Friday, July 31, 2009
In 2011 Julia Roberts' potentially new Oscar-vehicle "Eat, Pray, Love" directed by Ryan Murphy ("Nip/Tuck") will be released. The movie is based on Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir. Gilbert took off on a self-discovering round-the-world journey after unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant and divorcing her husband. The Academy Award-winning actress ("Erin Brockovich") will be joined by a host of critically-acclaimed actors: Tony Award-winner Billy Crudup will play her husband, Oscar-winner Javier Bardem will play a role in the movie, as well as this year's Oscar-nominees Richard Jenkins and Viola Davis. Golden Globe-winner James Franco is rumored to join the cast as well.
Posted by Stephan at 11:59 AM
Andy Fickman will direct the comedy "You Again" about a young woman, who discovers her brother is about to marry the girl, who bullied her in high school. She then decides to expose her future sister-in-law's true colours.
The talented Kristen Bell will play the young woman, three-time Oscar-nominee Sigourney Weaver will co-star, alongside Jamie Lee Curtis, Kristin Chenoweth and five-time Emmy-winner Betty White, currently seen in "The Proposal" and up for another Emmy Award this fall.
The film is set to be released in 2010.
Posted by Stephan at 11:39 AM
Jason Reitman's follow-up to "Juno" will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, which runs from September 10th-19th. The romantic comedy stars George Clooney as a corporate downsizing expert, whose professional life is in danger just when he meets the woman of his dreams, played by Vera Farmiga. Clooney's other movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats" will also premiere at a Film Festival. That comedy, which also stars Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges, will be shown out of competition in Venice.
Posted by Stephan at 11:16 AM
Another Oscar-winner goes to television: Best Actress of 1977 for her performance as the title character in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" follows the likes of Holly Hunter and Sally Field by starring in her own TV-Show. Keaton will play a feminist who wants to give the women's movement new impulses by starting a sex magazine, a sort of "Playboy", for women. The Oscar-winning actress will not only play the leading role in the half-hour comedy for HBO, but she will also serve as an executive producer.
Posted by Stephan at 10:53 AM
I've been preaching that Judd Apatow, whose brilliance first showed on "Freaks and Geeks", will become one of the most sought-after filmmakers in the biz and thank God, it looks good for him. I personally love his human, personal comedy which is most of all hilarious. Now Apatow has signed a deal with Universal to direct and write three movies.
Here's the article from the "Hollywood Reporter":
Apatow inks three-film deal at Universal
'Funny People' director also can produce outside projects
By Borys Kit
July 30, 2009, 08:03 PM ET
On the eve of the release of his latest movie, "Funny People," Judd Apatow has signed with Universal to write and direct three films.
The deal, which came together over the past two months, shows the studio's considerable faith in the filmmaker.
Universal gave Apatow considerable leeway in making "Funny People," his most personal and serious film, including final cut on the nearly 2 1/2-hour, $75 million movie starring -- Adam Sandler and Jonah Hill. Reviews have been mixed, though the film is expected to open strongly. The deal allows Apatow to produce projects elsewhere. He has produced six movies at Columbia, including "Superbad," "Pineapple Express" and the recent "Year One." His producing output at Universal has consisted of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Get Him to the Greek," which is currently shooting.
The deal came together over the past couple of months. "It was a true mutual enthusiasm to really cement a relationship," said Universal Pictures chairman David Linde. No projects, which will also be written by Apatow, have been set.
While a longtime writer and producer, Apatow has only directed three films, all of them for Universal.
"The 40-Year-Old Virgin," released in 2005, helped make Steve Carell a star, grossing $177 million worldwide ($109 million domestic). The film was the first example of what has become Apatow's trademark comedic style -- male-centric, nerdy, sometimes juvenile and always heartfelt -- which has been frequently imitated by other filmmakers in the last few years.
Two years later, he gave birth to "Knocked Up," which earned critical raves, turned Seth Rogen into a star and made more than $219 million worldwide ($148.7 million domestic).
Apatow has also helped bring attention to funnymen such as Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Hill and Michael Cera.
Counting 2009's "People," Apatow has directed a film every two years. If he maintains that pace, he'll be busy at Universal through 2015.
