‘Ghost Dog’ Sequel In The Works

Jim Jarmusch has been keeping it pretty chill since last year’s release of “Paterson” and “Gimme Danger,” but the director always has a couple irons in the fire. Last month, Tilda Swinton revealed she was gearing up to reunite with the filmmaker on a new project, which is yet to be revealed. But it seems that’s not all the director has cooking up.

RZA recently took some time out to chat with Telerama, and the rapper/director/actor revealed that a followup to “Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai” was in the works, though it sounds like it’s still in formative stages.

READ MORE: Jim Jarmusch Explains Why “The Auteur Thing Is Nonsense”

“Jim Jarmusch, my good buddy, and Forest Whitaker, have both signed on with me and another writer named Dallas Jackson, to executive producer another ‘Ghost Dog.’ And we already have something written. So maybe ‘Ghost Dog’ will make its way back to the silver screen, or small screen,” the Wu-Tang Clan member said.

RZA, of course, created the terrific score for ‘Ghost Dog,’ and had a role in the film, and while it sounds like the core creative team are back, it does seem like they’ll be guiding this new incarnation, though not directly making it. Jackson has been a producer on the TV shows “South Of Nowhere” and “Rebel,” and if I were to make a guess, I’d assume “Ghost Dog” might be headed toward television. The story — about a mafia hit man and his stringent adherence to a samurai code — seems a perfect fit for an episodic format, so we can spend far more time in the character’s unique world.

No word yet if Forest Whitaker will reprise his role or not, or heck — maybe the twist here is that Tilda Swinton is the lead hit woman (I kinda doubt it). But it looks like there’s more super cool samurai stories on the way.

Hou Hsiao-hsien’s ‘Daughter Of The Nile’ Finds Beauty In Inscrutability [Review]

It’s a rare filmmaker whose movies give the impression of nothing happening when everything is happening, and that qualifier suits Hou Hsiao-hsien just fine: He’s one of a kind, the type who gets away with checking influences in his work because his work metastasized into cinema worth praising as “original” a long, long time ago. Name-drop “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragonwhen chatting up “The Assassin” all you like, but it doesn’t change its identity as a Hou film first and a wuxia picture second; compare “Daughter of the Nile,” enjoying its first ever theatrical run in the U.S. thirty years after its release, to “Rebel Without a Cause,” if you like, but you’re comparing oranges to kumquats.

“Daughter of the Nile” has obvious antecedents, the most important among them belonging to Yasujiro Ozu, whose filmography feels like a blueprint for Hou’s career; in 2017, the year that The Criterion Collection gave us the gift of “Good Morning” on Blu-ray, the restoration of “Daughter of the Nile” feels like kismet. If you appreciate Ozu’s knack for wringing fine art out of flatulence, then you’ll marvel at how Hou uses farts as a respite from tragedy. The movie doesn’t go all-in on fart gags, mind you, and only catches its characters conversing on the subject of gas precious few times; it’s tempting, in these moments, to imagine Hou with a hand clapped over his mouth behind the camera, giggling under his breath at his ingenuity in foisting puerile humor upon his assuredly highbrow arthouse audience. As jokes go, that’s the best joke of all.

But the joke isn’t so much a joke as a provision of reality. Hou’s approach to filmmaking is incidental; watch any of his movies, save perhaps for “The Assassin,” and you might wonder if he simply wandered into a space and rolled cameras, quietly, surreptitiously, without attracting even a glance from his subjects. His aesthetic is indiscriminate: If he happens upon characters in discussion on serious affairs, he films them. If he happens upon, say, a grandfather extolling the virtues of a good fart to his granddaughter, he films them, too. “Back home,” grandfather says to his disgusted granddaughter, “all the kids love to hear Grandpa fart.” Hou isn’t picky. It’s all art to him. Even a chat about bodily functions assumes a touching, bombastic poetry in his hands.

