Now they just need to find a partner to pay for it
Henry Selick is a ronin, a masterless samurai in a particularly difficult part of the filmmaking landscape, and any time he finds someone willing to pay for him to make one of his movies, I'm thrilled.
Being a career animator is not an easy life to choose, and I can't imagine anyone doing it for any reason other than a deep abiding love for the medium. Selick has conjured up some real magic in the films he's made and he certainly does great work with the various collaborators who have been part of his movies so far. Not every filmmaker can lay claim to one great movie, and I'd argue that Selick has made two so far. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is just gorgeous, as beautiful an example of stop motion animation as I've ever seen. "Coraline" is an eerie, sublime accomplishment, both technically and creatively, and is easily the finest example yet of Neil Gaiman's work brought to life.
The sequel to the comedy classic keeps adding more names to the party
I have a feeling you're going to see a lot of announcements about actors joining the cast of the upcoming sequel to "Anchorman," and when we see the final film, many of those people will end up playing one or two scenes at most. It's going to be a positively ridiculous cast, and that's because the original film has become a huge favorite for pretty much anyone working in film comedy right now. This is going to be a case where anyone Adam McKay wants, he's going to get.
Christina Applegate was the one who broke the news on Twitter, which is starting to become one of the most reliable sources of breaking casting information when people like Bryan Singer can't wait to share something. In this case, I can imagine Appelgate's got to be happy to be adding some funny female energy to what is already a very large roster of very funny dudes. Kristen Wiig will be onboard playing the wife of Brick Tamland, Steve Carrell's character from the first film. Carrell is just one of the returning characters, of course. Will Ferrell is back as Ron Burgundy, Paul Rudd will be Brian Fantana once more, David Koechner will return as Champ Kind, and Applegate is going to reprise her role as Veronica Corningstone. Just typing the character names again makes me happy. I was an early fan of the script, and I was thrilled when it was not only made, but when it turned out to be as consistently funny as it was. It seemed like it was such a gamble for the first film to get made that it's sort of amazing to be writing news stories about a sequel now.
Paula Pell's script sounds like a perfect fit for Fey
Tina Fey is going to be a busy, busy woman now that "30 Rock" is finished. I get this feeling like the entire industry has been waiting for her to conclude the series so they can all get busy making her stinking rich. She is pretty much universally loved by the people making decisions in this industry, and she's as valuable behind the camera as in front of it.
I'm out the door in a few minutes to go see "Admission," and I'm curious to see how she is in it, although I think it's just one of what I'm sure will be many Tina Fey movies in the next few years as Hollywood tries to figure out what works best for her at the box office. The pairing of her with Paul Rudd is almost like doing a movie on training wheels. Of course they'll be charming and funny together, whether there's anything more to the movie or not. Those two seem perfectly paired in terms of comic sensibility.
I like the idea of her starring in something written by Paula Pell, who was a producer on "This Is 40" and who served as one of Judd Apatow's on-set sounding boards for new material as they were working. Pell has a very wry and active presence on Twitter these days, and she's known Fey since the "Saturday Night Live" days, so there's a comfort level there already. Pell just set up her script for "The Nest" with Fey's company Little Stranger Inc. to produce at Universal, and Jason Moore, who directed "Pitch Perfect," is currently negotiating to make this as his next film.
Who's the audience for this latest revival of the '60s cult oddity?
"In today's news, NOSTALGIC PROPERTY has been BOUGHT/GREENLIT/DEVELOPED by SOMEONE I GENERALLY LIKE and will now be made again."
I should keep that open in a document at all times on my laptop, because I write that story about 250 times a year these days. Today, it is the Thunderbirds, a property that is familiar to 100% nobody under the age of 20, and Weta is the hook that's got everyone writing about it. I am sure dozens of you could immediately comment under this story about the rich and interesting history of "Thunderbirds," and you can defend it both as commercial gamble and creative foundation. I'm not saying otherwise.
I'm saying that at this point, planting a flag in another thing that occupies a certain percentage of pop culture real estate is par for the course. I just recorded a podcast with Scott Swan where we talk about, among other things, yesterday's Super Bowl movie commercials, and he made a good point about "The Lone Ranger." If this version doesn't work, it is safe to say that no one will ever make a "Lone Ranger" property again, because at this point, it's had so many chances to re-establish its place in pop culture, and the last feature film was a disaster, and this one is crazy expensive and had the biggest commercial pedigree possible and the most aggressive marketing team in the business selling it and it HAS to work. So if it doesn't, I think it's scientifically safe to say it never will.
Have we learned the role the Hulk will play in Phase Two and Phase Three?
There is a very short list of reporters online who consistently and correctly scoop information that is supposed to be secret. I'm not talking about breaking a casting story because the studio sent you the press release ten minutes early, and I'm not talking about the shell game that gets played with information at the trades. I'm talking about genuinely revealing something that someone else does not want revealed at all. It is a skill set that very few outlets seem to value or cultivate.
Then you've got Latino Review and El Mayimbe, who evidently subsists entirely on a liquid diet of the tears from angry studio executives. Mayimbe cracks me up because of how alpha male he gets about scoops. When you're hunting down information on movies about dudes in spandex beating all hell out of other dudes in spandex, it seems to be a particularly funny time to get aggro about what it is you're doing. And that's what makes Mayimbe great.
It also helps that he's got a pretty ridiculous track record.
Sounds like they're making some great choices for the new film
Mark Millar has obviously discovered the trick to cloning human beings, and he's used himself as a test subject. Sure, I can't prove that, but it's really the only possible explanation for his omnipresence right now.
