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6 items from 2004


Harring subs for Hannah in 'King' court

3 August 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Laura Harring has found her way to Texas to replace Daryl Hannah in James Marsh's The King for Ed Pressman and John Schmidt's ContentFilm. Shooting is under way with Harring starring alongside Gael Garcia Bernal, Sam Shepard and Paul Dano. The story centers on 21-year-old just out of the Navy (Bernal) who tracks down the father he never knew (Shepard) only to find him as a pastor of a thriving Baptist church in Corpus Christi, Texas. With a beautiful wife (Harring) and two perfect kids, the pastor wants nothing to do with his lost son. Sources said Hannah exited the project because of scheduling conflicts. ContentFilm is financing the drama, with Marsh helming from a script by Milo Addica and Marsh. Addica also is producing with ContentFilm's Pressman and Schmidt. Sofia Sondervan is executive producing along with James Wilson. Harring, best known for her work in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, is repped by Writers & Artists Group International and Leverage Management. She was most recently seen opposite John Travolta in Lions Gate Films' The Punisher for helmer Jonathan Hensleigh. »

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Taking Lives

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Opens

Friday, March 19

The cities of Quebec and Montreal actually playing themselves for once is just about the best thing in the otherwise pedestrian psychological thriller "Taking Lives". Shooting largely in the old towns of both French-Canadian cities, director D.J. Caruso establishes a film-noir atmosphere that has an intriguing blend of Old and New World. Angelina Jolie plays a role that definitely feels like something she has already done, but she does add an unmistakable dash of excitement and glamour. Otherwise, it's a struggle to differentiate this cop vs. serial killer tale from many others that now crowd video shelves. Young males will give "Taking Lives" a solid opening weekend, but Jolie's Special Agent Illeana Scott is no Lara Croft.

Illeana, an FBI profiler, has a knack for tracking down serial killers

she's Sherlock Holmes with curves. Illeana can merely look at a suspect and determine he's a left-hander from Vancouver with a bad childhood -- or lie in a grave, which is where we first see her, and determine the exact method by which a victim was murdered and buried.

Illeana gets called into a case that has the Montreal police baffled. (How and why Canadian authorities would bring an American agent in on a Canadian case is never made clear.) A body has turned up at a construction site, and on almost no evidence whatsoever, Surete du Quebec director Leclair (Tcheky Karyo) decides a serial killer is at work.

The film actually opens in 1983, when a drifter (Paul Dano) impulsively kills a guy he is traveling with and assumes his identity. In present day, a distraught mother (Gena Rowlands) pleads to bored Quebec City police that she just saw her son, whom she believed dead for two decades. She cautions them that he is very dangerous.

The viewer's only quandary at this moment is whether Ethan Hawke, who claims to be Montreal art dealer James Costa, looks enough like that kid in 1983 to be him, or is he simply what he says he is -- a good Samaritan who happened along just as a prolific serial killer was finishing off another victim?

Initially, Illeana treats him as a suspect. But signs point to him being the next target of the killer, since he got a good look at the man, thus requiring police protection and Illeana's continual presence in his life. A strange attraction grows between them that may, in her words, "cloud my judgment."

Meanwhile, Illeana becomes convinced that the killer has been on the rampage for years, each time assuming the life of his victim. But her methods clash with those of her Montreal police colleagues, hotheaded Paquette (Olivier Martinez) and the more even-keel Duval (Jean-Hugues Anglade). Then Kiefer Sutherland turns up rather late in the story, playing yet another of his furtive and menacing characters.

Jon Bokenkamp's script, based on Michael Pye's novel, delivers the requisite thriller sequences -- the chase through a large crowd, a detective prowling in a dark house only to discover that she is not alone, a body that falls out of nowhere, a car that roars down the wrong way of a bridge. The movie loses considerable punch, though, with a drawn-out ending, when the culprit is revealed but doesn't receive his comeuppance until much later.

The filmmaking here -- Amir M. Mokri's moody cinematography, Tom Southwell's stylish mix of locations, Anne V. Coates' meticulous editing and Philip Glass' unusually low-key but evocative music -- is surprisingly graceful for a conventional thriller. Clearly, much care and intelligence have been lavished on discouraging, routine material.

