be one of the worst film titles since "The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain." And while the film does boast some intriguing names in its credits (like writer Brian Helgeland, who was responsible for "L.A. Confidential," "Mystic River," and… "The Postman") and a fairly solid cast (including Willem Dafoe, Ray Stevenson, Salma Hayek, Orlando Jones, Ken Wanatabe, Jane Krakowski, "Almost Famous" kid Patrick Fugit, and Kristen Schaal from "Flight of the Conchords") this trailer makes the movie look awful.
After watching the trailer, which appears to be a sub-"Harry Potter" flight of fancy (actually, scratch that, it doesn't even deserve to be called sub-"Harry Potter," let's call it sub-"Lemony Snicket"), all hope is lost. It's about a young man who is turned into a vampire by the doughy and not-in-the-least-bit-threatening John C. Reilly, and then joins a traveling circus of sideshow freaks/vampires… Or something. (Your guess is as good as ours.)
The movie, for all its Tim Burton-esque production design, fails to create much of a mood in the clip, and it looks far too goofy to be taken seriously by the "Twilight" crowd (which the trailer seems almost directly targeting). Who is this movie for exactly?? But the real question is: who is the creepier child predator - John C. Reilly or Stanley Tucci in "Lovely Bones?"
Reilly seemingly wants to "convert" one of the young boys to the fun! times that being a vampire can be. Tucci is obviously killing off little girls and sports a pretty gross Chester the Molester mustache and toupee. Pedos are in this fall. One looks like it's going to bomb and one looks like, well, it might have Oscar hopes if its goofy and gooey-looking ("Delgo"-inspired?) special effects don't ruin the movie (Peter, what were you thinking?) - Drew Taylor
Is it Friday again already? These summer weeks just seem to fly by. Of course, the forgettable tripe Hollywood produces regularly can hardly qualify as a milestone. This weekend’s mainstream offerings continue the tried-and-true triad of ‘action /blockbuster, comedy/ romance, and horror/ thriller.’ As for limited release, if the names Paul Giamatti and Charlyne Yi excite you, this might not be a bad weekend to venture to the theater.
The story of this weekend’s box office battlefield is probably more interesting than any of the stories it is depicting, but no less predictable: American bad-asses vs. Julia Child vs. … Steve Zahn? Seriously, Paramount’s ‘G.I. Joe’ should have little problem taking the hill this time around; according to tracking, ‘Joe’ is sparking strong interest among both young and older men and is expected to open north of fifty million. At $175 million to produce, it’d better. Meanwhile, Sony is hoping to ensnare the fairer sex with “Julie & Julia,” which is expected to open in the high teens. Rounding out the bunch is “A Perfect Getaway,” which you can expect to do unspectacular numbers in its opening weekend, suffering from the teen-stealing expansion of "500 Days of Summer."
Starting with the 800-pound gorilla in the room, ‘G.I. Joe’ stars Dennis Quaid (‘Day After Tomorrow’), Marlon Wayans (“White Chicks”), and Sienna Miller (hot, push-up bra) as soldiers in a film based on action figures from the '80s. Reviews for this have been scarce due to Paramount’s wisely wanting to avoid similar critical lambasting to that which ‘Transformers 2’ was exposed earlier this summer, not that it hurt its numbers any. Reviews keep trickling in, though, and the Tomatometer is steadily falling (55% when last we checked.) Directed by Stephen Sommers, who brought us such summer gems as “The Mummy Returns,” ‘Joe’ is exactly what you’d expect from essentially a spiritual sequel to ‘Transformers.’ The odds of this turning out to be an actual ‘feel-good’ summer movie, as opposed to a brain hemorrhage are slim, but if you dug the ‘Bots, go for it. Plus one of our writers saw it and said it was "enjoyable trash." Uhhh, we might just have to take your word on that one.
