Hey folks. I’ve got a relatively limited amount of time today and, just to add to the drama, the usually excellent free wi-fi at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf slowed down today to a relative crawl for a time while I was researching this. Let’s see how much I can cover.
* Just as I was ready to wrap things up, we have a breaking story. As I sorta alluded to yesterday regarding J.D. Salinger, it’s inevitable his death will pave the way for some new films. It turns out I was, if anything, way behind the curve. Working screenwriter Shane Salerno — whose work, like the planned James Cameron-produced “Fantastic Voyage” remake, bends toward the geek — has been working on a documentary about the writer who became almost as famous for his escape from the public eye as for his actual work, and it’s apparently nearly completed. Mike Fleming has not only broken the news of the formerly under-wraps project, he’s seen most of the movie
* Of course, Sundance continues slogging away, and word of acquisitions by film distributors have been making their way round the usual spots. Indiewire’s Eugene Hernandez has news on the well-regarded “Blue Valentine” with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. He also gives a quick nod to such other highish profile films as “The Tilman Story” (a documentary about the late Pat Tilman), “The Kids Are Alright” (not to be confused with the old rock-doc about the Who) and “Hesher,” a not very appealing sounding film that nevertheless has Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead. The “Valentine” sale is of particular interesting as it was the troubled Weinstein Company that picked it up. Coincidentally, the company named for Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s parents, Mira and Max, has gone on the block.
*Philip Seymour Hoffman and his producing partner, Emily Ziff, are apparently fans of baseball and/or the man who played Mr. Deeds and Lou Gehrig; their company is called “Cooper’s Town.” In any case, they are letting the Sundancers know how they are keeping busy.
* Flick makers making stage musicals as per Russ Fischer: The “South Park” boys — on the history Mormonism — and the the theater-bred writer-director of “In Bruges,” who’ll be working with a certain Mr. Tom Waits and avante gardish director Robert Wilson. It’s safe to say that the results of both will be closer to “Threepenny Opera” than “The Sound of Music.”
* It’s not exactly a secret that Sundance leans pretty left — as do I to only a slightly lesser degree — but it still does tell you something about the mindset of Sundance that the screening of director Michael Winterbottom’s film version of Naomi Klein’s sharply confrontational political book, “The Shock Doctrine,” passed without controversy. He must have found a pleasant chance of pace after his reportedly disturbingly ultra-violent film noir, “The Killer Inside Me.”
* Something tells me “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” is one Sundance film that our readers and writers at PH may especially dig. And, hey, it unites actors from two of our favorite prematurely canceled/mishandled TV series. Will Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine be the biggest horror comedy due since Simon Pegg and Nick Frost?
* The lounges where rich celebrities get far more cool swag than mere plebes have mostly closed down, though the fest itself is still going. It’s hard out there for a celeb.
* The zine-turned-website, Film Threat, which, among other things, gave me my movie reviewing start, has been rather mysteriously offline for a while now. The good news is that it will be back. It was sold a few days back by founder Chris Gore and bought by its last editor, Mark Bell. The best of luck to him with one of the most venerable names in film geekery.
* Mike Fleming told us…Daniel Craig will star in the comic book adaptation, “Cowboys and Aliens.” Craig is, I think, being very smart about keeping his work diverse so he doesn’t get overly Bond-typed.
* I’m not sure if home video packaging gets any more clever than this combo pack for “House of the Devil.”
* The impishly brilliant and often hilariously/ridiculously argumentative critic and cinephile blogger Glen Kenny and one of his main sparring partners, Jeffrey Wells, have both seen Scorsese’s “Shutter Island.” Kenny implies coolness; Wells suggests profitability.
* “Flight of the Conchords” co-creator James Bobin is directing a new Muppet film. Yaaay!