Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Daniel Day Lewis' new film "Nine"

Daniel Day Lewis is quite possibly one of the most gifted actors of our generation. Every role he touches is literally award winning gold! My Left Foot, In The Name Of The Father, Gangs of New York, There Will Be Blood, there isn't a role he can't do. So I'm sure it wouldn't surprise you if I said he's an actor that I always looks forward to seeing. When I first heard of his next project "Nine", I was intrigued. It's supposed to be a re-imagining of Federico Fellini's classic "8 1/2". I'm 50/50 on remakes because I feel as if they are absolutely unnecessary if you plan on just tracing over someone's work. I feel to do a solid remake to a film (classic or not), you should bring something new to the table, use your vision in respect to the predecessor's work to create something as special. Otherwise, just leave it alone.

Now on to my next order of business, the director of "Nine". I'm not very fond of musicals typically. I can name the musicals I've enjoyed over the years with one hand. While I applaud Marshall for deciding to do something different with this film, I'm not quite sure if this translates well into a musical. I might be one of the only people in the world that thought "Chicago" was an absolute embarrassment and felt it didn't deserve not 1 oscar that it received in 2002, especially Best Picture. The Academy does enjoy making a lot of mistakes from time to time, Slumdog Millionaire, as good as it was, definitely didn't deserve best picture either...but that's for a whole other discussion entirely. Rob Marshall then followed up Chicago with Memoirs Of a Geisha. I wasn't thrilled on finding out he was directing, but I give everyone a shot; except for Michael Bay. Memoirs Of a Geisha turned out to be a pretty nice picture and I felt it was a little underrated. So now we have Rob Marshall bringing us "Nine". A story about a creative man juggling the many women in his life, from his wife to his mistress, star of his picture to his own mother (played by the legendary Sophia Loren).

The cast of this film brings together Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Kate Hudson, Judi Dench, and it pains me to say...Stacey Ferguson (yes, Fergie...). The trailer has been released and here it is for your viewing pleasure. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I mean, Day-Lewis typically comes out with a movie at the minimum of every 3 years because he becomes very involved in his roles; and it shows with the spectacular performances he always brings us. I guess There Will Be Blood is a tough act to follow and I was expecting anything but a musical as his next offering. I have high hopes for this due to it's casting over wonderful leading ladies and of course with Day-Lewis, but I have my reservations just as much because of Rob Marshall and Fergie. The scale is in the middle and it's just about balanced, let's see which side it leans more towards as the release date comes closer.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Expendables (update)

I got a hold of a picture from the set of the new Stallone action epic "The Expendables" starring Stallone; alongside Jet Li, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, and many more. This is seriously one film I can't wait to see. Stallone has proven to be on top of his game as an action director; as well as a director period! Rocky Balboa and Rambo were fantastic films to finish off his dead franchises on the good note he intended to give us years ago. Anyway, this first photo I found looks great and I'll post more as I get them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

It's very sad that Heath Ledger is no longer with us. He's proven in the later films of his last years; like I'm Not There, Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight, etc...that he was becoming an actor to really look forward to. In the middle of filming Dr. Parnassus, Ledger passes away, leaving director Terry Gilliam with a tough decision...Should he continue? Eventually he decided he will. Production continued forward and word got out about his idea to finish the film.

Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, is a stylized and imaginative story in the style of his early work, such as Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. It's about a traveling show led by the mystical Dr. Parnassus, allowing it's participants to enter through a mirror; into another world entirely. Dr. Parnassus is over 1000 years old and his only family is his daughter; who has been promised before she was born, to the proprietor of his immortality. Gilliam has stated that in the script, Ledger's character enters the mirror 3 times. With that in mind, every time he enters the mirror, he becomes a completely different person. That's where the new actors come in. Colin Farrel, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp are all versions of Tony; Ledger's character, once they enter the mirror. Led by a phenomenal cast that includes Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole, Verne Troyer, and music legend Tom Wait as the devil.

It gives me great pleasure to make you as excited as I truly am, by posting a link to a foreign site that has some video clips available. Terry Gilliam in my eyes, has always been a true visionary and one of the best directors of recent decades. 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Tideland, and Brazil among others...are fantastically staged, shot, acted, and beautiful all the same. I hope you enjoy these clips. As soon as I have an official US release date for Dr. Parnassus, I'll post it.


Friday, May 15, 2009

More films you NEED to look forward to...

It is my duty, to inform you guys (my loyal readers) about the movies you should be seeing and/or looking forward to. I've decided to add two more entires for you and I hope they excite you as much as they excite me.

The Road - Dir. John Hillcoat.

