Thursday, January 27, 2011

Caged Brilliance: Going Through the Motivations of Nicolas Cage

Helpful little venn diagram to help you make sense of Nicolas Cage's wild career (via The Film Stage):

In Cinemas This Week

Black Swan - In director Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller, ambitious New York City ballet dancer Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) lands the lead role in "Swan Lake" but soon thinks her dreams of stardom are threatened by a rival ballerina (Mila Kunis). As opening night approaches and the pressure to be perfect builds, Nina's obsession descends into paranoia and delusion.

Inside Job - Uncover the roots of the 2008 global economic crisis with Charles Ferguson's documentary, which combines extensive research and convincing interviews to single out a rogue industry that has tainted every sector of the financial system. Narrated by actor Matt Damon, this complex yet comprehensible film - an Official Selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival - features discussions with influential politicians, academics, journalists and more.

Secreteriat - When Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) agrees to take over her ailing father's thoroughbred stable, she transforms from housewife to horse breeder - and owner of the colt that will take the 1973 Triple Crown - in this dramatic biopic. The film explores Chenery's bond with "Big Red" and depicts her rise to greatness as the "first lady of racing".

The Hopes and Dreams of Gazza Snell - A coming of age drama with a difference: it’s the father who does the growing up. In equal measures charming and infuriating, Gazza Snell (William McInnes) is mad about karting – as are his teenage boys Marc and Ed, played by talented newcomers Josh and William McKenzie, who are brothers in real life. Gazza is obsessive to the point of tunnel vision about his boys making the big time in the world of motorsport. Both boys are talented kart drivers and a lucrative career in Formula One is a real possibility. Gazza has borrowed big money, is on the verge of securing a job with a local Chinese businessman and is hopeful the next race will get Marc a spot with an elite Italian training team.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'Premake' Trailer: Up

That clever dude who takes clips from old movies to create fake, re-imagined trailers for popular movies has made another winner with this live-action '60s version of Pixar's Up. Just fantastic, see if you can recognise what movies they're from:

Oscar Nom Noms

And they're in! My quick take on who will/might/should win in these categories...

The Social Network - I think The King's Speech would be the safer option, being a prestige-like period piece tailored to the Academy. But The Social Network is more "now", relevant to our times, and besides it's popped up in more Critics' Top 10 lists than any other film last year that I can remember - not that that's any gauge of the voters' tastes, but surely it's a measure of near-universal acclaim. I can definitely see Aaron Sorkin walking away with Best Adapted Screenplay though...

James Franco (127 Hours) - he's hosting the ceremony too, so wouldn't it just be swell if he did win?? And the Academy loves a good physically agonizing performance don't they?

Natalie Portman (Black Swan) - this and Jennifer Lawrence's performance in Winter's Bone kind of blew everyone away, just 'cos they weren't expected. But we can count on Academy boringness to award Annette Benning or Nicole Kidman. Wouldn't mind seeing Michelle Williams winning...

David Fincher (The Social Network) - torn between Aronofsky and Fincher. Aronofsky's Black Swan is wilder and rougher on the edges than Fincher's sleek The Social Network, so I can see the award going to Fincher. But what do I know - I generally get these things horribly wrong, but it's fun to speculate...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Guy Wants Sundance Horror Movie to Be Burned

I've always wondered if indie filmmaker Lucky McKee will make another film as great as his debut May (criminally MIA on DVD around these parts) again: I haven't seen the Jack Ketchum adaptation Red which he was fired from, but his other two horror efforts, The Woods and the Masters of Horror entry Sick Girl, while not without their moments, didn't quite live up to their potential.