We’re getting off course, here, but suffice it to say that Hou is maybe the perfect director to make a movie that drills down past the mundane elements of everyday living and straight to the cruder core of his characters’ humanity. Let’s put that another way: “Daughter of the Nile” might as well accord its cast the luxury of breaking wind (and downwind, no less), because Hou has no qualms showing them at their worst in other, more meaningful capacities. The film begins in the future tense before immediately, and not a little jarringly, reverting to the past, framing itself as a story of reflection; Hou introduces his protagonist, Hsiao-yang (Taiwanese pop star Lin Yang), as an adult, only to then flashback to Hsiao-yang’s upbringing on the outskirts of Taipei. Like the city, like youth itself, the plot is a sprawl contained by the particulars of her home life.

Hsiao-yang is the de facto head of her family; we learn that her mother died prior to the events in the film, that her father, a police officer, works in Chiayi and is thus in and out of the house, that her older brother died in a car crash, and that her remaining brother, Hsiao-fang (Jack Kao), is a burgling, scheming, petty crime committing cad. Apart from Hsiao-yang, only her grandfather (Tianlu Li, one of Hou’s regulars) and her little sister can be described as pure, or upright, or at least just decent. Dad isn’t a bad guy, but he’s hardly ever around. Hsiao-fang is always around, but he’s usually up to no good. The film pivots on Hsiao-yang’s infatuation with one of Hsiao-fang’s cohorts, Ah-sang (Fan Yang), a connection that scarcely deepens but draws her closer and closer to the dangerous life her brother flirts with.

The film draws its title from a Japanese manga, “Crest of the Royal Family,” Hsiao-yang’s preferred escape from the rigors of living; interstitial images composed of hieroglyphics and animal-identifying deities, accompanied by Hsiao-yang’s narration, serve as the film’s bookends, with the text scarcely referenced throughout the rest of its running time. The kinship Hsiao-yang feels for the comic, in which an American girl is magically transplanted from her time to ancient Egypt and inevitably falls head over doomed heels for a comely young pharaoh, is a multifaceted motif: Reading affords her well-earned respite from existential chaos, but the respite never lasts long. The chaos is overwhelming. Hou, of course, is a disciplined craftsman, and as such the film maintains a prevailing sense of peace even in its most turbulent scenes. Gangland shootings feel as routine as rainstorms, though it helps that Hou prefers to keep his violence elliptical.

We don’t quite understand who is being shot at, or why. Maybe we know the characters, but Hou holds his viewers at arm’s length from them, such that the circumstances of their injuries read as mysterious. The distance is appropriate. Hsiao-yang is our anchor. She lives under the same roof as her brother, but she seems to hardly know him beyond his criminal endeavors. “Daughter of the Nile” features fits and spurts of barbarism, removed from Hsiao-yang’s understanding of her own sibling.

The obfuscatory effect works; there’s a block between us and the film’s specifics, but the story is easily understood regardless. We don’t need the mechanisms that drive Hsiao-fang’s crooked enterprises. We don’t need to know why Hsiao-yang works at Kentucky Fried Chicken, or how she came to develop a crush on Ah-sang. We don’t even need to get why her father works in a totally different city. Hou’s presentation is artistically blunt: He treats the stuff of “Daughter of the Nile” as a matter of fact. Its inscrutability is essential to its power as narrative and its beauty as cinema. [A-]

Jordan Peele And Universal Celebrate Art of ‘Get Out’ As Oscar Awaits

Awards Season is in second gear and there doesn’t seem to be a night or afternoon that goes by without some event or special screening. This past week alone Warner Bros.’ brought out the kids from “It” for a deserved “don’t forget to give us some love” Q&A; Fox Searchlight had their annual holiday party with Guilermo del Toro and Martin McDonaugh on hand; Searchlight also hosted the LA premiere of “The Shape of Water” at the Academy; STX saved AFI Fest’s collective you know what by replacing “All The Money In The World” as the closing night film with a “tribute” to “Molly’s Game” director and scribe Aaron Sorkin; and Showtime had their own holiday fete with notable names such as Kevin Bacon and recent Emmy winner Lena Waithe (whose new show “The Chi” drops on the network in Jan.). And that’s not counting all the guild screenings filling every screening room in town. On Friday night, Universal found a way to break through the Oscar chatter with an impressive screening, reception and gallery installation for Jordan Peele’s“Get Out.”

