The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Eli Wallach Transformation

The excellent Eli Wallach, whose career spanned over sixty years, passed away this week at the age of 98, and I’m consumed with thoughts of transformation. Of course, he lived and worked for so long that life was a transformation in and of itself. The man from The Godfather Part III is the same man who hilariously shuffled about with Cloris Leachman in New York, I Love You. But he was also a man that melted into his roles. It’s an amazing, yet eternally undervalued talent. We gush for the names who always, and will forever look like themselves – the Robert Redfords and George Clooneys — but the real magic comes from the character actors whose roles trump image, those who disappear, those who leave little to no taste of the real person behind the performance. Some need full masks and CGI to transform, but others need just a hint of makeup or sometimes (shockingly) nothing at all as they’re enveloped by their characters. Elite actors like Wallach allow us to simply enjoy the character and pretend, briefly, that they’re real.

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encinitas la paloma

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, we have an entry from our new newswriter Samantha Wilson. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. La Paloma Theatre Location: 471 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA Opened: February 11, 1928 No. of screens: 1 Current first-run titles: The charm of La Paloma comes in the fact that you never quite know what’s going to be featured in a given week at the theater. With one screen available, there’s a semblance of a schedule drawn up: there’s always a somewhat obscure first-run showing (currently Mud), and a big name usually sneaks its way in – right now it’s The Lone Ranger.

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IMG_0017.CR2

There was a major opportunity for Terrence Howard to blow up some scenery and do some violent mustache twirling in Dead Man Down. Mind you, Howard does shout, “I got something for your ass!” when a mansion becomes an overpriced shooting gallery in the film, but that’s as far as the actor goes when it comes to getting his hands silly. It makes sense, considering playing pure evil doesn’t seem like a role Howard would ever want to try out. Speaking with the Academy Award nominated actor, he sees his characters, even a villain like Alphonse, through a philosophical light, noting that “the past, the present, and the future” are happening right now, as he discussed using pieces of himself for a character. Despite the fact Howard was minutes away from boarding a flight, he was kind enough to make time discussing his relationship with his characters, how he proved Juilliard wrong, and more about his newest movie:

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dragon tat

The Girl Who Played With Fire hasn’t exactly been a fast-tracked project over at Sony. Since the 2011 release of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, things have been slow on the sequel front. Screenwriter Steve Zaillian has a ready-to-go script, but Sony hasn’t been keen on sinking another $90m into the project. That was the cost of the first movie, and while it did make over $230m worldwide, it wasn’t the major hit everyone was hoping for. Now Sony has another reason – or possibly an excuse – to stall. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Daniel Craig ‘s asking price for the sequel is too high for their taste. They didn’t specify how much Craig wants, but coming off the billion dollar success of Skyfall, it’s logical to guess he wants a good chunk of change. Billion dollar box office aside, why would Sony give in? Craig isn’t exactly a box office star, he’s James Bond. Looking over his recent filmography, Dream House, Cowboys & Aliens, The Golden Compass, Defiance, and The Invasion, none of those films proved Craig’s presence equal success when he’s not playing an iconic spy.

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Jurassic Park Mosquito

Movie trailers are one of the few things in the industry that you really can’t improve upon with technology. It’s just editing – that’s it. Nothing else can make a trailer better besides skill. This is also why it seems like they generally get better every year (not always the case though). It’s difficult to nail down exactly what makes a teaser trailer effective, which is why we’re going to focus simply on intensity. It’s the best part, especially when a film is already anticipated from the start due to being an adaptation or a sequel. So here we go – fifteen movie teasers that have your heart pounding before the feature presentation even begins.

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Perfectionist. Demanding. Hard to work with. David Fincher is a man who hates his own brand but is secure in his own reputation. Of course, it’s a little bit easy when that reputation includes stunning movies and a mind that can operate at an auteur speed in the high-occupancy Hollywood studio lane. He’s a (mostly) accessibly genius, which is rare and which means that we as fans and filmmakers can learn a lot from him. Fortunately, he’s as free with his advice as he is with his nightmarish visions. Here’s a bit of free film school from a living legend.

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This Week in DVD

Hey kids, it’s This Week In DVD time again! There’s a whopping six releases worth buying this week, and four of them are foreign language flicks. Make of that what you will. Look below for my recommendations on Gainsbourg, The Sitter, Hop, The Muppets, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and… Clown Hunt? As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Battle Royale It’s the near future, and Japan has grown so tired of their violently out of control youth that they’ve organized an annual event featuring a randomly chosen class forced to fight to the death on a distant island. This release has been a long time coming. The movie is over ten years old, but while it’s utterly fantastic this is the first US release for reasons of misguided political correctness. It’s wonderfully violent and bloody film that also happens to have some interesting things to say about society and the cycle of violence… but you can ignore all that if you choose and just focus on the stylishly violent encounters between kids, cliques and even friends. Anchor Bay has released the film in two versions. The single disc only includes the director’s cut, which adds some interesting character bits but is slightly inferior to the theatrical. The one listed to the right though is their beautiful four-disc set that includes the theatrical and director’s cuts plus the mediocre sequel plus multiple extras.

