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Aaron Sorkin changed his status to: “I don’t know what Facebook is but I’m going to make a movie about it.” Sorkin has been guilty of bad execution of a great idea in the past, but he’s about to board the Titanic (the boat not the film). Whoever is talking in his ear (which would be producer Scott Rudin) on this one is doing the guy a great disservice. (Thompson on Hollywood)

Todd Solondz is cooking up a “quasi-sequel” to 1998’s Happiness. (Variety)

George Clooney in talks to join director Jason Reitman (Juno) for an adaptation of the Walter Kim novel, Up in the Air. (Cinematical)

Michael Phelps to host SNL season premiere on September 13, with musical guest Lil Wayne. (Variety)

Tropic Thunder behind-the-scenes mockumentary Rain of Madness, a take on the behind-the-scenes of Apocalypse Now doc Hearts of Darkness, is now available for free on iTunes (Reelz)

Top 10 Commercials by Movie Directors (via Kottke)

Posted by Ted Zee on August 28th 2008 | 0 Comments

Warner Bros. Picks Up Audrey Tautou Led Coco Chanel Biopic


Warner Brothers has taken up producing and financing for the Coco Chanel biopic, Coco Avant Chanel, which will star Audrey Tautou. First announced back at Cannes, the project is based off Chanel and Her World, written by Edmonde Charles-Roux. Attached are director Anne Fontaine and Karl Lagerfeld, who will recreate vintage Chanel fashions and accessories. Shooting will kick off in Paris on September 15th. (Variety)

Posted by Ted Zee on August 27th 2008 | 3 Comments

Money for Nothing: The Hills Ain't Free

Per episode earnings for cast members of MTV’s The Hills:

Lauren Conrad $75,000 per episode ($1.50 million a year)
Heidi Montag: $65,000 per episode ($1.25 million per year)
Spencer Pratt: $65,000 per episode ($1.25 million per year)
Audrina Patridge: $35,000 per episode ($665,000 annually)
Whitney Port: $20,000 per episode ($380,000 per season)
Brody Jenner: $10,000 per episode ($190,000 a year)
Lauren “Lo” Bosworth: $10,000 per episode ($190,000 for Season 4)
Stephanie Pratt: $8,000 per episode ($152,000 for Season 4)

Leaked, Lucrative ‘Hills’ Salaries Prompt a Flurry of Texted OMG’s – Defamer (via Paul Scheer)

Posted by Ted Zee on August 26th 2008 | 12 Comments

Mad Men - Don Draper - Women of Mad Men + Playboy Bunnies = Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes

Mad Men Rich Summer, Bryan Batt, Vincent Kartheiser, Aaron Staton, and Michael Gladis make some extra walking-around money, posing with faux-vintage Playboy Bunnies and playing up the JFK-era style that also happens to be the most overvalued element of the show. Totally Safe for Work – though of course you know that it’s bad form to watch anything from Playboy.com on the job, yeah?  Maybe the female castmates were holding off until the Playgirl invite. Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is also nowhere to be found in the pictorial – must be waiting on a call from Larry Flynt.

Mad Men Style – Playboy.com (via Vulture)

Posted by Ted Zee on August 26th 2008 | 0 Comments

NY Mag's Fall Fast Forward


Catherine Keener on Synecdoche, New York, Rachel Weisz on The Brothers Bloom, Benicio Del Toro on Che, John Hillcoat on The Road, Josh Brolin and W, J.J. Abrams’ Fringe, The Americanization of Little Brittain and Kath & Kim, and more, more, more in New York Mag’s hefty Fall Preview.

Posted by Ted Zee on August 25th 2008 | 0 Comments

LAT on Chelsea Handler


Chelsea Handler talks way too much celebrity gossip. Her nightly roundtable discussion groups often consist of D-list comics, and the celebrity interview guests are many times as equally bottom-shelf. She’s prone to politically incorrect humor and has an unhealthy obsession with her 4-foot-3-inch personal assistant and Chelsea Lately sidekick, Chuy. In her earlier stand-up days, she was told that was too pretty to be taken seriously as a comic. Her half-hour talk show, which seems to be in reruns every other night, is up against Letterman and Leno, and one could argue that she landed her own show because she dates the head of E! Television.

None of this has anything to do with the fact that her show must be given a chance by adventurous late-night viewers. Chelsea Handler is just that funny.

