Or is the film's quality more important?
'You're going to see a movie with the biggest U-turn in the history of motion pictures.'
Antonio Banderas' work in "The Skin I Live In" isn't just a welcome change from voicing the animated Puss in Boots from the "Shrek" films. It's his fires collaboration with the director who made him a star, Pedro Almódovar, in almost 20 years. Based on the novel "Tarantula" by Thierry Jonquet, Banderas stars as Dr. Robert Ledgard, a plastic surgeon so obsessed with his new discovery -- a rougher, more resistant form of human skin -- that he goes mad in the pursuit, keeping an experimental subject in his home in the hills, a young woman (Elena Anaya) whose connection to Legard is both inevitable and unthinkable. A bloodless spin on "Vertigo," "Pygmailion" and Cronenberg, it's a beautiful and willfully perverse film, somehow both classic and strange, full of noir secrets and futuristic terrors. We spoke with Banderas in L.A.
You've had a long-standing collaboration with Mr. Almódovar that you had not been part of for a while. With "The Skin I Live In," did he call you and say, 'I have a book ...' or did he just send you the finished document as your eyes rolled up in your head while reading its twists?
Banderas: More the first. He came to me at Cannes Film Festival. I think it was 2002. He said to me that he just read this novel by Thierry Jonquet, that he bought the rights, that he was thinking about doing an adaptation or maybe just using it as a source of inspiration to put together a movie. Time went by -- several years, actually -- and I was coming out of a workshop that I did in New York for 'Zorba the Greek,' I stopped it because of this movie. I got in the car, and I got, 'Pedro Almódovar is calling.' I said, 'Hello? What's up?' He says, 'It's about time. Where are you?' 'In New York.' 'I'm going to send you a script.' So he sent me a script. It was perfect, because he knew the story already. What surprised me was the narrative process that he wrote in the script, this game with time that he plays in the movie that I thought was unbelievably interesting, because he actually played with morality. This form became content, because the first part of the movie's nothing but questions for an hour. It gives a lot of information about my character, but nothing about the girl. Suddenly you've positioned yourself in terms of morality, watching the movie. Then, the second half is giving you all these disturbing answers, so it repositions the whole entire audience again. I thought it was interesting the way that he put it on paper.
More revealing than the tease at the end of 'Captain America'
'Upstream Color' currently casting, eyeing a November start
Terrence Malick's visionary portrait of a life is full of wonder and mystery
There is no denying the ambition of "The Tree of Life" (Fox), Terrence Malick's portrait of one boy's education growing up in Texas set against nothing less than the origins of life in the universe.
That's not an exaggeration. Ostensibly the story of one man recalling his childhood, growing up with two brothers, a mother (Jessica Chastain) with the maternal glow of the Madonna and a father (Brad Pitt) whose loving protectiveness is complicated by a bullying authoritarian streak that is unleashed by the coiled rage under his skin, the film is filled with privileged moments of magic and terror, of remembered shards of treasured memories turned idealized snapshot and moments that are more textured evocations of emotions and anxieties. And then Malick rewinds to the beginning, and I mean that in the cosmic sense: the big bang, the formation of suns and planets, the primordial states of the Earth, the rise of the dinosaurs and the predatory cycle of life that, Malick suggests, still grounds the DNA of the human animal.
That threw off some viewers who went to see the new the Brad Pitt film at the multiplex and ended up watching an impressionistic journey of cosmic dimensions and personal moments of grace, terror and the human condition. Some patrons demanded their money back, prompting one theater to post a disclaimer explaining that the film is "a uniquely visionary and deeply philosophical film" and "does not follow a traditional linear narrative approach of storytelling." Some critics dismissed the film as pretentious, "arty" or boring.
Read the MSN exclusive interview with Jessica Chastain here.
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The Oscar-winning actress is the 40th person to receive the honor
Shirley MacLaine will be presented with the American Film Institute’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award next June. The actress has been making films for more than half a century. Nominated for six Academy Awards, MacLaine won the Best Actress Oscar in 1983 for her brilliant portrayal of Aurora Greenway in “Terms of Endearment.”
