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From Todd Solondz and Greta Gerwig to Daniel Radcliffe and his pair of directors known collectively as the Daniels, a notable pack of filmmakers and stars are heading to theaters with limited releases this weekend. Solondz Wiener-Dog, with Gerwig, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn and a rambunctious dachshund (or two) share this week’s Specialty roster with the Daniels' feature bow Swiss Army Man starring Paul Dano and Radcliffe. Also up: New Zealand director Taika Waititi… »
To help sift through the increasing number of new releases (independent or otherwise), the Weekly Film Guide is here! Below you’ll find basic plot, personnel and cinema information for all of this week’s fresh offerings.
Starting this month, we’ve also put together a list for the entire month. We’ve included this week’s list here, complete with information on screening locations for films in limited release.
See More: Here Are All the Upcoming Movies in Theaters for June 2016
Here are the films opening theatrically in the U.S. the week of Friday, June 24. All synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise.
Director: Gary Ross
Synopsis: “In Jones County, Miss., Newt Knight joins forces with other farmers and a group of slaves to lead a rebellion against the Confederacy.”
- Steve Greene
Todd Solondz has been making movies since 1989, and became the toast of Sundance and American art-houses with just his second film, 1995’s “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” But the writer-director hasn’t been all that prolific throughout his career, producing only eight features in just over a quarter-century. In part that’s due to the ups and […]
- Noel Murray
Todd Solondz’s eighth film “Wiener-Dog” follows a single wiener dog on a life journey as he enters four separate domestic traps rife with dysfunctional and chaos: An uptight mother (Julie Delpy) and her fragile nine-year-old son (Keaton Nigel Cooke), the return of Dawn Weiner (now played by Greta Gerwig) and her classmate Brandon (played by Kiernan Culkin), a disgruntled film school professor (Danny DeVito), and a grumpy old grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) and her spoiled granddaughter (Zosia Mamet).
All of these stories explore Solondz’s recurring themes involving the futility of existence, the pain of suburban life, and the double punch of loneliness and regret. Watch an exclusive clip from the film below featuring Delpy’s character Dina teaching her son about spaying their new dog.
- Vikram Murthi
In honor of this Friday’s release of “Wiener-Dog,” Todd Solondz’s first directorial effort since 2011’s “Dark Horse,” Le Cinema Club is presenting the exclusive online premiere of Solondz’s 1984 Nyu short film, “Babysitter.”
The nine-minute short focuses on a boy’s recollection of the babysitter of his youth. Click here to watch the short film on Le Cinema Club’s website.
Solondz’s new film “Wiener-Dog,” follows a dachshund that goes from one strange owner to the next, serving as a central character in four stories that bring out the pointlessness of human existence. The offbeat comedy’s stellar cast includes Greta Gerwig, Danny DeVito, Julie Delpy and “Girls’” Zosia Mamet. Amazon nabbed all domestic media rights to the film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, while IFC Films is handling the theatrical release. »
- Graham Winfrey
Without fail, most Wiener-Dog reviews will start the same way: “How do you even begin to write about a Todd Solondz movie?” Yes, Solondz’s morose, glib sense of humor does present a stranger take on dramatic storytelling, but one question reigns supreme – does it work? You can be quirky, ambitious, and off-color for days, yet if execution falters, then all your absurdity is for nothing.
Solondz’s bleakest endeavor follows four different characters who all encounter an adorable Dachshund while they deal with life’s biggest questions. Young Remi’s (Keaton Nigel Cooke) curiosity is met with harsh answers, Dawn (Greta Gerwig) takes a roadtrip with an old crush, screenwriting instructor Dave Schmerz (Danny DeVito) tries to find passion once again, and Nana (Ellen Burstyn) deals with the mistakes of her past. Life might be getting them down, but they’ve always got their wiener to play »
- Matt Donato
Wiener-dog Amazon Studios Reviewed by: Harvey Karten, Shockya Grade: B Director: Todd Solondz Written by: Todd Solondz Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Kieran Culkin, Julie Delpy, Danny DeVito, Greta Gerwig, Tracy Letts, Zosia Mamet Screened at: Dolby 88, NYC, 5/31/16 Opens: June 24, 2016 There’s this Yiddish proverb Mann Traoch, Gott Lauch, meaning, loosely, “If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans.” Todd Solondz, best known for “Welcome to the Dollhouse” (an unpopular seventh-grade girl finds her life miserable, taunted by the world), this time looks into several individuals and families whose plans may call for a happy future. But life intervenes and dismay and depression follow. Solondz’s picture [ Read More ]
The post Wiener-Dog Movie Review appeared first on Shockya.com. »
- Harvey Karten
This month, Brooklyn plays home to the annual BAMCinemaFest, featuring both some tried and true festival favorites (imagine if Sundance just happened to take place in New York City in the summer) and some brand-new standouts. Here’s the best of what’s on offer, as curated and culled by the IndieWire film team.
