After the phenomenal and unlikely success of Paramount Pictures and The Coen Bros. True Grit, and the awesome Cowboys and Aliens getting ready to reap major box office this summer, movie studios are as high on the big-screen Western as they've been since the genre's heyday. Disney's getting into the business with a new take on The Lone Ranger and now it seems like Warner Bros. wants a piece of the pie.
Variety reports that the studio has made a deal with Gianni Nunnari's Hollywood Gang (300) to produce Wild Guns, a story that would focus on frontier heroes Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday searching the Wild West for the kidnapped daughter of Sitting Bull, who I'm assuming is a friendly Indian chief. T.S. Nowlin penned the screenplay for the film and Matt Cherniss will oversee for the studio while John Ridley will oversee for Hollywood Gang.
There aren't many other details to go on at this early stage in the film's development, but as a Western enthusiast I couldn't be happier to see a genre that's so dear to me experiencing a major revival in Tinsel Town. My only concern is that the filmmakers will have a hard time handling these legendary characters and their unique relationship while whatever actors are cast in the roles with find it difficult to match the ass-kicking bromance between Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.
One of the best films of 2010 will soon be in a nice little, gritty package to take on home. True Grit, the Coen Brothers' western masterpiece starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld, hits Blu-ray and DVD on June 7 and comes with a host of special features sure to satisfy any further curiosities you have about the film's setting but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot about the making of the film itself. The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack includes featurettes on 1880s traditional garb, post-civil war guns, the man who wrote the novel True Grit (Charles Portis), and the re-creation of Fort Smith. It also includes a bit about the cast, the heroine Mattie Ross, and the cinematography of the film, but it looks like the features are mostly steeped in history. Either way, it sounds like a good bunch of features for any western-lover.
The family film, which sees Depp voice a hapless lizard, beat competition in Britain, including Matt Damon's The Adjustment Bureau and Unknown starring Liam Neeson, which pulled in close to $2 million.
Simon Pegg's alien adventure Paul was fourth with $1.6 million (£1.1 million) and Oscar winner The King's Speech stayed in the top five with takings of $1.5 million (£1 million).
Gnomeo & Juliet, I Am Number Four, True Grit, West Is West and Yogi Bear round out the U.K. top ten.
This year, Sundance introduced the "NEXT" series, a much-needed new category of competition films with a focus on the little -to-no budget indies that, through mostly miracle, are completed and primed for an audience.
A film has many parts and the miracle, in the case of the NEXT films, is all of those components falling precisely into place while being produced for only a few grand. Sure, the movies coming out of this category don't look like a summer blockbuster (or are even on par with most "independent" films), but the fact that they're watchable is wowing enough.
That's what makes Bellflower, one of the most buzzed about films at the entire fest, so impressive. Shot for pennies, writer/director/lead actor Evan Glodell's bizarre amalgamation of love story, post-apocalyptic western and love song to cinema is not only entertaining, but absorbing. Centered on Glodell's character Woodrow and his best friend Aiden, Bellflower features laid-back comedy stylings on par with Superbad peppered with the occasional flamethrower spray or muscle car chase. Mad Max would have a field day with these two.
The problem with broad appeal for do-it-yourself filmmaking has been the detachment that comes with the low-fi appearance - but Bellflower could break through that barrier. The film doesn't rely on a gimmick like the ubercheap Paranormal Activity, but delivers on its weird reality to suck its audience in. The visuals are cool, the sound OK, but what enriches the film is great characters and a unique spin on a common tale. Bellflower isn't Mumblecore or a student-level "good try." These guys made a real movie and it kills with audiences. (Click here to listen to our exclusive podcast with the creators of Bellflower)
With fancy moviemaking technology becoming more available to budding filmmakers, the next off-beat hit may not come from a studio backlot, but some random guy's backyard. Who would have thunk? The story-first approach may actually work!
The animated Pixar movie was named the best-reviewed film in wide release of 2010, a prize presented annually by popular movie website RottenTomatoes.com, which compiles press reviews to measure the percentage of favourable critiques.
Editor-in-chief Matt Atchity says the latest Toy Story installment earned positive reviews from 99 per cent of critics, beating out David Fincher's The Social Network, which garnered 97 per cent.
