Archive for the ‘The Slate’ Category

The Slate: Time Machines and Tantrums

March 26, 2010

John Cusack’s got shit to promote. So he recalls his terrible ’80s and tripping on LSD at the Super Bowl. (NYT)

Robin Hood is set to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival. With Russell Crowe, William Hurt, Danny Huston and Max von Sydow in the codpieced cast, assume the red carpet will be a little testosterone-heavy. (Cineuropa)

“Anti-christ” James Cameron wants to smash “f*cking asshole” Glenn Beck with one of those Avatar exo-skeletons. He calls it “dialogue.” (Vulture)

Son of No One, the new cop drama from Dito Montiel, casts both Juliette Binoche and Tracy Morgan–surely the WTF pairing of the year. The 30 Rock star does have something of the young Gerard Depardieu about him. (Vulture)

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The Slate: How Do You Know, Red State, Gulliver’s Travels

March 23, 2010

The New York Times tells us all it knows about James L. Brooks upcoming How Do You Know. Frankly, it’s not a lot. The recap of the softball romantic comedy, pitched around some “can a big-star rom-com score?” hand-wringing, is that Reese Witherspoon is a ballplayer, and Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson compete for her heart. But did you know that Brooks is “known in these parts as the creator of a “Panic Attack!” cheer for his daughter’s soccer team”? (Or what that means?) And when will I’ll Do Anything get a director’s cut DVD release? (NYT)

Kevin Smith’s Red State, a horror movie which he once claimed was bleaker than Requiem for a Dream, is ready to roll. That’s Kevin Smith-bleak, of course, which for all we know is an empty refrigerator. The film is inspired by right-wing firebrand preacher Fred Phelps. Expect a Dogma-tic approach (i.e., totally headscratching) to the issues. (/Film)

In literary news, Emily Blunt is apparently good enough friends with Philip K. Dick to call him by his first name. She’s also playing a ditzy Lilliputian princess in a Gulliver’s Travels that will have little to do with Jonathan Swift. Raises frightening image of what a “Swift purist” might be like. (Inquirer)

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The Slate: White vs. Hoberman, The Addams Family, The Runaways

March 19, 2010

The high point of Armond White’s Greenberg-iad is also the one statement that approaches actual criticism: “I liked Harris Savides’ image of Stiller barely swimming across a pool—possibly an homage to my joke that Baumbach was the rat at the bottom of Margot at the Wedding’s pool.” This man walks among us. (NY Press)

… and J. Hoberman shrugs the whole tirade off. Is this still fun? (VV)

In related news: “The abiding joy [of writing film criticism] comes of saying what you’ve experienced so truthfully and so well that strangers get your meaning whether they agree or not.” It’s an elusive joy, trust us. (Scanners)

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The Slate: Twilight, Jean-Luc Godard and Mountain Goats

March 17, 2010

Gus van Sant, Sofia Coppola, Bill Condon … are any of them crazy enough to say “yes” to directing an installment of Twilight: Breaking Dawn? Probably not. Y’know, van Sant just might do it. (EW)

The line-up of this year’s 32nd Cinema du Reel Film Festival in Paris will include Godard/Mieville’s The Old Place and Reportage Amateur, as well as Richard Dindo’s promising Gaugin in Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands. Fest kicks off on March 18. (Cineuropa)

Speaking of Godard: “His devotion to the concept of the archive—including archival footage—is based in a sense of the object’s relic-like, totemic power that transcends evocation and memory to achieve a quasi-metaphysical incarnation of the past that restores its force through mythopoetic power, through the fact of its iconic contact with the past.” Right. (The Front Row)

Rian Johnson’s Life of the World to Come, starring the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle, is released on DVD on Record Store Day, sounds a lot like that Jonsi doc, Go Quiet. (Pitchfork)

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The Slate: Alice in Wonderland, Montgomery Clift and Bobby Fischer

March 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland reaps another $62 million to top Green Zone at the BO. People do not want to see movies about the Iraq War. Dancing Johnny Depp, however, is okay. (MTV)

Burt Lancaster: “He approached the script like a scientist.” Richard Burton: “You were never quite sure whether he would blow his lines or explode.” James Dean would call just to hear his voice. Brynn White on the enduring enigma of Montgomery Clift, an actor’s actor whose preference for second-tier auteurs may account for an after-life in the shadows. (Moving Image Source)

After flirting with that Heavy Metal project, David Fincher finally signs to make Pawn Sacrifice, about Bobby Fischer’s 1972 chess cold war against Boris Spassky. Will they keep in the anti-Semitism? Scripted by Steven Knight, creator of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and author of Eastern Promises. (Variety)

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The Slate: Tina Fey’s Date Gets Complicated

