Latino Review didn't wait very long before they started getting up Marvel's nose for 2014, did they?
Look, casting Johnny Depp as pretty much anything is a no-brainer these days, especially at Disney. "The Lone Ranger" didn't dent his star power one little bit, and if they do end up casting him as Dr. Strange, that's intriguing.
What is more important, though, is who they hire to direct, and I think that's the truth with all the Marvel movies at this point. I'm excited about "Guardians Of The Galaxy," and sure, part of it is because I find the notion of a gun-toting raccoon with a bad attitude so unbelievably crazy that I can't believe that's actually part of a real movie that will play in real movie theaters. But the reason I have faith that the film will actually be something new, something we haven't seen from Marvel before, is because I've spoken to James Gunn and I've seen how much room they've given him to define the world the way he wants to.
Latino Review didn't wait very long before they started getting up Marvel's nose for 2014, did they?
The first time I met Jonah Hill was on a neighborhood street just off Zelzah near CSUN in the San Fernando Valley. It was a nighttime shoot for the film "Superbad," and I went to watch a scene involving Jonah, Michael Cera, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who was the complete unknown the scenario. I knew Jonah's work from "Accepted" and "40-Year-Old Virgin," and I was a big "Arrested Development" fan already, but when I was first told that those three were the leads, I had no idea what to expect.
One of the pleasures of writing about film over a long stretch of time is watching the way people come into focus, the way your first impressions of them evolve as they evolve, the way their work changes. It's one of the things I think critics can do that is valuable, being able to lay out a context in which to view someone's work. I'm just as interested in the way Jonah Hill's persona has developed from film to film and the friction between his work in "This Is The End" and "Wolf Of Wall Street" in the same year as I am in any of the individual jokes or moments he's played onscreen. I think he made the jump to being taken seriously that many comics have attempted over the years, and in many cases, they've fumbled that moment. Bill Murray may be well-regarded now for films like "Lost In Translation" or "Moonrise Kingdom," but that took time. When he made "The Razor's Edge," audiences just weren't interested. Belushi wanted to make that jump, but he never quite got there. Jim Carrey has wrestled with his own identity onscreen, and while I think he's done amazing dramatic work, he's worth more box-office in an overt comedy. Even among the guys who he's worked with, Hill seems to be having an easier time in bigger films. I love "Take This Waltz," but I think right now, Seth Rogen is still seen primarily as a comic presence first.
Simon Kinberg has asked me not to reveal his greatest secret, but at this point, I feel it is my duty so that young writers who look at how many things he's juggling at one time understand how he's able to pull it off.
Clones. Dozens of them.
That's the only way it could possibly work at this point. Think of everything he's got his name on right now. He's one of the producers of "Star Wars: Rebels," the next major piece of "Star Wars" canon to be introduced on Disney XD this year, and he's involved in the new "Star Wars" films as well. He's part of "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" and its follow-up, "X-Men: Apocalypse." He's producing a remake of "Murder On The Orient Express" with Ridley Scott and Mark Gordon. He's in charge of getting "Fantastic Four" back up and running, and he's also working on Neill Blomkamp's next film "Chappie."
Last year, when it was announced that "Before Midnight" was going to play the Sundance Film Festival, it was a bit of a shock. Richard Linklater managed to keep the entire production under the radar, and it was a lovely surprise to realize that it was already finished and we'd be seeing it shortly.
This year, Linklater managed to surprise again with this morning's announcement that "Boyhood" has been added to the Sundance schedule in the TBA slots that many of us had noted on the schedule. It is unusual for Sundance to leave a prime slot in the Eccles theater unclaimed, so we figured there was something interesting that they were working to secure. I would have never guessed it would be "Boyhood," though, and it seems crazy to me that after years and years of waiting, I'm actually going to get to see the film this coming week.
The only way I can deal with the time that elapses between seasons for "Game Of Thrones" is to forget the show exists completely. While I think many modern television shows have gotten scientifically precise about dropping cliffhangers on audiences from week to week, there is something about "Game Of Thrones" which sinks the hooks in just that little bit deeper, and season three was a fantastic example of that.
HBO took advantage of all the eyes locked on the Golden Globes tonight to roll out the first full trailer for season four of their most exciting series, and it certainly looks like this coming year is going to be full of monumental events.
More than anything at this point, I'm dying to see how David Benioff and D.B. Weiss handle the adaptation moving forward. While I wouldn't call anything about wrestling "A Song Of Ice and Fire" onto the screen "easy," I think the first three books offer a fairly solid dramatic spine, and while there were hard choices they had to make for each season, it still seemed like the basic starting place was a good one.
