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David Fincher Netflix Series Mindhunter with Jonathan Groff Gets Trailer

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David Fincher Netflix Series Mindhunter with Jonathan Groff Gets Trailer

Netflix

David Fincher Netflix Series Mindhunter with Jonathan Groff Gets Trailer

“How do we get ahead of crazy if we don’t know how crazy thinks?” So says the F.B.I. agent played by Holt McCallany at the end of the teaser trailer for the Netflix series Mindhunter. For David Fincher, the show will be yet another opportunity for the filmmaker to return to the scene of his first cinematic triumph: the serial-killer genre. The series, which will also be directed by Asif Kapadia, Tobias Lindholm, and Andrew Douglas, and is executive produced by Fincher, Joshua Donen, Charlize Theron, and Cean Chaffin, concerns the investigative odyssey conducted by two F.B.I. agents (played by McCallany and Jonathan Groff) to “discover the brutal answers.”

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Costume Design

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Costume Design
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Costume Design

Okay, so, this isn’t a tough one exactly, but it bears mentioning that one of the two times we’ve gotten this category wrong was when we disregarded the almost always reliable frilliest-always-wins rule and allowed ourselves to be stupidly blinded by Keira Knightley’s emerald green dress from Atonement. (Our only other faux pas—not calling it for The Artist last year—is perhaps more easily explained, as the Best Picture winner clearly benefited from every other nominee’s ostentatious yards of silk drowning each other out.) Now, here we are calling it for more Knightley-donned couture by Jacqueline Durran, this time from Joe Wright’s uneven but oft-deliciously unhinged Anna Karenina, whose four tech nods more than suggest that feelings for this most purple of cinematic adaptations of Leo Tolstoy’s classic tome are more amorous than the Academy’s regard for Anonymous, W.E., and Jane Eyre, each of which received their sole Oscar nominations in this category last year. If the showy grime of Hugo’s Silent Film Era Street Urchin Collection couldn’t seal the deal last year, as we thought it would, we have to rule out Les Misérables and Lincoln’s infinitely grayer lines. Charlize Theron truly rocks Colleen Atwood’s trannie-fierce gowns for Snow White and the Huntsman, but it’s the other Snow White movie in the category, Tarsem’s Mirror Mirror, that could steamroll over Anna Karenina, and not just because its costumes are as gorgeously elaborate, but also because they were designed by the deceased Eiko Ishioka, a previous Oscar winner for Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Will Win: Anna Karenina

Could Win: Mirror Mirror

Should Win: Anna Karenina

15 Famous Movie Hicks

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15 Famous Movie Hicks
15 Famous Movie Hicks

Chloë Moretz and Blake Lively get their hillbilly on in Hick, one of this weekend’s Dark Shadows alternatives and, quite possibly, one of the year’s worst. It is indeed good for something, though, as it’s inspired this 15-wide roster of cinema’s unforgettable rednecks. While far more prevalent in recent movies, characters who don’t quite hail from the upper crust have long been giving fuel to the likes of Jeff Foxworthy, who might have made the list himself if not out-hicked by a slew of fictional kinfolk. Whether hailing from the sticks or the trailer park, these hayseeds might even make Jerry Springer blush.

15 Famous Movie Blackbirds

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15 Famous Movie Blackbirds
15 Famous Movie Blackbirds

In what’s unfortunately one of the lesser films about a literary great, John Cusack wields a quill and a gun as The Raven’s Edgar Allen Poe, a legend who would’ve skewered this thriller in one of his sharp-tongued newsprint critiques. What’s perhaps best about the movie is the eerie mood that’s established, a mood symbolized by the titular winged creature. Blackbirds have been harbingers of doom in many a dark tale, and otherwise added spooky style to countless filmic palettes. Even in lighter fare, they point to something sinister, be it imminent attack, loneliness, or even racism.

Problem Solution Jordan Mintzer’s James Gray

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Problem Solution: Jordan Mintzer’s James Gray
Problem Solution: Jordan Mintzer’s James Gray

James Gray has achieved a small measure of success in the American film industry, and yet he remains elusive. He’s critically lauded, but he’s not a figure centrally discussed in the context of the independent or studio-film landscapes. He works with big stars like Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, and Gwyneth Paltrow, but years pass before he’s able to get projects off the ground. He’s a darling of the Cannes Film Festival, but is a niche flavor in the already niche world of cinephilia. He’s often labeled a “classicist,” but he has more in common with the post-classical mode of Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. So, what the hell is James Gray, anyway?

