Changeling filmmaker David Gordon Green has eight projects listed in development on his IMDB page, but not all of them are real or in motion.
During a SXSW panel in Austin, Texas moderated by The Hollywood Reporter's Jay Fernandez, Green spoke about several of these projects and the misinformation on the Internet, noting that one project — called "The Precious View" — is actually an old demolition derby project he and Danny McBride wrote more than a decade ago called, "The Precious Few" (which seemed to gain some small traction in 2008).
An extremely prolific writer, Green mentioned the myriad projects that he once wrote during the hour long SXSW Q&A that have still yet to be made: "Nerd Camp"; "Shockproof Sydney Skate," a novel he adapted for Sydney Pollack; a unmade motorcross project that once had Tom Cruise and Sam Jones (the Wilco documentary, "I Will Break Your Heart") interested in; "The Secret Life of Bees" which he adapted before it came to the screen in 2007 with Dakota Fanning in a completley different version than what he wrote and several others (many of which we looked at in depth back in 2008).
So what is coming next after his upcoming medieval fantasy stoner comedy, "Your Highness" scheduled to hit this October?
If all goes according to plan it should be the most recently announced project, "The Sitter" starring Jonah Hill which will shoot in the fall. So far, it's been described as a film that "follows a college student, suspended for the semester and living at home with his single mom, who has a night to remember when he gets talked into baby-sitting the eccentric kids next door: two boys and a wild 8-year-old girl."
But Green revealed the key plot point of misadventures that will surely be an outrageous comedy of errors. "It's Jonah Hill as a babysitter taking three kids on a coke run," he said as the audience chortled with laughter. "It's a script that Jonah brought to me [penned by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka], that he found that I thought, 'shit yeah.' It seemed like a good idea at the time."
Among the projects Green has been attached to recently has been the comic adaptation, "Freaks Of The Heartland," ankled by Overture's financial troubles and a remake of Dario Argento's "Suspiria." When we told Green IMDB had "Suspiria" listed as being in pre-production, he sarcastically quipped, "Oh, great, I'm glad to hear that. As soon as the check clears all those movies are happening. I'm going to be really busy for the next 48 years."
That being said, it still sounds like its somewhere in the cards. Green said he'd like to "make it more his way than Dario Argento's way. And not to be disrespectful of that movie, I think it's great. But I wouldn't try to be stylistically derivative of someone else. And at the same time I don't look at a movie and need all my fingerprints all over it."
Green said the concept for the project was born when he was at an Italian Film Festival and began talking with a producer who was looking for someone to remake the film. The producer asked Green his thoughts and he offered some of his ideas. Intrigued, the producer was soon hooked and it snowballed from there. "In a weird way, what got me excited about it the movie was not seeing it through my own way, but things that I thought would be cool like if you had composer John Adams take the Goblin theme and make into an opera at the end," he said. "Like try and take all the things that are so artistically ambitious about the movie, the color and style, the beautiful set design...so it was thinking outside my own approach, but also thinking about what I would like to see. I'm not sure when I'm going to make that but it's something that I'm excited about."
Green also noted that he wrote the adaptation with his production sound mixer. "So we wrote it thinking about sound. It was a different approach from how I've ever collaborated before. It was just really unique and special in terms of the process. But to make a horror film these days you kinda need to make a $50 million dollar slasher flick based around a [particular] actor or something..."
The Q&A was full of nuggets on several David Gordon Green projects, so hopefully look for more updates in the next few days as we sort through our notes from the festival.
SXSW Panel: David Gordon Green Says 'The Sitter' Is Next; Calls It A "Babysitter On A Coke Run" Story, Talks 'Suspiria'
Changeling filmmaker David Gordon Green has eight projects listed in development on his IMDB page, but not all of them are real or in motion.
The Playlist has been anti-"Kick-Ass" for some time now. Based on several silly looking posters, trailers and other media, most of the staff has been vehemently against for some time (and those of our clique that know the source material seem to like it even less).
And it turns out this disdain for the picture is both warranted and yet, unwarranted. While largely juvenile and incredibly geared towards an adolescent and tumescent manchild/fanboy audience, the stylish, loud and dynamic picture is undeniably entertaining in spots and even occasionally amusing.
Operating as an R-Rated comic-book film and one that clearly takes delight in subverting the Peter Parker teenage superhero paradigm (the setting is practically Queens, NY with Manhattan in the not-so-far distance), the star of the picture -- aside from the likable Aaron Johnson -- is director Matthew Vaughn who clearly knows his way around super hero aesthetics and has a knack with visual flair and building action sequence suspense (even if a few heated scenes are overworked to the point of fatigue).
Clearly this filmmaker -- who was offered "X-Men 3" and "Thor" -- should be at the helm of super hero films, though perhaps ones not based on source material this vulgar and at times, sophomoric. Still, as boorish and pedestrian as some of the dialogue and moments can be, the picture plays out like the more entertaining version of "Watchmen" that uses similar techniques (speed ramping), but to successful and less fetishistic use. While the picture, like the Zack Snyder film, is needlessly violent in spots, it does not revel in its gratuitousness in the same way that Snyder's overly-faithful graphic novel adaptation did. Also, the picture thankfully takes itself way less seriously and has an enjoyably playful demeanor.
Suffused in 2.0, I-Gen pop culture references (MySpace, YouTube both feature prominently, first person shooter camera references, a nod/diss of Frank Miller's "The Spirit", etc.), some will find the flurry of obnoxious slanguisitics and references a la "Juno" annoying, but clearly some audiences (like the SXSW crowd we saw it with) are going to eat it all up.
