Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cannes 2010 Line Up: UPDATE

I'm kind of saddened to learn that both Black Swan and Rabbit Hole might not be totally ready; I was really eager to hear something about those two. Still, there are plenty of likely candidates which I'm more than a little interested in, especially Miral, Biutiful, The Fighter, and now Little White Lies, which I've only heard about just now, but the title and presence of Marion Cotillard have my interest piqued.

Source: IndieWire

Which other films are most likely to debut at the May fest? Sight unseen, I rank each of the indieWIRE 40 from 1 (least likely) to four (most likely) stars to wind up in the Cannes official selection. We will soon know.

Mike Leigh’s Another Year is a likely UK competition title. ****

Oren Peli’s follow-up to Paranormal Activity, Area 51, seems outside the Cannes sight lines to me, unless it fits into a midnight show or Director’s Fortnight. It’s hard to imagine it in competition. *

Aurora, directed by Cristi Puiu (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu a must-see) is a likely Romanian competition title. ****

The Beaver is not a far-fetched idea, because the Cannes programmers would want director Jodie Foster and star Mel Gibson on the red carpet, adding star lustre to their line-up—out of competition though. Summit will decide whether it serves their purposes to launch the film in Cannes: they won’t spend unless they believe the cash will come back. **

Thompson on Hollywood

Biutiful from director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (now separated from Babel, Amores Perros and 28 Gramswriter Guillermo Arriaga, Inarritu wrote this with Armando Bo), is a natural for inclusion in the competition. I can’t wait. This is Focus International, not domestic. So Cannes makes sense as a strong launch pad for a North American distributor. And the fest will want Javier Bardem on the steps. ****

Darren Aronofsky’s $18-million Black Swan started shooting in December in Manhattan for Fox Searchlight and is nowhere close to ready, my sources say.*

French director Olivier Assayas (the fab Summer Hours) is a Cannes regular, so expectCarlos—a series of three 90-minute features—to be in the competition. IFC acquired the films at the AFM. ****

While it’s true that Cannes has played Sylvester Stallone movies in the past—I’ll never forget following Stallone up the Palais red carpet steps as he ascended to meet Elizabeth Taylor at the top, white dog in her arms, for Renny Harlin’s Cliffhanger—I highly doubt that his comeback bid The Expendables, which also stars Jason Statham and Jet Li, is on their must-see list. While I could imagine Lionsgate and all the foreign distributors wanting to make a market/press splash by showing some footage, the movie isn’t due to break worldwide until August. *

Is Doug Liman a Cannes auteur? Well, this political indie effort might fit the bill, and the fest might want to get Fair Game stars Penn and Naomi Watts for the Palais steps. Participant and River Road could use Cannes to find a distributor willing to pay for the film, although Bill Pohlad’s Apparition could do the honors. **

David O. Russell’s Flirting With Disaster did play Cannes in 2007 1996 in Un Certain Regard, so the fest could smile on Paramount’s The Fighter** (Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams). Long-delayed Nailed* (Jake Gyllenhaal-Jessica Biel), which lacks a distributor, could be tied up in bankruptcy court.

The Grand Master would be a natural competition title if Wong Kar-Wai is finished, but it’s slated for 2011 release in Hong Kong. **

Here, directed by documentarian-turned-feature-helmer Braden King and starring The Messenger’s Ben Foster, sounds like a strong candidate for Director’s Fortnight or Un Certain Regard. **

Clint Eastwood likes to bring his films to Cannes, so Hereafter could join Changelingand Mystic River there. And the Cannes brass would also be eager for Matt Damon to show. ***

Is Gregg Araki ready to make the transition to the Cannes competition (Smiley Faceshowed in Director’s Fortnight in 2007)? Kaboom could be it—or wind up back in the Fortnight. ***

Guillaume Canet’s Little White Lies starring Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard seems like a competition shoo-in. ****

While Director’s Fortnight discovered Xavier Dolan (Canadian Oscar submission I Killed My Mother), it’s hard to imagine the festival bumping him up with his follow-up, Love Imagined. It would help if he had notable cast. (It’s all about those Palais steps!) **

Robert Rodriguez was in Cannes competition with Sin City, but the fest wanted Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof without Rodriguez’s gorey Grindhouse contribution, Planet Terror. So Machete would seem to be in that vein and thus not a likely Cannes entry—except for one mitigating factor: Robert DeNiro. That could bring the movie into midnight contention. **

Meek’s Cutoff director Kelly Reichardt is just the sort of global critics’ darling that Cannes could bump from Un Certain Regard (Wendy and Lucy) to main competition. She’s due. ****

Julian Schnabel is already in the auteur club. If he’s finished with Jerusalem-set Miral, he’s in. ****

I loved Anh Hung Tran’s The Scent of Green Papaya. I agree with Brian Brooks:Norwegian Wood, starring Rinko Kikuchi, looks like a shoo-in for a competition slot.****

Francois Ozon’s Potiche looks likely too. ****

Word is that neither John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole* nor Bruce Robinson’s Rum Diary* will be done in time.

