So after much online debate (John Krasinski?) and much back and forth, it appears that Chris Evans has made it to the top of the casting pile for "The First Avenger: Captain America."
Earlier today it was reported that the list had come down to three players — Channing Tatum ("G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra") a heretofore unmentioned "Gossip Girl" actor, Sebastian Stan, and Evans.
And apparently Marvel Studios chose Evans — who has already played Marvel's Human Torch in "The Fantastic Four" series — of the trio. According to THR, Evans has been offered the gig, though Marvel and his reps won't confirm anything yet.
Much like Samuel L. Jackson's ridiculously long nine picture Marvel films deal, this offer also of course means starring as Captain America three times, plus the "Avengers" films (plural) and potentially appearing in other Marvel films as well.
Apparently one of the complications in this offer is the fact that Evans is supposed to star with Anna Faris in the romantic comedy "What's Your Number?" and the schedules conflict.
It's possible Evans could drop out of that role, but evidently he's committed already which could cause some issues. The actor, known for roles in "Sunshine," "Cellular' and "Not Another Teen Movie," beat out a slew of others, including folks like Ryan Phillippe, Michael Cassidy, Patrick Flueger, Scott Porter, Wilson Blethel, Mike Vogel, John Krasinski and Chace Crawford. Though beat out might be the wrong term.
Marvel seemed to want to go cheap at first, tapping unknowns for the low balling 300K price. When none of these actors tested particularly well with the females being bandied about for the love interest role — currently still being considered are Keira Knightley, Emily Blunt and Alice Eve ("She's Outta My League") — Marvel opened up their wallets (a bit) and offered the role to the next tier of more established actors (Phillippe, Tatum and Evans being the guys you don't have to Google to find out who they are; Phillipe looks like he took this role instead).
However, apparently Evans didn't have to screen test for the role. Joe Johnston ("The Wolfman") is directing “Captain America,” which shoots in England in the summer. Marvel would have had to worry about the same actor playing two characters in their universe if it weren't for the fact that "Fantastic Four" embarrassed almost everybody, audience and actors involved alike. The less said about those two films the better and surely even the fanboys feel the same way. And this move makes sense, because Evans always seemed to yearn for a better comic book role after the 'FF' movies were done.
Mostly thanks to Jon Favreau, the road towards "The Avengers" has been fairly smooth so far and the "Thor"/Kenneth Branagh model sounds equally as interesting as "Iron Man." What Marvel now needs to do is ensure that Edward Norton eventually comes back (the film was mediocre, but he was great in it) and somehow make sure Joe Johnston doesn't fuck this up.
BTW, Deadline Hollywood brings up some salient points. Evans has been offered the gig, but that doesn't mean he's going to take it. As we mentioned above, like Sam Jackson, his deal will apparently cover nine films in total, but apparently the price they're offering right now isn't exactly that sweet. DH also says Evans is hesitant to play another super hero, but that simply could be used as a bargaining chip for Marvel to up their offer. So this doesn't sound like a done deal yet and apparently testing is still happening with other actors.
So after much online debate (John Krasinski?) and much back and forth, it appears that Chris Evans has made it to the top of the casting pile for "The First Avenger: Captain America."
Even if the film isn't all that great, the soundtrack to "Repo Men" has some serious pedigree.
The twelve song set leans heavily on a mix of hip hop, electronic music and alt rock -- and sometimes all three at once. Wu-Tang soulmates Method Man and RZA contribute some tracks, while UNKLE, Beck and alt rockers Moloko stop by for appearances. Taking things down a notch are Rosemary Clooney and Nina Simone and things get soulful with tracks by Toots & The Maytals and William Bell. Score composer Marco Beltrami also has one of his pieces included to close off the disc.
"Repo Men" opens today and if you like what you hear, the soundtrack hits stores on Tuesday.
"Repo Men" Soundtrack Tracklisting
1. Sway – Rosemary Clooney
2. Release Yo’ Delf [Prodigy Remix] – Method Man (remix)
3. 54-46 Was My Number – Toots & the Maytals
4. Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday – William Bell
5. Feeling Good – Nina Simone
6. Sing It Back – Moloko
7. Nausea – Beck
8. Burn My Shadow – UNKLE
9. Love Lives – Dave Stewart
10. Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday – RZA
11. Dream a Little Dream of Me – The Mamas And The Papas
12. Repo Mambo – Marco Beltrami
Nina Simone "Feeling Good"
UNKLE "Burn My Shadow"
After the surprising smash success of "Zombieland," director Ruben Fleischer seems to have his pick of projects. Last fall, we ran down a number of films that were on his plate — "Psycho Funky Chimp," "The Bachelorette," "21 Jump Street," "Neighborhood Watch" — none of which seem to have gained much movement, except for Jonah Hill's "21 Jump Street" which is eyeing a shoot early in 2011 (likely with the "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs" directors).
Well, some more offers are coming Fleischer's way according to Deadline Hollywood. They're reporting that he's been "mentioned" (whatever that means) to direct "Mission: Impossible IV" but that he's more interested in doing a film called "30 Minutes Or Less" and is seeking Danny McBride to star. We're not quite sure what the latter is about — it's the first we've heard of that film — but with McBride's name being mentioned, consider our interest piqued.
