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"Above all we have to deliver an amazing sequence." I love James Bond. Eon Productions, the company behind the 007 films, does some of the smartest and most effective marketing in all of Hollywood. During the lead up to Skyfall, they released production diaries during filming to give us a hint at what was coming. With the next film, Spectre, currently filming with director Sam Mendes at the helm they're launching the production diaries again and the first one has arrived. This first video takes us to the snowy mountain top set they're filming at now in Austria, and it looks amazing. I can't believe they're showing this much this early. I've got a feeling this is Sam Mendes doing his own On Her Majesty's Secret Service and I can't wait.
It seems as if James Franco is in everything these days, working with so many different filmmakers from all over the world (Boyle, Gondry, Gordon Green, Korine, Raimi, Coppola, Haggis, Herzog). One of his latest appearances is in the film Every Thing Will Be Fine, the latest dramatic work from legendary German filmmaker Wim Wenders, which just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. This deeply contemplative and compelling film is an extensive look at grief, and how that powerful emotion affects people over many years. There's a very chilling, almost Fincher-esque feel to it that makes this play almost more like a thriller than a drama. Oh, and it's shot in 3D, as Wenders has been exploring 3D ever since his vibrant 3D dance doc Pina.
This is definitely going to be the unpopular, you're-totally-crazy opinion but I should be totally honest - this Spider-Man in the Marvel Universe news doesn't excite me at all. In fact, at this point I think I'm over Spider-Man. I didn't grow up reading the character in comic books, so I don't really have that kind of deep connection to Spidey the character. But I did "grow up" watching the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, then later followed the newest iteration lead by Marc Webb after helping him breakout with 500 Days of Summer (originally a Sundance film). Maybe I'm also just a bit tired of Marvel these days, too. This is where Spidey belongs, in the Marvel Universe, I'll certainly agree to that, but I'm having trouble feigning any excitement.
Anton Corbijn is a remarkable photographer. But I'm not so sure he's that great of a filmmaker, especially after his most recent film. I'm not usually one to bash films, but Corbijn's latest work – titled Life – is such an exceptional let down I can't help but express my disdain. The film feels so lifeless, and is devoid of any impressive features at all, which is odd considering it's a story about James Dean starring two very talented actors. But why does it suck so much? It's bland and boring, a misfire on all counts, from the story to the casting to the photography itself. I had hoped I'd feel some–any–emotion, but never did. Instead, during my Berlinale screening, the only nagging feeling I had was that I wanted it to end right away so I could bolt.
For many years we've been featuring outstanding poster art and pop art by movie fans of all kinds. One of our favorite artists goes by the moniker "Midnight Marauder", and we've been writing about him since 2012 (see his Alien posters). The film industry has slowly started to utilize more and more artistic designs into their official marketing, thanks to the influence of Mondo and Drafthouse Films. Marauder was hired to design the first teaser poster for Terrence Malick's new film Knight of Cups, which just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. I loved the film and reviewed it over the weekend, but also want to highlight his poster.
Mr. Holmes, you are a man of great wisdom. In the new movie Mr. Holmes, beloved legendary actor Ian McKellen finally gets his shot at playing the character Sherlock Holmes, but not the Sherlock Holmes we're all familiar with. Instead, he plays the "real" detective that Holmes was based on in the stories told by Dr. Watson, which are the stories told in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories (very meta but it's easy to understand). He has no hat or pipe, as those were embellishments added to the stories. Instead, he's kind of a bumbling old man, a bit disgruntled with others but has still maintained a keen intellect. This wonderful film swept me away, I fell really hard for it, to the point where I don't even know how to start I adore so much about it.
Malick is back! Terrence Malick, I mean, the master filmmaker who never makes public appearances and can sometimes take years to finish editing his films. This time he tackles Hollywood itself, presenting a mesmerizing criticism of the hedonism of Hollywood in a film called Knight of Cups starring Christian Bale as an actor who pretends to be anyone but himself. The film just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival to cheers from critics at the morning press screening. Malick finally found his groove, and Knight of Cups is his best film in years, perhaps even better than The Tree of Life. It weaves a very thin narrative around some of the same metaphysical, religious, meaning-of-life themes that he first began exploring in The Tree of Life.
