Archive for March, 2009

Prayer of (Verbal) Ejaculation: Masao Adachi Speaks!

March 18, 2009

Heads up for fans of Japanese cinema and militancy! Nihon Cine Art has posted a long, dense conversation between Masao Adachi and Takashi Sakai.

Adachi is a director and screenwriter who has lived something of a triple life. During the 1960s, he was a presence on the Japanese experimental scene and worked with Nagisa Oshima. Then he wrote scripts for the Japanese “pinku” genre, including such sexy but socially conscious efforts as Sex Yugi/Sex Play and Yuke Yuke Nidomeno Shojo/Go Go Second Time Virgin!, the first part of which is posted above. In 1974, he joined the Japanese Red Army and went to Lebanon to work with the PLO. He revisited these experiences for his 2007 film, Yuheisha-terorisuto/Prisoner/Terrorist, about Japanese Red Army member Kozo Okamoto.
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Why Jennifer Aniston Will Not Be in the Next Bond Movie

March 18, 2009

jennifer-anistonIs it worth even entertaining the notion that Jennifer Aniston wants to be a Bond girl? Only if it’s a slow news day. Let’s check the in-box … yep. Let’s take a quick look at Variety. Tumbleweeds, there. Let’s pause for a minute and listen to the music of the spheres. Hmm, definitely Bon Iver. Okay, let’s entertain the notion that Jennifer Aniston wants to be a Bond girl.

The most glaring reason why this will not happen is a matter of dollars and cents. While Bond has been able to entertain big budgets thanks to the success of Casino Royale‘s retcon, it very rarely splurges money out on its cast. With the exception of Halle Berry in Die Another Day, a film which is still used to torture inmates at Guantanamo, no Bond girl of the last decade or so has ever successfully tickled the A-list.

Quantum of Solace (2008): Olga Kurylenko. Career highlight to date: Lots of nudity in Hitman.

Casino Royale (2006): Eva Green. Career highlight to date: Our love for Ms. Green knows no bounds, but her highest profile projects–Kingdom of Heaven and The Golden Compass have both been stiffer than she was at the end of the Bond film.
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SXSW Film Festival: And the Winners Are …

March 18, 2009

sxsw-2009If you put your ear to the wall and can hear people saying things like, “Wasn’t Bruno hilarious!” and “That Joe Swanberg is quite a card!” then either a) you are in Austin for the SXSW Film Festival and staying in a cheap hotel or b) have super hearing and will probably be kidnapped by the government to become part of their War on Terror efforts. While waiting for the men in black to take you away, SXSW have announced the winners of their various competitive strands.

Narrative Feature Jury Competition: Made in China (Judi Krant, 2009)

Go-getter novelty salesman Johnson decides to crack the Chinese market with his latest invention. Will modern China fall from the latest from the land of of the joy buzzer? With Jackson Kuehn.

Narrative Feature Audience Award: That Evening Sun (Scott Teems, 2009)

Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild) plays a Tennessee farmer who uncovers a veritable Greek tragedy when he returns to the old homestead. Based on a short story by William Gay.

More winners in the Documentary and Emerging Vision fields after that ever-lovin’ jump!
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Watchmen Writer Loses Mind in Public

March 18, 2009

watchmen2The excellent Occasional Superheroine blog takes apart Watchmen scribe David Hayter’s open letter to the fans. Hayter doesn’t so much use an analogy which is ill-advised as somewhere out where the buses don’t run:

“All this time, you’ve been waiting for a director who was going to hit you in the face with this story. To just crack you in the jaw, and then bend you over the pool table with this story. […]

You say you don’t like it. You say you’ve got issues. I get it.

And yet… You’ll be thinking about this film, down the road. It’ll nag at you. How it was rough and beautiful. How it went where it wanted to go, and you just hung on. How it was thoughtful and hateful and bleak and hilarious. And for Jackie Earle Haley.

Trust me. You’ll come back, eventually. Just like Sally*.”

You just don’t get anything like that with an Ozu movie! Seriously, does this kind of thing go on in 2009? I can’t figure out if Hayter is seriously disturbed, seriously misjudging the Watchmen fan-base, shamelessly catering to the Watchmen fan-base, and whether he actually even read Watchmen before he wrote “EXT. ECU ON SMILEY FACE BADGE.”

