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Showing posts from January, 2013

How Samuel L. Jackson Nearly Killed Everyone on Pulp Fiction

In a riveting Vanity Fair piece about the making of Pulp Fiction, there is an alternate universe look at a world where Samuel L. Jackson almost didn't play Jules Winnfield:

"The role of Jules Winnfield proved difficult to cast, mainly because Samuel L. Jackson was under the impression the part was his, until he found out he was in danger of losing the role to Paul Calderon. Jackson flew out to L.A. for a last-ditch audition with Tarantino. “I sort of was angry, pissed, tired,” Jackson recalls. He was also hungry, so he bought a takeout burger on his way to the studio, only to find nobody there to greet him. “When they came back, a line producer or somebody who was with them said, ‘I love your work, Mr. Fishburne,’” says Jackson. “It was like a slow burn. He doesn’t know who I am? I was kind of like, Fuck it. At that point I really didn’t care.”

"Gladstein remembers Jackson’s audition: 'In comes Sam with a burger in his hand and a drink in the other hand and stinking…

Second 'Trance' Poster and Release Date

The marketing campaign for Danny Boyle's Trance is proving to be an unique one. Last week's poster was worthy of hanging on my wall and this one is similarly handsome. I am very much looking forward to the next piece of artwork for the film.
Fox Searchlight will release Trance on April 5, 2013. Count this as one of my highly anticipated films of 2013!
"Simon (James McAvoy), a fine arts auctioneer, teams up with a criminal gang to steal a Goya painting worth millions of dollars, but after suffering a blow to the head during the heist he awakens to discover he has no memory of where he hid the painting. When physical threats and torture fail to produce answers, the gang's leader (Vincent Cassel) hires psychotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) to delve into the darkest recesses of Simon's psyche. As Elizabeth begins to unravel Simon's broken subconscious, the line between truth, suggestion and deceit begin to blur."
(Courtesy: Allied Media)

Oscar Happenings: Too Soon?

Regardless of what the Academy eventually chooses for Best Picture, Director, and Actor over the coming months, some will be shouting "again?!" when the winner's name is announced.

Out of all the nominees, nearly none of the leaders in major categories are new to the Oscar derby. Previous winners like Robert DeNiro, Sally Field, Denzel Washington, Joaquin Phoenix, Helen Hunt and Philip Seymour Hoffman could all add to their totals on Oscar night. And those are only a few names; the entire Supporting Actor category is made up of former winners!

With the exception of Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild, the majority of the nominated films also have winners behind them. Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) won Best Director three years ago for Hurt Locker, Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) is a two-time winner for Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List and Ang Lee (Life of Pi) also won a Best Director Oscar previously for Brokeback Mountain.

Read the rest over at Film Annex

Hit Me With Your Best Shot #14

The game where I throw out one of cinema's more obscure quotes and you try to guess it. No one got last week's answer, so readers are currently 8 for 13. Let's see if you can name the film this quote is from:

"Men, you are about to embark on a great crusade to stamp out runaway decency in the West. Now you men will only be risking your lives, whilst I will be risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor."

Review: The Vacuum of L.A. (Gangster Squad)

Gangster Squad starts with Sgt. John O'Meara commenting on the current state of Los Angeles in 1949. Several characters mention the City of Angels has turned into a cesspool since the arrival and subsequent takeover by gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). What we see and are shown never alludes to anything other than a hell-hole, but Sgt. John O'Meara's words must mean something.

To Sgt. O'Meara (Josh Brolin) honor and integrity are tangible things, they can be sought out and reclaimed. He has returned from The War to see his home ravaged and manipulated into a gangster's playground. His wife is pregnant and just wants him to take the check and keep low. After busting up an entire operation by himself, O'Meara has let it be known: he won't take this sitting down.

Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) has taken the opposite approach: retreat into liquor and women because the worst has not gotten here yet. Wooters' apathy hides a great deal, but O'Meara kno…

Why Violence in Cinema Is Good

Depictions of violence in film have been made into a relevant debate again. Questions of how responsible it is to portray scenes of killing, assault, and the like are being considered by committees and concerned groups. While too often schlock like Hobo with a Shotgun is made and blood-drenched horror franchises are launched with little to no reason, let's take a minute to recognize the important function that violence serves in cinema.

To read the rest of the article, head over to Film Annex!

'To the Wonder' Quad Poster

Say what you want about Terrence Malick's occasional lack of coherence, but his visual eye is always leads to something stunning. To the Wonder hits theatres April 12th.

