Thursday, June 30, 2011

Warner Bros. will release both J. Edgar and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in 2011...

...putting them square in the Oscar race (and proving me right in heavily favoring them in my early predictions...huzzah). The Playlist has the details:

With The Weinstein Company busy over the last few weeks getting their Oscar season in order, Warner Bros. is following suit setting (vague) dates for two of their big prestige films of the year.

First up, Clint Eastwood‘s “J. Edgar” will hit theaters in a to be determined date in October. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and he’s got a great supporting cast around him. b> Armie Hammer, the breakout star of “The Social Network,” will play Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s assistant/lover, while Naomi Watts will play Helen Gandy, Hoover’s personal secretary. The film will also star Judi Dench, Stephen Root, Ed Westwick, and Josh Lucas. Of course, the big question is not if the film will be Oscar bait, but just what categories in can contend in. Even “Hereafter,” released in the same frame last year largely to muted reviews, wound up with an nomination for Visual Effects so anything is possible.

Next up, is Stephen Daldry‘s “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” and with Warner Bros setting it for sometime in December, they are clearing putting most of their Oscar push behind this one. Based on the book by Jonathan Safran Foer, the story focuses on Oskar Schell, a nine-year-old boy from Manhattan whose father died on 9/11. Two years later, the boy discovers a key belonging to his father, which sends him on a search through the city. Newcomer Thomas Horn will play Oskar, with Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks as his parents, and John Goodman as a doorman who aids Schell on his quest. Viola Davis, Jeffrey Wright, Max Von Sydow and James Gandolfini round out the cast.

Best selling and critically acclaimed book + three time Best Director Oscar nominee + five time nominee and two-time Oscar winning actor + Best Actress winner = instant awards horse. They would have to screw the pooch pretty hard to mess this one up.

Martin Scorsese's upcoming film gets another title change?

Yes, it's an even shorter name than before too. Here's the story from indieWIRE:

It seems the prevailing sentiment in Hollywood right now is that shorter is better. “John Carter of Mars” recently became just “John Carter” and now Martin Scorsese‘s “Hugo Cabret” is simply “Hugo.” Variety’s Jeff Sneider has confirmed the title adjustment which frankly leaves us scratching our head a bit.

You would think that the people behind the film would want to make sure audiences knew the connection between the movie and Brian Selznick‘s best-selling children’s historical fiction book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” that it is based on. Now it just sounds like that dude from “Lost” got his own movie. But there will be enough star power to get asses in the seats. Led by Asa Butterfield and Chloë Moretz, with a cast including Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law, Michael Stuhlbarg, Emily Mortimer, Ray Winstone, Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths, the 1931-set film follows the story of the eponymous orphan boy living a secret life in the walls of a Paris train station. When Hugo encounters a broken machine, an eccentric girl, and the cold, reserved man who runs the toy shop, he is caught up in a magical, mysterious adventure that could put all of his secrets in jeopardy.

A trailer for the film has recently been submitted for classification and it won’t be a chintzy teaser—it runs over two minutes long—and we’d wager we’ll be seeing it in the very immediate future. “Hugo” marks Scorsese’s first venture into 3D filmmaking as well as directing a film aimed squarely at families so we’re excited to see where the part-time cinema historian draws his influences from for this one. “Hugo” hits theaters on November 23rd.

-Joey's Two Cents: I think "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" had a nice ring to it, but that's just me...thoughts?

Take a gander at the Teaser Trailer for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy!

Behold:

-Joey's Two Cents: We officially have another Oscar contender on our hands...thoughts?

Diablo Cody is about to make her directorial debut?

Indeed she is, according to The Hollywood Reporter:

Diablo Cody
, the writer behind Juno and United States of Tara, will make her directorial debut with Lamb of God, a Mandate Pictures comedy she also wrote.

Mason Novick will produce.

The comedy, according to Mandate, follows a young conservative religious woman who loses her faith after a plane crash, decides to go to Las Vegas to live the life of a sinner, and on her journey finds her way back to her faith.

The company is fast-tracking the project and wants to begin casting as soon as possible.

Lamb marks the third collaboration with Cody, Novick and Mandate. Juno won Cody an Oscar for best original screenplay and garnered three nominations while grossing $227 million at the box office.

The second collaboration is Young Adult, Jason Reitman’s latest directorial effort, which is expected to make its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Bridesmaids is now Judd Apatow's highest grossing film...

...and is about to break some more box office related records, according to The Hollywood Reporter:

With hits like The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad, producer-director Judd Apatow has spent the past decade as Hollywood's king of guy humor. But the Apatow-produced, female-driven comedy Bridesmaids is on track to pass Knocked Up on Wednesday night as the highest-grossing domestic movie of Apatow's career.

That’s not all. Projections show that by Sunday or Monday, Universal's Bridesmaids -- directed by Paul Feig -- will supplant Sex and the City as the top R-rated female comedy of all time domestically.

Through Tuesday, Bridesmaids' North America gross was $148.1 million, just behind Knocked Up, which cumed $148.8 million in 2007, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which earned $148.2 million domestically in 2006. Barring unforeseen interference from the Transformers sequel, Bridesmaids should pass both those movies Wednesday night.

Apatow directed and produced Knocked Up and produced Talladega Nights. Both were bigger hits overseas, with Knocked Up still serving as Apatow's top worldwide grosser at $219 million. Bridesmaids has made $21 million internationally but is still rolling out in many territories, where it is off to a phenomenal start.

In the U.S., Bridesmaids was released May 13 and is still playing in a little fewer than 2,000 theaters. Sex and the City grossed $153 million in 2008 but had the advantage of being based on a popular HBO series, which contributed to a whopping $57 million opening weekend. Bridesmaids, on the other hand, opened at a strong-but-not-blockbuster $26 million yet has continued to lure audiences based on strong word-of-mouth.

Bridesmaids also will become Universal’s top R-rated comedy of all time, replacing Knocked Up. The film stars Kristin Wiig -- who co-wrote the script with Annie Mumolo -- Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey.

