Friday, July 31, 2009

Vote for the most memorable movie characters of the decade part 4

The third round of voting is over. Thanks to the folks who voted. Here is the list of round three winners:

Most memorable anti-hero of the decade:

Most memorable spy/secret agent of the decade:
Most memorable tough girl of the decade:
  • Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy

The final two categories are up on the right side of the page, and you can vote until Monday, August 3 at midnight Pacific time.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beautiful concept art for Disney's Rapunzel


Disney is set to release its 50th animated feature, Rapunzel sometime in December of 2010. The project is 3D animation and Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater will write the songs. In an interview Menken stated that the style of the music will be "more sixties rock." The artwork looks gorgeous and even though its 3D animation, the project is supposed to look like a traditional 2D film. The visual style is said to be based on Jean-Honoré Fragonard's painting The Swing.







Venice Film Festival line-up unveiled

Films included in the festival line-up for the 66th Annual Venice Film Festival include Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story, Jaco van Dormael's English-language debut Mr. Nobody, Tom Ford's (yes, that Tom Ford) directorial debut A Single Man, and John Hillcoat's The Road. According to Variety (via RopeofSilicon) there will be 71 world premiers.

Steven Soderbergh's The Informant and Grant Heslov's The Men Who Stare at Goats will also be included in the line-up, but they will be out of competition.

Midnight movies include Antoine Fuqua's Brooklyn's Finest, which is set for a November 27 release and Nicolas Winding Refn's Valhalla Rising starring Mads Mikkelsen.

The Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to John Lasseter and the 3-D versions of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 will be screened for the award.

RopeofSilicon gives us a pretty good list and you can head on over to Variety for the full list.

66TH ANNUAL VENICE FILM FESTIVAL LINEUP COMPETITION

  • Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Werner Herzog (U.S.)
  • Capitalism: A Love Story, Michael Moore (U.S.)
  • The Road, John Hillcoat (U.S.)
  • Soul Kitchen, Fatih Akin (Germany)
  • Survival of the Dead, George Romero (U.S.)

OUT OF COMPETITION

  • The Informant!, Steven Soderbergh (U.S.)
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats, Grant Heslov (U.S.)
  • REC 2, Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza (Spain)
  • South of the Border, Oliver Stone (U.S.)

MIDNIGHT MOVIES

  • Brooklyn's Finest, Antoine Fuqua (U.S.)
  • Valhalla Rising, Nicolas Winding Refn (Denmark)

GOLDEN LION FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT 2009
JOHN LASSETER AND THE DISNEY/PIXAR DIRECTORS

  • Toy Story 3-D (New Version), John Lasseter (U.S.)
  • Toy Story 2 3-D (New Version), John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Ash Brannon (U.S.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First photos of the Volturi from New Moon


According to someone over at ONTD! (via The Playlist) these are official Volturi character art from Summit Entertainment and really, they're only worth it for Michael Sheen. If you don't know who the Volturi are, they're a law-enforcing vampire coven. It hurts just to write that crap. Featured in the photo along with Michael Sheen are Dakota Fanning and Jamie Campbell Bower. The Twilight Saga: New Moon is set to open on November 20, 2009.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Who's ready for a Rounders sequel?


According to PokerListings.com (apparently we're getting movie news from them now - who knew?) via Get the Big Picture a sequel to 1998's Rounders is a "realistic possibility" and according to writer David Levien, "ideas are percolating."

Dream on dude, you say? None of the now successful, original actors, could possibly be interested in a pointless sequel? Not according to Matt Damon. Damon, tells the site that "everybody would probably come back." And by everybody he means Edward Norton and director John Dahl.

Okay, I'm starting to sound like an asshole here, but can they just NOT? Since when was Rounders begging for a sequel? I liked Rounders mainly because Norton and Damon have good chemistry. But, that's about it. I mean, I get that Damon wants an excuse to bond with his friends and stuff, but we don't we have the Ocean's movies for that process?

