Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Anyhoo, the season has been incredible. And now Fox has released this kick-ass movie style trailer to hopefully entice some new viewers. If you haven't given this show a shot, why don;t you tune in on Thursday. I think you'll be glad you did. This is one of the smartest, most thrilling pure sci-fi shows around right now.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Look, I love the whole GL mythos. I'm a comic book geek, and this is basically superheroes meets Star Trek, which is very cool. There's a great central character; Hal Jordan, a womanizing test pilot whose fearless quality is what gets him the job as a GL, but that same quality can also make him come off as a cocky jerk at times. The concept of space cops with magic rings that can basically create anything you will them to is great and hugely visual.
So what doesn't work for me in this trailer? Well, first of all, the costumes still look silly. The effect is nice, I guess, but they look.....wrong. Off. The mask looks terrible, and the whole thing looks, well, dainty. Like he should be doing a dance recital, not facing the extremes of space travel and cosmic battle. I thought the idea of a suit created by CG was novel, but the result as far as I can see so far is that they look flimsy. Only one guy has ever pulled off a skin tight body stocking super-suit and that guy is Christopher Reeve. I don't know exactly how he did it, but he did. No one else. And Reynolds is the most fit human being on the planet right now.
Next are the effect themselves. Nothing here blew me away, with the possible exception of the giant green fist, and even that didn't look as cool as it could have. The effects all looked a little too CGI. You all know what I mean. Great CG can create a reality that feels totally authentic and yet still fantastic and unbelievable, resulting in audiences seeing things they had never thought they could see. Cheap or unimaginative CG makes everything look like a video game or a cartoon, and therefore robs the film of any suspense or feeling that these things are happening in areal world. Sad to say, and I hope I'm wrong, but this trailer feels more like the latter to me.
Finally, Blake Lively should get a an award for worst single line reading in a trailer for 2010. She was great in The Town, so I'm not writing her off yet, but man that was godawful.
What did I like? Well, Reynolds seems to have captured Hal's spirit, his attitude and his swagger. He's a guy who's incapable of not being charming, even in the truly awful movies he sometimes does. He also got across some of Hal's awe at being introduced to a larger universe, which is hard to communicate in a trailer. Also, Peter Sarsgaard looks great as Hector Hammond.
So, hopefully I'm wrong. Hopefully, the effects aren't entirely finished, and I'm not getting the whole shebang. Maybe on a big screen that costume will work. I hope all that is true, because it could really be a great franchise.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Below you'll find the latest Tron: Legacy trailer. And holy shit, it looks incredibly beautiful to behold. Yeah, young Jeff Bridges is still a little off, but it's so damn close that it's actually spooky. Anyway, this could be the best popcorn movie of the year.
Feast Your Eyes on This:
Thursday, October 28, 2010
While Evans is a dead ringer for Steve rogers, the costume is a little modified from the comic book version, but in my opinion in a good way. It would be nice to see the head piece, but that may be in the article itself. All in all, the suit looks a lot more practical than the comic version ever has, and the shield looks like it has real heft and the scratches make it seem like it's really deflected machine gun fire.
With the solid comic-con trailer for Thor not too long ago, combined with how Cap looks to be shaping up, the next few years could be something truly exciting for comic fans. A live-action Marvel Universe. I'm jazzed.
Friday, October 22, 2010
What's awesome is watching it slowly dawn on Zach that this is what the guy is doing, and willingly going along. Watch the vid below.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Now the Beeb has announced that the two-part premiere of the new season will go on location in the US, for a story set in America in the 1960s. From their press release:
In the special two-parter co-produced with BBC AMERICA, key scenes will be filmed in Utah for a story set in the late '60s in which the Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves on a secret summons that takes them on an adventure from the desert in Utah - right to the Oval Office itself.
The premiere will also feature the return of Alex Kingston as River Song, and will be written by show runner Steven Moffat.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
After the war, Schwartz returned to New York, where he studied acting and performed in the Catskills before eventually signing a contract with Universal Studios in 1948. His name change to Tony Curtis, and his incredible good lucks, marked him as an up and comer, and by 1951, he was headlining a film called The Prince Who Was a Thief. That same year, he married an actress whose career was also on the rise and whose beauty rivaled his own; Janet Leigh. The marriage made them media darlings, and the press followed them everywhere.