Appropriately held at the Lombardi House in Hollywood, the event featured original artwork that the studio had collected from both fans and notable artists. It goes without saying the installation was beyond impressive. The art inspired by the film was often spectacular and wasn’t limited to print or paintings. There were some powerful multimedia creations such as the one captured and embedded on this post (click on the image to see the animation). Moreover, the work speaks to how much the social commentary of “Get Out” has resonated with many who have seen it not just in the U.S., but around the world.

I spoke to star Daniel Kaluuya who told me he already had a friend requesting prints of some of the works (although who was going to get those made neither of us could answer). Kaluuya has had an absolutely incredible year. He admitted that everything that could have happened with “Get Out” – originally seen by Universal as just a small horror thriller with a safe $4.5 million budget – is what you “dream” about. Still one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year, “Get Out” has grossed a stunning $254 million worldwide and made Peele one of the most sought after filmmakers in Hollywood (Universal smartly snagged his next movie). The role helped Kaluuya land a key role in Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” and another in Steve McQueen‘s follow up to “12 Years A Slave,” the ensemble thriller “Widows” alongside Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez,Elizabeth Debicki and Carrie Coon, among others. Moreover, Kaluuya knows this “Get Out” ride is far from over. Is a SAG ensemble nomination in his future? Possibly. Will be able to say he starred in a film nominated for Best Picture? I absolutely wouldn’t bet against it.

Earlier this week there was a ton of online “controversy” over whether “Get Out” was correctly categorized by a comedy for Golden Globes purposes (it’s not the first movie to go through this journey with the HFPA), but in the end it allowed Peele to make a statement which, in many ways, exemplifies why the film will resonate beyond Oscar night.

“The most rewarding part of making “Get Out” is the conversations the film has inspired.

When I originally heard the idea of placing it in the comedy category it didn’t register to me as an issue. I missed it. There’s no category for social thriller. So what? I moved on.

I made this movie for the loyal black horror fans who have been underrepresented for years. When people began standing up for my voice, it meant a lot. “Get Out” doesn’t just belong to me any more, now it belongs to everyone.

The reason for the visceral response to this movie being called a comedy is that we are still living in a time in which African American cries for justice aren’t being taken seriously. It’s important to acknowledge that though there are funny moments, the systemic racism that the movie is about is very real. More than anything, it shows me that film can be a force for change. At the end of the day, call “Get Out” horror, comedy, drama, action or documentary, I don’t care. Whatever you call it, just know it’s our truth.”

Beyond Peele and Kaluuya, other notable names on hand included Allison Williams and Universal Studios Chairman Donna Langley. Check out some more images from the event below.

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‘The Terrific Ten’ Trailer: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, J.J. Abrams Bring Jimmy Kimmel’s Childhood Comic To Life

Every kid has dreamed up their own comic book heroes, or written their tales of grand adventure. However, few of them group up to be celebrities that have A-list friends who can bring it to life. But that’s just what Jimmy Kimmel got for this 50th birthday.

The last night staple has hit the mid-century mark, and as part of the festivities, J.J. Abrams rounded up Kimmel pals and associates Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Cousin Sal, Jon Hamm, Shaq, Ty Burrell, Billy Crudup, Jake Tapper, Wanda Sykes, and Matt Damon to make a trailer for “The Terrific Ten.” Yep, Abrams used Kimmel’s childhood comic as the source material….and it’s pretty dumb. But the celebs have a lot of fun with the goofy material, and Kimmel is pleased as punched to revisit a chapter from his past.