Danish director Susanne Bier should be a Cannes auteur; she was on the jury in 2008, but has never been in the competition. It’s time to redress that omission: she’ll be back in her native language with The Revenge. ***

Spain’s Julio Medem (the excellent Sex and Lucia) has also never been in the Cannes competition, but Room in Rome could change that, too. UPDATE: Word is this one won’t make it.*

If Cam Archer’s Shit Year, starring Ellen Barkin, ends up in the Cannes selection, it would probably be in Director’s Fortnight. *

In France, what Jean Luc Godard wants, he gets, so if he wants Socialisme, starring Patti Smith in this year’s fest, he’ll be in. ***

Somewhere starring Stephen Dorff, is directed by Cannes favorite Sofia Coppola, but she is due to give birth in late May, so Focus may debut this semi-autobiographical L.A. film at Venice and Telluride instead. *

Stephen Frears’ Tamara Drewe starring Gemma Arterton, would seem a natural (he’s had two films in competition), but the UK director would need to finish it in time. *

Julie Taymor may be ready to make her Cannes debut at long last with her latest Shakespeare film, The Tempest, starring Helen Mirren as Prospera. But Disney/Miramax is the distributor, which could be a problem. **

Three, from Germany’s Tom Tykwer (Run, Lola, Run) seems a likely competition entry, as it wasn’t finished in time for Berlin. ****

Showing animated features like last year’s opener Up out-of-competition is an honorable tradition at Cannes, and Pixar’s 3-D Toy Story 3 easily fits that niche. UPDATE: But it looks like it’s not happening.*

Assuming Terrence Malick feels ready to show The Tree of Life in May, it should be in the competition, with Pitt and Penn lending starry support. ***

Bela Tarr screened a rough cut of The Turin Horse in Budapest before Berlin, so signs look promising for a Cannes competition berth. ****

Gus Van Sant is always welcome on the Croisette, so assuming he’s done with his latest untitled film starring Mia Wasikowska, he’s a likely returning regular. ***

La Vida Util, from Federico Veiroj, would mark the Uruguayan director’s second Cannes entry, so signs looks good. ***

Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps starring Michael Douglas and Carey Mulligan is in; Fox wants it out of competition. Too bad, Stone should be in with the auteurs with his first Cannes entry.****

Peter Weir marks his first film since Master & Commander with the 40s war prisoner-escape film The Way Back, starring Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris and Saoirse Ronan. Produced by Scott Rudin and National Geographic Films (now led by ex-Miramax chief Daniel Battsek), it is not clear who is distributing the film. The decision on Cannes has not yet been made. But it could be a strong launch for an eventual awards contender. UPDATE: Distribution uncertainty is undermining Cannes showing.*

Milk screenplay Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black makes his directorial debut withWhat’s Wrong with Virginia? That makes him a new kid on the block at Cannes—ripe for adoption and mentorship if the film is right. Ed Harris stars. ***

Word is, Woody Allen’s romantic comedy You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger starring Josh Brolin and Naomi Watts is definitely in. Allen usually screens out of competition.

Amazing trailer for "Animal Kingdom" starring Guy Pearce

Maybe it's just the shock of hearing Pearce's native Aussie accent, but if I hadn't seen his face I would have guessed that it was Hugh Jackman. The similarity of their voices is almost eerie. Anyway, this looks REALLY good, and I hope it gets a decent stateside release. There's a bit of an A Prophet vibe running through the trailer that is more than a little intriguing.

Trailer for "The Expendables"

Well it definitely looks better than the likes of Gamer. It's nice to see a straight action flick that doesn't feel the need to slap on unnecessary, sleazy sexual elements. As the Governator would say, "GET BACK TO THE KILLING!" Oh, and why are Bruce Willis and AHNOLD's names left off? They don't look like they have big roles (y'know, because one of them has a state to run), but you think they'd at least give them a mention (ie: "and Bruce Willis...with Arnold Schwaraneggar"). What's really funny though, is that you can see the overlap of Mickey Rourke's schedule in his whole look. The hair is almost identical to his 'do in Iron Man 2, aka, that movie which refuses to put his image on the posters.

