Here is your first look at John Cameron Mitchell's "Rabbit Hole" starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart.
Adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire from his own Pulitzer-Prize winning play, the family drama centers on a young couple and the differing ways they cope with the accidental death of their young son.
"This is a passion project for Nicole. The reason why I’m in the movie is Nicole. If she wants to work with somebody, then that’s what happens," Eckhart told the New York Times, revealing that he was personally recruited on the film by his co-star.
Kidman, on the other hand, revealed an attraction to the project's dark tones. “When I first responded to it, it was because I read it, and it was about grief, which fascinates me,” the actress explains. “Loss and love seem to be themes that run through my work. [This film is about] a marriage and the way that people fuse through pain, that you can either be pulled apart or you can come together. In the same way that ‘Birth,’ a film that I did, was about loss of the loved one who’s your partner in life, this is the most profound loss, and it’s the worst place to tread. And so my nature tends to be to explore something that I’m terrified of.”
The film will also mark the studio debut for Cameron Mitchell whose previous efforts -- "Shortbus" and "Hedwig And The Angry Inch" -- were lo-fi works utilizing mainly amateur actors. As explained by the director in an earlier interview though, "Rabbit Hole" is the perfect opportunity for Cameron Mitchell to spread his wings as he will be able to draw from his own experiences with loss and love for the project. "When I was 14, we lost our brother, who was 4, to a heart problem. It was a sudden, unexpected event. It defined a family forever and recovering from it was something we’re still doing.” Interestingly, before turning to Cameron Mitchell, Sam Raimi was actually attached to helm the project though pulled out to do the "Spiderman" sequel.
Filming for "Rabbit Hole" took place in Douglaston, Queens which stands in the for the film's Winchester setting with the 28 day shoot presumably completed after beginning in early July. Fox Searchlight will handle the film's 2010 release.
Here is your first look at John Cameron Mitchell's "Rabbit Hole" starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart.
Wes Anderson Editing His 'Fantastic Mr. Fox,' Paramount Delays 'Shutter Island' For 'Up In The Air,' New Trailer For 'Agora'
- It's been a while since he's been seen in person? Thanks to fellow director Mark Romanek and his photo blog, here is a sight of Wes Anderson in the editing room for his upcoming film "The Fantastic Mr. Fox." It looks like the characters on-screen behind him are Mr and Mrs. Fox, voiced by George Clooney and Meryl Streep. 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' will debut at the London Film Festival this October.
- Variety [via InContention] reports that a significant reason why Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island" was delayed was the fact that Paramount felt it was more financially viable to back Jason Reitman's "Up In The Air' for an Oscar run using the festival circuit and subsequent award-season buzz. Sounds like a plan.
- Here is another look at Aaron Johnson in his role as John Lennon in Sam Taylor-Wood's "Nowhere Boy." Co-starring Thomas Sangster as Paul McCartney, the film centers on the early days of Lennon including formation of the skiffle band The Quarrymen which went on to become The Beatles. The film is scribed by Matt Greenhalgh of "Control" fame.
- Andrea Arnold's "Fish Tank" and Ken Loach's "Looking For Eric" have respectively taken home the top prize and the "Distributor Of Joy" awards at this year's Norwegian Film Festival. Joining them in the critical acclaim was Pixar's "Up" and Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" which left with the audience award and the Andreas award.
- A new trailer has debuted for Alejandro Amenába's "Agora." Starring Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella and Oscar Isaacs, the film centers on astronomer-philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria (Weisz) and her relationship with her slave Davus (Minghella), who is torn between his love for his mistress and the possibility of gaining his freedom by joining the rising tide of Christianity. Interestingly, sounds like they used the same narrator from the "Zombieland" trailer for this. We saw the picture in Cannes, while it's an interesting concept, the movie is decidedly dull.
'Scott Pilgrim' Wraps Shooting, Matthew Vaughn Talks Himself Up, Rose McGowan Updates 'Red Sonja,' But Not Really
- Looks like shooting on Edgar Wright's "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" has wrapped. "TODAY... 'Scott Pilgrim Vs The World'... WRAPS principal photography!" wrote the comic's writer Bryan Lee O'Malley. "Wherever you are, give them a round of applause!"
- Matthew Vaughn is getting way ahead of himself. "[I'd] love to do 'The Avengers,'" the director told MTV. "And 'Superman'... I think it would be great to reinvent Superman." Vaughn was of course planning a Man Of Steel reboot with "Wanted" and "Kick-Ass" writer, Mark Millar, but 'The Avengers"?! The director also tried to claim credit on the "Iron Man" franchise revealing that he "was desperate to do 'Iron Man' about 8 years ago, and everyone was like, "Iron Man, no one will go watch that." The way fanboys are raving about "Kick-Ass", we wouldn't be surprised if Vaughn got some bigger comic properties.
