Saturday, January 14, 2017

This shot is further proof of the amazing cinematography from the 1927 film "Wings"

That look of drunkenness by the actor (Charles Rogers) who is poured the glass of champagne at the end of the shot - that's not acting, he's really drunk:

In the scene in which Rogers becomes drunk, the intoxication displayed on screen was genuine, as although 22 years of age, he had never tasted liquor before, and quickly became inebriated from drinking champagne.

Such detail to his craft, this is taking method acting to its absolute limits.

Imagine th trail of destruction behind the cameraman with his camera pushing through all the tables.

Mark Hamill Records Himself as The Joker Reading Donald Trump's Meryl Streep Twitter Rant

This is both funny and depressing. I do hope this becomes a weekly thing.

If Trump goes after Hamill, he'll have to deal with both Batman and Star Wars fans. Its gotta hurt when Luke Skywalker, the guy who saw goodness in Darth Fuckin' Vader, is calling you a villain.

Scorsese's SILENCE crash and burns at the box-office

Friday, January 13, 2017

Official: Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.

Official Synopsis for LOGAN revealed in a beautiful Instagram photo


ROGUE ONE added one if its best scenes in the last minute

Gareth Edwards spoke to Yahoo Movies:

"What was added — and it was a fantastic add — was the Vader action scene, with him boarding the ship and dispatching all those rebel soldiers," he told Yahoo Movies. "That was something conceptualised a little later."

"It was a really great punch in the arm and something I think fans wanted to see," said Gilroy.

The original cut apparently was just going to end with Jyn (Felicity Jones) and Cassian (Diego Luna) passing on the physical copy of the Death Star plans, which would eventually end up in a digitized Leia's hands.

I do love how they added the Vader sequence to spice things up the final moments of  the film. As I've previously mentioned in this site, the last 20 or so minutes of "Rogue One" are the best moments of the entire film. They link up to "A New Hope" in such a masterful way and the Vader sequence made me feel so giddy. I mean, who doesn't want to see Vader using his skills to kick ass .... No matter how evil the son of a bitch is.

Michael Jackson movie URBAN MYTHS will NOT come out due to controversy

Joseph Fiennes Michael Jackson

U.K. Channel Sky Arts has announced that they will not be airing the episode of Urban Myths which was going to deal with a post-9/11 road trip taken by Michael Jackson (Joseph Fiennes), Elizabeth Taylor (Stockard Channing) and, yes, Marlon Brando (Brian Cox) back in 2001.

Jackson's daughter Paris tweeted these scathing words about the project (which might have prompted the negative reaction that happened)

Here’s Sky Arts' full statement via Billboard:
"We have taken the decision not to broadcast Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, a half hour episode from the Sky Arts Urban Myths series, in light of the concerns expressed by Michael Jackson’s immediate family. We set out to take a light-hearted look at reportedly true events and never intended to cause any offense."
"Joseph Fiennes fully supports our decision."
And so, this film will be shelved indefinitely and, quite possibly, never see the light of day, but how about finding a way to get this out to the public. Quite possibly via a leak? I know it looks like a trainwreck waiting to happen, but I am just curious about the artistic motivation the filmmakers had in making something like this. I want to see what they were trying to achieve by depicting these three legends embarking on that infamous road trip. It looks and sounds like a guilty pleasure.

Tarantino, Bruce Willis on the set of Pulp Fiction

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Confirmed: Disney are in talks with Carrie Fisher's estate to digitize her for Episode IX

Another Record For 2016 - The Top Five Films Worldwide Were All Released By One Studio, Disney (in current order: CIVIL WAR, FINDING DORY, ZOOTOPIA, JUNGLE BOOK & ROGUE ONE).

I wrote on 11.14.16

"Good God, next thing you know Disney's CEO's will be candidates for the American Presidency. The monopolization of Disney is ridiculous. They will take over cinema and diminish the quality of movies, as if they haven't done that already, and they will most likely have no other competitor left. That's my doomsday scenario for you on this lovely afternoon. Read it and weep."