It wasn't until 1957, and his magnificent turn as sleazy press agent Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success, that Curtis began to be recognized as a gifted and powerful dramatic actor. The following year, he appeared opposite Kirk Douglas in The Vikings and co-starred in Stanley Kramer's The Defiant Ones, playing a racist fugitive manacled to fellow escapee Sidney Poitier. Curtis received an Oscar nomination for his performance in the film.
He followed this up with some very successful comedies, Mister Cory, The Perfect Furlough and Operation Petticoat, all directed by Blake Edwards. He followed this with a film that many consider to be the best American comedy film or all time, Some Like it Hot. During this creatively successful period, he would appear in Spartacus, The Outsider and The Great Imposter.
But in 1962, he and Leigh divorced after an affair with a 17 year old co-star came to light. The break-up and affair severely damaged his reputation, and although he had a hit with Blake Edwards' The Great Race, his career never really recovered. In 1968, he gave a final great performance as The Boston Strangler. But the film was years ahead of its time, and was seen by the critics and public of the day as tacky and garish.
The 1970s were spent in minor film roles and marginally successful TV shows, and he went through multiple marriages as well. The 1980s did not begin well, either, with a stint in rehab. However, during this time he discovered a love for painting and his work sold well, inspired by Matisse and buoyed by his celebrity. But it brought him a measure of peace and it would remain his primary love for the rest of life.
And with his passing, there is the feeling that an era of old time glamour has come finally to an end. His career was full of peaks and valleys, but few had peaks that rose as high.
Monday, September 27, 2010
What this means is that you may experience the following scene for reals, if you get up in Bobby D's grill looking for him to autograph your DVD of Showtime:
Now, I really can't make fun of Donald Trump's hair should I ever run into him. Cross one more dream off the list, cruel world.
Friday, September 24, 2010
and a video of scene being filmed:
By the way, I love the gasps from the people watching who obviously weren't expecting that last bit!
Until now though, no one had gotten the big matzo ball; a shot of Chris Evans in the role. And while the photo below doesn't show him in costume, it does show that anyone worried about whether or not Evans could get fit enough to carry off the role of the peak human physical perfection, this puts all doubts firmly to rest.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
That kid? Major prick.
Really the first time anyone took any notice of him was in two films; School Ties and Dazed and Confused. Neither was a huge role, but in Dazed...he was supposed to be a prick, and you know what? He did his job. He was a colossal prick. He hooked up with Kevin Smith around this time, appearing as another colossal prick in Mallrats. and once again, he was good. But maybe this is where it started. Maybe he had made enough of an impression as a prick to irrevocably imprint him as one in the public eye. But I don't really buy into that, because it's not like any of these films were huge enough to make that big an impact on anyone's career. They may be cult faves (okay, not School Ties) but the appeal they have today has come over years.
The nastiest rumour has always been that Damon did all the writing, and Affleck basically changed paper in the printer when it ran out. And I remember that rumour starting pretty much immediately. Why did people immediately jump to that conclusion? Was it because Damon was the public face of the flick? Was it because Affleck played the dimmer best buddy to Will Hunting? Maybe. But here's the thing, Affleck is one of the best things in the movie. He's extremely funny, and very authentic. It's clear he knows guys like this. Also, one of the most original things in the film is how Affleck's Chuckie knows that Will has to outgrow their friendship to reach his potential. There's no jealousy there, there's love and a real fear that his best friend may waste a pretty amazing gift. Affleck earned my loyalty in that film, and I've stuck by him.
Suck on these, William Goldman.
He's made it hard. He was 25 years old when he really hit it big. It's really hard to avoid letting that stuff go to your head. Around this time, he began dating Gywneth Paltrow, while Damon started seeing Winona Ryder. Typical movie star stuff. He took a supporting role in Shakespeare in Love, and considering the part was well outside his wheelhouse, he did a good job. But he followed it up with Armageddon, and though I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that his final scene with Bruce Willis made me tear up, it must also be said that it was a pretty schlocky piece of dreck.
