Andrew Dominik is Back with “Killing them Softly” [trailer]

It’s been five years. Five years. Five years since Andrew Dominik last directed a feature film. That film was of course far and away the best film of 2007: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Some of us were wondering if Andrew had given up on film making altogether or if we had the beginnings of the next Terrence Malick on our hands. Now, while the quality of his films will still remain to be seen (he’s only had two), it does look as if at the very least, we’ve got a director who simply likes to take his time in between projects. Here’s hoping that philosophy will for him as well as it seems to for Malick.

Andrew Dominik has once again teamed up with Brad Pitt for his latest thriller comedy, Killing them Softly. Pitt plays Jackie Cogan; a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game. Slowly the film evolves into social commentary about our (the U.S.) faltering nation. Set in 2008 amidst the presidential election and the economic frustrations, Killing them Softly proves to be a most interesting excursion for the director and the rest of the cast which features Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn and Sam Shepard.

Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think….

Andrew Dominik Rescripting “Tell No One”

Back in 2008, I missed a screening of Ricky Gervais’ Ghost Town and was “forced” to see something else instead. Luckily, that film was the French thriller, Tell No One (review). A smart, yet exciting “on the run” movie on par with other great films of the sub-genre like The Fugitive or a Hitchcock thriller. Aside from a few hiccups, it really was one of the better films to be released that year. A good weeknight thriller if you’re interested in picking it up on home video.

So that being said, I’m usually left with a bad taste in my mouth when news is released that an American remake is on the way. However in this case I’m willing to make an exception for a couple of reasons. One, the story is a fairly straight forward plot driven film. It’s not exceptionally cinematic and the performances and actors involved are nothing that stand out as irreplaceable. Second, and more importantly, Andrew Dominik is at the ink end of the new script. Having written and directed the best film of 2007 (and currently working on a Marilyn Monroe biopic), I’m pretty much on board with anything the guy does. Though a director hasn’t been chosen for this remake, I would assume Dominik would be pretty high up on the list of possible candidates.

Focus features is notorious for dragging their feet a little bit with a lot of their productions, but in this case that’s probably a good thing so that the story is well thought out and told properly; especially after initially being in the incapable and now defunct hand of Miramax.

So yeah, despite my apprehension about other recent foreign pictures getting the Hollywood treatment (The Girl w/ the Dragon Tattoo, Let the Right One In), this is one that I’m super on board with and if in fact Dominik is allowed to direct, would shoot straight to the near top of my most anticipated list of 201…?

 

This Week on IFC (Mar. 1 – Mar. 7)

I forgot to do this for last week and who knows how long I’ll keep this up, but for the next seven days here’s a quick weekly guide that highlights some of the great movies playing on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) and The Sundance Channel. Keep in mind that this is not a complete schedule, but rather a quick listing of some films that RowThree endorses (or at least takes an interest in) that will be screening in the next seven days on these channels. Looks like Sundance is sort of showcasing John Cassavetes while IFC highlights a couple of Wes Anderson flicks this week; nice. For specific times and schedules, visit IFC.com and/or The Sundance Channel schedule pages.

IFC logo

SUNDAY:
A Love Song For Bobby Long (fine work from Travolta)
The Legend of 1900
Holy Smoke (Harvey Keitel, Kate Winslet)
Little Fish (Cate Blanchett)

MONDAY:
Story of Women
IFC Short Film Showcase
Chopper (Eric Bana’s first leading role – directed by director of Assassination of Jesse James)

TUESDAY:
Moulin Rouge
Waking Life
Rush (cold, dark and awesome)

WEDNESDAY:
Rabbit-Proof Fence
Coastlines (Timothy Olyphant, Josh Brolin)
The Deep End (Tilda Swinton)
Raging Bull

THURSDAY:
Danny Deckchair
Waiting for Guffman (Christopher Guest)
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

FRIDAY:
Reel Paradise
The Cooler (William H. Macy)
Return of the Living Dead (braaains!)

SATURDAY:
The Winter Guest (Alan Rickman’s directorial debut)
The Baxter
The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson’s best?)
Clerks (the film that started it all)
Havoc (Anne Hathaway can act before RGM)


Sundance logo

SUNDAY:
I’m a Cyborg, But That’s O.K.
Binta and the Great Idea (the short that should’ve won the Oscar last year)
Cavite

MONDAY:
Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollack?
Little Odessa

TUESDAY:
A Woman Under the Influence
Marvelous (Michael Shannon)

WEDNESDAY:
Opening Night

THURSDAY:
The Situation
Lemon Sky (Kevin Bacon, Casey Affleck)

FRIDAY:
My Best Friend
Dead Man’s Shoes (Paddy Considine)

SATURDAY:
Nothing but a Man
The Last Hangman (Eddie Marsan, Timothy Spall)

Whoa, how did I miss this? Blood Meridian Gets a New Director?

I am not sure how I missed this and why it seems everybody else did too, but apparently Ridley Scott is no longer directing an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s brutal western Blood Meridian. I knew production was at a standstill on it and that Scott was having a hard time with the screenplay, but according to an article Rope of Silicon ran on August 19th (as well as its IMDb page), Todd Field (Little Children, In the Bedroom) is now helming the project.

“No Country’s” Academy Award-winning producer Scott Rudin and “Little Children” filmmaker Todd Field have been developing a “Blood Meridian” movie, and Australian filmmaker Andrew Dominik wants to film “Cities of the Plain,” the last book in McCarthy’s border trilogy. Said Field in explaining McCarthy’s appeal: “His work examines our core, the two faces of violence that co-exist in every savage act – brutal strength of purpose holding hands with a desperate and cowering weakness.”

This news seemingly came out of nowhere and surprisingly not too many people have noticed, which is odd since Cormac McCarthy is the hottest thing in both modern literature and filmmaking right now, with last year’s No Country for Old Men and this year’s upcoming and high anticipated The Road.

I am still not sure how I feel about bringing Blood Meridian to the screen at all. It just seems unfilmable, at least with keeping the tone and feeling of the novel intact, let alone some of the events themselves. I’m not sure how I feel with the transition from Scott to Field either, but I guess I wouldn’t know how to feel no matter who was directing. There are many other McCarthy works that I think would work better on the big screen, including the rest of the Border trilogy.

As for Dominik wanting to film Cities of the Plain (the final novel in the Border trilogy), I wrote about that in my McCarthyism article back in April, in which Dominik said he has “a big thing for McCarthy, and it’s a beautiful story” (which it is and I honestly cannot think of a single better man than Dominik for the job), but he refuses to cast big stars in any of the roles and the studio will not greenlight it without big stars attached. Maybe, just maybe if he agreed to have Casey Affleck (who he worked with on The Assassination of Jesse James) on board for the late-20s Billy Parham of the novel, that would be a big enough star for the studio? I want to see this made, but please agree to tackle its predecessor The Crossing too, Andrew!