-Joey's Two Cents: It couldn't have happened to a better film...thoughts?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jeff Bridges wants to star in an adaptation of The Giver?

Apparently so, according to Variety:

Jeff Bridges and producer Nikki Silver are taking another stab at a big screen version of Lois Lowry's young adult novel "The Giver."

They had been developing a feature version of the popular book for nearly a decade before it wound up at Warner Bros., which ponied up nearly $1 million to set up the tome with Red Wagon's Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher in 2007.

When the rights became available again, Bridges and Silver stepped up to reacquire them and produce through family film and TV shingle On Screen Entertainment.

Vadim Perelman ("The House of Sand and Fog") is still attached to pen the script. Film financier John Heyman will produce.

Bridges will co-produce with Silver and Neil Koenigsberg, the thesp's longtime manager. Silver and Koenigsberg produced documentary "The Dude Abides," which kicked off the 25th anniversary PBS "American Masters" series in January celebrating Bridges' 40-year plus acting career.

"The Giver" follows a 12-year-old who lives in a futuristic utopian society where all memory of human history has been erased. His life is thrown into turmoil when he is designated to inherit the role of the Giver and bear his community's vast range of human emotions, which causes him to realize that living a pain-free life comes at a high cost.

The director of Once is teaming up with Judd Apatow and Scarlett Johansson for his next film!

The Playlist has the details:

Writer/Producer/Director Judd Apatow has a lot on his plate at any given moment and we’ll forgive you if you forgot that way back in the summer of 2009 he revealed that among the many projects he was juggling, was a collaboration with a director who was making major waves with his indie musical at the time. “...we have a movie with John Carney, the guy who made ‘Once’ writing and directing, so hopefully, as soon as I’m done and have a little break, I can help people with their scripts and help to kick things around.”

Well, while Carney has knocked out a couple of films in that time—the comedy “Zonad” and the upcoming “The Rafters”—it looks like he and Apatow have cleared up their schedules and there is some big movement on what he’s cooking up. The Sunday Business Post Online (via ONTD) reports that Scarlett Johansson has been cast in “Can A Song Save Your Life?” a music-oriented picture that Carney will direct. The story will follow “a washed-up A&R man who forms a passionate bond with a young singer-songwriter (Johansson) from out of town.”

Behold the Trailer for Steven Spielberg's Oscar hopeful War Horse!

Take a look:
-Joey's Two Cents: It certainly looks like it's going for the gold, but I can't help feeling like this doesn't look as good as it potentially should...thoughts?

Bryan Cranston is the latest actor cast by Ben Affleck in Argo...

...his much anticipated next directorial outing. Here's the story from The Hollywood Reporter:

Bryan Cranston is in negotiations to join the cast of Argo , Ben Affleck’s drama revolving the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis.

Affleck, Alan Arkin and John Goodman as starring in the political thriller ensembler, which is being produced by George Clooney andGrant Heslov. David Klawans is also producing.

Chris Terrio wrote the script based on a Wired article titled “How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran.” It told the true story of how the CIA, with help from Hollywood, used a fake movie project to smuggle six U.S. diplomats out of Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Argo was the name of the fake movie.

Affleck is playing Tony Mendez, a CIA technical operations officer that led the operation. Arkin will portray Hollywood producer Lester Siegel while Goodman will play Academy Award winning special effects master John Chambers who helped with the CIA’s cover story.

Cranston will play CIA agent Jack O'Donnell, a man who used to be President Eisenhower's bodyguard and is now Affleck’s boss.

Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol gets a Teaser Trailer!

Take a gander:
-Joey's Two Cents: It does appear to be catering to more of the 'Transformers' and 'Fast Five' type of crowd, but I must say...I dig it. Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kevin Smith reveals his unique release plans for Red State!

/Film did a better job of collecting the information from his morning radio show than I did, so I'll defer to them:

The innovative, controversial but undeniably successful distribution of Kevin Smith‘s Red State will enter its next phase this Labor Day. On Smith’s morning Smodcast Plus One Per Diem Tuesday, he announced Lionsgate will exclusively handle the video on demand and Blu-ray rights to the film and that audiences can watch it beginning this Labor Day. Then, when the film opens in October, theaters showing the film will follow the screening with a live, digital, interactive Q&A and a live Hollywood Babble-On Smodcast. Read more info after the break.

Box Office Actuals (6/24/11-6/26/11): "Cars 2" Easily Takes The Checkered Flag...

Via Box Office Mojo, The Numbers, Deadline, and other sources:

Overcoming the distinction of being the first negatively reviewed Pixar film ever, "Cars 2" roared past the field and collected an impressive $66.1 million, besting the start of "Cars" in 2006 when strictly counting dollars. Attendance was down comparatively however with more than 40% of ticket sales for "Cars 2" coming off its 3-D exhibitions.

In the Pixar family of films, "Cars 2" looks impressive when compared to other openings from the studio. "Cars 2" represents the 4th largest June opening of all time and the 5th largest Pixar opening of all time, trailing behind "Toy Story 3" (2010, $110.3 million), "The Incredibles" (2004, $70.5 million), "Finding Nemo" (2003, $70.3 million), and "Up" (2009, $68.1 million).

And with all the negative reviews levied upon the film, "Cars 2" represents the always prevalent disconnect between critics and audiences. By the time of this writing, "Cars 2" had watched its Tomatometer drain down to 33% (?!) but CinemaScore polling of opening weekend audiences found the film score an A-. Additionally, the start for "Cars 2" also secured Pixar their 12th consecutive #1 wide opening (both "A Bug's Life" and "Toy Story 2" opened on one screen initially, only to move to #1 with its wide release the following weekends).

With so much of the news good for "Cars 2", Pixar and Disney seem unconcerned with the negative response the film received prior to its opening. Nikki Finke at Deadline reports one unnamed Disney source as stating, "Critics not liking a movie doesn't seem like it will hurt the Pixar brand in my opinion. It will be their 12th #1 film in a row and will rank near the top for opening weekends." And they were right.

