A new trailer has dropped for Martin Scorsese's b-movie thriller, "Shutter Island." Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (who seems to be emerging as this generation's John Grisham - with much better results), the story follows U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he investigates the disappearance of a murderer from the Alcatraz-like hospital for the criminally insane.
While the first trailer only hinted at some of the more supernatural elements of the plot, the new trailer ups the ante, providing lots of second half hints of dream/fantasy sequences and creepy murderous inmate shots. What this trailer curiously excludes is the whole angle that the hospital staff is hiding a patient from the police. Was that a major spoiler? Is not really that important to the plot? Or is Paramount's marketing team just going for an easier sell by making it look like a Leonardo DiCaprio-trapped-in-a-crazy-house film instead? We'll have to wait a few more months to find out.
The film opens on February 10th after being bumped from its original October release, much to the surprising anger of quote-whore Peter Travers, who kind of blew a gasket over it. We don't think it's too much of a big deal, as it appears "Shutter Island," no matter how good the early buzz is, doesn't look like it was ever a serious awards contender.
A new trailer has dropped for Martin Scorsese's b-movie thriller, "Shutter Island." Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (who seems to be emerging as this generation's John Grisham - with much better results), the story follows U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he investigates the disappearance of a murderer from the Alcatraz-like hospital for the criminally insane.
Alright, something we missed that we needed to clear up. Maybe more for ourselves than our readers as we're sticklers for detail, but who knows, maybe some will appreciate.
When the trades announced that Uma Thurman had joined the cast of "Ceremony," the feature-film directorial debut of Max Winkler, they reported that Michael Angarano was set to play the lead.
However, they made no mention of the fact that Jesse Eisenberg was originally set to play the lead — it's a romantic dark comedy about a young man who becomes obsessed with an older woman and then attempts to break up her wedding at a beach town — and Angarano was supposed to play the unwitting friend who joins along in the ill-conceived endeavor.
So what happened there? Was it because the film was shooting in October in Long Island, the same month that David Fincher's "The Social Network" was shooting? Essentially, yes.
We talked to Matt Spicer, one of the producers of "Ceremony" (and a co-writer of the ensemble comedy "The Adventurer's Handbook" which is shooting next year starring Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman and Jason Segel; Winkler and Hill also co-wrote) and he said, when David Fincher calls, it's understandably hard to say no. "Yes, we did agree to let Jesse out of the film to go do the Fincher movie that I'm sure will be amazing and make millions of dollars and we wish him all the best."
It's the first of many changes in the film, but really par for the course as far as moviemaking and conflicting schedules go: actors sometimes leave films, news at 11. Anna Friel was originally scheduled to play the female lead, then Elizabeth Banks took the part, and then finally the part landed with Uma Thurman, which is not at all a bad place to be.
But Spicer said all these obstacles are simply just part of the challenges of everyday filmmaking and many of the twists have been blessings in disguise that he's now incredibly excited about. "We were bummed when we lost Elizabeth but then we landed Uma, so things keep working out for us despite the few hiccups we've experienced along the way."
"Once we started reading young actors to replace Jesse, we thought, 'Hey, Michael already knows the story so well, why not give him a chance to read?' He was open to it so he read with Max and just blew us all away. It was kind of fortuitous in a way because I think the movie will be excellent with Michael in the role. He's insanely dynamic and has this natural charm that's just intoxicating."
Two more actors are scheduled to be added to the cast, one to play Angarano's friend (the role he used to have) and another to play Thurman's fiancee. Spicer remained tight lipped on who would play who, but through our own detective work, we've figured out one is an up-and-coming indie actor from a 2008 Picturehouse HBO Films movie and a pretty prominent TV actor from an ABC dramatic black comedy (perhaps someone from "Pushing Daisies," hmmm? Yes, we're guessing Lee Pace as the fiancee).
Before "Ceremony," Winkler directed episodes of "Clark and Michael," the cult web series starring Clark Duke and Michael Cera, as well as David Wain's "Wainy Days," both of which are great comedy training grounds. Spicer and Winkler have also co-written "The Ornate Anatomy of Living Things" which is being developed over at Fox Searchlight with Jason Reitman producing.
"Ceremony" begins production October 21 in Long Island.
Polanski Updates: L.A. D.A. Suggests Old Rape Charges Could Be Brought Up Again; Hilary Clinton Denies French Pleas
It's been six days since filmmaker Roman Polanski was put in Swiss jail, detained on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice on a three-decade old unlawful sex crime that lead to his flight from the country where he has remained a fugitive ever since.
Extradition is likely in the works (the U.S. has 60 days to formally submit expatriation request and to our knowledge have not done so yet), but his lawyers have already requested his release to the Swiss government and plan to vehemently defend what they claim is an illegal detention.
Aside from a key witness dropping a shocking revelation that he lied in the documentary, "Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired," about admitting legal and ethical improprieties to the Judge in the case at the time (who is now since deceased) — potentially a huge blow to the case if it ever arrives back in the L.A. courts — it's been all quiet on the European front for the most part.
