There are all manners of people presumably psyched that Baz Luhrmann's long-gestating 3-D take on The Great Gatsby — starring Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Leonardo DiCaprio as the big man — is finally upon us: Fans of Fitzgerald's sparkling fiction, admirers of Luhrmann's iconoclastic approach to classic material, people who like seeing Leo look old-timey. But I think it's safe to say that no one is more excited about this than loafing incoming high school freshmen, who either realize now, or soon will, that this over-the-top and glitzy Hollywood production may have just cut their required reading list for English class down by one.
There have been precious few reasons to expect much from Skyfall, the upcoming, 23rd James Bond movie. And those few reasons are: Daniel Craig is back, he's teamed up with director Sam Mendes, and Javier Bardem is onboard playing a blond villain. Everything else, though, has pretty much been a train wreck. The biggest harbinger of doom was the fact that the movie had to halt production altogether when its studio, MGM, went bankrupt, but there's other causes for concern, like the $45 million in cash money that Heineken is kicking into production to force Bond into fandom of imported Dutch brews.
A long, long time ago, Ryan Gosling left the comforts of his native Canada, came to Hollywood, and stawted tawkin' like dis. It's been wonderful to witness. The only thing is, sometimes the accent makes more sense than others. As a blue-collar screw-up with heart in Blue Valentine? Yes, absolutely. As a mysterious, doomed loner that knows his way around a face-stomp in Drive? Sure, sure. As a whiz-kid political campaign aide in Ides of March? Ehh, not so much.
Usually by the time a third trailer for a big movie has been released, all relevant material has already seen the light of day and been thoroughly prodded, poked, and turned over by a nation of breathless fanatics. But you can rest assured that this new, third trailer for The Dark Knight Rises will unleash a whole new slew of deep-dive speculation.
Back in the fall, Grantland alerted you to the existence of Channing Tatum's Magic Mike — the unlikely male-stripper saga directed by Steven Soderbergh and based on Tatum's own experience in the disrobing game — by asking the good folks at Chippendales to break down the cast's prospects as real-life nude dance entertainers.
When the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road hits theaters on May 23, it will leave a long, storied history behind it. Back in 1957, Kerouac famously wrote Marlon Brando a letter attempting to convince the dude to star as Dean Moriarty (with Jack himself taking on Sal Paradise). Appropriately, Kerouac had a plan: “Don't worry about the structure, I know to compress and re-arrange the plot a bit to give a perfectly acceptable movie-type structure: making it into one all-inclusive trip instead of the several voyages coast-to-coast in the book.” Also: “I wanted you to play the part because Dean (as you know) is no dopey hotrodder but a real intelligent (in fact Jesuit) Irishman.” And: “What I wanta do is re-do the theater and the cinema in America, give it a spontaneous dash, remove pre-conceptions of 'Situation' and let people rave on as they do in real life. That's what the play is: no plot in particular, no 'meaning in particular, just the way people are.'” The project never came to fruition, and Kerouac never got to "re-do cinema in America." Fast-forward a few decades, to the early nineties, and On the Road was on the boards again, this time with Francis Ford Coppola directing and Brad Pitt and Ethan Hawke starring. And then that fizzled too.
What do you do for an encore when the first installment of your self-aware killer-fish-sploitation movie franchise featured Jerry O'Connell's genitalia being bitten off? You go even bigger, of course. As if the title didn't give it away, Piranha 3DD follows up the blissfully stupid Piranha 3D with even more gruesome water-based deaths that a marine biologist would scoff at. This time the piranhas are attacking a resort pool, somehow, and celebrity lifeguard David Hasselhoff is on hand to watch it all go down: piranhas dying via the bite of Gary Busey, piranhas dying via the bullet-shooting legs of Ving Rhames, piranhas dying via the fact that they are inside some lady's stomach and probably can't survive for long outside of water.
