May 10, 2013 1:38pm EST
The smoldering S&M passion of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey may soon be enfolded in luxurious tracking shots, impeccable fabrics, and delicate, sun-dappled lighting. Yep, Joe Wright, the director of Anna Karenina and Atonement, is in talks with Focus Features and Universal to adapt E.L. James' bestselling bodice-ripper Fifty Shades of Grey, The Hollywood Reporter says.
It'd be a surprising move for Wright, who's previously chosen more lofty projects. But like David Fincher's take on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a Joe Wright-directed Fifty Shades of Grey could prove to be a fascinating transformation of a trashy subway-read into something more. That's the direction Universal's reportedly been taking in their search for a director, having already started discussions with other such pedigreed helmers as Bennett Miller, Patty Jenkins, and Gus Van Sant, who recently shot test footage with Alex Pettyfer in the role of the 27-year-old billionaire title character, Christian Grey. More than any of these others, Wright has demonstrated an affinity for smoldering passion in his work. I mean, this is a guy who actually made Aaron Taylor-Johnson swoon-worthy. And Wright's Ophuls-style tracking shots would certainly make Steele's repeated proclamations of "Holy crap!" more palatable.
Who do you think should direct?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
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March 20, 2013 1:49pm EST
When it was announced that writer/director Lynne Ramsey was joining forces with Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman on the Western Jane Got a Gun, the project sounded like stars aligning. It got better: cast opposite of the Black Swan star was the reliable, mesmerizing Michael Fassbender. As the film trekked forward towards the beginning of its shoot, it continued to gain prestigious additions, including a villain in the form of Zero Dark Thirty's Joel Edgerton. It sounded incredible.
And then it imploded.
Last week, Fassbender departed the film, a mere week before cameras were set to begin rolling. He was quickly replaced by Edgerton, who bumped up to the starring role opposite Portman, with Jude Law jumping on board as the film's villain (Edgerton's original role). Then on May 19 — what was going to be the first day of shooting — news broke that Ramsey had left the project, never arriving to set. With money invested, sets built, and production as underway as it could be without a person in the director's chair, producers on Jane Got a Gunscrambled to find a replacement. The ship wasn't going down, even if the captain had bailed.
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Now the hopeful upswing in the debacle: in less than 24 hours, a replacement for Ramsey has been found. Deadline reports that Warrior director Gavin O'Connor has been hired to helm the picture. There have been casualties by the switch: after O'Connor was revealed to be on board, Law was announced to have left the film, his involvement originally linked to the idea of working with Ramsay. But Edgerton and Portman (a producer on the female revenge flick) are still on board.
This isn't the first time a high-profile movie has suffered from talent shuffling — but it might be the instance closest to the wire. In 2010, after two years of working on both the scripts and designs for The Hobbit movies, director Guillermo Del Toro picked up and left New Zealand, paving the way for last December's Peter Jackson-helmed epic. Del Toro has never explained his decision, suggesting that multiple factors influenced his decision to exit the movie — many pointed to MGM's ongoing financial issues. In less analytical departures, X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn was two weeks away from directing 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand before bailing on the film due to creative clashes with 20th Century Fox. For some, having their vision represented is more important than avoiding a public frenzy.
Sometimes it's not even up to the directors. Steven Soderbergh was removed from his version of Moneyball days before shooting the Brad Pitt-led baseball drama. It was another case of the men with the money not seeing eye to eye with their director's vision: Soderbergh wanted a docudrama version of Moneyball that would intercut Pitt's performance with documentary footage. The idea didn't jive with Sony Pictures, who replaced Soderbergh with Bennett Miller.
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Ramsey penned the script for Jane Got a Gun, and it's possible that, even when the dust settles from the fiasco, she'll walk away with accolades for the film. The same thing happened to director Brenda Chapman, removed from the director's chair by Pixar halfway through her work on Brave. She ended up receiving a "co-director" credit — a title that earned her an Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 2013 Academy Awards.
