“Becky” by Be Your Own Pet. Video directed by Marvin Scott Jarrett.
Well played, Nikki…well played.
Pic will be a more intimate, character-based drama (described as the “calm before the storm” by Faige) serving as launchpad for the hero before he headlines the studio’s mega-budget The Avengers later that summer. Marvel is currently sewing up a multi-picture pact with helmer John Cameron Mitchell (Shortbus, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) for that franchise.
Gallo cites CBS’s series of Captain America telefilms in the late 1970′s (featuring the character as a cross-country driving motorcycle enthusiast) as major inspiration on his later works, including ‘Bunny’. Helmer plans to incorporate a modernized version of that storyline into his tale. Pic will not shy away from political commentary, as Gallo feels Cap could serve as “antidote” to the overabundance of “Liberal, Anti-American fag talk” infecting most mainstream Hollywood productions.
Director has not ruled out Feige’s suggestion that he step in front of the camera as the star-spangled Avenger, but plans to actively explore other casting options.
While the studios have certainly not shied away from unorthodox hires for their super hero tentpoles (Christopher Nolan, Bryan Singer and Gavin Hood all cut their teeth on low-budget indies) the hiring of Gallo is surprising given the mixed reception to his earlier directorial efforts. 2003′s The Brown Bunny was savaged at that year’s Cannes Film Festival for it’s pretentious nature and raw presentation of human sexuality. In what would lead to a war of words with the director, film critic Roger Ebert labelled Bunny “the worst film in the history of Cannes”. IMDB reviewer shannygoat1 added “if you’ve ever seen, given or received head, you’ve seen it before.” Ebert and Gallo later reconciled after the critic gave a “thumbs up” to the director’s 2004 cut of the film.
Marvel will self-finance the film via its $500 million credit facility through Merrill Lynch with distribution handled by Paramount worldwide. Pic is part of an aggressive slate that includes two sequels to 2008′s Iron Man, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man.
Gallo recently completed filming the title role in Francis Ford Coppolas’s Tetro and called Molly Friedman a “slut” in New York magazine.
Thought I’d put up a thread for thoughts about Paul Newman. His death certainly wasn’t unexpected, but is nonetheless a major bummer. I don’t think he ever gave a phony performance, and never seemed to chew the scenery (a possible exception is Road to Perdition). So many great roles it’s hard to determine what was his best. I guess the first film I saw him in was probably The Sting, or maybe Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which were two of my favorites when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. There’s still a few I haven’t seen yet (The Hustler, Hud, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) that I will try to rectify.
Movies that I have every intention of seeing, in order of preference:
Shoot the Piano Player
Director: François Truffaut (The 400 Blows, Jules and Jim, Day for Night)
It’s sort of unofficial Truffaut week, as the Music Box is running Shoot the Piano Player all week for no discernible reason other than to make me happy – it’s not currently in reissue as far as I know. Additionally, the Gene Siskel Film Center is coincidentally screening Jules and Jim on Thursday night.
MC/RT: not listed/94
Miracle at St. Anna (trailer)
Director: Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcom X, 25th Hour, Inside Man)
Spike Lee does a World War II film, and despite poor reviews and my growing ambivalence towards World War II films in general – or more actually, war films in general – I’m happy to go see this. There’s probably no one in mainstream Hollywood who can be counted on to bring a different persepctive to his films like Spike Lee. Interesting note: other than The Original Kings of Comedy, Lee has never had a feature film with a title beginning with “the,” despite obvious candidates like this film, 25th Hour, Inside Man, and Summer of Sam.
Movies that I’m somewhat suspicious of, but may see anyway, in alpha order:
Director: Clark Gregg
Actor Gregg’s directorial debut, based on a novel by Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk and about a sex addict (those two words being an obvious warning sign) played by Sam Rockwell. I’m always suspicious of character actors taking on self-consciously “edgy” material for their directorial debuts – perhaps it’s lingering PTSD from Peter Berg’s Very Bad Things. Also, Sam Rockwell can be hard to take.
The Duchess (trailer)
Director: Saul Dibb
The only reasons I would go see this are a) the possibility of it being Oscar-nominated for something or other, b) great reviews, and c) the presence of Ralph Fiennes. I don’t think a) and b) are issues here, honestly.
Eagle Eye (trailer)
Director: D.J. Caruso (The Salton Sea, Taking Lives, Two for the Money, Disturbia)
One of the great puzzlements of recent times has been the rise of Shia LeBeouf as a leading man. To me, he’s someone with limited acting range and a screen presence that’s hard to take seriously. Yet, here he is, and I don’t understand it.