“Little Men” New York City-centric filmmaker Ira Sachs has long used his keen observational eye to track the worlds of the city’s adult denizens with features like “Love is Strange” and “Keep the Lights On,” but he’s going for a younger set of stars (and troubles) in his moving new feature, “Little Men.” The new film debuted at Sundance earlier this year, where it pulled plenty of heartstrings (including mine) with its gentle, deeply human story of two seemingly different young teens (Theo Taplitz as the worldly Jake, Michael Barbieri as the more rough and tumble Tony) who quickly bond when one of them moves into the other’s Brooklyn neighborhood. Jake and Tony become fast friends, but their relationship is threatened by drama brewing between their parents, as Jake’s parents own the small store that Tony’s mom operates below the family’s apartment.When Jake’s parents (Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Ehle) are bothered by looming money troubles, they turn to Tony’s mom (Paulina García) and ask her to pay a higher rent, a seemingly reasonable query that has heart-breaking consequences for both families and both boys. It’s a small story that hits hard, thanks to wonderful performances and the kind of emotion that’s hard to fake. – Kate Erbland “Kate Plays Christine”
It’s usually easy enough to find common themes cropping up at various film festivals, but few people could have anticipated that this year’s Sundance would play home to two stories about Christine Chubbuck, a tragic tale that had been previously unknown by most of the population (the other Chubbuck story to crop up at Sundance was Antonio Campos’ closely observed narrative “Christine,” a winner in its own right). In 1974, Chubbuck — a television reporter for a local Sarasota, Florida TV station — killed herself live on air after a series of disappointing events and a lifetime of mental unhappiness. Robert Greene’s “Kate Plays Christine” takes an ambitious angle on Chubbuck’s story, mixing fact and fiction to present a story of an actress (Kate Lyn Sheil) grappling with her preparations to play Chubbuck in a narrative feature that doesn’t exist. Sheil is tasked with playing a mostly real version of herself, a heightened version of herself as the story winds on and even Chubbuck in a series of re-enactments. The concept is complex, but it pays off, and “Kate Plays Christine” is easily one of the year’s most ambitious and fascinating documentaries. – Ke
This eye-opening documentary focuses on Brooklyn-based tailoring company Bindle & Keep, which designs clothes for transgender and gender fluid clients. Produced by Lena Dunham and her “Girls” producer Jenni Konner, the HBO Documentary looks at fashion through the eyes of several people across the gender identity spectrum, including a transitioning teen in need of a suit for his Bar Mitzvah and a transgender man buying a tuxedo for his wedding. The film has a deep personal connection to Dunham, whose gender nonconforming sister Grace has been a vocal activist within the transgender community. “Suited” is the first solo-directing effort from Jason Benjamin, who previously co-directed the 2002 documentary “Carnival Roots,” about Trinidad & Tobago’s annual music festival. – Graham Winfrey
Todd Solondz’s first directorial effort since 2011’s “Dark Horse” is literally about an animal this time. “Wiener-Dog” follows a dachshund that goes from one strange owner to the next, serving as a central character in four stories that bring out the pointlessness of human existence. The offbeat comedy’s stellar cast includes Greta Gerwig, Danny DeVito, Julie Delpy and “Girls’” Zosia Mamet. Amazon nabbed all domestic media rights to the film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, while IFC Films is handling the theatrical release. Financed by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures and produced by Christine Vachon’s Killer Films, the film marked Solondz’s first movie to play at Sundance since 1995’s “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” – Gw
Eagle Pennell has become lost to film history, despite making two of the most important films of the modern indie era. His 1978 film “The Whole Shootin’ Match” inspired Robert Redford to start Sundance and his 1984 classic “Last Night at the Alamo” has been championed by Tarantino and Linklater, who along with IFC Films and SXSW founder Louis Black is responsible for the restoration that will be playing at Bam. “Alamo,” which tells the story of a cowboy’s last ditch effort to save a local watering hole, is credited for having given birth to the Austin film scene and for laying the groundwork for the rebirth of the American indie that came later in the decade. Pennell’s career was cut short by alcoholism, but “Alamo” stands tribute to his incredible talent, pioneering spirit and the influence he’s had on so many great filmmakers. – Chris O’Falt
Read More: Indie Legend Who Inspired Sundance, ‘Reservoir Dogs’ And More Will Have Classic Films Restored
“Author: The J.T. LeRoy Story”
J.T. Leroy was an literary and pop culture sensation, until it was revealed that the HIV-positive, ex-male-prostitute teenage author was actually the creation of a 40 year old mother by the name Laura Albert. Jeff Feuerzeig’s documentary, starring Albert and featuring her recorded phone calls from the hoax, is the best yarn of 2016. You will not believe the twist-and-turns of the behind the scenes story of how Albert pulled off the hoax and cultivated close relationships (with her sister-in-law posing at Jt) with celebrities like filmmaker Gus Van Sant and Smashing Pumpkins’ Bill Corgan, both of whom play key supporting roles in this stranger-than-fiction film. Trust us, “Author” will be one of the most entertaining films you see this summer. – Co
