What I love about John Waters is that he included Ingmar Bergman's "Wild Strawberries" as one of his Film Comment Guilty Pleasures. And this 2013 Ten Best List runs the gamut --as is typical of him--from tasteful to tasteless. And has some damned good docs too. Also posting their best of 2013 lists are Sight & Sound and the Cahiers du Cinema, below. Tarantino's early ten best is here.
The Cahiers du Cinema Top Ten:
1. "Spring Breakers"
2. "Camile Claudel 1915"
3. "Abuse Of Weakness"
4. "Hors Satan"
5. "After Tiller"
6. "Hannah Arendt"
7. "Beyond The Hills"
8. "Blue Jasmine"
10. "I’m So Excited"
1. "Stranger by the Lake" (Alain Guiraudie)
2. "Spring Breakers" (Harmony Korine)
3. "Blue is the Warmest Color" (Abdellatif Kechiche)
4. "Gravity" (Alfonso Cuaron)
5. "A Touch of Sin" (Jia Zhang-ke)
6. "Lincoln" (Steven Spielberg)
7. "Jealousy" (Philippe Garrel)
8. "Nobody's Daughter Haewon" (Hong Sang-soo)
9. "You and the Night" (Yann Gonzalez)
10. "La Bataille de Solferino" (Justine Triet)
Also posted are Sight & Sound's top 30:
1. “The Act of Killing” (Joshua Oppenheimer)
2. “Gravity” (Alfonso Cuaron)
3. “Blue is the Warmest Color” (Abdellatif Kechiche)
4. “The Great Beauty” (Paolo Sorrentino)
5. “Frances Ha” (Noah Baumbach)
6. “A Touch of Sin” (Jia Zhang-ke)
=“Upstream Color” (Shane Carruth)
8. “The Selfish Giant” (Clio Barnard)
9. “Norte, the End of History” (Lav Diaz)
=”Stranger by the Lake” (Alain Guiraudie)
11. “Before Midnight” (Richard Linklater)
=”Stray Dogs” (Tsai Ming-liang)
13. “Leviathan” (Lucien Castaing and Verena Paravel)
14. ”All is Lost” (J.C. Chandor)
=”A Field in England” (Ben Wheatley)
=“12 Years a Slave” (Steve McQueen)
17. “Bastards” (Claire Denis)
=”Gloria” (Sebastian Lelio)
=”The Missing Picture” (Rithy Panh)
=”Story of My Death” (Albert Serra)
=”Under the Skin” (Jonathan Glazer)
22. “At Berkeley” (Frederick Wiseman)
=”Beyond the Hills” (Cristian Mungiu)
=”Blancanieves” (Pablo Berger)
=”Blue Jasmine” (Woody Allen)
=”Django Unchained” (Quentin Tarantino)
=“Ida” (Pawel Pawlikowski)
=”Inside Llewyn Davis” (Joel and Ethan Coen)
=“It’s Such a Beautiful Day” (Don Hertzfeldt)
=”The Last of the Unjust” (Claude Lanzmann)
"I love doing action. I'm still just a big kid. My favorite days are the days that I get to show up on a movie like this and I get to run and jump and blast dudes around, hop over fences," Paul Walker told Movies Online back in 2009 during the press run for "Fast & Furious." And certainly is his all too brief run at the movies, he got to do the very thing he loved in a variety of pictures, including one of the biggest franchises on the planet.
Sad news rolls in tonight, as Paul Walker has tragically passed away at the age of 40, following a car accident in southern California. TMZ reports (and have confirmed the news with his representatives, who have issued an official statement -- see below), the actor and another passenger lost their lives after they lost control of the vehicle they had been driving. The identity of the other victim of the accident has not yet been disclosed.
Walker was first in front of the camera at the age of 2, appearing in a TV commercial for Pampers, followed by a string of TV appearances before the young actor booked some movie roles that brought him more attention—in fare such as "Varsity Blues," "Pleasantville" and "The Skulls." However, it was his turn as Brian O'Conner in "The Fast & The Furious" that firmly established his career.
The action series—in which Walker has appeared in all but one of the films ("The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift")—anchored his career, leading him to star in a variety of genre thrillers and action flicks. "Joy Ride," "Into The Blue," "Running Scared" and "Takers" were indicative of the kinds of movies that Walker found his niche in, but it was "Fast & Furious" where he would continue to return to ongoing success.
Walker currently has two completed films awaiting release: the Hurricane Katrina thriller "Hours," and "Brick Mansions," the remake of "District B13." He was currently filming "Fast & Furious 7" for release next summer, though it's unclear how his passing will affect those plans at this point. Paul Walker is survived by his daughter Meadow Rain.
Statement from Paul Walker's official Facebook page: It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to send condolences. - #TeamPW
Actor Paul Walker died today in a single-car accident, according to his representatives. Walker, 40, is best known for his work in the "Fast and Furious" series, which released its sixth installment this year. He was in production on the seventh installment in the series.
The actor was a passenger in a friend's car during a charity event for Reach Out Worldwide, the non-profit organization he founded to provide disaster and post-disaster relief. Both Walker and the driver were pronounced dead on the scene, according to Variety.
The actor's official Facebook page posted the following message:
It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to send condolences. - #TeamPW
Universal Studios, the studio behind the "Fast and Furious" franchise issued the following statement:
All of us at Universal are heartbroken. Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the ‘Fast and Furious’ films, and to countless fans. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul’s family.
Stars took to Twitter to pay tribute to Walker. His "Fast & Furious" co-star Ludacris tweeted, "Your humble spirit was felt from the start, wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark...You will forever hold a place in all of our hearts…"
While much of Walker's career was spent in Hollywood, he recently starred in the 2013 SXSW film "Hours," set in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The film is due out December 13. He also had memorable roles in the acclaimed films Gary Ross' "Pleasantville" and Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers."
Walker started acting as a child in commercials, before moving on to appear on TV series including "Highway to Heaven," "Diff'rent Strokes," "Charles in Charge," "Who's the Boss?" and “The Young and the Restless" and then graduating to film in the late 90s with movies such as "Varsity Blues" and "She's All That."
Acting came easily to Walker. "I didn't have to work for it. Do you really appreciate it when something’s just handed to you? It was handed to me at an early age and I realized that unless you really take control of it and own it, it’s always going to feel that way," he told Indiewire in an interview earlier this year.
He is survived by his teenage daughter.
