Paul Haggis

Culture Warrior

For the past few weeks, cinephiles, journalists, and critics have been grappling with the notion of what ‘post-9/11 cinema’ is, has been, will be, and/or looks like. What they’ve come up with are a group of wildly different, potentially specious, but ultimately quite fascinating explorations on the relationship between art, commerce, and life – and by ‘life’ I mean, in this case, that rare type of event whose effect takes on an enduringly profound, universally personal, omnipresent ripple. The overwhelming conclusion that most of these observations end with is, rather appropriately and naturally, “I don’t know, but here are some thoughts.” Besides those works of audiovisual media that were directly inspired by, intentionally referenced, or somehow directly related to 9/11, it’s difficult to say exactly what a post-9/11 film is unless one allows for literally every film made afterward to potentially enter such a category. But perhaps we’ve been asking the wrong question.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s excited about James Bond! And Muppets! And Angry Birds! And a bunch of other things that could be classified as movie-related news and notes. Why? Because this is your nightly dose of all that is good and readable in the movie blogosphere. MGM and Sony have brokered a deal in which they will split the cost of the next James Bond film, the Sam Mendes directed 23rd film in the Bond franchise. But wait, there’s more! Included in the deal is a very juicy option for Bond 24, which would be in the works shortly after 23 is released, should all go as planned. The first milestone will come on November 9, 2012, when Bond 23 is due to be released. I say cheers to that.

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Invest his time that is. There’s a famous quote from the cinema classic City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold that I’ve taken into my heart and try to live by. Jack Palance, playing Curly’s twin brother Duke, remarks to Billy Crystal’s character Mitch, “Curly was wrong, there’s two things. Whatever the hell this is… and gold.” What does this have to do with anything? Almost nothing. But Michael Mann is about to push a film called Gold up to the tippy top of his films-to-be-directed list. Gold is being described by The Hollywood Reporter as a modern take on a The Treasure of the Sierra Madre type story about competing gold prospectors chasing down the precious metal. I could always go for a good sweeping adventure story, and the mentioning of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre really gets my motor revving, but I’m very skeptical about this movie for two big reasons. The first is that I haven’t been too wild about the things Michael Mann has done in the past decade. The second is that Mann is developing the film alongside Paul Haggis. While I enjoyed some of the episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger that Haggis wrote, I will never be able to forgive him for Crash. Ever since sitting through that film I make a face like I smelled a fart whenever I see his name. The script was written on spec by Friday Night Lights and The Chicago Code writers/executive producers Patrick Massett and […]

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With this entry, we will have made it an entire week with my new-fangled column, known to you as Movie News After Dark. Congratulations to the seven (or so) of you who have been following along. It’s been a blast. It seems fitting that on a day when I spent more than the necessary amount of time on Twitter bemoaning the fact that most movie blogs don’t care about real movie discussions (they only — I argued — want to republish the top ten lists of filmmakers who saw 11 movies in 2010), that I bring you several news stories that are rather silly. It may be hypocritical in your minds, but what makes it okay is the fact that I really love you, dear readers. And those other sites don’t love you. Trust me, I heard them say it.

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If nothing else, The Next Three Days deserves credit for finding suspense in a story with no bad guys or antagonists for the audience to root against. It’s an uncommon feat in a Hollywood thriller, and along with last week’s Unstoppable may just be part of a mini revolution. Even better, for at least two-thirds of the running time the movie manages to be a tense, engaging, and unpredictable thriller. The strong build-up loses a bit of its edge though in the final third with the introduction of a brand new, out of the blue character who shall henceforth be known as Super Psychic Cop.

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According to those snoops at Variety, Russell Crowe has signed onto a new project with writer/director Paul Haggis called The Next Three Days.

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Peter Morgan, the writer behind Frost/Nixon and several other political dramas, will be joining the team of Purvis and Wade to craft the next installment of 007.

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Which French thriller could I be talking about? And which Crash director? Haggis or Cronenberg? That title isn’t very clear at all!

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First of all I need to preface this post by saying that I don’t believe the Oscars matter in the least. Sure, they’re fun to vote on, discuss, and are (apparently) a great excuse to party on a boat, but, ultimately, whoever takes home the gold at the end of the night only matters to those who actually attended the ceremony.

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Our European correspondent Loukas checks in with an early review of Quantum of Solace from across the pond, and it looks like it’s just as badass as we’d hoped for.

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Say what you will about Tom Cruise, but he and partner Paula Wagner are making all the right moves with their United Artist Studios.

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