As is apparent from Jane's bumpy road to completion, actors are also capable of derailing a movie and sending behind-the-scenes players scrambling for replacements. Jean Claude Van Damme was set to play the title creature in Predator before ditching the movie last minute. He wasn't keen on the requirements of the role, which included wearing a bulky costume and remaining invisible for half the film. Eric Stoltz was infamously replaced by Michael J. Fox weeks into shooting Back to the Future after Fox (the original choice for the role) became available. And most recently, Peter Jackson, unhappy with actor Stuart Townsend's work as Aragon in Lord of the Rings, kindly asked the thespian to step down, eventually hiring Viggo Mortensen for the part.
On-set shuffling isn't a common occurrence in Hollywood, but it's not a sign of disaster either. A film can go both ways: X-Men: The Last Stand, helmed by back-up director Brett Ratner, is looked down upon as a low point in the franchise. Moneyball went on to earn a handful of Oscar nominations. O'Connor is a competent director who impressed (and earned box office cred) with Warrior. Having most recently directed the pilot for The Americans, he knows a thing or two about stepping into someone else's sandbox and building a great castle. If Jane Got a Gun was going to be strong with Ramsey in the driver's seat, it was going to be strong for a number of reasons beyond her directorial efforts (although it sounded promising in the hands of the visually-inclined auteur). Is Jane destined for disaster? Only if they never roll camera.
Which, if the set spontaneously combusts in an act of Godly smiting, could very well be the case.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Evan Agostini/AP Photo]
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February 04, 2013 10:58am EST
Jeez, Justin Timberlake sure isn't f**king around when it comes to his big musical comeback. For his first music video back on the scene, he's enlisting some pretty A-List help. David Fincher — you know, the guy behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, and Fight Club — will be directing the actual-real-not-lyric-version video for "Suit & Tie," The Playlist confirms.
You may remember that Fincher got his start in music videos, and is famously responsible for Madonna's iconic 1990 "Vogue" video. But he hasn't dabbled in the medium since he directed the video for Nine Inch Nails' "Only" in 2005. Despite his eight year hiatus, we expect big things from Fincher in his return to music videos. After all, the following seven videos all prove that no movie director is too big to return to the shorter, more YouTube-friendly form.
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Following his smashing success with 2009's (500) Days of Summer, Marc Webb helmed Green Day's "Last of the American Girls" video in 2010.
After Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) earned him a cult following, John Cameron Mitchell brought his artistic vision to Bright Eyes' touching "First Day of My Life" video in 2006.
In another movie star music video mashup, Bennett Miller teamed up with Scarlett Johansson for her 2008 video for "Falling Down." While Moneyball was still on Miller's horizon, he'd already scored notability with Capote (2005).
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A year before Milk, Gus Van Sant directed the Red Hot Chili Peppers' video for "Desecration Smile" (2007). Of course, Van Sant already had a number of hits (including Good Will Hunting and Finding Forrester) to his name.
Unlike Fincher, Darren Aronofsky didn't try his hand at music video directing until he was established in movies. After Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Black Swan, Aronofsky directed the video for Lou Reed and Metallica's "The View" (2011).
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Like Fincher and "Vogue," it's pretty common knowledge at this point that Martin Scorsese directed Michael Jackson's "Bad" in 1987. But despite this being 26 years ago, Scorsese was in no way a newbie director. Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980) and The Color of Money (1986) (among others) were already behind him.
Even while he loaded up on feature film accolades (for movies such as Being John Malkovitch, Adaptation, and Where the Wild Things Are) Spike Jonze never really left his music video roots. Most recently, he took the reins of LCD Soundsystem's "Drunk Girls," Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs," The Beastie Boys' "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win," and Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Otis" (below).
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: JFXimages/WENN]
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January 23, 2013 10:33am EST
It was perplexing enough when the world decided to give one biopic to software engineer/documented oddball John McAfee. But perplexing enough just isn't perplexing enough: The Hollywood Reporter has linked Warner Bros. to a second developing film about the antivirus mogul and his various legal troubles throughout South America. News broke on Monday that the studio could be funding a cinematic project based on a Wired article ("John McAfee's Last Stand") about McAfee's alleged criminal activity. All this on top of December's announcement that McAfee would play the focal character in Running in the Background: The True Story of John McAfee, a film by Impact Future Media, to whom McAfee himself sold his life rights.