"He has become a cornerstone for what this company prides itself on, which is excellence in comedies," Linde said. While "Funny People" is a more ambitious production than Apatow's more modestly budgeted movies, Linde called the him "one of the most responsible filmmakers that this company works with. He is always on budget, he is always on time."
While comedies traditionally gross more domestically than internationally, Apatow has done quite well exporting his brand of funny.
"I'll take those international numbers any day," said Linde. "I would argue that makes him a filmmaker who speaks to a global audience."
Posted by Stephan at 10:37 AM
CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY is n competition too.
Opening Film: “Baaria,” directed by Giuseppe Tornatore (Italy)
”Soul Kitchen,” directed by Fatih Akin (Germany)
”La Doppia Ora,” directed by Giuseppe Capotondi (Italy)
”Yi ngoi” (Accident), directed by Cheang Pou- Soi (China/Hong Kong)
”Persecution,” directed by Patrice Chereau (France)
”Lo Spazio Bianco” (White Space), directed by Francesca Comencini (Italy)
”White Material,” directed by Claire Denis (France)
”Mr. Nobody,” directed by Jaco van Dormael (France)
”A Single Man,” directed Tom Ford (USA)
”Lourdes,” directed by Jessica Hausner (Austria)
”Bad Lieutenant: Port Of New Orleans,” directed by Werner Herzog (USA)
”The Road,” directed by John Hillcoat (USA)
”Ahasin Wetei” (Between Two Worlds), directed by Vimukhti Jayasundara (Sri Lanka)
”El Mosafer” (The Traveller), directed by Ahmed Maher (Eqypt)
”Levanon” (Lebanon), directed by Samuel Maoz (Israel)
”Capitalism: A Love Story,” directed by Michael Moore (USA)
”Zanan-e-bedun-e mardan” (Women Without Men), directed by Shirin Neshat (Germany)
”Il Grande Sogno” (The Big Dream), directed by Michele Placido (Italy)
”36 Vues Du Pic Saint Loup,” directed by Jacques Rivette (France)
”Life During Wartime,” directed by Todd Solondz (USA)
”Tetsuo The Bullet Man,” directed by Shinya Tsukamoto (Japan)
”Lei wangzi” (Prince of Tears), directed by Yonfan (China/Taiwan/Hong Kong)
Edward Zwick has been voted to be one of three filmmakers that will represent the directorial branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, according to Variety. Zwick (Glory, Blood Diamond) will join fellow directors Martha Coolidge (Real Genius, Rambling Rose) and Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile) on the board, having received the majority of mailed-in runoff ballots.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
From EMPIRE: When we talked to James Cameron last week at Comic-Con (more from Cameron here) we asked about his love of 3D, and he told us that he's not just using it for new films like Avatar, but also planning to 3D-ify old classics like Titanic.
Said the King of the World, "We're going to do Titanic in 3-D! We've already done a 90 second clip of it and it's phenomenal and gorgeous, so that's going to be the project for next year. It's a conversion of it, not native photography; we can't go back."
But that's not all. We asked if he was considering the treatment on any of his other classics like Aliens, and Cameron said, "You know, we've thought about Terminator 2, which could be fun because I think that's a film that stands the test of time for me. I think that Aliens was a really good film in its time, but visually it doesn't quite hold up; we've kind of evolved beyond that now. I mean, for me it doesn't. Terminator 2, I think, is the cusp of where it still holds up, through now. True Lies, I don't think so; it doesn't feel right to me. Titanic absolutely, slam dunk! I want to see it!"
If this is indeed Cameron's project for next year, expect to see it in 2011 at the earliest, we'd have thought, or perhaps late 2012 for the 15th anniversary of its original release. Biggest 3D movie ever? Well, almost certainly - at least until they three-dimensionalise Gone with the Wind.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Here is Variety's not-so-enthusiastic review of Meryl Streep's and Amy Adam's follow-up to "Doubt", "Julie & Julia":
Julie & Julia
By Justin Chang
A Sony Pictures Entertainment release of a Columbia Pictures presentation of an Easy There Tiger/Amy Robinson, Laurence Mark production. Produced by Mark, Nora Ephron, Robinson, Eric Steel. Executive producers, Scott Rudin, Donald J. Lee Jr., Dana Stevens. Co-producer, Dianne Dreyer. Directed, written by Nora Ephron, based on the books "Julie & Julia" by Julie Powell and "My Life in France" by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme.