- Rose McGowan has provided a few updates on her "Red Sonja." The actress first tweeted that the film was something she "was meant to do in '08 [but for] major personal & private reasons I pulled out." McGowan then clarified her original fanboy-tear-inducing comment by adding that she "pulled out of doing it in '09. Not permanently," that it "hopefully will follow 'Conan'" and that she is "still contracted to do Red Sonja [and that it will] hopefully be filming in '10 not '09." In summary: we know as much about what's going on with this project as we did before McGowan's twitter updates.
- Joel Silver is evidently looking to remake Wes Craven's "The Swamp Thing" in 3D. "I'm developing a picture now that I'd like to do," Silver tells Collider. "I’ll hopefully do 'Swamp Thing,' which is a movie we’ve had for a long time. We think that would be great to do in 3D. There are a couple of projects I’m thinking about (for the format) but not everything.”
- Here is the trailer for "The Descent 2," Jon Harris' sequel to Neil Marshall's 2005 original which is set to begin from where the first film ended. Looks like they're going for a straight-up horror film rather than the claustrophobic thriller of the first.
After calling it the hidden gem of the box-office this weekend and lamenting the fact that we didn't write a proper review, we thought we'd try to correct this mistake.
One of the best pictures of the year so far is not a particularly sexy or attractive film on the surface. It contains no Rorschach, special effects, star actors, furry butterflies, action, or CGI of any kind. It's a quiet and emotionally moving little foreign film and family reunion tale from Japan that is devastating in its own simple and beautifully nuanced way.
The winner of the IFFBoston film fest audience award earlier this year, the intimate, bittersweet and carefully observed family drama 'Still Walking" by Hirokazu Kore-eda is immensely deserving of many accolades, but we were honestly shocked, and pleasantly surprised that this quiet, low-key familial study would garner such a populist award (especially when louder, more dynamic films like "Bronson" were screening at IFFB). Maybe those in Boston really know where it's at cinematically. Either way, we're surely not complaining.
Centering on a modest-sized family — the proud grandpa patriarch, his docile, but knowing wife and their son and daughter with familes of their own, the central rhetorical thesis is raised rather early on when the eldest born son's offspring asks his grandmother quizzically, "are we abnormal"?
It's a disquieting moment. The family is bickering in their reserved Japanese way, dysfunctional like most families, but the remark disarms the audience and characters. What is a normal family? It's a cutting moment that also raises that eternal question: will parents scar us no matter how much they care and love us and in some capacity will we always resent them? The film's gentle surface really belies the buried trauma and its masterful the way subtext is revealed through small asides or furtive glances.
In "Still Life" — a soft and tender yet sometimes quietly brutal picture about the deep cutting wounds family can commit with the smallest words and the scars that sometimes never heal — this question is disturbing and steals your breath. It's as if one had unequivocally proven to you that deep down, you hated your parents and it was revealed that they too hated you. No, the picture isn't emotionally violent or mean spirited in the ways Baumbach or Solondz family dramas can be at all, but the way the movie examines familial resentment, bitterness, undying parental love, grudges and recrimination, is just all too painfully real.
Taking place within a 24-hour period, the story largely centers on Ryota (Hiroshi Abe), the now 40-something year old son and his aging and retired physician father (an imposing and flinty Yoshio Harada). The family convenes for their annual reunion that coincides with the death of Ryota's older brother who drowned fifteen years ago attempting to save an overwhelmed boy in the sea. The joys and pleasantries of homecoming are quick to dissipate when the years of begrudement and disappointment start to raise their head. The disapproving doctor can't hide his disappointment in his son who never went on to follow his medical-field footsteps and the stern patriarch soon reminds his son that Junpei (the sibling that died) was a wonderful doctor.
Slowly and ever-so precisely — one must highly admire the delicate Ozu-like framing and lensing, the exquisite, minimalistic mise en scene (oh yes, we'll go there) — the story unfolds like the methodical unpeeling of onion layers and we come to understand why Ryota's family visit is described as a rare occurrence.
Father and son have a veritable cesspool of bitterness and mixed feelings between them and wives, sisters, and mothers have their own clashing opinions and feelings. Ryota's wife is a widow, and her mother-in-law Tishiko (Kirin Kiki) drops little disfavorable comments over the fact that they never produced their own child. Each comment is like a subtle landmine and soon, his wife Yukari (Yui Natsukawa) — and to a lesser extent his naive ten-year-old stepson (Shohei Tanaka) — begins to wonder why the family has come at all? But of course all the hushed tensions are mannered and obscure, almost imperceptible to the human eye not paying full attention. Ok, not quite, but this is a film of economic, graceful movement and refined subtly. It's all too internalized to ever become melodrama.