The story centers on a gangly, geeky teenage boy (Johnson) who lives an ignored high school non-existence with his equally dorky friends (Clark Duke among them) who yearns for something more: girls, recognition, respect from peers and a way to live out his dreams.
Enamored with comic book characters and wanting to live through their lives vicariously, Johnson's teenage character creates the character Kick-Ass to fight crime, but quickly finds himself inept and overwhelmed. Eventually, his heroic actions -- he saves a man from a group of thugs but gets pummeled in the process -- are captured and uploaded to YouTube where he becomes an internet sensation. His antics soon catch the eye of true vigilante super heroes Big Daddy and his daughter Hit Girl -- a terrific Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz.
Their involved revenge backstory revolves around a ruthless businessman-cum-drug-dealer (an always excellent Mark Strong) and his weiner-boy nerdy son (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who wants in on the family business and has an understanding of comic cook characters that comes in handy later.
Cage and Moretz try and warn Kick-Ass that he's going to get killed if he's not careful and yet at the same time watch over him from afar as he moves closer to their mutual adversary.
While "Kick-Ass" feels crass and simplistic at first -- lots of snippy homophobia, misogyny, and what feels like a boy wants girl storyline -- there are deceptive layers to the story.The dueling father/son/daughter relationships and dynamics are clever, interesting and give the picture a texture one might not assume it possessed. And in many ways the picture is a satire of the tropes in super-hero films with an super irreverent demeanor that both skewers and celebrates the genre.
There are some frustrating elements aside from the lazy use of kids dropping f-bombs or doing outrageous/shocking things. Musically, five composers are credited and there is a massive aping of John Murphy's "28 Days Later" and "Sunshine" scores, and yet conversely, there's some great use of source music (Joan Jett's "I Love Rock N' Roll" is particularly great and super amusing). Tonally, the film fires off in several different directions. It rides the border between amusing and irritating very closely, and just when you think you've finally been won over by its charm, it becomes overwrought and annoying.
So for non-geeks "Kick-Ass" might be enjoyable, but uneven, but for the core constituency, it should go over like a house on fire. In many ways, "Kick-Ass" -- other than its annoyingly shameless nods to a sequel -- feels like Vaughn's calling card for bigger, more ambitious projects and in that sense is very successful, especially from a cinematically rich visual and storytelling perspective.
"Kick-Ass" will skew heavy for males (whereas something video-gamey similar like "Scott Pilgrim" looks like it has much bigger crossover potential) and likely will strike a very decent $30 million-ish opening. For folks like us, "Kick-Ass" demonstrates that with stronger material, Vaughn could be a major genre threat in Hollywood and we will not be surprised if he's finally ready to take on some A-list projects. [B] - RP
Early this morning during a press conference for the Robert Rodriguez produced "Predators" picture directed by Nimrod Antal -- the footage of which incidentally looks nice and raw with primal fear being the big take away, read our report here -- the Austin-based filmmaker was asked the inevitable, "what's next" question from prying journos.
He echoed what his Troublemaker producer Elizabeth Avellan told Empire magazine a few months ago regarding a certain space-age family cartoon adaptation, though while Avellan suggested "The Jetsons" might be over, Rodriguez responded with an unequivocal, "I'm not doing 'The Jetsons'."
What is happening next is his reboot of his own "Spy Kids" franchise for The Weinstein Company with an all new, younger cast as the original kids have essentially all grown up now (Daryl Sabara has stayed in the Troublemaker family, he has a role in forthcoming "Machete").
Rodriguez said he just turned the new script in and he's excited for it. "That's my most loyal audience, even more than the geek crowd, are the kids. Everyday kids and families come up to me and thank me for the 'Spy Kids' films and tell me that they've shown their new kids the original films."
The reboot will be set 10 years later. "Let's revitalize it with a new cast and some amazing kids and that maybe doesn't sound as good as it sounds, but when you read the script its very funny. Its not like we're going back to the well for a fourth time. It feels actually completely new. It's the 'Casino Royale' to 'For Your Eyes Only.'
The inevitable "Sin City 2" question was met with a cagey, but hopeful response. Will he revisit the series? "Quite possibly," he said, "It's still somewhere in the running." - RP
Here's your first look at George Clooney in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," which began shooting in Hawaii this week.
The film is an adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemming's novel of the same name and centers on a man who finds his life at a crossroads after the death of his wife, and decides to take a trip with his daughters to find the man she was having an affair with.
"The Secret Life of the American Teenager" star Shailene Woodley was previously confirmed to play Clooney's eldest daughter, Alex, while IMDB are now reporting that Nick Krause (Richard Linklater's 12 year 'Boyhood' project) will play Sid, a male friend of Alex's, and Mary Birdsong will play a character named Kai. No word yet on who will play Clooney's other daughter, Scottie, a comedic highlight of the script — which we previously reviewed and thought will "play to Payne's strengths" — or Clooney's wife, who appears in flashbacks.
"The Descendants" should hit theaters later this fall in what could very well be another tilt for both Payne and Clooney at the award season.
Comedian Russell Peters Joins Duncan Jones' 'Source Code,' Vera Farmiga Doesn't Know What Film Is About Quite Yet
Canadian racial comedian Russell Peters has won a role in Duncan Jones upcoming sci-fi-thriller "Source Code," according to CanadaEast.
Peters will play a "comical passenger on the train" and his role was recently expanded with additional scenes and dialogue. Additional as in Billy Ray's rewrites? Or was the always quick thinking Peters just riffing on the spot? It's an interesting casting choice nonetheless and we're curious to see how Peters' particular (and very popular) brand of comedy translates into his first major feature film role.
