I’ve just heard from Ben Stiller about the satirical Red Hour/20th Century Fox video that was released yesterday afternoon by Movieline. “It seems the Red Hour Industrial got out there! Just wanted to give you the context if you’re interested. It was made for Fox execs and handed out with Red Foxx T-shirts at our initial meeting. We wanted to do something for them to kick things off. They were all in on it, and especially [Tom] Rothman, who is a good friend. [It was] obviously not meant to go out in the world, but I guess that’s pretty hard to stop these days. Hope you’re well. Love that Hurt Locker. Best, B.”Read More »
My immediate, honest-to-God, solar-plexus reaction to today’s news about Rob Marshall being the likely helmer of Jerry Bruckeimer‘s Pirates of the Caribbean 4 — a project that warrants the same degree of respect and esteem as Jaws 4: The Revenge — is that it’s not going to help matters if Marshall earns a degree of Best Director consideration for Nine later this year. My gut tells me the Bruckheimer gig is going to hurt in the same way that Eddie Murphy‘s starring role in Norbit helped put the kibbosh on his Best Supporting Actor campaign in ’06/’07 for Dreamgirls.Read More »
Gamer…great. An action film that’s a little bit different (gamers controlling prisoners in mass-scale, ultra-violent online games involving real death) but makes the relationship between Gerard Butler and Logan Lerman (in this clip at least) feel an awful lot like Bruce Willis and Justin Long in Live Free or Die Hard. So viewers will, you know, feel safe and assured.Read More »
Megan Fox clearly humiliated Seth Rogen by preventing him, quickly but gently, from planting a cheek peck or air kiss. That’s cold, man. And in my book that’s it for Fox. She can’t be taken down soon enough.Read More »
Funny People “is leisurely, with many extended sequences, but the performers’ natural command of rhythm holds it in tension,” writes New Yorker critic David Denby in a review dated 8.3. The hilarious dialogues among the three roommates are like complicated, interlocked sparring matches.
“The scenes between Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen are more conventionally dramatic, but George’s shifting moods make them unstable and nerve-racking. Apatow is not only generous to performers here; he’s generous to himself, too, creating the kind of visual divertissements he has never attempted before — most memorably, a mock George Simmons family film, Re-Do, with Sandler’s grownup...Read More »
There is, of course, no previously mapped lead-in to a story involving humans in Ridley Scott‘s just-announced Alien prequel. The only back-story alluded to in Scott’s 30-year-old original came when mining-cargo voyagers John Hurt and Veronica Cartwright explored that huge abandoned spacecraft resting on that dark, howling planetoid and came upon that skeletal carcass of a gargantuan creature with an elephant trunk whose rib cage apparently been penetrated from within.
Honestly? I would love to see a subtitled film about a crew of 30-foot-tall life forms with elephant trunks dealing with an alien invasion. No humans, I mean. That would be very cool, very avant-garde. Joe Popcorn wouldn’t like it, of course, but a studio chief who...Read More »
By The People: The Election of Barack Obama, that long-reported-about doc partially funded by Ed Norton‘s Class 5 Films and directed by Amy Rice and Alicia Sims, will have a brief Oscar-qualifying run at Manhattan’s Sunshine Cinemas and L.A.’s Sunset 5 (no! not the Sunset 5! aagghh!) starting on 8.7 — i.e., a week from Friday. It will thereafter have its official big-time debut on HBO on 11.3. In other words, no press screenings or preferential press treatment of any kind? Okay, fine — I’ll be there opening day.Read More »
Vengeance producer-star Danny Trejo and director-writer Gil Medina “have started an aggressive distribution program that involves giving [their] film away for free,” reports Variety‘s Michael Fleming. They decided on the plan after co-funding the film but “finding no takers at [last November’s AFM,” he explains. In other words, the film is a huge problem to sit through.
“The effort is spearheaded by the ‘Vengeance Army,’ a group of kids who have so far received 74,000 orders. Those who give away the most DVDs — which are free, with $5.99 for shipping and handling — will be given substantial speaking roles in the sequel. About 40,000 people have responded. The rules are explained on the website Vengeancearmy.com. The top three finishers will join the production.”Read More »
Congrats to Team Movieline for having scored and posted an apparently legit Ben Stiller in-house short that mocks the coarse, corporate and highly invasive mentality of 20th Century Fox. Stiller’s Red Hour Films has been on the Fox lot since last February, and one can deduce from the short (which I couldn’t figure how to embed) that Stiller isn’t entirely charmed by the vibe.
