Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Here's a cut from a beautiful write-up about Mickey Rourke by NYT:
Rourke knows about being hit in the head because, he claimed, he was a Golden Gloves boxer in his teens. He said he had 26 fights and won 20, 17 by knockouts. He planned on making a career of boxing until he suffered a concussion in the ring and "they wouldn't let me fight anymore." So he turned to acting, on a whim, because "I liked that you could escape who you were and be someone else, someone smarter, tougher." When Rourke's movie career tanked in the '90s, he turned back to boxing in his late 30s because, he said, "I'd be less of a man if I didn't react violently to the war in my head."
Photo by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Anne Thompson has 'The Wrestler' trailer. I've been waiting. Looks fantastic. Rourke is truly a force. Thompson includes a beautiful write-up that's worth a look:
..."I'm thankful to get this second chance. When you were as bad as I was, out-of-control and unprofessional and scary, more so than I realized. I didn't realize the degree to which I frightened people in the business."
Can't wait to see this movie.
What a cast. Vera Farmiga and Kate Beckinsale are the principals supported by Matt Dillon (where's he been?), Angela Bassett, and Alan Alda. Should be sought after on disc.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
5. If "Twilight" performs below expectations at the box office, it may have something to do with...the special effects, which are not special. They are, in fact, on the cheesy side.
Agree. I noticed that from the first trailers. Effects are very low-end -- what you would expect from a shoe-string budget movie. Of course, nobody will care. 'Twilight' is a sweeping romance for today's kids. It's about desire, pursuit, the rules of attraction, and surrender. Audiences will not be watching the effects, they'll be falling in love.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The most striking thing about Glenn Kenny's review of 'Revolutionary Road' is him calling it 'far and away the best Mendes has made'. Pretty high praise considering Sam Mendes gave us the brutal and poetic 'American Beauty'.
My attempts to read the novel by Richard Yates have been interrupted again and again, but so far it's a precise and uncomfortably honest examination of an unhappy marriage. It's that rare novel that is both a page-turner and written on the highest level.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
From the moment I heard of this movie I thought it couldn't possibly work. How could a movie about a pro wrestler be of any interest to anyone? But, everything I've seen from 'The Wrestler' not only speaks of quality but puts this picture on the must-see list. Between this and 'Killshot' (see the poster below) Mickey Rourke looks to be back in a big way. Hats off.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Author Neil Gaiman tells us a bit about his life and the movie adaptation of his novel Coraline. I'm looking forward to this one. Wired has more.
"It's the biggest, most strange, expressive, peculiar, enormous stop-motion film I think that's ever been made," Gaiman told Wired.com. "Everything is created, everything is handmade."
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Harrison Ford's days as an action star probably ended with Crystal Skull (and that wouldn't have gone over if it wasn't a sequel to the beloved Indy series). Ford is doing the smart thing with 'Crossing Over' -- maintaining a presence with smaller indie films. This one looks like a tough sell, though. The same may hold true for 'Crowley', a drama about a scientist who searches for a cure for his children's genetic disorder.
But, while 'Crossing Over' and 'Crowley' won't draw huge audiences, anything is better than seeing Ford struggle to convince us he can still carry an action movie by portraying a geriatric hero defending family and society against all manner of bad guy(s). That's just too embarrassing for everyone involved.
The last I heard 'Crossing Over' is set for release in early 2009.
This trailer is the first one to suggest Klaatu is at odds with Gort. Also suggests destruction of Earth gets underway and Klaatu, seeing the error of his ways, attempts to stop it. It's been quite a while since I saw the original 'The Day The Earth Stood Still', and can't remember this element. Seems like they decided to spice things up. I like it, though. Clicks. Holding my breath.
Seems like this one is a bit different than the first trailer. Not sure, though. Doesn't matter. Too good not to play. Looking forward to the rising energy and slow build until, finally, when we can't take anymore, this one releases on December 5.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
According to NYT, YouTube will show selected TV shows and movies from MGM, like 'The Magnificent Seven'. From NYT story:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios will kick off the partnership by posting episodes of its decade-old "American Gladiators" program to YouTube, along with full-length action films like "Bulletproof Monk" and "The Magnificent Seven" and clips from popular movies like "Legally Blonde." These will be free to watch, with ads running alongside the video.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon and film critic Desson Thomson do their best to find a path through the internal landscape of Charlie Kaufman's 'Synecdoche, NY'.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
With Pixar lately I've caught myself wondering how they'll make it work. I didn't see how they could keep 'Wall-e' going for 90 minutes. Didn't get how a story about a rat that wanted to be a chef could possibly click. Now comes 'Up' about a house that flies around hooked up to a bunch of balloons. How do you keep that interesting for more than five minutes? Latest teaser feels like watching paint dry. I'm sure they'll deliver, though.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
What was your initial impression of the project?
