At the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, I was blown away by a film called (500) Days of Summer. When I interviewed director Marc Webb in Park City that year, he exclusively revealed that he was working with the 500 Days writing team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber on a adaptation of Tim Tharp‘s The Spectacular Now. Then, hot off the success of Summer, Webb got pulled away to do some little superhero movie reboot.
Cut to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival: Smashed became one of the top buzz films of the festival with a critically acclaimed tour de force performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and an incredibly raw filmmaking style that put director James Ponsoldt on our must-watch list. So when it was announced that Ponsoldt would be taking over as director on The Spectacular Now, we were excited. And the movie does not disappoint.
The Spectacular Now is everything I hope a Sundance movie to be. It has heart, many laughs, story twists that will jolt you from your seat, and most importantly, the film speaks to a deep truth. It is an honest coming of age film about growing up and facing the great unknown that comes after high school, something we can all remember and relate to. But it tells that story without the forced nostalgia of other Hollywood films.
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Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 by Angie Han
There’s little question as to what Paul Thomas Anderson‘s next picture will be. The filmmaker has been developing his Thomas Pynchon adaptation Inherent Vice for a couple of years already, and last month he told press that his goal was to shoot it sometime this year. But he’s a young guy with, we hope, many more years of moviemaking ahead of him. So naturally we’re already wondering what’s coming up for him after that.
In a recent interview, Anderson indicated that he’d been toying with the idea of a movie set in the early days of television. Of course, there’s a huge difference between thinking and doing, and his words aren’t really a confirmation of anything. But how fantastic does that sound? Hit the jump to keep reading.
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Briefly: Breathe easy, Battle Royale fans. You won’t have to see the CW network craft a teen- and TV-friendly version of your favorite tale of a dystopian future in which kids are forced to fight to the death. Last year, CW president Mark Pedowitz expressed interest in making a series out of Battle Royale, fueled no doubt by the crazy popularity of vaguely similar property The Hunger Games.
But while the network looked into the project, it seems there was no interest from rights holders. EW talked to Pedowitz, who says “We were not able to do anything. We are not planning to do anything with Battle Royale … nothing occurred … there’s nothing to talk about … nothing happened.”
There’s also the implication in EW’s piece that the flare-up in the debate over the relationship between violence in the media and real life changed the company’s interest in the property. In the wake of Aurora and Sandy Hook, the CW might not be so keen on a show that revolves around high-school kids killing each other.
The 2010 horror movie The Last Exorcism told the story of Cotton Marcus, an evangelical minister in Louisiana who is the subject of a documentary effort by a small film crew. Though Marcus doesn’t believe in the power of exorcisms, he performs them occasionally as a faith-building exercise. But while doing an exorcism on camera for the film crew, things get out of control.
This sequel is connected to the original, as the formerly possessed Nell (Ashley Bell) takes center stage, but it uses a slight location change and convenient amnesia to tell what looks like enough of a standalone tale that anyone who didn’t see the first film can jump right in. Yep, Nell is found by the ancient evil once more. (We know he’s ancient because he still calls the landline.) It also is presented as a conventional movie rather than a found-footage film.
It’s easy to make a joke about the title, so think of it this way: if the title of the original film represented the last exorcism performed by Marcus, this one twists it a bit. Which is to say, the demon in Nell might well be saying “the last exorcism you experienced wasn’t enough to drive me out.” Yike? Some of the trailer looks like old-fashioned scary movie fun; see it below.
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Kojak was a big presence on TV in the ’70s, with Telly Savalas starring as the title detective from ’73 to ’78. Savalas anchored the show with strength and a rakish charm, sucking on lollipops, spouting the catchphrase “Who loves ya, baby?,” and solving crime in the middle of what might have been New York’s worst decade for crime.
Now Kojak may be reborn as a film project, as Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who worked on several James Bond scripts up to and including Skyfall, have been hired to write a feature version of the character. Given that Kojak’s bald pate was among his most significant physical characteristics, it isn’t much of a surprise to hear that Vin Diesel has been attached to play the role. Read More »
Not long ago, domain name registrations all but confirmed that Studio Ghibli will release two films in 2013: The Wind is Rising (Kaze Tachinu) from director Hayao Miyazaki, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya (aka The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, or Kaguya-hime no Monogatari) from Grave of the Fireflies director Isao Takahata. (The two men are also Ghibli’s founders.)
Now those two films are fully confirmed, as Studio Ghibli has formally announced each one, and has specified that they will be released on the same day. That echoes the release in 1988 of My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies, which were released on the same day that year. Not a bad 25th anniversary celebration of that event.
Studio Ghibli also launched official websites to promote the films. With those sites come early art for the movies, which you can see below. Read More »
While Guillermo del Toro‘s biggest movies (prior to next year’s Pacific Rim) have been derived from comic book characters (Hellboy and Blade), his best work to date has been sourced from a certain supernatural influence. The Devil’s Backbone, Cronos, and Pan’s Labyrinth are either literally ghost stories, or very much kin to them. And now the director is going back to ghosts after Pacific Rim.
Written by del Toro after Pan’s Labyrinth and originally sold as a spec to Universal, a picture called Crimson Peak has now been confirmed as his next movie. The filmmaker says the story is “a very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story.” Read More »
We’re well through the first and second tiers of horror remakes, as we’ve seen new versions of Psycho and ’80s slasher series such as Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th, not to mention remakes of slightly less well-knwon films such as The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha.
Now, with a remake wave that also includes Maniac, we’ve got a new version of Silent Night, Deadly Night. The 1984 original caused a minor furor less for its content (most of the people complaining never saw the original) but for the fact that the story of a serial-killing Santa was advertised during prime time.
I know there’s a war on Christmas and everything (sarcasm), but still, it’s difficult to believe that Silent Night, which remakes/updates the ’84 film, will create the same sort of furor. That said, the trailer for the remake makes it out to be a slasher in the modern exploitation mode with enough creep-out factor and weird intensity to satisfy fans of the genre. And why the hell does that voice at the end sound so much like Willem Dafoe? Read More »
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