Director Kathryn Bigelow and co-screenwriter Mark Boal's follow-up to The Hurt Locker — an Oscar winner in the categories of Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture, among others — is, depending on your interpretation, a gritty, almost journalistic dramatization of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, or a propagandistic endorsement of torturing detainees. One thing is for sure: Zero Dark Thirty is the only movie newly available On Demand this week to have elicited criticism from actual lawmakers. (Better luck next time, Bilbo.)
After Adam broke down Hannah's door and cartoonishly came to her rescue, there should've been a moment like the one at the end of The Graduate, where you see Ben and Elaine sitting on the bus together, already no longer sure that busting up Elaine's wedding to run off together was the right idea, wordlessly contemplating whether it might in fact have been a terrible, irreparable mistake. Following the big grandiose gesture, after the speech that changes everything, after the hot makeup sex, there's always a soul-crushing point when reality sets in. With evil quickness, life goes back to being tedious and mundane.
At this late stage of my life, I should be more comfortable with the idea of living through the inevitable recasting of pop culture reboots. After all, I'm on my second Spider-Man, second James T. Kirk, fifth Batman. I've watched four different versions of Fitzwilliam Darcy, a bunch of different Sherlock Holmeses and Professors Moriarty. (For some reason, Wolverine and Gandalf abide, unchanging.)
The point is, I shouldn't be so offended that this fourth Bourne movie — which came just five years after the third, The Bourne Ultimatum -- continues the story. It offers a new protagonist, who happens to have a remarkably similar backstory to the "Jason Bourne" we came to know in the original trilogy, which, fine, I guess; TV series refresh their casts like this all the time. But replacing the charming and likable Matt Damon with Jeremy "Charisma Vacuum" Renner? UUUUUUUUUGH. Won't it be hard for audiences to care whether he unravels the mystery of his true identity if he seems like such a sour jerk that we don't want anything good to happen to him? ...Just me? Okay. At least Rachel Weisz is on hand to supply some humanity to balance Renner's off-putting grouchiness.
First: Conan O'Brien has a web show called Serious Jibber Jabber, which borrows both Charlie Rose's long-form interview structure and the black nether space in which Charlie Rose shoots his show. (Did you know this? I did not know this.) Second: Judd Apatow was recently on this show and, along with telling Conan all sorts of other things (the interview, below, runs over an hour), Judd revealed a curious little detail. See, 22 years ago, back when Apatow was a wide-eyed nobody in this biz, he wrote a spec script for The Simpsons. Nothing happened with it, and it sat on a shelf as Apatow hustled and fought and failed, before finally becoming the comedy guru we know and love today. And now that Simpsons script is actually going to be made into an episode. Well, this is delightful.
As THR points out, Judd Apatow did a long interview with Movie City News (embedded below), during which he let go some info about Girls, which he executive produces. "And [Lena Dunham]'s such a great writer and great person," he says, "she helped me with my script" — note: He doesn't specify if that means the script for This Is 40, or another upcoming work — "we're trading scripts back and forth, and I get inspired by reading her work every week." Oh, and: "We're about to shoot the third season of Girls, season two starts in January." The thing is, no one had actually said Girls got a third season. Whoops?
We got the teaser trailer for Judd Apatow's This Is 40 — his first directorial effort since 2009's divisive Funny People — back in April. Now Judd's gone and dropped another one on us, graciously cutting this new trailer with all types of heretofore unseen footage instead of just trying to slide by with the same old trailer spruced up with, like, half of a new scene (I'm looking at you, majority of trailer editors!). A few observations:
Arguably hitting the sweet spot between relevant and ironically belated, Freaks and Geeks star and conceptual artist James Franco has finally weighed in on the HBO series Girls, via a lengthy op-ed on The Huffington Post. I think the 206th Amendment to the Internet Constitution states that once James Franco has weighed in on a controversy we can officially bury it, right? No? Well, Franco doesn’t seem too interested in reaching a definitive answer on whether Lena Dunham’s show sucks or rules: In one paragraph, he chastises her self-modeled character, Hannah Horvath, to “get a fucking job,” in another he admits that Dunham did, in fact, get a fucking job — if writing, directing, and acting on a premium cable television show qualifies. (I think it at least ranks somewhere above "Selling Non-Visible Art to Canadian Models" on the “fucking-ness of job” scale.)
