Woody Allen

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column that is always topical, often timely and ever ready to rock your world with all the great articles you’d probably find yourself, if you had the time. Lucky for you, we’ve got plenty of time. We begin this evening with one of fourteen new images from Moonrise Kingdom, the upcoming film from Wes Anderson. You’ll know him as the guy who made films such as Rushmore, The Life Aquatic, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. This one comes with just as much star-power, including names like Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and Bob Balaban. The young man above’s name is Jared Gilman. He’s new.

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Los Angeles’ hometown film festival, the aptly-titled Los Angeles Film Festival, returns to downtown La-la Land this summer and, if the festival’s first programming announcement is any indicator, Angelenos are in for a real treat this year. The festival has just announced their Opening Night Film, which is set to be the North American Premiere of Woody Allen‘s To Rome With Love. We’ve got quite a bit of love for the film already – it just popped up on our Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2012 list at number 16 (beating out stuff like G.I. Joe, Battleship, and Step Up Revolution) earlier this week – and Allen has again assembled a great cast for a (hopefully) charming story of love, Italian style. The film stars Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Ellen Page, and will open in theaters on June 22. This year’s festival will again be centered in downtown Los Angeles, with its central hub at the sprawling L.A. LIVE complex. The fest will run from Thursday, June 14 to Sunday, June 24. Passes are currently on sale to past Festival attendees and Film Independent members, and they will be available to the general public on April 22. General admission tickets to individual films go on sale on May 29. Keep your eyes peeled for more on-the-ground Reject coverage of LAFF as we creep ever-closer to downtown’s best summer event.

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Nothing says “summer at the movies” quite like a metric ton of big name blockbusters flooding theaters near you – superheroes on top of superheroes, classic television series brought back from the dead, animated gems about finding yourself – oh my! But with the cinema summer growing ever-larger, the stakes being pushed ever-higher, and enough content to keep audience members in their seats ever-longer, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Which is why all the members of the Voting Body of Film School Rejects gathered together in our secret chambers to vote on just which films have won our Most Anticipated nod. Twenty films emerged from our complicated, decades-old voting process (read: a Google doc) to be crowned winners. Why twenty? Well, there are twenty weeks in the cinematic summer season (if you count May, which we do – April will be included next year if Hollywood keeps this up), and that should give you movie-lovers a reasonable goal to meet for the viewing season. We’ve even managed to pinpoint our most anticipated movie-going weekend of the summer – June 22nd, when four films open in theaters, all of which made our list. But beyond the mathematics that went into picking the summer’s best weekend, there were also some genuine surprises on the list – including big tentpole films missing completely (sorry, Battleship and Dark Shadows), some indies that sneaked in with lots of votes, a battle royale that went down between our number one and number two picks, […]

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Recently, Flavorwire got a kick out of a post from Slacktory where they used that ever-present man behind the curtain called Google to see what our internet age connects with celebrities. Then, we got a kick out of Flavorwire’s answer which involved 25 famous authors and what the search engine had to say. The experiment is simple. Type a name into Google Image Search, and the program automagically suggests more words to narrow down your search. Judging from entries like “white people problems” for J.D. Salinger and “death, oven, daddy” for Sylvia Plath, it seems like Google might be kinder to famous movie directors. Some of the responses fully encapsulate the person’s artistic output while others push toward the fringe, but all are shaped by what we’re searching for. Here’s a few things Google thinks you should add to the names of some of your favorite filmmakers.

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Woody Allen continues his European tour with his next film, To Rome With Love. This time around, the auteur appears to stick with the light fluffiness that made his Midnight in Paris such a delight to behold, but with a much deeper cast of characters to suit the film’s vignette style. The film’s synopsis tells us that it “is comprised of four separate vignettes and tells the story of a number of people in Italy—some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors—and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into.” Players in those various vignettes include Allen himself, Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Robert Benigni, Judy Davis, Alison Pill, and Greta Gerwig. With the film’s first trailer, we get our first glimpse what we can expect from each section – Allen being neurotic (shock); a potential love triangle involving Eisenberg, Gerwig, and Page; a flimsy and flighty Cruz; and Benigni becoming famous for something. I can already guess which vignettes I’ll feel the most amore for – can you?

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The latest stop in writer/director Woody Allen’s tour of Europe has, up until this point, been referred to as Nero Fiddled, which is a clever title referring to the myth that the Roman Emperor Nero played a fiddle while watching the city burn to the ground. Clever though it is, it’s also a little high-brow, and probably would go over the heads of most mainstream audiences. Normally going over the heads of the masses wouldn’t be much of a problem for a New York intellectual like Allen, but following the substantial and slightly surprising success of Midnight in Paris, one would imagine that the studio is looking to bring all those people that made their way out to the theater back for Woody’s next any way that they can. Perhaps to that end, the movie has been retitled, right before its marketing campaign looks to begin. From now on the project that stars names like Ellen Page, Penélope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, and Woody himself will known as To Rome With Love, a title that once again mentions the city in which it is set by name, and that feels right at home sitting next to Midnight in Paris.