"Source Code" centers on a soldier, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who is part of an experimental government program investigating a terrorist incident. He finds himself in the body of an unknown commuter living and reliving a harrowing train bombing until he can find who is responsible for the attack. Co-starring will be the likes of Vera Farmiga, Michelle Monaghan and Jeffrey Wright with filming already underway in Montreal. Though with cameras already rolling, co-star Farmiga might want to clarify what exactly is going on in the story.
"I can't tell you much," Farmiga told MTV about the film at the Oscars red carpet. "I'll tell you why. Because I haven't wrapped my head around it myself and I'm going to sound like an utter idiot trying to explain it to you. It's a pretty complicated plot. With all due respect to Duncan Jones. I'm sure Duncan is not proud of me in this moment."
Farmiga also somewhat confirms our suspicions that her part will be that of scientist Rutledge, who was previously written as a male character. Farmiga explains that "there's a portion of the film that is [action-oriented], but [that her role] is actually very static." Monaghan will play the protagonist's love interest, a fellow train commuter named Christina while Wright will likely play military liaison, Goodwin.
"Source Code" will probably end up hitting theaters sometime next year.
The Playlist EIC along with our correspondent in the field, Paul Alvarado-Dykstra aka Robogeek, have descended upon SXSW. Here is our first report from Austin with more interviews, reviews and features to come over the next few days. Stay tuned.
It's been a long time since I stood in line for three hours for anything, much less skipped something as cool as the SXSW Opening Night Premiere of "Kick-Ass" to do so (which I could only stomach doing because I'd had the good fortune to see it at Butt-Numb-A-Thon in December; and yes, it does exhilaratingly kick ass), but my inner teenager has always yearned for a worthy sequel to the iconic 1987-vintage John McTiernan/Arnold Schwarzenegger action opus. And it looks like he's getting his wish.
Robert Rodriguez took the stage at a packed Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at the Ritz on Sixth Street in Austin Friday night and shared his history with the franchise. Some 15 years ago, when "Desperado" got delayed, he took a writing assignment from Peter Rice at Fox for a sequel to "Predator". Without any hope or plan of ever directing it himself, Rodriguez dived into the deep end, with no regard for budget or scale, and wrote his dream sequel. In a nod to "Aliens", he dubbed it "Predators," and wrote it for Arnold to reprise his role as Dutch, shanghaied off Earth to a safari planet where the Predators would hunt him for sport.
Rodriguez shared an amusing anecdote about how he got to personally pitch the script to Schwarzenegger at his restaurant, Schatzi on Main, who passed on the project months later, effectively killing it.
Robert Downey Jr. Circling Lead Role In Alfonso Cuarón's 'Gravity,' 'Sherlock Holmes 2' To Shoot This Fall
Deadline Hollywood reports that Robert Downey Jr. is now negotiating to take one of the lead roles in Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity."
It's been a long time since Cuarón's "Children Of Men," and we've been eagerly awaiting his next picture. He's been attached to projects like "The Tourist" and "Life Of Pi" only to drop out as the projects changed shaped or were inevitably delayed, though he has found time to direct a couple of documentary shorts, "The Possibility Of Hope" and "The Shock Doctrine."
"Gravity," which briefly had Angelina Jolie attached, is indeed set up at Warner Bros. after some confusion at the end of last month. The film will have Downey Jr. playing "the leader of a team posted at a remote space station. While he and a female colleague are traveling outside the space station, the other team members are decimated by debris from an exploded satellite." From there they will try to return to Earth, and their families.
If a deal is hashed out with Downey Jr., "Gravity" will go in front of cameras this summer in London. And the leading man might as well stick around after, as Deadline also reports that "Sherlock Holmes 2" is set to go in front of cameras in early fall. Though someone may need to tell Jude Law, as he was a little uncertain last time he talked about the project.
We're pretty thrilled that Cuarón is finally getting back to work, and on another sci-fi film no less. "Children Of Men" was one of the great ones of the last decade; Cuarón has a great touch so we're eager to see what he'll do here. As for "A Boy And His Shoe," with Charlotte Gainsbourg, Guillaume Canet and Daniel Auteuil we imagine that one is firmly on the backburner for now and will probably change shape if Cuarón decides to return to it.
David Fincher Eyeing 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' With Carey Mulligan Topping Studio Wishlist For Lead Role?
David Fincher is reportedly circling the English language adaptation of the first installment in Stieg Larsson's best-selling "Millenium" series, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo."
Already adapted into an award-winning Swedish language trilogy, the English-language version is being produced by Scott Rudin at Sony with Steve Zaillian ("Schindler's List," "American Gangster") adapting. Its development seems to be making progress with the studio also reportedly having Carey Mulligan on top of its wishlist for the role of Lisbeth Salander, a socially-awkward, computer hacking genius. Though no deals have been made yet, Sony is apparently very happy with the work Fincher has done on "The Social Network," itself an adaptation of a Ben Mezrich book.
Fincher has already ventured into crime-thrillers, of course, with "Se7en" and "Zodiac" but had previously shown an interest in returning to the genre with an adaptation of "Torso" that had Matt Damon, Casey Affleck and Rachel McAdams attached. Whether Larsson's worldwide literary hits are the re-entry point into the genre Fincher was after remains to be seen.
The project, which is loaded with franchise potential, is predicted to spark a lot of interest. The lead male role of womanizing journalist Mikael Blomkvist has also been linked to George Clooney though that seems to be more internet-casting than anything substantial. Having said that, we'd take a Fincher-Clooney-Mulligan project any day of the week.
