Richard Linklater to Hit the Appalachian Trail With Robert Redford and Nick Nolte

Sundance darling Richard Linklater is having a busy year already with his upcoming Before Midnight hitting theaters in May. Linklater has always been the kind of director who keeps a busy schedule, so it’s no surprise that he’s already linked to helm another film, this time featuring film legends Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in an adaptation of Bill Bryson’s travel memoir, A Walk in the Woods, Following two old friends who make a plan to walk the Appalachian Trail, the film will blend a bit of Linklater’s tried and true walking-and-talking style, this time setting the scene in the American wilderness rather than luxe European cities. It’ll be kind of like Into the WIld, but much funnier and with a much happier ending.

[via LA Times]

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‘Gangster Squad’ Cast Gets a Noir Makeover

2012 has been an interesting year for cinema—both for Hollywood and independent film. We’ve fallen in love with indie wonders and foreign hits like Beasts of the Southern Wild, Sound of My Voice, and Holy Motors, while still getting swept up in Silver Linings Playbook, The Master, and Argo. But as it’s only the second week in December, there’s still Django Unchained, Amour, and Les Miz (set to be released in the coming weeks) to keep us rolling into theaters. But between January’s Sundance Film Festival and the slew of films to be released in the late winter months, we’re looking to the New Year with savory anticipation. And one of the films that seems as if we’ve been waiting forever for to see is Ruben Fleischer’s nod to old Hollywood, Gangster Squad.

After a few set backs along the way—with necessary reshoots, a reworked finale, and marketing change—the film will finally burst into theatres on January 11 and we’re excited to see what the cast of leading men and Emma Stone (in a role that looks to be a more siren-esque than we’ve seen her before) will deliver for us. The 1949-set gangster film stars Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Michael Peña, Giovanni Ribisi, and Anthony Mackie in a flashy shoot-em-up crowd-pleaser that tells the story of LAPD officers fighting to keep the East Coast mafia off their golden streets.

As an added promotional bonus for the film, photographer Estevan Oriol rounded up the cast for a series of minimalistically stylish and slick black and white portraits that harken back to the leading men of classic noir. But looking at these great photos, you can’t help but wonder—what if Fleischer had chosen to shoot the film with this aesthetic? What if the film was filled with some Gordon Willis-esque shadowplay and say, Cliff Martinez and Max Richter covering the music for the film? What if he took the pacing down a notch, with less explosions and thrills and more smokey simmering? Damn, that would have been good. But maybe this will be too! I have only seen the trailers afterall. Either way, check out the photos from the shoot and two additional featurettes

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Fern Bar Fridays: Riddles and Mysteries and Apricot Scarves with Carly Simon

Welcome to Fern Bar Fridays, a lighthearted romp (is there any other kind?) through a decade of cool music and even cooler drinks. The fern bar era, which roughly spanned 1975-1985, was filled with giant lapels and ties (and then later teeny tiny lapels and ties), ridiculous drinks, and sweet sounds. Every Friday we’ll bring you a song and drink pairing emblematic of that delightful time to help you get the weekend started off on the right loafer-sans-sock-shod foot. This week we’re taking on the impossible question and asking who? WHO??? it’s about with: "You’re So Vain" by Carly Simon.

It’s my contention that everybody has a person in their life who they picture while singing along to "You’re So Vain." (The assumption here is also that everybody sings along to "You’re So Vain" and quite frankly if you don’t, I don’t want to know you.) For most folks, women in particular, that person is probably an ex. Oddly, though, the person I picture is an incredibly tall and wealthy Texan I was pals with when I was a younger lass. He wasn’t even particularly arrogant; it’s more that I always thought he would look dashing in an apricot scarf.

None of that is really here nor there, but serves to illustrate the sort of devotion people have to "You’re So Vain." It’s one of those songs that feels nearly universal for women of a certain type, though of course it’s not (how many of us actually know people who charter Lear jets to Nova Scotia?) (Um actually? Do they still even make Lear jets?) It’s a bit like "I Will Survive" in that respect, except it’s not as excruciatingly embarrassing for everyone involved.

So right, everyone knows the story, but just in case we have a young’un in the audience who’s all, "Carly? Like iCarly? Oh yuh sure, of course I know who she is [insert epic eye roll]," causing the rest of us to die instantly of old age, here’s the quick and dirty summary: In 1972, Carly Simon released "You’re So Vain," the lyrics of which detail a romance with an unnamed casanova who was in possession of a rather healthy ego. Since then, the identity of Ms. Simon’s overly cocky paramour has remained one of rock’s greatest mysteries (indulge me and read that in your best AJ Benza voice).

Naturally, music’s most well known guessing game is one that’s often played at Rita’s, the imaginary fern bar that exists in my head. If I had to pick just one swaggering fella who so thoroughly wronged Our Carly, for my money Warren Beatty gets the nod. But in all honesty, I believe her when she said, before the song became a huge hit, that it’s about "men" rather than one single man. But that’s just no fun! Other common speculative egoists include Mick Jagger, Cat Stevens, David Bowie, Nick Nolte, and Kris Kristofferson, all of whom Carly was romantically linked to prior to marrying her now ex-husband James Taylor in November 1972, just a month before "You’re So Vain" was released.

Then there’s the so-called hint she included on the re-recorded version she released in 2010 that included a clue in the form of a man’s name, David, whispered when played backwards. Which? Marvelous. Clues found by playing records backwards are so ferny, especially when done in whisper form. We love ourselves a salacious mystery down at Rita’s, but can we all acknowledge that "David" backwards is basically… David?