Directors Guild of America, precursor to the Oscars, has its five nominees


Also for first-Time Feature Film:
Garth Davis, “Lion”
Kelly Fremon Craig, “The Edge of Seventeen”
Tim Miller, “Deadpool”
Nate Parker, “Birth of a Nation”
Dan Trachtenberg, “10 Cloverfield Lane”
No Scorsese, Jarmusch, Larrain, Saulnier, or Mackenzie, but they did include Lion's Garth Davis? Oy vey. Also Mel Gibson for "Hacksaw Ridge" was more than deserving compared to Davis' direction. It looks like these will be our five nominees for Best Director, unless Martin Scorsese, the dark horse, can sneak in there somehow. I'm still dumbfounded by the lack of excitement for "Silence." What exactly happened? As I mentioned to a friend the other day, as we were talking about the why "Silence" has been met with such a shrug, Scorsese's film reawakened so much stuff I kept locked inside of me for too many years. The questions it asks are somewhat taboo in our society, most are too scared to even ask them. Maybe that's why it wasn't met with the overall acclaim I thought it deserved. It scared too many people away with its themes. It's not a visceral ride, it's a meditative and thoughtful journey into the 21st century psyche.

By the way, I absolutely have no problem with the four other nominees.

In my 9.16.16 review of "Lion" for The Film Stage at TIFF, I wrote the following:

"Garth Davis‘ directorial debut Lion is based on a true story. The film makes sure to tell us that at the very beginning of the movie — just to remind us that whatever we’re about to see in front of us were real events inspired by real people. We first see the main character of the film, Saroo, at all but five years old, wandering the streets of central India by helping out his mom, a rock carrier, and his brother, the man of the house. In a random, but realistic, turn of events Saroo ends up on runaway train and gets lost thousands of kilometers away in the streets Calcutta. The first half, all in Hindi and Bengali with English subtitles, is dynamite, encompassing an exotic world far away from us that nevertheless feels all too intimate and relatable. Saroo is a tiny fella and he ends up surviving many dilemmas by simply doing what he does best: running.

"After a stint at a nasty, abusive Calcutta Orphanage, Saroo ends up adopted by an Australian couple in Tasmania. The film goes forward 25 years later, the memory of Saroo’s real family still looming in his head, he opts to find them by using something as simple as Google Earth, and this is where the drama starts to struggle. If the first half is an indelible treat and gives one high hopes that a film delicately placed in the awards season will in fact meet its steep expectations, the second half is troublesome and falls flat."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jamie Foxx confirms: Scorsese attached to Mike Tyson biopic

Well, this was unexpected. Jamie Foxx recently spoke to Screen Rant and divulged some interesting information about a Mike Tyson biopic he has been passionately working on for the better part of a decade. The big news is that Martin Scorsese is officially attached to the film. If you are, for some reason, unaware of the connection between Scorsese and boxing, the venerable 74 year-old filmmaker directed the greatest boxing movie of all-time in 1980 with "Raging Bull." Scorsese tackling Tyson, who might be even more flawed, violent and aggressive than Lake LaMotta ever dreamed he could be, might be a match made in cinematic heaven.

Now is Scorsese involved as producer or director? That's the big question, but all seems to indicate that it is in fact as director. This adds to the lineup of films coming up for Scorsese. He is rumored to start shooting "The Irishman" with De Niro, Keitel, Pacino and, possibly, Pesci this February and is currently waiting for the final draft of a screenplay adaptation of Erik Larson’s book, "The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America." The latter would star Leonardo Dicaprio and, if all goes according to planned, would be their sixth collaboration together.

Screen Rant: Speaking of getting punched, one of the most polarizing lives of the past thirty years has been Mike Tyson. I know you were attached [to a biopic of Tyson], what’s the update on that? 

Jamie Foxx: That is a go. 

Screen Rant: It’s a go? Martin Scorsese’s still attached? 

Jamie Foxx: Yeah, he’s attached, and it’s—Mike Tyson’s life is one of the most amazing American stories.

Full Screen Rant interview can be found HERE.

Is the "Gangster" genre dead?

I was anxiously awaiting my press invite to catch Ben Affleck's gangster epic "Live By Night." We were in dire need of a good 'Gangster' picture, something that hasn't been the case since 2007's American Gangster or, for some including myself, Michael Mann's underrated 2009 John Dillinger film "Public Enemies." If you're counting foreign films as well, which you should, there hasn't really been a seminal addition to the genre since 2010's "Un Prophete" from Jacques Audiard. I did think Jeremy Saulnier reinvented the genre with his underseen indie film "Blue Ruin," from 2014, but does that really count? It's like saying "Blood Simple" is a gangster film, which "Blue Ruin" bares striking similarities. I also enjoyed John Hillcoat's underseen "Lawless" from 2012, but it didn't give us anything new, fresh or original within the genre.

