The new trailer for Neill Blomkamp's Elysium features some interesting contraptions, as you might expect from a science-fiction movie set 150 years into the future. And at least one of them is very plausible. more »
The new trailer for Steven Soderbergh's Behind The Candelabra sure is compelling, but will the HBO movie do justice to Liberace? The clip leaves little doubt that Michael Douglas, who plays the flamboyant entertainer in this tragicomic love story, and Matt Damon, who portrays his much younger lover, Scott Thorson, are going to be memorable, and that Soderbergh has taken a measured approach to the camp aspects of this story. But what I can't tell from the footage is whether Behind The Candelabra will give Liberace his due as a pioneering postwar performance artist. more »
"I would like to thank the Academy… I'm kidding, I'm kidding. This is the one that counts," joked Ben Affleck Thursday night at the Critics Choice Awards, accepting his Best Director prize at the event hosted by the Broadcast Film Critics Association. If Affleck was more than simply disappointed by being passed up by the Academy in the Best Director category for Argo in yesterday's Oscar nominations, he didn't show it at last night at the event.
We all remember Good Will Hunting as the touching drama about a troubled genius who works as a janitor (and something about apples, right?) The combination of an Oscar-winning script by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and Gus Van Sant, a director who, up to that point, had a career consisting of expert societal button-pushing, made magic. But as touching as the movie turned out, it's important to note how different it could have been. Violently different. more »
Matt Damon and Frances McDormand starrer Promised Land by Gus Van Sant is one of six films that will screen in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival. Also starring John Krasinski and Rosemarie DeWitt, the film is one of two American titles the festival announced Thursday. Also joining the group is animated feature The Croods, playing out of competition. The title includes voices from Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.
Promised Land centers on Steve Butler (Damon) a former farm boy turned big city business guy who teams up with Sue (Frances McDormand) to sell financial prosperity to a struggling Pennsylvania town that has rich deposits of natural gas deep underground. The sales execs offer up easy cash in return for drilling rights on their property, but the process of extraction - known as fracking - divides the town.
Other titles included in the initial lineup of six films hail from Austria, Chile, France, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Romania and Spain. The 63rd Berlinale takes place February 7 - 17.
The first six Berlinale '13 titles follow with information provided by the festival.
By Sebastián Lelio (La Sagrada Familia, Navidad, El año del tigre)
With Paulina García, Sergio Hernández
Nugu-ui Ttal-do Anin (Nobody's Daughter Haewon), Republic of Korea
By Hong Sangsoo (Night and Day, Hahaha, In Another Country)
With Eunchae Jung, Sunkyun Lee
Paradies: Hoffnung (Paradise: Hope), Austria/France/Germany
By Ulrich Seidl (Dog Days, Import Export, Paradise: Love)
With Melanie Lenz, Vivian Bartsch, Joseph Lorenz, Michael Thomas
Poziţia Copilului (Child's Pose), Romania
By Călin Peter Netzer (Maria, Medal of Honor, Zapada mieilor)
With Luminiţa Gheorghiu, Bogdan Dumitrache, Florin Zamfirescu
Promised Land, USA
By Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho, Good Will Hunting, Milk)
With Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook
The Croods - animated film in 3D, USA
By Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon)
With the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds
World premiere / out of competition
Unter Menschen (Redemption Impossible) - Documentary, Germany
By Christian Rost, Claus Strigel
Promised Land is not the first nor even second collaboration between filmmaker Gus Van Sant and actor Matt Damon. Van Sant helped usher in the age of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck with their Oscar-winner Good Will Hunting back in 1997 and Damon and Ben's younger brother, Casey Affleck worked with Van Sant in Gerry. Fast forward nearly a decade and a script Damon had been collaborating on with John Krasinski from a story by Dave Eggers set in a small town needed a director. Damon, who had originally planned to direct the feature, realized he could not because of his packed schedule, so he reached out to his old friend Gus Van Sant and the result, which will head to theaters later this month, has caught the wind of Oscar chatterers.
