WEIRDLAND

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bradley Cooper's "Ghost Army", Sci-Fi novels, Charles Manson in "Aquarius"

The NBC Universal-owned cable network announced Wednesday that it is teaming with Bradley Cooper, Oscar winner Graham King (The Departed, Argo) and Todd Phillips (The Hangover) to adapt Dan Simmons' Hyperion as an event series. Set on the eve of Armageddon with the entire galaxy at war, Hyperion is the story of seven pilgrims who set forth on a voyage to seek the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope and a terrible secret — while one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands. Published in 1989, the novel is the first book in the Hyperion Cantos series and won the prestigious Hugo Award.

“It is an absolute honor to enter into the world created by Dan Simmons that is arguably one of the greatest works of science fiction, and help realize it for television audiences,” said Cooper, who is also executive producing and recurring in CBS' Limitless adaptation.

For Syfy, Hyperion comes as the cabler has been making a massive — and expensive — push to put the science fiction back into its programming with content like 12 Monkeys, Childhood's End, Brave New World, Krypton, Incorporated, The Magicians, Dark Matter, Hunters, The Expanse, Z Nation and more. "As Syfy continues to forge important partnerships with award-winning talent on and off screen, this powerhouse team led by Bradley Cooper, Graham King and Todd Phillips brings an extraordinary track record in producing entertainment of the highest creative ambition," Syfy president Dave Howe said. "Epitomizing the gold standard of science fiction story-telling, Hyperion tackles smart and provocative themes that help define Syfy's development vision.” Source: www.hollywoodreporter.com

Clearly enjoying the producer's hat he recently donned for Hyperion, Bradley Cooper is now also putting together a WWII project at Warner Bros. He's developing, along with regular honcho Todd Phillips and American Sniper's Andrew Lazar, the WWII tall tale Ghost Army. The stranger-than-fiction story involves a secret squad made up of artists, designers, advertising execs and other creative types who were tasked with making the US army look a lot bigger than it was, and in a lot more places than it was, in order to fool the Nazis. This really did involve inflatable tanks, as well as dummies on the ground and fake radio operatives cluttering the airwaves with disinformation. As with Hyperion, it isn't yet clear whether Cooper also intends to appear in front of the camera. But if we were betting people we'd put a few quid on him being part of this one's ensemble cast. There's no start date yet, while Gayden gets on with the script. Source: www.empireonline.com

A World War II vet and old-fashioned cop (the TV kind that can't understand the need for these newfangled Miranda warnings), Hodiak (David Duchovny) is unable to penetrate the counterculture hiding Emma (Emma Dumont). So he forces a young undercover cop, Brian Shafe (Grey Damon), to help him — which he does, despite his objections to Hodiak's old-school methods. While some attempts to recall the tenor of the times feel strained, there are intriguing moments in the generational, racial and sexual clashes swirling around the central story. Unfortunately, whenever the show meanders its way back to that central story of Charles Manson and Emma Karn and their newly formed family, momentum stalls and interest drains.

The problem isn't so much the performance by Game of Thrones's Gethin Anthony as Manson, though he's not always as convincing as he needs to be at conveying either the threat Manson posed or the magnetism he supposedly possessed. It's that the Manson who will, in two years, commit the Tate/LaBianca murders looms too large for this smallish vessel to contain — making Aquarius feel less like a prequel and more like a dull footnote. The Manson you see here is more of a future threat than a real, present person, so you may end up feeling Aquarius would have worked better had it just renamed its villain and gone on from there. Source: www.usatoday.com

