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April 27, 2009

FirstShowing.net Daily Update

Filed under: Entertainment, Movies — hypeplug @ 5:19 pm

Link to FirstShowing.net

FirstShowing.net Daily Update

The Weekly Moviegoer – It’s Outdoor Movie Season!

Posted: 27 Apr 2009 06:00 AM PDT

It's Outdoor Movie Season!

It’s outdoor movie season! Well, it is for those of us in the north, where we actually experience seasonal changes, and where we have just finally brushed off one of the coldest winters in years. Over the weekend we greeted our first hot temperatures in New York City, just a couple days after the Tribeca Film Festival kicked off the outdoor moviegoing season with a free showing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That same night, Rooftop Films, a non-profit organization that presents tons of great indie film screenings on the tops of buildings throughout the summer, held a comedy show featuring live stand-up and short films. Well, it actually took place indoors, but the event was at least a reminder that the outdoor series is approaching.

I attended the TMNT screening, which Tribeca exhibited as part of its non-automobile-friendly “Drive-In” program, mainly because a friend is a huge fan of the franchise. The setting was appropriate, as I could alternate between watching the film playing on the inflatable screen and looking up at the Manhattan skyscrapers surrounding us. I figured that, for a TMNT fan, seeing the movie in the shadow of the city buildings might be somewhat akin to seeing Close Encounters of the Third Kind at the base of Devil’s Tower – an experience I wish I could have had when Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Rolling Roadshow held such a screening four years ago. The only thing more suitable, obviously, would be to show TMNT down in the sewers. And the fans, some of whom wore costumes or at least Ninja Turtles t-shirts, were loving it. You could tell by their excited screams and continued chatter, which often overpowered the audio of the film.

Fortunately, the movie is really silly and hardly well made, so the noise from the audience wasn’t too much of a nuisance, yet all that cheering and talking made me realize that I have a real love-hate relationship with outdoor movies. In theory, the idea of sitting outside, often on an uncomfortable ground, braving insects and cold and damp weather (even in the summer) for two hours doesn’t sound very appealing. And I’m not even one of those internet writers who never goes outdoors. I love hikes, beaches, beer gardens and other exterior settings/activities. But when watching movies, my preference is for a comfortable seat in a sheltered auditorium. Of course, in theory, because I like so many other outdoor pastimes, I should also appreciate lying on a blanket and drinking beer outside while a good movie screens before me.

Once I’m having the outdoor movie experience, the reality is similar to what I’ve theoretically expected. The worst part of the TMNT screening, more frustrating than the talking (which moviegoers seem to believe is more acceptable at outdoor screenings), was the cold temperatures we suffered while sitting in a riverside plaza for so long. Though I constantly defend strong air conditioning in indoor cinemas, since heated auditoriums have a tendency to make people fall asleep, and moviegoers can always just bring a sweater if it gets too frigid, I hypocritically cannot stand when outdoor screenings occur on cold nights. I have to admit, though, that even with cold weather, even with rocky grounds to sit on, even with peripheral distractions and, yes, even with loud conversations going on around me, I’ve always have at least a generally good time at outdoor movies.

As long as the movie doesn’t require too much attention and as long as there are friends and other movie lovers in my vicinity, the pros usually outweigh the cons in most outdoor moviegoing experiences. I just have to appreciate that these experiences just happen to be more casual and communal than those had at regular movie theaters.

That said, I don’t really understand the appeal of drive-in theaters, which have a kind of outdoor moviegoing experience, lacking much of the community aspect. I understand that they are a good deal economically, which is why drive-in theater business is increasing during the present recession. And I understand the mythology and nostalgia behind them. But otherwise I don’t know that I would enjoy the drive-in theater experience if I had access to one. I admit that I’m not a big fan of cars or the culture that revolves around them, so I’m obviously a bit biased. Still, I can’t even picture my younger car-owning self being comfortable watching a two-hour movie from the driver’s seat of my old sedan. So if anyone has a non-stereotypical, non-mythological, non-financial reason for enjoying drive-ins, please comment below.

Photo from the Tribeca screening courtesy of adeleray on Flickr.