One unexpected benefit from seeing "Cars 2" in theaters is having the chance to catch "Toy Story: Hawaiian Vacation", a new animated short film which tore the house down at my screening and looks to be a player for the Best Animated Short Film Oscar, if it is submitted for consideration. Additionally, Pixar made the curious decision to launch promotional efforts for next summer's "Brave", a action/adventure epic featuring a female lead voiced by Kelly McDonald.

The debut of the teaser is not noteworthy per se, with studios piggybacking their next big project on the backs of their latest releases all the time. This, however, seemed different. Pixar did not just deliver a teaser, but they always sent out stills and production notes and other marketing gimmicks, almost as if to try and deflect attentions away from the increasingly lukewarm and bad PR for "Cars 2".

For what it's worth, "Brave" became the hot topic amongst those both in and out of the movie industry and the film, initially, looks fantastic.

Cameron Diaz hits a couple of milestones you may not be aware of, the now-weekly Allen/Malick analysis, and a flood of indie documentaries and dramas look to make their mark. All of this and the Top 40 after the cut!

Joey's DVD Picks of the Week (6/28/2011)

This week, one of the most underrated films of last year hits DVD, alongside some other flicks, although those are less than stellar. The underrated film in question is so good that, had I seen it before completing my Top 10 of 2010 list, it would have very likely cracked the list (perhaps going as high as #7 or 8) and pushed some films down a level. As it stands, it will have to settle for being my PICK OF THE WEEK now that it's available for home viewing. Curious what it is? Well, it's:

Barney's Version


A Canadian dramedy with a Golden Globe winning performance by Paul Giamatti (doing career best work in my eyes), the film follows 30 years in the life of the title character, as he lives and loves. It's very clever, and the entire cast is terrific (including Minni Driver and Scott Speedman), but Rosamund Pike is phenomenal as the most substantial love of Barney's life and Dustin Hoffman steals the show as Barney's randy father. Pike and Hoffman deserved Oscar nods, and in a less competitive Best Actor field, Giamatti would have been in play too. As it stands, this is an excellent film that very much deserves to be seen. It's a funny, touching movie that's really something special. I can't recommend it enough, so go out and get it!

-Also out this week of note is a well regarded indie called Lebanon, Pa. The drama has occasionally been called the "anti-Juno", but since I haven't seen it, I can't comment. That being said, I think it could be a strong little flick, and if anyone ends up seeing it, let me know what you think. If I check it out, I'll throw up a belated review for you all...

-The rest of the releases this week is the decent action fantasy Sucker Punch, the mediocre flick The Warrior's Way (also an action fantasy of sorts, but less overt), the terrible adventure film Season of the Witch, and the terrible looking (since I didn't see it) remake of Beauty and the Beast, known as Beastly. If any of those appeal to you, as always...don't let me get in the way. Pick them up and enjoy them.

-My Vintage pick, in honor of this week's release of Larry Crowne, is another Capra-like Tom Hanks film. It's The Terminal, and I consider it not only one of Hanks' most underrated movies, but one of director Steven Spielberg's as well. I found it incredibly charming and hope that his new film is as well. If you didn't see this when it came out, or didn't like it, give it a shot this week...it should make you smile!

-What will you be watching on DVD this week?

Ben Affleck will star in his upcoming directorial project Argo!

The Playlist has the story:

Directing isn’t easy. It’s a lot of little decisions and delegating jobs to other people who you hope can execute the vision you have in mind down to the last detail. It’s communicating with actors and crew and hoping that you can bring everybody together under one unified, specific goal and sometimes, you just have to take on a little more to get the job done right.

With that in mind, Variety reports that Ben Affleck has cast himself in the lead of his next directorial effort, “Argo.” The film is based on the true story about a C.I.A. plan to rescue a group of diplomats from Tehran after the 1979 Iranian revolution by claiming that they were part of a Hollywood movie crew shooting a film in the country. Alan Arkin is on board to play Lester Siegel, a former O.S.S. spy, now a movie producer, described as “equal parts bookie and rabbi,” who helps get the fake movie rolling, with John Goodman playing the Oscar-winning “Planet of the Apes” makeup artist John Chambers who is brought in on the elaborate scheme. As for Affleck, he’ll take the central role of Tony Mendez, the CIA exfiltration expert who gets the whole scheme up and running.

Affleck previously directed himself in the heist pic “The Town” and seems to listen very well to his own instructions. Still no start date just yet, but it looks like it will be imminent with casting continuing to move along steadily. Though the film will be lighter in tone than “The Town” or “Gone Baby Gone”—the fake movie stuff should be pretty amusing—it will also have a strong dose of realism too, as Affleck plans to have the actors who will play hostages live together in a “safe house” for two weeks prior to the start of filming so they can become acquainted with what their real life counterparts went through. No release date yet, but an Oscar season 2012 bow seems inevitable.

-Joey's Two Cents: I think he directed himself incredibly well in The Town, so I'm anxious to see him do it again...thoughts?

David Strathairn joins Steven Spielberg's Lincoln project...

...and The Hollywood Reporter has the story:

David Strathairn has been cast in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.

Strathairn will play William Seward, who served as Lincoln’s Secretary of State from 1861 to 1869. Seward was a passionate abolitionist and fiercely loyal to Lincoln as he served in his cabinet during the Civil War.

Strathairn joins the previously-cast Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field on the DreamWorks Studios picture. Day-Lewis will play the titular character, and Field his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.

“Throughout his career, David Strathairn has consistently delivered performances of strength and character. That's why I am so pleased that he will portray the Secretary of State, who became such a dominant figure in Lincoln's ‘team of rivals’ cabinet," director Spielberg said.

Playwright Tony Kushner wrote the screenplay, based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s best-selling book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. The book focuses on how Lincoln worked with his former rivals during his presidency.