Niels Arden Oplev's Swedish-language take on "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" meanwhile hits theaters March 19th.
Brad Pitt already played a 'Basterd,' in Quentin Tarantino's recent WWII drama, but of course that character was likable, witty, charming and not really as ruthless as the man you saw on the page (relatively anyhow); it sounds like he's going to be playing a true bastard in Terrence Malick's "The Tree Of Life."
Be forewarned, possibly spoilerish hints at story details below.
We already know that Malick's long-gestating picture is a drama that ferries between a father in the 1950s (Pitt) and his son Jack (Sean Penn), now grown up decades later. We also know that the film revolves around this father-son relationship and a tragedy that befalls the family. Or as one synopsis goes, it's "the story of a family who must come to terms with a devastating loss. In doing so, they discover life's most important lessons of unselfish love and forgiveness."
If you've read enough of the various synopses, you know it's a film that at least partially centers around Jack's issues with his father, which is essentially confirmed by a comment Bob Bearney of Apparition (the studio that is releasing the film in November), made to Peter Hammond.
The studio head boasted that the performance Pitt delivers will "see a side of [him] we haven't seen before," and compared his performance to Robert DeNiro in "This Boy's Life," the 1993 family drama set in the 1950s. 'Life' starred DeNiro as a man who marries a single mother (Ellen Barkin) and becomes stepfather to her son, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Initially docile and kind, after a few months of ingratiating himself to the family, the stepfather quickly becomes tyrannical, and abusive both emotionally, verbally and physically. It's a powerful film that introduced most of the world to the dramatic chops of the young DiCaprio and is a further testament to the ferocity of a mean spirited DeNiro performance
So, comparing Pitt's character to DeNiro in that film? A performance we've never seen from the actor? Does that mean we're going to see an older man (Penn) who is still grappling with the resentment and bitterness he feels towards his father as an adult because of his abusive past (perhaps inspired or further exacerbated by a family tragedy?). Well, considering what has been kicking around and this new information, we'd put money on it.
Btw, despite Apparition putting on a good face, as we've already suggested, "Tree of Life" may not make Cannes, and based on things we're hearing on the ground here in Austin -- Malick's hometown where part of the film was shot -- this may end up being the case. No one wants to push a maestro, so if he's not 100% ready, he's not 100% ready...
Bearney also tells Hammond to watch out for the performance by Jessica Chastain (the mother of Penn and the wife of Pitt, pictured above) and that, "the movie is like a dream and Malick fans are going to be extremely happy." Hmm, does that reinforce some of the afterlife sequence rumors being shuffled around? On that story point, your guess is as good as ours. If you want to know more, we also dropped some clues in an old post no one seemed to notice, as someone has already told us a few more key points that are very spoiler-ish (that we don't reveal either, but have hinted at).
Founded in 1997 and acquired by Disney ten years later, Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers Digital will be closing after it wraps production on the forthcoming animated film, "Mars Needs Moms!."
The studio, which made such films as "Cast Away," "What Lies Beneath," "The Polar Express," and "Beowulf," only made "A Christmas Carol" under the Disney banner. The film, which cost $200 million dollars, grossed only $137 million domestically and just over $320 million worldwide. One wonders that if the film had performed better, the studio might have stayed open. However, outside of 'Carol', running a studio is a costly venture and with only one film in three years since acquiring it, one can imagine IMD was probably operating at a severe loss.
However, Disney is still in the Robert Zemeckis business and are looking to strike a production deal with the director and his IMD partners Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey. A project-by-project approach is probably more financially prudent and once they get all the details sorted out, the previously announced revamp of "The Yellow Submarine" should be the next picture on the schedule.
In case it isn't obvious **MAJOR SPOILERS** are ahead, so if you haven't seen the film or plan on seeing it, you're best to skip this post.
Just a brief history. "Brooklyn's Finest" debuted at Sundance 2009, where it earned a lot of buzz (despite mixed reviews) for its gritty take on the standard police drama, and most notably its ruthlessly grim ending that earned "both hisses and applause." After some upheaval, the film went from Senator to Millenium Films in the middle of last year and along the way, the original ending of the film was changed to how it appears currently in theaters.
In the film, Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Don Cheadle all play cops who are battling various demons while on the job. Gere's character is a guy with a week left on the job before he retires, but who has long since lost his passion for police work. He's so depressed that he wakes up in the morning, has a glass of scotch, puts an empty gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger (subtlety is definitely not a strong suit in this film). As 'Finest' moves into its second half, it becomes grimmer and grimmer, with director Antoine Fuqua eventually killing off both Hawke and Cheadle's characters. The final sequence of the movie has Gere rescuing two girls from sexual predators, after which it freeze frames on his ravaged face as a final shot of redemption, fades to black and then the credits roll.
But that's not what audiences at Sundance saw.
As MTV explains, at Sundance, the film keeps going past that scene and finds Gere now retired, on a lake in a boat. That's when he pulls out his gun from earlier in the movie, and blows his brains out. End movie.
But the ever loquacious Fuqua gives a cornball explanation for his current freeze-frame ending: "When I got to the ending with Richard and you see his face, and the blood and his eyes swollen, I said 'That's America.' That's kind of where we are right now. Dazed, confused, but then we're still moving forward, there's still some hope, we still have a chance. We've taken some hits, but we're still standing. It kind of came out of everything that was happening."
So Gere's face after saving two girls from sexual assault is the face of America? Oooh boy. We're sure it had nothing to do with reports from Sundance that he faced considerable pressure to change the ending. Audiences generally like to see at least one character they've spent over two hours with actually live past the end of the film. Whether or not Fuqua or the studio decided to change the ending, dragging out the old chestnut of "this represents America" is as flimsy as you can get.
