True Detective Season 2 Teaser

Be prepared for more grim, angsty personal and professional portraits of cops from Nic Pizzolatto and HBO. This time, it’s Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell looking downward and determined as the music plays. Highways and drought and California nightmares. Plus, Colin Farrell in a thick moustache. I couldn’t be more in.

A bizarre murder brings together three law-enforcement officers and a career criminal, each of whom must navigate a web of conspiracy and betrayal in the scorched landscapes of California. Colin Farrell is Ray Velcoro, a compromised detective in the all-industrial City of Vinci, LA County. Vince Vaughn plays Frank Semyon, a criminal and entrepreneur in danger of losing his life’s work, while his wife and closest ally (Kelly Reilly), struggles with his choices and her own. Rachel McAdams is Ani Bezzerides, a Ventura County Sheriff’s detective often at odds with the system she serves, while Taylor Kitsch plays Paul Woodrugh, a war veteran and motorcycle cop for the California Highway Patrol who discovers a crime scene which triggers an investigation involving three law enforcement groups, multiple criminal collusions, and billions of dollars.

True Detective Season 2 begins its run June 21st.

Review: Amazon Pilots 2015

It was probably before “Lost’s” first season where I finally succumbed to becoming a couch potato, but I have kind of known alongside many other pop culture enthusiasts that television was evolving into something else than mindless TGIF programming.  Obviously, you can even look before “The Sopranos” took HBO by storm to uncover such gems like “Dream On” and “The Larry Sanders Show.”  Around the time that “Breaking Bad” became water-cooler fodder, I was singing the praises to the high heavens that TV was becoming somewhat more interesting than films.  Now that I didn’t love movies still, but more people were excited about television that movies around certain friends of mine who weren’t cinephiles.  Television was exciting at least in a different way, akin to a good book you didn’t want to put down.  Still, I can’t deny that nearly every show I have gotten hooked on still hinges upon the occasional soap opera tactic of a cliffhanger ending or melodramatics.  Which doesn’t bother me, since that “hook” is what keeps me coming back.  I never understood why my mom was addicted to soap operas until the same thing happened to me with Lost and then, Breaking Bad.

So now that I’ve seen shows like “The Affair, Mad Men, The Americans,” etc etc etc, I can safely say that TV programming is keeping me happy and relatively stimulated on an intellectual level but at the same time, much like any accessible medium now, is becoming difficult to keep up with in terms of sifting through content.  Before we had 1000 channels to sift through and luckily DVRs have made it easy to pick and choose.  Now that Hulu, Netflix and Amazon have gotten into production angle, it’s becoming even harder to decide which show to binge watch.  I know a lot of friends who say “I will wait til it’s over” but I think since I grew up waiting week to week for my favorite shows, I enjoy the routine of the waiting game now.  With that said, Amazon has done something very interesting these past couple of years by offering viewers a “choice” of sorts.  They get to vote on which pilots they think will sucker them in for full seasons.  I went through this process last year (or the year prior) and chose “Transparent” and “Mozart in the Jungle.”  I did enjoy Chris Carter’s Lost-esque horror apocalypse “The After,” but wasn’t eager to follow those characters as much as I was a crazy composer and of course, the now Emmy-winning Jeffrey Tambor.    I think a lot of creative minds are getting behind this format and execution especially since a guy like Woody Allen is giving Amazon the thumbs up for his first TV show concept soon to be announced.

Would you like to know more…?

Ash vs. Evil Dead coming to Starz

brucecampbell

It’s not exactly new news (for some, the announcement came as an early Christmas present), but Starz has taken on a monumental nerd challenge: continue the story of Ash Williams and his fight against the Evil Dead and try not to piss people off who have been waiting patiently since 1992.

With the sort-of remake/reboot/whatever in 2013, fans of the series got a taste of the old slapstick horror, but for most, it lacked the soul and originality that made the other three in the series so enjoyable. Some liked it. Most, it seemed, complained or were indifferent.

Now, patient fans will have a proper continuation of the franchise with a 30-minute weekly series that will last ten episodes. It will air sometime later this year on Starz. Most importantly, Bruce Campbell is coming back. Sam Raimi is on board as a producer and potential director of the pilot. The plot, according to EW, is as follows:

Ash is living in a trailer park and working his latest thankless big-box store job when a return of the Deadites prompts him to take a road trip with two young co-workers (and, of course, his trusty boomstick).