Clint Eastwood wants Leonardo DiCaprio to star with Beyonce in A Star is Born?

Apparently so, according to Deadline:

I hear Clint Eastwood is using his time with Leonardo DiCaprio on the J Edgar Hoover biopic to discuss the director's new Warner Bros project A Star Is Born. Clint is hoping to team Leo with Beyoncé, who's already set for the musical. Clint is producing through Malpaso as well as helming the script by Will Fetters. Producers are Billy Gerber and Basil Iwanyk and Jon Peters (who made the infamous version with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson). The project has been at WB for several years, and there'd been talk of pairing Beyoncé and Will Smith. But casting Leo as the male lead would make for a much more interesting movie. There have been a trio of A Star Is Born versions made since the 1930s, the last one coming in 1976 with Kristofferson playing the boozer and Streisand the wannabe. Or even #4 if you consider What Price Hollywood (1932) made by George Cukor, which is often forgotten.

-Joey's Two Cents: I'm not exactly excited by this project, but DiCaprio would be a very interesting choice...thoughts?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Behold the new Poster and Trailer for Pixar's next flick Brave!



Here's the trailer:

-Thoughts?

The Coen Brothers have a musical biopic planned?

From 24 Frames:

The Coen Bros. told an audience at New York's Lincoln Center earlier this month that they were working on a music-related film, but didn't offer any specifics.

Now a clearer picture is emerging on the subject of that movie: the Greenwich Village folk scene seen through the eyes of its larger-than-life patriarch.

The Coen Bros. are working on a script that's loosely based on the life of Dave van Ronk, said a source who was briefed on the project but who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the filmmakers' behalf. Van Ronk is a legendary musician who presided over New York city's iconoclastic coffeehouse period of the mid-20th century,

The musician, who died in 2002, was known as the uncle of the coffeehouse scene, a big personality famed for his musical acumen, left-wing politics, general erudition and entertaining storytelling. On his watch, era-defining musicians such as Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell were discovered and cultivated. Van Ronk also was a noted blues guitarist in his own right. A spokeswoman for the Coens did not immediately have a comment on her clients' behalf.

Today's Trailers: Apollo 18, Immortals, and Buck Larson: Born to be a Star

First up is an unsettling new look at the found footage horror flick 'Apollo 18':

The rest after the jump...

Ray Liotta will join the cast of A Place Beyond the Pines!

Via The Playlist:

If you weren’t already pumped for “A Place Beyond the Pines,” director Derek Cianfrance‘s follow-up to “Blue Valentine,” you’d better be now. Variety reports that Ray Liotta, one of the most manic and entertaining actors working today, will be joining ‘Pines’ which already includes “Blue Valentine” star Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes and Greta Gerwig. Cianfrance, who co-wrote the film with Ben Coccio, has compared the tone of the film to “The Godfather” and “The Deer Hunter” (Holy crap!). Sidney Kimmel, Jamie Patricof, Lynette Howell and Alex Orlovsky are on board as producers.

Don't count out a sequel to Green Lantern just due to mediocre Box Office...

...since Warner Brothers is pushing ahead with another installment of the now franchise, according to The Hollywood Reporter:

Warner Bros. is already planning a sequel to Ryan Reynolds' superhero pic Green Lantern, despite the film’s soft performance at the box office.

Sources say Warners still believes in the franchise, even if the studio is “somewhat disappointed” with Green Lantern’s result.

Here are your winners from the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival!

Take a gander:

Narrative Award (for Best Narrative Feature)
Winner: Familiar Ground written & directed by Stéphane Lafleur
Producers: Luc Déry, Kim McCraw
Cast: Francis La Haye, Fanny Mallette, Sylvain Marcel, Michel Daigle, Suzanne Lemoine
Film Description: (Canada) This droll, deadpan comedy from snowbound Quebec features an unhappy brother and sister whose fates seem to be known by a mysterious Man From the Future. Not too far in the future though. Just next September.
The Narrative Award carries an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000 funded by Film Independent, offering the financial means to help filmmakers transfer their vision to the screen. The award recognizes the finest narrative film in competition, and is given to the director. A special jury selects the winner, and all narrative feature-length films screening in the Narrative Competition section were eligible. In bestowing Stéphane Lafleur with the Narrative Award, the Jury stated: “An entire tree sticking out of a fireplace…a beaten-up snowman…an operatically dancing inflatable blue dude…the anything but familiar images of Familiar Ground won’t soon be forgotten. In a strong narrative competition this year, this was the singular vision that stood out the most.”

****

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Circuit Round-Up, 06/26

* Last week, Mike Ward gave less than enthusiastic reviews of both Green Lantern and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

* Luckily, Joey Magidson had a DVD Pick of the Week that he could really get behind.

* Anna Belickis spotlights Emma Hamer-whoops, I mean Emma Stone for this week’s Women in Cinema.

* Coinciding with Green Lantern is an Under the Circuit for Peter Sarsgaard, who I still maintain gave one of the most unjustly snubbed performances of the last ten years in Shattered Glass.

* I also previewed the Weekend Openings, and gave a surprisingly accurate prediction for Cars 2.

* Finally, Joey expresses his disagreement with the recent changes to the Academy’s rules regarding Best Picture nominations. Let us know your take on the news!

What does Time Magazine consider to be the 25 best Animated films of all time?

Well, these are flicks in question:

25. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
24. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
23. Yellow Submarine (1968)
22. Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (2008)
21. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
20. Paprika (2007)
19. Tangled (2010)
18. The Lion King (1994)
17. Akira (1988)
16. Happy Feet (2006)

The top 15 are after the jump...

Today's Posters: Captain America, Crazy Stupid Love, and many more...


The rest after the cut...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's a great day in New York...

...especially in terms of equality. I've been busy all day today (so excuse the late updates), but I wanted to take a quick minute to praise my home state's passage of a Same-Sex Marriage Bill. Equal rights and love over bigotry is paramount to me, and even as a straight male, I see the incredible importance of this. So, just saying...yay for New York!

