It was almost exactly a year ago that we saw the sales trailer for The Whistleblower, a thriller in which Rachel Weisz plays a Nebraska cop working as a peacekeeper in postwar Bosnia who uncovers a sex scandal. The movie played Toronto last September, and hit a few other fests afterward, but we haven’t heard much about the picture since then. Samuel Goldwyn Films is distributing, and the company has now released a full US trailer. It’s after the break. Read More »
Holy AfterEffects! Word out of festivals in the past month wasn’t terribly positive with respect to Julie Taymor’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. And now that the first trailer is here it is easy to make a guess or to as to why. The cast is phenomenal: Helen Mirren leads as Prospera, with Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Chris Cooper, Alan Cumming, Ben Whishaw, Reeve Carney, Felicity Jones and Tom Conti. But the footage looks…well, see for yourself. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
One of the films that was in danger of being orphaned when Disney shuttered Miramax was Julie Taymor‘s adaptation of the William Shakespeare play The Tempest. But the film, which stars Helen Mirren, David Strathairn, Djimon Hounsou and more, will be released by Disney offshoot Touchstone Pictures this fall, and will appear at both the Venice and New York Film Festivals.
Now there’s a great poster for the film, which only heightens my interest in seeing Taymor go back to Shakespeare with this cast in tow. Read More »
On the day that a McSweeney’s parody/recontextualizing of some of Allen Gisnberg‘s most famous lines made a little ripple on the internet, it is appropriate that a trailer arrives for Howl, the film that chronicles the creation of the poem Howl and the obscenity trial that eventually followed its publication. James Franco stars as Ginsberg, and just as the film wasn’t widely praised at Sundance (David and Peter didn’t love it) the trailer is only modestly interesting. Read More »
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Another promo poster I ran across at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival is a teaser one-sheet for Larysa Kondracki‘s The Whistleblower, which stars Rachel Weisz as Kathryn Bolkovac, “a Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a sex scandal.” The drama co-stars Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn, and is planning for a tentative late 2010 release. Check out the full poster and info sheet, after the jump.
Posted on Friday, January 22nd, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
The opening night feature film of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival was Howl, a nonfiction drama described as a “movie about a poem.” You might recall that we woke up at 6:30am and trenched in four feet of snow to try to score tickets to the premiere, and failed. We somehow got in… and in case you’re wondering, we’ve included audio of David Chen’s dramatic story of how he scored not one, but two tickets to the highly sought after film.
James Franco stars as the young Allen Ginsberg, who is still trying to find his voice. The story follows the creation of his groundbreaking poem HOWL, and the landmark obscenity trial that followed. The film also stars David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, two filmmakers best known for their documentary features The Times of Harvey Milk and Paragraph 175, make their narrative feature film debut.
Howl began as a documentary concept, but morphed in a narrative feature (which in my opinion was the begining of the end for the project). /Film’s Peter Sciretta and David Chen were in attendance at the Eccles Theatre for the world premiere, and have recorded a video blog review, which is embedded after the jump.
Posted on Thursday, December 17th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, two filmmakers best known for their documentary features The Times of Harvey Milk and Paragraph 175, make their narrative feature film debut with Howl, a nonfiction drama which premieres at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival as one of the 16 films which were selected from 1,058 submissions for the U.S. Dramatic competition.
James Franco stars as the young Allen Ginsberg, who is still trying to find his voice. The story follows the creation of his groundbreaking poem HOWL, and the landmark obscenity trial that followed. Also starring David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels. Seven more photos after the jump.
Casting Notes: Selena Gomez in Teen Rom Com; The Social Network Gets New Kids; The Whistleblower Gets Proven Talent
Posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 by Russ Fischer
Here’s a few casting notes for you before Page 2 hits. First up is What Boys Want, a teen-skewed reversal of the 2000 Mel Gibson film What Women Want. Selena Gomez will star as a girl who can hear what men are thinking. Reports that the film will just be Gomez hiding in a closet for two hours may be unfounded, but you can see where the rumor might come from. I don’t know much about Selena Gomez, and you should consider that a good thing. I’m in my 30s with no kids, so the only reason for me to know much about a coiffed-up Disney Channel star is that I write stories like these. So I can’t offer much context about this one other than to say it doesn’t sound anything like material for a teen-skewed comedy. [Variety]
After the break, more for David Fincher‘s next and that David Strathairn news you’ve been waiting for! Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 by Peter Sciretta
The Sundance Institute has announced the first half of the line-up for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Included in the first press release are the films in competition in the Drama and Documentary segments. 3,661 feature-length films were submitted this year, which is 37 more films than last year. For the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected including 87 world premieres, 19 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first-time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. Before we get into the full list, I would like to point out some of the films that particularly interest me. Also, now should be the time for me to admit that I focus more on English-language films, so my foreign picks will probably be lacking.
