Michael Keaton’s “Tour de Force” — New Trailer for BIRDMAN, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance

570_Michael-Keaton-joins-Aaron-Paul--Imogen-Poots-and-Kid-Cudi-in-Need-For-Speed-movie-3310Fox Searchlight has released the new international trailer for BIRDMAN, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance. The studio describes the film as “a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Michael Keaton) – famous for portraying an iconic superhero – as he struggles to mount a Broadway play.  In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.”

“The previous trailers have all been fantastic, but they’ve simply teased the plot without giving much away story-wise.  This new international trailer digs deep into the descent of Keaton’s character, and the actor looks to be giving a truly tour de force performance as a man on the brink of a career meltdown,” says Adam Chitwood of Collider.

The outstanding cast includes Zach Galifianakas, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts. birdman-posterBIRDMAN (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) will premiere at the Venice Film Festival and opens in theaters on October 17th.




Harry Shum Jr Steps Up to CROUCHING TIGER

Glee-s-Harry-Shum--Jr--to-star-in-new-superhero-web-series-Caper-1349421854Harry Shum Jr (Glee,  Step Up 3D) is joining the cast as one of the leads of the sequel to CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.

THR reports that “the movie is set 20 years after the events of Crouching Tiger and revolves around four heroes of the martial arts world — Silent Wolf, Yu Shu-lien, Tie-Fang and Snow Vase — who must use their courage and skills to keep the legendary sword Green Destiny from the hands of the villainous Hades Dai.”  Shum will play Tie-Fang.

Donnie-YenDonnie Yen also stars as Silent Wolf. Yen is a martial arts superstar, and “is coming off of the well-received 3D film ‘Monkey King,’ which set a Chinese box office record for ticket sales in a single day by grossing over $41 million.” [NTF]

Michelle Yeoh in a scene from CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, 2000.Michelle Yeoh returns as Yu Shu-lien, her role from the original Crouching Tiger, a performance that earned her a BAFTA nomination as Best Actress.

John Fusco (Young Guns, Hidalgo, Thunderheart) wrote the script based on the final book in the Crane-Iron Pentalogy  series entitled “Iron Knight, Silver Vase” by wuxia novelist Wang Dulu. Fusco has been active in Asia, creating the new Netflix longform Marco Polo, and penning the Jet Li-Jackie Chan film The Forbidden Kingdom. Slashfilm reports that the new film will “bring in plenty of new characters as well, as Fusco explains. ‘This introduces a new generation of star-crossed lovers, and a new series of antagonists in a battle of good and evil. It has a Knights Errant quality. There is an alternate universe in the books, a martial forest that exists alongside the real world, full of wandering sword fighters, medicine men, defrocked priests, poets, sorcerers and Shaolin renegades,'” says Fusco.

Legendary action director Master Yuen Woo-Ping will choreograph the fight sequences and direct. Yuen was action choreographer on the original Crouching Tiger, as well as the  Matrix trilogy, both parts of Kill Bill, and The Grandmaster.

Scorsese at Age 11: Epic Storyboards

zhon5xnvtvomhhc7msfrMartin Scorsese knew from a young age he would become a filmmaker.  “As if you needed any more reason to be in awe of Scorsese, here he is at 11 years-old, making storyboards for a Roman epic titled The Eternal City.” writes  Kevin Jagernauth at Indiewire, “For the imagined movie, the young Scorsese dreamcasted Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Virginia Mayo and Alec Guinness, for what was described as “a fictitious story of royalty in Ancient Rome.” Of course, those dreams weren’t realized, and curiously, Scorsese has never made a Roman epic, but hey, there’s still time. Too bad he can’t get that original cast though, because we’d watch the hell out of that.”tumblr_lww5u8FcJE1qzdvhio1_r1_1280tumblr_lww5u8FcJE1qzdvhio2_r1_1280tumblr_lww5u8FcJE1qzdvhio3_r1_1280tumblr_lww5u8FcJE1qzdvhio7_r1_1280tumblr_lww5u8FcJE1qzdvhio5_r1_1280tumblr_lww5u8FcJE1qzdvhio6_r1_1280tumblr_lww5u8FcJE1qzdvhio9_r1_1280tumblr_lww5u8FcJE1qzdvhio8_r1_1280tumblr_lww5u8FcJE1qzdvhio4_r1_1280The set of storyboards is reproduced in Michael Henry Wilson’s book, Scorsese on Scorsese. Geoffrey MacNab, in his review of the book, notes that the suite of illustrations “underlines the obsessive cinephilia that characterised Scorsese, even as a child. It is an intricately drawn and calligraphed set of images … very carefully drawn and coloured in. It is striking that he has given himself a bigger credit as producer-director than any of the stars.”

Scorsese himself describes his obsession in more severe terms. “Film is a disease… as with heroin, the antidote to film is more film,’ Scorsese once observed, quoting his fellow director Frank Capra.” [via The Independent]

He Built A Camera The Size of a Truck!

Photographer and artist Ian Ruhter has embraced old school technique by resurrecting silver collodion wet plate photography. The process, introduced in about 1850, requires the photographer to mix silver nitrate and other chemicals to form a mixture that is then used to coat a large metal plate. The surface must then be exposed within 15 minutes. Ruhter has chosen to work in a large scale, creating plates up to four feet wide. tumblr_m7s0jmhC691r8e3ono1_1280To project the subject image from the lens onto a plate of that size, Ruhter converted a truck into a giant camera. Watch the video above to see the truck in action, and to be inspired by an artist living his passion.

Below are some examples of Ruhter’s work. The photographer can be found on tumblr or at his website or his gallery.