Scarlett needs you to see "Iron Man 2"

She might just kill you if you don't...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Final poster for "Iron Man 2" arrives

Y'know, Paramount, you have over a month until this sure-thing blockbuster arrives in theaters. Do you maybe want to tell your marketing team to try something a little less like the poster released last week? Why bother giving us a new poster if it's just a different arrangement of talented heads? And you're not even going to include ONE of your two main villains???

Trailer for "Knight and Day"

I think I saw this trailer in a theater some time in December...I think. What amazed me was that I had vaguely heard about this film, and then after seeing the trailer learned that they were still dead in the middle of shooting, which struck me as odd. This may or may not be the exact same one, but either way, I'm not impressed. Action-comedy is not easy to pull off, and while the stunts are on clear display, the comedy all falls flat. Cameron Diaz, I sort of want to like you, but you don't need to try SO hard in EVERY movie.

At least someone had the good sense to give it this title...

Monday, March 29, 2010

If only this had been a movie poster...

I would hang it on my dorm wall with such glee.

First poster for the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, featuring Juliette Binoche

With addition information on some prominent films that will be making appearences:


With the Cannes Film Festival only 45 days away from kicking off (I will be attending again this year), buzz about the line-up has started to build. Last week it was officially announced that Ridley Scott's Robin Hood would open the festival, the same honor that Pixar's Up had last at last year's fest. Anne Thompson at indieWIRE also names a few titles that she's heard will be heading to Cannes: Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, and of course, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, which we've talked plenty aboutbefore, although none of them are official yet.

This will be the first time an Oliver Stone film has played at the festival, as far as I know, so congratulations to Stone. And although she mentions Tree of Life, apparently Malick still hasn't shown the film to Cannes yet (even though it's supposedly finished), but he will get in no matter what when/if he does show them. To go along with the debut of the official poster for the 63rd Cannes Film Festival, other prospectives (via The Playlist) include: Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, Sofia Coppola's Somewhere, Bruce Robinson's The Rum Diary with Johnny Depp, and Amores Perrosdirector Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's film Biutiful.

There's also a rumor that because Juliette Binoche is on the poster this year, it may mean that her new film Certified Copy from Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami might show as well. Although we only know one film that is officially playing this year (Robin Hood), if the rest of this turns out to be accurate, it looks like it'll be a great year at Cannes this year. I had a amazing time last year and I'm already very excited about the prospective line-up this year. We'll be bringing you coverage of the fest along with SlashFilm, so although not many of you will be in Cannes with us, we'll do our best to report back on the must see films of the fest.

Read more:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Disney's "Mean Girls"

First "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" poster

Assuming that this isn't photoshopped or a fake, it looks like it belongs with the posters for "The Half Blood Prince," what with all of the green and black. Talk about underwhelming, even for a simple teaser.

2010 2nd Quarter Preview: April, May, June

With only three full days left in March, it's once again time to look ahead to find more excuses to visit the theater over the next three months. 2010 is off to a decent start so far (well, I've only seen four movies so...), but thankfully, we're about to leave the dreaded first quarter behind and move into late spring and early summer! Cue the string of back-to-back big budget box office hopefuls, and the occasional summer indie (maybe even one that goes all the way to the top) hoping to successfully offer an alternative to the loudness of big studio fare. These eleven films aren't the only reasons to go the theater over the next three months (I'm sure some will undergo release date changes, not to mention that summer indies have painfully slow expansions and can appear out of nowhere), but they're the most notable.

