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When it comes to releasing teaser trailers, who needs pre-production? Certainly not Ron Burgundy, that’s for sure. Yup, even though there’s no script yet for Anchorman 2, Mr. Burgundy has confirmed via Twitter that a teaser for the film will be screened in front of the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy, The Dictator. Cue the man:
“Dont get Twirter. Anchorman2 teaser w Dictator tom night. Dont know what a teaser is. World is crazy? Having a scotch.”
Script shmipt, indeed! This should be interesting, folks… stay tuned! The Dictator opens in theatres everywhere tomorrow. Until then, let’s get “right to the babymaker”.…
For someone who recently expressed an interest in retreating from the spotlight, Brad Pitt is one seriously busy actor. In addition to four films that are already in the can (The Counselor, Killing Them Softly, Twelve Years a Slave, World War Z), his notorious Chanel No 5 campaign, and several other projects in development, Pitt is considering the lead in David Fincher’s ambitious, long-in-development 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. On the heels ofJohn Carter’s disappointing box office performance, Disney is reluctant to finance a film of this size, but Pitt’s commitment could be just the push the studio needs give it the greenlight.
Discussing the project last year, Fincher (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) said he aspired to make something like Avatar, relying heavily on recent innovations in motion capture technology. “I love motion capture and think it’s only in its infancy,” he said. “Eventually, there won’t be a difference between motion capture and acting because that’s all motion capture is: being able to capture acting.”
This would be Pitt’s fourth film with Fincher after Seven, Fight Club, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. While 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea may seem to be a departure for the director and his star, Pitt’s performance as a geriatric infant in Benjamin Button was made possible through the extensive use of motion capture technology. Topping Kirk Douglas’ manic charisma in Richard Fleischer’s 1954 film—once billed as “the mightiest motion picture of them all”—won’t be easy, so Pitt will need all the technological support he can get.…
It was disappointing that the wonderfully inane: Vampire Hunter didn’t fare better in theatres. As big in scope as it was absurd, the film’s use of 3D—and a heard of mustang—made for moments that were truly inventive and invigorating. For those who missed it, fear not! The film comes out on Blu-ray on October 23, with an added (and naturally, exclusive) bonus: an animated short film, The Great Calamity. We spoke to the key concept artist, Nimit Malavia, and the animation director, Matthew Whelan (who both happen to be Canucks), about creating their version of the vampire hunting Honest Abe, their thoughts on rebooting classic stories with the supernatural, then got into some uber-serious political questions…
inMovies: Audiences at New York Comic Con are getting previews of The Great Calamity, but we’ll have to wait until the Blu-ray release. What can you tell us about the short?
Nimit Malavia: The Great Calamity tells the story of Lincoln before Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, when he was still a Congressman and fighting the good fight against the vampires. It’s about his relationship with Edgar Allan Poe, mainly focusing on how vampires came to be in America.
So it’s an elaboration on a smaller point in the novel, that’s still pretty crucial?
Matthew Whelan: Yeah, it’s an expanding of the world and more so than what you see in the movie.
At what point did you get involved in this project?
Nimit: I came on board in September of 2011, Javier [the director, Javier Soto] got in touch with me to design the characters of Abraham and Poe, as well as beat-boards and concept design for the environment.
Matthew: And I got involved in January of this year, working on the storyboards and moving everything into the digital realm. So basically, we took Nimit’s artwork and made it move.
Based on the trailer, The Great Calamity has a very tactile feel—like you’re holding a piece of paper, but then there’s this uncanny depth. Can you talk about how you achieved this effect? And why you wanted this aesthetic?
Nimit: The process began with line drawing and concept. Javier had a really distinct idea in mind for what he wanted the characters in this to look like, which was based on death portraiture. He felt that tone would be perfect for this short. Javier then had his maquette maker in Los Angeles develop these sculpted statues so we could develop 3D models of the characters.
Matthew: On our end, we modeled those clay maquettes in 3D. The biggest thing was trying to get a look that represented Nimit’s line work and his painting style. We had Nimit fly down to Toronto to work with us and we ended up with his actual work on the models. So that’s what you’re seeing in the film, which is great. The big challenge on this one was working with drawing. We were trying to get something that looked 2D on any frame, but…
Once again demonstrating the divide between critics and paying audiences, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master has earned a modest $14 million at the American box office, even though it remains one of the best-reviewed films of 2012. The story of the film’s box office disappointment goes back to the unusual way in which it was financed. While Anderson had surprisingly little trouble generating interest in this challenging project, nobody was willing to put up the substantial sum he thought he needed to make it. Unwilling to compromise, Anderson held out for a miracle.