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Over Under - Large

Woody Allen is a legendary filmmaker, to be certain. But he’s also a filmmaker who is perceived to have had a golden age, a period where the movies he made were head and shoulders above the things that he makes now. That’s not such a great place for an artist to be, but Woody managed to shut up a lot of his critics with Midnight in Paris. It’s not only one of Allen’s most financially successful films, it’s also one of his most critically acclaimed, and it’s been held up as proof that we might be in the midst of a Woody comeback. Is it really worthy of all the hype though? Lots of people love this movie—like me—but it’s also a film that has glaring flaws. What is it about Midnight in Paris that makes our Internet culture, that is so quick to tear everything down with snark, give it such an easy pass? Back in 1989 Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was also a huge success. It made so much money that it spawned not only a sequel, but also an animated series, video games, and who knows how many other kinds of merchandise that time forgot. Yet, despite this success, it’s not a film that many people take seriously. There’s a love for it still, but one that seems more ironic than anything else. Why is that so, when there’s so much respect for the other big genre hits of the 80s? Why doesn’t this film get […]

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John Turturro’s new effort as a writer and director, Fading Gigolo, sounds like a pretty fantastic story, and already it’s attracting a pretty fantastic cast. First, the story: Fading Gigolo tells the tale of two cash-strapped friends who decide to get into the prostitution business, one as a gigolo and the other as a pimp, which quickly attracts the suspicions of the community living around them; because they happen to be Hasidic Jews. Oh, also they take on the names Virgil and Bongo. Now, the cast: Turturro plans on playing the gigolo himself, and in the role of the pimp will be none other than Woody Allen, the famed director who hasn’t acted in somebody else’s work (in Picking up the Pieces) for twelve years now. This project must look pretty interesting on the page to get a guy who’s busy making a movie a year to take time out of his schedule and do some acting.

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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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In a couple of hours, we’ll start live-blogging our little hearts out as Neil pretends to know what “chiffon” is, and after the red carpet, we’ll sink into that fifth drink while reveling in the sheer majesty of the 2012 Academy Awards. Stifling cynicism can take a taxi outta town for a while, because no matter what, if you want to see it, there’s still something magical about this night. Part of that magic is being completely wrong. We’re confident now, but when the winners are announced, there’s always the tiny possibility of a big surprise. So who did you put down in your office pool to take home gold tonight? Our team spent all week tossing out their best analyses, and it all comes down to this. Here’s who we picked. Would you take us up on these bets?

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Director

Film directors are responsible for every single aspect of their movie. That doesn’t mean they actually do each and every task on set, but it’s their job (and prerogative) to get each element just right. It’s a lot of responsibility, and judging by the nominees for this year’s Best Director, it’s clearly too much for a woman to handle. Sorry, Kelly Reichardt, Lynn Ramsay, and Sarah Polley…maybe you can bake something nice for the boys who were nominated? For the record, the director who should walk away with the Oscar this year isn’t even nominated. Nicolas Winding Refn deserved (at least) a nomination for Drive as he was able to craft something of raw beauty from some seemingly disparate parts. The film’s look and style, its exquisitely jarring shifts from calm to explosive, and its unexpectedly affecting score and soundtrack all make for a unique cinematic experience. The nominees are listed below with my prediction for the winner in red…

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Original Screenplay

Hey, who says there are no original ideas in Hollywood? Well, us actually, whenever we have to write about the next 80s-era television show getting a big screen reboot that no one on God’s green earth could possibly want to flash in front of their eyeballs on a giant cinema screen. But this year, there were at least five films that sprung from original ideas that were solid enough to get the ol’ Best Original Screenplay nod. Really, at least five. There’s five in this category! There could be more, but I’m too busy thinking about the Valley Girl reboot to come up with any of them right now. Giggles and bad jokes aside, this year’s Oscar race for Best Original Screenplay is actually pretty, well, original. We’ve got an awards season frontrunner, a raunchy lady-centric comedy (how often do you hear “raunchy” when it comes to the Academy Awards? Not often, that’s how often), a Sundance flick about the financial crisis, a foreign film getting all sorts of (well-deserved) praise, and the latest from one of the Academy’s most nominated filmmakers. This category is truly one hell of mixed bag. What’s perhaps most interesting about this race is that it four of its nominations belong to newcomers to the Oscars, while its fifth nominee is Woody Allen, who has received more nominees in this category (15) than any other screenwriter in the history of the awards. But does that little bit of trivia spell “winner”? Read on for 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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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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Midnight in Paris is still out there making money and finding new audiences, so it’s less than surprising that Sony Pictures Classics has already picked up Woody Allen‘s follow-up film, Nero Fiddled, which was produced last year. According to Cinema Blend, the movie is described by Allen as a broad comedy with several overlapping stories. It stars Jesse “Woody Allen” Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Greta Gerwig, Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni and Judy Davis. Woody Allen is also playing a role, but he lamented earlier in the year about not being able to play the romantic lead anymore. Which is ridiculous. Who wouldn’t want to see a hunky 76-year-old man embroil himself in the heart and loins of a gorgeous counterpart? Exactly. As long as it takes place in Rome, it’ll be romantic. I’m pretty sure that’s even where we get the word. So if you were at all worried that you’d go a year without hearing from the workhorse of filmmaking, fear not! More Allen is on the way. Just try not to loudly pontificate about the meaning of his work while waiting in line at the cinema.  