"Spring Breakers" may not have much of a shot at an Academy Award (despite A24's campaign for James Franco), but the divisive Harmony Korine film has already made at least two Top Ten lists for best films of 2013: last week, the prestigious Cahiers du Cinema ranked "Spring Breakers' #2 on its list and now filmmaker John Waters, a contributor to Artforum, named the indie hit his #1 film of 2013, according to Ray Pride at Movie City News.
Waters ranked Bruno Dumont's "Camille Claudel 1915," starring Juliette Binoche, #2 on the list.
See Waters' full list below:
John Waters' Top 10 Films of 2013:
1. Spring Breakers
2. Camile Claudel 1915
3. Abuse Of Weakness
4. Hors Satan
5. After Tiller
6. Hannah Arendt
7. Beyond The Hills
8. Blue Jasmine
10. I'm So Excited
It's both feast and famine in the Top 10 this weekend, with two films, Lionsgate's "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and Disney's animated "Frozen" (Buena Vista) accounting for most of the action yesterday. The $76 million total is impressive but falls short of the same day last year ($79 million) which had a much wider array of top films ("Breaking Dawn - Part 2," "Skyfall," "Lincoln," "Rise of the Guardians" and "Life of Pi" in the top 5). But below these two films was a big drop.
"Catching Fire" and "Frozen" both look like they will top the previous record for the 5-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend ($82 million for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone") by some margin. "Fire" grossed $31,250,000 for the day, down from $70 million for its combined Thursday night-Friday take last week, but still very strong. It is already at $253 million. With the aid of holiday playtime, this is $45 million ahead of what "The Hunger Games" had done after eight days.
Disney's animated "Frozen" at $26,855,000 ($53.5 million after three days) looks to be the largest post-Thanksgiving Friday animated gross ever, although it fell a bit short of what "Despicable Me 2" grossed its first Friday last summer. It is three times bigger than last year's late November cartoon offering, Dreamworks' "Rise of the Guardians," which only did $9.2 million the same day. This now looks like it will be among the year's top grossers overall, and will likely play through Christmas.
While the top two films thrived, there was a big drop below them. Last year, five more films grossed nearly $6 million or more for the day. This year's #3, "Thor: The Dark World" (also Buena Vista) did $4,450,000, actually up from last week (when "Catching Fire" devastated the rest of the field). The next two films also held well - #4 "The Best Man Holiday" at $3.4 million and #5 "Delivery Man" at $2,726,000. Both were only slightly down from last Friday's figures, all bolstered by the holiday.
#6-9 were four films either opening wide or going wider initially this week. "Homefront" (Open Road), a domestic drug war thriller co-written by Sylvester Stallone and starring Jason Statham and the ubiquitous James Franco, managed only $2,632,000 (3 days - $5,457,000). In half as many theaters (1,234), #7 "The Book Thief" (Twentieth Century Fox) in its fourth week expansion did $1.9 million.
Wednesday opener #8 "Black Nativity" (also from Fox) did $1,565,000 in somewhat more locations. #9 "Philomena" (Weinstein) leaped from its initial 4 theaters last week to 835 for a gross of $1,332,000, giving it a per screen average slightly above "The Book Thief" at about one-third fewer theaters (meaning the latter film performed somewhat better head-to-head).
Rounding out the top 10 was CBS Films' "Last Vegas" at $1,105,000.
The top stories of the week from TOH!
The Pilgrims might have sailed over on the Mayflower, but that was nothing to compared to what Noah went through (if you really believe the Earth was flooded and a man, his family and a lot animals rode it out on an ark). Whether real or metaphor, the story is tailor-made for spectacle and Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" will attempt to tell it next spring.
A brand new international trailer has landed for the Biblical epic, and it brings with it some new bits of footage. Russell Crowe leads the movie as the man of God who is warned of the coming disaster while Ray Winstone plays the villain of sorts, clearly not pleased at watching this devout man answering to a higher calling. Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and more are along for this one and yes, there will be water.
"Noah" opens on March 28, 2014. Watch below.
While Americans fought the crowds and sometimes each other to score discounts on Black Friday, for the rest of the world it was business as usual. And for Lars von Trier and company, that meant yet another provocative clip from "Nymphomaniac," but this time with a bit of holiday spirit.
A sequence from the sixth chapter of the eight chapter film has dropped, and it's just as naughty and risque as you would expect from "Nymphomaniac" at this point. This time around, Jamie Bell presents Charlotte Gainsbourg with a Christmas gift ... one that results in her bent over a sofa. Here's the summary:
Chapter 6: The Eastern and the Western Church (The Silent Duck)
The Eastern Church is often referred to as the Church of Joy, and the Western Church as the Church of Suffering.
Should you make a mental journey from Rome eastwards, you'll find that you move away from guilt and pain, and towards light and joy.
However, what Joe comes to learn is that pain and pleasure can be closer than you'd think.
The 4-hour cut of "Nymphomaniac" opens in Denmark and Norway on Christmas Day and in France in January. Lars von Trier's 5 1/2-hour director's cut is expected later in 2014. Watch below and duh, NSFW.
I'm glad to see this edutaining series return!
The details via press release...
The third season of Black Folk Don’t, the satirical documentary web series challenging common stereotypes of African Americans, premieres on Monday, December 2.
Alternately provocative, irreverent, comical and profound, the series heads to California for its third season, with engaging interviews of celebrities like John Norwood Fisher of the punk band Fishbone, director Ava DuVernay, actress Lisa Gay Hamilton and renowned feminist Sikivu Hutchinson, as well as everyday black folk.
The series, a project of TuckerGurl LLC, is funded by National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and runs weekly on Mondays for six weeks through January 6. NBPC serves as executive producer.
The brainchild of director-producer Angela Tucker, who specializes in creative, bold and varied social issue, film-based projects from public service announcements to features, Black Folk Don’t is designed to inspire dialogue around a number of controversial issues. Featured in Time magazine’s “10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life,” on NPR, TheRoot.com, Huffington Post and in PBS’s Online Film Festival, the series this season questions whether black people go green (December 2), live to the end of a horror film (December 9), do plastic surgery (December 16), do feminism (December 23), adopt (December 30) and join the NRA (January 6). A special episode on Thursday, December 12, will be a behind-the-scenes mini-episode about California.
“As only about 6.6 percent of the population, black people are far from the majority in California and that intrigued me. And I found that people in Oakland, Los Angeles and San Francisco had such diverse views of the world, leading to a real clash of ideas this season among the interviewees, more so than in past seasons,” said Tucker.
