James DeMonaco, who wrote and directed the first film, is back to do both jobs again this time, and I think he's made leaps and bounds in terms of making use of his big idea. My biggest problem with the original film was that the scale of the story being told was a financial consideration, not a creative one, and it felt like it wasted the basic idea of a governmental decision to sanction 12 hours per year where anyone can kill anyone for any reason.
What started as a joke when discussing the world originally created in the first "Cars" movie has now turned into a genuinely maddening question that consumes me during each new film that is tied into this world, first from Pixar, now from DisneyToons: where are the people?
It is a simple matter of internal logic, and without it, I feel like these films are weird in a way that can't be dismissed with a mere "it's a cartoon" line of defense. I tried raising the question with John Lasseter at the "Cars 2" press day, and he wasn't having any, but I think it's incredibly valid, especially with the bizarre design choices they make on these films.
True, the "Planes" movies are being made by totally different people than worked on "Cars," and they sort of inherited the premise so they can't be held fully responsible for it, but these films continue to make such weird choices that I can't help but think about them, particularly since there's nothing else for me to really hold onto as the films play.
When I joined HitFix for the site's launch, it was not an easy or an automatic decision. I spent months considering it, and in the end, I did it because I had faith in the team that was being assembled by Greg Ellwood and Jen Sargent, who were the ones who had the idea in the first place. In the years since then, I have seen just how good they are at identifying a goal and then mobilizing whatever it takes to make that idea come to fruition.
For example, one of the goals they had was to create an event that is part of the overall Comic-Con experience, and they set out to conquer preview night. At this point, it's safe to say that the Wednesday night HitFix party has become something that people look forward to, something that they enjoy each year. The canniest part of the plan was staking out Wednesday, when people are still fresh and full of energy and excited for the event to begin.
The screenwriting credits for "Sex Tape" imply that Kate Angelo wrote the initial drafts and that Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller came in to bat clean-up once Segel was on the film as an actor. I'm not sure that's exactly how it went down, but it would explain the occasional lurch from tone to tone that is part of what keeps "Sex Tape" from working completely.
As set-ups for farce go, "Sex Tape" has a perfectly functional one. Jay (Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) have been married long enough that they're finding their sex lives have bottomed out completely. It's a very real challenge that parents and other married couples face, especially after you have several children in the house. Jay works in the music industry and Annie writes a popular mommy blog which she may be able to sell to a much larger company. I liked that they didn't try to paint the marriage as terrible at the start of the film. There's still plenty of love and respect between Jay and Annie. We see their history as Annie writes about it, and it's fun. It's a little disconcerting to see Segel and Diaz playing college age, but you roll with it because it's just a short bit of the opening.
One of the most remarkable things about Darren Aronofsky's strange and sincere "Noah" is the size of the physical production.
Sure, he could have done the Ark as a special effect, building bits and pieces and marrying them together with digital technology. Or he could have done the entire thing in the carefully controlled environment of a soundstage, and that would have been easy. But instead, Aronofsky and his crew built a practical environment on location, and then they shot in some truly crazy weather.
From the moment it sputters to low-fi life, "Mood Indigo" is unmistakably the work of Michel Gondry, a sweet and sad little song of longing with the most visually inventive approach to emotion in any film this year. It is a strange surreal world that Gondry has created, one with no rules other than if someone in love starts coughing, that's not a good sign for them making it through to the end of the film.
Gondry is a romantic, no doubt about it, and he's also a guy who rejects the idea of living a "normal" life, meaning his lead character is a man-child who drifts through his days, his whole mind focused on whimsy and the ridiculous. The worst thing in the world in this film is the notion of getting trapped into doing a "normal" job. Gondry seems to view that as death. Sure, he's working from a novel by Boris Vian, but Gondry and co-writer Luc Bossi have crafted this as a film that plunges you into an interior landscape from the very start, a movie in which they hand-craft a reality to tell the story of Colin (Romain Duris) and Chloe (Audrey Tautou), lovers who have to grapple with sorrow when she develops a rare ailment.
One of the things I'm loving more and more about HitFix these days is working with our video team on new programming. We've just started working on ideas for a new regular video feature that delights me, and I think we're still just barely getting started on all the good stuff we're going to do in the future.
So far, I love the way you guys have reacted to "Ask Drew," and when I refer to it as "the show that you write," I mean it. If you don't send questions, we have no show. You are great about sending in a wide array of questions, both personal and professional, about films both new and old, and the only thing I can say to you is that you should feel free to dig even deeper. I find it slightly terrifying when you ask something that I don't have an immediate answer for, but that's the point of the show. It shouldn't be easy. So often, we can go into an auto-pilot mode doing this job, and you guys do a great job of knocking me out of that way of thinking.
Looking at the official Marvel announcement of their inevitable 2014 Comic-Con panel, it's about as vague an announcement as possible. The "when" is Saturday, July 26, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. The "where" is Hall H. It's just the "what" that they left very, very loose.
Marvel's pretty much taken up permanent occupation of that spot, and why not? It's the last big movie panel of each year, and being in that position means that they have a chance to throw down something big and buzzworthy and basically dominate the conversation as all the movie coverage is wrapping up. It's a brilliant strategy, and I'm sure they've got some big things planned for this year.
I sat down with Matt Reeves in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge to see which one of us could have our hair more disheveled by the amazing wind on Crissy Field. Enjoy the video.
The last time I saw Reeves, it was at Michael Giacchino's house, where I got to watch the two of them working on a scoring session for "Let Me In."
I don't bring that up simply to not-so-humblebrag, but to illustrate just how unusually open Reeves can be about the filmmaking process. Even after almost 16 years of writing about films online, I can count the number of scoring sessions I've been invited to attend on my fingers. It's one of the more private parts of the overall filmmaking experience, and it's also a pressure cooker, so many filmmakers simply can't open that up to reporters.
When "Let Me In" came to Comic-Con, I moderated the panel, and it was there that Reeves asked me to come by and watch some of the session. He and Giacchino have preposterous amount of fun when they're working together. For proof of this, just check out this Vimeo link. I think the reason they have that much fun together is because they speak in terms of very common geek reference points, and they are able to clearly figure out what they are trying to do emotionally with each beat.
I am nine years old. I am lying in the back of the 1977 Plymouth van my parents are driving. It is the middle of the night, and we are leaving Dunedin on the first leg of our move to Texas. I am crying. My best friend Oli Watt, my next-door neighbor, said goodbye to me earlier in the day, and we've made promises to write and call on the phone, but I know that I am leaving behind the life that I've enjoyed up to that point and that whatever comes next, it will be different, and I am afraid, and I am sad, and I am sure that nothing will ever be this good again.
I am sixteen years old. I am lying in the back of the car driven by my nineteen year old girlfriend. It is the middle of the night, and while I'm supposed to be at school in the morning, I don't care at all. I am stoned and drunk and happy. My parents hate this girl that comes to pick me up in the middle of the night, who always knows where there's a party, who has way more sexual experience than me, and they've tried to stop me from seeing her, but I am desperate for what I see as necessary sensual memory, fodder for the writing that I want to make a career of, and I know that it's destroying the relationship I have with my parents who I adore for adopting me, but I have to do this, I have to live like this, and it is amazing and it is dizzying and I am sure that nothing will ever be this good again.