However, French officials (Polanski has lived in the country pretty much ever since his 1978 flight from the U.S.), who seemingly rushed to his defense and then quickly took a more measured and diplomatic backstep after they were censured for defending a man who had plead guilty to an unlawful sex crime, seem to be slowly mustering the courage to endorse him once again. Or at least one French figure is and it's evidently putting him in an awkward spot.
France's cultural minister Frederic Mitterrand (the nephew of former French President François Mitterrand) told the French media yesterday that he is concerned Polanski will not get a fair trial if he is indeed tried in a U.S. court. "There are concerns over the absolutely incredible media lynching to which Roman Polanski was subjected 30 years ago," he told reporters in Paris. "The manner in which the [legal] proceedings took place also raises a certain number of questions, to say the least," he said, referring to the debate aroused in Marina Zenovich's aforementioned 2008 documentary that suggested there had been judicial misconduct.
French officials reached out to U.S. Minister of Culture Hilary Clinton in hopes of dissuading the U.S. from pushing for extradition, but according to Reuters, on Wednesday she said it was for the courts to decide and essentially washed her hands of any involvement.
Meanwhile, Polanski is already preparing for the possibility of extradition and facing the music in U.S. courts by hiring high-profile U.S. Attorney, Reid Weingarten, who is evidently a veteran D.C. defense lawyer. The New York Times suggests the recruiting of the well-connected attorney is a indication that the defense could take a political and Washington-like angle.
On Thursday, Steve Cooley, Los Angeles County's district attorney, ominously suggested that the U.S. courts could go back to the original rape charges in the case (as part of his plea bargain, Polanski only plead guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sex). “There’s still five or six other much more serious charges pending that have yet to be resolved," he told L.A. KCAL television, as recounted by the New York Times, "They won’t be resolved until he’s finally sentenced.”
"It's about completing justice," the L.A. Times quoted Cooley as saying. "Justice is not complete when someone leaves the jurisdiction of the court."
This portentous comment will obviously make Polanski's European lawyers fight that much harder against extradition, because if they can rehash old charges of rape, sodomy and the other immoral crimes he committed, the filmmaker could be worse off then he was in 1978.
Offering a much different perspective Australian filmmaker now based in L.A..Philippe Mora ("Communion" with Christopher Walken, anyone?), suggests that, like the original judge in the case, Laurence J. Rittenband, is a publicity hound intent on taking down celebrities.
"This is a vote-getter. Cooley has a history of pursuing celebrities; his platform for his election was that he would 'get these people' and show that they were not above the law. His first was Winona Ryder - eight attorneys on a shoplifting charge. Then came the prosecution of Robert Blake who many believed shot his wife — but that one failed. Then there was Phil Spector and a hung jury meant they had to go again at huge cost," she told the Australian Age.
Additionally, it's been pegged that Hollywood has embraced the filmmaker, but more and more U.S. celebrities are coming out of the woodwork to say, hold the phone. Chris Rock and Jay Leno both puzzled on the latter's show about Tinsteltown's defense of Polanski, and have joined the likes of... Kirstie Alley, Jewel and Sherri Shepherd who are all in evidently vocal opposition of the filmmaker. Ok, so it's not the greatest or biggest group to change the overall perception. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes, we too always laugh when we have to write that, geez) also said that Polanski should receive no special treatment simply because he made movies that were better than "Twins" and "Kindergarten Cop."
Finally, the L.A. Times is now suggesting that Polanski missed his best shot at a lenient L.A. D.A.'s office in 2003 when he was poised to win the Best Director Oscar for the WWII drama, "The Pianist," and sympathy and goodwill towards the director in the U.S. was at an all time high.
There were suggestions at the time that prosecutors might reduce his sentence to time served (42 days he spent in state prison while undergoing psychiatric evaluation in 1978). All he had to do was agree to return to a California court and face the sentencing he dodged when he got out.
Now he's sure to be handled far less delicately. Polanski famously never appeared in person to accept his Best Director Oscar award, leaving presenter Harrison Ford to accept the honor on his behalf. Polanski received a standing ovation from most of those present in the theater after his name was announced as the prize winner.
Six months after winning his Oscar, Harrison Ford himself delivered the award to the filmmaker and in front of the media, Polanski quipped (wait for it), "Maybe we should kiss ... with tongues."
So last week, Nikki Finke reported that MGM studios was in trouble and basically made a plea to its shareholders for more cash. Apparently they were in knee-deep debt for $3.7 billion. They can't even keep up in the interest payments, ouch.
MGM made a desperate plea for money because the studio had missed its numbers and was going to be out of funds very soon. "The implication was that it's teetering on bankruptcy," one source told me.Part of the article said that "The Hobbit," and the Bond series could be in trouble if MGM tanked. Maybe for MGM continuing to own them, but uhh, nothing is going stop those two properties from coming to the screen. Still, geek bloggers persisted and the chicken littles of the world worried up a storm about their geek properties and the sky falling. One geek friendly site, Collider saw the forest for the trees and wrote a little op-ed to its brethren wisely titled, "If You Think THE HOBBIT and JAMES BOND Are in 'Peril,' You’re an Idiot."