Julia Child - Meryl Streep
Julie Powell - Amy Adams
Paul Child - Stanley Tucci
Eric Powell - Chris Messina
Simone Beck - Linda Emond
Sarah - Mary Lynn Rajskub
Dorothy McWilliams - Jane Lynch
Irma Rombauer - Frances Sternhagen
It should come as no surprise that Meryl Streep's delightfully daffy turn as Julia Child, the woman who demystified French cuisine for American households, is the freshest ingredient in "Julie & Julia." Otherwise, this middling melange of Child biopic and contempo dramedy feels overstuffed and predigested as it depicts two ladies who found fame and fulfillment in their respective eras by cooking and writing about it. Despite the lack of shared screen time, the reteaming of "Doubt" duo Streep and Amy Adams under the femme-friendly imprimatur of writer-director Nora Ephron should yield tasty returns for this self-satisfied foodie fairy tale.
"Julie & Julia" shares its title with Julie Powell's barbed-and-bubbly 2005 book about her plan to chop, stir, bake and whip her way through Child's seminal 1961 cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Powell's blog devoted to her crazy yearlong experiment, dubbed "The Julie/Julia Project," developed enough of a following to earn her a book deal and, as the end titles note with characteristic cuteness, inspire this movie. Probably aware that Powell's story alone wouldn't sustain an entire feature, Ephron opted to divide the film's 122-minute running time between Julie and Julia, also drawing material from the latter's posthumously completed 2006 memoir, "My Life in France."
Upon arriving in Paris in 1948 with her husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci), who has taken a job at the American embassy, Julia (Streep), a self-described "36-year-old, rather loud and unserious Californian," is enraptured by French culture in general and French cuisine in particular. The pic efficiently traces Julia's determined rise from impassioned gourmand to master cook, from her education alongside unfriendly male competition at the Cordon Bleu school to her friendship with fellow epicureans Simone Beck (Linda Emond) and Louisette Bertholle (Helen Carey) -- her eventual collaborators on the 524-recipe cookbook that no publisher would initially accept.
Meanwhile, in a rickety Gotham apartment circa 2002, Julie (a redheaded Adams), alarmed at the prospect of turning 30 and having little to show for it, embarks on her insane assignment -- working as a government secretary by day, cooking and blogging by night. Fortunately, Julie's husband, Eric (Chris Messina), loves her enough to put up with her exaggerated mood swings whenever a dish goes awry, though his patience and sensitivity wear thin as the project drags on.
And so the film implies a kinship between two women who never meet, united across time and space by their love of butter, their doting husbands, their search for meaning through pleasure and their struggles to see their work in print. (Call it "Publisher-less in Paris.") The crucial difference, one Ephron doesn't seem to grasp, is that while Julie courts the fickle attentions of the blogosphere and the media, Julia yearns to create something of lasting value, a work with genuine potential to enrich people's lives. Ironically, the pic's decision to foreground Julia's life only ends up trivializing it; by conflating the characters so neatly, "Julie & Julia" becomes the slick, presumptuous vanity project that Powell's book was not.
Doing her formidable best to counteract these drawbacks is Streep, whose 5-foot-6 frame makes her an imperfect physical match for the 6-foot-2 Julia, but who proves more than up to the challenge of tackling this beloved celebrity's equally outsized personality. Delivering an elegant approximation of the woman's distinctly flutelike vocal pitch and endearing mannerisms, Streep abundantly conveys the warmth, rich humor and joie de vivre so evident in Julia's TV appearances and her writing. She and Tucci (as fine a foil here as he was in "The Devil Wears Prada") etch moving portraits of two people who can scarcely conceal their delight at being married to each other.
As a more prosaic and bickersome modern couple, Adams and Messina acquit themselves well enough; Adams, rather miraculously, manages not to sink under the weight of her character's cloying perkiness and weepy hysterics. The overall tone of the present-day material strikes familiar, unsubtle romantic-comedy beats, with a few catty dashes of "Sex and the City" and "Bridget Jones's Diary" thrown in to taste.