11. The A-Team [June 11 - Wide] dir. Joe Carnahan
Who's in it?: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copely, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson
What's the story?: An adaptation of the 80s TV action series.
  • It looks loud and fun.
  • Sharlto Copely, who had a terrific breakout in District 9 is getting work. Yay!
  • Cigar-chomping Liam Neeson.
Why Not:
  • Uninspired trailer.
  • TV adaptations don't have the best history.
  • Why does Bradley Cooper always look so smug?
10. Jonah Hex [June 18 - Wide] dir. Jimmy Hayward
What's the story?: A bounty hunter tries to stop a voodoo practitioner from unleashing the undead to liberate the Old South.
Who's in it?: Josh Brolin, Michael Fassbender, Megan Fox, Michael Shannon, John Malkovich
  • Strong cast.
  • Good source material with a cool mix of magic and the Old West.
Why Not:
  • No trailer. No new posters. No buzz. Nada.
09. Date Night [April 9 - Wide] dir. Shawn Levy
What's the story?: A case of mistaken identities traps a married couple in a gangster-filled night of insanity.
Who's in it?: Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Taraji P. Henson
  • Carrell and Fey are a great comic duo, and star on two of the best comedies currently on TV.
  • The action-comedy genre is tricky, but when done right it can be a blast.
  • Great supporting cast.
  • Solid trailer.
Why Not:
  • Funny people doesn't mean a funny movie.
  • Could be a classic case of "everything funny was in the trailer".
  • No early word.
08. I Love You, Phillip Morris [May 7 - LA only] dirs. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
What's the story?: A con man falls in love with a fellow in mate, and tries to maintain a relationship as he continuously escapes/is trapped in prison.
Who's in it?: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro
  • A true and unique story that reportedly handles the homosexual subject manner extremely well.
  • Strong praise for the performances (especially McGregor).
Why Not:
  • It's been delayed for ages.
  • The reviews have generally been good, but not great.
  • It's difficult to tell how much of Jim Carrey's schtick is intact for the performance.
07. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time [May 28 - Wide] dir. Mike Newell
What's the story?: Prince Dastan must return a time-controlling dagger to its home to prevent an evil wizard from using its powers to take over the world.
Who's in it?: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Artreton, Alfred Molina
  • The 2003 video game (of the same name) was a stellar example of how video games can tell a simple-yet-engaging story, mixed with amazing action and environments.
  • The game's creator, Jordan Mechner, was commissioned to come up with the story.
  • Director Mike Newell is no stranger to big budget fantasy fare; he directed 2005's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • Jerry Bruckheimer has likened the tone to Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • The trailer doesn't make the film look cheap.
Why Not:
  • Was Gyllenhaal the best choice for the prince?
  • The story is quite different from that of the video game, which has a knockout of a finale. If it ain't broke...
  • The special effects look fine, but that's it.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (well, the first one) was a special pop culture phenomenon with a brilliant lead character. Just having two comically bickering leads doesn't mean that you'll achieve the same charm of that franchise.
06. Clash of the Titans [April 2 - Wide] dir. Louis Leterrier
What's the story?: Perseus, the son of Zeus, must stop the gods from unleashing total chaos (and the kraken) on increasingly anti-theist mankind.
Who's in it?: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Artreton, Alexa Davalos, Mads Mikkelson
  • Rockin' trailer (that song better be on the soundtrack)
  • How can you resist seeing Liam Neeson bellow "RELEASE THE KRAKEN!" on the big screen?
  • Special effects have come a looooong way since the original, lending the film a slick, super-charged vibe. The action looks kinetic without being confusing.
  • Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes on screen together again. Schindler and Goeth don't have sh*t on Zeus and Hades.
  • The studio actually gave the film more money to add extra monsters/gods.
Why Not:
  • Could extra monsters/gods create clutter?
  • Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk had effective action, but was utterly brain dead in between fights.
  • Could struggle with tone issues. Will they try and be gritty and epic, or maintain some of the camp of the original?
  • A rushed conversion to 3D has left those at previews unimpressed (the film was delayed a week because of this conversion).
  • Sam Worthington needs to carry the movie, and, like Keira Knightley, he can be very good or very bland.
05. Robin Hood [May 14 - Wide] dir. Ridley Scott
What's the story?: An archer in the army of Richard the Lionhearted fights against the Normans and becomes the legendary Robin Hood.
Who's in it?: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, Danny Huston, Max Von Sydow, William Hurt
  • A fresh, gritty take on the Robin Hood story with a knock out cast.
  • Crowe and Scott are a reliable combination.
  • Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, together at last.
  • Ridley Scott films always have lush period details, making you feel like you're in X time period.
  • The action is reportedly very gritty, with very few special effects shots (most of which are just for a fleet of ships).
  • Brian Helgeland, the writer behind that masterpiece LA Confidential, wrote the screenplay, trying to give it a more historical angle.
Why Not:
  • The off chance that it ends up being dull.
  • Crowe and Blanchett may not have the right chemistry.
  • The actor who plays King John seems a little over the top ("I declare him an out-LAAAAAAAAAW!!")
04. Kick Ass [April 16 - Wide] dir. Matthew Vaughn
What's the story?: Dave Lizewski, an ordinary student, decides to become a super hero, and inspires a wave of masked vigilantes, angering a local mob syndicate.
Who's in it?: Aaron Johnson, Nicholas Cage, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz
  • Fantastic reception from the SXSW Film Festival. Some reviews hailed it as the best super hero flick behind The Dark Knight (albeit completely different in tone).
  • The mix of visceral action and laugh out loud comedy also has a surprising share of emotional weight.
  • The performances have earned across the board praise, especially young Moretz as the purple-haired, foul-mouthed Hit Girl.
  • Finally a chance to see Nicholas Cage give a knowingly silly performance.
  • Mintz-Plasse is inching closer to breaking out of his McLovin' mould.
Why Not:
  • Matthew Vaughn's last film, Stardust, was generally well received, but was really a clunky, poorly structured film. Let's hope it doesn't carry over here.
03. I am Love [June 18 - Limited] dir. Luca Guadagnino
What's the story?: At the turn of the millennium, a prominent Milanese family is shaken by romantic passions and infidelity.
Who's in it?: Tilda Swinton, various and sundry Italians
  • Have you seen the trailer? If you haven't, it calls to mind A Single Man, which teased beautifully without giving away its minimal plot at all.
  • Early reviews have been extremely positive, especially for Swinton, who was criminally snubbed for Oscar consideration last year for her work in Julia.
  • The music is by opera composer John Adams, who is composing his first ever film score (sadly, the music in the trailer is from previous work).
  • Even if it's bad, it will sure as hell be gorgeous.
Why Not:
  • Is it just empty prettiness?
02. Toy Story 3 [June 18 - Wide] dir. Lee Unkrich
What's the story?: When Andy departs for college, the toys are donated to a day-care, and must cope with the change.
Who's in it?: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, John Ratzenberger, Joan Cusack, Michael Keaton, Bonnie Hunt
  • The original Pixar masterpiece comes full circle.
  • According to early word, if WALL-E or UP!, made you cry, you'll be bawling over the last (brilliant) 20 minutes of this one.
  • Written by Michael Arndt of Little Miss Sunshine fame.
Why Not:
  • The one in a million chance that it's either just "good", or even "bad". Yeah, probably not.
01. Iron Man 2 [May 7 - Wide] dir. Jon Favreau
What's the story?: Tony Stark must deal with his newfound super hero status, demands from the government to hand over the Iron Man suit, and new threats from a business rival and a deranged Russian villain with a vendetta named Whiplash.
Who's in it?: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johannson, Samuel L. Jackson
  • The first was a surprise thrill ride, and this one looks bigger and better.
  • Mickey Rourke looks f-ing insane.
  • With the Tony Stark universe established, the film can jump right into the good stuff without all of the set up from before.
  • Fun new cast members.
Why Not:
  • I still wish Emily Blunt had gotten the Black Widow role over Johannson.
  • It could be judged too harshly next to its predecessor.