Links for you: Miley Cyrus as Batgirl?



Director Neil Burger is in talks to write the screenplay adaptation of the classic children's book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. This will be the second adaptation for the book after 1982's animated feature The Secret of NIMH, directed by Don Bluth. Have I mentioned that this is a dreadful idea? [ONTD!]

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third film based on the fantasy series by C.S. Lewis started principal photography in Australia on Monday. [ComingSoon]

Now for the biggest WTF? news of the week. Rumor has it that Miley Cyrus auditioned for the role of Batgirl (in full batsuit) in case they include this character in the next Batman movie. This can't be true right? Like that Timberlake rumor - damn that turned out to be sort of true. [The Movie Blog]

Another set of films has been added to the Toronto International Film Festival lineup. Included are Drew Barrymore's Whip It, the Coen Brother's A Serious Man, Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story. [Film Junk]

Taylor Hackford takes over as president of the Directors Guild of America. [In Contention]

Jon Hamm (sigh) has been cast in The Town which Ben Affleck will direct and star in. The film is an adaptation of Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves. Oh, did I mention Rebecca Hall has also been cast in this? [RopeofSilicon]

Who is the new Kato?

The only reason I care about the upcoming Green Hornet movie is because of the Green Hornet's sidekick, Kato. I could care less about Seth Rogen. If he turns out to great I'll eat my words. Anyway, Stephen Chow had originally been cast as Kato, but dropped out a few weeks ago. Now, according to The Playlist some Asian news outlets have announced that Korean actor Kwon Sang-woo is in talks to step in and take the part.

Admittedly I've never seen him in anything, but Kwon has done martial arts in movies before (Volcano High, Once Upon a Time in High School), and he had a good audition for the role. If Kwon is cast then "this would make the third Korean heartthrob, following Lee Byeong-Heon and his role in G.I. Joe and Rain in Ninja Assassin, to take a stab at Hollywood this year." [Twitch]

I was pretty disappointed when Stephen Chow dropped out because he was the only draw for me. Sorry, even though I can sometimes be a Seth Rogen apologist, he does actually annoy me from time to time, and I don't like any films Michel Gondry has directed (this includes Eternal Sunshine). There, I said it. Now though, there isn't any time for disappointment. The Green Hornet is set for a July 2010 release so they better cast Kato like yesterday.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vote for the most memorable movie characters of the decade part 3

Okay, round two is complete. Thanks to the people who voted. I hope even more of you will vote in the new categories. Here is the list of round two winners:


Most memorable sister of the decade:


Most memorable brother of the decade:
  • Jamal Malik (Dev Patel, Tanay Chheda, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar) Slumdog Millionaire

Most memorable teacher of the decade:

Most memorable student of the decade:

The next four categories are up on the right side of the page, and you can vote until Thursday, July 30 at midnight Pacific time. The next four categories will go up after that.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Are we getting a Batman movie in 2011?


Well if you believe Gary Oldman and I guess, the people at Warner Bros., then this is likely.

They (Gary Oldman and the fine folks at Warner Bros.) just announced at Comic Con that Batman 3 will begin shooting in 2010. We don't know who will be behind the lens (Nolan's looking pretty booked), who the villain will be, what the title will be. or if it'll be the further evolution of a smarter look at Batman or if dollar signs rule the day.

"I think the next Batman is next year," he told a fan who asked when the long-awaited "Dark Knight" follow-up would hit, "We start shooting next year for a release in two years. You didn't hear that from me." [Chud]

Okay, so nothing concrete except for the fact that we're getting a Dark Knight sequel (no shit, we've seen the box office numbers), and Nolan's involvement is up in the air. I'm wondering how the folks over at Chud are so sure Christopher Nolan is booked. Inception should be wrapping either in December of this year, or by the latest January of 2010. And his stats over at IMDb show that he has The Prisoner and a Batman movie in development, so I'm not sure what he could be booked with in 2010 other than The Prisoner or a Dark Knight sequel.