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Editor’s Note: With Ashe taking a much needed vacation, we turn to the insightful talent of writer Maxwell Yezpitelok for this week’s list. Go read more of his work. But read this first. And then go check that stuff out. Woody Allen has to have one of the greatest casting directors in show business, if we overlook the fact that for some reason they keep casting short middle-aged Jewish guys opposite women like Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson and Charlize Theron. But seriously, look at all the big name stars that keep showing up in his movies, sometimes for the whole movie and sometimes for just a few seconds. In honor of that genius scene in Midnight in Paris where Adrien Brody completely kills it as Dali (only to never again), here are the greatest actor cameos in Allen’s forty-something films:

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He achieved critical acclaim by shooting in England for Match Point. He won people’s hearts by shooting in Spain for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. And he achieved his greatest financial success ever by filming in France for Midnight in Paris. For a filmmaker who people have often said has his best days behind him, Woody Allen has been doing pretty well for himself by taking his, some would say uniquely New York, perspective overseas. Not one to mess up a bad thing, Allen is currently shooting another ensemble comedy, this time in Italy, which will be called The Bop Decameron. And before he’s even finished with that project, there are reports that he’s already negotiating where to take his film crew next. According to THR, Allen is currently in negotiations with Bavaria Studios in Munich, Germany to set his next project in their city. Initially I would have thought that filming a movie in Munich was just a ploy for Allen to get paid to hang out during Oktoberfest, but apparently he is looking to start filming on this new film next summer rather than next fall. There is not yet any word on a title or plot summary, but at this early stage those sorts of things might not even exist. With the speed that Allen bangs these things out, it could be that the only thing he knows he wants to do next is go to Germany, story to follow. Whatever his recent process has been, I hope he […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It comes and goes as it pleases, dispensing movie news and interesting links for your reading, viewing and listening pleasure. Be honored that it has chosen you to be in its presence. Word. We begin tonight with a bit of a caption contest — because it’s been a boring end to a boring week and this is my column so I’ll do what I want. The above photo is one of a new batch from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, a behind the scenes pic of Bella (Kristen Stewart, who seems very scantily clad in all photos, if you’re into that sort of thing), Edward (Robert Pattinson, sans sparkle) and director Bill Condon. Dear reader, what do you suppose Mr. Condon is saying to the happy couple?

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New York City is covered in romantic qualities. Be them personal experiences romping through the city in the middle of the night with a cute boy you met on the elevator, absorbing yourself in a different culture around every corner, or because you just straight up watch too many films without having ever visited one of the five boroughs. New York is a city of dreams, schemers, and downtrodden, but each person who experiences the island knows the pull and excitement of this crazy-making place. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be films and shows where Manhattan is featured as prominently as any actor or actress on screen. The fantasy of New York is more than just Times Square and Central Park, it’s feeling like you belong there. Film fills that gaping hole in the hearts of those who cannot live in the city, but who want to explore the possibility. You (rightfully so) can’t have sex in the back of a cab, but that’s okay because Sex and the City has you covered. You can also feel like you’re canoodling on a park bench at 1 AM while watching About Last Night. It’s quite possible most people have some sort of big city public sex item on their Fuck-It List, and most of those ideas come from the films we’ve watched.

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Even though Woody Allen’s latest film Midnight in Paris is still doing gangbusters in theaters, it’s time to start talking about his next project. I mean, the guy does one of these things a year, there’s no time to sit back and soak up any success. His next film, The Bop Decameron, sees him continuing his tour of Europe by filming in Rome. Makes sense, seeing as ever since he stopped filming in New York City we’ve already gotten movies from him set in England, Spain, and France. Why wouldn’t Italy be next on the itinerary? The films location isn’t the thing worth talking about though. What’s really newsworthy is that earlier today Allen made a show of announcing the official cast. His first announcement was that he himself would be returning to acting for this one, something we haven’t seen him do for half a decade, since 2006’s Scoop. The rest of the casting news is that The Bop Decameron will star, alphabetically, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Ellen Page. There are just too many actors I love, especially young actors, in that list to even begin dissecting why this is an awesome cast. I’ll just say I’m gushing at the thought of hearing Eisenberg deliver Woody dialogue and leave it at that. In addition to these names, Allen also says that the film will co-star Antonio Albanese, Fabio Armiliata, Alessandra Mastronardi, Ornella Muti, Flavio Parenti, Alison Pill, Riccardo Scamarcio and […]

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