Film Fatale Archive for August, 2007

Want To See A Scary Short Film?

Want to see a wicked scary short film?
Watch TEN STEPS by Brendan Muldowney.


Revenge of the Revenge Movie: BRAVE ONE, DEATH SENTENCE

Get ready for the revenge of the Revenge Movie.
Two trailers — very similar — catch your attention. The movies don’t promise the same depth or quality: THE BRAVE ONE, starring Jodie Foster and directed by Neil Jordan, looks far more intriguing and troubling, while DEATH SENTENCE, with Kevin Bacon, looks like a formula picture.
Check out the trailers, posters and tagline: the genre never fails to go for the gut. From THE BRAVE ONE, there’s complexity – conflict. “We’re on your side,” says Terrence Howard, the sympathetic detective. Replies Foster: “How come it doesn’t feel like that?” And her voice over – she’s going over the edge. “It is astonishing to find inside you there is a stranger.” There’s a great trailer line for Foster, who can’t help but sound badass: “I want my dog back.”
Were there trailer lines before blaxploitation movies, Clint Eastwood and Dirty Harry?

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Guardian's Ahoy to the Pirate Bay Crew

As if you know know their site, or some site exactly like it.
The Guardian hoists a black flag and introduces us to the Swedish computer geeks whom Hollywood despises: the pirates behind Pirate Bay. (The link is to the newspaper story, not the torrenty site.)
Obligatory fuming quote from the MPAA: “The bottom line is that the operators of The Pirate Bay, and others like them, are criminals who profit handsomely by facilitating the distribution of copyrighted creative works,” says John Malcolm, the group’s MPAA.

BOUNTY GIRLS: Cuff 'Em, Ladies!


Everything that the movie DOMINO should have been, and all the bail bond parts of JACKIE BROWN — but with tough dames instead of tough Robert Forster: that’s Court TV’s new reality series BOUNTY GIRLS, my new TV obsession.
How cool are these bounty hunters, the four wily Miami women of Sunshine State Bail Bonds? On their recent visit to NBC’s Today show, they demonstrated the art of taking down a suspect — or somebody who’s bugging you.

NANNY DIARIES' Mrs. X? Try Times Select, Harvey


When THE NANNY DIARIES came out in 2002, authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus insisted that the icy Mrs. X — the employer in their roman a clef wasn’t based on any one of their several real-life past bosses.
Nevertheless, a Manhattan guessing game ensued — and the acid-tinged gossip was captured thats pring by New York Times Styles section writer Alex Kucyzynksi.
Now that the movie’s out, and Laura Linney embodies the icy socialite Mrs. X, NANNY DIARIES producer Harvey Weinstein (according to the New York Post) was overheard offering some “well connected socialites” $100,000 to unmask the “real Mrs. X.” Has he and everyone else this thing called TimesSelect (or Google) to spark the memory? Suspect No. 1 was the author of THE PREPPY HANDBOOK.
(How nasty can Mrs. X be, anyway? If Laura Linney’s playing her, I know I’m going to come away respecting that bitch.)


[Book trailer directed by Anthony Orkin]
When I hadn’t seen my friend Paula Bernstein in a while, I wondered what she’d been up to. We were neighbors in Brooklyn, she was a reporter for Variety and I figured she was busy with her first daughter. I ran into her in Park Slope a couple of years ago and go, “So, Paula, what’s been going on?”
She had the most faraway look on her face. “You’re not going to believe this,” she says. “I remember you I haven’t told many people this yet, but I remember you telling me your mom is an identical twin..I found out I have an identical twin sister, and we were separated at birth. She contacted me through the adoption agency and we’ve met. It’s just — incredible.”
As in a movie, or a fairy tale – a rather dark one – Paula and identical twin, Elyse Schein, have gotten to know each other (this is the happy part) and explored the twisted circumstances of their separation. Together, they’ve written an extraordinary and moving memoir of sisterhood, blood and emotional ties called called IDENTICAL STRANGERS.

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KNOCKED UP, Chuck, Larry & The Guy/Guy Romances

Can’t do better than this headline.
“Ah, Hollywood, where men will be boys
What can big-screen women expect from love? A bong-sucking, porn-addled, baby-fatted slacker.”
Johanna Schneller of Toronto’s Globe and Mail gets to the heart of the male – boyish – romances of I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY, THE BREAK-UP, KNOCKED UP (a movie in which guys know 5,000 words for penis but can’t bring themselves to say the word ‘abortion.'”
Adam Sandler is perhaps the most talented actor who consistently under-casts himself, and Schneller perfectly describes his (or the movie’s?) over-indicative comic style: In a scene where he, pretending to be gay, lusts for gorgeous Jessica Biel,

“The agony in his eyes as Biel proffers her luscious but off-limits body is funny. The fact that he quickly has to tie his sweatshirt around his waist is funny. Yet Sandler can’t stop there – that wouldn’t be literal enough.
He has to jam his hand down his pants and fish around in there, fidgeting and readjusting so assiduously that he stops looking like a man wrestling with an erection, and starts looking like a toddler who has to go pee-pee.”

There it is, the annoyance in these movies: the heroes dwindle from manly — human — carnal appetites to childish antics. Maybe we’re supposed to think this is adorable. But I find it boring.

Emmy Noms: TV Docs, Directors to Watch


Looking around at the Emmy Award previews in Variety and elsewhere, I saw some familiar names in the directing categories.
First up: the nonfiction category. No surprise to see which network dominates the category: HBO devotes considerable support to the documentary form (though Cinemax, PBS and Showtime deserve praise for their doc series, too.)
If Spike Lee‘s shattering Hurricane Katrina epic WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE: A REQUIEM IN FOUR ACTS doesn’t win the award, I think you’ll hear shouts of protest. This is passionate, pointed filmmaking from a director working at the top of his form.

