Sofia Coppola takes on the kid crooks who both exploited and embraced tabloid culture
Of course it will be in 3D
Sony Pictures Entertainment announced this week via press release that they've picked up the worldwide distribution rights to the "eagerly anticipated" film from Rovio Entertainment, which will unsurprisingly be an animated 3D feature (want to get us interested in an "Angry Birds" movie? make it live action). The film does not yet have a writer, director, or voice cast in place, but while we'll make fun of such a film until the pigs come home, Sony has certainly had great luck with their other animated properties, including "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," "Arthur Christmas," and "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," so they will likely trot out some big name talent to puff up their new prize property.
There's also no word on the finer plot details of the film, but we can only assume that it will center on some pissed off birds, desperate to exact revenge on the green pigs who have stolen their eggs. Perhaps the film will be an origin story of sorts, one that explains why the pigs are green and why they would steal oodles of eggs from some birds with anger issues. There's so many questions to answer!
Remember all the good times? And also that other movie?
Videodrone's take on the biggest, best, coolest and culty-ist releases of the week
"Cloud Atlas" (Warner), the sprawling, dazzling, ambitious collaboration between "Matrix" makers Lana and Andy Wachowski and Germany's Tom Tykwer weaves together the six distinctive stories in six different eras with a cast that reappears throughout the timelines. At once literal and evasive, this is a film that wears its heart on its beautifully stitched sleeve and its meaning in its design and yet finds so many facets in which to mirror its ideas throughout its incarnations. It failed to connect with audiences on its initial release, but gets a second chance on home video, where its 170-minute length may not be such an issue. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand. Videodrone's review is here.
"A Glimpse Inside the Mind Of Charles Swan III" (Lionsgate), the first feature from Roman Coppola since "CQ" more than a decade ago, stars Charlie Sheen as a hedonistic, ego-fueled graphic artist facing an early-life crisis. Blu-ray and DVD, also at Redbox.
"Frankie Go Boom" (Universal), a comedy about sibling rivalry and practical joking gone awry starring Charlie Hunnam and Chris O'Dowd "possesses a surprisingly sweet heart," recommends MSN film critic Kat Murphy. Blu-ray and DVD
Plus: the latest reboot of the landmark horror film titled simply "Texas Chainsaw" (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, On Demand and at Redbox) and the historical epic "Back to 1942" (Well Go, Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand) from China.
Most releases are also available as digital download and VOD via iTunes, Amazon, and other web retailers and video services.
TV on Disc:
The central conflict of "Dexter: The Seventh Season" (Paramount), Showtime's blackly-comic series about TV's favorite serial-killer hero, isn't with another killer. This season Dexter's (Michael C. Hall) adoptive sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), who happens to be a police detective, discovers his secret and has to come to terms with the fact that her brother is the killer she's been hunting all these seasons. Family secrets can be so divisive. Blu-ray and DVD. Videodrone's review is here.
"The Bletchley Circle" (PBS) is a self-contained British mystery mini-series set in 1950s London, but it could easily launch a continuing series based on the strength of its characters, a quartet of women who were code breakers during World War II, and its setting. Blu-ray and DVD. Reviewed on Videodrone here.
Film stars Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, and Michael Douglas
Mostly silent clip shows off the film's more cinematic aspects
Plus Lars von Trier's 'Antichrist,' the original 'The Corsican Brothers,' classic film noir and more
Horror films take top honors in the Netflix new releases this week.
Newly-anointed Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence takes a detour into horror in "House at the End of the Street" (2012), playing the new girl in a neighborhood where a grisly crime wiped out an entire family except for the enigmatic teenage son. Ill-advised curiosity ensues. In words of MSN film critic Glenn Kenny, "originality, or lack thereof, isn't really the movie's problem. Execution is."
"Dead Snow" (2009) – There's blood on the snow when Nazi zombies rise from the powder of the Norwegian Alps to feed on the flesh vacationing innocents in this dryly hilarious horror comedy. Writer/director Tommy Wirkola gives it a macabre sense of splatter humor a la "Evil Dead 2" (complete with zombie hunters armed with chainsaws and other deep woods implements of destruction) without self-conscious wisecracking of the genre, and accomplishes it all with a crisp professionalism.
"Kill List" (2011) is a British hit-man thriller that swerves into a jangly horror film. Directed by Ben Wheatley ("Down Terrace"), the film is "harrowing, inventive, disturbing and shudderingly brisk," in the words of MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. It's also pretty darn dark and very unsettling as it takes viewers down unexpected alleys.
