We haven’t received much word on the adaptation of the Warren Ellis comic miniseries Red for some time now. Last we heard back in April, Morgan Freeman was joining the project, which already had Bruce Willis attached. Since then, Helen Mirren has signed on, and now we can add two more to the project—John C. Reilly, as a retired CIA agent paranoid about being assassinated, and Mary Louise Parker, as the love interest to Willis’s character. Robert Schwentke, he of Flightplan and The Time Traveler’s Wife fame, is directing the film. Erich and Jon Hoeber (they of the recent crapfest Whiteout) wrote the screenplay.
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Have you recovered from the shocking last scene of Weeds‘ season finale yet? In what appeared to us to be a grisly hat tip to Heathers, the show’s entire family/criminal dynamic changed in a flash. It was a series-altering event that positions a certain character front-and-center for the sixth season. After the jump, we’ll discuss the spoiler, thus concluding the last installment of our Weeds Sessions for the year. Let us know what you think in the comments. Moreover, what is your opinion on the character’s action: justified, sick, or both?
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At the end of our previous Weeds Session, we pondered why the Botwin clan, and specifically Nancy, were not taking day offs from their, um, non-jobs to patron a shooting range. The stakes in season five more than necessitate practicing self-defense across the board. And, c’mon, surely, Cesar has a few pistolas or an AK-47 laying around and directions to a desolate, empty field. (Yeah. He probably has a couple hundred of them X’d on a blood-stained map.)
And of course, it turns out we were right. Spoiler Alert: The episode that followed, number nine, “Suck ‘N’ Spit,” saw bullets fly and connect. But rather than pop off return shots, the following episodes have seen the Botwins pop pills, pop bottles of beer in the pool…and pop up in Guillermo‘s cell to order a hit. After the jump, we’ll discuss the latest developments from last Monday’s ep, “Ducks and Tigers.” With the season five finale only two episodes away, chime in with your opinions and predictions in the comments.
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How long has it been since the last Weeds Session? Six months? Full Disclosure: We’ve been hesitant to turn on our television for fear of the sixth season of Entourage; seriously, that is the most dreadful show of the year. Doug Ellin might as well DM Tommy Wiseau to write and direct the next planned 10 seasons. Back to Weeds, a far better series that remains impossible to peg like a bi-polar, medium infatuation. Over the last three eps (and yes: half a year later) Nancy Botwin, her ever-independent sons (Silas and Yung Perv Eyes), and the slimy Esteban have struggled with myriad crises. This season’s earlier, recurring and grisly theme that life-is-cheap below the border has been replaced by the soap-operatic lightness displayed in the first seasons.
#SpoilerAlert: The stakes in Nancy’s life, though still perma-dire, seem to have cooled. New additions tend to do that. And sure, the current tone is unrealistic, given that she’s in-and-out of bed and hot water with a politician aka a corrupt jackass and control-freak. But Single Mom and Slacker-in-Law vs. Mexico? Fuck it. It’s summer and we’re digging it. You? And Andy. Andy! The guy who inexplicably transformed for two eps into the would-be hirsute Billy Mitchell of Cali; at one point we anticipated him parading around and waking-and-baking in Daisy Dukes. But wait. Is that all $100K buys in this shite economy? Really? It doesn’t even buy a Comic-Con hotel cosplay orgy? (Nevertheless, nice shout out and timing, Stephen Falk and Co.)
After the jump, the latest developments from the preceding eps and last Monday’s “A Distinctive Horn.” Be sure to ready your angriest, limpest /TV comments trolls, so the /Interns can zap ‘em and stay busy!
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The previous three episodes of Weeds were the breeziest of the season and decidedly welcome after the brick-cold start. However, by now viewers are conditioned to expect another hellish crescendo to fall upon the resilient Botwins. It’s like dysfunctional clockwork. And these days, even the lighthearted eps dance inside an atmosphere of widespread murder and violent threat. So, before things get all gloomy again, let’s take a look at last week’s ep, “Van Nuys.” The ep introduced viewers to a bit of gross, titular, pregnancy-related slang courtesy of a very experienced Andy. It also marked the introduction of Dr. Audra Kitson, a seemingly open-minded, open-eared obstetrician, in a recurring guest role for Alanis Morissette (Dogma, movie theaters).
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In our latest wrap-up and discussion of Weeds—a show where it’s increasingly rare to see characters puffing the titular herb, mind you—we take a look at season cinco’s third episode, “Su-Su-Sucio.” After we found ourselves not so much stunned as exhausted and turned-off by the previous ep’s k-hole of casual misery (and forced entry), we were glad to kick back with a breezier follow-up. “Sucio” was filled with hugs, laffs, morning sex, and welcome family admission and reconciling between the MILFy sisters above. (Wait, we didn’t mean they had sex.) Sure, there were a few splotches of mysterious blood, but as with Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), any blood in this ep came to symbolize relief (her blood) and a fast break (that dude’s). Spoiler alert from here on. I’ve included the plot synopsis for next week’s ep, “Super Lucky Happy,” at the bottom…
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Two episodes deep into the fifth season of Weeds, let’s take a look at where Nancy Botwin is headed—it’s disturbing and bleak, and involves being forcibly bent over a table. And what of her dysfunctional brood? Spoilers ahead. /Film will consider posting regular Weeds wrap-ups if there is enough reader interest. Let us know.
Over the last three days, I’ve read complaints online from a number of Weeds viewers who feel that the second episode, “Machetes Up Top,” is simply too dark. To be honest, I’m surprised I haven’t come across more of these sentiments; but we’re now in the fifth season, and the majority of viewers who have stuck around expect such testy slaps. For many, pleasurable guilt is part of the show’s appeal: Weeds is famously a love/hate series in and outside the tube. Since its debut in 2005, the series has embraced the modern, twisted anti-hero, one named Nancy Botwin molded in the fresh and hot shape of a drug-peddling MILF. Four years later, the television landscape is peppered with all kinds of charming killers, drug-pushers, gluttons, and sex fiends. And for better or worse, Weeds has confronted the trend and its anti-hero competitors by playing likability limbo hardcore. In 2009, the show’s writers appear dead-set on subjecting her to masochistic, highly self-destructive behavior and situations. How low can a mom get.
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Note: This post contains spoilers from the prior season. With the season finale of AMC’s crystal-meth drama, Breaking Bad, airing this Sunday, the season premiere of Showtime‘s Weeds arrives right in time to [insert a tired pun for TV addiction]. Scheduled for June 8th, season five finds Mary Louise Parker‘s drug-dealing California mom/widow, Nancy Botwin, pregnant with the child of Esteban (Che‘s Demián Bichir). In keeping with Nancy’s breezy who-needs-a-plan-or-a-401K style, the baby was a surprise. That would be fine if Esteban, a mayor in Mexico, wasn’t a control-freak lording over an elaborate black market of cocaine, firearms and human traffic.
Oh yeah, and Nancy and Esteban both know that she narc’d on his operation to the DEA, so the baby may or may not be her lifeline. In an unexpected bit of casting, Alanis Morrissette, will play her obstetrician in more than half the episodes this season. The latest promo trailer is after the break. It emphasizes the long-going mixture of gritty dead-end plotlines and la-la-la grace and humor that makes Weeds enticing and fun, yet famously imbalanced.
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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?