Aaron Sorkin

Movie News: Brian De Palma

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column that has been returned to the hands of its rightful owner, for now. But before we get to my triumphant return after a week of vegging out and eating BBQ, lets give a round of applause to Nathan Adams, Luke Mullen, Kate Erbland, Kevin Carr and Robert Fure, who did a wonderful job last week during guest week. I don’t know about you, but I lizzed a few times while reading their work. Lets hope that I can bring the same verve to this week’s return. We begin, of course, with naughty bits… Several new images from Brian De Palma’s Passion this past week, courtesy of the Cannes Film Festival. That includes the above image, depicting a very devious, scantily clad Rachel McAdams burning a hole in my heart of hearts. It’s the eyes that do it. And the stockings. Definitely the stockings.

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In October of last year, Sony picked up the rights to Walter Isaacson‘s biography of Steve Jobs. This was shortly after the Apple CEO’s death and shortly before announcing that their shortlist of screenwriters included Aaron Sorkin – a writer who was once offered a Pixar gig by Jobs and who had previously helped adapt Isaacson’s “Moneyball.” Now, according to a Sony press release, Sorkin is officially on board for what’s being creatively called Steve Jobs. This is stellar news, placing incredible talent next to incredible talent to write about an incredible mind. Isaacson’s biography was thorough (and authorized), and the relative familiarity that Sorkin and Isaacson have (alongside the screenwriter’s past dealings with Jobs) make this team uniquely qualified to deliver a compelling telling worthy of the modern icon. One thing they don’t have? Ashton Kutcher. Which raises the question: with all the talent in the room, what actor deserves a shot at bringing Jobs back to life on the big screen?

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Channel Guide - Large

In 1985, John Fogerty was sued for plagiarizing himself. It was a bizarre courtroom situation that arose because Fogerty had forfeited the rights to his old Creedance Clearwater Revival hits to a former record label that went after him when a song he wrote on his new album “Centerfield” sounded too much like his own work. Copyright law is complicated. What can you do. In the last week, a script surfaced that’s purportedly the pilot to The Newsroom, the new HBO show from Aaron Sorkin, and it feels a bit like Fogerty all over again. Sorkin is cribbing off of Sorkin. Of course there are a million grains of salt to throw with this. The primary one being that random scripts on the old internet could be from anywhere. For some reason, writers believe they can fake leaked scripts in order to gain a name through the back door (like writers did on Studio 60 when they weren’t being heard in the room), but it’s actually the writing equivalent of suicide by cop (which a troubled man did on an episode of The West Wing). The internet can be an unforgiving place and pretending to be another writer automatically creates a comparison that no one can survive against. However, this particular script (which you can find if you search for it) seems legit. But there’s a funny thing there, when you’re reading a curious script that can be from anyone. In the back of your mind, you’re imagining that someone […]

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Adapted Screenplay

While it’s inevitable that one day, perhaps one day soon, the Best Adapted Screenplay category will be jam-packed with reboots and comic book stories and robot superheros flicks, it’s not quite that day just yet. For now, Adapted Screenplay (which, over the years, has also been called Screenplay Adapted From Other Material, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published) is the refuge of book nerds and theatre wonks. And, also, weirdly enough, sequels (did you know that all sequels are automatically considered adaptations because they must be based on the original story?). This year’s category includes some of the year’s best films (and one I absolutely hated, mainly because I love the original material so much), from a family drama to a kiddie flick for grown-ups, all the way to a political drama and a sports drama and a big, smart spy flick. But, in my mind, there’s just one clear nominee deserving of the award – but do you agree? Read on for the nominations and my predicted winner in red…

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It’s been a year filled with silent screen stars seeking redemption, the 1920s coming alive in Paris, a young boy searching for the first great director, sex addicts in New York City, horses going to war, maids of dishonor, and skulls getting crushed in elevators. Now it’s time to celebrate all of those things and more with the 84th annual Academy Awards. They’ve come a long way since the Hotel Roosevelt in 1929 (although sex addicts have almost always been a fixture). Get to ready to smile, ball your fists with snubbed rage, or be generally unsurprised. Here they are. The 2012 Oscar nominees:

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Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie and entertainment news column that, now that it’s a year old and feeling mature, is looking to bring you only the best links of the day. Think of it as your one-stop-shop for the best of the entertainment web. If you didn’t see it here, it probably wasn’t that good. If we missed it, just email it to neil@filmschoolrejects.com and we’ll consider it for tomorrow. We do this every night. We begin tonight with a new shot of Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man as a funeral-going Gwen Stacy. She’s looking quite sad. I wonder who died. Oh right, they are telling the origin story of Spider-Man again. I know who’s going to die.