For fans of extreme cinema, here are a couple that will shake up even the hardiest souls. Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" (2009) with Willen Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg is a harrowing portrait of marriage and mourning as a morass of anger, suspicion and power in a diseased world, a vision both beautiful and sour, serious and seriously screwed up. Gaspar Noe's violent "Irreversible" uses the cinema as an assault weapon to tell the story of a loving couple (Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel) destroyed by a random rape and the rage-fueled revenge, in reverse: a fever-induced nightmare reimagining of “Memento.”
On the lighter side is "Lagaan" (2001), a sweeping epic-length Bollywood musical that spins romantic triangles, solidarity through teamwork, and simple melodramatic clashes of good and evil into explosions of color, song, and happy endings and climaxes with a three day long cricket match (!) between arrogant British colonial rulers and a scruffy team of underdogs in 19th century India.
Dax Shepard writes, co-directs, and stars in "Hit & Run" (Universal), and action comedy with Kristen Bell, Kristen Chenoweth, and Tom Arnold. MSN film critic Glenn Kenny calls it "one of the summer's most enjoyable surprises, a consistently disarming romantic comedy…"
The Noah Baumbach film follows the exploits of a floundering 27-year-old woman in Brooklyn who is trying to grow up
Frances (Greta Gerwig) lives in New York, but doesn’t really have an apartment. Frances has a best friend named Sophie (Mickey Sumner) but they aren’t really speaking. Frances throws herself into her dreams even as their possible reality dwindles. Frances wants so much more than she has, but lives her life with unaccountable joy and lightness. “Frances Ha” is a modern comic fable in which director and co-writer (with Gerwig) Noah Baumbach explores New York, friendship, class, ambition, failure, and redemption. Filmed in glorious black and white, “Frances Ha” evokes the best of Woody Allen with a little Lena Dunham thrown in for good measure. The film also stars Adam Driver, Charlotte d’Amboise, and Grace Gummer. I spoke with Greta Gerwig in Los Angeles.
MSN Movies: This is such a great character and the film seems like it is a very personal project for you.
Greta Gerwig: It is, and it’s very exciting to finally be able to show it to people. Usually when I’ve acted in things I’ve come to it much later in the process so it’s not as long as a wait until it gets out there. But writing it and casting it and getting it into production and acting in it and the whole editing process—I feel like I’ve lived with it for so long now. So when people like it, you think, “Thank God, because that was two years of my life!”
When you co-write a character like this and then play that character, are there times on set where you think, “Hold it, Frances wouldn’t do that!” Did you and Noah Baumbach have discussions about what was right for Frances while you were making the film or were you always on the same page?
Well, when we were writing it, I actually had to not think about playing the character at all. I just removed myself from that completely otherwise I would have felt very self-conscious and creatively blocked. But once we were on set, we both kind of knew when it was working and when it wasn’t. There were days when it took me a second to find exactly how I needed to do it and to feel Frances’s rhythms and the way she should look and sound but other times it was there very quickly.
It must feel different when you’re the writer and the actor. I’m sure there are times on other movies when you’re struggling a little bit and find yourself thinking, “Who wrote this thing?” But here the answer is, “Oh crap—I did!”
(Laughs.) Yes, there were definitely moments like that! Especially because Noah and I were very specific about words and word order. We didn't really do any improvisation in this movie or changing of lines. People on this movie didn’t “make the lines their own.” We worked really hard in the writing stage to make the script as specific as possible. We had very specific rhythms and sometimes I would get so frustrated because I would be tripping over something that I had written and I would be like, “What does it matter if she says it this way or that way?” And then the writer in me would say, “It does matter! You don’t want other people to mess it up, so now you have to treat it with the same respect.”
I mean this as a total compliment, but it wouldn’t have surprised me if you said, “We had the basic idea for certain scenes but then we just let the actors go.” The dialogue just sounded that natural. But on the other hand, it makes sense to hear that you had a very tight script because some of those scenes could never have seemed as “real” and as uncomfortable if you were improvising that dialogue.
No, and it’s also much easier to disguise certain plot points if you have a solid script. I think that when you’re improvising, you’re not clever enough in the moment to finesse those moments but as writers, you can say, “Okay, this information needs to come out but it has to feel like they're not broadcasting it.” I like to improvise in my actual life, but I’ve gotten to a place with acting where I really enjoy sticking very close to a script. I find it’s more fun to work with actors that way. There are such great actors in this movie and they really get to show what they can do with text.
And obviously there are so many different ways you can approach a line, so I guess as actors you’re always improvising to some extent.