Production Begins on Gus Van Sant’s SEA OF TREES Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe, and Naomi Watts

by     Posted 21 days ago

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“The McConaissance” continues as Gus Van Sant’s new project Sea of Trees starts shooting today.  As you may have guessed, the film stars Matthew McConaughey as well as Ken Watanabe and Naomi Watts.  Penned by Chris Sparling, the story follows a man who enters the “Suicidal Forest” at Mount Fuji with the intention of taking his own life.  When he is interrupted by a Japanese man who is having second thoughts about his own suicide, the two “begin a journey of reflection and survival.”

This sounds exactly like the kind of film I feel Van Sant should be doing and it makes me glad that 50 Shades of Grey dalliance ended for him when it did.  Hit the jump for the full press release on Sea of Trees starting up.  The film will shoot on location in Massachusetts and Japan with no release date set as-of-yet.

Matthew McConaughey to Star Opposite Ken Watanabe in Gus Van Sant’s SEA OF TREES

by     Posted 197 days ago

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With a Best Actor Oscar within his grasp, Matthew McConaughey continues to make excellent and exciting career choices.  After working with Richard Linklater, Steven Soderbergh, Jeff Nichols, Martin Scorsese, and Christopher Nolan over the past two years, The Wrap reports that the actor is now in line to star in director Gus Van Sant’s new drama Sea of Trees.  Penned by Chris Sparling, the story follows a man who enters the “Suicidal Forest” at Mount Fuji with the intention of taking his own life.  When he is interrupted by a Japanese man who is having second thoughts about his own suicide, the two “begin a journey of reflection and survival.”  Ken Watanabe is onboard to co-star, and this sounds like yet another fascinating character and story for McConaughey to tackle.

The actor is currently filming Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi film Interstellar and is doing some truly astonishing work on HBO’s fantastic anthology series True Detective.  There’s no word on when production of Sea of Trees might begin, but this is certainly shaping up to be a promising project.  Van Sant’s last feature was the 2012 drama Promised Land.

Full Trailer for Paul Schrader’s THE CANYONS Starring Lindsay Lohan and James Deen; Plus New NSFW Images

by     Posted 1 year, 41 days ago

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IFC Films has released the first official trailer for director Paul Schrader’s (American Gigolo) new film The Canyons.  Written by Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho), the film centers on the relationship between a wealthy movie producer and his girlfriend, who’s having an affair with an actor from her past.  Lindsay Lohan plays the girlfriend, while porn actor James Deen is the film’s male lead.  The trailer is pretty much what you’d expect from a Lindsay Lohan movie written by Bret Easton Ellis, as we see glimpses of sex, barely-clothed men, and, of course, a cameo by Gus Van Sant.  While Lohan showed promise all those years ago, her performance appears to be DOA in The Canyons.  I’m not really sure who the audience for this movie is, but I assume one exists.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer for yourself and to check out some NSFW images from the pic.  The film also stars Nolan Gerard Funk and Amanda Brooks. The Canyons will be available in limited release and on VOD and iTunes on August 2nd.

PROMISED LAND Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 91 days ago

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Director Gus Van Sant is an auteur capable of dropping an award-winning character-driven film (Good Will Hunting) with big-name actors one year, and small, provocative films where characters barely talk to each other the whole time (Last Days) the next.  No matter which Van Sant flavor is your favorite, the man is great at both of them.  For his latest, Promised Land, he goes the mainstream route – taking A-list actors into a farming community for a fracking debate.  The film was originally supposed to be Matt Damon‘s (School Ties) directorial debut, but scheduling conflicts threw it in Van Sant’s lap with just over a month to prepare.  Despite some solid direction and acting, Promised Land suffers from a few hiccups.  But how does it hold up on Universal’s Blu-ray?  Hit the jump and I’ll tell you all about it.

Gus Van Sant Eager To Direct FIFTY SHADES OF GREY; Shoots Steamy Sex Scene Featuring Alex Pettyfer

by     Posted 1 year, 119 days ago

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Director Gus Van Sant is apparently so eager to win the bid to direct the big screen adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey, that he didn’t wait for Universal Pictures and Focus Features to ask him to shoot a test reel.  James’ novel centers around Anastasia Steele and her introduction to a whole new world of sexual discovery and risqué activities in the hands of billionaire Christian Grey, and the feature film adaptation of the book has been a subject of high interest.