That's right, two John McAfee movies. The major studio exploit and the independent project with questionable objectivity, as it always goes. See, the dueling biopics phenomenon is not one unique to the case of McAfee. Recent years have seen competing forces vie for the presentation of a shared subject's life story — a couple of instances are even in the works presently. Is there always a clear winner to the showdown, or are we left torn between contrasting portraits of great figures? Take a gander at what we think:
The Studio Movie: John McAfee's Last Stand adaptation (no official title)
Source Material: Wired article "John McAfee's Last Stand"
Creative Forces: Unknown
The Independent Film: Running in the Background: The True Story of John McAfee
Source Material: McAfee's life rights
Creative Forces: Unknown
The Champion: Yet to be determined, although we can bet that the latter, which McAfee himself is at least marginally involved on a production level, might be a little skewed away from objectivity... which could, actually, be quite interesting.
The Studio Movie: Hitchcock
Source Material: Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello
Creative Forces: Director Sacha Gervasi; stars Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, and Scarlett Johansson
The HBO Film: The Girl
Source Material: Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto
Creative Forces: Director Julian Jarrold; stars Toby Jones and Sienna Miller
The Champion: The Girl is a far superior, more intricate and compelling film to the bland Hollywood output
The Studio Movie: Steve Jobs
Source Material: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (authorized biography)
Creative Forces: Writer Aaron Sorkin
The Independent Film: jOBS
Source Material: Unknown
Creative Forces: Director Joshua Michael Stern; stars Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad
The Champion: As much as we like Gad in costume as the Woz, we have to bet on the Sorkin power for this one.
The Sundance Premiere: Lovelace
Source Material: Unknown
Creative Forces: Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman; stars Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, and Sharon Stone
The Muddling-in-Oblivion Machination: Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story
Source Material: Unknown
Creative Forces: Director/writer Matthew Wilder; stars Malin Akerman, Matt Dillon, and Harold Perrineau
The Champion: Another TBD, but Sundance provides us with some very favorable thoughts about the former.
And one from the archives...
The Studio Movie: Capote
Source Material: Capote by Gerald Clarke
Creative Forces: Director Bennett Miller; stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Clifton Collins, Jr.
The Independent(ish) Film: Infamous
Source Material: Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Careerby George Plimpton
Creative Forces: Director/writer Douglas McGrath; Toby Jones (again!), Sandra Bullock, and Daniel Craig
The Champion: The Oscars were right on this one: Miller and Hoffman's rendition of the story was a dazzling feat — while Infamous, too, is a film worth your while, it doesn't quite live up to the spectacle that a character like Truman Capote deserves
November 20, 2012 4:52am EST
It's easy to be cynical about holiday movies or even the holidays themselves. Rise of the Guardians simply won't let you though even if you don't partake in Christmas or Easter. Without getting too highfalutin the stars of Guardians have more in common with pagan myths than the craven cash-grabs we associate with Judeo-Christian holidays. What's more North (aka Santa voiced by Alec Baldwin) and Bunny (as in Easter voiced by Hugh Jackman) are joined by more universal figures like Tooth (as in Fairy voiced by Isla Fisher) the Sandman Jack Frost (Chris Pine) and Pitch (aka the Boogeyman voiced by Jude Law). Overseeing it all is the silent Man in the Moon who gives the Guardians their directions.
Jack Frost wants to be believed in and seen by children as much as he wants to understand where he came from. When he's called to help the Guardians protect the world from Pitch he's hesitant to join but the possibility of being believed in and recovering his memories is too great to pass up. When Pitch succeeds in giving boys and girls bad dreams they stop believing in the Guardians which in turn threatens their existence. Nothing is worse than not being believed in. They also get some help from one open-minded little dude named Jamie (Dakota Goyo) who is a big believer in the unknown. (A little detour in the story with Jamie's little sister is freaking adorable.)