“Season three of ‘Black Folk Don’t’ is going to spark conversations in homes and offices around the country as well as online, as people take sides and even question the audacity of the assertions that are raised in the show,” said Nonso Christian Ugbode, Black Public Media Director of Digital Media.
The series is shown on BlackPublicMedia.org, the official website of NBPC, You Tube, and PBS.org, as well as at blackfolkdont.com.
Watch the trailer below:
UPDATE 11/27/13: Pending news of a potential new partner that will affect the contest, I'm moving the submission deadline date from the previously-set December 1, 2013, to February 1, 2014, giving you 2 additional months to send in your short films (that meet the below criteria). One new title has been added on the last page.
A contest collaboration between Shadow and Act and Avenue TV (AvenueTV.net - a curated content exhibition site, that promotes the work of content creators interested in telling entertaining stories showcasing diversity).
The winning film will receive $500 cash, and will be featured right here on S&A and on Avenue TV's website.
If you're just joining us, please read the initial announcement below that details what this contest is all about.
Fantastical, meaning, science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller, and I'd consider action and dark, twisted comedy. Each of these could even be its own umbrella term for even more specific sub-genres.
On a weekly basis, I receive many emails alerting me to new films (whether shorts, web series or features) and very, very, VERY few fit into any of the above categories. I'd say less than 5%. And for someone who does what I do, it's actually a bit disheartening, because the bulk of the films I'm alerted to all start to look, sound, and feel the same!
Not that I'm discouraging you from moving ahead with your own romantic/relationship comedy/drama, by the way. I think I speak for other S&A writers when I say that variety is severely lacking, and the above fantastical genres especially are unfortunately being ignored. At least, that's what it seems like, given the kinds of films and web series email alerts we receive.
I'm pretty sure there are black filmmakers working within other genres. I know a few. We've featured their work here in the past. But we want more!
Just as vast and varied black literature is, I'd love to see a similar multifariousness within black cinema. When fantastical mainstream cinema is woefully absent of black characters, where else can one look to find that kind of representation, if not within independent black cinema, whether short form, web series or features?
But let me get off my bully pulpit now, and get to the meat of this post.
So here's what I want to do... I'm launching a contest (maybe held quarterly) in which black filmmakers with short films or web series that center on characters of African descent (we'll get to features later; short/web series are just easier for this), in any of the fantastical genres I mentioned above, submit their work, to be considered for a small cash prize of $500 courtesy of the non-existent S&A Film Blog Black Filmmakers Fund (i.e., my bank account, and a matching contribution from the folks at Avenue TV)
No, you won't be able to retire on it, but it's what's within my means. And, again, this will be done quarterly, so every 3 months, someone will walk away with $500 cash. Maybe, over time, we'll get some sponsors, or others would want to chip in, making the pot larger, and the amount of money in the pot will grow. But I just want to keep this as simple and basic as possible, without getting a bunch of organizations involved. No fine print to read. What you need to know, is all right within this post. Of course, if I leave anything out, I'll answer any questions posed.
To enter the contest:
1 - Send me a link to your short film or episode 1 of your web series (which should be in any of the fantastical genres - science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller, action), which means, yes, it must be online and available to be seen by the public. If it's not yet available, there'll be future contests, so whenever it does become available, you can enter the contest. I'll take anything produced in the last 5 years - so going back to 2008. Films must tell stories about black people/people of African descent. The contest is open to filmmakers all over the world. With your email submission, attach a synopsis, along with a brief bio or resume. And in the subject heading, enter "S&A Shorts/Web Series Contest." For this first installment, you have until December 1, 2013 to submit. Email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 - I will update this post with each new short film or web series I receive, so that readers can watch them all, as they are added to this post. I won't make any judgement calls on anything that's sent me. Whatever is sent to me, I will post without comment.
3 - After the December 1, 2013 deadline, a winner will be chosen based on a combination of reader reactions and the S&A team's picks. So, I'll continuously monitor the comments section to see what readers are saying about each submission (like, which ones they like best, rating them individually, etc), and after the deadline, I'll check in with my S&A cohorts for their own choices for which they consider the strongest submissions. And based on combined reactions (readers and S&A staff), a winner will be selected, and announced.
One caveat - given that audience participation isn't always entirely reliable (specifically, an entrant with a lot of friends can ask all their friends to post favorable comments about their film), votes by the S&A staff collectively (and we certainly don't all agree on everything) will carry more weight in the end - especially if there's an audience tie.
The winning short will be announced before December 25, 2013, and the winning filmmaker will get some extra Christmas spending money.
Again, email me at email@example.com with your submissions, and in the subject heading, enter "S&A Shorts/Web Series Contest."
Entries that don't include everything that I've asked for, will be deleted, so make sure you include: a link to your short or web series which falls under any of the above fantastical film genres (they must be embeddable); a synopsis; and either a brief bio or resume (one or the other is fine). And in the subject heading, enter "S&A Shorts/Web Series Contest."
If you have any questions about the contest, don't post them in the comment section; email them to me instead. I want to keep the comment section as free of unnecessary comments as possible. Also, any comments posted that have nothing to do with the films in the contest, will probably be deleted as well. So focus!
I want to keep this as clean and efficient as possible, so help me out!
That's it - let's go! And please feel free to share this post on all your social networking pages. I want to reach as many people as possible.1. Dragon Fruit, directed by Emiliano Styles. Synopsis: After being set up on a blind date by a mutual associate, Kyle Hunter (David Ashley) and Tamara Johnson (Tiffany Snow) decide to spend their third outing hiking in a canyon in Los Angeles. As they continue to get to know each other, they soon come to the striking realization that only one of them is who they claim to be.
2. Life-Line, directed by Uriah Riedel. Synopsis: Walking home at night is not a good idea, so one woman finds out.
Now click over to the next page to see more...
3. The Slap, directed by H. M. Coakley. Synopsis: A single mom with a unique deformity and a bad temper catches her teenage son in a peculiar position after leaving him alone in a luxury hotel room for several hours. The situation leads her to say some funny things, one of which she actually delivers on.
4. Redemptions End. A web series created by Claudius Peters. Synopsis: In desperate need of money, three friends think they have no choice but to steal freshly buried bodies and attempt to sell them on the black market, now they wish hadn't. Here's episode 1:
5. Bad Blood, by Bryce Marrero. Synopsis: Samuel Marcel, A hot-headed ex-Black Panther, goes undercover in a corrupt hospital to find out the truth surrounding his father's mysterious death.