The Road is based on a book written by Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men) about the journey of a father and son through a catastrophe ridden landscape, in search of a new place to call home. McCarthy's novel is extremely dark, disturbing, and moving all the same. This was supposed to be released last year in Nov 2008, it was the film I was most looking forward to. However, the film wasn't finished and was pushed back to this year. Rumors were circulating that it was because the film wasn't good and they wanted to do re shoots. Quite frankly, from the looks of the trailer...the rumors couldn't possibly be more false. Director John Hillcoat, clearly wants to release a film he is proud of. Unlike most international directors that are trying to break in the United States, he's making every second clearly count with the look of this film. Hillcoat is best known for his autralian western drama "The Proposition" starring Guy Pearce, which is as special as other classic westerns like High Noon, Once Upon A Time In The West, and The Wild Bunch. His style resonates from that picture on to this one clearly, and that's not a bad thing. Viggo Mortensen, Robert DuVall, Charlize Theron, and Guy Pearce, all star in this post apocalyptic drama, with music done by the legendary Nick Cave; who penned the screenplay for Hillcoat's The Proposition". Enjoy the trailer...and read the book.

Give Em Hell, Malone - Dir. Russell Mulcahy

Grindhouse was one of the best pictures that came out in 2007, it's a fact. The fact that it didn't make money in the theaters didn't prove anything except people have too small of an attention span to sit in a theater for more than an hour and a half; which is sad. But hey, keep bringing the flop argument to me and I'll mention the same thing I always say, "Blues Brothers, National Lampoons Vacation, and Donnie Darko were all flops, which became monsters over years with video rentals, cable broadcasts, etc..." Give Em Hell, Malone is a small indie film by director Russell Mulcahy (Resident Evil: Extinction) about a hard boiled cop who shoots firsts and asks questions later. Simple but absolutely intriguing. The style of the film looks like a 70's exploitation film and the cast is great. Thomas Jane (who I feel is clearly underrated), Elsa Pataky, and Ving Rhames among others, star in what looks to be a fantastic trip to the days of Coffy, Death Wish, Cotton Comes to Harlem, Born Losers, Vanishing Point, I can go on and on. The exploitation genre is clearly coming back for the sheer fun of it, and it has clearly inspired many of our generations best directors. Without further a do...I give you Give Em Hell, Malone!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Francis Ford Coppola's "Tetro" (First Look)

Early last year, there was buzz about Coppola's next film "Tetro" going around. Matt Dillon and Javier Bardem were set to star and things seemed to be moving along harmoniously. Then I hear that Bardem drops due to scheduling conflicts with another project, Dillon shortly after. I got nervous to say the least. Then Coppola does a bold move and casts the acting scene's bad boy Vincent Gallo, in the lead! Now, I've been a fan of Vincent Gallo's since Buffalo 66. I really believe this man has talents beyond the capabilities of most actors. His performance in Buffalo 66, The Funeral, and Truth or Consequences NM, are some of my favorites. He's also an accomplished filmmaker who with just two films under his directing belt, has made quite a dent in the annals of film history. Especially the controversy that circled his second film "The Brown Bunny", which sparked a feud between Gallo and Chicago Film critic Roger Ebert. The Brown Bunny isn't a film for everyone, but I personally love it, the way it was filmed, it's slow pace, and it's eventual masochistic ending that shows a display of ego and pain all the same. I don't recommend it to anyone but anyone who truly is a fan of beautifully shot films, might enjoy that one. I digress, this post is about Coppola and not about Gallo.

Tetro is Coppola's second film returning after a decade hiatus from film; to concentrate on his wine vineyard and resort business. His first film Youth Without Youth; like Gallo's The Brown Bunny, was a personal film of Coppola about love and history that struck quite a chord in me, after repeated viewings that is. Tim Roth delivered a beautiful performance juxtaposed to scenery and landscapes that were absolutely breath-taking that only Coppola could truly capture. Tetro is Coppola's second feature of his "personal" films which he claims will be making a lot more of.

Tetro synopsis:
"Fresh faced and naive, 17-year-old Bennie arrives in Buenos Aires to search for his older brother who has been missing for more than a decade. The family had emigrated from Italy to Argentina, but with the great musical success of their father Carlo, an acclaimed symphony conductor, the family moved from Argentina to New York. When Bennie finds his brother, the volatile and melancholy poet Tetro, he is not at all what he expected. In the course of staying with Tetro and his girlfriend Miranda, the two brothers grapple with the haunting experiences of their shared past."

I'm truly excited to see this film and Gallo's performance, along with the phenomenal cast he's put together of spanish talents like Maribel Verdu (Y Tu Mama Tambien, La Zona), Rodrigo De La Serna (The Motorcycle Diaries), and Carmen Maura (Volver). Anyway, the real reason why I'm discussing this film in my post is because Apple.com/trailers has posted a special sneek peek at the first 3 minutes of the film. The cinematography is outstanding and the film looks like it's going to be in black and white. Release date is set for June 11th 2009 in limited release.