Chelsea Handler’s Late Night Snark – L.A. Times Profile

Posted by Ted Zee on August 24th 2008 | 0 Comments

Woody's VCB Diary


AUG. 3

I suppose it comes with the territory. As director one is part teacher, part shrink, part father figure, guru. Is it any wonder then that as the weeks have passed, Scarlett and Penélope have both developed crushes on me? The fragile female heart. I notice poor Javier looking on enviously as the actresses bed me with their eyes, but I’ve explained to the boy that unbridled feminine desire for a cinema icon, particularly one who wears a sneer of cold command, is to be expected. Meanwhile when I approach the set each morning bathed and freshly scented, between Scarlett and Penélope there is a virtual feeding frenzy. I never like mixing business with pleasure, but I may have to slake the lust of each one in turn to get the film completed. Perhaps I can give Penélope Wednesdays and Fridays, satisfying Scarlett Tuesdays and Thursdays. Like alternate-side parking. That would leave Monday free for Rebecca, whom I stopped just in time from tattooing my name on her thigh. I’ll have a drink with the ladies in the cast after filming and set some ground rules. Maybe the old system of ration coupons could work.

Woody Allen’s tongue-in-cheek diary from the set of Vicky Christina Barcelona, in which he paints himself as one-half Don Juan, the other-half Mr. Magoo. (NYT, via GreenCine Daily)

Posted by Ted Zee on August 24th 2008 | 0 Comments

Trailer: New York, I Love You

The successor to Paris, je t’aime consists of 5-minute contributions from first timers and established international directors, including Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Brett Ratner, Allen Hughes, Faith Akin, Mira Nair, Yvan Attal, Shunji Iwai, Wen Jiang, Joshua Marston, Andrei Zvyanginstev, Randall Balsmeyer, and Shekhar Kapur.

Cast features Shia LeBeouf, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Anton Yelchin, Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci, Rachel Bilson, Kevin Bacon, Robin Wright Penn, Maggie Q, Ethan Hawke, John Hurt, and Olivia Thirlby.

Expected Release Date: February 13, 2009. (via Fataculture)

Posted by Ted Zee on August 23rd 2008 | 34 Comments

30 Rock Up for Emmy Repeat?

L.A. times Emmy pundits predict a repeat Best Comedy win for 30 Rock. The Office ranks as having the second highest chances, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Two and a Half Men are seen dark horse nominees, and Entourage gets no love. 30 Rock leads all network contenders with 17 nominations, and is expected to clean up come September 21.

Posted by Ted Zee on August 23rd 2008 | 0 Comments

NYT's Summer Art House Top Ten


The New York Times picks its summer small-release faves. Though the stories are completely unrelated, the Twin Tower death defying Man on Wire is this year’s King of Kong a mezmerizing, can’t-miss crowd pleaser doc that even the parental units will swoon for.

Posted by Ted Zee on August 22nd 2008 | 1 Comment

Camera Porn: The Story of the Red One


“The Red One records motion in a whopping 4,096 lines of horizontal resolution—’4K’ in filmmaker lingo—and 2,304 of vertical. For comparison, hi-def digital movies like Sin City and the Star Wars prequels top out at 1,920 by 1,080, just like your HDTV. (There’s also a slightly higher-resolution option called 2K that reaches 2,048 lines by 1,080.) Film doesn’t have pixels, but the industry-standard 35-millimeter stock has a visual resolution roughly equivalent to 4K. And that’s what makes the Red so exciting: It delivers all the dazzle of analog, but it’s easier to use and cheaper—by orders of magnitude—than a film camera. In other words, Jannard’s creation threatens to make 35-mm movie film obsolete.”

Wired Magazine on the development of the ultra-high res Red One camera that’s been called “a supercomputer with a lens on it,” designed from scratch by Oakley sunglasses founder, Jim Jannard. Besides the previously unheard of resolution, Red provides the selective focus, depth of field, color saturation and editing flexibility of 35-mm film – features that earlier HD cameras simply couldn’t mimic.