While Ann Roth's costumes and Mark Ricker's production design nail the dual milieus with impressive versatility, the Paris scenes feel slightly gauche and unconvincing; commercial considerations likely account for the near-total absence of French dialogue. Most disappointingly, aside from the occasional glimpse of boeuf bourguignon, the film misses a clear opportunity to offer glorious culinary eye candy on the level of "Babette's Feast" or "Eat Drink Man Woman." Whatever auds make of "Julie & Julia," it's hard to imagine that Julia Child herself, an unapologetic Francophile with one hell of an appetite, would have been much of a fan.
Camera (Deluxe color), Stephen Goldblatt; editor, Richard Marks; music, Alexandre Desplat; production designer, Mark Ricker; art director, Benjamin John Barraud; set decorator, Susan Bode Tyson; costume designer, Ann Roth; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/DTS), Tod A. Maitland; supervising sound editor, Ron Bochar; supervising sound mixers, Lee Dichter, Ron Bochar; stunt coordinator, Peter Bucossi; associate producer, J.J. Sacha; assistant director, Jeffrey T. Bernstein; second unit director, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon; casting, Francine Maisler, Kathy Driscoll-Mohler. Reviewed at Avco Center, Los Angeles, July 14, 2009. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 122 MIN.
With: Helen Carey, Deborah Rush, Joan Juliet Buck, Vanessa Ferlito, Casey Wilson, Jillian Bach.
(English, French dialogue)
Posted by Stephan at 1:32 PM
Monday, July 27, 2009
On Metacritic the movie scored 61%, on Rotten Tomatoes it has received 90% so far.
Variety calls "Funny People" a "a grab bag of impressions rather than fully realized work" but praises Adam Sandler's work and the unsentimental handling of the illness issue. The review also describes the film as "amusing and engaging yet lacking in snap and cohesion".
For The New Yorker the film is "Apatow’s richest, most complicated movie yet" with "passages of uneasy brilliance and many incidental pleasures" and states that "the Adam Sandler of “Funny People” is a revelation".
The Hollywood Reporter calls "Funny People a "flawed comedy from today's master of laughs as a well-earned stretch", that "he hits all the right notes in the film's pacing, laughs and emotions" but "serious human relation issues nearly scuttles the third act". The review also says
that " "Funny People" might be a transitional film for Apatow".
The New York Magazine gives the newest Apatow a lackluster review. "Funny People" is "sour, maudlin", also " Sandler isn’t afraid of plumbing his dark side, but Apatow fails him: Scenes of George’s self-pity drag on too long". "Rogen...He’s wrong for the part of the male ingenue". The review on Leslie Mann's role: "he [Apatow] hasn’t given her any good lines or an interesting subtext". The review also states that " it’s hard to feel sympathy" for the main characters.
Posted by Stephan at 12:33 PM
Remember when a few years ago "Capote" starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener came out? Of course the movie won Hoffman an Oscar and it received multiple noms including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress. Then the star-filled "Infamous" also about Truman Capote starring Toby Jones and Sandra Bullock came out and went completely under the radar.
Now guess what?
Two movies about the same person are made again, this time about Erzsebet Bathory. Now you might ask yourself who that lady is. Well, Erzsebet Bathory is also know as the murderous "Blood Countess" and lived in the 16th/17th century's Hungary.
Bathory was born on August 7th, 1560 in Hungary into a family richer than the Hungarian king, her uncle was king of Poland. When she was eleven years old, she got engaged to a Hungarian commander, they had five children. Bathory became very influential as she was not only rich, but she also owned several strategically important castles.
Having become too threatening to the king, her castle was attacked and Bathory was arrested. Her servants were tortured until they would tell the officials that Bathory was guilty of blasphemy, black magic and killing several girls. Her servants were executed, Bathory, being nobility, was forced to live in a tower, windows were blocked up so the countess would never see the light of day again. She died on August 21st, 1614.
After her death many legends and myths surrounding the countess were established - the bloodier the better. The most famous one claimes that Bathory killed young girls to drink their blood and to take baths in it so she could stay young. Those myths were also nourished by the fact that Bathory's family was related to several families in Transylvania. Today the surroundings of Bathory's case and verdict are seen as a conspiracy, but the circumstances will always be unclear.
Now two top-notch actresses will play Erzsebet Bathory: Oscar-nominee Julie Delpy and Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton.