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From the Desk of Uwe Boll


From the Desk of Uwe Boll
Specially talented movie director and amateur boxer Uwe Boll has embarked upon an epistolary romance with WIRED reporter Chris Kohler.
This a correspondence will surely become as memorable as the rose-scented letters that flew back and forth between Robert Olen Butler and Gawker.
Highlights (from Boll)

your review shows me only that you dont understand anything about movies and that you are a untalented wanna bee filmmaker with no balls and no understanding what POSTAL is. you dont see courage because you are nothing. and no go to your mum and fuck her …because she cooks for you now since 30 years she deserves it.
people like you are the reason that independent movies have no chance anymore.
uwe boll
PS: POSTAL is R RATED . The MPAA understood the satire — you not — you dumb fuck


Get Paranoid With the New INVASION

Nicole Kidman’s paranoia gets an aerobic workout in INVASION.

In this summer of sequels, threquels and remakes, one title is actually kind of intriguing: INVASION – yet another imaging of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.
Though the new film has not been seen by critics (uh oh), the trailer is effectively unnerving, with nervous thoroughbred Nicole Kidman freaking out while her neighbors and friends become strangely emotionless. (Thank you, Jeremy Northam, for your suave Eurovillainy. Don’t trust that guy for a minute, Nicole.)
In the Sunday New York Times, Dennis Lim looks back a the various iterations of this marvelously paranoid tale, from the original Jack Finney novel (mid 1950s, naturally) to the Cold War paranoia Don Siegel film (1956), to the psychotherapy-cult weirdness of the 1978 of Philip Kaufman‘s 1978 update. Abel Ferrara‘s BODY SNATCHERS (1993), set on a military base in the American South, made the heroine into a moody teenager, was unsettling in a different way: she was trapped and powerless even before the pod people arrived.
Interesting, isn’t it, that Kidman already played a Cassandra in a remake of a paranoid thriller? The ill starred STEPFORD WIVES of a couple of years ago. To her credit, she was damn funny as a stressed out TV executive in that movie’s first 15 minutes. But STEPFORD, unlike INVASION, did not stand up to re-examination.

Add It Up: This NYTimes Residual Story Makes Zero Sense


Though I’ve done my fair share of entertainment business writing, I find it’s generally best to leave the dollars and cents reporting these to David Poland, or to link to Anne Thompson at Variety.
But a recent, jawdroppingly stupid story in the New York Times makes me break that rule.
Film business reporter Brooks Barnes, who comes to the Times from the Wall Street Journal (and therefore surely ought to know better) gives an update on the slurry of ongoing negotiations between the Writer Guild of America and the studios, and the fears of a strike in Hollywood.
One issue is how to allocate residual payments – the money paid to writers (and directors, actors and producers) when a film or TV title is re-shown or sold on DVD, television, the internet or on some new media yet to be invented. How do you value each new media platform as it becomes more or less popular?
Boring, complicated accounting stuff: but it’s how entertainers and variety acts make money on repeat performances, adaptations and sequels.
The New York Times’ Barnes doesn’t get this. He starts his story with an analogy only a studio accountant would make.

Jasper Johns isn’t paid based on the number of years his flag paintings remain popular attractions at museums. Rem Koolhaas doesn’t cash a check every time an architecture fan takes a trip to Seattle to see his space-age public library. So why should the writers, directors and actors responsible for box-office bombs like “Gigli” be able to pocket some cash every time somebody buys the DVD?
It’s a question that cuts to the heart of the biggest fight in Hollywood these days and sums up a fundamental choice the troubled entertainment industry needs to make: whether to cling to old blueprints for running the business or to draft a whole new set.

No. That’s not the question at all.

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Kid Movies That'll Warp Your Child's Mind

Perhaps in recognition of the release of STARDUST — a film with the most unsettling trailer I have seen since MAC & ME — celebrates the Trippiest Movies Ever Made For Children.
Exhibit A is the recently rereleased LABYRINTH (1986), with David Bowie as a Goblin King who kidnaps the baby brother of pre-teen Jennifer Connelly, sending her off on a journey through creepy Muppet-land. Oh, it’s weird. But Bowie cuts loose for a few amazing songs.

5 Things Jason BOURNE Can Kill You With

bournepost.jpgWarning: Don’t make this man turn around.

From the blog More Than Fine, enjoy — or fear — the Top Five Jason Bourne Improvised Weapons. Complete with video and photos.
1) A good book.
2) Kitchenware
3) Candle holder, brass
I haven’t had this much fun since I learned, in a self-defense class, how to disable an attacker with a rolled up copy of Allure magazine.

On Reinventing the Celebrity Interview

For most people, a celeb story in a magazine should be exactly as diverting and time-consuming as it will take for one’s toenails to dry at the manicurist.
In the Washington Post, film writer Ann Hornaday has a wide-ranging piece on why the art of the celebrity interview could use a makeover.
Oh, admit it–you still read them, no matter how bad, redundant and uninformative these celeb profiles are (that 5,000 word Esquire cover story of Angelina Jolie was a recent example of the self-serious, expanding gas to fill the space variety. Nice cover shot, though.

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Shake It For Director Paul "ShakyCam" Greengrass

bourne2.jpgMatt Damon, BOURNE to run.

In the Observer, here’s a profile of director Paul Greengrass — the man behind UNITED 93 and the two most recent BOURNE movies.
He’s not nearly as shaky as his camera.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon