Film intelligence: After sunset, but before the zombie attack

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Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: a report from the frontline of WORLD WAR Z, the vanishing movie audience and Terrence Malick gets caught on film (but almost gets away).

1. A Real Zombie Apocalypse

It looks like the production of WORLD WAR Z, the upcoming zombie movie from FINDING NEVERLAND director Marc Forster starring Brad Pitt, is nearly as chaotic as an all-out zombie attack. An extensive report in The Hollywood Reporter finds a very troubled film: too many voices, not enough leadership, an unhappy director of photography (who allegedly tried to quit, and wasn’t allowed to), and an ending so bad that PROMETHEUS screenwriter Damon Lindelof has been brought in to rework it after the film had already wrapped principle photography. Now Z will head back for five weeks of reshoots, longer than the productions of many entire films. But maybe the messiness of the shoot will be reflected onscreen in the messiness of how society would react to a zombie apocalypse. Dude: meta. WORLD WAR Z is now scheduled to open in July 2013. [The Hollywood Reporter]


Ever since BEFORE SUNSET concluded with that gloriously ambiguous ending, fans of director Richard Linklater and stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s amazing BEFORE SUNRISE series have wondered: will there be a third film? After teasing the possibility of a BEFORE trilogy in an interview last year, Ethan Hawke confirmed to Indiewire this week that he, Delpy and Linklater are indeed planning to make a third BEFORE SUNRISE, and that the trio will shoot the new movie this coming summer. No word yet on the relationship status of Hawke’s Jesse and Delpy’s Celine in the film, or where this installment will take place (SUNRISE was set in Vienna, SUNSET in Paris). Presumably the film will continue the previous films’ real time conceit and its narrow focus on Jesse and Celine’s conversations, but at this point, Hawke’s not revealing any more details. That includes the answer to the other big question: what are they going to call it? AFTER SUNRISE? BEFORE TWILIGHT? Oh God, let’s hope it’s not that last one. [Indiewire]

3. Studies Show Moviegoing on the Decline

A sad, alarming, but not terribly surprising study by PR company Edelman reports that just 3% of Americans consider “cinema/movies” as a “frequent source of entertainment,” down 28% from the last time this study was conducted two years ago. Movies lagged behind television and the Internet in this survey as sources of entertainment, although one could argue that lots of those people were using their television or their Internet connection to watch movies. No doubt the high price of tickets ($12 in New York City, or more if you want 3D) and the poor behavior of the customers have a lot to do with it. But please, by all means movie exhibitors: allow people to text and tweet during movies. That will definitely encourage people to come back to the theater. [Deadline]

4. The Passing of a Good Fella

Henry Hill, the man whose life story inspired Martin Scorsese’s classic gangster saga GOODFELLAS, died this week at the age of 69. Hill, played in Scorsese’s film by Ray Liotta, really was a member of New York’s mob, and did indeed rat out his former friends and enter the Witness Protection program (later, Hill was kicked out of the program for “drug-related” offenses). Like his fictional counterpart, the real-life Hill was addicted to drugs and alcohol, which may have contributed to his death after a long battle with an undisclosed illness. Here’s to an “average nobody” — as Hill described himself in GOODFELLAS — who inspired an extraordinary movie. No confirmation yet on the numerous reports that a helicopter was seen flying over Hill’s house shortly before his death. [ScreenCrush]

5. It Actually Stands For “The Terrence Malick Zone”

For decades, Terrence Malick, the director of BADLANDS, DAYS OF HEAVEN, THE TREE OF LIFE, and assorted other masterpieces of lyrical, ponderous cinema, has held to a strict no publicity policy: no interviews, no photographs, no red carpets, no personal appearances. He’s the J.D. Salinger of movies — and, as evidenced by what happened on TMZ this week, his behavior is working. The popular celebrity gossip news show recently ambushed actor Benicio del Toro on a street in Hollywood, and had absolutely no idea that standing right next to the CHE star was the Hollywood bigfoot — Terrence Malick, alive and in the flesh, and trying very hard not to be on camera. It was actually director Mark Romanek who first recognized Malick as he winced his way through the impromptu interview. Plenty of sites piled on TMZ to make fun of them for missing the scoop of the century but in their defense — if that guy had passed you on the street, would you have recognized him? [TMZ]