Of course, given that Payter is writing for Zack “This is Sparta” Snyder, perhaps we shouldn’t surprised that this boy’s club has a few issues with women, sex, violence, and violation. Amen to OS:

“This guy couldn’t carry Alan Moore’s jockstrap.”

It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.

*A Watchmen character who is raped by The Comedian and then does something that would require a spoiler alert.

Tribeca Trailers: From American Casino to Easy Virtue

March 18, 2009

Many are nursing St. Patrick’s hangovers at the moment, so when better to take a sample of the Tribeca Film Festival line-up? All day today we’ll be posting trailers from the films featured in this year’s fest, which kicks off on April 22. To begin, we’ve got a timely documentary on Wall St., a documentary about a blind child, a spot-on Blaxsploitation parody, a very grimy trailer for William Friedkin’s The Boys in the Band, a look at “business artist” Mark Kostabi, an investigation into anti-Semitism, an Oscar winner, and Kristin Scott Thomas grimacing through a Noel Coward adaptation.

American Casino (Leslie Cockburn, 2009)

The gamblers from Bear Stearns, Standard & Poor’s, and other future “I Love the 2000s” staples tell all.

There’s always more … after the jump!
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The Movies, Mr. Griffith and HBO

March 17, 2009

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The big film news of the day doesn’t have much to do with film at all. It’s that David Chase, whose The Sopranos became a kind of Mahābhārata of the Mob, is headed back to HBO and making a miniseries about the days when Hollywood wasn’t much more than an orange grove.

Ribbon of Dreams will unspool around the friendship between a cowboy and a mechanical engineer who both go to work for D.W. Griffith. They graduate to becoming producers of their own, and are soon negotiating the nascent business of the movies–as well as real life characters like John Ford, John Wayne, Raoul Walsh, Bette Davis and Billy Wilder. An unconfirmed and possibly imaginary report implied one episode would see the two guys barely surviving a drinking bout with John Barrymore, Errol Flynn and W.C. Fields.
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Nowhere Boy to get no kind of release

March 17, 2009

john-lennon1Nowhere Boy, a biopic about John Lennon’s early years directed by a Turner Prize nominee, has been picked up by The Weinstein Co. Which means the still in-production film will be re-cut, remain under-seen by discriminating audiences, and yet still somehow pick up an Oscar nomination or two. Bob ‘n’ Harv plan on dumping releasing the film at the end of ’09, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Reasons to get mad about the Boy lie both in front of and behind the camera. Playing young master Lennon is Aaron Johnson, who also has a role in the forthcoming Kick-Ass. Kristin Scott-Thomaswill carry on with her new career playing Madeas as Aunt Mimi, the relative who raised him. When his mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff) re-enters his life, Lennon is doomed to become one of the most famous musicians the world has ever known. Should Bono turn up as a character called “Dr. Robert,” make your way to the nearest exit.

The film is the directorial debut of Sam Taylor-Wood, a YBA who has worked with Elton John, Pet Shop Boys and the Buzzcocks. She may be best known for a “filmed portrait” of David Beckham sleeping. The rumor that she was planning on repeating the trick, on with Harvey Weinstein as the subject, has been wholly invented by this blogger. Matt Greenhalgh, who kept the accents flat in the kitchen sink/dull-as-dishwater Ian Curtis biopic Control, is adapting the memoirs by John’s sister Julia Baird.

What the Papers Say: Almodovar’s Broken Embraces

March 17, 2009

broken-embracesVariety is one of the first across the bows with a review of Pedro Almodovar‘s newest, Los Abrazos rotos/Broken Embraces, starring Penelope Cruz, Lluis Homar, and Ruben Ochandiano. In a blizzard of flashbacks and movie references, a blinded writer-director (Homar) is asked to write a script about his late producer by the dead man’s son (Ochandiano). Cruz appears as a prostitute/actress who enchants both men. Says Jonathan Holland:

“Partly a film about films and partly a film about love, Pedro Almodovar’s “Broken Embraces” can’t quite decide where its allegiances lie. A restless, rangy and frankly enjoyable genre-juggler that combines melodrama, comedy and more noir-hued darkness than ever before, the pic is held together by the extraordinary force of Almodovar’s cinematic personality. But while its four-way in extremis love story dazzles, it never really catches fire. … There’s a sense here that Almodovar, who’s now a stylistic law unto himself, may be more interested in stretching himself technically than in engaging with issues of the wider world.”

