Peter Farrelly caught me at home making lunch for my kids. I'd been expecting his call, had the recorder set up by the speaker phone, which was charged. Good to go. And of course, when he called, I was right in the middle of lunch. There's something appropriate about the chaos of the conversation we ended up having for the next half-hour, because as long as I've known the Farrellys, they've been at the center of some storm or the other.
This time around, the storm is of their own making. Specifically, they've stepped out onto holy ground for many film fans, and they've made a Three Stooges movie. It's not a biography. It's not a behind-the-scenes story. It's just a movie starring The Three Stooges. The characters, not the people.
And since the Three Stooges were really people (a whole lot more than three of them over the years, to be fair), there are film fans who feel that no one else has the right to play them. That's certainly a fair position to take. I have no idea what I'll make of the film itself, which I'll see soon. But in the thirteen years since I first met Peter and Bobby Farrelly, there are a few things they've always been passionate about. Family. These are big family guys from Rhode Island, and as set in their family roots as possible. Big silly comedy. And a few titles in particular. "The Heartbreak Kid" and The Three Stooges.
A short chat with one of the film's directors
The company's expansion continues to another new city
New York's getting an Alamo Drafthouse before Los Angeles? That's enough incentive for me to start a bloody East Coast/West Coast feud, because I am filled with envy for anyone who gets to go to what used to be the Metro Theater on the Upper West Side.
Little by little, the expansion is underway, and it's exciting. As long as I've been a fan of the Alamo Drafthouse, I've wanted them in more cities than just Austin. I am more than happy to go to Austin several times a year to get my Drafthouse fix, but the notion of having one locally, being able to choose that environment for my movie-going… that's heavenly.
Not only did they announce that there will be a NYC Drafthouse today, but they also put up a page where you can apply to work there. If you're in New York and you're a film nerd looking for work, do this. I cannot stress this strongly enough. Work for the Alamo. They are a great organization, and this is going to be an exciting venue.
Could this be a return to form for Oliver Stone?
Yes, please. And right now.
Don Winslow is the real deal, as great a crime writer as we have working, and his books are a rich vein of material that Hollywood seems to be slowly but surely developing. "Savages," directed by Oliver Stone, looks to be the highest profile Winslow adaptation to make it to the screen so far, and based on this morning's trailer, I think Winslow's about to get a whooooole lot hotter.
Ben and Chon, played by Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch, are in the drug business, and they make a spectacular living at it. Ben's the expert, the guy who can grow the very best marijuana, and Chon is the guy who will destroy anyone who messes with Ben. They get rich fast, and they seem to have the perfect set-up. They even share their girlfriend, the uber-lovely O (Blake Lively), and it looks like the recipe for a perfect, happy life.
The trouble is that any time you're that successful, you're going to draw attention from people who want some piece of that success. You might catch the attention of a corrupt federal agent (John Travolta), or you might catch the attention of a Mexican drug cartel headed by a ruthless killer (Salma Heyek), and once you do, those people aren't just going to step back out of your life because that's what you want.
An art instillation illuminates one of the greatest thrillers of all time
I've seen this pop up in several places over the last few days, and it was actually one of my followers on Twitter who first referred me to it, so I can't claim any special curatorship over this. Even so, I am fascinated by this, and it's worth some discussion.
There are any number of ways people express their fandom and their admiration of things online, and for the most part, it's about telling other fans how much they love something and it's about reaching out to those fans to try to create some sort of community. On rare occasion, though, people come up with a way to make you take a step back from a work of art that you know well and see it in a new way.
That's exactly what Jeff Desom's done to one of my very favorite Alfred Hitchcock films, and watching this repeatedly, I'm really impressed by just how this one works. Desome basically exploded the film into individual pieces, then reassembled in such a way that you can look at the entire film at the same time, a remarkable way of stepping into the movie.
One of the most unexpected franchises of today bows out with a bit of grace
The "American Pie" films are an unlikely franchise, and I'm surprised to actually see us reach this place with it 13 years down the road, a moment when "American Reunion" actually earns some emotional resonance because of the real passage of time it signifies.
The first film in the series was a charming little teen sex comedy, distinguished by an eager puppy-dog glee about how dirty it was. It was to "Porky's" what "Scream" was to "Halloween," an introduction to one of the mainstay genres of the '80s, dressed up and freshly scrubbed. The young cast was appealing, well-chosen, and they embraced the material whole-heartedly. In addition, the adult cast like Jennifer Coolidge and Eugene Levy were such exceptionally smart and funny performers that they helped set a tone that the younger cast absolutely embraced.