I'm here to report that the dire streak of Gangster films for Hollywood will continue because, well, Ben Affleck's "Live By Night" is just not good. It follows the familiar tropes of the gangster genre and, in fact, makes them seem boring and rusty. Even the action scenes, which if you've seen Affleck's "The Town," are the director's specialty, fall flat on the ground. What we're left with is a film that is reminiscent of 2012's misbegotten "Gangster Squad." That's not a compliment. Remember that film? That was the nail in the coffin as far as I'm concerned for the genre. Bankable actors and actresses couldn't even make it a box-office success and the reviews, yikes. 

All this brings leads me to an article from The Guardian, published this week, well worth a read and which proclaims that "Live By Night" is "Ben Affleck’s love letter to – and hopefully death knell of – the classic Hollywood gangster flick." Is the gangster genre dead? Time will only tell, but there are signs indicating that it is the end of an era for the genre and that it will have to evolve into something fuller and more relevant to rise back up from the ashes. Last year's superb "Straight Outta Compton" might be a sign of where it's headed and, although I'm stretching the genre a bit here with that example, maybe we should start to qualify some hip-hop movies as part of the "gangster" genre. There are films about Tupac, Biggie and Snoop Dogg forthcoming, all of which will probably deal with their connections to organized crime (Bloods, Crips etc.) Why should those films, just like "Straight Outta Compton," not be considered gangster films?

While were at it, best gangster films of the last decade? Were there any? The 2000's had "City of God," "The Departed," "Road to Perdition," "American Gangster," "A Prophet," "Gangs of New York," "Eastern Promises," "A History of Violence," "Public Enemies." But the 2010s? Nada. Can't find a single worthy addition. I can deal with, the aforementioned, "Lawless" an ultra-violent Prohibition era Gangster flick or, if it counts, last year's superb "Straight Outta Compton" although I'm stretching the genre a bit there.

"Live By Night" comes out in limited release on December 25, 2016, before opening wide on January 13.  

If Damien Chazelle wins Best Director next month at the Oscars he'll become the youngest ever winner of the award

And no, 25 year-old Orson Welles didn't win for "Citizen Kane" back in 1941, instead the award went to John Ford and his underwhelming "How Green Was My Valley." Good God. What made his "Citizen Kane" debut even more impressive was the fact that it was Welles' first feature. Then again, Welles loved Ford so much that he watched "Stagecoach" over and over again to study and prepare for the shoot of "Citizen Kane."

The stats are as follows:

Damien Chazelle "La La Land" (31 Years old)
Norman Taurog "Skippy" (32 Years old)
Lewis Milestone "Two Arabian Knights" (33 Years old)
Sam Mendes "American Beauty" (34 Years old)
Frank Borzage  "A Farewell to Arms" (35 Years old)
Lewis Milestone "All Quiet on the Western Front" (35 Years old) 
Tony Richardson "Tom Jones" (35 Years old)
Francis Ford Coppola "The Godfather" (36 Years old)

Nicolas Winding Refn's next movie revealed

Nicolas Winding Refn will continue to build one of the most iconoclastic filmographies in cinema with his next film: "The Avenging Silence." Not much was known about his follow-up to last year's polarizing, shocking, repulsive, beautiful, brilliant "The Neon Demon" ... that is until just a few hours ago. 
According to The Playlist, The film's full synopsis is now available to read and available via Crouching Tigers Project Lab which launched just last month at "International Film Festival & Awards Macao.”  Twelve projects were selected for the given filmmakers to try and pitch their films to producers, distributors, backers etc. ""The Avenging Silence" was one of them.
This is the synopsis they got:
A former European spy, accepts a confidential mission from a Japanese businessman exiled to France to take down the head of the most treacherous Yakuza boss in Japan.
But it’s in the extended synopsis where the story gets truly fascinating, as it looks like once again, Refn will have (as the title suggests) a protagonist who doesn’t say much at all:
The spy was one of the leading spies in Europe. An injury inflicted to his vocal cords during a failed mission six years ago left him mute, forcing him to leave his profession. Now, six years later, he is sought out and put on confidential assignment by a former Yakuza, now a retired Japanese businessman in exile in France, to track down and kill the head of the most dangerous Yakuza family in Japan.
Afraid of flying, our spy anonymously boards a cargo ship headed for Tokyo. An onboard explosion sinks the ship and our spy finds himself washed ashore on a life raft in southern Japan. As a mute, our spy must silently journey through Japan seeking 4 clues – symbolizing conquest, war, famine, and death – which will guide him to the unknown location of the Yakuza boss. Meanwhile, the Yakuza boss, known for his 2004 mass slaughter of Yakuza members who had turned against him, is believed to be plotting to reenter the Japanese underworld after living in his own surreptitious world in the mountains, void of all technology. This way of life becomes an obsession for the Yakuza boss. Rumors spread that he had committed suicide years ago but escaped prisoners from his hidden camp told stories of his plan for a comeback. Now rival Yakuza families suspect he is forming a master plan to return, a plan that unburies the most infamous story of Yakuza betrayal.
Our spy finds himself on an existential journey through Japan in search of pieces to the puzzle that will lead him to a confrontation with the ultimate Yakuza boss in a terrifying conclusion.
Last august Refn tweeted this tease about his potential next film:

ROGUE ONE editor John Gilroy: "A lot of the movie changed"

John Gilroy is an enigma, he edited both Suicide Squad and Nightcrawler. Nightcrawler is one of the most beautifully edited films of the decade, reminiscent of the gritty work of editors in the 1970s. Suicide Squad is one of the most poorly edited films I have seen. Does it have to do with lousy the material he had to work with?

We all know that reshoots happened with "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" We also know that Gareth Edwards got pushed aside to make way for screenwriter Tony Gilroy, who got payed more than $5 Million for them. You don't get payed that much for just rewrites. Make no mistake about it, he was part of the film-making process. 

John Gilroy spoke to UK's The Independent in one of the most insightful interviews yet about what happened.

For more on the production mess of "Rogue One" click HERE

Full interview can be found HERE, but here are the most interesting sections:

How did editing Gareth’s footage compare to working on other films? 

He’s very hand on, apparently. I was given some free range to do things. I came on and helped shape a few things, to try some things, and I did. We had re-shoots. In terms of being hands-on, I would say it was about normal for directors. You mentioned re-shoots. 

How much input did you have with those? 

 I came on a little bit later than the other two editors. When I came on, there was a plan, so we did some photography. I was very much set on the movie that you see. There have been other incarnations of the movie, with different scenes that were not used, but I didn’t think about them that much. I was thinking about the movie that we had to make. 

 In some of the trailers, there’s some very different footage. 

 They were trying different things, obviously, as they went along. 

There was one where Jyn was holding the Death Star plans and running through what looks like a London tube.  Was there another ending in sight at the beginning? 

[SPOILERS] 13 scenes from Rogue One's trailers cut from the film 13 show all I would say a lot of the movie changed. That’s the simplest way to put it. I’ve said we definitely changed things at the beginning, added scenes developing those characters, and that has a ripple effect through the whole movie. So, I know people have been watching and clocking the deleted scenes and saying ‘I wonder how that fit in?’ but I was mostly concerned with the movie you saw. I was there to put that movie together. 

In a previous interview, I believe someone said there was a rough cut of Rogue One made using other films. 

Colin said that. He saw everything at every stage of this journey. And that happens - I’ve been on films where you make a pacemaker. Taking scraps of other films and making a sketch with other films, It’s not unheard of at an early stage of a film.

It’s interesting that both those films had a lot of talk of re-shoots and deleted scenes from the trailers.

A lot of things happened on Suicide Squad too. I’m not going to go into all that, but sometimes on these very big features, there’s a lot at stake. And when there’s a lot at stake, you need to get it right. Filmmakers need to feel they’re getting it right. So, people sometimes change their mind. People add different ideas and I guess you can say that about both these films. 

Because these trailers are sent out so far beforehand, does the reaction to them change the way you edit the film? Or are you completely oblivious to them, ignoring the reaction from fans at places like Comic-Con?

I ignore it. A trailer or a comic-con piece is a totally different thing to what we’re really doing. But, it’s really nice to clock. What the early trailers on Suicide Squad did was show Warner Bros. people are very interested in the movie and the series. I’d say those short form things are an art in and of themselves. That’s a whole other thing. I don’t normally think about it too much and there’s not a lot of interface between the two disciplines. 