Personally, I don't totally buy the 2010 shooting schedule not because Nolan is booked, but because there has been no word on a script. I can't imagine Nolan coming off Inception, going into the film's post-production, finalizing a direction for the script with the higher ups, cranking out a script, getting the script approved, casting the villain, and then shooting the thing within a year.

And this is considering that Nolan is even back on, because some people seem to think that he isn't. Which is even worse. Who wants to watch a Dark Knight sequel directed by someone else?


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Denzel Washington back onboard for Unstoppable

Last week it appeared that Denzel Washington had bowed out of Unstoppable due to budget concerns and a delayed scheduled. There was some speculation that Washington would reconsider, and now, according to Empire it looks like he's officially back and the movie is set to shoot in the fall.

The movie, loosely based on a true story, focuses on a train engineer (Washington) who is about to be fired and the new conductor who will replace him (Chris Pine). Both men must stop a freight train filled with flammable liquid and poison gas from destroying a city.

20th Century Fox had reportedly asked director Tony Scott to cut the movie's budget to $90 million, which would mean both Scott and Washington would get smaller paychecks. Washington decided to drop out but apparently he read a new draft of the screenplay and there was some sort of salary agreement. I can't even begin to guess what sort of deal was made, but it looks like this little casting drama is over.

Full-length Whiteout trailer

Have to say, this looks pretty damn interesting.:

Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) is a lone U.S. Marshal assigned to Antarctica whose investigation of the continent's first murder draws her into a shocking mystery. Now, with only three days until winter, Carrie must solve the crime before Antarctica is plunged into darkness and she is stranded with the killer. [FirstShowing]

From IGN via Trailer Addict:



New Jonah Hex poster unveiled

The new poster was released at Comic-Con (via Yahoo! Movies). It seems to have gone under the radar a bit so far, which is weird, considering the blurry photos of the poster that have made the rounds on the Intertubes over the past day.

Hmmmm....Megan Fox gets top billing, but she revealed last month that her part would be "basically a cameo." So, if it's a cameo the studio is pandering to the horny fanboys and fangirls. If it isn't a cameo, well, then...she may actually get to do some of this "acting" she keeps promising she'll get around to. Anyhoo, the rest of us will have to settle for the destroyed half of Josh Brolin's face:




Vote for the most memorable movie characters of the decade part 2

Okay, round one is done. There was more than one winner in some of the categories which I didn't anticipate. I think it's because a small number of people voted. Hopefully more people will vote in this poll. Here is the list of winners:

Most memorable mom of the decade:


Most memorable dad of the decade:

Most memorable daughter of the decade:
  • Arwen (Liv Tyler) The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Christine (Emmy Rossum) The Phantom of the Opera
  • Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave) Atonement

Most memorable son of the decade:
  • Nemo (Alexander Gould) Finding Nemo
  • Peter Llewelyn Davies (Freddie Highmore) Finding Neverland

The next four categories are up on the right side of the page, and you can vote until Monday, July 27 at midnight Pacific time. The next four categories will go up after that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Get your first official look at Nowhere Boy


The first official photo of Thomas Sangster as Paul McCartney and Aaron Johnson as John Lennon in Sam Taylor-Wood's Nowhere Boy is here.

Sangster is second from the left while Johnson is second from the right, and both portray McCartney and Lennon while they were in the band, The Quarrymen, in the years before they were part of The Beatles.

According to The Playlist the photo (from an Aaron Johnson fansite) is supposed to look old and washed out, so it isn't really bad quality.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First look: International trailer for French crime drama Mesrine: Killer Instinct



I heard about Jean-François Richet's Mesrine a while back, but promptly forgot about it. The film adaptation of Jacques Mesrine's autobiography, L'instinct de mort, stars Vincent Cassel, Gérard Depardieu, Mathieu Amalric, and Ludivine Sagnier. Cassel, who plays title character Mesrine, won the Best Actor Cesar earlier this year.