The AFI Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 1973 by the Board of Directors of the American Film Institute. According to the rules, the recipient of the award “must be one who has fundamentally advanced the art of film and whose achievements have been acknowledged by the general public as well as by film scholars and critics and the individual’s peers.” MacLaine, 77, certainly fits that description on all counts. She’s starred in more beloved films than any other still-working actor I can think of. From her debut in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Trouble With Harry” to dozens of films by some of the best directors in the history of film (including “Some Came Running,” “The Apartment,” “The Children’s Hour,” Irma La Douce,” “Sweet Charity,” “Steel Magnolias,” and “Postcards from the Edge”), MacLaine has mastered every genre. She is also a best-selling author who has openly shared her spiritual beliefs with the world at large.
“What is not to love about Shirley MacLaine,” said Bob Gazzale, president and CEO of the AFI. “The challenge will be how to fit it all into one evening because hers is a life that has gone from movies to television to Broadway, books, and beyond…This is a force of nature all to our benefit.” MacLaine’s younger brother, Warren Beatty, received the AFI award in 2008, making them the second pair of family members to be so honored (after Kirk and Michael Douglas). The June 7 celebration of MacLaine will be televised later that month on TV Land.
It’s about time MacLaine won this award. Since only one is given out a year, there are certainly some notable omissions from AFI’s roster: Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Newman, and Katharine Hepburn, are just a few of the deserving people who never received the honor when they were alive. At 90, Lillian Gish was the oldest recipient (in 1984) while Tom Hanks was the youngest at 45 (in 2002).
To see whether your favorite actor or director ever won the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, check out the complete list after the break.
Relativity Media's re-imagining of the classic fairy tale also stars Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, and Nathan Lane
Brace yourself for next year’s Battle Royale between Snow White and…Snow White. With two competing projects currently in post-production, the jury’s out on which new take of this classic fairytale will strike a chord with audiences. Universal’s film, directed by Rupert Sanders, stars “Twilight’s” Kristen Stewart as the pale young lass with Charlize Theron as the jealous Queen. That film is scheduled to open on June 1, 2012. Relativity Media’s version, directed by Tarsem Singh, features Lily Collins as the dwarf-loving heroine with Julia Roberts as the conniving monarch. In the opening salvo of the Snow White face-off, the release date for that film has been moved up to March 16, 2012.
Several new photos from Singh’s still untitled film have been released by Relativity Media (see below). The costumes, sets, and overall production values look positively sumptuous. In addition to Collins and Roberts, the film stars Armie Hammer (“The Social Network”) as the Prince, Nathan Lane (“The Lion King”) as the Queen’s bungling servant, and Sean Bean (“The Game of Thrones”) as the King.
This re-imagining of the story bears little resemblance to Disney’s animated classic and is even darker than the original version by the Brothers Grimm. Here, a wicked enchantress (Roberts) schemes for control of a spirited orphan’s (Collins) throne as well as the attention of a charming prince (Hammer). When Snow White’s beauty wins the heart of the prince, the Queen banishes her to the forest where a man-eating beast hungrily awaits.
Check out the dazzling new images from the film after the break:
The latest chapter in the public relations disaster of the Netflix split
In the latest about face from Netflix in the wake of splitting its once-free streaming service from its rent-by-mail service and charging separately for each, CEO Reed Hastings proclaimed this morning that it will NOT spin off its DVD-by-mail serviceinto a new, separate website called "Qwikster," a name seemingly concocted by someone still high on the fumes of Napster.
Netflix subscribers, meanwhile, are giving Reed Hastings a failing grade for the way he's dragged out the worst public relations disaster in the company's history.
A couple of weeks ago, Hastings announced that they renamed the original DVD service Qwikster, ostensibly to make it easier to justify the separate charges, and promised to improve service in the future. The announcement, made before the new site was ready to launch, had the smell of desperation, a belated plea to staunch the bad press the company has earned since first announcing the separate charges for bundled services that proved to be so successful for the company. Since the announcement, many subscribers opted out of one or another of the services, and as many as a million are reported to have cancelled their subscription entirely.