The Films of Andrew Dominik: THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD

by     Posted 33 days ago

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Andrew Dominik’s second feature film, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is an unmitigated masterpiece.  After testing out his prowess on the fleet, trim Chopper Dominik went for a stately sprawl for his followup and pulled it off with remarkable precision.  A slow, meditative western with a commercially unwieldly title (Brad Pitt reportedly made it part of his deal that the studio wasn’t allowed to abbreviate it)  -  the film was facing an uphill commercial battle from the beginning, despite the starpower of its lead.  Not knowing how to market such a thing, Warner Bros. released Jesse James into a scant 301 theaters in the fall of 2007 to the tune of a $3.9 million domestic gross.

Andrew Dominik to Pen Justin Lin’s 3D SHAOLIN TEMPLE Remake

by     Posted 89 days ago

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A pretty exciting China-backed project is taking shape.  It was announced earlier this year that Fast Five director Justin Lin had signed on to helm a $100 million 3D Shaolin Temple remake, and now Deadline reports that The Assassination of Jesse James and Killing Them Soflty writer/director Andrew Dominik will be writing the screenplay.  The original 1982 film was Jet Li’s big screen debut and took place during the period between the Sui and Tang Dynasties, revolving around the son of a murdered Tang emperor who trains himself up to enact revenge on the perpetrator.  Perfect Storm Entertainment and Beijing Enlight Pictures are producing the project, which Lin intends to direct next after he completes the new Bourne sequel.  That film hasn’t even started production yet, so Shaolin Temple is still a few years off.

Hit the jump for more on Dominik’s involvement.

The Films of Andrew Dominik: CHOPPER

by     Posted 96 days ago

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[Although this film is 14 years old, I recognize the possibility that many of you haven’t seen it.  Therefore, there are some slight spoilers below. ]

As promised in last week’s introduction to this brief series of articles, today I take a look at director Andrew Dominik’s debut film Chopper, which was released in 2000.  Based on From The Inside, the autobiography of Mark Brandon Read (aka “Chopper”), the film achieves something quite rare in that it manages to be unflinchingly brutal, warm, and funny in equal measure.  A lot of crime films, especially after Pulp Fiction, have aspired to meld tones like this. But most of them have failed, in large measure because of their self-consciousness.  Chopper isn’t self-conscious.  It doesn’t achieve its alchemy by laying a grouping of desired ingredients out on the table and willing them to collide.  The film is one hundred percent the result of an authentic interest in its subject.  Dominik is so true to his reading of Read’s life that the film reads as an extension of his personality, not a genre checklist.  In particular, there are three moments in the film’s first half that define it as a singular work, and those are what I’ll primarily be focusing on in this piece.

TOP 5: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING Trailer, The Films of Andrew Dominik, Fantastic Fest 2014

by     Posted 102 days ago

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I picked up writer/director/editor Gareth EvansThe Raid 2 on Blu-ray this week and damn if it wasn’t worth every penny. The quote on the box from our own Matt Goldberg calls the film “one of the greatest action movies ever made” and, after watching it, I can’t say that I disagree. Evans takes everything that made The Raid great and augments it to create an unforgettable action spectacle that is bigger in every conceivable way. It goes without saying that the stunt work and fight choreography is top notch, but work that strong shouldn’t be taken for granted so I’m mentioning it anyway. Additionally, DP’s Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono use of color and contrast manage to make the film’s extreme violence look and feel more artful than a hammer ripping someone’s throat out has any right to be. I’m cramped for space here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the film’s lead, Iko Uwais, delivers an absolute powerhouse performance that is both physically impossible and emotionally deft. All told, The Raid 2 is a masterful piece of technical action work that should be appreciated and analyzed for years to come. For even more, check out our Blu-ray review here.

Begrudgingly moving away from The Raid 2, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Warner Bros. bumping up the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the first trailer for Focus Features’ The Theory of Everything, an introductory look at the films of Andrew Dominik, and the Alamo Drafthouse announcing the first wave of programming for its annual Fantastic Fest. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

The Films of Andrew Dominik: An Introduction

by     Posted 108 days ago

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Andrew Dominik is sort of an enigma.  He doesn’t self promote.  He doesn’t suffer fools.  Some people find him rude, while others regard him as honest and matter-of-fact.  He doesn’t give canned answers to journalists.  He’s not a pushover in the studio environment.  He’s successfully positioned himself so that when you think of him, you think of his work.  In a professional context I’ve spoken to him several times at length on the phone or via email (this was some time ago, I was an assistant to one of his reps in 2007) and he’s still a mystery to me in many ways.  When someone mentions him, my mind almost never moves to a memory or recollection those days.  Instead, I immediately go to the final half hour of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and how that stretch of film inspires me more than almost any other movie I know.