Next up, we have “Julie & Julia,” a ‘culinary comedy’ starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams (“Enchanted”) directed by Nora Ephron (“When Harry Met Sally”). Based on two books: Julia Child's “My Life in France,” and Julia Powell's cooking memoir that started as a blog, this uneven but enjoyable film is about two women separated by time and place but who share similar problems, aspirations, and eventually solutions in cooking. Currently at 63% on RT, with a slightly higher rating among top critics, ‘Julia’ seems like a pleaser, especially for foodies, and boasts some strong performances from Streep, Adams, and Stanley Tucci (“The Pelican Brief.”) Streep maintains her ability to make strange people interesting and real, and is probably the brightest point in this light but entertaining summer comedy.
Finally, we have “A Perfect Getaway,” starring Milla Jovovich (‘Resident Evil’) and Steve Zahn (“Saving Silverman”) as a young couple who go backpacking on their honeymoon in Hawaii, but soon find paradise becoming hellish as they battle for survival against other suspicious couples. Sound familiar? With a 48% “Fresh” rating on RT, this "Survivor"-esque thriller seems not worth seeing, but the top critics’ rating is a much more reasonable 78%. Seems like a case of a ‘B-movie’ being best enjoyed in a mock-ironic, non-straightforward way. There’s something to be said for that. Apparently there is a pretty strong need for ‘suspension of disbelief’ here, but I couldn’t imagine it requiring more than for say, giant robots? Might be worth a shot if you like thrillers.
In Limited Release: Lots of offerings this week for the offbeat moviegoer, with the ‘Godfather of Mumblecore' Andrew Bujalski’s “Beeswax” and Charlyne Yi’s “Paper Heart” leading the pack for you emo people, but some depth with the Turkish film “Bliss,” a ‘surreal comedy’ with Paul Giamatti (“Cold Souls”), and finally another ‘B-movie’ with Dominic Monaghan (“Lost”) and Ron Perlman (“Hellboy”) called, “I Sell the Dead.”
Yi’s “Paper Heart,” with Michael Cera (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”) is arguably the biggest of the pack, and has definitely gotten the most talk recently. A mockumentary about the character ‘Charlyne’s’ belief in true love, the film follows her journey for answers and advice about love as she talks with friends, strangers, scientists, bikers, romance novelists, and children. And of course she eventually meets and falls in magically atypical love with ‘Cera.’ With a 66% ‘Fresh’ rating on RT and a higher one for ‘top critics,’ it seems that it delivers on the promise of actually being funny and endearing and yes, we basically felt that exact way. Also we're big fans of the music and songs most of which are written by Cera, Yi and friends and some that are written and c0-written by more well-known musicians like Zach Condon of Beirut and Alden Penner ex of The Unicorns.
We did not enjoy the dour and tedious "Cold Souls" at all, but for some reason many critics on RT do (82% ‘Fresh,’ no accounting for taste there). It reminded us of a Charlie Kaufman film like ‘Eternal Sunshine,’ but an ineffectual one with none of the enjoyment. Watch the ‘Bart Sells His Soul’ episode of “The Simpsons” instead.
We saw “Beeswax” at the SXSW Film Festival in March, and enjoyed some of its naturalistic performances, but those of you who focus on set design and value things like lighting, craft and professionalism might want to avoid. It currently enjoys a 80% ‘Fresh’ rating on RT which seems to be overstating the film's worth, but critics (especially indie-minded ones) tend to give mumblecore a pass just for showing up. The Turkish film “Bliss” is based on a novel that deals with controversial ‘honor killings’ and is finally coming to the U.S. after premiering to some acclaim at the 2007 Asian Film Festival. It has a 63% ‘Fresh’ Rating on RT . Lastly, Glenn McQuaid’s “I Sell the Dead” has only a 42%, but honestly looks kind of fun to us, because we like zombies. Then one again, one of our writers felt it wasn't all that. - Joe Sedita
Playboy Bunnies To Feature In Sofia Coppola's 'Somewhere,' Australian Pop Duo The Veronicas Also On Board?