The film was released in two parts (à la Che) in France, and the first film, L'instinct de mort (English title Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Part 1)) opened on October 22, 2008, while the second part L'Ennemi Public Numéro Un (Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One (Part 2)) opened on November 19, 2008.



Jacques Mesrine was one of the most famous criminals in French history. His committed bank robberies, burglaries, jewelry store robberies, prison breaks, arms smuggling, and murders. In 1979 he became French public enemy number 1 when he kidnapped millionaire, Henri Lelièvre, and received a ransom of 6 million francs. His crime spree even went as far as the United States and Canada.



At this point there's only an English language trailer for part one, Mesrine: Killer Instinct, but The Playlist is cool enough to share both French posters, the two trailers, a bonus clip from Empire, and the synopsis for part one:

Mesrine: Killer Instinct introduces us to Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel), a loyal son and dedicated soldier back home and living with his parents after serving in the Algerian War. Handsome and charming, he is soon seduced by the neon glamour of Sixties Paris and the easy money it presents. Mentored by Guido (Gerard Depardieu) Mesrine soon moves swiftly up the criminal ladder, choosing the high risk life of a gangster of the honest life of the hard working family. After pulling off an audacious heist he and his lover Jeanne (Cecile de France), flee to Canada where the opportunity of one big payout lures him out of hiding and propels him towards international notoriety.

It looks like Mesrine: Killer Instinct will open on August 7 in the UK and then Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One will open on August 28. Annoyingly, there is no North American release date yet.







Links for you: a new photo from Rapunzel and more TIFF lineup announcements


If you saw Sunday night's episode of Entourage then you know that the writers of the show called Seth Rogen's "ugliness...oddly fascinating" in a debate over whether Rogen could date someone like Katherine Heigl in real life. I fall on the yes he could side of the debate and besides, it was pretty mean spirited. The guy isn't bad looking. Anyway, if you're assuming that Seth Rogen would have laughed this off, then you're assuming wrong. [Movieline]

Be the first to see the Alice in Wonderland teaser trailer. [iesb.net]

MTV Movies Editor Josh Horowitz will moderate a panel at Comic Con this week for Mike Judge's upcoming comedy Extract. Stars Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, and Kristen Wiig will be there, and you can head on over to MTV to find out how to send them your questions. [MTV Movies Blog]

A new photo from Disney's Rapunzel has surfaced. [ComingSoon]

Things are moving forward again with the Voltron live-action movie. [Film Junk]

The first The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time poster featuring Jake Gyllenhaal is up, along with a bunch of other film posters. [Film Junk]

Jennifer's Body will make its world premier at the Toronto Film Festival on September 20. More movies have been added to the TIFF lineup. [Variety]

China's J.A. Media Group is set to make a three-part biopic about Bruce Lee. The film is set to begin shooting this October. [Variety]

Iron Man 2 wraps ahead of schedule

Jon Favreau and Marvel have revealed that production for Iron Man 2 wrapped on July 18, after just 71 days of shooting. Producer Kevin Feige explained why the film was able to wrap so quickly:

Shooting Iron Man 2 was a fantastic experience and we couldn't be happier. Although there were many challenges in making this film, having Jon Favreau, Robert Downey, Gwyneth Paltrow, and almost the entire crew from the first film back on board, allowed us to hit the ground running as everyone was instantly familiar with each other from day one. This dynamic allowed us to get done what we needed on a day to day basis and was a big factor in why we finished slightly ahead of schedule. [Marvel.com via Get The Big Picture]

Considering that I thought this movie might turn out to be a trainwreck (changing writers, hiring a new cast member, not hiring Emily Blunt) this is pretty reassuring news, and just in time for the publicity blitz that is Comic Con.