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Javier Bardem in Skyfall

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that usually has more to say. But it’s a little hung over from SXSW and a little out of practice, as it took most of last week off. That said, it’s keepin’ it weird. We begin this evening with a first look at Javier Bardem as a Bond villain. He’s looking pretty skeevy. Also sinister, very sinister.

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Boiling Point

The 84th Academy Awards have come and gone: let the bitching begin! As someone who is more of a genre fan than anything, I’ve never really cared too much about the Oscars, but that sure as hell doesn’t prevent me from complaining about them. Granted, over the years, some great films have won. I’m a big fan of Unforgiven and I dug Shakespeare In Love. I just think far too many good films are ignored in favor of “Oscar movies.” I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with any of the films nominated this year, but there were a few categories were I feel like the little golden man statue when to the wrong film. Luckily, the internet exists and I can complain about it!

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Editor’s Note: This article will be updated in real time as the winners come in during the Academy Awards broadcast. Please join us for our Live-Blog tonight (because we ask nicely), and while you wait for the winners, check out our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. It’s finally here! The time of year where I can write a paragraph that no one will read because they’ve already scrolled down to see who’s won. But even though this won’t be seen by humans, here’s a personal reminder that this night may be about politics and back-slapping, but it’s also about the splendor of cinema. It’s about the magic of movies. The genius of thousands of images all strung together with blood, sweat and tears to create characters and a journey through the heart of a story. There are some great stories on display tonight. That’s what matters second most. What matters most, of course, is crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you and hearing the lamentation of their women. Let’s get to the winning, right? And the Oscar goes to…

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Actress

In recent years, the Best Actress Oscar has been a far more compelling race than the Best Actor Oscar. Where Best Actor winners have been those whose time has come (like Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart or Colin Firth in The King’s Speech), the Best Actress Oscar has been a tighter and less predictable race. The roles that have won Best Actress have been increasingly edgy over the past decade or so, as well as honoring relatively younger actresses (including Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, and Hilary Swank). This year offers an interesting mix of candidates who cover a range of ages and experiences. The actresses in Hollywood should be proud that their top roles are about such challenging subjects as sexual identity and female empowerment. This is a more radical turn from the Best Actor field, which has roles dealing with relationship drama, sports and spying. To quote an old cigarette campaign for Virginia Slims, “You’ve come a long way, baby!” It’s been a long way from the early days of Hollywood where more traditional damsel roles were far more prominent. The meatier roles and blockbuster heroes continue to go to male actors, but the real depth of character and challenging subject matter has been making its way to the women of Hollywood, if in a smaller degree at least a more noticeable degree. Read on for the nominations and my predicted winner in red…

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Here we are, once again, talking about Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming thriller about depression and medication, Side Effects. The last time we left our players in this ongoing drama Annapurna Pictures had pulled their funding from the film, reportedly over a kerfuffle about casting. You see, rumor had it that there was some uneasy feelings about Blake Lively playing the lead role in this film, that of a depressed woman who battles addiction and is in the middle of a love triangle involving both her husband and her doctor. Further rumors indicated that there were a whole short-list of actresses that Soderbergh and his people were looking at to replace Lively, and hopefully restore faith in the project. Well, it looks like at least most of those rumors were true. Deadline Bedford is reporting that Lively has been shuffled off the film and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara will now be taking her place as the lead. Seeing as Mara just turned a lot of heads playing a dark, troubled woman and Lively hasn’t ever turned too many heads doing anything, this is probably good news for the movie overall.

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Nick Fury

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that frankly doesn’t have much to say this evening. So it’s all good stuff. Quality over Quantity and whatnot. We begin tonight with a new image from The Avengers, as published by Marvel.com in a new batch of images from the highly anticipated film. In this one, Nick Fury, as played by Samuel L. Jackson, has some gnarly eye scarring going on. As if that guy needed to look more like a badass.

