Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
It's no secret that Terrence Malick's Tree of Life is, well, full of secrets. The notoriously reclusive director has been especially guarded on his latest project, which some speculate has been gestating since the 1970s, and was once known only as Q. Little details have popped up here and there, but finally, at long last, some real answers have arrived. Paul Maher over at PopMatters.com has put together a wonderfully detailed article about everything that is "confirmed" regarding the film, now slated for release (I hope) this November or December. Now, when I say "confirmed," I mean every bit of speculation, not 100% confirmed facts. But for a director as reclusive as Malick, speculation is almost as good as fact in its own odd way. Click the link to read the full article, which is filled with lots of wonderful info.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
The folks over at JoBlo.com have gotten official word that the sequel to 2009's surprise smash hit Sherlock Holmes has a confirmed release date of December 16, 2011, exactly two years after the first film (making this the second film franchise for Downey Jr. to do so, after Iron Man 2 opened two years after its predecessor). However, change is afoot; Downey Jr. and Law are back for sure, but Rachel McAdams, despite being "present," won't be the leading lady. As much as I like Ms. McAdams, she was my one gripe casting-wise in regards to the first film; she appeared to be way in over her head. Hopefully the new leading lady will be A) more age appropriate, and B) be able to carry a better repartee with Downey Jr. Perhaps his Iron Man co-star, Gwyneth Paltrow?
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
What else is there to say other than "wow, that's beautiful"? The richness of color, though downplayed by darkness, is sumptuous. This isn't surprising considering that A) it's a Malick film and B) Emmanuel Lubezki is director of photography. As of April, the the film was reportedly "97% finished," and there has been a secret test screening in Austin (why do they always get the great secret screenings?). This is good news, because knowing Malick, that final 3% could take a while. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
First, let me say that I really love these character one-sheets (full collection can be viewed HERE) in their design, color scheme, and most of all, mystery. As you can see, each character is given a title, but in conjunction with what little is known about the film (entering dreams to steal/protect ideas), they actually add a thin new layer of intrigue. Cotillard's wife-character is a perfect example. In the latest trailer, we see her in DiCaprio's arms, smiling, and later crying, but here she's listed as The Shade, which sounds much less innocent. Factor in the fact that on the most recent theatrical poster Cotillard is holding a gun, and it makes you wonder. Same goes for Ken Watanabe. His character is described as someone who blackmails DiCaprio, but about what and with what no one knows...so why is he called The Tourist? It's all part of the mystery, one that we'll have to wait until July 16th to try and unravel...
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Grand Prix (runner-up):
Des Hommes Et Des Dieux (Of God and Men), directed by Xavier Beauvois
Prix de la Mise en Scene (best director):
Mathieu Amalric for “Tournée” (On Tour)
Prix du Scenario (best screenplay):
Poetry by Lee Chang-dong
Camera d’Or (best first feature):
Año Bisiesto directed by Michael Rowe
Prix du Jury (jury prize):
A Screaming Man directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Prix d’interpretation feminine (best actress):
Juliette Binoche for “Certified Copy” (directed by Abbas Kiarostami)
Prix d’interpretation masculine (best actor - a Tie):
Javier Bardem for “Biutiful” (directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Elio Germano for “La Nostra Vita” (directed by Daniele Luchetti)
Palme d’Or (short film):
Chienne d’Histoire directed by Serge Avedikian
Also winning awards at the Festival de Cannes:
UN CERTAIN REGARD
Prize of Un Certain Regard: Ha Ha Ha, directed by Hong Sangsoo
Jury Prize: Octubre, directed by Daniel Vega & Diego Vega
Special Prize: The three actresses—Adela Sanzhez, Eva Bianco, and Victoria Rapos—from Ivan Fund & Santiago Losa’s Los Labios (The Lips)
Art Cinema Award: Pieds nus sur les limaces, directed by Fabienne Berthaud (France)
Prix SACD/SACD Prize: Illégal, directed Olivier Masset-Depasse (Belgium – Luxembourg – France).
