December 16, 2010
THE NEXT TIME Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci team up for a movie, it may be to play characters from a video game. That's the dream of David O. Russell, who's currently working on a movie version of "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. " Mark Wahlberg is already on board as Nathan Drake, and Russell wants De Niro as Drake's father, Pesci as his uncle. "I'm writing the project with Mark, and with De Niro and Pesci in mind," said Russell, who's pitched the idea to both men, whom he's admired as a longtime Martin Scorsese nut, and addicted fan of the movies "Goodfellas," "Casino" and the fight classic "Raging Bull.
June 3, 2010
VINCENZO NATALI is trim, bespectacled, bright, and, like almost all Canadians, polite - he doesn't seem at all like one of the sickest dudes in movies. Yet his sci-fi horror movie "Splice," wherein human weakness meets DNA science, contains some truly sick stuff. And not in the mindlessly repulsive manner of the modern "horror" movie - finding, say, a photo-realistic way of showing a drill bit going through some coed's frontal lobe. Natali's aim is to make a true horror movie, with classic dimensions.
August 26, 2010
AS A LAD in Northern England, Neil Marshall used to stand at the ruin of Hadrian's Wall and wonder about the forces that led to its construction. "I'd look out on a misty rainy night and wonder what a Roman soldier might have thought, standing in the same place centuries earlier. What were the Romans afraid of, what was out there? Why did they retreat behind this massive structure?" Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Marshall, now a director of horror movies, is sitting in a pub, spitballing ideas for his next project when a buddy asks him if he's ever heard of the legend of the 9th Roman legion.
August 26, 2011
WELL THAT'S over with. The empty-calorie summer, with its frivolous robot fights and cowboys and aliens and smurfs and sequels and remakes and romcoms and doomed teens reaching their final decapitated destinations. Now, finally, it's on to autumn, with its substantive roster of weighty prestige motion pictures. Films such as "Shark Night 3D. " And "Piranha 3DD. " The extra D makes all the difference. Yes, weighty prestigious films, full of erudition, and Oscarness.
October 1, 2010
MICKEY ROURKE brings a Russian accent and electrified whip to "Iron Man 2," a franchise that gets goofier as it goes along. Director Jon Favreau isn't much for special effects, but he likes eccentric performances and gets them from Rourke, Robert Downey Jr. and Sam Rockwell. The story? Who remembers, but the cast has a lot of fun, and so did audiences. The DVD has few perks - most of the featurettes are packed into the Blu-ray edition. You get more extras on the DVD for "Get Him to the Greek," a rollicking spinoff of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" featuring Jonah Hill as a worshipful PR guy shepherding a drug-crazed musician (Russell Brand)
November 18, 2011
THE BEST documentarians, to my mind, build a bond of trust with an audience by making us feel as though we are on a journey of discovery right along with them. No preaching, no preconceived agenda. One of the best working today is Werner Herzog, whose docs are far too weird and singular ("Encounters at the End of the World," "Grizzly Man") to be designed around any sort of agenda. That's true of his latest - "Into the Abyss" - which wanders around the edges of capital punishment, but ends up going off in typically (for Herzog)
November 4, 2011
"HAROLD AND Kumar Go to White Castle" didn't look like a cultural game-changer when it opened in 2004, but its influence has been quietly substantial. Starring Kal Penn and John Cho as a kind of Asian-American Hope and Crosby, the movie made a nice pile of money - foremost by being funny, but also by quietly acknowledging our country's changing racial makeup. Its two regular guy leads - red-blooded, pot-smoking, burger-craving American males - were Korean and Indian. Penn, who describes himself as "a normal American kid who grew up in New Jersey, watching the same stuff that everybody else was watching," said that growing up he couldn't help but notice a shortage of Asian-American characters.
September 24, 2010
ZACK SNYDER'S new animated movie will have his "300" and "Watchmen" devotees scratching their heads. Now, many of them are fanboy shut-ins who live with their folks and play Halo all day and are more interested in staring at Silk Spectre panels than in dating, so it could be dandruff. But it also might be genuine consternation. Snyder, the guy who remade "Dawn of the Dead," who daringly brought cult books from Frank Miller and Alan Moore to the screen, making a kids movie? His new project is called "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole," adapted from Kathryn Lasky's kid-lit series about warring tribes of owls.
January 26, 2011
TODAY, OSCAR snubees are wondering what they have to do to get a nomination. Cut off an arm? Possibly. It worked for James Franco in "127 Hours," for "True Grit," and for "Winter's Bone. " All of these limb-rending epics scored nominations for cast and crew yesterday, while other folks went home . . . empty-handed. Like Chris Nolan. His hit "Inception" scored nine nominations, second only to "True Grit" (10) and "The King's Speech" (12), but he was again shut out in the race for best director (shades of "The Dark Knight")