The characters are fabulous and no small part of what makes the movie work. Based on The Guardians of Childhood books by William Joyce and adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire (who wrote the excellent Rabbit Hole) Guardians stands out because the story isn't wedded to any one mythology. North is a big Russian with tattooed forearms and his real helpers are yetis — yet another mythic creature. Bunny is more of a wild hare with an Aussie attitude and his inner sanctum is lush and green calling to mind the fertility rituals originally associated with spring. Tooth is a fantastic hummingbird woman who has an army of beautiful tiny hummingbird ladies who travel around the world to collect lost teeth. The teeth contain memories so they're treasured by Tooth and her Baby Teeth as her helpers are called. Sandy is silent and communicates through symbols that appear over his head formed from his own sand; he's funny but also laid-back as you'd want the creature doling out dreams to be. Jack Frost is a mischievous cute young guy with anime hair who loves snowball fights and snow days and Pitch is a sour Brit who sends out awful but beautiful black stallions made of sparkly dust to put fear in the hearts of children.
It's a visually stunning experience making full use of 3D; famous cinematographer Roger Deakins acted as a visual consultant as he did on animated films like WALL*E How to Train Your Dragon and Rango. Alexandre Desplat's score is evocative without being overbearing or manipulative. The writing is funny without being too self-referential and the only pop culture reference I caught was to Crocodile Dundee. Frankly it's hard to find fault with Rise of the Guardians. Maybe they could have included Hanukkah Harry?
November 05, 2012 10:49am EST
Will Ferrell and Cher have a favor to ask of you, America. No, not to forgive them for Bewitched and Burlesque, respectively. Rather, they want you to go out and vote for President Barack Obama tomorrow on Election Day. Both stars, among others in Hollywood, have made re-election campaign videos in support of the POTUS.
Ferrell's approach, unsurprisingly, was to go for the funny bone to hook voters. Well, that, and promising to do anything they wanted if it got them to head to the polls on November 6. Yes, anything.
The actor/comedian/"founder of Facebook" will cook you a homemade dinner, move your couch with his van, give you a tattoo, do a special dance for you, eat garbage, and make you an owl if you vote for Obama — which The Campaign star describes while holding a football as a "slam dunk." Watch the clip below:
While Cher and her pal Kathy Griffin's video, whose focus was more anti-Mitt Romney and GOP, certainly had its share of laughs, too, the legendary singer meant business. Cher called the recent wave of Republican politicians' stance on women's rights (including Richard Mourdock's controversial declaration that pregnancies from rape are a "gift from God" and Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan's definition of "forceable rape") "sick stuff" and urged viewers to "do something for your country, come together, protect women's rights." In the words of Griffin: "This is Cher, bitches. Do what she says!" See it here: But celebs like Cher, Griffin, Ferrell, and recently, Lena Dunham aren't just stepping in front of the camera to show their support. Case in point: Edward Norton. The Oscar-nominated actor doesn't actually appear in his Obama video (he and Moneyball director Bennett Miller created their "We Hold These Truths" video) and just might have the most impactful clip of them all. Everyday Americans explaining why they are voting on Tuesday? Those are the real stars. Check it out: Which celebrity's Obama video was the most effective or, at the very least, entertaining? Or has Mr. Burns already locked it down for Romney when it comes to celebrity support clips? Sound off in the comments section!
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November 04, 2012 4:30am EST
The project, We Hold These Truths, follows working Americans as they discuss their hopes for a better future in a country led by Democratic Obama.
But while Fight Club star Norton has previously publicly endorsed the politician, he does not appear in the seven-minute movie in a bid to put the spotlight on voters.
Norton explains to BuzzFeed.com, "I don't judge anyone else's choices but for myself, I don't relate to the idea of leveraging celebrity for its own sake. I'm not a believer of do this or pay attention to this because of who I am.
"Even though I support the President, to me it's much more interesting to encourage people to engage than to suggest that people should model themselves on me and my views."
September 23, 2012 3:30pm EST
It's the biggest night in television. But will it be the most surprising one? Turns out, not quite. Though there were a few shockers during Sunday's 64th annual Emmy Awards — for instance, Homeland's Damian Lewis wins over Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston — ABC's Modern Family was, per usual, the belle of the ball with four Emmys, including Outstanding Comedy series. Other big winners of the evening? Showtime's Homeland — which also picked up four wins, including Outstanding Drama — HBO's Game Change — which won four awards, including Best Miniseries or Movie — and Louis C.K., who won Outstanding Writing for his FX darling Louie and Outstanding Writing in a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special for Louis C.K. Live at the Beacon Theater.