Over the next few years the Red One is expected to make a long lasting dent in film production costs, helping upstart indie directors in particular. The camera sells for $17,500 – close to 90 percent cheaper than competing HD cameras that don’t even come close to matching Red in performance. As Wired notes, the cost effectiveness of the Red One compared to traditional film cameras is even greater: “a Panavision New Zealand rental catalog quotes $25,296 for a four-week shoot—more than the cost of purchasing a Red.” Early adopting fans include Peter Jackson and Steven Soderbergh, who was one of the first to go feature length with Red, using it for both of his Che Guevara pieces, Guerilla and The Argentine. (via This Savage Art)

Related: Red demo footage shot in Paris, and slo-mo skateboarding – at 120 frames per second. (via Kottke)

Posted by Ted Zee on August 21st 2008 | 21 Comments

Trailer for Alan Ball's 'True Blood'

via TrueBlood.tv

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

Character Featurettes for the Coen Brothers' 'Burn After Reading'

Clooney, Pitt, Malkovich, and McDormand (The Guardian)

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

Sex in the City Honored With 'Film Whore' of the Year Product Placement Award

sitc product placement

Along with Iron Man, I am Legend, and Cloverfield – films that were recognized in Brandchannel’s fourth annual Brandcameo Product Placement Awards, Sex in the City’s wins for “Most Mouthwatering” (Luis Vuitton) and “The Perfect Fit” (Manolo Blahnik) led up to the unfortunately titled “Film Whore” Award win for the movie that “sold out” the most for product placement. The results came from an online survey of nearly 900 readers across 90 countries.

Broadchannel notes, “Sex and the City’s ‘Film Whore’ award reveals some gender bias, though maybe less than expected. Of the total number of men who voted for any of this category’s five films, 50 percent voted for Sex and the City, a percentage only slightly higher than all the demographic votes for this award. In fact, from a gender, age or profession perspective, Sex and the City received a high but demographically-equal 45 percent to 50 percent of the vote.”

No remarks from Broadchannel on how use of the term “whore” for a testosterone dominated field (with films like Transformers, American Gangster, Superbad, and The Dark Knight) may have skewed the results towards a Chic(k) Flick selection. However you dissect the picks, Don Draper would be beaming with product pushing pride. (via Defamer)

Posted by Ted Zee on August 19th 2008 | 27 Comments

Bottle Rocket: Criterion Edition

bottle rocket criterion edition

Available on November 25: without a doubt, the most deserving of the Wes Anderson filmography – Bottle Rocket (1996) finally gets its crisp and clear, double-disc Criterion Edition, in both standard and Blu-ray. (via Goldenfiddle)


– New, restored high-definition digital transfer supervised and approved by director Wes Anderson and director of photography Robert Yeoman
– Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
– Commentary by director/co-writer Anderson and co-writer/actor Owen Wilson
– The Making of “Bottle Rocket”: an original documentary by filmmaker Barry Braverman featuring Anderson, James L. Brooks, James Caan, Temple Nash Jr., Kumar Pallana, Polly Platt, Mark Mothersbaugh, Robert Musgrave, Richard Sakai, David and Sandy Wasco, Andrew and Luke and Owen Wilson, and Robert Yeoman
– The original thirteen-minute black-and-white Bottle Rocket short film from 1992
– Eleven deleted scenes
– Anamorphic screen test, storyboards, location photos, and behind-the-scenes photographs by Laura Wilson
– Murita Cycles, a 1978 short film by Braverman
– The Shafrazi Lectures, no. 1: Bottle Rocket
– PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by executive producer James L. Brooks, an appreciation by Martin Scorsese, and original artwork by Ian Dingman

Posted by Ted Zee on August 16th 2008 | 21 Comments

Cross Your Fingers, Tina Fey and Steve Carell Plan a 'Date Night'


It makes too much sense really – pairing up NBC Thursday-mates and multiple Emmy award nominees Tina Fey (who’s won a couple) and Steve Carell in a love and marriage feature comedy. It’s a natural, chocolate-in-the-peanut butter type combination that Fox has envisioned, signing the two to star in Date Night, playing a married couple with a routine date night out on the town that inevitably turns into a mishap adventure (Variety). While hardly the most unique of storylines, the assumed comic chemistry between Fey and Carell should be plenty enough to elevate the material, or so you’d hope. An optimist could see potential in this – perhaps the next great romcom team since Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan put together their string of hits. A pessimist might take odds on the chances of a major heartbreak, because that’s what pessimists do.