That’s the question Paris-based Hollywood Reporter critic and Gray enthusiast Jordan Mintzer attempts to answer in his new book, James Gray. Comprised of interviews with Gray and his collaborators, along with storyboards, annotated script pages, production stills, and frame grabs, Mintzer’s volume is the first full-length study of Gray in any language. It is, unfortunately, only being published in France. But fear not: Synecdoche has released a bilingual edition that can be purchased on their website for a cool $65 USD.

What emerges most saliently from Mintzer’s interviews is Gray’s commitment to the idea of problem solution in creating his style. Gray is no proverbial Hitchcock, dreaming an ironclad vision of his films that then must be laid out to the letter. (“I don’t believe in vision. I think vision is overrated,” says Gray.) Instead, Gray’s style remains fluid and open to the necessary conditions of the production itself. A famous example concerns Little Odessa being set in the wintertime. “…It was written for the summer, with all the laundry lines during the final shootout,” Gray says. “But you have to make the movie when you get the money, so I made it then…I realized that the snow looked amazing, that it was something you couldn’t really reproduce. So I decided we should go shoot outside whenever it was snowing.” Anyone who’s seen Little Odessa knows that the deep melancholy of its characters’ struggles finds a rather apt metaphor in the falling, whipping snow that fills many gorgeous widescreen compositions.

Poster Lab: Young Adult

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Poster Lab: <em>Young Adult</em>
Poster Lab: <em>Young Adult</em>

Whether you’re clutching a hamburger phone in anticipation of the next Diablo Cody effort, or would rather strangle yourself with its cord than patronize another Juno, it’s hard to not be tickled by the poster for Young Adult, the new collaboration between Cody and director Jason Reitman. Aptly titled, the film focuses on a teen-lit writer (Charlize Theron) who’s a young adult herself, at least in terms of emotional maturity. The poster, a terribly clever merger of media cover art, gives a nod to YA fiction while emphasizing the 30-something lead character’s hangover-riddled regression, a pure/impure juxtaposition of the Bad Teacher sort. Aided greatly by a color scheme right out of the early-’90s (when purple and green were rampantly, ill-advisedly used for things other than Easter and The Joker), it’s an image that’s catnip for late-Gen-Xers and Millenials, whose backpacks were loaded with similar-looking novels by folks like S. E. Hinton. For better or worse, Cody is very much a voice of that demographic, ever-increasingly a female answer to the Apatow brotherhood. Through her work, she channels the pop culture staples that saturated her youth, and given its subject and marketing, one might see Young Adult as a precursor to a future Cody project: an adaptation of Sweet Valley High.

A Boy and His Dad: The Road

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A Boy and His Dad: <em>The Road</em>
A Boy and His Dad: <em>The Road</em>

Of course, I’m stating the obvious when I point out that turning a well-known literary work into a film can be a tricky thing. There’s always a dedicated group of fans that will balk at any changes made to migrate the work from one medium to another. I tend to fall into that category. Certainly, a lengthy written piece will have to be adjusted to fit into the typical two-hour running time of a film. And this reality may result in taking artistic licenses with other aspects of the narrative. Steven Spielberg didn’t have time in include the scene in Jaws where Matt Hooper shtupps Mrs. Brody. Thus, it’s understandable why he gets a reprieve from a gory death in the shark cage. But I still struggle to discern a reasonable artistic argument for having Hobbs hit a game winning home run at the end of The Natural rather than deliberately strike out as he does in Bernard Malamud’s novel.

Granted, a willingness to judge each respective effort on its own merits is a perfectly reasonable approach too. I get it. I’m just not wired that way.

Genie Was Right

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Genie Was Right
Genie Was Right

The blogosphere being what it is, I’m sure the expiration date on Golden Globes commentary has passed. But since Monday night was a grotesque revelation, I’m going to talk about it anyway.

After being released from press tour coverage, I drove to the home of my pals Margy and Robert and watched the Pacific Coast feed of the Globes, and got there in just in time to watch the last 45 minutes of red carpet coverage on E! Between the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it interviews and the gratuitous iris-shaped split screens and the director’s inability or unwillingness to identify who, exactly, we were looking at, I felt as if I was watching not a live telecast, but a pop physics event: the atomization of celebrity culture.