Simon Curtis

The movie industry has always been incapable of stopping itself from taking whatever is popular in current culture and tacking the phrase “: The Movie!” onto it in a lame attempt at making a quick buck. So, with the way social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have taken control of people’s lives over the last decade, and with the success that David Fincher had making The Social Network, a movie about the establishing of Facebook, it was always only a matter of time before we got hit with a deluge of embarrassing movies that had people sitting around on websites as their main conceit. Well, when movie geeks of the future look back on this period of history, many years from now, Thursday, April 12, 2012 might be seen as the day that the dam finally burst in that respect. Not one, but two social media-inspired films have been announced as getting underway in the last few hours. The first report comes from Variety, who says that My Week With Marilyn director Simon Curtis has decided that his second feature film will come from a script called Click to Connect. It was written by Liz Tuccillo, who co-wrote the best-selling book “He’s Just Not That Into You,” and it’s said to be a dating anthology set in the world of online dating sites like match.com and eHarmony. Curtis was reportedly drawn to the material, which is completely different from his period-set biopic debut, because he wants to show his […]

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Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

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As it turns out, I’ve been slightly remiss when it comes to praising this year’s 25th edition of AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. I’ve tossed off comments about how the festival gets better with every passing year, but in the wake of today’s announcement of the festival’s Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings, I’ve realized that I have not gone far enough. AFI FEST has not just gotten better this year, the festival has made a dramatic jump to top-tier status, rolling out titles that play like a cinephile’s Christmas list for 2011. Today’s lineup announcement is essentially a “best-of” list of this year’s festival favorites, including Michel Hazanavicius‘s The Artist, Steve McQueen‘s Shame, Oren Moverman‘s Rampart, Lynne Ramsay‘s We Need to Talk About Kevin, Roman Polanski‘s Carnage, Simon Curtis‘s My Week with Marilyn, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, Gerardo Naranjo’s Miss Bala, and Wim Wenders‘s Pina. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). After the break, check out the full list, including descriptions and showtimes, of the films to be featured as AFI FEST Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings.

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Simon Curtis’s upcoming film starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe doesn’t look like the typical film about historical figures. This isn’t a look at Monroe’s entire life, the tale of her rise and fall. This film is, just like the title says, about one week only, the week when Marilyn Monroe went to England to film The Prince and the Showgirl and ended up getting escorted around by a regular guy named Colin Clark. It doesn’t look like it’s really a story about Monroe or her costar in that film Sir Laurence Olivier, so much as it is a character drama that happens to have real life famous figures in it. That’s an interesting approach and it keeps me from dismissing this as just being yet another movie about Marilyn Monroe. The other thing that keeps me from dismissing My Week With Marilyn is the outstanding cast. It’s got veteran performers that are reliable rocks like Kenneth Branagh, Julia Ormond, and Judi Dench. It’s got promising young actors like Emma Watson, and Eddie Redmayne (who was the only thing worth watching in Derick Martini’s new film Hick). And it has an actress enjoying the prime of her career, one of the most talented ladies on the planet, Michelle Williams, in the title role.

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We’ve been following the development of British TV vet Simon Curtis’ Marilyn Monroe film My Week With Marilyn for quite some time. First, there was the news that Michelle Williams had replaced Scarlett Johansson as Monroe. Then we got our first look at how Williams looked when dressed up as the sexual icon. And now we have news of where you’ll get your first chance at seeing the film.

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michelle-williams

Production Weekly is reporting this week that Michelle Williams (Wendy and Lucy, Brokeback Mountain) is in talks to play Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn. We find this interesting.

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