Witness Big Government in action!
The indie film about a group of Georgia cops who turn to God seems blessed at the box office
I’ve got an idea! Let’s get a bunch of unknown actors together and make a movie thousands of miles away from the Hollywood scene. My brother and I will write, produce, and direct the film, and I’ll also play one of the lead roles. I’ll shoot it around my town and in my church and pepper the script with Bible references. The plot will revolve around a group of tough cops who decide to honor God in every aspect of their lives. What do you think?
Since it opened three weeks ago, I’ve been following the fortunes of the Christian drama “Courageous” with utter fascination. Living in Los Angeles, I am inundated daily with movie advertising. Wherever I look in this city, upcoming movies are being promoted on gigantic billboards, kiosks, tour buses, even the sides of buildings. But when I first saw “Courageous” pop up on the weekend box office chart (it debuted at #5 nationwide, handily beating heavily promoted studio releases such as “Dream House” and “What’s Your Number?”), I not only had never heard of the film, I couldn’t find a showing of it at any of my local theatres. Huh?
Apparently, while Los Angeles crowds are usually considered a prime demographic, the team behind “Courageous” (Sherwood Pictures’ Alex and Stephen Kendrick) must think we are a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah (and I’m not saying they’re wrong). The U.S. distribution for the film is being handled by those good Christians at Sony/TriStar who probably have never bypassed Los Angeles before this. Oh, the film can be seen in Southern California but instead of playing at my usual movie haunts such as Arclight Cinemas, the Landmark Theatres, or the Grove, I’d have to drive over to the multiplexes in places like Cerritos, Monterey Park, Monrovia, or La Habra. I guess that’s where the true believers live.
'Some films, I do look back and think, 'Now why didn't that work?'
Perhaps best known for her turn on Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," Sarah Paulson currently stars as the distant-but-loving sister of Elizabeth Olsen's character in "Martha Marcy May Marlene," eager to help but confounded by Martha's silence. Paulson spoke with us in Los Angeles about "Martha Marcy," the challenges of timing and on listening to the audience.
How in fact did this project even come up on your radar? I'm always curious about that...
Paulson: It came up for me in a sort of bizarre way. Not that bizarre, but sort of funny, it's never really happened to me before. I was doing a play on Broadway in New York, and Susan Shopmaker, who's the casting director for this particular movie, saw the play and brought me up to Sean Durkin our director, who'd been a fan of me from 'Studio 60,' and so I got on the phone with Sean. I was shooting a movie in Canada and we talked on the phone for about half an hour. And he just sounded so smart and had all these interesting ideas and I really liked the script and then they asked me if I wanted to do the part, and that doesn't -- I don't just get sent parts in movies -- I have to kind of audition for them like most working actors you know. Not famous people, but working actors -- we have to audition for our jobs. Yea so this was one of those rare moments when I got offered a movie based on a play I had done that the casting director saw, I just think that if I had not been doing the play at that time, I wouldn't have gotten the movie, because I think that Sean -- although he had been aware of me -- I don't know that I would've been the person, I just don't know. It was really because of the play.
Three teens find themselves gifted with superpowers and happen to catch it all on tape
P.S. 'M:I-4' to open exclusively on IMAX screens December 16th before going wide on the 21st
Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest to lead cast
Last month, word got out that writer and and director Noah Baumbach was working to bring an adaption of Jonathan Franzen’s novel, “The Corrections,” to the small screen, thanks to HBO. At the time, not much was known about the project, including what role producer Scott Rudin (who has been working on such an adaption for nearly a decade) would have, should the project get off the ground. Casting was also up in the air, with rumblings that Anthony Hopkins or Donald Sutherland would grab the role of Alfred Lambert, the patriarch at the center of the familial story.
Yet now word is out that not only is the project chugging right along (though it has yet to be officially greenlit by HBO), but that two big stars are in negotiations to play Mr. and Mrs. Lambert. Hopkins and Sutherland are out for the role of Alfred, but now Oscar winner Chris Cooper is on deck for the role. Dianne Wiest is also reportedly negotiating for the role of Enid Lambert. The three grown Lambert children are currently being cast.
Though the project has not gotten the full go-ahead from HBO, it looks like this take on “The Corrections” will turn out in an unexpected manner, as a series. Deadline reports that Baumbach and Franzen wrote the adaptation together, with Baumbach set to direct what is specifically referred to as a pilot. Rudin, Baumbach, Franzen will all executive produce the project.
The book follows the Lamberts, a typical American family of five on the outside, that’s severely dysfunctional on the inside. Moving back and forth across time periods, and told through the voices of different members of the family (Albert, wife Enid, and their kids Gary, Chip, and Denise), the novel shows where everything went wrong for the Lamberts, particularly for Albert, a meticulous man who begins to suffer from Parkinson’s disease in his later years. It’s not a feel-good work. The 2001 novel earned Franzen a National Book Award, a finalist slot for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a spot on Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club, all while becoming one of the decade's best-selling works of literary fiction.
While the Cooper and Wiest casting news is certainly good news, it will be interesting how Baumbach and Franzen envision such a singular work translating to a television series. HBO knows their dysfunctional families, to be sure, but I can't help but bristle at this concept.
Writers win $30k each, scripts will never be made
Frank Miller's take on Batman's early years is adapted to the small screen - see a clip from the film
DC comics may be stumbling over their big screen incarnations of their iconic comic book superheroes but their far more modestly mounted the DC Universe Original Animated Movies are surprisingly good, especially given the limitations of their resources. These budget-minded direct-to-DVD films translate graphic novels and memorable comic-book runs into animated incarnations efficiently, at times stylishly and generally true to their source material.
"Batman: Year One" (Warner) is to date the best. It's also based on one of the best "Batman" stories of the past twenty years: Frank Miller's revision of the early days of Batman and Jim Gordon (before he became police commissioner), which was also a major influence on Christopher Nolan's live action "Batman" movies.
Animation aside, this isn't a Batman cartoon. Like the comic, the story is told in slivers of action marked by the passing dates of the calendar and framed by the diary-like voice-overs of the parallel protagonists. Emmy winner Bryan Cranston (of "Breaking Bad") voices Gordon, the lone honest cop on the thoroughly corrupt Gotham City police force, and brings a world-weary, conflicted quality to the man risking not just his career but his family to follow his moral compass, which nonetheless spins askew under the pressure. Ben McKenzie, however, tries too hard to give Bruce Wayne/Batman, the fledgling hero learning his trade on the streets, a sense of gravitas through a pose of stoicism and ends up simply flat and one-dimensional. Eliza Dushku ("Dollhouse") comes in as colorful support as Selena Kyle, aka Catwoman, born out of the same struggle out of the Gotham cesspool.