It turns out, “Justice League” isn’t the only superhero movie in town this week.

‘Judd Apatow: The Return’ Trailer: Hitting The Stage Again Isn’t Easy

Before was an acclaimed television producer and hit filmmaker, Judd Apatow was working the stand-up circuit. Once success in other mediums took hold, he abandoned the mic, but now, after 25 years he’s giving it another shot in the appropriately titled “Judd Apatow: The Return.”

“…. I stopped doing stand-up a long time ago, because I created ‘The Ben Stiller Show‘ that we did for Fox back in the day. I got so busy writing for that show that I didn’t have time to write any jokes or work out material at clubs for about a year,” Apatow told Vanyaland about stepping back on stage. “When that ended, I thought that maybe it was the universe telling me I was supposed to write. Then I got busy making all of those movies, and when I was working with Amy Schumer on ‘Trainwreck,’ she was doing a ton of stand-up shows, so I got to talking to her about it, and started to miss it, and one day I thought ‘Ya know what? Let me go up on stage and make you laugh’ — just so she could see what it was like when I used to do it. So, I wrote some jokes and went over to the Comedy Cellar one night, it oddly went well, and after that show was over, I just wanted to do it every night.”

The result is a Netflix special not only documenting Apatow’s material, but also seeing him rub elbows with his comedian pals….who aren’t always supportive….

“Judd Apatow: The Return” arrives on December 12th.

‘Godless’ Trailer: Frank Griffin Is On A Murderous Mission

Next week, Thanksgiving arrives, which will leave you with plenty of time to crash on the couch. And if you don’t feel like going out, Netflix has a must-see limited series that will help you digest all that turkey.

Scott Frank‘s “Godless” will be saddling up, and it’s bringing a terrific cast and premise to the small screen. Jeff Daniels, Michelle Dockery, Jack O’Connell, Scoot McNairy, Sam Waterston, and Kim Coates star in the series which isset in a mining town in the Old West made up entirely of women, where an outlaw attempts to hunt down his former protege. Here’s the official synopsis:

Notorious criminal Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) and his gang of outlaws are on a mission of revenge against Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell), a son-like protégé who betrayed the brotherhood. While on the run, Roy seeks refuge with hardened widower Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery), an outcast herself, in a worn-down, isolated mining town of La Belle, NM — governed mainly by women. When word reaches La Belle that Griffin is headed their way, the town bands together to defend against the murderous gang in a lawless western frontier.

“Godless” hits Netflix on November 22nd.

‘The Assassination Of Gianni Versace’ Trailer: ‘American Crime Story’ Delivers Deadly Fashion

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” set a new bar for true crime drama on television, and took home some Emmy awards and a Golden Globe in the process. Now, creator Ryan Murphy and his team are back for a whole new season, and a whole new crime.

The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” brings together a heckuva lead quartet — Edgar Ramirez, Darren Criss, Ricky Martin (yes, the singer) and Penelope Cruz — for the story of Andrew Phillip Cunanan, an American serial killer who murdered at least five people, including fashion designer Gianni Versace on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion, during a three-month period in 1997. It’s all here — garish fashion, big acting, a compelling story — and we’re absolutely ready for every minute.

“The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” hits FX on January 17th.



‘Trust’ Teaser: Look Out Ridley Scott, Donald Sutherland Is Chillingly Impressive

Part of the reason why Ridley Scott and Sony have been in such a big rush to get “All The Money In The World” out next month — even if it means replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer for last minute, expensive reshoots — has been to beat FX‘s “Trust.” The series from Danny Boyle tackles the exact same story as Scott’s movie, and if the first teaser is anything to go by, Sony has good reason to sweat.

Slumdog Millionaire” writer Simon Beaufoy has put his pen to “Trust,” which features a pretty intriguing cast — Hilary Swank, Harris Dickinson, Brendan Fraser (!), and Michael Esper — but perhaps mostly notably Donald Sutherland as John Paul Getty, the role that Plummer will play in Scott’s film. And damn, the first taste is pretty impressive.

