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.
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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.
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Indiewire report that Michelle and Kieran Mulroney‘s Paper Man will be receiving the opening night Gala screening of the LA Film Festival. The Mulroneys, in case you had forgotten, were the screenwriters behind the JLA film, Justice League: Mortal. This film, their directorial debut, happens to be a kind of superhero movie too. In the picture at the head of this post you can see Ryan Reynolds as Captain Excellent, alonsgide Jeff Daniels as Richard Dunn, the writer who created him. The film also stars Emma Stone and Lisa Kudrow.
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Blogging about movie news 24/7 results in an extensive knowledge of future film projects. Rarely does a trailer come across my desk that I haven’t already written or read about in one form or another, especially not a film by a high profile director. But every once in a while, it happens.
I had no idea that Sam Mendes had even started on a follow-up to Revolutionary Road, nevermind had it in the can. Away We Go hits theaters in just a two and a half months, on June 5th 2009, and Focus Features just unloaded the first trailer today. The film is a comedy about a couple who are expecting their first child, who travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family. The movie stars John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Catherine O’Hara, Jeff Daniels and Allison Janney. The movie feels more like Little Miss Sunshine than a film I would expect from Mendes. Watch the trailer after the jump and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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I’m still extremely behind on Sundance reviews. After the jump you will find my mini-reviews for Adam, Arlen Faber and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Enjoy.
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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.
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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?
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A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down with The Lookout stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Goode and writer/director Scott Frank to discuss the new film. I apologize for the unusually low quality recording, we had to make due as my professional digital recorder broke during the interview.
- Miramax’s deceptive marketing
- The story’s evolution over the last 20 years
- Scott Frank’s decision to become a director
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s decision to transition into dark indie films
- Matthew Goode’s decision to break out from Romantic Comedies
- Scott Frank on Quirky Character Traits For No Reason vs. Character Traits that drive the story
- Researching the characters
- Making a movie about a character with a head injury, and NOT a movie about head injuries
- The media’s obsession about “What’s Next”
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Stop Loss and Killshot
- Scott Frank on his upcoming projects: A western and “Fourty Four”
- Mathew Goode on Brideshead Revisited
- The Appeal of working with a First Time Director
- Rediscovering Jeff Daniels as Lewis
- Shooting in the cold Winnipeg winter
- Editing The Film
- Scott Frank’s dislike for DVD extended cuts
- Deleted Scenes
- The Surprises of a First Time Director: Compromises
The Lookout hits theaters on March 30th 2007.