The Lucky Ones (trailer)
Director: Neil Burger (Interview with the Assassin, The Illusionist)
I thought Burger’s The Illusionist was awfully dull, and his follow-up here looks like well trod territory to me. Rachel McAdams looks obviously miscast.
Possibly interesting, but no chance I’ll get around to it::
Battle in Seattle (trailer)
Director: Stuart Townsend
Film set against the WTO protests-turned-riots in Seattle in 1999.
Nights in Rodanthe (trailer)
Director: George C. Wolfe
The latest Nicolas Sparks romantic weepie. I take a small measure of pride in having avoided all of these thus far.
“Chocky” tells the story of a boy who has a mysterious imaginary friend with whom he frequently argues. As the boy’s father gets increasingly suspicious, it becomes clear that an alien entity has taken up residence in the boy’s consciousness. With Spielberg’s proclivity for exploring the darker aspects of childhood, the material is clearly in his wheelhouse.
Although the first film in a “Tintin” trilogy has lately been a priority for the director, that project hit a snag when Paramount’s potential financial partner, Universal, turned down a chance to put up half of the $130 million price tag.
Paramount has offered to foot the full bill, but that would be in exchange for certain undisclosed financial caveats that may be enough of a hitch to push Spielberg to another project. Of course, “Tintin” is motion-capture animation and “Chocky” would be live action, so Spielberg might try to do them simultaneously.
That title is just lovely.
Still, based on the festival buzz and other previews of the season, it seems clear that there are a certain group of actresses who are bound to be nominated, and a high percentage are women whose names are inevitably bandied about when it comes to Oscar talk. We can start with the most nominated woman in the history of the world, Meryl Streep (I’m talking performance nominations–Edith Head had 35 in the Costume category). Streep can forget about Mamma Mia!, instead the nomination is likely to come in the drama Doubt, in which she plays a nun who suspects a teacher of child abuse. Streep has won two Oscars, but has also lost more Oscars (12) than any other performer, so is probably due for at least one more.
The Streep-in-training is Cate Blanchett, and she’s back again this year, after being nominated twice last year, for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. There is a lot of aging going on here, so her chances of nomination may go hand in hand with how good her makeup is.
I think the best chances of the inevitably-nominated have to be for Kate Winslet. She’s been nominated five times without a win. This year her stiffest competition may come from herself, as she is in two Oscar-bait roles: as a repressed housewife in Revolutionary Road, and The Reader, a World War II drama (there’s age makeup in this one, too). If Winslet doesn’t split her own votes she has to be considered a good possibility for a win.
Other recognizable names in this category are Angelina Jolie, as a mother of a missing child in Changeling, Anne Hathaway, de-glamming for a role in Rachel Getting Married, Keira Knightley, back in a corset, for The Duchess, and Nicole Kidman, in the epic Australia.
With so many big names in the hunt it seems that the out-of-left-field choices might be minimal this year, but one or two always sneak in. This year’s possibilities include Sally Hawkins as a chipper British girl in Happy-Go-Lucky, Melissa Leo in Frozen River, and the nomination for someone in a foreign language film, which this year may go, strangely enough, to a native English speaker: Kristin Scott Thomas in I’ve Loved You So Long.
Bekmambetov to direct ‘Moby Dick’
Universal steers reimagining of Melville classic
Universal Pictures has made a splashy preemptive buy of “Moby Dick,” a reimagining of the Herman Melville whale tale that Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”) will direct.
The writers revere Melville’s original text, but their graphic novel-style version will change the structure. Gone is the first-person narration by the young seaman Ishmael, who observes how Ahab’s obsession with killing the great white whale overwhelms his good judgment as captain.
This change will allow them to depict the whale’s decimation of other ships prior to its encounter with Ahab’s Pequod, and Ahab will be depicted more as a charismatic leader than a brooding obsessive.
“Our vision isn’t your grandfather’s ‘Moby Dick,’ ” Cooper said. “This is an opportunity to take a timeless classic and capitalize on the advances in visual effects to tell what at its core is an action-adventure revenge story.”
I am beyond excited for this. Melville’s original was fine back in the day, but I continually found myself exhausted while reading it.
Even possessing what I’d consider above-average concentration skills, I’d wager that 99.9% of readers can not simultaneously read while mentally constructing constant slow-motion shots, bullet-time effects, CGI backdrops, tits and what Prodigy track would be playing while it’s all unfolding. By page 40, I had two cups of coffee, a splitting headache and had used “First Warning” seven times. Having Bekmambetov behind the wheel means that I can finally do what I’ve always wanted in regards to Moby Dick: shut my brain off and enjoy the ride, just as Melville intended.
