September 30, 2009
-What do you think of the updated predictions?
Today's News: Jessica Alba might be joining a certain group of Fockers, the director of (500) Days of Summer gets a new project, and more...
The next movie in the 'Parents' franchise might have Jessica Alba joining the rather large and star studded cast.
Marc Webb, the director of '(500) Days of Summer', might be remaking a Danish thriller as his next potential project.
It appears that Uma Thurman has lined up her next role, that of an older woman that a younger man desires (to be played by Michael Angarano).
John C. Reilly has joined the cast of another comedy, this one starring Ed Helms and directed by Miguel Arteta.
Warner Bros. has picked up Antoine Fuqua's thriller 'Prisoners' for distribution next year, after Alcon fast-tracked it.
September 29, 2009
The Girlfriend Experience
This very interesting experimental film by Steven Soderbergh stars porn actress Sasha Grey as a high priced escort who gives more than sex to her clients. It's a strangely compelling film that is a bit slow, but well worth your time. It's not what you'd expect, but to me, that's a good thing.
-The movie that challenged for the top slot this week is Away We Go. I only liked it on my first viewing, but my second viewing proved that it was quite a good film. The acting is stellar and the quirks are handled well. If you like movies that are a little offbeat, then you can do far worse than this particular one.
-The other movies out this week are far from bad, just none of them particularly thrilled me. They are Shrink, Management, and Monsters vs. Aliens. Both of the former films are indie comedies with a hint of drama for one, and romance for the other. They're just average, but not something to necessarily avoid if you think you'd enjoy it. The latter of the three is an animated film that doesn't suck, but just proves why Pixar is the king of animation right now, to me at least.
-Of interesting note is that The Brothers Bloom is out this week, but only for rental and video on demand, so it's only getting a mention now, but when it comes out to own on DVD in 2010, I'll cover it properly.
-My Vintage pick this week is, in honor of the release of Whip It (a film I have an early review of on the site, found here), a few films that I think combine to make the experience that Whip It is. The combination is Rocky, Mean Girls, and Slap Shot. All excellent films, and the upcoming Ellen Page movie makes use of elements of all three.
-What will you be watching on DVD this week?
September 28, 2009
There are also a bunch of new reviews on the site, covering new releases like Capitalism: A Love Story, The Burning Plain, and The Informant!, as well as an early review of Whip It. See them all here.
-What do you think of our predictions and the new reviews?
September 27, 2009
The Rome Film Festival on Friday unveiled a leaner lineup graced with a high-profile competition that includes Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air," with star George Clooney expected on the red carpet, and a mixed bag of works by international directors.
Fourteen entries are vying for the event's Marcus Aurelius nod, as opposed to 20 last year.
Fest opens Oct. 15 with "Triage," a wartime drama toplining Colin Farrell and helmed by Bosnia's Danis Tanovic, and closes Oct. 23 with "Julie and Julia," screening out of competition and coinciding with the fest's lifetime achievement nod to Meryl Streep.
Michael Hoffman's Leo Tolstoy biopic "The Last Station," starring Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, is also in competition along with German helmer Margarethe von Trotta's "Vision," toplining Barbara Sukowa as a 12th century protofeminist Benedictine nun.
"We tried to create a competition that mixed things up a bit," said artistic director Piera Detassis, who is overseeing the entire selection for the first time.
For its fourth edition, Rome has done away with its gala section that relegated star-studded titles to a red carpet ghetto.
While a half dozen titles in Rome are European launches segueing from Toronto world preems, the Eternal City has secured several world preems of its own, including "Brotherhood," about a same-sex affair between two members of a gay-bashing neo-Nazi group; "The City of Your Final Destination," helmer James Ivory's first pic after the death of producing partner Ismail Merchant, which was made in 2007 and is yet to be released; "Le Concert" by Romanian helmer Radu Mihaileanu; and a sneak peek of vampire tale "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," which was partly shot in Italy.
American indie directorial duo Alexei Kaleina and Craig Macneill will bow their first feature, "The Afterlight," in the Extra section dedicated to more cutting-edge works.