"I think everyone is fascinated by a guy who has never been charged with or convicted of murder, but is probably the most famous mass murderer in America," John McNamara (Aquarius's creator) says. "Manson is not a monster, Manson is a very ordinary person with extraordinary psychological problems and extraordinary charm and drive who did monstrous, monstrous things. We can never forget he's not different than us in his DNA. He's not from Mars. He's not from Hell. He's a guy from Oklahoma, but, boy, did he make some bad, bad choices." McNamara insists he's not trying to change the way Manson is perceived. "I was highly aware that Manson represents possibly the darkest thread in the tapestry of the '60s, and also I believe personally that Manson single-handedly destroyed the 60s. Tate-LaBianca was the end of the '60s. It turned everything wonderful or explosive or radical or new or amazing into death, paranoia and murder." Source: www.seattlepi.com

One of the most popular novels among the literate cons was Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. Its themes of alienation, government deceit, and redemption for the despised resonated with the incarcerated. Charles Manson was fascinated by the tale of fictional Valentine Michael Smith, born to human parents in a Mars space colony, raised by Martians and returned to Earth as a pawn of scheming politicians. Fascinated by religion, Mike Smith founds his own faith, experiences group sex, uses psychic powers to make enemies disappear, suffers a martyr’s death, and returns in spirit form. As he would with the Bible, Dale Carnegie, and Scientology, Charlie later incorporated elements of Stranger in a Strange Land into a beguiling, hybrid pseudophilosophy. —"Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson" (2013) by Jeff Guinn

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"Aloha" is a gift of love - Bradley Cooper & Emma Stone's off the charts chemistry


"Sony Pictures has responded to accusations that its Hawaii-set military-themed romance "Aloha" misappropriates indigenous culture and whitewashes its portrayal of the local population: "While some have been quick to judge a movie they haven't seen and a script they haven't read, the film 'Aloha' respectfully showcases the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian people." "Aloha, it's a gift of love, and you know aloha when you feel it," Crowe says in the video. "And you know when somebody's giving you that extra bit of compassion and understanding."


Blowback about the film's title came a week after the Media Action Network for Asian Americans issued a press release taking "Aloha" to task for featuring mostly white actors, including Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin. (MANAA has not seen the film.) Source: www.latimes.com

Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. Since the middle of the 19th century, it also has come to be used as an English greeting to say goodbye and hello. -Department of Linguistics/ "Semantics, Culture, and Cognition: Universal Human Concepts in Culture" (1992) by Anna Wierzbicka

Aloha Extended TV Spot - A Second Chance: Aloha was shot on location in Hawaii just before Cooper took on his role as Chris Kyle in “American Sniper.” Stone convinced Cooper to hold off on working out while they were on set. "I said, you’re gonna get huge… relax. He said, “Yeah, you’re right," so he relaxed.” Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone Talk New Film "Aloha" and their Favorite Guilty Pleasures.

 In Aloha — which hits theaters on May 29 — Cooper plays military contractor, Brian Gilcrest, who travels to Hawaii and unwittingly reunites with an ex (Rachel McAdams) and also develops romantic interest in his assigned Air Force watchdog, Allison Ng (Stone). The movie also costars Bill Murray and John Krasinski, so for reals, what else could you ask for?

 
I would wager a bet that Cooper and Stone’s chemistry in Aloha is going to be off the charts based on the movie’s trailer alone. This begs the question: could Stone end up being Cooper’s new “work wife”? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a certified shipper of Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as the perfect “work spouses”, but we all know Hollywood A-listers don’t always have schedules that can sync up, i.e., we can’t constantly have Cooper and Lawrence sharing the same screen all the time. That’s where Stone comes in. Source: www.bustle.com


In 1931, another “Aloha” movie told of “a half-caste island girl” who “refuses to follow tradition and marry a fellow islander, instead falling in love with a white man and heir to an American fortune.” There also was “Aloha Summer” in 1988 and “Aloha, Bobby and Rose” in 1975.