BTW: What's it about? Most people — including us for a second — forgot that "30 Minutes Or Less" is a 2009 Black List script, which means it's a comedy "about a pizza delivery guy on an unlikely caper." It was written by Matthew Sullivan and Michael Diliberti who actually had two scripts on the Blacklist including one called, "Comic Con" (you can hopefully figure out what that one's about). They also have ties to McBride as they wrote the action comedy, "L.A.P.I," that will be directed by Jody Hill and is coming out under David Gordon Green, Hill and McBride's Rough House banner. Clearly McBride is into these writers and they're ones to watch (they also wrote a remake of "Brewster's Millions").
We don't want to see Fleischer get stuck in franchise hell, so we hope he moves away from "Mission: Impossible IV." The director's playful and loose style is more suited to original material rather than making Cruise look cool as he jumps around or blows shit up. Update: the L.A. Times says "Mission: Impossible IV" is probably not in the cards and "30 Minutes Or Less" looks like it's probably next.
The LAT also notes that Fleischer had also been in discussions to direct the Mike White-penned script, "Babe In The Wood," of all things an action comedy about a a female freshman from the Midwest who arrives at Yale and becomes a target of the New Jersey mob. It was picked up by Columbia Pictures last summer. Unfortunately, it looks like he won't be tackling that one either. Mike White really needs to come back to the screen in some form and its too bad as Fleischer and he would have been a good pair. The director, who was obviously hot after "Zombieland," was also apparently once in discussions to direct the Will Ferrell vehicle called "Daddy's Home" that was written by Etan Cohen ("Tropic Thunder").
Last fall, it seemed close to a certainty that French first lady Carla Bruni would appear in Woody Allen's next film, set to shoot this summer in Paris. Word back then was that Allen had offered her the role in the middle of 2009, and Bruni later told Canal Plus television that she had accepted the part.
Well, with the summer looming, it appears Allen has gotten cold feet about casting Bruni. Speaking on Swiss television this week, the director said “Carla Bruni is not a woman who earns her living as an actress. She is a First Lady. She could be taken away at any moment by other duties, like a political crisis or an important event. I have to take account of the risks that there could be, and hiring her is far from certain.”
Among these risks are a looming political scandal which could threaten to overwhelm Allen's low-key, lean and quick shoots. Both Bruni and her husband, French president Nicolas Sarkozy are said to be having affairs and Allen may not want his film set descended upon by paparazzi looking to catch a scoop.
That said, Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard are among the confirmed cast for the film that is set to shoot in Paris this summer. Allen's latest film, "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger" will hit theaters later this year via Sony Pictures Classics.
Forget "Kick-Ass" and "Predators" -- that's old news. The talk across the interwebs today is of Christopher Nolan's forthcoming sci-fi action puzzler "Inception," and with the new footage debuting at ShoWest, buzz is once again circling one of the biggest films of the summer.
At Collider, they're reporting that the new trailer pretty much confirms the dream hopping plot of the film, that has long been spoiled/figured out. In the latest clip, Leonardo DiCaprio's character says "In your dream state, your consciousness defense is lower. It makes your thoughts vulnerable to theft, called extraction. So you can actually train your subconscious to defend itself from the most skilled extractor." Pretty heady stuff.
However, from what we gather, most of the footage seemed there to impress theater exhibitors (after all, this is their show) and there was very little in the way of dialogue. Cinema Blend describes "a scene of Joseph Gordon-Levitt floating in zero gravity and tying up a bunch of corpses" and an "elevator opening into a room without gravity [and a scene of a] city folding up and falling into the ocean." Latino Review details a sequence "that looked like something out of a Modern Warfare game. Guys dressed in white military outfits battling on a snow capped mountaintop. One scene showed Ken [Watanabe] in military gear tossing a grenade through a window."
As for director Christopher Nolan, speaking with MTV he confirms the basic dream-hopping heist film premise of the film which again, has long been spoiled, and pretty much covers the same ground as he did in his interview with Empire: "'Inception' is about the world of dreams and the interior of the human mind. It's about a guy played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who has a team of people who have access to a technology that allows them to enter people's minds through their dreams. That allowed us to craft a film with no limits, a film that could take you anywhere and raise all different kinds of action scenarios, different realities, really play with the fabric of what constitutes a grand-scale summer movie."
He also went on to describe the tone of the film as trying to balance the requirements of character within the framework of a summer tentpole, "We certainly tried to fuse some of the more intimate things I find fascinating about human beings and about human interaction and character with the grand-scale filmmaking we were doing on 'The Dark Knight' and 'Batman Begins.'"
So when do we get to see this footage? We'll probably have to wait until this summer, but some of it is bound to show up in the second full length trailer, which we're guessing will arrive soon under the currently inactive Trailer 2 tab on the film's official website.
First Look: Carlos Reygadas' 'Serenghetti'; 'Esta es me reino' Short Film For Omnibus 'Revolución' Complete
Mexican director Carlos Reygadas' 2007 film "Silent Light" pretty much blew us away and we've been anxiously awaiting the director's next project. Well, as Bomb magazine reveals, it appears he has a short film and feature length project already in the can.
