See Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in the First Trailer for Woody Allen’s ‘Irrational Man’

Film, Woody Allen

The first trailer for Woody Allen’s aptly titled Irrational Man just debuted online, and as expected, it certainly doesn’t look to be one of his best efforts. More in the off-putting register of Magic in the Moonlight and less emotionally grounded than Blue Jasmine, with Irrational Man we again see Allen hobbling together a film that looks like a sketch of his past talents. Starring Emma Stone, Joaquin Phoenix, and Parker Posey, the film will have its premiere out of competition at Cannes next month before it comes stateside this summer.

From what we can gather in the trailer, Phoenix plays an alcohol-loving philosophy professor dealing with his own existential and romantic woes. “You suffer from despair,” announces Stone, his student / love interest, while the two sit perfectly coiffed in restaurant booth. Phoenix’s voiceover chimes in: “It was at this moment that my life came together,” and suddenly the trailer veers off into the real meat of the film, in which Phoenix is no longer an anxious mope and the women around him are befuddled.

Check out the trailer for yourself below.

James Gray and Joaquin Phoenix Discuss ‘The Immigrant’ at NYFF

Like his very own McCabe & Mrs. Miller, James Gray’s new film, the 1920s-set The Immigrant screened at NYFF on Friday morning, giving us, what some have called, the prologue to his oeuvre of dramas. Culled from historical reference points, as well as his family’s own autobiographical past, Gray’s films follows Marion Cotillard as a Polish immigrant who, after arriving on Ellis Island becomes separated from her sickly sister, and is taken into custody by an odd man (played by Joaquin Phoenix) who offers her a place to stay in exchange for work.

From there the film divulges into a trying look at the lengths one goes to for survival, the madness of love, and forgiveness as a means of salvation. Shot with a Vilmos Zsigmond-esque glow, Gray’s film offers a wonderful showcase for the dramatic talents of its stars. And post-screening on Friday morning, Gray and Phoenix took to the stage at Lincoln Center for a Q&A. Naturally, Phoenix was cagey and strange, while Gray was as hilariously charming as ever. The film will have its theatrical opening later in the year, but in the meantime, check out the video of the press conference below.

Empire Strikes Back: Six Films to Commemorate the Fall of Rome

 

"Are we like late Rome," asked social critic Camille Paglia, "infatuated with past glories, ruled by a complacent, greedy elite, and hopelessly powerless to respond to changing conditions?" As you mull the answer to that question, raise your gladius and drain the Etruscan vino from your amphorae: It’s time to commemorate the fall of the Roman Empire.

It was today in 476 AD when the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus, was deposed by the Germanic warlord Odoacer and the Roman Empire drew its final wine-soaked breath. Here’s a look at some of the best movies set in what was certainly one of the most violent and depraved times in human history (notwithstanding our own, of course).

Caligula (1979)

Penthouse founder Bob Guccione filmed scenes for this controversial 1979 Italo-American biographical drama about the famously debauched emperor who somehow managed to clear his head long enough to become the first Roman commander to invade Britain since Julius Caesar did a century before.

Gladiator (2000)

Joaquin Phoenix proved to be a perfect slimeball as the Emperor Commodus (which I’m guessing means "toilet" in Latin) in Ridley Scott’s exuberant epic also starring Russell Crowe as Maximus, a general who became a slave, who became a gladiator, who defied an emperor, who won an Oscar for Best Actor.

Spartacus (1960)

Remember those movies before the era of CGI and huge battle scenes required filming thousands of extras—and not just a small crew of computer programmers? It was like if you had to film an epic, the production itself had to be, well, epic. Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, starring Kirk Douglas in the title role, was one of those films. For the battle scenes, 8,000 extras were pulled in from the Spanish infantry to play Roman soldiers. Ingeniously, Kubrick recorded 76,000 spectators at a Michigan State vs. Notre Dame college football game shouting "Hail, Crassus!" and "I’m Spartacus!" for the climactic scene.

Cleopatra (1963)

For her portrayal as the Egyptian queen and lover of Roman general Mark Antony in Joseph L. Mankiewicz 1963 epic, Elizabeth Taylor won the Guinness World Record for "Most Costume Changes in a Film." (She had 65 different outfits.) Perhaps if she had spent less time worrying about her clothes, she wouldn’t have lost the Battle of Actium. But then we wouldn’t get to see her commit suicide by snakebite.

