Francis Ford Coppola was a pretty intense dude during the ’70s. He damn near lost his mind while shooting Apocalypse Now in the jungles of Southeast Asia, a quagmire duly chronicled in the documentary Hearts of Darkness. While shooting The Godfather Part II on location in Trieste, Coppola told Italian journalists, “To some extent, I have become Michael.” He’s a larger-than-life character, and it’s only fitting that he’ll now be dramatized himself.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s got quite a bit of experience when it comes to portraying characters on either side of the law. He was a dooly appointed federal mahshal in Shuttah Island, played the Boston mob against itself for Martin Scorsese in The Departed, and took on more dastardly roles in such films as Django Unchained and The Wolf of Wall Street. With an Oscar now under his belt, DiCaprio is on the hunt for new roles, and today brings the news that Paramount has given him one squarely in his wheelhouse.
Step right up, step right up and get your tickets here for the most dangerous, poorly-maintained, testicle-pulverizing amusement park on the planet! Deadline played the old-timey carnival barker this morning for Johnny Knoxville, announcing that the human crash-test dummy had suckered Paramount into funding another one of his deranged comic experiments. In the spirit of unscripted prankapalooza Bad Grandpa (a film destined to be confused with the Robert De Niro schlock-comedy Dirty Grandpa until the end of time) and the notorious Jackass series now comes Action Park, guaranteed to cause at least one instance of grievous bodily harm or your money back!
Say you’ve decided to wring a sequel out of a popular but largely forgotten studio comedy vehicle for Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Do you go with The Other Guys, a glowingly reviewed and uproarious cop-movie spoof with plenty of natural potential for new stories in the never-ending backlog of police cases, not to mention a timely subtext in its pointed criticisms of greedy corporate types? No, you go with the one that made more money, which in this case happens to be Daddy’s Home, a family comedy about a nebbish competing with his new wife’s badass first husband for the love of her children.
For the past few Januarys, the good folks at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin have thrown a celebration of cinema’s greatest living actor called C4GED, in which they screen a surprise selection of five films starring Academy Award-winner Nicolas Cage back to back. Whether you fall into the so-bad-he’s-good camp or rightly recognize the Cage as a genuinely masterful and widely misunderstood thespian, it’s a roaring good time for all, with an open invitation extended to Cage so that he may come and receive happy birthday wishes. (The festival was specifically scheduled to fall in Cage’s birth month.) He’s never taken them up on the offer before, but this year was a little special.
I‘ve never seen 75 million dollars. It’s more than I have ever had, will ever have, and in all likelihood, more than I will cumulatively earn over the course of my entire life. I can’t really even conceive of how much money that is, the buying power it represents. So the news that Ben Affleck singlehandedly lost $75,000,000 for Warner Bros. with his pricy and apparently unappealing Live By Night has been kind of hard to process. Why doesn’t he have to go to jail? How is he allowed to continue directing movies? This defies all the laws of Monopoly, my lone primer on the ins and outs of macroeconomics.
‘But what I really want to do is direct.’ For many dilettante actors hoping to try their hand on the other side of the camera, these have been famous last words, the first omen heralding an indulgent personal project destined for a coolly-received festival debut. But all it takes is a performer with their head on straight and a little filmmaking knowhow to skirt the many pitfalls of the actor-turned-director’s debut. Jonah Hill seems pretty self-aware, he’s got a good sense of humor, and he’s worked with such fine directors as Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and the Coen brothers. The news that he’s preparing his first outing as a director may be cause for optimism.
Like a group of silent, monolithic, clamshell-shaped intergalactic vessels, Arrival will make an unexpected appearance later this week. Denis Villeneuve’s high-concept sci-fi picture has had a cracking week already, scoring a whopping eight Oscar nominations during yesterday’s announcement, including key nods for Best Picture and Best Director. A little Oscar love can be a huge windfall for a film, drawing new viewers to cineplexes and upping box-office totals, but the trouble is that in most markets, Arrival has already left the rotation. So in an effort to capitalize on the recent bump in the film’s public profile, Paramount will send the film back from whence it came, returning to nationwide theaters for a limited run on Friday, January 27.
By the late ’70s, Clint Eastwood had made a name for himself as the tough-guy star of cop-on-the-edge flicks and spaghetti Westerns, his permanent grimace a symbol of macho heroism. As the star of the Dirty Harry franchise, he fashioned himself as a protector with an edge, and in Sergio Leone’s epochal Dollars trilogy, he nearly ascended into the annals of cinematic legend. Having built up all this public goodwill, Eastwood decided the time was right to use that clout on the kind of project actors dream of their whole lives: a buddy comedy where he stars opposite an orangutan.
Hollywood’s gonna keep returning to the well of the tried-and-true in search of remake material until it runs dry, which could never happen, for all we know. To mix a metaphor, the ‘80s and ’90s have been thoroughly strip-mined for new #content, to the point where stars of beloved nostalgia objects have to specifically state that they’d prefer not to see a remake to pre-empt what feels like an inevitable greenlight. Geena Davis is the latest celebrity to come out against the recent remakeapalooza, specifically voicing her disapproval of any potential plans to rework her most timeless success of all, Cutthroat Island. (That‘s supposed to be a joke.)
As is tradition, the night before the Oscar ceremony takes place, the 37th Annual Golden Raspberry Awards will descend on Los Angeles to commemorate the worst that Hollywood had to offer in 2016. A mean-spirited diss-fest in the estimation of some, a good-natured ribbing to others, the so-called Razzies are twice as unpredictable and ten times as frank as the usual awards program. The expected categories of Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Actor/Actress share space with the distinctions of Worst Screen Combo and Worst Prequel, Remake, Ripoff, or Sequel at the ignominious ceremony. Some celebrities take the jokes in stride (Sandra Bullock famously showed up to receive her Worst Actress Razzie for All About Steve the day before she dropped by the Oscars to pick up her Best Actress prize for The Blind Side), but the program goes widely ignored by the industry overall.
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