6. The Collector, by Ade Adepegba. Synopsis: A Debtor who cannot pay his debts is relentlessly pursued by a Debt Collector who never fails to collect.
7. Walking With Gods, created by David Banner, directed by Ndosi Anyabwile. Synopsis: It all begins when Aket Heru, son of a celestial king is cursed. Aket's jealous older brother, Liel, becomes aware that their father will ignore natural order and install Aket as king, upon his death. Angered, Liel invokes the evil spirit Setus. Setus fools Liel and destroys the family, but keeps Aket for entertainment. Aket's memory is erased and he is forced to travel through the ages not knowing his true God like power. Setus plays an evil game and Aket murders his girlfriend, Lisa. After the murder, Aket's true power awakens. Aket must now fight to restore his full power and break the curse. In order to do so, Aket now Alex Light, must believe in his godly power and embrace his true destiny.
8. Sweet Child Of Mine, by Tarik Jackson Goldie. Synopsis: The brains of a trio of female crooks finds out she's pregnant.
9. The Assignment, by Michael Grayson. Synopsis: Analyst Tom Jenkins gets called on to participate in a 'Top Secret' company assignment.What he doesn't know is he's about to take on the assignment of his life. GlobalDyne Systems is back yet again, delivering it's own version of the pink slip in this short about corporate espionage and retribution with a twist at the end that's sure to shock.
10. Few and Far Inbetween, by Nialla LeBouef. Synopsis: When two teenagers sneak into a beautiful but abandoned mansion they unknowingly conjure up the spirit that remains there. Influenced by Czech new wave cinema and magical realism the two worlds collide in this dreamy short.
11. Hope, by Tamika Lamison. Synopsis: A grieving/suicidal man goes on what plans to be a tragic journey but discovers unexpected Hope along the way.
15. Buster Jones: The Movie details the adventures of an African-American minor league basketball star that is also trained in the martial arts. After his cousin Bootsy is murdered by weapons dealers from Asia, Buster finds himself thrown into a turbulent battle with an organized terrorist ring. These pursuits lead Buster to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles where he finds himself plunged into the ultimate fight to save the fate of the free world. Directed by Dylan Hobor.
18. Silent Hunger by Stanford Gibson. Synopsis: Silent Vampire thriller produced for the 48 Hour Film Project during 2012. The poor and unskilled labour force are starved by the more affluent in society while the Government demands its pound of flesh from all citizens. Like the un-dead, the poor will one day rise.
20. The Last Summer (a silent film) by Sam Afua Kessie. Synopsis: The end of summer is near. BEVERLY and SOPHIA, (both 16), have been best friends since third grade. Skipping the last day in camp, they run through fields without a care in the world, a final sense of freedom before all their dreams come to a bitter end. Their plan of going to the same university is crushed when Sophia is rejected from the University of Creative Arts and Sciences, but Beverly is accepted with a full scholarship. Before they get a chance to express final words and feelings, they are drawn to a mysterious charm bracelet, which leads them down a dark path and puts their friendship to the test.
24. Villains by Lawrence Lee Wallace. Synopsis: Villains is an 8 episode Sci-Fi story set in a halfway house for people with various addictions, gambling, sex, drugs, ect. "Big Guy" is brought in as a John Doe; he is disoriented, does not remember who he is or where he comes from and is withdrawn and paranoid. Later he discovers skills he can’t explain, fighting and weapons skills and then ultimately a mysterious supernatural power. "BG" becomes closer to Ana, Jimmy and Phil the other patients at the halfway house and together they go on a journey to help him in finding out who he is and where his amazing and deadly powers come from, in return he protects them from different enemies This mystery produces and draws other supernatural beings to the halfway house making this an exciting, dramatic and sometimes funny experience.
25. Chains, directed by Sharon Lewis. Synopsis: Chain, with the support of her lover Fric the water carrier, grows a flower in her barren underground community of Arete. Before anyone is allowed to see this miracle, they are charged with the crime of “wasting” precious water, punishable by Judicial Suicide. Munk who oversees the roulette type punishment is shocked to find out that water was not used to grow the flower and in the end comes to believe that perhaps miracles do exist for those who live below. Maybe their place in the chain of humanity is equal to those who live above.
UPDATE: Michael Mann's upcoming thriller (formerly titled "Cyber"), starring Chris Hemsworth and currently in post production after a shoot in Hong Kong, has been given a release date by Universal. Mann fans may be a little disappointed to hear they'll have to wait until January 16, 2015 for this one. Fingers crossed it gets moved up.
Here's an official synopsis:
UNTITLED MICHAEL MANN PROJECT
Set within the world of global cybercrime, Legendary’s UNTITLED MICHAEL MANN PROJECT follows a furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta. Directed and produced by Michael Mann, the film stars Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Tang Wei and Wang Leehom, and it is written by Morgan Davis Foehl and Mann. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni produce alongside Mann, while Alex Garcia and Eric McLeod will serve as the executive producers.
EARLIER: Director Michael Mann's upcoming thriller, "Cyber," is currently in production in Hong Kong. Star Chris Hemsworth, Chinese actress Tang Wei and Taiwanese actor Wang Leehom have been involved in all-night shoots, per the Hollywood Reporter, in the Central heart of the territory, and at tourist spot Temple Street.
The film, which is also penned and produced by Mann, began production May 17 in Los Angeles, moving to Hong Kong June 23. It centers on an anti-cyber theft task force chasing a Southeast Asia-based hacker from the Balkans. Tang plays Hemsworth's love interest, and Wang plays her brother, according to local reports cited by THR.EARLIER: Director Michael Mann is doing some meetings in Hong Kong, where he's planning to shoot his next film, a cyber-thriller starring Chris Hemsworth. Mann is looking to cast a pair of Chinese actors for two major roles in the currently untitled project. According to Mann's reps, the film centers around cyber theft and a Balkan hacker operating out of a South Asian country, who is being pursued by an American and Chinese task force.
THR reports that A-list Chinese actors Tang Wei ("Lust, Caution"), Nick Cheung Ka-fai ("The Stool Pidgeon") and Shawn Yue Man-lok ("I Come with the Rain") were all seen coming out of the hotel where Mann and his production team are staying.
The film will be produced by Legendary Pictures, a company well-versed in Hong Kong location shooting following Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight."
Mann's last big-screen helming venture was 2009's underrated "Public Enemies," starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger. He was on board as executive producer and pilot director for HBO's unlucky "Luck" in 2011, which was canceled after 10 episodes.