I thought it was really ambitious, this portrayal of the ultimate, most epic love story that could be. Also, Bella is not a typical female lead. The power balance between her and Edward is really skewed. Edward is this confident, perfect, idealistic man, although deep down he's actually really afraid. Bella is naive but also sure-footed. Whatever it is inside of her that drives her is stronger than she is. She just trusts the shit out of herself.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Mark Gill, former president of Miramax and head of Warner Indy, talks with Claude-Brodesser Akner about the future of indy movies. Gill explains why there will be massive cuts in the number of movies released each year.
Friday, October 31, 2008
If you're a fan, Elle has an interview with Nicole Kidman.
"Let me tell you what's really good here," Kidman says without glancing at the grease board behind her. "Fried okra, crab cakes, sweet potatoes, poppy seed chicken--my favorite--turnip greens, blackberry cobbler..."
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
What to say about this one. Title, not good. What's that supposed to mean to anybody? It conveys nothing conceptual that can be associated with plot elements -- not without convoluted analysis, anyway. Poster has dynamic corners but the largely monochrome approach doesn't appeal to mass audiences. It says 'lots of musuem action, think hard, watch closely'...pass.
The action -- Clive Owen firing an Uzi (or whatever) and Naomi Watts standing there being protected -- doesn't click and doesn't tell us anything about the story. For what it's worth, characters are too close to right edge and the title.
Worst of all, though, is the last tagline: And everybody pays. Somebody at the PR agency wanted to go home early. 'And everybody pays'... Even the stock 'There's no escape' works better.
The signals are not good for this one. I've liked the trailers but can't see 'The International' doing well.
Or, put another way, streaming media takes another step forward. According to this article, far more people have seen Tina Fey's impersonation of Sarah Palin online than watched it live on NBC. 10.2 million viewers saw the season-opener with Fey as Palin and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton on television. Those are good numbers even for a prime-time show. But, the real news is how many watched the bit streaming online. From The Canadian Press article:
Another 1.2 million people captured the episode on their DVRs and watched within the week. Through the middle of last week, NBC estimated that it had streamed the skit online more than 13 million times. Those are just the numbers NBC can keep track of; the skit was undoubtedly captured and posted or e-mailed many more times.
I didn't see the skit on TV but caught it at NBC's site. I don't own a TV so I didn't have much choice, but what about the tens of millions that chose to watch online? Why did they do that? Well...it's so much easier to catch a TV show online than to tune in to the right station at the right time. You can also e-mail content to friends, post stuff online, etc. Fun, convenient. The question, really, is: At what point will most people watch TV content online?
We’re used to hearing about the decline of print media, but TV too? I guess it's the television set, invented way back when, as big as a refrigerator, sitting in the corner of most living rooms around the world that had me thinking the medium was impervious to change. However, the popularity of Fey's bit online is another clear sign of changing viewing habits.
Media, now including TV, continues its migration to the web. It won't be long before television sets broadcast nothing but static.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
It's surprising that anybody could have thought Sam Jackson's appearance in 'Iron Man' was a..."cameo"?... Please. Makes no sense. This from the write up that's been in the Canadian press:
The actor confirms he's already received word the eye-patch-wearing operative will have a more significant role in the sequel, due in May 2010. "I saw (director) Jon Favreau last night. He walked up and said, 'Hey, I hope you're making your deal.' "
Of course. Duh.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
What can you say? Eastwood still has a commanding presence. Poster is very good. Have no idea what the plot details are (and will not look into it in advance), but something tells me this movie will deliver.