Hit the jump for more on this fascinating filmmaker.

Jessica Chastain to Play Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s BLONDE

by     Posted 211 days ago

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Jessica Chastain may soon be adding “biopic” to her already impressive resume, though not in the traditional sense of the word.  Per The Wrap, the actress is near a deal to play Marilyn Monroe in The Assassination of Jesse James director Andrew Dominik’s next film Blonde.  Though Naomi Watts had previously been attached to play the famous leading lady in the pic, she fell off the project some time ago.  The film is not your traditional “cradle-to-grave” story, as Dominik previously described it as a “sprawling, emotional nightmare fairy-tale type movie” and it is based on author Joyce Carol Oates’ historical novel of the same name.  Hit the jump for more on this exciting prospect.

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES Returning to the Big Screen for New York’s Museum of Moving Image; Revival Campaign Launched

by     Posted 1 year, 32 days ago

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Director Andrew Dominik’s masterful 2007 Western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is one of the most criminally underseen films of the past decade, but a revival for the pic is now in the works to rectify this issue.  As part of the Museum of Moving Image’s “See It Big!” series, The Assassination of Jesse James will be returning to the big screen once again on Saturday, December 7th, followed by a Q&A with Dominik.  The pic will be shown in DCP format as instructed by Dominik, which should do well to showcase Roger Deakins’ jaw-droppingly gorgeous cinematography.

This screening is planned as the first of many, and as a massive fan of the film this makes me very, very happy.  An official revival has been kicked off with campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, and a full website.  Now if only we could get a proper transfer of the film on Blu-ray, since the current iteration leaves much to be desired.  Criterion folks, Jesse James has your name all over it.  Hit the jump to read the full press release for the screening, which includes info on how you can get tickets.

Director Andrew Dominik Talks KILLING THEM SOFTLY, His Desire to Release a New Cut of JESSE JAMES, His Marilyn Monroe Biopic BLONDE, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 354 days ago

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The gangster drama Killing Them Softly, adapted from the George V. Higgins novel Cogan’s Trade, tells the story of Frankie (Scott McNairy), a broke young crook who’s fresh out of jail, and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), an Australian junkie who makes a living stealing dogs, who are recruited to steal from a mob-protected card game that’s run by Markie (Ray Liotta).  But, even though their plan seems foolproof, the mob feels otherwise and brings in seasoned enforcer Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) to send a message.  From writer/director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), the film also stars James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard and Vincent Curatola.

During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, filmmaker Andrew Dominik talked about what he most connected with in this story, how he approached adapting it for the screen, why he wanted Brad Pitt for the film, how easy this impressive cast was to assemble, his approach to the violence, deleted scenes, the test screening process, and film versus digital.  He also talked about his desire to make Blonde, about the life of Marilyn Monroe, his next film with Naomi Watts in the lead role.  Check out what he had to say after the jump. 

New Clips from THIS IS 40 and KILLING THEM SOFTLY

by     Posted 1 year, 357 days ago

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A new clip and featurette have debuted for writer/director Judd Apatow’s This Is 40. Starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann in a spin-off film for their characters in Knocked Up, This Is 40 centers on the real-life problems of a mid-life marriage. The clip highlights some funny pillow talk between Rudd and Mann, while the featurette reveals Jason Segel’s role in the picture. Also starring Albert BrooksJohn Lithgow and Megan FoxThis Is 40 opens on December 21st.

We also have a new clip from writer/director Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly. Centering on Brad Pitt as a mob enforcer, this clip reveals a conversation between Pitt and James Gandolfini’s character, New York Mickey, aka Mickey Fix-It. Also starring Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn, Killing Them Softly opens November 30th. Hit the jump to check out the clips.

New Trailer for KILLING THEM SOFTLY Starring Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, and James Gandolfini

by     Posted 1 year, 362 days ago

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A new trailer for director Andrew Dominik’s crime drama Killing Them Soflty has been released.  The film stars Brad Pitt as a mob enforcer called in to investigate the robbery of a high-stakes card game.  The film’s first trailer was pretty great, but this clip ups my anticipation level even more.  We see a bit more of the plot and character interactions, and there’s a scene set in the rain that shows off some fantastic visuals.  Dominik displayed tremendous talent with The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, and I’m highly encouraged by what we’ve seen of his second go-around with Pitt thus far.

Hit the jump to watch the new trailer.  The film also stars Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy, and Ben Mendelsohn.  Killing Them Softly opens November 30th.

