This could be one of the greatest movies ever about the sport
Our own Alan Sepinwall has spoken very highly of "The Two Escobars" by Michael and Jeff Zimbalist. You can see that film on Netflix Instant right now as part of ESPN's "30 By 30" series, and I highly recommend you do so. Alan was right about how good it was, and it's one of the few documentaries from this series that I've seen more than once. It's that dense and rewarding a piece.
Here's the first thing you need to know about Michael and Jeff Zimbalist as filmmakers. They get soccer. Football. Whatever you know it as, they understand the drama of the game, and they understand the world's relationship to it. More than that, they understand the drama of the life story of a person, and that's a hard thing to do right.
There are any number of biopics that are technically proficient, well-acted, well-cast, and utterly stiff. To tell a story using the highlights of a real person's life is very difficult, much more difficult than it seems. You can't just make it a greatest hits montage. It takes a deft touch to turn that into something really affecting, and the remarkable part of "The Two Escobars" is seeing just how good they are at all of it. They tell a hell of a story, they make it human and emotional, and they dig deep to try to show how soccer affects these countries.
Director says geek love for the franchise isn't enough
The press day for 'Star Trek Into Darkness' took place in London last weekend, and we sent Guy Lodge to talk to the cast and to director JJ Abrams about what they've done with the sequel.
However, there's something hanging over the press for "Star Trek Into Darkness," something unavoidable, and I'm willing to bet every single time the conversation digresses, Paramount's publicists want to climb the walls out of frustration.
That's what happens, though, when your director is announced as the director of "Star Wars Episode VII" before his current film is released. Suddenly, that's the thing everyone wants to talk about.
Guy broached the subject with Abrams in the middle of the interview, and while he doesn't reveal anything about the content of the film (and certainly no one expected him to), he did talk about his approach. What he said mirrored something that Simon Kinberg recently said to me when I ran into him at the Arclight at the "Elysium" event. Kinberg is one of the writers who has been brought in to work on the spin-off films, and when we spoke, he talked a bit about how Lawrence Kasdan has been approaching every conversation about "Star Wars."
Plus we give out the awards for the festival as everything wraps up
I've been asked repeatedly about when I would finish my coverage of the first Film Nerd 2.0 Film Festival, an event that came together at the very last possible moment, and it's taken me this long because of other publishing obligations that have come up in the meantime. I love writing these articles, but they are among the most demanding for me because of what they deal with, and because I work very hard to capture the truth of these exchanges and these moment with my kids. There will come a time when I look back and these will be the one record of these times, and I want it to be as complete and unflinching as it can be.
One of the truths about film festivals is that whatever plan you make before one begins, you will not follow it for any of a thousand different reasons. That certainly held true with the concluding day of the Film Nerd 2.0 Summer Film Festival, which I threw for my two sons, Toshi and Allen, at the end of this year's spring break vacation from school.
Part of what complicated the weekend was Toshi's baseball schedule. He had a two hour practice on Friday night, a game on Saturday, and a game on Sunday. That's a whole lot of baseball to build a schedule around, and it had a real impact on the plans. The other part of what made it impossible to keep to our initial schedule was something I didn't really count on… my wife.
The end of the Cornetto Trilogy should be a blast
My manager was the one who first turned me on to "Spaced." This was in the days way before there was a "Shaun of the Dead," and while music rights kept anyone from picking the show up for US distribution, Edgar Wright was being discussed by agents and producers and development execs all over town. My manager passed off some tapes to me, and my friends and I watched pretty much every single episode in a weekend, then again over the following week.
He put me in touch with Edgar, and we chatted back and forth in the ensuing years. When he was starting work on "Shaun," he reached out to me to put something about extras casting up on Ain't It Cool, and as a result, several of our Talkbackers ended up playing zombies in the film. When Edgar first finished the film, he brought it to the US and I flew to Austin so he could show it to us at one of the Alamo theaters after everyone went home for the night. There was no US release date yet, and most of the people who came to the theater at Harry's invitation that night had no idea who Edgar was.
One of the greatest film artists ever is gone at the age of 92
When I was working at Dave's Video, back in 1991, I got to know people from a wide array of crafts in the film industry, and I loved meeting the wizards behind some of the most magical moments in movie history.
Jim Danforth and his wife Karen were two of our regular customers, and you seriously couldn't ask for nicer people. Jim began his work in the industry working for Art Clokey, who created "Gumby," and when Ray Harryhausen worked on "Clash of the Titans," Danforth worked with him.
