Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And speaking of sequels...

Paramount Pictures has re-hired writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman to work on a sequel to J.J. Abrams' unreleased Star Trek. Abrams will be back to produce the sequel along with his partner Bryan Burk, though it hasn't been confirmed if Abrams will be back to direct. The script should be ready by December of this year with a summer 2011 release in mind.

This looks like Paramount believes in Star Trek's ability to be a franchise. They're a hell of a lot more confident than I am. I know I'll watch, because I end up watching everything. But most of the people I know (everything from die hard Trek fans to action movie buffs) could literally care less about an upcoming Star Trek movie, much less a sequel to a film they barely give a damn about. I'm not saying Paramount shouldn't get ready in case the train heads out of the station, but I don't share the studio's confidence just yet. However, in the event that Star Trek does well, then they can get ready with a script, and if it crashes and burns they can always just scrap it. Variety reveals Kurtzman will listen to fans before the writers start a new script:

"Obviously we discussed ideas, but we are waiting to see how audiences respond next month," he said. "With a franchise rebirth, the first movie has to be about origin. But with a second, you have the opportunity to explore incredibly exciting things. We'll be ambitious about what we'll do."

Apparently 'Sherlock Holmes' isn't British (or good) enough

The Playlist gives us the rundown of reasons why Sherlock Holmes might be ten kinds of shit. Hack extraordinaire director Guy Ritchie is reportedly giving us a more American style Holmes (translation: Bob Downey's accent is horrible) and Watson. Needless to say, Ritchie will be boiled in oil by his countrymen before the year is out. The trailer was shown at ShowWest in Las Vegas and the audience loved it despite descriptions that seem to scare the crap out of the people over at Playlist. I guess when words like zany or wacky are bandied about there, is pause for concern.

I get the feeling that Sherlock Holmes purists are going to loathe this film. A fun romp does not sound like the sort of description they're inclined to welcome. For the rest of us (I know, I know - what sort of aspiring writer doesn't read Conan Doyle) we'll just have to hope this thing doesn't flat out suck. I'm over halfway through the script and so far I think it's enjoyable and fun. Which means this film is going to turn into a giant franchise and infuriate anyone who loves the books. If this turns out to be pure shit, I'll just watch it for Downey, bad accent and all.

ComingSoon gives a lengthy description of the trailer if you're interested in killing a hell of a lot of time.

Cronenberg talks 'Eastern Promises' sequel

Pinch me, I must be dreaming. 2007's Eastern Promises was one of my favorite films of that year, and now, there's a sequel announcement that doesn't piss me off. Actually, I'm pretty damn excited. Eastern Promises left things open ended with Mortensen's Russian gangster, Nikolai. I'm not going to spoil you, but if you haven't seen Eastern Promises (a very nude Viggo Mortensen included) go watch it right now. Don't worry...I'll wait. Anyway MTV Movies Blog shares a few of David Cronenberg's thoughts:

“We are moving forward with it,” Cronenberg told MTV News in an exclusive chat. “We all are excited about the idea of doing a sequel.”

The “we” includes Mortensen, who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role as Nikolai; the film’s screenwriter, Steven Knight; original producer Paul Webster; and original studio, Focus Features.

“We are going to have a meeting very soon between me, Steve Knight and Paul Webster to discuss what the script would be,” Cronenberg said. “I have some very strong ideas about what I would like to see, but I would like to hear what they have to say as well. And then after that, if all goes well, Steve goes away and writes a great script. If we all like it, we make it.”

At this juncture, Cronenberg is simply intrigued by the opportunity to reunite with Mortensen for a third film. “Viggo is a very special guy,” said Cronenberg. “I consider him a personal friend and we communicate all the time. That doesn’t always happen with actors. He’s very serious about his acting. But he’s really a funny guy. We laugh a lot. We giggle a lot.”

Go here to read more.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Andy Hallett: 1975-2009

From E!: Andy Hallett, 33, who starred as Lorne ("the Host") on the TV series Angel, died of heart failure last night at age 33, according to his agent. The actor passed away at Cedars-Sinai Hospital after a five-year battle with heart disease.

I'm a little numb with shock to be honest. Angel was my favorite show all through high school and he was genuinely amazing on it. So sad.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency premiers on HBO

I nearly forgot that the TV series was finally premiering on HBO. I'd been waiting for it for so long, that I'd sort of given up. I'm really glad I saw the pilot, I fell in love with it within the first five minutes. You'll probably be able to catch a repeat on HBO if you missed it. If you're interested here's a little backstory:

A TV series based in Africa is premiering this weekend on a premium cable television channel that isn't inundated with images of poverty and corruption.