KILLING THEM SOFTLY Pushed Back to November 30 for Awards Positioning

by     Posted 2 years, 67 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has pushed back the release of director Andrew Dominik’s (The Assassination of Jesse James) crime drama Killing Them Softly yet again.  After previously being moved from September to October in order to swap with TWC’s The Master, the film has now been pushed to November 30th so that it may be better positioned for awards season.  Harvey Weinstein noted the attractiveness of the spot given that the Brad Pitt-starrer could open as the only major wide release that weekend, with the iffy John Cusack/Nicolas Cage serial killer drama The Frozen Ground its only real competition.

The Weinstein Company has a number of major players in the awards race this year—including The Master, Silver Linings Playbook, and Django Unchained—and it’ll be interesting to see how they play their cards.  Killing Them Softly premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to an extremely positive response, with many noting the film’s strong political undertones and dialogue-driven narrative, so the film could be a major player in the Oscar race.  Hit the jump to watch the pic’s trailer. 

TOP 5: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, Directors’ Personal Top 10 Lists, LAWLESS, Disney to Reboot ROCKETEER, How THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Should Have Ended

by     Posted 2 years, 85 days ago

collider-top-5-sliceThis past week presented me with a couple of unique moviegoing opportunities. In addition to the ParaNorman showing I previewed the last time we met, I was also able to check out one of my all-time favorites, Jaws, on the big screen thanks to Cinemark’s “Fall Classic Series”. For as much as I enjoyed the pic long before this week’s showing, I have to say that viewing it as an audience member in a packed theater for the first time opened my eyes to a whole new appreciation. Not only was I genuinely startled in a few scenes that repeat television and DVD viewings had long left me numb to, but I also came to respect Robert Shaw’s timeless turn as Quint even more than I previously had. In short, my adoration for Spielberg‘s masterpiece was not only reaffirmed, it somehow found a way to expand.

But enough about my love of all things Jaws related. This week’s Top 5 includes the news that James Gunn is in talks to direct Marvel’s intergalactic tale, Guardians of the Galaxy, Sight & Sound’s personal Top 10 lists from some of cinema’s most revered directors (Spoiler Alert: that shark movie I drooled about in the opening paragraph appears on Tarantino‘s), a new red-band trailer for John Hillcoat‘s Lawless, Disney’s plans to reboot The Rocketeer, and an animated look at how The Dark Knight Rises should have ended. A brief recap and link to each can be found after the jump.

Check Out the Sight & Sound Top 10 Lists from Quentin Tarantino, Edgar Wright, Martin Scorsese, Guillermo del Toro, Woody Allen and More

by     Posted 2 years, 87 days ago

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Earlier this month, a new “official” best film of all time was announced with the unveiling of the results of Sight & Sound’s most recent poll.  Every ten years, the film magazine polls a number of critics, academics, and professionals and then tallies up the results for an ultimate list.  The magazine also has a poll of directors for a second Top 10 list, and now they’ve unveiled the individual directors’ lists in an effort to occupy all the free time you have today.

After the jump you can peruse personal Top 10 lists from the likes of Edgar Wright, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Guillermo del Toro, Woody Allen, David O’Russell, Sam Mendes, Matthew Vaughn, Francis Ford Coppola, Marc Webb and more.  Hit the jump to take a look.

First Trailer for Andrew Dominik’s KILLING THEM SOFTLY Starring Brad Pitt

by     Posted 2 years, 109 days ago

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The first trailer for Killing Them Softly has been released.  Directed by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James), the film stars Brad Pitt as a mob enforcer hired to restore order following the robbery of a mob-protected card game.  We knew going in that Dominik was unlikely to make a straightforward crime pic, and this trailer promises something special.  There’s some great humor, strange characters, and a wonderful backing track provided by the one and only Johnny Cash.  We even get a shade of those political undertones that were singled out when the film premiered to a wildly positive response at the Cannes Film Festival.  As a big fan of Jesse James this one was already high on my list of anticipated films, but seeing Pitt, Richard JenkinsRay Liotta and co. in action I can already tell it’s gonna be an excruciating next few months waiting for this to hit theaters.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars James Gandolfini, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, and Vincent CuratolaKilling Them Softly opens on October 19th.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER Moves Up to September 14th; KILLING THEM SOFTLY Starring Brad Pitt Shifted to October 19th

by     Posted 2 years, 114 days ago

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Good news, everyone!  Paul Thomas Anderson’s ridiculously anticipated There Will Be Blood follow-up The Master will be hitting theaters a month earlier than expected.  Variety reports that The Weinstein Company has moved the pic up to September 14th from its previous release date of October 19th.  The film will open in limited release on the 14th before expanding the following weekend.  The possibly Scientology-centered pic stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in what look to be two powerhouse performances.

The Master will open against Finding Nemo 3D, Resident Evil: Retribution, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Liberal Arts on that September date.  Hit the jump for more, including release date news concerning another extremely promising pic, Killing Them Softly.

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