Nick Cave

Moscow on the Hudson

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford

The idea of robbing banks and trains should conjure up images of brazen cowboys and the spaghetti western music of Ennio Morricone, but instead, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford depicts a stark world left in the wake of these famed outlaws, full of melancholy and restlessness. Jesse James has a very distinctive look and feel thanks to the cinematography, the acting from the film’s two leads and the costumes — all of which give Jesse James an almost mournful tone. There’s one other element that solidifies that dirge-evoking spirit. The film may have come out six years ago, but with a revival screening poised to take place this weekend, it felt time to revisit Nick Cave and Warren Ellis‘ score, a work which embraces the mystery and magic that is the story of Jesse James as it is told through the unreliable perspective of its narrator Bob Ford (Casey Affleck).

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John Hillcoat and Tom Hardy

Director John Hillcoat isn’t entirely known for crowd-pleasing studio fare. After putting The Road and The Proposition under his belt, Hillcoat showed he’s the type of filmmaker never to shy away from bleakness. One would think that’s what made Lawless such a difficult project to get off the ground, but surprisingly, Hillcoat has made a real summer movie. However, even when striving for some of those cinematic thrills, the acclaimed director never pulls his punches. One major difference between Lawless and his previous films is the fact Hillcoat shot the picture digitally. Although he sounded quite sensitive about going that route, Hillcoat approached the film with a futurist point of view. Still, the director states there’s nothing more magical than celluloid, even after dealing with advantages and disadvantages of digital. Here’s what Lawless director John Hillcoat had to say about his attraction to brutal violence, the film’s sociopathic villain, and his experience with the ARRIRAW:

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The twelve-year run of prohibition in the United States was a period that punctuated social imparity, religious activism, and was a launchpad for some of the biggest names in organized crime. Basically, it’s a mixed bag of deeply interesting subject matter that is spot-on perfect for the big screen. Director John Hillcoat‘s Lawless is a violent slice of that era’s dying days. Distilled by screenwriter Nick Cave from the pages of Matt Bondurant‘s 2008 historical novel, “The Wettest County in the World,” Lawless tells the story of the Bondurant brothers, a family of moonshiners in the Blue Ridge Foothills of Franklin County, Virginia. In the midst of the Great Depression, the citizenry of Franklin County carved a living out of  making moonshine, and none are more successful than the brothers Bondurant, who run a healthy bootlegging racket.

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The Proposition

You see, Ray Winstone plays Captain Stanley – and delivers an amazing monologue – in The Proposition, but he’s also one of the dwarfs in this Friday’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Yes, that is a stretch, and it’s not the real reason we decided to cover The Proposition in this week’s Commentary Commentary. It’s the John Hillcoat connection. It’s the fact that the director’s latest, Lawless, played Cannes last week and guess who saw it. We can all torch Simon out of jealousy later. There’s a commentary to get to first. The Proposition, a Western set against the Australian backdrop and a very realistic depiction of life at that time, was Hillcoat’s first feature film collaboration with Nick Cave, singer, songwriter, screenwriter, rustic harbinger of death. Friends call him Nicky. The film is every bit as somber and depressing as you would expect from the head of the Bad Seeds. The Proposition is so melancholic, you half expect Lars Von Trier to throw a planet in its general direction. You also can’t wait to see what went on with the making of this movie. And that’s where we come in. So sit back, crack open a Foster’s – which no decent Australian would be caught dead drinking. – and have a gander at all the wonderfully tenebrous and fly-ridden items we learned from listening to Hillcoat and Cave talk about The Proposition.

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In Lawless, John Hillcoat has almost crafted the perfect modern Western, infusing more explicitly the gangster genre elements that always occur in the genre, but never quite so explicitly. The film follows the Bondurant brothers – Jack (Shia Labeouf), Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) – rise as the most famous bootleggers in sun-dried Prohibition-era Virginia, and the government’s attempts to stop them. The government’s chief agent is Guy Pearce‘s Charlie Rakes, a flamboyant looking, but profoundly villainous Special Deputy, let off his leash when the Bondurants, lead by Hardy’s powerhouse Forrest refuse to pay a monthly toll on their illegal activities. While it may sound like an all guns-blazing, epic Prohibition-era Western, the story, adapted well from Matt Bondurant‘s historical novel by Nick Cave (who also once again offers a superlative score) focuses on human stories to add poignancy and depth to the more explosive sequences.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? With its noir sensibilities, gorgeous animation and killer cool concept, this short film from Eddie White and Ari Gibson is like taking a long drag off a cigarette that’s been kept in the freezer. It toys around with double meanings as if words were its catnip, and Nick Cave offers his world-weary voice as narrator, tripping his tongue over some rich texts and tricky art work. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films. Thanks to Rosie H. for sharing this with us.