"Iron Man 2" TV spot

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dear Noah Baumbach,

In your attempt to manufacture indie character studies, you have created (and will, no doubt, continue to create) "special" indie movies about damaged people that consist of the same traits. First, one, if not all of the major characters are intensely unlikeable. Second, the attempts at comedy, whether broad, dark, or low key, are poorly set up and executed. There is never anything worth more than a "heh" in your films, save for the tree scene in Margot at the Wedding (and even that fell short of its own potential). There's nothing wrong with unlikeable characters per se, but if they're going to be the center of our attention, you need to give us something else to focus on, not just meandering attempts at a slice of life. Third, even when you write nice characters, and you have written TWO *gasp* this time, you give them little to work with; Rhys Ifans and the adorable Greta Gerwig deserve better. Remember, just because your film is an indie character study, it doesn't mean that it's special or good. Please find a way to correct these issues (among others), and maybe one day your filmography and I will have a good, maybe even wonderful, relationship.



P.S. Grade: C-

Liam Neeson and Cedric the Entertainer join "Selma"

Liam Neeson is amazing, and I'm dying to see him "release the kraken!" next weekend, but I'm not sure I see the physical resemblance to LBJ...even with the wonders that make up can do these days; the facial structure just seems too different. Still excited for this, because of its eclectic cast.

Source: IMDB forums (publication unknown)

Irish actor Liam Neeson has been confirmed to play President Lyndon Johnson in the civil rights drama called "Selma.” Neeson, whose career is on fire at the minute, will work with Oscar nominated “Precious” director Lee Daniels. At the Oscars this year , Daniels hinted that Neeson and Cedric the Entertainer were on board for his next project. However, it was only confirmed this week. Lenny Kravitz and Hugh Jackman have already signed up for the movie. The movie centers on the civil rights disputes that raged during the 1960s. It primarily focuses on the historic marches staged by Dr. Martin Luther King in 1965 in Selma, Alabama. David Oyelowo will play King, Jackman will star as the racist sheriff Jim Clark, and Kravitz has been cast as activist Andrew Young. Cedric the Entertainer will play Ralph Abernathy.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Suddenly I have the bizarre urge to see a Dreamworks film...

