Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rosario Dawson & Josh Hartnett in "Parts Per Billion", Josh Hartnett ("Someday Soon") video

Rosario Dawson as Gail in "Sin City" (2005)

Josh Hartnett as The Man in "Sin City" (2005)

Frank Langella ("Robot and Frank"), Gena Rowlands ("Yellow"), Rosario Dawson ("Sin City") and Josh Hartnett ("Black Hawk Down") have signed on to star in “Parts Per Billion,” the producers told TheWrap. Brian Horiuchi is directing from his own screenplay, with Molly Hassell ("Edmond"), Jennifer Levine ("Delirious"), Michael Benaroya ("Lawless") and David Dickson producing. Joe Jenckes ("Margin Call") will be executive producing with Dawson, Cotty Chub and Arianne Fraser. Benaroya Pictures, through its AKA/BSF label, is financing the ensemble film that tells the story of three couples dealing with a reality-shaking event that threatens to tear them apart. Source:

Josh Hartnett ("Someday Soon") video: A video featuring pictures of Josh Hartnett and his co-stars Kirsten Dunst in "The Virgin Suicides", Kate Beckinsale in "Pearl Harbor", Julia Stiles in "O", Shannyn Sossamon in "40 Days and 40 Nights", Diane Kruger and Rose Byrne in "Wicker Park", Marley Shelton in "Sin City", Radha Mitchell in "Mozart and the Whale", Lucy Liu in "Lucky Number Slevin", Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank and Mia Kirshner in "The Black Dahlia", Melissa George in "30 Days of Night", Naomi Watts in "Rain Man", and stills from "The Faculty", "Black Hawk Down", "Resurrecting the Champ", "August", "Bunraku", "Singularity", etc.

Happy Anniversary, Gloria Grahame!

Happy Anniversary, Gloria Grahame!

Gloria Grahame in Human Desire (1954) directed by Fritz Lang

Soundtrack: "Gloria" by The Cadillacs and "There She Goes Again" by The Velvet Underground

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Donnie Darko and The Faculty

Jake Gyllenhaal in People magazine, November 2012

Josh Hartnett, photoshoot by Kurt Iswarienko (2012)

"Donnie Darko" is the first of its type—the surrealist teen schizo angst comedy (Static, Repo Man, Heathers, Parents, etc)—to successfully pull all the elements together and forge them into a genuine work of art. it has depth both of meaning and of feeling; it comes from the heart and not just the head. Donnie Darko is teen comedy romance spliced with hallucinatory horror movie, and yet the splicing is seamless, invisible and impeccable. Except in the early high school scenes (which the director seems to be deliberately undermining by speeding up the images and drowning out the sound), there’s never a sense of watching a cross genre movie. In fact Donnie Darko doesn’t seem like a genre movie at all, principally because it isn’t. It’s closer to Blue Velvet than The Faculty: It’s a rite of passage, a mythological journey. Donnie Darko is a schizo movie about adolescence in which objective reality (so far as there is one, which is debatable) is even weirder than the subjective reality of the schizo himself. Source:

Of the smallish tradition of American black comedies that have utilized a high school setting--Heathers, Rushmore, Election, The Faculty (I insist it's a comedy), none has done so more effectively than Darko. Donnie's school, Middlesex, is lorded over by a grotesque bronze mascot, half-man, half-bulldog, known as the Mongrel, and this bizarre piece of statuary informs the character of the school, a place where self-help guru Jim Cunningham (a perfectly cast Patrick Swayze) is regaled by half the faculty, reviled by the other half, and whose student body has the paranoid cohesion of patients on a mental ward. Gyllenhaal, by turns menacing, vulnerable, and funny, brilliantly assists his director in conveying the emotional substance of the film, and the remainder of the cast--notably Katharine Ross as Donnie's psychiatrist, and Mary McDonnell and Holmes Osborne as his well-intended but bewildered parents--complements his performance. If Darko had been better distributed and given a sufficient advertising budget, I'm convinced that Gyllenhaal would have a chance for an Oscar nomination. Source:

20 Best Horror Movies Of the 1990′s: "The Faculty": "When we were in school we all thought our teachers were aliens from outter space and in the case of The Faculty they really are. Written by Scream scribe Kevin Williamson and directed by Robert Rodriguez The Faculty is an outstanding teen horror film that evolves around a group of students who must unite to not just take back their school but also save the world. The film stars Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett as well as the stunning Selma Hayek who plays a ‘school nurse’… if only she really was." Source:

