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AUSTIN, Texas - On Monday at a SXSW screening here, director Katie Dellamaggiore announced that Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin purchased the remake rights to “Brooklyn Castle,” her documentary about a group of New York schoolkids that compete regularly in national chess tournaments. This of course is but the latest doc set to be remade by Hollywood, but it’s hard to imagine a fiction film doing justice to the complexity and utter humanness of Dellamaggiore’s version.
The film uses school chess programs to evidence both the neglect legislators show towards education when time comes to cutting checks, and yet the remarkable impact that programs like these can have on the lives of the children who participate in them. A truly inspiring story, “Brooklyn Castle” ranks among the first tier of SXSW’s 2012 films, and deserves a place among documentaries like “Rize,” “Resolved” and “Spellbound” that choose to emphasize substance over sensationalism in their depiction of kids who are sadly often looked at as statistics.
The Flaming Lips’ new musical, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” based on the 2002 album of the same name, is coming to theaters. The musical will bow this fall at the prestigious La Jolla (Calif.) Playhouse.
Des McAnuff, who has directed such plays as “Jersey Boys” and the current Broadway revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” will helm the production, according to the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper notes that screen writer Aaron Sorkin, who was previously connected with the project, which has been in the works for five years, is no longer associated with it.
Like Green Day’s “American Idiot,” “Yoshimi,” which chronicles the adventures of a female Japanese artist who ventures into the world of robots, includes the songs from the titular album, but also includes tunes from other Flaming Lips albums.
Look for a November or December premiere.
The film begins in total darkness, and an older English man is screaming at someone. "NO YOU WILL NOT TALK TO THEM! NOT IN MY MOVIE! I DON'T WANT ANY OF THEM IN MY MOVIE!" Then the darkness splits and you realize someone was pressed up against the camera. The person moves back, waving a cane, swinging it with real intent. We get our first look at the Ginger Baker of today, red-faced and furious.
"Are you really going to try to hit me with that?" someone asks from behind the camera. That only seems to make Baker crazier, and he thrusts with the cane, rewarded with a satisfying crack for his efforts, and he roars, "I'LL SEND YOU TO F**KIN' HOSPITAL!"
There's a cut, and we see the director of the documentary, Jay Bulger, stagger outside the car, bleeding freely from the gash across the bridge of his nose. "I think Ginger Baker just kicked my ass," he says. BOOM. The main title comes up. "BEWARE OF MR. BAKER." And just like that, you're off and running on a truly hilarious and harrowing look at one of the great monsters of rock, the legendary drummer Ginger Baker. The film manages to make the case for his place in the firmament of musicians who helped shape an era, and it also reveals that time has not dulled his fangs one little bit.
I was not familiar with the name Megan Griffiths until now, but it appears that I've been watching her work for years. She produced two of Todd Rohal's films, she co-produced the outstanding "Your Sister's Sister" which I saw this year at Sundance, and she also helped produce the documentary "Zoo," which is a terribly disturbing film. I did not see her previous films, but "The Off Hours" was at Sundance last year, and I know a few people who liked it.
I will definitely catch up with it, because I thought her new film, "Eden," was a strong, simple presentation of a harrowing story, with a great performance from Jamie Chung to ground the whole thing. Based on the real life of Chong Kim, who gets a co-story credit, "Eden" tells the story of a young Korean girl who works for her parents in their store and who is just starting to experiment with freedom, sneaking out with her friend, smoking cigarettes. She's very young, and despite her little white lies, she seems like a fairly innocent girl.
There are worse ways to spend a Saturday than chatting with Susan Sarandon and Judy Greer.
Both of them were part of the same press day for their new film "Jeff Who Lives At Home," and I was excited to discuss the movie with both of them. They are both sharp, vibrant performers who have spent most of their career making movies better just by being in them.