Why? Well, because apparently it's actually...good. And not just, "oh it's more than just a throwaway movie," but actually some sort of legitimate rival to a Pixar flick *gasp*. Plus, that dragon, when it's not leering like it is in this picture, is kind of adorable. Plus, I'll pay money to see a movie that can give me a kick-ass sensation of flight without having to go on a rollercoaster...

First set pic from Julie Taymor's "The Tempest"

I could not be anymore excited for Julie Taymor's adaptation of the Bard's magic-infused comedy. Okay...that's a lie. I'll probably be more excited once I read the play (thanks, Shakespearean Exclusions gen-ed class!). Out of her three previous directorial efforts, Taymor has made two phenomenal films, 2002's Oscar-winning Frida, and 1999's Titus, based on Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. Through stunning examination of historical context and the text itself, Taymor turned what many consider Shakespeare's worst (or at least most unsophisticated) play, and made an enthralling, dynamic piece of work, combining sets and costumes from different eras seamlessly. Here's hoping that Taymor's second go-round with Shakespeare will be more like her first two features, and less like the beautiful-yet-sometimes-trudging Across the Universe (2007). In the photo you'll see comedian Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, and Djimon Honsou, each in distinct outfits (or lacktherof). Now that Taymor's films tend to gain a hint more of an audience, and her impact on Broadway has been felt, could this be a major contender for 2010's Oscar race? Or will it go the dreaded way of Bright Star? Here's hoping for the former.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

First official still from Woody Allen's "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger"

For other pictures of the cast, including Anthony Hopkins, go here.

This is the case year by year with Woody Allen films, details are generally scant at first. But really, as much as we love the guy, the general stories of his films are never a big surprise by this point and such is the case with the newly revealed synopsis for "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger." You can read the barebones studio-supplied description below:

"A little romance, some sex, some treachery and apart from that, a few laughs. The lives of a group of people whose passions, ambitions and anxieties force them all into assorted troubles that run the gamut from ludicrous to dangerous."
The vague synopsis of course also applies to more than a handful of Allen's films throughout his career and you could add some marital infidelity and neuroticism to the list. The title reportedly refers to a visit to a scene from early in the movie in which Naomi Watts' character visits a gypsy fortune teller who tells of her future romantic acquaintances. Perhaps we'll get some of the same light-hearted goofy mysticism that Allen presented in "Scoop" and "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion"?

As previously reported, the film also features Josh Brolin (playing the Allen character type) as a writer who enters an extra-marital affair. Allen described the film as "being amusing and also serious," so you can expect the sort of mixed moods that Allen often employs. In addition to Watts and Brolin, the London-set film features Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Lucy Punch, and Anna Friel. 'Stranger' is slated for a September 23rd release date with a rumored Cannes premiere.

Teaser trailer for "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World"

Well, sadly, Michael Cera still looks the same as he does in...everything. However, I had no idea how much of this was almost science fiction. Then, there's the guiding hand of Edgar Wright, the director of two fantastic films, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, which both brilliantly spoofed genres while also maintaing genuine intensity. And then there's Anna Kendrick, who, though only tagged on to the very end, is still a welcome presence.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dammit, now I actually have a good reason to see "Transformers 3"

How do you do it Michael Bay? How do you keep finding reasons to make me see your shitty, indulgent blockbusters that always suck and are totally ripe for parody? I mean, you roped in an Oscar winner this time! Come on, Frances McDormand! You're better than that! Come on Ken Jeong! You're better than that! Come on, John Malkovich! You' eh....

Source: Ain't It Cool News

Merrick here...

Over on his official website, Michael Bay talked TRANSFORMERS 3 status.

We are going to shoot in LA, Chicago, Washington DC, Florida, Texas, Africa, Moscow, and China. On the talent front, we just locked in Frances McDormand and John Malkovich. Both amazing actors I've always wanted to work with. We also just got Ken Jeong, he is the super funny actor stuck in the trunk from “Hangover” and the Doctor from “Knocked Up.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


International trailer for "I am Love"

I want. I want now.

Trailer for "Legends of the Guardian"

Aside from Pixar, animated movies rarely catch my interest; this is an exception. From the soaring choice of music to the unbelievably gorgeous visuals, this looks totally enthralling. Apparently the 3-D is wonderful, because it was part of the film's design, not added in post production, resulting in an incredible sense of depth in the images. Even better is that it's directed by Zach Snyder of 300 fame, meaning that it likely won't pander to young audiences, but rather offer something for everyone.