Most painful to watch is the sequence where the now-25-year-old boy that Junpei saved from drowning comes to pay his respects. He is overweight, sweaty, and without real career prospects and the contempt the grandmother and father feel — our boy died for this? — is barely concealed and toxic.
Family is always a double-edged sword, rife with wonderful, formative experiences and nostalgic memories — plus the bitterness of petty lifelong issues that are sometimes impossible to conciliate. "Still Waking" knowingly boils all these mixed feelings to an intense, but near-silent simmer. A celebration of all that is loving and hurtful in familial relations, Kore-eda's rich and textured study of the ones we love (and sometimes hate, or simply can't come to terms with) is incandescent in its ability to illuminate the human condition, rousing deep-stirring and complex feelings that haunt long after the picture is over. Slow-moving and meditative, the picture is also entirely rewarding, deeply resonant and at times, heart wrenching. Throw it up there with "Ordinary People," the impasse family troubles in Bergman films and of course the calm sadness of Ozu's "Tokyo Story," but file it neatly next to those classics.
"Still Walking" asks in the end, can we grant true forgiveness? Can we accept? And what happens when it's too late? It's the type of picture that may make you call a parent afterwards just to remind them that you care. Personally, we crumbled at the end of the picture. The mostly unanswerable questions unraveling us like a film hasn't done to us in a long while. [A]
Here's the trailer if you haven't seen it. Whenever we get around to making a Best Films List of the Year So Far... (though we might want to get on that, uhh soon), "Still Walking" will be on it.
Alright. Now we're talking. The English-language trailer for Bong Joon-ho's "Mother" has finally arrived.
Don't know Bong Joon-ho? Yes, you do, he's the South Korean auteur behind the crowd-pleasing, box office record-breaking monster movie "The Host," and the lesser-known, but still equally good, "Zodiac"-esque mystery thriller "Memories of Murder."
"Mother" is another mystery thriller of sorts, a Kafka-esque, Hitchock-ian procedural about a strange Oedipal relationship between a mother and her (seemingly retarded) teenage son and the insane lengths she will go to coddle and protect him. The dimwitted boy is unexpectedly arrested for a murder he didn't commit and the matriarch seemingly goes mad and goes to the ends of the earth to prove his innocence.
Like most Joon-ho movies, it's dark, disturbing, riotously funny in a twisted and pitch-dark manner and it's a film we've been championing since we saw it in Cannes earlier this year.
In our review we wrote, " 'Mother' sits well alongside Bong's other films and acts as a sort of compromise between the absurdist fantasy elements of 'The Host' and the more plot-driven social-realism of 'Memories of Murder.' It might not be entirely flawless, but it does help solidify his status as one of the most gifted directors of his generation."
It's a film with an odd, creepy tone, yet unique and so damn good that U.S. producers are already said to be circling it for an English-language remake. It was on our 5 Must-See Films from the 2009 Cannes Film Festival list, and the picture already impressively beat out the more well-known Park Chan-Wook film "Thirst" to represent Korea at the Oscars this year in the Best Foreign Film category for crying out loud. Hye-ja Kim, the Korean actress who plays the obsessed Mother in the picture is terrific too.
All that and it still doesn't have North American distribution yet. If that doesn't change at the Toronto International Film Festival this September, we'll just have to consider it a huge travesty. We're not sure why someone like IFC hasn't scooped it up yet, it's a jewel. Do yourself a favor if you're at TIFF and catch this one, it's excellent. [hat tip to We Are Movie Geeks who seemed to spot this first]
Last week the trailer for James Cameron's "Avatar" hit the interwebs and for one of the most anticipated films of the year (at least in some circles, Hitler was certainly expecting a lot) the reaction it got was more like a collective sigh than mass cheering (though there were a few street riots from the core disappointed nerd audience).
The supposed "groundbreaking" film — the 3D seriously did not feel like your eyeballs were being fucked, as promised — has been talked about by Cameron for a little over a decade now and has become uber-hyped recently, as the director and his buddies have been hocking it like a Billy Mays product.
So when the trailer hit and looked a little like a fey Playstation game — or a sub-par "Clone Wars: Thundercats!" about furry winged creatures defending their organic farm from space marines — people were greatly disappointed. Immediately the Internet was afire with commentary coming from all angles, including us, comparing the film to the "Star Wars" prequels, "Fern Gully" or the "Smurfs" meet "Battlefield Earth." Whatever your choice, there was one that seemed like a collective comparison: "Delgo."
