Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we see something truly awful, relieve a tragedy, man up and raise our kids, go to college and marvel at the wonderful world of movie making.
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The film Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father has had a difficult path from development to screen. In fact, it looks like the project has fully stalled out before cameras were even able to roll.

While Barry Levinson came on board a few months ago (replacing Nick Cassavetes) and a cast had started to shape up with deals for John Travolta, Al Pacino, Ben Foster, Kelly Preston and possibly Joe Pesci, the time has come when some of those people were meant to be paid. And if reports are correct, there is no money to pay them. As a result, the movie has been put on hold. It almost certainly won’t make a planned January start date, but we don’t know if the project will die altogether. Read More »

The last big news late last week was that The Departed team of screenwriter William Monahan and director Martin Scorsese would remake the 1974 film The Gambler. James Caan starred in the original as a New York English professor who has a serious gambling addiction. Thing is, the film wasn’t just any old movie, at least for the screenwriter, James Toback. The script was a particularly autobiographical one, with Caan’s character being a thinly veiled version of Toback himself.

So when Toback learned of the remake the same way most people did — by reading about it on the internet — he was none too happy. (Especially as he is friends with multiple remake participants, including possible star Leonardo DiCaprio.)  In his frustration, the writer/director penned a heartfelt letter that gives a rare insight into how the original creator of a film might feel about the remake process. Read More »

The development of a film about father and son crime figures John ‘The Teflon Don’ Gotti and John Gotti, Jr. has already turned into something of a saga, with Nick Cassavetes set to direct, then departing and leaving a void ultimately filled by Barry Levinson. John Travola, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci were cast, and now Joe Pesci is suing the production, which we’ll get to in a moment. Lindsay Lohan was reportedly cast, then quite or was fired, then cast again, and now evidently not part of the project. There’s probably more, but that’s enough to start with.

Fiore Films has now announced what may be the final title for the film, Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father, along with a shoot date for January 2012. And there’s a rumor that Dominic Cooper will join the cast as well. Read More »

Barry Levinson is going to direct Al Pacino in Gotti: Three Generations, but before that picture shoots they’ll also do another film. The Humbling is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Philip Roth from Millennium/Nu Image. This will make three films in a row for the Levinson/Pacino team, beginning with the acclaimed portrait of the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian, You Don’t Know Jack.

In addition, Barry Levinson has quite a lot to say about the John Gotti movie that he inherited when Nick Cassavetes vacated the director’s chair. More on that after the break. Read More »

Universal’s been saying for a while now that the entire American Pie gang would be returning for American Reunion, and what do you know, they’re actually making good on that promise. Thomas Ian Nichols has just signed on for the fourth theatrical entry of the long-running American Pie franchise, making him the last major character to sign on. Fellow Pie stars Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott, Jason Biggs, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari, Chris Klein, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Eugene Levy have all previously confirmed their involvement.

I haven’t heard any news on whether Jennifer Coolidge might be reprising her role as the original MILF, but as The Hollywood Reporter calls Nichols the “last holdout,” I’m guessing that’s a no. We’ll miss you, Stifler’s Mom!

In the 1999 film, Nichols’ Kevin Myers was one of the four central friends who made a pact to lose their virginity before graduation. The new sequel will see the original gang returning to their hometown for their ten-year high school reunion. American Reunion will hit theaters April 6, 2012. [The Hollywood Reporter]

After the jump, new projects for Al Pacino, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and… Warren Buffet?

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lil-wayne-tbone2

Wow. After watching The Carter, the new all-access documentary on Lil’ Wayne, one might consider recommending it as the best doc about a hip hop icon ever. The problem with this superlative lies in its limitation. Similar to labeling Lil’ Wayne a rapper—even “the best rapper alive” as many profess—and leaving it at that, labeling this a great hip hop doc restricts it to the confines of a niche or genre coated in personal taste and stigmas. That is to say The Carter is foremost a fascinating portrait of a remarkable, modern artist and celebrity who has cooked most if not all bridges for comparison.

In The Carter we experience the exact moment when Wayne calmly finds out, overseas and perma-high, that his latest album, Tha Carter III, has sold one million plus physical units in its first week. As his friend and manager, Cortez Bryant, tells the camera, Wayne now undisputedly ranks with the world’s top pop stars; and this doc ranks with the best of the year. It’s also highly difficult to cite precedent for a film so privy to a superstar’s love of, and possible dependency on, drugs. Clearly, the recent, This Is It, failed in this regard.

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Michael Moore

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled their list of 15 films that will vie for the Best Documentary Academy Award Nomination. And while the list includes well-known titles such as Food, Inc. and The Cove, it is more surprising to look at some of the high profile docs that have not been included on the list, such as: Michael Moore‘s Capitalism: A Love Story and James Toback‘s Mike Tyson biodoc Tyson. The Academy obviously doesn’t like Rock music, as both Anvil! The Story of Anvil and Davis Guggenheim’s It Might Get Loud were also slighted from the short list

The full listing of the 15 documentaries up for consideration can be found after the jump. And because you haven’t seen most of the selections, I’ve also included the trailers for all of the films for your viewing pleasure.
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