A history of violence: "A Prophet"(09) and "Gamer"(09) - REVIEW(s)

I was in the mood for violence yesterday, and boy did I get it, albeit from two films at opposite ends of the quality spectrum. One was an acclaimed Cannes Grand Prix winner from last May, and the other a star vehicle for Gerard Butler made by the directors of Crank. Care to take a guess at which one I preferred?
Jacques Audiard's A Prophet has held my interest ever since the acclaim from Cannes, through the chilling trailer, and up to Nathaniel R giving the film an A- on The Film Experience. I've had a little trouble with films flying the "acclaimed French product" flag recently (Reprise, Summer Hours), so I had my reservations despite my general excitement. Thankfully, Audiard's film (and France's Foreign Language Film Submission for 09) exceeded my expectations, and even surprised me in a few places. One of my complaints with films like Summer Hours is that in the film's attempts to have some degree of distance/objectivity in regards to characters, that the plot quickly grows tiresome and feels empty, despite plentiful potential for compelling film making. Though this same trait is somewhat present in Audiard's film, there is still a compelling story and intriguing characters that keep the film from falling into "blah" territory, and maintain a level of interest. In a nutshell, this is the story of Malik, a 19 year old, illiterate, French Muslim who rises through the ranks of the mafia during his six years in prison. Despite its length (2.5 hrs) and slightly episodic nature in the middle portion, Audiard's film is compelling written and edited. Malik: What's wrong, Cesar?
Cesar: I just saw 'Gamer'...

Much like The Hurt Locker, the various "episodes" that make up the bulk of the film are woven together with such fluidity that they feel smooth, despite the presence of titles in big, white text. However, the more connected scenes are the strongest, and I can easily say that, also like The Hurt Locker, the best scenes, most engaging scenes are at the beginning and end. Aiding the film in the background is the compelling, at times surprisingly delicate score, even though the sound mix occasionally has it blaring a bit too loud. Still, it's just more proof that 2009 is one of the strongest years for scores of the past decade. In the foreground are the performances, and they're quite strong, though I'm not sure any of them would crack my top 5 (certainly top 10, however). As Malik, Tahir Rahim makes for a compelling protagonist, despite some of what he does. Rahim's wiry build and face communicate neither overt menace nor a wilting flower personality; he's someone who takes time to adjust to what he's getting into. Two key supporting performances are quite impressive as well. Niels Arestrup makes a convincing, though never cartoonish, mob boss who takes Malik under his wing (although he never hesitates to hit the young man to keep him in line). But my favorite of the cast has to be Adel Bencherif as Ryad, Malik's closest friend. Despite Ryad's personal troubles, the script never milks the situation for schmaltz, making the character empathetic without whoring him out for sympathy and tears. Bencherif makes you feel for the character without histrionics; his persona is tough, but still very gentle and likable. If I have any gripes, it's that there are one or two prison characters who feeling somewhat unnecessary, and one line of dialogue that's well...heavy handed (trust me, you'll know it when it's uttered). That said, Audiard's film is so gritty and engaging, and filled with such striking moments (two dream sequences and a handful of symbolic hallucinations are particularly haunting) that it's hard to gripe too much. Not only is this a great film, but one of the best of 2009, and maybe even my new pick for Foreign Language Film.
Unfortunately, Gamer is exactly the opposite. Despite its short runtime (1 hr 25 min), by the time it's over, I was more than ready for it to be over. Though it has two impressively staged/shot/edited action scenes, they're both squeezed into the first 25 minutes. After that, it's a long, stupid, sleazy hour until you're free. Set in a slightly futuristic world, gaming master Nick Castle (Dexter's amazing Michael C. Hall) has developed two hit video games. One is called Society, and the other is Slayer. Both games involve real people plugging into the minds of other real people, and controlling them. The main focus of Slayer is that gamers control actual convicts, who, if they survive 30 games, are given a full pardon, all while spectators look on like it's an NCAA game (hehe, see what I did?). However, like the film's attempt at social commentary is like everything else: weak. Gerard Butler, who's slowly encroaching on Jason Statham's B-Movie-Action throne, doesn't get much to do other than look sullen and yell (he barely talks in the first 30 minutes). I kept waiting for him to pull a Harrison Ford and gruffly tell someone that he wants his family back, since this is basically the plot. While this is going on, we get glimpses of a resistance trying to bring down Castle's game (led by Ludacris, and backed up by Allison Lohman, who rushes through her lines so fast you can just feel her trying to get off of the set). Then there's Butler's wife, who's stuck making money by being an avatar for Society, where we get the film's sleaziest moments. And I mean sleazy. The first shots of Society are tacky, but at least they're brief. As the film goes on, we're treated to more, and it just gets worse (there has to be a better way to justify a boob shot...right?). And then we have Kyra Sedgwick, who should have been able to know better, but probably had to get a paycheck after that whole Bernie Madoff fiasco (seriously, what on earth was her character doing???). You gonna try and stab an Emmy Winner, boy?