April 15, 2009

tina-fey

  • Get another tray! Film geeks have three more reasons to salivate. After getting the news that comic sexpots Tina Fey and Steve Carell were going to make like Willis and Basinger in Date Night comes news that Mark “Good Vibrations” Wahlberg, comic queen Kristin Wiig and SquallyShowers.com poster boy James Franco will be holding up the supporting end. They’ll be among the faces turning Fey and Carell’s big night out into a romantic disaster akin to After Hours. Director Shawn Levy (uh, Pink Panther) said he wanted “formidable actors.” We think he meant “Top Internet crushes.” (Variety)
  • Nanny McPhee was good and all, but did it really merit a sequel? Perhaps when you can promise to get Emma Thompson, Rhys Ifans and Maggie Smith in front of the camera it does. Added sweetener will come in the form of Maggie Gyllenhaal, who has joined the cast of Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, thus entering the “I’ve had kids, now it’s time to make movies for them” phase of her career. This time the magical nanny who is not Mary Poppins masterminds an evacuation during the London blitz. Sounds cheery. (Variety)
  • The big screen version of Eat Pray Love–a kind of Into the Wild but with more scented candles and less rotting moose–is finding some quirk to put around star Julia Roberts. Richard Jenkins will play a Texan that Roberts’ character meets at an Indian ashram. Smeared in his own feces. Well, maybe not. But he’s digging the spirituality. The Elizabeth Gilbert novel is being brought to the screen by Ryan Murphy, creator of Nip/Tuck. (Variety)
  • Can some Enchanted magic rub off on Forgetting Sarah Marshall‘s Kristen Bell? Kristen Bell sure hopes so. She’s signed up for the Disney comedy You Again. She’ll play a tiny-eyed woman whose glazed look becomes more frozen after she learns that her brother is marrying a hated frenemy from the past. So that’s no songs or fairy magic. Which means Disney is making our lede look pretty spurious. Andy Fickman (Race to Witch Mountain) directs. (Hollywood Reporter)
  • There is something beautiful about a world where a Frank Wedekind play from 1891 can become a McG film. Of course, Spring Awakening had to get some songs first. The Terminator: Salvation director has attached his name to the Tony award-winning musical about Teutonic love and wanking, but mostly wanking. No studio wants to touch the idea yet. Needless to say, this should make for one helluva casting call. (Hollywood Reporter)

The Slate: New Moon Gets New Sheen

April 13, 2009

Loews Astor Plaza

  • Michael Sheen is carrying on the great British thesping tradition of starring in any old toss. The actor has made his bones playing figures like Tony Blair in The Queen, David Frost in Frost/Nixon, and Brian Clough in The Damned United. But he’s fed his family with swill like Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. He’s since joined Twilight sequel New Moon as the leader of an Italian vampire coven. Sheen has a way to go before achieving the hacky stature of Sir Michael Caine, but he’s off to a nice start. (Variety)
  • London gangland dramas are two a penny, but London Boulevard is shaping up in the “great cast, lousy title” category. The film stars waifish Keira Knightley and shepherd’s pie-like Colin Farrell, and they’re being joined by hardman Ray Winstone, grumpy David Thewlis and the delightful Anna Friel. Farrell will play a released convict who becomes tangled up with in a waifish actress’ scrawny thighs. Winstone will be the gang boss who ensures mutual infatuation doesn’t run smooth. Booklist says Ken Bruen’s novel “packs one hell of a powerful punch.” (Variety)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean helmer Gore Verbinski has had enough shivered timbers, cheers, and would like to move on with his life. So does that mean more tragicomedies about depressed weathermen? No. The director’s staying soggy and sailing into Bioshock waters. Verbinski will be in charge of making the video game about a man stranded in an underwater city filled with psychotic fishy things into a movie that doesn’t suck. Arr! We mean, “glub!” (Variety)
  • The wilderness has done wonders for William Hurt. The 1980s most boring actor has blossomed in supporting roles like A History of Violence. Now he’ll hopefully be bringing bizarre line readings and facial hair to the untitled Robin Hood film that we love to rag on. He plays the Earl of Pembroke, a powerful noble who served both Richard the Lionheart and King John. Wikipedia also claims he was “the greatest jouster of his age.” We prefer to call him “the Liam Neeson role.” (Hollywood Reporter)
  • Looking for a little bit of that Wild Hogs male menopausal magic, director Kent Alterman (Semi-Pro) will direct Treehouse Gang for Warner Bros. The film, written by Tim Dowling (Role Models), centers on a group of adults searching for buried treasure and has been described as a grown-up Goonies. We’d make some “Chunk” gag, except that we spent our childhoods locked in a cellar without access to HBO. (Hollywood Reporter)