Before worry could get any deeper or hysterical, MGM received some reprieve from lenders who have flushed them with new cash, but as Anne Thompson says, "[MGM' will be relieved of three interest payments, there are miles to go before they come out in the clear." THR says MGM has enough dough to proceed with its participation in "The Hobbit." That pic doesn't come out until 2011, so they better hope it does gangbusters. But really can they survive until then?
Nerd crisis averted... for now.
There are a number of different reasons to get to the theater this weekend. It’s officially Fall and the season is kicking off in style at the box office.
In Wide Release: Michael Moore’s highly anticipated new film “Capitalism: A Love Story,” which opened on a few screens last weekend hits full-on this weekend. Moore himself is once again the star of the show as he tackles the financial empires controlling the nation’s banks. Always timely, Moore rushed the film into production during last fall's complete financial collapse. While his films tend to be polemical and heavy-handed, we like his provocateur spirit and willingness to take on huge American institutions. The film stars, of course, Moore himself alongside a bunch of other sorry-looking execs. Rotten Tomatoes is tracking the film at 73% fresh. We would probably give this enjoyable and rousing, but clunky piece of agit-prop a similar score, but we did have problems with it too.
Ricky Gervais finally gets to direct his singular comedic vision on the big screen in “The Invention of Lying.” Featuring a ridiculous cast rich with luminaries of the comedy scene (Tina Fey, Christopher Guest, Jonah Hill, Jason Bateman um, Rob Lowe) “Lying” follows Gervais as a man who learns how to tell a lie in a world where lies do not exist. While “Ghost Town” last year was a quietly charming little romantic comedy, Gervais really shines when he is at the helm of his own ship. It remains to be seen whether his talents are better suited for the small screen, but the critics are lukewarm on the film the Matthew Robinson co-directed, giving it a 58% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But we loathed it.
Making her directorial debut after a lifetime in the business, Drew Barrymore brings us “Whip It.” Ellen Page--in her first post-Juno role--plays a small-town Texas girl lured to the hipster nirvana of Austin and into the world of all-grill roller derby. We saw it in Toronto and found that after a slow start it was ultimately sweet, charming, and cute. The movie has a great soundtrack and would make a nice early fall matinee. Being on film sets since childhood must have rubbed off on Barrymore, who shows decent potential behind the camera. The cast also includes Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Daniel Stern, and Barrymore herself. The reviews are looking pretty solid so far at 79% fresh at RT.
Reuben Fleischer's "Zombieland" sets out to prove there's life yet in the zombie sub-genre. Two men, both named after state capitals, Tallahassee and Columbus (Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg) are thrown together in the midst of a zombie attack. One is an AK-47 toting zombie killer and one is, well, not. They decide on hiding out in an amusement park to prepare for a full-on war. Harrelson was so affected by his character, he ended up, famously, attacking a paparazzi who he thought was a zombie. Abagail Breslin and Emma Stone join forces in the fight. The film looks like a lot of fun and the word is extrememly positive at 89% fresh at RT.
Finally, in wide release, "Toy Story 1 & 2" are released in 3D. They were pretty good films, remember?
In Limited Release: Like clockwork, the Coen Brothers return this Fall with what looks to be their most personal film yet. “A Serious Man” premiered a couple weeks ago in Toronto and word has been very strong. Shying away from big stars like Brad Pitt in last year’s “Burn After Reading,” the Coens have put together an excellent cast that includes Michael Stuhlbarg, Fred Melamed, Richard Kind, and Aaron Wolf. We loved the film when we saw it a couple weeks ago, it's meticulously crafted and practically demands a second viewing. If you live in NY or LA definitely find the time to check it out this weekend. Right now the film stands a seriously too low 81% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes.
An exciting and rare chance to see a great athlete before he becomes a worldwide superstar, Kristopher Belman’s documentary “More Than a Game” opens on 14 screens this weekend. The film follows LeBron James and his Akron, Ohio high school basketball team as they, along with their inexperienced coach (also a player's father) rise from a crumbling inner city gym to closing in on a national championship. We'd love to see a film to compliment the great "Hoop Dreams," but that is probably asking for too much. James, a famous perfectionist, might be a little disappointed in the 58% fresh average from RT.
Original "Bad Lieutenant" direct Abel Ferrara's new documentary "Chelsea on the Rocks," chronicles the scandalous and storied history of New York's Hotel Chelsea. A bohemian landmark, the hotel has played hosts to the likes of artists and writers such as Bob Dylan, Tennessee Williams, Andy Warhol, Mark Twain, and Charles Bukowski over the years. The history is so fascinating that a documentary like this shouldn't fail. Hell, Sid and Nancy died there. Ferrara's film features interviews with former residents such as Dennis Hopper, Milos Foreman, R. Crumb, and Ethan Hawke. According to the critics, its worth your time at 91% fresh on RT.
Finally, a film we reviewed about a year ago at the New York Film Festival, "Afterschool" hits in limited release. Making his feature debut, young director Antonio Campos sets his film in an elite Northeastern prep school where Robert (Ezra Miller) spends most of his life watching videos on the internet. Once he starts experiencing feelings in real life that he previously only encountered while on the internet, trouble ensues. While we thought Campos showed promise as a director, the sub-Haneke clinical style left us a little too cold and detached that we'd like. After gaining praise at Cannes though, Campos is one to watch and we could see this picture really dividing audiences. On RT, the movie is now 73% fresh.
