TMR: Angelina Jolie teams up with Darren Aronofsky for an intense drama

03.01.10 7 years ago 7 Comments

AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Welcome to The Morning Read.

I have a goal for March.  I have a number of reviews that I’ve been sitting on, mainly because there are only 24 hours in any given day, but before I leave for South By Southwest in Austin… before I do one more festival… my goal is to finish and publish every one of those reviews.  I sincerely hate having a backlog of material, and I want to reach a point where I am caught up, where moving forward, what I have to do is simply new stuff.  Over the course of any year, things just kind of stack up, and it’s time to clear house.

In general, I find myself constantly struggling to do better, to be more efficient, to manage my time in a more productive way.  It’s never easy.  But if I didn’t keep working at it, all the various ways I spend my energy would just plain eat me alive.

First things first, if you’re on Twitter, you need to follow a girl named @Tyme2Waste.  Trust me.  Do it now.  Read all the tweets she’s posted so far.  And then buckle up.  We’ll talk about why on Wednesday.

I can’t say I’m sorry that Angelina Jolie decided to pass on a sequel to “Wanted.”  I don’t think anyone really needs that, except maybe Mark Millar and his accountant.  And when she passed on it, she did so to consider some very interesting other offers, including an outer-space picture with Alfonso Cuaron (yes, please) and now word has surfaced that she may be teaming up with Darren Aronofsky on an adaptation of Serena: A Novel.  I haven’t read the book, but it sounds intense, and I’d love to see her work with him.  I also love that Aronofsky seems to be working faster and faster these days.  The more movies we get from him, the better.

Interesting story over at /Film about how there will be five sequences in “Tron Legacy” that will take full advantage of the IMAX format, a la “The Dark Knight.”  One difference, though, and it’s an important one… unlike “The Dark Knight,” the sequences weren’t shot using actual IMAX cameras.  I didn’t go on Saturday for the trailer event, but I’m looking forward to seeing the footage as soon as possible, and I hope the movie is as big a trip as the original was.  Disney’s certainly got the full weight of their marketing muscle working on building awareness for it already.

Kim Morgan’s got a wicked crush on Lee Marvin.  Understandable.

This is the first thing I’ve read that makes me want to see “The Yellow Handkerchief” in any way.  I think it’s time I admit that I tune out the madness around the members of the “Twilight” cast so completely that one of them could be starring in my life story, and I’d probably skip it.  As much as I like Jen Yamato (who just agreed to appear on a SXSW panel about hyperbole in film criticism that I’ll be on as well), I don’t buy the thesis that the “Twilight” fan base cares one little bit about indie film in general.  They haven’t even proven yet that they support the stars of “Twilight” to any real degree outside of the franchise, much less that their interests are spreading to film in general.  Time will tell.

Darn it, Roger Ebert, what is it about everything you write these days that gets inside me with an emotional precision that almost nothing else can manage?  The notion of how CerePro, a software company in Edinburgh, is rebuilding Roger’s voice is fascinating, and I’m going to tune in to hear him predict the Oscars on “Oprah” tomorrow just so I can hear how it works.

Dissatisfied with “Cop Out”?  Need a buddy cop movie fix?  Try one of these.’s “The Big Picture” is one of the sites I check on a regular basis anyway, and if you’re interested in photography on all subjects, you should bookmark it as well, but their piece documenting the earthquake in Chile this past weekend is stunning.

I’m a big fan of “Kick-Ass,” but the last thing I would call it would be totally realistic.  The film is set in our world to the extent that superhero fiction is real and the idea of putting on costumes and fighting crime seems insane, but what happens in the film is obviously heightened and, at times, totally absurd.  I know that the big pitch for the book and the movie both has been “real world superheroes,” so it’s totally fair to question the definition of reality as it applies to this particular property.

I love it when filmmakers talk about the movies that inspire them, and it doesn’t surprise me at all to read that Bernardo Bertolucci was inspired by “The Rules Of The Game”.  I confessed last year that I’d never seen the film until recently, but now that I have, I see echoes of it in so many other people’s work.  I love the way Bertolucci writes about how he saw the film and didn’t see it again for five years.  The days of that sort of film viewing and the way it forces people to rely on these dream-like memories of what they saw are long gone thanks to VOD and DVD and BluRay and the availability of huge catalogs of movies.  When my son can ask me to watch any of 10,000 movies any time, it makes the experience less special, I think.  Or maybe that’s just me looking at things through nostalgia goggles.