Nearly everything on television — at least everything not on CBS — is aimed at twentysomethings, but very little of it represents them the way they really are. Most people in that decade aren’t hyperactive post-teenage bone machines or pre-adult money-dropping slicksters; they’re an odd, often uncomfortable mash-up of the two. Rare is the program able to keep a foot in both worlds — one in stilettos, one in shower shoes — and depict life after college the way it really is: in flux. Lena Dunham’s Girls, which premieres this Sunday night on HBO, might not be exactly that show for everyone, but it’s the closest we’ve come in quite some time. (In a typically self-aware move to blunt criticism and/or coronation, Dunham’s Hannah Horvath immodestly downgrades herself from the voice of her generation to the voice of “a” generation.) This is because unlike most entertainment about youngish people, Girls isn’t being focus-grouped by 30- and 40-year-olds in Burbank. (Ever notice how most televised twentysomethings have taste that’s 10 years behind? Surf's up, Poochie!) Dunham, the writer, creator, director, and star, is only 25; she knows of what she tweets. And while the specific circumstances of her angsty slouching toward Bethlehem (or at least Boerum Hill) may be new, her messy attempts at selfhood are universal and cringingly enduring. Watching Girls is at once exhilarating and mortifying — I spent much of it alternating between holding my sides and covering my face — an instant Delorean back to a time in one’s life when everything is possible and nothing seems right.
Really! Will Ferrell showed up on Conan Wednesday night in full Ron Burgundy gear — complete with mustache, jazz flute, and insults — and made it very clear: "I want to announce this to everyone here in the Americas ... to our friends in Spain, Turkey, and the U.K., including England ... that as of 0900 Mountain Time, Paramount Pictures and myself, Ronald Joseph Aaron Burgundy, have come to terms on a sequel to Anchorman ... it is official: There will be a sequel to Anchorman." Burgundy also tweeted, "Hey America & Hawaii. Looks like Paramount & my lawyer Gene Tigerworthy have agreed to terms on a sequel to Anchorman. Whiskey sours on me!" Well, I don't know about you, but to me, this news smells exactly like the opposite of a used diaper filled with Indian food.
Paul Rudd as an actor is extremely glib and likable. On the phone he’s no different. We recently spoke with him on a variety of subjects ranging from his new movie, Our Idiot Brother, to facial hair, hippies, incest, and his I Love You, Man-esque relationship with Jon Hamm. He wouldn’t share details about his role in Judd Apatow’s top-secret, currently-filming, quasi sequel to Knocked Up, in which he once again plays husband to Apatow’s wife and father to his kids, but he did admit to the existence of at least one human being immune to his charms: 8-year-old Iris Apatow.
Following Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence back to TV will be Roseanne Barr, who just signed a script deal with 20th Century Fox TV to write Downwardly Mobile, a sitcom about an "an optimistic blue-collar family living in hard times." Casting is underway for a third Becky. Grade: B+ [Deadline]
Mark Wahlberg will broaden his horizons with a role as a law-enforcement official in 2 Guns, an adaptation of Steven Grant's graphic novel about a DEA agent and an undercover naval officer who waste tax dollars by investigating each other as each steals money from the mob in the line of duty. Exiting the project, which has been kicking around for a while, are Vince Vaughn and David O. Russell, who must have just realized there's no law that says he has to direct only Mark Wahlberg movies. Grade B [HR]
What do auteurs Michael Bay and Terrence Malick have in common — other than that they’ve both made Megan Fox wash their cars in a bikini in lieu of auditioning for a role? (Fox got the part in Bay’s Transformers but her performance as "Celestial Dinosaur No. 3" was sadly cut from Malick's of Tree of Life.) They’ve both written letters to projectionists, advising them on how best to present their 2011 films! While the letters themselves strike differing tones (Malick terms his a "fraternal salute" to a "forgotten art" while Bay, unsurprisingly, uses capitalist logic – "your theaters invested a lot of money in this equipment" — in his plea for 3-D perfection), they are the latest missives in a trend that stretches at least as far back as noted control freak Stanley Kubrick, whose own letter re: Barry Lyndon also recently surfaced.
But this epistolary practice goes deeper than most cinephiles realize. Grantland gained access to some other recently-penned letters to projectionists from the directors of a few of summer 2011’s other prominent releases. We are proud to share excerpts of them with you now.