Van Sant, who’s best known for directing the Academy Award-winning Good Will Hunting and the biographical drama Milk, reportedly shot a steamy sex scene featuring Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike) in an attempt to showcase his vision for the would-be film.  Hit the jump for more.

Matt Damon Talks PROMISED LAND, Getting Gus Van Sant to Direct, the BOURNE Franchise, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 230 days ago

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From director Gus Van Sant, the small town drama Promised Land tells the story of Steve Butler (Matt Damon), a corporate salesman who has been dispatched to the rural town of McKinley with his sales partner (Frances McDormand) to see if the two can get the citizens to sign over the drilling rights to their properties.  But, when an environmental activist (John Krasinski) arrives in town, the residents start to question what’s best for themselves and their community.  For more on Promised Land, here are seven clips and the trailer.

At the film’s press day, actor Matt Damon talked about how quickly they shot the film, having a rough cut done four weeks ahead of schedule, how he came to collaborate on the script with Krasinski, their process for writing together, working with McDormand, what made Van Sant the right director when he decided he wouldn’t be able to take that on himself, and why this was an important story for him to tell.  He also talked about kissing Michael Douglas in Behind the Candelabra, an HBO movie about the relationship between Liberace and his younger live-in lover, and whether he’d ever consider returning to the role of Jason Bourne.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Gus Van Sant Talks PROMISED LAND, Film vs. Digital, Test Screenings, Showing His Films to Other Directors, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 231 days ago

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From director Gus Van Sant, the small town drama Promised Land tells the story of Steve Butler (Matt Damon), a corporate salesman who has been dispatched to the rural town of McKinley with his sales partner (Frances McDormand) to see if the two can get the citizens to sign over the drilling rights to their properties.  But, when an environmental activist (John Krasinski) arrives in town, the residents start to question what’s best for themselves and their community.

At the film’s press day, filmmaker Gus Van Sant spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about why he ultimately decided to sign on as director, how they worked on the last quarter of the screenplay all the way through the production, that the film was only initially about 20 minutes longer than the final cut is now, how the test screening process effects the films that are being made now, that he’ll go to friends and filmmakers (such as Cameron Crowe and Steven Soderbergh) when he has questions about a cut, and his preference for film versus digital.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

PROMISED LAND Review

by     Posted 1 year, 235 days ago

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Salesmanship can be more powerful than the truth.  Tell people what they want to hear, and they won’t look too hard for something that might contradict their belief.  Promised Land tries to come off as a Capra-esque story about a man discovering that he might be doing wrong to the heartland by selling environmentally hazardous natural gas.  But fittingly, in a movie about ulterior motives and the easy manipulation of a pliable audience, the makers of Promised Land might have an ulterior motive of their own, which undermines a film that rarely finds any truth.

Seven Clips from Gus Van Sant’s PROMISED LAND Starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski

by     Posted 1 year, 254 days ago

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We have an early look at director Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land in seven new clips. Starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski, who also wrote the screenplay, Promised Land centers on a natural gas company executive (Damon) who comes up against homegrown opposition in Dustin Noble (Krasinski) when the corporation tries to buy up a small town’s resource rights.

Also starring Frances McDormandRosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy and Titus Welliver, Promised Land opens in limited release on December 28th before expanding in January. Hit the jump to check out the new clips.

7 New Images from PROMISED LAND Starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski

by     Posted 1 year, 256 days ago

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Focus Features has released seven new character images from director Gus Van Sant’s upcoming drama Promised Land.  The film stars Matt Damon and Frances McDormand as corporate salesmen who try to prey on an economic town in decline only to have their mission complicated by the citizens they encounter, particularly a character played by John Krasinski.  Damon and Krasinski wrote the screenplay, and the film deals heavily with the consequences of fracking.  These new images introduce the many characters that inhabit this Frank Capra-esque story.

Hit the jump to check out the images, and click here to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy, and Titus Welliver.  Promised Land opens in limited release on December 28th before expanding in January.