In addition to what seems to be weekly Iron Man news, Yahoo! Movies (via /Film) shares this new photo of Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow):





Monday, July 20, 2009

Vote for the most memorable movie characters of the decade

You might have noticed the polls on the right side of the page. I figured I would devote the second half of the year to looking back at the decade that was. I'll have a giant list of the decade's most memorable characters, but until then, for the next month or so you'll get a chance to vote for the characters you find the most memorable. The first four categories are up and voting closes on Wednesday, July 23 at midnight Pacific time. The next four categories will go up after that. Who knows, some of the winners might make it onto the list.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vanity Fair's look at Heath Ledger


If you haven't gotten the chance to read it yet, Vanity Fair's article on Heath Ledger is online now. It's very long, and I haven't read it yet, partially because of its length, and partially because reading about Heath Ledger since his death has been daunting.

When Heath Ledger died a year and a half ago from an accidental mix of prescription drugs, he was deep into filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus with his friend and mentor, director Terry Gilliam. From Gilliam, the crew, and other insiders, the author gets an exclusive account of Ledger’s final months—a pressure cooker of arduous filmmaking, personal turmoil, and chronic insomnia—and of how the 28-year-old star’s last movie was rescued by a trio of friends: Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell. [VF]

Friday, July 17, 2009

Could Russell Crowe star in another Master and Commander movie?


This might be the best news I've heard all day. The Associated Press announced that Russell Crowe is in the early stages of negotiations to play sea captain Jack Aubrey in a new Master and Commander film.

According to Crowe there are still negotiations taking place over the rights of the novels and the script will be based mainly on the eleventh book of the late Patrick O'Brian's 20 novel series - The Reverse of the Medal. All 20 books are set during the Napoleonic Wars. Apparently, the script has already been penned, but discussions are still at an early stage. The Reverse of the Medal, which was published in 1986, is partially set in the Caribbean (fingers crossed that they shoot somewhere near where I live).

I really loved the original Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and I've sort of been expecting (or maybe hoping for) another film. I admittedly didn't love it the first time I saw it in theaters, but I fell in love with it after I got to see it again. I've probably seen it six times by now, and hopefully Paul Bettany is cast because he was the best thing about the film. It has become one of my favorite films of 2003, and I think it's about time they made another one.

There is no word on when shooting begins.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tudors creator to adapt Agincourt for the big screen

According to Empire, Michael Hirst, creator of The Tudors has signed on to adapt Bernard Cornwell's novel, Agincourt. The novel sold about 200,000 hardcover copies in the UK in its first three months of release and was on the New York Times beststeller list for four weeks.

The story focuses on young Nicholas Hook, an archer who fights beside Henry V in 1415 during the battle of Agincourt. The film is set to shoot the spring of 2011.

Considering that the budget is just $35 million I doubt they'll be able to cast a huge name for the lead role.

Links for you: Inception in London and what to do in a post-Potter era



The international trailer for Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes is now online. Holmes purists beware. [The Movie Blog]

After nearly 8 years, we now only have two Harry Potter films left to go. What fantasy/kid friendly franchise could possibly take over and fill the void? [Obsessed with Film]

The WGA pays its respects to African-American trailblazer, writer, and TV legend, Judi Ann Mason. [Nikki Finke]

Christopher Nolan's Inception was shooting at University College London and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page were on set. [Nolan Fans]

The 61st Primetime Emmy nominations were announced today, and unlike some of the nominees who pretended not to know the announcements were today, I genuinely forget. I'd devote a whole post to them, but my television analysis is pretty bad.
Here's the good: love for The Flight of the Conchords, lots of nods for Mad Men, a nod for Dexter for Outstanding Series, a Lead Actress nod for Toni Collette, both Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange are nominated for Lead Actress for Grey Gardens, and a nod for Kristin Chenoweth (rest in peace, Pushing Daisies). And here's the downright criminal: an Outstanding Comedy nod for Family Guy, no Jeremy Piven nomination, not one nomination for True Blood, and there are no lead acting nominations for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Booo. [Awards Daily]


First photos of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow


There had been some very blurry images of Johansson in Iron Man 2 last night, but now we can all look at the high rez versions (via IESB and FirstShowing). Robert Downey Jr. and Mickey Rourke are featured on the front cover of Entertainment Weekly's Comic-Con preview issue, but who gives a damn about those two when you can drool over Scarlett in a skin-tight outfit? Hotness aside, I still think she was woefully miscast.


