Also, Paul Thomas Anderson’s follow-up to Punch-Drunk Love looks like a huge departure for the filmmaker: a period piece starring Daniel Day Lewis as a misanthropic would-be oil baron, titled There Will Be Blood. I’m a huge fan of Anderson’s work — especially of the oft-maligned Magnolia, which I think is utter brilliance — and this film looks like another tour de force for Daniel Day Lewis; this just shot up near the top of my most eagerly-awaited flicks. (via Ain’t It Cool News)
I avoided the previously-available nine-minute preview of Brad Bird’s upcoming Ratatouille, because I didn’t want to spoil such a large chunk of one of my most eagerly anticipated films of the year. But I couldn’t resist this two-and-a-half minute animation progression reel from the film, which shows the progression (duh) of the film from early animatics to its lush, fully-rendered form.
Pixar continues to put out gorgeous films at an almost glacial pace, and Brad Bird’s two films to date both rank among my favorite gemmes clash of clans films of all time. As a (former) children’s book designer, I had the pleasure of seeing an early cut ofFinding Nemo with perhaps half of the film in one stage of development or another, and it made seeing the finalized film that much more of a joy, particularly in noticing one slight difference in the ending: originally, it was Marlin, not Nemo, who had the idea of swimming down to save the fish in the net at the film’s climax. This tiny change focused the attention on Nemo’s growth as a character throughout the film and improved the ending of his character arc greatly. And it reminded me that more than anything else, Pixar was in the business of telling beautiful stories beautifully, not just making cartoons.
William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider-Woman, A History of Violence) is joining the astounding roster of A-list stars in Transporter director Louis Terrerier’s The Incredible Hulk. Already attached to the project are Ed Norton as Banner, Liv Tyler as Betsy Ross, and Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky (known to fans of the comic as the Abomination, although early articles say that he won’t be called as such in the film, because the name is “silly”). Hurt will play the Hulk’s nemesis General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross.
Obviously, this is fantastic news. Another actor of this caliber joining the film can only be good for the film. It’s unusual that the two biggest wild cards in this superhero comic book adaptation are screenwriter Zak Penn (X2, X-Men: The Last Stand), whose Hollywood work has been mostly terrible (although he shares story credit on Bryan Singer’s terrific X2, the screenwriting credits don’t include his name), and director Louis Leterrier, whose three films to date are big dumb fun (Transporter), pretty good (Jet Li’s Unleashed, a.k.a. Danny the Dog), and just plain awful (Transporter 2).
Fletch Lives. According to JoBlo.com anyway who reported news earlier today that despite another hit to the revival of the franchise (with the departure of Zach Braff and Bill Lawrence) a new directing/writing/starring pair is eager to fill those shoes. Joshua Jackson (The Skulls, Dawson’s Creek) is now tapped to star as the character Chevy Chase made famous over 25 years ago. Guiding the ship is sophomore director Steve Pink who did a great job last fall with the comedy Accepted and has writing credits on two of Cusack’s best projects - High Fidelity and Grosse Point Blank.
The news will disappoint more people than not. Braff was connected to the project for years and seemed like a nice modern day fit to Chase’s charm and wit. Can Jackson live up to that hype and revive his career at the same time? I think he has what it takes, but I wonder if people are willing to let him break out of the Creek stereotype.
According to the AP, Ousmane Sembène has died after a long illness. The 84 year old novelist-turned-filmmaker is known as “the father of Senegalese cinema.” An interview with Sembène conducted around the release of his most recent film, the wonderful Moolaadé, can be found at Socialist Worker Online. (I wrote a review of Moolaadé for Gapers Block a few years ago.) For more information about Sembène’s long and hugely influential life, his Wikipedia entry is a decent start.
EDIT: The New York Times has a nicely broad-ranged profile of Sembène up now.
ComingSoon.net has posted some details from the new TIME magazine on Pixar’s next three films: WALL• E (June 27, 2008), Up (June 12, 2009), and Toy Story 3 (2010) — the last of these back where it belongs after Disney had been developing its own (pre-Pixar purchase, that is).
WALL•E, by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) is a robotic romantic comedy with voices by Ben Burrt (the sound designer for Star Wars) and apparently pays tribute in some fashion to Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights; Up, by Monsters Inc. helmer Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, features a septugenarian action hero; and Toy Story 3… well, they don’t really say anything about it except that Randy Newman is back (shock!).
Just based on these scant details, neither WALL•E and Up really have me excited (yet), but Cars didn’t really capture my interest until its first full trailer, and I ended up enjoying that one just fine. Hey, man — it’s Pixar. I trust them.
Also, check out this article on Ratatouille and Pixar at TIME.com.
UPDATE: You can see the first released pic from WALL•E over at its Wikipedia page.
Yahoo! Movies posted the trailer for an intriguing film I hadn’t heard of yet, called Ten Canoes. The film, directed by Rolf de Heer and Peter Djigirr, is about “ten Aboriginal men as they attempt to build canoes for hunting geese. As they harvest the wood for the canoes and prepare for the mission, they share stories and legends from their tribe’s past.” David Gulpilil, who has had roles into two of my all-time favorite films (Nicholas Roeg’s Walkabout and Nick Cave’s The Proposition), is the only familiar name in the cast, but his presence in anything is always welcome.
The official site has the trailer available in a variety of formats here. (I couldn’t get the Quicktime versions to work, but the Flash versions still looked vastly superior to the trailer at the Yahoo! Movies page.) The film began a limited North American release on June 1, 2007, and will hopefully find its way near you soon.
According to Variety, Tim Story (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer) will be directing a film adaptation of Vertigo’s Losers series. The article explains:
The Losers was published by DC Comics imprint Vertigo in the 1970s. Strip was revived several years.
One. “Strip was revised several years.” What?
Two. Vertigo didn’t exist in the 1970’s.
If Variety can’t be bothered to check their sources (or edit their copy) about a comic book adaptation, how do we know that they’re bothering to do the same about any other movies?
Anyway, “[the] film will center around a small band of elite and highly trained commandos who are set up to to be killed by their own government. They set out to avenge the wrong, as well as avenge other injustices.” Um, so… kind of like The A-Team, right?
The first trailer for the 30 Days of Night adaptation has been posted at the film’s newly-launched official website. It’s half corny and half spooky, so I’m still on the fence about the film. The vampire action flick is directed by David Slade (Hard Candy) and stars Josh Hartnett and Melissa George and opens October 19. (via ComingSoon.net)
Marc Steven Johnson hints at what might be for Ghost Rider 2, his status as director on the project and The Preacher on HBO in this exclusive from IGN. As uneven as this year’s Ghost Rider film was, I personally would love to see the second, more aggressively action oriented sequel that this article hints at. Probably because I’m just a comic junky, but if we can have a second chance – why not. The second time around is looking good for the Hulk and Fantastic Four right?