King Magazine gathered comedians Charlie Murphy, Paul Mooney, and Donnell Rawlings (Ashy Larry), plus guest stars Lil’ Jon, RZA and Questlove of The Roots to diagram their favorite sketches during the meteoric success of The Chappelle Show, and how it vanished before we had ever stopped laughing. (via Pop Candy)
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 26th 2008 | 8 Comments
Written from a technical perspective, Gizmodo’s Adam Frucci visits the Criterion HQ to detail their newfound ability to upgrade catalogue favorites from standard definition to Blu-Ray HD. Said staffer David Phillips, “We’re offering people the ability to see what is essentially 95% of the visual quality of our high-definition tape masters, something that we’ve dreamed of for a long time. As good as standard-def DVD looks, we’ve been looking at these HD images for so long and feeling like it’s a shame that we can’t share this.”
Criterion kicks off their Blu-Ray releases in November, starting with The Third Man, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Last Emperor, Bottle Rocket and Chungking Express. Plans for 2009 include two new HD releases per month. (via Skeet on Mischa | tothemaxxx)
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 26th 2008 | 22 Comments
The Guardian’s David Parkinson gives a short history of the director’s cut, beginning with D.W. Griffith’s revisiting of The Birth of a Nation, 15 odd years after the initial release. Editing of content and length has been a contentious issue between production companies and filmmakers since the early 1900s, though some directors, like Griffith and Abel Gance, were still able to retouch and add sound to their earlier films. Over time, the studios gained progressively more control over the reels, and as Parkinson notes, a couple decades passed before a director had the means to revisit or preserve old works on his own terms - because as an indie pioneer, he raised the production funds himself:
Perhaps surprisingly, the modern trend for director’s cuts begins with John Cassavetes. In 1959, he salvaged scenes from a discarded 1957 version of his directorial debut, Shadows, while in 1978, he cut 26 minutes from the 134-minute 1976 print of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. But rather than simply removing or truncating footage, Cassavetes reshaped the material and added new scenes to alter both the film’s thematic and stylistic emphasis.
Related video: 100 Faces of John Cassavetes
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 25th 2008 | 1 Comment
The “final” theatrical trailer for Oliver Stone’s W. Based on a sad story. Scheduled release: October 17. (Slashfilm)
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 24th 2008 | 1 Comment
A fall preview with an emphasis on potential award winners. Clint Eastwood’s Changeling and Baz Luhrmann’s Australia rank especially high in AVC’s Oscar-bait metrics.
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 24th 2008 | 0 Comments
Directed by George Tillman Jr. (Men of Honor, Soul Food), Notorious: the life and death of Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. as portrayed by Brooklyn rapper Jamal Woolard, a.k.a. Gravy. Fox Searchlight conducted an exhaustive, but unsuccessful internet casting call for a Biggie impersonator that unearthed scores of big guys that may or may not have been able to rap, but it was Woolard, in the early running for the lead role prior to the search, that finally landed it. Also features Derek Luke as Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Anthony Mackie as Tupac Shakur, Naturi Naughton as Lil Kim, and Angela Bassett as Big’s mother, Voletta Wallace. Scheduled release: January 16, 2009. (WSHH, via 2dopeboyz)
Related: Notorious production video diaries
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 23rd 2008 | 1 Comment
Lance Hammer’s Ballast,a favorite among critics at Sundance ‘08, landed him the Best Director award for his first outing. Shot with available light and employing non-professional actors in a bleak and blustery township in the Mississippi Delta, the story follows a trio connected by a traumatic loss and a shared burden of recovery. Starring Micheal J. Smith, JimMyron Ross, and Tarra Riggs. Scheduled release: October 1, 2008.
“Hammer quickly establishes himself with the only film he’s ever made as a humanist artist working confidently and quietly with the cinema’s most basic and expressive tools… [His] achievement is to create a thoroughly engrossing experience that attends to everyday life’s small (and in a few cases, significant) moments, and is certain to command high respect as a film that operates by its principles and engages audiences’ best human responses.” - Robert Koehler, Variety
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 22nd 2008 | 0 Comments
Mad Men and 30 Rock win Best Series in their respective categories. Fey and Baldwin add best leading role wins. Fey and Mad Men’s Matt Weiner collect Best Writing wins. Complete winners list: L.A. Times
“Screw-ups” card by natashavc
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 21st 2008 | 0 Comments
After handing off screenplays to likeminded outsiders Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine), Oscar winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman minded this dizzying exposition of an auteur’s blown-out grey matter - ego, impenetrability, mortality, and all that rot - from start to finish.