The Facebook-inspired film didn't miss out completely - it landed the Golden Tomato in the drama category.
Other winners announced on Tuesday (11Jan11) include The Coen brothers' western True Grit, graffiti artist Banksy's documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop and Last Train Home, a documentary about Chinese migrant workers.
In the Coen brothers' Western movie, the actor stars as a Texas Ranger who suffers from a speech impediment after he is injured and loses part of his tongue.
And Damon managed to add a lisp to his Texan twang by learning to talk with elastic tied around his tongue.
He says, "To practise for the way you would talk with such an injury, I actually took one of my daughter's ponytail bands and just wrapped it around my tongue. I'm sure the neighbours heard me and just shook their heads, thinking, 'This whole Hollywood thing has really got to him.'
"I am a true nincompoop in this movie. It was so much fun."
From the moment Hailee Steinfeld enters the frame in Joel and Ethan Coen’s magnificent western True Grit an adaptation of Charles Portis’ 1968 novel (or re-adaptation — John Wayne's 1969 version got to it first) the film belongs to her. This is no easy feat especially for a 13-year-old actress making her feature-film debut but Steinfeld not only holds her own alongside such heavyweights as Jeff Bridges Matt Damon and Josh Brolin she often upstages them.
The film which is set in the 1870s stars Steinfeld as Mattie Ross a pigtailed 14-year-old sent to the frontier town of Fort Smith Arkansas to settle the affairs of her deceased father an honorable man murdered for two gold pieces by a monstrous simpleton named Tom Chaney (Brolin). Mattie also comes seeking justice: Chaney is still at large having escaped to the dangerous foreboding expanse of the Indian Territory and she intends to see to it that he is captured and brought to trial.
Frustrated by the local authorities’ ambivalence toward tracking down her father's killer Mattie turns to Rooster Cogburn (Bridges) a slovenly alcoholic U.S. Marshal renowned for his cruelty and itchy trigger finger. Were there a Miranda warning in 1870s Cogburn would have little use for it; chances are few of his perps would understand it through his grouchy guttural slur anyway.
Pleading to join their makeshift posse is LaBoeuf (Damon) a pompous upright and overly chatty Texas Ranger — the Good Cop to Cogburn’s Bad Cop — who covets Chaney’s Texas bounty which holds more value than his Arkansas bounty. Cogburn agrees reluctantly to take him on recognizing that Chaney now likely holed up with his criminal gang a vicious bunch headed by a spittle-spewing snaggletooth named Lucky Ned (Barry Pepper) is too formidable to approach alone. Cogburn and LaBoeuf are natural rivals and long rides on the trail of Chaney afford them ample time for dick-measuring contests which invariably necessitate the intervention of their teenage mother hen Mattie.
Mattie may be the most mature member of the posse but she is nonetheless still a child — eventually the job of exacting final vengeance must fall upon the men with guns. Here Mattie’s stout heart has an ennobling effect on Cogburn who after briefly giving up during a booze-fueled bout with self-doubt stiffens his resolve to see things through.
Compared to its predecessor the Coen Brothers’ version of True Grit is both funnier and less sentimental. There is little room for tenderness or romance on the Coens’ frontier but opportunities abound for the kind of black humor for which the writer-directors have become so famous. As in Fargo they have a great deal of fun with language; characters speak in a laughably rigid formalized manner almost Shakespearian in its tongue-twisting complexity. The film's ironic conceit that such codes thrive in a land ruled by violence and chaos is best illustrated in Mattie’s constant almost charmingly naive threats of legal action against her adversaries. They react to her threats with a kind of befuddled amusement; the phrase "I'll see you in court" is still several decades away from joining the popular lexicon.
Critics often bemoan the abundance of remakes in modern risk-averse Hollywood. A more productive strategy at least for the cause of quality filmmaking might be to properly exalt the better ones. This True Grit may be the best of them combining the look and feel of a classic western with a distinctly Coens brothers tone. And Ms. Steinfeld is nothing short of a revelation.