The Playlist names the 50 best movie musicals, but is SINGIN' IN THE RAIN really the best ever?

I have no problem when someone claims "Singin' in the Rain" is the best movie musical of all-time because, well, it is! The choreography, songs and cinematography is just top-notch and almost impossible to recreate in this day and age. You can tell they worked their butts off to pull off some of the song and dance that was in the film. That's a lot of hard work and something that I feel today's film industry just does not have the time and energy to work out in coherent fashion. Damien Chazelle sure tried though, and the time and effort that went into making "La La Land" clearly shows on-screen.

Now, back in September I wrote this in my review of "La La Land": "It’s quite possibly the best movie musical since Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz.” 5 or so months later and I still believe this to be true. I mean, think about it this way, the last 30 or so years we've had the odd movie musical come out here and there and we've always had some critics claiming that "the Musical is back!" But was it ever really gone? One can make the case that between 2000 and 2009 there were plenty of notable films to choose from: "Dancer in the Dark," "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," "Moulin Rouge," Chicago," "Once," "8 Women," "Dreamgirls," "Hairspray" and "Sweeney Todd" just to name a few. The last 5-6 years the genre has struggled a little more, which is why "La La Land" has been greeted with such open arms. Not to dismiss Damien Chazelle's film, which is even better than any of the ones I have mentioned above and a true landmark for the genre. 

My colleagues over at The Playlist have just come out with their own list of the 50 best movie musicals of all-time. The rankings don't agree with my theory that "La La Land" is the best musical since "All That Jazz" which was released close to 38 years ago. The Playlist is saying it's the third best musical, the other two ahead of Chazelle's film are "Beauty and the Beast," GREAT, and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," even GREATER.

Click FULL LIST to see the entire Top 50

The Top 20 is as follows:

1. “Singin’ In The Rain” (1952)
2. “All That Jazz” (1979)
3. “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964)
4. “West Side Story” (1961) 
5. “Cabaret” (1972) 
6. “The Wizard Of Oz” (1939) 
7. “Beauty & The Beast” (1991) 
8. “My Fair Lady” (1964)
9. “Hedwig &The Angry Inch” (2001) 
10. “The Sound Of Music” (1965)
11. “Swing Time” (1936)
12. “An American In Paris” (1951)
13. “Mary Poppins” (1964) 
14. “La La Land” (2016)
15. “Funny Girl” 
16. “Top Hat” (1935)
17. “Show Boat” (1951)
18. “The Jungle Book” (1967) 
19. “Dancer In The Dark” (2000)
20. “A Star Is Born”(1954)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

METROPOLIS was released 90 years ago to this day. Using diagrams from a 1927 magazine, here is how they made those eye-popping/groundbreaking special effects

LOGAN will be the first Marvel movie to premiere at a major film festival when it debuts this February at the 67th Berlin Film Festival

Related image

Fox must have a decent amount of faith in this film to have it premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. We do already know that this won't be your typical superhero movie. The James Mangold-directed film has already earned an R rating and is supposed to be the final Hugh Jackman/Wolverine picture. The trailer, which successfully blended black and white footage with Johnny Cash's eponymous tune "Hurt," hinted that the film would be different from what we usually get in the genre. It looks like a depressing movie, which is more than welcome by the way, and we are more than excited to catch a glimpse of it next month.

I doubt they're entering this into Berlin Film Festival for no other reason, but to advertise it as something outside of what we're use to seeing in Superhero movies. I think it's quite a bold, but exciting move though.

Ryan Reynolds has also stated that he believes "Logan" will be an Oscar contender come next year.

‘Logan’ looks like a movie that might break that glass ceiling,” Reynolds told Variety. “I know first-hand that it’s amazing. I’ve seen some of it. It’s mind-blowing. It relies a lot on character.

First Look: Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson, Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor and Brian Cox as Marlon Brando in URBAN MYTHS

Joseph Fiennes Michael Jackson

J.J. Abrams: "I’m now more excited about working on things that are original ideas that perhaps one day someone else will have to reboot."

Image result for jj abrams funny

Looks like Mr. Reboot/Remake/Lens-Flare has finally had it with selling his soul to the devil.

Over the past decade or so J.J. Abrams has rebooted, successfully might I add, "Star Wars," "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible."