Here's hoping that film will be The Woman, which just premiered at Sundance and has already caused a stir, prompting walkouts and this dude to call for the film to be "burned and confiscated". The following video is possibly the best publicity the film could ever receive:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hitchcock Biopic in the Works

I'm not a huge fan of biopics but this project's getting me excited. Sacha Gervasi, director of heavy metal doco Anvil! The Story of Anvil, is in talks to make Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, an adaptation of Stephen Rebello's book of the same name. It's kind of surprising that for a filmmaker of such calibre, influence and notoriety as Hitchcock that no one's ever tackled dramatising his life, which definitely wasn't lacking in incident nor story. Word is that Anthony Hopkins maybe playing Hitchcock, though I would also like to offer up these possible candidates:

Tom Wilkinson

Timothy Spall

Ray Winstone

I think Winstone and Wilkinson will need to beef up a bit if they were to play Hitch, but Spall seems a perfect fit... even more so than Hopkins. Is there anyone else who you think should play Hitch? I had thoughts of Paul Giamatti and James Gandolfini but nah...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In Cinemas This Week

The Fighter - Mark Wahlberg stars as boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward and Christian Bale as half brother and trainer Dicky Eklund in this inspiring drama based on the fighter's rise from working-class Lowell, Mass., to world-class welterweight champ. After a string of defeats, Mickey rediscovers his fighting will with help from Dicky -- a once-talented pugilist battling drug addiction.

The Green Hornet - Seth Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg (Superbad) apply their trademark humor to the superhero genre in this big-screen action-adventure about a newspaper-publishing playboy (Rogen) who dons a disguise to fight crime after hours. As the Green Hornet, Britt Reid's power is no longer limited to the printed page -- and thanks to a nimble martial-arts expert (Jay Chou), he has the skills to expose the city's roughest criminals. (3D in selected cinemas)

The King's Speech - Britain's King George VI (Colin Firth) struggles with an embarrassing stutter for years until he seeks help from unorthodox Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) in this biographical drama, which received multiple Golden Globe nods, including Best Picture. Logue's pioneering treatment and unlikely friendship give the royal leader a sense of confidence that serves him and his country well during the dark days of World War II.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Look Ma, No Glasses!

Finally! A new invention designed for haters of 3D glasses: NO glasses. Watch this video, hoax or not?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Golden Moments

If you missed the 2011 Golden Globes, here's a collection of amusing highlights that made it one of the more memorable movie awards ceremonies in a while.

Ricky Gervais' now-legendary opening speech where he went beyond merely "poking fun" to actually pissing a few people off. (There was some chatter this morning that he was "banned" from any future hosting of the Globes, but he insists he hasn't been.)

Robert Downey, Jr. coming back with a fair swipe at Gervais at the start of his presentation:

Drunk-off-her-face Enter the Void star Paz de la Huerta denied entry to the after party, falling, her boob poppin' out, and a fan seeking an autograph:

Natalie Portman's crazy laugh:

Cancer-free but creepy Michael Douglas photo-bombing Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angelina Jolie:

Christian Bale being Christian Bale:

Friday, January 14, 2011

R.I.P. Peter Yates & Juan Piquer Simon

Peter Yates - Brit director of Bullitt, Breaking Away, Krull and Friends of Eddie Coyle (a terrific, underrated '70s crime pic with Robert Mitchum - highly recommend the Criterion DVD, as it hasn't been released on Region 4 yet).

Juan Piquer Simon - director of Pieces and Slugs. Clearly not the most reputable filmmaker of the pair, but man, his loony slasher Pieces has provided hours of joyously trashy entertainment for me, and I am forever grateful to him for that. Watch the trailer here:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

In Cinemas This Week

Burlesque - After leaving Iowa with stars in her eyes, Ali (Christina Aguilera) arrives in Los Angeles and at a burlesque lounge, where she dreams of taking the stage with her soaring voice. Club owner Tess (Cher) is about to lose the place and thinks Ali may help business. Meanwhile, Ali's roommate (Cam Gigandet) starts to fall for her in this snappy, Golden Globe-nominated comedy.

Desert Flower - Sherry Horman directs this drama based on the real-life story of Waris Dirie (Liya Kebede), a poor girl who flees an arranged marriage in Somalia, winds up in London and becomes one of the world's most recognizable supermodels. As her star rises, Dirie speaks out against the practice of female genital mutilation, a trauma she experienced as a girl.

