'Things We Don't Understand' - Miranda July's next film?

miranda_july.jpg“The first thing I did after the movie [Me and You and Everyone We Know] was … to basically tell my brand new fancy movie agents, ‘Oh, by the way, just don’t even talk to me for a year because you’re not going to care what I’m doing.’”

Set to make its east-coast debut on March 1st, in-house favorite Miranda July talks with Erica Orden of the New York Sun about her multimedia stage performance Things We Don’t Understand and Definitely Are Not Going to Talk About, which incorporates live and taped video segments, with musical help from Jon Brion (favorite of P.T. Anderson, Michel Gondy, and most recently Kanye West) and audience participation from real-life couples and singles. Orden states that Miranda is in the process of adapting Things We Don’t Understand (described as a “disintegration of a romantic relationship” narrative) into a film script, continuing:

“But Ms. July would rather no one know about that. When asked when to expect the film, she answered with the modesty of someone much less celebrated. ‘It’s so dangerous to say because no one could want to finance it,’ she said. ‘So it’s best for everyone to just forget about it. Of course, except me.’”

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Posted by Ted Zee on February 28th 2007 | 4 Comments

Items: Robert Downey Jr., Anna Paquin, Scorsese, Chris Guest, Soderbergh, Francis Ford Coppola

Robert Downey Jr. to star in the inside-Hollywood comedy Tropic Thunder, directed by Ben Stiller, and written by Stiller, Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen.

anna_paquin.jpgSix Feet Under creator Alan Ball’s new HBO series True Blood is starting to take shape, as Anna Paquin has joined the cast, along with Ryan Kwanten and Sam Trammell. Paquin plays a waitress with mind-reading abilities in the show, based on the “Southern Vampires” novels from Charlaine Harris.

– In the planning stages is rock and roll epic The Long Play, another new project lined up for Martin Scorsese, again pairing with The Departed screenwriter William Monahan, who also won an Oscar on Sunday. Monahan is also writing Confessions of Pain, another Hong Kong remake, with yet again, another Leonardo DiCaprio role.

Christopher Guest to break long enough from the big screen to direct the pilot for The Thick of It, a BBC adapted political comedy from Arrested Development writer/producer Mitch Hurwitz.

– “When Judge Carol Berkman asked [Steven] Soderbergh - who she didn’t recognize - what he did for a living, and he replied ‘I’m in film’, she retorted ‘Everybody’s in film.’” Ocean’s Thirteen gets Soderbergh out of jury duty. [Starpulse]

Francis Ford Coppola’s super-secret screening of his long awaited return to filmmaking, Youth Without Youth, had his super-pals (including Scorsese, Hopper, Jonze, Cuarón, Van Sant, Lucas, et al.) eating from the palm of his hand, although that’s the sort of ego-stroking that friends are for. [Screengrab]

Posted by Ted Zee on February 28th 2007 | 1 Comment

Get Your 'Departed' Screenplay

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COSTELLO
What’s this IRA motherfucker doing in my bar?

(The IRA MOTHERFUCKER is terrified)

COSTELLO (CONT’D)
(slapping him on the back)
Only kidding. How’s your mother?

JIMMY
Ah, she’s on her way out.

COSTELLO
We all are.
(straightens suit and tie)
Act accordingly.

Costello exits.

Free, available from Warner Bros: William Monahan’s Oscar winning script. Via Movie City Indie.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 28th 2007 | 2 Comments

Larry David and Academy Award Winner Martin Scorsese

I’ve got your Departed sequel right here.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 26th 2007 | 1 Comment

Clooney and Blanchett may do the talking for 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'

foxy.jpgAccording to The Hollywood Reporter, George Clooney and Cate Blanchett are both in negotiations for the lead voice over roles in Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animated adaptation of the Roald Dahl’s children’s book classic, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” - with Clooney slated for “Mr. Fox”, and Blanchett as his better half. At the moment, Wes is holed up in New York somewhere, putting post-production touches on the Wilson-Schwartzman-Brody-in-India adventure The Darjeeling Limited.

Here’s looking forward to Fox, and a new direction from Wes - because up to this point, all public information on Darjeeling, from the familiar face casting to the layed-on-thick costume aesthetic, gives the impression of a greatest-hits medley.