"People are like, so your first Western! But it's not. I did a film called Geronimo: An American Legend. It was a hell of a cast. Jason Patric... Gene Hackman... Robert Duvall... and Wes Studi played Geronimo. I haven't seen it in years... It came out at Christmas in 1993 I think." Hollywood action man MATT DAMON insists his new movie TRUE GRIT isn't the only Western he's starred in.
This week, the Austin Film Critics Association convened for its annual gathering to discuss 2010’s AFCA Award nominations. Truly an Austin experience – this eclectic group sat around knocking back beers while naming (and arguing) the merits of the year’s films. Voting doesn’t take place until this weekend, but this initial meeting was just to make vocal arguments and lobby for our favorites. But during the course of the discussion, we ran aground a rather precarious problem: what to do about Hailee Steinfeld.
Some of you might have already read about her, but few have yet had the chance to see what everyone is talking about. This incredible 14-year-old girl turned in a career defining performance in the Coen brothers' new film True Grit reminiscent of Anna Paquin in The Piano and Tatum O’Neal in Paper Moon. She steals the show. It is impossible to walk out of the theater and not talk about how great she is. Stone-faced and cold, she delivers dialog that actresses twice her age would have a hard time nailing. And Paramount is so proud of her work that it's lobbying pretty hard for her to get nominations…for Best Supporting Actress.
Trouble is, there is hardly a frame of the film in which she isn't present. The film, and the book on which it is based, is entirely about her. It is her movie, and while Jeff Bridges is astounding as Rooster Cogburn and both Matt Damon and Josh Brolin prove once again why they are two of the best that Hollywood has to offer, no one outdoes the work of the 14-year-old LEAD.
This is an old trick. The Academy doesn’t like giving Best Actor/Actress awards to kids. But it'll give Best Supporting awards – as was the case with Paquin. Likewise, a studio might ditch a lead in lieu of a favorite to win, and bump that person down to Supporting in hopes of garnering two awards – as was the case with Ethan Hawke in the brilliant Training Day (in which he was the lead, but Denzel Washington was the favorite to win).
So someone in the room mentioned that he didn’t care what the studio wanted; Steinfeld was the lead, so we should nominate her as such. Then came the inevitable question: “Would you vote for her over Natalie Portman?” Silence. You see, no one, I mean no one, gave a better performance this year than Portman did in Black Swan. She will sweep this year and garner the accolades for which she showed the promise when she first emerged on the scene (around the same age as Steinfeld). Keeping the younger actress in the Supporting category means she has a better chance of getting the award – but it also means bumping her down a category for better positioning, and if you’re going to do that, shouldn’t we also consider doing the same thing for someone like Carrie Mulligan, who stole the show in Never Let Me Go, shares the screen with Keira Knightley, but doesn’t stand a chance against Portman?
I know this drum gets banged an awful lot, but the awards themselves are meaningless; the people who get bent out of shape about them really need to learn to let go. The awards process has nothing to do with cinematic immortality; it is entirely about convincing the popcorn-chomping masses to take in a little culture and see those films “everyone is talking about.” And since the studios know that Oscar gold translates into box office dollars and DVD sales, they are the only ones with a real horse in the race. But the nomination process itself means a lot to an actor. Nomination alone means rising to the top of casting lists and being on the tip of the tongue of every producer in town.
Frankly, I think the nomination is much more important than the win for Steinfeld. Being exalted in the actress category and losing is far and away better than being devalued to win. It gets tricky with a critic organization like ours that doesn’t announce our nominations, only winners. But when it comes to the awards organizations themselves, I hope they choose to take Steinfeld’s performance at face value – considering her a lead actress for True Grit.
Joel and Ethan Coen are back with another good ol' fashioned cat and mouse western. After releasing a teaser trailer last week, True Grit -- the brothers' remake of the 1969 film starring John Wayne -- just released its full-length theatrical trailer. And man, it looks totally badass. Check it out below! (And be sure to note how many times "Academy Award" is mentioned. Hint, hint.)
The film follows 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) as she tries to catch her father's murderer, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). In her quest to bring him to justice, she enlists U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) -- an old drunk with a happy trigger -- for help. Smooth talkin' Texas Ranger LeBoeuf (Matt Damon) joins the two as they venture into Indian territory to find the murderer.
Source: Yahoo Movies