R.I.P. Peter Falk

Deadline has the obituary:

The beloved rumpled trenchcoat-wearing police lieutenant on the Columbo TV series died at his Beverly Hills home last night after a long bout with Alzheimer's Disease, according to his daughter, who gave the news to KNX-1070. He was 83. The five-time Emmy winner (four forColumbo) also was a two-time Oscar nominee (for 1960's Murder, Inc and 1961's Pocketful of Miracles). He was a key member of iconoclastic filmmaker John Cassavetes' regular ensemble, starring in such independent film classics as Husbands (1970) and A Woman Under the Influence (1974), and in a cameo at the end of Opening Night. In 1972 he won a Tony for his performance in Broadway's The Prisoner of Second Avenue. But his most famous role was Columbo, which first aired in 1968 as part of an anthology series on NBC from 1971-1978, took a five-year respite, and returned occasionally on ABC from 1983-2003. He once described Columbo as "an ass-backwards Sherlock Holmes" who chewed cigars instead of smoked a pipe. (The debut episode in 1971 was helmed by 25-year-old Steven Spielberg in one of his earliest directing roles.)

Born in New York City, Falk had his right eye surgically removed when he was 3 because of a malignant tumor and wore a glass eye for most of his life. That and his talent made him a natural character actor when he joined a community theater group in Hartford, Conn. Eventually he was signed by the William Morris Agency and began acting full-time in 1956 on the New York stage and that year made his Broadway debut in Diary of a Scoundrel. Lore has it Falk failed a screen test at Columbia Pictures and was told by studio boss Harry Cohn that "for the same price I can get an actor with two eyes." But Murder Inc in 1960 was his breakout movie role, and he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and again in this category in 1961 for Pocketful of Miracles, Frank Capra's last feature. He co-starred in the 1963 comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, in Robin And The 7 Hoods, and in The Great Race his TV career caught fire. Falk occasionally worked in films in his later life (The In-Laws, The Princess Bride, Wings of Desire, Faraway, Roommates, among them).

-Joey's Two Cents: Rest in peace...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Good luck getting a refund if you didn't care for The Tree of Life...

...at least at one theater. Thoughts?

Ryan Gosling has another film planned with Nicolas Winding Refn?

Yup, and it's different than the Logan's Run remake that's planned as well. Here's the story from Variety:

Ryan Gosling is ready to reteam with his "Drive" and future "Logan's Run" director Nicolas Winding Refn, as thesp is in negotiations to star in "Only God Forgives" alongside Kristin Scott Thomas.

Set in the worlds of gambling, boxing and prostitution in Bangkok, pic is a revenge story centering on a Thai cop and a British gangster hiding in Thailand.

French shingles Gaumont and Wild Bunch are co-producing and co-financing the project, to which they'll share international sales rights. Pic will start shooting in November and will be delivered during the second half of 2012.

Luke Evans was initially announced as being in advanced negotiations for the film, but he was forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with Peter Jackson's adaptation of "The Hobbit," in which Evans will play Bard the Bowman.

Gosling remains set to star in Warner Bros.' crime pic "The Gangster Squad" and Derek Cianfrance's "The Place Beyond the Pines." Thesp next stars in WB's "Crazy, Stupid, Love," due in theaters on July 29, as well as George Clooney's political drama "The Ides of March," which Sony will release Oct. 7.

-Joey's Two Cents: I love that Gosling is starting to take on more projects, as he's possibly the best young actor out there...thoughts?

Aaron Sorkin is developing another project for HBO...

...and this time it's a miniseries, according to The Hollywood Reporter:

Aaron Sorkin and John Krasinski are developing a miniseries for HBO based on Life at the Marmont, a book by the hotel’s co-owner Raymond R. Sarlot and Fred Basten.

The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Sorkin (The Social Network) will write the mini and executive produce with Krasinski (The Office). The Chateau Marmont’s current owner, Andre Balazs, and his daughter, Alessandra, will also executive produce.

Krasinski, who has been the project’s champion, is expected to play a role in the mini, which will feature interwoven stories of the hotel’s guests over several generations. Since the 1930s, the apartment complex, which later became a hotel, has been at the center of Hollywood, drawing film and TV actors, literary greats and rock stars.

In addition to the untitled Marmont mini, Sorkin has his cable news project More as This Story Develops, starring Jeff Daniels, Olivia Munn and Sam Waterston, at HBO.

-Joey's Two Cents: If he writes it, I'll watch it...thoughts?

Behold the new Trailer for Captain America!

Take a gander:

-Thoughts?

Are you ready for a War Games reboot?

Of course you aren't, but Deadline says it's coming anyway:

MGM will reboot the 1983 thriller War Games, and the studio has set Seth Gordon to develop the film to direct. Gordon, who made his breakthrough with the gaming documentary The King of Kong, most recently directed the New Line comedy Horrible Bosses, with Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Jamie Foxx. The reconstituted MGM has been going to town with remakes -- landing Jose Padilha to direct Robocop and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to script Carrie -- but the John Badham-directed War Games is one that seems particularly reboot-able.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another reason I'm not in favor of the new Academy rules for Best Picture voting...

...and it's similar to my previous issues, which will be documented in an article very soon (Clayton has the piece, it'll go up whenever he deems it appropriate). Here's Steve Pond at The Wrap breaking down the fact that a lot of voters won't have their ballots mean much for Best Picture:

A significant number of Best Picture ballots could end up essentially discarded as the result of the new Best Picture rules instituted by the Academy last week, TheWrap has discovered.

The Academy conceded that an increased number of ballots will no longer influence the slate of Best Picture nominees, but said its figures put the potential number of those ballots at less than 10 percent.

On the other hand, a simulation done by TheWrap (using critics' Top 10 lists rather than real Oscar ballots) shows the number of "unused" ballots topping 25 percent under the new rules.