Extra will pay homage to Heath Ledger with what is being touted as the first fest screening of several videos Ledger shot with L.A. art collective the Masses, whose members will be on hand. Terry Gilliam will also make the trek with Ledger's last movie "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus."As for Rome's Business Street market, topper Roberto Cicutto said industry attendance is up 16% compared with last year. Some 600 companies are booked for the informal Oct. 15-19 mart that has added an Italian screenings section and secured use of the 16th-century Villa Medici above the Spanish Steps for evening bashes.
-Thoughts on the lineup?
Director Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss police as he flew in for the Zurich Film Festival and faces possible extradition to the United States for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl, authorities said Sunday.
Polanski was scheduled to receive an honorary award at the festival when he was apprehended Saturday at the airport, the Swiss Justice Ministry said in a statement. It said U.S. authorities have sought the arrest of the 76-year-old director around the world since 2005.
"There was a valid arrest request and we knew when he was coming," ministry spokesman Guido Balmer told The Associated Press. "That's why he was taken into custody."
Balmer said the U.S. would now have to make a formal extradition request.
Polanski fled the U.S. in 1978, a year after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with the underage girl. The director of such classic films as "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" has asked a U.S. appeals court in California to overturn a judges' refusal to throw out his case. He claims misconduct by the now-deceased judge who had arranged a plea bargain and then reneged on it.
Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza had dismissed his bid to throw out the case because the director failed to appear in court to press his request.
The Swiss statement said Polanski was in "provisional detention for extradition," but added he would not be transferred to U.S. authorities until all proceedings are completed. Polanski can contest his detention and any extradition decision in the Swiss courts, it said.
Polanski has lived for the past three decades in France, where his career has continued to flourish, and he received a directing Oscar in absentia for the 2002 movie "The Pianist." He is married to French actress Emanuelle Seigner, with whom he has two children.
Polanski has not been extradited from France because his crime reportedly was not covered under treaties between the United States and France.
He has avoided traveling to countries likely to extradite him. For instance, he testified by video link from Paris in a 2005 libel trial in London against Vanity Fair magazine. He did not want to enter Britain for fear of being arrested.
In Paris, Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said he was "dumbfounded" by Polanski's arrest, adding that he "strongly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already experienced so many of them."
Those comments referred to the fact that Polanski, a native of France who was taken to Poland by his parents, escaped Krakow's Jewish ghetto as a child and lived off the charity of strangers. His mother died at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.
Mitterrand's ministry said Sunday that he was in contact with French President Nicolas Sarkozy "who is following the case with great attention and shares the minister's hope that the situation can be quickly resolved."
Polanski worked his way into filmmaking in Poland, gaining an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film in 1964 for his "Knife in the Water." Offered entry to Hollywood, he directed the classic "Rosemary's Baby" in 1968.
But his life was shattered again in 1969 when his wife, actress Sharon Tate, and four other people were gruesomely murdered by followers of Charles Manson. She was eight months pregnant.
He went on to make another American classic, "Chinatown," released in 1974.
In 1977, he was accused of raping the teenager while photographing her during a modeling session. The girl said Polanski plied her with champagne and part of a Quaalude pill at Jack Nicholson's house while the actor was away. She said that, despite her protests, he performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy on her.
Polanski was allowed to plead guilty to one of six charges, unlawful sexual intercourse, and was sent to prison for 42 days of evaluation.
Lawyers agreed that would be his full sentence, but the judge tried to renege on the plea bargain. Aware the judge would sentence him to more prison time and require his voluntary deportation, Polanski fled to France.
The victim, Samantha Geimer, who long ago identified herself publicly, has joined in Polanski's bid for dismissal, saying she wants the case to be over. She sued Polanski and reached an undisclosed settlement.
Zurich Film Festival organizers said Polanski's detention had caused "shock and dismay," but said they would go ahead with Sunday's planned retrospective of the director's work.
The Swiss Directors Association sharply criticized authorities for what it deemed "not only a grotesque farce of justice, but also an immense cultural scandal."-Polanski certainly is a polarizing figure, and this story is one to keep your eye on...
