Mike Mills is a famous New York graphic artist who designed promotional material and album covers for such acts as Beastie Boys, Beck, Sonic Youth, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. He moved on to directing music videos for such artists as Moby, Yoko Ono and Air, and became a very successful commercial director. Mills made his feature directorial debut in 2005 with a big screen adaptation of Thumbsucker, a novel by Walter Kirn. The film was met with moderately positive reviews, but was considered a disappointment by those who had been following Mills’ short films (watch one of my favorite of his short films, Architecture of Reassurance).
His second feature film, Beginners, premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. The movie is an independent drama about a young man (played by Ewan McGregor) who “is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover.” Christopher Plummer plays Oliver’s father Hal, and Inglourious Basterd’s Mélanie Laurent plays a young French actress whom he meets at a costume party and develops a relationship. I screened the film at TIFF this year but for some reason or another didn’t write a proper review for the site. I can tell you that this film is both well made and touching. Great performances, but a less-than-mainstream plot. I especially love the more quirky touches, like montages that Mills uses to express a sense of year and time (which you’ll see in the trailer). Watch the trailer embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Read More »
This was probably an easy call for the David Fincher camp. As the director is pulling in the actors for his version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, one man who got the call is Christopher Plummer. Read More »
Sony Pictures Classics has finally released a trailer for Michael Hoffman‘s The Last Station, a biopic about Russian author Leo Tolstoy. Described in the promotional material as being a “complex, funny, rich, emotional, and true story about the difficulty of living with love and the impossibility of living without it”, the movie stars Christopher Plummer as Tolstoy and is joined by an all-star cast including James McAvoy as Valentin Bulgakov, Paul Giamatti as Vladimir Chertkov, and Helen Mirren as Sofya Tolstoy. I’m not a big fan of most dramatic period pieces, so I’ll leave the commentary to you (although, it would hard to go wrong with a cast that strong). Watch the trailer after the jump and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Read More »
Between the fact that he founded effects house The Orphanage, the work that outfit subsequently produced and what I’ve seen of his directorial debut Legion, I’m ready to see more work from Scott Stewart. If it is forward-thinking stuff, great. If it’s good, solid genre filmmaking, great. We always want every new guy behind the camera to be some sort of genius, but I’m always happy to see someone making genre films that can work as entertainment. That may be Stwewart’s role, and if he transcends it, wonderful. If nothing else, he’s been roping in some great actors, and his adaptation of the Tokyo Pop graphic novel Priest just got three wonderful new faces. Read More »
It’s no secret that I’m a huge admirer of Terry Gilliam’s work so it will come without surprise that I love The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. More likely to catch you off guard, however, as it did me I must admit, is how this film might not only redeem the director in the eyes of his detractors it should also create a whole new generation of fans.
It never takes long for me to come across someone who tells me that The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Brazil or Time Bandits is their favourite film, and I predict it won’t be long before I meet folks who name The Imaginarium as theirs. If the cinema is a place we go to dream or to see sights we could never imagine ourselves, then this film might be the perfect expression of the form. Dreamers are going to flock to this picture in droves.
Read More »
Three new video clips from Terry Gilliam‘s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus have appeared on the Comme Au Cinema site and have also been embedded below the break in this story. One of them features a scene we’ve seen already – twice before, in fact – but now finally in what would appear to be the correct aspect ratio. The others are new, however, and show us both storylines and special effects that the first clip didn’t even hint at.
As well as showcasing Heath Ledger as Tony, the clips give us a very good look at Andrew Garfield as Anton, Lily Cole as Valentina and – best of all – Christopher Plummer as the titular doctor.
Read More »
There are still plenty of secrets to be revealed when it comes to Pixar‘s Up, and that even goes for those lucky folks to have seen the 45 minute preview presentation (I’m looking at you, Peter Sciretta). The latest juicy crumb to have fallen from the high table reveals the basic design of the film’s main villain. I’ll pop the full size picture below the break (too tall to go at head of the story) and then you can tell me who – if anybody he looks like to you.
