So far as I’ve seen, the kerfuffle surrounding the funding and production of Promised Land has received more attention than the film itself. So in case you haven’t heard, the film portrays the process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in a negative light. People such as Phelim MacAleer, director of the documentary FrackNation, and residents of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, where much of the movie was filmed, have accused the producers of exaggerating if not totally fabricating the dangers of fracking.
However, the biggest bombshell came when the Heritage Foundation revealed that one of the film’s backers is connected to OPEC, sparking outcries that there’s a conflict of interest. OPEC, of course, being a supplier of oil would have a lot to gain if the U.S. outlawed fracking altogether or at least had a good amount of public resentment.
Though anyone actually interested in following the story will see that the connection is dubious, and even if it were ironclad, so what? As much faith as I have in people not to get their information from a fictional film, I’m more confident that not many will see it. For that matter and despite all the hoopla, fracking really isn’t that big of a plot point. It’s discussed, and some dangers are touched on, but the larger villain is the old standby, Big Business.
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I originally was going to write that Moonrise Kingdom was, at 94 minutes, among Wes Anderson’s shortest films, but after researching the running times of his previous work, it actually is right in the middle–shorter than The Life Aquatic (119 minutes) and The Royal Tenenbaums (109 minutes), but longer than Rushmore (93 minutes) and Bottle Rocket (92).
I think the difference is in the pacing (though all of Anderson’s films seem longer to me when they’re not on the big screen), because it didn’t feel lagging at any point. As good as Bottle Rocket and Rushmore are, I felt both started strong and then quickly slowed down, only to start rolling again in the third act. Moonrise is funny, engaging, and delightful all throughout.
The time is 1965, the place is a secluded New England island where the narrator (Bob Balaban) gives us a quick rundown of its history and the typical way of life–nothing much happens, and the mail is flown in every so often via waterplane. The inhabitants are the Bishops: Walt (Bill Murray), Laura (Frances McDormand), their sons, and their daughter Suzy (Kara Hayward); and the Khaki Scouts, something like the Junior Woodchucks but without the guidebook.
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There aren’t that many current directors who have a laser-pointed style that can be seen from a mile away. Thankfully, Wes Anderson is one of those directors. You can spot a film like The Royal Tenenbaums or Life Aquatic from space and know that they came from the retro dreams of Anderson. Now, he’s at it again.
This time, in his film Moonrise Kingdom, he’s adding new names like Ed Norton, Frances McDormand, and Bruce Willis to his regular cast of players that includes Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. Take a look at the fantastically twisted premise below.
Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, MOONRISE KINGDOM tells the story of two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore — and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle. Bruce Willis plays the local sheriff. Edward Norton is a Khaki Scout troop leader.
The flick is set to hit theaters on May 25th, and you better believe that Anderson is going to pull out the stops with his indie band connections for what should be a stellar soundtrack. Take a look at the trailer after the jump.
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When asked about his role in Jaws 4: The Revenge, Michael Caine once said, “I never saw it—but I saw the house it paid for, and it’s fantastic!” I suspect John Turturro’s been saying something similar for the past four years whenever he’s asked about the Transformers movies. Now we can add John Malkovich and Frances McDormand to that group. And maybe Alan Tudyk.
The plot is as labyrinthine as it is unnecessary. Back in the early 1960s, a ship from war-torn Cybertron (if the Transformers spend all their time fighting, how did they ever evolve?) crashed on the moon. Among the cargo were several “Pillars” that have some sort of significance to the war.
Also, a big, tough Autobot named Sentinal Prime. The White House gets wise to this, and thus we have the impetus for the moon landing (apparently, many historical events were due to Transformers; they don’t get around to revealing that car in which Kennedy was shot was an Autobot, but there may be a fourth film).
Fast-forward to the present day, where the Autobots are now working for the Feds to preserve humanity (how did we ever get along without them?). While on a mission to Chernobyl, Optimus Prime discovers some remnant of the Pillars and decides that it’s high time to revive Sentinal. Also, the Pillars are somehow able to teleport things, which means that it can be used to bring an army of invading Decepticons to earth (according to Frances McDormand, National Intelligence Director).
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You know you can tell a good trailer when 90% of it is all doom and gloom. That’s just what we’re getting with the first full-length feature trailer for Michael Bay’s Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.
If you’re just now coming into the franchise or you have already forgotten the robot balls from Revenge of the Fallen, here’s the official synopsis.
