The Films of Andrew Dominik: CHOPPER

by     Posted 126 days ago


[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.

The Films of Andrew Dominik: An Introduction

by     Posted 138 days ago


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.


by     Posted 1 year, 268 days ago


Here’s a brief look at this week’s new Blu-ray releases:

Hit the jump for details on the extras included on the aforementioned Blu-rays.


by     Posted 1 year, 353 days ago


While I stuck to my genre-loving guns in my Top 10 Films of 2012 and Top 10 Trailers of 2012, I’m happy to branch out a bit more with respect to the year’s ten best movie posters.  Here’s where I get pretentious.  Posters have the difficult task of attracting attention, holding it long enough to convey a message and getting that message across without the use of sound or motion (normally).  I prefer posters that are minimalist in nature and leave you with an iconic image that you’ll forever associate with the film.  Bonus points are given to those posters that offer layered meanings tied into the movie in question and which inspire curiosity in the picture.  What follows are the year’s ten best posters from a mix of big budget and lesser known movies.  Hit the jump to check them out.


by     Posted 2 years, 15 days ago


This week on The Collision, we talk about crime dramas, their appeal, The American Dream, notions of justice, rationalization, social contracts, and other topics way above our paygrade.  We then move on to talk about the new crime drama Killing Them Softly before moving on to our recommendations.

Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“The Past, Present, and Future of Star Wars), click here to add the podcast to your RSS, and click here to find us on iTunes. To keep up to date with The Collision, you can follow us on Twitter at @MattGoldberg, @AdamChitwood, and @DrClawMD (Dave Trumbore). Hit the jump to check out the trailers for this week’s recommendations.

Weekend Box Office: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2, SKYFALL and LINCOLN Claim Top Three for Third Week in a Row

by     Posted 2 years, 16 days ago


Box office rankings were frozen in time this weekend as the top three films remained unchanged for a third straight frame. Once again, top honors went to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, closely followed by Skyfall.  Spielberg’s Lincoln claimed third. There were also two new releases, though neither hailed from a major studio. The Weinstein Co.’s Killing Them Softly had the most promise, but not even Brad Pitt’s presence could push the drama to $10 million on this notoriously low-grossing weekend.

Title Weekend Total
1.  Breaking Dawn Part 2 $17,400,000 $254.5
2.  Skyfall $17,000,000 $246
3.  Lincoln $13,509,000 $83.6
4.  Rise of the Guardians $13,500,000 $48.9
5.  Life of Pi $12,000,000 $48.3
6.  Wreck-It Ralph $7,020,000 $158.2
7.  Killing Them Softly $7,000,000 $7
8.  Red Dawn $6,550,000 $31.3
9.  Flight $4,140,000 $81.5
10.  The Collection
$3,400,000 $3.4


by     Posted 2 years, 17 days ago


After a record-setting Thanksgiving frame, the domestic box office is headed towards its traditional, post-holiday slump. Though weekend receipts should top 2011 levels, there is little to get excited about at the multiplex: no new, major-studio releases and no change in the domestic top three. That means that, for the third straight week, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 will be on top, followed closely by Skyfall, which now ranks as the highest-grossing spy movie in US history. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln will remain in third place while Rise of the Guardians continues to struggle entering its sophomore frame. Even with its very modest expectations, The Weinstein Co.’s Killing Them Softly is being called a disappointment. On its first day in 2,424 locations, the R-rated film starring Brad Pitt is expected to earn just $7 million over its first three days. We’ll have full details tomorrow.

Title Friday Total
1. Breaking Dawn Part 2 $5,610,000 $242.7
2. Skyfall $4,880,000 $233.9
3. Lincoln $4,040,000 $74.2
4. Life of Pi $3,300,000 $39.6
5. Rise of the Guardians $2,970,000 $38.4

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 2 years, 19 days ago


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. 


by     Posted 2 years, 22 days ago


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 2 years, 27 days ago


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.


by     Posted 2 years, 41 days ago


Three really great new posters for some highly anticipated upcoming films have surfaced.  Briefly:

  • Jurassic Park 3D – The first poster for the 3D iteration of Steven Spielberg’s classic does a nice job of promising some big fun for the film’s 20th anniversary.  The film hits theaters in three dimensions on April 5th, 2013.
  • Zero Dark Thirty – A new poster for director Kathryn Bigelow’s drama about the decade-long manhunt and eventual assassination of Osama bin Laden trades the first poster’s secrecy for some good old fashioned patriotism.  The film opens in limited release on December 19th, and opens wide on January 11th, 2013.
  • Killing Them Softly – Also getting in on the election season patriotism is a new artful poster for director Andrew Dominik’s crime drama.  The Brad Pitt-fronted pic apparently has some highly political undertones, so this gun-centric poster seems appropriate.  The film opens on November 30th.
Hit the jump to take a closer look.
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More Great Posters for KILLING THEM SOFTLY Starring Brad Pitt

by     Posted 2 years, 54 days ago


Whomever is responsible for the posters for Andrew Dominik‘s Killing Them Softly: Bravo.  They started out a little rough, but the ones released a couple weeks were wall-worthy, and so are the latest ones.  The film centers on a mob enforcer (Brad Pitt) called in to investigate the robbery of a high-stakes card game.  The word out of Cannes was that the movie was a scathing indictment of the American Dream, and these posters continue to hammer that point across.

Hit the jump to check out the posters.  The film also stars Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy, and Ben MendelsohnKilling Them Softly opens November 30th.

International Trailer for KILLING THEM SOFTLY Starring Brad Pitt

by     Posted 2 years, 61 days ago


A new international trailer for Killing Them Softly 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 domestic trailer showed us some of the other characters and plot points, but this international trailer is short, to the point, and it works.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The film also stars Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy, and Ben MendelsohnKilling Them Softly opens November 30th.

Tom Cruise Looms Large in First Poster for JACK REACHER; Plus 6 Great New Posters for KILLING THEM SOFTLY

by     Posted 2 years, 75 days ago


Some new posters for two movie star-fronted upcoming films have landed online.  It’s Tom Cruise vs. Brad Pitt in this week’s poster showdown, and Pitt looks to be taking this one by a mile.  Briefly:

  • Jack Reacher – The first international poster for director Christopher McQuarrie’s adaptation of the popular Lee Child character features half of Tom Cruise’s face and not much else.  Cruise plays the eponymous ex-military investigator who’s tasked with tracking down a serial sniper.  The film opens on December 21st.
  • Killing Them Softly – Six absolutely great new posters for director Andrew Dominik’s (The Assassination of Jesse James) crime drama play up the film’s political undertones while capturing the essence of the ballsy, controversial films of the 1970s.  The pic opens on November 30th.

Hit the jump to check out all the posters.

KILLING THEM SOFTLY Pushed Back to November 30 for Awards Positioning

by     Posted 2 years, 97 days ago


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. 

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