The Internet may offer endless opportunities for up-and-coming artists to promote themselves in theory, but when’s the last time you actually took a chance on a title, filmmaker, or star you’d never heard of? Outside of a few tech-savvy cinephiles, consumers are still reluctant to devote their time and energy to movies they haven’t so much as seen a TV spot for — and that’s a problem that a new website called Prescreen is trying to fix.

Founded by former Groupon exec Shawn Bercuson, the start-up will aim to bring Groupon-style marketing to feature film distribution by helping people find and watch high-quality full-length movies online. More after the jump.

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WB’s Live-Action Akira Remake Is Dead?

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The live-action adaptation of the classic anime Akira is dead, according to a report from Bloody Disgusting. The film has been in the hands of Warner Brothers and Leonardo DiCaprio‘s production company Appian Way for some time, and Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) has been working to crack the script. The plan, reportedly, was to craft two films in order to preserve the scope of the massive manga by Katsuhiro Otomo (who co-wrote and directed the anime, as well) with Ruairi Robinson directing. But Robinson is now said to be off the project, which is also ‘dead as a doornail’. Read More »

Breaking: Warner Bros Shuts Down Picturehouse and Warner Independent

Sad news for the mini-major world of independent Hollywood, as Warner Bros has decided to shut down Picturehouse, the art-house/indie/foreign arm of New Line. But the bigger news is that WB also decided to close Warner Independent Pictures. The real problem is that the two companies had yet to find out a way to make a profit. So not only was Funny Games one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, but it’s also partly responsible for the death of a good mini-major. I’m not quite sure if this means that Warner Bros/New Line is out of the art-house/indie/foreign business, or if they will continue to distribute/produce those type of films under the Warner Bros brand/arm? It sounds like New Line might go on to represent lower budget genre films.

In a statement, Alan Horn, president & COO of Warner Bros. said, “With New Line now a key part of Warner Bros., we’re able to handle films across the entire spectrum of genres and budgets without overlapping production, marketing and distribution infrastructures. After much painstaking analysis, this was a difficult decision to make, but it reflects the reality of a changing marketplace and our need to prudently run our businesses with increased efficiencies. We’re confident that the spirit of independent filmmaking and the opportunity to find and give a voice to new talent will continue to have a presence at Warner Bros.”

Picturehouse had made a name for itself in recent years with films like The Orphanage, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Rocket Science, Pan’s Labyrinth, and A Prairie Home Companion.

Warner Indepedent Pictures filmography includes: Before Sunset, March of the Penguins, Good Night, and Good Luck., The Science of Sleep, A Scanner Darkly, The Painted Veil and In the Valley of Elah, among many others.

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Saw films are below par.”

Brooklynite actor Michael Pitt has come a long way from starring on Dawson’s Creek, and in the current issue of Giant magazine he delivers, in context, some particularly vapid-funny-traditionally-hipster quotes about the Saw franchise, U.S. soldiers and people who won’t/don’t “get” the March remake of Funny Games.

On his film preferences…

“I don’t even know what Saw or Hostel are. Are they like Texas Chainsaw Massacre? I guess I’m drawn to things like Lawrence of Arabia.”

And then he adds…

“[Audiences that don't like Funny Games] can kiss my ass. I hope they do [get angry with] Funny Games. It challenges you. If you’re not up to the challenge, go see Saw.”

And not to get Fox News-y, but coming from Pitt, “one of the faces of Emporio Armani and a friend of author J.T. Leroy,” this quote equating being a soldier to regression is ridiculous…

“People think that, until you’ve killed someone or had someone shoot at you, you’re not a grown-up. Going to war isn’t growing up; it’s moving backwards.”

 

Zack Snyder Reveals Watchmen Storyboards

Director Zack Snyder has posted the two storyboards viewed below for his 2009 tent pole, Watchmen, on the film’s official website. The storyboards, which map out scenes with Rorschach, can be seen as yet another gage of how faithful Snyder is staying to Alan Moore’s championed graphic novel. Snyder goes into considerable detail about this aspect of his films, but here’s a choice excerpt into his creative process regarding them…

In the past, once I had completed my sketches, I would have a clean up pass done by an artist. Lately, I have foregone that step. Instead, I opt to distribute my original boards. This speeds up the information dissemination process and also ensures that the boards going out to each of the various departments are 100% accurate and that no details are lost during an illustration polish pass.

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David Gordon Green’s Snow Angels Movie Trailer

Snow Angels

The movie trailer for filmmaker David Gordon Green‘s (George Washington, All The Real Girls) adaptation of the Stewart O’Nan novel Snow Angels is now online.

Snow Angels is one of those movies you either love or you hate. I saw the film last January at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, and really took to it. In the days that followed, while riding the shuttle buses that transport the festival-goers around Park City, I had conversations with a lot of different people about this movie. And it was fun to hear such a varied reaction. The new trailer hints at the dark nature at the film which some moviegoers may have found “depressing.” Oddly enough, Green is the guy who directed the upcoming Apatow-produced comedy Pineapple Express., which is a 180 from his typical indie dramas.

Watch the movie trailer after the jump.
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The Science of Sleep Disasterology CalendarOne of the coolest movies of last year came and went relatively fast, and was virtually unnoticed by mainstream audiences. I’m talking about The Science of Sleep, Michel Gondry’s quirky romantic dramedy about a young man, entranced by his dreams and imagination, who becomes lovestruck with a French woman and feels he can show her his world. If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend you add it to your Netflix queue.

Anyway, in the film Gael García Bernal plays Stéphane Miroux, an aspiring artist who at one point pitches an idea for a “disasterology” calendar, where each month would feature an illustration of a famous disaster. I always wished that Warner Independent would have created a replica of this prop for promotional purpose. Nearly two years later I discovered while browsing flickr, that they had done just that.

So below you can find the twelve illustrations from Stéphane’s fictional Disasterology Calendar.

Know of any geekarific creations or cool products which should be featured on Cool Stuff? E-mail Us.

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White Jazz Casting

White JazzThe characters of Junior Stemmons and Glenda Bledsoe have been cast in Joe Carnahan’s upcoming adaptation of James Ellroy’s White Jazz. So who will be playing Stemmons and Bledsoe? Carnahan won’t say.

“I cant reveal their names but rest assured, the choices will shock and amaze: Pissing off some while pleasing many more,” says Carnahan. “I can tell you one of the actors I worked with in Smokin’ Aces will be playing whackjob deviant kid cop Junior Stemmons.”

So anyone willing to place some guesses on which Smokin’ Aces alumni will be joining George Clooney?

Set in late 1950s Los Angeles, White Jazz tells the story of vice cop Dave Klein (Clooney). When he senses he’s being set up by the police commissioner, he sets out to expose a decades-old network of corruption engineered by the LAPD. Jason Bateman and Peter Berg are also attached to the production. The film will hit theaters in 2009.

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