Editor’s Note: Because the villain doesn’t really appear in the first 45 minutes of the film, this might be considered a spoiler. Continue at your own risk.
Read More »
9 is a computer animated film produced by Tim Burton (The Corpse Bride) and Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Nightwatch), directed by former WETA Digital artist Shane Acker, and featuring the music of Danny Elfman. Based on Acker’s Academy Award-nominated 2005 film festival short (watch it on YouTube), 9 is a post-apocalyptic nightmare in which all of humanity is threatened. The official plot synopsis follows:
“When 9 (Wood) first comes to life, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world. All humans are gone, and it is only by chance that he discovers a small community of others like him taking refuge from fearsome machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction. Despite being the neophyte of the group, 9 convinces the others that hiding will do them no good. They must take the offensive if they are to survive, and they must discover why the machines want to destroy them in the first place. As they’ll soon come to learn, the very future of civilization may depend on them.”
The group includes 1 (Christopher Plummer), a domineering war veteran; 2 (Martin Landau), an aged inventor; 5 (John C. Reilly), a stalwart mechanic; 6 (Crispin Glover), a visionary and artist; and 7 (Jennifer Connelly), a brave warrior. I like Acker’s unique art style which could be described as a darker/post apocalyptic version of what Tim Burton use to do, with a touch of LittleBigPlanet. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/9trailer.flv 470 248]
Watch the trailer in High Definition on Apple. 9 hits theaters on 9.9.09.
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Last week The Sun reported that director Terry Gilliam had his sights on Johnny Depp to finish what remains of the late Heath Ledger’s role in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. However, now comes word that Depp’s reps tell People that “There have been no official talks, and he is currently working on Public Enemies for Michael Mann for Universal.” But that doesn’t mean that the project will be shelved.Â Co-star Christopher Plummer says that Gilliam is working hard to find a way to finish the film, possibly even using a CGI:
“Terry’s throwing himself into the job of trying to salvage the picture,” said Plummer. “[Gilliam is] trying to work out at this moment how to continue on. Fortunately, because the film deals with magic, there is a way, perhaps, of turning Heath into other people and then, using stills and I think they call it CGI… Terry was a very good friend [of Heath’s]. He very wants to go on with the movie, and I can very much understand why. Because he wants to dedicate it to Heath, of course.”
I’m not quite sure what Plummer is trying to say, but it sure sounds to me like Gilliam is considering using computer generated character effects to finish some of Ledger’s remaining sequences.
If anyone remains unsure, Heath Ledger‘s filming and voice work on The Dark Knight were completed before his unfortunate death yesterday (click here for latest updates). However, it would seem that the status of his last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which marked his second collaboration with director Terry Gilliam following 2005’s The Brothers Grimm, is in jeopardy. Variety reports that the film had recently finished up its London leg of the shoot and had moved on to Vancouver to continue filming before the incident stunned the world. Producers of the $30 million indie film have not yet issued a statement regarding how Ledger’s death will impact production. Whether the role will be recast and whether the film can even proceed are not known.
Seeing that Ledger was the film’s largest star, with a sizable lead on co-stars Christopher Plummer and Tom Waits in terms of name recognition, this is detrimental. His casting was pivotal to the financing of the project. As most of us know, Gilliam’s films and almost-films have a long history of unfortunate events, budget issues and creative conflicts that put his latest films’ box office prospects on shaky ground. This was all painfully exemplified in the 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha, which chronicled the downward spiral of Gilliam’s never completed $35 million The Man Who Killed Don Quixote with Johnny Depp in the lead. The final nail in that film’s coffin was the illness of star Jean Rochefort.
Doctor Parnassus follows an ancient traveling theater company “which arrives in modern London with a magical mirror that can transport its audience into fantastical realms of the imagination.” Plummer plays the title doctor, while Ledger’s role is that of an outsider who must fend off the devil in order to rescue the doc’s daughter, played by Lily Cole.
The trade also reports that Ledger was gearing up for his directorial debut, an adaptation of the 1983 Walter Tevis novel The Queen’s Gambit, about a female chess prodigy, rumored to star Juno phenom Ellen Page.