Play life more beautifully. This is a documentary that I hope a few people take an interest in, because it's such a heartwarming and inspiring profile of a humble man. Seymour: An Introduction is a wonderful documentary directed by Ethan Hawke profiling piano player and teacher Seymour Bernstein, who gave up fame after a successful concert tour and has dedicated his life to teaching the wonder of music. As hinted at in the title, the doc is an introduction to Mr. Bernstein, giving audiences a glimpse at who he is and how inspiring he is. I first saw this film at the Telluride Film Festival and wrote this in my review: "Music is love, love is music. All I want to do is put on some Schubert, Bach and/or Beethoven and stare up at the stars…"
"He was entirely alien, and hopefully people aren't aware of how he's being operated." This is an exciting year for Star Wars, with a brand new trilogy and the characters we all grew up with. One of everyone's favorite characters is Jabba the Hutt, and we all know he was an impressive puppet creation designed by Phil Tippett, but how exactly did he work? Well, Jabba required three puppeteers inside and three others operating various parts, from the smoke to his breathing. The man behind some fantastic "filmumentaries", Jamie Benning, has put together a new video called Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth - Life Inside Jabba the Hutt (love this title) and it's an excellent 20-min short doc on the operation of Jabba. Dive in.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "It can be difficult for people from underdeveloped worlds to hear that their planet is not the only inhabited planet." The new Wachowskis movie is here. In theaters everywhere is Jupiter Ascending, the spectacular new sci-fi space opera creation from Lana & Andy Wachowski (of The Matrix trilogy, Bound, Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas) starring Channing Tatum as wolf-hybrid Caine and Mila Kunis as Jupiter. Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Douglas Booth & Gugu Mbatha-Raw are in here, too. Is it any good? Or is it a mess? Are the Wachowskis doing well or in trouble? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on The Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending.
The Man Behind The Myth. It's another story about Sherlock Holmes starring Ian McKellen as the iconic detective. I can't wait to see this. Premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, which just kicked off, is the new film from Bill Condon (director of Dreamgirls, The Fifth Estate, Breaking Dawn) starring the legendary Ian McKellen as an "aged, retired" Sherlock Holmes. The festival description says that Holmes undertakes "one final big journey, experiences a botanical miracle and resolves to tell a compassionate lie." It's a simple but sleek and effective poster, plus another good reminder that the movie is finally premiering at Berlinale.
From one to another, the adventure continues. In 2014, I was lucky enough to be invited by Fox Searchlight to fly to Berlin to catch the world premiere of Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel (here's my review). It was an unforgettable experience, and I had a blast attending the Berlin Film Festival, also known as Berlinale, one of the biggest festivals in the world (started in 1951). I am excited to reveal that Berlin asked me to return again this year as a press guest of the festival, meaning they really wanted me to come back and see more films. There was no way I could say no. So only five days after returning from the Sundance Film Festival, I am headed out again onwards to Berlin for yet another film festival. I'm ready, bring on the films.
"This right here takes crazy to a whole 'nother level!" It's time to push this thing into overdrive! After the crazy new TV spot during the Super Bowl, Universal has launched another full-length trailer for James Wan's Furious 7, the latest sequel in the on-going Fast & Furious franchise. This new trailer packs in pretty much everything from the previous trailer and the new TV spot, like that awesome skyscraper shot, and the Pikes Peak drop, and Dwayne Johnson beating people up, and so much more. Starring the late Paul Walker, plus Johnson, Jason Statham, Vin Diesel, Tyrese, Elsa Pataky, Lucas Black, Tony Jaa and Michelle Rodriguez. And yes, there's some Kurt Russell in here, so fire it up now. This looks epic!
Hey animation fans - this one's for you! If you've ever wanted to own an original work from the stop-motion animation studio Laika, this is your one chance. Heritage Auctions is hosting a special Laika auction where they'll be selling off a couple hundred items from the studio, including roughly: 40 maquettes, 40 puppet statues, 100+ concept art pieces, and over 40 of the actual sets used during filming. I was lucky enough to catch an early preview of the show, officially titled "The Art of Laika Studios", which includes pieces from three Oscar nominated movies: Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls from last year.