So, the little studio that could (producing the lowest-grossing film of all time) is considering taking on the man behind the billion dollar earning "Titanic"? This will probably not work out for the best where Fathom is concerned and with nothing but some Internet reactions as evidence/witnesses/Habeas corpus there probably aren't that many "legal options" available. Let's see how this pans out because it could be delicious entertainment or it could just turn into a very sad fly vs. bull situation. Whatever it is, don't expect it to bother Cameron, he's the king of the world after all.
Limping into theaters this weekend with a whimper is Justin Timberlake's "The Open Road," a baseball father n' son tale that also stars Jeff Bridges and go-to girl nextdoor Kate Mara. We didn't even mention it in this morning's In Theaters piece, because its not even listed on Rotten Tomatoes (though MetaCritic does mention it).
Digging around to see if other people noticed its quiet arrival in theaters this weekend, we realized (via Movieline) the picture has been dumped into 14 theaters across the country, errr... middle America. According to the official website, it has one L.A. date, no New York date, four dates across Texas, two dates in Tennessee, two dates in North Carolina and then scattered one theater listings in Florida, Arizona, Indianapolis, etc.
Can you say dumped? This is almost as bad as the "Marc Pease Experience" roll-out. It has zero reviews on RT or MetaCritic. Cry JT a river?
Here is a look at Hope Davis prepping for her Hillary Clinton role in Peter Morgan's "The Special Relationship" which stars Michael Sheen and Dennis Quaid as Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. The titular relationship takes place as the two were head of their respective countries.
“To play Hillary Clinton? I’m kind of winging it," she told the New York Times in jest. “No, are you kidding me? I prepared obsessively. I mean, as much as I could in the time that I was given. Of course, with someone like Hillary Clinton, obviously, anything you want is on YouTube and at your fingertips there. This movie takes place in the mid-90s through the year 2000, so it was very easy to get a hold of stuff. So yes, I did as much preparation as I could.”
ArtsBeat has more pictures from the set. We didn't realize it was shooting already.
Here's a new pic from Rob Marshall's "Nine" featuring lead Daniel Day-Lewis who plays Guido Contini, a director facing his mid-life crisis. A fun shot to be sure. [MTV]
Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" has taken home another award: the Internatonal Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) Grand Prix for film of the year. The prize will be handed out at the opening ceremony of the San Sebastian Film Festival on Sept. 18. [Variety]
Mickey Rourke with James Lipton on "Inside The Actor's Studio"? Man, a match made in heaven. The episode airs August 31st and with Rourke, anecdotes aplenty are a sure-fire bet. Movieline has a small clip which includes an anecdote about how a drug-deal gone wrong launched his acting career.
This is pretty embarrassing. You'd think studios would play up the quasi-homosexual angle on Lynn Shelton's "Humpday," right? That being the core of the film and all? Think again, the studio decided to bring in the ungayers to do a quick photoshop job. [HollywoodElsewhere]
Producer Stephen Woolley is set to bring a new adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" to the big screen. Optimum will be backing the project which will join fellow novel-adaptation Rowan Joffe's "Brighton Rock" in it's ranks. David Nicholls is scribing for a 2010 shoot. [ScreenDaily]
Rob Zombie sure loves his horror films and his horror remakes, though considering his track-record so far ("Halloween II" was totally forgettable and rote), he might want to stick to original ideas and projects (as in the more successful, "The Devil's Rejects" and "House of 1000 Corpses").
But nope. The rocker turned filmmaker is just too attracted to remakes it seems — and or remake/reboots are just easier projects to get off the ground/ the temptation is just too much to resist.
Zombie is turning his "Halloween"-centric eye to a remake of the 1958 horror classic, "The Blob," which was about a gooey and alive mass of goop that terrorizes a community (we always thought that was the strangest concept for a movie) and launched the career of our favorite one-note actor Steve McQueen.
Where does this leave "Tyrannosaurus Rex," his bad-ass biker revenge movie that he originally set up at Dimension until they strong-armed him into doing the poor idea of "Halloween II"?
Probably dangling in the wind until the times change and some studio wants to give a chance to something that's not a franchise. However, this is probably a good thing. It's our understanding that since he directed "Halloween 2," he's been released from his Dimensions project and is free to set up the project shop wherever he wants. Rob, you should call up Robert Rodriguez's Troublemaker studios, if "Machete," can get made, why not 'Rex'? — let's not forget Zombie also did a fake trailer in "Grindhouse" so that connection is already established.