Could Midnight in Paris end up as Woody Allen's highest grossing film ever?

The Hollywood Reporter breaks down its chances:

Midnight in Paris now has the potential to become Woody Allen’s top-grossing film of all time at the domestic box office, as well as Sony Pictures Classics’ biggest title after Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Either Wednesday night or Thursday, Midnight in Paris will eclipse the $23.2 million grossed each by Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Match Point and become Allen’s best performing movie since Hannah and Her Sisters 25 years ago. Hannah earned $40.1 million domestically, a career record for Allen.

Not only that, box office observers believe Midnight in Paris -- with a domestic cume of $22.7 million through Tuesday -- will ultimately surpass Hannah and Her Sisters.

Midnight in Paris, with a diverse cast including Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard and Kathy Bates, is one of those rare specialty films that expands beyond the art house crowd to general audiences. The movie opened in only six theaters May 20 to score one of the best location averages of all time ($99,834) at the domestic box office. Now, it’s playing in more than 1,000 theaters.

In the film, Wilson’s character discovers an alternate reality while in Paris with his wife. Observers believe there are several reasons the film is resonating.

For one, the movie embraces Paris in a way that appeals to anyone who has either visited the city or wants to visit. And Wilson plays the sort of “everyman” character that moviegoers tend to see in more mainstream films, versus in art house titles (or in an Allen’s film). It also helps that critics across the country -- and not just in New York -- have given Midnight in Paris great reviews.

Today's Trailers: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Killer Elite, and Girlfriend

First up is the latest (and best) look at the prequel 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes':

The others are after the jump...

Emma Stone could be the lead in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Emma Stone may be heading back to the world of zombies.

The actress, who memorably appeared as Jesse Eisenberg’s love interest in Zombieland, has been offered the lead in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

The Lionsgate movie, being directed by Craig Gillespie, takes the classic Jane Austen tale featuring Elizabeth Bennet's quest for love and independence and throws in an outbreak of a deadly virus that turns the dead into zombies.

The project has flirted with actresses such as Mia Wasikowska and Anne Hathaway but nothing has stuck so far.

Natalie Portman is producing along with Annette Savitch, Richard Kelly, Sean McKittrick and Tedd Hamm.

James Wan sets up his next horror project after Insidious and all of its success...

...and it seems like similar territory, according to Variety:

James Wan's haunted house isn't broken, so why fix it?

The 34-year-old Malaysian helmer, who steered "Insidious," budgeted at $1.5 million, to more than $75 million worldwide for FilmDistrict, is in final negotiations to direct "The Conjuring" for New Line.

The pitch is inspired by the true-life story of the Perron family, who claimed they "lived among the dead" in the 1970s as spirits both friendly and sinister inhabited their Rhode Island farmhouse. "Insidious," which came out in April, focused on a family coping with evil spirits who threatened their young boy.

Peter Safran and Tony DeRosa-Grund will produce "Conjuring" through the Safran Co., which is currently in post on "ATM" and is in pre-production on "Vehicle 19," starring Paul Walker.

New Line had no comment on Wan's attachment, and no production start date has been set yet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jamie Foxx could be Quentin Tarantino's Django...

...but the source is not exactly rock solid in my eyes. The Playlist has more:

Yes, this bit of news is coming just from a tweet right now, but it comes from someone who has been on point for some of the biggest news surrounding Quentin Tarantino‘s “Django Unchained” thus far. Former Creative Screenwriting magazine Senior Editor and host of “The Q&A” podcast Jeff Goldsmith tweeted yesterday evening, “Will Smith is out! Inside sources tell me that Tarantino has chosen Oscar winner @iamjamiefoxx to play Django! #fb” If you have your doubts, Goldsmith was one of, if not the first person to tweet about Will Smith‘s interest in Quentin Tarantino’s Spaghetti Western slavery epic. And he also was hip to Leonardo DiCaprio‘s involvement before it got to the trades. Clearly, Goldsmith’s sources are pretty well informed.

While Quentin Tarantino actively sought out Will Smith for the lead role—with the actor’s longtime home Sony landing the foreign film rights in an effort to lure Smith—the writing has been on the wall for a while now. With days turning to weeks, it quickly became apparent Smith might not be so hot on the role and assortment of other names including Jamie Foxx, Idris Elba and Chris Tucker began entering the mix. In fact, if you like a good conspiracy, there have been some suggestions that the Weinsteins involvement in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Scientology skewering “The Master” put Smith off of working with the studio completely, but of course, that’s just a rumor. However, Foxx stepping into the lead role is frankly, just as strong a substitute both from both a business and artistic standpoint.

Jonathan Demme won't go back to big-budget filmmaking?

Apparently not, according to The Film Stage:

It isn’t hard to argue that Jonathan Demme was at his commercial peak in the early 90s, when his Oscar-winners The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia both became widely discussed cultural events. Despite being the man behind other hits, like Stop Making Sense or Something Wild, he hasn’t been seen as much over the past ten years; much of his work in that time has been documentaries, while his biggest box office hit was The Manchurian Candidate.

Speaking at the 2nd Annual Aruba International Film Festival – where he was being honored for his documentary The Agronomist, about assassinated Haitian journalist Jean Dominick - he talked about his frustration with making movies on a big budget, and seemed to indicate that this is a territory he won’t be returning to.

Today's Trailers: Footloose, Puss in Boots, and Flypaper

First up is the dance-centric remake 'Footloose':

The others are after the jump...

The director of 'The American' has his next project lined up!

The Hollywood Reporter has the details:

Rock photographer turned director Anton Corbijn will next helm the adaptation of John le Carré's political thriller A Most Wanted Man.

Corbijn, whose last film was George Clooney-starrer The American, will shoot the bulk of A Most Wanted Man in Hamburg. Australian screenwriter Andrew Bovell (Edge of Darkness) will adapt Le Carre's novel for the screen. Principle photography is expected to being this winter.

