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April 29, 2010

The May 2010 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas

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Scarlett Johansson, Iron Man II

Either I'm getting too old for this, or this is the least exciting launch to blockbuster season since, um, last year.

MAY 7

IRON MAN 2

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
He hates Iron Man, duh-de-duh-de-duh-duh, Mick-ey Rourke!

WILL IT SUCK?
Jon Favreau is back and is a known and welcome quantity as a director. Justin Theroux only has one other screenplay under his belt, but it's Tropic Thunder so I'm satisfied. Whole cast (minus Terence Howard) is back plus Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Don Cheadle, and John Slattery.

Early buzz is mildly disappointed, but still happy.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Summer may blow its load early. Be surprised if anything actually beats this (Toy Story 3 or Twilight: Eclipse stand a chance). $444mil.

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BABIES

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Doc about four babies growing up in Namibia, Mongolia, Japan, and the US, respectively.

WILL IT SUCK?
Hard to get a read on this one since not much is known about the filmmakers. That having been said, if you like babies, you'll get your fill. Cute trailer.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
I don't know about releasing it wide, but this is certainly good counter-programming for Iron Man. $1mil.

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MOTHER AND CHILD

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Ensemble drama about several mothers/would-be mothers (Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington).

WILL IT SUCK?

Continue reading "The May 2010 Movie Preview" »

April 01, 2010

The April 2010 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas

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Kick-Ass

Think of April's line-up as the opening acts for the summer blockbusters.

APRIL 2

Wide

CLASH OF THE TITANS

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Wow, Harry Hamlin really pulled it together and...oh, no, wait, this is a new guy.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is good. I'm surprised because for every The Thing, there's twenty any remake you can think of off the top of your head that sucks. That having been said, Louis Leterrier is a solid action director. He won't make you think, but he will keep you entertained. Good cast, too: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Mads Mikkelsen, Nicholas Hoult, Pete Postlethwaite, and Danny Huston.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Originally this was supposed to come out March 26th, but then they decided to make it 3D which, apparently, takes a week to add. So now it has to vie for space on 3D screens with the second frame of How to Train Your Dragon. This, however, is a rich person's problem. $157mil.

THE LAST SONG

(3/31)

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Man, that Notebook guy sure wrote a lot of books.

WILL IT SUCK?
This is the first time that Nicholas Sparks has had a hand in the screenplay adaptation of one of his novels. No idea what impact that will have. Director has done some good TV (Pushing Daisies, Grey's Anatomy, Weeds). Greg Kinnear is, you know, Greg Kinnear. Yeah, I'm not that psyched.

However, this is called Not Without My Daughter 2 in the Philippines, so it has that going for it.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Combining the Miley Cyrus crowd with the Sparks crowd with an inexplicable two-day head start should be successful counterprogramming to a bunch of CG scorpions. $70mil.

TYLER PERRY'S WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Finally someone brings back the use of the word "too" in a sequel title.

WILL IT SUCK?
You know by now whether or not you like the Tyler Perry.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
The audiences have already decided that they like the Tyler Perry. $58mil.

Limited

THE GREATEST

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Boy meets girl (Carey Mulligan). Boy dies in car crash. Boy's family tries to cope with the fact that the girl is now preggers.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is good but not great. Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan play the parents.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Mulligan is a hot indie property, and with Leaves of Grass suddenly pushed from this weekend to the summer, the field is suddenly wide open. $8mil.

THE WARLORDS

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Here's a history lesson. Jet Li, Andy Lau, and Takeshi Kaneshiro were there for the Tapei Rebellion of the 1860s.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is mixed, but the reuniting of Lau and Kaneshiro for the first time since House of Flying Daggers is enough to get me interested even before you throw Li into the mix. Not for nothing, but the flick won Best Actor (Jet Li) Best Director, Best Film and five other awards (nominated for a total of 13) at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?

Continue reading "The April 2010 Movie Preview" »

March 24, 2010

Baumbach, Murphy, Greenberg, and Greenberg - Friends in Art

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Herein lies select responses and some commentary following a roundtable interview with James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem frontman, and more importantly for the sake of this interview, the original score artist in writer/director Noah Baumbach's newest film.