TAKING LIVES

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. in association with Village Roadshow Pictures presents a Mark Canton production

Credits:

Director: D.J. Caruso

Screenwriter: Jon Bokenkamp

Based on a novel by: Michael Pye

Producers: Mark Canton, Bernie Goldman

Executive producers: Bruce Berman

David Heyman

Director of photography: Amir M. Mokri

Production designer: Tom Southwell

Music: Philip Glass

Costume designer: Marie-Sylvie Deveau

Editor: Anne V. Coates

Cast:

Illeana: Angelina Jolie

Costa: Ethan Hawke

Hart: Kiefer Sutherland

Mrs. Asher: Gena Rowlands

Paquette: Olivier Martinez

Duval: Jean-Hugues Anglade

Leclair: Tcheky Karyo

Running time -- 103 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

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The Girl Next Door

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Opens

Friday, March 12

A sharp, vivacious comedy that pairs a straight-arrow high-schooler and a former porn star, "The Girl Next Door" marks its director and scripters as talents to watch and affirms that its young star, Emile Hirsch, is a big-screen natural. As the title character, Elisha Cuthbert will be a draw, as will the film's no-nonsense attitude toward sex. After "Girl"'s sneak Friday, word-of-mouth among younger audiences should contribute to a strong bow next month for Fox.

Hirsch stars as Matthew, an overachieving high school senior who idolizes JFK and plans a career in politics. As president of the student council, he's raised $25,000 to bring Cambodian teen Samnang (Ulysses Lee), a nerdy mathematical genius, from his jungle village to the upper-middle-class comfort of Westport High. It's a running joke that loses steam, though the Samnang funds provide a key plot point. While most of the senior class is preoccupied with Prom Fever and trips to the beach, Matthew is consumed with a college scholarship competition that requires a speech on the subject of moral fiber. Enter the gorgeous girl next door.

Adventurous Danielle Cuthbert, of "24"), who's house-sitting for her aunt, is the same age as Matthew but worlds more experienced, and she goads him into doing something his packed schedule has never permitted -- having fun. Adopting her mantra -- "Just go with it" -- Matthew Falls for the mysterious Danielle, and she's drawn to his earnestness and decency. Soon after they share their first, very public kiss, Matthew learns more about her recent past, courtesy of his tough-talking friend Eli, a sex-obsessed virgin (terrific work by Chris Marquette of "Joan of Arcadia"). The sweet blonde, who told Matthew she recently quit her job in order to start over, is also the sensual brunette Athena, star of porn videos.

In another era, Danielle would be a fallen woman seeking redemption. Reflecting more open times, the script by Stuart Blumberg, David T. Wagner and Brent Goldberg makes no apologies for her past. "Girl" views the sex business as a bizarre free enterprise whose practitioners have a slightly dumb openness -- Danielle being the exception. Darker aspects are avoided, though there are allusions to male filmmakers as pimps collecting female talent. Along those lines, the unpredictable Kelly (Timothy Olyphant) and his former partner, porn mogul Hugo Posh (James Remar), are separately trying to lure Danielle back to the screen, with Matthew caught in the middle.

It's fine to eschew sociology, but because the film offers no background for Danielle or motivation for her career choice (besides money), she remains too much of a fantasy figure, notwithstanding the warmth and humor Cuthbert brings to this dream girl with her feet on the ground.

Still, the collision of innocence and experience unfolds with high energy under the helm of Luke Greenfield ("The Animal"). The story's concessions to formula conventions -- the importance of prom, the lesson learned -- have a novel twist. Greenfield makes fine use of fantasy sequences, finding the giddy edge in screwball and slapstick scenes and capturing the laissez faire culture of high school.

As Matthew's best friends and co-conspirators in an unusual extracurricular project, Marquette and Paul Dano ("L.I.E".) provide strong support. Occupying a parallel world of benign ineptitude are Westport's adults -- among them Timothy Bottoms as Matthew's dad.

Toplining the able cast, Hirsch ("The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys," "The Emperor's Club") displays leading-man charisma, sincerity and outstanding comic abilities -- just watch him in the scenes when Matthew finds himself dosed with Ecstasy.

The spirited music soundtrack, which includes a few boomer-friendly rock and blues numbers, underlines the sense of teen rebellion. The technical package is polished, with production designer Stephen Lineweaver credibly creating a wide range of settings, from staid suburban interiors to the lurid explosion of kitsch at an adult-film convention in Las Vegas.