That led to speculation that the David in question was David Bowie; the problem with that is that it conflicts with Angela Bowie’s claim to be "the wife of a good friend," which I mean… it takes a real special asshole to say publicly that they think the song—even as a bit character—is about them. Just a stunning display of narcissism going on here. I half expect that underworld spy to come out and be all, "Yes, I’m the underworld spy. Nick Nolte and I go way back."

But then! Then it came out that perhaps the whispery, backwards David is actually David Geffen. Who is gay. So that can’t parse right? Until you consider that perhaps it really is David Geffen, and that Our Carly was just wicked pissed that Mr. Geffen was paying more attention to rival Joni Mitchell and BOOM THIS IS MY NEW THEORY. I absolutely love it.

With that out of the way, TO THE SONG!

While I’m not overly thrilled with the video selections available to me (I wanted vintage Carly, foot-stomp pout waaaaaaah), I picked this one for the ferny quality of a dockside concert. And because I generally like to get into the lyrics of our weekly picks, but have already nattered on at great length on the topic, I’ll keep this last observation short: we should all commend Ms. Simon for rhyming ‘gavotte’ with ‘cravat’ because that is a spectacular achievement, particularly given that it took place in an age before rhymezone.com.

But back to that apricot scarf. Because it’s the lyric I tend to focus on, I was insistent that whatever drink I chose for this week’s pairing featured apricot in some way, shape or form. I’m particularly tickled by the cocktail I landed on, not only because it contains apricot brandy but because it’s called—bongo roll please—The Lady Killer!

I know, it’s so perfect I can hardly stand it. But how to make this delight? Here’s how:

1 oz gin
½ oz Cointreau
½ oz apricot brandy
2 oz passion fruit juice
2 oz pineapple juice

Shake all ingredients together in shaker with ice and strain into a Champagne flute or highball glass over a few cubes of ice. Garnish with mint and cherry.

Serve to the wife of a close friend.

‘Gangster Squad’: Old-Timey Cops Growl and Love Jay-Z

There’s been a fun little trend in movies in the last few years in which period films are all ramped-up and kick-ass. Remember A Knight’s Tale, the Heath Ledger-fronted middle ages comedy featuring a dance-off to David Bowie? Or Baz Luhrmann’s whole aesthetic? Well, now we can extend the same idea to La-La Land of the Golden Age of Hollywood, as the trailer for Gangster Squad, this fall’s ensemble drama about the LAPD’s war on organized crime, is set to Jay-Z. Sure, why not?

Gangster Squad, which I’m going to call Growlin’ Squad, features hard-broiled dudes like Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and Nick Nolte teaming up with pretty boy Ryan Gosling (we know how I feel about him) to tell the story of the LAPD’s attempt to rid the city of East Coast Mafia-types in the ’40s and ’50s. If the trailer above is any indication of how things worked back then, these cops, who apparently shot everyone in a movie theater (an perfectly executed cinematic image that I am guessing takes a bit of liberty with historical accuracy), put the crooked policemen in L.A. Confidential to shame. Like Curtis Hanson’s movie (which celebrates its fifteenth anniversary this year), Gangster Squad features Mickey Cohen, although more prominently. We’ll have to wait for the actual film to see if there are any high-class Hollywood hookers, and I’m assuming that Danny DeVito won’t be getting waterboarded by Josh Brolin. Bummer!

I just hope Cohen isn’t the only big-name gangster in this movie, because I’m picturing this group of rag-tag L.A. cops as an older version of Monster Squad. Mickey Cohen’s got nards?

2011 Oscar Nominations Go More or Less as Expected

With the speed of a lumbering engine powered by critical hubris and self-importance, the 84th Academy Awards nominations dropped into our newsfeeds this morning with predictable result. Did you know that people liked The Descendants this year, The Artist as well? Brad Pitt and George Clooney scored the requisite Hollywood heartthrob acting votes (they will lose to the no-name French guy who doesn’t talk), while Meryl Streep got her due for sticking around. Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese were also nominated, just like they always are. It’s another Oscar ceremony, y’all!

But not to sound cynical or anything. It’s somewhat surprising, though definitely nice, to see Terrence Malick get official recognition for The Tree of Life, even if there’s almost no way the hype-happy Academy will give their highest awards to a movie with more than a handful of inscrutably artsy scenes. Equally surprising on the other end is the inclusion of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, a movie that no one seemed to like but not for any inscrutably artsy reasons, simply because it’s kind of schmaltzy and not very good. Why not give the spot to something innocuous like Bridesmaids or even the last Harry Potter movie, if they’re trying to go commercial? Madness, it’s all madness. (I won’t even get started on Albert Brooks’ snub for Drive.) You can look at the important nominees below, or go to the Academy’s website for the full list.

Best Picture
The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse

Actor in a Leading Role
Demian Bichir – A Better Life, George Clooney – The Descendants, Jean Dujardian – The Artist, Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Brad Pitt – Moneyball

Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis – The Help, Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady, Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn

Directing
Michael Hazanavicius – The Artist, Alexander Payne – The Descendants, Martin Scorsese – Hugo, Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris, Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life

Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branaugh – My Week with Marilyn, Jonah Hill – Moneyball, Nick Nolte – Warrior, Christopher Plummer – Beginners, Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Actress in a Supporting Role
Berenice Bejo – The Artist, Jessica Chastain – The Help, Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids, Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs, Octavia Spencer – The Help