Botswana has become the beautiful backdrop for a new HBO series premiering this Sunday, March 29th. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, an HBO TV series based on the bestselling books by Alexander McCall Smith features the adventures of Mma Precious Ramotswe, played by singer/actress Jill Scott. Scott plays a determined woman who leaves her abusive husband and opens up Botswana's first female-headed detective agency in Gaborone, Botswana's capital city. Anika Noni Rose, Lucian Msamati, and Desmond Dube also star. The pilot was scripted by Richard Curtis and the late Anthony Minghella.

"I think this batch of extraordinary characters is really what appeals to everybody. Over the course of the series you'll see these characters as not trying to fit in but trying to make the most of who they are," said Timothy Bricknell, a producer on the project.

"I think it's a very different, more positive picture of Africa, quite a surprising picture for some people who have never been here," said the director of episodes 05-07, Tim Fywell.

Unlike other African- based entertainment projects that choose not to shoot on location or even stick to any form of authenticity regarding country history (think Tears of the Sun shot in Hawaii), The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency shot its 105-minute pilot for HBO on location in Botswana and showcases authentic, local clothing styles that are as prominent as the colorful characters.

Costume designer, Jo Katsaras, made it a point to accurately depict the characters based on what she saw on the ground in the southern African country. "When I first arrived, what I saw was very monochromatic, and then I started to look a little bit deeper and there were the interesting textures... I've used a lot of the local prints. I've injected quite a lot of that in. "

From the costumes to the set to the writing and direction, authenticity appears to be a very high priority for the cast, crew and show runners.

Location Manager, Deon Du Preez, stated that he thought it pretty important "to introduce the country of Botswana to the rest of the world out there. "

"I want people to enjoy exciting, funny detective stories and I want them to be surprised by recognizing themselves and their own culture in an African culture, "said Bricknell when he described his hopes for the series.

Colin Salmon, the actor who plays "Note Mokoti", Mma's husband, thinks the ramifications of this series could be transformational. "This is an African story that is gonna go global and I think the success of this show pearls a new era in drama maybe."

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency premieres Sunday evening, March 29th at 8 pm ET on HBO.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft

Universal and Imagine Entertainment have bought the film right to Image Comics' graphic novel The Strange Adventures of H.P Lovecraft. The novel will be released on April 8. Variety shares more details:

U [Universal] sparked to "Lovecraft" because its take on classic horror fits in well with the studio’s library of monster fare featuring Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Wolf Man, the last of which is being brought back to the bigscreen later this year.

Created by Mac Carter and Jeff Blitz, book borrows elements from Lovecraft’s life, such as his family’s struggle with mental illness and his own bouts with writer’s block, and transforms the young writer’s darkest nightmares into reality when he comes across a book that puts a curse on him and lets the evils he conjures up loose on the world.

Lovecraft, who died in 1937, is considered one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century.

Ron Howard might direct this so my DO NOT WANT alarm bells are going off like crazy, no matter how much of a fan I am of Lovecraft's work. And Lovecraft's personal beliefs do not exactly make me a fan of his - I suspect his being a racist, anti-Catholic, anti-semetic bigot will not make its way into the novel or the film.

Four international 'Star Trek' posters revealed

Four Star Trek posters have made their way onto the web. The UK, German, Australian, and Italian posters feature cast members Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, and Eric Bana. Zoe Saldana sure is purty:

'Wild Things' makes my heart sing

The blogosphere sort of went nuts yesterday over the new Where the Wild Things Are trailer. I did too - one look at the trailer and I cried. It all makes me wonder exactly how poor Spike Jonze could be broke. Sigh. Here's the trailer with my childhood memories in tact:

'Taking Woodstock' trailer

I don't see Paul Dano in this trailer at all, but I've got four words: Liev Schreiber. Blond wig:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The best French language films - part 4: 'Cyrano de Bergerac'

Be sure to check out part 1, part 2, part 3
, and part 5 of the series.

I initially watched Jean-Paul Rappeneau's Oscar nominated adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) in middle school after reading the original play. It is, perhaps, the finest adaptation of Edmond Rostand's play, and since it's regarded as the one surviving version in the play's original language, it feels like the most authentic representation of Cyrano's melancholy life. As one of the most expensive French films in history, it's easy to understand why it's considered as the most sumptuous and detailed theatrical version of Rostand's play. The 1990 version is also noted as the first version of Cyrano de Bergerac in color, and it is, in my opinion, one of the greatest French films ever made.