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First On-Set Photo from John Wells’ The Company Men

Posted: 27 Apr 2009 01:59 AM PDT

The Company Men Photo - Ben Affleck

They’re already shooting this? That was my first reaction to this photo. We only last wrote about The Company Men back in late March, when it was announced that both Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones would star alongside of Ben Affleck. The film is “ER” and “The West Wing” producer John Wells’ directorial debut from a script that he also wrote himself. It’s an ensemble drama about the impact that corporate downsizing has on both its casualties and survivors. We have the first unofficial photo today from Flickr (via SlashFilm) and some additional casting news, even though this has been shooting since early April.

The photo (seen above) shows Ben Affleck in some standard corporate business wear standing outside of a financial building in Boston. Affleck plays a corporate hotshot whose Porsche and salary vanish after he gets laid off. As for the rest of the cast, Variety announced yesterday that Maria Bello and Craig T. Nelson have joined. Nelson plays the CEO of the global conglomerate that Affleck works for, Tommy Lee Jones plays a levelheaded senior partner in the firm, and Bello plays the human resources VP who must fire Affleck. Rosemarie DeWitt plays Affleck’s wife, Costner plays his brother-in-law, who gives him a construction job.

The Company Men is an independently financed production, without any studio involvement, which may be a wink to the way executives at studios work. Considering Wells’ is a former producer, he probably knows how hard it would be to get this made the way he wants with a studio involved. I’m actually looking forward to this quite a bit, because it’s got a great ensemble cast and I love seeing cinematic stories about the corporate world (like Michael Clayton). I think The Company Men will be a rather eye-opening look at corporations and the way businesses work, which should be interesting to see in our current economy.

Discover More: Casting News, First Look, Opinions

Creepy Trailer for Christian Alvart’s Horror Case 39

Posted: 27 Apr 2009 01:20 AM PDT

Case 39 Trailer

We finally have an early leaked trailer for Case 39 to share with you this morning. This is another one of those films that has just been stuck in post-production hell. Case 39 was shot way back in 2006 by director Christian Alvart, who subsequently went on to direct the sci-fi thriller Pandorum for Overture. This trailer starts out looking like your standard thriller about angry, demonic parents who abuse their child, but it suddenly turns into a creepy paranormal horror feature about halfway through. And maybe that’s why it hasn’t been released yet. Who knows? Apologies for the low res version, as this came from YouTube.

Watch the trailer for Christian Alvart’s Case 39:

Case 39 centers on an idealistic social worker (Renée Zellweger) who saves an abused 10-year-old girl (Jodelle Ferland) from her parents only to discover that the girl is not as innocent as she thinks.

Case 39 is directed by German filmmaker Christian Alvart, of Curiosity & the Cat and Antibodies previously, as well as the upcoming Pandorum. The screenplay was written by Ray Wright of 2006’s Pulse previously and the upcoming remake of The Crazies. This was actually shot in Vancouver back in 2006 and has been in post-production ever since. Paramount will hopefully be bringing Case 39 in theaters this year. Stay tuned!

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Check This Out: Early Viral Teaser Poster for Surrogates

Posted: 26 Apr 2009 11:43 PM PDT

Early Viral Teaser Poster for Surrogates

We haven’t really seen much from Surrogates yet, Disney’s new sci-fi film starring Bruce Willis, due out in September. Either that’s because they’re very worried (the footage I’ve seen looked terrible) or because they have a plan for it that doesn’t start until the summer. Back in February we did a brief write-up on the rather lackluster viral that they’ve put together that involves users creating surrogate robots (e.g. avatars) of themselves. Found on that viral website (via MovieViral.com) comes a new teaser poster, featuring nothing but two naked bodies embracing, but it’s a fairly enticing tease for those unaware of the film or the plot.

Surrogates Teaser Poster

Disney still hasn’t publicly released a trailer for Surrogates yet, although I expect if they actually want to get people interested, they’ll put one out on Star Trek or Terminator Salvation, so stay tuned. If you’re curious about the viral, click the poster above or just hit this link: chooseyoursurrogate.com. As much as I should say that this has some potential to be great, especially as a viral marketing ARG, I just think their ideas for promoting this are rather unimpressive and I don’t expect it’ll get any better by September. Surrogates is directed by Jonathan Mostow, of U-571 and Terminator 3 previously, and is in theaters on September 25th.