Wantonly neurotic, fresh off of a mental breakdown, and finding himself once again in his family's Hollywood hills mansion after having a pre-mid-life in Brooklyn (or, because he has to be more specific: Bushwick) - Roger Greenberg, of Noah Baumbach's newest, Greenberg, rarely feels comfortable operating in the present tense, preferring instead to relish in the comfort of nostalgia. A similar sentimentality runs through many of the songs by James Murphy and his celebrated electro-rock outfit, LCD Soundsystem.

Baumbach, who got to know Murphy musically and emotively after he first heard “New York I Love You.” It isn't a stretch to imagine a character like Roger listening to a band like LCD Soundsystem. When the director started to consider what kind of soundtrack would be appropriate for Greenberg, he called up Murphy. What began as mutual respect and admiration between the two artists quickly became an amicable (and kind of adorable) professional relationship.

Continue reading "Baumbach, Murphy, Greenberg, and Greenberg - Friends in Art" »

Screening Tonight: “The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil”

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The Bushwick Food Coop is screening “The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil" tonight at Tandem Bar.

Here's the story:

“When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba’s economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half – and food by 80 percent – people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time. Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens. It is an unusual look into the Cuban culture during this economic crisis, which they call “The Special Period.” The film opens with a short history of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever. Cuba, the only country that has faced such a crisis – the massive reduction of fossil fuels – is an example of options and hope.”

Beers are $3, door donation is suggested at $5, doors are at 7 w/ the film at 7:30.

March 03, 2010

The March 2010 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas

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Chloe starring Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried

This month offers a surprisingly good mix of potentially solid mainstream and indie fare. But don't worry, there's plenty of crap to go around, too.

March 5

Wide

ALICE IN WONDERLAND

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Tim Burton sequel to the Lewis Carroll adventures. With Johnny Depp, of course.

WILL IT SUCK?
Tim Burton is a visionary in the best sense of the word. Screenwriter did Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. Depp as the Mad Hatter seems a slam dunk, and he's joined by Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover, Anne Hathaway, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee, Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman, and Timothy Spall. Looks like the first bona fide event movie of 2010 worth checking out.

Early buzz is good.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Green Zone the following week has a sliver of the same demo, but this will dominate the month. $207mil.

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BROOKLYN'S FINEST

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Three cops' (Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke) paths intertwine in an undisclosed New York borough.

WILL IT SUCK?
From the director of Training Day, and this is supposed to be better (according to IMDb). Also stars Wesley Snipes, Lili Taylor, Ellen Barkin, Will Patton, and Vincent D'Onofrio.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Snagged w/in 24 hours of premiering at Sundance last year, so somebody thinks it has potential, enough to buy a Super Bowl spot and give it a wide release, two things that almost never happen with Sundance buys. Still, don't know if that will translate into wide release money. $26mil.

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Limited

THE SECRET OF KELLS

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Kid looks for a book. A really, really important book.

WILL IT SUCK?

Continue reading "The March 2010 Movie Preview" »

Open House: Docu on Williamsburg's Frenzied Development

The MoMA is screening a 31-minute film today at 4pm and 7pm about the residential transformation of Williamsburg over the past few years. It's called Open House, and is directed by Diane Nerwen.

In recent years, Williamsburg, one of the most visibly transformed neighborhoods in New York City, has seen a host of new residential construction and glass-and-steel structures spring up on blocks long defined by factories and modest row houses. While the housing bubble was deflating across the country, forty-story luxury buildings were being erected along the Brooklyn waterfront at an unprecedented rate. Chronicling developers literally tearing apart the neighborhood and frenzied property owners desperate to cash in before the market collapses, Open House reveals an urban renewal project on a scale not seen since Robert Moses’s “slum” clearance of the 1960s.

Diane will lead a discussion with the audience following the screening of the second film, Behind the Iron Gate, which is a 55-min Polish documentary about Za Zelazna Brama, "one of the biggest housing estates built in the center of Warsaw between 1965 and 1972."

If you miss it tonight, an encore screening will be tomorrow night at 7pm. For tickets and more info, visit MoMA. Here's the trailer:

The Invaders: Coming to a Sugar Plant Near You!

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Some designers aren't too psyched on the "forthcoming condo-ification" of the Domino Sugar Plant, so, they made this fun little movie poster.

