ENJOY THE SHOW
Wow. Every once in a while a film comes along that stops you in your tracks, reminds you why you love great films, and shows us that there's still real talent out there. This short film, titled Bag Man, came across my desk this week and it's actually a must watch. From filmmakers Jonathan & Josh Baker, the film tells the story of a young boy who leaves New York City to venture upstate with a mysterious dufflebag in hand. What is he hiding? You'll have to watch and find out. I love everything about this - the setup and payoff is perfect, the short flows smoothly and never drags, it's gorgeously shot and looks great, the VFX are fantastic. Along with Envoy, this is genuinely one of the best shorts I've seen in a while, and I will be following these guys.
Who are you, if you're not the only you? This peculiar little short film is worth watching for the interesting twists and turns found within. Titled Mouse-X (which may hint at more of the plot than expected), written & directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Justin Tagg (@mouseXshortfilm), this "sci-fi mind trip" follows a man who wakes up in a room and has to figure out where he is and what's going on. He's trapped inside of one giant experiment involving a thousand clones of himself, so who is he if he's not the only one? It runs a bit long, but otherwise it's a well-made short that proves even old ideas can be rehashed and still be unique.
"It all started with an Aerosmith video." As we head further into the awards season this year, we start to see the more challenging and thought-provoking films emerge. David Fincher's latest film Gone Girl, which just hit theaters this past weekend, is evoking some of the best writing about filmmaking, and about society, in a long time. It's starting a discussion that we've been afraid to have and yet the commentary so far has been invigorating. The latest must read discussion comes from fellow filmmaker Richard Kelly (of Donnie Darko, Southland Tales, The Box) who wrote a massive essay for Talkhouse Film analyizing Gone Girl and comparing it to Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final film which is beloved by critics as well.
He's back! No, not Pharrell, director Edgar Wright. Ever since dropping out of Marvel's Ant-Man movie, we've been wondering where he would end up and what he would be directing next. Would it be Star Wars maybe? Or something else? No, actually, his next project is a music video for a Pharrell Williams track with Daft Punk. Hell yes! The video has finally debuted in full after Edgar teased it on his blog recently. The track is titled "Gust of Wind" by Pharrell Williams featuring a little bit of Daft Punk, which is a promo for Pharrell's new album "G I R L" released March on iTunes/Amazon. It's perfect for autumn as it takes place in a forest with lots of red & orange (& white) colored dancers and giant rock Daft Punk masks. Oh it's fun.
Is this what happens when you get too high? Perhaps. Over the weekend, the New York Film Festival hosted the world premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film, Inherent Vice, starring Joaquin Phoenix as "Doc" Sportello, the stoner private detective character from Thomas Pynchon's novel of the same name. A very faithful adaptation, the film is a smoke-filled mystery that unfurls like Chinatown if Jake kept getting stoned every five minutes. Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, the look and feel is spot on – it's like they made this in the 70s and time traveled forward to 2014 just to premiere it. But does it make any sense? Not really.
"Who tried to kill me?!" "No one knows, no one but you..." A brand new official US trailer has debuted for Rowan Joffe's Before I Go to Sleep, a twist amnesia thriller about a woman who was assaulted and wakes up every day knowing nothing about her past. Oscar winner Nicole Kidman stars as that woman, along with a strong cast that includes Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Anne-Marie Duff. This trailer builds in intensity as it goes on, eventually turning into a wild thriller about deception and memory, but I'm not sure if I'm sold on anything other than the cast. Is the twist really that remarkable? Let us know what you think.
With the launch of Interstellar in just one month, Paramount has kicked off their final marketing push for Christopher Nolan's epic sci-fi adventure. One of their key promotions includes an Interstellar Oculus Rift Experience, using the popular virtual reality headsets to provide an immersive experience. What does it show? I stopped by the promotion at the AMC Lincoln Square in New York City to check it out. Viewers are given a three-to-four minute tour of the spaceship Endurance, featured prominently already in trailers, which shifts into Zero G before jumping into the wormhole. As a fun, immersive promotion it's very cool - and really does provide a totally unique experience. It tricks your mind when the artificial gravity drops out.