Label Europa Cinemas: Le Quattro Volte, directed by Michelangelo Frammartino (Italy)
PRIX SFR: “Cautare”, directed Ionut Piturescu (Romania) and “Mary Last Seen,” directed by Sean Durkin (USA)
Palm Dog Award: Vuk, the goatherd’s dog in Le Quattro Volte, directed by by Michelangelo Frammartino
INTERNATIONAL CRITICS’ WEEK
Grand Prix Semaine de la Critique: Armadillo, directed by Janus Metz
SACD Prize: Bi, dung so! (Bi, Don’t Be Afraid!), directed by Phan Dang Di
ACID/CCAS Support: Bi, dung so!, directed by Phan Dang Di
OFAJ (Very) Young Critic Award: Sound of Noise, directed by Ola Simonsson & Johannes Stjaerne Nilsson
Canal+ Award for Best Short Film: “Berik,” directed by Daniel Joseph Borgman
Kodak Discovery Award for Best Short Film: “Deeper Than Yesterday,” directed by Ariel Kleiman
FIPRESCI CRITICS AWARDS
Cannes Competition: Tournée” (On Tour) directed by Mathieu Amalric
Un Certain Regard: Pal Adrienn, directed by Agnes Kocsis
Director’s Fortnight/Critics’ Week: Todos vos sodes capitans, directed by Olivier Laxe
QUEER PALM AWARD:
Kaboom, directed by Gregg Araki.
It's hard to believe, but it's here: the end of the most prestigious film festival in the world. Though general response to the collection of films in or out of competition hasn't been as enthusiastic as say, last year, there are a few standouts that are likely bets for the top prizes; the tricky part is figuring out which film will land where, since Cannes awards second and third place "top prizes". And with Tim Burton as president, odds are something a little on the weird side is in the running for the Palme D'Or, the festival's highest honor. So, who and what is likely to take home awards in the next few hours? Here's a few guesses:
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Next up for reviewing is Doug Limon's (The Bourne Identity) latest film: the Valerie Plame story, titled Fair Game, with Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. Limon, who's more know for his flashier, action-oriented films, is in relatively new territory with a thriller that has to engage purely with words, and without any chases or fights. I haven't been able to find too many reviews to choose from, but the general consensus seem solid, if not ecstatic. IndieWire's Eric Kohn isn't too enthusiastic, saying that the film "only occasionally moves beyond the level of a solid made-for-TV-movie" (yikes). Kohn does go on to say, though, that Penn and Watts's performances "ensure that the stronger bits hold together," and that the film "builds to an admirably intelligent perspective in its middle section." Brad Brevet over at Rope of Silicon is much more positive, giving the film a grade of 'B+'. He says that "Watts and Penn are excellent," citing Penn's restraint and claiming that Watts "will most likely make a change at the Best Actress category come nomination time in one of her better performances to date." Brevet goes on to praise the film's pacing, saying that after its run time of 1 hr 46 min, "you certainly wouldn't mind if it had gone further." The Guardian, which has yet to publish a full review, mentions the film in a column about film at Cannes with mixed emotion. Xan Brooks says he's not totally sold on the film, in part because it's "too stolid, too by-the-book." James Rocchi of IFC, however, says that Fair Game "specifically succeeds as ambitious and engaging cinema." Finally, The Playlist offers up a review in the middle ground. Kevin Jagernauth writes that while the opening is strange and that "Limon assumes the audience knows nothing about the post-9/11 lead in to the war," he goes on to say that "as the film moves into its second half...the film rockets forward." However, Jagernauth says the film ends on a false note involving a speech by Penn's character to high school students about democracy. That said, he praises the performances, writing that "Watts and Penn are in top form here."
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
EXCLUSIVE: I've just learned that Paramount won't be picking up Megan Fox's option on Transformers 3 -- and that it was "ultimately" director Michael Bay's decision. (So he gets his revenge for her remark comparing him to "Hitler".) Right now Bay et al are finishing up the script for the threequel and "giving Shia a new love interest makes more sense for the story," an insider tells me. Bay will start casting immediately for the new female co-star.
- Despite possessing a sense of objectivity, the first half hour is particularly powerful, albeit quite uncomfortable.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Next in the Cannes Review Round-Up is Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy starring Juliette Binoche. I know I said more or less the same thing yesterday about A Screaming Man, but Cannes may now have a new front-runner. Though it's difficult to glean plot details, what I've been able to gather sounds something like a more melancholy version of the Richard Linklater's brilliant Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Awarding the film a grade 'A,' Film.com lavishes praise on the film, summarizing it as "An amazing film, and one worthy of our adoration." Eric Kohn of indieWire is quite kind as well, although he does stress the heavy amount of ambiguity, though praises the film in his conclusion by saying "Certified Copy wanders a bit but never loses focus, with the only certainty being that its gimmick is genuine." Time Out London, awarding the film 4 out of 5 stars, heaps further praise on the film, calling it the new "best film at Cannes so far." The reviewer, Geoff Andrew, goes on to say that the film builds to a beautiful climax "by way of a seemingly meandering but in fact very focused narrative held together by meticulous mise-en-scene," and concludes his review with a single word: "Superb." While still positive, Rope of Silicon is less enthusiastic, giving the film a 'B,' and saying that the amount of ambiguity in the film will be "a problem for a lot of people." Finally, The Hollywood Reporter's Deborah Young says that the film is a "sardonic reflection on marriage [that] is playful, engaging Euro art cinema under the Tuscan sun."
