If there is any film I'm disappointed I missed by skipping the 2012 Cannes Film Festival it's Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly." His last picture, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," was one of the best films of 2007 and of the 21st Century's first decade. He's re-teamed with the producer and star of "James," Brad Pitt, for his follow up.
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I'm that guy who really doesn't like the Paul Verhoeven film.
I like things about it, certainly. I like the idea of Rekall as a company and as a premise for a science-fiction film. Then again, Rekall isn't really a premise for a movie… it's a device, something you still have to build a plot around, and the one undeniably genius move of the original script is having someone ask to have the secret agent memories implanted, only to suddenly find himself in a secret agent scenario, unsure if it's really happening or if this is what he paid for. Great idea. Huge idea. So much you can do with it.
Perhaps that's why I remain disappointed by both versions of "Total Recall" to some degree. Here's this amazing opportunity, and both films eventually just turn into fairly standard action movies. Verhoeven's film ladles on the weird and tries to be subversively funny in the same way "Robocop" was, but it's an uneasy mixture at best, and I think the Schwarzenegger film is largely witless. This is a movie that actually contains a scene where Arnold sits at the controls of a giant drill that he uses to kill someone as he screams "SCREEEEEEEEWWWWWW YYYYYOOOOOUUUU!" It's hard for me to see the things the Verhoeven film does right when there is so much of it that makes me actively embarrassed to be watching it. I saw the film a few days before it opened at a midnight screening at the theater where my friend worked. I was tremendously excited for it, and I was a fan of Verhoeven's work even before "Robocop." I'd seen "Soldier Of Orange" and "Flesh and Blood" and "The Fourth Man" already, and I really liked his overall sensibility. To me, "Total Recall" felt like Hollywood swallowing him up, and it's not until it spit him back out and he made "Black Book" that I was fully onboard one of his films again.
I think it's specifically appropriate to say that Colin Farrell is one lucky cat. After all, if anyone in Hollywood has nine lives, it's Farrell.
He was an overnight sensation when he starred in "Tigerland," Hollywood's hot new flavor of the month. Never mind that he'd been working for four years beforehand, including the show "Ballykissangel." "Tigerland" was the moment international audiences first noticed him, and almost immediately, he was everywhere. His first big commercial run included roles in "Hart's War," "Minority Report," "Phone Booth," and "Daredevil," and he failed as many times as he succeeded, enough so that when "Intermission" rolled around in 2003, just three years after "Tigerland," it was already referred to by some of the media as a "comeback."
I think Farrell has made choices over the years that indicate just how seriously he takes the job and how little he cares about stardom. You don't star in "Ask The Dust" because you think you're going to get an action figure deal out of it. You don't make "In Bruges" because you're hoping to make $50 million off of your gross points. He's worked with Malick, Stone, Mann, Gilliam. He's taken some outrageous chances, and even in his most mainstream movies, like "Miami Vice," it seems like he makes the least safe versions of these big studio films.
"X-Men: First Class" felt to me like a Hail Mary pass, a last-ditch effort to figure out what to do with the franchise, and the creative and commercial success of the film seems to have surprised the studio tremendously.
Part of what happened with the film was based on time, or the lack thereof. They had a very tight production window on "X-Men: First Class," and in situations where that happens, there is far less opportunity for anyone to second guess a choice. Matthew Vaughn and his writing partner Jane Goldman crafted something that gave a shot of adrenaline to the series, and it's little wonder they've been brought back to work on the second film in this new series as well.
When word broke recently about the possible title of the sequel, we double-checked with the MPAA and confirmed that the title "Days Of Future Past" had indeed been registered as the title. That's exciting because, like with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," the title immediately suggests a particularly well-known story arc from the comics.
Ah, the house is in turmoil as the POV contest looms and Janelle faces the prospect of being the last judge to face losing a wee hamster. Really, it's a surprise that Janelle hasn't lost anyone yet, as her players are all such obvious floaters. Although everyone keeps talking about how Wil is physically capable of winning a physical challenge, I think this is only possible if Shane and Frank both break their legs and perhaps get electrocuted. Even Joe seems to have more of a chance, though he might suffer a massive coronary in the process. The guy really is like a walking "this is your heart on cholesterol" commercial. But I'll give the guy credit; he REALLY wants to play. Personally, I can't imagine why he wants to be surrounded by a bunch of whiny kids who spend all their time braiding hair and running up and down the stairs, but maybe his kids at home are just too mature or something.
It’s an 8th week at the summit for Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” as the song ties Goyte’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” for the most weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this year.
We’ll see next week if she can break the tie and hit nine weeks or if Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake,” which rises 3-2 this week, will surge ahead to No. 1. Billboard notes that every time a Perry song has reached No. 2 before, it has gone on to hit No. 1. “Wide Awake” switches places with Maroon 5’s “Payphone, which drops to No. 3.
