Hoodie Allen: Director Sues American Apparel for Billboards

Woody Allen has filed a 10 million dollar lawsuit against American Apparel for “blatant misappropriation and commercial use” of his image. The clothing company best known for it’s fleece apparel and spread-eagled images (or “provocative photography” as Allen’s camp puts it) used a still of Woody costumed as a Hasidic Jew in his 1977 Oscar winner, Annie Hall in New York and Hollywood billboards (image from Curbed L.A.), as well as in internet ads. Woody says that he does not endorse any products or services in the U.S., making the unauthorized use of his likeness in the ads “especially egregious and damaging.” (Variety)

Posted by Ted Zee on March 31st 2008 | 3 Comments

Ian McShane in 'Kings' for NBC

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It’s an almost-absolute certainty that Deadwood will never receive the two, 2-hour movies that we were all promised to wrap up the series, and that is a damn shame. Ian McShane has moved on to a new series for NBC - maybe we have to follow suit. (Hollywood Reporter)

Entitled Kings, the drama is “loosely based” on the story of King David. McShane plays King Silas, and Australian actor Christopher Egan is set to star as David. Hollywood Reporter is calling this a “contemporary soap.”  (Modern day kings and young warriors?)  Michael Green, who has been a writer for Heroes, wrote the pilot for Kings and will executive produce.

Posted by Ted Zee on March 30th 2008 | 1 Comment

"I Still Want Oprah to Play My Best Friend"

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Tina Fey on 30 Rock plotlines, appearances, and “TiVo jokes” to come as the season resumes on April 10th. (LAT)

Posted by Ted Zee on March 28th 2008 | 1 Comment

The Legacy of Long Duk Dong

From the comic by Adrian Tomine. Full strip.
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“Every single Asian dude who went to high school or junior high during the era of John Hughes movies was called ‘Donger.’” - Martin Wong of Giant Robot

NPR article and podcast on the Long Duk Dong Effect. They tracked down Gedde “The Donger” Watanabe himself - who like many Asian-American men growing up in the eighties - can’t live down the stereotyped Sixteen Candles image either. (via The Stranger)

Related: Where in the world is John Hughes? (LAT)

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Posted by Ted Zee on March 27th 2008 | 1 Comment

"You're Not My Father"

This video project by multimedia artist Paul Slocum is the I Love the 90’s equivalent to the Gentle Sounds sleepy-time soundtrack, and is amazing, in an end-of-the-world-ly kind of way. I like to imagine “You can’t tell me what to do. You’re not my father,” cycling through ad infinitum, long after the last breath of the last human on earth. (via A.V. Club)

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Posted by Ted Zee on March 27th 2008 | 0 Comments

Bonnie and Clyde: a Brief History

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The director crafted a film that would pull audiences in with humor and flirtation, then slap them back with violence. “That,” [Arthur] Penn said, “is how the real world has always operated. It was vital to me that the film be a new American gothic. . . . The movie was released into a world where kids were burning draft cards and feeling beset by their own government. We rang a big bell with this film. A very big social bell. We had no idea how it would reverberate around the world.”

Arthur Bell and Warren Beatty remember Bonnie and Clyde. A special edition DVD package, with a new making-of documentary and 36-page hardcover photo book, was just released this week.

Posted by Ted Zee on March 25th 2008 | 4 Comments

Cancelled: Fox Writes a Dear 'Jezebel James' Letter

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On paper, the lineup was inspired: the teaming up of the scribe with a passionate, built-in following (Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino), the young star of a critically acclaimed cable series (Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under), and the de facto face of indie comedy - Parker Posey, as the headlining name. But the writing was on the wall for The Return of Jezebel James (Fox) long before it aired: early clips of laugh-tracked scenes were leaked to groaning disapproval. What should have been a fall-season opener was demoted to mid-season replacement series, and then the 13 episode order from Fox was cut to 7 because of the impending writers strike. By the time that the network announced that Jezebel was going to air on Friday nights, it seemed a forgone conclusion that the multi-camera sitcom was not long for TV world.

The show debuted on March 14th. The script was off, the timing was off, and both actresses (Posey especially) seemed as though they were running through a dress rehearsal.