Who knew it pays to follow Hugh Hefner on Twitter?
The billionaire playboy recently revealed that new live-in girlfriends, twins Karissa and Kristina Shannon, were set to film a small cameo in Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere."
"Said goodnight early to the Twins because they have an early morning call for their Sophia [sic] Coppola film," the Hef first revealed before noting 3 days later that their stint had ended. "The Twins missed tonight's movie because of last day shooting Sophia [sic] Coppola picture. They missed a grand night."
Speaking with RadarOnline, the Shannon twins cryptically described their roles. "We got a little part, our first little part," one revealed. "It was an amazing experience to do it. It was in her new movie "Somewhere" starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning. It's going to be amazing."
"We can't say much [about the roles]... we do have costumes though." Hmmm, let's see. Hef's girlfriends? Costumes? No one actually thought it was going to be serious acting, right?
The Shannons weren't the only twins linked with Coppola in recent times. Australian pop duo, The Veronicas, revealed earlier this year that Coppola had contacted them for a mystery project. "(Coppola) contacted us to come in for a meeting," Jess, one half of the duo, revealed. "But we can't reveal what it was for. She is so cool and is actually a fan of our music, which is a huge compliment to us."
The Veronicas passed for the Shannon Twins? Just contributing music to the film? Musical stand-ins for Hef's girlfriends? Or maybe Stephen Dorff's character and his best friend played by Chris Pontius are just having a really good time at Chateau Marmont? Almost nothing would surprise us, really. Seriously, can't wait. [I Heart Sofia]
So what do you do when your omnibus film, "Paris Je T'Aime" featuring the talents of highly regarded auteurs like Gus Van Sant, Alexander Payne, Alfonso Cuarón, the Coen Brothers, Walter Salles & Olivier Assayas becomes a minor arthouse sensation? Well if you're the producers of that film you naturally follow it up with another omnibus film, only this time crank up the star power, downgrade the guys behind the camera and aim for more bucks at the box office.
This time the producers seemed to have hired whoever was available or interested, leading to head-slapping choices like Brett Ratner, intriguing selections like Allen Hughes or respectable hirings like Mira Nair. But overall, the directorial talent behind the lens is a lot less compelling, though the faces in front of the camera are certainly geared towards a more mainstream audience. Natalie Portman (also making her directing debut), Shia LaBeouf, Bradley Cooper, Orlando Bloom, Julie Christie, Cloris Leachman, Eli Wallach, Chris Cooper, John Hurt, Ethan Hawke and Christina Ricci are among the star-studded cast.
Where "Paris, Je T'Aime" was largely enjoyable (though we could've done without Christopher Doyle's segment), the official trailer for its New York counterpart has arrived and it feels labored, tired and uninteresting (though we'll probably still see this for one segment of note it might contain). "New York, I Love You" looks like a compilation of every single NYC based rom-com or melodrama to come out of Hollywood over the last two decades (all scored to Phoenix's excellent "1901"). You have the loveable old couple; cliched dialogue about city and people watching; Ethan Hawke spouting outrageously horrible pick up lines and lots of sexy, young people looking sexy and young. Ugh. However, most egregious is the terrifically unfunny post-credit, end-of-the-trailer sequence with James Caan playing "the outspoken, but charming old guy" who denies a woman birth control because he thinks its time she has babies. HILARIOUS!
As we reported earlier, both Scarlett Johannson and Andrei Zvyagintsev had their segments cut from the theatrical version of the film. They should probably send the producers a big bouquet of flowers right now. The track "1901" by French pop rockers Phoenix graces this trailer, but it's a bit overwrought in this context.
While the trailer states "Coming This Fall," the poster on Apple's website has October 16th as the release date.