More Iron Man 2 details from EW: On one side is Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), a fast-talking weapons manufacturer who fancies himself the next Tony Stark; on the other, Vanko, who, while incarcerated in a Russian prison, creates his own battle-suit, which shoots devastating, whip-like beams. Hammer and Whiplash join forces to take down Downey’s character, Tony Stark. Rourke, for his part, wanted to instill some lightness into the role of the heavy. "I told Favreau, 'I don't want to just play him as a one-dimensional pussy,'" he says. "He let me have a cockatoo, who I talk to and get drunk with while I’m making my suit."[via FirstShowing]

You can check out more of the Entertainment Weekly Iron Man 2 exclusive at EW.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is this The Year of Matt Damon?

David Poland over at MCN (via In Contention) has written a column about the effect 10 best picture nominees might have on the Oscar race. Because the field will be so large, it'll be much harder to figure out what voter trends are this year. One of the trends he does give us could be the Matt Damon trend:

It could, I guess, be The Year of Matt Damon, who has Invictus, The Informer!, the animated Miyazaki film, Ponyo, and maybe even Green Zone coming out.
I think most film buffs knew that Damon had at least two films that were set for release this year. But when you combine the above mentioned titles with the news from back in March that Margaret might also be released (or not) in 2009, then we get a total of 5 Matt Damon films in one year (well, 6 if you count Che: Part 2). And they'll all be crammed in the second half of the year. So, how promising are these films anyway?


Margaret
Cast: Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick, Mark Ruffalo
Synopsis: A young woman (Paquin) witnesses a bus accident, and is caught up in the aftermath, where the question of whether or not it was intentional affects many people's lives. [IMDb]

Margaret is looking like it might never be released, though there was finally some news about it this year. Originally wrapped in 2005, there haven't been major announcements on this film in years. I was a teenager when this thing was completed. Word is that the project was incredibly long and director Kenneth Lonergan couldn't get a cut he liked that was under 150 minutes. Then there was the court drama. Earlier in the year Nico Muhly was hired to score the film which means that someone out there gives a damn about it. And we're still talking about it, which I guess, is good for any actor.


The Informant!
Cast: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale
Release Date: October 9, 2009
Synopsis: Based on a true story, The Informant! focuses on Mark Whitacre (Damon), the vice president of Archer Daniels Midland, who blows the whistle on his company's price-fixing.

It seems easy to predict how this might turn out, at least commercially. Steven Soderbergh films (unless they are of the Ocean's variety) don't exactly set the box office on fire. Neither do dark comedies based on true stories. Critically we'll know how good this is by September once it screens at the Toronto International Film Festival.


Invictus
Cast: Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman
Release Date: December 11, 2009
Synopsis: A look at life for Nelson Mandela after the fall of apartheid in South Africa during his first term as president when campaigned to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup event as an opportunity to unite his countrymen. [IMDb]

This is by far the most blatant piece of Oscar-bait of 2009. If it doesn't deliver in a big way, then it's doomed. Even though I have my own personal doubts - especially given how Hollywood has portrayed Africa in the past - I'm still looking forward to this project mostly because I'm interested in watching Damon's performance. Just how good or bad will his accent be?


Ponyo
Cast: Matt Damon, Tina Fey
Release Date: August 14, 2009
Synopsis: Ponyo, is about a 5-year-old boy and a goldfish princess in a world gone awry. [The New York Times]

Hayao Miyazaki's latest animated film will likely be his most commercially successful one in the United States. Disney, which owns the distribution rights, is trying to get the film into 800 theaters and promote it on the Disney Channel.