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Hell on Wheels

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s preparing for it’s Thanksgiving day off. Lots of movies in its future. So it’s going to make this quick. But don’t worry baby, it isn’t about how long it lasts. It’s about the motion of the ocean. We begin tonight with something very near and dear to my heart: shows that I like. Sure, it’s about television and not movies, but this column, while accused of being many things, has never been accursed of being consistent. Anyway, Vulture is reporting that Hell on Wheels has seen a ratings dip. We need to curb this, people. It’s a damn good show. So watch it and ensure that it doesn’t get cancelled. Seriously. Common is on that show.

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We all know that music is an important part of the film experience. It helps set the mood and has the power to completely influence a film’s tone. Changing the music, regardless of what is happening on screen, can suddenly alter the feel or perception of a scene. You take the sound out of a horror film (as I explored here) or replace intense score with cheesy pop music (as spoofed in Funny or Die’s mock Drive trailer) and suddenly the fear and the anxiety are taken away. You are less likely to jump at a sudden reveal without the musical jab that goes along with it and watching Ryan Gosling bash a man’s head into a wall goes from unsettling to humorous when set to Enrique Iglesias’ “I Can Be Your Hero.” Back before there was talking in film, music was the only thing to accompany the moving images and was used to not only convey the emotions being acted out on screen, but to also provide all the sound in the film. The Artist does a brilliant job of not only taking us back to a time of full and vibrant orchestrations, but also reminding audiences how different films were then from what we are used to seeing (and hearing) on screen now. In one of The Artist’s first scenes, this difference proven handily when the audience bursts into applause and you do not hear a single clap.

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The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Sony has gathered a shortlist of screenwriters for its Steve Jobs biopic, and that the chief name among them is Aaron Sorkin‘s. Considering his track record and recent success, along with the type and high profile of the project, he might just be the best possible choice out there to capture the balance between jargon and jangling heartstrings. The movie will be based on the book by Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson, but no definite decision has been made on who will be writing it, and it’s unclear as to whether Sorkin is even interested considering he personally knew the subject of the film and has a brand new television project to keep him busy. On the other hand, a movie of this magnitude and emotionality (considering how recently Jobs passed away) might be the kind of challenge needed to attract Sorkin. For some reason, The American President comes to mind. In that, Sorkin crafted a flawed character that was still a major public figure and the central presence in a triumphant story. The tones might be different, but the potential is there for similarities. Maybe a blend of Social Network and American President? Who knows. Either way, Sorkin is a strong choice (if not the strongest).

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Culture Warrior

The month of September is typically regarded as one of the least exciting and least eventful in the calendar year. It’s something of an interval month, a strange in-between phase sandwiched in the middle of summer Hollywood blockbusters and the “quality” flicks and holiday programming of the fall. In strictly monetary terms, it’s the most underperforming month of the year, and has even been beaten by the desolate burial ground that is January in terms of event-style opening weekends. But this may ultimately be a good thing. In fact, if future Septembers continue to exhibit the same patterns as this month, the time of the year in which schools go back in session and you can no longer wear all-white may prove to be one of the most interesting and exciting months on the wide-release calendar.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It is a nightly movie news recap column that would like to make it all the way to the end of this thing without getting controversial, political or mentioning how much skinny Jonah Hill looks like President Obama. It’s just not likely. We begin tonight with the story that’s on everyone’s mind — no, not the Obama speech — the fact that Mel Gibson is developing a movie about Jewish hero Judah Maccabee, who led a second-century revolt against Hellenistic overloards in the name of the Jewish people. He’s brought Basic Instinct writer Joe Eszterhas on for the script work. There will be nothing controversial about this project.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly round-up of all that is interesting. Being based in Austin, TX, it’s also obligated to include something that will give off the vibe that it’s “keepin’ it weird.” The folks at LucasFilm ominously dropped the above image in my email inbox this evening. No press release, no notes. Not even a response to my “WTF is this? Also, tell George I said what’s up!” follow-up. On May 4, all will be revealed. My best guess is that we’ll be given a look (via StarWars.com) at what will be included on the upcoming Blu-ray release. If it’s the original theatrical cuts, expect internet mayhem rivaling the Osama Bin Laden is dead news. This is important stuff, people.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movie news that wasn’t big enough to get quality real estate on the home page. Or the stuff that everyone else missed. But you won’t miss it! Because it’s all right here! “I think he has a script ready to start of a new film, a Southern. I think it’s really exciting. It’s another new story and a fresh piece of material that he is channeling at the moment.” That’s Uma Thurman, talking about Quentin Tarantino’s next film.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. The process of making a film involves thousands of moving parts and pieces from the actors to the director to the caterers and beyond, but arguably the most integral aspect of the process is the script. I say arguable, but I’m only being polite. The script is the most important part of a film… it’s responsible for the words coming out of the actors’ mouths, for the shifts in story, for the very tale itself. Actors bring it to life and the director makes it a visual reality, but it all starts from the script. An argument could be made that scripts adapted from a previous source have most of the heavy lifting already done for them, but the ones making that case have most likely never written a script. It may be an advantage to have the story beats clearly marked out for you in advance, but it doesn’t make the process of writing a smart, entertaining, and well crafted screenplay any easier. This year sees a mixed bag of nominees in the Adapted category, and while one film seems to be a lock to win there’s at least one nominee that just don’t belong on the same stage. I’m looking at you Toy Story 3. The nominees are listed below with my prediction for the winner in red…