The technique yields breathtaking landscapes: tumblr_mpmuxeqirn1r8e3ono1_1280tumblr_m1pjbsyAZ41r8e3ono1_1280

The portraits of cities are haunting: tumblr_m3eib2jpbR1r8e3ono1_1280tumblr_mqv247fSon1r8e3ono1_1280

And the portraits of people are stunning: tumblr_m99vxjVS521r8e3ono1_1280tumblr_m1kpuzRMAc1r8e3ono1_1280


MIDNIGHT RUN—”The Movie That Made Robert De Niro Bankable”


Under the title “The Movie That Made Robert De Niro Bankable,” Vulture is running an excerpt from critic Glenn Kenny’s new book Robert De Niro: Anatomy of an Actor.

Kenny positions MIDNIGHT RUN as De Niro’s initial venture away from maverick filmmaking, his “first foray into middle of the road movies” of the Hollywood mainstream. “It’s Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple with guns,” says Kenny. The appeal of the film rests primarily on the chemistry between De Niro and co-star Charles Grodin; Kenny calls their matchup “inspired.”



The film opened well, says Kenny, quoting the New York Daily News, which reported that the movie was “among the nation’s top five box office hits — a select group De Niro rarely inhabits (its returns are already more than the total grosses of such De Niro films as Falling in Love and True Confessions).”  Matt Singer, writing in The Dissolve, states that appreciation for the film has grown over time, that it “has slowly risen in stature thanks to decades of play on cable, VHS, and DVD” and is beloved by many. Actor Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation) considers MIDNIGHT RUN a film that must be seen by everyone. Interviewed by Singer, Scott tells why.

“The Dissolve: Why is Midnight Run compulsory viewing?

Adam Scott: I feel like Midnight Run has every single element I look for in a movie. It’s just kind of a grab-bag of everything. But it also isn’t self-aware at all; it’s just a movie that happens to hit upon everything that satisfies me as a moviegoer. It’s really, really funny. Its action scenes are perfectly done. It’s genuinely suspenseful; it’s scary at times. It’s very sad at times. There are two very real lump-in-the-throat moments. It’s such a whole meal, it’s one of my favorite movies.”


Scott also highlights the chemistry between the two leading men.

“The Dissolve: Now I’m going to put you on the spot with a Sophie’s Choice: Who is better in the movie, De Niro or Grodin?

Scott: Man, the movie is so dependent upon their relationship and the interplay between those two guys, I absolutely cannot separate them. Like the “litmus configuration” scene. If that was just one of them, and someone else that couldn’t really keep up with the other, it wouldn’t work, and that’s the whole movie. I don’t think it’s possible to parse out those performances; I think one is simply not possible without the other.”

In fact the cast is filled with wonderful actors giving excellent performances. Writing for Hitfix, Alan Sepinwall notes that the picture “provides room for a small army of great character actors doing fine work. I’m not sure Dennis Farina‘s ever been better (and certainly not funnier) than he is as the hot-tempered Jimmy Serrano, Joe Pantoliano delivers one of his funniest, oiliest performances of that phase of his career as Eddie, John Ashton is wonderful as Marvin, Yaphet Kotto‘s temper is so well-used. This is the first movie where I really noticed Philip Baker Hall (who’s mainly on the receiving end of various threats and one-liners as Serrano’s wary attorney Sidney), for instance. It’s just overflowing with ‘Hey, It’s That Guy!’s.”


But the critical point is this: De Niro is funny. Sepinwall says, “De Niro is one of the greatest actors the cinema’s ever seen, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he can deliver an indelible performance. But in light of his career both before and after, his Jack Walsh is kind of startling. Going into the movie, he was known, understandably, as a powerhouse dramatic actor, one with a pair of Oscars on his mantle for playing the young Vito Corleone and Jake La Motta, and though there were sometimes funny moments in his films, he’d never done a pure comedy before. “Midnight Run” was actually something of a consolation prize after he failed to get the Tom Hanks part in “Big,” and though the movie features action, suspense and genuine drama … it’s primarily a comedy, and De Niro is incredibly funny in it. Though it would have been easy for De Niro, director Martin Brest and writer George Gallo to just make Jack the straight man to The Duke, he’s given a wonderful, blunt, sarcastic sense of humor and can play off of every character in the movie. (He’s nearly as funny opposite, say, Yaphet Kotto as Alonzo Mosley as he is with Grodin.) ”

MV5BMTI3NzkwNTgwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDk3OTgwMw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_Kenny concludes: “From this point forward, De Niro would be unstoppable in a new and different way.”

Briana Evigan talks STEP UP ALL IN and her Fire Dance

Briana & Ryan

STEP UP ALL IN opens August 8. Over on Collider, Step Up franchise star Briana Evigan talks all about her role in the new film. Her favorite dance sequence is the finale number in which she brandishes a flaming Bo staff.

Here’s some of what Briana told Collider interviewer Christina Radish:

“What was your favorite dance sequence to shoot?

EVIGAN:  Most definitely the fire sequence.  It was so cool and so much fun.  I just felt like this sexy animal on stage.  I felt so powerful.  And I worked so hard for it.  I only spent two hours actually playing with the fire, so there was that adrenaline rush of not really knowing what I was doing, but trusting myself.  It was cool. 

And that was something that you came up with the idea for, right?

EVIGAN:  Yeah.  I was at a luau in Hawaii with my family and I knew the people dancing.  The Chief was actually his name.  And I was so impressed that I took a video and sent it to the director.  Sure enough, when I got home, they said, “Here’s your stick.  In one month, there will be a bunch of fire on it.”  I just believed that I could do it, and I got up there and did it.  You just show up and do it. “

Briana slinging fire:



STEP UP ALL IN – directed by Trish Sie, produced by Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot, stars Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam Sevani, Alyson Stoner, Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss, Izabella Miko, and a host of Step Up all stars, from Lionsgate Entertainment.