Curbed writes: "It's from the gang at by-encore, apparently no fans of the makeover of the old sugar refinery. To be fair, the Williamsburg waterfront has been well on its way to becoming a sci-fi freak show for years now."

Enlarged image after the jump.

Continue reading "The Invaders: Coming to a Sugar Plant Near You!" »

February 11, 2010

The Films of the 2000s

February 02, 2010

Brooklyn Boondoggle

Brooklyn Boondoggle is a short documentary by my friends at Meerkat Media detailing and humanizing the eminent domain issues that the gargantuan Atlantic Yards development brings up. I caught the flick at a small screening at a bar that would have to be bulldozed for the Atlantic Yards (although not without a fight) and thought the movie was pretty spectacular. Now its online!

Brooklyn Boondoggle from meerkatmedia.org on Vimeo.

January 25, 2010

Machete To Become Real Film

We can't wait to see it:

Certainly you'll recall the big cool quotient around Machete, that famously fake trailer by Robert Rodriguez from Grindhouse. It was considered the single best thing about that Weinstein Co double-feature flop that also included Quentin Tarantino's pic. Rodriguez' fake trailer hinted at a good story (Mexican day laborer is set up, double-crossed, and left for dead -- then starts everyone's worst nightmare) and carried an even better catchphrase ("They just fucked with the wrong Mexican.") Machete's YouTube video alone has 1.4 million views, which wasn't lost on Hollywood. The result was 6 studios all very interested in domestic distribution rights to Rodriguez' latest.
via

December 03, 2009

The December 2009 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas

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Brothers

While nothing this month stands out as an awards season frontrunner, there's lots of potential Oscar suitors to choose from, and isn't it more interesting that way?

DECEMBER 4

Wide

ARMORED

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Armored truck guard (Columbus Short) agrees to inside heist with his co-workers (Matt Dillon, Laurence Fishburne, Jean Reno, Skeet Ulrich), but changes his mind when someone (Milo Ventimiglia) gets hurt.

WILL IT SUCK?
All eyes on Kontroll director Nimrod Antal, who failed to impress with his American debut, Vacancy. Also not encouraging, the let's-reveal-everything trailer. A little more pressure added since Antal's directing Predators, until you remember that Predators probably isn't a good idea to begin with.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Not much action to compete with. $57mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Maybe if Sidney Lumet directed.

BROTHERS

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Guy (Jake Gyllenhaal) comforts his recently widowed sister-in-law (Natalie Portman) like, you know, Biblically. Then his brother (Tobey Maguire) returns from the war. Turns out he wasn't dead after all. Awk-ward.

WILL IT SUCK?

Continue reading "The December 2009 Movie Preview" »

October 29, 2009

The Ten Most Dubious Films included in the Criterion Collection

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I just wrote a snarky little listicle for Vice:

To be released by Criterion is the benchmark of excellence. Their 25-year-old catalog includes indispensable work from masters including Cocteau, Renoir, Maysles, Kubrick, Cronenberg, Godard, Kurosawa, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Hitchcock, Sturges, and, of course, Fellini.

It’s an impressive list of talent, which is why you can imagine my surprise when I arrived at the director responsible for film #40 in their catalog. Michael Bay. That’s right, Michael Bay, the dung beetle of cinematic vapidity, best known for his unparalleled skill at rolling oversized balls of shit into our nation’s cineplexes. If you’re not familiar with his work--is this possible?--Bay is responsible for Bad Boys I & II, Pearl Harbor, and Transformers, not to mention the career of Megan Fox. (She hates him too). Currently, Bay is remaking The Birds, which I’m assuming will be re-imagined to include a bikini-clad Maxim covergirl who blows away blood-sucking zombie pigeons with a grenade launcher.

Check out the list here.

October 02, 2009

The October 2009 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas

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A Serious Man

Is it wrong of me to be more psyched about Black Dynamite than Where the Wild Things Are?

October 2

ZOMBIELAND

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Jesse Eisenberg of the Dead

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is good. Also starring Woody Harrelson, Mila Kunis and Abigail Breslin. Don't know much about the creators, but the trailer's a hoot.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
More Shaun of the Dead than Scream. $18mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Best Zombie Kill. Give it time. The Academy will get there.