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Culture Warrior

Famed British filmmaker Mike Leigh recently received his fifth screenwriting nomination for Another Year. Another Oscar nomination for a highly celebrated filmmaker should be surprising to no one except, in this special case, for the fact that precisely zero of Leigh’s nominated films actually use screenplays. Leigh’s films are constructed through a painstaking and long-term process of creating characters and scenarios with his cast and creative team. His films aren’t improvised in the sense of, say, a Christopher Guest film, where a basic framework exists and actors are allowed to ad-lib and play with(in) that paradigm. Leigh’s films are instead created from the outset through an involved collaborative process. Leigh’s regular team of actors bring to each individual film their construction of a character from scratch. Details arise eventually through this collaboration, and the final work projected onscreen is the end result of a long selection of various possibilities. The only reason Leigh’s films even qualify for screenwriting awards is because of the written script that Leigh creates after the end product has been made. The physical screenplay, in this case, is nothing more than a transcription written after the fact, or a record of a much larger event (whose details are largely unknown to the audience). While Leigh is the sole nominee for Another Year, the creation of the script (or, in this case, the transcript) is just as indebted to the creative efforts of other individuals involved. Stars Jim Broadbent and Lesley Manville are, in a sense, just […]

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Brace yourself. Before downloading this explosive piece of writing, simply know that it goes from Cover Page to 60 in under 6 seconds. Sorkin does not waste time taking a breath, either. His script for The Social Network is an incredible piece of writing, and reading it from the bare white pages has a completely different feel than watching the movie. Enjoy the Social Network script for yourself, and give thanks to Deadline Denton for posting it up for all movie fans to enjoy, dissect, and debate.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this shit late at night, what do you expect?

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Armie Hammer can remember back to his high school days when the craze of Facebook started being whispered around the hallways, and he caved to peer pressure and joined. Now, he’s playing two people in The Social Network with the benefit of some great CGI. Luke Mullen sat down with the star to discuss playing twins, working with David Fincher, and the musical quality of Sorkin’s writing.

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Culture Warrior

The Social Network is nothing new, but that’s kind of the point. Its structure creates a story of uniquely American ingenuity, individualism, and capital that we’ve seen often, one that follows beat-for-beat the formula of young, ambitious, humble beginnings to meteoric rise toward contested success to the people that really mattered being inevitably pushed out of the way. It is in The Social Network’s belonging to that subgenre which draws apt comparison to films like Citizen Kane, Sweet Smell of Success, or There Will Be Blood – not qualitative comparisons, mind you (the very title of Citizen Kane has become an inescapable and meaningless form of hyperbole in that regard), but comparable in terms of basic narrative structure and genre play. Such narratives are perhaps more common in films depicting less legitimate business practices – gangster films – which also catalog the rise in stature but fall in character of an outcast who uses the system for their own advantage. From starry-eyed associations with questionable made men (Timberlake’s Sean Parker and the debaucheries of success associated with him) to the inevitable “hit” on one’s kin in the best interest of the business (Zuckerberg and Parker firing Eduardo Saverin), The Social Network is something of a Goodfellas for geeks. Why is it that the first major studio film about the phenomenon of social networking feels like such a familiar movie? Why does it resort to well-honed, expertly crafted but familiar cinematic territory instead of pioneering unexplored terrain analogous to the phenomenon […]

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