The third season of Breaking Bad wraps up tomorrow night, June 13th. The fourth cycle of AMC’s Mad Men premieres July 25th. One week later, on August 1st, the network expands its stellar slate of drama series to three with the pilot episode of Rubicon. Appropriately enough, the promo is more of a puzzle than an explanation, and I love that tagline: “Not every conspiracy is a theory.” The Daily Beast has a few details to help clarify (but offers no clues about that four-leaf clover):

AMC gets into the conspiracy game with Rubicon, a dramatic thriller set in a New York City-based government intelligence agency think tank. James Badge Dale (The Pacific) stars as analyst Will Travers, who uncovers a series of clues that point towards a dangerous conspiracy and a cabal of power brokers who can exert their influence against anyone.

I like how this preview evokes Twin Peaks with the hint of Angelo Badalamenti-inspired ambient chords, and have confidence the plot strands will come together with more coherence than the David Lync cult classic. AMC exec Joel Stillerman says the series fits with the network’s new slogan: Story matters here.

“We thought this was a great story to tell, which is relevant for the time we live in, with unique voice and characters in a very unique world that hadn’t been explored — think tanks,” Stillerman said.

This is one of three TV thrillers I’m looking forward to following over the next few weeks. The others being Doug Liman’s espionage drama Covert Affairs for the USA network, and ABC’s Scoundrels, revolving around a family of con artists with Virginia Madsen as its matriarch. More about those in upcoming posts. Any other hot summer series we should be keeping under surveillance?

Scheduled to air preceding the third season opener of True Blood Sunday night, here’s an early look at the third promo for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, premiering Sept 10. Terence Winter, writer and producer for The Sopranos, created the new series based actual historical events chronicled in “Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City” by Nelson Johnson. Winter will executive produce along with Martin Scorsese who’s directing the premiere episode with a pledge to remain closely involved. We hope Marty might be enticed to direct future installments. Thanks to Craig Kennedy at LiC for the tip-off.

…In case you missed it in March, promo #2 after the cut.

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Deadline reports The Weinstein Company has swept in as US distributor for Reign of Assassins on the eve of the Shanghai International Film Festival. The Fortissimo film is co-directed by John Woo and Terence Chang.

The martial arts epic is a fast-paced action thriller set in the Ming Dynasty and stars Michelle Yeoh (CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON, SUNSHINE), as a skilled assassin who falls in love with the son of a man who was killed by her gang. Unaware that he also is a trained martial artist, their love blossoms and then tensions rise as the past comes back to haunt them.

The press release notes John Woo will head the jury at the Shanghai Fest, and he’ll receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival in September.

A hard-living Hollywood actor re-examines his life after his 11-year-old daughter surprises him with a visit.

Hinging on this familiar device which promises to be handled with special finesse by Sofia Coppola, Somewhere stars Stephen Dorff as the bad-boy actor and Elle Fanning as his daughter who unexpectedly pops up. Michelle Monghan, Benicio Del Toro and Laura Ramsey also appear. Somewhere weighs in at a fleet 98 minutes and the cinematographer is Harris Savides (Zodiac, Milk, Elephant), master of sun-soaked funk. Music by French indie band Phoenix (featured in cameo performing in period costume in Coppola’s Maria Antoinette). Thanks to Richard Crawford for passing along this casually glamorous teaser poster, a glimpse of secluded allure tucked away at the foot of the Hollywood Hills behind the Chateau Marmont on Sunset.

More long lens set photos of Water for Elephants, this time a few pics of Robert Pattinson (cue screams) — courtesy of ONTD:

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Trailer Addict has posted four new Inception TV spots. ¬†Each of these releases nuggets of info as the plot starts to take shape. ¬†I don’t see how the anticipation level could be any higher for any film coming out this year. ¬†I’m going to guess that IMAX will be the way to see it. ¬†If it’s anything like The Dark Knight visually, it will be something to see indeed.

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Our favorite photographer-turned-director, Anton Corbijn, posted more gorgeous shots of George Clooney on the set of the American.

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[UPDATE: Frank Marshall tweets: “The rumor about INDY 5 is completely false. Nothing has changed, we are not shooting next year and still in the research phase…”]

In a tale whose origins are as vague and mysterious as the Hoodoo Sea itself, Dark Horizons links to an unsourced story from Stuff.nz that says Indy 5 might begin filming as early as next year with a plot revolving around the infamous Burmuda Triangle located roughly between Florida and Puerto Rico where hundreds of unexplained disappearances have occurred over the years.

“George (Lucas) and Steven (Spielberg) have been working on a script and it’s almost there,” a source explained.

“Harrison is on stand-by for filming next year. This looks like being an emotional and exciting conclusion to the franchise, with Indy facing his biggest challenge yet.”

…Movie bosses have assured fans the film will stay true to the series’ roots, and won’t contain lots of state-of-the-art special effects.

“Shia LaBeouf has a central role again as Indy’s son but this will be a blockbuster made in the old fashioned way rather than the CGI efforts of the last movie,” the source added.