As you can tell, this writer liked "Brooklyn's Finest" considerably less than his Playlist colleague, and found both endings to be a ludicrous, lazy and cheap way to try and get high drama out of a shocking twist. The audience we saw the film with literally groaned as both Hawke and Cheadle got offed in the final half. We're pretty sure a riot would've broken out if the original ending had been kept intact.
The trailer for "Bluebeard," Catherine Breillat's adaptation of the famous French fairy tale gets a completely misleading trailer from Strand Releasing.
Soundtracked to beating hearts and heavy strings, with brief shots of blood and quick edits of supposedly shocking moments, the trailer is not representative of the film at all. Breillat's "Bluebeard", which has been disliked by various degrees from Playlist staff (this writer thought it was awful) is, if anything, completely boring. It's more of a domestic drama than anything else and burns slowly to an obvious ending, before throwing in a twist that's completely unearned (though it's probably not as bad as the ending to "Remember Me"). It's certainly not the amped up and breathless thriller Strand is trying to sell here.
See for yourself when the film opens on March 26th in limited release.
Since being reported a couple of days ago, the story that Quentin Tarantino was going to be voicing a character in the forthcoming live action/animation "The Smurfs" movie starring Neil Patrick Harris, Katy Perry, Alan Cumming and George Lopez has been gaining considerable steam.
The story, originally published by MTV, had Alan Cumming drop the news that Tarantino was going to be voicing the character that would play the "right hand man" of Papa Smurf. However, Tarantino's publicist quickly contacted MTV said that the director "is not involved" with the film.
It would seem to be a weird thing for Cumming to randomly make up, though he is just eccentric enough to do that. Nor do we see Tarantino being particularly interested, but then again, his tastes are so eclectic we wouldn't be surprised if he ends up doing it either.
'Titanic 3D' Being Readied By James Cameron For 2012, Disses 'Clash Of The Titans' 3D Conversion Again
James Cameron is set to give the 3D treatment to the film that made him "King Of The World," "Titanic."
Speaking with USA Today (via Dark Horizons) Cameron said, "We're targeting spring of 2012 for the release (of a 3D version of Titanic), which is the 100 year anniversary of the sailing of the ship." But wait, wasn't Cameron the same guy who said he was not down with 2D to 3D conversion just last month? Well, he calls out "Clash Of The Titans" in particular (again) saying, "They're converting "Clash of the Titans" in eight weeks. But I'm guessing six months to a year to do it right."
Just a second James Cameron. Yours is going to be more legit than Louis Leterrier's film because you're going to be more obsessive compulsive about it and spend a year tinkering? Whatever James. "Titanic" was a 2D film, never meant to be shown in 3D, and no amount of technical wizardry is going to change that. A cash grab is a cash grab, no matter how you try to justify it.
Anyway, we're not sure what his beef is with Warner Bros. or why he isn't pointing the finger at other cheapo 3D jobs like "Alice In Wonderland," which also recently ousted "Avatar" off screens, but we're sure there's a meatier story behind this.
Following the success of "Shutter Island" and the record-breaking opening of "Alice In Wonderland," 2010 is off to a very healthy start at the box office. The last couple of weeks have centered around just one or two major wide releases, but this weekend audiences will have the choice of four films opening wide, each trying to take a chunk of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's enormous rainbow colored 3D pie. That film will have a steep decline after last week, but it will still be enough to keep it very comfortably ahead of the pack. Matt Damon's "Green Zone" should attract a large portion of the "Bourne" audience for second place; while teenage girls will turn out for anything with Robert Pattinson's coiff in it, resulting in decent numbers for his starring vehicle "Remember Me." While the trailers have been promising, poor word of mouth may stop "She's Out of My League" from reaching the box office heights of the films it tries to emulate. There's a lot of variety out there this week, and with some great choices at the art-house, 2010 is getting a lot more interesting.
In Wide Release: Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass reteam for "Bourne IV: Bourne in Iraq" aka "Green Zone". Maybe following the spectacular win of "The Hurt Locker" at the Oscars last Sunday, audiences will be craving another Iraq war picture that puts the action front and center and leaves the social commentary to the imagination a bit. Or possibly all the people finally catching up with the best picture winner on DVD won't feel compelled to leave the comfort of their living rooms this weekend. Damon stars as the leader of a team of Army inspectors searching for weapons of mass destruction in the early days of the Iraq war. We reviewed the film yesterday, and were pleased to see it plays more like a conspiracy thriller than a humorless examination of recent history. The fantastic cast also includes Amy Ryan, Greg Kinnear, and Brendan Gleeson. Rotten Tomatoes finds critics at-large to be underwhelmed, tracking at only 51% and a 60 score from Metacritic.
Robert Pattinson tries to etch out a career outside of vampire melodrama with this week's "Remember Me." The romantic drama stars Pattinson and "Lost" star Emilie de Ravin as two NYU students falling for each other despite (or because of?) their severely flawed family lives. With a talented cast that also includes Chris Cooper, Lena Olin, and Pierce Brosnan, you'll have to forgive us for being a little curious about this one. Unfortunately however, we posted our review earlier this morning, and found it a film better left forgotten. Rotten Tomatoes is mostly negative with a 33% rating, Metacritic gives it a score of 40.
