Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rumour Mill


The Rumour Mill is swirling, and it's some of the most exciting news I've heard in a long time. 

Insiders are reporting that the next Batman movie will feature the Riddler and the Penguin as the villains, and that the producers want Johnny Depp and Philip Seymour Hoffman to play the roles!

Holy shit, talk about inspired casting - Depp and Seymour Hoffman are probably the only two people on the planet that could come close to topping Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker.  

Can I buy an advance ticket now?

God I love this franchise.

Great pictures from around the world...



Grand Haven, MI, because it's where I spent the summer's of my youth and is one of my favorite places in the world.

According to Playboy magazine, it's also the fifth easiest place to get laid.

(Pictures courtesy of Hani Yaqo and Katie Schwartz)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Harry Potter


Boy does the new teaser for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince look dark. Love the new risque approach to franchise movies.

P.S. Check out the Sex Drive trailer for a shout-out to Michigan and a hilariously unrecognizable James Marsden.




Monday, July 28, 2008

Idiots


After Shia LaBeouf got into a drunk driving accident this weekend totally fucking over the entire production of Transformers 2 as he now can't work for a month while he recovers from surgery on his hand, we are once again reminded of how stupid celebrities can be.

Shia has a lot of money. I don't think taking a cab would have hurt his wallet too much, even if he took it from La Brea to Bangor, Maine.

What he did is bad, but it's even worse that it was during the production of a movie with a budget well over $200 million. 

Take that, Michael Bay. I think it might be time to recast the role of Sam Witwicky for Transformers 3: Nobody Gives a Shit Anymore.

P.S. Sweet tat, Bro. Is that your phone number?

The genius of British humour


Rumour is that self described former sex-addict and hilarious stand up comedian/actor Russell Brand will be hosting the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. This is amazing news.

If you don't know who Russell Brand is, you will soon. Check him out in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, or check out some of his stand up.

Indie directors with big... budgets


The effects of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are already being felt and in a big way. MGM has just hired an iconic indie film director to try to reboot a major film franchise as it was announced that Darren Aronofsky will helm the new Robocop movie. 

Pretty soon explosion coordinators posing as directors (ahem, Michael Bay) aren't going to have any work, and boy is that going to be an exciting day.

Love Darren Aronofsky, but he must either be really hard pressed for a job after the Fountain TANKED, or he thinks he can do something with the material. 

Let's hope it's the former and Aronofsky can get his career back on track

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It will soon be illegal to be emo in Russia


I know this story seems too funny to be true, but it's no joke. The Guardian (an English newspaper) writes that Russian officials think that being emo is "a threat to national security and anti-emo legislation is being drawn up to outlaw kids sporting black hair with fringes that cover half the face."

"Anti-emo legislation??" 

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

If life is so fair, then why do roses have thorns? Russia hopes to have passed the bill by the end of the year.

(Photo is of Mexican kids protesting their "right to be emo.")

Highest Paid Actors in Hollywood


No surprise Will Smith is #1 ($80 million) and Johnny Depp #2 ($72 million). But Eddie Murphy at #3 ($55 million)? Come on. Nobody watches Eddie Murphy movies anymore (unless it's Shrek, but that doesn't count). Who the hell is paying him that much money??

Anyways, we can take comfort knowing he won't be on the list again next year after Meet Dave bombed HUGE (Yeah, it already came out. Don't feel bad, nobody else knew either).

Unsurprisingly, former box-office king Tom "Maverick" Cruise isn't even on the list! I might feel a little sorry for him but hey, he did it to himself. He can spend the rest of his life wiping away his tears with his billions of dollars.

Hairspray the sequel?


New Line has announced that they have Hairspray 2 in the works. Somebody needs to help Zac Efron before he becomes Haley Joel Osment.

Zac has done three High School Musicals, Hairspray, the Footloose remake, and Seventeen Again ("Big" in reverse, ughhh). 

If he wants to have an acting career that doesn't end at 23, he needs to take some serious roles where he's not dancing like an idiot on a golf course (might I suggest my screenplay "Lowell?"). 11 year old girls may love it, but if this kid wants a career he needs to get onscreen doing drugs and hanging with prostitutes, or something similar. 

Look at Daniel Radcliffe - he takes his clothes off on stage in a well-respected play and all of a sudden he's a serious actor and getting coveted roles outside of the Potter franchise. It might be funny and have spawned a whole bunch of "wand" jokes, but Radcliffe is going to have a career post-Potter.

(Zac, if you need a manager, I'm available. My advice is not free.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Film as Art? The Directors...


There's been an age old debate, beginning with the first movies ever shot, as to whether film is art, and I've often been asked what I think. Well, here's my take on it - some of it is and some of it isn't.

Let me explain. There are movies that I do not think are art - they are very simply the visual telling of a story. I think film can be elevated to another level, however, by a really great director, of which there are not many out there. While I've never thought of Armageddon or Pearl Harbor as artistic (Sorry  Michael Bay. Teenage boys still love you), the last scene of Dead Poets Society has always been to me an artistic masterpiece.