And now, he was seen as a leading man. And for the next few years, he tried to be a traditional leading man. But it seemed like he was running away from the indie-style films that made him big in the first place. Bounce, Reindeer Games, Pearl Harbor, The Sum of All Fears, Daredevil. All films trying to position him as a Movie Star like Tom Cruise. And while some were better than others, they all felt calculated, as if his manager were picking them. Sure, he made some indie films during this period, notably with Kevin Smith, and he made one good studio flick (Changing Lanes), but all he accomplish was to reinforce his image as a guy who stars in pretty mediocre flicks. And the Movie Star roles didn't seem to fit him. He seemed uncomfortable, unable to connect, but not sure what else to do.
Then he began dating Jennifer Lopez, and all hell broke loose. They were everywhere. Lopez was busily trying to set herself up as some sort of pop culture polymath a la Madonna. She was an actress, a pop star, a producer, a trend setter, a diva. Affleck and Lopez became known as Bennifer. Verrrrrry quickly, they became overexposed and surrounded by scandal and seemingly jerky behaviour. Then came Gigli, a movie so bad that Satan sent out a press release saying he had nothing to do with it, for fear being associated with it would give him a bad name.
After that, he made a couple of more movies, all of which tanked, and then he took two whole years off where he and J-Lo broke up, and he began dating Jennifer Garner. Basically, he went into hiding. At this point he was only 31 years old. It seemed as if his career as a major movie star was over, now relegated to a joke.
But after his exile he returned to the screen in Hollywoodland, a understated film that centered on the mystery that surrounds the death of George Reeves, TV's Superman. The film wasn't perfect, but it was a damn sight better than Jersey Girl, and Affleck reminded people he could act with a subtle, sad turn as Reeves. Still, reviews drew parallels between the typecast Reeves and Affleck, as if their lives were so similar not much acting was involved.
In 2007, he directed his first film, Gone Baby Gone. He adapted the novel by Dennis Lehane. The film was very well-received, garnering pretty much universal praise. Even still, there was some incredulity to the praise, as if no one ever suspected he had it in him. Here was an Academy Award winning writer and everyone still seemed to think he was basically an idiot. Maybe he hadn't quite ever delivered on the promise of Good Will Hunting, but what was the last great film Matt Damon wrote or directed?
Then out came State of Play, a neat thriller that had him more than holding his own in dramatic scenes with Russell Crowe. He followed that with another supporting role in Extract, a lackluster comedy whose stoner bartender played by Affleck was the only good thing.
Now comes The Town, which contains, as far as I'm concerned, his best performance since Chasing Amy and Good Will Hunting. It's a solid piece of work. You root for a guy you really have no business rooting for, and Affleck is extremely low-key, underplaying things and rooting his performance in a haunted quality. He co-wrote the adaptation of Chuck Hogan's novel here, but it's his direction that really confirms him as someone to watch. Like Gone Baby Gone, it's not self-conscious or too earnest, the way other actor's directorial forays can be. He clearly grasps the most important quality a director can have; a solid instinct for casting, as both films have extremely good performances throughout. He feels like a director, not like an actor moonlighting. His two films may not reinvent the wheel or announce a startling new talent, but they are both exceptionally well done pieces of entertainment.
So, let's stop being surprised. Ben Affleck is back. He's good. Get used to it.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
So it was a huge loss when she passed away in June after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Shortly after her diagnosis, celebrated playwright and screenwriter MacIvor wrote a film for Wright and Molly Parker called Trigger, with Bruce McDonald coming on board to direct. According to Parker, Wright's husband McKellar told them to hurry if they wanted this film to be Wright's final performance.
Parker had this to say at a recent press conference: Don said the only way to do it was if you do it right now. Like, right now.