Van Sant discussed his latest pic and why he "always wants to work with Matt" during a NYC screening of Promised Land.
"The genealogy of this is that John Krasinski was observing a mining operation in Alaska and spoke to Eggers later about writing a screenplay about installing wind power," Van Sant said at the post-Promised Land screening. "Matt Damon was going to direct [Promised Land] himself but then decided he didn't have time. They thought the project might go away, but then he contacted me - and a year ago, I said yes…"
Van Sant said Damon packed schedule had once kept him from playing in one of the director's most celebrated recent films. He had originally been slated to play Dan White in the 2008 Oscar-winner Milk, but again the actor's long queue of roles interfered.
But, Promised Land posed the next opportunity and the planets aligned. "When you work together you become friends and you wonder what else you can do together again and Matt and I became friends," said Van Sant. "I felt like we've had successful collaborations so the idea of doing something again was really interesting… Working with Matt on this film - I always wanted to work with him on every film."
Set in a fictitious Pennsylvania town that could represent much of small town America that has taken economic blows due to de-industrialization, agribusiness consolidation and the fallout from globalization generally, the story revolves around Steve Butler (Damon) a former farm boy turned big city business guy who teams up with Sue (Frances McDormand) to sell financial prosperity to the struggling town. The sales execs offer up easy cash in return for drilling rights on their property. Though economically hard pressed, the town, along with many others across Rust Belt states, sit atop a rich resource of natural gas once thought unreachable. But through the controversial advent of fracking (fracture drilling) the resource is recoverable though at what ecological cost is not fully known.
Steve and Sue think their stay in the town will be short, but a respected schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) complicates what they think will be an easy sell when he questions the environmental risk. Steve meets a local school teacher (Rosemarie DeWitt) as they bunker down to sway in the town and things get really sticky when an environmentalist (John Krasinski) shows up and raises the stakes.
"When we arrived in Pittsburgh during [pre-production] the hydraulic manufacturing companies were moving in and just happened to be having a convention at the hotel we were staying at," Van Sant said. "So right away we had some sources we could go down and talk to. Also the people in contract talks were also the people we wanted to [scout] for locations."
The tracking process at the center of Promised Land's plot has been hailed by some economic prognosticators as a short cut to energy independence while even cutting carbon emissions. But it has been criticized by others for polluting underground water-tables and even causing earthquakes in areas where they're almost nearly unknown. Documentaries such as GasLand (2010) and others have depicted frightening scenarios of ecological degradation in the race for plentiful energy, which is not lost on Van Sant though he also sees the film as describing an even larger topic about corporations.
"By default its playing into discussions that are political having fracking as a topic," he said. "But I think the emotions of the story are about corporate maneuvering and inner corporate personnel maneuvering and it could relate to any corporation's maneuvering including mine or Focus Features. [The film] will obviously play into politics…"
[Promised Land opens December 28 via Focus Features, trailer below.]
Matt Damon channeled Bill Clinton on a recent Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He recalled a trip he made to Camp David during the Clinton presidency when he and Ben Affleck brought along their Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting.
Damon recalled how a producer from the film told the Prez that he was friends with John Travolta who was starring in Primary Colors, a film considered unflattering to Bill Clinton and did a great impression of him. Damon recalls the story and then morphs into the then POTUS. Check it out...
Skyfall has overtaken the likes of Avatar in Britain at the box office. Also in Wednesday's round-up of news, Matt Damon is a possible addition to a George Clooney-directed period drama; Les Misérables is set for Xmas Imax bow; the Academy will honor Pedro Almodovar; and the Dubai International Film Festival is removing pro-Syrian ruler filmmakers films from its roster.
Skyfall is U.K.'s Highest Grossing Film of All Time
In 40 days of release, the 23rd James Bond movie has grossed $151,795,059 to become the highest grossing film in Great Britain ever, overtaking previous records set by Avatar. Directed by Sam Mendes, Skyfall opened in 587 U.K. theaters on October 26th, Deadline reports.
