Author Archive

  • Trailer #2: The Rover


    Back in January, we posted the first trailer for David Michôd’s post-apocalyptic revenge film The Rover, starring my longtime man-crush Guy Pearce as well as Robert Pattinson, who has been doing a hell of a job distancing himself from his Twilight roots these past couple of years. That first trailer for The Rover was slick, gritty, and moody.

    This second trailer is even more appealing – perhaps even elevating it to my much coveted “most anticipated” position for this summer’s films.

    Director Michôd is best known for directing 2010′s stellar crime drama Animal Kingdom. While he wrote the screenplay for The Rover with actor Joel Edgerton (Warrior, Zero Dark Thirty), his other writing credits include the pretty solid Joseph Gordon-Levitt starring Hesher and the very enjoyable horror short I Love Sarah Jane.

    According to Twitch, it was recently announced as an Official Selection for the Cannes Film Festival before opening up in North American theaters on June 20, 2014.

    Leave your thoughts on the trailer (and Michôd’s other films) below!

  • Trailer: The Drop


    It’s tough to watch the trailer for The Drop and not feel pangs of sadness knowing that it’ll be the last time we see James Gandolfini in a new film. Beyond the sadness, their is definitely excitement though, because the movie looks great.

    Written by Dennis Lehane as an original screenplay (rather than an adaptation of his novels like Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, and Shutter Island), the film follows the story of a loner bartender name Bob (played by Tom Hardy) and his cousin Marv (Gandolfini) as they get mixed up in a gangster’s money laundering and “the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past.”

    The Drop opens up in North America on September 19, 2014.

  • Trailer: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


    I feel silly getting riled up over a trailer for a reboot of a series about humanoid turtles who become pizza love ninjas in New York City, but hell, I’ve had a few days to stew over it, a few days to read the countless nerd-thoughts of it all around the internet, and you know what?

    This is going to be fucking stupid. Which isn’t a surprise, because Michael Bay is a soulless piece of shit. Even though this opinion is not particularly novel or new, thanks for letting me vent, internet.

  • Can the allegations against Woody Allen continue to be dismissed?


    [W]hen I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. … For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like. I didn’t like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn’t like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn’t like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out. I would hide under beds or lock myself in the bathroom to avoid these encounters, but he always found me. These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal.

    Dylan Farrow, in a recent open letter in the New York Times

    This past August, Andrew asked to question: Is Woody Allen irrelevant? Perhaps with the recent op-ed from Dylan Farrow, the question has changed.

    Unfortunately, it’s not a new question. It’s just in the spotlight once again.

    If you say these allegations don’t matter, if you dismiss Miss Farrow’s claims, if you say “oh, but that was so long ago,” or “his personal actions don’t affect my opinion of his film,” then I think you’re missing the point.

    I don’t think that Allen should be tried in the court of public opinion. The public is notoriously uninterested in facts or, frankly, actual justice. Still, even if it makes you feel icky, even if it’s easier to just not talk about it, the discussion isn’t over. Far from it.

    With this recent open letter, can we still accept the “ambiguity?”

  • Trailer: The Rover


    It seems Kurt knows me well. Earlier today, he sent this trailer over my way, perhaps because he know the audible holy shit that it would make me involuntarily emit.

    This is a damn slick trailer.

    We are all big fans of Guy Pearce here in the third row. I think it’s fair to say that most of us are big fans of Australian cinema as well. It’s often gritty. Moody. Visually appealing.

    The Rover looks to have all these attributes. Directed by David Michôd, best known for directing 2010′s stellar Animal Kingdom (as well as writing Hesher and the very enjoyable horror short I Love Sarah Jane), he adapted the screenplay with actor Joel Edgerton (Warrior, Zero Dark Thirty). What’s it about? Well, other than knowing that it’s a revenge flick set in the ordinarily apocalyptic near future, it’s hard to say by watching the trailer (there are official plot synopses out there, but what’s the fun in that?), but it looks good. Damn good.

    Pearce, of course, looks to be acting at his usual highest level – and while my indifference towards Robert Pattinson is well known (frankly, as far as I remember, I’ve only seen him in Water for Elephants and I thought he was fine enough), it seems that quite a few serious filmmakers have no problem getting past his twinkling Twilight persona. In recent years, he’s worked with David Cronenberg (and he has a second film with him upcoming) as well as a portrayal of T.E. Lawrence for Werner Herzog in this year’s Queen of the Desert.

    Check out the trailer and chime in with your own thoughts!

  • Trailer: A Long Way Down


    Author Nick Hornby is no stranger to Hollywood. High Fidelity, About a Boy, and Fever Pitch have all been adapted to the big screen over the years – the first of which is a classic, as far as I’m concerned. Hornby has even had an original screenplay produced, which turned out to be 2009′s critical darling An Education.

