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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Briefly: Despite the fact that he lost Christoph Waltz, I’m seriously interested in David Cronenberg‘s new film, which is now called A Dangerous Method. Production Weekly reports the title change for the film, which is based on Christopher Hampton‘s play The Talking Cure. Filming starts next month and will take place in Berlin, Vienna and Zurich.

The cast remains great, even without Waltz: Michael Fassbender plays Carl Jung, Viggo Mortensen replaced Waltz as Sigmund Freud, and Keira Knightley is Sabina Spielrein, the patient seen by both men. Vincent Cassel also appears. I’d love to see this make the Toronto Film Fest, but that’s probably over-optimistic. Look for the film in 2011, most likely.

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?

Read More »

black swan cast

One of my favorite filmmakers, Darren Aronofsky is gearing up to shoot his fifth feature film in New York City in just a few weeks. And one of my very reliable spies has uncovered a bit of casting news on this new project.

As you knew already, Aronofky’s Black Swan is a supernatural drama is set in the world of New York City Ballet. Natalie Portman stars as Nina, a veteran ballerina who finds herself locked in to a competitive showdown with a rival dancer named Lilly (played by Mila Kunis) “with the stakes and twists increasing as the dancers approach a big performance.” The big twist is that Portman’s character is not sure whether her rival is a supernatural apparition or if she is having delusions. And if that wasn’t enough, you may remember reading that the script includes a sequence where the two main characters have “ecstasy-induced hungry aggressive angry sex.”

So what other actors and actresses will join Portman and Kunis in the new Aronofsky film? Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, and Barbara Hershey (The Portrait of a Lady).  There are three Academy Award nominations within the credits of these three new additions. How about that for a cast? Details on what roles these three will play, after the jump.

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As we’ve reported earlier this year, Andrew Niccol‘s next movie will be The Cross, starring Orlando Bloom, Olga Kurylenko, John Goodman and Vincent Cassel. The $24m ‘sci-fi escape story’ is in production now in Australia, and is said to return Niccol to the sort of serious science fiction approach that characterized Gattaca and his script for The Truman Show. Now we’ve got some concept art from designer Jean-Vinzent Puzos that shows a bit of what we can expect from the film. Read More »

Andrew Niccol directed Gattaca and Lord of War – tick, tick – but also Simone – big question mark, vague tick in pencil perhaps. On the other hand, he also scripted The Truman Show – giant gold tick. I think, looking at my balance sheet, his projects are well worth getting excited for.

His next film The Cross has a rather modest $24 million budget, dredged from Australian, French and German coffers, so even while it is a sci-fi action thriller, don’t expect a raft of expensive FX work. That’s not a warning of course – I mean, who cares? – but it’s a detail that might help you position this film in a subgenre more accurately.

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