So, without further ado, a list of directors that I love and believe elevate the material they work with. (Note: I have not included the obvious such as Scorsese, Spielberg, etc.)

5) Peter Berg - If for nothing more than Friday Night Lights. The hand-held camera and his direction brings an immediacy and poignancy to small moments, and ultimately the movie (TV show) transcends the subject matter. His dramatization of small-town life becomes so real and engrossing that a high school football game becomes more important than saving the world.

4) Tarsem Singh - He lacks the storytelling instinct, but there is absolutely no doubt that this man is a visual master. Watch one of his movies and be blown away by the photography. I'm waiting for the film where he combines a great script with his unique and breathtaking visual style.

3) Cameron Crowe - Simply put, he is the best writer in Hollywood. I don't care what anyone says. Also, his encyclopedic knowledge of music combined with his amazing scripts elevates his movies above most all others.

2) Baz Luhrmann - Creates images as well as any director in the business, and has a gift for unique and engrossing storytelling. Every frame in one of his movies could be a piece of art (love Leo's entrance in Romeo + Juliet). He only makes a movie every four or five years, but he puts everything he has into his work and they are always special.

1) Joe Wright - He has only directed two movies, but I already think he's the best director in Hollywood. His visual storytelling and cutaways are so powerful and well-placed, I really think this Brit will have revolutionized the role of the film director before all is said and done. 

Obviously, even these guys make duds (ahem, Hancock). But in the end, I do believe they each have unique abilities that can elevate their films above just the telling of a story and make them truly artistic.

Hercules


Peter Berg is going to direct a movie called "Hercules: The Thracian Wars," based off of a graphic novel. Something makes me think that they won't be casting Kevin Sorbo or Ryan Gosling, and that there will be some very purposeful glossing over to the story (I'm thinking Hylas).

Anyways, I'm excited about all the projects in the works about Ancient Greece, especially the immense potential for "War of the Gods" now that they have signed on the best visual director in Hollywood, Tarsem Singh.

However, I've been wondering, did Hollywood just discover graphic novels? It's ridiculous, everyday the trades are reporting a new graphic novel has just been optioned by so-and-so. It's good source material and all, but come one people, let's start buying some specs!

Anyways, I like the combination of Peter Berg and antiquity. It will be like Friday Night Lights at the Olympics. It fits perfectly.

Quote of the day...


A particularly relevant quote, I think, given the state of the country's affairs today and the gradual disappearance of the mythic "American Dream."

From the end of "The Great Gatsby:"

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... And then one fine morning -

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
-Nick Carraway

Monday, July 21, 2008

Twilight: The Movie


The purpose of this post is two-part:

1) I couldn't stand staring at a picture of Tom Cruise at the top of my blog, and

2) The new "Twilight" trailer debuted a few days ago and it looks AWFUL. I don't understand, the concept art that has been released so far looks amazing, and funding certainly isn't a problem because of the massive fan-base the book has.

I'm only slight embarrassed to admit that I have indeed read the book, and while I didn't particularly care for the writing, I was struck by how good the story is and especially how visual and filmic it is. That is, it's that rare case where the book it only mediocre, but it has the potential to make a great film.

However, as the new trailer and the clips released at the MTV Movie Awards show, the action scenes look extremely hokey (like it was done by an amateur film class and a flying machine), and many of the sets look ridiculous (especially the climax).

So far, I am really disappointed in what I thought would be a really good movie. But hey, low expectations are easy to surpass.

This is how we know Tom Cruise is REALLY in trouble


In the wake of a very public falling out with Paramount (he got fired by Sumner Redstone) and some recent box office disasters, Tom Cruise decided to hook up (in the Biblical sense) with Bryan Singer to try to revive his career. The result, the many-times delayed "Valkyrie," has been by all accounts pretty much a disaster (it was supposed to be released this summer, but has now been pushed back until FEBRUARY).

Now, it is being reported that Cruise is in negotiations to reprise his role as Maverick in a sequel to "Top Gun!"

Is this his way of coming out, or is he really just that desperate?

I hope they cast Katie Holmes as Kelly McGillis' god-child or something. That would just be the icing on the cake of the glorious descent of Tom Cruise turning himself into a nobody. It's the least he could do for her after forcing Holmes to make one of the worst decisions in entertainment history when she accepted a role in "Mad Money" rather than reprising her role as Rachael Dawes in "The Dark Knight."

This is how someone who used to be the most powerful actor in Hollywood hits rock bottom. And boy is it painful to watch.

Love the Journey


In keeping with the literature theme...

For all those who have just graduated college or are searching for something new in your lives, this is a poem that I have been thinking about a lot lately.


Ithaka

by C.P. Cavafy 

As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops, angry Poseidon - 
don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops, wild Poseidon - 
you won't encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one. 
May there be many summer mornings when, 
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind - 
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. 
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Summer Days


Isn't life always better with a good book? Even more so with the lack of good movies coming out. 