Which all sounds intriguing — if we only knew who was saying it. Slashfilm triagulates the scant facts of the premise and notes that “no screenwriter has been hired to turn that idea into a script.” But that little impediment didn’t prevent Crystal Skull from going forward (and earning $786 mil worldwide).

The original Stuff piece had to repeat everything twice to pad out the gossip to 6 or 7 sentences, but that’ll be plenty to get some spitballing snowballing around the net. Feel free to dive in with better plot or title suggestions, snarky or otherwise. Indiana Jones and the Limbo of the Lost has the right franchise cadence — and resonates with Lucas on more than one level.


Brought to you by Accidental Sexiness and ONTD where you can find more pics. ¬†Waltz was last seen losing the Best Villain award at the MTV Movie Awards — good god.

Water for Elephants is helmed by video-turned-feature director Francis Lawrence (I am Legend), and also stars Robert Pattinson (cue screaming), Reese Witherspoon and Hal Holbrook (cue screaming).  The synopsis: A veterinary student abandons his studies after his parents are killed and joins a traveling circus as their vet.

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Johnny Depp is winning Anne Thompson’s online poll as to who should play the Jimmy Stewart part in Harvey in the Steven Spielberg remake now that Tom Hanks has bowed out. Her list of possibles – I have crossed my “no ways,” for no particular reason other than I can’t imagine them playing the part. I’ve also added my best substitute names.

Will Smith
Harrison Ford Stephen Colbert (my number one choice)
George Clooney
Johnny Depp
Nic Cage Ewan McGregor
Russell Crowe Ryan Gosling
Brad Pitt
Jim Carrey Ricky Gervais
Denzel Washington
Leonardo Di Caprio Steve Martin
Colin Firth
Mel Gibson Adam Sandler
Hugh Grant
Steve Carrell

There has got to be some kind of major financial potential lost when Nicole Kidman drops out of a project. You’d think that she would be replaced with someone of equal star power. Funnily enough, Woody Allen decided not to match fame for fame and chose instead Lucy Punch to replace Kidman. Variety says that “sources” say “Punch will play a high-priced call girl similar to Ashley Dupre, who was at the center of the scandal that brought down New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.”

Kidman had other committments with The Rabbit Hole.

It looks as though there is some kind of disconnect between how the reception of Inglorious Basterds is going so far, at least according to Goldstein, who looks at the internet and concludes that those who like Harvey Weinstein are showing favorable reviews. Those who don’t are showing non-favorable reviews. Goldstein seems sure the movie is bad:

The reviews keep coming in from all media outposts, with Variety mixed, the Hollywood Reporter largely negative and Time magazine’s Richard and Mary Corliss declaring the movie “a misfire.” My colleague Kenneth Turan, who was also at the screening, calls the film a “self-indulgent piece of violent alternate history.”

However, my favorite assessment of the film comes from director Eli Roth, who plays Sgt. Donnie Donowitz in “Basterds.” He defends the film’s narrative conceit about tough Jews getting revenge against Hitler, describing it as “kosher porn. It’s something I dreamed since I was a kid.”

Turan’s comment makes the film seem too alluring to pass up. The trajectory of a film out of Cannes has changed in the past decade. When there were more critics than bloggers films would open there, a few reviews would pop up, but it wouldn’t really matter because once the film opened here in the US the rules were changed. Now, it feels like the film has been seen by so many already, thus how can it overcome the reviews and reinvent itself when it opens here?

Meanwhile, the Weinsteins brought out the big guns when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt made yet another appearance at Cannes — it’s becoming some kind of tradition.


Reader Javier sends this news:

Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonz√°lez I√±√°rritu’s shooting in Barcelona (Spain) is one of this year’s secrets. It was known that Rodrigo Prieto, who has just worked with Pedro Almod√≥var on his imminent new project ‘Broken Embraces’, will be in charge of cinematography and music will be composed by Gustavo Santaolalla, Academy Award Winner for ‘Brokeback Mountain’, by Ang Lee, and ‘Babel’, by Gonz√°lez I√±arritu. Morever, these days there was another announcement: the protagonists of this film will be Academy Award Winner Javier Bardem and Argentine actress Maricel √Ålvarez, very popular in her country. However, almost nobody knows its title and its shooting starting date. I have both answers! The website of Spanish Culture Ministry reports that Gonz√°lez I√±√°rritu’s project will be entitled ‘Biutiful’ (pronunciation of “beautiful”) and he will begin to shoot on October 27.

Cameron Crowe’s latest project hasn’t even started filming yet but chatter is already rumbling on the web thanks to the screenplay making the rounds. The film stars Reese Witherspoon and Ben Stiller. Gone Elsewhere’s Nick talks to James about the script and makes up the funny headline “Crowe Vs. The Volcano.” When asked to summarize the plot:

A man, close to middle age, having problems with women. Semi-successful, but doesn’t know what to do with his life. Has crisis. Meets old flame. Had problems with her. Meets new, exciting, woman. Has problems with her. They’re all on Hawaii. Hijinks ensue. You guess the rest.

And when asked to write it like it was “detailed press release”:

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