 
The title doesn’t bother all Native Hawaiians. “If you look at what aloha means, how can it be bad no matter how it’s used?” said TV and radio personality Kimo Kahoano. “I think Hawaii is the best place in the world. And the reason is aloha.” Source: www.accesshollywood.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bradley Cooper's Chef Poster, Emma Stone

Bradley Cooper’s majestic jaw-line, eyes, and – who am I kidding –entire face is worthy of at least a mini-standing ovation. But the poster for Adam Jones - which comes to us from Yahoo!- doesn’t reveal anything to us about the plot or the actor’s character. What’s he doing in the kitchen? Well he’s only set out to try and assemble the greatest culinary crew in history so that he can create the best restaurant this, or any galaxy, has ever seen.

The best thing that this film seems to have going for it really, is its cast – which is admittedly quite impressive. Bradley Cooper is consistently watchable, but Adam Jones has also assembled a rather nifty ensemble of exemplary actors. Not only will Fifty Shades Of Grey’s Jamie Dornan be joining Cooper in the kitchen (hopefully with his pants on), but Uma Thurman, Sienna Miller (Foxcatcher), Matthew Rhys (The Edge Of Love), Daniel Bruhl (Captain America: Civil War), Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), and Lily James (Cinderella) are along for the ride as well. Still not convinced? Well, how about the cheeky addition of Emma Thompson then? Thought that would finally raise a smile. Because, let’s face it, Emma Thompson makes everything worthwhile.

Following his exploits while filming American Sniper, Bradley Cooper had to shed plenty of weight in order to portray Adam Jones and please director John Wells. And the above poster, for all of its averageness, does prove that Cooper is back to his trim-self. One tiny little issue that Bradley Cooper’s weight loss couldn’t solve though was the fact that Jon Favreau’s tantalizing Chef beat Adam Jones to its original title. This led John Wells and screenwriter Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Locke, Peaky Blinders) to re-title the film "Adam Jones". Source: www.cinemablend.com

Bradley Cooper's character falls for Emma Stone's in the upcoming romantic comedy Aloha – and the pair's chemistry translates off screen, as well. PEOPLE caught up with the pals in London for a story in this week's issue and asked what their most marketable assets would be if they were to craft Tinder profiles for one another. Apparently, it's all about the eyes!

Cooper, 40, got downright poetic talking about his costar's peepers: "[Her] reptilian eyes take you into a kind place, soft and lovely and full of grace." (Jokes Stone of their looks: "I’m a snake, he’s a lizard!")

For her part, Stone, 26, playfully reads even more into Cooper's baby blues – including takeout preferences – telling PEOPLE: "Look at those blue [eyes]. He's into Chinese food, but he's equally into making you smile." While they had some fun joking about it, both say they aren't on the dating app – though Easy A alum Stone has done some swiping of her own.

As for their love lives, Stone and boyfriend Andrew Garfield are on a break due to busy schedules, while Cooper was spotted kissing model Irina Shayk in London last week.

Aloha – in which Cooper and Stone appear alongside a starry cast including Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin and Bill Murray – hits theaters May 29. Source: www.people.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Orson Welles' "The Stranger", Evolution of Noir

The Stranger (1946) is in some ways the most fascinating film of Orson Welles' career, and, yes, that is saying a lot. The film was one of the few out and out successes in Welles' famously turbulent directorial vocation, and it's not hard to see why. This is a film which bristles with implied menace in the same sort of way that Hitchcock's tonally similar Shadow of a Doubt does. What's so amazing about the film for those of us who like to analyze or indeed over-analyze things is how seamlessly Welles manages to keep pushing the directorial envelope even as he sacrifices nothing in the way of story momentum or apt characterizations.

This is a film as innovative in its own way as Citizen Kane was in terms of camera setups and framings. Over and over again Welles shoots around and literally through items that are in the foreground of the frame, as if daring the audience to look beyond the surface to the unseemly underbelly of what's going on. There's almost always something "unimportant" happening up front in setup after setup in this film, which in turn literally forces the viewer to look more deeply. Just as bracing is the brilliantly literate script by a number of co-writers (including an uncredited John Huston and Welles himself).

