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Steven Spielberg Developing 1800s Jewish Priest Movie

Variety reports that Steven Spielberg has begun developing an adaptation of the 1997 nonfiction book The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. Born Jewish in 1851, Mortara was given an emergency baptism by a servant, who was worried about a childhood illness. At age 7, the Catholic Church took him from his family, as it was against the law for non-Catholics to raise a Catholic. Adopted by the Pope, he went on to become a priest. Tony Kushner, who wrote Lincoln and Munich for Spielberg, will handle the script. It's not clear whether this will be the next movie Spielberg directs, as he is frequently taking on new projects. According to Variety, some are saying he hasn't made a decision, while others say the oft-postponed Robopocalypse is the frontrunner now that a rewrite has happened. There is also the Javier Bardem–starring Montezuma-Cortés movie. Not to mention his idea for that movie where he just swims in a pile of his money until he tires. Oh, wait, that was our idea. But you know you'd pay to see that, if John Williams did the score.

  • Posted 4/18/14 at 2:12 AM
  • Movies

Fox Developing Michael B. Jordan Action Vehicle Men Who Kill

Michael B. Jordan has been a hot commodity in the wake of Fruitvale Station, with upcoming roles as Apollo Creed's grandson in Creed and the Human Torch in the rebooted Fantastic Four franchise. Now, Deadline is reporting that Fox has closed a deal for Men Who Kill, an action drama that will be developed specifically as a vehicle for Jordan and is being described as an "international Bad Boys-style project." We don't know much else about it, but it's a safe bet that if you liked Bad Boys but found it overly provincial, this could be the film for you.

  • Posted 4/18/14 at 1:23 AM

Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson Star in Bleak Bromance The Rover

Animal Kingdom director David Michôd's post-apocalyptic Western The Rover is set to premiere at Cannes next month, and judging by the trailer, festival-goers can expect a lot of bleak, parched landscapes, Australian accents (at least, we think that's what Robert Pattinson is going for) and Rust Cohle-style macho philosophizing. Also: a solid amount of Guy Pearce/Robert Pattinson bromance, which is a draw that should not be underestimated.

  • Posted 4/17/14 at 10:25 PM

Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys Trailer Is Here

Here's the first trailer for Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys movie  yes, that Clint Eastwood  based on the long-running Broadway musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for his stage portrayal of Valli, is back in the role, along with Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire), and Christopher Walken as a mob boss. If you were concerned about how Hollywood's foremost rugged octogenarian would fare with his first foray into musical theater, fear not: It appears that Eastwood is sticking pretty nicely to the musical's key elements, with plenty of direct-address monologues in thick New Jersey accents followed by high-pitched song and dance numbers. Sort of like Goodfellas, if it was a crowd-pleasing jukebox musical directed by Dirty Harry. Count us in.

Ebiri on Manakamana: Two Hours in a Nepalese Cable Car and a Near Act of Hypnosis

Depending on the type of viewer you are, the premise of Manakamana will sound either fascinating or deadly. Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’s experimental documentary consists entirely of fixed long takes inside a cable car as it goes up and down a Nepalese mountain. For nearly two hours. The passengers, who change every ten or so minutes (roughly the length of time it takes the cable car to go up or down the mountain), are a diverse bunch, though we know very little about them — an older man and what appears to be his young grandson, gabby young headbangers with a stray kitten, a solemn woman carrying flowers, a gaggle of goats, two musicians tuning and practicing on their instruments, an American tourist and her friend, etc. Here’s some additional context, which you do not really need: Manakamana is a Hindu temple that lies at the top of a ridge, about 100 kilometers from Kathmandu, and it is said that the goddess Bhagvati will grant the wishes of those who travel to worship her there. Most of these people, in other words, are pilgrims. (The goats, alas, are probably on their way to being sacrificed.)

What you do need to know is right there in front of you. »

Can You Guess Famous Lines From Office Space From Just a GIF or Freeze-Frame?

With Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley premiering on HBO to rave reviews, it’s the perfect time to celebrate his past work: Beavis and Butt-Head, King of the Hill, Idiocracy, and the most quotable of them all: 1999’s Office Space. Then why not celebrate with a Quote Quiz? The game works Hangman-style: You type in letters to fill in the quote that goes with the picture, but if you get more than three letters wrong, you lose that question. (If you're stuck, click for a hint on the upper-right-hand corner of each picture.) When you’re all done, make sure to share your score in your latest TPS report. I’m gonna need that by 5 p.m. On your mark, get set, quote!