I can totally understand why someone wouldn’t like “Avatar.”  I can even understand why actors are freaking out  about it, even if I don’t agree.  But “satanic”?  Really?  Look, I get it.  People like Mark Driscoll need to stir up controversy to validate their message, but this is one of the reasons I don’t like or trust organized religion.  If it was about community and family and spiritual comfort, that’s fine.  That’s great.  That’s the ideal.  But this sort of dogmatic garbage is what creates a divide.  His reasoning is faulty, and his message has nothing to do with what I was raised to believe Christian values include.  And this guy is considered a major voice in the evangelical world these days?  Sad.

Hey, Marvel fans… this is awesome.

I’m not sure Alison Natasi ever quite sticks the landing in this piece, but she’s on the right track.  Here’s what I think is missing from her piece in terms of blaming fans for the state of horror right now… like romantic comedy fans, horror fans will support any piece of crap that ostensibly fits into the genre.  They’ll go see sequels to movies they didn’t like in the first place, and they never demand better. You’re not making things better by blindly supporting the genre.  I love horror films, but I want them to be great.  I think horror is one of the most elastic genres there is, and filmmakers who take full advantage of it can deal with any topic, any idea.  Instead, it’s typically just dead teenagers or tired monsters.  Hollywood needs to treat the genre better… true.  But at the same time, fans need to treat it better, too, or no one will.

And speaking of horror fans, this should be catnip for them.  Us.  I say that as a horror fan:


Evil Dead done in 60 seconds with CLAY – 2010 from Lee Hardcastle on Vimeo.


Pure dork heaven.

There is a whole world out there I’m not part of, and I love that Nick Kroll thinks it’s hilarious:



I’m not sure how they got the real Ed Hardy dude to participate in that, but man… that’s gold.

I wish I could say I’m shocked by this… but I’m not.  I’m surprised they haven’t tried the same thing in the “War On Drugs.”

I don’t think I’ve even looked at Craigslist more than twice in my life.  This is why.  Call me cynical, but I just don’t trust people I can’t deal with face-to-face or through verified channels.

“Max Headroom” is coming to DVD finally via Shout! Factory, which gives me yet another reason to love that company.  “SCTV.”  “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”  “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.”  And now this?  God bless you guys.  I’m a little confused, though, about which of the “Max Headrooms” we’re getting though, because the Cinemax series and the ABC series were totally different things, and this article seems to think it was all one big show on two different networks.

Mark Hartley, who directed the awesome documentary “Not Quite Hollywood,” is working on a movie about the exploitation cinema of the Phillipines as well as a remake of the Australian cult classic “Patrick,” and as he’s been working, he came across this amazing Filipino version of Batman.  Nothing I can say can prepare you for it…



… but I’ll just say that the only thing that can match the pure awesome of that is this:



And, no, I can’t explain that.  At all.  James Moran first pointed me to that on Twitter this weekend, and since then, I’ve seen it spread like a virus to James Gunn and others.  It is, in my opinion, the reason the Internet was created.  Hell, it might be the reason mankind was created.

I lived in the same apartment in Hollywood for about a decade, and I loved that place.  I loved the location.  I loved the building.  I loved my neighbors.  When I first moved in there, it was with friends of mine, and the person who had the apartment right before they found it was Lawrence Bender.  We got mail for him delivered there for years, no matter how many times we tried to impress on the postman that he was long gone.  Although I haven’t produced a towering classic of indie cinema or two or five, I look at my family and I think that the apartment was just as lucky for me as it was for him.  Looking back at the 20 years of his collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, it’s obvious that “lucky” just barely begins to describe it, although to be fair, Bender hustled to make the most of that luck, and he turned a chance encounter with a good script into a career that continues to pay new rewards with each new collaboration.

I am fascinated by the entire notion of the unreliable narrator.

I’ve never heard of this film, but if FX Feeney says it’s worth rediscovery, then I’m willing to give it a chance.

I’ll leave you with some pop music from the future:


Neurosonics Live from Chris Cairns on Vimeo.


Sure, it’s no Slavic guy singing nonsense for ten minutes, but it’s still pretty amazing.

See you for another Morning Read this Wednesday, and plenty more reviews and articles in the meantime.

The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Except when it doesn’t.

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