PROMISED LAND Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 64 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.

Weekend Box Office: TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D Slays Holdovers on New Year’s First Frame

by     Posted 1 year, 199 days ago

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Texas Chainsaw 3D, the R-rated franchise title from Lionsgate, managed to wrest the top spot away from The Hobbit and Django Unchained on 2013’s inaugural weekend. The horror film’s estimate of $23 million from 2,654 locations was a bit higher than expected, though probably not high enough to ensure box office longevity. Leatherface aside, the New Year looked suspiciously like Christmas as holiday-holdovers stretched their legs.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Texas Chainsaw 3D $23,000,000 $23
2.  Django Unchained $20,082,000 $106.3
3.  The Hobbit $17,525,000 $263.8
4.  Les Miserables $16,117,000 $103.6
5.  Parental Guidance $10,125,000 $52.7
6.  Jack Reacher $9,300,000 $64.8
7.  This is 40 $8,600,000 $54.5
8.  Lincoln $5,258,000 $143.9
9.  The Guilt Trip $4,530,000 $31.2
10.  Promised Land $4,311,500 $4.6

John Krasinski Talks PROMISED LAND, Collaborating with Matt Damon, Getting Input from Aaron Sorkin, THE OFFICE, Developing His Own Series, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 202 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, actor/co-writer John Krasinski talked about what led him to write a story about American identity, how it was to collaborate with co-writer Matt Damon, sending the script to Aaron Sorkin for feedback, and what it was like to get that phone call that Matt Damon was no longer going to be able to direct the film.  He also talked about being in the final stretch of episodes for The Office (they wrap the series in March), his hope that Steve Carell will return before they’re done, how hard the last day of shooting will be, whether he’d ever consider doing another TV show, how he’s currently developing some possible series, and that he’d like to work with his wife, Emily Blunt, at some point.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

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

by     Posted 1 year, 203 days ago

promised-land-matt-damon-slice

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, 204 days ago

gus van sant promised land

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.

John Krasinski Talks PROMISED LAND, How Fracking Has No Easy Answers, Directing, Dunkin Donuts, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 207 days ago

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Opening this weekend in limited release is director Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land.  The film stars Matt Damon and Frances McDormand as natural gas salesmen who try to prey on an economic town in decline only to have their mission complicated by the citizens they encounter and an environmentalist played by John Krasinski.  Damon and Krasinski wrote the screenplay, and the film deals heavily with the consequences of fracking.  The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy, and Titus Welliver.  For more on Promised Land, here are seven clips and the trailer.

During the recent Los Angeles press day I got to speak with Krasinski.  He talked about what surprises he learned when researching fracking, how they wanted to make sure the film showed both side of the issue, is he planning on directing a feature soon, Dunkin Donuts (we’re both from New England and L.A. has no locations), and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

PROMISED LAND Review

by     Posted 1 year, 208 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.

Rosemarie DeWitt Talks PROMISED LAND and Aaron Sorkin’s NEWSROOM; Reveals She Plays a Litigator on More Than One Episode

by     Posted 1 year, 208 days ago

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Opening this weekend in limited release is director Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land.  The film stars Matt Damon and Frances McDormand as natural gas salesmen who try to prey on an economic town in decline only to have their mission complicated by the citizens they encounter and an environmentalist played by John Krasinski.  Damon and Krasinski wrote the screenplay, and the film deals heavily with the consequences of fracking.  The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy, and Titus Welliver.  For more on Promised Land, here are seven clips and the trailer.

During the recent Los Angeles press day I got to speak with DeWitt.  She talked about what surprised her when researching fracking, how she got cast, what were Damon and Krasinski like on set as they wrote the script, Sundance, and more.  In addition, she also talked about being in a few episodes of the second season of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom and revealed she plays a litigator since AWM is being sued.  Hit the jump to watch.

Matt Damon Talks PROMISED LAND, His Reaction to ELYSIUM After Watching a Rough Cut, George Clooney’s MONUMENTS MEN, and Terry Gilliam

by     Posted 1 year, 209 days ago

 matt-damon-promised-land-interview-slice

Opening this weekend in limited release is director Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land.  The film stars Matt Damon and Frances McDormand as natural gas salesmen who try to prey on an economic town in decline only to have their mission complicated by the citizens they encounter and an environmentalist played by John Krasinski.  Damon and Krasinski wrote the screenplay, and the film deals heavily with the consequences of fracking.  The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy, and Titus Welliver.  For more on Promised Land, here are seven clips and the trailer.

During the recent Los Angeles press day I got to speak with Damon.  He talked about what surprised him when researching fracking, how the issue is very divisive, how lucky he’s been as an actor, and more.  Damon also spoke about his reaction to seeing a rough cut of Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, confirms he’s doing George Clooney’s Monuments Men, and says he was happy to work with Terry Gilliam again on The Zero Theorem, but he only has a very small part.  Hit the jump to watch.

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

by     Posted 1 year, 227 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, 229 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.

National Board of Review Names ZERO DARK THIRTY Best Film of the Year; DJANGO UNCHAINED, LOOPER, and LES MISERABLES Make Top 10

by     Posted 1 year, 230 days ago

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The second major critics organization has announced its Best of 2012 winners, and director Kathryn Bigelow’s drama Zero Dark Thirty is once again the victor.  The National Board of Review named Zero Dark Thirty the best film of the year, also awarding Kathryn Bigelow with Best Director and Jessica Chastain with Best Actress.  Bradley Cooper bested heavyweight Daniel Day-Lewis for the Best Actor trophy for his work in Silver Linings Playbook, while Leonardo DiCaprio and Ann Dowd took home the supporting awards for Django Unchained and Compliance, respectively.  Other notable wins include Rian Johnson’s Looper script winning Best Original Screenplay (huzzah!) and Les Miserables being named Best Ensemble, with The Perks of Being a Wallflower (huzzah again!) and Argo making the Top 10 list.

It certainly looks like the critics will be rallying around Zero Dark Thirty this year, but as we’ve seen many times in the past, the critics’ pick doesn’t always match up with Oscar.  Since 2000, only two NBR Best Film winners have gone on to win the Oscar: No Country for Old Men and Slumdog Millionaire.  Other past NBR Best Film winners include Hugo, The Social Network, and Up in the Air.  Hit the jump for the full list of 2012′s honorees.

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

by     Posted 1 year, 250 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.

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

by     Posted 1 year, 305 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.

Danny Elfman to Score Gus Van Sant’s PROMISED LAND and Sacha Gervasi’s HITCHCOCK, Both of Which May Debut Early to Qualify for 2012 Oscars

by     Posted 1 year, 314 days ago

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Let’s take a look at a year in the life of composer Danny Elfman: he’s already crafted scores for Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and Frankenweenie, plus another for Men In Black 3He has David O. Russell’s upcoming Silver Linings Playbook, plus Fox’s animated pic Epic and a reunion with Sam Raimi for Oz The Great and PowerfulSo, what the hell, let’s add two more on the list!  Reports have Elfman attached to compose the scores for director Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land as well as Sacha Gervasi’s biopic, Hitchcock Hit the jump for more on both projects.

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