[Wait, aren't we supposed to be the cynical haters? Hey, we love being proven wrong]
You are forgiven if from the outset you mistake "Paper Heart" for eating 200 lollipops in a row while singing “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies with a fun-times marching high school band and lolcats dancing all around you. It certainly does look twee as fuck, but as all of us are reminded on occasion, you cannot always judge a book by its cover, or a film by its trailer (errrr, though the latter is usually quite easy to do where Hollywood is concerned).
Sweet, but not saccharine, and endearing, but not pre-school-like, the pseudo-doc of "Paper Heart" is a genuinely naive and charming look at love, mostly through the eyes of its main protagonist Charlyne Yi (and yes, it was billed and sold as a Michel Cera project before Sundance to drum up interest, but he's a supporting character and this is The Yi Show).
Playing a fictional version of herself the doc/film (which does blur these line rather well) centers on Yi and her loveless life; rather, she's never been in love and so she finds it an abstract concept and doesn't believe it actually exists. When she reveals this statement to friends at a party, she and director Nicholas Jasenovec (played well by actor Jake M. Johnson, watch this kid get picked up quick) decide to make a documentary on the subject of Yi's disbelief and embark on a cross country trip to get a "scientific" opinion from people around the country.
But just as they begin their journey, Yi meets Michael Cera (playing himself yet again, but still managing to elicit the biggest laughs) and tiny little sparks fly between them. While Yi and Jansoveic gather first hand testimonials of love, Yi and Cera's tentative like/love blossoms on the occasional dates they have time to schedule in between shoots and soon the director wants to document their relationship firsthand, which causes a strain on the budding romance.
A scene where Yi interviews school kids in the south regarding what they think about love is rather hilarious and possibly even insightful (yes, kids do say the darnedest thing).
Intercut throughout all this is Yi's hand-puppet-like interstitials, where she creates paper-figurines and plays them out on a lo-fi stylized little stage set to the twinkling and magical music (cute, but never annoying, the music, some by the actors and members of Beirut and ex-Unicorns is quite great). While potentially obnoxious, they're actually one of our favorite parts of the film and they break up the docu-style quite nicely, giving the audience a little change of scenery.
Credit probably goes to the director for including these more genuine puppet scenes versus the unnecessarily schtick-y cameos by Bill Hader and others that were eventually cut from the film (but are still viewable on the web). The focus on "where is the love" builds as the filmmakers struggle to find an appropriately cinematic ending to the story.
Unfortunately, "Paper Heart" doesn't make any life-changing, grand statements of love, but it is an earnest and a heart-on-sleeve look at L'amour that is far less embarrassing than most Ben Gibbard lyrics and twee, breathy delivery, if that's what you're truly worried about.
But it might just come down to your tolerance for sweetness and earnestness. Lord knows we generally run screaming in the opposite direction when the cinematic equivalent of a Dashboard Confessional song comes on, but "Paper Heart" is too genuinely affectionate to make the skin crawl. However, cynics beware, as those with hearts two sizes too small might find themselves a bit perturbed or find some of it cloying and contrived.
However, it feels far too innocent and with lack of pretension to be remotely calculated or that affected, but we've already heard a mix of opinions, so it feels like a subjective, to-each-their-own picture, but no apologies, it's scrappy and enjoyable. [B]
In "I Sell The Dead," Dominic Monaghan plays an 18th century murder suspect headed for the gallows before receiving one last visit from a suspicious-looking priest in the guise of slope-browed Ron Perlman. He begins to tell the man of the cloth exactly how he may have come under suspicion in a murder case-- the man was an unrepentant grave-robber with a sickle-toothed partner (Larry Fessenden), in an enterprise that swelled when the duo learned that a quicker way to profit was by reanimating the dead.