Info below on an Indiegogo campaign for a documentary feature very well worth your attention and contributions, from director/producer Yaba Badoe, whose last film, The Witches of Gambaga, was highlighted on this blog (and is now available to buy on DVD).
$45,000 is the goal, with 39 days left.
Check out the campaign's page HERE to make your contribution.
Courtesy of the film's Indiegogo campaign page, here are the details, followed by a promo:
The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo explores the artistic contributions of one of Africa's foremost woman writers, a trailblazer for an entire generation of exciting new talent, including internationally acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie. The publication of The Dilemma of a Ghost in 1965 at the age of 25 made Aidoo the first published African woman playwright.
In Anowa (1970), she demonstrated her courage by addressing slavery, a very sensitive topic even today in Ghana. Her most recent work is Diplomatic Pounds and Other Stories (Ayebia Clarke Publishing Ltd.).
The film follows Aidoo over a course of a year during which she travels to her ancestral village in the Central Region of Ghana and is feted at a Festschrift orqanized by friends and colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then attends the premier of her seminal play about the local African experiences of the slave trade, Anowa, performed by UCSB Theater.
This hour-long documentary locates the multi-textured variety of Aidoo's writing in an historical and cultural context, and charts her pivotal journey through moments of inspiration in a life that spans seven decades, from colonial Ghana through the tumultuous era of independence, to a more sober present day Africa where nurturing women's creative talent remains as difficult as ever.
This documentary celebrates Aidoo and her work and brings it to new audiences in a way that will inspire future generations.
Who we are: We are a team. Director/Producer is Yaba Badoe an award-winning documentary filmmaker and writer based in the UK. Her latest film, The Witches of Gambaga, won the 2010 Best Documentary Award at the Black International Film Festival 2010 and the 2nd Prize, Documentaries at FESPACO 2011, and was nominated for the One World Media Award, Best Documentary in 2012. Producer is Amina Mama, one of Africa’s leading activist feminist scholars. She founded the journal Feminist Africa, has taught courses in African cinema, co-produced The Witches of Gambaga, and is currently on the faculty of Women and Gender Studies at University of California, Davis. Margo Okazawa-Rey, a feminist scholar activist, is Associate Producer and leading this campaign.
What We Need & What You Get
Courageous. Controversial. Compelling. Truth-teller. Ama Ata Aidoo is a poet, novelist, and feminist. Women make up fewer than 10% of the world's film directors, so it's a struggle to tell the story of any woman, especially an African woman. So we are asking you to help us raise $45,000 to tell Aidoo's story, the fascinating tale of an iconic writer whose work both captures the specificities of history, culture, and geography and transcends them.
The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo is almost there. After two years of fundraising, excitement, negotiation, and filming on location in Ghana and California, the good news is that we’re half-way through the journey and we need your help. We are trying to raise $45,000 (two-thirds of the budget) here on Indiegogo. The money you help us raise will pay post-production costs: editing, music clearances, colour grading, and a sound dub. We are confident that the final 1/3 of the budget will be raised from organizational donors like the African Women's Development Fund and the Global Fund for Women.
When you donate, you will be acknowledged on the Donor Wall of our website and receive project updates. In addition, you can receive a signed postcard, t-shirt, limited edition DVD, Aidoo's books, and other memorable perks.
Hey kids! The President Of The USA has an assignment for you... should you choose to accept it.
Details from the White House website follow below:
CALL FOR ENTRIES
Yeah, having your schoolwork posted on the fridge at home is cool. But having a video you made posted on the White House website and screened at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? We think that’s pretty cool, too. That’s why we’re super-excited to announce the first-ever White House Student Film Festival: a video contest created just for K-12 students, and whose finalists will have their short films shown at the White House. Finalist videos may also be featured on the White House website, YouTube channel, and social media pages.
Our schools are more high-tech than ever. There are laptops in nearly every classroom. You can take an online course on Japanese -- and then video chat with a kid from Japan. You can learn about geometry through an app on your iPad. So, what does it all mean?
We’re looking for videos that highlight the power of technology in schools.
Your film should address at least one of the following themes:
1. How you currently use technology in your classroom or school.
2. The role technology will play in education in the future.
ARE YOU IN?
Submissions for the White House film festival will be accepted from November 25 through January 29, 2014. Videos must be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo to be submitted. You and a parent/guardian must complete the form and submit a link to your video.
For the full list of submission instructions, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/FilmFestival.
Watch the promo video below, featuring Bill Nye the Science Guy:
Continuing to expand this weekend is director John Sayles' latest indie feature, Go For Sisters, which stars Yolonda Ross and LisaGay Hamilton as childhood friends who were once so close they could "go for sisters." After losing track of each other for two decades, the women are reunited by chance in a parole office, with Bernice (Hamilton) now a no-nonsense parole officer and Fontayne (Ross) an ex-convict trying to clean up her life. When Bernice's son goes missing, she enlists the help of Fontayne and a retired detective (Edward James Olmos) on a journey that takes them across the Mexican border and into a world of danger.
Go For Sisters opens in Atlanta (GA), Albuquerque (NM), Columbus (OH), Santa Fe (NM), San Diego (CA), Lake Worth (FL) theaters today, Friday, November 29. For next week's expansion, and thereafter, see the release schedule at the bottom of this post, followed by the trailer:
Hamilton and Ross made time to chat briefly in what started as an interview about the film and ended as a conversation about artistry in general, and the choices that actors and others make to sustain themselves creatively.
JAI TIGGETT: This film is rare in a lot of ways. Two black women leading a thriller, working together to solve a problem that's not about anyone's relationship drama, but about very adult issues of family, friendship. Can you talk about what resonated with you most about the script and the project in general?
LISAGAY HAMILTON: Employment was big on my list. When I got the call that John [Sayles] wanted me to be in his film, I was glad, but then as I'm reading the script I see my character name again and again. And I realize it's actually in just about every scene. And so that itself was rare, to be in a film where I was telling a story from beginning to end. And then you had all of the other elements - two African-American women, a very diverse cast, as are all of John's films. He gives the opportunity for all the characters to be full-fledged human beings with complexity. And so with all of that, it was impossible to walk away.
YOLONDA ROSS: It's funny you bring that up about reading the script, because I went through the same exact thing, glancing through the pages and seeing my name keep popping up. And knowing how John writes, you know that the characters will be thorough. It’s not going to be just some generic part. And then to see that it's LisaGay, who I'd never worked with, and just to be a black woman at the helm of a film that’s not a stereotypical story, was exciting for me.