We already reviewed "A Serious Man," at TIFF, but it's so good, another writer had to put his two cents down as well.
The Coen Brothers' "A Serious Man" begins with a bizarre prologue, set in Poland a century removed from the main story. This sequence, shot in 1.33:1 (while the rest is in glorious widescreen), is a Jewish folk tale about the kindness of strangers and the meaningless of life (or something). And in its spooky, spiritual way, this sequence sets the tone for the rest of the movie — one in which faith and the fucked-up-ness of everyday life collide in a typically Coens-y way.
After the credits, we are met with the story's main thrust, centering on a Jewish family in 1967 Midwest suburbia. Larry Gopnik (superb stage actor Michael Stuhlbarg) seems to be doing just fine: he's got a family, slightly strained by his brother Arthur (Richard Kind) and his constant monopolization of the bathroom, but otherwise just fine. His son (Aaron Wolff) is about to become a man; he's about to be tenured at his college; and otherwise doesn't feel like the cosmos are prosecuting him. And then his life turns to shit.
In short order, his wife (Sari Lennick) tells him that she's leaving him for another man (a wonderfully wormy Fred Melamed), and wants an official Jewish divorce. His brother, who carries around a notebook filled with Byzantine mathematical ramblings that could potentially predict tornadoes and/or help him cheat at cards, gets into more and more trouble. He starts fantasizing about his comely Jewish neighbor, who smokes weed and sunbathes naked (a brassy and cougar-ishly awesome Amy Landecker). And a Korean student, troubled by his failing grade, bribes Larry into giving passing him.
All of these personal windfalls build and build, which crescendo with increasing intensity and peppered with the Coens' penchant for the weird and absurd (remember how "The Man Who Wasn't There" had a UFO? That kind of thing), as well as their superb knack for casting (Adam Arkin, as Larry's lawyer, shines). Larry goes to visit three rabbis (they even get their own title cards!), but leaves each one more confused than the last (one tells an involved story about a gentile whose front teeth were mysteriously inscribed with a Jewish phrase).
While this sounds like a kind of depressing Philip Roth-ian thing, it's not. But it's not a wacky comedy either. (Those troubled by the excessive, nihilistic mugging of "Burn After Reading" should be please with this.) Somehow the Coens manage to sidestep the pitfalls of the "midlife crisis" film, enriching it with deep philosophical and spiritual questions that, quite frankly, we're still trying to figure out after an initial viewing. As we said in Toronto, this might be the Coens most personal film, but just like everything else, it's still hard to decipher, figure out, and unlock.
Technically, the movie is just as sound as anything else they've done, with Roger Deakins' gorgeous cinematography, Carter Burwell's twinkly score (accented by a half-dozen Jefferson Airplane songs), and the Coens themselves contributing outstanding editorial work (under their assumed identity Roderick Jaynes, who has a hilariously detailed biography in the press notes). The performances are universally great, with Stuhlbarg as the obvious standout. He's a sort of hapless Woody Allen-type character, befuddled and enraged but too castrated by suburban life to do much of anything. However, he's far from passive, and it's a testament to Stuhlbarg's talent that he can get across so much without saying much - a stutter, a facial tic, a twisted eyebrow says it all. He is genuinely confused and upset by his situation, and he's not sure who to blame, and what role God has to do with any of it. Sometimes, as the bumper sticker says and the Coens suggest, shit happens.
Is the movie perfect? No. At times it feels almost overwhelmingly overstuffed, there's about one dream sequence too many (this isn't a Buñuel film) and by the end, you think the Coens might have too many balls in the air, with resolution posing a prickly problem. Thankfully, they avoid this by one of the ballsiest endings in recent memory. If people were confused and pissed off by the last scene of "No Country for Old Men," we predict rioting in the theater for this one.
But that said the conclusion makes a perfect kind of sense. We're left with just as many questions as poor Larry, wondering what our cinematic God (the Coens) have put us through. This is the Coens, coming back from the minor folly that was "Burn After Reading," in a big way, proving once again that they're one of the most vital filmmaking teams in cinema today. Jews and gentiles can both agree on that one. [A-] - Drew Taylor
Can someone explain the appeal of Ricky Gervais to us?
The "Invention of Lying" was a noxiously sentimental and a goofy Hallmark-card of loathsome cuteness and painful music montages (who is this composer desperately jacking the Jon Brion-sound? It moves from homage to straight rip-off). This over-simplistic moronic claptrap — no one can lie! they all blurt out the truth all the time! ha ha ha! — it so cloyingly egregious is almost forces me to drop the The Playlist "we" conceit because there's probably some of our writers out there that might disagree with me, but fuck it.
We've never outwardly detested Ricky Gervais, but some of us (me) did think the original U.K. "The Office," was overrated and his shtick, we've come to realize is rather obnoxious and completely one-note. Do people find that thing sort of cute? We also cannot properly review this film without coming across as an even bigger assholes, so we're not going to bother, but this saccharine, largely unfunny, reductive atheist comedy/romantic fairytale was painfully hamfisted, insulting to the intelligence and nauseating. Even Jim Carrey's "Liar, Liar," wasn't as insufferable. We just can't fathom how people like movies like this. No, this isn't a proper review. It's all we can bear to stomach. [F]
Drew Barrymore's roller derby dramedy, "Whip It" starring Ellen Page — and an ensemble that also features Andrew Wilson, Kirsten Wiig, Eve, Alia Shawkat, Jimmy Fallon, Juliette Lewis — hits theaters this Friday (October 2).
We saw it the picture at TIFF recently and while it starts out a little uneven initially, it does make for a sweet, come-from-behind victory. And Marcia Gay Harden is really the best thing about it, playing a mother who's wonderfully flawed and yet still likable — sort of like all mom's lovable, but sometimes big pains in the ass.
Anywhoo, we noted a few weeks ago, the soundtrack, which came out this Tuesday, features the likes of the Go! Team, The Raveonettes, Jens Lekman, The Ramones and 19 tracks in total. But the movie itself, features a whopping 75 music cues all in all.
So we have for you two different treats. First, the three (technically two) soundtrack songs specifically-written (one remixed) for the film which include, Landon Pigg's (who also appears in the film as the Page's romantic) "High Times," with the Turbo Fruits, Har Mar Superstar and Adam Green cover of '60s sunshine pop band the Associations "Never My Love" featuring Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea on horns (Har Mar also has a small cameo) and the Chordettes' classic '50s bubblegum tune "Lollipop" as remixed by Squeak E. Clean (Spike Jonze's brother) and Desert Eagles (Squeak E. Clean also composed the score to David O. Russell's never-gonna-get-released political satire, "Nailed").
And then we have the full list of every song used in "Whip It" the film. You'll recall that Rhino Records, who put out the soundtrack is toying with the idea of putting out a second soundtrack disc and they'd have plenty of music to choose from if they can licence it all including Radiohead ("No Surprises"), The American Analog Set, several Go! Team tracks, The White Stripes, The Strokes, Eagles of Death Metal, Badly Drawn Boy, Kings of Leon, Jon Brion (three recycled score tunes from previous films) and a few cues that look like they're original score material written by Squeak E. Clean (aka Sam Spiegel of NASA). String quartet The Section Quartet are credited with the original score, but another composer favorite of ours David Torn looks like he lent a few music cues as well. Whether they're original or recycled remains to be seen however as much of his soundtrack instrumental cues ("The Wackness," "Anvil") have never been released (though one is clearly from “Lars and the Real Girl”).
All The Music Featured in "Whip It"
Kings of Leon, “Knocked Up”
Badly Drawn Boy, “About a Boy”
Rex Hobart,“Don’t Make Me Break Your Heart”
George Strait, “If You Can Do Anything Else”
W. Houston/M.G. Harden/U. Scheel, “Greatest Love of All”
Black Angels, “Manipulation”
Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah, “Blue Turning to Grey”
The Ramones, “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”
Kasabian, “Club Foot”
The Sugarhill Gang, “Apache”
Cut Chemist, “What’s the Altitude”
The White Stripes, “Icky Thump”
Animal Collective, “Summertime Clothes”
Eagles of Death Metal, “High Voltage”
Gilberto Gil, “Domingo No Parque”
Wilson Phillips, “Hold On”
Flying Lotus, “Melt”
Dead Meadow, “The Queen of All Returns”
Department of Eagles, “In Ear Park”
.38 Special, “Caught Up in You”
EPMD, “I’m Housin’”
Sam Speigel, “Once Again”
Peaches, “Boys Want to Be Her”
DJ Kool, “Let Me Clear My Throat”
Whitey, “Wrap it Up”
Goose, “Black Gloves”
Turbo Fruits and Landon, “Fun Dream Love Dream”
Turbo Fruits and Landon, “Get Up, Get Down”
Jens Lekman, “Sweet Summer Nights”
Little Joy, “Unattainable”
Eagles of Death Metal, “I’m Your Torpedo”
Dolly Parton, “Jolene”
Jimmy Dale Gilmore, “Four Walls”
American Analog Set, “Punk as Fuck”
On Camera & Landon, “Deep in the Heart of Texas”
Joel Butler, “Deep in the Heart of Texas”
Breeders, “Bang on”
Five Alarm Music, “Dillon Cadence”
Tilly and the Wall, “Pot Kettle Black”
Kaiser Chiefs, “I Predict a Riot”
Turbo Fruits and Landon, “Hightimes”
Jon Brion, “Break Up”
Extreme Music, “Di Quella Pira”
David Torn, “3M46A”
Jon Brion, “I Heart Huckabees”
Jon Brion, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”
Jens Lekman, “Your Arms Around Me”
Radiohead, “No Surprises”
Jens Lekman, “When I Said I wanted to Be Your Dog”
Joy Division, “Digital”
Turbo Fruits and Landon, “Hightimes”
Sam Speigel, “5M57”
Sam Speigel, “Intro to the Race”
The Strokes, “Heart in a Cage”
The Ettes, “Crown of Age”
The Breeders, “Cannonball”
Does It Offend You, Yeah?, “With a Heavy Heart”
The Go Team, “The Power is On”
David Torn, “Lars and the Real Girl”
The Go Team, “Doing it Right”
David Torn, “Brooke and Bliss Make Up”
Apollo Sunshine, “Breeze”
Sam Spiegel, “Lollipop Remix Song”
Young MC, “Know How”
Ellen Page, “Greatest Love of All”
Lorene Scafaria, “28”
Har Mar Superstar, “Never My Love”
The latest film from polarizing provocateur, French director Bruno Dumont ("Twentynine Palms," "Flanders"), has been picked up for distribution in North America by IFC. The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and we got a chance to see it.