Most films, even the pretty decent ones, overstay their welcome, some as early as the 100 minute mark, others much earlier. Rare is the film that completely maximizes its footage, coming in at a length that allows you a full artistic/aesthetic experience while leaving you free to actually experience the day. Anything less than that is TV, and sadly, the padded "I Sell The Dead" feels exactly like TV. As a horror film, Glenn McQuaid's debut feature contains a few scares, mostly in the first half, undermined by its glib take on mortality aimed at a twelve year old's sensibility. The jokey underpinning of the film- zombies for cash!- eventually leads to a schizophrenic third act with more of a crime-gang tone, as alliances are questioned and blood spilled.
The deck is stacked in McQuaid's favor to a certain extent, as he's loaded the damn thing with genre vets, each of whom realizes thinly-sketched characters enough to keep the narrative rolling. Filmmaker Fessenden acquits himself well in the role of a sleazy veteran of the trade, while Monaghan's mugging for the camera seems fitting for a neophyte, and while it gets tiresome, his performance straddles the necessity of the framing device. His cagey experience peaks through in the confession scenes, drawing an effective contrast between his flashback moments that make up two-thirds of the film. Perlman is typically hammy, especially during his last scene, while Angus Scrimm shows up to pretty much look exactly how he looked almost thirty years ago in the first "Phantasm," a fact that proves much scarier than the rest of the "I Sell The Dead."
Owing a great deal to EC Comics' style storytelling, "I Sell The Dead" ultimately doesn't seem to be about anything, and as such, it only plays like one of the better (best?) episodes of the maligned Masters of Horror series from Showtime. The slapstick humor, which reaches its nadir during a poorly visualized non sequitur alien visitation sequence, seems best suited for an animated form, which McQuaid and company probably realized as a few sequences with exposition feature hand-drawn depictions of the events. Funny in fits and starts, scary for approximately thirty seconds of its runtime, and decently acted, "I Sell The Dead" seems like a reliable placeholder for the discerning horror fan who likes a little gran guignol humor peppered in. Probably belonged on DVD only, however. [C+]
"I Sell The Dead" opens this weekend in New York City at the Quad Cinema.
David Fincher's Facebook movie for Scott Rudin and Sony, called "The Social Network" and based on a mammoth Aaron Sorkin script (we didn't love), has quietly begun casting… or at least accepting auditions.
How do we know? A close personal friend is in the thick of it...
This only furthers reports that the picture is moving along rapidly, as Fincher recently dropped his fee to make the production viable and cost-effective, co-producer Kevin Spacey said it would shoot this year, and co-producer Michael De Luca also recently extended his first-look deal with Sony through 2011.
While we remain skeptical about the project, we're at the very least curious about how Fincher will lend his stylistic stamp to it. - Drew Taylor
Beeteedubs, did you see this Ben Stiller is Online/Facebook funny viral clip? We're not sure what it's supposed to be promoting -- because all viral clips now promote something, right? -- but it's pretty damn funny which is high praise for us because Still generally gets on our nerves. Movieline cheekily called in an audition for Fincher's film which is clever and amusing way to frame it.
OK, let's get real, it's not a new Snoop Dogg film per se, but one Cordazar Calvin Broadus (Snoop's birth name) is co--starring in a new film titled, "Down for Life," with Danny Glover that will make its world premiere at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.
The film is a Latino gang drama by director Alan Jacobs (no discernible offhand credits) and is based off a New York Times article.
Eleven new films have been added. And surprising many of us by returning so quickly (and so secretively) is controversial American provacateur, Harmony Korine, who follows up his 2008 picture about a Michael Jackson impersonator, "Mister Lonely," with a new down n' dirty, lo-fi project, "Trash Humpers" which is evidently described as “handheld video of a loser-gang cult-freak collective who do antisocial things in a non-narrative way, except for the song-and-dance numbers.”
Uhh, color us stoked? Sounds wonderfully bizarre.
