Ben Kingsley Goes Epic

BenKingsleyI love period epics, especially those that incorporate romance with action over a sweeping story from some period of time I’m not familiar with and it looks like Sir Ben Kingsley is about to fulfill that void.

According to Variety, Kingsley and his gorgeous wife Daniela Lavender are on board to star in one such epic. Taj is the story of Shah Jahan, a 17th century Indian Mughal emperor and his rocky relationship with Persian princess and wife Kandahari Begum. Jahan is best known for building the Taj Mahal as a gift to his beautiful wife and if the building is any indication of their relationship, this is new project is bound to be a glamorously gorgeous epic (plus the budget of $25 to $30 million doesn’t exactly suggest this will be shoestring budget though for an epic it’s also not a whole hell of a lot of money).

There’s no word on who’ll direct the project but Kingsley is on board to star and produce and British playwright, novelist and actor David Ashton has written the script which, I assume, will also be directed by a Brit.

Can’t wait to see who they rope in for directing duties!

P-Star; She’s Going to be a Superstar!

pstar_poster_web_tempRags to riches stories are a dime a dozen but few have ever caught my attention as much as this one.

Mett P-Star (better known to her friends and family as Priscilla). She’s a nine year old girl trying to break into the music world via rap. That, in and of itself is enough of an attention grabber but what really impressed me is the other part of P-Star’s story, the part that features her single father as the man fighting for her success. P-Star Rising incorporates both the struggles of an up-and-coming artist with the story of a single father and his bond with his children. Admittedly, it’s this father/daughter connection that has me interested in the film since most of the stories we hear are of mothers and their daughters surviving through tough ordeals; it’s nice to see the other side of the coin.

P-Star Rising has been making the festival rounds for a while now and I expect we may have a chance to see it on DVD some time soon. Looks promising.

Would you like to know more…?

First Movie Shot on Canon 7D

Yes, more frakking zombies. I love the sub-genre, but enough is enough. The point of this post isn’t about zombies though; or even this particular movie. What is significant here is the look of this “film” shot on a $1700 camera. Almost anyone can now make a movie that looks good – or at least they can afford to make one.

The camera quality is sort of a mixed bag for the bloody independent film. High resolution coupled with gorgeous depth of field tricks emulate Hollywood (or at least, TV-level) production. But, while you can call me old fashioned, blood and guts only look better in low-fi. Best of luck to the group finishing the film. These dailies from week one have some nice moments.

“Gattaca” TV Series? Intriguing.

cut and paste job from MTV blog

 

A couple weeks ago, Variety ran a story about what’s next for Denis Leary, Jim Serpico and Apostle Films after the hit FX series “Rescue Me” wraps up in 2011. Tucked away at the end of the story was a brief bit about plans to produce a future-set one hour police procedural based on the Andrew Niccol-directed Gattaca. Writer/producer Gil Grant, whose previous TV credits include “24” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” was named as the scribe, but that was where the news ended.

Grant was kind enough to take some time last week to chat with us about the still-gestating project, and he revealed that his first move was to strip away the closed confines of the NASA-like organization that Hawke’s character worked for in the movie.

Would you like to know more…?

Top 25 Documentaries of the Decade

You’re going to start seeing a LOT of these various, “end of the decade” lists pop up over the next few months. Heck, we even jumped on the bandwagon before there even was a bandwagon to jump on.

But sheer quantity of lists has never stopped me from seeking them out before and it sure isn’t going to stop me from creating more. Rank lists aren’t for everyone (mostly they’re just fun for the author to put them together), but if nothing else you’re likely to see something on these lists over the next 60 days that you haven’t heard about before or maybe simply forgot about. Finding or rediscovering these hidden gems is often reason enough to hash through these lists.

Enter Paste magazine (link includes artwork, trailers and written commentary) with their choices for the Top 25 Documentaries of the Decade:

25. Food, Inc. (2009)
24. Dig! (2004)
23. Gleaners and I (2000)
22. The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2006)
21. No End In Sight (2007)
20. No Direction Home (2005)
19. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)
18. Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008)
17. The White Diamond (2004)
16. God Grew Tired of Us (2007)
15. Super Size Me (2004)
14. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
13. Jesus Camp (2006)
12. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)
11. Born into Brothels (2004)
10. Waltz with Bashir (2008)
9. Murderball (2005)
8. Spellbound (2002)
7. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006)
6. King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)
5. Bowling For Columbine (2002)
4. The Fog of War (2003)
3. Grizzly Man (2005)
2. Iraq in Fragments (2007)
1. Man On Wire (2008)

As much I talk about how I’m not a big fan of docs and I don’t see that many, I can actually claim that I have seen 19 of these films and yeah, they’re all pretty great. I would’ve liked to see The Cove or Dear Zachary up there (actually I’m surprised they’re not) and Waltz with Bashir could probably stand to be moved up a couple of notches, but otherwise this is a solid list. If nothing else it’s a jumping off point to check out some docs I’ve not heard of before that if sitting in the company of these others, must be pretty darn good.

Aside from my two glaring omission mentions, what titles need to be moved around, added or subtracted here?

via: Thanks to The Documentary Blog for retyping them all out in a quick and readable format so we could repost!

“Gone with the Wind” BluRay Review

Courtesy of Hollywood Elsewhere we get this quick overview of the rather extensive Blu-Ray release of Gone with the Wind. This paragraph sums it up nicely, but I like the idea of opening the package for the first time to see what is all included in this box set. This looks like the Blade Runner brief case for classic drama fans.

 

“I’ve just watched the first half of the new Gone With The Wind Bluray, and I’m truly dazzled. No, levitated. This is by far the most beautifully rendered old-time Technicolor film I’ve ever seen on a high-def system — razor-sharp, pulsing with color, pretty close to grain-free and significantly upgraded over the 2004 DVD version, which was excellent for what it was … I do know what my eyes tell me. This Gone With The Wind is amazing — a candy-store Technicolor eye-bath like nothing I’ve ever sunk into before. The key element is ‘next to no grain.’ I haven’t come up with a term that conveys the opposite of a ‘grainstorm’ but this delivers that. Hallelujah — somebody finally heard!”

 

 

Trailer: Date Night

Steve Carell has won awards for starring in one of the most successful shows currently on television and the same can be said for Tina Fey, whose transition from SNL newscaster to 30 Rock star has been beyond fruitful for her career. Both have been actively working on their lives outside television also, filming movies in the off-season of their shows. Let us examine Carell’s Hollywood career since he began his stint on The Office:

Winners
The 40 Years Old Virgin
Little Miss Sunshine
Dan in Real Life

Losers
Get Smart
Evan Almighty

So, he’s doing alright for now, but whether this next film co-starring Tina Fey will even things out or not remains to be seen. The trailer isn’t particularly memorable – in fact, I kind of already forget what it is about and I just watched it a couple of minutes ago – but it seems even the best of American comedies always release trailers full of lameness and the worst jokes. It’s hard to tell here and it will probably be one that I shell out cash for only if the critics or my close friends praise it – but watch and make up your own mind.