Loosely based on the 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado during a multiplex screening of “The Dark Knight,” Tim Sutton’s elegantly designed “Dark Night” contains a fascinating, enigmatic agenda. In its opening moments, Maica Armata’s mournful score plays out as we watch a traumatized face lit up by the red-blue glow of a nearby police car. Mirroring the media image of tragedy divorced from the lives affected by it, the ensuing movie fills in those details. Like Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant,” Sutton’s ambitious project dissects the moments surrounding the infamous event with a perceptive eye that avoids passing judgement. While some viewers may find this disaffected approach infuriating — the divisive Sundance reaction suggested as much — there’s no doubting the topicality of Sutton’s technique, which delves into the malaise of daily lives that surrounds every horrific event of this type with a keen eye. It may not change the gun control debate, but it adds a gorgeous and provocative footnote to the conversation. – Eric Kohn
Musa Syeed’s tender look at a Somali refugee community in Minneapolis puts a human face on the immigration crisis through the exploits of Adan (Barkhad Abdirahman), a young man adrift in his solitary world. Kicked out by his mother and unwelcome at the local mosque where he tries to crash, Adan meets his only source of companionship in a stray dog he finds wandering the streets. Alternating between social outings and job prospects, Adan’s struggles never strain credibility, even when an FBI agent tries to wrestle control of his situation to turn him into a spy. Shot with near-documentary realism, Syed’s insightful portrait of his forlorn character’s life recalls the earlier films of Ramin Bahrani (“Man Push Cart,” “Chop Shop”), which also capture an oft-ignored side of modern America. With immigration stories all too frequently coopted for political fuel, “A Stray” provides a refreshingly intimate alternative, which should appeal to audiences curious about the bigger picture — or those who can relate to it. – Ek
After making a blistering impression at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Andrew Neel’s fraternity psychodrama “Goat” comes to Bam with great acclaim and sky high anticipation. Starring breakout Ben Schnetzer and Nick Jonas, the film centers around a 19-year-old college student who pledges the same fraternity as his older brother, only to realize the world of hazing and endless parties is darker than he could ever imagine. In lesser hands, “Goat” would be a one-note takedown of hedonistic bro culture, but Neel’s slick direction brings you to the core of animalistic behavior and forces you to weigh the clashing egos of masculinity. By cutting underneath the layers of machismo, Neel creates a drama of insecurities buried beneath the war between predator and prey. It’s an intense and intelligent study of a world the movies have always been obsessed with. – Zack Sharf
Brady Corbet has been one of the most reliable supporting actors in films like “Funny Games,” “Force Majeure,” “Clouds of Sils Maria” and more, and he even broke through as a lead in the great indie “Simon Killer,” but it turns out Corbet’s real skills are behind the camera. In his directorial debut, “The Childhood of a Leader,” the actor creates an unnerving period psychodrama that evokes shades of “The Omen” by way of Hitchcock. Set in Europe after Wwi, the movie follows a young boy as he develops a terrifying ego after witnessing the creation of the Treaty of Versailles. Cast members Robert Pattinson and Berenice Bejo deliver reliably strong turns, but it’s Corbet’s impressive control that makes the film a tightly-wound skin-crawler. His ambition is alive in every frame and detail, resulting in a commanding debut that announces him as a major filmmaker to watch. – Zs
Meet your new obsession: A spellbinding homage to old pulp paperbacks and the Technicolor melodramas of the 1960s, Anna Biller’s “The Love Witch” is a throwback that’s told with the kind of perverse conviction and studied expertise that would make Quentin Tarantino blush. Shot in velvety 35mm, the film follows a beautiful, sociopathic, love-starved young witch named Elaine (Samantha Robinson, absolutely unforgettable in a demented breakthrough performance) as she blows into a coastal Californian town in desperate search of a replacement for her dead husband. Sex, death, Satanic rituals, God-level costume design, and cinema’s greatest tampon joke ensue, as Biller spins an arch but hyper-sincere story about the true price of patriarchy. – David Ehrlich
Coming-of-age movies are a dime a dozen (and the going rate is even cheaper at Sundance), but Chad Hartigan’s absurdly charming follow-up to “This Is Martin Bonner” puts a fresh spin on a tired genre. Played by lovable newcomer Markees Christmas, Morris is a 13-year-old New Yorker who’s forced to move to the suburbs of Germany when his widower dad (a note-perfect Craig Robinson) accepts a job as the coach of a Heidelberg soccer team. It’s tough being a teen, but Morris — as the only black kid in a foreign town that still has one foot stuck in the old world — has it way harder than most. But there’s a whole lot of joy here, as Hartigan’s sweet and sensitive fish out of water story leverages a handful of killer performances into a great little movie about becoming your own man. – De
BAMCinemaFest 2016 runs from June 15 – 26.
