Awards and top ten lists and all of that be damned: months after its release people are still talking about Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life, and with good reason. Dispute the effectiveness of the bookending Sean Penn sequences, sure, but the core of the movie is a powerful family story that works precisely because of Malick’s characteristic approach.

The film has that small, solid family center, but also has much bigger things at the fringes, and recently released storyboards clue us in to plans that would have put another layer of narrative into The Tree of Life. The boards show a sequence featuring Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel — a story that could have either provided more thematic weight for the film, or bogged it down with a too-obvious layer of allegory. Likely the latter, given that the scenes didn’t end up in the film, and may not have even been shot.

Regardless, check out the boards below. Read More »

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In this episode, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar, Angie Han, and Adam Quigley discuss The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011). Do screenwriter Steven Zaillian and director David Fincher find something profound or interesting to add to the pulpy source material? Tune in to find out!

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Live broadcasts will resume in 2012.

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(This review originally ran last week when Sony lifted the review embargo, but we’re running it again today to coincide with the film’s wide opening.)

Something at the center of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium novels has captured the attention of millions. Actually, make that ‘someone.’ The first novel, Män som hatar kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women, softened to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in many countries) spins around an unlikely nucleus: counterculture heroine Lisbeth Salander, a determined outsider possessed of keen investigative skills, a vengeful spirit and a strong sense of fairness. In the 2009 Swedish film adaptation, Noomi Rapace played Salander as a character just different enough to be a forceful vision, and familiar enough to become nearly iconic. But the film in which she lives is a routine potboiler of a thriller.

The directly translated Swedish title is promising in a way, as ‘men who hate women’ hints at a thriller that will use the conventions of a serial killer story to explore the ways in which abuse and violence shape people and their relationships to one another. The first film didn’t skimp on the intersection of sex, power and violence, as a dethroned magazine publisher is hired to discover the truth about the murder of an industrial magnate’s niece, but it was never any good at getting under the skin of the story.

Enter David Fincher and screenwriter Steven Zaillian with their own take on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Fincher also doesn’t skimp on sex and violence, and in the middle of his dark, frosty film is a strange but tightly controlled performance from Rooney Mara as Salander. This film trims minor players and subplots to focus, in a slightly more effective manner, on these characters who have been molded by violence. And yet it remains merely a routine thriller. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a technically proficient piece of work, but it is almost as bloodless as an old murder victim. Read More »

We’re covering a few sequels in very different stages of the development process today — one that’s gearing up to begin shooting soon, another that’s yet to be greenlit, and two more that’ve been in the works for what feels like forever. After the jump:

  • Bill Murray literally shreds the latest Ghostbusters 3 script to pieces
  • David Fincher wants to shoot the two Dragon Tattoo sequels back-to-back
  • Gary Mitchell — or Harry Mudd or Trelane or the Talosians or the Horta — could be the baddie in Star Trek 2
  • Kathleen Kennedy says Roger Rabbit 2 is stalled for now

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Jay Baruchel has built a nice career playing lovable nerds, but for his newest role he’ll be transforming himself into a full-on rock star. The former Undeclared actor has signed on to star in The Rebel Kind, based on a memoir by John Armstrong. As frontman of The Modernettes, Armstrong — or “Buck Cherry,” as he was called then — was at the heart of the rising Vancouver punk scene in the ’80s.

Reg Harkema (Monkey Warfare) has written the script and is set to direct, with Patrick Carroll, Andria Spring, and Kevin Eastwood producing. The Rebel Kind will shoot next fall in Vancouver. Baruchel will next star in the hockey comedy Goon, which he wrote with Evan Goldberg. [Variety]

After the jump, Atonement actress Saoirse Ronan revisits World War II — this time as a New Yorker — and Skins star Kaya Scodelario steps in for Rooney Mara.

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As we head toward the end of the year, it’s clear that 2011 has yielded some damn great performances from both established stars (Gary Oldman, Glenn Close) and rising talents (Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska). So naturally, the best way to celebrate their accomplishments is by inviting each of them to play characters wholly unlike the ones they’ve recently received acclaim for.

In a video gallery from The New York Times Magazine titled “Touch of Evil,” thirteen of this year’s most notable stars tackle thirteen villainous types, from “The Menacing Dummy” (Oldman) to “The Sociopath” (Rooney Mara channeling A Clockwork Orange‘s Alex DeLarge) and everything in between. Hit the jump for a photo gallery from the feature.

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Daniel Craig‘s Mikael Blomkvist may be the protagonist of David Fincher‘s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but just as the title suggests, it’s Rooney Mara as mysterious, tough-as-nails Lisbeth Salander who’s the real draw of the story. A new extended TV spot for the thriller wisely puts the computer hacker front and center, establishing her fierce badassery before Craig’s character comes along to pull her into the actual plot. Watch the video after the jump.

Read More »

Jason Clarke Cast in Kathryn Bigelow’s Bin Laden Film

The Hurt Locker collaborators and Oscar winners Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal have been moving forward with plans to shoot a film, once called a ‘black ops thriller’ about a Navy SEAL operation meant to kill Osama Bin Laden. The film was already well under development when Bin Laden was actually killed earlier this year. Trouble was, the film ended with a failed operation, and in light of real-world events that didn’t seem likely to go over well with audiences. So Bigelow and Boal have been revamping, and now they’re starting to cast the film.

The first actor fully set for the still-untitled film is Jason Clarke, who shot The Wettest County in the World earlier this year under the direction of John Hillcoat, and is now shooting The Great Gatsby with Baz Luhrmann. Read More »

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