Alfonso Cuaron

Gravity

The director of A Little Princess, and the stars of Love Potion No. 9 and Return of the Killer Tomatoes join forces for one of the year’s most anticipated films. Strap yourself in, and take a look at the first teaser for Alfonso Cuarón‘s Gravity.

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Alfonso Cuaron Harry Potter

According to MarketSaw (via Celluloid and Cigarette Burns, who makes a case for the site’s track record of being right), Alfonso Cuaron is in the mix and could be the preferred candidate to direct Star Wars Episode VIII or IX or both. Obviously, this would be awesome. And it would be awesome for the exact two reasons that Cuaron is a viable candidate in the first place. He’s a director with intense cult appeal, geekily built from a talent that blisters eyeballs and bruises jaws. He’s had experience working successfully with a massive franchise aimed at the young and young at heart. But beyond Children of Men and his Harry Potter entry, we’ll get to see Gravity in October (which means we’re getting more Emmanuel Lubezki work too!), where Cuaron goes to space. So you can add that interstellar aspect to the list above. Obviously this isn’t wholly confirmed yet, and probably won’t be for a long time, but the thought of it is huge and perfect. Hopefully it turns out to be true.

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Children of Men

Traditionally — such a tradition has been built over the 6 week lifespan of this column — Scenes We Love takes a moment each week to focus on a single scene from a film that jumps right out at us, grabs our attention and simply won’t let go. This week brings us something a little different, courtesy of an email I received by a gentleman named Larry Wright from a site called Refocused Media. He’s created a 31 minute cut of Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men using only the scenes that are 45-seconds or longer. Why would someone partake in such a maddening project? Well, I guess you’ll have to read on and find out.

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Culture Warrior

Editor’s Note: With Landon Palmer busy (read: probably writing a thesis on Sexual Deviancy in John Wayne Films in the Greater Context of Post-WWII America As Seen Through the Work of Southern Filmmakers), the excellent, insightful Adam Charles has stepped in to write this week’s entry. Enjoy. Few things have been as equally discussed and deliberated over the past few weeks than that of who Lionsgate was going to choose to take the reigns from Gary Ross to direct the second installment in The Hunger Games franchise. The first film had one of the biggest opening weekends in history (and it didn’t even require 3D price-hikes to get there), earned a positive majority from critics, and has a dedicated fanbase that defies demographic lines of fandom; and they’re chomping at the bit to see the next adaptation in the series, Catching Fire, as quickly as possible. Neither Lucas, Spielberg, or even Peter Jackson’s franchises could replicate just how much of the domestic populous is waiting for the next picture.

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The Hunger Games was a massive movie, but Lionsgate is definitely appealing to geek credibility when it comes to their wish list covering who should take over the franchise now that Gary Ross is gone. According to the LA Times Blog, that list includes seven or eight names, and none of them are women. The only names they’ve revealed are serious heavy-hitters –  Alfonso Cuarón, David Cronenberg and Alejandro González Iñárritu. All three would be stellar choices. They’re icons, visionaries. Of course, this is more than conjecture. This is a theoretical list of random names – not some concrete list of conversations that the studio has had. However, if it’s true that the list doesn’t include any women whatsoever, it seems like a calculated misstep from Lionsgate –  a poor, yet unsurprising oversight.  

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of trinkets for the weary-eyed, movie-loving masses. A testament to man’s quest for knowledge, the internet’s infinite wealth of silliness and cat videos, and a totem for the lost souls of movie fandom. Come here, my children, come here and bask in the glory of the best links of the day. We begin tonight’s sermon with a shot of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence looking very 1929 in Serena, the upcoming film from In a Better World director Susanne Bier. It’s about a pair of newlyweds who move from Boston to the wild mountains of North Carolina and produce off-spring. Shenanigans ensue.

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Apocalypse Soon: Children of Men

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Children of Men (2006) The Plot: In the near future global civilization is on the brink of total collapse as the human race approaches extinction via a long dry spell of human infertility. There hasn’t been a human child born in almost two decades and the answer for our sudden inability to bear children has been an elusive scientific mystery in all those years. In this world of societal discourse and upheaval Theo Faron (Clive Owen) is an everyman with ties to an underground group of revolutionaries through a past relationship with the group’s leader Julian (Julianne Moore). Kidnapped off the streets by the group Theo is asked by Julian to help attain transit papers for a young woman and help see that she crosses the British border to safety. Asking no questions of what the significance of that particular girl’s safety is Theo agrees and along the way to the first stop on their journey their vehicle gets ambushed. Following that event Theo’s initially loose involvement in the situation becomes more important when he takes […]

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Awesome Camera Rigs

It’s hard to get excited about something as technical as that thing that makes cameras not fall down on film sets, especially these days, when you can make a successful film without even going through the effort of picking up a camera at all. Even if you are shooting a live action film, thanks to the realism of CGI, computers are now able to put a lens wherever you need it to be – this is why I think we need to take a second to celebrate some of the hard working pieces of lightweight metal that were behind a few of the more bitchin’ shots out there. These rigs got the shot done, computers be damned!