Quentin Tarantino Says DEATH PROOF Is the “Worst” Film He’s Ever Made; Watch Full Directors Roundtable Interview

by     Posted 1 year, 264 days ago

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If you hadn’t already noticed, we’re knee-deep in Oscar season now.  Though many are put off by the awards race in general, one of the highlights of the year is always THR’s roundtable interviews with “the contenders.”  This year’s directors roundtable is really something, as the one-hour conversation involves Quentin Tarantino, Ben Affleck, Ang Lee, Tom Hooper, David O. Russell, and Gus Van Sant.  Though the entire interview is well worth watching, we figured our readers would be interested in a particular nugget from Tarantino in which he describes Death Proof as the “worst” film he’s ever made.

Hit the jump for more on that comment and to watch the full roundtable interview.

8 New Images from PROMISED LAND Starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski

by     Posted 1 year, 277 days ago

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Focus Features has released a batch of new images from director Gus Van Sant’s upcoming drama Promised Land.  The pic was written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski and was originally set to mark Damon’s directorial debut, but scheduling issues forced him to step down and subsequently rope in his Good Will Hunting director Van Sant to take the helm.  Damon and Frances McDormand star as corporate salesmen who try to prey on an economic town in decline only to have their mission complicated by the citizens they encounter, particularly a character played by Krasinski.  The story deals with the consequences of fracking but also looks to have a strong, character-centric bent as well, so I’m eager to see how the political issues are balanced with the story elements.

Hit the jump to check out the new images along with the film’s first trailer in case you missed it.  The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy, and Titus Welliver.  Promised Land opens in limited release on December 28th before expanding in January.

Watch THE GREATEST EVENT IN TELEVISION HISTORY Featuring Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Gus Van Sant, and Paul Rudd

by     Posted 1 year, 308 days ago

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Late last week, Adult Swim aired The Greatest Event in Television History.  The central conceit of the special was that Adam Scott and Jon Hamm were starring in a $25 million shot-for-shot remake of the opening credits for Simon & Simon, dubbed “The Greatest Event in Television History.”  The special hilariously shows the “making of” the project, with Paul Rudd as the event’s cantankerous director and Hamm refusing to speak to Scott.

The special, directed by Scott, was actually hatched when Hamm and Scott had been emailing each other the opening credits to various TV shows and Scott suggested they do a shot-for-shot remake of Simon & Simon.  The result is over 10 minutes of hilarity, with cameos by folks like Kathryn Hahn, Paul Scheer and—best of all—director Gus Van Sant.  The entire special is now available online, and I highly suggest you hit the jump to take a look.

First Trailer for THE CANYONS Starring Lindsay Lohan, Porn Star James Deen and Gus Van Sant

by     Posted 1 year, 315 days ago

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The first trailer has gone online for director Paul Schrader’s sexualized indie thriller, The Canyons.  Starring Lindsay Lohan, porn star James Deen and Gus Van Sant (really), The Canyons spins a tale on the dangers of sexual obsession and ambition among a group of twenty-somethings and a chance event that unravels all of their lives.  The trailer, presented in a grindhouse aesthetic with appropriate music and filters applied, introduces us to the characters and a sense of danger in the film, but gives little in the way of plot.  The Canyons, written by Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) also stars Nolan Funk and Amanda Brooks.  Hit the jump to check out the trailer.

First Trailer and Poster for Gus Van Sant’s PROMISED LAND Starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski

by     Posted 1 year, 332 days ago

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The first trailer for director Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land has been released.  Matt Damon and John Krasinski wrote the script and star in the film, which was originally set to mark Damon’s directorial debut before scheduling issues forced him to call in his Good Will Hunting buddy Van Sant to step in.  Damon and Frances McDormand play corporate salesmen who try to prey on an economic town in decline only to have their mission complicated by the citizens they encounter.  The pic has been a big question mark in the Awards race, and things aren’t much clearer after seeing this trailer.  There’s definitely potential for a heartwarming and relevant story to be told, but it also looks like the fracking argument—though valid—could come across as too preachy.  The character-centric story is definitely appealing, and given Damon’s ridiculous talent and the crazy-good ensemble cast, I’m inclined to believe that the full film will deliver the goods.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy, and Titus WelliverPromised Land opens in limited release on December 28th before expanding in January.

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