After stealing quite a few scenes in films like "Knocked Up" and "Tropic Thunder," Jay Baruchel gets his first starring role this weekend in "She's Out of My League." He plays an awkward TSA worker who has an accidental connection with a beautiful woman (Alice Eve) and finds himself way out of his comfort zone. We posted our review yesterday, finding that, despite the promising comedic premise, 'League' can't seem to settle on a tone and refuses to take risks, resulting in a film way too light on laughs. The Apatow-wannabe also stars T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel and Nate Torrence but the comedy maestro himself is not involved personally. RT has it at 44%, with a 48 score from Metacritic.
Opening on about 1600 screens is the offensive-looking comedy "Our Family Wedding." It's not the premise so much that's offensive--an interracial couple get engages and family strife ensues--but the fact that it has to take a talented cast (and Carlos Mencia) down along with it. Forest Whitaker, America Ferrera, Regina King, and Lance Gross star in the film, currently striking out with a 12% rating on RT and a score of 36 from Metacritic.
In Limited Release: South Korean director Bong Joon-ho ("Memories of Murder," "The Host") gives us his twist on noir with "Mother." Won Bin plays Do-joon, a 27 year old man completely reliant on his mother. After coming in contact with a girl who turns up dead the next day, Do-joon is accused of murder and his mother must find out the truth. We reviewed the film last year at Cannes, finding it be an entertaining and satisfying Hitchcockian suspense film that sits right alongside Bong Joon-ho's best work. Definitely worth a look when it comes to your town. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 88%, with Metacritic giving it an 80 score.
The only best animated film Oscar nominee that didn't benefit from a major wide release, "The Secret of Kells" opens on a few screens this weekend. The Irish import tells the magical story of the real-life Book of Kells, which is on display at Trinity College in Dublin. We caught the film last week, falling in love with the painterly style and subtle tone. Animation fans really should go out of their way to see this one, they won't be disappointed. RT is all raves at 90%, with a score of 83 from Metacritic.
Also opening in limited release and VOD, is the long anticipated White Stripes film "Under Great White Northern Lights," which chronicles the bands 2007 trek across Canada. The band decided to play every province in the country, including remote territories that barely even have a proper venue for a rock concert, instead playing bowling alleys and city buses. We're looking forward to seeing this one soon. Jon Hamm and Josh Lucas star in the tragi-drama "Stolen." The soon to be on DVD film stars Hamm as a grieving father of a missing boy who finds similarities in another case 50 years prior. RT: 0%, Metacritic: 33%. Finally, the coming of age indie-drama "The Exploding Girl" makes its way to theaters this weekend. The film stars Zoe Kazan as a college student headed home for Spring Break where she reconnects with a best friend in need, putting into question her fresh relationship with a young man at school. RT: 75%, Metacritic: 59.
David Fincher's 'Heavy Metal' Back On Track Again With James Cameron & Zack Snyder Attached To Direct Segments
We're not sure if we're awake or stuck in some super geek's wet dream, but Deadline Hollywood reports that David Fincher's long since thought dead animated adaptation of "Heavy Metal" is not only back on track, but James Cameron and Zack Snyder are attached to direct segments.
As you might recall, the project has been kicking around since 2008 when Snyder, Fincher and Gore Verbinski were slotted to direct segments of the film based on the '80s sci-fi semi-skin mag. At one point last year, it was rumored Rob Zombie and Robert Rodriguez were going to direct segments as well, with Tenacious D writing the music.
Paramount has since dropped the project, but Fincher is now shopping it around town, seeking backers and a distributor. The film is also now being pitched as completely 3D animated which easily explains Cameron's new involvement, while Snyder has been attached since the earliest days of the project. There is no word yet if any of the previous directors are still on board, or if the project is going out to new helmers.
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. We imagine the project -- which would undoubtedly be R-rated -- has a very limited appeal for what would be an expensive project. But with Cameron's "Avatar" obliterating box office records, his name alone will certainly draw massive interest to the production.
Documentary 'The Heart Is A Drum Machine' Asks Wayne Coyne, Jason Schwartzman, Elijah Wood & More 'What Is Music?'
The hardest question for any music obsessive to answer is the dreaded, "So what do you listen to?" The question often leaves music nerds struggling to comprehensively summarize their tastes without being too obscure, too populist or too snobby and the eventual answer is often one that is hardly satisfactory.
"The Heart Is A Drum Machine," the latest documentary from "Moog" director Christopher Pomerenke takes things one step further by asking, "What is music?". The film rounds up a wide array of folks including The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne (who is also a filmmaker), Jason Schwartzman (who performs under the alias Coconut Records), Elijah Wood (who runs his own record label and recently appeared in some viral spots for Apples In Stereo), Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT, Britt Daniel of Spoon, Juliette Lewis (who has launched her own music career), John Frusciante and Maynard James Keenan.
It's an intriguing premise and a film we'll definitely seek out. It hits store shelves on DVD earlier this week and will be available on demand starting April 1st. The film features an original score by The Flaming Lips' Steven Drozd and a cover of Elton John's "Rocket Man" by Drozd and Keenan. We just wish the trailer for this film was better.
Director James Cameron and Fox are discussing plans to bring "Avatar" back to 3D theaters later this summer. The re-release would potentially boast about 10-12 minutes of new footage for a film that's already way too long. Cameron claims that the film lost "a couple hundred million dollars" when it was booted off screens to make room for "Alice In Wonderland" and Fox and the director are trying to milk their cash cow for all its worth.
In addition to confirming what we already knew a month ago -- that Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan are starring in Tom McCarthy's wrestling pic "Win Win" -- Variety have announced that Melanie Lynskey, Bobby Cannavale and Jeffrey Tambor have joined the cast. In the film Giamatti plays "plays a struggling attorney who moonlights as a high-school wrestling coach. All aspects of his complicated life are thrown up in the air when he becomes the legal guardian of a client whose grandson shows up on the doorstep." Shooting starts next week in New York City.