According to Variety, the picture will shoot next spring and Zombie hopes to modernize it so it's not a silly joke to contemporary audiences. "My intention is not to have a big red blobby thing — that's the first thing I want to change. That gigantic Jello-looking thing might have been scary to audiences in the 1950s, but people would laugh now." At least he's aware. Producing the film is a company called Genre Co. that features former Dimension guy Richard Saperstein. Apparently they have the funding and about a $30 million budget. Not too shabby.
Where does this leave Sony's proposed "Blob" remake, which was supposed to have a more "Ghostbusters" bent and was called "B.L.O.B."? Hopefully dead in the water as that sounds kind of awful.
You might think this is just another horror movie, but Zombie tells the trade the picture is more of a "science fiction movie about a thing from outer space," and that he's been itching to leave the terror genre. Will Zombie tackle a "Halloween 3"? Obviously the above suggests he's finished with Dimension Films and he just told THR that he's "done with 'Halloween'," but then again he also swore after the first one he'd never do a sequel.
Zombie's been a busy man this year, in addition to 'H2' hitting theaters today (don't bother) his animated film, “The Haunted World of El Superbeasto” is scheduled for release on September 22. — Additional reporting, Drew Taylor.
Oof. the summer that could ends with a whimper. And in a summer filled with largely shitty and disappointing tent-poles, which were maligned by critics and fans alike and, despite all this, still one of the highest grossing on record.
Hollywood gets a head start on Halloween season this weekend, literally, with two new entries in long standing franchises and both of them look dreadful. Still, there are some quite interesting choices in limited release, so spend your art-house dollar wisely as we head into the typical late August/early September blues at the box-office (next weekend will be dismal too).
Anyhow, frequent Lee collaborator James Schamus based his screenplay on a true story, but the Woodstock festival director pretty much calls it "nonsense." We saw it at Cannes and found the film to be warmhearted, but without much kick, really. The cast is fantastic with Emile Hirsch, Imelda Staunton, Liev Schreiber, and Eugene Levy costarring. You could probably do a lot worse this weekend; the critics stand at a suitably mixed 52% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In Limited Release: "The Wrestler" screenwriter and former editor of The Onion, Robert Siegel's directorial debut "Big Fan" arrives today. The film stars the very funny Patton Oswalt in an almost completely dramatic role as the self proclaimed "world's biggest New York Giants fan." We got a chance to see it at the Independent Film Festival of Boston a few months ago and thought it was a strong debut, if a little rough around the edges. Critics liked it a bit more than we did and gave it a 88% RT score overall. Oswalt is quite good and the film harkens back to great 70's dark character studies like "Taxi Driver" and "Scarecrow." Definitely worth a look this weekend if slashers aren't your thing.
The real gem of the limited release set this weekend though is Hirokazu Kore-eda's bittersweet family drama, "Still Walking," which we saw at the Independent Film Festival of Boston earlier this year where it won the Audience Award Winner — which was well deserved as it was easily the best film we saw at that rather strong film festival (and lord TIFF's unmanageable website has nothing on theirs — cheers to the indie festival with a great site). It's essentially about an annual homecoming for a grown-up Japanese man, who comes to visit his elderly parents on the anniversary of his older brothers death from drowning when they were children with his new family. It's about, in many ways, the painful process of leaving the nest but always being reminded that you can never leave home. Resentment and issues raise their heads once the pleasantries are dispensed with. It's very Yasujirō Ozu, in it's minimalism, stillness and emotional honesty through simplicity, but just like the Japanese auteur it is heartbreaking masterclass filmmaking. We're a little embarrassed that we haven't written about this film more as it's one of year's best. BAM in Brooklyn knows what time it is and they are currently starting a retrospective of Kore-eda's work on August 31, that you should definitely check out if you are in the New York area. It has a 100% RT score, but there are only 11 reviews so far. Time Out calls it a touching, yet painful heartrending drama that does so much with so little, a "new classic," and they are very much on-the-mark. It doesn't look like much, but it's tremendous.
Next is "At the Edge of the World" from director Dan Stone. This film chronicles the 2006-2007 campaigns by the Sea Shepard Conservation Society to stop a Japanese whaling fleet near Antarctica. Stone, one of the creators of Animal Planet's "Whale Wars," stayed off the vessels during the campaigns in order to get the suspicious crews to act as natural as possible. A winner of audience and cinematography awards at festivals across the country, it certainly seems worth a look. It has a 100% score on RT, but RT is also a bit weird when it comes to indie releases as that's basically only taking the perspective of six critics so far (no system is perfect, but fyi, we're looking to switch to the more reliable Meta-critic; we've gotten lazy using RT, but many agree its the most McDonald's like of all the aggregators).