/Film has him saying this:

"You know, I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten involved in things that I loved when I was a kid. In fact, even Westworld, which we’re here for tonight, is one of them. But I don’t feel any desire to do that again. I feel like I’ve done enough of that that I’m more excited about working on things that are original ideas that perhaps one day someone else will have to reboot."

Do notice that he doesn't really mention sequels or prequels.

 "Mr Abrams we need to make a Ghostbusters-Back to The Future crossover".
"No, I'm done with reboots, its limiting my artistic ability".
"We'll give you a budget of 900 million and 10% take in merchandise".
"How many do you want?"

Original content Abrams has actually directed in his film career: "Super 8." That's it. Of course on television he's the man behind "Alias," "Lost" and -WUH?- "Felicity."

DEADPOOL just became an Oscar contender with its Producers Guild of America Best Picture nomination

I ain't kidding. The PGA is usually the most accurate way to predict the Oscar nominees for Best Picture. Thousands of industry producers vote for the PGA awards and guess who votes for the Best Picture award at the Oscars? Those same producers that voted for the PGA. 
As it stands "Sully," "Silence," "Jackie," "Loving," "20th Century Women" and "Florence Foster Jenkins" are out of the race. They cannot make it, the odds are stacked against them.
The following are the nominated films:
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Full List on its way. This list via Kris Tapley.
Last year, the guild foresaw seven of the eight Oscar contenders: “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “Mad Max; Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant” and “Spotlight.” It missed “Room,” opting instead for “Ex Machina,” “Sicario” and “Straight Outta Compton.” While “The Big Short” won over the producers, academy voters opted for “Spotlight.”
Likewise, in 2014, the PGA went seven for eight: “American Sniper,” “Boyhood,” “Birdman,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game,” “The Theory of Everything” and “Whiplash.” It went with “Foxcatcher,” “Gone Girl” and “Nightcrawler” over eventual Oscar nominee “Selma.” “Birdman” was the top pick for best pic with both groups.
In 2013, eight of the PGA nominees made the cut with academy: eventual Best Picture winner “12 Years a Slave,” as well as “Gravity” (which had tied with it at the PGA), “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,”  “Dallas Buyers Club” “Her,” “Nebraska,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The other two PGA contenders — “Blue Jasmine” and “Saving Mr. Banks” — were snubbed by the academy. Rather, Brit hit “Philomena” was the ninth Oscar nominee.

Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson -both Conservatives- having to sit through Meryl Streep's scathing anti-Trump speech

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tom Hardy Is 'Waiting for the Call to Come' on 'Mad Max' Sequels

With all the rubbish sequels that are being made these days in cinema, this is one of the few that actually makes sense to greenlight.
George Miller is apparently in pre-production on Mad Max: the Wasteland and has Hardy signed up to do two more Mad Max films. I expect they will be finishing the script and building a monstrous set design even before Hardy is signed on.

Tom Hardy spoke to Esquire and had this to say when asked if there will be a sequel:

"Yeah I believe so! I don't know when that starts, but I believe that's in the books. There's a couple of those floating around. I'm waiting for the call to come. It was so good, man."

Bar none the Best Golden Globe moment from last evening: Kristen Wiig And Steve Carell presenting 'Best Animated movie'

Steve Carrell is so good at playing it straight while saying completely off the wall hilarious lines. He had tears forming in his eyes, the man is a wonder. Acting is a profession just like anything else. This really goes to show how much of an expert he is, but comedic acting is harder than normal acting. There is a reason why Breaking Bad used so many actors with comedy backgrounds. Truly impressive stuff. It's very impressive. Kristen is good but you could tell she was struggling to hold it together. He was so straight faced it could have been a real story.

IMAX poster for La La Land is beautifully retro

Image may contain: one or more people and text

From my 9.17.16 review at the Toronto International Film Festival:

"Winning the People’s Choice Award at TIFF, and coming out this Friday, Damien Chazelle’s film was a no-brainer. Everyone felt sure it was going to win even before the festival started. Starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, Chazelle’s film has moments of pure joy that make you feel punch-drunk in love at the movies again. The morning press screening burst into extended applause after the film’s final shot and that sealed the deal for the film’s eventual fate as a major Best Picture contender. Stone, a beauty of an actress, also turned heads for her performance as Mia, a struggling actress hoping to find her big break. Mia falls for Sebastian, a playful and charismatic Ryan Gosling, as they embark on a colorful and touching adventure filled with some of the best original songs ever conceived for the big screen. It’s quite possibly the best movie musical since Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz."