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Related storiesChristine Chubbuck: Video Exists of Reporter's On-Air Suicide That Inspired Two Sundance Films'Wiener-Dog' Trailer: Greta Gerwig Befriends a Dachshund in Todd Solondz's Dark Sundance Comedy'Little Men,' 'Wiener-Dog' and More Set for BAMcinemaFest 2016 -- Indiewire's Tuesday Rundown »
- Kate Erbland, Eric Kohn, David Ehrlich, Zack Sharf, Chris O'Falt and Graham Winfrey
For over 40 years, Andy Armstrong has worked on a huge array of stunts and action sequences in TV and film. From directing 1,000s of extras in Stargate to a full body burn in Danny DeVito's Hoffa, Armstrong's experiences as a stuntman, stunt coordinator and unit director have taken him all over the world.
The brother of Vic Armstrong, the stunt coordinator and director who famously doubled for Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies, Andy Armstrong's career began when he doubled for Sir John Mills on the 1970s TV series, The Zoo Gang. That early job jumpstarted a life in filmmaking which has taken in three James Bond movies, 90s action (Total Recall, Universal Soldier) and superhero movies (The Green Hornet, Thor, The Amazing Spider-Man).
Those 40 years of filmmaking experience are the pillar of Armstrong's book, the Action Movie Maker's Handbook. Intended as a reference for those thinking of starting a career in stunts or action unit directing, it also offers a valuable insight for those outside the industry, too. The book reveals the range of talents required to bring an effective action scene to the screen - organisation, storytelling, an understanding of engineering and physics - and how much input a coordinator and unit director has on how those sequences will look in the final film.
We caught up with Andy Armstrong via telephone to talk about his book and some of the highlights in his career so far. Read on for his thoughts on creating the action sequences in Thor and The Amazing Spider-Man, his hilarious behind-the-scenes memories from the 80s cult classic, Highlander, and what went wrong on the 2004 Catwoman movie...
Your book gave me a new appreciation for what second unit directors and stunt coordinators do. I didn't realise how much design work you do when it comes to action scenes, for example.
Yeah, it is true that a lot of people don't realise how much development goes into action. Especially nowadays, it's such a complex business. That becomes a huge part of it - the technicalities of it and the storytelling part of it. Some things might look great, but when you put them all together they don't necessarily work for that movie. A lot of what I've made a living doing is really creating action that is appropriate for the movie. Because the wrong type of action is just like the wrong costume or the wrong actor or something - it just takes you out of the film.
You get a lot of movies that actually have too much action in them. Then what happens is, you can't appreciate it. It's like a feast where the starter is such a huge meal that you don't even want the main course because you're full. That's like so many action movies - they'd actually benefit from having some of the action taken out of them. I'm always fascinated when you see an audience in an action movie.
When I feel there's too much action in a movie, or it goes on for too long, I always look around in a cinema. It's interesting to see people chatting to each other or doing something else. You should never have that in an action movie. Action should be like sex or violence - you want to be left just wanting a bit more. That gets forgotten in a lot of movies, which are just relentless. Stuff going on the whole time.
What happens then is that, when it comes to something special for the third act, some fantastic fight or something, you can't raise the bar enough, because the bar's been high all the way through the movie. It's a weird thing.
They have to build, action scenes.
They do have to build, absolutely. That's why I do that little graph in the book, which is something I do in every movie, just to work out how much action there should be and where it should go and, on a scale of one to 10, how big it is. It's funny how crude that looks, and yet if you compare it to any of the really great action movies, they'll fit that graph. There'll be something at the opening, there'll be something happening at the end of the first act and into the second act, and there'll be bits and pieces happening in the second act and then a big third act finale. Whether it's a movie made in the 60s or now, that formula of action still becomes the sweet spot.
A lot of these superhero movies, there's some fantastic action going on, but by the end of the movie, nobody cares. You have nowhere to go with it.
Some of them are very long as well.
Far too long. Far, far too long. You're absolutely right. I think any movie, past two hours, has got to be either incredibly spectacular or it's an ego-fest for the filmmakers. Keeping somebody in a seat for more than two hours - you'd better have a really good tale to tell. And I don't think many of these modern ones do - they just have lots of stuff in them.
So what films have impressed you recently in terms of action?
Kingsman, definitely. I thought it was absolutely brilliant, a really good take on it. I loved that it was Colin Firth and not a traditional action hero that's covered in muscles and torn t-shirts and things. And for the same reasons, really, I love the Taken series of movies with Liam Neeson. I loved them, particularly because they're grounded in reality, or set just above reality. Obviously, Kingsman you go more above reality, but they're still grounded with real gravity and real people. It's a bit hypocritical, because I've made a great living doing some superhero movies, but they're not more favourite movies by any chance. I'm very proud of the work I've done on them, but the movies I love aren't even action, really. I haven't seen the third Taken, I need to get that, but I thought the first two Takens were really very cool.