Arriving in theaters with zero buzz, other than the geek community clamoring for it, is the the unfunny and obnoxiously dorky-looking "Mystery Team." There is no RT rating score and it has all of one review from Variety that says the "Amateurish presentation seems better suited to DVD or direct download, tapping into the group's viral fanbase, than the bigscreen." Uh, yeah, no shit.
Also in limited release, Michael O. Scott's documentary "The Horse Boy" is the story of a family traveling through Mongolia in search of a mysterious shaman who they believe may be able to help their autistic son.
Good luck out there.
Fandango has the poster for Michael Moore's upcoming economic crisis documentary, "Capitalism: A Love Story," which hits theaters on October 2nd in wide release.
What do you think? Personally we're a bit indifferent. It's not the rousing call to arms that we hoped, but maybe Moore's trying to take a softer edge and not come across as being obnoxious, bully-ish or annoying.
We were hoping for some sort of agit-prop, Shepard Fariey, Obama-poster aesthetic. Apparently commenters over at InContention dislike the fact that Moore is on the actual poster, but Jeff Wells defends the decision, arguing, "Moore is always the star of his films. His mentality/attitude/snark is the point."
Which is pretty much correct. Still, with the economic crisis being such a hot-button topic, we sorta wish he wouldn't soft-shoe it with the visual approach. Maybe he's just trying to soften his image, which we understand.
The film plays at TIFF in two weeks and we'll be making our best efforts to see it there. As we noted a few weeks ago, "Capitalism" had its limited release date bumped up to September 23, but apparently, according to /Film, it's only going to be a "one week special limited engagement" in New York (Lincoln Plaza, Angelika) and Los Angeles (Arclight Hollywood, The Landmark), a good nine days before it hits national theaters on October 2nd. Sounds like Overture is trying to make it sound like a special deal but really, all it is, is a normal limited release plan, minus two days where the picture is not in theaters. Oh well, all the more power to Michael Moore and we really hope apathetic American audiences try and turn out for this one.
We guess this means if we happen to miss the film at the Toronto Film Fest we can easily see it early the following week. What to do, what to do... (we're still juggling our TIFF plans and schedule).
Jim Sheridan's long-awaited remake of Susanna Bier's "Brothers" finally hits theaters in the late fall on December 4, but that doesn't mean the Irish dramatist is resting on his laurels.
He already has the next project in line and it sounds like a change of gears for the director, who is generally of the personal character study persuasions like, "In America," and "My Left Foot." On tap next for the director is a psychological thriller called "Dream House," for Morgan Creek — evidently their first production in three years.
His star will be none other than Bond-sman, Daniel Craig, who will play a "a New York publishing exec who relocates his family to a small New England town, only to learn that their new home was the scene of a vicious murder," according to Variety. The script was written by David Loucka who hasn't really written much of note unless you consider the 1989 Michael Keaton film, "The Dream Team," notable.
The picture will begin lensing in mid January, so it's promotion for "Brothers" in November/December and then off to the races in 2010 to start shooting this new one. Sheridan has been nominated for six Oscars so it'll be interesting to see if "Brothers" can find a slot in the Academy Award season this year, especially with 10 slots available for Best Picture. If it does fit some Oscar footing, Sheridan might be too busy shooting to participate. We'll see. Not a lot of additional info here, but it'll be interesting to see Sheridan take on something that sounds a bit more commercial and thriller-ish than his previous work.
Maggie Grace Joins The Cruise-Diaz Led 'Wichita' Project, Robin Williams To Lead Disney Rom-Com, 'Che' Actors On Board 'Sucker Punch' And 'Runaway'
"Lost" actress Maggie Grace is set to join Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in Fox's spy thriller, now untitled project, formerly known as "Wichita." The James Mangold project will follow a lonely woman (Diaz) whose world is turned upside down when a blind date turns out to be a super spy (Cruise) who whisks her away on a violent worldwide journey to protect a powerful battery that holds the key to an infinite power source. Grace will play Diaz's sister which we'd buy. [THR]
Robin Williams will star in Touchstone rom-com "Wedding Banned." The film follows a long-divorced couple as they kidnap their daughter on her wedding day to prevent her from making the same mistakes they did. Sounds in the same vein as the project he did with Mandy Moore and John Krasinski which looked rather vile. Just when Williams turns in a superb performance with, "World's Greatest Dad," he returns to the well of commercial dreck. We suppose it was too good to last. [THR]
Oscar Isaac has joined the cast of Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch" and will star along side the likes of Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Jena Malone, Carla Gugino, Jon Hamm and Scott Glenn. The film will center on a girl who is institutionalized by her stepfather and retreats into an alternative reality. [Variety]
Meanwhile, Issac's "Che" co-star, Demian Bichir — who wonderfully rendered Fidel Castro in the Steven Soderbergh epic — will star in Irish indie flick "The Runaway." The film is based on the true story of a South American pilot who crashed near a small rural Irish town in 1983 and then saw the local townspeople inspirationally coming together to build a runway to get the pilot home. This guy is a great talent to watch. [THR]
Shohreh Aghdashloo is in talks to join the cast of George Nolfi's "The Adjustment Bureau." The actress joins Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and Anthony Mackie in the film based on a Philip K. Dick short story that centers on a smooth-talking congressman whose political future is thrown in doubt after a mysterious ballerina comes into his life. Nolfi adapted the short story for the screen himself. [Variety]
We've been greatly anticipating Grant Heslov's George Clooney starrer, "Men Who Stare At Goats." Playing at this year's Venice and Toronto film festivals, the dark comedy stars the likes of Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey and centers on a journalist's (McGregor) partnership with an ex-solider(Clooney) as they look to uncover the government's development of "Warrior Monks," a legion of psychic powered soldiers.