Last night the team behind The Amazing Spider-Man, the latest big-screen reincarnation for Peter Parker, spread out and hit the town in four international locations to release and gas up footage from the new flick. Director Marc Webb was in Los Angeles; Emma Stone, who plays pre-M.J. love interest Gwen Stacy, was in Rio de Janeiro; Rhys Ifans, who plays the villain, a lizard-man type of thing that sort of resembles a mini-Cloverfield monster, was in London; and Andrew Garfield, Spidey himself, was in New York. The idea was to argue that this new version is really, truly, remarkably, no-come-on-for-real different than Sam Raimi-Tobey Maguire’s trilogy, which only ended five years ago. Said Webb: “I think there are a lot of things from the Spider-Man canon that haven’t yet been explored cinematically. This movie really starts off with Peter Parker and his parents, which is something we’ve never really seen before, and I think that was something we were all really interested in exploring as filmmakers."
Earlier this week I had a conversation with a Jets fan. He told me he hoped the planes carrying both the Giants and the Patriots would crash before the game. It wasn’t clear if he meant that he wanted to see both teams be arduously delayed, but ultimately safe, on their journey to Indianapolis, or if he really wanted Vince Wilfork to die in a fiery explosion. Anyway, that guy might not have been watching the Super Bowl last night — which means he missed all the huge movie trailers that ran during the commercial breaks! For him, and for others full of hate in their hearts, below are the two best ones.
As promised, LCD Soundsytem’s finale show -- an epic-y epic of epic proportions, which went down at Madison Square Garden last April -- has been turned into a documentary. Shut Up and Play the Hits is part concert movie, part behind the scenes reveal; along with select footage from the three-and-a-half-hour extravaganza, the flick will show us front man James Murphy in the day leading up to, and the day after, the show. It looks very pretty! (That isn’t a surprise considering its directors, Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace, made the Blur reunion documentary No Distance Left to Run, which was also very pretty). Hits premieres at Sundance later this month but there are no wide release dates yet announced, meaning it’s unclear exactly when a whole city of music snobs can begin telling their music snob friends that “you can totally see me in the movie, dude! Right after “North American Scum” it pans to the audience and I’m right there, bro! In the purple cardigan! Yeah!”
First: holy crap, The Dark Knight Rises trailer and prologue are here! Not officially, unfortunately, but after playing in theaters this weekend, both clips have been old-school bring-a-camera-to-the-movie-theater bootlegged for your viewing enjoyment. And, even in their weakened low-def quality, they're … they're pretty fantastic. In the trailer we watch Bruce Wayne and our other old pals return, and learn that Gotham City, in the middle of a peaceful stretch, is, unfortunately, once again, about to go through some shit. Amidst the fancy parties and fist fights and prison breaks and flying batmobiles, the biggest moment comes from the hands of Tom Hardy’s new villain Bane: as play unfolds in an NFL stadium — and in an effect you have to believe that Wieden+Kennedy are pissed they didn’t think of first — a whole field crumbles in explosions. (Helpful commentary from guy holding camera: “Hines Ward.”) But my favorite part comes earlier, and courtesy new Catwoman Anne Hathaway. As she slinks around in an evening dress on the dance floor with Brucie, she whispers in his ear, “You think this can last? There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches cause when it hits you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.” All day, all week, occupy Wall Street! Meanwhile, the prologue is a whole six minutes from the movie, in which Bane pulls of a daring heist in the middle of the friendly skies and triumphs over Mayor Carcetti. So why is there so much footage being revealed from a movie that's not out until summer? Completely unsubstantiated/unrealistically hopeful conspiracy theory: Christopher Nolan is going to spring this thing on us months earlier than scheduled. [Gizmodo, Twitvid]