Though the film unfolds as a sort of mystery thriller, there's a surprisingly nuanced look at Nazi atrocities (including the first ever feature film inclusion of concentration camp newsreel footage) and the very beginnings of a sort of international complacency that was perhaps an overreaction to the decade of horror which had just passed. The dinner table scene in The Stranger is really a marvel of political debate, as Germany's reaction to its own post-War place in the world is examined within the confines of polite conversation.

If Loretta Young's Mary is perhaps too naïve to ever be a fully believable character, the actress herself is so completely luminous in this film that she overcomes any passing qualms. But the film is really all about the cat and mouse game between Welles and Robinson, and neither has been finer. Welles is able to be both perfectly suave and completely menacing, often simultaneously, and his slow descent into (perhaps further) madness is riveting. Robinson is stalwart and steady, in a way quite similar to the Spencer Tracy character coming up against a different kind of evil in Bad Day at Black Rock. Robinson, like Tracy, is the unassuming all American here, nobody's fool but not exactly the strapping hero type, either. This is a battle of wits much more than brawn.

If the film finally gives into a bit of Grand Guignol posturing at its climax, Welles is probably not to blame. As so often happened in his career, the film was taken from his control and cut to its producer's satisfaction. (The producer, by the way, is iconic Sam Spiegel working under the name of S.P. Eagle). But as with so many Welles films wrested from his control—The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil—even the fussy hands of those who thought they knew better couldn't completely quash the genius of the man in the director's chair. Very few films have managed to so brilliantly meld a political thriller into such a noir format. Source: www.blu-ray.com

22nd MAY 8:00 PM - THE STRANGER (1946): A small-town schoolteacher suspects her new husband may be an escaped Nazi war criminal. Director: Orson Welles. Cast: Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Orson Welles. BW-95 mins Source: www.tcm.com


When neo-noir flourished in the 1970s, the movement emerged--fully formed as a genre--from its black-and-white cocoon. According to filmmaker Paul Schrader, noir began with The Maltese Falcon and ended with Orson Welles's Touch of Evil. He'd add that it was largely an American movement that applied certain stylistic (high contrast lighting, voice over narration, non-linear storytelling) and thematic (existentialism, the cruel mechanizations of fate, amour fou) elements in genres ranging from melodramas to detective films. Another film scholar might add that directors like Fritz Lang and Billy Wilder never described their films as being "noir." They thought they were making thrillers. Film noir? That's a term the French critics applied retroactively. This video essay series takes the fairly provocative stance that film noir became a genre.

Essentially, in its golden age during the 1940s, noir was a mode/movement that was superimposed onto other genres. In the words of genre theorist Rick Altman, genres can start off as "adjectives"--fragments of the style and theme might be there, but the genre has yet to fully solidify because the filmmakers and audiences haven't quite gotten their heads around it yet. However, by the time Robert Aldrich was making Kiss Me Deadly in 1955, the writings of the French critics had made it stateside (in fact, there's a picture of him reading Borde and Chaumeton's Panorama du Film Noir on the set of Attack!), and perhaps the filmmakers and audiences had finally begun to think of noir as being a noun.

A list of the films featured in this installment: M, La Bete Humaine, This Gun For Hire, The Big Sleep, Out Of The Past, The Killers, The Lady From Shanghai, In A Lonely Place, Sunset Blvd.,
Ace In The Hole, Bob Le Flambeur, Breathless, Shoot The Piano Player, Chinatown, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Pulp Fiction, Sin City, Drive. Source: blogs.indiewire.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bradley Cooper & Irina Shayk in London

The stage door of the Theatre Royal Haymarket is about to be mobbed. For tonight is the opening of The Elephant Man, fresh from Broadway and starring hot Hollywood property Bradley Cooper wearing nothing but a loincloth. When Cooper was a drama student in 1999 on holiday in London he “took the pink line” to the Royal London Hospital, where Merrick was treated, and used his charm to persuade a member of staff to take him on a tour of the garden where The Elephant Man practised walking. It’s not all intense swotting up from the actor though, with friends saying he’s “intellectual but also great fun”.