We'll try to not use the term Coen-esque because it doesn't seem that screwball-y or quirky (not to mention, it's facile and overused), but there are some similar shades there. Jeff Bridges as a hippie-like teacher who helps these guys kill and maim people with "Jedi mindtricks" seems pretty damn funny. It definitely looks pretty interesting and we're excited for it. The use of Boston's "More Than A Feeling," in this trailer is pretty humorous. Here's the very long synopsis.
In this quirky dark comedy inspired by a real life story you will hardly believe is actually true, astonishing revelations about a top-secret wing of the U.S. military come to light when a reporter encounters an enigmatic Special Forces operator on a mind-boggling mission. Reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is in search of his next big story when he encounters Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), a shadowy figure who claims to be part of an experimental U.S. military unit. According to Cassady, the New Earth Army is changing the way wars are fought. A legion of “Warrior Monks” with unparalleled psychic powers can read the enemy’s thoughts, pass through solid walls, and even kill a goat simply by staring at it. Now, the program’s founder, Bill Django (Jeff Bridges), has gone missing and Cassady’s mission is to find him.Director Grant Heslov wrote, "Good Night, and Good Luck" which George Clooney starred in and directed and earlier this year the duo brought their production company, Smokehouse Pictures, from Warner Brothers to Sony. As previously reported, the film will hit theaters on November 6 via Overture pictures. [Apple]
Intrigued by his new acquaintance’s far-fetched stories, Bob impulsively decides to accompany him on the search. When the pair tracks Django to a clandestine training camp run by renegade psychic Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey), the reporter is trapped in the middle of a grudge match between the forces of Django’s New Earth Army and Hooper’s personal militia of super soldiers. In order to survive this wild adventure, Bob will have to outwit an enemy he never thought possible. The Men Who Stare at Goats was inspired by Jon Ronson’s non-fiction bestseller of the same name, an eye-opening and often hilarious exploration of the government’s attempts to harness paranormal abilities to combat its enemies.
The Weinstein Company, too busy counting their favorable notices following "Inglourious Basterds'" mighty weekend atop the box office, chose not to screen "Halloween II," Rob Zombie's slasher sequel, for critics. This was most certainly a defensive move, echoing last month's decision by Universal to keep most critics out of the loop for "G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra." Still, a select band of merry L.A.-based critics got to see the film, and that's it. We went as early as humanly possible, call us a fan.
Two years have passed since Rob Zombie unleashed his version of John Carpenter's seminal classic. That film was neither fish nor foul, and spent a good 2/3rds of the movie exploring what it must have been like for young Michael Myers to grow up in a mental institution. (Not that anyone really wanted to know that back story. See also: "Hannibal Rising.") Why Zombie felt the need to explain Michael Myers' youth is never really elaborated on, especially when the character is the same killing machine, from tot to full-grown man. Also perplexing was why Zombie would go far afield of Carpenter's original film, only to remake his original, almost scene-for-scene, and cram it into the final act.
Still, there was still reason to be excited for this sequel, primarily the huge artistic leap Zombie made between his screechy debut "House of 1,000 Corpses," to the elegant exploitation of "House's" pseudo-sequel "The Devil's Rejects." Zombie really let loose on the second movie, and there was every reason that, unencumbered by having to actually remake Carpenter's original film, he would go crazy again.
And he did. Sort of. It's just that the results are as baffling and half-baked as the original installment.