Who else walked home with a gold statue? See the complete winners list below and be sure to check out our Emmys hub for all breaking news, interviews, and features surrounding the 2012 Emmys!
Outstanding Drama Series
Game of Thrones
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Ed O'Neill, Modern Family Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family Ty Burrell, Modern Family Winner: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live Max Greenfield, New Girl
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Winner: Louis C.K., Louie
Lena Dunham, Girls
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Michael Schur, Parks and Recreation
Chris McKenna, Community
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Winner: Steve Levitan, Modern Family
Robert B. Weide, Curb Your Enthusiasm Lena Dunham, Girls Louis C.K., Duckling Jason Winer, Modern Family Jake Kasdan, New Girl
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie Winner: Julie Bowen, Modern Family Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live Sofia Vergara, Modern Family Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives
Outstanding Comedy Series The Big Bang Theory Curb Your Enthusiasm Girls Winner: Modern Family 30 Rock Veep
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Zooey Deschanel, New Girl Lena Dunham, Girls Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie Tina Fey, 30 Rock Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock Don Cheadle, House of Lies Louis C.K., Louie Winner: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding Made for TV Movie/Miniseries American Horror Story Winner: Game Change Hatfields & McCoys Hemingway and Gellhorn Luther Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Leading Actor in a Made for TV Movie/Miniseries Woody Harrelson, Game Change Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia Idris Elba, Luther Winner: Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys
Lead Actress in a Made for TV Movie/Miniseries Winner: Julianne Moore, Game Change Connie Britton, American Horror Story Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn Emma Thompson, The Song of Lunch Ashley Judd, Missing Outstanding Reality-Competition Program Winner: The Amazing Race Dancing With the Stars Project Runway So You Think You Can Dance Top Chef The Voice Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Winner: Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race Ryan Seacrest, American Idol Betty White, Betty White's Off Their Rockers Outstanding Reality Program Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution MythBusters Antiques Roadshow Shark Tank Winner: Undercover Boss Who Do You Think You Are? Outstanding Nonfiction Series American Masters Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Inside The Actors Studio The Weight Of The Nation Winner: Frozen Planet
Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series The Colbert Report Winner: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Jimmy Kimmel Live! Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Real Time with Bill Maher Saturday Night Live Outstanding Variety Special Betty White's 90th Birthday: A Tribute To America's Golden Girl Kathy Griffin: Tired Hooker
Winner: The Kennedy Center Honors Mel Brooks And Dick Cavett Together Again Tony Bennett: Duets II (Great Performances)
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Winner: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey Jim Carter, Downton Abbey Jared Harris, Mad Men Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad Winner: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey Joanna Froggatt, Downton Abbey Christina Hendricks, Mad Men Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie Sarah Paulson, Game Change Frances Conroy, American Horror Story Winner: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story Judy Davis, Page Eight Mare Winningham, Hatfields & McCoys Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie Ed Harris, Game Change Denis O'Hare, American Horror Story David Strathairn, Hemingway & Gellhorn Martin Freeman, Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia Winner: Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Dot-Marie Jones, Glee Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live Elizabeth Banks, 30 Rock Margaret Cho, 30 Rock Winner: Kathy Bates, Two and a Half Men Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Michael J. Fox, Curb Your Enthusiasm Greg Kinnear, Modern Family Bobby Cannavale, Nurse Jackie Winner: Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live Will Arnett, 30 Rock Jon Hamm, 30 Rock Guest Actress in a Drama Series Winner: Martha Plimpton, The Good Wife Loretta Devine, Grey's Anatomy Jean Smart, Harry's Law Julia Ormond, Mad Men Joan Cusack, Shameless Uma Thurman, Smash Guest Actor in a Drama Series Mark Margolis, Breaking Bad Dylan Baker, The Good Wife Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife Winner: Jeremy Davies, Justified Ben Feldman, Mad Men Jason Ritter, Parenthood Outstanding Animated Program American Dad Bob's Burgers Futurama Winner: The Penguins Of Madagascar: The Return Of The Revenge Of Dr. Blowhole The Simpsons Outstanding Children's Program Degrassi Good Luck Charlie iCarly Victorious Winner: Wizards Of Waverly Place