New girlfriend Irina Shayk will be joining him on this trip — so prepare for Brad-ina sightings near the Notting Hill house he is said to be renting. The Russian model, aged 29, and Cooper were seen kissing at Novikov restaurant in Mayfair last week and have been dating since April. Date night with Cooper could take Shayk anywhere in London — he has been seen eating at an eclectic selection of restaurants including Burger King Leicester Square and J Sheekey with Anna Wintour (they have a shared interest in tennis and Cooper will be here to perk up rain delays during Wimbledon). A friend says he doesn’t like celebrity haunts, it’s why he prefers New York to more starry Los Angeles.

Wedding Crashers was his big break, when he was 30, and then came The Hangover. At that point, believe it or not, one casting director described him as “not fuckable”.

If you can’t make it to this performance, there are plenty of other places to catch Cooper. He has a cameo in television show Limitless, new film Aloha, with Emma Stone, is out in September and his latest collaborator is Beyoncé — they are doing a remake of A Star is Born. Source: www.standard.co.uk


ET caught up with Aloha stars Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone at a special screening of in London, where Emma filled us in on the one place in the world she does not want to visit.

Model Irina Shayk attends a celebrity party during the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2015 in Cannes, France.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mad Men finale, The Elephant Man

A lot of viewers find the allure of Mad Men to be the advertising conceit and the drinking, smoking, screwing around, the costumes/clothing, the midcentury furniture, etc. – and those are all wonderful elements of the series. But the backbone of the series has always been a far less sexy consideration of one man’s existential angst and his struggle with identity and purpose. Weiner’s intellectual curiosity and fascination with the deeper meaning of existence is precisely why Mad Men has so much gravitas; but his smartest move was also loving all the exterior passions that make life interesting and fun. Weiner simultaneously presented the “end” as open-ended, which could have easily been canceled out by the appearance of wrapping up those very stories.

By that I mean that on one level the stories the Mad Men characters live go on, even though we have resolution and closure on another level. I thought that’s how Weiner would end it, but of course had no idea how open he’d leave it. As an example, we are left to assume that Don goes back to New York, back to McCann-Erickson, and regains his old job and the Coca-Cola account, plus delivers a TV ad for the ages. Don is running from home, from all the broken relationships and the changes, the life not led, the dead-end decisions – even the empty victories of money and success. There’s no happiness, no fulfillment, in any of it – just more “is that all there is?” emptiness. In California, at the end of the earth, he’s lost and crushed. “I broke all my vows. I scandalized my child. I took another man’s name and made nothing of it,” he tells Peggy, the albatross still weighing him down after all these years. He hangs up soon after, and collapses from the weight of it all.

Don, almost comatose, is led back in to a group therapy session and hears another man describe his own inability to be loved or acknowledged. (I liked how Weiner didn’t have Don say any of this – that Don heard it and related to it on same level for himself.) The man said his wife and kids don’t really notice that he’s present or alive. “They should love me. Maybe they do. But I don’t even know what it is. You spend your whole life thinking you’re not getting it. People aren’t giving it to you. Then you realize, they’re trying. And you don’t even know what it is.”

Jon Hamm did a superb job, as he always does, portraying Don’s implosion prior to that turn of events. I bought into the creation of that final half hour or so knowing that it had to be truncated to tell it within the episode. But that’s also where the open-ended storytelling device Weiner employed was useful – we know that Don was meditating on the cliffs above the ocean when the idea came to him for the ad campaign, but we also understand that he didn’t just get up and run off the lawn. He took what he experienced at the communal retreat/Esalen as a transformative life experience and employed it, we are to assume, as a changed man back at his job.