"Hadewijich" focuses on a fundamentalist nun expelled from a convent, and won the FIPRESCI prize at Toronto. The film premieres at the New York Film Festival this weekend, and will be released next year.
In the picture, Dumont examines and tries to understand extreme emotional devotion to God and the subject of martyrdom. The story of a young woman, Celine (Julie Sokolowski), whose love for God worries her superiors at a convent and have them send her back into the world to find herself and understand herself better. She returns to her home in Paris where she meets a young Muslim man, Yassine (Yassine Salihine), whose brother, Nassir (Karl Sarafidis), shares a similar religious devotion to her. He becomes something of a spiritual guide to her that takes her on to an even more extreme path than before.
The filmmaker use of quiet moments is fascinating and one scene in particular, where Celine, Nassir and Yassine pray together in a room is almost absolutely silent. The scene is framed beautifully, as Dumont cuts to Celine alone and then to all three at once. Of course certain thoughts arise from moments like this but Dumont's film is not political. The story is obviously influenced by world events, the film is truly one about emotion, religion and love. Celine's love for God and her desire to find him and feel close to him leads her to sacrifice most everything else in her life. But when she goes to the most drastic lengths, it is not God that finds her but humanity, in the most unlikely incarnation.
Remember Criterion has deal with IFC to release about a dozen of their new titles, so every new IFC release should be eyed closely to see if it makes the cut. - Frank Rutledge
Posted by Rodrigo Perez at 10:12 AM
A new trailer for John Woo's long awaited action adventure, "Red Cliff" has premiered over at Apple. The movie, which has already been released almost everywhere else in the world, finally reaches US shores as part of Magnet's always interesting Six Shooter film series, reaching video-on-demand on October 22nd, and hitting theaters November 20th. But if you're going to see any of the selection, which also includes "District 13: Ultimatum" and the excellent "Bronson," on the big screen, it looks like it should be this one.
Legendary action cinema master John Woo and international superstar Tony Leung reunite for the first time since the 1992 classic HARD BOILED with this epic historical drama set based on a legendary 208 A.D. battle that heralded the end of the Han Dynasty. RED CLIFF opens with power hungry Prime Minister-turned-General Cao Cao (Zhang Fengyi) seeking permission from the Han dynasty Emperor to organize a southward-bound mission designed to crush two troublesome warlords that stand in his way, Liu Bei (You Yong) and Sun Quan (Chang Chen). As the expedition gets under way, Cao Cao’s troops rain destruction on Liu Bei’s army, forcing the latter to retreat. Liu Bei’s military strategist Zhuge Liang (Takeshi Kaneshiro) knows that their only hope for survival is to form an alliance with rival warlord Sun Quan, and reaches out to Sun Quan’s trusted advisor, war hero Zhou Yu (Tony Leung). Vastly outnumbered by Cao Cao’s fast approaching, brutal army, the rebel warlords band together to mount a heroic campaign unrivalled in history that changes the face of China forever. A massive hit in Asia and the most expensive Asian film production of all time, RED CLIFF is a breathtaking war epic that marks the triumphant return of John Woo."Red Cliff" is in theaters November 20.
Blunt Talks 'Adjustement Bureau,' 'Mad Men's John Slattery Joins Cast; 'Inception' To Hit IMAX Screens
- The Philip K. Dick adaptation "The Adjustment Bureau" has added three new cast members in the shape of Daniel Dae Kim (Jin on "Lost"), John Slattery (Roger Sterling on "Mad Men") and Michael Kelly ("Dawn of the Dead"). They join leads Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, who play a congressman and a ballerina who fall in love, only to find that a mysterious organization, the Bureau of Adjustments, are trying to separate them.
George C. Nolfi, writer of "The Bourne Ultimatum," is directing, and Anthony Mackie and Shohreh Aghdashloo also feature in the cast. Blunt recently talked to MTV about the movie, saying "It's like a modern love story, but it's got an ominous sci-fi backdrop to it. It's going to be exciting and disconcerting and strange, which is what I like about [Dick's] work. It's very cool and clever. It's got a really tight script."
- Sam Mendes is eyeing a stage musical adaptation of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which his company Neal Street Productions will produce. Excellent Scottish playwright David Greig will write the book, while super busy composer and lyricist duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman ("Hairspray", the upcoming "Catch Me If You Can") will provide the tunes. It's got to be better than the Burton version, surely?