The book, published in 2008, tells the story of the Chechian Muslim Issa who illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught up in the international war on terror. The tale is loosely based on the real-life story of Murat Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen and legal German resident who was seized by American authorities, with knowledge of the German government and taken to Guantanamo Bay. He was kept there for several years before being released, without charge, in 2006.

Simon Channing-Williams, the producer of Le Carré' adaptation The Constant Gardener, produced a short trailer about the book to accompany its publication.

Malte Grunert's Berlin-based shingle Amusement Park Films is producing A Most Wanted Man. The film has received $1.3 million (€900,000) in production subsidies from Hamburg's regional film board the FFHSH.

-Joey's Two Cents: After The American, I'll follow Corbijn almost anywhere...thoughts?

Today's Posters: Crazy Stupid Love, Cowboys & Aliens, Footloose, and more...


The rest after the jump...

Ron Howard to direct a Formula 1 flick?

Perhaps, according to Variety:

Ron Howard is looking to come full circle in the auto-racing genre, as the director is in early discussions to direct "Rush," the Formula 1 biopic written by "Frost/Nixon" scribe Peter Morgan.

Pic centers on Niki Lauda, the Austrian three-time F1 champion who nearly died in a fiery crash in 1976, only to emerge six weeks later, still nursing severe burns on his face and head, to pursue his rivalry with fellow driver James Hunt. Cross Creek Pictures, which scored a major coup by backing the surprise hit "Black Swan," has agreed to finance.

Paul Greengrass had been rumored to be circling, but he's since boarded Sony's "A Captain's Duty," the story of the Somali pirates saga starring Tom Hanks as Capt. Richard Phillips.

While "Rush" is in early stages, Imagine's Brian Grazer and Howard would likely produce alongside Cross Creek's Brian Oliver and Working Title's Eric Fellner.

Sources say Howard, who is currently attached to direct an adaptation of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series, has eyed other helming gigs in the wake of rumblings that Universal stalled the hugely ambitious movies-and-TV project due to budgetary and creative concerns.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Behold the Trailer for A Dangerous Method!

Here you go:

-Joey's Two Cents: Well, it certainly looks nice and definitely is Oscar bait, but time will tell if it can go the distance...thoughts?

Joey's DVD Picks of the Week (6/21/2011)

This week is a welcome return to the DVD release weeks that we all used to take for granted. This is the type of week where you know that you're going to be buying more than one thing, just because of how much is out and how much variety there is. Today's releases includes one of the best films of the year so far, along with a few of the more underrated selections of the first part of 2011, plus more! Even the worst release is far from an awful film, and that's always a good sign. Let's jump right in though, as my PICK OF THE WEEK is a flick worth talking about. It's:

The Adjustment Bureau

A romantic thriller that mixed sci-fi and fantasy with the aforementioned romance in such a way that the love story never felt shortchanged, I loved this movie. So many films like this focus on the action and not on the romance, and this was the exact opposite. The imbalance was a turn-off to some, but I was a big fan. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are excellent, and writer/director George Nolfi is able to give us one of the better Philip K. Dick adaptations to date (yes, I said it). Plus, if you're into politics, Damon's character is an up and coming Democratic star, and it's a well done portrait of a candidate. I know that it didn't work for everyone, but in my eyes it's just an overall well done flick that I recommend extremely highly.

-Also out getting high marks from me and distinguishing themselves, we have the indie romantic comedies Ceremony and HappyThankYouMorePlease, as well as the comedy Cedar Rapids. The first film is a promising debut from filmmaker Max Winkler and features strong performances from Michael Angarano and Uma Thurman, not to mention a scene stealing role for Lee Pace. It only got a token release earlier this year, but look for my official review soon! As for the second film, it's a Woody Allen-esque New York flick that makes good use of its ensemble and charms you into liking it. The final comedy mentioned is a good, but not great Ed Helms vehicle that is funny enough to get my recommendation. All three of these movies are worth picking up and giving a shot to...

-The rest of the week's release include the decent but not good enough sex farce sequel Elektra Luxx, the stunningly average thriller Unknown, and the disappointing action flick The Eagle. There's also the kids sequel Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, but I haven't seen it and can't vouch for it. None of these are anything special, but honestly...you could do a lot worse, as we've seen in previous weeks.

-My Vintage pick this week, in honor of the release of Bad Teacher, is a satirical comedy from the same director as the aforementioned release. It's The TV Set, and Jake Kasdan teamed up with Judd Apatow to deliver a scathing portrait of television executives ruining a show. It's painfully funny, and speaks from knowledge. It's well worth checking out, so give it a look!

-What will you be watching on DVD this week?

George Clooney's project The Ides of March will open the Venice Film Festival!

Via Variety:

George Clooney's "The Ides of March" has been tapped as the opening film of the 68th Venice Film Festival on Aug. 31.

Fest hasn't made an official announcement but a source not authorized to speak for the event confirmed the selection Monday.

Sony's dated the political thriller for an Oct. 7 limited release. Clooney directed from a script he co-wrote with Grant Heslov. He also stars in the film, which is based on the Broadway play "Farragut North," written by Beau Willmon.

Pic centers on a young press spokesman, played by Ryan Gosling, who falls prey to backroom politics. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei Jeffrey Wright and Evan Rachel Wood are also starring.

Sony nabbed U.S. distribution rights to "March" in November, with Exclusive Media Group handling overseas distribution.

Venice competition berths have been set previoulsy for Roman Polanski's "Carnage," David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," Russian auteur Aleksandr Sokurov's "Faust," the fourth and final installment in his "Men of Power" series, and Philippe Garrel's "Un ete brulant" (A Burning Hot Summer).

-Joey's Two Cents: It's shaping up to be a real good fest...thoughts?

Warren Beatty will step behind the camera again?

The Hollywood Reporter says yes:

Warren Beatty, who hasn’t directed a film since 1998’s Bulworth, has pacted with Paramount Pictures to write, direct, produce and star in an untitled project based on his original screenplay.