September 26, 2009
September 25, 2009
2000- Battlefield Earth, Down to You
2001- Corky Romano, Glitter
2002- The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Pinocchio, Swept Away
2003- Boat Trip, Gigli, House of the Dead
2004- Envy, Surviving Christmas
2005- A Sound of Thunder, Alone in the Dark, The Fog
2006- Basic Instinct 2, Date Movie
2007- Delta Farce, Good Luck Chuck, Redline
2008- 88 Minutes, College, Meet the Spartans
2009- All About Steve, Whiteout
-What are your picks for the worst flicks of the decade?
September 24, 2009
Newmarket Films has acquired U.S. rights to director Jon Amiel's "Creation," starring Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany, and plans a December release.
The film, which focuses on Charles Darwin and his family as he struggles to finish "On The Origin of Species," played two weeks ago at the Toronto Film Festival.
After the Toronto screening, some predicted that U.S. distributors would be scared off by the theme of evolution.
Screenplay was written by John Collee, based on the biography "Annie's Box," which was written by Darwin's great-great grandson Randal Keynes.
Newmarket is best known for releasing "The Passion of the Christ."
September 23, 2009
1. It's a poll of what readers think, not what will happen. It's that kind of mightier than thou attitude that turns people off to film critics and some bloggers in general, and it's something we desperately try to avoid here, so when I see it, it bugs me.
2. It's 100% impossible to have any certainty about what will end up being the 10 Best Picture nominees. Half the movies in contention haven't even come out yet, and a handful have barely been seen by anyone, so it really just is a guessing game now, so for Jeff Wells to declare game over with him the winner just seems irresponsible to me.
-You be the judge though....am I off base and Jeff Wells has it all correct or did Wells unnecessarily attack the poll on Awards Daily?
For Diablo Cody's third script, she's going to be adapting the series of 'Sweet Valley High' books for the big screen.
Robert De Niro will be receiving the Stanley Kubrick Brittania Award at this year's BAFTA ceremony.
Lionsgate has picked up the distribution rights to the next film that Stephen Gaghan will write and direct, an action thriller about, among other things, I'm sure, a Brooklyn cop.
The upcoming movie 'The Social Network' (about the start of Facebook) gets some cast members to go along with writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher.
Summit Entertainment is looking to reboot the 'Highlander' movies and make a new franchise out of it.
The next movie based off of a toy might even be a remake too, as 'He-Man' has been bought for production by Sony.
Believe it or not, 'Barbie' is finally becoming a movie, as Universal has acquired the rights for a live-action feature.
And last, but not least, the Hollywood Film Festival handed out honors, and among the recipients were Carrie Mulligan, Jeremy Renner, Lee Daniels, and the writers of '(500) Days of Summer'.
September 22, 2009
Darren Aronofsky will direct and produce an indie heist thriller based on the daring $85 million robbery at the Securitas Depot in Tonbridge, England, in February 2006.
XYZ Films and Time Inc. Studios are partnered with Protozoa Pictures on the project. Scott Franklin of Protozoa will produce alongside Aronofsky. Time Inc. Studios chief Paul Speaker is exec producing, with XYZ fully financing the development.
Kerry Williamson is adapting the script from an underlying rights package that includes Jon Wertheim's Sports Illustrated magazine article "Breaking the Bank" and Howard Sounes' nonfiction book "Heist: The Inside Story of the World's Biggest Robbery."
Time and XYZ established a partnership a year ago to develop and produce movies based on articles from Time Inc.'s publications (Daily Variety, Aug. 5, 2008) and identified its first project after optioning "Breaking the Bank," covering the alleged criminal exploits of Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor "Lightning" Lee Murray.
The companies recently signed Alex Holmes ("House of Saddam") to direct the John DeLorean feature project that is in pre-production and based on Fortune and Time articles, among other underlying rights.Williamson recently adapted "Fork in the Road" for Alexander Payne and Fox Searchlight and "The Devil's Banker" for Paramount.
-Seems ridiculously cool to me...thoughts?
We also have a review of the buzzed about French film A Prophet, which can be looked at here, adding to our growing database of new reviews.