Today one of the funniest women in Hollywood, and one of my favorite people on the planet (that I'll never ever meet), celebrates her 40th birthday. As the former head writer of "Saturday Night Live," and the star of the brilliant "30Rock," Tina Fey has built something of a mini comedic empire for herself. She's not a brand, per se, but she has become something of a icon for funny women everywhere. Let's celebrate with some of her finest moments in recent memory...
Monday, May 17, 2010
Find more videos like this on AnneCam
Reaction to the 2010 Cannes Film Festival hasn't been as enthusiastic as, say, last year, but finally a strong, generally well-liked film is positioning itself as a possible front-funner, ahead of films like Another Year. That film is A Screaming Man, directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. The story of a family in war-torn Chad, A Screaming Man has earned generally positive response all around. The New York Times' Mahnola Dargis called it "the strongest film in competition" so far. The Hollywood Reporter isn't quite as strong in its praise, but says the film is a "modest but quietly powerful story of love between a father and son." The film might be too small, and with Tim Burton heading the jury, it's hard to say what will be picked for the Palme D'Or, but at last, Cannes 2010 may have found a true front-runner.
The next film in the review round-up series is Biutiful, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu of Babel and 21 Grams. However, this is his first major project that isn't focused on fractured storylines, and is also the director's first film without screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, with whom he a had a falling out. So what does Cannes think of Inarritu's latest lushly shot downer? Well, like Babel, the results vary wildly. Time Out Chicago's Dave Calhoun writes that while the film benefits from being more central in focus, "Inarritu can't help but take his story down distracting roads," and that "the film is best when trying to understand Uxbal [Bardem] as a husband and father." Rope of Silicon's Brad Brevet is much more enthusiastic, awarding the film a solid 'A' grade, and saying that "Bardem is extraordinary as Uxbal" and "everyone involved deserves a round of applause." Anthony Kaufman of IFC has a slightly different take. He says that while "Inarritu and crew keep the proceedings restlessly alive" Bardem's Uxbal "isn't as compelling as he needs to be." Kaufman does make an interesting point about Inarritu's ability to generate intensity, though, writing that "the director clearly knows how to direct an action sequence, with a heart-thumping scene involving police chasing down illegal merchants through crowded plazas." Going back to the positive, Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter summarizes the film as "An impressionistic, poignant portrait of a man on the fringes of Barcelona, forced to relinquish earthly things before his time." He claims that Bardem delivers a "knockout performance," and praises the cinematography and score, but warns that the film "will require several viewings...to yield a complete portrait of its mysterious, flawed hero." Like most Inarritu films, we'll end on a slight downer. The Telegraph's Sukhdev Sandhu thinks that all of the pain forced on Bardem's character are signs that Inarritu is "laying it on a bit thick."
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Welcome to the second installment of the hopefully many-part series detailing the "results" of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Up next is Woody Allen's latest star-studded ensemble piece, You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger. Even though Nicole Kidman left the project, dashing the first possible chance for her to work with BFF Naomi Watts, it is the latest from Woody, which good or bad, usually means interesting. Continuing his European phase after Match Point, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, now Allen's in London. Judging from the first handful of reviews, the response has been nice, but nothing spectacular. The Hollywood Reporter calls the film "A serviceable Woody Allen comedy that trifles with its characters rather than engaging with them." Vanity Fair has a slightly different take; content-wise, that is. Julian Sancton says the film "is perhaps the most somber screening at Cannes." However, Sancton goes on to say that, like the film's press conference, the film was "the funniest and darkest at Cannes." Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman is less kind right from the get go; his article/post is titled "Mike Leigh scores and Woody Allen bores". The review doesn't let up, with such comments as, "The atrociously titled You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is one of Woody Allen’s “fables” — which is practically code, at this point, for the flavorless, dry- cookie thing that results when he writes and directs a comedy on autopilot," and, "There should, by now, be an award for worst actor forced to impersonate Woody Allen in a Woody Allen film. I would probably give the award to Kenneth Branagh in Celebrity (with Scarlett Johansson as a close runner-up in Scoop). But if Josh Brolin, in You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, doesn’t quite enter the make-it-stop stratosphere of whiny fumbling stuttering embarrassment, he’s still got to be the least likely actor yet to play a faux-Woody neurotic intellectual." Ouch.
