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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Graphic novels

Golden Globes: A strange brew of winners

January 16, 2011 |  5:59 pm


If you're catching the Golden Globes on television tonight, or even if you're not, there are going to be a few notable plot lines to follow. Perhaps the most prominent will be the battle royale between "The King's Speech" and "The Social Network" for the picture-drama category. On the line are not only bragging rights for this evening but a tea leaf for the Oscar picture race, which this year is as wide open as ever.

We're only about 40 minutes into the show, but it's been an interesting time backstage so far. (Incidentally, you can follow the blow-by-blow account of all the goings-on in the Beverly Hilton and backstage at our sister Awards Tracker blog.) The film winners so far include Christian Bale and the filmmakers behind a five-hour geopolitical epic ("Carlos"). Perhaps the most candid moment came so far from Bale, who acknowledged that his acting skills don't always translate to holding-a-room skills.

"I can get up in front of billions of people, but I'm just not that comfortable in a roomful of people. Some people," he added "don't get that actors are bloody shy."

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Christian Bale backstage at the Golden Globes. Credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters


Preview review: Gemma Arterton gets saucy with director Stephen Frears in 'Tamara Drewe'

August 27, 2010 |  4:35 pm

MV5BMjAwOTUwMjIzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTY1MjM0Mw@@._V1._SX640_SY426_ On the big screen, Gemma Arterton has been no stranger to playing the role of resident hottie. She's was a Bond girl in "Quantum of Solace" and a fiery vixen earlier this year in "Clash of the Titans" and "Prince of Persia."

Her new film -- director Stephen Frears' "Tamara Drewe," which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May and will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival next month -- may have been shot on a much smaller budget, but Arterton is again portraying a sought-after female.

The film -- based on Posy Simmonds' graphic novel, which was inspired by Thomas Hardy's "Far From the Madding Crowd" -- is centered in the English countryside. There, a variety of writers and artists are pleasantly surprised when bombshell Tamara Drewe rolls into the sleepy town. Tamara, once not so attractive, has gotten a nose job and now enjoys a wealth of local male attention. She catches the eyes of two men in particular: one guyliner-wearing and surly (Dominic Cooper), the other muscular and outdoorsy (Luke Evans).

We're not sure if all of the elements here seem to work: For instance, the explanatory word boxes (which we assume exist because the film is based on a graphic novel) feel out of place in the comedy and more suited to a movie like "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." The movie also seems -- no surprise here -- to have a distinctly British sense of humor that audiences might not expect given the source material.

That being said, Arterton is really appealing in the role -- self-assured and sassy without making herself unlikable. And it looks like it will be fun to watch her multiple love affairs intertwine until the situation inevitably implodes. If she can bring enough youthful energy to the film -- which we're hopeful she can -- the movie seems like a light, easy comedy from the frequently stellar Frears.

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Gemma Arterton in "Tamara Drewe." Credit: Sony Pictures Classics


The Performance: Gemma Arterton

Faces To Watch 2010

Robert Schwentke to breathe life into R.I.P.D.?

August 11, 2010 |  6:16 pm

Robert Schwentke has been a busy man lately — and he hasn't even taken his next assignment yet. The "Flightplan" director is preparing to promote "Red," his new Bruce Willis action movie that Summit is releasing in the fall. And he's been linked to a few potential new projects, including an adaptation of the Robert Ludlum thriller "The Osterman Weekend" and the underwater adventure "Shadow Divers."

ScwentWe're now hearing the German director has met on, and is being considered for, the director's chair on "R.I.P.D.," the adaptation of the Dark Horse graphic novel that will star Ryan Reynolds. "R.I.P.D." has been a priority for studio Universal and Dark Horse, but, as we reported last week, it hit a speed bump when favored directorial candidate McG opted to take a different movie, the romantic comedy "This Means War."

Schwentke had been in contention with McG for the "R.I.P.D." job. But with the "Terminator Salvation" filmmaker out of the running, Schwentke is back in the "R.I.P.D." mix, sources say. That "Red" is starting to generate some strong buzz hasn't hurt the filmmaker's stock either.

Universal wants to shoot "R.I.P.D.," a crime movie about dead cops patrolling the underworld, next summer, when Reynolds has an open slot in his schedule. But it wants a director to begin work pretty much right away on the effects- and design-heavy picture, heightening the urgency of the quest.

If he lands the gig, Schwentke would be continuing his move in an action direction after the love-story detour of "The Time Traveler's Wife," though the premise of "R.I.P.D. is darker than much of what he's done before.

Schwentke is said to really like the "R.I.P.D." source material. Of course it's not always about the creative aspects — few filmmakers would turn down the chance to work with an A-lister like Reynolds, and on a film with a hefty production and marketing budget to boot.

— Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Robert Schwentke. Credit: Getty Imagea


Dead-man cop movie 'R.I.P.D.' tries to come alive

Deadpool shows signs of life

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Fun with Navy SEALS: Filmmaker Parisot in discussions to direct underwater thriller

March 29, 2010 |  1:31 pm

Of all the source material a director can choose to adapt, a graphic novel is probably the trickiest. Take one on and you're not only competing with the images audiences might conjure up from the book's prose, but you're also attempting to trump the images published in the book itself.

Sea That's one of the reasons "Kick-Ass," Matthew Vaughn's upcoming adaptation of the popular teen-superhero comic series, will be such a closely watched experiment. And it's why Dean Parisot, like any filmmaker who accepts the mission, will have his work cut out for him if he takes on the upcoming "SEAL Team Seven."

The director of the Jim Carrey comedy "Fun With Dick and Jane" and the Drew Barrymore comedy-drama "Home Fries" is in discussions to direct "SEAL," a political action film that mixes the Tom Clancy submarine thriller with a dollop of fanboy fantasy intrigue.

Based on M. Zachary Sherman's 2006 graphic novel "SOCOM: SEAL Team Seven," the project, which is being developed by Walden Media, has Navy SEALS investigating a mysterious submarine drowning in the Persian Gulf, as well as battling forces in the underwater kingdom of Atlantis.

Parisot might seem a slightly unlikely candidate for the assignment, but he's had his share of genre credits with movies such as the sci-fi comedy "Galaxy Quest." Plus the filmmaker could have a bit more time now that "Central Intelligence," the Ed Helms comedy that he's set to direct, has been pushed back. That should give him more opportunity to get the look and feel of the thing right, opportunities he'll likely want to take. Comic fans tend to push adaptations they don't like underwater.

-- Steven  Zeitchik

Photo: Jacket image from 'SOCOM: SEAL Team Seven.' Credit: Image Comics


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