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

20th Century Fox

Regency Enterprises presents

a New Regency production

Credits:

Director: Luke Greenfield

Screenwriters: Stuart Blumberg, David T. Wagner, Brent Goldberg

Producers: Charles Gordon, Harry Gittes, Marc Sternberg

Executive producers: Arnon Milchan, Guy Riedel

Director of photography: Jamie Anderson

Production designer: Stephen Lineweaver

Music: Paul Haslinger

Co-producer: Richard Wenk

Costume designer: Marilyn Vance

Editor: Mark Livolsi

Cast:

Matthew Kidman: Emile Hirsch

Danielle: Elisha Cuthbert

Kelly: Timothy Olyphant

Hugo Posh: James Remar

Eli: Chris Marquette

Klitz: Paul Dano

Mr. Kidman: Timothy Bottoms

Samnang: Ulysses Lee

Running time -- 109 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

Permalink | Report a problem


Taking Lives

15 March 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Opens

Friday, March 19

The cities of Quebec and Montreal actually playing themselves for once is just about the best thing in the otherwise pedestrian psychological thriller "Taking Lives". Shooting largely in the old towns of both French-Canadian cities, director D.J. Caruso establishes a film-noir atmosphere that has an intriguing blend of Old and New World. Angelina Jolie plays a role that definitely feels like something she has already done, but she does add an unmistakable dash of excitement and glamour. Otherwise, it's a struggle to differentiate this cop vs. serial killer tale from many others that now crowd video shelves. Young males will give "Taking Lives" a solid opening weekend, but Jolie's Special Agent Illeana Scott is no Lara Croft.

Illeana, an FBI profiler, has a knack for tracking down serial killers

she's Sherlock Holmes with curves. Illeana can merely look at a suspect and determine he's a left-hander from Vancouver with a bad childhood -- or lie in a grave, which is where we first see her, and determine the exact method by which a victim was murdered and buried.

Illeana gets called into a case that has the Montreal police baffled. (How and why Canadian authorities would bring an American agent in on a Canadian case is never made clear.) A body has turned up at a construction site, and on almost no evidence whatsoever, Surete du Quebec director Leclair (Tcheky Karyo) decides a serial killer is at work.

The film actually opens in 1983, when a drifter (Paul Dano) impulsively kills a guy he is traveling with and assumes his identity. In present day, a distraught mother (Gena Rowlands) pleads to bored Quebec City police that she just saw her son, whom she believed dead for two decades. She cautions them that he is very dangerous.

The viewer's only quandary at this moment is whether Ethan Hawke, who claims to be Montreal art dealer James Costa, looks enough like that kid in 1983 to be him, or is he simply what he says he is -- a good Samaritan who happened along just as a prolific serial killer was finishing off another victim?

Initially, Illeana treats him as a suspect. But signs point to him being the next target of the killer, since he got a good look at the man, thus requiring police protection and Illeana's continual presence in his life. A strange attraction grows between them that may, in her words, "cloud my judgment."

Meanwhile, Illeana becomes convinced that the killer has been on the rampage for years, each time assuming the life of his victim. But her methods clash with those of her Montreal police colleagues, hotheaded Paquette (Olivier Martinez) and the more even-keel Duval (Jean-Hugues Anglade). Then Kiefer Sutherland turns up rather late in the story, playing yet another of his furtive and menacing characters.

Jon Bokenkamp's script, based on Michael Pye's novel, delivers the requisite thriller sequences -- the chase through a large crowd, a detective prowling in a dark house only to discover that she is not alone, a body that falls out of nowhere, a car that roars down the wrong way of a bridge. The movie loses considerable punch, though, with a drawn-out ending, when the culprit is revealed but doesn't receive his comeuppance until much later.

The filmmaking here -- Amir M. Mokri's moody cinematography, Tom Southwell's stylish mix of locations, Anne V. Coates' meticulous editing and Philip Glass' unusually low-key but evocative music -- is surprisingly graceful for a conventional thriller. Clearly, much care and intelligence have been lavished on discouraging, routine material.

TAKING LIVES

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. in association with Village Roadshow Pictures presents a Mark Canton production

Credits:

Director: D.J. Caruso

Screenwriter: Jon Bokenkamp

Based on a novel by: Michael Pye

Producers: Mark Canton, Bernie Goldman

Executive producers: Bruce Berman

David Heyman

Director of photography: Amir M. Mokri

Production designer: Tom Southwell

Music: Philip Glass

Costume designer: Marie-Sylvie Deveau

Editor: Anne V. Coates

Cast:

Illeana: Angelina Jolie

Costa: Ethan Hawke

Hart: Kiefer Sutherland

Mrs. Asher: Gena Rowlands

Paquette: Olivier Martinez

Duval: Jean-Hugues Anglade

Leclair: Tcheky Karyo

Running time -- 103 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

Permalink | Report a problem


The Girl Next Door

23 February 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Opens

Friday, March 12

A sharp, vivacious comedy that pairs a straight-arrow high-schooler and a former porn star, "The Girl Next Door" marks its director and scripters as talents to watch and affirms that its young star, Emile Hirsch, is a big-screen natural. As the title character, Elisha Cuthbert will be a draw, as will the film's no-nonsense attitude toward sex. After "Girl"'s sneak Friday, word-of-mouth among younger audiences should contribute to a strong bow next month for Fox.