Agora (2009)

"If I could just unravel this just a little bit more, and just get a little closer to the answer, then…I would go to my grave a happy woman," said Hypatia, considered to be the first significant female figure in the world of mathematics, as played by Rachel Weisz in Alejandro Amenábar’s 2009 Spanish English-language film Agora. Accused of instigating religious tension, Hypatia was killed by a Christian mob. Later, her legacy among Christians changed and she became a symbol of virtue. In her 1986 book Women Philosophers in the Ancient Greek World: Donning the Mantle, Kathleen Wider argues that her murder marked the end of Classical antiquity. Stupid, stupid evil mob!

History of the World, Part I (1981)

In one of the many awesome scenes in Mel Brooks’s 1961 comedy classic, Bea Arthur plays a government worker at an unemployment insurance collection window. It was an inspired casting choice: Not even the dumbest gladiator would dare mess around with Maude.

Listen to Karen O’s Song Written for Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’

Aside from Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14th” the enticing trailer for Spike Jonze’s Her featured a delicate track from Yeah Yeah Yeah’s front woman Karen O. And with the film premiering at the New York Film Festival next month and rolling into theaters just before the New Year, we can now listen to O’s track in its entirety. Titled “The Moon Song," it was written for the film and in Her, the song is sung by leads Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. And only adding to the excitement for the feature, Arcade Fire have are at the helm for the rest of the music. 

Speaking about Her this summer, Jonze said, “It’s a movie set in the slight future of L.A. and Joaquin Phoenix’s character buys the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system… it basically turns into a human, this entity, this consciousness, on his computer,” but turns, “into something more romantic.”
 
Check out O’s song below, re-watch the trailer, and download the track via Soundcloud before it becomes only available to stream.
 

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You’re Going to Have to Wait a Little Longer to Fall in Love With Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’

Last week, we all got a first taste of Spike Jonze’s highly-anticipated new feature Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix. Telling the story of a lonesome writer who falls in love with a computer operating system, the film, which suggests to be more of a meditation on the insanity of love, also boasts a lovely cast of Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde. And with the first trailer, we were all thrilled to know that not only would it be the closing night film at this year’s New York Film Festival, but it would have its limited release premiere on November 20th. However, now it looks that you’re going to have to dial back that excitement just a tad, because Her won’t be hitting most cities until 2014

Moving the limited release back to December 18th, and closer to award season, will allow New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto to see the film before the holidays but it’s going to be a bit longer before it rolls out anywhere else in the country, with its wide release slated for January 10th. But although you’re going to have to hold out until the new year, with a film that really does look fantastic, perhaps you can consider this a nice treat for the post-holiday melancholy that eventually falls upon everyone. Until then, stay tuned as we’ll be keep a close eye on the film.
 

See Joaquin Phoenix in the First Trailer for Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’

Opening with Aphex Twin’s beautifully melancholy tune “Avril 14th,” Spike Jonze’s highly-anticipated new feature Her has finally arrived with a first trailer. With little known on the project—save it’s great ensemble featuring Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Chris Pratt—the film stars Joaquin Phoenix as a writer who falls in love with a computer operating system. But although that description may seem vague, the trailer suggest it’s much more of a meditation on the insanity of love overall and how deeply it effects our lives.

Speaking to the film this summer, Jonze said, “It’s a movie set in the slight future of L.A. and Joaquin Phoenix’s character buys the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system… it basically turns into a human, this entity, this consciousness, on his computer,” but turns, “into something more romantic.” Also to be noted, Arcade Fire—who have collaborated with Jonze in the past—have provided the score for Her. Get excited.

Check out the first trailer and poster for the film below.

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Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ Shooting This Month With Robert Elswit as DP & WB Backing

Back in January, we shed light on Paul Thomas Anderson’s next feature, the long-discussed adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. As the first authorized cinematic revisiting of the author’s work, the project was announced back in 2010 and has since made its way around the rumor mill, with various speculations as to who would comprise of the cast, just when it would begin production, and who would backing the film.

And today, Cigarettes & Red Vines announced that shooting is set to go underway this month, thanks to finding its backing from Warner Bros. It was assumed that Annapurna Pictures, who financed and saved The Master would be taking on the project. But in an "amicable" decision, WB has taken the reigns and will mark PTA’s first time working with the studio. With Robert Downey Jr. initially as the leading candidate to take on the role of  Sportello—a stoner detective in Pynchon’s counter-culture noir—Joaquin Phoenix is now slated for the role, after he and Anderson’s impressive work together on The Master.  As for the rest of the cast, nothing has been announced but it’s safe to assume we’ll be getting a deluge of updates on that later this month as production kicks off.

