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: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?
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John Stockwell is a director who has consistently disappointed me throughout his career. Stockwell showed promise with his 2001 film Crazy/Beautiful, starring Kirsten Dunst and Jay Hernandez, but has since made a series of clunkers: Blue Crush, Into the Blue and Turistas. I’m not sure why Stockwell got stuck into a tropical water slump, but thankfully he has found his way out and gone back to his roots with Middle of Nowhere.
Grace (Eva Amurri) has worked hard in school to get the good grades, but the credit debt her mother (Susan Sarandon) racked up under her name as a child has prevented her from getting approved for the student loans she needs to go to College. Meanwhile, 17-year-old rich screw-up Dorian (Anton Yelchin) is sent to live at his uncle’s house for the Summer to learn the value of responsibility while working for $42 a day before taxes at a local water park. It is there that he meets Grace, and convinces her to become his driver, as he sells drugs to the area stoners. This isn’t a job that Grace eagerly accepts. But as she can find no other way to raise the $12,000 needed for her fall semester, she reluctantly goes along for the ride. And there is Grace’s sister Taylor (Willa Holland), who is being pushed by her mother to pursue a career in modeling. Over the course of the summer, the dark details behind Grace’s father’s suicide are revealed, Dorian finally discovers where he came from, and a romance blossoms between Grace an a rich stoner named Ben (Justin Chatwin), whom she meets while working the water slides.
Eva Amurri is an actress to watch out for in the years to come. In Middle of Nowhere, she delivers an emotionally authentic performance which might even make you forget about current It-star Anton Yelchin, with whom she shares the screen with. The role of Grace’s mother plays directly to Susan Sarandon’s strengths. And over the course of the 95 minutes, director John Stockwell makes up for the last seven years of crappy movies, which is saying a lot. I just hope we don’t have to sit through seven more years of Into The Blue’s. Stockwell needs to stick with character rich low concept stories like this one.
Middle of Nowhere is multi-layered coming of age story with authentic performances. It is the type of film that would have played at the Sundance film festival five years ago before quirky became indie.
/Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10
DBthemovie has gotten their hands on a new Dragonball character poster featuring Emmy Rossum as Bulma (seen above). Head on over to Nerdorama to see exclusive screen captures from the official movie trailer.
Dragonball hits theaters on April 10th 2009.
DBlive has posted what appears to be the first possibly official photo of Justin Chatwin as Goku from 20th Century Fox’s upcoming DragonBall live-action movie. The scan was said to be taken from the Japanese magazine Shonen Jump #24. Updated with a higher quality image. As always, click to enlarge.
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I’m a huge fan of Donnie Darko. Richard Kelly‘s debut film is not only one of my favorite films of 2001, but it’s probably somewhere on my list of favorite films of all time. So when I learned this morning that a sequel was being made, I seriously began to doubt my commitment to sparkle motion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti sequel at all. I’ll be happy to see Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and enjoyed watching Live Free or Die Hard. If the original people are involved, and it doesn’t suck as a movie (forget about comparisons to the original) then I’m in. But that’s where the sequel to Donnie Darko goes wrong.
Apparently the sequel is being made completely without the involvement of Richard Kelly. The press release reads:
“Producers have spoken to Richard Kelly about the project but he is not involved in any official capacity at this stage.”
But I’m guessing that this is just PR speak for Velvet Octopus probably called Richard Kelly, who explained he was not interested in being involved in a sequel. I just sent an email to someone I know over at Darko Entertainment, and they assured me that “Richard, Sean, and every ounce of Darko Entertainment are 150% NOT INVOLVED”. This can’t be good.
“Why do you wear that stupid Woman suit?”
The sequel follows Donnie’s younger sister, Samantha Darko, a role reprised by Daviegh Chase (of such direct to dvd classics as Beethoven’s 5th: Big Paw and the animated Stich! The Movie). The story picks up seven years after the first film and Donnie’s death when his now 18-year-old sister Samantha and her best friend Corey go on a roadtrip to Los Angeles, where along the way they are plagued by bizarre visions. And if that doesn’t sound bad enough, guess what they’re calling it? Donnie Darko 2? Nope. S. Darko! What? They couldn’t even call it Samantha Darko?
But they probably nabbed an unknown filmmaker who has an incredibly unique vision, and ability to think outside of the box. Someone who was discovered in the world of music videos or some other visual medium, right? They wouldn’t have hired a hack to direct the sequel, would they? They have. Chris Fisher, who previously made Nightstalker and Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders, will direct.
Producers told ScreenDaily that “Donnie’s not in [the new film] but there are meteorites and rabbits.” Oh, great. The budget is pegged around $10m, and production begins on May 18th. The supporting cast includes Ed Westwick (Son Of Rambow, Gossip Girl), Briana Evigan (Step Up 2) and Justin Chatwin (Dragon Ball). Fox has already nabbed the North American distribution rights. Avoid at all costs.