I'm now at the beach and reading I, Claudius... It's fantastic so far.

P.S. Congratulations to "The Dark Knight" for having the best opening weekend ever. I certainly have my issues with the movie (sonar? really??), but it was INFINITELY better than that piece of shit "Spiderman III." Ugh...

I had had a few drinks before seeing "Spiderman III" and still thought it was awful.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Update


It's nice to wake up and see that some voters got it right as "John Adams" leads the list of Emmy nominations.

The new rumour is that both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are in talks to star in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Bastards." Tarantino, Pitt and Dicaprio - now that would be some serious star power. I wonder who would get first billing?

Speaking of Leo, the new international trailer for "Body of Lies" (the new Ridley Scott, William Monahan collaboration) debuted today. The trailer only looks alright, but I bet the movie will be pretty amazing. Ridley Scott is a genius, and William Monahan one of the best screenwriters working today.

The teaser for Christian Bale's "Terminator: Salvation" also debuted today and didn't really give much away. I can't blame them for putting something out though, trying to to capitalize on all the CB hype from the Dark Knight.

That is all for now. Everyone get hype for the Dark Knight this weekend. I've got my tickets. Do you have yours?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Quote of the day...


Speaking of "A Separate Peace," here is a quote from the novel that sums up exactly how I feel about the University of Michigan as well as most of the other places I've been in my life:

"I didn't entirely like this glossy new surface, because it made the school look like a museum, and that's exactly what it was to me, and what I did not want it to be. In the deep, tacit way in which feeling becomes stronger than thought, I had always felt that the Devon School came into existence the day I entered it, was vibrantly real while I was a student there, and then blinked out like a candle the day I left."

-An adult Gene Forrester, "A Separate Peace"

City of Men


I watched City of Men and was stunned by how much it reminded me of John Knowles' book "A Separate Peace." While maintaing many of the same themes, City of Men updated the plot to the new century and a new country. But the ideas of youth, friendship, and innocence lost remain and are as strong as ever.

I recommend checking out City of Men on DVD. It's pretty powerful, and it's really beautifully photographed with a moving final scene.

Even Bigger


Since midnight screenings are quickly selling out, theaters are adding 6:00 A.M. screenings of the Dark Knight!

Oh. My. God.
 
This movie is going to be huge.

QT and BP


Quenten Tarantino has been working on the script for his WWII movie Inglorious Bastards for about forever by now. Apparently, he's finished the shooting script (finally) and wants Brad Pitt for the lead role to begin filming in October and be ready for the Cannes Film Festival in May.

I'v been waiting for Tarantino to work with Johnny Depp, but I think this could be interesting too...

Monday, July 7, 2008

What happened to the summer blockbuster?


What is going on with the summer movie season? It started off surprisingly well with "Iron Man," but it's been nearly two months and not another good blockbuster has come out. 

"Indiana Jones" was a fucking mess, between the aliens, Shia LaBeouf monkey swinging through the jungle, man-eating ants, and Harrison Ford being shot a mile in the air while in a refrigerator with no consequences. You have access to all the money in the world and any talent that you could possibly want, and this is what you come up with? After rejecting several screenplays from the top writers in Hollywood, you settled on this, David Koepp's? How bad were the others?

I thought for sure "Wanted" would be better, right? Inspired casting with James McAvoy, a visionary director, an all-star supporting cast with Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman, and a bad-ass trailer. Well, "Wanted" lost me at the Loom of Fate and then just pissed me off with an AWFUL ending.

I saw "Hancock," thinking the concept and trailer made the movie look really cool. Well, turns out the concept and the trailer were cool, and only footage from the first 30 minutes of the movie is actually in the trailer which hides a twist and an ending that DOES NOT MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE!

So here is to July 18th and "The Dark Knight." All of my hopes of redemption for the summer movie season rest squarely on you.

Well, at least until "Pineapple Express" comes out.

Jesse McCartney... is talented?!?


I just learned that Jesse McCartney actually co-wrote the song "Bleeding Love" which has been a massive hit for X-Factor winner Leona Lewis. He co-wrote the song with Ryan Tedder, the front man for One Republic, with the intention of using it on his own album until Clive Davis and Simon Cowell gave it to Leona Lewis.

And here I though Jesse McCartney was the untalented remnant of the worst boy band ever (Dreamstreet) and a failed acting career. Apparently, the kid's got talent. Who knew? 

If you want to hear a version of him singing the song, it's on youtube and is a hell of a lot better than you would think. 

Wimbledon


Congratulations to Raphael Nadal. Sunday's Gentleman's Final at Wimbledon was the best tennis match I have ever seen.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sex, Drugs and Harry Potter


Daniel Radcliffe says of the new movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, "There is a fair amount of sexual energy and some drug parallels. We have a couple of what David Yates, the director, calls our 'Trainspotting moments'."

I'm definitely going to see it. More importantly, when is the trailer coming out?