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WHIP IT

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Ellen Page gets into roller derby.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is good. The directorial debut of Drew Barrymore. With Alia Shawkat, Kristen Wiig, Zoe Bell, Marcia Gay Harden, and Daniel Stern. And roller derby handles like Malice in Wonderland and Eva Destruction.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Similarly demo'd Fame crashed and burned, but this has more names. $44mil.

Continue reading "The October 2009 Movie Preview" »

September 30, 2009

New Wes Anderson 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' Trailer

Thankfully, this one is much better than the first. There are also some cool featurettes over at fantasticmrfoxmovie.com. Look for the film on November 25th

[Check it out in HD here]

September 08, 2009

Tonight: "Wildwood, NJ" at Union Pool

Union Pool is screening Ruthless Films' "Wildwood, NJ" - a 1994 documentary and unintentional precursor to MTV's "True Life: I'm a Jersey Shore Girl" - at 9pm tonight. @UnionPool also announced that Maker's Mark will be providing cocktails.There's probably no better way to bid adieu to summer than by sipping whiskey and laughing at beach-folk's personal problems and social myopia, so post-Labor Day Tuesday is perfect timing to see the movie.

Watch the video below for a sample of the amazingness that was mid-'90s Wildwood. SPOILER: fake nails, heterosexual whimsy, and girls who love physical altercations abound. If you can't be on hand at the screening tonight, you can also buy a copy of "Wildwood, NJ" directly from Ruthless' website (highly recommended).

September 03, 2009

The September 2009 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas
[Check out Dave's amazing new project straight2dvdmovies.com]

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Extract

The month begins and ends with thrillers about people who live their lives through androids or other people while they stay at home. Think Hollywood's getting a little passive aggressive about people who don't go out to the movies?

September 4

GAMER

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Gamers control real-life death row inmates as if they were characters in an first-person shooter.

WILL IT SUCK?
From the guys who gave you Crank and Crank 2, so expect lots of stylized action...and not much else. Interesting cast: Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall, Zoe Bell, Alison Lohman, Milo Venitmiglia, John Leguizamo, Keith David, Kyra Sedgwick, Efren Ramirez, Sam Witwer, and Chris 'Ludacris" Bridges.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Probably about as well as any late summer/early fall action flick (like, say, Crank). $28mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
I'm not sure the Academy knows what a gamer is.

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EXTRACT

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Factory Space

WILL IT SUCK?
Mike Judge (Office Space, Idiocracy) has a proven track record. Cast is hot: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Ben Affleck, Kristin Wiig, J.K. Simmons, and David Koechner.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Will probably do well for a Mike Judge film, which isn't very good. $20mil.

WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
If they didn't recognize Office Space...

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CARRIERS

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
You know those tough who lives/who dies decisions you have to make during a zombie attack? Same ones generally come up during a global viral outbreak.

Continue reading "The September 2009 Movie Preview" »

September 01, 2009

Woody Allen's 'Manhattan' Remade As 'Brooklyn'

[via]

After the jump, the opening scene to Woody Allen's classic. (And my favorite opening scene from any film, well, ever).

Continue reading "Woody Allen's 'Manhattan' Remade As 'Brooklyn'" »

August 28, 2009

Bushwick Film Festival Kicks Off Tonight

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The third annual Bushwick Film Festival will begin tonight at 6 pm at Lumenhouse. Tickets are $8 a day or $20 for the entire weekend - and that includes unlimited free beer. So head to 47 Beaver Street and get your movie-watching drink on.


From the organizers:

"The THIRD ANNUAL BUSHWICK FILM FESTIVAL features three days of screenings, Q&As with filmmakers, panel discussions, and music. More than two dozen shorts and full-length narrative films and documentaries will be screened as well as an art show titled SUM OF NOTHING curated by recent SVA grad and BFF's Art Director Sarah O'Donoghue."


For more information please see www.bushwickfilmfestival.com.

August 21, 2009

Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story' Trailer

Love him or hate him, Michael Moore gets people talking. His new one is out Oct. 2.

In other news, we're looking forward to Matt Taibbi's assuredly epic healthcare smackdown in the upcoming Rolling Stone. Here's a teaser.