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Acclaimed visual auteur Guillermo Del Toro recently sat down with MTV cameras to have a chat about a number of topics, and during the discussion talk turned to Children of Men director Alfonso Cuaron’s upcoming astronaut thriller Gravity. Whatever Cuaron is doing while filming this one seems to be the talk of the town, as he couldn’t help but gush at how blown away both he and big-time director and technophile James Cameron are with the technical aspects of Cuaron’s production. Keeping up with the stuttered sentence structure and charming accent is a little rough when trying for a transcript, but I think I’ve pulled most of the money quotes out of the interview. Del Toro starts by saying, “I think what is incredible about what they did is, they talked to David Fincher, they talked to Jim Cameron… I connected Jim and Alfonso for that… And what Alfonso is trying, is so insane. And Jim said, ‘Well look, what you’re trying is about five years into the future.’ When James said that it’s too early to try anything that crazy… they did it.”

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Culture Warrior

That the final Harry Potter film became the biggest opening weekend of all time seemed only natural and inevitable. Something so monumentally culturally pervasive could have only gone out with a loud bang. After all, it is – as I’ve been repeatedly reminded – the most successful movie franchise of all time, adapted from a series of books whose sales history rivals that of The Holy Bible. Yet unlike some head scratch-inducing huge opening weekends of the more uninspired entries of blockbusting franchises who rival Harry Potter in their monetary intake but not their longevity (Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) and the former reigning champ whose buzz was accompanied by fascination with the untimely death of a star (The Dark Knight), the mass participation in the cultural event that was the release of Deathly Hallows Part 2 won’t likely be rivaled anytime soon. The Harry Potter films simultaneously represent the inevitable logical extent of franchise filmmaking as much as it is exceptional and anomalous in this same regard.

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Two-weeks or so after the release of the near-terrible Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, there’s already a list of directors that Disney is keen on to helm the fifth entry in the quality diving franchise. The list of filmmakers Disney is favoring is a bit surprising. There’s their top pick of Tim Burton, the always busy Sam Raimi, critical darling Alfonso Cuarón, Twilight 2 guy Chris Weitz, and the online venom drawer, Shawn Levy. Apparently an offer went out to Rob Marshall to return months ago, although he may be too busy with his Thin Man remake (*eye roll*)… Burton was rumored for the fourth film as well, but after Alice in Wonderland and Planet of the Apes, I don’t think I’ll ever be interested in seeing a big Burton action sequence ever again. And considering he’s currently working on Dark Shadows then Frankenweenie, he may be not have the time. Side note, when will see an original Burton film again?

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With DJ Caruso directing Preacher, it becomes the second cult western literary adaptation to be taken on by an averagely talented, workhorse director (although Caruso doesn’t even come close to Ron Howard’s league). This might be the natural evolution of “geek” properties being co-opted by Hollywood. A decade ago, it was Sam Raimi bringing his Evil Dead prowess to a web-slinging comic of note. Now, the grittier material is getting notice, but middling directors will start earning the paycheck. So it goes. The list of directors who could bring the story of a Texas preacher man whose been imbued with the power of pure goodness and pure evil (and the power to command people to do his bidding) to life is a long one. So is the list of directors better suited than DJ Caruso. Here are just seven of them (ranging from the obvious to the not-so), but feel free to brainstorm more:

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. “Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.” I have no idea what a bumblepuppy is, but Neil Postman was right to point out that while Orwell (and especially his “1984”) cautioned against tyrannical thought-police shoving rats in our faces to get us to comply, Aldous Huxley was more concerned with a governmental structure that shoved pleasure and an overload of information and distraction in our faces to get us to comply. Orwell is what happens post-apocalyptically. Huxley is what happens when society prospers beyond our wildest dreams. It’s unclear why a feature film has never been made of “Brave New World.” It’s baffling actually because the material there is so rich. With the completely average trailer for Atlas Shrugged out this week, it got me thinking about the classic philosophical novel that I identify with the most, what shaped my thinking most when I was younger, and the prospect of that novel becoming a movie. Here’s how I’d want to see it done, and in the effort to make it as viable as possible, my dreamcasting is all also economically viable for any studio who would take the chance on this brand. In […]