I have zero ideas on casting Ahab at the moment. You need a modern man of action, preferably someone with martial arts skills who would look good sliding down the mast of a sinking ship while firing twin handguns at a rampaging CGI whale and making a quip (“Eat this, Dick”?) Obviously, Bekmambetov will continue his relationship with Angelina Jolie and hire her to voice the beast (who shares a telepathic link and sexual tension with Ahab). They’re the new DeNiro/Scorsese or Pacino/Avnet.
My only concern is the title. While Hollywood is always eager for the opportunity to promote their left coast values*, they have to understand that teen boys & mouth-breathing adults aren’t going to see something with the word “Dick” in the title. While we’re at it, “Moby” sounds suspiciously femme, too.
Might I suggest moD (pronounced “MoeDee”)? It flows nicely and doesn’t threaten my sexuality. For additional coolness, they could replace the “o” with a zero (M0d).
* Although the tide may be turning. Note the difficulties director Steven Spielberg and his “partner” Peter Jackson are having raising funding for their hundred million dollar adaptation of the popular French gay adult comic strip, TinTin.
Perhaps next week I’ll be back to posting this once again on Friday morning. At this point, I don’t have anything else to do…
Anyway, I’m going alphabetical this week since there’s nothing I’m excited about. Also, forgive the lack of director filmographies since the IMDb is crashing my browser every time I access it.
Ghost Town (trailer)
Director: David Koepp (The Trigger Effect, Stir of Echoes, Secret Window)
In the kind of prompt reporting that we’re so proud of here at Gone Elsewhere, Jackrabbit Slim has already posted a review of this film. Having never seen an episode of “The Office” or “Extras”, the prospect of a starring role Ricky Gervais holds no special promise for me, especially one that looks as generic as this. The trailer is pretty dreadful, too.
Hounddog (trailer at official site)
Director: Deborah Kampmeier (Virgin)
The erstwhile “Dakota Fanning Rape Movie” surprisingly gets a theatrical release.
Director: Tony Leondis
Animated film about Dr. Frankenstein’s sidekick.
Lakeview Terrace (trailer)
Director: Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men, Your Friends & Neighbors, Nurse Betty, The Wicker Man)
Ebert comes at this with the four stars, which is unfortunate because I now feel obligated to see it. And I really don’t want to. I’ve never been a fan of LaBute and his juvenile sense of provocation – I think Nurse Betty was the last movie I walked out of – and over the past few years I’ve simply gotten very tired of seeing Samuel L. Jackson in movies.
Mister Foe (trailer)
Director: David Mackenzie (Young Adam, Asylum)
Don’t know anything about this. Watched the trailer, didn’t help much.
My Best Friend’s Girl (trailer)
Director: Howard Deutch (Great Outdoors, Grumpier Old Men, The Replacements, The Whole Ten Yards)
Crap, crap, crap.
Director: Alan Ball
Warner Independent has seemingly been holding on to this forever; it seems like eons ago that I first saw the trailer. Now it becomes a fitting swan song for them, a movie that will have no box office impact whatsoever and will be forgotten in a month’s time. As far as I’m concerned, WIP has been part of the problem in the indie marketplace, and they won’t be missed.
Trouble the Water (trailer)
Directors: Tia Lesson and Carl Deal
Documentary about the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Another four-star review by Ebert; however, this one actually has good ratings across the board.
I read somewhere that David Koepp, the writer and director of Ghost Town, was concerned that casting Ricky Gervais was a mistake, because he is basically unknown in the the U.S. Well, David, here’s one guy who went to see your movie because of Ricky Gervais, who I think is a genius. And in so much that you let Gervais do this thing, you were smart.
Gervais, to those who don’t know, was the creator and star of the British version of The Office, the precursor of the current NBC show. The dozen or so episodes of that show are jewels, with Gervais wickedly effective as the boss. I haven’t seen any episodes of his follow-up show, Extras, so I’m glad to have gotten a chance to see him again in this romantic comedy, which is about half sparkling and half flat.
The premise is pretty simple–Gervais is a misanthropic dentist who, while undergoing a colonoscopy, is dead for seven minutes. After he is revived he realizes he can see ghosts, who are delighted, because they want someone to help them settle troubles from their lives. The pushiest of these spirits is Greg Kinnear, a philandering smooth-talker who wants Gervais to break up the engagement of Kinnear’s wife, an Egyptologist played by Tea Leoni. Gervais, who is to be kind somewhat toad-like in appearance, decides to try to seduce Leoni. Zaniness ensues.