The multi-talented Deply will star in the French/German co-production "The Countess", which she also wrote and directed. Oscar-winning actor William Hurt will co-star as Gyorgy Thurzo, Bathory's opponent. The movie has already been released here in Austria, so look out for my review of the film.
The images-breaking Tilda Swinton will star in the Austrian/German production "Die Blutgräfin", directed by German director Ulrike Ottinger, who co-wrote the script with Austrian Noble Prize of Literature laureate Elfriede Jelinek. While July's movie is about the legends surrounding Bathory, Swinton's take on the countess is about her looking for her roots in Vienna.
Posted by Stephan at 11:20 AM
The poll ended and our readers believe that Meryl Streep should be the next president of the Academy. Marvelous Meryl won with 53% of the votes. And guess who should be... vice-president: I, me and myself, with 18% of the votes [I vote only once]. The third place belongs to Tom Hanks with 7% of the votes. Poor Warren Beatty and Diablo Cody (lol). No one wanted them to be the next president of the Academy.
P.S.: Thanks for voting.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Let's talk about THE BOAT THAT ROCKED, movie that I saw yesterday. It's not the great movie that so many expect but the movie can be a nominee for best picture. Confused? With the best picture having now 10 nods, movies that a group of people support can get an nod. And that can happen with THE BOAT THAT ROCKED and the british vote. We are talking about a movie set in 1966, during a time that the rock and roll radios can only play from the sea because they were forbidden in UK. BBC Radio only had 2 hours of music and Radio Rock, the radio from the ship, had 24 hours. No wonder that half of british people listen to the second. Can britsh support THE BOAT THAT ROCKED or will they support other movies? ANd forget any Oscar acting nods. Even Golden Globes' nods are difficult, unless there is no other alternative.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
From EMPIRE mag: Michael Keaton will be voicing the character of Ken, Barbie’s long-time boyfriend, in Toy Story 3 when it comes out in summer of 2010.
Director Lee Unkrich said that, "Barbie is back, and this time she plays a bigger role. So naturally we had to bring in her companion Ken this time. And we can announce today that he's voiced by Michael Keaton. He worked with us on Cars, where he voiced the bad guy, and he was a blast to work with so we invited him back as Ken."
In what looks set to be a DVD extra, they also made a Groovin' with Ken faux-interview where the iconic doll discusses accusations that he's a girl's toy ("Who said that?!") and responds to the suggestion that his girlfriend is a bigger star.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I'm glad to see that Uma Thurman is finally trying to get an Oscar. She is a great actress but she couldn't pick the right movies for her. Remember that one... the one she flies... Anyway, read this from EMPIRE:
A cynic, or Kate Winslet in Extras, would say that Uma Thurman must be Oscar-hungry, because she's signed up to play a crusading nun in her next movie, Girl Soldiers.
Set in Uganda, the film is based on the 1996 Aboke abductions, which saw 139 schoolgirls taken from their boarding school to be used as child soldiers and sex slaves. One of the nuns who taught at the school, called Sister Caroline in Kathy Cook's book on the subject, Stolen Angels, but apparently Sister Rachele Fassera by birth, pursued the abductors and negotiated the release of 109 of the girls. She then set about rallying the people, government, United Nations and Pope to try to end the abduction and indoctrination of child conscripts.
The film's set to be directed by Will Raee, based on a screenplay by debutante screenwriter Stephanie Pinola and Karen Croner, who previously worked on Dexterity and One True Thing. It's being produced by Caspian Pictures, which aims to make "socially conscious" but also, y'know, watchable films. Certainly on the basis of this plot synopsis, we're saying this lady's the greatest nun since Maria sang about the hills being alive with the sound of music.
Monday, July 20, 2009
As a little homage to Natalie Wood, let's indulge in some pics of the Hollywood actress, who would have turned 71 today. Check out her appearances at the Oscars with Warren Beatty, when she was nommed for "Splendor in the Grass" and when she served as a presenter. She is also pictured in her one of her most prominent movies, such as "West Side Story", "Rebel Without a Cause" with James Dean and Sal Mineo, "Love With the Proper Stranger" opposite Steve McQueen and "This Property Is Condemned" with Robert Redford. Lastly but not leastly I also added various photos in which she just looks downright gorgeous.
Posted by Stephan at 1:33 PM