To everyone’s surprise, a miracle arrived—in the form of 26-year-old Megan Ellison (daughter of billionaire Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and a devoted Anderson fan), who decided to single-handedly finance the film. Ellison originally agreed to invest a reasonable $26 million, but that figure climbed to over $40 million by the time the film wrapped. While Ellison shows no signs of regretting her investment—she has already agreed to finance Anderson’s next project—some estimates suggest she could lose as much as $15 million on the film.
While there’s no question that The Master’s final budget was higher than its commercial appeal warranted, the decision to release the film in mid-September didn’t help. Given an enormous boost by awards and nominations, Anderson’s similarly difficult There Will Be Blood managed to gross $40 million in the United States. Whether or not The Master can be resurrected and achieve comparable success remains to be seen, but all involved should take some solace in the honours coming their way this awards season.…
Official Synopsis Relive the adventure and magic in one of the most beloved motion pictures of all-time, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, from Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg. Captivating audiences of all ages, this timeless story follows the unforgettable journey of a lost alien and the 10-year-old boy he befriends. Join Elliot (Henry Thomas), Gertie (Drew Barrymore) and Michael (Robert MacNaughton) as they come together to help E.T. find his way back home. Now digitally remastered with enhanced picture and sound for its 30th Anniversary, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is “one of the great American films” (Leonard Maltin) that forever belongs in the hearts and minds of audiences everywhere.
Extras include ‘Steven Spielberg & E.T.,’ ‘The E.T. Journals,’ ‘The Evolution and Creation of E.T.,’ ‘The E.T. Reunion,’ deleted scenes, and more!
Alex Cross (Grade: C)
It remains unclear why Alex Cross, the psychologist detective who saw his heyday in the 1990s, needed a prequel. Since the Morgan Freeman vehicles that were Kiss the Girls(1997) and Along Came a Spider (2001), Cross hasn’t remained a cornerstone cultural object, largely unseated by Bourne in the noughties. And yet here we are, with Tyler Perry dropping the cross-dressing for Cross, going for gritty while merely achieving cringe-worthy.
Once upon a time—a time which confusingly, given the previous films, is the present—Alex Cross lived in Detroit with his wife, kids, and grandmother. When a series of grim murders by a killer known as Picasso (Matthew Fox) are connected to an international conspiracy, Cross and crew get involved. But soon Picasso sets his sights on Cross and his partner, Tommy Kane (Ed Burns). The origin story of what made Cross move to Washington, D.C., the film straddles the line between prequel and reboot, relying on the past fabric of the franchise while not bothering with the finer points (like temporality or casting real talent, like Freeman).
Alex Cross does contain certain flourishes which approach the manic excess this genre can embody—think Ricochet (1990), Blink (1994), Speed (1994), or Bad Boys (1995): a gaggle of hapless German guards protecting their CEO, Picasso’s deathbed sketches, Cross quipping about McDonald’s. Mainly, however, these moments hinge on Jean Reno reprising his Léon: The Professional (1994) role in name, as French investor Leon Mercier. Such enjoyable superfluities, however, are weighed down by Perry’s attempts at having it all. Instead of the sexless Sherlock Holmes type that Freeman portrayed, here Cross is a father, husband, lover, cop, vigilante. Of course, with limited leading roles for black men in Hollywood, it’s understandable why Perry would want to make the most of the part. But good intentions or not, the end result is Alex Cross can’t escape the cross hairs of criticism.…
For those who saw I’m Still Here—or were merely swept up in its media tsunami—to hear that Joaquin Phoenix made inflammatory comments about the impending Oscar season shouldn’t be a surprise. Not because his persona in the 2010 mockumentary (done with his close friend, Casey Affleck) is a true representation of his character. But, because, as the film proves, he isn’t one to mince words about the industry he works in.
Despite the critical acclaim for his most recent film, The Master, it has been failing at the box office, a fact which may hurt its Oscar clout. Reading Elvis Mitchell’s conversation with Phoenix for Interview, however, it seems the biggest threat might be Phoenix himself. When asked what he’ll do on the award circuit for the film, he replied:
“I’m just saying that I think it’s bullshit. I think it’s total, utter bullshit, and I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t believe in it. It’s a carrot, but it’s the worst-tasting carrot I’ve ever tasted in my whole life. I don’t want this carrot. It’s totally subjective. Pitting people against each other . . . It’s the stupidest thing in the whole world. It was one of the most uncomfortable periods of my life when Walk the Line was going through all the awards stuff and all that.”