Writing for a Drama Series
Winner: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, Homeland
Directing for a Drama Series
Winner: Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire
Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad
Brian Percival, Downton Abbey
Phil Abraham, Mad Men
Michael Cuesta, Homeland
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Winner: Damian Lewis, Homeland
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Winner: Claire Danes, Homeland
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kathy Bates, Harry's Law
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Glenn Close, Damages
Writing for a Variety Special
Winner: Louis C.K., Louis C.K. Live At The Beacon Theatre
Dave Boone, Written by; Paul Greenberg, 65th Annual Tony Awards George Stevens, Jr., Written by; Michael M. Stevens, Written by; Sara Lukinson, Written by; Lewis Friedman, The Kennedy Center Honors
Jon Macks, Written by; Dave Boone, Written by; Carol Leifer, Written by; Tim Carvell, Special Material Written by; Jeff Cesario, Special Material Written by; Billy Crystal, Special Material Written by; Ed Driscoll, Special Material Written by; Billy Martin, Special Material Written by; Ben Schwartz, Special Material Written by; Marc Shaiman, Special Material Written by; Eric Stangel, Special Material Written by; Justin Stangel, Special Material Written by; David Steinberg, Special Material Written by; Mason Steinberg, Special Material Written by; Colleen Werthmann, 84th Annual Academy Awards
Jon Macks, Written by; Steve Ridgeway, Written by; Mason Steinberg, Written by; Brad Lachman, Betty White's 90th Birthday: A Tribute To America's Golden Girl
Directing for a Variety Special
Don Mischer, 84th Annual Academy Awards Louis J. Horvitz, The 54th Annual Grammy Awards Louis C.K, Louis C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre Alan Skog, New York City Ballet George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (Live From Lincoln Center) Winner: Glenn Weiss, 65th Annual Tony Awards
Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special
Winner: Danny Strong, Game Change
Ted Mann, Ronald Parker & Bill
Abi Morgan, The Hour
Neil Cross, Luther
Steven Moffat, Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special
Winner: Jay Roach, Game Change
Philip Kaufman, Hemmingway & Gellhorn
Paul McGuigan, Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Kevin Reynolds, Hatfields & McCoys
Sam Miller, Luther
[Photo Credit: ABC]
Emmys Idle Threats: Give Steve Buscemi an Emmy or I'll Waste Away with Whiskey
Emmy Idle Threats: Give 'Game of Thrones' Emmy Gold or I'll Give (?) a Crown of Gold
Emmys Idle Threats: Give Lena Dunham an Emmy or Chris O'Dowd Will Yell at You
September 21, 2012 9:37am EST
Thanks to the recent speech at the Republican National Convention in which the former Dirty Harry berated a chair holding an invisible Barack Obama going into a movie starring Clint Eastwood as a technophobe who has trouble not walking into tables and chairs on a daily basis isn’t exactly a setup for success. But believe it or not it’s actually not that unfortunate context that’s the problem: from the clunky script and pacing to Clint’s ever-present grumble and the film’s predictable plot Trouble with the Curve is a slow pitch right down the middle.
And this is coming from someone who loves baseball movies so much she’s suffered through Kevin Costner’s For the Love of the Game – twice. But Trouble isn’t really a baseball movie. It’s a sappy father-daughter relationship tale with baseball as the hook and the caulk filling in the film's cracks.
Gus (Eastwood) is one of the oldest most respected scouts in the game but he’s getting old his eyes are going and some twerp with a laptop (Matthew Lillard) and his frat boy henchman are determined to shove Gus out of his position at the Atlanta Braves and replace him with a computer (muah-ha-ha). His daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) who he named after Mickey Mantle because that’s how much he loves baseball is trying to make partner at her law firm in a pool of misogynistic bigwigs when she’s called down to North Carolina to help her dad at the behest of his boss and best friend (John Goodman). While she should be working things out with her pops a young scout named Jimmy (Justin Timberlake) shows up flirts with Mickey and steals the storyline for the entire middle section of the film.