“And I thought that maybe I could give you a taste of my world. A world without anger, without fear, without attitude. Where the underachiever goes home at night to parents who care. The jock can be smart, the ugly duckling beautiful, and the class wuss doesn’t have to live in terror. The new girl - well - the new girl she can just fit right in with anybody. People who are just like her. You see Casey, even Mary-Beth’s feelings can be hurt by a bunch of pathetic, lost, little outcasts who truly believe that their disaffected lonely life is the only way they can survive.” -Marybeth Louise Hutchinson (Laura Harris) in The Faculty

"This smart, involving sci-fi picture, set in an Ohio high school, pays homage to several genre faves, notably Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing.

But more surprising is the nod to The Breakfast Club, with peer group pressure, disaffected teens rebelling against 'alien' adult authority figures, and Duvall's miserablist Goth, Stokely, a dead ringer for Ally Sheedy's shy, neurotic Allison. The neatly worked scenario pits a disparate group of Herrington High students against teachers who've been transformed by an alien parasite into smily, emotionless drones. Forced to work together, the kids put aside their differences, using their newly discovered collective strength to fight the common alien foe. But since affected humans show no outward signs of having been 'turned', even this tightknit group is riven by suspicion and paranoia. Rodriguez opts for a slow build-up, using John Carpenter style framing and fluid camera movements to generate creepy suspense, before pushing in close to engage with the threatened teens." Source:

Some clips from "The Faculty" (1998) directed by Robert Rodriguez, starring Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris and Shawn Hatosy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Josh Hartnett & Radha Mitchell in "Mozart and the Whale", Intelligence and Behaviour

"Mozart and the Whale" (2005): A love story between two savants with Asperger's syndrome, a kind of autism, whose conditions sabotage their budding relationship. Director: Petter Næss, Writer: Ronald Bass, Stars: Josh Hartnett, Radha Mitchell, John Carroll Lynch and Gary Cole

Radha Mitchell and Josh Hartnett as Isabella and Donald in "Mozart and the Whale" (2005) directed by Petter Næss

'Mozart and The Whale' is the type of movie where an intense subject is broached, and the audience gets to experience a different kind of relationship movie. Centrally, the two main characters suffer from Asperger's syndrome, which is a form of Autism that differs from some better-known variations. With Asperger's, intelligence generally remains constant (or inflated), but there exists extreme deficiencies in social and communication skills. It is evident from the start of the film that the characters have a tough time "fitting in", and it becomes quite apparent that they are on their own for the most part.

Both Hartnett and Mitchell are exemplary in depicting their characters, and the story doesn't throw any flashy sequences or special effects into it to mess up the subtleties of the writing. I think in that regard the story really succeeds in conveying how difficult their relationship is, and just how hard they each have to work at something to make it succeed. Source:

"Our intelligence and behaviour requires optimal functioning of a large number of genes, which requires enormous evolutionary pressures to maintain. Now, in a provocative theory, a team from Stanford University claim we are losing our intellectual and emotional capabilities because the intricate web of genes which endows us with our brain power is particularly vulnerable to mutations - and these mutations are not being selected against our modern society because we no longer need intelligence to survive. But we shouldn't lose any sleep over our diminishing brain power - as by the time it becomes a real problem technology will have found a solution making natural selection obsolete." Source:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst in "On The Road", Josh Hartnett video

Kristen Stewart in "On The Road" (2012) directed by Walter Salles

'On the Road' is a big departure for Stewart, whose character, Marylou, daringly explores sexuality, drug use and heartbreak over the course of a meandering cross-country road trip. Ask if she's leaning toward making more indies vs. big-budget blockbusters, and she'll tell you that the level of risk feels the same regardless. Her favorite road trip? "The one that I took right before I did On the Road, probably," she said. "We had to cram it into three days. I went to many diners." Source:

Kirsten Dunst, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart attending the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, 2012

James Franco: "I saw On the Road at the Toronto Film Festival."

Kirsten Dunst plays Camille in "On The Road" (2012)

Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett in "The Virgin Suicides" (1999) directed by Sofia Coppola

James Franco: "I remember auditioning for that movie three or four years ago opposite Josh Hartnett -- needless to say neither of us got the roles based on young Kerouac and Cassady.