I quite liked both the Red films. I was going to do the second one of those, because the guy who directed the second one is a friend of mine. So I'd have liked to have done that, but they wanted to go with the person they used on the first film. Dean Parisot is a very good friend of mine, I did Galaxy Quest with him. That's one of my favourites.
But a lot of movies I've seen lately, I've been underwhelmed by some of them. It's funny. I like tight little movies. I think it's a shame we've not had more John Frankenheimers making things like Ronin, you know. Great action but well placed - the right action in the right place. Again, grounded in reality, real people.
Do you think stunts go through trends? Obviously, you've recently been doing a lot of wire work on superhero movies lately.
Oh, absolutely. It's kind of gone in a tight full circle, because a few years ago action went fully CG, and then the brief we were given when we did the first Amazing Spider-Man is that they want to get away from that feel, to go more gravity based, more reality. That's what we spent a lot of time doing on that first Spider-Man is the way he jumps around. I based it on real physics.
Some of the stuff on the first Amazing Spider-Man I'm really very, very proud of. We filmed some groundbreaking rig systems and high-powered winches that moved around so there was a proper organic travel when Spider-Man jumps around. It's funny, because when I agreed to do the movie, that was the brief - they want to make Spider-Man's movement much more realistic. I said, "Yes, absolutely, we can do it." But when I came out of the meeting, I have to be honest - I had no idea how the hell we were going to do that.
We did a lot of testing. They were good enough to give us a lot of time to test. One of the things I did was bring in an Olympic gymnast, and I had him swing from three bars, from one bar to the next bar to the next bar, doing giant swings on them. I videoed it, because I knew that something on the original [Sam Raimi] Spider-Man didn't look right. It sounds really obvious in the end, because your eye goes straight to it, but when I brought the gymnast in, I realised that when you see a human swinging, their downward swing is really violent. It gets faster, faster, faster until it nearly pulls the arms out of the sockets, and then as they swing up it gets slower, slower, slower until they get negative. Then they grab the next bar and it happens again. It's the massive variation in velocity that made me realise, "I get it. That's what's real." Then you can tell it's a real guy. When you see Spider-Man and his speed is the same going down as it is going up, even though you haven't analysed it in your mind, you know that it's not right. It's like the five-legged horse syndrome: if you saw one standing in a field, even though you've never seen one in your life, you'd know that it's not something from nature.
It's something I spend a lot of time doing, making things organic and real. In the book you've see a lot of reference to Buster Keaton and things, because I like to go back to that. When you've seen something done for real, then you can make anything as fantastic as you want. But you have to know where the baseline is, where real is, before you start doing something too spectacular. Or what will happen is, even though an audience has never seen an athlete on giant bars, or a guy swinging on a spider web, they'll know instinctively that it looks wrong. We're conditioned to do that - no matter how realistic a dummy in a shop window is, we know as humans that it isn't a real person. Animals know all that - they can spot their own species, they can spot other species and know what they are.
It's why, with a superhero movie, especially, I like to do a bible beforehand, so that you can have a reference. How strong is Spider-Man? Can he throw cars or push a building over? Can he just pick up a sofa? You have to have a yardstick of what people can do. Otherwise it's all over the place. We've seen those movies, where the power of the superheroes [varies]. One minute he gets knocked out by someone in a bar, the next he's pushing a house over.
It has to have some kind of internal logic, doesn't it.
It has to have some kind of logic, no matter how mad that logic is, it has to be consistent. We had it on Thor: how powerful is Thor? How much can he do with a hammer? What happens when the hammer really hits something? You have to have all these mad conversations at the beginning of the movie. If you see someone punch through a building, it's tough to then see that same person slap someone in their face without tearing their head off. You need a yardstick to go to.
I was interested to read what you said about Catwoman, and the idea you had for the big fight.
Yeah, that was a classic case. In the end I was proved right. The movie could have been fantastic. Halle Berry - in the outfit, she could stop traffic. And she was such a perfect choice for Catwoman - she had all the abilities. The movement down, the whole thing. It was such a waste, because the script got crappier and crappier. There was a rewrite every week or so. Each one was worse than the last one. It was like someone was drinking and writing worse and worse versions of it. I feel sorry for Halle as well - I don't think it did her career any good. She's such a trooper anyway.
It's funny, I remember when I saw the first TV commercial for the movie, and I'd been a bit depressed - I don't like leaving movies. I remember coming out, and you always have that second thought as to whether you should have left it or not. But I'm quite strict about only doing good stuff. The interesting thing is, I fought to get the motorcycle sequence in there, and the directors and the producers - none of them wanted it. The moment I saw that first commercial, and it was nearly all motorcycle. I remember shouting at the screen that I was absolutely right. You know when they put that in the trailer that it's the only good thing in the movie! It's very funny.
Why do you think that happens sometimes in these big Hollywood films, where you get this death spiral of script rewrites? You hear about it quite a lot.