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton and Tilda Swinton. Scheduled release: October 24, 2008.
- The staff of Wired Magazine slowly plots out the plan of attack for interviewing a reclusive writer (now director) that doesn’t want to be interviewed, doesn’t want to be photographed, and doesn’t want to promote his movie (best read from the bottom up)
- The anatomy of Wired’s Charlie Kaufman interview
- Audio: The complete 2.5 hour interview (via This Savage Art)
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 18th 2008 | 1 Comment
Amid mixed reviews for his southern vampire series, Alan Ball can at least rest easy for a spell knowing that True Blood, only two episodes deep in its first run, has already been picked up for a second season. Even after a 24% percent viewership jump for the second episode, the move probably says more about HBO’s currently anemic lineup than it does about the series - but still, the early renewal is a vote of confidence in the showrunner’s abilities and track record (Ball has both an Oscar and Emmy win under his belt). More on what seems to be a developing shift in HBO’s programming strategy in the coming weeks. (Variety)
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 18th 2008 | 0 Comments
In advance of their on-air premieres on September 28th, Showtime is offering the first episodes of Michael C. Hall’s Dexter (season 3) and David Duchovny’s Californication (season 2) for free streaming. Password to watch either show is “Lady Killers.” Passing on the obvious Duchovny parallels today, if that’s OK.
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 17th 2008 | 5 Comments
Selected searches on IMDB will now yield free, streaming, full-length films and television episodes provided by Sony, CBS, Hulu.com, and over 500 indie filmmakers. You could be watching Swingtown, or Barney Miller, or Raising Arizona, or Dude, Where’s My Car? right now. (NYT)
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 17th 2008 | 0 Comments
Screenwriters David Simon (The Wire) and former collaborator Tom Fontana (Oz) are reteaming for an HBO miniseries adaptation of the James L. Swanson book Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer. Fontana had previously worked with Simon in helping him to adapt his book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets into the 1993 police drama for NBC. The Manhunt miniseries, set in 1865, will focus on the 12-day search for Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, and the subsequent media frenzy. (Variety)
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 16th 2008 | 13 Comments
Well, they’ve got the heavy-handedness down pat. I’m going to tell you what someone should have told Paul Haggis a few years ago (sure he scored an Oscar out of it, but at what cost to our collective brain cells?), and what they should have told Dennis Hopper before he agreed to star in this TV treatment of Crash. Don’t do it. What did your TiVo ever do to deserve this? (via Film Junk)
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 15th 2008 | 0 Comments
I was actually hoping for Kristen Wiig, as Tina Fey, as Sarah Palin. Wrap your mind around that.
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 14th 2008 | 0 Comments
Change we can all believe in: Clive Owen, Matt Damon, and Daniel Craig are the new Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Gibson - slimmed down, but jacked up on brain steroids (comparatively speaking) for the new wave of action that’s at worst, slightly above the labotomized norm. (Though we’ll have to pretend that Clive’s Shoot’Em Up never happened).
The International - trailer: Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. Directed by Tom Tykwer. Scheduled release: February 13, 2009.
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 12th 2008 | 0 Comments
A no torrent, no iTunes guide to the broadcast and cable networks that are getting it right
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 11th 2008 | 11 Comments
Season 2, Episode 1: Joan and the Xerox
First commissioned by Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) of Mad Men to create a Christmas card for the cast, illustrator Dyna Moe has continued to post new works for every episode of this season on Flickr. (via Fraktastic)
Incidentally, Rich Sommer has a blog.
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 11th 2008 | 54 Comments
Wes Anderson’s first project with Imagine Entertainment will be a remake of the French comedy Mon meilleur ami, directed by Patrice Leconte in 2006. Anderson will definitely write the screenplay for the Universal/Imagine picture, and looks likely to direct it. (Variety)
The original film starred Daniel Auteuil as Francois, a bad mannered, selfish lout that learns the harsh reality of his assumed friendships - his colleagues tell him that he has no real friends. One a bet to prove them wrong, Francois goes on a hunt for old acquaintances that will accept him as a best friend, eventually leading to potential buddy status with a Paris taxi driver.
Sooner in the pipeline for Anderson is his animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox - with voice work by George Clooney and Cate Blanchett - scheduled for a 2009 release. (via Skeet on Mischa)
- Posted by Ted Zee on September 09th 2008 | 0 Comments