You may consider Carell’s leveled off box office success following The 40 Year Old Virgin and Little Miss Sunshine, and Fey’s good, but still somewhat shaky lead debut with Baby Mama, but those aren’t the red flags that might temper early enthusiasm. No, the most worrisome thing about Date Night is in regards to the uninspired selections for both the director and screenwriter: Shawn Levy, who besides helming Ben Stiller’s Night at the Museum, has a history of short run TV series and overly broad movies for a well-past-his-prime Steve Martin (Cheaper by the Dozen, The Pink Panther) and the 2003 Aston Kutcher & Britany Murphy stinker, Just Married. The script comes from Josh Klausner, whose claim to greatness is the Shrek 3 screenplay, and whatever Shrek sequel comes next. (Is there a PG-13 in the future for this grown-up comedy?) There’s already some possible dream team casting working in favor of Date Night – the talent behind the lens will need to rise to the challenge and expectation level.

Posted by Ted Zee on August 15th 2008 | 1 Comment

Interviews: Stillman, Allen, Sorkin


The reclusive Whit Stillman on the free release of Metropolitan on Hulu.com, how to find that rare Last Days of Disco DVD on the cheap (Criterion edition someday?), Dancing Mood – an upcoming project set in 1960s Jamaica, an adaptation of Christopher Buckley’s Little Green Men, and living and working in Paris. Whit, come back soon (to theaters). (IFC)

Woody Allen on Vicky Cristina Barcelona, romantic chemistry, his roster of leading ladies, making do and shouldering the blame for casting and script deficiencies, how his films are often mistaken for autobiography, nutshelling his filmmaking process – start to finish, and never looking back. (A.V. Club) Related: Meetin’ WA (26 minutes) – a Hannah and Her Sisters era Allen, as seen by Jean-Luc Godard. (Spout)

Aaron Sorkin on Sports Night, the failure that was Studio 60, how Studio 60 was (as many have pointed out) his misdirected lash-out on the industry, Hillary, Obama’s potential for a “goose-bump experience” speech, the writers strike, taking shots from Tina Fey, and taking meetings with HBO. (GQ)

Posted by Ted Zee on August 14th 2008 | 1 Comment

'Stella' Duo Reteam for 'Michael and Michael Have Issues'


The State and Stella alums Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black have shot a pilot for a new Comedy Central series entitled Michael and Michael Have Issues. The half hour comedy with a show-within-a-show element consists of “segments addressing issues that the two men have with themselves, each other and the world at large.” Said Ian Black on his blog, “It’s basically a show where Michael and I do sketches and argue with each other.” The pilot episode was taped in front of a live audience in Manhattan last week. (Hollywood Reporter)

Posted by Ted Zee on August 14th 2008 | 10 Comments

SNL Summer Series - 'The Line'

Lunch Hour viewing: as highlighted in The New York Times, The Line – a 6-part YouTube series written by Saturday Night Live writers Bill Heder and Simon Rich.  The series was conceived and written during the writers strike.  Said Heder, “I told Simon the story of my standing in line for 20 hours, waiting to see ‘The Phantom Menace’ and all the crazy stuff that happened–including a guy who was breaking up with his girlfriend who kept telling her, ‘Come over here, I’ve got to stay in line’–and Simon said, ‘That’s the show.’ Within five or six minutes, we’d come up with the whole trajectory of the series.” (L.A. Times)

With Heder in the lead role, The Line features Jason Sudekis, Joe Lo Truglio, Paul Scheer, and a handful of additional familiar faces.  SNL head writer Seth Meyers directed, with Lorne Micheals producing.  Sony granted some production dollars in return for poster placement for their summer film releases.

Ep 2: The Five-Minute Rule
Ep 3: The Spoiler
Ep 4: Father and Son Time
Ep 5: Moon Dagger
Ep 6: Opening Night

Posted by Ted Zee on August 13th 2008 | 7 Comments

Wes Anderson and Jason Schwartzman Doing What They Do Best

Jason Schwartman peaked at Rushmore and Wes Anderson should blow open the escape hatch of his immaculate echo chamber and never look back. In other words, these two could stand to drop the airs of prentense and get their hands dirty – a drum I’ve been beating for so long that I’m tired of writing it, and anyone who’s been lurking around here for a while is no doubt tired of reading. Offered up for those that will get something out of it regardless, the video shows off their knack for tastemaking in an impromptu infomercial session the pair conducted for Borders. In time, Anderson finds his comfort zone and tosses out some helpful viewing suggestions. Schwartzman remains shameless. (via Alejandr)

Posted by Ted Zee on August 11th 2008 | 5 Comments