Hirsch stars as Matthew, an overachieving high school senior who idolizes JFK and plans a career in politics. As president of the student council, he's raised $25,000 to bring Cambodian teen Samnang (Ulysses Lee), a nerdy mathematical genius, from his jungle village to the upper-middle-class comfort of Westport High. It's a running joke that loses steam, though the Samnang funds provide a key plot point. While most of the senior class is preoccupied with Prom Fever and trips to the beach, Matthew is consumed with a college scholarship competition that requires a speech on the subject of moral fiber. Enter the gorgeous girl next door.

Adventurous Danielle (Cuthbert, of "24"), who's house-sitting for her aunt, is the same age as Matthew but worlds more experienced, and she goads him into doing something his packed schedule has never permitted -- having fun. Adopting her mantra -- "Just go with it" -- Matthew Falls for the mysterious Danielle, and she's drawn to his earnestness and decency. Soon after they share their first, very public kiss, Matthew learns more about her recent past, courtesy of his tough-talking friend Eli, a sex-obsessed virgin (terrific work by Chris Marquette of "Joan of Arcadia"). The sweet blonde, who told Matthew she recently quit her job in order to start over, is also the sensual brunette Athena, star of porn videos.

In another era, Danielle would be a fallen woman seeking redemption. Reflecting more open times, the script by Stuart Blumberg, David T. Wagner and Brent Goldberg makes no apologies for her past. "Girl" views the sex business as a bizarre free enterprise whose practitioners have a slightly dumb openness -- Danielle being the exception. Darker aspects are avoided, though there are allusions to male filmmakers as pimps collecting female talent. Along those lines, the unpredictable Kelly (Timothy Olyphant) and his former partner, porn mogul Hugo Posh (James Remar), are separately trying to lure Danielle back to the screen, with Matthew caught in the middle.

It's fine to eschew sociology, but because the film offers no background for Danielle or motivation for her career choice (besides money), she remains too much of a fantasy figure, notwithstanding the warmth and humor Cuthbert brings to this dream girl with her feet on the ground.

Still, the collision of innocence and experience unfolds with high energy under the helm of Luke Greenfield ("The Animal"). The story's concessions to formula conventions -- the importance of prom, the lesson learned -- have a novel twist. Greenfield makes fine use of fantasy sequences, finding the giddy edge in screwball and slapstick scenes and capturing the laissez faire culture of high school.

As Matthew's best friends and co-conspirators in an unusual extracurricular project, Marquette and Paul Dano ("L.I.E".) provide strong support. Occupying a parallel world of benign ineptitude are Westport's adults -- among them Timothy Bottoms as Matthew's dad.

Toplining the able cast, Hirsch ("The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys," "The Emperor's Club") displays leading-man charisma, sincerity and outstanding comic abilities -- just watch him in the scenes when Matthew finds himself dosed with Ecstasy.

The spirited music soundtrack, which includes a few boomer-friendly rock and blues numbers, underlines the sense of teen rebellion. The technical package is polished, with production designer Stephen Lineweaver credibly creating a wide range of settings, from staid suburban interiors to the lurid explosion of kitsch at an adult-film convention in Las Vegas.

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

20th Century Fox

Regency Enterprises presents

a New Regency production

Credits:

Director: Luke Greenfield

Screenwriters: Stuart Blumberg, David T. Wagner, Brent Goldberg

Producers: Charles Gordon, Harry Gittes, Marc Sternberg

Executive producers: Arnon Milchan, Guy Riedel

Director of photography: Jamie Anderson

Production designer: Stephen Lineweaver

Music: Paul Haslinger

Co-producer: Richard Wenk

Costume designer: Marilyn Vance

Editor: Mark Livolsi

Cast:

Matthew Kidman: Emile Hirsch

Danielle: Elisha Cuthbert

Kelly: Timothy Olyphant

Hugo Posh: James Remar

Eli: Chris Marquette

Klitz: Paul Dano

Mr. Kidman: Timothy Bottoms

Samnang: Ulysses Lee

Running time -- 109 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

Permalink | Report a problem


Hannah, Dano look to join 'King's court

30 January 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Daryl Hannah and Paul Dano are near deals that will see them team with Gael Garcia Bernal and Sam Shepard in James Marsh's The King for Ed Pressman and John Schmidt's ContentFilm. Production is scheduled to start in March in Texas. ContentFilm is financing the drama, with Marsh helming from a script by Oscar-nominated writer Milo Addica (Monster's Ball) and Marsh. Addica also is producing with ContentFilm's Pressman, Schmidt; Sofia Sondervan is executive producing along with James Wilson. »

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6 items from 2004


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