Oh, God knows. If you could answer that I think you'd be a gazillionaire. A lot of these rewrites just get worse and worse. It's like cooking, putting this and that in, until you've got this inedible bowl of crap that's like the vision you originally set out to make. That happens so often. I think part of it happens in the main studio system because a lot of films get made by committee. That happens a lot. It didn't happen with some of the greats of the 50s, 60s and 70s, because some of those people were tyrannical, but the movies they made had a personal identity to them.
John Boorman doesn't always make great movies, but he's a great moviemaker and every movie he makes is a John Boorman movie. You look at Excalibur, you look at Deliverance, you look at Hope And Glory, they're all different, you can like them or not like them, but they have a real authority and identity to them. What happens in a studio system is you have a lot of junior executives and they all want to put a comment in there, they all want to use this actor or that actress. In the end, for right or wrong, a film has to have one real author. If it doesn't... there's the old saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee. That's what happens to movies. There are so many people in different areas in the studio that want to keep their fingers in the pie.
The big thing about studios is, most studio executives are all eventually going to get fired or run another studio or something. The rule of thumb is, most studio executives want to be just attached to a movie enough that if it's a huge success they can say they were or part of it, and they can point out the bits they changed or suggested or whatever. And if it's a Catwoman, they can distance themselves from it as if it were a disease. That's a real thing - a fine line executives work. Because you can get the blame for a picture that you may have had nothing to do with in some ways, you had no say in it if you were a studio executive, necessarily, and you can also get lots of praise and lots of awards and a million-dollar job at another studio because you're considered to be the guy or girl that brought this or that movie to the studio and it made $300m. It's a funny game, that.
In the end, who knows what's going to be successful? Who'd have thought movies like Fast & Furious would still be successful?
Yeah, there's gonna be eight or nine of them.
It's incredible. Vic [Armstrong] and I were offered, I guess it was three or four, and then they made a change with the action team and they've had the same action team since. But we'd just started Thor so we turned it down. It's funny because they went off and did more and more of those Fast & Furious films and we did the two Spider-Mans and Season Of The Witch and some other things. I think in the end we kind of made the right choice. I'm proud of the stuff I've done.
When you think of how advanced the look of Highlander was - Russell invented that look. The very long lenses, the very wide lenses. Fantastic cuts between things. It's absolutely timeless. I watched it again recently. It's as good now as it was when we made it. And it's a beautiful looking movie.
I'm really proud of the stuff I've done on it. It's amazing to think it's 30 years [old]. There's a lot of funny stories about Highlander. When they hired Sean Connery first of all as Ramirez, it’s funny because it's a Scotsman playing a Spaniard and a Frenchman playing a Scotsman! The funny thing is, Peter Davis and Bill Panzer, the producers, cast Connery - and the movie's called Highlander, so Connery thought he was playing the Highlander!
He got some huge fee, and then they let him know that he's playing Ramirez, this Spanish guy. He went, "Oh fine", but his fee was the same - he got about a million dollars for however many weeks he was on the movie. And then Christopher Lambert, who'd only done Greystoke before, as far as English-speaking movies went, they cast him and hadn't met him. Apparently, when they did Greystoke, he learned his lines parrot fashion - he just learned the line he had to speak. He couldn't speak English. But he's such a lovely guy.
When they first met him and he answered "Yes" to every question, they realised he didn't know what the hell they were talking about. [Laughs] They were in a bar or restaurant, and Peter Davis and Bill Panzer both came outside, and they left him at the table, and said, "He can't fucking speak English!" And they'd already cast him! The deal was done! It was fantastic, you know?
It just shows you. He was so charismatic in that movie. He learned English during the movie and was brilliant.
He's also incredibly short-sighted, Christophe. I did some really cool sword fight sequences with him. He couldn't see the sword! Incredible. His muscle memory and ability to be taught a fight with his glasses on, and then take is glasses off and then shoot was absolutely astounding. I've never met anyone like it. He never missed a beat, and yet he couldn't see - he couldn't see which end of the sword he had a hold of.
You look at those sword fights, and he's better than most stuntmen doing them. Yet he could hardly see his opponent, let alone the sword. Fascinating.
Clancy Brown, who played the villain, he's still a friend. He was fantastic. A couple of funny things happened on that, I think they're in the book. We were doing some car action in New York, and I had cameras on the front of the Cadillac. The Cadillac was my choice - originally it was written as a big four-wheel drive. I wanted something classically American that would slide around.
When we were towing it through town with the cameras on for the close-ups of the two actors, Clancy's there with his slit throat with the safety pins in it and all that, and I would jump off the back of the camera car when we got to a decent bit of road or bridge or something, and I'd turn all the cameras on.
At one point, I was turning the cameras on and the cop who was helping us - or supposed to be helping us in a typical sort of New York, aggressive cop way, said, "If you get off the camera car again, I'm going to arrest you."
Now, meanwhile, the cameras are rolling. I'm not really arguing with the cop, but I'm a bit pissed off to say the least. So I got back on the camera car. But while I'm doing that, Clancy, just dicking around, was [sings] "New York, New York!" And that was just him playing around. It was actually in response to me arguing with a New York cop, really.