The full length film, "Serenghetti" (pictured above and below), was specially commissioned by International Film Festival Rotterdam. The festival contacted the director to make a film for their Urban Screens program and the result was a docu-drama of sorts of a soccer match between two women's amateur teams. The completed film played at the IFFR earlier this winter. Here is the synopsis from their website:
For the Urban Screen project, the IFFR approached three film makers with whom the festival has close links. The Mexican director Carlos Reygadas is one of them. Since his ambitious and widely praised début film Japón was premièred in Rotterdam, his lyrical oeuvre has been shown at the festival. Reygadas (a great soccer fan) made a football film for his urban screen. The game between two women's elevens takes place on a pitch in the middle of a surrealistic mountain landscape where corrosion has done its job. The game has all elements of a professional match as these are generally seen on TV: colourful club kits, camera recording from all possible angles, statistics, the score, slow motion repeats, a preview, interviews with the players etc. A greater contrast between the daunting mountain landscape and the clean urban façade on which this is screened is almost inconceivable. Add to that the mixture of two almost incompatible worlds - that of commercial football broadcasts on TV and the artistic cinema of Reygadas - and a special viewing experience is born.It's abstract to say the least, and given that the film doesn't exist on IMDB and was created as a special project, don't expect it in your local arthouse anytime soon. But it does sound fascinating and we're definitely curious, so we hope we have a chance to check it out.
The other film is a short called, "Esta es me reino" (which translated means "This is my kingdom") that will be shown in the upcoming Mexican omnibus film, "Revolución." The project, which features ten directors (including contributions from Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna), is about "the revolution today and what it means to the young minds of Mexico" according to IMDB's brief synopsis. The film recently played the Berlin Film Festival and is set to open in Mexico later this fall. [Stills from Bomb and Film Victoria]
A reader reminds us that Reygadas also has another picture called, "Post Tenebras Lux" in the works. It's semi-autobiographical and centers on, "feelings, memories, dreams, things I've hoped for, fears, facts of my current life," he said in Berlin earlier this year. It's supposed to hit sometime in 2010 and the director said that, in the picture, "reason will intervene as little as possible, like an expressionist painting where you try to express what you're feeling through the painting rather than depict what something looks like." Sounds even more impressionistic than his past works and bordering on experimental.
With WB's "Harry Potter" franchise about to come to a close, you've probably been wondering what's on our mind as well: how will Warner Bros. eat? Fear not, as they plan to fill this hole with some ambitious spunk, thanks to their DC hero library.
Just in time for the release of the upcoming "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" on August 12th, is Bryan Lee O'Malley's sixth and final installment of the 'Scott Pilgrim series. Titled "Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour," the book will arrive on July 20th, just a few short weeks before the film's release (how convenient Mr. O'Malley! ;) ). The cover for the book (left) has also been revealed at the Oni Press website.
As we reported last month, the script of the film follows the first three volumes of the series then ventures off into its own territory while still maintaining the spirit of the books. Of course, the final book will ostensibly have little bearing on the story of the film, and no special plans were ever made for the movie's end to coincide with the print series' conclusion.
However, let's be realistic. O'Malley and "Scott Pilgrim" director Edgar Wright have worked together closely on the film. While O'Malley hadn't finished the book when the screenplay was being written, he's been in close communication with Wright for several years now. O'Malley likely had volume six mapped out -- at least in a basic form -- for quite some time. We'd bet that he'd shared the fundamental ideas with Wright and surely it's seeped into the film somewhere, if only in a spiritual manner.
With the release of both the final entry in the series and the film within just a few weeks of each other this summer, we think you can probably expect a lot of 'Scott Pilgrim' buzz during July and August and probably inevitable reprints of the entire series with "Now a major motion picture!" labels -- hopefully not with pictures of the titular star Michael Cera's face plastered on the cover. Though that's bound to happen to and yes, it's not the end of the world either. We realize it's called marketing.
Yes, we all know how most super hero movies end. It's generally not rocket science.
That said, did Mickey Rourke, the star villain of "Iron Man 2" happen to spoil the film or the outcome for his character in a recent interview with Total Film?
(Obviously read no further if you are geeking out about staying away from key story points). ComicBookMovie.com transcribed the quotes and Rourke revealed the possible fates of his character noting that two endings were shot. Originally, an ending featuring Whiplash death was shot but a more ambiguous ending regarding the character's fate was then produced after the fact.
Rourke isn't officially credited to any of the upcoming Marvel universe films ("Thor," "Captain America") yet, so we're not sure which ending will be used. Of course, it might make more sense to go with the more ambiguous ending to keep options open for Rourke, but as the man himself said, "it's left up in the air."
Our guess is they keep things open, but Rourke doesn't come back. He certainly doesn't seem to be a fan of the comic book genre and rumors have circulated that he's been the most difficult actor on set (Rourke? you don't say).
Meanwhile, earlier this month we reported that previous Jon Favreau collaborator John Debney ("Elf," "Zathura: A Space Adventure") would be scoring "Iron Man 2." Today in an interview with MTV, Debney reveals that the score will be evidently "quite different" from Ramin Djawadi's score for the first film.
Debney says that the score will be considerably "bigger and darker in tone and scope" to the point of featuring an entire choir singing Russian to reflect the origins of Mickey Rourke's Ivan Vanko. "This film has a much deeper story arc to it than the first, and I think fans will be quite pleased by both the film and the score," says Debney.
