In a Better World (2011)

Susanne Bier’s Oscar-winner for best foreign language film is an earnest, well-intended, frequently powerful and finely acted drama that shines in its individual moments, but comes across a little too bluntly in the big picture. The far-reaching story centers on two Danish boys: Elias, a scrawny misfit who suffers daily physical and emotional harassment from (read…)

MGM Golden Age screenwriter Irv Brecher

Who is Irving Brecher? He was the last of a stable of MGM screenwriters from the studio’s heyday in the 1930s and 1940s. At age 25, he was the first screenwriter to receive sole credit on a Marx Brothers film (At the Circus) and he did it again a year later (Go West). He reportedly (read…)

Headlines: 3/30/2011

Penn and Gosling offered parts in WB’s Mickey Cohen flick Gangster Squad (Deadline) Cranston to play baddy in Total Recall do-over I love Bryan Cranston in TV’s Breaking Bad so I hope he makes a crapload of money for this, though none of it is likely to be mine. Not that Paul Verhoeven’s original is (read…)

Headlines: 3/29/11

Steinfeld attached to Sleeping Beauty spec Yeah there’s already a Sleeping Beauty pic in the works called Maleficent, plus a couple of Snow White movies, a Hansel and Gretel flick and a new Oz movie, so what the hell? Let’s have another one. This one, with True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld attached, will be told from (read…)

Trailer: Midnight in Paris

Yahoo with the trailer to Woody Allen’s love letter to the City of Lights: Midnight in Paris. It feels very familiar which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on where you stand on Allen. I’m on board.

Headlines: 3/28/11

Another poster for Terrence Malick’s Cannes-bound Tree of Life (IMP Awards) (3:20 pm) Warner Bros. expands Facebook streaming offerings with Potter and Inception In addition to Christopher Nolan’s box office hit Inception (which joins his The Dark Knight already available), and the first two entries in the Harry Potter franchise, Warner Bros. will be streaming (read…)

LiC Watercooler going on hiatus

After 3 years, I’m retiring the LiC Watercooler column  at least for the time being. In its best days, the column depended almost entirely upon a certain participatory energy from readers and that energy hasn’t been around for a while. I’m not sure if I just haven’t provided the proper inspiration or if movies have (read…)

Trailer: Armadillo

“The first documentary ever chosen to compete in the International Critics’ Week at Cannes (where it won the grand prize), Janus Metz’s ARMADILLO follows a platoon of Danish soldiers on a six-month tour of Afghanistan in 2009. An intimate, visually stunning account of both the horror and growing cynicism of modern warfare, the film premiered (read…)

Headlines: 3/25/11

Updated throughout the day… Kunis joins Franco in Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful Mila Kunis, who seems well on her way to leaving sitcom fame behind her in favor of movie stardom, has signed on for the Disney prequel Oz the Great and Powerful. She’ll play Theodora who starts out as a good witch (read…)

Weekend Forecast

Catherine Deneuve in Potiche, LiC’s Pick of the Week There are only a couple of new wide releases this week, but there are plenty of limited release options. Potiche is the best new bet in NY and LA while Win Win (**** 1/2), Jane Eyre (****) and Certified Copy (**** 1/2) are all getting modest (read…)

Potiche (2011)

François Ozon’s Potiche feels for all the world like it’s adapted from a 1970s European stage farce. And it is. And it turns out that’s a good thing. Broad, silly and colorful but with a feminist edge that’s still sharp enough to cut, it’s a light (but not slight) romp of a time capsule almost (read…)

Headlines: 3/24/11

Updated throughout the day… Update: Rock of Ages adds Paul Giamatti Am I going to have to start paying attention to this thing now? (Deadline) (4:00 pm) Emma Roberts attached to Adult World Zack Galifianakis is also rumored for the indie coming-of-age drama from Ellie Parker director Scott Coffey. (The Playlist) (1:30 pm) Schwartzman added (read…)

Headlines: 3/23/11

Another red band trailer for Your Highness If you like your comedy in a key of stupid, this trailer might melt your butter. I like Portman and Franco so I want it to be great, stupid fun, but… I don’t know. (MSN) (11:00 am) Auteuil to adapt Pagnol’s Fanny Trilogy Marcel Pagnol’s 1930s Fanny Trilogy (Marius, (read…)

Elizabeth Taylor, 1932 – 2011

As you know by now, Elizabeth Taylor died overnight of congestive heart failure. She was 79. Before I was obsessed about movies, I sort of became dimly aware of Liz first as an unkind punchline to some Joan Rivers jokes. She’d mostly been reduced to the small screen – I can remember the fuss made (read…)

Headlines: 3/22/11

Liman “meeting” with actors and actresses over long in the works sci-fi project Add this one to yesterday’s Two Gun Cohen flick. (THR) (10:45 pm) Benicio Del Toro “in talks” to join Stone’s Savages (Deadline) (10:30 pm) Rights lapse. Paramount’s planned adaptation of Dune is dead It’s probably for the best. (Deadline) (10:30 pm) Rickman (read…)