'Superhuman' on Kickstarter

Superhero movies big and small largely follow a formula. Superhuman,on Kickstarter, doesn't seem to follow anything close to a typical summer blockbuster.

"Set in the distant future our superhero Lathan Devers wakes in a nocturnal cityscape overrun by the neon red lights and speeding blur of ballet-spinning robots on the eve of the singularity. Lathan must use his future human evolutionary powers to fight through the robotic waves to reach his little sister Ria Devers at humanity's last stand; the Eden Barrier; before time runs out."

"SUPERHUMAN is a high-octane science fiction action film with an aurora of intense speeding bullet fight scenes and powerful awe-inspiring visual effects. Lathan has LIGHT VISION; the next stage evolutionary ability to see beyond the veil of this reality and see a shimmering. Sparkling. Divine photonic energy field known as THE LIGHT FIELD."

Superhuman looks to incorporate a lot of visual effects into its finished product, so if…

'Trance' Poster is Hypnotizing

Finally, an unique poster, winter brings out some of the best that cinema has to offer, but the poster selections are a bit boring. Also worth being excited about, Danny Boyle's return to genre film looks to be an enthusiastic one. Boyle's style infused Oscar-bait with a sense of liveliness, but it is here in genre films that he can really play with the screen.
(Courtesy: Awards Daily)

Review: Frightening Lullabies (Mama)

A mother's love is perhaps the strongest bond there is. It has the power to make a child better and, alternatively, fester into something unholy.

The night of their mother's murder, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse) escape to a cold, battered cabin for the better part of five years. How they managed to survive is unknown. Over that time they become feral and dependent on Mama to live. Eventually, they are discovered by a passerby and transported to an institute where they are treated.

Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) searched frantically for them over that time and when they are found, the couple offers to take Victoria and Lilly in. Dr. Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash) assures the two of them that Victoria and Lilly will readjust to society with few hitches. He would like to keep the two girls there for further study, but something about the man sets Lucas and Annabel on edge.
While Lucas seems ready for this sud…

Review: Manhunt (Zero Dark Thirty)

An event eleven years in the making, the hunt for one of the world's most sought after men. Kathryn Bigelow, relatively fresh after her run with The Hurt Locker, was the most qualified director to take this material and go.

Immediately the stakes of the film are ratcheted sky-high. Audio feed from phone calls on the morning of 9/11 are played against a black screen. The next sequence feeds off of that grief. Dan (Jason Clarke) and Maya (Jessica Chastain) are introduced during an interrogation of a terrorist, this interrogation will feature torture.
Zero Dark Thirty right now is being defined on terms of whether or not it defends torture. This stance is an unfair one as Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal don't take a side on the issue one way or another. It is covered in an ambivalent manner. Just because something is shown in an unflinching manner does not make it complicit with what is happening onscreen. Morality has evolved in a post 9/11 world, and so have the tools.
Hunting one…

85th Academy Award Nominations

Lincoln leads all contenders with twelve nominations to its name, but the big surprise of the morning was Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Affleck and Quentin Tarantino being left off for Best Director. Did not see that one coming. Also worth mentioning, this year has the oldest nominee for Best Actress and youngest ever (Emmanuelle Riva, 85, for “Amour” & Quvenzhane Wallis, 9, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”). And a point for consideration, can we swap Flight for Looper in Original Screenplay? Best motion picture of the year:
"Argo" Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers
"Django Unchained" Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, Producers
"Les Miserables" Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers
"Life of Pi" Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers
"Lincoln" Steven Spielberg and K…

Christopher Nolan to Tackle Time-travel Next

With The Dark Knight trilogy officially behind him, Christopher Nolan has announced his next project: Interstellar. Interstellar was originally set aside to be directed by Steven Spielberg, but Robocalypse left him little choice but to move on.

Jonathan Nolan scripted the feature, he has previously collaborated with brother, Christopher, on The Prestige and Memento. He also co-wrote The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

"The story is about a group of scientists who travel through a worm hole, and it comes complete with alternate dimensions and time travel." Wow. So Mr. Nolan's next project is going to be a time-travel film, I wonder if I can team up with Rian Johnson and sneak into 2015 and see what it looks like?

(Courtesy: THR)

The Oscar Nominations Are Tomorrow

Before tomorrow's Academy Award nominations are announced, I would just like to take a second to offer a few predictions about Best Picture.

One of these films will have 10+ nominations
Zero Dark Thirty

These Films Are Locks
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

They Will Be Happy Just to be Mentioned in Any Way
The Dark Knight Rises
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook

Let the drunken brawl between Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty for the shiny gold man commence!