The score will also feature, as we reported last month, more contemporary elements and electric guitar provided by Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello (much like he did in the original "Iron Man", much to the composer's satisfaction. "Tom and I worked closely together as Tom added his unique guitar sound to the score. I would write the pieces and then Tom and I would work on guitar parts. I’m thrilled with the outcome as Tom’s personality shines through," Debney told MTV.
The score will also co-exist relatively independently from a selection of AC/DC songs being used in the film. "The songs and score play two very different roles in the film," Debney explained. "Although I’m a huge AC/DC fan, the songs did not influence [the] score." No offense to the Aussie rockers, but thank god.
Broken Social Scene is a band created and ruled by the force of chaos. I'm not as familiar with their entire body of work as I should be, but am instead more of a follower of their offshoots/co-conspirators (Leslie Feist, Stars). SXSW hosted the world premiere of "This Movie Is Broken," which is part BSS concert doc and part narrative love story. Even though I'm not a die-hard fan of the band, I was really quite taken by the whole endeavor.
The movie opens much like a conventional concert doc, but shortly jumps into the story of Bruno (Greg Calderone) & Caroline (Georgina Reilly). They've known each other since they were kids. Now adults, they wake up next to each other after a party one night. Caroline is in town on break from school abroad. They run into Bruno's best pal Blake (Kerr Hewitt) the next morning by chance. Blake mentions that Broken Social Scene is set to play a concert that night, and off we go.
Just as the band itself is a constantly re-configuring series of moving parts, the love story goes from conventional to unconventional at unexpected moments. People wander around and behave like human beings, not the same inorganic constructs that we have shoved down our throats so often in independent cinema. What at first glance seems to be your run-of-the-mill "indie movie hipster romance" finally questions precisely what "conventional" has become or should be, without winks or nudges in the least. Things just happen, as in real life.
Writer Don McKellar won a Tony for one of the most unique and charming Broadway shows in years with "The Drowsy Chaperone," and he's composed something similar in spirit here for director Bruce McDonald's voice to speak through. We get solid sequences of full songs and fragments of others punctuated by the layered in narrative; its not unlike the complex construction of BSS's music. In other hands, the mixture may seem forced, but MacDonald and his team have baked up a pastry that is at once airy and sweet as well as dense and savory.
Until some time today, the title of "This Movie Is Broken" had me all knotted up thinking it was not much more than a not-so-clever play on the band's name. In the clearer light of reflection, I see that its evoking the nature of the composition being as unplanned and marvelously chaotic as real life. I had plenty of assumptions and predispositions, all of which were delightfully upended. It's been a long time since I've seen a concert film that surprises me and provokes such a prolonged reaction as this one. I expect it'll be a long time to come before I encounter something so equally unique, enjoyable, and memorable. [A] - Moisés Chiullan
Expect "Alice In Wonderland" to continue dominating the box-office this weekend, even with several new films out in wide release. The Burton/Depp 3D extravaganza is doing very well with repeat business, with the public much more infatuated with the film than critics. "The Bounty Hunter" should post decent numbers for second place, filling the rom-com void and boosted by the romantic rumors linking the two stars of the film. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and "Repo Men" should fill the next slots, but shouldn't see much shelf life. You're better off checking out your local art-house this weekend, there's been a number of great films expanding ("A Prophet," "Mother") and some interesting choices this week with "Greenberg" and "The Runaways" opening small.
In Wide Release: If the name Gerard Butler isn't enough to get you running and screaming out of the theater, multiply that by Jennifer Aniston and you've got this week's wretched looking "The Bounty Hunter." The ubiquitous "Gamer" star plays a desperate bounty hunter who gets handed the assignment of a lifetime: tracking down his own bail-skipping ex-wife. We probably won't get around to reviewing this one, unless somehow convinced otherwise, but the film has the distinction of snagging a spot on out Least Anticipated of 2010 list. Currently riding at just 8% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 33 score from Metacritic.
Miguel Sapochnik makes a very ambitious directorial debut this weekend with the futuristic thriller "Repo Men." The film presents a world where medical advances have enabled sophisticated mechanical organs to extend the lives of humans across the world. These organs come at a premium though, and if you can't pay your bill there are organ repossession men who will take the merchandise back. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker star as said repo men in the film, probably saved from a direct-to-dvd dumping by the success of "Sherlock Holmes" a few months back. We got a chance to see the film earlier this week finding it surprisingly chock full of off-the-wall ideas and interesting action sequences if not successful on the whole. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 22% rating, with a score of 29 from Metacritic.
Also in wide release the big screen adaptation of Jeff Kinney's best selling illustrated novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." The books in the series, which have sold 28 million copies, bring us the misadventures of Greg Heffley, a quick-witted pre-teen trying to survive middle school. The film should draw in its target audience, but we can't see it expanding too much beyond. RT: 55%, Metacritic: 64.