Other films added to the TIFF line-up include the Thai omnibus film "Sawasdee Bangkok" directed by four different filmmakers including Pen-ek Ratanaruang who already has "Nymph" (one of our most anticipated films from Cannes that we missed), playing at the festival. More films listed here: [Variety/IndieWire]
The Hollywood Reporter released the news late night that a remake of "Barbarella" is in production. Like, seriously in production, with a writer, Joe Gazzam (no discernible credits to date), and a director, Robert Luketic ("Legally Blonde," "Monster-In-Law," "The Ugly Truth" uhh....). The remake was originally intended as a vehicle for Rose McGowen with Robert Rodriguez attached to direct, but after that went to hell in a hand basket when someone decided to go in a new direction and get a major chick flick director on board. Talk about drastic U-Turn, going from the director most known for "Sin City" to the one most known for blonde leading-lady rom-coms.
"Barbarella" was a revolutionary concept at the time it was created. The eponymous lead character was created in a comic book by Jean-Claude Forrest in 1962, a few years before the sexual revolution of the 1960s really broke out, but when the movie was released in 1968 starring Jane Fonda it was still a revelation to see a woman involved in so many campy sexcapades. Flash forward 40+ years [ed.: holy crap, it has been that long!] and we live in times where, sexually, nothing's shocking. We really wonder if a "Barberella" in the 2010s can pack as much wallop as the 1960s version. Maybe they'll have to make it soft-core porn.
Bro-core director Peter Berg has three big projects in the works, his ummm, "adaptation" of the Milton Bradley board game "Battleship" (can't wait to see Pacino or someone exasperate, "You sank my....!"), a "Hercules" movie, and a remake of Frank Herbert's tedious sci-fi classic "Dune" that was once butchered and made utterly bizarre by David Lynch, clearly out of his element on a studio picture (apparently it was either this or wrecking 'Jedi'; guess he felt sand worms and not Ewoks were more up his alley, and please don't say his director's cut is all that much better, either).
But Berg, he of the fast-moving, rather masculine and brawny filmmaking, realizes "Dune," is rather boring for today's audiences as it's written now. In fact, he all but admits he's never read the novel.
"[The book] was much more muscular and adventurous, more violent and possibly even a little bit more fun," Berg told Sci-Fi Wire about the differences between Lynch's movie and the novel. "I think those are all elements of my experience of the book that can be brought in without offending the die-hard fans of the Bene Gesserit and Kwisatz Haderach novel. There's a more dynamic film to be made."
[Uhh, what "Dune" is he talking about? The bastard continuation books by Herbert's kid? Cause it sure doesn't sound like the thinly-disguised look at the Middle East politics of oil and religion snoozer we remember.]
Translation? "Dune even puts me to sleep, let's modernize it with action and blow up some space worms real good." Fans of Herbert's' glacially paced, sub-plot heavy books will probably cry heresy at a film that actually propels forward and is, you know, thrilling and exciting, but surely this is the only way contemporary audiences will care.
Also, we kinda like the corny Toto score of Lynch's "Dune" for perverse reasons (one being that David Lynch actually believed Toto would make for a good band to score a torpid sci-fi film), but we would highly recommend for Berg's sake that he take a far different route.
Some of our writers would surely like us to mention that acid-fried crackpot director Alejandro Jodorowsky (midnight madness awful-trash masterpieces like "The Holy Mountain") was once set to make the best "Dune" adaptation (best movie?) of all time -- which would have included Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, David Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Alain Delon, Hervé Villechaize, Mick Jagger, a score by Pink Floyd and design by Moebius and H.R. Geiger -- but the planets never aligned and so it never came to pass (and/or Hollywood thought, "wait, that's too good of an idea").
Jodowrowsky has talked about the project (perhaps hinting at finally taking his stab at it, or perhaps to humor drooling journos) over the years, but we have more of a shot of scoring Leighton Meester than he does of ever getting the rights to that project again. Anywhoo, "Dune": Peter Berg, not slow and dull, 2012? Sounds like the board game will come first. Congrats to Berg for becoming the new Wolfgang Petersen.
