August 31, 2007
Apologies on the late Oscar column...

I had hoped to launch this past Monday, but things got hairy. Gerard's already kicked off "Tech Support," Brian has wound-up "Page to Screen" and John begins Toronto coverage in a little over a week. My first Oscar column will hit Labor Day, so we should be off as of that time.

Enjoy the holiday.

August 29, 2007

A college buddy, Aaron Katz, has landed a rave in the NY TImes for his latest film, "Quiet City." I haven't seen the film yet, but look forward to doing so at some point during this crazy schedule I've managed to manifest for myself.

God on ya, Aaron.

August 25, 2007
As for Ang Lee and James Schamus...

I can obviously have no opinion on the quality of "Lust, Caution." In all fairness, I'm not anticipating it that highly. But to release this film with an NC-17 rating attached takes guts, which many filmmakers and even more studios seem to be lacking. So I'll be seeing it the first chance I get.

August 23, 2007
Roger Deakins is a Genius

And this trailer which Jeffrey Wells has managed to get up is the year's best.

Deakins is going to define cinematography this year. And the film looks excellent to boot.


Is it just me or is the cinematic world on hold until the Toronto and Venice film festivals start? We need another Joker picture.

August 17, 2007
The Heath-Joker

There is something oddly troubling to me about this pic of Heath Ledger as the Joker in the upcoming film "The Dark Knight." I'm not sure what it is. While it's certainly twisted on one hand, it doesn't have the sense of macabre I was hoping for out of the character (though this is obviously just an image, nothing to go on yet). Kind of Halloween makeup-ish or something, I dunno.


August 16, 2007
Leaked "Dark Knight" photos

I got an email with this link some time today. Not sure who's seen them, but here's the link:

Higher res here.

And AICN picked it up as well. These will be gone soon...

And for good measure...

I'm elated that this genre is back with suck an ass-kicking vigor, that filmmakers are taking a no nonsense approach and really digging into the root of its iconic and thematic potential.

"Remind me never to play poker in this town."
Buzz, Opie, Space..."It's game over, man!"

Last night's screening of David Sington's exceptional documentary "In the Shadow of the Moon" was a coup for 42 West and ThinkFilm. The factions wheeled out filmmaker Ron Howard (who "presents" the film in a PR ploy but who genuinely was affected by Sington's doc), astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the ubiquitous Ariana Huffington...even Bill Nye the Science Guy. Seriously.

Speaking to Howard was a treat, a kind and sincere man no matter what one may feel about his particular brand of cinematic artistry. Buzz Aldrin is still electrifying and willing to talk your ear off about what the next step in space travel should be, detailing a need for permanence in space with an eye toward Mars. He also gets slightly riled at the mention of conspiracy theorists who do not believe the space landing happened (my father is among them). I asked Buzz what he would say to such a crowd and his response was actually on point and considerable. "The Russians knew everything we were doing," he noted. "If we faked it, wouldn't they have called foul?" As much as I've looked into the conspiracy theories myself, this common sense point never popped into my head for some reason.

Sington, the film's director, is a classy Brit with a genuine affection and awe for the Apollo space program. It was a pleasure hearing why he chose to tackle the subject matter the way he has (solely from the point of view of the astronauts, each of them burning with vibrant personality). The entire shindig was really just the right sort of move and everything felt great.

But the REAL moment of elation last night - for me anyway - was a half hour conversation with Bill Paxton that was enlightening and exciting all at once.

You see, I didn't want to interview Paxton at first. I knew he wasn't there in that capacity, that listening to a journalist drill him for a few minutes would have been slightly out of bounds. It's not his film, his publicist wasn't always around to guide that ship, it just wasn't the "thing" I was looking to do. So after a few customary "what did you think of the flick" questions, things suddenly turned to conspiracy theorists and the JFK assassination.

You may have read the news a while back (I actually haven't heard this yet) that Paxton, along with Tom Hanks, has recently acquired the rights to Vincent Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History," wherein the author sets out to prove, rather than disprove, the conspiracy theories about the JFK assassination. In so doing, he pretty much obliterates every theory. Paxton went on and on about this with so much passion, I was transfixed. Especially considering the JFK event is something I'm personally obsessed with. I haven't read Bugliosi's book yet, but I will be buying it today to be sure. It was amazing shaking hanbds with a legend like Buzz Aldrin, but I live for the kind of fire Paxton lit underneath me regarding something totally off the cuff and outside of the realm of journalist-subject.