Stiller’s key money quote is as follows: “[Fox CEO] Tom Rothman is so far up my ass, he’d probably have to send Jim Cameron up there with one of his 3-D underwater cameras to pull him out, and he’d...Read More »
Sam Taylor Wood‘s Nowhere Boy, a drama about the teenage John Lennon in Liverpool, has been chosen to close this year’s BFI London Film Festival on 10.29, as Baz Bamigboye is reporting. Why isn’t it debuting at the more prestigious (but almost two months earlier) Venice or Toronto film festivals? Can’t be done apparently. Producer Kevin Loader says the final sound mix is due to wrap in early October, and that the film will be released in the UK by Icon on 12.26. (Note: I tried checking on this yesterday but heard nothing back from the Weinstein Co.)Read More »
The animation and visual-effects industry in this town is pretty much committed to delivering the same kind of oppressive thing, over and over and over. Because coolness, whoa-ness, twee-ness and bitchin’ monsters only come in so many shapes, sizes and colors. Animation/FX is a hollow religion and a golden idol that the majors use over and over for understandable reasons. I’ve said over and over that the effects that truly impress are the ones you don’t notice. But 98% of the effects in films are intended to call attention to themselves, and in so doing become the very essence of boring fascistic entertainment.Read More »
I’m out in the North Valley visiting Full-Scale Effects, a pyrotechnic effects house. A first-rate place, nice guys who know what they’re doing, a major go-to place for big explosions, etc. But it’s hell to stand around in 90-whatever degree heat with no shade or a.c. The sun melting, baking, beating down — it’s like being in Kuwait.
A just-posted tracking report says that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Paramount, 8.7) has an average first-choice rating of 17 among all ages and quadrants. That’ll rise a bit between now and next Friday but for a film that has cost a huge amount to make and market, even a first-choice rating in the low 20s isn’t too good. The likelihood is for an opening somewhere around $25 million — perhaps a bit higher or lower. A mega-budgeter like G.I. Joe would need to take in at least $35 or $40 million the first weekend to look respectable, no?.Read More »
A friend confides that Vanity Fair “is doing a story on the Moneyball fiasco.” He doesn’t know who the writer is but says he’s “heard about the article from a friend who was on the project. Should be very interesting. My understanding is that the angle is pro-Soderbergh and will detail how he was screwed over. Screwed by Amy Pascal, Bryan Lourd and, yes, Brad Pitt. Soderbergh was certainly not a creative auteur run amok on the studio’s dime. The email trail from Pascal to Soderbergh makes it very clear that she was fully aware of what the film was and was excited and into it until the end.”
A Vanity Fair source said he couldn’t determine if the story was in the works or not. A call to VF spokesperson Beth Kseniak was unreturned as of 3:45 pm LA time.Read More »
This morning the InFilm group drove out to sun-baked San Fernando to visit Legacy, the model and digital effects shop created by the late, great Stan Winston. The biggest full-size device (the 22 foot tall one with the girl posing under it) was built for Avatar. James Cameron is calling it an “amp suit.” I know that it’s primarily deployed in the film by Stephen Lang‘s militaristic gung-ho villain. The other models more or less speak for themselves.Read More »
Vanity Fair.com’s Julian Sancton asks three Funny People guys — Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill — about the terrors and rigors of standup comedy. He tries to answer the question of why some jokes kill and some jokes die. “There’s truly a magic to why we respond to certain people and why they become immensely popular around the world,” Apatow says. “It doesn’t matter how mow many times you work on your act. That [special appeal] needs to be built into your genetic code.”Read More »
I’ll never attend the Venice Film Festival because I can’t afford it and because it always overlaps with the Toronto Film Festival. But the usual pattern is for the hot Venice films to show up in Toronto so let’s see what goes. Anyway, here’s a mostly complete festival slate:
Out of Competition: Oliver Stone‘s South of the Border, a Hugo Chavez documentary; Grant Heslov‘s The Men Who Stare at Goats, Joe Dante‘s The Hole and Steven Soderbergh‘s The Informant!.