The Slate: Pacino Stopped at Moscow, Clash of the Luvvies

April 10, 2009

al-pacino

  • Somewhere along the way, Napoleon went from being a military genius to romantic comedian. Now he’s the stuff of kids films. Al Pacino is reported to be taking off the lifts and putting on the cockaded hat for Betsy and the Emperor. Based on the children’s book by Staton Rabin, the film will tell the story of the defeated emperor and the teenage girl he befriends while exiled in St. Helena. Leave your smutty minds in Elba. Emma Watson is due to star in a separate film, Napoleon and Betsy, which entertains the possibility of a queasy romantic relationship that sounds like the product of an Oxford professor’s effort at Harry Potter fan fic. (Hollywood Reporter)
  • Aside from a shirtless Harry Hamlin, one thing the original Clash of the Titans had going for it was plenty of British stage actors who really should have known better playing Greek Gods. Now the remake is headed in the same direction. Sam Worthington has already agreed to put on Hamlin’s girdle as Perseus. Now Liam Neeson has agreed to play Zeus. He’ll be throwing thunderbolts at horndog Ralph Fiennes, who will play Hades when not chasing the nymphs around. Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk) will be the ringmaster. (Hollywood Reporter)
  • If nothing else, Sylvester Stallone‘s The Expendables exists to give us casting bites that make folks say, “Wow, I didn’t know they were still alive!” And Brittany Murphy has yet to check into the Hollywood graveyard. The 8 Mile star will play Mickey Rourke’s chanteuse beard girlfriend, and most likely serve to get kidnapped by the ethnic baddies and be the most expendable of the ‘roided bunch. Still, Brittany, welcome back! (Hollywood Reporter)
  • Some call him “genius,” others call him “obnoxious,” but writer-director David O. Russell would prefer “busy.” A mere week after news broke that he would be directing The Silver Linings Playbook, he’s signed up for Aaron and Sarah. Formerly known as B.F.F., A&S is described as a romantic comedy of the hottie/nottie variety, with the odd couple falling for each other over four years of high school. Doesn’t seem like Russell could work much magic with this, but maybe he’ll cast Lily Tomlin as the principal! [It will be a cold day in hell when that happens – Lily Tomlin] (Variety)
  • We’re a long way from Grumpy Old Men. Larry Charles, director of Borat and the Seinfeld writer who coined the line “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” is about to make a Cialis comedy. In Winter’s Discontent, a widower moves into a retirement community looking for geriatric poontang. He brings his best buddy with him to keep the one-liners flying. The prospect of senior boot-knocking will be good news for anyone turned on by the finale of Japon. (Variety)

The Slate: Megan Fox, Sex and the City 2, Endless Possibilities

April 3, 2009

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  • Oh, that Mickey Rourke. He got a faceful of Marisa Tomei‘s ta-tas in The Wrestler. Now Megan Fox might have a toot on his trumpet. Hey, get your mind of the gutter. Mitch Glazer’s Passion Plays will have Rourke’s horn-blower taking a carnival beauty named “Angel” under his wing and protecting her from a gangster type. Angels? Trumpets? Wings? Geddit? While the thriller itself sounds skippable, bloggers everywhere thank Mr. Glazer for giving them an op to post near-naked Fox pictures. (Hollywood Reporter)
  • We’re not done with Mr. Big. Sex and the City 2 will come again in theaters on May 28, 2010, giving heterosexual men only a year and a month to steel themselves for another two-and-a-half-hours of drag queens who lunch. Warner Bros. and New Line haven’t given any more details, but as they come in, we’ll have more opportunities to indulge in inappropriate homophobia. Note to the fanboys: Sex and the City: The Movie made $412.6 million worldwide, easily out-grossing a certain comic book movie we’re all tired of hearing about. (Variety)
  • “Stringer” Bell is pumping up his resume. Idris Elba and Zoe Saldana are joining Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Losers. They’ll all play members of a special forces team who are left for dead, then try to erase their names from a CIA dead pool. Wait, doesn’t it usually happen the other way around? Elba will be doing cold and ruthless, Zoe will be doing wounded and tough, and Morgan is this Z-team’s Hannibal. (Hollywood Reporter)
  • If anybody wants Aaron Eckhart to play Two-Face again, they’d better have a word. The actor is filling up his future by falling into Rabbit Hole, which also stars Nicole Kidman. The play finds a family rocked by the sudden death of their four-year-old, and the audience thinking, “Hurry up and get on with your lives.” Hedwig and the Angry Inch‘s John Cameron Mitchell directs, so with luck there will be a song or two. (Production Weekly)
  • Meet the Parents director Jay Roach is currently helping Sacha Baron Cohen out with Bruno. So Paul Weitz is looking to jump into the helmer’s chair for Little Fockers, the third part of the comic trilogy. He’s the lesser known half of the American Pie team. Ben Stiller is expected to learn that Robert De Niro is his real father and Teri Polo will meet Ewoks. Actually, what we’ll really see is the sorry spectacle of Jake LaMotta doing changing diaper gags. (Variety)