There’s an awful setup for an awful gag in episode two that sums up the whole situation: Sarah (Posey) invites her parents over to her Manhattan apartment to break the news that she’s unable to have a child on her own, so she’s recruited her loser, former-addict sister Coco (Ambrose) to carry her baby. When she tells Mom and Dad that she has big news: Mom wants to stand (”If it’s wonderful I’m going to jump!”) but Dad is tired and wants to sit down. They bicker, they interrupt Sarah, the whole thing goes on way too long. Sarah finally gets to her announcement, and shocked, Mom sits and Dad stands. The joke was telegraphed, and like the cancellation of the low-rated show after three episodes - you’re relieved that it’s over, because it wasn’t funny, and you feel embarrassed for everyone involved.

For the curious, or gluttons for punishment, the first three episodes are available on iTunes and Hulu.com.

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Posted by Ted Zee on March 25th 2008 | 2 Comments

Video Selections: Parodies Aplenty

I had to double check to be sure this was not an impersonation: VBS.tv presents filmmaker/author/performance artist Miranda July as Parody-Miranda July, in the especially peculiar “How To Make a Button.” (via Goldenfiddle)

– Nowadays it’s nearly as high of a compliment to have your film spoofed as Oscared. After Jewno, No Country for Little Men (Best Week Ever), and There Will Be Bud, you feel like the again-overlooked Michael Clayton and Atonement have been doubly-dissed.

– Related: Diablo Cody gets the Chris Cocker treatment. (Film Experience)

– Preview, not parody: the full season two opener of Showtime’s The Tudors, starring King Jonathan Rhys Meyers is up online. (Password: Royal)

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Posted by Ted Zee on March 21st 2008 | 0 Comments

Images for Days

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Stills from Punch Drunk Love (P.T. Anderson, 2002), What Time Is It There? (Tsai Ming-liang, 2001), Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979), Gummo (Harmony Korine, 1997), and The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) - among the thousands of films captured at Nostalgia Party No. 2. Kill an hour. Or a day. (via Kottke)

Posted by Ted Zee on March 20th 2008 | 0 Comments

First Edition of "What Did Judd Apatow Do Today?"

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NEW COLUMN! In an effort to keep tabs on what Hollywood power-player of the moment Judd Apatow is directing, producing, writing, endorsing, or wet-dreaming about from one minute to the next - the first, very juicy and exclusive-heavy edition of “What Did Judd Apatow Do Today?” It’s like Deadline Hollywood Daily, for Judd Apatow.

Breaking: talking to MTV about sequels he’d consider, the chosen one stated, “The movie that probably has a best shot at a sequel is ‘Anchorman.’ Ron Burgundy would be hilarious at 70-years-old, being the anchor…We all think it would be fun to see him up on his feet again doing what only he can do. That would be awesome – but it could only happen in 30 years.”

Judd Apatow will not be doing a sequel for Anchorman, today.

Though in related news, Apatow progeny Jason Segel (who masterfully faded into the background in both Freaks and Geeks and Knocked Up) will be handed the keys to the late Jim Henson’s Muppets franchise on account of Disney’s “just for goofs” reasoning, and plans to employ much of Judd Apatow’s roster - including Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, and Paul Rudd. Membership has its privileges.

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Posted by Ted Zee on March 19th 2008 | 2 Comments

U.S. Trailer for 'Sukiyaki Western Django' is Heavy on the Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino directs in between acting gigs. He played an Elvis impersonator in a Golden Girls episode. He exposed the homoerotic subtext of Top Gun in 1994’s Sleep With Me. Most recently, he’s signed on for a genre-blending action film for Japanese super-cult-status director Takashi Miike, entitled Sukiyaki Western Django (The picture is inspired by Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Spaghetti Western, Django). Marrying Old West themed gunplay with samurai sword action, Miike shot the “Sushi Western” in Japan and hired a predominately Japanese cast, but the dialogue is in shaky English.