    His latest novel to be adapted is titled A Long Way Down. The film follows the interweaving stories of four strangers who coincidentally meet atop a London building on New Year’s Eve all with the same plan: to jump.

    While I found the book only mildly interesting, I’m particularly interested in this project as I’ve been eager to track Aaron Paul’s career now that his days of assisting Walter White are behind him. The trailer is so-so, but the movie does have a solid cast to support Paul, including Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Rosamund Pike, Imogen Poots, and Sam Neill.

    A Long Way Down is directed by French filmmaker Pascal Chaumeil. It will be screen at the Berlin International Film Festival in Februrary and roll out into theaters shortly after.

    Are you a fan of Hornby’s work? Does this latest adaptation excite you? Chime in!

  • Trailer: Better Living Through Chemistry


    Pharmaceutical drugs! Olivia Wilde! Sam Rockwell!

    Directed by the first timers Geoff Moore and David Posamentier, Better Living Through Chemistry follows the story of an uptight pharmacist (Rockwell) who finds his life going down the shitter after shacking up with a sexy and seductive customer (Wilde) who gets him mixed up in more than he can handle. The trailer is moderately promising and while perhaps not groundbreaking, it looks to be enjoyable enough, like much of Rockwell’s filmography… decent movies with stellar performances. The film also co-stars Michelle Monaghan and Jane Fonda.

    Rockwell had another great year last year (can we talk about how underappreciated his performance in The Way Way Back was?) and with this, the promising Laggies, and the Sam Raimi produced Poltergeist remake, it seems like Rockwell is on the verge of another memorable one.

    Check out this trailer for his latest. The film hits theaters on March 14, 2014.

  • Trailer: Child of God


    When Mike Rot saw Child of God back at TIFF 2013, he liked it – and his thoughts were fairly simple: “True to the Cormac McCarthy source material, perhaps to a fault.”

    I’ve read all of McCarthy’s books and each time that I’ve finish one, I think to myself: Boy, I don’t think they could ever make that into a proper film. Of his currently adapted novels, No Country for Old Men was a masterpiece, The Road was medicore, and All the Pretty Horses was a studio-butchered disaster.

    If there is one Cormac McCarthy novel that I thought would never be adapted it would be Child of God. Maybe that’s why James Franco – an enthusiastic fan of McCarthy’s work – decided to tackle the story of the violent, unlikable, and sexually deviant Lester Ballad, who in McCarthy’s 1973 novel wanders aimlessly around the mountains of Tennessee, living a mostly isolated life while he is killing, committing various other crimes, and having sex with dead bodies.

    Scott Haze, Tim Blake Nelson, Jim Parrack, and Franco himself star in the film, which is still actually looking for a distributor.

    Have you read the book? By the looks of the trailer, do you think Franco nailed it or is he chasing an unreachable dream? What other McCarthy novels would you like to see adapted?

  • Bill Murray did a Reddit AMA…


    While you can read the entire AMA over here, here are the highlights.

    On his favorite movie of his:

    I did a film with Jim Jarmusch called Broken Flowers, but I really enjoyed that movie. I enjoyed the script that he wrote. He asked me if I could do a movie, and I said “I gotta stay home, but if you make a movie that i could shoot within one hour of my house, I’ll do it.” So he found those locations. And I did the movie. And when it was done, I thought “this movie is so good, I thought I should stop.” I didn’t think I could do any better than Broken Flowers, it’s a film that is completely realized, and beautiful, and I thought I had done all I could do to it as an actor. And then 6-7 months later someone asked me to work again, so I worked again, but for a few months I thought I couldn’t do any better than that.

    On his oddest experience in Japan:

    I was eating at a sushi bar. I would go to sushi bars with a book I had called “Making out in Japanese.” it was a small paperback book, with questions like “can we get into the back seat?” “do your parents know about me?” “do you have a curfew?” And I would say to the sushi chef “Do you have a curfew? Do your parents know about us? And can we get into the back seat?” And I would always have a lot of fun with that, but that one particular day, he said “would you like some fresh eel?” and I said “yes I would.” so he came back with a fresh eel, a live eel, and then he walked back behind a screen and came back in 10 seconds with a no-longer-alive eel. It was the freshest thing I had ever eaten in my life. It was such a funny moment to see something that was alive that no longer was alive, that was my food, in 30 seconds.

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Book Review: The Who’s Who of Doctor Who



    I‘m always in search of a good coffee table book. History, politics, nature, pop culture, food, beer – you name it, I’ve got a coffee table book for it. The perfect coffee table book is one that can be picked up at any time by any guest to any page and that guest will be entertained… at least for those few minutes while they’re bored when you’ve excused yourself to take a leak.