I played young Ginsberg in 'Howl' soon after that. It has taken a long time for 'On the Road' to come out and over the course of those 50 years the material has changed, because we have changed. When Marlon Brando died, an unanswered letter from Kerouac, written in the '60s, was found in his house."

"The letter asked Brando to play Dean Moriarty opposite Kerouac as Sal Paradise; I'm pretty sure the idea was to actually drive across the country on the routes that were depicted in the book and film the adventure on 8 mm. This sounds like an amazing idea, and I'm sad that Brando never took him up on it. The other funny part about that story is that I heard Kerouac actually hung around The Actors Studio for a while because he was thinking about dabbling in acting and filmmaking (see also Robert Frank's Pull My Daisy, the narration for which Kerouac wrote and read -- Ginsberg stars); an impulse that shows his need to break from the page after his initial brush with and extreme dislike of literary fame; an impulse that probably pushed Kesey and the Pranksters onto the road after he wrote Cuckoo's Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion (the idea of behavior and film as writing); the same impulse that pushed Kaprow to move from the canvas into performative Happenings." Source:

A video featuring pictures of Josh Hartnett and his co-stars Kirsten Dunst in "The Virgin Suicides", Kate Beckinsale in "Pearl Harbor", Julia Stiles in "O", Shannyn Sossamon in "40 Days and 40 Nights", Diane Kruger in "Wicker Park", Marley Shelton in "Sin City", Radha Mitchell in "Mozart and the Whale", Lucy Liu in "Lucky Number Slevin", Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank and Mia Kirshner in "The Black Dahlia", Melissa George in "30 Days of Night", Naomi Watts in "Rain Man", and stills from "The Faculty", "Black Hawk Down", "Resurrecting the Champ", "August", etc.

Songs "Sick of Goodbyes" by Cracker, "Playboy" by The Marvellettes and "Excitable Boy" by Warren Zevon
Jake Gyllenhaal attending the 'New Eyes For The Needy' 80th Anniversary Gala on November 19, 2012 in New York City

Jake Gyllenhaal knows a good cause when he sees one. The End of Watch actor was honored Monday night at FIJI Water's New Eyes for the Needy 80th Anniversary dinner, held at Colicchio & Sons in New York, for his work with the organization. "Jake, who brought his mom as his date, talked at length to the small room – and he didn't even have to give a speech! – he shared some personal stories from childhood," an onlooker tells PEOPLE.

Gyllenhaal explained to guests that he got involved with the organization as a child because his grandpa, a doctor, made him donate his eyeglasses every time his prescription changed. He added that while "all his friends were trying to save the seals, he maintained 'If you can't see the seals, how can you help them?' " the source adds.Sporting a beard, Gyllenhaal and his mom sat next to How to Make It in America actress Lake Bell and her fiancé Scott Campbell. Source:

Happy Anniversary, Evelyn Keyes!

Happy Anniversary, Evelyn Keyes!

As a teenager, Keyes took voice, dance and piano lessons. Working as a chorus girl she performed for local clubs such as the Daughters of the Confederacy. Keyes moved to California at age twenty and shortly after her arrival in Los Angeles, a chance meeting with legendary director/producer Cecil B. Demille led to a Paramount contract. Her first role with DeMille was a small part in his pirate epic “The Buccaneer” (1938). After roles in a small handful of B movies she had another small part in a DeMille movie, the sprawling railroad saga “Union Pacific” (1939). It was David O. Selznick who gave her the part of Suellen O’Hara, who loses her beau to the more calculating Scarlett in “Gone with the Wind” (1939).

Keyes then signed with Columbia Pictures and in 1941, she played an ingenue role in “Here Comes Mr. Jordan”. She spent most of the early 1940s playing leads in many of Columbia’s B dramas and mysteries. She appeared as the female lead opposite Larry Parks in Columbia’s blockbuster hit “The Jolson Story” (1946) and as Kathy Flannigan in “Mrs. Mike” (1949). Keyes’ last major film role was a small part as Tom Ewell’s vacationing wife in “The Seven Year Itch” (1955), which starred Marilyn Monroe. Keyes officially retired in 1956, but continued to act, appearing occasionally on television in shows such as “Love Boat” and “Murder She Wrote” among others.