Phoenix has a point. While the Oscars themselves are in many ways intolerable (and, increasingly, rarely seem to reward real talent), what’s more grating is the run-up to the event. With predications already rolling in, it becomes a contest for who can get the best TV spot or magazine spread to promote their film, or themselves. (See the debate around Melissa Leo’s “consider” campaign for The Fighter.)
Beyond the above quote, the full interview is worth reading. Opening up about shooting I’m Still Here (including what reads like regret when it comes to the bridges he burned) and calling out racism in Hollywood, Phoenix has insight into the role of Freddie in The Master. Also noting how intimidating it was to work with Philip Seymour Hoffman (“He can read a fucking grocery list and you’re just like, ‘Oh, so captivating . . .’”), Phoenix summarized his character by saying: “There was nothing solid or consistent about Freddie.” After reading this interview, the same might be said of Phoenix.…
A quick Google search of “Jack Reacher Tom Cruise” produces the usual links and videos: casting news, trailers, and subsequent analysis of thirty second clips. But continue to scroll down and something more interesting crops up: “Tom Cruise is Not Jack Reacher.” A Facebook page with nearly 6,000 likes, this rabid group of fans points to Reacher’s description from the 2005 novel, One Shot: “6’5″, 220-250 lbs., 50″ chest.” They’re not wrong. This hardly sounds like the pint-sized Cruise, who wouldn’t be six-five unless he wasstanding on a couch.
Bonus: while we get to see more of Cruise cruising about as Reacher in the new trailer, the best thing going for the film is Werner Herzog as the villain.…
Blue Velvet isn’t really a detective movie—Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) is just a curious college kid who stumbles upon a mystery—and that’s precisely what makes it such a fascinating detective movie. Whereas most screen detectives are grizzled, world weary veterans who have seen it all before, Jeffrey is a naïve young man whose frame of reference encompasses feel good Americana and little else. As a result, his investigation is a process of constant discovery. Rather than confirm a lifetime’s worth of cynicism, he confronts the darkness of the world for the very first time.
Before his journey into Lumberton’s dark underbelly, Jeffrey is surrounded by people who are all surface and no depth—which makes for some amusing, deliberately banal exchanges early in the film. As far as Jeffrey is concerned, everything is what it seems, eliminating any need to dig around for answers. After all, how can you find answers when you don’t even have questions? By all appearances, detectives aren’t really necessary in this town. But that all changes—seemingly prompted by the sudden hospitalization of Jeffrey’s father—when he stumbles upon a human ear one afternoon while out for an aimless stroll. For the first time in his life, Jeffrey is an outsider in his own hometown, one with enough time on his hands to dig a little deeper.
Unlike most traditional detective films, the discoveries in Blue Velvet are actually worth the effort. Rather than concentrate on familiar acts of deceit that do little more than advance the plot, writer-director David Lynch exposes us to incomprehensible, transgressive acts that only expand the enigma at the film’s core. Jeffrey’s perspective gives viewers a context in which to understand characters that might otherwise seem ludicrous. In a more traditionally realistic movie, Dennis Hopper’s volatile, gas-huffing Frank Booth would be a sideshow attraction, but he makes complete sense in the fairy tale world of Jeffrey Beaumont, providing an evocative counterpoint to his youthful adversary. Also, by emphasizing Frank’s most bizarre traits, Lynch gives us a sense of how bizarre the real world must feel to someone as sheltered as Jeffrey.
But it isn’t only Jeffrey’s naïveté that makes his findings so fascinating. Even by the standards of the most jaded viewers, characters like Frank Booth, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and Ben (Dean Stockwell) are intriguing entities with no onscreen precedent. Jeffrey’s lack of familiarity with their grim, dehumanizing worldviews only heightens their impact. It’s like watching Scarface with your grandmother: in the presence of innocence, obscenity jumps off the screen.
By replacing the basic framework of detective films with a genuinely surprising innocence-to-experience narrative, Lynch breathes new life into the genre. In a sense, he is the real detective, investigating a series of strange cinematic impulses—and discovering a new world of possibility that went on to inform much of his later work.…