R.I.P. Paul Mazursky (1930-2014)

Acclaimed writer, director and occasional actor Paul Mazursky passed away Monday in Los Angeles from a pulmonary cardiac arrest. He was 84.

The five-time Oscar nominee started out as an actor in Stanley Kubrick’s first fiction film Fear and Desire at the age of 22, after being noticed in a play. 1969 saw the release of his first directorial effort, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, starring Natalie Wood, Robert Culp, Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon, which he also wrote and was nominated for four Academy Awards.

His last work as a director is the 2006 documentary Yippee and he had also remained active as an actor, recently appearing on the TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm and voicing a character in Kung Fu Panda 2.

Our thoughts go with Mr Mazursky’s family and friends, including his widow Betty and daughter Jill. If you are unfamiliar with his work, I’ve included an interview and a few trailers after the jump. Continue reading

Casting tidbits: Defendor, Zombieland, Unthinkable and Alice In Wonderland

Kat Dennings (Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist) will join Woody Harrelson (Semi-Pro) in the superhero-themed comedy Defendor, while Jesse Eisenberg (Cursed) will join him in the horror comedy Zombieland, which we’ve previously talked about.

Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), Gil Bellows (The Weather Man) and Martin Donovan (The Sentinel) have joined the cast of the terrorism-themed thriller Unthinkable from Australian director Gregor Jordan (Ned Kelly), which we’ve also previously mentioned. The film will start shooting on October 20th in Los Angeles.

Unsurprisingly since she shares his bed, British actress Helena Bonham Carter (every Tim Burton movie since Planet Of The Apes) has joined the cast of Burton’s Alice In Wonderland currently filming adaptation, as has Anne Hathaway (Get Smart). The actresses will play the Red Queen and the White Queen respectively.

Source: /Film

DreamWorks/Reliance deal finalized

Indian businessman Anil Ambani, CEO of the huge Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, and the sixth richest man in the world, recently flew to Los Angeles to finalize the deal between his company and Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks, investing more than five hundred million dollars in the American company, thus enabling it to gain its independence and become a full-fledged movie studio.

JPMorgan Chase will provide up to $700 million in financing for the deal, with Reliance providing an additional $550 million, according to The Times of India.

Current DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider will continue his duties for the new studio which will start operations in January and is expected to continue being called DreamWorks. The deal comes after Spielberg & co decided to end their unhappy partnership with Paramount Pictures at the end of their contracts.

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Movie Of The Day: Demolition Man (1993)

A man truly responsible for his own success, the underrated and multitalented Sylvester Stallone exploded onto the scene in 1976 with the multi Oscar-winning Rocky (people tend to forget that) and quickly became one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. As the eighties drew to a close however, his star was seriously dampened by a couple of failed comedic attempts and his career was in jeopardy. Luckily for him, his 1993 “action comeback” Cliffhanger was a huge success, almost quadrupling its budget worldwide. Mere months later, Demolition Man was released.

In the then future year of 1996, Los Angeles is being terrorized by sadistic criminal Simon Phoenix, but when tough violent cop John Spartan finally apprehends him they are both sentenced to many years of being cryonically frozen as Spartan is believed to be guily of involuntary manslaughter. When Phoenix somehow escapes in 2032, the seemingly utopian society of the time aren’t capable of dealing with him and decide to unfreeze Spartan.

Demolition Man marks the directing debut for Canadian filmmaker Marco Brambilla (Dinotopia) and was written by Peter M. Lenkov (13 episodes of CSI: NY), Robert Reneau (Action Jackson) and Daniel Waters (Sex And Death 101). In addition to Stallone, the film stars Wesley Snipes (The Art Of War I & II), Sandra Bullock (Premonition), Benjamin Bratt (The Andromeda Strain), Nigel Hawthorne (The Winslow Boy), former wrestler Jesse Ventura (Batman & Robin) as well as Rob Schneider (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan) and Jack Black (Tropic Thunder) in early roles. The film takes its title from The Police’s eponymous song which is featured during the end credits. Trailer and review after the jump Continue reading

New Poster: The Soloist

The Soloist is the new film from immensely talented British director Joe Wright (Atonement). Based on a true story, it tells the tale of schizophrenic violinist prodigy Nathaniel Ayers and the Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez who rediscovered him as a homeless man playing half-broken instruments on LA street corners.

Despite my anticipation for the film, which premieres November 21st in the US, I was quite unimpressed by the very poorly-made trailer which you can watch here. The poster however is another story, as it is quite beautiful, even though it somehow reminds me of the 12 Monkeys poster. How do you like it? And are you looking forward to this film?

New Trailer: The Soloist

Honestly this trailer looks rather poorly made to me, but The Soloist remains one of my most anticipated films of this year, simply because it marks the third feature effort for British director Joe Wright, whose previous two films, Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, are amazing masterpieces which you should watch if you haven’t already.

The Soloist is based on the true story of schizophrenic violinist prodigy Nathaniel Ayers and the Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez who rediscovered him as a homeless man playing half-broken instruments on LA street corners. Lopez went on to befriend Ayers and wrote a series of articles on him, followed by a book which served as the basis for this film.

Talented screenwriter Susannah Grant (Charlotte’s Web) penned the adaptation, which stars Jamie Foxx (The Kingdom), Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder) and Catherine Keener (Into The Wild). The Soloist will premiere in the US on November 21st.

Ghost Town team gets spooked (publicity stunt anyone?)

Update: Turns out the whole story is fabricated, or so says Ricky Gervais because he doesn’t want you to find out he pissed his thong when Marilyn Monroe’s ghost tried to give him a lapdance

Apparently prankish ghosts had the time of their undead lives scaring the hell out of movie types trying to throw a press junket at the famous Los Angeles haunted Roosevelt Hotel.

“We wanted the junkets at the Roosevelt because of its ghostly reputation. But we got so much more than we bargained for. A photoshoot we prepared was wrecked and two runners say they saw the figure of a lady in the full-length mirror.

“The final straw came when a production assistant stayed in the room earmarked for Ricky and claimed to have been freezing cold on the hottest day of the year. He said he woke up with someone whistling in his ear, even though he was alone, then heard a giggle before being pushed out of bed.”

Now I’m not saying this didn’t happen and I do believe in that kind of stuff, but it’s kind of convenient how supernatural beings are always willing to give films dealing about them a little publicity (anyone remember how Ghost Whisperer star Jennifer Love Hewitt senses spirits ogling her in the shower?).

Ghost Town, a romantic comedy about a man who dies, gets revived and now has the ability to see ghosts who all want something from him, stars British comedian Ricky Gervais (Stardust), Téa Leoni (You Kill Me) and Greg Kinnear (Baby Mama). The film, which will premiere at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, was directed by superstar screenwriter David Koepp (Secret Window), who penned the script with John Kamps (The Borrowers).

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