Evelyn Keyes was married four times. The first to Barton Oliver Bainbridge Sr. from 1938 until his death from suicide in 1940. She then married director Charles Vidor in 1943. They divorced in 1945. Her next marriage was to actor/director John Huston on July 23, 1946. They divorced in February of 1950. Keyes last marriage was to bandleader Artie Shaw in 1957 and lasted until their divorce in 1985. While married to Huston, the couple adopted a Mexican child, Pablo, whom Huston had discovered while on the set of “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948). Source:

Evelyn Keyes is one of the six dames featured in Eddie Muller's book "Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir" (2001)

John Payne and Evelyn Keyes in "99 River Street" (1953) directed by Phil Karlson

"Tab Hunter's willingness to fly up from Santa Barbara to accept Muller's invitation to introduce '99 River Street' and 'Hell´s Half Acre' indicates a loving friendship with Evelyn Keyes, which made me respect him all the more. Hunter peppered his introduction with the memory of Evelyn Keyes looking at herself on the screen, exclaiming: "There's star quality! Look at those tits!"

Keyes was quite the character apparently and—according to author and Noir City 5 co-producer Alan K. Rode, with whom I had a charming chat last night—both Hunter and Muller cleaned up their remembrances somewhat, not wanting to offend their audience. Maybe one of these days over a lucky single malt, I'll get to hear what was respectfully omitted. For now, it was such a pleasure to experience Noir City 5's tribute to Evelyn Keyes; a double-punch I didn't mind taking on the chin." Source:

On Thursday, Jan. 17, author and noir expert Eddie Muller (Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir) will join TCM host Robert Osborne to present five memorable thrillers from the 1950s.

The lineup is set to feature Cry Danger (1951), with Dick Powell and Rhonda Fleming; 99 River Street (1953), starring John Payne and Evelyn Keyes; Tomorrow is Another Day (1951), with Ruth Roman and Steve Cochran; The Breaking Point (1950), starring John Garfield and Patricia Neal;

and The Prowler (1951), starring Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes. Source:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dashiell Hammett's legacy, Dark Crimes

Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man invented a new kind of crime fiction. It was hard-boiled, but also light-hearted; funny, with a hint of homicide. Now, for the first time, the stories of After the Thin Man and Another Thin Man have been published as novellas.

In 1934, The Thin Man was made into a popular motion picture, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy — and a wire-haired terrier — which spawned five sequels, including After the Thin Man and Another Thin Man. And although the screenwriting couple of Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich usually completed the screenplays, MGM Studio needed the stories and characters that only Hammett could write.

Now, for the first time, the stories of After the Thin Man and Another Thin Man have been published as novellas — The Return of the Thin Man. They have been edited by Richard Layman and Julie M. Rivett.

On Hammett's heavy drinking, a quality which he invested in Nick Charles: "You know, there was a famous photo session of all of the former writers for Black Mask magazine. Raymond Chandler was also a Black Mask writer. And this photo — which was made in, what, 1935, 1936, one of the only known photos of Chandler and Hammett together — afterwards Chandler wrote to someone saying that Hammett had had at least 12 drinks during the time that they were together, and didn't show the least effect from them. Nick Charles is in many respects like Hammett, just as Nora is in many respects like Hammett's girlfriend, Lillian Hellman, to whom The Thin Man, the published book, is dedicated."

On Hammett's attitude toward the characters he'd created: "I think he was fed up with Nick and Nora Charles — not fed up. He was tired of them pretty early on, and he was fed up with the studios for the exploitation of the characters that he saw. Just before he finished the last draft for Another Thin Man, MGM bought all rights to the characters Nick and Nora Charles and asked so that they could develop the series without him. They paid $40,000 for those character rights. And Hammett wrote to Lillian Hellman just after that, 'There may be better writers than I am, but nobody ever created a more insufferably smug set of characters than the Charles, and they can't take that away from me, even for $40,000.'" Source:

"Good writing is more than clever plotting sprinkled with witty dialogue, and there’s a difference between drafting a tale for other hands to finish and honing your own work as close to perfection as you can get it. “Red Harvest,” “The Maltese Falcon,” a handful of Hammett’s Black Mask tales — those works aim for that perfection. These screen stories, meanwhile, were penned not for posterity, but for a studio paycheck. “The Return of the Thin Man” is a fine curiosity, but hardly a fresh capstone to Hammett’s distinguished career." Source:

Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Mary Astor in 'The Maltese Falcon' (1941) directed by John Huston, based on Dashiell Hammett's novel.