The Year It All Nearly Ended (Best Films of 2012)

2012 saw the world's collective obsession with the apocalypse take place on the silver screen on numerous occasions. Whether it was a downbeat comedy, team-up comic franchise, or exploration of our origins, most protagonists saw themselves battling a cataclysmic event. The planet has nearly been blown up, invaded by aliens, lorded over by evil geniuses and the like.

Batman, the Avengers, 007, Django, and even Abraham Lincoln fulfilled the collective wishes of moviegoers to have someone stand up for others in a time when seemingly there are no heroes left. Perhaps it is for this reason that so many of the year's best films were centered around good guys.

If it wasn't the end of the world, it was the end of line for the characters. Bernie desperately trying to avoid prison, Ottway fending off a pack of wolves systematically eliminating his crew, Bond facing a betrayal from one of MI6's own. The end days have been on the mind of many.

This year was also strangely reminis…

'Star Trek' App is Intuitive

For technophiles also fond of Star Trek, Paramount and Qualcomm have released an app for J.J. Abram's upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness. These cutting edge technologies are being showcased in a never before-seen way and will enable users to automatically engage with a wealth of movie related materials by utilizing their real-life surroundings to auto-complete integrated missions by employing audio scan, geo-location recognition, and image recognition functionality powered by Qualcomm Vuforia.

During the second quarter of the Super Bowl, the app will allow users the ability to unlock the first of many surprises during the airing of the Star Trek Into Darkness tv-spot, making this one of the most unique and interactive apps ever created for a movie.

• New “STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS” content, such as videos, images and wallpapers delivered directly to users’ mobile devices;
• Exclusive opportunities and special offers only available to app users;
• One lucky sweepstakes winner will be rewar…

Start Watching 'Justified'

Justified may have been on for three years already, but it isn't too late to catch up with one of the best shows on television right now. Here are a few reasons to start watching now:
Raylan Givens
The central lead of the show is not your typical figure of authority. He's not particularly gifted, not insanely large, or a picture of sound psyche. His father is an ex-con, his "best friend" has tried to kill him multiple times and he lives above a bar. Dirty Harry isn't around anymore, but don't let that stop you from thinking quippy law enforcers with itchy trigger fingers are gone from the scene.

No one is one-dimensional Boyd Crowter (Walton Goggins) has gone from Neo-Nazi to Revivalist Leader to Vigilante in a matter of three seasons. Ava has gone from abused housewife to right-hand woman in the most efficient criminal organization in Harlan. Even background characters like Dewey Crowe have their own histories.

If you're a fan of Deadwood, you may recognize…

'Only God Forgives' Teaser

Nothing good ever happens to Ryan Gosling...

We're 4!

Four years ago today Never Mind Pop Film was created. I could never have anticipated how much it would grow and where it would lead to over the last few years, but I want to thank every reader, contributor and fellow blogger that has helped the site get to where it is today.

There were times when hits were low and it almost didn't seem worth continuing anymore, yet every time those feelings cropped up, one of you would make it all seem worth it again.

Just a few mentions: Sam of Movie Mezzanine for helping sustain that drive.
Andrew of A Constant Visual Feast, Darren of The Movie Blog and Aiden from CTCMR for spurring me to write better reviews.
Rodney, Maurice, Dan and Scott for always providing a valuable comment that incites discussion.

Thank you all, I look forward to another wonderful four years.

To Torture or Not to Torture

(this piece is written by Mark Bowden of The Atlantic)
There are two ugly interrogation scenes in the opening minutes of Zero Dark Thirty that haunt the rest of the experience, and that have come to haunt critical reception of the film itself.

After we hear the terrified voices of Americans trapped on the upper floors of the burning towers on 9/11 against a black screen, the movie opens on a character named Ammar, suspended from the ceiling by chains attached to both wrists. It is two years later. Ammar is bloody, filthy, and exhausted. We learn quickly that he is an Al Qaeda middleman, and a nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammad, architect of the 9/11 attacks. Ammar is believed to know details of a pending attack in Saudi Arabia, and he is uncooperative.

His brutal questioning by CIA officer Daniel is uncomfortable to watch. It is cruel and ultimately futile. As his tormenters fold him into a small punishment box, demanding the day of the attack, Ammar murmurs "Saturday," then, …

Bond Crosses $1 Billion

Skyfall did something that no Bond film had done previously in its 50 year history. It crossed the one billion dollar threshold, making Skyfall the highest-grossing Bond film ever. Now maybe 007 can afford  to carry around something other than that Walther PPK.