ps - Oh. One more thing. If I look that freaking good at 78 (holding a crutch let alone a rifle) I'll be happy.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
NYT has an exclusive clip from 'Let The Right One In'. Scene has that delicate subtle layering that, for the most part, Hollywood isn't able to produce. I don't have high hopes for the remake that's underway.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Rotten Tomatoes has the red band trailer for 'Let The Right One In'. I'm not sure if this trailer is any different than the most recent one. I think it's got maybe a couple seconds more graphic stuff but I can't be sure without checking. Rather than doing that I'm just posting it. I like this picture that much.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Yahoo has the opening seven minutes of 'Standard Operating Procedure'. It's fair to call this riveting stuff. I found this excerpt from the documentary more compelling than the vast majority of Hollywood movies. You can get it on DVD tomorrow.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
The first trailer for 'Defiance' was a historical glimpse, introducing us to the Bielski partisans, a group of over a thousand Jews who survived the Nazi purge by hiding in the forest of present-day Belarus.
The new trailer is a more emotional look at what must have been a mix of courage and desperation that was needed to attempt something so dangerous and nearly impossible to accomplish.
I think this movie will draw an audience. Release is scheduled for mid-December and I wouldn't be surprised if 'Defiance' was still in theaters doing good business in January. For some reason this one seems like it will have legs.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
James Nachtwey is a photographer. He covers war, famine, epidemics, and the human condition at its worst. In this documentary, Nachtwey offers a look at what he does and tells us what he hopes his work might accomplish.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Here's the official copy:
"Sometimes the soul of a dead person has been so tainted with evil that it is denied entrance to heaven. It must endlessly wander the borderlands between worlds, desperately searching for a new body to inhabit.
And sometimes it actually succeeds."
Scary. So very scary. "...Denied entrance to heaven." I hate when that happens. That makes me so mad. Then comes the endless wandering, looking for a new body to inhabit. Constantly wandering and looking. That really pisses me off. Dammit!
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Just what process did Ed Harris use to pick this hat for his character Virgil Cole in 'Appaloosa'? His interview with Elvis Mitchell on The Treatment is pretty good. Besides 'Appaloosa', Harris also talks at length about how the script for 'Pollock' came about, why he was compelled to make the movie, and what he had in common with the painter.
Fox has put up the Max Payne site. You can get the usual stuff -- pointer icons, wallpapers, etc. There's a pretty nice animated segment that spells out Mr. Payne's backstory. It's a good thing for those of us who haven't read every graphic novel that comes out. Me...I haven't read any, so a quick rundown on who's who helps.
I wonder if there's an explanation as to what this guy's parents (Mr. and Mrs. Payne) were thinking when they named their son Max. I mean, come on. They couldn't have gone with Tony or Ralph?
Monday, October 06, 2008
I like the trailers for 'Body of Lies' but there's a problem with this type material. You never know what you can believe and what's pure Hollywood hyperbole. Take the above clip -- a standard car chase except it's supposed to be the real thing. That is, instead of Bond or Bourne in a firefight barely escaping a sticky situation it's a real-life CIA operative. Or, more precisely, the chase is something we're expected to accept could happen and has happened in real CIA day-to-day work.
There must have been times when a CIA operative experienced this kind of thing. The problem is obvious though. CIA work is secret, so how would we know. 'Body of Lies' is based on the novel of the same name by David Ignatius, who is an Op-Ed columnist with The Washington Post. Ignatius has covered international politics including CIA operations for years. I'll bet he's had CIA guys tell him stories over a couple beers about events such as the one in the clip. But, again, how do we know? Possibly, such a car chase happened yesterday, but it wasn't in any news report. If such events are covered up out of the need for secrecy, fine. So be it. If they're not reported in the news because they never happened... Well, how do we know the difference?
The director of 'Body of Lies', Ridley Scott, also gave us the excellent 'Black Hawk Down', taken from the book by Mark Bowden, which is based on real events that were reported worldwide. It's easy to get swept up in the action in this movie. Even mundane stuff like soldiers going thirsty because they didn't think to bring enough water feels real. More conventional war movie action, like seeing a door a soldier is hiding next to shot full of holes, elicits a visceral response. The point being: if 'Black Hawk Down' were a work of fiction the screenwriter would be criticized for coming up with such a lame plot element as 'they go thirsty because they forgot to bring enough water', or something so predictable as having a door with bullet holes. But, because it really happened it hits home -- the audience feels the absurdity of having to fight for your life while suffering from extreme thirst and sympathizes with a soldier who is hiding next to a door full of bullet holes.