While “Trust” has been built to track the wealthy Getty through the decades, from season to season, the first season will tackle the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, the heir to the billion-dollar Getty oil fortune. It’s a story made more fascinating when John Getty’s decision to refuse to pay the ransom, arguing that it would make his other relatives a target, forcing the child’s mother to battle with her estranged father-in-law for his freedom. Here’s the synopsis for “Trust”:

Trust will delve into the trials and triumphs of one of America’s wealthiest and most notorious families, the Gettys. Equal parts family history, dynastic saga and examination of the corrosive power of money, Trust is a story that attempts to unlock the mystery at the heart of every family, rich or poor.

“Trust” arrives in 2018.

Rumor: Kevin Spacey Can’t Be Easily Removed From ‘House Of Cards’

As allegations of sexual harassment and assault, came out against Kevin Spacey, Netflix and production company Media Rights Capital moved quickly to separate the actor from their hit series “House Of Cards.” The sixth season was put on hold, the actor was removed from the series, and now the writers are racing against a Thanksgiving deadline to reconfigure the new episodes so they don’t include Frank Underwood. However, is all of this legally sound?

According to a report from Blast (grain of salt, etc.), Spacey’s contract does not have a morality clause. Thus, he can only technically be fired from “House Of Cards” if he’s “unavailable” or “incapacitated.” Technically, he’s neither — Spacey has voluntarily stepped away to receive some kind of undisclosed “treatment.” Even more — and again, this is all rumor — Spacey’s team is alleging that Netflix and MRC sent a letter to cast and crew asking people to come forward if they were victimized by the actor (reportedly, Spacey made the set “toxic” for years), which they feel was an attempt to find a reason to fire him.

You can probably see where this is going: money. At the end of the day, if he was let go without legal cause, Spacey will likely be owed a handsome sum. If that’s the case, one can imagine that Netflix and MRC are probably already trying to figure out the dollar amount that will make the actor go away without causing a fuss. Or they might decide that canceling the show altogether is the easiest (and most economical) way forward. For now, MRC has issued the following statement regarding Spacey’s current situation — though the actor’s team apparently dispute that he’s under contract with them:

While we continue the ongoing investigation into the serious allegations concerning Kevin Spacey’s behavior on the set of HOUSE OF CARDS, he has been suspended. As the producer of the show, creating and maintaining a safe working environment for our cast and crew has always been our top priority.

As for the fate of “House Of Cards” season six, it’s likely that we’ll know next week. [via Screen Crush]

‘The Crown’ Season 2 Trailer: Things Get Complicated For Margaret

While Claire Foy got the lion’s share of attention for her breakout performance in season one of Netflix‘s “The Crown,” her on screen sister Vanessa Kirby didn’t escape notice. The actress was terrific as the dangerously idle and ignored Princess Margaret, who had a knack for making tabloid headlines. The success of the show has led to Kirby being cast in “Mission: Impossible 6,” but before that film arrives, she’ll return, and be causing more trouble at Buckingham Palace.

The second season of “The Crown” will see Margaret embark on a romance with photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, played by Matthew Goode. However, both have personalities which are too big for one relationship, and eventually, their union crumbles.

“He had excessive charisma,” the show’s creator Peter Morgan told Vanity Fair about Armstrong-Jones, adding that he could be place “excessive random cruelty on those close to him, and be very libidinous. He is an interesting character because he had polio as a child. When you’ve had polio as a child and when you’ve been slightly rejected by your mother for being the defective child . . . it’s very conspicuous, the compensation that he made by marrying the second-most-high-ranking social woman in the country. It’s like, ‘Notice me, mummy.’”

Well, he certainly gets noticed and it looks like there will be some real fireworks.

“The Crown” season two arrives on December 8th.