Paxton and Hanks will be developing the book into a long form HBO mini-series hoping for a 2010-ish debut.

August 15, 2007
That "Michael Clayton" one sheet

Simply awesome. No time to post it here, but I just caught it at Awards Daily. I had an inclination about this film in my year in advance column back in February, chalking it up for nods all over the place, but then I took it out here and there. Regardless, I'm beginning to sense this thing is going to surprise a lot of people.

August 12, 2007

I've got a nice, crisp one dollar bill for the first person to hook me up with the "Dark Knight" footage from Wizard World Chicago.

August 09, 2007

I think that my favorite of the Emmy nominations announced a few weeks back has to be Denis Leary's nod for the third season of "Rescue Me." I just finished catchnig up with it, and something caught fire in the creativity of the show half-way through the season that just sent it straight to the highest tier of dramatic television. And Leary's performance is sensational throughout, the best work of his career.

Now I need to find some way to catch up on Season 4.

August 08, 2007
"Batman: Chase Me"

I've decided that this short film from DC Animation producer Alan Bennett is the greatest depiction of Batman thus far in the moving picture medium (for those who care). It is included on the Straight-to-DVD title "Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman," which I rented on a lark yesterday at the video store. But seriously, take six and a half minutes anbd check this thing out:

Carla Gugino is hot.

I would just leave it at that, but I'll also add that I'm stoked she'll be playing Sally Jupiter in Zack Snyder's "Watchmen."

August 07, 2007
The Growth of Spielberg

I think this is one of the best peices MCN has had in quite a while, and not too soon either. I don't know what's happened to cause all the Spielberg bashing lately, but I think the argument could be made that of all the Brats from the sixties/seventies, Spielberg has been both the most consistent and also has shown the most artistic growth (and also pushed himself farther) than the rest.

The main reason I'm not more excited about Indy 4 is that the prospects of Lincoln, Interstellar and TinTin just appeal to me so much more. Indy is been there-done that, but hey, if it's anything near as good as Raiders, who am I to complain?

August 06, 2007
Rush Whore 3

Ouch. Just...ouch.

My friend leaned over at one point during tonight's "Rush Hour 3" screening and said "I don't think I've ever seen CGI used in a Jackie Chan movie before. He must be getting old."

Maybe. But when you have to back up a most collosal amount of "what the fuck" action and imagery, I guess you have to pile on the post. But really, what a dog. I'd call it two thirds of a commercial before I'd call it a fully functional movie.

And it makes Scott Foundas's LA Weekly Ratner suck-up piece all the more hilarious.

"Reservation Road" Trailer


August 04, 2007
This is so awesome...

Thanks to Hollywood Elsewhere for the link:

August 03, 2007
Best Ever Oscars?

Someone asked me this question the other day, certifiably the most difficult question there is in the game of movie-going/Oscarwatching. So I thought I'd actually give it a whirl.

Who deserves to win across the board in an "all time Oscars" showcase? Here's what I came up with:

Best Picture: "Citizen Kane"
Best Director: Francis Ford Coppola, "Apocalypse Now"
Best Actor: Peter Sellers, "Dr. Strangelove"
Best Actress: Maria Falconetti, "The Passion of Joan of Arc"
Best Supporting Actor: Ralph Fiennes, "Schindler's List"
Best Supporting Actress: Linda Blair, "The Exorcist"
Best Adapted Screenplay: "Double Indemnity" (Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler)
Best Original Screenplay: "Network" (Paddy Chayefsky)
Best Art Direction: "Metropolis" (Otto Hunte, Erich Kettlehut, Karl Vollbrecht)
Best Cinematography: "Apocalypse Now" (Vittorio Storaro)
Best Costume Design: "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy (Ngila Dickson, Richard Taylor)
Best Film Editing: "JFK" (Joe Hutshing, Pietro Scalia)
Best Makeup: "Dick Tracy" (John Caglione, Jr., Doug Drexler)
Best Music - Original Score: "Once Upon a Time in the West" (Ennio Morricone)
Best Music - Original Song: (next to impossible)
Best Sound Editing: "Robocop"
Best Sound Mixing: "2001: A Space Odyssey"
Best Visual Effects: "Jurassic Park"
Best Animated Feature: "Fantasia"

Ledger on "Dark Knight" set...

There's also some video here.

I still think he looks completely awesome.

August 02, 2007

I would love to know what readers think of this, my favorite movie of the year thus far. Chime in when you see it.