"Early classical noir was limited largely to shooting on studio sets rather than using real locations, as can be seen in such films as 'Scarlet Street', 'The Maltese Falcon', 'The Big Clock', 'The Big Sleep', or -one of the very best examples- 'The Blue Dahlia'. These films dramatized what in essence was a closed world, characterized visually by the tight framing of a trapped, claustrophobic milieu often viewed through high-angle shots." -Encyclopedia of Film Noir (2007) by Geoff Mayer & Brian McDonnell

Turner Classic Movies and Universal Studios Home Entertainment present a 3-disc collection including The Glass Key (1942), Phantom Lady (1944) and The Blue Dahlia (1946).

"A ruthless political boss and his personal advisor become entangled in a web of organized crime and murder which involves the alluring daughter of a rising gubernatorial candidate in The Glass Key, a stylish remake of the 1935 film based on Dashiell Hammett's popular pulp fiction. A man arrested for murdering his wife can't produce his only alibi - a mysterious woman he met in a bar - so his loyal secretary goes undercover to locate her in Phantom Lady, based on the crime novel by Cornell Woolrich. A WWII veteran is accused of killing his unfaithful wife and races against time to find the real murderer with the help of a sympathetic stranger in The Blue Dahlia, adapted for the screen by hard-boiled detective writer Raymond Chandler who received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay." Source:

Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd in a promotional photo of "The Blue Dahlia" (1946) directed by George Marshall

The Blue Dahlia has become inextricably linked to the infamous 1947 Los Angeles murder case known commonly as The Black Dahlia. Victim Elizabeth Short was found dead, her torso severed in half, in January 1947. It has remained an unsolved crime to this day. Elizabeth Short was known as The Black Dahlia before she died because of the dark color of her hair and her penchant for wearing black. The nickname was a play on words of The Blue Dahlia, one of the popular films of the day. On April 21, 1949 Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake reprised their roles from The Blue Dahlia for a half-hour radio broadcast version of the story for The Screen Guild Theater. Source:

Mia Kirshner as Elizabeth Short in "The Black Dahlia" (2006) directed by Brian De Palma, based on James Ellroy's novel

"Chandler wrote the kind of guy that he wanted to be, Hammett wrote the kind of guy that he was afraid he was. Chandler’s books are incoherent. Hammett’s are coherent. Chandler is all about the wisecracks, the similes, the constant satire, the construction of the knight. Hammett writes about the all-male world of mendacity and greed. Hammett was tremendously important 
to me." -James Ellroy

-What about The Black Dahlia?

-James Ellroy: The LAPD will not let civilians see the file on the Dahlia case, which is six thousand pages long. When I started working on the novel, I was still caddying. I was living in Westchester County and realized that I could get, by interlibrary loan, the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Herald-Express on microfilm. All I needed was four hundred dollars in quarters to feed the microfilm machine. Man, four hundred bucks in quarters—that’s a lot of coins. I used a quadruple-reinforced pillowcase to carry them down from Westchester, on the Metro-North train. It took me four printed pages to reproduce a single newspaper page. In the end the process cost me six hundred dollars. Then I made notes from the articles. Then I extrapolated a fictional story. The greatest source, however, was autobiography. Who’s Bucky Bleichert? He’s a tall, pale, and thin guy, with beady brown eyes and fucked-up teeth from his boxing days, tweaked by women, with an absent mother, who gets obsessed with a woman’s death. It wasn’t much of a stretch. Source:

Josh Hartnett as Dwight 'Bucky' Bleichert, a former boxer and a Homicide-Warrants Division detective in "The Black Dahlia" (2006)

"Sam Spade as an Ideal and Dream Man: "Spade was given Hammett's own first name of Sam. The last name was said to have been connected to a boxer of Hammett's period, John Spade. In a swift summation of the detective he invested with fame in book form and Humphrey Bogart christened with his own unique stamp of no-nonsense machismo, Hammett stated: "Sam Spade is a dream man in the sense that he is what most of the detectives I worked with would like to have been and what quite a few of them, in their cockier moments, thought they approached... a hard and shifty fellow, able to take care of himself in any situation, able to get the best of everybody he comes in contact with, whether criminal, innocent bystander or client." -"Pulp Fiction to Film Noir: The Great Depression and the Development of a Genre" (2012) by William Hare