Previously: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a go

Posted by Ted Zee on February 23rd 2007 | 0 Comments

Items: Scorsese, Winslet, Cuarón, 'Reno', Journalism

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– As an odds-on favorite to walk away with some Oscar or another, and with The Departed DVD’s topping the sales charts, another rumored project for Marty - this time an adaptation of children’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”. [Variety]

Kate Winslet to partner with her husband, director Sam Mendez (American Beauty, Jarhead) in a biopic of the world’s premier tiger trainer of the 1920s, Mabel Stark. [Starpulse]

– Video: Regrettably, from the outside looking into the Best Director/Best Picture race, Children of Men filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón on his creative relationships with Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) and Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu (Babel). Also, the leap from Harry Potter to the best film of 2006. [Filmmaker]

– With Reno 911: Miami set to debut this weekend, Ben Garant and Tom Lennon pull a Borat / Non-Borat in two separate interviews. [AV Squad]

– Because there’s never enough Oscar angles to cover - raging “`Babble’ or `BAY-bel’ or `Bah-BELL’?” debate ends in climactic reference of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”. It does.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 22nd 2007 | 0 Comments

Little Miss Word Scramble

Little Miss Sunshine Word Scramble

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Posted by Ted Zee on February 20th 2007 | 0 Comments

Casual Browsing: Say It Won't Be So

It’s a three horse race, people. From now until next Sunday you’ll see a rotating theme of prognostications claiming that either The Departed, Babel, or Little Miss Sunshine have a lock on the Best Picture Oscar. Despite this weekend’s latest Babel prediction (Gold Derby), I can’t fight off this unholy premonition that a film whose greatest comedic achievements borrow heavily from the Chevy Chase handbook may be rewarded for its transgressions. At least Marty cites his source material.

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– Return of the Mack: Peter O’Toole makes the best out of an otherwise mundane Academy Awards photo-op, sidling up to Penelope Cruz in a very inside-baseball Class of 2007 Oscar Nominee portrait. Play Where’s Wahlberg, Breslin, and Murphy - via Cinema Blend.

OscarWatch delves into the nitty-gritty of The Departed scripting process with screenwriter William Monahan.

– Oscar nominated Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) finally steps up and accepts the sole responsibility for the corruption of Britney and Christina Aguilera, circa The Micky Mouse Club days. From Starpulse.

– Serving as balance to the pomp and circumstance of the stuffy Oscar proceedings to come, the weekend after (March 2nd) marks the premieres of the down and dirty Black Snake Moan and David Fincher’s Zodiac. IESB provides 11 videos and clips of Ricci-in-chains and Samuel L. singing the blues, and another 9 from Zodiac, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. And in case you missed it - Grindhouse, in final theatrical trailer form.

Solace in Cinema talks up Mister Lonely, the next film from reclusive wunderkind writer/director -Harmony Korine (Gummo), starring Samantha Morton and Werner Herzog. Much more from Korine, with set pics from the film, here. (pdf file)

– In can’t-leave-well-enough-alone remake news: Ron Howard conspires to smear the good name of Cache’, Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke’s brilliant, understated thriller, which starred Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil - for my money, the best film of 2005.

– Another frightful notion that thankfully, seems to be losing steam - Film Junk shoots down rumors that Zach Braff is prepared to take on an Elliot Smith biopic.

– “With all due respect to Cheech & Chong, Smiley Face is the ‘Citizen Kane’ of Stoner Movies.” - Zoom In hypes the fresh out of Sundance comedy, starring Anna Faris.

– “A few years ago they were doing amateur dance routines in shopping centres and playing with Lego; now they’re sporting tuxes at the Oscars.” - Checkups on Gen-X music video directors gone Hollywood (Jonze, Gondry, Jonathan Glazer, Mike Mills, et. al) are so hot right now, the latest coming from The Guardian. (Via Serendipity Book)

Posted by Ted Zee on February 18th 2007 | 0 Comments

Television Briefing: All-Star Edition

parker.jpgParker Posey to star in Fox comedy series The Return of Jezebel James, penned by the creator of Gilmore Girls. Posey plays a single children’s book writer that must ask her estranged sister to carry her child for her.

Zooey Deschanel to star in The Sci-Fi Channel’s six-hour miniseries Tin Man, a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz.

– It’s on. Comedy Central calls The 1/2 Hour News Hour, Fox News’ conservative, laugh-tracked version of The Daily Show, a “giant stinking turd of an excuse for political satire.”

Mr. Media does an in-depth interview with David Simon, creator of The Wire.

– Delta Airlines to offer 40 to 50 hours of unedited HBO programming, starting in May. New York Times.