A recent article in the Vancouver Sun documents the making of the film, which got started after longtime friend Callum Keith Rennie donated some start-up money. After a very quick shoot, in which many Toronto pros donated their time, the film is now being shown at the Toronto Film Festival. Shot incredibly quickly, and with obviously real emotion behind it, it's already generating buzz as perhaps the Canadian film of the year. Here's the trailer:
Wright, who had given a lot to our country's arts over the years, certainly deserves a swan song as good as this one appears to be.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Pretty cool, no? I love that Cap carries his sidearm. And the Shield looks great.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Garry Shandling's HBO series The Larry Sanders Show was a classic. The show ran on the cable network from 1992 - 1998, and it starred Shandling as Sanders, the host of a long-running late-night talk show a la Carson, Leno and Letterman. The show also starred Rip Torn as Sanders' foul-mouthed but loyal producer Artie, and Jeffrey Tambor as his sidekick, an insecure and buffoonish pitch-man named Hank Kingsley. It was amazing. It was satirical and hilarious and misanthropic. Sanders was riddled with neuroses and angst and as a result was occasionally completely unlikable.
And real stars came on the show and lampooned themselves or got in on the profane, sometimes brutal comedy of the show. People like David Duchovny, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Petty, Carol Burnett, Alec Baldwin and Jon Stewart all made cameos. Shandling headed the writing team that featured future comedy lights such as Judd Apatow and Peter Tolan. And the show was a proving ground for future stars in roles as the production team; Janeane Garofalo, Bob Odenkirk, Jeremy Piven, Wallace Langham, Sarah Silverman, Scott Thompson and Mary Lynn Rajskub.
The first season was released on DVD in 2002. Then nothing until 2007, when a "Best of" DVD set was released. But on November 2, 2010, all 89 episodes will be released in a Complete Series set by Shout! Factory. Here's a look at the packaging:
Here's a summary of the extras from the press release:
THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW: THE COMPLETE SERIES DVD BOX SET EXTENSIVE BONUS CONTENT:
60-page collector's book - The Larry Sanders Show The Complete Guide
Video introduction by Garry Shandling
All-new deleted scenes
Garry Shandling lectures at University of Southern California (40 min.)
Audio commentaries with Garry Shandling, Todd Holland, Judd Apatow and Peter Tolan.
The Making Of The Larry Sanders Show feature-length documentary
Garry Shandling and Judd Apatow on "The Writer's Process"
Interviews with cast and crew - Garry Shandling, Jeremy Piven, Bob Odenkirk, Linda Doucett, Penny Johnson, Janeane Garofalo, Scott Thompson, Wallace Langham, Sarah Silverman, and Mary Lynn Rajskub.
Garry Shandling's personal visits with guest stars: Alec Baldwin, Sharon Stone, David Duchovny, Tom Petty, Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Carol Burnett and more.
Rip and Jeffrey visit with Garry in his living room
EMMY print campaign gallery (Season 6)
The Journey Continues...
I can't wait to watch it all over again.
Double Feature: To Live and Die in LA & Narc
This time out we're diving into the seedy side of law enforcement with a couple of particularly nasty cop films that examine the blurred line between cops and criminals. Yeah, yeah, it's cliched subject matter, but it's also kick-ass, intense subject matter, so enjoy some car chases, bad language and truly bad muthafuckas.
To Live and Die in LA is first up, and it was looked upon as one of director William Friedkin's many comebacks. Friedkin shot to the absolute top of the directorial pile with the incredible one-two punch of The French Connection and The Exorcist before flaming out in spectacular fashion with Sorcerer and Cruising. He would continue to direct, and every once in a while, he'd have a film come out that seemed poised to return him to the A-list. To Live and Die in LA is the one that came a closest; a lean, brutal and joyously over the top movie about federal agents so obsessed with taking down a counterfeiter that they will cross absolutely any line to do so. William Petersen and John Pankow plays the cops and Willem Dafoe is the crook. There's a killer car chase, and an equally killer twist in the final act, and while the film is almost a museum piece of the 1980s and the dialogue can get a little obvious, the film still packs a vicious punch.
