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Jake Scott, son of Ridley, has directed a new feature, Welcome to the Rileys, starring James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart and Melissa Leo. The film debuted at Sundance, where it did relatively well and was picked up by Apparition. Bit of trouble there, though, as Apparition has been undergoing some restructuring. Just a couple weeks ago Welcome to the Rileys moved over to Samuel Goldwyn, and the company already has a trailer out for the film. Read More »

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Here’s some good news: the MPAA has evidently rated The Tree of Life, the long-gestating movie from Terrence Malick, and awarded it a PG-13. The good news isn’t so much the rating (I don’t really care what the film is rated) but that it is finished to the point where it could be submitted to the board for consideration. Read More »

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Things change fast. A year ago, the young distributor Apparition looked like one of the most promising new kids on the block. It came out of the gate with a varied, ambitious lineup of interesting films, anchored by Terrence Malick‘s forthcoming Tree of Life. But in a tough market only a few had commercial potential. Among those that did have potential, films like The Runaways failed to reach an audience. The company struggled in a few ways, and just before Cannes co-founder Bob Berney abruptly resigned.

Apparition soldiers on under the direction of co-founder and financier Bill Pohlad, but at quite a price: 60% of the staff is being cut at the end of this week. And the company only has one significant film left to release: Tree of Life. So when will that time come? Read More »

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Any straight guy who sees The Runaways will have difficulty standing up to go text outside, what with a 15-year-old Dakota Fanning seducing Japan in a bustier, snorting coke, and tonguing KStew. I mean, what does it all mean? And it’s only moderately less awkward discussing the burgeoning sexuality and punk hedonism of young girls with another guy. So, rather than compute my feelings about the rock biopic into a traditional review, I decided to ask a female’s opinion. /Film could not be more psyched to discourse on The Runaways with NYC-based author Marisa Meltzer, whose swell new book, Girl Power, is about the history and culture of female rockers.

Hunter Stephenson: Following the press screening for The Runaways, I was surprised to hear you loved the film. Having written a book on the legacies and challenges of females in punk, rock, and pop music from the ’70s onward, what real insight does the movie offer on the subject?

Marisa Meltzer: I guess I should admit that I’m a person who is very easily entertained. When you throw in platforms, teenage makeout sessions, and The Stooges on the soundtrack, I’m willing to overlook the film’s flaws. And there are certainly flaws: too much exposition, terrible character development of the other band members, narrative cliches. But I think one important thing to remember is that there really aren’t that many stories being told about women in music—and directed by a woman, no less!—so I’m excited when anyone throws me a bone. I think it’s important for people, especially young women, who might go see The Runaways to realize that girls playing rock music wasn’t always a given, and that their gender was way more of a barrier just a few decades ago than it is now.

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In the new rock biopic, The Runaways, a glum Kristen Stewart sits poolside, suckling vodka from a water pistol before pushing it suggestively down the front of her stomach. In a separate scene, she coaches a bathing teenage band mate on how to get wet using a mental image of Farrah Fawcett and a shower head. And then there’s co-star Dakota Fanning, better known as Hollywood’s 15-year-old precocious precious, who hoovers enough blow on an airplane to soar with Kenny Powers. These scenes are presented as the on-tour lifestyle of the titular ‘70s all-girl rock band, assembled and curated by the group’s wiry and rude L.A. producer, a man named Kim Fowley. Foreseeing the popularity of The Runaways for their jail-bait appropriation of the aggression, punk music, and horniness typically associated with adolescent males, Fowley had no qualms with solidifying a legacy by way of the girls’ quicksilver paths to self-destruction.

Actor Michael Shannon plays Fowley with a commitment and intensity welcome and familiar to any viewer who saw his performance in the new Southern indie classic Shotgun Stories or as the best part of Revolutionary Road (which earned him an Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actor). In recent days, Fowley has come out in support of Shannon’s performance, calling him the Christopher Walken of a generation. Given Shannon’s unflattering if amusing portrayal of the guy as an id swimming in midnight oil and the naivety of young girls, the endorsement is mildly surprising. But the comparison is astute. After interviewing the actor this week in a hotel in NYC, I couldn’t shake similar comparisons with the cornhusk steeliness and alertness of a 30something David Letterman and the seen-a-lot-of-shit-ness of Ray Liotta. In our below interview, Shannon discussed the contradictions of Fowley, HBO’s forthcoming Martin Scorsese series Boardwalk Empire, and the time he hid in a doghouse.

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We know very little about Terrence Malick‘s new film Tree of Life, said to be a generational family drama. We know it stars Brad Pitt as part of the film’s elder generation, and Sean Penn as the adult version of Pitt’s son. Beyond that, plot details are sketchy as Malick’s team has been very good about scrubbing them from the web. Not so sketchy that you can’t find them if you really want, but I’d rather leave all that as a mystery. Feel like I know too much already.

Various theoretical release dates have been batted around since the film was pushed back from a late 2009 release. We’ve figured it would premiere at Cannes, and while that debut isn’t yet confirmed, it seems almost a lock now. Apparition’s Bob Berney has been talking up the film, and confirming that an early November release is currently planned for North America. There’s not much here, but for those dying for this movie (like me), is is something. Read More »

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Floria Sigismondi‘s account of the formation and early career of The Runaways is opening soon, and here’s the first full trailer for the film. It’s a a lot better than the teaser, as it goes slightly lighter on all the world-changing crap and shows off the characters and the LA dives and parties in which they came together. Read More »

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If I were putting together a ‘most anticipated films of 2010′ list one of the highest-ranked entries would be The Tree of Life, the new Terrence Malick generational family drama that has been simmering in an edit bay for months. Once positioned as a possible release late last year, the film wasn’t finished in time, and has been penned in for the best possible release date: when it’s done.

But a few buried nuggets of info in recently published articles suggest that we’ll definitely see the film this year (not a given, with Malick) and that it will have a world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. There’s also a new synopsis, which should be considered spoilerish; it’s at the bottom of the post. Read More »

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