– Citing such examples as The Wire, Dexter, and The Sopranos: Why TV Is Better Than The Movies - bold proclamations from Newsweek’s Devin Gordon, via Hollywood Elsewhere.

– Seven dedicated bloggers, a couple throwaway catch-lines, and an animatronic host (compare and contrast Todd Oldham with Kenneth from 30 Rock ) can’t plug all the holes in the sinking Top Design ship. TV Squad.

– Finally, apropos only of our love for the roundball (with apologies to the levitations of Dwight Howard and Gerald Green) the highlight of the (homophobe free) NBA all-star weekend had nothing to do with hoops. Honors go to quote-machine Charles Barkley, who proved that in fact, he can beat a 67 year old referee in a footrace (video and backstory).

Posted by Ted Zee on February 18th 2007 | 0 Comments

Spike Lee directed Oscar ads


Always a champion of the regular folk, Spike Lee appropriates Oscar-worthy quips for the little people.

More: 2 - 3 - 4 - 5. Via Snacked (Lee, not Jonze)

Added: Yo Adrian, I’m in a commercial - Burlington Free Press on the recruitment for the ads.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 18th 2007 | 5 Comments

Trailer - Scarlett Johansson in 'The Nanny Diaries'

Based on the bestselling novel - Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney, Paul Giamatti, and Alicia Keys - directed by American Splendor team, Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini. The Nanny Diaries - it goes without saying that this is a pop confection, but you’re curious, and that’s OK.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 15th 2007 | 3 Comments

Quotable: Fey, Coppola, Baldwin, Novak

tinafey.jpg–  “I hear Aaron Sorkin is in Los Angeles wearing the same dress - but longer, and not funny.” - Tina Fey, Writers Guild Awards - Defamer

– “When I grow up, I want to be middle-sized, not fat and not skinny…my daddy just tickled me with his little nose!” - a 5-year-old Sofia Coppola, equal parts precocious and creepy, as recorded by father Francis in 1977 - From the NPR audio archives. Francis Ford Coppola has two new films in the works (Cinematical) - semi-autobiographical Tetro, with Matt Dillon, as well as drama Youth Without Youth.

– “You wanna smoke? You don’t smoke, do you right? What are ya, one o’ those fitness freaks, huh? Go Fuck Yourself.” - Alec Baldwin, Departed (DVD now) pop art - Hollywood Elsewhere

– “You shut up! Goddamit! Don’t tell me to shut up, asshole.” - CNN’s Bob Novak. Vintage video freak-out - Movie City Indie.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 13th 2007 | 0 Comments

Double Feature: 'What Time Is It There?' and 'The Wayward Cloud'

“Romantic comedies will continue to come out of a tube, every spring and fall” - producer Christine Vachon

There will never be a shortage of traditional Valentine’s Day viewing options, and if hard-pressed to go that route, I’ll always select the off-center Punch Drunk Love. For the adventurous: with a scarcity of dialogue - long, meandering, almost static scenes, and the antithesis of a Hollywood ending, some might easily pan Tsai Ming-Liang’s contrarian love-story What Time Is It There? (2001) for the same reasons that I’ve got it on heavy rotation.

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A minor transaction between Shiang-Chyi and street vendor Hsiao Kang before her trip to Paris.
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Hsiao Kang. Transcontinental obsession. Covert operations.

“One of the enigmas about Tsai’s work is that it is always funny and always sad, never just one or the other…Everything is funny. Everything is sad. There is nothing funnier than an unrequited love. Nothing sadder than an unrequited love. ” - Roger Ebert review. Trailer.

And although psuedo-sequel The Wayward Cloud has yet to find a proper release in the U.S., with the proper means (import DVD, region free player) you may see tragic missed connections resolved, if you’re comfortable with the notion that our protagonist, Hsiao Kang has forsaken the wristwatch business for a career in crudely produced amateur pornography. Also required: the stomach for watermelons found in the most unconventional of places, and musical numbers that feature singing, dancing genitalia. Happy Valentines!

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“An unconventional, nearly silent, love story about two isolated souls inhabiting an indifferent city…The cocktail is a bit heady, especially when you consider how many taboos are played here for droll comedy…If you don’t walk out midway through the film, and give the film a chance, you can see the blurry line where cinema and voyeurism merge.” - Twitch review. Not-at-all-safe-for-work (French) trailer.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 13th 2007 | 3 Comments

Interviews: Waters, Lynch, Haley, Gondry, et al.

john-waters.jpgNerve gives its readers a crack at that incorrigible rapscallion - John Waters, in a Q & A session. Plus, NYT profiles the director and his selections for the love song compilation - “A Date With John Waters”. Via Largehearted Boy.

