Jonathan Demme

meryl streep in a prairie home companion

With VOD numbers still kept a secret by most of Hollywood, it’s tough to tell if Diablo Cody‘s directorial debut, Paradise, was any kind of success when released last fall. But reviews were not good (our own Jack Giroux gave it a ‘C’), and no one was really talking about it, so let’s just assume it was at least a cultural failure if not also financial. Considering neither Young Adult nor Jennifer’s Body were hits, either, the Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter could use a shot of relevance. And that shot seems very likely to come with a report from The Wrap that none other than Meryl Streep is set to speak Cody’s dialogue in a new movie directed by Jonathan Demme titled Ricky and the Flash. Demme himself hasn’t been in the spotlight much in the past five years and could also use this intriguing project. He’s actually been making a bunch of films — primarily docs like Neil Young Journeys and I’m Caroline Parker (and many others even smaller) — but his last major feature was 2008’s Rachel Getting Married. He has worked with Streep in the past, on the arguably unnecessary Manchurian Candidate remake and, as producer, Spike Jonze’s Adaptation. Also, he’s proven himself to be something of a music film master, having directed one of the best concert docs of all time in Stop Making Sense and been involved with interesting soundtrack-significant efforts like That Thing You Do! (Rachel was a kind of musical, too), so he’s a good […]


Rabe, Pickford, Law, and Fairbanks

We’ve known about the upcoming Mary Pickford biopic for nearly two months, but based on the apparent fire under the tails of the production’s producers, Jennifer DiLea and Julie Pacino, it’s somewhat surprising that it’s taken this long for casting buzz to arrive. Deadline Charlotte reports that the pair have cast Lily Rabe (who starred in the last season of American Horror Story and led the well-received indie Letters From the Big Man and who also happens to be the daughter of Jill Clayburgh and playwright David Rabe) to star as silent film mega-star and Hollywood pioneer Pickford. The pair reportedly picked Rabe because of her skill in live theater, which is convenient, as that’s precisely how Pickford got her start. DeLia said, “Julie and I noticed an intriguing quality in Lily when watching her perform on stage – something that felt so authentic and pitch-perfect. And like Lily, Mary Pickford’s inner-fabric was made up in big part by her experiences with live performance in the theatre…Mary became known for those instincts and those same instincts were what drew us to Lily, knowing how difficult that range is to achieve…Lily didn’t know that we were seriously thinking of her for the part but when we talked about Pickford, her passion for the story was clear.” Forbes also reports that the pair are seeking out Jude Law to play her one-time husband and partner, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., a huge star in his own right. The pair were early Hollywood royalty, and […]


My Dinner With Andre

Before Community riffed on it, My Dinner With Andre was the kind of thing you chatted about over Merlot while chuckling and pretending to know what you were talking about. After Community, that’s still the case, but you can reference Community referencing it and still seem cool. The truth is, Wallace Shawn and André Gregory‘s contemplative dinner conversation about the nature of art is fascinating because it features two men who know way more than they should talking about the broad-reaching subject of the humanities. Even as high a pedestal as they should be on, they manage to come off casually. Why there hasn’t been a podcast featuring the two yet is baffling, but according to The New York Times, they’re both set to work together again, and they’ll be doing it with directing icon Jonathan Demme. After Dinner, they did Vanya on 42nd Street, so naturally for desert they’ll be twisting up Henrik Ibsen‘s play “Master Builder” for a movie called Wally and André Shoot Ibsen. There’s nothing like tackling the depressingly Norwegian father of prose drama to create a stir, and doing it with the genius behind Caged Heat and Silence of the Lambs is even better. No cynicism, no irony, everything about this project sounds ridiculously amazing. Plus, the director claims “it’s like a Hitchcock movie with a vein of humor running through it.” Get. Ready.



Roger Corman’s career in show business spans nearly 60 years, so audiences may initially wonder what might be left to say in a documentary about the exploitation master. Yet Alex Stapleton’s Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel offers a comprehensive, enlightening portrait of this most influential filmmaker-mogul. The doc offers a well-rounded treatise on Corman’s indelible influence, benefiting from a strong cast of talking head contributors and the ease with which Stapleton parallels his subject’s career with larger historical currents within the industry. The movie employs a straightforward linear approach in charting Corman’s filmmaking life, which began when the Stanford engineering grad found work in 20th Century Fox’s mailroom, advanced to the position of story reader, and eventually quit to begin making pictures himself during the ’50s. It charts the highlights of Corman’s various periods, including the American International Pictures and New World Pictures eras, and offers a wealth of testimony from Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, and others of the premier cinematic talents who got their starts with the B-movie maestro.



Stephen King has been a pop culture icon for several decades now, but it’s starting to look like in 2011 he’s heating up hotter than ever. Even though the world of Stephen King film adaptations took a bit of a hit when Ron Howard’s proposed Dark Tower movies got nixed, just recently it was announced that the Harry Potter super-team of David Yates and Steve Kloves are going to be doing a series of films adapting King’s post apocalyptic tale The Stand. And now comes the news that The Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme is making a deal to adapt a King novel that hasn’t even been published yet.



Last week the programmers for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival introduced the main course of this year’s festival lineup, fifty-three films from all over the world, big and small, about any number of subjects. The list was so impressive I ran out and booked a hotel room. So, now that I’m financially locked in to heading up to the city of David Cronenberg and that rapper who called himself SNOW, I’ll be following future announcements by the festival pretty closely. Today brought a big one. Adding to their initial lineup of films, TIFF has added a bunch of documentary works by fairly large documentary filmmakers and a bunch of genre works from fairly deranged genre filmmakers. First let’s take a look at some of the docs. Thom Powers is the lead programmer for documentaries, and about this year’s lineup he said, “I’m thrilled at the large number of veteran filmmakers who have brought us new works this year. The line-up contains a wide range of memorable characters – crusaders, convicts, artists, athletes, nude dancers, comic book fans, dog lovers and more. Not to mention the epic 15-hour Story of Film. These documentaries will have audiences discussing and debating for months to come.” I don’t think I’ll have time for that fifteen hour one, I’ve only got five days in the city, but the one about nude dancers is definitely on my docket.


Silence of the Lambs

For 36 days straight, we’ll be exploring the famous 36 Dramatic Situations by examining a film that exemplifies each one. From family killing family to prisoners in need of asylum, we brush off the 19th century list in order to remember that it’s still incredibly relevant today. Whether you’re seeking a degree in Literature, love movies, or just love seeing things explode, our feature should have something for everyone. If it doesn’t, please don’t make us put the lotion on our skin. Part 21 of the 36-part series takes a look at “Pursuit” with suspense icon Silence of the Lambs.



Anne Hathaway has hacked off her hair. Will this help her win an Oscar nomination for her role as a dysfunctional sibling in a dysfunctional family in Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married ?

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published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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