"The Irishman" producer on Scorsese using CGI to make De Niro look younger: "We’re still experimenting but saw a test and it looked extraordinary."

Image result for the irishman

On De Niro being given the CGI treatment

And you’re using CGI to reduce De Niro’s age for The Irishman?

"It’s a story that spans a lot of time, so some segments without prosthetics we’ll be able to get him to look like his Godfather, Part II part. Well, that age, anyway."

And you’ve tested it with him?

"Yeah. It won’t be a huge aspect of the movie, but sections. The technology can go from 20, 40, 60. Yeah. We’re still experimenting but saw a test and it looked extraordinary."

On Joe Pesci coming out of retirement

Are you still talking to Joe Pesci about coming aboard The Irishman?

"I know Bob is. Robert De Niro, that is. It’s in his hands now and I know he’s making an effort. There will be a time when we have to start that so I know he’s having those conversations with Joe and still trying to get him on board."

Courtesy of Collider

Anthony Hopkins testing different masks as Hannibal Lecter for THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS


Source: Bloody Disgusting

Dreaded Golden Globes telecast did bring me one moment of joy

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Where have all the exciting American filmmakers gone?

So let's play a little game here.

We all know the late '60s and all of the '70s brought forth some of the greatest filmmakers of our time: Scorsese, Coppola, Peckinpah, Altman, Spielberg, Friedkin, Waters, Malick, Cassavettes, De Palma, Eastwood, Allen, Nichols, and Romero just to name a few.

The early '80s gave us Lynch, Demme, Brooks, Cronenberg, and Gilliam, and then the indie movement started blossoming a few years later with Jarmusch, Coen, Lee, Van Sant, Sayles, Soderbergh, Tarantino, and Linklater.

Heading into the new century, some of the most promising filmmakers entered the fray: PTA, O. Russell, Anderson, Payne, Jonze, Fincher, Aronofsky, Nolan, Haynes.

And then between 2005 until to this day .... STAGNATION.

Cahiers Du Cinéma readers name their 10 best of 2016

Great list. Love all of these except for Bruno Dumont's "Ma Loute," which underwhelmed me at Cannes, ditto Pedro Almodovar's "Julieta," but that one's still recommended. It's minor Almodovar, but that still means it's better than 99% of the fare released here in the States. A few hidden gems that haven't gotten the recognition they deserve: "Aquarius" and "Un Jour Avec, Un Jour Sans" ("Right Now, Wrong Then"). Seek these out when you have the chance, they are one of the very best films I saw last year.

Scorsese on his long-delayed Sinatra biopic: "I think it's finally over. We can't do it."

Scorsese had previously mentioned that the Sinatra picture he wanted to make would feel like a combination of "Goodfellas" and "The Aviator." Well, it seems like that dream biopic will finally not be happening.

"We can't do it," Scorsese told The Toronto Sun. "I think it is finally over. [Sinatra's estate] won't agree to it. Open it up again and I'm there."

"Certain things are very difficult for a family, and I totally understand," Scorsese said. "But if they expect me to be doing it, they can't hold back certain things. The problem is that the man was so complex. Everybody is so complex – but Sinatra in particular."

"It's very hard [to write the script] because here is a man who changed the entire image of the Italian-American," he said. "And that's just one thing. Along with his political work, civil rights, the mob." 

"We can't go through the greatest hits of Sinatra's life," he said at the time. "We tried this already. Just can't do it. So the other way to go is to have three or four different Sinatras: younger, older, middle-aged, very old. You cut back and forth in time – and you do it through the music. ... So that's what we're trying for. It's very tricky."

Scorsese's longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker has been on a bit of a campaign to get Bringing Out The Dead the "Recognition it never got"

"Bringing Out The Dead" is not for everyone. The movie's lack of a conventional narrative probably confused and alienated many viewers when it first came out in the fall of 1999. The way it uncompromisingly looked into the darkest corners of human nature with an unflinching eye probably didn't help it get any fans either, but these qualities are part of Scorsese's greatest films -- the confusion of "After Hours", the emotional indecision of "The Age of Innocence", the alienation of "Taxi Driver", the spiritual search of "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Kundun" and "Silence." "Bringing Out The Dead" is not easy to watch, and at times it's hard for the average viewer not to look away. But it's real, and it stays with you.