The film stars renowned French actor, Gérard Depardieu as Cyrano de Bergerac and he gives one of his most exceptional performances. His performance is so stunning that not only was he the second actor nominated for an Oscar for playing Cyrano (José Ferrer actually won the Oscar for his 1950 incarnation), he is one of the few actors nominated for a French speaking role. By my count, no more than five actors were nominated for a French speaking role prior to Depardieu. All five of them were women.

The film tells the story of Cyrano de Bergerac - 17th century dramatist, poet, daredevil, sword fighter, romantic. At the start of the film, Cyrano disarms a nobleman for insulting his nose, and it remains one of my favorite scenes of the film. Certainly, the romance that unfolds is moving and tragic, but as a teenager it was Cyrano's bravado that delighted me. There is, quite frankly, something rather cool about him. He can disarm you with his words as brilliantly as he can with his sword.

Cyrano de Bergerac is a man who masks his deep shame of having a grotesquely large nose. He hides his humiliation behind a facade with bluster and wit, yet in his heart he yearns. He secretly loves the dazzling Roxane (Anne Brochet), but does not have the courage to reveal his love because of his looks. Tragically, Cyrano discovers that Roxane is besotted with Christian de Neuvillette (Vincent Perez), a handsome young soldier who is terrified of speaking in Roxane's presence. Cyrano decides to help young Christian win over Roxane, and when Christian realizes he possesses neither the wit nor the eloquence to gain her love, Cyrano becomes Christian's voice – he compiles love letters, poems, and even tells Christian what to say. Roxane falls in love with Christian, and Cyrano mourns his loss. Depardieu brings a great deal of sadness to a character often mistaken for being simply exuberant. The genius of his performance is his ability to balance the two sides of Cyrano's personality and he is all at once humorous, heartbreaking, and romantic.

Cyrano de Bergerac is a work that has been performed in France since 1897 and is still considered one of the greatest plays ever produced in France. This theatrical version, should be considered with no less regard than its original work. With its expensive 17th century sets, and gorgeous costumes – it's easy to see why it won the Oscar for Best Costume Design and was nominated for Art Direction. The screenplay adapted by Jean-Claude Carrière and director Jean-Paul Rappeneau allows the audience to hear the original French dialogue, and with linguist Anthony Burgess' translated English subtitles, the film preserves the iambic hexameter of the original play. All this gives the feeling of watching a poem acted out, like watching one of Cyrano's long romantic poems, rather than a play's adaptation. It's something I've grown to appreciate as I've gotten older – I suppose one year of college literature has something to do with it.

Cyrano de Bergerac is available on DVD and I really recommend purchasing it, because it's worth owning.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Anne Hathaway as Judy Garland

Oscar nominated actress, Anne Hathaway is attached (as in, it's not written in ink) to star as Judy Garland in film and stage adaptations of Gerald Clarke's 2001 biography Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland. Get Happy is based on hundreds of interviews and Judy Garland's unfinished and unpublished autobiography. The biography details the highs and lows of Garland's life, including her difficult childhood and the last years of her life. The project is being produced by the Weinstein Company.

It's easy to connect the dots with this one: Oscar nominated bright young thing, portrays another Oscar nominated bright young thing, and Harvey Weinstein makes off with a new set of Oscar statuettes. Or something. I can't help wanting to be a little rational in regards to my newfound unfettered excitement. The project will be a comprehensive look at Judy Garland's life. Life With Judy Garland, a 2001 made-for-TV biopic, gave us most of Garland's life in a near three hour run time. I loved Judy Davis' portrayal of Judy Garland, but the film was overlong and full of Judy-as-iconic-tragedy for it to be anything more than a stereotypical representation of her. That version was based on Garland's daughter, Lorna Luft's memoir. I haven't read Get Happy, so I have no idea how tragic a life the book paints, but since it includes Judy Garland's own memories, this project may offer something different from previous ones.

We know Anne Hathaway can belt one out because of this year's Oscars, but her voice is certainly not easily mistaken as sounding Garland like. Despite some of my concerns, I'm most excited at the prospect of seeing just how much Hathaway can stretch herself, (and how she looks in those delicious Ruby Slippers). We shall see and we shall hear, I suppose.

Casting links: Frieda Pinto joins Julian Schnabel, Zac Efron won't dance, and more...