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Reel Sex

People were up in arms Tuesday after the announcement of nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. So many seem to forget that every year they are disappointed with the nominees and every year there is some film or performer who was left off or included on the prestigious list. I may have spent the final weeks of 2011 lamenting my utter ennui with last year’s films, but I never in a million years expected some of the Oscar outcomes. No Supporting Actor nomination for Albert Brooks, whose performance in Drive unnerved audiences to the core? Or the blatant disregard for solid documentary filmmaking in The Interrupters, Buck, or Project Nim, three entries into filmmaking that will forever impact the way we view the world around us? No, the Academy seemed to forget the impressive and daring offerings in favor of an adorable dog in a silent film. What is this, 1920? Last I checked The Jazz Singer pushed us into the land of the talkies. I could spend all day gnawing my tongue over which films shouldn’t have been included in this year’s awards recognition, but just like arguing the virtues and evils of the MPAA, our time is better used talking about some of the sexy pieces of work that the Academy felt were too provocative to include (for reasons I have completely made up in my mind. Hey, they have their prerogative, I have mine.). Going along with the Academy’s new voodoo math rules of deciding the […]

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It’s been a year filled with silent screen stars seeking redemption, the 1920s coming alive in Paris, a young boy searching for the first great director, sex addicts in New York City, horses going to war, maids of dishonor, and skulls getting crushed in elevators. Now it’s time to celebrate all of those things and more with the 84th annual Academy Awards. They’ve come a long way since the Hotel Roosevelt in 1929 (although sex addicts have almost always been a fixture). Get to ready to smile, ball your fists with snubbed rage, or be generally unsurprised. Here they are. The 2012 Oscar nominees:

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The Walking Dead

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly hand-in-hand stroll down Newsworthy Lane, with a stop at the Noteworthy Café for a bite to eat. Then we’ll head back to my place and I’ll show you my signature move, the Well-Researched Scoop (I have two sources that will confirm its quality on the record). What do you say, baby? We begin this evening with part of a new midseason poster for The Walking Dead. Which brings to mind the question of the hour: Is anyone still exciting about this show? Sure, it has the occasional zombie and it was nice to see Glen “make a friend,” but beyond that, it’s become tired, has it not?

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Bond 50

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that, tonight, is focused on a cornacopia of new Blu-ray release information. From James Bond to Jake Gittes, it’s going to be a beautiful year of high definition goodness. There is also non-Blu-ray news, for those who like variety. We begin tonight with a look at the box for Bond 50, the upcoming release of the Golden Anniversary Blu-ray edition of all 22 James Bond films on Blu-ray for the first time as one complete offering. MGM and Fox laid out plans at CES today, which included making it available for pre-order right now. Put simply, it’s beautiful. They even delivered a trailer, which I’ve included after the jump.

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Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The folks at the SoundWorks Collection have published yet another one of their excellent exposés on the audible world of Hollywood’s finest products. They’ve long been a bastion of quality exploration into the behind the scenes world of cinema magic. They also talk to some pretty talented people. In this case, they talk The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with the likes of Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Sound Re-recording Mixer Michael Semanick, and Re-recording Mixer, Sound Designer, and Supervising Sound Editor Ren Klyce. These are the folks who have brought a world of sound to the cold, death-filled landscape to David Fincher’s re-adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s popular novel. Because for every dark, broody story about violence against cats and pale women, there must be an industrial soundtrack.

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The Writers Guild of America has released the nominees for their Writer’s Guild Awards today, and while there’s certainly some room for quibbling as far as their choices go, the screenplays they’ve nominated in their film categories are at least a diverse array of projects. There’s something here for everyone. I balked at these choices a bit on first glance, they’d left off many of my favorite films of the year. But after thinking about what was missing for a few seconds I started to realize that a lot of the films I really loved over the course of 2011 relied more on mood and photography than they did their screenplays. In my mind, there was no real superstar script this year, like Inception and The Social Network last year. I loved things like Drive and Shame, but did their greatness really lie in their screenplays? Still, I can think of a handful of things that I would have liked to have seen included that weren’t. As far as original screenplays go, I think a film like Warrior was a master of structure, and is more deserving than something like Bridesmaids, which was a fairly generic comedy plot and which probably relied largely on improvisation for its humor. And I really miss a nomination for something like The Skin I Live In when it comes to the adapted screenplay section; especially when they’ve nominated a film like The Help, which cannot name writing as one of its strengths. Check out […]

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Sony isn’t slowing down on its adaptations of Steig Larsson‘s best-selling novels, so according to Entertainment Weekly, we’ll get a healthy dose of Lisbeth Salander and The Girl Who Played With Fire soon. Undoubtedly, unless the second one struggles worse, we’ll have The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest soon after that. Apparently there was some question as to the plan when The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo didn’t perform at insanely high levels. So far, the $90m-budget film has scored $72m worldwide, which isn’t all that great, but it’s still early in its life as a release at two weeks old. It’s not the crazy phenomenon that the Niels Arden Oplev flicks, but lightning so rarely strikes the same franchise twice. No matter what a studio believes. Checking the scoreboard, Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig are both signed up for two more movies, Steve Zaillian is already working on the script for the second film, but David Fincher is not secured. Maybe he’ll come back, maybe they’ll need to find a new director. Either way, the train is leaving the station and headed for a late 2013 release. Would you want to see Fincher stay on?

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