One of the pleasures of the final two seasons of "Breaking Bad" was watching the evolution of Todd, the character played by Jesse Plemons. His All-American Opie Cunningham exterior hid a truly dark heart, and Plemons played the role beautifully.
He's been working for fourteen years, though. "Breaking Bad" may have seemed like a breakthrough moment for Plemons, but it's one that he's been building to for a while. He played young Matt Damon in "All The Pretty Horses" back in 2000, a damn fine piece of casting, and then he ended doing small roles on a lot of TV shows for a while before "Friday Night Lights" finally came along and he got the role of Landry Clarke.
TV has never been an issue for Plemons, and one of the things you learn as an actor when you're working in television is to commit for a long period of time, and anyone who signs on for "Star Wars Episode VII" is going to have to be ready to be associated with "Star Wars" for the rest of their life. I'm not sure you really can explain to someone just how big an impact something like "Star Wars" is going to have on their lives.
"Does any couple possibly know each other better than we do, right now?"
When Amy asks that question of Nick in Gillian Flynn's screenplay adaptation of her massively popular novel "Gone Girl," it's a genuinely provocative query. That's not a spoiler, either, because you have no idea where that happens on the timeline of the story of what happens between a married couple when the wife disappears on the morning of their fifth anniversary and all the evidence clearly makes it seem like the husband killed her.
I'll confess that it threw me at first when David Fincher signed on to make the film, because it seemed almost too popular a pick. Then again, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" sold a bazillion copies, so I guess this is within the same general wheelhouse. This week's cover story in "Entertainment Weekly" is built around interviews with Fincher, Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Gillian Flynn, and they make a pretty strong case for why this particular chemical match game might result in something special.
There's one quote in particular that has people really worked up, though. It's sort of a weird convoluted quote, though. It's David Fincher quoting Ben Affleck's reaction to Flynn's adaptation of her own work: "Ben was so shocked by it. He would say, 'This is a whole new third at! She literally threw that third act out and started from scratch.'"
Lake Bell has always demonstrated a knack for comedy, and since 2003, when I first saw her in "Miss Match," a short-lived TV vehicle for Alicia Silverstone, she has appeared in at least 30 different films or TV shows. Like any actress, she is at the mercy of Hollywood in terms of what roles she plays. Or at least… she was.
"In A World…" played at last year's Sundance Film Festival, and I missed it there. Then I proceeded to miss it at least a half-dozen other times, including the actual release date. Finally, when it showed up on the stack of screeners I watched at the end of the year, I made sure to give it a shot.
Written and directed by Lake Bell, "In A World…" follows Carol (Bell), her father Sam (Fred Melamed), and the very specific little community of people who do voice-over work, and in particular, voice-over work for movie trailers. Sam is one of the kings of the voice-over world, and he seems to be grooming a younger guy, Gustav (Ken Marino), to be his successor, which quite rightfully infuriates Carol.
Margot Robbie is the very picture of potential right now.
She made two significant film appearances in 2013. First, she showed up in the under-seen Richard Curtis film "About Time," where she represented missed opportunity. She was a fetching object of desire, and she had a few nice moments, but it was a brief appearance. In Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf Of Wall Street," however, she is unforgettable, and by the time the film's three hours come to a close, she has made such an indelible impression as The Duchess that I would imagine filmmakers all over Hollywood are scrambling to figure out what role she can play for them.
In person, two things are immediately striking about her. First, yes, she is just as stunning in person as she is onscreen. Second, her Australian accent is more pronounced than I would have expected. After all, one of the most impressive things about her work in "Wolf" is how she nailed that specific Brooklyn accent, but in a way that is heightened just slightly, like everything else about the film.
Since the embargo is up, I can finally announce that I'm going to be moderating a one-hour onstage conversation with Alejandro Jodorowsky during SXSW this year in Austin.
I've moderated plenty of panels and interviews over the years, but Jodorowsky is one-of-a-kind. I think his work is beautiful and profane and surreal and silly and about eighty other adjectives. "The Holy Mountain," "El Topo," and "Santa Sangre" constitute a filmography so grand that even if he'd never done anything else, he would have secured his place as one of the greats. Last year, "Jodorowsky's Dune" played the festival circuit, detailing his attempts in the early to mid '70s trying to get a film version of Frank Herbert's novel off the ground. I was just flattered to have been interviewed for that. But to get a chance to actually spend an hour in conversation with this brilliant artist? And to be able to do it in front of an audience? There are days I can hardly believe this is my job.
I love SXSW every year, and it just seems to keep growing and getting more interesting, more varied. Today's announcement of the first batch of titles is a strong one, but this is all still just the warm-up for the big announcements coming soon.