- In a widely expected piece of news, it was announced yesterday that Christopher Nolan's enigmatic blockbuster "Inception" will get a simultaneous IMAX release when it hits screens on July 16 next year. The IMAX Corporation's press release seems to suggest that "Inception" has been shot entirely on standard format film, unlike "The Dark Knight," saying that the film "will be digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience with IMAX DMR technology." But then, we know so little about this right now that Nolan could have shot half the film on Super 8 and we'd be none the wiser.
- Annie Clark, better known as St Vincent (whose album Actor is still one of the best of the year) talked to Pitchfork about her collaboration with Bon Iver on the "New Moon" soundtrack. She reveals that the song wasn't written for the soundtrack, but came instead from the artists: "Justin [Vernon] and I met at Bonnaroo, and it turns out we were both fans of each other. Afterward, we got to talking about doing some kind of collaboration. He had this song that he'd been kicking around, and he sent it to me. It was beautiful, as you can imagine. I ended up working on it with him, and then it turned out that the 'Twilight' people were interested in the song being on their soundtrack". The soundtrack hits October 20, and we fully intend on borrowing a copy from our 12-year-old cousin.
- The first trailer for Breck Eisner's remake of George Romero's "The Crazies" has hit over at Apple, and despite featuring plenty of actors we like very much, like Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell and Joe Anderson, the movie looks like a fairly generic zombie-type film. Oh, and 'Mad World?' Really? "Donnie Darko" was almost a decade ago, guys...
Posted by Rodrigo Perez at 9:34 AM
"Let Me In," the redundant remake of last year's horror sleeper "Let The Right One In" from "Cloverfield" director Matt Reeves, has locked down its first cast members. Along with Kodi Smit-McPhee ("The Road") and Chloe Moretz ("(500) Days of Summer"), both of whom were previously tipped to play the lead roles, the picture has added the great Richard Jenkins, as what Variety describes as "the girl's vampire-hunting guardian."
Either Variety has its wires crossed (it wouldn't be the first time), or the role, named Hakan in the original, has changed substantially — he was certainly not a vampire hunter first time around... Maybe they just mean vampire guardian. That would make much more sense.
Any film is immediately improved with the presence of Richard Jenkins, but we're still dreading this — from what little we've seen of her work, we don't buy Moretz in her crucial role at all. Filming starts very soon in New Mexico.
- Following the lead of fellow horror maestro Guillermo Del Toro, who launched new family horror label 'Double Dare You' at Disney last month, Sam Raimi's production company Ghost House is setting up a new imprint, "Spooky Pictures," which will focus on making thrillers for family audiences (sort of like the family sitcom fun of "Drag Me To Hell"?). First up is a remake of "The Substitute," the Danish thriller from director Ole Bornedal (whose film "Just Another Love Story" is also being redone, as we reported earlier in the week) about a sixth grade class convinced that their substitute teacher is an evil alien. Scott Derrickson ("The Day the Earth Stood Still"), pictured left at the 2008 Worst Facial Hair Awards, will helm.
- Currently rolling in Spain is the latest film from actor/director/former-Young-Gun Emilio Estevez, "The Way." The drama, financed entirely with Spanish money, stars Estevez's father Martin Sheen as a Californian doctor who travels to Europe to take the ashes of his estranged son on the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. Also starring are James Nesbitt ("Bloody Sunday"), Deborah Kara Unger ("Crash"), Angela Molina ("Broken Embraces") and Eusebio Lazaro ("Pan's Labyrinth").
- Director Chris Wedge ("Ice Age") announced his return to Fox's Blue Sky Studios last week for the animation "Leaf Men", and he's now added something else to his slate - an adaptation of the God-sim videogame "Spore." The game, which comes from "Sim City" creator Will Wright, allows the player to create their own single cell organism, which then evolves into weird and wonderful creatures, which in turn are able to develop into an entire civilisation. So, while we find the idea of a film adaptation entirely redundant, we sort of hope it happens, just to watch the Creationists lose their minds over a family movie about evolution. Greg Erb and Jason Oremland, who wrote Disney's "The Princess and the Frog," will pen the script.
Dennis Hopper is feeling "better," after being rushed to a New York hospital this week following flu-like symptoms. The 73-year-old actor has been released.
So a few weeks we were given the teaser-trailer version of Jason Reitman's "Up In The Air," let's call it the soulful version. Now arrives the theatrical trailer which is essentially, the mainstream, catch-the-most-flies-as-possible version. Granted, it does retain some of the moody, grace notes of the teaser and the film (that thankfully weigh out some of the more fauxoyalty, impersonal and narcissistic themes in the film), but the hyper-edited opening (set to Iggy Pop's "The Passenger") is obnoxious and does tend to show off some of Reitman's worst, pop-cinema tendencies. This version does reveal Zach Galifianakis,' cameo in the film (yeah, we were surprised when we first saw it in the film too). If you haven't heard ten trillion times by now George Clooney plays a sort of vapid corporate downsizer in the film, who eventually goes on to find his humanity. The film was met with raves at Telluride, but we suggest audiences manage their expectations somewhat, because it is good, but shy of brilliant.