One particular afternoon, Jim and Karen came into the store, and they had an older English gentleman with them. They walked around the store browsing for a while, and at one point, I helped their friend find a couple of discs. After a while, they came up to the counter, and he set down the stack of movies he'd picked out. He handed over his credit card, and I glanced at the name.
What does this mean for their 'World Of Warcraft' movie?
This news makes me happy for a lot of reasons.
First, I'm a firm believer that the right imagination can make something great of the overall "Dungeons & Dragons" property, and I think David Leslie Johson is a wicked smart guy and a fun writer. They're using a script of his called "Chainmail" that they bought last year and they're turning that into the foundation for the "D&D" film. Roy Lee and Courtney Solomon are producing for Warner, which is interesting. Solomon directed the terrible New Line "Dungeons & Dragons" movie back in 2000, and it's interesting to see how far genre fare has come since that release.
At the time, it made sense to try to sneak a much lower-budget fantasy movie in before "Lord Of The Rings" got off the ground to try to make some quick money off of a potential audience. If you're going to take a run at this kind of IP today, you have to take it seriously. There is way too much competition for that dollar, and at this point, if you half-ass it, the audience is going to see you coming. The reasons for each of these major franchises connecting or failing may be different in the small details, but in the broad sense, it's very simple. Either people connect, or they don't. If they do, they will become your best friends, carrying the word to everyone they deal with, actively finding ways to prolong their interaction with the property. And if they don't, then it's over. Done. They'll just move on to find something that does.
Will fandom be able to let go of the Williams original?
No matter how many times the topic comes up, there are still people who seem upset about the absence of the John Williams "Superman" theme from the upcoming Zack Snyder film "Man Of Steel."
That's a testament to the emotional connection that people have with film music, some of which is conscious, some of which is involuntary. There are things that we connect with at various points in our lives that have a nearly chemical reaction on us when we encounter them later, and you can rail about it or struggle with it or try to ignore it, but that's the truth of it. Most of the time, our love of certain pieces of art goes deeper than we can explain, and I suspect that for a generation of people, that 1978 "Superman" is a deeply felt piece of childhood. It certainly was for me.
And let's put that in perspective. Today, if you're a regular moviegoer, you're used to powerful sonic experiences as a routine thing. Even a basic surround set-up these days can be impressive, but in 1978, Dolby surround was brand new, and not everyone knew what to do with it yet.
Every baby step towards this becoming a reality is big news for us
I never expected to actually see a studio announcing "Doc Savage".
Sure, we've reported on the various blips and bloops about this one over the course of the development so far, and just over a week ago, we mentioned this as a very real possibility for Black to return to as his next film.
Now it appears to be official. Sony sent out the press release a little while ago announcing a formal deal with Shane to write and direct what I'm sure they all hope will be the first of many "Doc Savage" movies. This is a thrilling moment on a lot of levels. First, Shane Black has never been more white-hot than he is right now. Even the release of "Lethal Weapon" can't compare to this based on what a commercial juggernaut "Iron Man 3" has become. I'm sure everyone expected it to be a hit, but it's a sensation. The money it's earning is sort of amazing. Marvel defies all expectations each time out.
Check out our exclusive piece of the puzzle now
I'm still not entirely sure I understand the "Diamond Heist Challenge," but then again, I find myself baffled by a lot of the real-world tech games that fans love to play, so that's nothing new.
What I do know is this: Summit is try to come up with fun ways to get you thinking about "Now You See Me," their upcoming thriller by Louis Leterrier about a supergroup of magicians who decide to push the filthy rich by staging a bold series of heists. It's one of those trailers where I realized halfway through it that I'm not supposed to worry about what is or isn't real. They're not trying to make a movie that is about the real art of stage magic, but instead, they're making a souped-up Robin Hood riff with a lot of visual razzle dazzle.
Here is the official description that Summit sent over to explain what the "Diamond Heist Challenge" is:
Or will 'Ice Station Zebra' cause this creative combination to self-destruct?
I have a feeling every day is a big day for Tom Cruise.
Still, announcing a fifth film in any star-driven franchise is an uncommon thing, and especially coming off of what was, both commercially and critically, one of the strongest entries in the entire series. Tom Cruise has managed to reinvent the franchise film after film, and each time, it's been something different and something fresh. That's almost impossible to pull off, so I guess the title is appropriate.
Skydance, the financing partner headed up by David Ellison, has become Paramount's version of Legendary Pictures, and they're attached to co-produce this with Cruise, who is ultimately calling the shots on the series. Word so far has been that Christopher McQuarrie will be writing and directing, especially since his collaboration with Cruise on "Valkyrie" and "Jack Reacher" went so well, and that makes sense. Deadline repeated the rumor in today's reporting about the deal.