Flo Rida’s “Whistle” blows its way from No. 6 to No. 4, pushing Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” down one spot to No. 5.
Once again, there are no new entries in the Top 10: Gotye’s “Somebody” falls from No. 5-6, while the rest of the chart looks the same as it did last week: Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” is No. 7, David Guetta’s “Titanium” featuring Sia is No. 8, Usher’s “Scream” is No. 9 and Pink’s "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” holds at No. 10.
Jepsen’s duet with Owl City, “Good Time,” will likely jump into the Top 10 next week: this week is powers its way from No. 23 to No. 13.
"We all know that there were critics who did not enjoy the first four episodes" of "The Newsroom," that show's creator Aaron Sorkin, said, "and there were critics that did. Obviously, you'd prefer that the praise be unanimous."
As fans of Norah Jones’ “Little Broken Hearts” album already know, the song “Miriam,” is the most chilling she has ever recorded. The sweet melody and seemingly benign, casual delivery belie the lyrics about a murder.
The crime of passion, by a jealous lover, is deliberately laid out, though we never know for sure the method. However, the video solves that mystery. In a clip that is as simple and plain and spine-tingling as the song, the camera focuses on Jones, calm and dressed pretty as can be, sitting in a row boat singing the song. She’s left the evidence where it won’t be found for a long time. We'll embed when we can, but for now, you can watch the Spin exclusive here.
The Phil Andelman-directed clip is the perfect visual marriage to the song. The camera moves slowly and snake-like, producing a video that provides the same cold-blooded, dead-eyed feel that song produces. There have been some other great rowboat murders, the one in the brilliant "A Place In the Sun" comes to mind, but none executed with such sang-froid.
As we previously wrote, "Little Broken Hearts" is on our short list for potential Grammy contenders for album of the year.
Even before "Prometheus" opened in May, we'd been hearing rumbles about work already underway for a sequel to the film. I'd heard that it essentially ended on a cliffhanger, and that design teams had been engaged to work on figuring out the home world of the Engineers as well as some familiar Xenomorphs.
I think it's safe to call the reaction to the film "mixed" this summer, and as a result, it seemed likely that all those early plans would go unrealized and that we'd never actually see that sequel.
Fox must have been happy with the numbers, though, because according to a report this morning in the Hollywood Reporter, Fox is pushing ahead to develop a sequel with Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace starring. We checked in with Fox, and it's still very early days on this one. They are indeed reaching out to new writers to try and figure the film out, but they confirm that Ridley Scott is the one steering the direction as they start to develop the movie.
BEVERLY HILLS - HBO is always good for press tour news, so let's see what information leaks at the network's Television Critics Association gabfest.
2:05 p.m. We've been promised that Plepler and Lombardo have announcements.
2:05 p.m. HBO has a Brett Morgan documentary on The Rolling Stones, coinciding with the band's 50th Anniversary.
2:05 p.m. HBO is also doing a movie with Larry David.
2:06 p.m. "As long as he keeps writing, we'll keep producing," Plepler says of George R.R. Martin and "Game of Thrones." Regarding "True Blood," Lombardo says that as long as the show keeps exciting the storytelling, they're there.
2:06 p.m. "Doug, as of this week, is on Page 65," Lombardo says regarding Doug Ellin and a possible "Entourage" movie.
2:08 p.m. Why move "Enlightened" and "Girls" to January? Lombardo admits that there was a hole in January produced by the abrupt cancellation of "Luck." "We did not have anything ready for that period," he says. Those will be HBO's only January originals. Plepler says that both shows have dedicated audiences who will find the show.
2:09 p.m. "I don't know that the discussion was about women, because we've had a fair number of woman creators," Lombardo says of the network's diversity. "We wait for people to come in to us with a passion project, with a show they're dying to do," Lombardo adds. "You can't mandate any kind of diversity in the creation of a show," Plepler says. He adds that Lena Dunham was sensitive to complaints about diversity last season. Lombardo notes that the network did a pilot with John Ridley and Spike Lee last year that didn't go forward. He says they're mindful of diversity in the creative pipeline.
2:11 p.m. The Larry David movie is NOT a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" movie. David is not playing himself, or at least not the Larry David from "Curb." Greg Mottola is directing.
2:12 p.m. HBO just got a draft of a script for a "The Kids Are Alright."
2:12 p.m. "Unfortunately, we can't do everything we want to do," Plepler says regarding the "Corrections" pilot. He praises the writing and acting. "It's very difficult material and I thought they did a beautiful job with it," he maintains. Lombardo says the decision wasn't based on cost.