One of the big entries at Cannes this year is Another Year, courtesy of Mike Leigh (Vera Drake, Happy-Go-Lucky). The film recently screened at the major festival, and early word seems to have been quite good. After struggling to fully get into Happy-Go-Lucky, I'm excited due to Leigh's strength as a director, but not as much as usual. Then again, slice-of-life films have always been really hit-or-miss with me. Here are five reviews from the festival:
Friday, May 14, 2010
And when I say time, I'm not talking about months or years; I'm talking about mere days. And when I say 'things,' I'm talking about one thing: Iron Man 2. I saw the film a second time last night, and after telling one of my friends my problems with it, we all came out of the theater saying that we liked it better than the first. So what happened? I'm not sure, but all I can say now is that I take back some of the things I said about the latest Tony Stark adventure. Some of them:
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
As it turns out, the incredibly epic piece of music from the latest Inception trailer is actually not from Hans Zimmer's score for the film, even though it sounds totally like something he would compose. No, the trailer music actually comes courtesy of Zack Hemsey, who has uploaded the track onto Youtube. The video description contains the link where the track can be purchased (which is nice, considering that most of the epic trailer music you hear is often only for the ears of the people who edit the trailer) for a minimum of $1.
At long last, one of the potential major contenders for 2010 Awards season is revealed: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful. IMDb gives the following premise:
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Part of the charm of Tony Stark, the hero of the Iron Man series, is his combination of brilliance and snark. Arrogant? Yes. Self-centered? Yeah. Oddly appealing nevertheless? The answer Iron Man (2008) was yes. In the sequel? Eh...not so much. The central problem with Jon Favreau's sequel is that the character traits that helped carry the first film through its origin-story checklist are either toned down or absent altogether. Stark's snarkiness has been replaced with a cockiness that borders on obnoxious, particularly in a scene where he becomes drunk at his own birthday party. This leads to a sluggish fight between Tony and James Rhodes (Don Cheadle, taking over for Terrence Howard) that calls to mind a similar scene from Spiderman 3 *shudder*. Oh, and while this plays out, "Another One Bites the Dust" is playing in the background. Yup. Even worse is that the snappy repartee between Tony and other characters has devolved into irritating Robert Altman-esque convos of people talking rapidly over each other without anything interesting or amusing to say.
Friday, May 7, 2010
I know I'm late. I know I'm really late, as a matter of fact. But alas, it's happened: I've jumped fully on the How to Train Your Dragon bandwagon. It might be hard, but I'm going to try and keep this quick. What struck me most was the shift in writing on this particular Dreamworks release (perhaps due to the fact that it's based on a book?). The studio's formula of cramming as many pop-culture jokes into a scene has been abandoned in favor of something surprisingly adult. The attempts at humor aren't forced or obvious, and even though it sometimes (mildly) backfires, this step towards maturity is an encouraging one. The protagonist, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), is your typical I-don't-fit-into-my-society-the-way-my-father-wants-me-to misfit, but the screenplay, by focusing almost solely on him, gives him a greater sense of depth, even if Baruchel's voice sometimes grates on the ears. That the other half of the central duo only communicates in grunts, growls, and purrs, only adds to the effectiveness. The design of the central dragon, Toothless, is part salamander, part cat, and the creature is given so much personality in his (her?) movements and facial expressions, that it doesn't take long to feel the bond between boy and dragon. And when the two finally join forces, after a surprisingly long build-up, and take flight for the first time, it's nothing short of exhilarating. I'm not even sure if the 3D added that much, but the placement of the "camera" is spectacular (not so surprising once I learned that Roger Deakins was the film's visual consultant). Coupled with John Powell's soaring score, it's the big flight sequences that take the film one step above what it could have been. The problem, unfortunately, lies in certain elements of the script. The story is familiar, but it's nicely told with enough detail to give this world a sense of life. That said, secondary and tertiary characters tend to get screwed over in the development department. Astrid (America Ferrera), Hiccup's romantic interest of sorts, changes her views on dragons in a heartbeat, and then shows up toward the end just to motivate Hiccup into doing what he needs to do to arrive at the film's climax. Others, like Kristen Wiig and Jonah Hill, are totally one-note. Gerard Butler manages to do a nice job as Hiccup's stern father, however, as he's given more to do and has more one-on-one interaction with Hiccup. So while How to Train Your Dragon may not quite be up to the Pixar standard in every department, when it soars, it stands (or rather, flies) up there with the best of them.