– GreenCine segments out a video Q & A with David Lynch on the topics of digital video, Hollywood, and distribution in the wake of Inland Empire.

– Video: The First Ones - Jake Paltrow extracts answers from Cate Blanchett, Brad Bitt, Helen Mirren, Abbie Cornish, Ken Watanabe, Penelope Cruz, and Leonardo DiCaprio about the films that had an early impact on their lives. Also, companion piece Great Performers - glamour shots (some not so glamorous) of all of the above, in addition to Ryan Gosling, Maggie Cheung, Forest Whitaker, Paul Dano, Christian Bale, Rinko Kikuchi [!], Gael Garcia Bernal, Sacha Baron Cohen, Annette Bening, more. Via Risky Biz.

– Video: David Poland lunches with former Bad News Bear, Oscar nominee (Little Children) Jackie Earle Haley to talk life after child-star acting, reality TV, and his triumphant return to the big screen after 15 years.

Premiere with Florian von Henckel Donnersmarck, director of foreign language Oscar front-runner The Lives of Others.

– A tip from reader Jane - Part 1 of 2 from The Guardian and Michel Gondry on how early Super 8 days and the video for his first band Oui Oui paved the way for collaborations with Bjork (in house favorite - Joga), Charlie Kaufman, and really, anyone else he fancies moving forward. Part 2 - more back and forth on his recent works. Bonus: a top ten of Gondry video moments - both short films and music videos, found by Aurix.

– Finally, while we’re discussing The Guardian, don’t overlook their interview archive, featuring Gael Garcia Bernal - duo Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz and many more, including Lynne Ramsay, director of Ratcatcher and Morvern Caller, whose name simply does not come up often enough within discussions of the younger cliques of filmmaking talent.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 12th 2007 | 2 Comments

Placing post-'Six Feet Under' bets on Peter Krause in 'Dirty Sexy Money'

Peter Krause in Dirty Sexy MoneyAlright, we’ve yet to catch Rachel Griffiths in ABC’s Brothers and Sisters, lost track of Frances Conroy and Lauren Ambrose (motherhood) for a minute, and only caught one episode of Jeremy Sisto in NBC’s Kidnapped before it was unceremoniously ripped from the airwaves, but don’t believe for a second that Six Feet Under has lost its grip on our devastated psyche, clinging to hopes for the Next Big Thing to fill the gaping void in viewing that rises above the typical labotomy inspired fare. You may remember Michael C. Hall and Dexter referred to around here ad nauseam, and while it was one of the best series to debut last fall, there seemed to be something missing, some element - hopefully just around the corner, that will mold the one-dimensionality of Dexter into a fully-developed narrative worthy of discussion amongst it’s predecessor. To be honest though, the best shot at post-SFU excellence probably belongs to creator Alan Ball and his next series slated for eventual HBO broadcast - True Blood, a sordid tale of “Southern Vampires” amongst the regular folk, based on the works of novelist Charlaine Harris (discussed previously).

Moving forward now - likely to debut in fall ‘07 (maybe even before True Blood) is Peter Krause’s next TV role (not counting Sci-Fi miniseries The Lost Room, which turned out to be a real snoozer), ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money, which compared to our depraved, cable snob standards is likely to neither be that Sexy or Dirty. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Krause finds himself in a role as another son that, once again, carries on his father’s dirty work as an “idealistic lawyer who inherits the job of representing a powerful and ethically flexible family after his father dies.” Interested parties should get in on the ground floor for Dirty Sexy Money while it lasts, because if last fall’s network slate was any indication, a slow start out of the gate for any new series equates to an early death.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 10th 2007 | 11 Comments

Sofia Coppola to direct her first opera

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With Marie Antoinette in the rear view mirror, and having given birth to her first child, Sofia Coppola will transition from screen to stage direction for the first time. In the 2009-2010 season at France’s Montpellier Opera house, she’ll direct Giacomo Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut“, a romantic tragedy. Full Story here.

Coppola has at least one thing in common with tenor star Robert Alagna, who she’ll direct in the opera - the singer, who has been described as “the greatest tenor alive”, walked off the stage during a performance in Milan two months ago, after he had heard a smattering of boos from an unimpressed audience. Sofia - no stranger to such hostility.