While Eastwood’s growling grumbling demeanor are perfect for the role of a stalwart old man who refuses to give up the game he once knew he’s saddled with stale jokes and quips – you may know them as “dad jokes” – that undermine his ability to be the wise man who knows better than these young whippersnappers. Adams does the best she can with a role that asks little more than for her to be smart sassy and outspoken but it simply feels like the role was over-cast. Timberlake’s character is plagued with Gus’ same brand of dad jokes but luckily for us the former boy bander is oozing with enough charm to make any joke no matter how terrible funny enough to make us fall in love with him – for an hour and half anyway.
Script issues aside where the film really starts to lose its way is in its portrayal of Lillard’s young ladder-climbing villain. At one point they even show him sitting in a dark room backlit by a lone desk lamp as he instructs his henchman to keep spying on Gus. All that’s missing is a maniacal laugh and a fluffy cat on his lap for him to stroke with his ruby-ring-decked hand.
It’s this hyperbolic villainy coupled with the treatment of Gus’ mortal enemy (technology) paired with two battling relationship stories (Timberlake and Adams vs. Eastwood and Adams) and the slow plodding pace that keep this film from being what it should be: a perfectly sweet predictable popcorn flick.
Trouble would be a perfectly adequate movie to casually watch on a Sunday afternoon with your dad but then again you could just get Field of Dreams on Blu-ray just as easily.
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros]
September 14, 2012 10:05am EST
"Sorry if my snoring bothered you."
Those are not the first words I'd expect out of the mouth of someone who got up on a Friday morning to catch the 10:30 AM screening of a new movie but that is more or less what the fellow who'd been sitting behind me said as I passed him on my way out. I'd heard him snoring over the constant rat-a-tat-tat of bullets and butt-kicking being doled out by Milla Jovovich et al in this latest iteration of the never-ending Resident Evil series (this time in IMAX 3D) but I figured maybe I was hearing things. Nope he was asleep.
I used to play Resident Evil on my ancient PlayStation when it first came out. It scared the crap out of me. I enjoyed the first two movies — hey they included the skinless zombie dogs! — but I lost interest soon after that. How many times can you make the zombie apocalypse exciting? How many different skintight outfits can Jovovich wear while killing grotesque creatures who shoot evil grasping tentacles out of their mouths? Why should we care about all the blood and guts when we know the people we're supposed to be emotionally invested in will never die? We don't.
Try as he might there are only so many ways for writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson to give the Resident Evil series fresh new layers for each new movie. The Umbrella Corporation is the big bad. They were playing with biological weapons and somehow there was an accident that let one of the viruses loose... and boom you've got a zombie apocalypse on your hands. Our heroine is Alice played by Milla Jovovich and there is a rotating cast of characters who help her fight the good fight against the hordes of brain-eaters and whatever is left of the Umbrella Corporation that's now after her. There are some parallels to the video game series but Paul W.S. Anderson (a gamer himself) has taken lots of liberties with the basic plot over the years. While Anderson's flashy style is especially suited to these types of movies there's not enough plot to make it work.
We don't go to video game movies for plot of course but there has to be something to hold onto; otherwise why would we care if our protagonist were in danger? Anderson tries some neat tricks to snap us back to attention like bringing back characters that were killed in previous movies and throwing in a cloning subplot that calls into question some of the characters' true identities but it's still hard to get worked up about anything onscreen. However it ultimately sidesteps any deeper ideas that might take our attention away from all the guns. And there are so many guns and explosions and elegant butt-kickings doled out by Milla and her pals (or former pals in the case of Michelle Rodriguez's character Rain) that they blend together.
It is especially difficult to work up any interest in the story because it's a franchise and no matter how many times the stars or director might say they're not that interested in doing another everyone is just waiting to see how much money this will make before deciding to go forward. There is no question how franchise movies will end; there will be no derring-do on the part of the writer or director to actually kill off a beloved character permanently. At one point it seemed like Anderson was going to pull the old "And then she woke up!" trick which would have been bold both because it's such a hackneyed idea that it would make writing professors' heads explode all over the world but also because it would have required Anderson to play in a different universe and expand his repertoire a bit. Alas like Alice and Anderson himself we just can't seem to escape this rabbit hole.