Did You Catch the Coen Brothers Easter Egg in Fargo?

If you're watching the FX TV show Fargo, you might expect to see some Coen Brothers shout-outs. Did you catch the not-so-hidden reference to The Big Lebowski? Probably. But just in case you didn't, here it is:

  • Posted 4/17/14 at 1:00 PM
  • Candy

Watch Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, and NBA Stars Live-Read Space Jam

On March 23 of this year, a ragtag group of comedians, actors, and basketball players assembled to do a live table read of Space Jam, the 1996 Michael Jordan–Looney Tunes "classic." The cast included Blake Griffin as Jordan, and Seth Green, Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll, Ben Schwartz, Danielle Fishel, and others, as a variety of talking animals, aliens, and '90s basketball players. Sadly, the whole thing isn't online, but Funny or Die has a delightful ten-minute highlight reel. It's like one of Jason Reitman's LACMA live-readings but a bit more highbrow. 

Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive, and a Brief History of the Art-Horror Film

Under the Skin, starring Scarlet Johansson as an alien come to Earth in human form, is being billed as a science-fiction film, and it is, on some level. But with early scenes structured around Johansson’s “stalking” of various humans and a finale that echoes back to Frankenstein, director Jonathan Glazer’s film hews closer to horror. Even as that, however, it’s clearly something different, with a narrative and a visual and aural strategy that belong more to the realm of the experimental. In his review of the film, our own David Edelstein said it “takes the horror genre in infectiously strange new directions.” And he’s right. Glazer clearly has more on his mind than telling a tale about something that comes to Earth and harvests men. His film could be interpreted as a meditation on human sexuality, on modern alienation, on the existential chasm between flesh and being — all conveyed through a filmic style that privileges the physical, even as it (mostly) keeps the viewer at an emotional distance.

Similarly, Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive is a genre movie in name only. »

2014 Cannes Film Festival Lineup Announced

This morning, the films were announced for the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival. Included in competition are Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher, Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language, Tommy Lee Jones's The Homesman, The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius's The Search, David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars, and more. Out of competition, we already knew that Grace of Monaco was to open the whole thing, but the festival will also feature Ryan Gosling's directorial debut, Lost River. Jane Campion is heading up the jury. Read the full lineup below. The festival runs May 15-25. See you there, if we can find enough linen clothing.

Full Line-up »

X-Men Director Bryan Singer Accused of Sexually Abusing 17-Year-Old Boy

The Wrap reports that a lawsuit filed Wednesday in a federal court in Hawaii accuses X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing a teenage boy in 1999, when the boy was 17. The plaintiff, Michael Egan, claims that he was drugged and raped by Singer on multiple occasions.

According to The Wrap, the abuse began in 1998. »

Tatiana Maslany Joins Penn Badgley in Revenge Flick The Paper Store

Deadline reports that Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany will join Gossip Girl star turned indie rocker Penn Badgley in The Paper Store, a revenge story about a former college student who gets paid to forge essays, the client who becomes her lover, and their professor. Relative unknown Nicholas Gray is attached to direct and Richard Kind will co-star, while all the other characters will be presumably be played by Tatiana Maslany.

  • Posted 4/17/14 at 12:07 AM

John Legend Is Working on a Found Footage Dance Movie

John Legend and Step Up 5 writer John Swetnam are teaming up for a dance movie called Breaking Through, a "documentary-style dance drama for the YouTube generation." (Finally!) According to Deadline, the project will be the first of its kind to combine dance movies and found footage. So if you enjoyed Step Ups 1 through 5 but found yourself complaining about the overly high production values, boy, do we have the film for you.

  • Posted 4/16/14 at 10:30 PM
  • Sequels

A Mrs. Doubtfire Sequel Is in the Works

In news that has hit us with the force of a run-by fruiting, The Hollywood Reporter announced this evening that a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel is finally in the offing. The reboot would see Robin Williams reuniting with director Chris Columbus, with Elf scribe David Berenbaum attached to write. A sequel has been in the works for years, but only became active again early this year with Berenbaum's involvement. THR reports that "Williams and Columbus are attached and hopeful." We're hopeful too! Along with Dumb and Dumber To, this would mark the second beloved early-'90s comedy classic to get the long-awaited reboot treatment. We think we speak for everyone when we say: Don't screw this up, poppets.