The Farrelly Brothers "Hall Pass" cast keeps growing. Richard Jenkins and Bruce Thomas are to set to join Owen Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, and Alyssa Milano in the comedy about two husbands who are permitted by their wives to pursue extramarital affairs.
Director Phillip Noyce is set to direct "Wenceslas Square." Based on the short story by Arthur Phillips, the film "revolves around a young CIA officer and a beautiful Czech spy." The film has been fast-tracked and is set to be tackled by Noyce once he wraps post-production on the Angelina Jolie action pic "Salt."
The once interesting-turned-hack director Jonas Åkerlund has helmed the latest video, "Telephone," for Lady Gaga. We're not embedding it for you as you will have to take full responsibility for clicking here and watching it yourself. We didn't make it the whole the way through.
This review should probably begin with "spoiler alert" asterisked and proclaimed in big, bold letters as a warning to all the Robert Pattinson fans in our audience, except that we won't be giving anything away that "Remember Me" doesn't also reveal in its early moments. The story isn't coincidentally set in the summer of 2001 in New York City; it uses that very specific time and location to turn what could have been an ineffectual, slightly silly romance into one that jabs into the still festering wound of a national tragedy, poking and prodding to make sure that you feel something, anything, in what is otherwise an emotionless film.
There's a sloppy sadism to the filmmakers' technique. All films are manipulative, but a talented screenwriter, director, and actors ensure that you don't feel pressed into feeling what they want you to feel. A good film slyly points you in the direction its cast and crew want you to go, while a bad one uses brute force to drag you there, leaving no doubt of where you're headed.
"Remember Me" makes a brief stop in 1991 before it arrives at its destination. Young Ally and her mother (Martha Plimpton) are on a Brooklyn subway platform, but when a mugging turns deadly, Ally is left screaming over her mother's body. Fast forward a decade, and the film announces that it's 2001. Ally is all grown up and played by Emilie de Ravin ("Lost"). She's an NYU student, who lives in Queens with her father, Neil (played by Chris Cooper, making the argument for the career merits of not winning an Oscar) who is also a New York City cop.
Meanwhile, Tyler Keats Hawkins (Pattinson, "Twilight") still mourns the death of his older brother six years ago. He fills journals with letters to his lost sibling, while he sits in a downtown diner, drinking coffee and twitching. He's a smirking, smoking, plaid-shirt-wearing douchebag, also known as every father's worst nightmare. After Sgt. Craig arrests a supposedly innocent (but entirely idiotic) Tyler, the 21-year-old plots his revenge with his even douchier roommate, Aidan (Tate Ellington, "The Invention of Lying"). He'll seduce Ally just to spite her father, but he unsurprisingly falls in love with her after a sigh-worthy PG-13 sex session inevitably backlit by a golden glow. However, his relationship with his own father (Pierce Brosnan) at once threatens his stability and makes him even more attractive (you know, 'cause angry, damaged boys are H-O-T).
Amidst a fantastic turn-of-the millennium soundtrack (Ed Harcourt, Sigur Ros, The Promise Ring) and cheesy dialogue ("Lucky for you, I'm undecided." "About what?" "Everything."), Ally and Tyler have a stomach-churning romance that somehow seems more wrong than a vampire-human coupling. There's little chemistry between de Ravin and Pattinson, and there's no reason they should even like each other. However, his Tyler is wounded and pretty (I guess), and she's the type of quirky that hopefully only exists in movies. She dumps pasta water on Tyler as a method of seduction, and she eats her dessert first because life is just that short.
Unsubtle hints at the impending tragedy pepper the film, from a lecture on the ethics of terrorism to morose music in what should be an otherwise happy scene. The ending is less of a surprise than early press hinted, since we're fully aware of the film's setting, but that doesn't make it any less cheap or exploitative. "Remember Me" feels and looks like a film project from the pretentious college student whose voice and opinions you dreaded in philosophy class, but its pedigree isn't as bad as it could be. Director Allen Coulter worked in TV before directing the not-awful "Hollywoodland", but that film's style is absent here, alternately replaced by an overeager attempt at arty shots (like the camera's focus on a cowboy hat crushed on the New York street) and unimaginative ones. The screenplay arrives from newcomer Will Fetters, and it feels like a first effort in the worst of ways, with bad dialogue and poorly crafted characters. All the men (Tyler included) come across like assholes, and all the women (from saintly Ally to Tyler's mother and sister) are flawless and boring.
British actor Pattinson has mastered an American accent, but he should focus on actually acting. Squinting does not count. De Ravin is harmless, while her talented costars (Brosnan, Cooper, and Lena Olin) feel like they belong in a different, better film, a film that we'd much rather be watching. [D]
Another day, another role for Sam Worthington. As the lead of the biggest-grossing movie of all time, it was always inevitable that the Australian actor would be a hot ticket, and he already has three movies in the can: "Last Night," "The Debt" and the imminent "Clash of the Titans." In addition, he has been attached to the likes of "The Fields" and "Dracula: Year Zero" in recent months. He was also rumored to be playing "Flash Gordon" in a reboot of the campy space saga, but that was quickly debunked. However, Pajiba are now reporting that another space saga has caught the star's attention, "Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future."