After considering that she now has a newborn in tow, the question is whether Sofia is done with filmmaking for the next few years, or if there will be another project sandwiched in between Antoinette and Monon Lescaut. This past November, she was rumored to be adapting the Sarah Waters novel Tipping the Velvet, with Beyonce and Eva Longoria to star. Both Beyonce and Longoria quickly called an end to the speculation, calling the reports false, though Coppola’s camp never bothered to comment.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 07th 2007 | 0 Comments

Casual Browsing: Vice TV, New Docs, Video, Casting

– Brainchild of Vice Magazine, with Spike Jonze as creative director - VBS.TV is live, promising daily updated video content. Features include Do’s and Don’ts with the likes of David Cross, and Soft Focus - interviews hosted by D.C. icon Ian Svenonius, kicked off by Will Oldham - with Ian Mackaye, Cat Power, Henry Rollins, Genesis P. Orridge, and Andrew WK waiting in the wings.

– After 2 years and 700 hours of footage compiled, director Jason Scheunemann has a David Lynch documentary in the works, filmed during the making of Inland Empire. Check the progress of the project on Jason’s blog. Via Movie City Indie.

– On location photos from Mike Mills’ (Thumbsucker) documentary Does Your Soul Have a Cold? Coming to IFC TV in late 2007, Mills covers the recent rise of antidepressant use in Japan.

– Pointed out by Film Ick, Yahoo interviews Tarantino and Rodriguez - Re: Grindhouse. Video includes new peeks from the film. New trailer to premiere on February 16th

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– After witnessing Double Dragon style street violence in Chan-Wook Park’s Oldboy, along with grisly retribution in his Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, color us excited to see the director spin a 180 into rom-com meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest territory with I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK. The official site is live, with pop-up book sugar-sweetness, although the loading times are past excruciating. Have a magazine handy if you dare to enter. Via Solace in Cinema.  Shortcut to confusion: Amateur English subtitled version of the ICBTOK trailer.

– The Alec Baldwin Renaissance keeps rolling, as he’ll star next in mob-drama Brooklyn Rules, scripted by Sopranos writer Terance Winter.

– Another guy you can’t avoid for 5 minutes - Judd Apatow. With his hand in 40 Year Old Virgin, Talladega Nights, Knocked Up (trailer), and John C. Reilly’s upcoming Walk Hard, the writer/director/producer will team up with writer Robert Smigel (Saturday TV Funhouse, Conan’s Triumph) for You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, starring Adam Sandler.

– Director Joel Shumacher is none to pleased with plans for a direct to DVD sequel to The Lost Boys. Via Starpulse.

Tom Cruise and Ben Stiller - Hardy Boys?

Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) to play partner in crime to Adrien Brody in The Brothers Bloom, directed by Rian Johnson (Brick). Also stars Rachel Weisz.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 07th 2007 | 0 Comments

NYT prods young directors to pick up the pace, while others have their hands full

wesandersonspikejonze1.jpg“Is it a sign of timidity, or laziness, or some unexpected lack of drive? Is it a lack of interesting material? Is it the fault of the studio system and its emphasis on high-paying, mind-numbing commercial fare?” Sharon Waxman’s piece for The New York Times hunts for the answer on why it takes so long for certain filmmakers, (among them - Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don’t Cry), Darren Aronofsky, David O. Russell, and Alexander Payne) to get a film made. As you may recall, Armond White posed the same question, in regards to Wes Anderson, Spike Jonze (pictured) and a host of other Gen X directors back in 2006

Cinematical calls off the dogs in search of Whit Stillman, virtually unheard from since The Last Days of Disco, to find that he’s enlisted the help of John Malcovich and Peter Sarsgaard for his upcoming project - Little Green Men.

– Never at a loss for new projects, Woody Allen is set to team up with Penelope Cruz next summer, for the comedy-drama Midnight in Barcelona. All this to follow Cassandra’s Dream, starring Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Michelle Williams, and newcomer Hayley Atwell. (Via Coming Soon)

– Finally, is the Director’s Guild award for best director a precursor to Martin Scorsese’s first Oscar? The Guardian claims that there’s a 90 percent chance - only 6 times in the past 58 years have the DGA’s and the Academy Awards differed on their Best Director selections.

Posted by Ted Zee on February 05th 2007 | 0 Comments

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