JT: Your on-screen friendship seems easy and natural. Tell me about working together for the first time.
LH: For me, I automatically fell in love with Yolonda, so it was easy breezy. And then, you don't have time really. We only had 19 days, so you’d better really love each other. Circumstances were so crazy - there's no money, no trailer, no air conditioning. It's boot camp, and you just go with it. So it was easy to establish a rapport because it just naturally happened. And as an artist I respect Yolonda's work and I think while our training or background may be different, we have a very similar vocabulary. We weren't speaking a different language. I understood exactly what her process was and where she was coming from, and it complemented mine.
YR: I thought the same thing. I really appreciate the differences in everyone's acting process. So what LisaGay says about complementing, I really enjoy that a lot because we have two ways of processing things, but we trust each other. That comes through, that kind of give and take, and as far as friendship and character I felt it was real. We were Fontayne and Bernice.
LH: And you have to go back and give credit where it's due, and that's John's script. With those characters on the page, there was no question. He's the only director that I have worked with that actually sends you a 10-page bio of who your character is. He gives you everything and so you automatically come to the table with clarity. Because also, John doesn't have time for questions. You've only got 19 days.
YR: And we don't do rehearsal.
JT: No rehearsal. So you really didn't spend much time together before you filmed?
LH: If we went to location together, maybe having a meal on set. But that's it.
YR: Also with John, his directing is hiring the right actors. So we do our work and we come to set ready for him.
LH: Coming ready meant, for me, I went and found a parole officer on my own and shadowed her for a day. I wanted to get gun experience. I'd never shot a gun, so I went to a firing range. I mean, you come prepared. Because you don't have a choice.
JT: Tell me more about this 10-page character bio.
LH: It's amazing. This man is a writer. His latest book, I think is a thousand pages. He's prolific. And as a result of most of this money coming out of John's pocket, he also doesn't have time to have questions or to worry about the shot. He has to know everything. And since he has to know everything, you have to know everything. There's no time.
So he really gives you this background of where your character came from, what they were doing. It's actually a very thorough and unusual template for an actor to jump off of because most of the time you're writing your own bio, you're imagining. But John doesn't give you that imagination. He gives you, "This is what happened, this is who you are, this is where you came from." And so for me, there's really no question about who the person is.
YR: It makes complete sense because he's a writer first. He gives you the background on the character, and that’s what it is.
JT: So there was no improvisation? The dialogue in the film is so sharp, from a white male writer originally voicing these characters.
YR: We didn't go off script.
LH: Be truthful, you're not allowed to go off [laughs].
YR: I feel there are people who are straight up writers and there's no fudging of their words. Like playwrights, they don't let you mess with their words. And that's how I feel John is, like a playwright, a straight up writer.
LH: And John knows his words so well that without the script in front of him while shooting, if you didn't get a line right, he'd shout it out to you. And he was never in another room. He believes in being in the room with you. So he knew what he was doing.
JT: Going back to something you both said earlier, about being surprised at the depth of these roles. You're both veteran actresses, so to hear that is surprising.
LH: It's a numbers game. We were hired by a white male director who chooses to write and direct his own films and specifically tell stories that he wants to see, and I love John for that. But the stories aren’t commercial. Any actors he works with are never commercial. That says a lot about not only him, but also about Yolonda and I. We could name other African-American actresses who could perhaps bring more money to the table.
This film is having a hard time before it even begins, and part of that is racism, part of that is sexism, part of that is the system and who runs it, what kind of stereotypical stories that people are interested in seeing, which films producers are more likely to participate in. It's a combination of things, but the bottom line is always going to be green. I'm not poo-pooing our town and our capabilities by any means, but we know the numbers game. For me, we're not A-list in the commercial market, so it's going to be a struggle because it's not going to have the support. For any person of color, it's a numbers game and it's real.
YR: That bottom line is killing creativity and making it hard for everybody. I've led a film before. My first project was as a lead in a film, so to go backwards and have to read for something that's only three lines doesn't make any sense. There are so many parts that I'd like to see, that women of color don't get offered. Go For Sisters is conventional in a way because it's dealing with friendship, but if it were at a major studio you'd have Jennifer Aniston, or any combination of women that's not us.
LH: But I think what's happening now, and Yolonda is a good example of this, is that you have more and more artists doing their own work on a smaller scale, and the internet is the place.
JT: And you've both created your own work - the short Breaking Night (directed by Yolonda), and Beah: A Black Woman Speaks (directed by LisaGay).
YR: You just want to make something that's of quality. If you know that you're a creative being and you're not getting what you need to function, you have to make that happen. Because otherwise you're going to be a really upset person, and this business can do that to you if you’re not getting the offers that you want or need to even grow. You learn and grow by doing. If you don't get the offers to do them, you’re just sitting. You’re getting stale.
So with my short, that's what I did. I figured I knew enough people to make something and I wanted to challenge myself and see what I could do. And the short is doing really well. VH1 Classics picked it up as the new music video for Blinded by the Light. The group really liked it, so I'm psyched about that. It's just really wanting to broaden yourself and use the gifts and talents you have.
LH: I think part of that is the green issue. I'll go back to Beah [Richards] who said, "You may not be a millionaire, but you can win." I'm fortunate enough to have a life partner, my husband, who says, "You don't have to take that job. Do what you want to do. Read, write, do what you want to do creatively." And ultimately whatever the product may be, it's not about the money that you make.
Now the trick is, how do you make a living as an artist? Whether you're a visual artist, a ballet dancer, whatever kind of art you want to do. And the point is, you may not be able to. However, you can still make product that is meaningful to you and that ultimately has meaning and usefulness to the world. And that is what we have to begin to embrace, that the movie star stuff isn't really relevant and tangible. We have to be more positive and proactive and not complain and wait for them to hire you, because they're not. Not enough work, racism, sexism, all the isms. They're just not. So the question always becomes, "What are you doing as an individual artist?"
YR: And I think people take notice when you're doing your own thing. Because it's not everybody else’s thing, it's not the same thing. I think both of us have shown that. We're still around, and I think that says a lot for what we do and how people see our work.
Go For Sisters opens in Atlanta (GA), Albuquerque (NM), Columbus (OH), Santa Fe (NM), San Diego (CA), Lake Worth (FL) theaters today, Friday, November 29. For next week's expansion, and thereafter, see the release schedule below, followed by the trailer:
If you're not at all familiar with the work of black British artist (including filmmaker) Isaac Julien, here's your chance to get familiar (if you live in New York anyway).
