The trickle of trailers hyping Sundance premieres continues with a new glimpse at The Discovery, an enigmatic sci-fi project that Netflix snatched up back in the summer. As we say in showbiz, there’s a lot of heat behind this one: the stacked cast collects endearing goof Jason Segel, Rooney Mara (how dare she look this good with bleached-blonde hair), Kirsten Dunst spouse Jesse Plemons, starlet on the rise Riley Keough, and how about that, Sundance king Robert Redford. Director Charlie McDowell also arrives with a handsome pedigree, having last helmed the metaphysical romance The One I Love, and it looks like he’s going high-concept once again for his new feature.
Austin, Texas native Terrence Malick shot his latest movie in and around the Austin music scene. And earlier this week, news broke that the film, freshly retitled Song to Song, was ready for release and coming to theaters in March. So we probably should have seen this announcement (via The New York Times) coming: Song to Song will open the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival. So you know what this means: A glitzy opening night red carpet, complete with Terrence Malick posing for lots and lots of photos and interviews. Or the exact and total opposite of that.
A brief personal anecdote: I had the good fortune of attending the Austin City Limits music festival in 2012, where I caught an outdoor set by Atlanta indie rock outfit the Black Lips. During the performance, I spotted an unfamiliar figure gripping a guitar onstage, a young woman who looked suspiciously similar to Rooney Mara. I’d find out the next day that she, Ryan Gosling, and Terrence Malick had come to town to slyly shoot some footage for an untitled project about the Austin local music scene. It was neat at the time, but over the past five years, I had forgotten all about it.
It’s downright mystifying that Una, Australian theatre veteran Benedict Andrews’ first foray into screen directing, hasn’t found an American distributor as of yet. It’s got two major stars in Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn — and with Riz Ahmed also appearing as a supporting player, they could even work the “Rogue One reunion” angle! — the reviews out of its screenings at the film festivals in Telluride and Toronto were uniformly strong, and it also happens to be excellent. (I was one of the critics praising the film as a superb actors’ showcase back at Toronto.) While there’s no U.S. release date on the horizon, it’s only a matter of time until some clever distributor makes a move, and for now, we’ve got a new trailer.
A few weeks ago, Joaquin Phoenix and director Gus Van Sant announced that they were reuniting for a movie once again, this time a biopic about quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan. It looks like the movie is picking up, because now both Rooney Mara and Jonah Hill are in talks to co-star in the movie, an adaptation of Callahan’s autobiography Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.
One of the greatest breakouts of the past five years was David Lowery’s Texan crime-romance Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which starred Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. It got Lowery on Disney’s radar to helm this summer’s Pete’s Dragon (which is fantastic), but the trio hasn’t worked together since that first 2013 film. Or so we thought — it appears that Affleck, Mara, and Lowery secretly got together over the summer to make a mysterious new film.
In a turn of events that gives evidence that maybe the world isn’t so terrible after all, Rooney Mara and Adam Driver are going to be starring in a movie together. They’ve both been on the up and up for a while, Mara giving incredible performances in dramas like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and last year’s Carol, and Driver ping-ponging back and forth between franchise and indie, as he’ll star in the next two Star Wars episodes and was also lauded for his a critically acclaimed performance in this year’s Paterson. The two have signed on to play lovers in Annette.
Sia had five original songs attached to new movie releases this year — and that’s not including the Rihanna track she wrote for Star Trek Beyond. It looks like 2017 is going to bring us even more Sia Cinema, as the brilliant lyricist and enigmatic singer is set to lend her musical skills to Vox Lux, a new drama that has also just secured Rooney Mara as its leading lady.
Google Earth is great. I often use it to find that one restaurant I went to on that one street, or for dumb reasons like trying to see if those satellites ever caught me walking outside my apartment. (We’ve all tried it, right?) But Google Earth can also do some actually important things, like help you find your long-lost family.
As a television company, Netflix has already established itself as one of the best and most important studios in the business. As a distributor of documentaries, they also have an impressive track record. But when it comes to feature films, Netflix still hasn’t quite put itself on the map. True, its Beasts of No Nation received good reviews last fall, and Pee-wee’s Big Holiday was a fairly entertaining trifle. But much of the rest of their feature film slate has been met with bad to oh-my-god-how-in-the-world-did-this-happen? reviews. Their Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel was delayed and then mostly ignored. Ricky Gervais’ Special Correspondents was nowhere near the heights of his TV work. And two movies in, Adam Sandler’s four-picture deal with Netflix seems like an experiment designed to test Netflix’s customers willingness to maintain their subscriptions.