I’ll listen to Werner Herzog read any script — even the lightly written villain role in Jack Reacher — and so the appearance of a new Herzog documentary is a thing of many pleasures. First, there’s his extraordinary ability to capture documentary subjects. Then there’s his tendency towards the pursuit of “ecstatic truth,” which is Herzog’s term for a depiction of reality that isn’t true, strictly speaking, but uses the false to probe towards an inaccessible truth.

And then there’s Herzog’s scripting and narrating, the combo of which always sets his efforts apart from other documentaries. I don’t know how much of Herzog we’ll hear in Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, as this trailer is mostly comprised of images, free of any decorative narration. But those images look incredible, and this film (co-directed with Dmitry Vasyukov) could be a perfect companion to Encounters at the End of the World.

See the trailer below. Read More »


Please Recommend /Film on Facebook

Here are two TV spots for the Tom Cruise vehicle Jack Reacher, in which Cruise plays the ex-MP wanderer of the film’s title. Created by author Lee Child, Jack Reacher is a character who lives in more than a dozen novels full of violence and danger. And while the trailers for the film, and these spots, demonstrate that the violence is indeed a part of the big-screen incarnation, they also suggest that it is a bit less dangerous.

But at least director Werner Herzog plays the bad guy, and the first of two spots below will give you just a bit of a taste of his approach, in case you missed him in the last theatrical trailer.  Read More »

Can Robert Pattinson fill the shoes of Peter O’Toole? More important, can he match the defining Lawrence of Arabia when it comes to humanity and gravitas?

You may recall that Werner Herzog has been prepping a film called Queen of the Desert, in which Naomi Watts is set to play English writer, explorer, and archaeologist Gertrude Stein. Now Pattinson has been attached to play T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia, in Herzog’s film. Lawrence was a colleague and friend to Bell, and casting Pattinson suggests that he’ll figure prominently in Herzog’s take on Bell’s history. Read More »

Below is a new look at Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, the title character of Christopher McQuarrie‘s upcoming Paramount film. It’s an old trick to say that Cruise just looks like Cruise here, because of course he does — that’s the whole point of hiring someone at his level of fame, especially to anchor an action thriller.

The film Jack Reacher adapts Lee Child‘s novel One Shot, in which the presence of itinerant former military policeman Jack Reacher is requested by a man accused of killing several people at random with a sniper rifle. The weird thing is: Reacher once arrested the same guy, a former serviceman, for another crime, and so he can’t figure out why the guy now seems to want his help. The film also features a supporting cast with some attention-getting names: Werner Herzog as the villain, and Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins and Michael Raymond-James (so good in Terriers) in other roles.

Check out the first real image of Cruise as Reacher below. Read More »

As has been the case since 2009, each Earth Day brings with it another tremendous, next-level nature documentary from the folks at Disneynature. The latest one, Chimpanzee, is absolutely tremendous. And while bearing the mark of Disney does bring with it the need to make the films “fun for the whole family,” kudos must be given for not dumbing the story down too much.

While Chimpanzee does have narration and a story arc that is somewhat thrust upon it, the imagery is so gorgeous that maintaining any haughty criticism in just bananas. (Ha!) In celebration, this week’s TBMYPHS is focused on nature documentaries that stand out as transformative works of art. While I love some of the BBC/PBS stuff like, say, Wild China, we’re looking for a different type of journey with this one. Read More »

As controversial as the death penalty is, I think the one thing we can all agree on is that it’s a huge, complicated topic. Too big, definitely, for just one film, which may be why Werner Herzog is now expanding his upcoming death row documentary Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life to a limited television series titled On Death Row, which will air on the cable chanel Investigation Discovery later this year. More details after the jump.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

I imagine that most of our readers have strong feelings about the death penalty, one way or the other. It’s not the sort of topic that leads to indifference. Whether you support or protest the right of a state to kill specific citizens that are convicted of heinous crimes, I expect there will be something in Werner Herzog‘s new movie to challenge your opinion. And what good is an opinion if it can’t take a challenge?

Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life is a documentary that follows the stories of a few death row inmates in Texas. Herzog talks to the inmates, and to some of the officers who investigated their crimes, as well as others who are involved in the lives and crimes of these inmates. By many accounts the film is a very even-handed look at those sentenced to die, and I can’t wait to see the film. After the controversy over the execution of Troy Davis here in Georgia, the film seems very timely. Check out a trailer below. Read More »

I know there are people who don’t love the idea of Tom Cruise playing Lee Child‘s hulking and coldly/violently capable hero Jack Reacher. But with the addition of Werner Herzog to the cast of One Shot, the film that Christopher McQuarrie wrote and is directing based on Child’s novel, I don’t see how anyone could stay away.

Herzog will be playing a twisted old figure known only as the Zec — he’s the big bad of the film. It’s killer casting as far as I’m concerned, and something that elevates the film from ‘high curiosity’ status to ‘must-see.’ Who would have guessed that the rather resolute contrarian Herzog would end up with a major role in a studio film like this? More details are after the break. Read More »

The Telluride Film Festival, a presentation of the National Film Preserve which takes place beginning tomorrow, Friday Sept 2 and runs through Monday Sept 5, is an unusual beast as far as film festivals go. The core film lineup is not announced until the day before the festival begins, so attendees have to commit to the fest without knowing any of the movies that will definitely play.

Now the first list of films is out, and it has some expected inclusions such as David Cronenberg‘s A Dangerous Method (trailer) and the Cannes fave The Artist (trailer). In addition there are some good surprises, such as Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender‘s reunion, Shame (pics), and the Dardenne BrothersThe Kid With a Bike.

More films will be announced at the last minute over the next couple days. One addition, for example, according to Kris Tapley, is Butter. Peter is arriving in Telluride later today so he’ll have coverage of the festival during the holiday weekend. Check out the announced lineup below. Read More »