Sacha Baron Cohen is currently on screen with Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, but he hasn’t starred in a movie since 2009’s Bruno, the third installment in his Ali G Show character trilogy. The flick wasn’t without its merits -- it pulled in $138 million worldwide; it introduced us to the helicopter penis trick – but it never came close to the all-encompassing cultural permeation of Borat. Sensibly, then, with his next big production The Dictator, Baron Cohen has returned to that which he does best: a campy middle eastern accent! If Borat had stumbled into premiership, and was given intensive grooming and manners classes from Muammar Qaddafi, you’d have this latest crazed-rogue-dictator character. (The movie was also inspired by Zabibah and the King, an allegorical romance novel allegedly written by Saddam Hussein). It’s a perfect no-brainer concept for Baron Cohen to go H.A.M., and there’s obviously plenty of fodder to mine: in one scene, Baron Cohen pays Megan Fox for sex with a handful of jewels (“What is this, a ruby? What do I look like, a Kardashian?”); in another, he shoots people while running a competitive 100 meter dash. (And extra points must be awarded for the trailer's use of Jay-Z’s always-excellent “Beware of the Boys” remix). It might ultimately land with all the depth of an SNL-sketch-adaptation but, for now, let’s hope it’s aggressive enough to piss off Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Will Smith hasn’t made a movie since 2008’s Seven Pounds, a thoroughly excoriated weepie (that still managed $170 million worldwide), focusing instead on crafting his children’s manifold talents into their own self-propagating entertainment empire. He’s finally back next year with a third installment of Men In Black, which seems like a safe enough choice until you read up on its byzantine creation process. Apparently, the movie went into production with a script by Etan Cohen, one that Will wasn’t really feeling, with the plan to pause for a hiatus during which the script would be modified on the fly to meet Smith’s demands. That’d be strange enough if wasn’t for the fact while Cohen, along with other vets like David Koepp and Jeff Nathanson, did the script doctoring, Smith had his own private writer, Mike Soccio, hammering away at this thing as well without anyone else knowing about it.
Obviously blockbusters routinely have guided-tour-sized screenwriting pools, but this is a bit different: This is three writers punching away, mid-production, with yet a fourth tweaking in secret. Do you know what this means? Men in Black III could be the weirdest movie of all time! Imagine it: characters appearing in one scene to whisper ominous predictions that never manifest into plot points, scenes abruptly breaking into second, unrelated locations, whole third act reveals based on a throwaway snatch of dialogue buried under the credit sequence (Basically, David Lynch would be psyched). The trailer, sadly, doesn’t tip off any bold disjunction: from the looks of things, it’s mostly another straightforward alien action-comedy, this time with a time-travel twist (Representative dialogue: “Jump!” “Jump? “Time jump.”) Let’s keep on hoping for the worst, though.
Are you aware of the tortured history of The Three Stooges movie? Its development dates back to 1976 and involves legal action by Bela Lugosi Jr. and the phrase “Stooges coke-whore slush fund.” More to the point is the fact that this movie, directed by the Farrelly Brothers — whose cold streak is now so long it could more accurately be described as an ice age — once starred the intriguing trio of Sean Penn, Jim Carrey, and Benicio del Toro. But they all dropped out, so we're left with Sean Hayes, Will Sasso, and Chris Diamantopoulos. (You don’t know who Chris Diamantopolous is? That’s okay. Some of Chris Diamantapolous’s first cousins don’t know who Chris Diamantopolous is). So the Internet was already primed to hate this thing. And now, here comes the first trailer to … change nobody’s mind! In the first thirty seconds, we get a “What the hell is an iPhone?” joke. In ninety seconds, we get a lobster crunching on genitals. And by the time we’re all done, we've seen Snooki get an eye-poke. Still, it’s not like America doesn’t love slapstick. (Who among us does not laugh at the mere mention of Home Alone 2: Lost In New York?) So maybe there's hope? Probably not, though.
So the story here is that The Cabin in the Woods was shot back in 2009 but never released because its studio, MGM, went bankrupt. Now it’s coming out, via Lionsgate, in April, two years after originally planned. In the time since, its star Chris Hemsworth put on so much Thor muscle he started going numb. That means the masses who flocked to see him charmingly swing his magic hammer might not even recognize him here. But the big attraction is Cabin's serious genre credentials, in the form of co-writer/demigod Joss Whedon — who, like Hemsworth, is onto bigger things, with the Avengers movie — and co-writer/director Drew Goddard, the man behind Cloverfield.