Before Joe Carnahan disappeared up his own ass with overly stylized, empty-headed excess like Smokin' Aces and The A-Team he made Narc, an intense and brilliant study of two cops seemingly completely destroyed by the war on drugs. Jason Patric is heartbreaking as a cop traumatized by an awful experience who has been paired up with Ray Liotta's veteran detective. Liotta has skated completely over the edge in his pursuit of the two dealers who he thinks killed his partner, and the crux of the film is whether Liotta has lost it, and whether Patric will follow him down the rabbit hole. It's a depressing, but captivating, film, and it makes one wish this was the type of film Carnahan continued to make.
Drink: As an ironic counter-point to the cops in these films, I offer you the Pink Police:
Pink Police Recipe
12 oz Beer
12 oz Vodka
12 oz Frozen Pink Lemonade
Pour one can of beer into a pitcher. Add one can of frozen pink lemonade. Add vodka (in place of the water), stir and serve.
Snack: What better snack for a double feature about cops is there than this:
Old-Fashioned Cake Donut Recipe
• 2 1/2 c. flour
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
• 1 c. sugar
• 2 beaten eggs
• 1 Tbsp. softened unsalted butter
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 c. milk
1. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and sugar with a mixer.
3. Add the softened butter, vanilla, and milk and mix until well-incorporated.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Do not overmix.
5. Lightly coat the inside of the donut maker with nonstick cooking spray and fill with batter.
6. Hold the machine just over the hot oil and lightly press on the lever to release the batter. Then gently release the lever and allow the donut to fall into the pan.
7. Fry the donut batter in hot vegetable oil, turning halfway through to ensure even browning. Fry approximately one minute per side, although that time can vary depending on how hot the oil is.
8. Remove golden-brown donuts and allow them to cool on paper towels.
Makes about 1 dozen donuts.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
It was controversial, to say the least.
Waid's speech was about file sharing. Basically, it was about illegal downloading of comics, a practice which conventional wisdom has put forward as the possible death of comics publishing. Creators and the companies they work for have consistently decried the practice as outright theft.
So why was Waid's speech considered to be so controversial? Well, it appears that some industry people, including beloved Sergio Aragones, thought that Waid was basically endorsing piracy and giving a big middle finger to all those hard-working vets who get screwed out of royalties by thieving scuzzy Internet nerds.
Here's a copy of Waid's speech. I've taken out a few sections to highlight what I think his actual position is. First, here's his views on copyrights:
What most people don’t realize about copyright is that it was originally conceived to protect not artists but the public domain--to ensure that artists and writers and their heirs couldn’t have perpetual ownership of their work until the end of time because, at some point, the sentiment went, you ought to have to give back to culture the same way you, I, and all artists draw from it. Certainly, you should benefit from your work, and you should have legal protection, but I find it interesting that the original intent was to deliver ides back into the public domain.
He goes on to say that "Culture is more important than copyright", meaning that sooner or later he feels that the industry should relax its stranglehold on makling money, and make it easier for society to enjoy the works they provided.
Then he had this to say on file sharing:
Like it or not, downloading is here. Torrents and filesharing are here. That's not going away. I'm not here to attack it or defend it--I'm not going to change anyone's mind either way, and everyone in America at this point has anecdotal evidence "proving" how it hurts or helps the medium--but I am here to say it isn’t going away--and fear of it, fear of filesharing, fear of illegal downloading, fear of how the internet changes publishing in the 21st century, that’s a legitimate fear, because we’re all worried about putting food on the table and leaving a legacy for our children, but we’re using our energy on something we can’t stop, because filesharing is not going away.
And there's more:
We are the smartest, most creative medium in America. We put out ideas on a periodical basis bam, bam, bam. We don’t put out a screenplay every three years. We don’t invent a TV show every ten years. There are more ideas in one Wednesday in one comic shop than in three years of Hollywood. We're notoriously bad businessmen, but we are unmatched for creativity and inventiveness, and there are ways to make filesharing work for us rather than cower in fear that it’s going to destroy us.