We've highlighted some of his films here on S&A - notably his allegorical snapshot of late 1970s London, 1991's Young Soul Rebels, which co-starred a young Sophie Okonedo, and was awarded the Semaine de la Critique prize at the Cannes Film Festival the same year. And there was the poetic 1989 documentary Looking For Langston - an exploration of the life and times of late African American poet Langston Hughes, delving into the world in which he thrived, fusing together archival footage, a jazz soundtrack and scripted scenes, to examine homosexuality and black gay identity during the Harlem Renaissance.
Typically, Julien’s films relate experiences of black and gay identity, combining both visual and performing arts elements to create strong narratives.
He founded the Sankofa Film and Video Collective, and was a founding member of Normal Films in 1991. He was a visiting professor at the Whitney Museum of American Arts, and most recently, he's had solo shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, MoCA Miami and the Kerstner Gesellschaft, Hanover.
Starting Monday this week, November 25, 2013, and running through February 17, 2014, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) here in NYC, will house Julien's film installation project, titled Ten Thousand Waves - described as an immersive cinema experience projected onto nine double-sided screens, which was created over a 4-year period, and reflects the movement of people across continents, as audiences move freely around the Marron Atrium, where the installation resides, with the ability to watch from whatever vantage points they choose.
More details from a MoMA press release below:
Julien poetically interweaves contemporary Chinese culture with its ancient myths—including the fable of the goddess Mazu (played by Maggie Cheung), which comes from the Fujian Province, from where the Morecambe Bay workers originated. In one section, the Tale of Yishan Island, Julien recounts the story of 16th-century fishermen lost and imperiled at sea. Central to the legend is the sea goddess figure who leads the fishermen to safety. In a preceding section, shot at the Shanghai Film Studios, actress Zhao Tao takes part in a re-enactment of the classic 1930s Chinese film The Goddess. Additional collaborators include calligrapher Gong Fagen, the film and video artist Yang Fudong, cinematographer Zhao Xiaoshi and poet Wang Ping from whom Julien commissioned “Small Boats”, a poem that is recited in Ten Thousand Waves.
The installation is staged on the streets of both modern and old Shanghai, and includes music and sounds that fuse Eastern and Western traditions. The installation’s sound structure is as immersive as its sequenced images, with contributions from, among others, London-based musician Jah Wobble and the Chinese Dub Orchestra, and an original score by Spanish contemporary classical composer Maria de Alvear.
Organized by Sabine Breitwieser, former Chief Curator (until January 31, 2013), with Martin Hartung, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance Art.
Here's a look at the installation, although it's best experienced live, and in person, as it's meant to be:
Following Cahiers du Cinema by a few days, Britain's Sight & Sound has announced its own Top 10 for 2013. Since U.K. release patterns more closely follow those in the U.S., there are fewer outright shocks, but still a handful of noteworthy films that either haven't been released here -- The Selfish Giant, Norte, The End of History -- or those like The Grand Beauty that haven't figured prominently in the year-end conversation. Be sure to scroll down for the individual ballots so you can see some list-making love for Leviathan, Museum Hours and Stories We Tell, among others. Cast your own vote in Sight & Sound's readers' poll here.
Sight & Sound's Best Films of 2013
5. Frances Ha
6 (tie). A Touch of Sin
9 (tie). Norte, The End of History
Some choice quotes from the ballots:
Upstream Colour really stands for three films -- I tie it together with Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin and Spike Jonze's Her, all of which represent fresh kinds of cinema about the way we live and think now. Shane Carruth's film has many troubling morbid insights. I need to see Glazer's film again but I have the feeling it's a future classic about empathy as a virus. Her I’ve only just seen, think is tremendous, but want to hold back for next year’s poll.
We started the year surrounded by the ocean in Life of Pi and ended it there too, with JC Chandor's All is Lost. In between two smaller, but no less remarkable films floated along: Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran's collaboration with Indian cargo sailors, From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf, but above all, Leviathan. Interestingly, it was this documentary about a fishing trawler, and not the sublime-courting Gravity, that offered the more immersive and disorientating spectacle about the horror of being adrift in an abyss.
I chose The Act of Killing in last year's poll, but saw it anew (in its longer "director's cut") this year while watching its journey around the world, and continued to be enthralled by the ways in which it reconfigured the movies in front of our eyes, commandeered the writing of public history with ingenuity and courage, and threw up myriad moral challenges that cut to the quick.
Actress Evan Rachel Wood took to Twitter after she saw the latest cut of her new film "Charlie Countryman," which was released two weeks ago. The new cut, which received an R rating from the MPAA, does not include parts of a love scene in which Shia Labeouf's character performs oral sex on Wood's character. The Twitter rant was broken up with ellipses and was posted Wednesday evening (though she corrected the grammar and reposted some of the posts Thanksgiving morning). Here it is in its entirety:
After seeing the new cut of #CharlieCountryman I would like 2 share my disappointment with the MPAA, who thought it was necessary to...— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 27, 2013
...censor a womans sexuality once again. The scene where the two main characters make "love" was altered because someone felt that seeing...— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 27, 2013
...a man give a woman oral sex made people "uncomfortable" but the scenes in which people are murdered by having their heads blown off...— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 27, 2013
...remained intact and unaltered. This is a symptom of a society that wants to shame women and put them down for enjoying sex, especially...— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 27, 2013
...when (gasp) the man isn't getting off as well! Its hard for me to believe that had the roles been reversed it still would have been cut..— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 27, 2013
...OR had the female character been raped it would have been cut. Its time for people to GROW UP. Accept that women are sexual beings...— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 28, 2013
...Accept that some men like pleasuring women. Accept that women don't have to just be fucked and say thank you...— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 28, 2013
...We are allowed and entitled to enjoy ourselves. Its time we put our foot down...— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 28, 2013
…Thanks for listening.— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 28, 2013
Scheduled to run from today, November 29 to December 15, 2013, the 21st annual New York African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) includes 73 films - 35 of them being World, US and NY Premieres - from 35 countries.
Highlights this year include: director Norry Niven’s directorial debut, Chasing Shakespeare, which will open this year's edition of the festival on November 29th, as a New York Premiere at Symphony Space in Manhattan; Yidnekachew Shumete's Nishan (or Medal Of Honor) will also make its New York City premiere as a Centerpiece film; and Pratibha Parmar's documentary feature film about writer and activist Alice Walker, titled Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth, which will be a Gala screening at this year's event.