    My copy of The Who’s Who of Doctor Who fulfills those requirements – and with the added benefit of letting me introduce the long-running show to friends who may only be vaguely familiar (“yeah, I see people tweet about it all the time”). The book, put together by Cameron K. McEwan (editor of the website Blogtor Who), has the added benefit of doing a great job of visualizing the entire Dr. Who mythology, from the first doctor all the way to Peter Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor.

    In the day and age of Wikipedia summaries, one might find a book of summaries redundant, but I assure you, for a Dr. Who fan, this is of the highest quality. In fact, I began my Dr. Who watching with Nine (Christopher Eccleston), so my understanding of the classic show from one through eight was hazy, at best. This books 240 pages helped clarify a lot of the history of the character, his allies, and his enemies over the course of the shows 30 years in a clear, entertaining, and beautifully visual manner. Best of all, I get to show it off to friends.

    You can purchase the book over at Amazon for $20.86.

    Now, for the Dr. Who discussion: Who is your favorite Doctor? Who is your favorite villain from the show? Are you ready for the newest Doctor played by Capaldi? Is the world ready for a female Doctor in his next incarnation? Chime in!

  • Review: Saving Mr. Banks


    I don’t write too many movie reviews nowadays. As I imagine happens with a food writer reviewing the savoriness of another restaurant’s pork loin for the 87th time, I was tired of writing reviews in which the majority of what I was saying could very well be a page out of Mad Libs with interchangeable actors and filmmakers and release dates. In how many ways can one describe the cinematography of a film or use repetitive adjectives to describe powerhouse performances?

    Face it. You don’t give a damn about what I have to say either – unless you disagree with me, then you will definitely let me know – and that’s okay. So let’s cut the bullshit and get to it.

    Saving Mr. Banks is a movie that was developed by Walt Disney Pictures to tell the story of how Walt Disney Studios (and Walt Disney himself) willed Mary Poppins into existence in the early 1960s. Going into the film, I was only mildly interested in the story (of which, it turns out, I knew very little) and it was my love of the actors involved – Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, and Colin Farrell to name a few – that convinced me to see it.

    As this is unquestionably a family friendly Disney biopic, Walt Disney is portrayed by Hanks in a mostly positive light, as can be expected, although some of the moodier aspects of his personality (his annoyance with Travers to the point where he didn’t invite her to the premiere, his smoking addiction, etc.) were hinted at – something I wish they would have explored further, as it made Walt that much more interesting on the screen. As one might expect, Hanks is great. Who the hell else could play Walt Disney but Tom Hanks?

    This film isn’t about Walt Disney though. Rather, it’s the story of the cranky adult P.L. Travers and her childhood as an innocent and imaginative young girl in Australia with a well-intentioned alcoholic father. It’s the story of how this youth inspired her to write stories about a magical nanny and how it transformed her into this cranky adult that she’s become. Thompson, naturally, is at the top of her game and what I find most interesting about the story was her character’s resistance to nearly everything that Walt wanted the film adaptation of her books to be: a somewhat silly musical with animation.

    The rest of the cast is predictably great. The movie also has camera angles, music, and nice costume designs. It will probably win some awards.

    If you’re interested in the man that is Walt Disney or even the filmmaking process, Saving Mr. Banks is worth watching. It may romanticize the production of Mary Poppins some, it may leave out some of the juicier aspects of these characters, it may not be without its flaws, it may play it safe as Disney developed biopics always do, but overall, it’s a fun and interesting story about how a timeless classic came to be.

  • Why I love my World Almanac.


    For many, traditional encyclopedias, dictionaries, and almanacs are relics of the past. Yet, despite this, I found that while I was leafing through my 2014 World Almanac, there was a sense of not only nostalgia, but the same wonder that I had when I was kid looking through my old, tattered copy that was missing its front page.

    For movie buffs, the Almanac provides information that can indeed be found on the internet… but information that one might never even consider researching. It’s a comprehensive book of data, facts, statistics, and list on any topic one could imagine… especially movies.

    Want a comprehensive and condensed list of the birthdate and birthplace of every notable actor? It’s in there. How about a list of the real names of entertainers? Albert Brooks’s real name is Albert Einstein, Spike Jonze is Adam Spiegel, Michael Caine is Maurice Micklewhite, and Alan Alda is Alphonso D’Abruzzo. Did you know that 1946 has the record for highest admissions to movies with 4,067,300,000 tickets sold. Compare that to 2012, which didn’t even reach 1.5 million, despite there being 677 films released compared to 1946′s 400. IMDb is still the number one visited movie website, although movie blogs like Cinema Blend and Screen Rant both made the top 20.

    Go out and buy an Almanac. If nothing else, you can read it while sitting on the toilet, instead of checking your Facebook app for the thirteen time of the day.

    Do you still read traditional reference books? Are they relics of the past? What can these companies do to compete with the information available at their fingertips on the internet? Chime in!

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