"Halloween II" starts off with a sequence directly following the end of the first film. (Actually, that's not true, there's a brief flashback to young Mikey Myers in the loony bin getting a toy horse from his mother. More on that in a minute.) The battered Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), one of the first film's survivors, is taken into the hospital and repaired after her brutal run-in with knife-wielding psycho Michael Myers (Tyler Mane). Michael Myers escapes the coroner's van (everyone thinks he's dead of course), and comes after her in the hospital, in sequences that are eerily reminiscent of the original sequence to John Carpenter's film. Right as Laurie's about to take an axe to the face - shock cut - she wakes up, and it was all a dream. But what part was a dream, exactly? She must have been in a hospital and Myers did escape the van… The movie is littered with these jarring dream/fantasy sequences that not only disrupt the flow of the movie but also leave you confused as to the geographical/chronological placement of key people and events.
Anyway, from there we flash forward a year. Strode has become a grungy goth queen haunted by visions that we have to suffer through too. She's living with Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif) and his daughter Annie (Danielle Harris) and working at a coffee shop. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), who treated Michael Myers as he was growing up and attempted to stop the carnage last time around, has been transformed into a slick media whore, with a new tell-all book about the killings slated to be released - you guessed it - on Halloween. Halloween rolls around and Michael Myers, who has spent the past year as a homeless person (we get to see him kill and eat a dog, for crying out loud) is spurred on by the dreamlike vision of his dead mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) to commit tons of brutal murders.
And that's pretty much it for the plot of "Halloween II."
The killings this time around are even more arbitrary and absurd. While many of his peers in the current horror field are interested in the physiological details of murder, Zombie is content to simply show an extreme close up of a knife coming down, and then a body drenched in blood. Rarely do we see what actually happens during the killing, and thus much of its power (emotionally, narratively) is robbed. Much of the film feels listless, with Zombie moving from one murder to the other, one bizarre dream sequence to the next, without much feeling one way or the other.
While some of these images and sequences are striking (there's a great scene where a couple of the kids enter a room that's been trashed and he edits in the details of the attack as they search for a body), but they don't really add to much. Is Zombie attempting to detail the psychological ungluing of Michael Myers, or of Laurie Strode, or both? Are we supposed to get the impression that, since they're sharing the same visions, they're psychically connected or just share a familial bond? (Michael Myers is, after all, her brother, even though how, exactly, he knows this, is never really explained.)
Also, if the idea that his dead mother, caked in kabuki make-up and leading around a white stallion, was the impetus for his very bad deeds, why wasn't this ever mentioned in the first film, which spent so much time dwelling on the young Michael Myers?
At the end of the movie there are some clever moments, and you come away with the feeling that you've seen "something," but what that "something" is, you can't quite address. Maybe it's just disappointing because Zombie showed so much promise with his stylized, hillbilly-in-hell "Devil's Rejects." "Rejects" climaxed in an epic, Peckinpah-ian shootout set to "Freebird" — all nine minutes of it — for crying out loud. This, by comparison, seems rote; a waste of his considerable imagination. It's been there, slashed that. [C-]
And you thought Todd Solondz's "Life During Wartime" contained freaks and geeks and was more than a little weird.
A few weeks ago a new project came out of nowhere. It wasn't announced in the trades or anywhere else and jumped up as part of the Toronto International Film Festival's line-up. The project was a new Harmony Korine film most people hadn't heard about (aside maybe from the one person maintaining the Korine fansite, and even he didn't know) called "Trash Humpers" and it was described as a down n' dirty, lo-fi project or: “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.”
Ha, sounded wonderfully perverse and odd, sure to be a bizarro curiosity. and now thanks to the TIFF site, we have a bunch of first-look images from the 78-minute experimental picture and an extended synopsis to tell us everything we need to know. Suffice to say there are no stars in this one, but the principal cast is listed as Rachel Korine (his wife, also featured in "Mister Lonely"), Brian Kotzue, Travis Nicholson and Korine himself.
The film features evidently, "creepy masks, low-grade torture, frequent public urination, senseless vandalism and the title, acted out on defenseless garbage cans, all have a confrontational panache about them to be sure. But the film is also full of poetry, dance, song and moments of aching poignancy."
That's about all the concrete info we get as TIFF has replaced basic bios with more flowery essays about the work of each auteur on hand, but still, it sounds and looks pretty weird and intriguing and probably more strange than "Gummo," as there appears to be no real narrative to this one (though there is a screenplay credit for Korine, so perhaps there's some through-line). Will you take the plunge? The film will make its world premiere on Saturday September 12 at TIFF. Hopefully we'll also catch it while it's there. As an astute reader points out, "Trash Humpers" was also just recently and quietly added to the New York Film Festival line-up.