I love that Sarandon is so hard on her own work in the movie "Joe," which I brought up while we were talking. That's a pretty great little '70s picture with an amazing central performance by Peter Boyle, and Sarandon stars as his daughter. It's one of her earliest roles, and she shuddered at the mention of it, saying she's awful in it. While I agree that she is much, much better now, I don't think she's right about how bad she was. Even in the early part of her career, Sarandon had a great live-wire energy onscreen that made it impossible to look away. Is her performance in "Dead Man Walking" better than her work in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"? Sure. Of course. But she's still fascinating in "Rocky," and in "Joe," because you could see right away that she was wildly alive behind those giant almond eyes of hers.
Wiz Khalifa’s latest mixtape, “Taylor Allderdice,” has proved so popular that it crashed its website.
The mixtape, available on datpiff, dropped Tuesday night and features vocals from his new fiance Amber Rose and from Rick Ross on a track called “Never Been Part 2.” The song is a sequel to “Never Been” from the “Kush & Orange Juice” mixtape.
Khalifa, who has a top 10 hit, "Young, Wild & Free," with Snoop Dogg on the Billboard Hot 100 right now, followed the action on Twitter, tweeting, “Yea Taylors, We Crashed That Shit!!!”
For those not in the know, Taylor Allderdice is the name of Khalifa’s high school in Pittsburgh.
Datpiff.com seems to be running fine now, but if you have trouble, you can also download the mixtape. at taylorallderdicemixtape.com
Were you able to download the mixtape before the site crashed? What did you think?
Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter @HitFixMelinda
The male leads of "The Hunger Games" really don't spend any time together onscreen, but the dynamic that each of them shares with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) helps shape not only this first film but the entire trilogy ahead.
What's impressive is that this is not about an easy love triangle. If you were to remove the romantic entanglements from "Twilight," for example, there's nothing left. And while there are definitely strong feelings between Katniss and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) and Katniss and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), that's not what drives this film. That's not what drives the overall story. That's not the point. I like that Katniss is defined by way more than just the men in her life.
Having said that, Gale and Peeta certainly matter. In this first film, Gale represents the life Katniss thought she was going to live forever, scratching by in District 12, caring for her sister Primrose (Willow Shields) and her mother (Paula Malcomson), sneaking off to hunt illegally with Gale by her side. Peeta is part of this new life she stumbles into when she volunteers to take Prim's place in the The Hunger Games, with Peeta picked as the other tribute from District 12.
If it wasn't obvious, Gary Ross’s adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s dystopic young adult fantasy novel “The Hunger Games” opens worldwide beginning next Wednesday March 21. The book tells the story of an imagined future in which a series of wars and natural disasters have drastically reduced the size of North America, which has become the country of Panem, a polarized collection of 12 “districts” that have very limited contact with one another, each with a specialized trade.
An opulent “Capital,” which is largely hidden and isolated by a mountain range, presides over the districts and their resources. As a reminder of the consequences of a long-ago rebellion, the Capital demands that each district conduct a yearly lottery wherein a boy and a girl will be selected to participate in a televised fight to the death in a manufactured “arena.”
I've known David Milch for almost 16 years, and I have never seen him more animated or excited than the day we met, when at the tail end of an interview about "NYPD Blue," he smiled and said, "You should come to the track with me." I was a 22-year-old newspaper intern; he was the Emmy-winning creator of my favorite TV show. I went to the track. And over the course of an afternoon, Milch regaled me and "NYPD" writer David Mills with stories about a lifetime of watching horse racing. He even offered to cut us in on his winnings if a horse he had bet on came in; I was still new at the newspaper thing and trying to figure out the ethical implications when the horse did me a favor and finished out of the money. Mills and I occasionally talked about that day in the years that followed, and Mills was convinced that one day, when Milch had amassed enough credit in the TV business, he was going to spend it by combining his two passions to make a drama about life at the track.
So "Luck" as an idea has been in my consciousness for a very long time, which is why I'm having trouble processing the news that HBO has canceled the series after a third horse died during filming, early in production of the second season.