Naturally, a lot of people in the industry missed Waid's overall message: that they have to find a way to make this reality work for them rather than simply ignore and villify it. He's right, it's not going away, and trying to stamp it out is simply impossible. I've talked before about how I consider it to be stealing. And I still do, but I have also relaxed on the issue when it comes to comics. Currently, I have downloaded every single appearance of Spider-Man, in chronological order, from his debut until about 1977. Trying to do so through purchase would be simply cost prohibitive. I would have loved to have done this through Marvel's digital service, but they don't currently have all the issues online.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The cool thing is that he also performed a new song, making a point to identify it as "a new Radiohead song". Give Up the Ghost is the first new song attributed to the band since August 2009, when they released Harry Patch (In Memory Of) and These Are My Twisted Words, both of which were available for download.
Below you'll find the incredibly shaggy (and is that grey in his beard? Man, I'm getting old) Yorke performing the new song at the Big Chill Festival in Eastnor, England a few weeks ago.
Designed to locate, lift and rescue people in harm's way, the humanoid BEAR can do what humans can't: lift heavy loads and carry them long distances. Whether on a battlefield, in a mine shaft, near a toxic chemical spill, or inside a structurally-compromised building after an earthquake, the BEAR can rescue those in need without risking additional human life.
The BEAR combines the versatility of tank-like tracks, and powerful hydraulics to do all sorts of pretty terrifying things, as seen below:
Yeah, watching it smash through glass, lift barbells and drag clearly unconscious human bodies is creepy enough, but then, HOLY FUCK, DID IT JUST TRANSFORM? It clearly transformed and rolled out there at 0:33. I think we just found the leader of the robot army that society has foolishly been building.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Personally, I think this could be an amazing idea, or a complete disaster. On the one hand, it's bold and certainly innovative to have Wayne take on a global view, it also runs the risk of weakening the brand through diffusion. Still, it does allow fans of either Batman to have their cake and eat it too, while opening up the adventures of the Caped Crusader to other locales and new frontiers.
Trust a complete wacko like Morrison to take such a tried and true icon in a totally new direction.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
He blogged about it in a typically funny and honest way. Read all about it. Done?
Okay, his response, while perhaps a little extreme and embarassing to him personally, was right on the money. Say what you want about Obama (and I would say he's only guilty of naively taking advantage of people's ignorance of how their political system works and how hard it can be to actually accomplish major change), I think it's fair to say that there are people out there who don't like the guy, and don't think he's a good leader and what have you.
He's not Hitler.
And here is the major problem with the Internet age, it makes morons think their opinion matters, and the more contrary the opinion, the more it feeds their ego. Here are some popular Internet phrases that should be banned unless strictly warranted:
- Insert Name Here raped my childhood, dreams...basically any inappropriate use of the term "rape". Look, George Lucas made some shitty movies. That's all he's guilty of. Rape is something that happens a lot of people. It's horrible and ugly and has no comparison to the creation of Jar Jar Binks.
- Calling anyone a fascist who isn't actually a fascist. You can insert Communist, Socialist, and/or Terrorist here, too. No matter what you believe, the people who attach themselves to those "ism"s are usually not too shy about doing so. It's an ethos they want to be a part of. Very, very, very few people in North American society can muster the energy to vote, let alone join a fringe ideology. There are some people that are followers of these systems, but you can usually spot them coming.
- Comparing non-genocidal maniacs to Hitler, Stalin or Mao. If you have a body count less than a hundred thousand people, you're simply not in their class, folks. As Obama has not ordered the systematic murder of any one group of people that I know of, I think we can hold off from comparing him to one of history's greatest monsters. Calling him Hitler is vastly ignorant of both Obama and Hitler. I'm not saying you can't be inappropriate about these guys; I for one find Stalin hilarious for some reason. But these comparisons aren't meant to be funny, or to ridicule a frankly horrible historical figure, but to demonize someone for a "crime" that is in no way equal to the travesties committed by those they're being compared to.