"I have... I have never used a sword in my life." We're getting closer and closer to the grand finale of The Hobbit, with Peter Jackson's third and final movie The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies due out in theaters in just a few more months (starting December 17th). We've seen one full trailer so far, waiting for another one to hit soon (likely attached to Interstellar), and one teaser poster with Bilbo before. But now Warner Bros is releasing a series of character posters for The Battle of Five Armies and they've started with Bilbo - who is brandishing Sting like he definitely has handled a sword and knows how to kick some orc (and spider) ass with it. With a huge ensemble cast we expect to see many more posters soon. Check this one out.
Do you remember Cannon Films and all of their crazy films? During the 70s, 80s and 90s, Cannon was infamous for making low-budget B-movies with international action stars that would earned cult followings despite being pretty bad. The studio was actually the run by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, two Israeli cousins who moved to Hollywood and decided to make movies the way they wanted to make them, with the stars (and nudity and violence) they wanted to see. Mark Hartley's doc Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films tells the complete story behind how it came together, how they earned a place in Hollywood history, and how it all came crashing down. It's a fun, nostalgic doc - fire it up.
Over this past weekend, filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson showed up in New York City for the premiere of his latest film Inherent Vice at the 52nd New York Film Festival. In addition to participating in a rather lackluster press conference afterwards, PTA also participated in a discussion event the next day where he spoke for over an hour about all kinds of different subjects. One topic that kept coming up was the film vs. digital battle, as PTA is one of the few still advocating and using film, and Inherent Vice was one of the only films at this year's NYFF showing (once) in 35mm. "That should just be how it is, nothing should go away" he explained, advocating that we should embrace digital AND 35mm, and not phase one out for the other.
Over the last month or so we've been following development announcements for the Deadpool movie, which might actually end up shooting thanks to fans reaching out on places like Twitter. While production is still far off and details like the rating (PG-13 or R?) won't be decided until later, fans are nonetheless very anxious to figure out what's going on and where/how the Merc with a Mouth might fit in to any universe. When speaking to screenwriter Simon Kinberg recently, news site ComicBook.com found out Deadpool may actually be involved in the X-Men universe at Fox, or at least a part of the bigger picture somewhere.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "I finally realized I am frightened of my own husband." Now playing in theaters everywhere is David Fincher's adaptation of Gone Girl, the novel by Gillian Flynn. In the film, Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, husband to a wife who has disappeared from a small town. Rosamund Pike plays his wife Amy, the one missing, but does she have something else going on or is it all the husband to blame? The cast includes Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Neil Patrick Harris and Emily Ratajkowski. So how is it? Better than the book or is it a disaster? How are Affleck & Pike as the leads? Once you've seen it, post a comment with your thoughts on Fincher's Gone Girl.
A month ago it was reported that Quentin Tarantino was taking over the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles and running/programming the theater full-time. Tarantino is now owner of the repertory cinema located in the heart of Hollywood, and after years of letting it run on its own he finally stepped up to take over picking films and presentations. Tarantino spoke to LA Weekly recently and his quotes were published this week, discussing the reasons behind his choice to choose the films and what he wants the New Beverly to be known for ("a bastion for 35mm films."). As always, Tarantino has some very interesting things to say.
"If you think he's reporting troop movement, you have a green light. Your call, over." Warner Bros has just unveiled the first teaser trailer for American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper as "the most lethal sniper in U.S. history." Yep, this is going to be huge with American audiences, that's for sure. The film is, on top of it all, directed by Clint Eastwood and tells the real story of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL sniper who recounts his military career which includes more than 150 confirmed kills. This very chilling, minimal teaser builds upon the silent intensity of a sniper and how much it's all about killing people from afar. Hell of a first tease.