2011 saw one of the greatest successes of Woody Allen‘s career, as his film Midnight in Paris did great business on the US arthouse circuit and worldwide, eventually raking in nearly $150m globally. There was also that little matter of winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Now Allen returns with To Rome With Love, a vignette-based romantic comedy with most of the action falling into a very familiar Allen mode. (It’s a welcome returns, with lines like “the kid’s a communist, the father’s a mortician… does the mother run a leper colony?”)

The cast features Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni (of whom we haven’t seen much in some time), Judy Davis and Woody Allen himself, who hasn’t been in front of the camera since the 2006 release Scoop. The action places that cast in various minor romantic and comic entanglements that all look a bit fluffy, and very entertaining.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »


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Let me say one thing first: this is the sort of role I think Tom Cruise does well. A variation on the arrogant, overbearing personality with a core of self-doubt has served him well in a few films here and there. So I hoped that playing big-time rock star Stacee Jaxx in Adam Shankman‘s ’80s cock rock jukebox musical Rock of Ages might work, too. But based on this new full-length trailer, I don’t think anything really works in Rock of Ages. I know there will be people who dig this, and given that it took time and effort to create I hope someone digs it. Go forth and have a great time, please. But I can’t lie: this one made me cringe more than I would have expected to.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost are real and it’s their job to protect the children of the world. That’s the basic setup for DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming 3D film Rise of the Guardians. The film is directed by Peter Ramsey, and written by David Lindsay-Abaire and William Joyce, based on the Guardians of Childhood books from the latter.

Featuring the voices of Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine, Isla Fisher and Jude Law, the first trailer for the film has just been released and you can check it out below. Read More »

I don’t even know where to begin with today’s extra-packed edition of TV Bits, so let’s just… begin. After the jump:

  • Olivia Wilde will return for the House finale
  • IFC renews Portlandia for a third season
  • Doctor Who casts its new companion
  • 30 Rock plans to do another live episode
  • Wes Anderson teases a new TV commercial
  • January Jones’ pregnancy means less Betty
  • A first look at the Sex and the City prequel

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Ryan Murphy is best known as the co-creator of such unusual TV hits as Glee, American Horror Story, and Nip/Tuck, but he’s slowly been building up a big-screen career as well. Though 2006’s Running with Scissors wasn’t quite a box office smash, 2010’s Eat Pray Love pulled in $200 million worldwide despite mediocre reviews.

Murphy is now gearing up for his third feature, the HIV/AIDS drama The Normal Heart. Mark Ruffalo boarded the project a couple of years ago and was the only star attached for a while, but the project’s now landed four more high-profile stars in Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Matt Bomer, and Jim Parsons, and is said to be eyeing Viggo Mortensen as well.

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Briefly: 2011 was a great year for Woody Allen. His playful, entertaining film Midnight in Paris turned into the year’s runaway arthouse hit, taking in $60m to become Allen’s greatest domestic success. Sony Classics has distributed the director’s last few films and after their stellar success with Midnight in Paris, I think it has been pretty much a foregone conclusion that his next movie, Nero Fiddled, would go out via the company as well.

Variety reports that deal has been set, with Sony Classics picking up North American and UK rights to the film, which stars Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. As is typically the case with a new Allen film we don’t know much about the plot — all we’ve got is that the Rome-set film “consists of four separate vignettes — two with American characters, two with Italian characters — but the vignettes never intersect.”

The film will get a summer 2012 release, and is a likely bet for a Cannes debut.

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As we head toward the holiday season, Boardwalk Empire winds down, 30 Rock gears up, and Terra Nova remains in purgatory. After the jump:

  • Showrunner Terence Winter explains the explosive Season 2 finale for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire
  • NBC drops an enticing teaser for 30 Rock‘s 6th season
  • HBO reveals a second trailer for its Judd Apatow / Lena Dunham series Girls
  • FX renews The League for a fourth season
  • Fox pushes its decision about Terra Nova‘s fate to next year

Read More »

For me, the best part of the trailer for Adam Shankman‘s Rock of Ages is the prominent display of the Motorhead logo in the first few seconds. After that it’s all downhill. The film adapts the stage ‘jukebox musical’ with Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough playing wide-eyed kids caught up in the mid-’80s LA rock scene. Well, they’re caught up in a vision of that scene, at least, as filtered through comedy, nostalgia and the parameters of the movie musical. Check out the trailer below, which holds the reveal of Tom Cruise‘s rocker Stacee Jaxx until the very end. Read More »

Woody Allen Renames Upcoming Film ‘Nero Fiddled’

This past summer, Woody Allen enjoyed the unexpected success of his film Midnight in Paris, which has been going strong in arthouses since May with over $100m earned worldwide. He also shot a new film in Rome, and for quite some time he was planning to call the movie Bop Decameron. There’s a lot to like about that title — it’s very Woody Allen, and even a good bit more jaunty than most of his titles. But it isn’t the sort of title that will keep a movie on screens for six months. Midnight in Paris sounds romantic and enticing. Bop Decameron sounds like… well, I imagine Woody realized a lot of people might not know what it sounds like.

So the film is now called Nero Fiddled. Not as jaunty or romantic, but at least people will know what he’s talking about. I hope. Read More »