The Warner Bros. project is based on the titular British science fiction comic hero, who originally appeared in The Eagle in 1950, and has gone through a variety of incarnations, including a Dave Gibbons-drawn, punk-inspired version set in 2000 AD in the 1970s, and a recent reboot for Virgin Comics by "Preacher" scribe Garth Ennis. The character is the chief pilot of the Interplanet Space Fleet, an adventurer reminiscent of characters from World War Two films of the period, and is driven by a fierce sense of morals and honor. He's surrounded by a colorful supporting cast, most notably his portly sidekick Digby, and Professor Peabody, and fought his arch-enemy The Mekon, the ruler of the Dreens.
From most sources, we'd take this with a pinch of salt - Worthington's been linked to everything of late, and seems like the automatic choice for any big action/sci-fi movie in development. However, Pajiba have been on a hell of a run with scoops recently, so we'd expect to see an official announcement any day now. Tonally, the property seems to need a certain Boy's Own, stiff-upper-lip quality, which doesn't quite seem to fit Worthington (Michael Fassbender in "Inglourious Basterds" mode would be perfect), but maybe this'll provide a good opportunity for the actor to show some range, and play something other than wide-eyed or gruff. Still, with no writer or director currently attached, this may be a way off yet.
In what must be the biggest news ever broken by a sound recordist in history, Oscar winner Resul Pookutty has revealed that Joaquin Phoenix is set to return to the world of acting.
Speaking to the Mumbai Mirror about his next project Pookutty reveals, "“I couldn’t be happier because I am doing a period film. It is a very special challenge because I have to recreate the sound textures of New York in 1854. It’s an adaptation of "The Beautiful Cigar Girl" by Daniel Stashower and based on an eerie real-life experience of author Edgar Allen Poe which happened just months before his death. Joaquin plays Edgar Allen Poe.”
Not to be confused with the forthcoming James McTeigue film "The Raven" starring Jeremy Renner, this film is actually based on a true story about Poe's investigation in solving the mystery behind the brutal death of a beautiful society girl. This definitely seems like new territory for Phoenix who we don't need to remind you quit acting, grew a beard and became a crazy person. Here's the Publisher's Weekly synopsis of the book:
The author of Edgar winner Teller of Tales now recounts the story of Manhattan tobacco store clerk Mary Rogers, a mysterious beauty whose posse of admirers made her a minor celebrity in 1841 in various newspapers' society pages. The discovery that year of her mutilated corpse fueled a public outcry and a newspaper circulation war, as well as a fictional magazine serial by Edgar Allan Poe featuring his famous detective Dupin speculating on the murder of working-class Parisian "Marie Rogêt." Poe rightly deduced that Mary wasn't a victim of the gang violence that plagued New York City in the absence of an effective police presence. But he came late to the accepted theory that Mary had died of a botched abortion and had to tweak his final installment to maintain his and Dupin's reputations. Although Stashower's account bogs down in comparisons of Poe's revisions of the Rogêt manuscript, it's a generally absorbing account of the birth of the modern detective story. The sordid details of Mary Rogers's stunted life pale in comparison with Poe's own love-starved childhood, self-destructive tidal wave of alcoholism, poverty and rants against publishers and rivals; Poe's genius and literary legacy are hauntingly drawn here.There is no word yet on a director, writer or other cast members for this project, and it doesn't appear on IMDB, but we would imagine if the tech crew is being assembled this one is actually pretty far along in development stages. But for those same reasons, we're keeping our expectations in check on this report.
Despite his meltdown/celebrity hoax Phoenix is a great talent who delivered probably his career best performance in "Two Lovers." We hope this news is true as it would be great to see him back on screen again. There's still no word on the status of Casey Affleck's mock-doc on the actor that was supposedly nearing completion last summer. But yeah, we want to see that too.
It's almost two years since Steven Spielberg justifiably received some of the worst reviews of his career for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and since production wrapped on the mo-cap adventure "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" a year ago, the director hasn't got another project going -- he couldn't cast "Harvey" after Robert Downey Jr pulled out, and various other projects (adventure "The 39 Clues," the Martin Luther King biopic, Jonathan Nolan's sci-fi picture "Interstellar," "Matt Helm," which Deadline confirms would have starred Jon Hamm) are either a few years off, or have fallen through altogether.
A version of stage hit "War Horse," from "Billy Elliot" writer Lee Hall, looks like a serious possibility, as did a biopic of George Gershwin, which was set to topline "Star Trek"'s Zachary Quinto, although Mike Fleming claims that the buzz is fading on that. Instead, the writer suggests that Spielberg is now circling an adaptation of the upcoming novel "Robopocalypse," from author Daniel H. Wilson.
The book, which is still being written, is an epic about a war between the human race and robots (as the title might suggest). Wilson has a PhD in robotics, and was previously the author of the pseudo-self-help book "How To Survive A Robot Uprising," which Dreamworks were developing into a comedy with Mike Myers, although that project appears to be dead now (presumably because it had Mike Myers in it). Drew Goddard ("Cloverfield," "The Cabin In The Woods") is behind the script, and apparently it's a serious contender to become Spielberg's next project.
We're not sure this is what we were after from the great director. Maybe it's just that "Terminator: Salvation" put us off robot uprisings for a while, but this seems like rather stale material, unless Wilson has a really fresh approach -- presumably, his background will be more scientifically accurate than McG's movie, but that's not really enough to entice us, particularly as Spielberg tackled the near-extinction of mankind at the hands of machines (machines driven by aliens, sure, but still machines) only a few years back with "War of the Worlds." "Gershwin," "War Horse" or even the long-gestating "Lincoln" biopic all seemed like bigger artistic stretches, although we're starting to wonder if the latter is just an elaborate joke between Spielberg and Liam Neeson.