In a college dorm somewhere, a Resident Advisor has put her head on this movie's poster and modified the title in an attempt to seem cool. It will fail.
With a title like The American (the book it's based on is called A Very Private Gentleman), I expected this movie to be one big metaphor for how the U.S. is perceived abroad, especially since the title character is an assassin by trade, hiding out among simple Italian townspeople. And maybe it is: Clooney's butterfly-admiring killer Jack barely speaks the language (though he knows enough to get by), he takes things without paying for them (though he offers), his presence leads to innocent deaths (though not by his hand) and he takes advantage of the town's young women (though, to be fair, that's their job). But the only time Americans are really spoken of in generalities is when a priest tells Jack that Americans are always trying to escape their history. Jack may be, although his deeper past is never brought up, but we do know one thing: he's definitely still dealing with his last trip to Sweden.
It's been easy to forget that a possible Screen Actors Guild strike is looming over Hollywood like a cloud of L.A. smog. We haven't even talked about it in almost a month. But just because no one is paying attention doesn't mean it's gone away. Quite the contrary in fact.
The latest development (really more of a non-development) was on Saturday, when the SAG board backed its negotiators' efforts to gain more control (and money) from web content that features SAG actors.
You might think that after his less-than-successful outing with the pigskin, George Clooney would his sights set on a porcine enemy. Instead, he'll be tackling another barn yard animal in the upcoming Men Who Stare At Goats.
The movie is an adaptation of British journalist Jon Ronson's book of the same name. The book, which Ronson also made into a documentary in 2004, concerns the US Army's First Earth Battalion. The First Earth Battalion, despite sounding like something that would be more at home fighting against unspeakably bad John Travolta movies, was apparently an actual, real-world exploration by the military into training people to use "paranormal powers" such as telepathy and ESP in battle and espionage.
The foreigners have spoken! The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has released their nominations for the 2010 Golden Globe Awards, and while there aren't many surprises, they did get the awkward John Krasinski, the annoying Diane Kruger, and the adorable Justin Timberlake to read off the nominees. (While we couldn't stand Diane's totally biased glee at Inglourious Basterds getting a nomination, we loved glasses-wearing JT's realization that Krasinski was gonna get some lovin' from his nominated spouse Emily Blunt.) What follows are the movie nominees; look for the TV nominees over in the Telefile.
I will admit to a certain amount of disappointment when I heard that Wes Anderson's next film would be a stop-motion animated adaptation of Roald Dahl's The Fantastic Mr. Fox. While I had read the book as a child (along with everything else Dahl had written), it was not a favorite by any means, and, being so enamored of Anderson's live-action work, I assumed that an animated children's film would be bereft of his usual stylistic touches and quirky performances. I have never been so happy to be wrong about anything in my life.
It looks like the Coen Brothers might have another success on their hands: Their latest film, Burn After Reading, not only landed at the top box office spot with a $19.4 million opening weekend, but it also helped the whole nation recover from last weekend's embarrassingly low take. Brad Pitt and George Clooney's presence in Burn After Reading might have helped the Coens to such a lofty opening weekend.
The Venice Film festival (that's the Venice in Italy, if you didn't know) is the world's oldest film festival, and it got underway yesterday for the 65th time. Emceed by Russian actress Ksenia Rappoport, known in Italy for her turn in the film The Unknown, the opening day of the fest featured an afternoon screening of Vittorio De Sica's 1948 classic The Bicycle Thief. But no one really gives a damn about any of that crap, because George Clooney and Brad Pitt were there, omigod!
Longtime Hollywood outsiders Joel and Ethan Coen are becoming as mainstream as Michael Bay these days. (I kid, of course, in comparing the intelligent, quirky writer-director team to the director-producer of Bad Boys, Armageddon, and Transformers.)
But they are gaining popularity outside of their loyal cult following. In February, they won three Oscars (and gave the most subdued speeches in awards show history); and it was announced today that they'll open the Venice Film Festival with Burn After Reading, starring some relatively unknown actors: you know, actors like George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, and Brad Pitt -- all of the actors who non-mainstream filmmakers are working with these days.
French comedies are already fairly quirky and precious. So when you pass one through a Wes Anderson-shaped filter, what's the end result? Quirky, precious awesome. Anderson will be writing an adaptation of the French comedy Mon Meilleur Ami ("My Best Friend") for Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, according to Variety. He's also considering directing it, which would make it the first remake he's ever done. And if he doesn't take the reigns as director, it stands to be the first script he's written that he didn't direct. Either way, quelle surprise!