A new column examines what Hollywood's buying and why
With the way Hollywood churns through material these days, we thought it was worth taking a look at the various sources they're pulling from and discussing what they might make from these books, games, TV shows, or whatever else they use. For today's column, we're looking forward to the summer of 2013, when Steven Spielberg is set to release "Robopocalypse," which is certainly an attention-grabbing title.
Daniel H. Wilson's novel tells the story of what happens when an artificial intelligence named Archos becomes sentient and instigates a full-blown robot versus human war. The book begins with what seem to be random incidents of machines turning on users, and then it follows the loose structure of something like "World War Z," telling the story of the war from several perspectives, returning to them over the course of the book. It's sort of cut from the Michael Crichton cloth, ad Wilson is a computer engineer by training, with a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon. He's the real deal, and his educational background informs his writing in terms of general authenticity. He definitely followed the career track of Max Brooks, who preceded "Word War Z" with "The Zombie Survival Guide." For Wilson, his first book, "How To Survive A Robot Uprising," sold to Paramount, and they had Tom Lennon and Robert Ben Garant write a few drafts.
Is a poster 'fan made' when it's made by the actual filmmaker?
I spend more time disappointed by movie posters these days than not. Sure, I love the sort of secondary posters that Mondo is doing, but those aren't the actual theatrical release one-sheets for the most part.
No, instead, we are treated to an endless sea of photoshopped images and movie star faces, unimaginative art that seems to all look like it was made by the same marketing intern. It's a real drag, especially for a movie fan who grew up in an age where movie posters became just as much of an art as the films they advertised.
It's always nice when I see a poster that stands out, but to see three posters in the span of 24 hours that all seem to be strong graphic treatments of upcoming movies… well, that's rare like a Bigfoot sighting, and worth a mention.
One thing's for sure… Kim Pierce appears to be very excited about her upcoming remake of "Carrie."
James Cameron's update is best case scenario for post-conversion
I don't think I ever wrote a review of "Titanic."
I'm not sure, though. I know I was already contributing reviews to Ain't It Cool in 1997. I'm pretty sure I sent material to Ain't It Cool as early as 1996. I know I was writing reviews for newsgroups as early as 1995. But for some reason, I don't think I ever wrote a review of James Cameron's massive cultural event, which seems strange to me now.
After all, I've been a James Cameron fan since the moment my first screening of "The Terminator" ended in 1984. And working in Los Angeles, it was impossible not to be aware of and fascinated by the stories of what was happening on the set of "Titanic". What I found most interesting was that Cameron was getting a reputation as the guy who made the most expensive film of all time every time out, and each time, those big bets seemed to be paying off. "Terminator 2." "True Lies." Giant expensive gambles that managed to shrug off the reports of trouble that plagued them during production. But at a time when $100 million was still considered a lot of money to spend on a movie, "Titanic" was at least twice that, delayed, a nightmare, the moment he was bound to fail.
The 'Community' star reveals yet another aspect of his personality
I'm not 100% sure the people who released the DVD version of Donald Glover's one-hour stand-up special "Weirdo" actually watched the special. When you watch the disc, all the previews are for black-themed entertainment of the Tyler Perry school, very specifically targeted, and none of them remotely similar to the work that Glover does.
I first became aware of Donald and his work when I saw "Mystery Team" at Sundance a few years ago, and it's amazing how quickly things have blown up for him. Little wonder, though. He is a prodigiously talented guy, and in many ways, he represents the ideal for how you have to be willing to work these days, doing any number of different things. He was a staff writer for "30 Rock," he's a star on "Community," he's releasing albums as Childish Gambino, and, yes, he's got his own comedy material that he does.
The classic horror studio starts to find its legs commercially and creatively
One of the great traditions of Hammer Studios is that when you have a hit, you make a follow-up. As a result, I'm not shocked to hear that they announced today that Hammer is going to begin development on "The Woman In Black: Angels Of Death," the next installment in the story begun in their hit spring movie, "The Woman In Black."
Daniel Radcliffe's first major post-"Harry Potter" performance may have had something to do with the film's international success, but before there was a film, there was a book, and then there was a stage show, both of which were also very successful. There was meat on the bones to begin with, and this wasn't just some cheap cash-in horror film. Hammer's approach to film series has never been to just make the typical sequels, either, so it makes sense that they'd push the definition with this series as well.
For horror fans, the return of Hammer to the world of international production is a welcome event, and even if they did release the risible "The Resident," they also were part of the very well-made "Let Me In" and "Wake Wood," which both signaled that there were people involved in this new version of the veteran British company that were determined to try harder, who respected the legacy that their company represents.