So, Mr. Black, while you may be a little sheepish that you resorted to such fury in retort, I think the douchebag deserved to be roundly ridiculed, and I hope he learned something. Here's an excerpt from an article where Black expounds on why he thinks he may have gone a little too far in his outrage:
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
5 - True Grit - Now, this is an odd one. The Coen Brothers are almost impossible to pigeonhole. They can make the best dark crime films tinged with black comedy (Blood Simple, Miller's Crossing, Fargo, No Country For Old Men), they can make bizarrely heightened comedies (Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou?), totally unique and obscure art films (Barton Fink, The Man Who Wasn't There, A Serious Man) and attempts at more broad hi jinks that are interesting misfires (The Hudsucker Proxy, The Ladykillers, Burn After Reading). With this film they're making their first full-fledged western (though No Country...was close) and they're tackling a role that won John Wayne his sole Oscar. Granted it's Jeff Bridges, but still, that is daunting. I for one am really quite excited to see their take. It could fall into their misfire category, but the Coens are never boring. (Dec. 25)
4 - The Fighter - I'm of mixed feelings about David O. Russell. His films Flirting With Disaster and Three Kings are amazing. I Heart Huckabees has its fans, but I'm not one of them. His actions on-set border on the utterly reprehensible and unbalanced. He seems to have generated no shortage of ill will but he is still regarded (justifiably so) as talented. So, when you hear he's just made a boxing movie with frequent collaborator Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, maybe he's met two actors who either won't take or can handle his technique of mental cruelty. Wahlberg plays a welterweight fighter on the road to a comeback, who is helped by his recovering Crack Addict brother (Bale). If done well, you've got a lean, powerful and crowd-pleasing Oscar contender. (Dec. 10)
3 - Biutiful - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s latest film stars the incredible Javier Bardem as Uxbal, a lonely man involved in criminal enterprises and who, Bardem won Best Actor at Cannes, and Inarritu is getting praise for this film, which, like his previous films (Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel) is dark, but unlike them follows a more linear story. Bardem seems incapable of being anything other than captivating (he was even amazing in a terrible film like Love in the Time of Cholera), so at the very least, you'll be blown away by his performance. (Dec. 17)
2 - The Social Network - Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay. It's about the creation of Facebook and the subsequent legal battles, and friendships that ended, in the aftermath. The cast is full of young actors on their way to the top, and has David Fincher ever made a bad film (Okay, let's not count Alien3)? What more is there to say? (Oct. 1)
1 - Blue Valentine - The story of a married couple's life together, told in a non-linear style, this film directed by Derek Cianfrance took Sundance by storm this year, and apparently, both stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are amazing. I'm excited to see a grown-up look at the realities of a truly adult relationship. Both of the stars have shown real potential in the past, and could possibly mature in two of the best actors of their generation. One not to miss. (Dec. 31)
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger - I love Woody Allen, but he can miss as often as he hits these days.
Hereafter - Clint Eastwood dives into the metaphysical and the supernatural? I'm intrigued, but as a film maker he's never been interested in the fantastic.
Howl - James Franco as Allen Ginsberg. Could be brilliant. Could be beyond irritating.
The American - George Clooney as an assassin is intriguing, but it otherwise looks familiar.
The Tree of Life - Brad Pitt and Sean Penn star in a film directed by the legendary Terrence Malick, which will certainly look beautiful, but could also be ponderous to the point of dullness.
Without further ado, here's part one of my list the ten films I'm most looking forward to this fall/winter, with a "honorable mention" section of films that might surprise me. Let's get the show on the road!