Matt Damon Eyes George Clooney's Monuments
Damon is in negotiations to join period drama The Monuments Men, which will be directed by George Clooney in January in Europe. Along with the two, the film will star Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban. The story "confronts the final chapter of Germany’s rule, which came down to the absolute destruction of everything that makes a culture keep its standing, including the lives that are lost and the sacrifices that are made," Deadline reports.
Les Misérables to Bow in Select Imax Theaters
The film will open in select Imax theaters in New York, L.A., Toronto and Montreal the same day as its nationwide Christmas-day release. It will have an extensive Imax roll out internationally in January, Variety reports.
Academy to Honor Pedro Almodovar in London
Oscar-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodovar will be honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the British capital. Special guests will include his brother Agustin Almodovar, filmmaker Stephen Frears, fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, singer Alberto Iglesias and scriptwriter Peter Morgan, THR reports.
Dubai and Cairo Film Fests Remove Pro-Syrian Ruler Films
The Dubai International Film Festival dropped Basil al-Khatib’s historical drama Mariam, Abdul Latif Abdul Hamid's The Lover and Joud Said's My Last Friend from its official selection this year after protests from the Arab film community due to the directors' support for Syria's dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Dubai takes place December 9 - 16. Screen reports.
Gus Van Sant may go from fracking to thwacking with his next film project. At a luncheon for the director's new film, Promised Land, which deals with fracking in a Pennsylvania town, Van Sant said that he's in the process of writing a script to a "martial arts" film that is "a little bit of a superhero movie and a little bit of Stephen Chow," the director, writer and star of Kung Fu Hustle. more »
Tim Robbins, Michelle Pfeiffer Eye 'Man Under'; Matt Damon To Take On Climate Change Doc Series: Biz Break
Also in early Thursday's round-up of news briefs: Rachel Weisz is a possible go for a David Cronenberg project; Tarzan gets new life; And the Dubai International Film Festival rounds out its 2012 program.
The odds of Matt Damon returning to the big screen as Jason Bourne are looking longer than ever judging from a conversation I had with the actor on Tuesday night. Damon, who's still sporting a shaved head for his work on the sci-fi thriller Elysium, was part of the starry crowd that turned out for a special private screening of Argo, which was beautifully directed by his bud and Good Will Hunting co-writer Ben Affleck. During a dinner at the Porter House steakhouse in the Time Warner Center, I asked Damon if there had been any movement on reports that he could reprise his role after Jeremy Renner's portrayal of Aaron Cross in The Bourne Legacy, another agent in the Robert Ludlum-created universe, this past summer. more »
Matt Damon, David O. Russell To Receive Gotham Honors; Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire Urge 'Voter Expression': Biz Break
Also in Monday morning's round-up of news briefs, The Other Dream Team tops a mostly lackluster specialty box office, while The Perks of Being a Wallflower held strong in expansion. Looper tops the foreign box office. And, a French film wins in San Sebastian.
There has been some push-back in the blogosphere over the apparent "genetic enhancement" associated with Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner in the all-new manifestation of the Bourne series, The Bourne Legacy, which comes out next month. But director Tony Gilroy assures that the latest film is "consistent" with the three previous installments, which of course starred Matt Damon.
The first image of the mysterious Elysium has made its way onto the Internet and a smooth skulled Matt Damon sporting a severe weapon and futuristic bric-a-brac are revealed. Director Neill Blomkamp received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay for District 9 in 2010, which made over $115 million in the U.S. alone. Not bad for a feature directorial debut and no doubt a pass to move onto bigger and brighter things.
It's of course no secret that Jeremy Renner is the new face of the Bourne franchise, playing Aaron Cross, a new character in a parallel story to The Bourne Ultimatum. But could Matt Damon possibly team up with Renner in future installments of the story? Yes says the producer of Legacy.