In addition, although Mihai Malaimare Jr. gave us the incrediblly vast and stunning world of Freddie Quell and Lancaster Dodd, Robert Elswit will in fact be reprising his role of cinematographer on this one. After working on all of PTA’s films, save The Master, the Oscar-winning DP will be reunited with his old pal, shooting Inherent Vice on 35mm—no digital. Centering on the story of said Sportello uncovering a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer in 1960s Los Angeles, the film will apparently be PTA’s "first foray into comedy." However, as we noted a few months back: 

Lest we forget, Punch-Drunk Love—an early-Altman-esque film about an emotionally inept man who collects pudding to amass frequent flyer miles and has a crying problem, who falls in love with an equally bizarre woman, in a world where aesthetics and mood go hand in hand while pieces of Jeremy Blake’s abstract art are spliced like tonal cue cards between moments—was Anderson’s attempt at a mainstream romantic comedy. 
So yes, if this is comedy, full speed ahead. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one. And in the meantime, let’s watch some videos of young PTA talking about movies because, what better way could you spend your morning?
 

Don’t Worry Guys, There’s No Beef Between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence

You can relax, Jessica Chastain is still a perfect human. Contrary to alleged reports from "insider sources" that she and Jennifer Lawrence—one of Hollywood’s current most in-demand actresses–have some serious competitive beef with one another, it appears that is simply not the case.

But of course these rumors are alive—two beautiful, successful, talented, Oscar-nominated actresses could never co-exist and praise one another, right? We can’t all be Joaquin Phoneix and Daniel Day Lewis. No, this is just unnecessary. And only adding fuel to the fire, in Jennifer Lawrence’s recent SNL appearance, as part of a sketch she said, "In Zero Dark Thirty you caught Bin Laden. So what? In Winter’s Bone I caught a squirrel—and then I ate it. Boom. Deal with that." So yes, it must be so, Lawrence really has her claws out for both Meryl Streep and Chastain alike.

And being the wonderful and level-headed woman she is, Chastain took to her Facebook page to dispell the gossip:

I find it very sad that media makes up bogus stories about women fighting in this industry. Filming The Help was the most amazing experience and yet, that is the film Im most asked about in regards to "fighting on set". Why do we support the myth that women are competitive and cannot get along?

I think all of the actresses recognized this year have given incredible performances. But more important, they’ve all shown themselves to be filled with generosity and kindness. I’ve done two photo shoots with Jennifer Lawrence over the years and have found her to be utterly charming and a great talent. I’ve told her how beautiful her film work is.

Please don’t allow the media to perpetuate the myth that women arent supportive of each other. Everytime an actress is celebrated for her great work, I cheer. For the more brilliant their performance, the more the audience demands stories about women. With support and encouragement, we help to inspire this industry to create opportunities for women. And as we all know: a great year for women in film, is just a great year for film xxjes

Let’s move on, shall we?

Paul Thomas Anderson and Joaquin Phoenix in Talks to Team Up Again for ‘Inherent Vice’

According to Variety, Joaquin Phoenix is looking to collaborate with PT Anderson once again after their extensive and impressive work together on The Master. Set to adapt and direct his version of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, this would mark the first authorized adaptation of one of the writer’s works and has been part of the Hollywood discussion for a while now, with Annapurna Pictures backing the film—and we’ve been hearing fora while that Robert Downey Jr. has been linked to the film for the leading character, Larry "Doc" Sportello. But now, it appears that Phoenix is looking to take over the role of Sportello, a stoner detective in Pynchon’s counter-culture noir. As of earlier this month, word around town was that Charlize Theron was also looking to join the project, which centers on the story of Sportello uncovering a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer in 1960s Los Angeles. Variety also went onto say that this will also be the first foray into comedy for Anderson.

But lest we forget, Punch-Drunk Love—an early-Altman-esque film about an emotionally inept man who collects pudding to amass frequent flyer miles and has a crying problem, who falls in love with an equally bizarre woman, in a world where aesthetics and mood go hand in hand while pieces of Jeremy Blake’s abstract art are spliced like tonal cue cards between moments—was Anderson’s attempt at a mainstream romantic comedy. So whatever realm of comedy this is in, I’m all for it.

Let’s just watch some great scenes from Punch-Drunk while we’re here.