Hollywood's newest It girl, Freida Pinto has signed on to star in Julian Schnabel's latest film, Miral. The film is an adaptation of Rula Jebreal's book about an orphanage during the 1948 partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel. It sounds good, but you can just feel the controversy and angry protests coming from a mile away. Not that Schnabel will care. [Variety]

Zac Efron has (thankfully) dropped out of the remake of Footloose. He is also starring in 17 Again (a remake of sorts), and an adaptation of Johnny Quest. I can feel my childhood dying a slow death. [HitFix]

Mad Men star Jon Hamm has joined the cast of indie drama Howl, and will play defense lawyer Jake Ehrlich, who inspired the TV series, Perry Mason. The film is about the 1957 obscenity trial of Allen Ginsberg's poem. The film also stars James Franco and David Strathairn. It's possible that there is just too much handsome in all this. [Variety]

And speaking of howls: Twilight sequel, New Moon has five new actors to play members of the wolf pack. Chaske Spencer, Bronson Pelletier, Alex Meraz, Kiowa Gordon and Tyson Houseman have been cast, although no one has revealed who will play whom. Each member of the wolf pack is of Native American decent. Spencer is Lakota (Sioux), Pelletier is Cree-Metis, Meraz is Purepecha (Tarasco), Gordon is Hualapai, and Houseman is Cree. [Empire]

On the biopic front: Anthony Hopkins is attached to play writer Ernest Hemingway in Hemingway and Fuentes, which will be written and directed by Andy Garcia. Annette Benning may also take on the role of Hemingway's widow, Mary Welsh. I'm drawn to this because the film isn't taking the typical paint by numbers, biopic formula. Instead, it will focus on the last days of Hemingway's life. [Hollywood Reporter]

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Giovanni Ribisi joins the cast of 'The Rum Diary'

After reports that Johnny Depp will finally start shooting The Rum Diary on March 30th in Puerto Rico, there comes some more good news. Giovanni Ribisi, has joined the cast and will once again be working with Johnny Depp (they're both in Public Enemies together). Ribisi also has a role in Avatar, so maybe, this year, he'll get the recognition he deserves. Maybe.

Other members of the cast include Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins, and Aaron Eckhart.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Go watch 'Hunger'

I saw Hunger a few months ago, and its finally opening in limited release in the US. If you get a chance to watch it, I recommend that you do. The film chronicles the final weeks of Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands. Its star Michael Fassbender and director Steve McQueen are a revelation. But A.O. Scott gushes over them a lot better than I do:

In early scenes of a prison guard (Stuart Graham) eating breakfast at his tidy home in Belfast, the camera lingers over tiny, sensual details, homing in on crumbs as they fall into a napkin in the man’s lap and examining the scabs and scrapes on his knuckles. This kind of unhurried watchfulness, as if filmmaking were entirely an act of observation rather than of reconstruction, conjures a sense of dread as well as intimacy. Nothing that happens at the Maze is hidden, euphemized or excused, though even the most harrowing scenes have a curious air of decorum, as if Mr. McQueen was trying to bring human dignity into a place where it has all but vanished.

...This parallel is made both explicit and more complicated when “Hunger” turns its attention to Bobby Sands, who starved himself to death, along with nine other prisoners, in the hunger strike that followed the blanket action. Sands, played by Michael Fassbender, is charismatic and full of impish life, and his choice of martyrdom is at once an act of rational, strategic calculation and a measure of his single-minded, overpowering zeal.

Penelope and Pedro do Vanity Fair

Penelope Cruz and director Pedro Almodóvar appear in the Spain edition of April 2009's Vanity Fair. They're lovely:

Photo source

Friday, March 20, 2009

The best French language films - part 3: 'My Father's Glory' and 'My Mother's Castle'

Check out any parts of the series you may have missed - part 1, part 2, part 4, and part 5

It's difficult to decide which of the two films is better – 1990's My Father's Glory (La Gloire de mon père) or its sequel, My Mother's Castle (Le Château de ma mère). There is very little time lost between the two, with My Mother's Castle beginning at what seems to be mere moments after its prequel ends. They are the films that director Yves Robert is best remembered for.