The project will mark a return to Paramount for Beatty, who directed 1978’s Heaven Can Wait and 1981’s Reds for the studio.

“Warren’s script is quintessential Beatty, elegantly written and wonderfully entertaining,” said Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey, who announced the project Monday. “It is our privilege to have one of the great artists in the history of the film industry come home to Paramount.”

The film is scheduled to go into production later this year.

-Joey's Two Cents: He's always been an interesting filmmaker, so I'm in for this...thoughts?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Box Office Actuals (6/17/11-6/19/11): A flickering "Lantern" lights the way...

Via Box Office Mojo, The Numbers, Deadline, and other sources:

Despite a strong start with higher than expected numbers from midnight showings and a well attended Friday night, Warner Bros. saw its "Green Lantern" flicker and dim by the end of the weekend. The third superhero film to arrive in 2011, following "Thor" and "X-Men: First Class", "Green Lantern" was the least attended opening weekend of the three, starting at a $52.3 million clip. Most films would be thrilled to land that sum, but everything has perspective and Warner Bros. are hugely disappointed in the diminishing returns.

A strong midnight to strong Friday to lessening Saturday to dismal Sunday can be attributed to a lot of different factors. Initially, the film was ravaged by critics and although CinemaScore provided a B+ rating from audience members, the fact is that people stopped coming after the first eyes got a look at the final cut. That pesky word-of-mouth can be a helluva thing sometimes.

Nikki Finke at Deadline has reported that there was a great deal of behind-the-scenes consternation by the marketing department, as they were only able to see 70% of the final cut two weeks prior to release day. Constant tinkering and refining of visual effects were cited as a blaming factor, but after audiences responded dismally to the teasers as far back as the fall of 2010, a push-and-pull developed with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment on whether to focus on Ryan Reynolds solely in the marketing or draw in the supporting alien characters to define a new brand. What resulted was a bit of both strategies put into place which, it is speculated, led to confusion amongst those interested but not familiar with the source material.

Good marketing/bad marketing/late delivery of final product...ultimately, the film is just not good. Rotten Tomatoes assigns a 21% ranking for the film, which trails dozens of points behind "Thor" and "X-Men" earlier this year. Ultimately, all of the drafts and rewrites and rewrites again, along with the problematic post-production woes are what contributed to the film's precipitous slide from Friday through Sunday. Typically, with this opening Warner Bros. could expect a film to gross $150-$175 million; however, tracking and trending may place this closer to the $120-$130 million range, which would require huge worldwide numbers to make the film profitable.

Chilly penguins freeze up the box office, there is no actual art in getting by it seems, and a Tree sprouts while Paris suffers a minor setback. All of this and the Top 40 rankings, as of Monday afternoon, after the cut!

Curious what the new way of voting for Best Picture will be like?

Of course you are, and The Hollywood Reporter explains it as best they can:

With the "new twist" it is introducing into the best picture Oscar race, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will also adopt a slightly modified nominating procedure to decide the nominees in its top category.

The Academy's board of governors voted Tuesday night to adopt a new rule: having opened the best picture race to 10 nominees two years ago, the Academy is now adopting a stricter standard that will result in anywhere from five to 10 nominees when nominations are announced on Jan. 24.

To secure a nomination, a picture will have collect at least five percent of the first-place votes cast.

That, in turn, affects the nominating process. For the past two years, each Academy member filled out a form, listing their ten best films, in order of preference from one to 10.

This time around, in the case of the best picture ballot, each member will be given a ballot with 5 open slots, which they will be asked to fill in with five movies, again ranked by preference.

As Bruce Davis, the outgoing executive director of the Academy explained: "What we're doing here is analyzing the first-place support."

The vote count, which will be conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, is actually a modified version of the preferential voting system that the Academy already employs.

Here's how it will work in the case of the best picture category.

  • First, all the ballots are separated into separate stacks according to which film is listed as a first choice.
  • Second, any movies that reach the five percent threshold are automatic nominees. Their stacks are then redistributed to their second or third choices according to a mathmatical formula. Their second or third choices count as partial votes when added to the remaining stacks.
  • Third, at the opposite ends of the spectrum, those movies that have received less than one percent of the vote also see their stacks redistributed to their second if still available, or third choice if still available, etc.

At that point, the redistribution stops. The movies that have reached the five percent mark all become nominees.

Woody Allen may act again in his next film!

Cinema Blend has the story:

Woody Allen’s latest movie, Midnight in Paris, is getting rave reviews and people are once again proclaiming this the second coming of Allen. Ok, everyone seems to do that at least once a year, no matter what he releases, but there’s legitimate talk that this one may actually be an early contender for this year’s Oscar. So I guess that means we should be even more excited than normal about whatever it is that Allen’s working on next.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Allen’s working on a film called The Bop Decameron, which sounds like a dance invented for pre-schoolers as a way of replacing the Hokey-Pokey, but is actually some sort of Italian movie. The film’s Woody’s first ever Italian financed production and it’s being distributed by the Italian Medusa Films.

As usual with any Allen film, we don’t know what it’s about, but the cast has been announced. Here’s who he’ll have in it, listed in alphabetical order: Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. Co-stars include Antonio Albanese, Fabio Armiliata, Alessandra Mastronardi, Ornella Muti, Flavio Parenti, Alison Pill, Riccardo Scamarcio and Alessandro Tiberi.

A few things worth noting about that group. The Bop Decameron will be the first time Woody has acted in one of his movies since Scoop in 2006. Scoop is generally regarded as his last bad movie, the films he’s made since, the movies in which he finally stopped acting, have all been pretty good. Before Scoop is best recent movie was Match Point, in which he also did not act. Woody Allen acting in his movies is, these days, not really a good thing. Luckily, the rest of his cast is pretty good. Get excited about Alec Baldwin in a Woody Allen movie, that could result in something pretty special.

-Joey's Two Cents: It's quite good news to me...thoughts?