For his part, Bruce seems confident that Starz will give them plenty of creative freedom, perhaps something that came as a roadblock over the years when it came to financing a Hollywood sequel. As Bruce put it:

35 years later, we don’t want a lot of people bugging us about stuff. We know this series. We know the character. We’re experienced producers, Sam is an experienced director, I’m an experienced actor. Let us do our thing. And Starz has been really supportive in that respect and as a result we’re very happy.

So, what are your thoughts on Evil Dead hitting the small screen? Should a good thing be left alone? Will TV be a better fit for the creative freedom these fellows need? Would you prefer a film sequel? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments!

Trailer: The Gunman

seanpennjavier

Damn. The studio might have considered titling this movie Knights of Badassdom were it not already used. Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, and Idris Elba all in the same action flick? That’s too much manliness for even the manliest of men to handle.

Well, all right… maybe Sean Penn isn’t synonymous with badass – intense, sure, but badass, eh. Still, since The Gunman is basically just a lovechild of a Bourne movie and Taken (it’s even directed by Taken helmer Pierre Morel), it’s safe to say that Penn really just might reinvent himself with this badass action star persona after all.

I mean, do you remember Liam Neeson’s career before Taken? He was always intense and definitely cool, but that flick transformed him from Qui-Gon Schindler to Hollywood’s go-to old man action thespian.

Anyway, back to the The Gunman. The movie follows an international operative who just wants to retire peacefully with a beautiful woman young enough to be his daughter, but then things happen and people want to kill him and his lady is kidnapped so he has to go, like, get her back and kill people and stuff. With a specific set of skills that only he possesses. And a really groovy Hawaiian shirt.

Check out the trailer for The Gunman below. The movie drops on March 20, 2015.

Trailer: Sonic Highways

presidentgrohl

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters is no stranger to filmmaking. Besides all of his band’s rather cinematic music videos, last year, Grohl directed the superb documentary Sound City (which still proudly boasts a 100% rating on on Rotten Tomatoes) about the San Fernando Valley recording studio that rocked the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, Metallica and Nirvana. While it may have gone relatively unseen and won few awards, it’s unquestionably one of the greatest rock documentaries to ever grace the screen.

This year, the Grohl-led Foo Fighters have collaborated with HBO on a television show, titled Sonic Highways (like their upcoming album), that will chronicle their creation of their upcoming LP which was recorded in eight different recording studios in eight different American cities (Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington, DC).

As described by Rolling Stone, Grohl says of the show and album: “This isn’t just the making of our most ambitious album. This is a love letter to the history of American music.”

Sonic Highways debuts on HBO on October 17, 2014.

Philipp Meyer’s The Son to be adapted for AMC

PhilippMeyer

When Philipp Meyer quit his job on Wall Street to pursue writing, I’m sure he never expected his sophomore novel would not only be a Pulitzer Prize finalist, but also that it’d be adapted to the small screen with his intimate involvement by one of the hottest channels in television, AMC.

I first wrote about Philipp Meyer in 2009, after reading his excellent debut novel, the rustbelt Pennsylvania set American Rust, which at the time had been optioned for a big screen adaptation that is currently stuck in development purgatory.

Last month though, exciting news was announced by Deadline: AMC is developing a show based on his second novel, The Son, and Philipp Meyer himself will serve as executive producer.

Last summer, when I read his Texas-set, ambitious, brutal, and sometimes horrific sweeping epic The Son. I was blown away. I burnt through the 700+ pages in two sittings. The novel is not merely good… it’s a masterpiece. An instant classic. An important book in American literature that’s only going to continue to grow in significance as the decades pass. And while comparisons are silly, if you need one, it’s sort of like Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian as interpreted by John Steinbeck before being edited by William Faulkner.

When reading it, I thought the novel, like Blood Meridian, would be nearly impossible to adapt to the big screen. Even on television, which will provide the filmmakers with much more freedom than Hollywood would, it will be difficult as the story follows three distinct generations and time periods of a rising Texas oil empire: the ruthless Eli McCulloch, Eli’s son Pete, and Eli’s great-granddaughter Jeanne.

Meyer himself described it as a “partly historical novel about the rise of an oil and ranching dynasty in Texas, tracing the family from the earliest days of white settlement, fifty years of open warfare with the Comanches, the end of the frontier and the rise of the cattle industry, and transitioning into the modern (oil) age.”

What I find even more interesting, The Dallas Morning News ran an article yesterday describing how Meyer and writers like him are getting on board projects as executive producer.

Writers including Meyer, Brian McGreevy of Hemlock Grove, and Smith Henderson of Fourth of July Creek have formed a writers collective called El Jefe which, according to Meyer, was created to “help interesting, high-quality literary writers adapt, produce, and retain meaningful ownership of their own work for television and film.” Perhaps this was in response to the mess surrounding the American Rust adaptation that fizzled out.