Headlines: 3/21/11

McShane signs up for Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer LiC favorite Ian McShane who memorably played Al Swearengen on HBO’s Deadwood is set to play the king in Jack the Giant Killer, Bryan Singer’s adaptation of the children’s fairy tale. He’ll play alongside Ewan McGregor, Bill Nighy, Stanley Tucci and others. (THR) (7:00 pm) Barbra Streisand’s (read…)

The Watercooler: The year so far

I was thinking it’s been kind of a weird year for movies so far in that there hasn’t been much good in the way of wide releases. There have been more than a half dozen terrific films so far this year: Win Win, Certified Copy, Cedar Rapids, Of Gods and Men, Uncle Boonmee Who Can (read…)

Trailer: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Also known as POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold because, you guessed it, POM paid for the priviledge. Morgan Spurlock’s latest docutainment takes a look at product placement and marketing and has the added irony of being funded entirely by said product placement. It got some ok reviews at Sundance where if nothing (read…)

Headlines: 3/18/11

Gordon-Levitt official for The Dark Knight Rises. Juno Temple also joins the cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt has finally signed on the dotted line for a role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises though ideas about who he’ll play remains strictly speculation. Rising star Juno Temple, now playing in Jordon Scott’s Cracks and Gregg Araki’s Kaboom (read…)

Weekend Forecast: Seeing Win Win is a win win

Paul Giamatti and newcomer Alex Shaffer in LiC’s pick of the week: Win Win Win Win (**** 1/2). Director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor) strikes just the right balance between gentle humor and light drama with this tale of a good guy who makes some bad decisions. Paul Giamatti is terrific as a (read…)

Headlines: 3/17/11

Fox Searchlight looking to rope David O. Russell into a movie about Russ Meyer (Deadline) (9:50 pm) Jude Law “in talks” for Wright’s Anna Karenina (Variety) (9:45 pm) Demme’s Honeymoon With Harry w/De Niro and Cooper appears to be dead (Deadline) (9:45 pm) Aaron Johnson offered leads in latest pics from Oliver Stone and Joe Wright (read…)

Headlines: 3/16/11

Brooks “in talks” for Apatow’s next So you already know Judd Apatow is making a movie out of Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s married couple from Knocked Up and you probably already read this morning that fallen It-Girl Megan Fox is also negotiating to join the cast, but this is potential news that demands your (read…)

Headlines: 3/15/11

Drew Barrymore to direct adaptation of How to Be Single Drew Barrymore, who got decent notices for her directorial debut Whip It, is making her sophomore effortan adaptation of  the 2008 novel How to Be Single, a romantic comedy tracing the love lives of a group of New Yorkers over a decade. (THR) (7:30 pm) Linklater (read…)

Poster/Trailer: Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”

Apple has a much better trailer for Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams than the one that made the rounds back in January. If you’ve forgotten the story, Herzog was given unique access to the Chavaut caves in Southern France where, in 1994, the earliest known human paintings were found. In many ways it’s a (read…)

Headlines: 3/14/11

SXSW deals: Threesome piles on doc of Conan’s post-Tonight comedy tour AT&T, Abramorama and Magnolia Home Entertainment have teamed up to distribute Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, the doc about O’Brien’s 32-city Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television tour mounted in the wake of his canning from The Tonight Show. (THR) (7:30 pm) Disney bails on Zemeckis’ (read…)

The Watercooler: The fake box office malaise of 2011

I’m all caught up on most of the worthwhile movies so far this year so once again I saved my money and stayed home. Interestingly, there’s a running theme in the trades and trade-wannabes when it comes to talking about the box office so far in 2011 and that’s that everyone is saving their money (read…)

Trailer: Tavernier’s “The Princess of Montpensier”

Last night, Apple debuted the trailer for Bertrand Tavenier’s solidly entertaining period romance The Princess of Montpensier. It opens April 11 and I recommend you have a look when you get the chance. Here’s the Apple blurbage: In THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER, acclaimed filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier (‘ROUND MIDNIGHT) directs a spectacular cast in a riveting, (read…)

Headlines: 3/11/11

Tomei, Parker wanted for indie dram-com Married and Cheating Variety describes Marisa Tomei and Sarah Jessica Parker as “in early talks” for the indie comedy/drama focusing on the problems of three married couples. (6:45 pm) Because The Fighter needed more human irritant Dicky Ecklund Behold, DVD-ready deleted scene of Christian Bale gnawing on the scenery. (read…)

Weekend Forecast: Signs of life

William Shimel and Juliet Binoche in Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy Mainstream Hollywood continues to mostly suck air this weekend, but for the 2nd outing in a row the limited release calendar shows some promising signs of life for many different tastes. Certified Copy (**** 1/2). Iranian arthouse favorite Abbas Kiarostami makes his first film outside of Iran, (read…)

Trailer: Super 8

Nerdkind is soiling itself over the latest trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Steven Spielberg-produced alien thriller Super 8, but I don’t know. I think I need one more crane shot to convince me that it’s awesome. It’s a nice simulacrum of Spielberg for sure. That’s not a bad thing, but is it enough of a good (read…)

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