The Wrestler screenwriter Robert Siegel makes his directorial debut with Big Fan, which stars Patton Oswalt as a parking garage attendant and hardcore New York Giants football fan who struggles to deal with the consequences when he is beaten up by his favorite player. Michael Rapaport also stars. I loved the humor that Siegel brought to The Wrestler, and with Oswalt in the lead – this one is a no brainer.
The Office star John Krasinski makes his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of David Foster Wallace‘s book Breif Interviews with Hideous Men. The story follows Julianne Nicholson as a doctoral candidate in anthropology who “tries to remedy the heartache” of being dumped with little explanation, by interviewing men about their behavior. Krasinski, Dominic Cooper and Timothy Hutton also star.
In Cold Souls, Paul Giamatti stars as a famous American actor who in the midst of an existential crisis, “explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life.” Okay, doesn’t have the best plot description but Giamatti is involved, as well as David Strathairn, Emily Watson, and Lauren Ambrose.
Emmy Rossum stars in Adam Salky‘s feature directorial debut Dare, about “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” IMDB also provides a different teaser synopsis: “The good girl, the outsider and the bad boy…like you’ve never seen them before.” This is a feature length adaptation of Salky’s 2005 short film which was met with acclaim at film festivals. I’m a sucker for coming of age films.
Everyone is talking about Paper Heart, the film that Michael Cera made under the raydar with his girlfriend Charlyne Yi. The film is apparently a meta-love story with the stars playing themselves (?). The pre-festival hype aside, I would see this film based on Cera’s involvement alone.
Teeth star Jess Weixler returns to Sundance opposite Jason Ritter in a big screen adaptation of Peter and Vandy, the Drama Desk Nominated Best Play that was lauded for its “almost embarrassing intimacy and killer comic timing.” The film tells the story of a contemporary Manhattan love story, told out of order, with no beginning and no end. Festival programer Geoffrey Gilmore says that “One of the themes” of this year’s festival is “the kind of new-generation love story,” … a new “way of telling love stories right now by a new, younger generation that’s different, that’s fresh, that’s original.” This and the Cera film Paper Heart seems to fit into this statement.
Jeff Daniels stars as the title character Arlen Faber, a reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. The film also stars Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah), Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Wackness), and Lauren Gram. The film was formerly titled “The Dream of the Romans“, which is a much better title if you ask me.
In Good Hair, Comedian Chris Rock turns documentary filmmaker when he sets out to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles. I’m not sure if it will be good, like many of Chris Rock’s films, but I’ll always be there for anything the guy creates.
Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler was given unprecedented access for a film titled “The September Issue“. Cutler and crew shot Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her team over the corse of nine months as they prepared the 2007 VogueSeptember issue, widely accepted as the “fashion bible” for the year’s trends. I’ve always been interested in the world of journalism, even if the Fashion world might be a very different realm. And I must admit that The Devil Wears Prada has me very interested to catch this one.
You can read the full press release (which includes a listing of all the films announced today) after the jump.
Allen Ginsberg Biopic, Howl, Adds Paul Rudd, Alan Alda, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels, David Strathairn
Posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 by Hunter Stephenson
The Allen Ginsberg biopic, Howl, starring James Franco as the American weird beard beatnik poet and intellectual has filled out a lovely cast: Paul Rudd, Alan Alda, Mary-Louise Parker (so tempestuous on Weeds), Jeff Daniels, and David Strathairn have all signed. The actors will portray real-life characters involved in a 1957 obscenity trial, which saw the publisher of Ginsberg’s epic, landmark poem, “Howl,” forced to defend the work’s graphic descriptions of homosexual acts and its merit to society. The court ultimately decided in the publisher’s favor.
The indie feature marks the debut of documentarians, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who co-directed the homosexuality-in-film doc, The Celluloid Closet. Epstein also directed The Times of Harvey Milk, which won the 1985 Oscar for Best Documentary, and Gus Van Sant, who directed Franco in this year’s Milk, is producing Howl. Got all that? As if Paul Rudd needed yet another posse. It’s been noted that Franco resembles a young Ginsberg, before the beatnik took on his chubby, bald-yet-hirsute appearance—as played by David Cross in I’m Not There—and joined NAMBLA.
“Fifty years later, Ginsberg’s vision is as relevant as the year he wrote it,” Friedman said in a statement to the trades. “It resonates with issues of free speech, government censorship, militaristic empire building, fear-mongering, sexual conformity and the co-opting of religion.”
The Allen Ginsberg Trust sought the directors for the project. This is def a film to keep an eye on, though I’d prefer to see a full-fledged and objective biopic rather than a damn-the-man flick a la The People vs. Larry Flynt. Franco’s is a role that could have been filled by Johnny Depp in the ’90s, smart career trajectory.
Discuss: Looking forward to Howl? Do you agree with the director’s remarks? Any thoughts on Ginsberg?