In Limited Release: Director (and frequent Wes Anderson collaborator) Noah Baumbach returns with his first film since 2007's "Margot at the Wedding" with the new comedy "Greenberg." Ben Stiller plays the titular Roger Greenberg, a forty-something NYC bachelor and failed musician who travels to LA to house sit for his much, much more successful brother. Looking for direction and purpose, he begins to connect with his brother's personal assistant (mumblecore stalwart Greta Gerwig) and like all Baumbach films, much awkwardness follows. We posted our review yesterday, finding it to be Baumbach's most difficult to watch picture yet, with some funny moments and great performances, but overall a bit fractured in narrative and structure. Critics are pretty positive on the whole, with Rotten Tomatoes showing a 77% rating and Metacritic a score of 78.
The story of Joan Jett and her first band comes to the big screen this weekend in director Floria Sigismondi's "The Runaways." Sigismondi, a visionary music video director, makes her feature debut here with a cast of promising young stars including Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart as Jett. Michael Shannon plays the group's manager, stealing the show as usual. In our review, we found the film to be strangely unengaging, despite the good performances from the strong cast. Sigismondi doesn't leave much of a fingerprint on the film, but we look forward to the director tackling more interesting material in the future. RT: 66%, Metacritic: 63.
International literary sensation "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" gets it's first big-screen adaptation this week, but it definitely won't be the last. The first in a trilogy of novels completed just before the death of author Steig Larsson is the story of an unlikely friendship between a crusading journalist and a brilliant, but very damaged private investigator. We saw the film at SXSW, finding it about on par with the wretched "DaVinci Code" in terms of pop-lit adaptations. With David Fincher looking to helm the American adaptation, it might be wise to let that be your first exposure to the story. Rotten Tomatoes shows critics on the whole having much more favorable opinions with an 82% rating, while Metacritic gives it a score of 73.
Also in limited release this week, the Jonathan Demme directed concert film "Neil Young Trunk Show," which should be a real treat for fans of both artists. RT: 91%, Metacritic: 88. Leonardo Dicaprio narrates the IMAX "Hubble 3D" documentary, which promises incredible visuals and plenty of NASA propaganda. RT: 69%.
It's four long years since Todd Field's extraordinary and excellent "Little Children," and we've heard very little from the director since. He's probably been most notably attached to an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" that seems stuck in development hell (Ridley Scott was also attached at one point and "The Road" director John Hillcoat has shown interest, but the dark nihilistic western doesn't seem likely to find studio support in today's climate).
Anyhow, in a sort of tossed away mention in the midst of an agency signing report, Deadline Hollywood says that Todd Field is now attached to direct a film called "Hubris" over at Universal. What's it about? We have no idea. This is the first we've heard about the project and digging around turned up pretty much nothing. The script is being written by Bobby Moresco who co-wrote "Crash" with Paul Haggis, but who seems to favor gangster material such as "One Eyed King," "10th & Wolf" and "The Black Donnellys." He's also writing working on "Charlie Lucky Luciano" about the infamous crime figure as well.
Given that track record, we're assuming that whatever he's working on for Field is in the same wheelhouse. And given that Field, after directing two intense domestic dramas, was eyeing the western "Blood Meridian" it seems to fit that he wants some genre material next.
We'll keep an ear to the ground on this one. Field is a director with some impeccable taste and talent, and we're curious to see where he'll go next.
Employing a similar emotional aesthetic and texture of the ones evinced in "Where The Wild Things Are," a fixated Spike Jonze seems to be engrossed in exploring the wounded tendencies of the emotionally fragile in his latest, the 35-minute short, "I'm Here."
Set in contemporary L.A., where everything is rather normal as it is now, save for the existence of robots around regular human beings, the wistful short film centers on two different robots, Sheldon the bashful, sweet library assistant played by Andrew Garfield ("Boy A," "The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus") and the more free spirited and flirtatious Annie played by Sienna Guillory ("Eragon")
After a few brief interactions at an intersection where Sheldon takes the bus to work, Annie's friends eventually tease her into inviting the sweater-wearing robot boy for a ride and soon the pair are gallivanting around at a party she invites him to and the tentative and soft courting begins.
Awkward and introverted, Annie's manic spirit tends to bring Sheldon out of his shell. And these initially flirtatious, getting to know each other sequences are as intoxicating and genuinely thrilling as as any real moment of blushing stomach-butterfly crushes.
Jonze has a real knack for demonstrating the exhilarating euphoria of falling in love, with a super sigh-worthy atmosphere that includes dreamy music (an awesome swoony score by Aska Matsumiya and Squeak E. Clean that rivals anything Karen O & The Kids produced -- a soundtrack will be released later this year), sun-stroked cinematography and music-video-y editing that conveys a sense of incandescent playfulness. Jonze is clearly in his element in these wonderfully sweet scenes.
However, like the dolorous pangs of melancholy demonstrated in 'Wild Things,' the filmmaker seems to say that true love can come at a deep and painful cost and the short takes on a much darker tone when Annie's
clumsiness precipitates the loss of a limb at a rock concert (which features the Lost Trees band that is members of the Moonrats and featuring Aska Matsumiya).
Lovelorn and loyal Sheldon quickly does his tech magic and gives Annie his arm as a replacement, but as her physical ineptitude gets worse so do Sheldon's corporeal sacrifices which again seem to suggest and caution that the price of love might just be too steep.
So while the picture becomes quite lugubrious and depressive, there's still a bittersweet, super romantic and inspired sense of wonder and beauty to it all that resonates deeply. Jonze seems highly attuned to the melancholy and infinite sadness of the world and "I'm Here" acts as a beautifully magnetic rod to these forlorn sensibilities.