The Son for AMC will be El Jefe’s first production. There is no word yet on casting or filming dates.

If you’ve read The Son, do you think even with Meyer’s involvement they’ll be able to effectively adapt it for television? Who could you envision in any of the lead roles? Chime in below!

Even if God existed, to say he loved the human race was preposterous. It was just as likely the opposite; it was just as likely he was systematically deceiving us. To think that an all-powerful being would make a world for anyone but himself, that he might spend all his time looking out for the interests of lesser creatures, it went against all common sense. The strong took from the weak, only the weak believed otherwise, and if God was out there, he was just as the Greeks and Romans had suspected; a trickster, an older brother who spent all his time inventing ways to punish you. -Philipp Meyer, The Son

Trailer: Nick Cave’s 20,000 Days on Earth

NickCave

Nick Cave is a badass among badasses.

You likely know him from his lucrative music career with his Bad Seeds or perhaps the experimental garage rock band Grinderman, the tunes of which have been featured on the likes of equally badass shows True Detective and Luther.

It’s also possible, being a film site and all, that you know him from his masterful film scores with Bad Seeds buddy Warren Ellis: the Australian western The Proposition (which he also wrote the screenplay for), Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. If you’ve somehow missed his music, you’ve probably also missed his ventures into the literary realm: his 1989 And the Ass Saw the Angel and 2009’s The Death of Bunny Munro, both great, dark, lyrical novels in their own right.

Needless the say, the term renaissance man was coined for people like Nick Cave.

With his latest project, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance and won the directing award, he has teamed up with British directors and frequent collaborators Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard to craft a surreal, pseudo-documentary that follows a fictitious 24-hour period in his life. In 20,000 Days on Earth, reality blurs as we witness Cave going about his daily routine, engaging in Q&As, driving with Ray Winstone and Kylie Minogue, and performing with the Bad Seeds on stage.

As Rob Nelson of Variety described it: “This innovative study of Nick Cave playfully disguises itself as fiction while more than fulfilling the requirements of a biographical documentary.”

The film will be touring the United States this summer before being released in theaters across the UK on September 19, 2014.

Trailer: The Knick (Season 1)

TheKnick

While it was widely publicized that Steven Soderbergh was retiring from filmmaking after he made comments about how he’d prefer a bullet in his head to doing another location scout, the reality after he clarified his comments was that he planned on taking a break, large in part due to his frustration with the corporate Hollywood system. In his newly acquired spare time, he would paint, work on Broadway shows, and, hey… maybe even join the cool kids and do some television.

Enter Cinemax. Soderbergh isn’t the first filmmaker to realize that some of the best work in being done on the small screen. With The Knick, he decided to join the ranks of Frank Darabont, David Fincher, and Guillermo del Toro and make something exciting and fresh without all that Hollywood red tape stifling his creativity.

The Knick stars Clive Owen as Dr. John W. Thackery, a surgeon at the Knickerbocker Hospital in early-1900s New York City, a time when an understanding of medicine was beginning to evolve rapidly.

It looks dark. It looks interesting. It looks gruesome in all the best ways. It’s like a Gilded Age Grey’s Anatomy. If the one-minute teaser is to be trusted, it looks like Soderbergh may have created something really special here.

Check out the trailer below and leave your thoughts on Soderbergh’s latest project in the comments!

Got a Problem? Call the “The Equalizer” [trailer]

“The Equalizer” is a show I thought I remembered quite well from my childhood. But sitting down and actually thinking about it, I don’t remember as much as I thought I did – outside of the opening credits sequence, which had me terrified to ever ever visit New York City. But I do seem to recall that Edward Woodward played the role with very little action. He solved problems with fine pistol work and some detectiving but mostly psychological intimidation. He was kind of old, so he didn’t really get into a lot of martial arts combat or fisticuffs. It seems that the new Denzel version of The Equalizer may be going down the road of the latter… but maybe not.

Have a look at the trailer below and see what you think. I do like Denzel. He’s one of the few I’ll see just about anything that he’s in, just because he’s in it. That said, this trailer doesn’t get me too excited. It looks like just another guy kicks the bad guys’ asses (Taken 3?). Also, can we get a moratorium on the “Sherlock” vision thing now? It was refreshing at first, but now it’s been done a few times and starting to get pretty stale.

Still, I’ll be in for this. I’m sure it’s a good watch and time will tell. But I think I would’ve preferred a more subtle angle for The Equalizer. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film also stars Melissa Leo, Chloë Grace Moretz and hey, it’s Bill Pullman!