OH, and THEN, there's John Leguizamo in an absolutely nothing role as well...some guy who likes to give twitchy monologues to Butler, and then dies and we're supposed to be all "oh no that guy died!" I'm sorry that I'm getting so fragmented, but...GAH, there's just so much that's either dumb, lame, or exceedingly trashy it's hard to keep focused. At least Michael C. Hall tries to have fun and camp up his role, complete with overwrought southern drawl and a scene where he lip-syncs and dances while sending drones to punch Butler. Not making that up. That's it, I'm done with this. To the makers/writers of this film, all I can say is this:

A Prophet: A-

Gamer: D+

"Clash of the Titans" clip - 'Who Was That?'

I really only have one question about this footage. Calibos is trying to hold Perseus by the hair at one how does that work out with Sam Worthington still wearing his Avatar buzz cut?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Penelope Cruz's "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" role revealed

Mar 19 2010 5:15 PM EDT
Exclusive: Penelope Cruz To Play Johnny Depp's Love Interest In New 'Pirates'
'On Stranger Tides' executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer reveals that Cruz will be the daughter of Blackbeard, played by Ian McShane.
By Eric Ditzian, with reporting by Larry Carroll

We've known since February that Penélope Cruz was looking to come aboard "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," the fourth installment of Johnny Depp's swashbuckling adventure stories. Yet until now, her exact role has remained unclear.
MTV News has exclusively learned exactly how Cruz fits into the story: She's the daughter of Depp's nemesis.

"She plays the daughter of Blackbeard," executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer told MTV News at ShoWest in Las Vegas. "She's the daughter of the bad guy.
"She brings a lot of humor to it. And the fact that she's so feisty," he continued, adding that there will be "a little romance between [Depp's] Captain Jack and the character that Penelope plays."
Ian McShane is to set to play Blackbeard, the main adversary to Captain Jack Sparrow. As Bruckheimer put it, Blackbeard is "the nastiest pirate ever."

New poster for Stallone's "The Expendables"

Or as many of us like to refer to it: that movie with every major action star from 1980 to the present.

Short new trailer for "Kick-Ass"

This one focuses more on the characters and offers some brief glimpses of new footage, mostly of villain Mark Strong. I used to think that this film would just be some trashy guilty pleasure (or maybe not even that much), but after seeing the great early reviews from the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, this could really be fantastic. It's nice to see young actors who have some real talent star in a film poised for (*crosses fingers*) success, though the R-rating might hurt it a bit. Besides, Hit Girl and Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) look like such a blast. This could shape up to be the surprise smash of the year, even with Clash of the Titans opening two weeks prior (although from what I've read, that film's conversion to 3-D hasn't been too successful).

Bizarre (and very cool) French trailer for "Adele Blance Sec"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New "Clash of the Titans" TV spot

Oh Hugh Jackman, you dirty racist

Keeping racism classy

So, only hours (or a day?) after solid news from Lee Daniels' Selma emerges, we finally learn Hugh Jackman's role. The first (I think) confirmed member of the cast, he was a bit of a surprise choice considering that he's a big star and well, the central characters are black. Well, for those of you who placed bets that Mr. Australia would play MLK, very funny, and no. Hopefully this will be another The Fountain for Jackman, or perhaps even better. To see him play a thoroughly unsympathetic character? Actually, I can't wait:

Source: CinemaBlend
It was a little strange to learn that Hugh Jackman was the first official cast member of Lee Daniels' historical film Selma, given that it focuses on Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson and their roles in the 1965 Civil Rights March. I mean, Jackman wasn't going to be playing either of those characters, right? Um, right?

Now Wolverine himself has stepped in to explain things, and yes, he is definitely playing an appropriate role. He'll play Jim Clark, an Alabama sheriff who violently arrested several of the marchers, as he told Vulture. Given that he knew he probably wasn't supposed to admit even that-- "that's enough trouble for one night," he told them-- he declined to explain any further. But Clark's Wikipedia page notes that he was responsible for "Bloody Sunday," in which he ordered his mounted police to charge a group of peaceful protesters. A year before his death in 2007, he told a local newspaper he'd do the same thing again if given the chance. Sounds like a fascinating, brutal guy, and a big change of pace for the sunny and well-liked Jackman.