There are few movies that fill me with so much discomfort that I can’t wait to leave the theater, even while I’m watching them. Martha Marcy May Marlene, which premiered yesterday at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, is one of those films, a portrait of cult brainwashing that is so discomfiting, I would have walked out if I wasn’t so transfixed by the tremendous filmmaking on display.

Hit the jump for some more thoughts on the film, including a video blog I recorded with over half a dozen movie writers. Read More »

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Frank Miller’s The Spirit Getting Two Sequels?

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The word over at Superhero Hype is the Lionsgate has already negotiated with Frank Miller to direct two sequels to his Sin City-style green screen comic book caper The Spirit. If true, this would indicate tremendously sweet buzz on the project, as the main character, a detective who fakes his death to more vigilantly pursue the criminal element, and the property, created in 1940 by Will Eisner, have less name value than a Dick Tracy or Green Hornet. Comparisons to The Shadow are apt and we all know how that turned out for Alec Baldwin. And title star Gabriel Macht (The Good Shepherd, The Recruit) is less known and box-off tested than an actor like Christian Bale pre-Batman Begins.

But the supporting cast is cake: Sam Jackson as megalomanical villain The Octopus and then there’s the Playboy Mansion grotto-stocked bevy of foxes including Scarlet Johansson, Jaime King, Eva Mendes, Paz Vega, Stana Ketic and Sarah Paulson. Actually, those ladies are beyond Hef’s grotto; more like rsvps to the Fountain of Youth. But as you can see from the film’s teaser poster, Miller isn’t updating The Spirit’s Mad Men-like duds, with the fedora, tie and a domino mask (which personally, I think should always stay in comic books) are intact.

Keeping the new trend of genre fare in January sizzling (i.e. Cloverfield, Rambo), The Spirit opens on January 16, 2009, less than two months before Zack Snyder’s similarly risky-old school comic adaptation Watchmen. Lionsgate being so sure that Miller’s film will connect with a mass audience, enough so to propel two more films just surprises to me, not to come off negative. Is The Spirit on your must-see list for 2009 and can you see it being a smash hit?


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