The Tracker page has also had a minor change, with a new addition or two, which can be gazed at here.
Finally, we have an article that details how the Adapted Screenplay has been dominant when it comes to translating to Best Picture glory (even using sports analogies to prove the point). The article can be scoped out here.
-As always, be sure to read and comment!
1. Up in the Air
2. Gabourey Sidibe
3. Colin Firth and Julianne Moore
4. Clive Owen
5. Joel and Ethan Coen
-I'm sure there's some ommisions to be found, but overall it's a decently solid list...thoughts?
This film barely got a release, but the few who saw it got to see Jeff Goldblum do career best work and Willem Dafoe be his excellent and creepy self in the latest film directed by Paul Schrader. It tells the story of a circus clown who survived the Holocaust and how he begins the ringleader of sorts at an asylum for survivors. It's not a perfect film, but it's powerful stuff.
-Also out this week worth a positive mention are Observe and Report, as well as Lymelife. The former film was an unfairly ignored dark comedy with an excellent turn by Seth Rogen as a disturbed mall cop. Think Taxi Driver in a mall, and you'll get an idea of where it goes. It's a good, but nowhere near great film, but one worth a watch. The latter is an indie about a family on the verge of divorce as Lyme Disease hits the community. It's a good little film to check out.
-Films out that don't get a recommendation from me are Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Battle for Terra. Neither are terrible, but both are so average it's just really annoying.
-My Vintage pick is, in honor of the release of indie horror film Paranormal Activity (look for a review with the next site update), a fellow "found footage" horror film: The Blair Witch Project. It's been out long enough that you can watch it as a movie and not with the hype, and I think you'll enjoy it. It's still creepy, and that's something.
-What will you be watching on DVD this week?
It seems nowadays that the popular thing to do is to blame the internet for all the world's problems. The music industry sucks? Blame the internet. The movie industry is in the shits? Blame the internet. The economy is going down the tubes? Blame the internet. The Mets can't make the playoffs? Well, you get the point. But, as we learned in the first grade, the easy solution is not always the right one. For the last few days, some of the more intelligent and gifted online bloggers have aired their personal gripes about the watering down of the film critic. According to Sasha Stone (of Awards Daily), the line between an actual film critic and a 15 year old with a blog is dangerously close to blurring. For her, this is borderline blasphemous. She writes that:
Nowadays, anyone with a blog who sees movies is called a “critic.” I really think that should be amended to use the term “blogger” or “industry columnist.” Not everyone is an actual film critic. I feel like I’m the only person in the known universe who cares about the difference but that’s because I come from a time when there was a difference; not just anyone could write about movies and be called a “critic.”
I typically respect Sasha’s opinions. She’s very intelligent when it comes to writing about the Academy Awards, and her website is one of the dopest. However, her post on film critics was puzzling. First, she did not offer a proper definition on what it takes to be a real critic. Generally, when a person makes an assertion, it’s customary for that person to offer a defense of the assertion. Anyone can blurt out empty meaningless statements, but often one anticipates some sort of defense. Sasha offers nothing. All I know is that she believes people who write about movies on their blogs are not necessarily film critics. That seems fair, but what the hell is a film critic then? Also, is she arguing that people who just write about films on their blogs should not be considered critics? Or is she arguing that people who aim to critique films on their blogs should not be considered critics? There is a major distinction between the two. Some people just write, and others offer criticisms.
Also, I’m a little confused by her last statement. Any type of film critic just doesn’t write about movies. Any person aiming to be a film critic just doesn’t write about movies. It’s not that simple. Some try to offer objective and informative critiques of the films that they watch. Isn’t that what film critics do? I guess the real question is what distinguishes Roger Ebert from me? Am I just an impostor film critic? Maybe. I don’t get paid and my opinions are barely read. But, my passion for film cannot be questioned. I study it, I live it, I breath it, and I love it. Of course, I’m not in the same ball park as Roger Ebert. He’s in the major league. But can’t the rest of us impostors at least bat for the minor leagues? Sure, I'm not as good. I'm trying to become a better critic. That does not mean I am not a critic. It just means that I have a shit more to learn before I consider myself a somewhat decent one.