This plot is a hash of the old Cary Grant picture, Topper, plus a bit of Groundhog Day. There was also a film from last year with Eva Longoria, which I didn’t see and I can’t even remember the title of, that was about a ghost trying to break up a relationship. But Ghost Town has the advantage of Gervais. His specialty is the humor of embarrassment, the cringe-worthy exchanges of brutal honesty and social cluelessness (such as calling a woman he is trying to seduce an “idiot,” or asking his colleague, a Hindu, for torture techniques). He is an absolute delight to watch, and drew a lot of laughs from the audience I was with. The thinness of the material, though, gives us the impression that Gervais is slumming a bit, as if Noel Coward were writing ad copy. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gervais discusses how he has turned down several Hollywood roles, including a Pirates of the Caribbean and a remake of Arthur, so clearly the man has scruples. I would hope at some point we will see him in a film of his own creation.
Ghost Town also suffers from its director. Koepp, who is written many screenplays for Steven Spielberg, doesn’t show much panache as a director of comedy. In several places the pace is all wrong, and it lacks the zip of classic screwball comedy.
I was pleasantly surprised by Tea Leoni, though. After the debacle of her performance in Spanglish, I would have never thought I could stand to watch her again, but she seems real and even desirable in this picture. Kinnear, who is no Cary Grant, is fine in a tough role as a callow asshole. This is where the Groundhog Day comparisons kick in–both Kinnear and Gervais’ characters are men who come to realize they must try to be better people. Kinnear just happens to be dead.
If you’re not a Ricky Gervais fan there is no particular reason to see this film, but if you are sit back and enjoy.
A couple of years back (on Blogspot iirc) I took a quotation from a famous film personality and invited people to guess who said it (the answer then was Billy Wilder).
Here is another version of this challenge, with the quotation below from this person’s autobiography:
If I hadn’t been an actor, I’ve often though I’d have become a con man and wound up in jail. Or I might have gone crazy. Acting afforded me the luxury of being able to spend thousands of dollars on psychoanalysts, most of who did nothing but convince me that most New York and Beverley Hills psychoanalysts are a little crazy themselves, as well as highly motivated to separate patients from their money while making their emotional problems worse.
A good con man can fool anybody, but the first person he fools is himself. It occurs to me that when I was thinking about becoming a preacher I believed the talents I thought would make me a good tent-show evangelist were the same ones that would have made me a good con man.
If no one is getting close to guessing it, I’ll add some clues later on.
Fairly entertaining round-up of “the numbers” surrounding Sarah Palin over at The Huffington Post today.
$500 to $1,200: the fee that Wasilla charged rape victims to pay for post-sexual assault medical exams, after the city cut funds during Palin’s tenure that had previously covered the exams (Source)
0: Wasilla’s long-term debt when Palin took office in 1996 (Source)
$18.6 million: the long-term debt Palin racked up by the time she left office in 2002, amounting to about $3,000 per resident (Source)
33: the percentage by which Palin increased the budget of Wasilla during her tenure, despite billing herself as a fiscal conservative and champion of smaller government (Source)
25: the percentage by which Palin raised the local sales tax in Wasilla to pay for a sports center, despite claims that she cut taxes (Source)
$27 million: the total amount of federal earmarks Palin secured for Wasilla’s town of 6,700 people while she was mayor, thanks to the help of a Washington lobbyist with ties to indicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and convicted felon Jack Abramoff (Source)
3: the number of times John McCain specifically criticized earmarks requested by Sarah Palin when she was mayor of Wasilla, citing them as examples of wasteful spending (Source)
$453 million: the total amount of earmarks Palin has asked U.S. taxpayers to fund for Alaska projects over the past two years, despite McCain’s insistence that she hasn’t sought earmarks or special-interest spending from Congress (Source)
$506.34: the amount of federal earmarks Alaska residents will receive per capita in 2008, the highest level of any state (Source)
50: the number of days after Palin announced she “will fully cooperate” with an ethics investigation into the “Troopergate” scandal that the McCain campaign announced she was “unlikely to cooperate” because it had been “hijacked” by Obama operatives. The probe was unanimously authorized by a bipartisan panel of eight Alaska Republicans and four Democrats. (Source)
More at Huffington Post.
“Folks, we have seen this movie before, we know the sequel is always worse than the original…If you are ready for four more years of George Bush, then John McCain is your guy…Just as George Herbert Walker Bush was nicknamed Bush 41, his son was nicknamed Bush 43, John McCain could easily become known as Bush 44.” – Joe Biden