Discover More: Hype, Posters, Viral Marketing

Universal Remaking Cronenberg’s Twisted Videodrome

Posted: 26 Apr 2009 09:02 PM PDT

Videodrome

Another day, another remake. Universal has announced that they are remaking David Cronenberg’s 1983 thriller Videodrome. They’ve already hired writer Ehren Kruger (of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen most recently) to put together a script, with Daniel Bobker (The Skeleton Key, The Brothers Grimm) producing. No word on a director or anything else, but they are modernizing it, turning into a “large-scale sci-fi action thriller.” A remake of Cronenberg’s Scanners is also in development, but it has hit some snags as of recent. Universal had to track down the rights all the way to Canadian distribution vet Rene Malo.

The original Videodrome starred James Woods as the head of Civic TV Channel 83, who makes his station relevant by programming “Videodrome,” a series that depicts torture and murder that transfixes viewers. This updated remake will modernize that concept and infuse it with sci-fi elements like nano-technology. I’m not even going to really say much about this, because I know Cronenberg fans are going to tear this news apart. I’ll wait to hear more before I start criticizing their decision, because who knows how it’ll turn out, and it may introduce new viewers to Cronenberg’s older work. As of now, Cronenberg won’t be involved.

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Linkin Park is Scoring Transformers 2 with Hans Zimmer?!

Posted: 26 Apr 2009 08:30 PM PDT

Linkin Park in Studio - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

One of my own favorite rock songs of 2007 was actually Linkin Park’s “What I’ve Done”, which was the theme song for Transformers. It went over well for everyone involved, so Michael Bay has of course turned to Linkin Park again to write another song for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but is that all they’re doing? A news break on singer Mike Shinoda’s official blog announces that Linkin Park has not only been working on a song, but that song is being used as one of the themes, which is going to be part of the score for the film. Additionally, he mentions that he’s been working with none other than Hans Zimmer.

Here’s the odd thing… Over on IMDb, they still list Steve Jablonsky as the composer. Jablonsky composed the entire score (which I actually quite liked) for the first Transformers, and it would make sense that he’s back for the sequel. However, Shinoda specifically says on his blog that they’re “working with award-winning film composer (and resident ass-kicker) Hans Zimmer. We met with Hans last week, and heard some of the incredible things he and his guys have done with our new song. In the next few days, we’ll be doing some work with Hans’ amazing writing and recording crew.” Could we be reading into this too much?

Shinoda also adds: “The song we wrote is being used as one of the themes, and we will be writing various interpolations on that theme, and trying out some other thematic ideas as part of the (very large) team scoring the film.” The official soundtrack for the first Transformers featured some 12 different bands, and a separate album featured Jablonsky’s score. Obviously they’ve probably got a whole lot musical talent coming together for Transformers 2, and I sadly don’t really think Zimmer is doing much besides working on Linkin Park’s song and subsequent theme. I’ve sent an email to Zimmer’s publicist to find out more, so stay tuned!

Discover More: Hype, Movie News, Opinions

Beautiful New Photos from Lars von Trier’s Antichrist

Posted: 26 Apr 2009 08:20 PM PDT

Beautiful New Photos from Lars von Trier's Antichrist

One film that I’m looking forward to seeing at the Cannes Film Festival next month is Lars von Trier’s Antichrist starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Besides the fact that the trailer looked quite wild and creepy, I just think cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle’s work on this is quite beautiful, and to show you some more examples of his work, we have a few new photos. These come straight from Zentropa Entertainment, so head over to Flickr if you want to use any of them as your desktop wallpaper. Otherwise, check out the gorgeous photos below and let us know if you’re excited to eventually see this as well.

If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, be sure to check it out as well, as we featured it a few weeks ago.

Antichrist Photos

Antichrist Photos

Antichrist Photos

Antichrist Photos

A grieving couple (Dafoe and Gainsbourg) retreats to their cabin ‘Eden’ in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.

Antichrist is both written and directed by prolific Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, of an extensive number of past films, including Nocturne, The Element of Crime, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Manderlay, and The Boss of It All most recently. As far as I know, the film doesn’t have a US distributor just yet. It is expected to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this summer before hitting theaters in Europe throughout May and June. Look for major updates during Cannes, as I expect we’ll hear more on Antichrist around then.