Anyway, Russell, when he was putting the chase together, loved that little moment. He'd done all the Queen videos, and that's when Queen came in and saw it, and they loved it. So that's when they re-recorded their version of New York, New York and it became a hit record for Queen.
It started as a mild confrontation between me and a rather aggressive New York cop! [Laughs] Whenever I see Clancy, we still laugh about it. It wasn't in the script or anything, it was just one of those things.
Andy Armstrong, thank you very much!
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Director Shane Black's upcoming sequel Predator 4 will be titled Predator. It begins shooting this September in Vancouver. And the massive production will last through December. This news comes courtesy of the Director's Guild of Canada. At this time, no cast has been officially announced. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been rumored to return as Dutch from the 1987 original, and rapper 50 Cent has said he's part of the team, but that has never been confirmed by 20th Century Fox.
The DGA has The Predator listed to start shooting on September 26. At this time, it isn't known if the entirety of the movie will be done in Vancouver, or if there are location shoots planned after December. It also isn't known how much of the movie will be shot in studio as opposed to out in the jungle. In fact, a setting hasn't been disclosed, with the previous reboot Predators taking place in the forest. It's not clear if this next entry in the saga will follow suit.
The Predator was supposed to arrive in March 2018, but last month 20th Century Fox moved the sequel into February. The story is confirmed to take place in modern day, and will not revisit the 80s as some have speculated. While it has been acknowledged that Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken meetings for The Predator, Shane Black refuses to further comment on his involvement. But it is believed that we'll get reintroduced to Dutch thirty years after he first tangled with the alien killing machine who hunts humans for sport. Dutch will not be the main hero, though, as Black has revealed the lead character is named Quinn MacKenna.
As of now, Schwarzenegger is listed as 'still in talks', though he has not officially committed to the movie in any capacity. It isn't known if the hesitation to return stems from his involvement in Terminator Genisys, which was a box office flop. There were 2 more Terminator reboot sequels planned with Arnie in the lead, but they were put on indefinite hold. The action icon is currently gearing up to shoot two other long-awaited sequels to some of his best known movies, including the follow-up to Twins titled Triplets, which reunites him with Danny DeVito and brings in Eddie Murphy as a third sibling. And The Legend of Conan.
Though Shane Black is also signed to direct Dwayne Johnson in a reboot adaptation of Doc Savage, the Iron Man 3 director has confirmed that The Predator is his next project. The filmmaker has a unique history with the Predator franchise. While working as a screenwriter in the 80s, behind such hits as the Lethal Weapon franchise, he was asked to help with the Predator script. While he turned that side of the production down, he did decided to take on a role as a member of Dutch's team, playing the character known as Hawkins.
The Predator will arrive in theaters on February 9, 2018. Shane Black's latest movie The Nice Guys is currently playing in theaters across the country. Thus far, an official Predator teaser poster has been released by 20th Century Fox. We suspect that we'll be getting official casting information soon as the shoot is just around the corner. »
In the summer of 1993, Super Mario Bros. was greeted by awful reviews and grossed just $20 million at the box office on a budget of $48 million. Though the film was praised by many critics for its visual flair, the script was almost universally panned. Wrote James Berardinelli: "As everyone knows, arcade-style diversions are not known for strong, original narratives or well-developed characters. In that sense, this film is worthy of its inspiration." Ouch! Now, co-director Rocky Morton (who helmed the film alongside his creative partner and future wife Annabel Jankel) has spoken out on the "harrowing" experience of directing the video game adaptation in an interview with SciFiNow (via Uproxx). He's not kidding! Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which you can and should read in full here. 1. They cast Bob Hoskins as Mario because he was "available" (but really wanted Danny De Vito). "Danny De Vito turned us down. »
- Chris Eggertsen
Directed by Todd Solondz.
Four stories linked by a single dog. The affluent family who takes in the dog but can’t look after it. The veterinary nurse who takes it on a road trip. The university lecturer who sees it as his last chance of companionship. And the grumpy old woman who has given up on life.
Don’t be confused. There are two films at this year’s Sundance London with remarkably similar names. There’s Weiner, the documentary about the man of the same name who’s ambitions to be Mayor of New York were dashed by a sex scandal. And there’s this one, Wiener-Dog.