10 - Waiting For "Superman" - Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, It Might Get Loud) directs this documentary that examines the American public school system, how it is broken, what opportunities are available for the average student, and what steps could be taken to fix the myriad problems faced by today's kids and educators. The film follows a selection of promising kids as they struggle to gain the best chance for a quality education. Should be powerful, engrossing, and most all, a great generator for serious discussion of reform. (Sept. 24)
9 - Miral - Julian Schnabel (Basquiat, Before Night Falls, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) directs this film about Hind Husseini's attempt to found an orphanage in Jerusalem following the creation of the state of Israel. The story is told through the eyes of Miral, a young women in the late 1970s who leaves the shelter of the orphanage and falls for a politically active Palestinian man, leading to her becoming embroiled in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Schnabel is major league film maker of singular vision, so this may not be two hours of fun, but it should be affecting and bold. (Dec. 3)
8 - Black Swan - Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder and Vincent Cassel star in this thriller about two young ballerinas (Portman & Kunis) who find themselves in competition for the lead role in Swan Lake. Portman's Nina is an innocent, devoted to dance, but Kunis' Lily is more sensual and dark. Their rivalry warps into a twisted friendship, and then into something darker. Darren Aronofsky has long been poised to become one of the most gifted film makers of our generation, with some critical successes (Pi, The Wrestler), and some divisive films (Requiem for A Dream, The Fountain) under his belt. Here's hoping Black Swan is the one that truly confirms his promise. (Dec. 1)
Monday, August 16, 2010
The recently announced direct (who won the job after helming recent masterpiece Step Up 3D) actually said the following:
This is the story of a new voice continuing the tradition of musicians that defined their generation.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
That's pretty much the look of every single one of their albums. They don't have a release date yet, which is annoying. but they do have a cool sort of contest going on right now. Band front man Stuart Murdoch has set up a Flickr album where people can post their own photos of your town with the album's title Write About Love scrawled on a public space (non-permanently, of course).
I'm excited to hear some new B&S, as it's been a while since The Life Pursuit. There's a nice NY Times article on Murdoch from last year, which paints him in a complicated light, but it's a fascinating read. Also, here's a link to the band's tour page, which doesn't show any Canadia dates.
Finally, here's a video of the band playing one of their new songs, I Didn't See It Coming below:
Not the best quality, but it does make me eager to hear the song for reals!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Now, there's a role that's shaping up to be almost as sought after. The role of Lisabeth Salander in David Fincher's upcoming adaptation of Stieg Larsson's mega-selling Millennium series of novels. Fincher is directing the film version of The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo. Salander has been widely praised as one of the most original and compelling central characters in recent literature. The three novels have already been filmed in their native Sweden, with Noomi Rapace taking on the role to great acclaim.
Now, for the American version, director David Fincher and the studio have already confirmed Daniel Craig in the lead role of Mikael Blomkvist, but Salander is the flashy role. Everyone from Ellen Page to Keira Knightley to Carey Mulligan to Kirsten Stewart were rumoured to be considered and/or actively pursuing the coveted part. Pretty much every young actress even remotely in the age range were hungry for it. Fincher reportedly offered the role to Natalie Portman, who turned it down.
Now, according to EW, the main contenders seem to be four largely unknown young actresses, who we'll look at below:
Sophie Lowe is an Australian actress that has done a number of high-profile roles down under but is pretty much completely unknown here in North America. She seems a little soft to me, but make-up and a haircut would probably take care of that.
Sarah Snook is also Australian, and has even less experience than Sophie Lowe, mainly on the stage. She's definitely got an edge to her, which whoever plays Salander would need in spades.
Rooney Mara is the sole American on this list, and the one probably most known to American audiences, with roles in Youth in Revolt and the recent remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. She's also recently worked with Fincher, with a role in his upcoming film The Social Network. That could be a plus or a minus depending on how he feels about working with actors back to back.
Finally, there's French actress Lea Seydoux, who most recently appeared in Ridley Scott's terrible film Robin Hood (but she was quite good) and in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. She's got a good look for the role, as well, but that could just be because she's French.
I'm glad that Fincher seems to be leaning more towards an unknown for the role. I think that's kind of vital, as Salander is largely a mystery, and a movie star brings all sorts of baggage to roles that can be hard to ditch. It's an extreme role, and one that, done well, will make a big star out of the actress who plays her. Fincher is absolutely the right choice for the role, and his recent announcement to retain the Swedish setting shows an understanding of a major component of the books. Fincher said of the setting while at Comic-Con:
Stockholm. Uppsala. In the north. You have to. What, are you going to put it in Seattle?