It's hard to take 'Body of Lies' as seriously. Here, a high-speed chase where the protagonist shoots at bad guys with an automatic weapon and manages to survive RPG fire (with the help of American military helicopter gunships) plays much more like Hollywood fluff than the real thing. It's like Bourne but not as good because the action isn't juiced enough. It's like Black Hawk but not as believable because, well, we don't know whether such stuff happens -- not for sure. The clip from 'Body of Lies' is exciting, no doubt about it. The problem isn't that, it's how to react to it. Do we enjoy the rush while munching popcorn like it's a Bourne action flick, or do we watch soberly like it's something some poor brave slob had to live through? I think we're expected to do both and I'm not sure too many people are interested in that. They want one type of movie or the other -- not a mix. I feel a little gullible and a little guilty accepting the action in 'Body of Lies' at face value. Perhaps, it doesn't help that the movie has the word 'lies' in its title.
I think audiences will sense that and avoid 'Body of Lies'. I hope I'm wrong, but still. And, that's not the only thing that might keep crowds away. This movie has other issues. It deals with terrorism, the Middle East, makes people think of the wars we're into, and has sequences where intelligence agents torture a suspect for information. Not a very appealing recipe, especially these days, and especially if it's supposed to be based on reality. Making it worse -- (from what I've heard) the novel on which the movie is based has a very convoluted plot. How, exactly, do you sell 'Body of Lies' to your friends at work over the water cooler on Monday morning?
This weekend, audiences may prefer family fare like 'City of Ember', or the predictable feel-good sports picture 'The Express', or even the purely escapist 'Quarantine'. I wouldn't expect 'Body of Lies' to do well next weekend going up against 'Max Payne', 'W.', and 'Sex Drive'.
I'm looking forward to 'Body of Lies' but I think it suffers from bad timing and a contradictory tone.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
I'm just getting into Richard Yates' novel Revolutionary Road. This is going to be a brutal read. The story is written with unaffected insight and objectivity. The kind that usually only comes decades after events, after the author has had time to process things enough to write about them honestly. I imagine Yates must have been driven by outrage as much as creativity in order to publish this novel in 1961.
While the story is set in the 50s it could just as easily take place today. So many today are trapped in the same soul-killing jobs and lives as Frank and April Wheeler. So many today face the same daily compromises, frustrations, and embarrassments. Really, nothing has changed in five decades.
Sam Mendes brought Alan Ball's examination of suburban duplicity, 'American Beauty', to life with frightening aplomb. I'm sure he will do the same with Justin Haythe's script for 'Revolutionary Road'. The difference is Revolutionary Road is anchored in everyday reality. For that very reason, because it is concerned with the mundane, it's a much more frightening story.
I can't think of two better actors than Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio for this story. I'm looking forward to this movie.
I hadn't thought much of 'Australia' until I saw this latest trailer. We get a pretty good idea of the plot and, Nicole Kidman's character has appeal because she starts out so stand-offish, but warms up later. I'm not sure I've ever seen this from her. This type of character arc could be exactly what Kidman needs at this point.
Based on what I saw in the teasers for 'Australia' I wasn't looking forward to seeing this movie. I've changed my mind now, but it makes me wonder why my opinion was so low in the first place. Why was the teaser for 'Australia' so poor?
Lately, teasers have done more harm than good. 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' and now 'Australia' (and to a lesser extent, 'Revolutionary Road') all looked dull, or at least weren't compelling in their teasers, and all of them look far better in later trailers. The teasers fail completely. They seem to be constructed to inform the viewer that the movie is to be avoided. They're boring, unengaging, no fun. Lately, teasers have been just plain bad.
The problem is, once a potential audience gets a bad feeling about a movie it's an uphill battle to change their minds. If teasers are going to turn people off, studios would be better off not offering them. They create a lot of negative press and cast doubt as to whether the movie can succeed.
This is certainly what happened after the teaser and 20-minute amalgam for Curious Case. Bad buzz was everywhere after Telluride. It's fair to say that, rightly or not, Curious Case has a stigma to overcome as a result of teaser footage. The producers have done some good damage control with the latest trailer, but the question remains: Why shoot yourself in the foot with bad teasers in the first place?
Lately, teasers don't tease, entice, or make me want more -- they're just a turn off.
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