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Typically, release date information isn’t the most important of news, but when it comes to John Hillcoat’s latest project, a star-packed adaptation of a book ripe for a cinematic telling, all bets are off. Hillcoat lensed The Wettest County in the World, from Matt Bondurant’s fact-based tale of his very own grandfather and two of his granduncles and their moonshine-running exploits in Prohibition-era Virginia, earlier this spring, and rumors once held that we’d see it this December, but that’s just not the case. The Weinstein Company picked the film up back during this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but they won’t have the time or inclination to get it into theaters until April 20, 2012. The film is crammed with a murderer’s row of talent, from the firmly established (Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce) to the up-and-coming (Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, Dane DeHaan, Mia Wasikowska) to the hot properties looking to expand their resumes (Shia LaBeouf , Tom Hardy). Hardy, Clarke, and LaBeouf star as the three bootlegging Bondurant brothers, who attempt to hold their family business together through threats that include the law, other bootleggers, and love. While the book itself is a bit dry, the tale of the Bondurants is inherently cinematic, and under Hillcoat’s watch (and with a script from his The Proposition scribe, the ever-talented Nick Cave), Wettest County should prove to be an accomplished and thrilling slice of Americana. [BoxOfficeMojo, The Playlist]

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John Hillcoat, director of The Proposition and The Road, has managed to once again assemble an awesome ensemble for his next project Wettest County in the World.  The film will be an adaptation of a Matt Bondurant novel of the same name (except for an added “The” at the front, I guess Hillcoat got tired of making “The” movies) that is about a family of Virginia-born brothers who take to distributing booze during prohibition. Originally Hillcoat had tapped Shia LaBeouf and Ryan Gosling to play two of the three brothers in a cast that was to also include Paul Dano and Amy Adams, but that all fell apart. Hearts were broken and what looked to be a pretty awesome film project was put into question. Things have looked up since then, however. LaBeouf is still on the project and instead of a Ryan Gosling it was announced that we would be getting Tom Hardy. That’s a pretty strong trade. And now The Hollywood Reporter has Hollywood reported that Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, and Mia Wasikowska will join LaBeouf and Hardy for the ride. Mind blown. Clarke will be the one filling out the trio of brothers, while Pearce plays the hardass deputy trying to take them down, Oldman plays a gangster who employs them, and Wasikowska plays LaBeouf’s love interest. The movie will be made from a script by Nick Cave and it’s set to begin shooting on February 28th. That’s a whole lot of name-dropping for one […]

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Last week, we reported the strange rumor that Mark Wahlberg had been offered the lead role in the reboot/remake/re-prequel of The Crow. It was an odd choice considering the legacy of the film, but during an interview with Mania (via Aint It Cool), director Stephen Norrington claimed that he supported the offer, “if they take a gritty blue-collar approach.” Unfortunately, he means “they” because just moments before in the conversation, he revealed that he wouldn’t be involved. An unnamed star was attached to the project who dictated a re-write on the Norrington/Nick Cave script, and since Norrington signed on as a writer/director (with all the power that comes with), he exited the project (seemingly without much bombast). So the question now becomes: who will direct this thing after a year and a half of Norrington development?

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It’s a cult classic in the exact meaning of the phrase, so it’ll probably upset more than a few diehards to know that Mark Wahlberg has been offered the lead role in the new film baring the Crow pedigree. Even though I’m not obsessed with the original, the idea of Goth Wahlberg doesn’t sound all that appealing. Isn’t pro wrestler Sting still around somewhere? He owes the franchise his livelihood. Nick Cave is busy with script duty (although his mustache could probably play the role all on its own), and Stephen Norrington is set to direct so it’s a toss up between the popcorn brilliance of Blade and the giant mess of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Either way, Wahlberg just isn’t right for this role. The Crow isn’t even from Boston. [Bloody D]

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