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Sandra Bullock might be returning to sci-fi. It’s been 17 years since Demolition Man, but the actress may need to brush up on her three shell method for Alfonso Cuaron. An offer to star in Gravity is currently still out to Natalie Portman, but if she passes, Bullock is next on the list for a call from Warners. It’s a natural choice after earlier concerns about Angelina Jolie passing. After all, if Jolie won’t do it, who do you hire? How about an actress that made more money for studios in 2009 and won an Oscar? [Cinema Blend]

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Last week, we mocked the idea that Angelina Jolie’s absence could sink a movie (let alone any actress’s), and shockingly Gravity is still on its feet. The sky didn’t fall. Plus, it’s looking at a great talent to fill the main role that would be age-appropriate and be able to, you know, act. The offer is out to Natalie Portman who now finds herself surrounded with Oscar buzz the same way Jake Sully found himself surrounded by those floating ghost tree seed things in Avatar. That’s not a simile – Oscar buzz looks exactly like those things. It’s a nuisance, really. Natalie Portman playing a greenhorn astronaut with Alfonso Cuaron at the helm? Hopefully she’ll hop on board. [Risky Business]

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Every so often, a film emerges from the fray to prove its popularity and warrant a sequel. More and more, franchises are planned out in advance, but when one film turns into a franchise, a cash register sound goes off in the ears of the studio. Even though the kid stays in the picture, sometimes the director does not. Maybe the director is done working with the material. Maybe the producers want a more seasoned hand. Maybe a simple schedule conflict keeps him or her out of the chair for the next round up. But the show must go on, so the producers find another director to fill the slot – a director who ostensibly inherits all the strengths and weaknesses of a franchise birthed by someone else. Cinematic sloppy seconds that could have easily turned into sloppy sequels if it weren’t for a steady, talented director guiding the ship. Here’s a list of the ten best.

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The Chicken Little sentiment of the day is that Angelina Jolie’s passing on Gravity – the incredibly cool-sounding sci-fi flick from Alfonso Cuaron – could possibly sink the ship. After all, Warners is sending $80 million up into orbit, and the film rests almost solely on the shoulders of the female lead. Who could be worth that kind of money? That question and the concept that any actor’s refusal could possibly sink a production would have mattered five years ago, but we’re past the point where actors matter all that much anymore. I’ll grant that Salt made over $100 million domestic, and it was done on Jolie’s shoulders. Yes, she has the capability of creating large numbers. But to think that the sky is falling just because she declined is foolish, and here’s why.

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After Children of Men, Alfonso Cuaron has the unique position in the art form of commanding audiences to see anything he makes ever. If I caught wind of a youtube video of him fly fishing, I’d drop everything I was doing to go see it. And it would probably be a fifteen minute, single take shot of incredible fly fishing action. It appears as if he’ll be heading back in that direction (to science fiction. I have no idea what his vacation plans are.) with Gravity, a thriller set in outer space which sees an astronaut trying to get back home after a catastrophe on board a space station. While Robert Downey Jr is already attached to the script, and Warners is producing, there are two young acting talents that are vying for the lead role as the astronaut lost in space. Blake Lively, who looks to be launching her film career brilliantly with a hard-hitting drama (The Town) and a big budget superhero movie (The Green Lantern), and Scarlet Johansson, who basically did that to get to the level she’s at now, are both in contention as the top two choices.

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Because there’s no gravity in space, and Johansson’s next role may be in a science-fiction film set in outer space. See? It’s science, not smut. The NY Daily News’ Gatecrasher blog is reporting that Johansson has “verbally agreed” to take on the primary lead role in Alfonso Cuaron’s upcoming film, Gravity. (Verbal agreements mean very little in Hollywood, but we’ll roll with it for now.) The second lead has already been cast with Johansson’s Iron Man 2 co-star, Robert Downey Jr. Angelina Jolie was originally attached but dropped out for unknown reasons, although Gatecrasher states she left “when she learned she’d have to share screen time with a leading man.” Not sure why that would have been a problem necessarily as Jolie is currently filming The Tourist alongside Johnny Depp and has shared the screen previously with several leading men. So we’ll call bull on that one. Which probably means the entire story is bull. But damnit, it was still worth reporting for the headline alone.

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The Hobbit

As I’m sure we all know by now, fan favorite director Guillermo del Toro has vacated the position as director of The Hobbit. That leaves the production with a big hole to fill. Which leaves us with plenty of room for idle speculation, guessing and (hopefully) something that seems like a logical path for the future of The Hobbit.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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