He's got new comic titles dropping constantly, he edits CLiNT magazine, he curates the annual Kapow! event, and now he's also employed by 20th Century Fox, who brought him in to help create a cohesive world for their Marvel properties. That last job is the one I'm most curious about, because Millar is, by his very nature, a deconstructionist. Much of his work has been about pulling these icons apart and reassembling them in new ways.
As Fox gets ready to make "X-Men: Days Of Future Past," it feels like this is a make or break moment for their franchise. I like most of the movies that have been made about the X-Men so far, but I think they're in a weird position right now. Matthew Vaughn's "X-Men: First Class" essentially rebooted the film universe, and in doing so, made several choices that ignored the continuity of the Singer films and Ratner's "Last Stand," while also doing a few things that tied directly into the Singer films.
A Cannes favorite from 2012 finally arrives in U.S. theaters
If you've never seen Matteo Garrone's film, "Gommorah," you really should.
It's a Mafia movie, but not the way we've come to think of them over the years. Garrone made a film that captured a very organic, very lived-in ecosystem that is run by thugs and punks. "Gomorrah" plays like a refutation of every single movie every made that's made the criminals look good. The closest comparison I can make is "City Of God," the film that opened my eyes to how the favelas work and how society has reconfigured itself, leaving this lawless space to its own devices. The unobtrusive documentary-styled style he employed only added to the feeling of authenticity.
That was 2008, and since then Garrone's been radio silent. I saw his new film "Reality" at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and I liked it quite a bit. I called it the story of Job as told in the age of reality TV. His star, Aniello Arena, gives a remarkable performance as Luciano, an Italian guy whose dreams of appearing on Italy's "Big Brother" seem to vanishing a little more every day, and it's killing him. He's the family member who is always clowning around, cracking jokes, making his daughter laugh on her wedding day, He's a good and decent man with a small but respectable fish market, and he supplements that income with tiny scams on the side. He is a happy man, but all those jokes he cracks hide an ambition that eventually becomes fixated on this stupid TV show.
When even Alan Arkin can't make the material work, there is a problem
- Critic's Rating D
- Readers' Rating A
Boy, I'm tired of "Tax Shelter Theater."
I know the landscape has changed in the last decade for independent financing, and I know it continues to change. It is a scary time to be making movies, if only because so many things seem to be evolving as we speak, and one of the things that feels most like a holdover from the '80s and '90s is this certain kind of low-budget picture that exists as part of a deal with a distributor, a pipeline of garbage that somehow lands big-name actors while rarely, if ever, cranking out anything worth watching. There are certain producers who show up on movies and as soon as I see their name, I automatically assume I'm about to see an indifferent piece of junk, and certain company names that set off the same warning bells. What gets me most about these movies is that they don't have to be so bad. It's financing that exists simply to service a deal, so why couldn't that money be used to attach those same big names to genuinely worthwhile and adventurous fare? You can't tell me that a movie as generic and paint-by-numbers as "Stand Up Guys" is the best that can be done with these resources. You just can't.
Jonathan Levine's done smart work in adapting the young adult novel
- Critic's Rating B+
- Readers' Rating A-
Jonathan Levine has managed to build an interesting filmography without repeating himself so far, and by hopping from genre to genre, he's proven himself to be a very limber filmmaker whose greatest strength is building spaces for actors to do strong work. "Warm Bodies," based on a young adult novel and no doubt greenlt by Summit to help them in a post-"Twilight" world, is a sincere and savvy take on both "Romeo and Juliet" and the zombie genre, and if there's any justice, this should be a strong spring performer as word of mouth spreads.
Isaac Marion's novel posed a challenge to anyone adapting it because so much of what happens in the book is internal, narrated by the inner monologue of a zombie named R. Levine, who wrote the script as well as directed, went all-in on the narration idea, and much of the film is married to an ongoing narration by Nicholas Hoult. It's been fascinating watching Hoult come into focus as a performer. His work in "About A Boy" was so good that I remember walking out of the movie worried about his future. He was such a painfully awkward kid, and yet a few years later, watching him on "Skins," he seemed to have transformed completely into a fascinating dead-eyed shark. He grew into himself and seemed to be particularly good at playing the great-looking shit, the kid who took full advantage of the genetic lottery he won. Either one of those roles could have been enough to trap him into playing variations on the same character over and over, but seeing one kid play both parts suggested a real depth to what Hoult was capable of, and he continues to prove that with each new performance he gives.
Somewhere right now, Ari is sexually harrassing Lloyd to celebrate
Here's hoping it's at least as big as "Aquaman."
I have a serious question, and it's larger than the notion of whether or not people want to see an "Entourage" movie. In general, when you are invested in a television show over a long period of time, is a theatrically-released movie the ultimate goal for you as a viewer? Is that somehow considered the payoff to a good run on TV? Or is the relationship with a TV show something very different than the relationship we have with movies?
And more importantly, is it a coincidence that the studio that is making "Entourage: The Movie" has the word "Bros" in its name?
Honestly, the thing that I'd be most worried about if I were the person pulling the trigger on this one is whether or not people are going to pony up the $15 to see a long inside joke that they've already seen seven full seasons of on HBO. "Entourage" was one of those shows that I watched while I had HBO, but as it wore on, it really started to feel like one note playing over and over again. It's an easy show to beat up on because of the lifestyle it glamorizes, but there were moments where it did a nice job of laying bare the way ego drives the entertainment industry just as much as creativity. It also helped that Jeremy Piven dug into his ongoing role as Ari in a way that basically gave him the second half of his career.