"Bringing Out The Dead" was the fourth collaboration between Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader, based from the novel of Joe Connelly, and it touched on their familiar themes of faith, guilt, hope, and redemption. Using Frank (Nicolas Cage) as a lens to the dark and shady corners of New York's 'barrel of humanity', Schrader and Scorsese examined issues they tackled two decades earlier, in"Taxi Driver," such as decay, degeneration and the meaning of death and life in certain respects. Are these poor, miserable, drugged beings crawling the streets at night really alive. This time was New York of early '90s as opposed mid '70s in Taxi Driver.

Schrader's screenplay offers satisfying levels of complexity, so that ultimately, towards the end, when the main protagonist Frank, as played by nicolas Cage, does something totally unexpected and morally ambiguous, we understand exactly why he's doing it and can sympathize.

The film also feels like the last of something in terms of Scorsese's career. It came out in 1999 and felt like a final statement before the clock finally hit midnight into the new century. After "Bringing out the Dead", Scorsese went on to make 6 consecutive Hollywood epics ("Gangs of New York," "The Aviator," "The Departed," "Hugo," "Shutter Island," "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "Silence") which had him losing touch with the minimal character studies that defined a big portion of his earlier work. You see, I love my Scorsese films in many shapes, sizes and genres, but many forget that, beyond the mob movies and historical epics, he's a master at making these small, intimate, perfectly-toned, pitch black character studies. "After Hours," "The King of Comedy," "Taxi Driver," and, of course, "Bringing out the Dead" feel like a quadrilogy of alienation.

These films will stand the test of time and become more resonant as we continue to further isolate ourselves from the world around us and bury ourselves in the latest batch of gadgets and social networks that come our way. "Bringing out the Dead" feels, 17 years since since its release, like a prophetic wake-up call, a warning for the next generation, a call to stop the madness, take a deep breath and .... reflect.
Long-time Scorsese editor-extraordinaire Thelma Schoonmaker seems to agree with me as far as "Bringing out the Dead" goes. While promoting her work for Marty's latest picture, "Silence," she's also been, slyly might I add, talking about "Bringing out the Dead," which, it turns out, is one of her very favorite Scorsese films.
First up we have her mentioning the 1999 film to Den of Geek:

[Bringing Out the Dead] is the only one of his films, I think, that hasn't gotten its due - it was a disaster at the box office, as was King Of Comedy, as was Raging Bull. A lot of our movies!

I think there's a cult following for it - it sounds like you're one of them, which is great. But there's a following building. But what happened was, that film was about compassion, and it was sold, I think, as a car chase movie. When I saw the trailer I said, "Wait a minute! That's not what the movie's about!" I think people were made nervous by the theme of it, which I think is beautiful. I think it'll get its due.

Maybe if this film is digested by a lot of people, maybe that will allow it to come back - there are similar themes in it. We made [Bringing Out The Dead] after Kundun, and of course the Dalai Lama's big thing is compassion - it's a word he uses in almost every sentence. And so it's a beautiful film, but it was hard for people to take, I think. Unexpected. But I think it's great..

Then she continued her campaigning by speaking to Uproxx about the film:

“That is the one that has never gotten recognition. But I can’t tell you how many people talk to me about that movie. There is a ripple that’s going on. Bertrand Tavernier, the really wonderful French director, just wrote a review of it again. I have friends, when they have friends over for dinner, they make them watch it. It never got its due because it’s about compassion. That’s why.”

The film was also marketed poorly, she says. It was sold as a sort of car chase film and likely, therefore, courted a viewership that expected something completely different. “The wrong audience went to it first and that was it,” Schoonmaker says. “We were done.” But that’s something she and Scorsese have become accustomed to, she says: the work not being appreciated in its time.

“Everybody hated ‘Casino,'” she reminds. “They would say, ‘It’s not ‘Goodfellas.” That’s right. It’s not. It’s Las Vegas. It’s not ‘Goodfellas.’ And now everybody loves ‘Casino.’ Now it’s a big cult film. ‘Raging Bull’ was a disaster and wasn’t recognized for 10 years. ‘King of Comedy’ was a disaster, now everybody loves ‘King of Comedy.’ This happened to so many of our films. But the one that’s never, ever come back is ‘Bringing Out the Dead.'

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