29 July 2009

Depp Hits the 'Rum Diary'

Playing an alias of Hunter S. Thompson for the second time(Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) Depp is Paul Kemp, career journalist and alcoholic. Aaron Eckhart will be rivaling Depp seeking the hand of a beach bunny to be played by Amber Heard.

Richard Jenkins, a personal favorite of mine, will play Lotterman, the supervisor of the shoddy and troubled newspaper that employs Depp. Set in San Juan during the 1950s and based loosely on Thompson’s time there as a young pre-Gonzo writer. The Rum Diary is written and will be directed by Bruce Robinson, coming to theatres in 2010.

Jon Hamm Joins 'The Town'

Mad Men star, Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall of The Prestige will star alongside Ben Affleck in The Town.

The Town is almost entirely an Affleck production having wrote it, and directing, and starring in the adaptation of Chuck Hogan's Prince of Thieves. With how great Gone Baby Gone was and the collective talent of Affleck, Hamm and Hall this is sure to be something to see.

Town focuses on the blossoming romance between a bank manager (Hall) and a career criminal (Affleck) who robbed her, as an FBI agent (Hamm) tries to bring the thief and his gang to justice.

24 July 2009

'Tron Legacy' Teaser Trailer

I had no idea that I wanted a sequel to Tron. At least until it hit me that the technological advancement of filmmaking fits this type of film so much more now than it did in the 80's.

23 July 2009

Alice in Wonderland Teaser

That's unfortunate that Tim Burton has decided to mail it in.

19 July 2009

Zombieland Trailer

18 July 2009

I Love You Phillip Morris Trailer

15 July 2009

Hope Not Lost for Batman 3

Not really indie news, but it's Batman 3. Who doesn't want to hear about it?

Well it appears that the anxiety towards Christopher Nolan's involvement may be all for naught. Batman On Film's source says hold off the negativity

* “The last I heard was that Chris (Nolan) was digging into INCEPTION…but still working on breaking a story [for BATMAN 3] with David (Goyer) and Jonah (Nolan)."

* “All the talk of Warners worrying about not getting him back aren't really true at this point. They do have ideas of some people to approach if Chris officially terminates his involvement, but [Warner Bros. expects him] to return to the franchise at the moment -- assuming that a story that excites him is hatched by him, David and Jonah. I do think it's fair to call it 50/50 at this point on that regard, it's not nearly a sure thing, but they seem hopeful that he's going to find a story he wants to tell.”
Good news for everyone. Although hearing more about Inception would be nice.

09 July 2009

District 9 Trailer

Could be quite good, could be another cheesey alien film with a pseudo message.

07 July 2009

Review: H2Oil

H2Oil is a polemic against the excesses of the Tarsands developments in Northern Alberta. The Tarsands, responsible for the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions in North America produce synthetic oil in what is described as a two-stage process. First, the oil sand, or bitumen, is washed. After this is completed, the bitumen is heated (cracked) using natural gas. The film focuses on the negative effects of the first step.

A large amount of water is used to wash the bitumen. After being used for this, the water is contaminated, and it is not safe to release the water into the water system. The contaminated water is stored in tailings ponds; these ponds use earthen dams which are prone to leak. The leaking contaminated water contains high levels of heavy metals and other carcinogens, and is suspected to be causing high cancer rates among many First Nations people living along the Athabasca River watershed.

The Tarsands are the most environmentally damaging mega-project in the history of the human race. The film tells us as much, but its focus on the poisoned water issue, particularly in relation to two entrepreneurs who bottle spring water. This softens what should be the central message of the film. I learned after the screening that the film maker is actually friends with the water bottlers, and they were the inspiration for the film. Even if this were the case, they should have been left out. A film about the damages to society from industrial externalities shouldn't focus on members of another industry which also has negative external costs for society. It's hypocritical.

The subject matter is like an overripe plum, bursting with political corruption and lies. It's a shame that the film doesn't rise to the challenge of exposing the whole truth. Anyone interested in seeing a well-crafted documentary about the devastating effects of an engineering mega-project would be better off watching Manufactured Landscapes.

06 July 2009

Big Fan Trailer

I haven't seen Patton Oswalt in much other than Ratatouille, hopefully he can make the dramatic transition well.

03 July 2009

The Informant Trailer

Wow. That is a truly appalling mustache. I hope certainly hope that Matt Damon doesn't come by that naturally.

01 July 2009

Review: Public Enemies

A man of his environment, John Dillinger never made qualms about what he did. In an age where banks have proven to be inseparable from a healthy economy, I think John Dillinger would fit in quite well again as a Robin Hood looking for his King John in modern, mega-banks. The heyday of the gangster was itching for a comeback in this age and the man best fit to tell that story is Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral, Miami Vice).

Johnny Depp, known for taking role as eccentric outsiders brings it back in the wheelhouse and completely becomes John Dillinger. Living the high life and having no reason to think about tomorrow you really believe that Dillinger never thought he was going to be caught.

Marion Cotillard, little known French actress should expect an Academy Award nomination come next year. Mann always writes powerful roles for women and Public Enemies is no different. Christian Bale tones down for this one playing Melvin Purvis, less anger, but far more intensity. Each time Purvis sees a life taken by the hands of Baby Face Nelson you die a little on the inside yourself.

Enemies plays out like a tragedy as we are introduced to Dillinger at that top of his game and the whole world knows him. But like any other film a tragedy doesn’t play out unless you care about the fall of the protagonist and Depp rivets. Some have criticized Enemies for not going deep into who Dillinger was, but what Depp did with Dillinger was who he was. Public Enemies doesn't presume to tell you about the man and the motivations, he just shows Dillinger and the decisions he made. Bad biopics tell you about the characters and the films suffer for it, Mann doesn't make that mistake.

Michael Mann scores another hit with Public Enemies and I’m going to go ahead and say this is one to beat for Best Picture of the Year. The social-politics of it may offend some, but the cinematic splendor of this is not to be missed. Mann’s use of HD makes for some of the most intimate shots to date. You feel like you are tagging along with Dillinger and his gang the entire time. The action is a little shaky during the gunfight in the woods, but beyond that everything looked excellent.

The story is compelling, the acting is exceptional and Mann keeps it tight and never lets the film dawdle.

***1/2 out of ****