Both are based on famed French novelist Marcel Pagnol's memoirs. Pagnol's work was also the inspiration for two other celebrated French films, Jean de Florette and Manon des source. In My Father's Glory, we are introduced to a young Marcel (Julien Ciamaca), who at the start of the 20th century spends his summer in France's southeast region of Provence. Marcel's boyhood days unfold before us, with an adult Marcel, narrating the film's events. It is here in Provence that Marcel watches a quarrel between his atheistic schoolteacher father, Joseph (Philippe Caubère) and his religious Catholic uncle, Jules (Didier Pain). It is here that Marcel learns the ways of Provence's hilly landscape from his new found friend Lili (Joris Molinas).

My Mother's Castle picks up where the first film left off, with Marcel and his family spending their weekends at a cottage in the country. It is a long, difficult journey on foot, and much of the film is devoted to the family's trips across country estates, simply to reach their cottage. In this film, Marcel encounters the lovely young Isabelle (Julie Timmerman) who beguiles him and lords over him.

As both films progress we see why Marcel longs for his days away from city life in Marseille. It is a setting in which we fall in love with Marcel's cicadas, his orchards, his wide night sky, his vineyards, his hills – oh, the hills. Provence becomes more than just his beloved countryside – it becomes another character, in some ways more real and engaging than most members of Marcel's family.

The one member who does rival Provence, is Marcel's father Joseph, played by actor Philippe Caubère. He plays Joseph beautifully and he is stunning as a good-natured, but distant and intellectual schoolteacher. It is in My Father's Glory that he truly shines. Marcel is both amazed by his father's intelligence, and yet also, disappointed with his father's difficulty in adapting to country life; Joseph's near disastrous hunting sessions with Uncle Jules are a source of dismay for young Marcel.

My Mother's Castle, like My Father's Glory is endearing, with childhood recollections seemingly too flawless to have even occurred. Marcel's mother is a simple home-loving woman, who organizes the family's weekly outings to the country. Marcel Pagnol's outlook on his childhood is picturesque – his boyhood in the country enthralling. There is no difficult situation that cannot be easily solved, the children are always near perfect – their clothes spotless, the family sits down to typical family celebrations with all the Mediterranean dishes of sunny Provence. With all its magic and wonder, an adult Marcel contemplates, “such is the life of man, moments of joy obliterated by unforgettable sorrow. There's no need to tell children that.” My Mother's Castle, unlike its prequel, presents passing moments of the deep agonizing pains children don't usually feel until they grow up - Marcel is getting farther and farther away from his childhood.

Both film's are sentimental, to be sure, but childhood's are often looked back on with rose-colored glasses. These films are meant to be the entrancing recollections of a young boy's summer life and weekends with his mother. They are the brief, narrow glances of youth before such fleeting joys are ultimately lost.

Yves Robert's tributes to Pagnol were beloved in France and despite some of the sentiment, it is easy to see why. Thankfully, both films are available separately on DVD.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This week in superhero news: the Green Lantern edition

Warner Bros. Pictures is reportedly going to begin shooting The Green Lantern this September in Australia. The film is scheduled to open on December 17, 2010.

The short list of possible Hal Jordans has Chris Pine (that's Captain Kirk to you) at the top of the pile. Other names being thrown around are Jon Hamm, Nathan Fillion, and Sam Worthington, though it appears that Warner wants an under 30 actor. So much for Jon Hamm. IESB points out that though one actor portraying both Kirk and Hal Jordan might be a sticking point, Christian Bale plays both Bruce Wayne and John Conner as well.

As usual, I'll toss out some names in case the casting universe picks up on it (curse you Scarlett):
Martin Henderson (too old), Jake Gyllenhaal (his name is always tossed around), Ryan Gosling, Gosling's doppelgänger Ben Foster, True Blood's Ryan Kwanten, Justin Hartley (Aquaman on TV), Charlie Hunnam despite the fact that he might be doing that Thor thing, and Henry Cavill.

'Cheri' international trailer

Glorious costumes, romantic historical comedies, Michelle Pfeiffer - why am I always suckered into the period pieces? I'm pretty sure that this year, Rupert Friend will be the death of me:

First look: Matt Damon in 'The Human Factor'

Here's your first look at Matt Damon as South African rugby team captain, Francois Pienaar. The Human Factor, directed by Clint Eastwood, is based on the true story of the relationship between Pienaar and Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) and how in his first term, Mandela used the Rugby World Cup to unite South Africa, a year after the end of apartheid.