Broken Embraces opens in Spain tomorrow, will screen at the Cannes Film Festival and is due to bow in the U.S. sometime in 2009.

The Slate: Thor’s Bodyguard Makes Passion Plays (But Not Mad Max IV)

March 17, 2009

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  • Sure, it’s probably the product of a journo and a meal of Welsh Rarebit, but this is one vision too indigestable to pass up–Rihanna may star opposite Channing Tatum in a remake of the Huston/Costner The Bodyguard. [Hasn’t she suffered enough? – Reader’s Voice] An “insider” said the film would be “young and sexy,” as opposed to the 1991 original, which is considered to be “wooden and crack addicty.” Also mooted: Rihanna for Charlie’s Angels 3 and a flick with Justin Tinkerbell. (NY Daily News)
  • Natalie Portman is reportedly being courted by Thordirector Kenneth Branagh, which presumably means that he’s been leaving flagons of mead, fresh boar sacrifices and a mint VHS copy of Dead Againon her doorstep. Portman will presumably play someone female (and short) in Marvel’s Norse saga. Nikki Finke also spits out a load of names who could play the Thunderer, with the most notable being Josh Hartnett. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)
  • Mickey Rourke‘s agent sure has been busy lately, and that’s why Mickey loves him/her. Hot on the heels of the Iron Man 2 announcement, Rourke is signing on to the indie drama Passion Plays. Who knows? The Pope of Greenwich Village might even get to do some real acting. Mitch Glazer (Scrooged) is writing, directing, and insisting the plot be kept under wraps. Phooey. (Hollywood Reporter)
  • George Miller has told MTV that he’s not closing the door on making Mad Max: Fury Road, but don’t hold your breath. “It depends on when the opportunity comes to do the live-action film,” he said. “Mad Maxwas a lifetime ago.” He was all set to make the fourth installment in Namibia when the Iraq war broke out, the dollar went pffft, and Fox got cold feet. Miller added that Mel Gibson was now out of the limping: “The stories are pretty physical. It’s not like Unforgiven.” (MTV Movies Blog)
  • Paramount have bought the rights to Joshua Davis’ self-explanatory Wired article “The Untold Story of the World’s Biggest Heist.” Written with the participation of a genuine criminal mastermind, the article blows the lid off a Belgian heist that took in $100 million. J.J. Abrams will produce and–it’s hoped–direct. Unless Star Trekturns out to be a big fat Tribble, in which case it could turn into a straight-to-DVD film with John Cena. (Hollywood Reporter)

Il Divo to Make a Bow in New York

March 17, 2009

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Il Divo
is opening in New York on April 24 … and thank God, it isn’t a four-hour documentary on the Simon Cowell-helmed popera group. The film centers on former Italian PM Giulio Andreotti and, along with Gomorra/Gomorrah, suggests that Italian film is having a vintage year. Over the course of a stormy career that began with his election to parliament in 1946, Andreotti “warned” Libya on an impending U.S. bombing, was investigated for his Mafia connections, and watched his Christian Democratic go to pieces. Among the nicknames he picked up were “Beelzebub,” “Eternity” (because of his many spells as PM), “The First Letter of the Alphabet,” “The Indecipherable,” and “God Giulio.” He is even said to have inspired The Godfather: Part III‘s Don Lucchesi.

Paolo Sorrentino‘s docudrama has drawn plenty of praise and won the Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes film festival. Here’s a sampling from the various end of year magazines:

Guido Bonsaver: “Political cinema meets Fellini meets Tarantino. And if you think the plot is far-fetched, you should follow Italian politics more closely.”

Jay Weissberg: “While Gomorrah gets all the attention, the better film, Il Divo, is marginalised as too opaque for non-Italian audiences. For those in the know, every name mentioned is like a kick in the stomach, but anyone with a sense of cinematic language will be bowled over by Paulo Sorrentino’s bold, witty and devastating critique of Italy’s deformed political landscape.”

Too opaque? We’ll see when the film opens at Lincoln Center Cinemas in April. Watch the trailer after the jump.
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