Gainsbourg - Eric Elmosnino stars as Serge Gainsbourg in this foreign-language biopic about the life and career of the famed French singer-songwriter who, as a young Jew, survived the Nazi occupation of Paris and went on to create controversial music. Laetitia Casta co-stars as Gainsbourg's former girlfriend, Brigitte Bardot, the buxom French actress who recorded a sexually charged song with him in the 1960s that was never released.

The Dilemma - Oscar-winning director Ron Howard serves up a delicious comedy about two best friends and business partners -- Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James) -- who are about to land a fantastic deal when Ronny learns something about Nick's wife, Geneva (Winona Ryder), that rocks his world. Ronny turns amateur sleuth to determine whether Geneva's cheating on Nick and learns that telling a friend the truth is even more difficult than concealing it.

Yogi Bear - When the greedy mayor (Andrew Daly) decides to close Jellystone Park to cash in by selling the land, Yogi Bear (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) and his sidekick Boo-Boo (voiced by Justin Timberlake) must team with their adversary, Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh), to save their home. Meanwhile, filmmaker Rachel (Anna Faris) follows Yogi and captures his antics.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Trailer: Beastly

I stumbled upon this trailer last night and it kind of made my jaw drop. It's being sold as a modern-day take on Beauty and the Beast, and it looks really... AWFUL. First of all, who names their teen romance movie Beastly? Not exactly the most endearing nor romantic-sounding thing; it sounds more like a low-budget creature feature from the '70s. And what's up with the dude's make-up? Its idea of ugly: veiny but also metallic/sci-fi-ey with a hint of New Age. Not only is it ugly - it's ugly-CHEESY. Mary-Kate Olsen as a witch. WHAT? I don't understand. And it looks like they'll be hammering home all that "inner beauty" BS throughout the film to get the message across, no matter how little its core audience will ultimately care about it. Granted, this film is aimed more at the High School Musical crowd than me, but ugh, it looks so so bad. Beastly.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Morricone on Your Telephonee

It's quite a shift from composing some of the greatest film soundtracks of our time, to creating ringtones for LG, but that's exactly what legendary composer Ennio Morricone is doing. The 82-year-old composer for such films as Once Upon a Time in the West and Cinema Paradiso has signed a deal with LG to create ringtones for their upcoming smart phones. Read more here.

News Catch-up

I haven't had much time to blog since returning to work so here's a quick round-up of some of the week's news:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

In Cinemas This Week

Mademoiselle Chambon - When shy schoolteacher and gifted violinist VĂ©ronique Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain) invites blue-collar construction worker Jean (Vincent Lindon) to speak to her class about his trade, she's surprised to find herself irresistibly attracted to him -- and the feeling is mutual. But the gulf in their social positions and Jean's marital status complicate matters in this quiet drama, which snagged an Independent Spirit Award nod for Best Foreign Film.

Morning Glory - Whiz-kid producer Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) finds her abilities put to the test when she's charged with bringing a network morning show back from ratings purgatory. Her first job: getting the show's feuding, acid-tongued co-hosts (Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton) under control.

Tangled - Disney animators take on the classic Grimm Brothers story of Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a long-locked beauty imprisoned in a secluded tower by evil hag Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), who needs the rejuvenating powers of Rapunzel's tresses to remain young. When a bandit on the lam (Zachary Levi) helps Rapunzel escape, the old crone plots to recapture her and end her budding romance with the thief in this Golden Globe nominee for Best Animated Feature.

Unstoppable - It's a nail-biting race against time as an unmanned train carrying a load of lethal chemicals speeds out of control, and a conductor and engineer do everything in their power to keep it from derailing and killing tens of thousands of people. Denzel Washington leads the cast in Tony Scott's tough-minded action thriller, in which a terrible circumstance forces a couple of ordinary men to become extraordinary heroes.