Green Zone
Cast: Matt Damon, Amy Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson
Release Date: sometime in the fall
Synopsis: Based on the 2006 non-fiction book Imperial Life in the Emerald City, Green Zone is a thriller that takes place in Iraq's Green Zone prior to the US surge.

There is still no official release date, but most people are banking on a fall release since director Paul Greengrass completed the film earlier this year. It would be really great though, if Universal gave us a release date. Based on the track record of Iraq War films I expect this to do badly at the box office. Most Iraq War films are pretty awful with the exception of The Hurt Locker which I liked, but didn't love. A lot of people claim Iraq War films do badly because nobody wants to deal with the subject matter. I think they do badly because they're either badly made or boring (yes, even war films have to be engaging). If there's a team that can change that track record it's Damon and Greengrass.


It looks like Matt Damon may have a great year. Maybe even the best one of his career. He could get an Oscar nomination for Invictus or Green Zone, or hell, maybe for both. And since Oscar doesn't do comedy, maybe there will be a Golden Globe nomination for The Informant!.

Or, he could have a supremely shitty year. Like the kind Jude Law had in 2004. It looked like it would turn out great, at first. Even though some of the films weren't that good (Alfie, I'm looking at you) at least the worst of them was visually stunning (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow). I Heart Huckabees, The Aviator, and Closer were all critical successes, but the praise and the awards nominations all went to Law's co-stars. He over saturated the market and it backfired. Has anybody cared about his films post-2004? Can you name a single film he's been in since 2004? Here's a hint: he's been in 5. Matt Damon could face a similar fate even if his films are good.

We'll just have to wait and see if this turns into a good year or bad year. Or if anyone notices or cares at all. In September we will get our first real clues.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More films added to the TIFF 2009 lineup


This is sort of old news by now, but I can't not discuss it. Creation will open the 34th Toronto Film Festival on September 10. The Charles Darwin biopic stars Paul Bettany and his real-life wife Jennifer Connelly. This will be the first time that a non-Canadian film will open the festival.

"We have traditionally opened with a Canadian film, but this year we chose to go a different route. We fell in love with this movie and this is the one, we felt, really sets the tone for the kinds of conversations we hope will happen around the films at the festival," TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey told reporters on Tuesday. [CBC News]

Aside from Creation, there are a few films set to screen in Toronto that I've been looking forward to:

Jane Campion's Bright Star with Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw.
Steven Soderbergh's The Informant! starring Matt Damon. The trailer was released about a two weeks ago.
Tim Blake Nelson's Leaves of Grass starring Edward Norton as twin brothers. I've been waiting ages for this film to see the light of day.
Neil Jordan's Ondine starring Colin Farrell.
Niki Caro's The Vintner's Luck starring Gaspard Ulliel.
Lee Daniels' Sundance winner Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire. This film goes without saying at this point.

The festival will make more lineup announcements every Tuesday until August 18 with the last roundup being on August 20. The festival closes on September 19. Below is the lineup that was released this morning.

  • The Boys are Back, Scott Hicks (Australia/U.K.).
  • Bright Star, Jane Campion (U.K./Australia).
  • City of Life and Death, Lu Chuan (China).
  • Cracks, Jordan Scott (Ireland).
  • Hadewijch, Bruno Dumont (France).
  • The Informant, Steven Soderbergh (U.S.).
  • The Invention of Lying, Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson (U.S.).
  • Leaves of Grass, Tim Blake Nelson (U.S.).
  • London River, Rachid Bouchareb (U.K./France/Algeria).
  • Mao's Last Dance, Bruce Beresford (Australia/U.S./China).
  • Moloch Tropical, Raoul Peck (Haiti/France).
  • Mother, Bong Joon-ho (South Korea).
  • Ondine, Neil Jordan (Ireland/U.S.).
  • Partir, Catherine Corsini (France).
  • Scheherazade Tell Me a Story, Yousry Nasrallah (Egypt).
  • Solitary Man, Brian Koppelman and David Levien (U.S.)
  • Valhalla Rising, Nicolas Vinding Refn (Denmark/U.K.).
  • Vengeance, Johnnie To (Hong Kong/France).
  • The Vintner's Luck, Niki Caro (New Zealand/France).