As Jay-Z once rapped, “You can’t knock the hustle”. Please stop knocking our hustle. We're not your Grandfather's critics, but we're critics.
September 21, 2009
In a low-seven-figure deal, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North American rights to another first feature out of Toronto: Aaron Schneider's debut "Get Low."
"Get Low" was produced by Dean Zanuck under his Zanuck Independent shingle.
Pic was one of the most buzzed-about projects at the fest, where the Weinstein Co.'s purchase of "A Single Man" was the only other acquisition priced above $1 million.
SPC also snapped up U.S. rights to Venice Golden Lion winner "Lebanon," the narrative feature debut of Israeli writer-director Samuel Maoz.
Maoz's pic is an unrelenting look at war based on his own experiences as a young soldier manning a tank during Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
SPC, which also released "Waltz With Bashir," will be hoping to position "Lebanon" for a run at the foreign-language Oscar, although it remains to be seen whether Maoz's pic will be Israel's entry.
The winner of the Israeli Film Academy's annual Ophir Awards is automatically selected as the country's Oscar pic, and "Lebanon" is up against gritty crime drama "Ajami."The winner will be announced at a ceremony Saturday in Tel Aviv.
-Looks like Duvall and Murray are officially in the race...thoughts?
The Producers Guild of America announced today that the 2010 PGA Awards nominations in the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures Category will be expanded from five to ten films. The 10 nominees will be announced on Tuesday, January 5, 2010. The 21st Annual PGA Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, January 24, 2010, and will be held once again at the Hollywood Palladium.
“The PGA board approved the expansion of our Best Produced Picture category nominations to support our colleagues at the Academy, but also because we feel it better represents the unprecedented diversity of films being produced today,” said PGA President Marshall Herskovitz.
“We’re excited to involve even more industry members in this year’s event, as having 10 Best Produced Picture nominees allows us to recognize even more extraordinary films,” said David Friendly and Laurence Mark, co-chairs of the PGA Awards. “The PGA Awards ceremony is the only night of the year that celebrates the meaningful contributions of producers across all mediums.”
In 1990, the PGA held the first-ever Golden Laurel Awards, which were renamed the Producers Guild Awards in 2002. Richard Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck took home the award for Best Produced Motion Picture for Driving Miss Daisy, establishing the Guild awards as a bellwether for the Oscars. Last year, the PGA awarded Slumdog Millionaire its Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures.
In June 2009, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that they will have 10 feature films vying in the Best Picture category at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.
Key dates for theatrical motion pictures competing in the 21st Annual PGA Awards include:
November 6, 2009: Deadline for Receipt of NOTICE OF CREDITS and PRODUCER ELIGIBILITY Forms for Theatrical Motion Pictures
December 7, 2009: Polls Open for Theatrical Motion Picture and Long-Form Television Nominations
January 4, 2010: Polls Close for Theatrical Motion Picture and Long-Form Television Nominations
January 5, 2010: Producers Guild Awards Nominees Are Announced; Final Polls Open
January 22, 2010: Final Polls Close
January 24, 2010: Producers Guild Awards
About the Producers Guild of America
The Producers Guild of America is the non-profit trade group that represents, protects and promotes the interests of all members of the producing team in film, television and new media. The PGA has over 4,000 members who work together to protect and improve their careers, the industry and community by providing members health benefits, enforcing workplace labor laws, the creation of fair and impartial standards for the awarding of producing credits, as well as other education and advocacy efforts. The PGA hosts important industry events including the annual PGA Awards and the Produced By Conference. Visit www.producersguild.org for more information.
September 20, 2009
We also have plenty of new films and performances added to the tracker page (as well as some that have been removed), so go here and see those.
There are updated Golden Globe predictions as well to be seen here, so check out what that awards show might look like if it were to be announced today.
Finally, we're holding a contest to design the new Academy Idol banner for this season's contest, which will begin in November. The winner will get a DVD prize! Go here for details.
-Be sure to check all these updates out and let us know what you think!