The trailer also reveals something displayed at the end of the film at TIFF, too: the soundtrack album, that will probably feature artists used in the film like Graham Nash, Elliott Smith, Black Keys member gone solo Dan Auerbach, Woody Guthrie, Ben Kweller, Brad Smith's "Help Yourself" -- which is the song in the second half of this trailer and was originally written for the film -- and Blige’s “I See in Color,” which plays over the film's closing credits (and was submitted to Reitman unsolicited on a cassette): is coming out on Rhino Records presumably in late November given the scheduled date (though Amazon currently says the date is November 3, but that's likely before the release date was shifted). "Up In The Air," which also stars Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga, lands in theaters in limited release on December 4.
Polanski Documentary Director Responds To Prosecutors Recant; 'Ghost' Film To Be Made "With Or Without" Jailed Filmmaker
A shocking and bizarre bombshell landed in the Roman Polanski case yesterday.
Former prosecutor David Wells who essentially caught the Roman Polanski case back in 1977 — but was taken off the case early on because he conducted some of the initial interviews with family and victim and would have had to testify which isn't allowed — recanted his key story.
In the Marina Zenovich documentary, "Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired," Wells admitted on camera that he influenced the Judge and gave him reason (and photos) to renege on his plea bargain deal and send Polanski to jail. Yesterday, he turned around and said he lied to the filmmaker.
It's huge blow to Polansky and his attorneys because the request to revisit or dismiss the case was based on Wells and Judge Laurence J. Rittenband's prosecutorial improprieties. Any testimonial he would give would be key evidence to support this claim.
Now Zenovich has responded with her own statement (via Jeff Wells) and she seems to be in complete disbelief of Wells new claim and finds the timing rather convenient. She also disproves Wells suspicious claim that part of the reason he lied is because he thought the film would never be aired in the U.S.
"I am perplexed by the timing of David Wells’ statement to the press that he lied in his interview with me for the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. Since June of 2008, the film has been quite visible on U.S. television via HBO, in theaters and on DVD, so it is odd that David Wells has not brought this issue to my attention before.But Zenovich is incorrect in her statement. In July 2008 Wells actually denied any wrongdoing. His quotes from that story are “I didn’t tell him to do it or that he should do it,” he said. “I just told him what his options were” (though perhaps him admitting he spoke to the judge about his options is impropriety enough).
For the record, on the day I filmed Mr. Wells at the Malibu Courthouse, February 11, 2005, he gave me a one-hour interview. He signed a release like all my other interviewees, giving me permission to use his interview in the documentary worldwide. At no time did I tell him that the film would not air in the United States.
Mr. Wells was always friendly and open with me. At no point in the four years since our interview has he ever raised any issues about its content. In fact, in a July 2008 story in The New York Times, Mr. Wells corroborated the account of events that he gave in my film.
I am astonished that he has now changed his story. It is a sad day for documentary filmmakers when something like this happens."
Meanwhile, according to French Premiere magazine (via /Film) "Jerome Seydoux, co-chairman of Pathe and Gaumont cinemas confirmed at the exhibitor’s conference in Deauville that 'The Ghost' (a political thriller starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan) will reach French screens in March 2010. If the director is still detained until that time it seems like other members of his sound and music for his film."
This sounds shocking and cold, but the reality is a lot of filmmakers let their team, editors and sound designers do the heavy lifting for them. This is how some filmmakers like Soderbergh or Robert Rodriguez can shoot so many films and juggle so many projects at once. They're not doing every little bit of the heavy lifting and we do feel a little silly reporting the "delays" on "The Ghost" without providing that sort of skeptical context, but well, there it is.
Sure, if he was jailed the entire time and didn't get to supervise the sound or score at all, that would be big, but we'll see how that all plays out and won't rush to alarm just yet. If Wes Anderson can direct a film via email and video conference there's really no reason why Polanski couldn't arguably supervise or provide direction from inside the pokey.
"I don't know why she picked who she picked [to join in the recording of the soundtrack]," Spike Jonze, director of "Where The Wild Things," says of Karen O's musical collaborative choices for the film in this behind-the-scenes clip. "But it was a definitely a specific casting select."
In case your memory is short, O's musical collaborators on the soundtrack (who she dubbed collectively as Karen O & The Kids) which she wrote and orchestrated (though there is a separate score for the film as well done by Carter Burwell) is an eclectic mass of indie rockers — members of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Jonze's brother, producer Squeak-E Clean, Bradford Cox of Deerhunter, Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Folk Implosion collaborator Imaad Wasif and Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs and Dead Weather, Dean Fertita (member of Queens of the Stone Age, The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs), Liars' guitarist Aaron Hemphill, the Bird and the Bee's Greg Kurstin, Services' Tristan Bechet, and Gris Gris's Oscar Michel, plus a an untrained children's choir.
"I wanted to round up a bunch of musicians that I felt had really good musical intuition and really felt the music," she says. The Wild Things soundtrack is out now, you can hear it all right here. The movie comes out October 16.