Lastly, there was so much to love in storylines that had the most closure. Peggy’s touching and comic realization that Stan loves her and she also loves him. Pete and Trudy jetting off to their new life together. Roger, embracing his age and laughing with his new wife, Marie. Joan, dubbing her new company “Holloway-Harris” and fulfilling her need to make something herself, even if it meant losing a man in the process (and we’re able to imagine that if it’s necessary for her to be together with someone, that someone will come along). We get a sense of the optimistic in those relationships and scenes. Even Betty’s elegiac last scene, defiantly smoking and going out on her terms, was something to behold. Source: www.hollywoodreporter.com

Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper has revealed he has to hang upside down on an inversion table to straighten his back after playing Joseph Merrick on stage in The Elephant Man. Cooper plays the physically deformed Merrick by contorting his body rather than using prosthetics. He told BBC Radio 4's Front Row that twisting his features had left one side of his face bigger than the other."Right now my face twitches sometimes," he said.

The play is transferring to London after a successful run in New York, and Cooper said that having experienced back pain during the New York shows, he had brought his table with him. "It's all about illusion," he said of the play, written by Bernard Pomerance in 1977. "The physical challenge is having to twist body and hold it for two hours. It's brutal, we did 120 performances in New York and in the last two weeks of the play I started to feel it in my back and my mouth and my face, all the muscles got very strong."

"This side is bigger, I don't know what's going to happen [in London]. I do worry a little bit, I'm not going to lie," he laughed. The story of John Merrick also inspired David Lynch's Bafta-winning 1980 film, which starred John Hurt. "There was something about the way he lived his life, the curiosity, the levity he had. Given all of his physical afflictions, it was mesmerising to me in a cinematic form, in a physical form, and it made me think 'I want to tell stories like this,' " he said. US critics have raved about Cooper's performance as Merrick, following on from his three Oscar nominations for American Sniper (2014), American Hustle (2013) and Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Source: www.bbc.com

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bradley Cooper will appear on CBS's "Limitless"


"Limitless" - CBS - Trailer 2015. A man gains the ability to use the full extent of his brain's capabilities. A television adaptation of the 2011 film 'Limitless'. Directed by Neil Burger and Marc Webb.

Bradley Cooper will reprise the role of Eddie Morra from the film LIMITLESS, for a recurring role in a new TV series based on the hit movie. LIMITLESS, directed by Neil Burger, was a surprise hit for Cooper back in 2011, and news broke earlier this year that the movie was to be adapted for television. The series, like the movie, revolves around a man who discovers the mysterious drug NZT which allows its user to unlock their brain’s full potential. The character of Finch also “has a clandestine relationship with Senator Edward Morra (Cooper), a presidential hopeful and regular user of NZT who has plans of his own for his new protégé,” according to Deadline who broke the news.

The official statement says that Cooper will appear “as much as his schedule permits” on the CBS based drama, but he will definitely have a guest spot in the pilot episode which has been directed by Marc Webb (THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN). Source: www.thehollywoodnews.com

Limitless avoids overt political statements; nevertheless, Morra’s rise lampoons the left-leaning artist by showing that bohemians will take a piece of the action if given the opportunity. Limitless is a blast to watch. Dazzling effects render NZT’s impact on Morra. Multiple Eddies fill the frame, capturing his frenzied, yet focused multi-tasking. Glowing letters fall from the ceiling and form words as he writes his novel in two NZT-stoked sittings. Numbers tick over in the ceiling panels as he works out an algorithm for turning $12,000 into over $2 million in just a few days.

Mise-en-abyme effects hint at the infinite possibilities opened up by the drug, as well as Morra’s burgeoning ego. The camera plunges forward in an unwavering line, passing down sidewalks, through crowds and buildings, mimicking Morra’s dizzying drive to know. Cooper clearly relishes the role and makes the NZT-addicted Morra impossible to hate. Deploying his wit and boundless confidence, Morra pulls in the audience along with everyone he meets on screen—traders and cocktail party guests alike. Source: www.popmatters.com