2:14 p.m. "People come to the brand and the brand represents distinctive quality," Plepler says of attracting creators. He says the network's matrix for success is "quality and excellence," more than ratings. They want to create passionately engaged programming across all parts of the HBO audience. Lombardo specifically references "Game of Thrones" as a show they're proud of being associated with. "We responded to the writing," Lombardo says. "We want to be proud of everything that we greenlight and put on the air and we are proud of everything that's on the air," Plepler says. He references, for example, the unique voice of Lena Dunham and "Girls."
2:17 p.m. More on diversity! Both Lombardo and Plepler mention "Treme" and "True Blood" as diverse casts. "Do I think we can do better? Absolutely," Lombardo insists. "It's something we're aware of. I think we have shows that have diversity, but the truth is that we can do better," he says.
2:18 p.m. "He has essentially carte blanche," Plepler says of Larry David and additional seasons of "Curb." What Larry David wants to do next is this movie. "I think he wants to do another season of 'Curb' if he has a great idea for another season of 'Curb,'" Lombardo says.
2:19 p.m. Lombardo says that Danny and Jody have pitched an idea for another season of "Eastbound and Down," but it hasn't been written.
2:19 p.m. What are they thinking about a fourth "Treme" season? Lombardo says that they're absolutely having conversations now with David Simon regarding if there should be a fourth season and what that fourth season would be.
2:20 p.m. "We're very proud of it," Plepler says of "The Newsroom," praising Aaron Sorkin as one of the network's original voices. He says there are 7 million people loving "Newsroom" each week. "There's only one Aaron Sorkin and we're very proud that he's working for us," he says.
2:21 p.m. Plepler says that the streaming audience for HBO is only 5 percent, but it gets closer to 25 percent when you add in OnDemand. Plepler says that "Girls" is the most viewed show on HBOGo.
2:22 p.m. What's happening with "True Detective"? What did HBO respond to? Lombardo says it's very much a character piece and the strength of the writing is that in a familiar drama it blew his socks off. The show is set up as an anthology. This first season narrative ends after these episodes conclude, but they haven't had talk about what a second season would be.
2:24 p.m. HBO ended its deal with Scott Rudin just to give him more flexible, but he remains on-board for "The Newsroom" and everybody is happy.
2:24 p.m. Why does HBO renew shows, particularly comedies," so fast? "We had seen all the episodes. We knew creatively they were strong," Lombardo says of "Girls" and "Veep." They were able to see already that there was an audience and that the audiences returned for second episodes. Plepler emphasizes, once again, that the ratings aren't the top criteria. "Is it hitting part of the 30 million in a way that's resonating?" Plepler says of the big question.
2:26 p.m. Does HBO have room for more original programming? "At this point, we're Sunday night," Lombardo says. HBO did, indeed, air programming on Mondays last fall with "Bored to Death" and "Enlightened," but they realized that the network has trained people to come on Sunday nights. They're always looking at their schedule trying to figure out the pieces and Plepler says that they still have room to add programming on Sunday nights. More programming is, as we like to say, a high class problem.
2:28 p.m. HBO has an overall deal with Jay Roach. He praises the team of Roach and Danny Strong.
2:30 p.m. "We congratulate other networks when they do good work, It takes nothing away from us," Plepler says of cable competition.
2:30 p.m. Plepler says he wouldn't count out quality broadcast dramas in the future. "There's some great shows on broadcast. They weren't nominated this year, but it's hard to argue with why 'The Good Wife' wouldn't fit into that group of shows," Lombardo says of the absence of broadcast dramas in the Emmy field. Lombardo thought "The Following" on FOX was a "smart, well-executed show."
2:32 p.m. "It's over," Lombardo says of "The Life and Times of Tim." He looks a little sad. "We're always looking at stuff," Lombardo says of future animated shows.
2:32 p.m. David Milch is working on a new pilot for HBO and he has movies and miniseries on his plate. The Faulkner thing, presumably?
That's all, folks...
HBO's three-hour stint at the Television Critics Association press tour is going to begin shortly — including a highly-anticipated panel for "The Newsroom"(*) — but the network has already put out press releases for several of the announcements co-presidents Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo will be making, including the decision to pair "Girls" and "Enlightened" in January.
When you're making films that are as small as the "Paranormal Activity" movies, it's easier to fly under the radar and not have major leaks involving story details.
It's not an insult to call these small movies, either. That's part of the charm of the series, this handmade quality that makes them feel like they're not just part of the corporate machine. It's deceptive, of course. While the first "Paranormal" was about as handmade as a film can be, once Paramount finally released it and saw the reaction, they have created a system where they can make these films quietly, cheaply, and no one really knows what they're up to until they decide to share.
For example, with the last film, people didn't even fully know what premise they were using until the film began to screen. The trailers carefully danced around giving away any details, and they way the process worked, they were able to experiment until they found the film they liked. They've got the directors of the last one back this time, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, and it's almost surprising how clear a picture of what we can expect from the fourth film in the series we get from today's trailer debut.