Discover More: Indies, Photos

Does Judd Apatow’s Funny People Have Oscar Potential?

Posted: 26 Apr 2009 03:56 PM PDT

Funny People

Yes, I know it’s way too early in the year to already be talking about next year’s Oscars, however, a few interesting stories have start popping up across the web about Judd Apatow’s newest summer film Funny People. The buzz is specifically coming from Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsehwere, where he has collected feedback from a few different test screenings of the film in LA. The quote that kicked it all off is from one of Wells’ director friends. “Possibly an award-level thing,” he told Wells. “It’s more in the realm of Sandler for Best Actor and Apatow’s script for Best Original Screenplay, he speculated, than a Best Picture shot.”

Another separate report from one of Wells’ readers says the same. “Really funny, a really sweet movie, a lot of veracity… really a brilliant film. Everybody’s game goes up a lot. It’s a James L. Brooks-level thing and a great role for Adam. It’s a perfect blend of everything Sandler has done in a serious vein.” Considering Brooks won three Oscars for Terms of Endearment and was nominated for Broadcast News, Jerry Maguire, and As Good as It Gets, that’s a damn good reference to use. If Apatow has reached that same brilliant level as Brooks, which is certainly possible, then I’m even more excited for Funny People than I originally was.

Of course, it’s way too early to tell if it really has any Oscar potential, because we don’t know what else it’ll be up against. If there are at least five other very strong contenders by the end of the year, Funny People, as good as it may be, could be edged out in the end. It’s also just a long shot to begin with, because how many comedies really get nominated anyway? I mean, sure James L. Brooks had some Oscar noms, but those were all back in the 90s. Nowadays, nothing but dramas usually win Best Picture, although comedies do certainly win Best Screenplay (like Juno a few years ago) and have a shot at other categories as well.

This is all just early speculation coming from a few limited reports from early test screenings, however, it is still a strong indication that Funny People will be a great movie, even if it doesn’t get nominated for any Oscars. It’s the one and only comedy that I am really looking forward to this summer, especially after watching the trailer, which was one of the best trailers for a comedy I think I’ve ever seen. But alas, that’s just the marketing side of it, and we’ll have to wait to see if it’s really as great as it seem to be in the trailer. Only time will tell if it really has Oscar potential, but for now, I’ll say that the buzz is good, very good.

Discover More: Discussion, Editorials, Opinions

Must Watch: Official US Trailer for Na Hong-jin’s The Chaser

Posted: 26 Apr 2009 03:01 PM PDT

The Chaser Trailer

Those of you who are fans of South Korean cinema need to watch this trailer for The Chaser. Okay, I’ll admit that voiceover talking about how this is being remade is a bit ridiculous, however, the reason why this is great to see is because it’s one of the best foreign films I’ve seen in the last few years and yet no one knows about it. I saw The Chaser at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX last year and it was fantastic (no pun intended), really one of a few films that has stuck me since I first watched it, and I can’t wait to see it again. Anyway, give this trailer a shot and if you’re interested, please seek it out and watch it. You won’t be let down.

The Chaser doesn’t have huge action or anything like that, it’s just a great story and incredibly captivating to watch play out. It’s very realistic, very gritty and easily one of the best Korean films I’ve ever seen.

Watch the trailer for Na Hong-jin’s The Chaser:

Joong-ho is a dirty detective turned pimp in financial trouble as several of his girls have recently disappeared without clearing their debts. While trying to track them down, he finds a clue that the vanished girls were all called up by a same client whom one of his girls is meeting with right now.

The Chaser is directed by first-time Korean filmmaker Na Hong-jin. The screenplay was co-written by Na Hong-jin, Lee Shinho (Love Impossible, My Mighty Princess), and Hong Won-Chan. This first premiered in South Korea in February of 2008, where it went on to earn at least $20 million at the Korean box office. It later premiered in the US at Fantastic Fest just last year. IFC Films is distributing it in the US and is at least showing it On Demand for now, although I’m not sure if it will ever hit theaters this year. Stay tuned!

Discover More: Indies, Trailers, Worth Watching

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