Tarantino’s directorial influences are many, though Miike obviously ranks high amongst his heroes, and this color saturated, over-the-top (but absolutely tame by Miike’s less-commercial standards) trailer accentuates the parallels between them. Though Quentin is more of a featured player rather than a headlining star, this American preview for the film makes the most of his drawing power. An August release in the U.S. release seems likely. (Video via MTV News)

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Posted by Ted Zee on March 19th 2008 | 0 Comments

Gervais Blogs 'Other Side'

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In addition to blogging and podcasting just about his entire waking life, Ricky Gervais has taken to documenting the progress of his directorial debut (with co-director Matthew Robinson), The Other Side of Truth. The comedy stars Gervais along with Jonah Hill, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, and Louis C.K. (via Cinematical)

Posted by Ted Zee on March 18th 2008 | 0 Comments

Trailer: Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder. Directed by Ben Stiller. Written by Justin Theroux and Etan (not Ethan Coen) Cohen. Starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. Walk-ons by Steve Coogan, Bill Hader, Nolte, McConaughey, Maguire, Theroux, and Cruise. Dude-centric action-adventure comedy. Scheduled release: August 15th, 2008. (Tip from Slashfilm)

Posted by Ted Zee on March 17th 2008 | 0 Comments

'Soup' Q&A

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I couldn’t give two shits about what celebrities do on their off hours, or what happened on Idol last night, but I can’t get by without Goldenfiddle and my roundup shows like Best Week Ever, (once guilty pleasure, now full-fledged must watch) Chelsea Lately, and Fridays punctuated by Joel Mchale of the The Soup - because each, above all else, are laugh-out-loud, savagely funny.

“I fear Tyra.” - Joel McHale Q&A (EW)

Posted by Ted Zee on March 17th 2008 | 0 Comments

Trailer: Dakota Fanning in 'Hounddog'

Hounddog, a Southern Gothic tale which debuted at Sundance in 2007 and was quickly tagged as “The Dakota Fanning Rape Movie,” has finally been picked up for a summer 2008 release by Empire pictures, reports The New York Post, who’ve also come up with the trailer for the film. Fanning (age 12 during the shooting) plays a 9-year-old who suppresses the trauma of a rape by a neighbor boy in part by obsessing over and mimicking Elvis Presley. The rape scene in question lasts about 30 seconds, shows no nudity, and uses cutaways of falling rain between shots of Fanning’s face, hands, and feet.

The indie film, written and directed by Deborah Kampmeier, was met with controversy on many fronts leading up to the Sundance premiere. The picture was filmed in Brunswick County, North Carolina, and a criminal investigation there, which included a screening of the film and interviews with the cast and crew (including Fanning) concluded that there were no violations of state laws concerning child exploitation or obscenity.

The director, who calls Hounddog a story “about motherlessness, the cycle of abuse, the triumph of this girl’s spirit, and the power of female sexuality,” vehemently denies any allegations of exploitation of the child actor and chose to ignore the outcry over the rumored content in the film before it’s premiere. Said Kampmeier, “Our decision was to not respond to any of it ’cause everything that’s been written or said about us is false. But at a certain point it was so upsetting to read lie after lie and be powerless to change the public perception. I finally had to stop focusing on that and get back to the film.” (Premiere)

Fanning has also shrugged off the controversy, saying, “It’s really no different than playing any other character. I’m still not playing myself. I get to experience different things people go through without going through them myself, which is no different from watching a news story and learning from that…It’s no darker than Hide and Seek or Man on Fire. I still am going through difficult things in those films as well, and nobody seemed to talk about that.” (CHUD)

No doubt that the petitions, boycotts, and public furor will be reignited come this summer when Hounddog goes from a one-time festival shot to appearing on at least 500 screens nationwide. The 2008 cut of the film is said to be different from what was screened at Sundance, and is somehow shooting for a PG-13 rating, but that may not help it’s chances much. A pan from Salon in 2007, one of many bad reviews coming out of Sundance concluded, “‘Hounddog’ should be boycotted. Not because it depicts the sexual exploitation of children but because it’s a turgid, overripe mess.”

Hounddog, which also stars Robin Wright-Penn and David Morse, is scheduled for a July 18th release.

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Posted by Ted Zee on March 17th 2008 | 1 Comment

Trailer: 'Pineapple Express'

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The Guys That Brought Us Superbad and Knocked Up bring us a lot of stuff nowadays, so don’t feel like a square if sometimes you just want to pass off to the left without partaking. All things considered, if the sorely missed Rosie Perez gets the proportional short-shrift in Pineapple Express like she does in the trailer, then [drug reference in the negative].

Directed by David Gordon Green, produced by Judd Apatow, and written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. The Pineapple Express trailer, in red band and green band editions.