Links for you: Christian Bale looking emaciated and Denzel Washington gets the hell off Unstoppable?


Emily Blunt will join Matt Damon in sci-fi love story The Adjustment Bureau. Damon will play a congressman while Blunt will play a ballet dancer. [THR]

An Education now has a poster. It's nothing special, but Peter Sarsgaard and Carey Mulligan look flawless on it. [In Contention]

Get your first look at an incredibly thin Christian Bale on the set of The Fighter. He isn't as thin as he was for The Machinist, but he still looks downright frightening, and the thinned hair doesn't help either. It's probably good for his career, but I can't imagine this being good for his health. [Awards Daily]

Henry Cavill is the unluckiest bastard in Hollywood. He could have starred in Harry Potter, Batman Begins, Superman Returns, the post-Brosnan Bond films, and Twilight. [The Playlist]

Nathaniel gives us his 10 best films of the year so far. [Film Experience]

Yesterday, it looked like Denzel Washington left Unstoppable because of budget problems and a delayed scheduled. It looks like he might reconsider now that Fox has made a different offer. [Cinematical]

Ioan Gruffudd has been cast in Banking on Mr. Toad, as British writer Kenneth Grahame, who is best known for The Wind in the Willows. [Empire]

Kerry Washington has been doing some press for her transsexual role in Life is Hot in Cracktown. Check out some of her interviews. [TransGriot]

What the hell is Inception about anyway? [The Playlist]


Monday, July 13, 2009

TCM Summer Under the Stars 2009 schedule



TCM's
Summer Under the Stars is back with its annual tribute to stars from Hollywood's Golden Era. TCM is dedicating the entire month of August to Summer Under the Stars and each day will showcase a movie star for 24 hours.

There are 17 actors who have never been featured before including James Coburn, Marion Davies, Dirk Bogarde, Sterling Hayden, Gloria Grahame, Ida Lupino, Yul Brynner, Gene Hackman, Red Skelton, Frederic March, James Mason, Harold Lloyd, Jean Arthur, Miriam Hopkins, and Merle Oberon.

I've posted the list (via ONTD!) of the movie stars being honored this year below:

Aug. 1 - Henry Fonda
Aug. 2 - James Mason
Aug. 3 - Marion Davies
Aug. 4 - James Coburn
Aug. 5 - Harold Lloyd
Aug. 6 - Judy Garland
Aug. 7 - Glenn Ford
Aug. 8 - Bette Davis
Aug. 9 - Cary Grant
Aug. 10 - Dirk Bogarde
Aug. 11 - Audrey Hepburn
Aug. 12 - Clark Gable
Aug. 13 - Gloria Grahame
Aug. 14 - Sidney Poitier
Aug. 15 - Deborah Kerr
Aug. 16 - Elvis Presley
Aug. 17 - Jennifer Jones
Aug. 18 - John Wayne
Aug. 19 - Red Skelton
Aug. 20 - Miriam Hopkins
Aug. 21 - Gene Hackman
Aug. 22 - Sterling Hayden
Aug. 23 - Angela Lansbury
Aug. 24 - Fredric March
Aug. 25 - Merle Oberon
Aug. 26 - Yul Brynner
Aug. 27 - Ida Lupino
Aug. 28 - Frank Sinatra
Aug. 29 - Peter Sellers
Aug. 30 - Jean Arthur
Aug. 31 - Anne Francis