Competition: Giuseppe Tornatore‘s Baaria; Fatih Akin‘s Soul Kitchen; Giuseppe Capotondi‘s La Doppia Ora; Cheang Pou- Soi‘s Accident; Patrice Chereau‘s...Read More »
Funny People is “a real movie [with] carefully written dialogue and carefully placed supporting performances,” Roger Ebert notes, “and it’s about something. It could have easily been a formula film, and the trailer shamelessly tries to misrepresent it as one, but Adam Sandler‘s George Simmons learns and changes during his ordeal, and we empathize.
“The film presents a new Seth Rogen, much thinner, dialed down, with more dimensions. Rogen was showing signs of forever playing the same buddy-movie co-star, but here we find that he, too, has another actor inside. So does Jason Schwartzman, who often plays vulnerable but here presents his character as the kind of successful rival you love to hate.
“Rogen and Leslie Mann find the right notes as...Read More »
The latest gala/special presentation additions to the Toronto Film Festival are as follows in order of excitement/anticipation levels: Jason Reitman‘s Up In The Air (middle-aged ennui air-miles movie with George Clooney), Jean-Pierre Jeunet‘s MicMacs, Fatih Akin‘s Soul Kitchen, Joe Dante‘s The Hole (Joe Dante!), Tobe Hooper‘s The Damned United, Dagur Kari‘s The Good Heart (with Paul Dano and Brian Cox)Read More »
I’m not alone in loving the fact that this trailer for the Coen Bros.’ A Serious Man is all about basic situational set-up and conveys nothing in the way of second-act (much less third-act) plot points. Which is what 97% of today’s trailers do. A brilliant job by super-talented and in-demand trailer creator Mark Woollen.Read More »
USA Today‘s Anthony Breznican is basically saying that esteem-wise Paramount’s G.,I. Joe (8.7) is all but dead, dead, deader-than-dead. Meaning that the cool cognescenti have either written it off or will soon enough. All of which has zero bearing, of course, on the millions of suckers out there who will pay to see it opening weekend no matter what.Read More »
Rhythm & Hues is one of the five top-of-the-line visual effects companies operating today. (The other four are Digital Domain, Sony Imageworks, Weta and Industrial Light and Magic.) R&H delivers first-rate animation effects, is staffed by really nice people, has a serene work environment (employees are allowed to bring their dogs to the office) and so on. But what impressed me the most about today’s visit was the same thing that got me when the InFilm group visited Digital Domain two days ago — i.e., the digital projection quality in the companies’ respective screening rooms.
This afternoon (i.e., about three hours ago) the InFilm crew visited the Marina del Rey headquarters of Rhythm & Hues, the big-time visual effects and animation house. Below is an mp4 of the company’s digital nerve -center room where all the hard drives and processors operate 24/7. The climate is similar to that of a treeless plain in Northern Canada in late November.Read More »
“They were always supportive of the length, and in fact when the movie was pitched, it was pitched as a movie that would be ten to fifteen minutes longer than Knocked Up — that was part of the original presentation. Do they wish I handed them a 90-minute version? Of course. But I think they think that about every film that’s made.”Read More »
I’d like to describe the ways in which Rex Reed‘s review of Funny People is a vile deviation from appropriate respect and fair-mindedness, but it is one of those rare times when I am at a loss for words. He calls director-writer Judd Apatow “the most tasteless no-talent and truthfully alleged ‘director’ since John Waters and the Farrelly brothers,” derides Knocked Up as “abominable” and calls Funny People “a 146-minute mental lapse that should have been dipped in hydrochloric acid in the editing lab.” Nobody’s “right’ or “wrong” in these matters but at the very least Reed’s rash and excitable judgments throw the film’s virtues (the self-regarding candor and emotional intimacy) out with the bathwater.Read More »
Quentin Tarantino‘s somewhat altered cut of Inglorious Basterds is, I’m told, screening today in Los Angeles. I would have liked to attend but InFilm calls. It would have been fun trying to pinpoint which portions of the Cannes cut have been deep-sixed, etc. Not that the changes make a huge bottom-line difference. Joe Popcorn is going to find it too talky by half.Read More »