Posted by Ted Zee on March 13th 2008 | 3 Comments

'Hulk' Trailer

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Edward Norton, Tim Roth, and Liv Tyler in Critic Proof.

Posted by Ted Zee on March 13th 2008 | 0 Comments

'Wire' Obits

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Last Sunday David Simon managed to wrap up the fate of Baltimore’s corner hoppers, dead-eyed killers, scrappy investigators, and sheisty politicos with a surprisingly elegant, upbeat, and dare I say, satisfying finale for the five season run of HBO’s The Wire. Though, especially in the season’s early going, the tacked on element of the Baltimore Sun’s reporting came off as personal axe-grinding, and what’s worse - the manner in which McNulty and Lester Freamon (of all people) suddenly and fervently got into the business of case-fixing, tossing out every procedural roadblock that had foiled them in the past four seasons, was quite shark-jumpy, to say the least. That being said, the far few too many people who rode out The Wire’s run from start to finish were treated to one of the best close out episodes in recent memory, especially in contrast to the blackouts, cancellations, and unfinished business that HBO’s recent series have suffered in the past couple years.

Each shot in the closing montage of The Wire’s series finale, tagged and bagged (Vulture)

– “The Wire arrived, six years ago, to little fanfare and modest expectation. It demanded from viewers a delicate, patient consideration and a ridiculous degree of attention to detail. It wasn’t for everyone. We proved that rather quickly.” - A final thank you to Wire fans from show creator David Simon. (via TV Squad)

– Now that they’re all among the dearly departed, which is the greatest TV drama ever - The Wire, The Sopranos, or (tough choice but I choose…) Deadwood? - The House Next Door (via This Savage Art)

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Posted by Ted Zee on March 13th 2008 | 1 Comment

Human Giant Season 2 Premiere

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More cynical than SNL, more Adult Swim than MTV, and owing as much of its inspired absurdity to no-budget YouTubers as it does to Mr. Show, the debut of Human Giant last year was a major surprise - not because of how much of a contrast it was from the reality dregs of MTV, but for how the sketch comedy actually managed to live up to the pre-air blog hype and consistently deliver. Giants Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel, and Aziz Ansari - vets of cable and the comedy circuit - made the best of an opportunity given by a floundering network, and finally something on MTV was worth talking about again, without irony.

It returns tonight, but instead of giving up too many of the surprises in the season 2 premiere - and there are scores of them - I’ll mention that one of the earlier sketches marks the return of the Shutterbugs child talent agency as they lament watching their old boss, Bobbe J, launch an ill-advised child-out-of-water primetime show entitled Kiditentiary (They took our idea for Kidcentration Camp and watered it down!” they groan). Another returning element is the “Illusionators’ duo, who call on Michael K. Williams (Omar from The Wire) for a hand in damage-controlling a major public relations disaster. (Also look for guests like Andy Samberg, Will Arnett, Bill Heder, Jack McBrayer, Kristen Schall, and Rob Riggle in the new season.)

Though hilarious as ever, the remainder of the episode also serves as an exercise in escalating censor-baiting - those already familiar with Human Giant know it to be anything but safe, but even the initiated sitting down for the premiere tonight might find themselves thinking, “Wow, they really took it there, didn’t they?” Whether it’s specific to the first episode or a continuing theme is unclear, but the material is blue in a way that only South Park has managed to pull off on basic cable up to now. As a guy that had memorized Eddie Murphy’s Delirious line for line a couple years before junior high, even I have to admit, I blushed once or twice - and then came back for seconds.

Previously: Season 2 trailer

Posted by Ted Zee on March 11th 2008 | 0 Comments

DiCaprio and 'Departed' Writer in Talks for 'Chaser' Remake

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William Monahan - the man responsible for adapting the material from Hong Kong classic Infernal Affairs into an Oscar winning screenplay for The Departed - is being courted by Warner Brothers to take on another remake, this time for the hit South Korean serial-killer thriller, The Chaser. Leonardo DiCaprio is also in talks to possibly star and/or produce. Such a collaboration would be the third for the pair, as Monahan and DiCaprio’s work will be seen in Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies, screening later this year. (Variety)

Maybe it’s a longshot for Warner Brothers to wrangle in Martin Scorsese for The Chaser, but you know they’ve got to be angling for that hat-trick with everything they have.

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Posted by Ted Zee on March 07th 2008 | 0 Comments

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