Visually, the lensing is quite beatific, especially any moments of lens-flared love and the special effects of the characters are also deeply, painfully expressive. It's quite startling how much is transmitted through the animated eyes of these characters. Its also incredible how simple elements like the perennial ache in Andrew Garfield's voice conveys so much emotion.
Boasting a strong soundtrack (that features Of Montreal, Animal Collective and Gui Boratto), Jonze's film explores the delicate balance between loneliness and longing of the early stages of love with great insight and sensitivity. While Jonze is clearly preoccupied with a certain mood of late and themes of heartache and loss, his emotional exploration of this territory have never been more heartfelt and genuine. [A]
BTW, the film is now available online and can be seen on the movie's official website. Yes, it's sponsored by Absolut Vodka, but other than a brief title care that is no different from a studio title card at the beginning, Absolut has absolutely nothing to do with the short other than they were the ones that bankrolled it.
'Scouting Book For Boys' Director Tom Harper Will Direct 'This Is England' Sequel, 'Cheerleaders', More
We've been talking up "The Scouting Book For Boys" ever since we fell hard for it at the London Film Festival, and with good reason -- it's one of the freshest, most original British films of the past few years. The film finally hits cinemas in the U.K. today, and we urge any readers over there to check it out this weekend (you can check out the trailer below). Director Tom Harper has been doing the press rounds in support of the film, and has revealed some details on a couple of his upcoming projects.
Firstly, he's confirmed that he'll be directing the first two episodes of "This Is England 86," Shane Meadows' TV sequel to his best film, 2007's "This Is England." It'll see Harper re-uniting with "Scouting Book" writer Jack Thorne, who's co-written the scripts with Meadows, who'll direct episodes three and four. Shooting starts at the end of this month, and Meadows revealed on his forums that, plot-wise, "Milky is Alive, Combo Returns and Woody is now Climbing the Management ladder at Quick Save and About to Marry Lol." Which obviously may not mean a great deal if you didn't see the original, but quite frankly, you should have by this point.
Harper will also pair with Jack Thorne for "Two and Three," a feature which will be shot in five days, following the lead of Meadows' film from last year, "Le Donk and Scor-Zay-Zee" and is working on an adaptation of Susanna Jones' mystery novel "The Earthquake Bird," about a British translator in Japan whose best friend is murdered. (Thorne meanwhile, is currently adapting the Nick Hornby novel "A Long Way Down" for the producers of "An Education.")
But before these, the director looks to reteam with the producers of his debut (and of "Slumdog Millionaire"), Ivana Mackinnon and Christian Colson, on "Cheerleaders," which, according to an interview with Time Out, is about "cheerleaders in a Hackney comprehensive. An American teacher comes to train this cheerleading squad. The teenagers she manages to recruit, as you might expect, are the antithesis of the American dream - they drink and smoke, get pregnant and gets into fights." It sounds a little generic, but we can only assume from the pedigree of those involved that it's going to bring something fresh to a well-worn premise. Whatever happens next, we're looking forward to something new from the director.
While we can hardly say that we're surprised, we are definitely dismayed by Warner Bros. honcho Alan Horn's announcement at ShoWest that all the studio tentpole films will be released in 3D. The studio, which has five movies planned for 3D in 2010 and nine in 2011, is banking on audiences continuing to dazzled by the format.
However, the most intriguing tidbit in all of this is Horn's defense of 2D to 3D conversion. And while more savvy film fans clearly notice the difference between "Avatar" and "Alice In Wonderland"'s cheap attempt at the format, given the latter's strong box office haul, it seems general film audiences either can't tell the difference, or simply don't care. And from a studio perspective, converting a film to 3D in post is certainly more cost effective than actually filming in the format, and if audiences don't care, why should they?
The next 3D film for Warner Bros. is the recently converted "Clash Of The Titans." The format is still in its early days and we wonder if audiences will tire of the trend or not. And while early successes like "Avatar" and "Alice In Wonderland" point to a bright future, there is only so many half-baked, post-production 3D conversions you can throw at audiences before they'll start resenting paying premium dollars for the "experience."
Rob Cohen Remakes 'Monster Squad'; Jennifer Lopez Goes 'Overboard'; Another 'Final Destination' Sequel Planned & 'MegaMind' Teaser Debuts
Rob Cohen is eyeing the director's chair in a remake of the 1987 kids film "The Monster Squad" which he produced. The film is about "a group of kids who worship the classic monsters suddenly discover that Dracula is in town, and he’s got his pals Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Gill Man and The Mummy with him. The kids must stop their efforts to find an amulet that will give the creatures control of the world." The concept is pretty cool but we have serious doubts about the genius behind "xXx" and "Stealth" being the right guy for the job.
Warner Bros. honcho Alan Horn revealed at ShoWest that yet another "Final Destination" sequel is in the works because the studio "can't resist." Oddly enough, we can.
Jennifer Lopez is in talks to star in a remake of the 1987 Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn comedy "Overboard," and centers on "on a snooty, spoiled woman who falls off her yacht and is taken to the hospital by a local, morally challenged carpenter." I guess we can't argue she isn't right for the role.
English actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw is reportedly in talks to join Tom Hanks' sophomore directorial effort, "Larry Crowne," which will also see him star alongside Julia Roberts. The film centers on a man who is forced to find a new career and reinvent himself as he enters the second half of his life with shooting set to begin in April. The actress is also leading J.J. Abrams new television spy drama on NBC, "Undercovers."
Holliday Grainger (of the upcoming film, "Bel Ami" starring Robert Pattinson) and Tamzin Merchant ("Pride & Prejudice") have joined the cast of Cary Fukunaga's "Jane Eyre" adaptation. The film already boasts a stellar cast; Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland") and Michael Fassbender ("Inglourious Basterds") and the rest of the cast is filled out by fantastic U.K. actors like Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins ("Happy Go-Lucky"), Jamie Bell and up-and-comer Imogen Poots ("Cracked"). Funkunaga will again use his "Sin Nombre" cinematographer Adriano Goldman and the film will begin shooting on next week in the U.K.
Zack Snyder's adaptation of children's novel "The Guardians Of Ga'Hoole" has now settled on the retitling of "Legends Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'Hoole" possibly hinting at an eye on its franchise potential. The animated feature was created by Animal Logic, the same team behind George Miller's 'Happy Feet' films, and features the voice cast of Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish and a whole heap more of Australian talent.
Here is the first trailer for Dreamworks' upcoming animated superhero film "MegaMind" featuring the vocal talents of Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill. The film interestingly flips things around and centers on a villain who finds his life unfulfilled after defeating arch-nemesis Metro Man. MegaMind then creates a new hero to be his rival only for that creation to also want to be a villain.
Following Robert Rodriguez's SXSW sneak peek at the film, the first full trailer for "Predators" has landed and its as gritty as we expected it to be.
As has been previously revealed, this latest incarnation of the franchise, directed by Nimrod Antal and produced by Rodriguez, is a direct sequel to the original 1987 film. While much of the footage in the early part of the trailer was more or less revealed in the SXSW preview, the latter half of the spot is action heavy (though leans a bit too heavily on fast edits) and gives us our first real taste of the upgraded predators. And they look fierce. The big take away seems to be primal fear and it seems Antal will be channelling the nightmarish anxities evinced in "Vacancy" only to (hopefully) much greater success.
"Predators" hits theaters on July 7th.
Kelly Reichardt's much anticipated follow up to 2008's "Wendy And Lucy" with the period-road-film "Meek's Cutoff" has been very low key — its production started and finished last fall in Oregon under everyone's noses and should be in post-production as we speak. One of the film's stars Zoe Kazan recently took to discussing the film during press rounds for "The Exploding Girl."
"Meek's Cutoff is a movie that Kelly Reichardt made in the desert of Oregon this past fall," Kazan explained to Tribeca Film. "It's me, Paul Dano, Michelle Williams, Shirley Henderson, Neal Huff, Will Patton, and a bunch of really good actors... It [takes place in] 1845, crossing the country in covered wagons, and that's been my favorite historical era for a long time, so when I found out it was about pioneers, I just said, 'Yeah, I'll do it,' without even really reading the script. And then I also am a huge fan of Kelly's work, so I just wanted a chance to work with her. It was a really grueling shoot but definitely worth it, and I'm really excited to see it when she finishes cutting it."
The cast and crew seemed to have a hell of a time in the harsh and desolate Oregon desert as Kazan recounts that they "were in the middle of nowhere with no cell service and on these enormous salt flats with all this alkaline dust. Everyone got ill, and it was really hot when we got there, and then it got very, very bitterly cold and we were in these thin cotton calico dresses, and it was just grueling. We were working long hours every day. The physical conditions were really difficult. I think it will all be great for the movie because they're supposed to be under extreme duress, but you know, it's real."
The film also stars Bruce Greenwood and Tommy Nelson and teams Reichardt with cinematographer Chris Blauvelt, a frequent collaborator with Gus Van Sant and Noam Baumbach who also worked on Tom Ford's "A Single Man." Here's the film's synopsis:
The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon team of three families has hired the mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the coming days, the emigrants must face the scourges of hunger, thirst, and their own lack of faith in each other's instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, the emigrants are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as the natural enemy.The film was such an exciting prospect for Kazan, she ended up bringing boyfriend Dano on board as a last minute replacement for an unnamed actor who experienced "a visa issue. Literally two days before we were going to shoot, Paul came in. He was more nervous about it than I was." That actor in question we suspect is Brit Luke Treadaway who had revealed he was doing the film but is absent from any of the film's admittedly thin revealed details.
So, when will "Meek's Cutoff" be coming out? Kazan unfortunately notes that it "should come out next year." Despite completing lensing last fall, Reichardt is busy fulfilling her role as a visiting professor at Bard College and also prefers to edit all her films herself in her own apartment ("Wendy And Lucy" took six months to edit). The film had even been touted to possibly feature at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival but that may have to wait until next year.
After working under Quentin Tarantino and Michel Gondry back to back, Christoph Waltz has caught the directing bug and will helm a script of his own called "Auf Und Davon" ("Up And Down").
Waltz is also expected to take a lead role in the pic which will follow a ruthless romance game show hostess who falls for a contestant. The film is loosely based on the novel of the same name by Meike Winnemuth and Peter Praschl and will be produced under the Fox International Productions banner in Germany.