Despite its prestige factor, I have my doubts. Hollywood has made only one truly honest film about Africa. That is not an exaggeration. Lord of War, despite Nicolas Cage's spectacular suckiness at times, is the only film about the continent that has managed to give its audience some semblance of the truth. I'm half Nigerian, so though many of these films turn out to be good, I've often felt that there is rarely any honesty. The films are designed for Western audiences, so given that, there is a desire to make Westerners and Europeans seem like the heroes in a dark and backward continent, fraught with danger and Africans viciously murdering each other.

I also worry about how the actors will do with the accents, but considering that Leonardo DiCaprio's accent was nearly flawless in Blood Diamond, that worry may turn out to be unfounded. So, despite my fears, I recognize that Eastwood is a brilliant director and I have a great deal of respect for Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon - therefore, I'll reserve judgment until I see the film.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natasha Richardson, 1963-2009

This is so very heartbreaking.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where there's smoke, there's Nicolas Cage

My mother and I have been playing a game with Nicolas Cage movies since 1998. We try to spot a scene with Nicolas Cage running from fire. At least, that's what we used to do. Over the years we have tried to spot where Nicolas Cage either runs from or through fire, creates a fire, or is actually made of fire. I know it sounds absurd, but in most of his films there are scenes that could literally not exist without the fire. I think the game sums up his middling entire career. There are major spoilers in this post. If there is a Nicolas Cage film that you haven't seen don't bother to see it do not read any further. Anyway, here's proof with clips and photos:

Exhibit A:
This one is on the flimsiest of grounds here, but for the game we decided that smoke actually counts. So here's Nicolas Cage from Lord of War:

Exhibit B:
Nicolas Cage actually running from fire in Con Air:

Exhibit C:
Nicolas Cage tries to escape a burning streetcar in this clip from The Rock:

Exhibit D:
Nicolas Cage standing in front of the smoldering remnants of a crashed plane in the upcoming film Knowing:

Exhibit E:
This one is particularly hilarious because in The Wicker Man Nic Cage is actually burned to death inside the wicker man (I don't think death by burning is funny, just the events in this particular movie). So, we have him actually engulfed in flames, but here's the lead up to his horrific end:

Exhibit F:
Even the studios have caught on. It's gotten harder and harder to find a poster or trailer without flames involved somehow:

Exhibit G:
This one is my favorite because its so blatantly obvious. Nicolas Cage plays Johnny Blaze, a character who is literally on fire in Ghost Rider:

I'm not exactly sure what this all means to be honest. My mother for some reason, thinks he's doing this intentionally, but I don't think Nicolas Cage actually means for us to make a mockery of his film career. His films are just unintentionally funny and so patently absurd that playing the Nicolas Cage fire game is the only way we can cope with mostly rubbish films that the man makes.

'Away We Go' - Sam Mendes' indie drama unveiled

It seems ridiculously soon for Sam Mendes to have another film down the pipes after Revolutionary Road just came out last December. But from the looks of the trailer that was released on Monday, Away We Go appears to be unlike anything Mendes has directed thus far.

Which leads me to wonder why some are likening the film to Little Miss Sunshine or even worse, Juno. Okay, yes, there are the makings of a road trip, and yes, one of the main characters is knocked up - but this is Sam Mendes we're talking about. Arguably sometimes his films can be dull (Jarhead) or cold (Road to Perdition), but he doesn't do flimsy retreads.

Perhaps its the haze I'm still in over how gut-wrenchingly good Revolutionary Road turned out to be, or maybe its the cast that's to die for (Maya Rudolph, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Catherine O'Hara, Allison Janney), or just John Krasinski, but I just don't buy this as a quirky, syrupy, indie comedy.

Oh. Before you head on down to the trailer I'd just like to say thanks to Anna for being Come Back Shane!'s first follower. So, feel free to stalk people - that's what the intertubes is for. Trailer filled with John Krasinksi goodness below:

Chow Yun-Fat cast as Confucius

Chow Yun-Fat has been cast to play Chinese scholar and philosopher, Confucius in a $22 million (150 million Chinese yuan) biopic backed by the Chinese government.

Shooting is due to start in approximately three weeks and Chinese filmmaker, Hu Mei will direct the project. The biopic will screen later this year to commemorate the People's Republic of China's 60th anniversary and Confucius' 2,560th birthday.

To be honest, I'm not too keen on Chow Yun-Fat's next film, Dragonball Evolution, but his historical epics in the past have been magnificent (ie: The Curse of the Golden Flower and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon); so I have high hopes for the film despite my jitters about government involvement.

First poster of 'Where the Wild Things Are'

Where the Wild Things Are poster from Nick Magazine via In Contention/Spike Jonze Fan Blog: