It’s award season, and The Hollywood Reporter has begun posting their series of roundtable discussions with the contenders. Last month they posted:

  • The Screenwriters Roundtable between: Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours), Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), John Wells (The Company Men), Todd Phillips (Due Date) and David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole)
  • The Animators roundtable discussion between Bonnie Arnold (producer, How to Train Your Dragon), Roy Conli (producer, Tangled), Bob Last (producer, The Illusionist), Tom McGrath (director, Megamind), Chris Meledandri (producer, Despicable Me) and Lee Unkrich (director, Toy Story 3)
  • The Actors Roundtable between James Franco (127 Hours), Duvall (Get Low), Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right).

Today they have posted the directors roundtable, which features David O. Russell (The Fighter), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), Peter Weir (The Way Back), and Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) debating “maintaining their vision, fighting with actors and what to do about the MPAA.” It’s great to watch these brilliant filmmakers talk with each other about their craft. You can watch the entire one-hour long roundtable after the jump.

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Movie Trailer #2: ‘The Way Back’

In the past few weeks we’ve started to see footage from The Way Back, which marks the return of great Australian director Peter Weir. Our last look at the film (besides the poster) was a UK trailer that was a good introduction to the story of escapees from a Siberian gulag trying to make their way to safety. Now Newmarket films has released a US trailer for the film, which will get an Oscar-qualifying run in December before opening for real on January 21. Read More »

Two good-looking posters recently hit for a couple of the fall’s more promising arthouse pictures. Both The Way Back and Rabbit Hole have some great early reviews out of festivals and screenings. Now each has a poster to call its own, and you can see both after the break. Read More »

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Peter Weir has been making stunning films for forty years. Part of the Australian New Wave, he turned out landmarks Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave (get thee to Criterion if you haven’ t seen those!) as early features before segueing into ambitious mainstream movies like The Truman Show and Master and Commander.

The latter stood as his last film for the past six years, but now Peter Weir is back with the epic prison escape movie The Way Back, starring Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris and Saoirse Ronan. The film will get an Academy qualifying run this December. Watch the new UK trailer below. Read More »

Stills From Peter Weir’s The Way Back

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I’ve got no doubt that Peter Weir is one of the greatest of great filmmakers working today and every one of his too-rare films is a real event for me. While I’m waiting for his next picture The Way Back every little scrap of information is valuable, so I’m doing cartwheels at the first set of stills. You can see them all after the break.

Here’s the movie’s official synopsis, which really should have been worded in a less blurby-cheesy fashion:

Six-time Academy Award Nominee Peter Weir Directing. Based on the novel The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz. Award Winning A-List cast; Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan.

When they escape a Siberian labor camp in 1940 seven courageous multi-national prisoners discover the true meaning of friendship as their epic journey takes them across thousands of miles of hostile terrain en-route to India and their freedom.

The true meaning of friendship? Ick.

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Movie Playlist: Brad Anderson

Welcome to another edition of Movie Playlist, where we talk to the writers, directors, and stars about their favorite films. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business moved to Hollywood after discovering their love of films. And I’ve always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.


In this week’s Movie Playlist we interviewed director Brad Anderson, who I first discovered through the wonderful but unseen Boston indie Next Stop Wonderland, which featured Hope Davis and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. In 1997, Anderson was named by Variety as one of the “Ten Leading New Independent Directors to Watch.” His filmography includes Happy Accidents, Session 9, and The Machinist. His television credits include episodes of Homicide; The Wire; The Shield; and Surface. His new film Transsiberian, which hits theaters today, is a Hitchcockian thriller which he also co-wrote.

/Film: I just want to start off saying, I’m a big fan of all your work. I’m from Boston,

Brad Anderson:
Oh yeah, really.

/Film: so I’ve been following your career since Next Stop Wonderland.

Brad Anderson:
Oh great, wow!

/Film: So this is great, so – I want to talk to you today, I’m not sure if they briefed you but we do a feature called Movie Playlist which basically talks about your favorite movies of all time, or maybe not even just your favorite movies but movies you watch a lot, or movies you love. What are some of your favorite movies?

Brad Anderson: Favorite movies? It runs the gamut, in no particular order and no particular preference, I just caught, anything by Stanley Kubrick, I can watch those movies again and again I don’t know why, but just something about what he invests in his films and the meticulous level of detail, and choreography that I just find as a filmmaker craft of film making is so apparent in his movies that every time you watch them it’s like being taught how to make a movie, so yeah, I just caught 2001 recently again and it’s just like the kind of thing you’re clicking through the channels and you sort of catch a piece of it and you’re like yeah, I’ve seen this about 20 million times and you’re about to switch to another channel and you just find yourself watching it and the next thing you know you’ve watched it all over again.

/Film: 2001 is one of those movies that if you come across on cable, basically you’ve lost three hours of your life.

Brad Anderson: [laughs] Yeah, it’s so amazing to me that movie and all his films, but that one in particular because it’s like, you think about it the way – I don’t know what you’d call it, it’s not a thriller, it’s not a straight out sci-fi film, it’s not necessarily a straight out adventure movie, it’s just a study in visual brilliance, you know, and the way that his use of sound and his use of music and anything by Kubrick.

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The good, and potentially great, news? This is just crazy, let me catch my breath. One of the best actors working today, Daniel Day-Lewis, is in talks to follow-up his Oscar-winning role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood with yet another award-caliber epic. So, what’s the sort of off-putting (but not necessarily bad) news? If it pans out, Day-Lewis’s next film will belong to Hollywood’s current remake pantheon, though this one sounds more like a bold and careful “re-envisioning.”

Director Peter Weir (Master and Commander, The Last Wave) and Warner Bros. are fast-tracking an $80 million remake of Fitzcarraldo, Werner Herzog‘s classic and quite deranged 1982 film about an ambitious man who strikes out, against all rationality, to construct an opera house deep in the Peruvian jungle. Day-Lewis will star as the aforementioned man, a role originally made famous by the German nut Klaus Kinski.

If your gut reaction is to decry a remake of Herzog’s film, that is understandable, but know that Herzog is on board to produce the remake. No word on how Weir will tackle-slash-update the original film’s infamous and signature scenes, in which a steamboat was gruelingly pulled up and over a steep hill by natives, but it’s being reported that this version will be set 50 or so years in the future. Guess that eliminates the steamboat. Mick Jagger, who was originally supposed to star in the ’82 film, is said to be in talks to contribute to the remake’s score. Obviously, it’s unknown whether Day-Lewis would rock his intense ‘stache, but The Hollywood Reporter reports that the main character is quite fond of a monocle, a futuristic monocle.

Discuss: Is Day-Lewis the monocled saviour of the modern remake? If it’s not a steamboat, might it be some type of flying contraption? Would you rather see Weir’s remake, or TWBB with Klaus Kinski as Plainview (a very living Kinski)?

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