“While Christoph’s rise to international stardom will continue, we are very proud to collaborate with him on his very own project, set in his home country, for him to debut as feature film director,” Fox International representatives explain. “This love story reflects Christoph’s formidable sense of humour. I am very proud to work with him as we begin to get off the ground in local production in Germany.”
Waltz has previously written and directed for German television with the 2000 effort "Wenn man sich traut" ("If You Dare"). He is next set to appear in Francis Lawrence's "Water For Elephants" alongside Robert Pattinson and Reece Witherspoon.
Emotionally exploratory in nature, only occasionally affecting and often times not pulling its painful punches, while Michel Gondry's documentary, "The Thorn In The Heart" is eventually a semi-interesting and intimate look at family, what it is missing is the connective tissue of context that gives us true engagement.
Focusing on his septuagenarian aunt, Suzette Gondry — a school teacher from 1952 to 1986 in rural France — the film is obviously deeply personal for the filmmaker, a tribute of sorts to a unique individual. However, it takes Gondry far too long to convey a sense of emotion that speaks to the viewer and he fails, at least at first, to communicate just why this figure is so fascinating to him.
Absent from the picture is any sort of glue that connects us to the story or even attempts to tell us why we should care. And for a long time, the restless audience doesn't. There are no title cards, no voice-over and no context that tells us anything or points us in any narrative direction. For the first 40-minutes, give or take, we're wandering around, trying to figure out why we're watching fairly uneventful home movies of the Gondry clan. What's delivered in this first half is a first-person account of Suzette's life that can only possibly be of interest to his immediate family.
Add a layer of subtitles you're reading along to, and discovering her story while she tells it only becomes more disengaging, making "The Thorn In The Heart" a very dry, dull and long slog. However, if one sticks with the documentary — and some didn't during our SXSW Film Fest screening, there were noticeable walkouts that even Gondry himself spoke about on a panel the next day — they discover that eventually it becomes more than just an admiring paean to a matriarch, and shifts towards a "Grey Gardens" look at family dysfunction.
After the first half dispenses with the tepid history lesson of Suzette's teaching years (no offense Suzette), it finally arrives on some family drama, as she digs deeper into her own personal history. We ascertain some difficult and painful internal relationships and one that mostly centers on her own son, Jean-Yves, whom Suzette shares a troublesome relationship with. A quiet, 50-something man who came out of the closet at a time when homosexuality wasn't exactly accepted in rural France, it's through Gondry's probing and prying questions that we subsequently learn about Jean-Yves's nervous breakdown when his father passed away. The real dagger, however, is the fact that Suzette did not tell her children until days later, because of her fears about how it would devastate them (and in one case, ruin her daughter's university endeavors). A deeply resentful and bitter gulf opens up between Suzette and her children, and is seemingly never rectified, revealing a woman who is at times demanding and oftentimes cruel and mean-spirited, particularly to her son. An especially candid individual in person, Gondry is the same way through his lens and seems to make no serious efforts to sugarcoat any of the prickly situations, allowing for a three-dimensional portrait and not a simple hagiography.
So "The Thorn In The Heart," while ostensibly about Suzette, really transforms into a portrait of family sufferings which begins to resonate with the wounds, and scars that all family interactions genuinely yield. As the documentary coalesces in the second half, it becomes quite heartrending and stirring in places and Gondry's deep affection for her and the rest of his cousins starts to finally surface. But these truly intimate and moving moments tend to arrive a dollar late and day short.
And even at a brisk 85 minutes, the odd construction (dull, then intriguing) feels long and not quite earning of its running time.
When we wrote about the reviews from Cannes, we said, "according to reports, it's either like watching boring home-movie documentaries about someone's aunt you couldn't care less about or a personal film of discovery, depending on who you are. Those that probably just want wow and flutter from Gondry may be deeply disappointed," and this is essentially true, only for us, we land somewhere in the middle of that quarterbacking assessment.
While there is some visual flair and moments that tend to light the picture up like a smile — a particular scene, set to a winning Charlotte Gainsbourg song with school children playing on a blue-screen, is super endearing — these moments tend to be far and few between.
But there is a lingering emotional value, just not one that will stick with most viewers and certainly not with the geeky, fanboy audience that will undoubtedly have zero time for this film. The scene from which the film derives its title is heartbreaking. Suzette tearfully says of her son and their problematic relationship, "he's like a thorn in the heart," and it's as brutally honest and wounding as anything Gondry has ever captured on screen. The second half is predisposed with a melancholy tinge that anyone with imperfect family relations should be able to relate to and many of these sequences are actually quite dolorous, but we're also not sure they're enough to salvage the picture on a whole.
"The Thorn In The Heart" will have limited appeal and perhaps could use a serious overhaul in the editing room, but clearly that's not going to happen. Gondry finished the film last year, has moved on to "The Green Hornet" and likely would never backtrack that far, but ideally this is what would need to be done (plus adding a voice-over).
Instead we have to settle on an uneven picture that, at its worst, is tedious and at its best, an emotional and delicate reconciliation of sensitive and painful family dynamics that often come apart before they come together. [C+]
Oscilloscope pictures will release the film on April 2nd in New York and on May 14th in Los Angeles.