Why an X-Men Clip Will Play After Spider-Man 2’s Credits

On May 2, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits theaters and at the end, after all the credits, there will be a clip for X-Men: Days of Future Past. While post-credit scenes are old hat with comic book movies (or old mask, if you will), this is noteworthy because Spider-Man is Sony and X-Men is Fox, and, traditionally, disparate comic book movie universes don't overlap. Why it's happening has to do with (500) Days of Summer? Seriously. No, Fox didn't dump Sony and Sony is giving them ad-space to try to win them back. Years ago, Marc Webb signed a contract to make two movies for Fox. The first was Summer. However, instead of making another Fox movie, Sony stepped in with the first Amazing Spider-Man. Variety reports that Fox agreed to let go of Webb if Sony agreed to promote X-Men for free. Though this reasoning might disappoint nerds hoping for a Spidy-X-Men movie crossover, it will delight those who enjoy when businessmen make quirky compromises. 

John Turturro on Fading Gigolo and All the Women He’s Romanced Onscreen

In the new film Fading Gigolo, John Turturro (who also wrote and directed) plays an unlikely escort pushed into the world's oldest profession by his cash-strapped friend (Woody Allen) — though when your clients include comely women played by screen beauties Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, and Vanessa Paradis, you don't remain a reluctant gigolo for long. And since there are some similarities between the life of a gigolo and the life of an actor who is paid to occasionally kiss beautiful actresses from time to time, John Turturro rang up Vulture to look back at some of the women he's romanced onscreen, as well as to ponder the nature of the love scene itself.

"I played Sophia Loren's son, and I kept trying to tell her that we should have an incestuous relationship." »

6 Forgotten Teen Films of the Late ’90s and Early ’00s

For his documentary Beyond Clueless, a thematic walk through teen films during an era that ranged from Clueless (1995) to Mean Girls (2004), director Charlie Lyne had to watch "over 300" films. More teen films were produced in that particular era than before or since, he argues, and an entire generation grew up on them — their nostalgia now fuels revivals and reunions galore. (And those are just the ones you remember.) Along with the Jawbreakers and the She's All Thats, there are a slew of interesting and "forgotten" titles from those years. Here are a few of Lyne's favorites.

"Notorious sleazeball director James Toback has always had a fascination with teenagers." »

  • Posted 4/16/14 at 12:15 PM
  • X-men

Why They Couldn’t Cut Anna Paquin From X-Men: Days of Future Past

Because X-Men: Days of Future Past uses time travel to unite two expansive ensemble casts — including the actors who starred in the original X-Men trilogy and the actors cast as their younger counterparts for X-Men: First Class — a few returning stars would inevitably be given short shrift, simply so the movie wouldn't buckle under all that allocated screen time. Even so, when reports broke a few months back that Anna Paquin's Rogue would be snipped from the film entirely, fans were upset to hear that one of the primary protagonists from the first X-Men film had gone missing.

Why her part was too pivotal to cut completely. »

Talking to Jon Favreau About Chef, Returning to Indies, and Maintaining a Vision Inside Blockbusters

It's been almost 20 years since Jon Favreau's breakthrough movie. Writing Swingers, he thought it might get him some acting work; he never imagined the career he would have behind the camera. Now, after tackling a few blockbusters and helping set the Marvel cinematic universe on its current trajectory, Favreau has gone back to his roots, writing, directing, and starring in the indie comedy Chef. In it, Favreau plays a brilliant chef who fights to balance his creative freedom with his family life and the need for professional compromise. The movie, which opens limited on May 9 and expands nationally through May and June, will be screening at the Tribeca Film Festival, which kicks off today. We spoke with Favreau about how much of himself is in this character, trying to maintain a singular vision in the big-studio system, and having other characters calling him fat.

"I’m a 47-year-old dad who likes to eat. That’s different from the 27-year-old trying to get a girl’s phone number." »

Pharrell, Johnny Marr, and Hans Zimmer Made a Song for the Amazing Spider-Man 2 Soundtrack

In case the whole "Pharrell is everywhere" cliché somehow rang untrue to you, here he is on the Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack — singing what feels like a '70 power ballad alongside Hans Zimmer and Johnny Marr. He conquered pop radio, now he's heading for the top of easy listening: "Was there a glitch in my method? / Isn’t it clear we’re here again? / Let’s get new GPSs." Yes, GPS can now be pluralized, and here's how.