In addition, attendees will be treated to other titles S&A readers should be familiar with, like the Curacao-set slave uprising epic drama Tula, The Revolt by Jeroen Leinders - also a NY premiere; Micheal Beach stars in the new drama Scrapper, directed by Brady Hall - a film that follows a man who makes a living by collecting discarded metal "scraps" or pieces, who meets a runaway teen, who becomes his work partner; Andrew Dosunmu's acclaimed Mother of George, Alexandre Moors critically-lauded drama Blue Caprice; Said Ould-Khelifa's Zabana! - account of the short life of Algerian freedom fighter Ahmed Zabana, and Algeria's selection for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Oscar; the documentary RAÇA (RACE), from Brazilian filmmaker Joel Zito Araújo and American Megan Mylan, which tackles racial inequality in Brazil, via the lives of three black Brazilians; and more, including the once-banned Jews of Egypt by Amir Ramses, Fatal Assistance by Hatian filmmaker Raoul Peck; and The Stuart Hall Project by John Akomfrah.
ADIFF 2013 will also present the World Premiere of Al Robbins' Raltat, a drama based on a true story of mistaken identity case post-9/11, in a cross-continental effort, taking place in both the New York and Morocco. The narrative follows the trials of a Moroccan woman living in the United States who is detained at JFK Airport in New York days after 9/11 because her husband has the same name as the lead hijacker.
Other highlights include Legends of Madagascar by Haminiaina Ratovoarivony, The Miscreants by Mohcine Besri; Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango by Angolan filmmaker Dom Pedro, Spies of Mississippi by Dawn Porter, Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights by Nevline Nnaji, and I Don' Been Through The Snake's Skin & Come Out Clean by Ada Babino.
For the festival's full lineup, visit http://nyadiff.org, where you'll also find out how to purchase tickets to individual screenings or passes.
Enjoy! Maybe I'll see you there some time over the next 2 weeks.
Christian Bale is a chameleon; a man who enjoys putting himself through torture (in an acting sense) to achieve the proper character (see his work in “The Machinist” as proof). With two very different films coming out within weeks of each other, Scott Cooper’s “Out of the Furnace” and David O. Russell’s “American Hustle,” Bale is, once again, the man of the hour. So let’s take a look at a few interviews with him, shall we?
In a recent chat with Details magazine, transcribed in full at Bale Heads Blog, Bale discusses his methods of getting into character as well as his work alongside some rather prestigious directors. It’s a fascinating interview, blending Bale’s philosophical look at the world of acting—and, at times, utter indifference to it—with a humor you don’t expect from a man known for such seriousness. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Bale interview without him discussing the injuries sustained in creating a character. "I ended up with a herniated disk, which was a combination of the extra weight and slumping a lot. It’s my own fault—nobody asked me to gain the weight. I just saw Irv as being a bit of a rolling ball, full of momentum," he explained.
Meanwhile, the character of the 1970s con artist is another larger-than-life role Bale says he loves to play as much as David O. Russell loves to direct them. Bale’s relationship with Russell is fun to hear about as he explains, “We can disagree in a way that two people who respect each other can.”
It’s a different relationship from his work with Scott Cooper in “Out of the Furnace,” which recently unveiled a Johnny Cash-powered Canadian TV spot for your enjoyment. Bale was skeptical when Cooper declared he wouldn’t make “Out of the Furnace” without him: “Every director says that…and I know they’ve offered it to four other people beforehand…” Once the movie was canceled, and Bale wasn’t able to get the script out of his mind, did he make time to take on the role of Russell Baze, which audiences and critics are applauding. Both movies, according to Bale, are ones in which “you spin on a dime” and provide obstacles, such as short shooting times, to create the necessary tension and characterization.
The magazine chat is just the tip of the promotional iceberg. Below you'll find the aforementioned TV spot along with over an hour’s worth of conversation with Bale, including a group interview with the rest of his “Out of the Furnace” co-stars, a half-hour discussion as part of the DP/30 series, and a four-part interview created for The LA Times Envelope Screening series. Watch below, plus check out a few new photos from the film as well.
"Out of the Furnace" opens on December 6th.
With Spike Lee's "Oldboy" remake in theaters this weekend, a whole other conversation is emerging around the movie that has nothing to do with Josh Brolin's preferred 3 hour cut or the studio mandated edits to the iconic hammer hallway fight sequence. Rather, it has to do with the film's marketing and a designer who claims his concepts were used without his permission.
Juan Luis Garcia has taken to his personal website and written an open letter in which he details his experience working on early artwork for "Oldboy." In short, he claims in January of this year he was hired by an ad agency, who was working directly with Spike Lee, to put together artwork for "Oldboy." Over two months Garcia says he was "taken advantage of, lead on, lied to, manipulated, and harassed" by the agency but was told Lee really liked what he came up with. That's where things got particularly troublesome:
The agency told me, “Congratulations, Spike loved a couple of the posters. Yours is going to be the key art.”, and I was thrilled. But when it came time to negotiate the licensing buyout fee the agency made an insultingly low offer. But they said that the important thing wasn’t the money it was the exposure and potential for more work. After thinking about it long and hard I had to decline. I tried to negotiate but they refused. I make the same amount of money in a single day as a photo assistant as what they offered and I had worked on these almost exclusively for two months. Plus there was still more work to be done so I had to refuse.
The agency was furious. They told me that I didn’t want to mess with Spike Lee, that I would never work again, that I was a despicable human, that they wish they never met me, and that they were going to sue my ass to oblivion. For what, I honestly don’t know. We never signed any contracts or work-for-hire agreements and I certainly never agreed to donating or selling any copyright of my work without a licensing fee.
The worst part of all this is that I never even got paid the peanuts they owed me. I was fine with it as long as they were out of my life. I couldn’t take another condescending phone call because I was “only a designer.” Many sleepless nights forced me to chock it up as a loss and learning experience and try to move on with my life.
Indeed, Garcia had put it behind him until he recently found his artwork and concepts on the personal and professional social media areas for Spike Lee and his production company, leading to the open letter. So what does Lee think of all this? There hasn't been much from his camp, but yesterday morning he tweeted the following: "I Never Heard Of This Guy Juan Luis Garcia,If He Has A Beef It's Not With Me.I Did Not Hire Him,Do Not Know Him.Cheap Trick Writing To Me.YO"
There is likely more to come from both sides before this is resolved. Until then, check out Garcia's work below followed by the officially released poster, and us know your thoughts in the comments section.