The dog of the title is what Brits call a dashchund – a sausage dog, if you like – and it’s the »
- Freda Cooper
Of course we're as excited as anyone else about the arrival of summer! Warmer temps mean more time to enjoy the great outdoors. That is, until the thermometer climbs over 30 with the humidex and the kids start to wilt, droop, and worst of all, whine "It's tooooo hot!" Some summer days are just too humid to send the kids outside, especially at midday when the sun is beating down. What to do when there's a heat advisory in effect? Cineplex has your back. Every month there are classic family-friendly features playing on Saturday mornings at 11am. Admission is only $2.99 and a portion of the proceeds goes towards Free the Children. This Saturday, treat the family to an old favourite (and discover a new favourite) on the big screen! Here's our June lineup: June 4: The Lorax Anyone who grew up with the stories of fabled Dr. Seuss will find lots »
- Jenny Bullough
Wiener-Dog is a collection of four short stories joined together by the subject of the title, a sausage dog, or dachshund who is branded with various names throughout. Our introduction to the dog is made during the opening title sequence where the brown canine is seen being delivered to an animal rescue centre from the back of a pick-up truck. From there he is ‘adopted’ by Tracey Letts‘ Danny and his young son and cancer survivor Remi (Keaton Nigel Cooke). Even though his mother constantly offers her unwillingness to take on a new burden, »
- Paul Heath
Author George R.R. Martin is obsessed with medieval history. Of course, this should be obvious to anyone who has seen even a fleeting glimpse of HBO’s “Game Of Thrones.” To be exact, Martin takes a lot of inspiration from the War of the Roses (no, not the Danny DeVito movie) and establishes their real-life events […]
The post 7-Minute Video Essay Explores How Medieval History & Dragons Informs ‘Game Of Thrones’ appeared first on The Playlist. »
- Will Ashton
Ahead of its Us released next month, the first trailer has arrived online for writer-director Todd Solondz’s new film Wiener-Dog which stars Greta Gerwig, Brie Larson, Julie Delpy, Kieran Culkin, Zosia Mamet, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, and Tracy Letts. Take a look below after the official synopsis…
From director Todd Solondz (Welcome To The Dollhouse, Happiness), Wiener-dog is a dark, starkly funny story of a single dog and the many different people she touches over her short lifetime. Man’s best friend starts out teaching a young boy some contorted life lessons before being taken in by a compassionate vet tech named Dawn Wiener. Dawn reunites with someone from her past and sets off on a road trip. After leaving Dawn, Wiener-Dog encounters a floundering film professor, as well as an embittered elderly woman and her needy granddaughter—all longing for something more. Solondz’s perversely dark comedy offers »
- Amie Cranswick
Many disturbing films will be released this year, some will be quite weird. But only one will be both and feature the most adorable "hot dog" you ever did see. From Welcome to the Dollhouse director Todd Solondz, Weiner-Dog is described as: A twisted Lassie for misanthropes. It follows the wayward adventures of a dachshund who passes from oddball owner to oddball owner—including the world’s worst mom, a beleaguered screenwriter, and the grownup incarnation of Welcome to the Dollhouse’s Dawn Wiener—whose radically dysfunctional lives are all impacted by the pooch. Featuring an all-star cast that includes Greta Gerwig, Julie Delpy, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, and Zosia Mamet, Weiner-Dog may not be the oddest film to come out of Sundance, but it is the one most likely to piss off animal lovers. Take a look at the trailer below. Weiner-Dog hits theaters on Jun 24. »
- Roth Cornet
Amazon Studios and IFC Films have released the trailer for "Wiener-Dog," the new ensemble dark comedy from "Happiness" director Todd Solondz. The film, which opens June 24th, follows the story of a single dog and the many different people she touches over her short lifetime. The cast includes Ellen Burstyn, Julie Delpy, Danny DeVito, Greta Gerwig, Tracy Letts, Kieran Culkin and Zosia Mamet.
- Garth Franklin
IFC has debuted an official trailer for Todd Solondz's new film Wiener-Dog, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year. Unfortunately the film was hated by pretty much everyone who saw it, including everyone I know with maybe one or two exceptions. Then again, this is kind of filmmaking that Solondz is known for, with deadpan dark humor and melodramatic scenes that don't amount to much. The cast of Wiener-Dog includes Ellen Burstyn, Kieran Culkin, Julie Delpy, Danny DeVito, Greta Gerwig, Tracy Letts, and Zosia Mamet. However, the film's real star is the adorable dachshund dog, who changes the lives of all the various people she meets throughout her life. As charming as that synopsis sounds, don't be fooled by it. Here's the official trailer (+ poster) for Todd Solondz's Wiener-Dog, in high def from Apple: Man's best friend starts out teaching a young boy some contorted life lessons before »
- Alex Billington
Since its release in 1995, director Todd Solondz's coming-of-age comedy Welcome to the Doll House has become an evergreen cult favorite. Now, the official follow up is coming, and it looks every bit as weird and wonderful as the first movie. Though we're not sure Wiener-Dog can be called a direct sequel. The first trailer and poster have arrived. And if you love dogs, you don't want to miss this.
From director Todd Solondz, Wiener-Dog is a dark, starkly funny story of a single dog and the many different people she touches over her short lifetime. Man's best friend starts out teaching a young boy some contorted life lessons before being taken in by a compassionate vet tech named Dawn Wiener. Dawn reunites with someone from her past and sets off on a road trip.
After leaving Dawn, Wiener-Dog encounters a floundering film professor. He also hooks up with an »
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