Shia LaBeouf returns as Sam Witwicky in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. When a mysterious event from Earth’s past erupts into the present day it threatens to bring a war to Earth so big that the Transformers alone will not be able to save us.
This trailer gives us all of the goods: tons of destruction, introduction of both the human and robot villain, and lots of visible robot battling. Joining the regular cast of humans this time is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey, Ken Jeong, and the always evil Frances McDormand.
Take a look at the brand new trailer after the jump, and get ready for Transformer action (and hopefully Dinobots) on July 1st.
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Michael Bay loves teaser trickery when it comes to his epic Transformers film franchise. We all remember the first teaser that started it all, which gave many of us hope for what turned out to be a pretty lackluster franchise. Bay is hoping to change all of our minds with his newest film in the series, Dark of the Moon.
Here’s the official, yet somehow unreleased synopsis.
The Autobots Bumblebee, Ratchet, Ironhide and Sideswipe led by Optimus Prime, are back in action, taking on the evil Decepticons, who are determined to avenge their defeat in 2009’s ‘Transformers Revenge of the Fallen’. In this new movie, the Autobots and Decepticons become involved in a perilous space race between the U.S. and Russia, and once again human Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has to come to the aid of his robot friends. There’s new characters too, including a new villain in the form of Shockwave, a longtime ‘Transformers’ character who rules Cybertron while the Autobots and Decepticons battle it out on Earth.
All of our favorites are back from the first two films, including Shia, Duhamel, and Turturro, with new faces like John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, and Patrick Dempsey joining the fight this time.
Check out the new teaser trailer after the jump and catch Transformers: Dark of the Moon in theaters on July 1st.
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With the fan reaction being as negative as it could have been for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, it was expected that the studio and Michael Bay would be very careful in choosing a title for the third film. Fans felt alienated with the way Revenge of the Fallen went down, between the racist robots and robot balls, and now that creeping feeling is returning as the title for the third film has been announced.
It isn’t confirmed just yet, but according to a reliable Transformers fan site, marketing has started for the title Transformers: Dark of The Moon.
Some upcoming books listed at the Amazon revealed what might possibly be, the Title of the 3rd Transformers Movie.
The books are to be released (May 17, 2011) very near the release date of Transformer 3 (July 1, 2011). The author of the books is official and has written books for the 2007 Movie and ROTF. The publisher is none other than HarperColins, which produced similar books for both movies.
So it may sound like a high school adaptation of a Pink Floyd film, but this could bring new depth to Bay’s Transformers universe. It has been confirmed that Megan Fox is not returning, while LaBeouf, Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and Turturro are all coming back. Joining the cast for the first time is Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey, Ken Jeong, Alan Tudyk, and Frances McDormand.
The film is slated to hit on July 1st of 2011, so expect to see a big trailer by year’s end, hopefully along with a confirmed title.
This week On the Radar Michael Bay does his part to help take down the American car industry, MGM loses a bidder as it struggles to stay afloat, and in completely contradictory fashion James Cameron, of all people, advocates against 3D.
Maleficent finds a writer in Wonderland
Long before Alice in Wonderland stormed the box office there were rumblings about director Tim Burton tackling one of Disney‘s best baddies, Maleficent. Well, the success of Alice has only bolstered this film’s development and Alice in Wonderland writer Linda Woolverton has been tapped to write t script. While there were some Alice detractors out there, it’s hard to argue the success of the film.
For better or worse I think we’re witnessing the beginning of the fairy tale phase in cinema. I’m sure the studios couldn’t be happier. Most fairy tales, in their original iteration, are in the public domain which means the whopping cost of zero to use the stories. Sorry, Disney, but you couldn’t be the sole exploiter of classic children’s tales forever.
Bryan Singer off X-Men: First Class?
When word came out about Bryan Singer returning to the X-Men franchise fanboys rejoiced. Well, the excitement certainly didn’t last too long. It seems Singer has to choose between X-Men: First Class and Jack the Giant Killer. Unfortunately, he can’t do both:
“Before Singer can dive into casting, he has a rather large problem — the fact that Warner Bros. has the filmmaker on the hook to direct ‘Jack the Giant Killer.’ Fox, flush with money from ‘Avatar,’ is eager to move forward with its mutant franchise in all of its permutations, so there are negotiations that need to be done.
With Singer contractually obligated to Warner Bros. it means Fox has begun searching for other directors to reignite the X-Men films.
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