by     Posted 61 days ago


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.

The Films of Andrew Dominik: CHOPPER

by     Posted 124 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.

Watch: Celebrate the Work of Master Cinematographer Roger Deakins in Gorgeous Supercut

by     Posted 126 days ago


Video tributes, or “supercuts” as they’re sometimes called, are rather commonplace, and while most of them are pretty one-note, today a video surfaced online that’s too good not to share.  Titled “Shadows in the Valley”, this video is a celebration of the work of cinematographer Roger Deakins, piecing together just a few of the masterful shots that make up his illustrious career.  From The Assassination of Jesse James to Skyfall to Barton Fink to Fargo to The Shawshank Redemption to O Brother Where Art Thou to No Country for Old Men, Deakins’ filmography is filled with gorgeous film after gorgeous film.  He’s a true genius at manipulating and capturing light, and he’s one of the most gifted people working today.  We have only one Deakins-led film to look forward to this year, the war drama Unbroken, but this video is a wonderful reminder of the variety of work Deakins has elicited, which somehow also feels so singular.

Hit the jump to watch the Roger Deakins video, which was put together by Plot Point Productions, and sound off in the comments with some of your personal favorite Deakins shots.

The Films of Andrew Dominik: An Introduction

by     Posted 136 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.

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, 60 days ago


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 2 years, 17 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. 

Cinematographer Roger Deakins Interview; Talks TRUE GRIT, Coen Brothers, Digital vs. Film, Says He’s Probably Shooting BOND 23

by     Posted 3 years, 311 days ago

Cinematographer-Roger-Deakins-image slice

One of my favorite cinematographers is Roger Deakins.  If you look over his amazing resume, you’ll see he’s shot so many memorable films, you’d be hard pressed to have not seen at least a few of them.  Some of the standouts include The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski, The Shawshank Redemption, and True Grit. As you may have noticed by the titles I just listed, Deakins has a very close relationship with the Coen Brothers, as he shoots most of their movies.

The other day I got to do an exclusive phone interview with Deakins and we talked about a wide range of subjects: what kinds of cameras and lenses he likes to use, his relationship with the Coen brothers and how they work together, making True Grit, digital vs. film, his next movie Now which he shot digitally with the Arriflex Alexa (his first time using digital), his relationship with DreamWorks and his involvement on How to Train Your Dragon and the upcoming sequel, 3D, and when I asked him about what’s coming up next, he said, “I’ll probably do a film with Sam Mendes next.”  When I asked him if that meant he was shooting Bond 23, he said, “it might, yeah.”

If you’re interested in cinematography, or just a fan of Deakins work, hit the jump to either read or listen to our conversation:

Sam Rockwell Joins Andrew Dominik’s COGAN’S TRADE Starring Brad Pitt

by     Posted 3 years, 346 days ago


We previously reported that Sam Rockwell may be joining Andrew Dominik’s adaptation of the crime novel Cogan’s TradeDeadline is now confirming that Rockwell is on board and will join Brad Pitt in the film.  With Casey Affleck also rumored to be joining the project, it looks like Dominik is getting his Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Ford gang back together.  Someone should call up Jeremy Renner, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Schneider, and the rest of that film’s stellar cast to see if they want to get in on this action.

Hopefully, the other names rumored along with Rockwell will also come on board.  A movie directed by Dominik that starred Pitt, Rockwell, Affleck, as well as Javier Bardem, Mark Ruffalo, Bill Murray, Josh Brolin, and Zoe Saldana and has the plot of Cogan’s Trade would be at the top of my must-see list.  Then again, it’s already near the top with Pitt and Rockwell.  Hit the jump for a synopsis of the book.

Top 10 Soundtracks and Scores of the Decade 2001 – 2010

by     Posted 3 years, 353 days ago

With 2010 coming to a close, and the imminent arrival of an entirely fresh, unexplored, and unpredictable decade of cinema, what better time to start bombarding you with top ten lists of past highlights? We’ve done top ten posters, top ten trailers and top ten Christmas movies (and an alternate Christmas list for those who disagreed with the first).

This time: scores and soundtracks. There is a distinction between the two, but it’s murky, and as more and more films are using a mix of both original scores and pre-existing tracks, who are we to try to keep them separate?  Hit the jump for more.

Hilarious “Alternate Ending” to YOGI BEAR

by     Posted 4 years, 4 days ago


If Yogi Bear actually ended with this fake “alternate ending”, I would declare it the best film of 2010.  It could have every lame slapstick joke in the book but as long as it ends with a reference to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, I’m happy.  Hit the jump to check out this brilliant alternate ending from animator Edmund Earle who put this together in his spare time over the last two months.

Andrew Dominik and Casey Affleck Possibly Reteaming for COGAN’S TRADE

by     Posted 4 years, 45 days ago


Andrew Dominik, the Kiwi filmmaker responsible for the beautiful, Malick-esque Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, optioned the adaptation rights for George V. Higgins’ Boston crime novel Cogan’s Trade yesterday, confirming Casey Affleck’s teases last month that a reunion with his Jesse James director on a Boston-set book was gearing up. The film is rumored to go before cameras as early as January 2011, an unheard of turnaround considering the day-old purchase of the rights. It wouldn’t be the first time Dominik has adapted a written work on spec if that turns out to be the case though, as he employed the same strategy with Joyce Carol Oates’ Marilyn Monroe biography Blonde, with Naomi Watts attached to portray the iconic blonde bombshell. Whether one of his slated projects will interfere with the other’s start date remains to be seen.

Words from Casey Affleck on Cogan’s Trade, a synopsis of the novel, and my thoughts on its potential after the jump.

Tommy Lee Jones to Direct and Star in Cormac McCarthy’s THE SUNSET LIMITED; Samuel L. Jackson to Co-Star

by     Posted 5 years, 118 days ago


Tommy Lee Jones has signed up to star and direct Cormac McCarthy’s “The Sunset Limited”, which will also star Samuel L. Jackson, for HBO from a script adapted by McCarthy himself.  Hollywood seems to be riding the Cormac McCarthy love train as of late with “No Country for Old Men”, “The Road”, and two other films based off of Comac McCarthy novels in the works.  To find out which two adaptations those are and to know more about “The Sunset Limited” hit the jump.

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