J.J. Abrams And Tom Cruise Find Their 'MI:4' Writers, 'Robin Hood' To Get Modernized, Poster For 'Gamer'
JJ Abrams and Tom Cruise have hired former "Alias" producers Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec to write the screenplay for "MI:4," the fourth installment of the "Mission Impossible" franchise. Cruise's Ethan Hunt will reportedly be featured, though possibly in only an off-screen role for the film which aims for a 2011 release. [BFDealMemo]
Geeez, "Robin Hood" is set to get a modern makeover courtesy of Atlas Entertainment and the Hollywood Gang, people behind "The Dark Knight" and "300." Nicolai Fuglsig has signed to direct with Jason Hall to scribe. The film will be set in a future dystopian London and center on a band of thieves whose activities restore hope to the city’s embattled population. Modernizing, the new remake? [RiskyBizBlog]
Looks like Doug Liman directed one too many "Bourne" films. The director recently came to the aid of a boating accident in the Hudson River. While he didn't go as far as diving headfirst fully clothed into the water, he and producer Avram Ludwig did motor over and assist the survivors whose smaller boat was run over by a cargo ship. [THR]
A new poster for Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine's "Gamer" has been unveiled. [ONTD]
Ludacris has signed with talent agency CAA. The rapper-cum-actor has been making his mark in a number of roles in recent films with Guy Ritchie's "RockNRolla," Neveldine-Taylor's upcoming "Gamer" and "Hustle & Flow." He's serviceable at best but we'd rather see him in films than say 50 Cent. [RiskyBizBlog]
Abdul Williams' script "Lottery Ticket" starring Bow Wow and Ice Cube has been picked up by Alcon Entertainment. The film will follow the story of a young man (Wow-haha) living in the projects who has to survive a three-day weekend after his opportunistic neighbors find out he's holding a winning lottery ticket worth $350 million. [Variety]
Jane Campion's 'Bright Star' Set For Telluride, Julie Taymor's 'Spiderman' Musical Hits Bump, 'It's Complicated' Trailer Debuts
Jane Campion's "Bright Star" is set to feature at this year's Telluride Film Festival, the place where "Slumdog Millionaire's" glorious rise began last year. Campion's latest effort played at Cannes this year to stellar reviews and will also feature at Toronto before seeing release through Apparition, a new banner which also has Terrence Malick's "Tree Of Life" under it's umbrella. [ThompsonOnHollywood]
Could the "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark" musical starring Evan Rachel Wood be in trouble? Reports are that the musical, which is scheduled to debut on February 25, is facing "cash flow obstacles that producers are working to resolve" with all pre-production halted this week. The production will reportedly cost in the region of $35 million dollars and will feature music by U2's Bono and The Edge. Alan Cumming will also star as The Green Goblin. Problems seem temporary for the moment but... [Variety]
Yet another poster for Mike Judge's "Extract"? This is getting boring but at least this one's s an improvement on yesterday's. [Collider]
The format for Jay Leno's new show has been revealed and while most of it is a real bore-fest, one segment may actually get us to tune in. "Musical segments will sometimes feature multiple acts performing together -- like on the Grammys when famous artists are teamed together." Now if only the programmers can use the imagination a bit and combine unconventional artists together. First up will be Kanye West, Jay-Z and Rihanna performing "Run This Town" off the upcoming The Blueprint 3 -- first night so we'll let this one pass but combining well-connected hip hop artists is not exactly what they're advertising there. [LiveFeed/RockDaily]
Mike Skinner from The Streets is reportedly set for a role in the rebooted "Doctor Who" series. The Birmingham-based rapper revealed the news on his twitter but quickly retracted his comment. [DenOfGeek]
The trailer for Nancy Meyers' upcoming comedy "It's Complicated" has been unveiled. With a strong cast of Robert Adamson, Blanchard Ryan, Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, John Krasinski, Lake Bell and Hunter Parish, the film has been touted as a possible award season contender. The three's-a-crowd situation between Streep, Baldwin and Martin has potential.