Recent Work By Cynthia Hawkins

Watch this Funny or Die production starring Christopher Walken, Richard Belzer, and some “lovely assistants,” and you, too, will envision Walken spending his days taking close-up phone pics of his nose and sharpening knives with alarming gusto:

On the heels of The Master’s nationwide release and a slew of mixed reviews (calling The Master everything from “vibrant and seductive” to “frustrating and flawed”), director Paul Thomas Anderson spoke with Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air today about creating his Scientology-inspired new film.

Actor Johnny Lewis, who appeared on two seasons of Sons of Anarchy, was found dead on the driveway of a residence outside of Los Angeles on Wednesday. Early reports suggest the actor fatally attacked the home owner, an elderly woman who may have been renting a room to Lewis, before engaging in an altercation with neighbors and then falling to his death “either from the stairway, or the balcony, or one of the roofs,” according to Commander Andrew Smith in an interview with ABC News. Lewis, who was 28, also had roles in The O.C., The Runaways, and the recent Eduardo Sánchez film Lovely Molly.

Ahead of a longer Killers concert documentary that legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog is directing, Rolling Stone premiered this exclusive Herzog mini-doc with the band on the magazine’s website today:

When the first glimpses of Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln surfaced, I thought, is there anything Day-Lewis can’t do?  Now that the first full trailer of Lincoln is here, I know the answer is nope.  Lincoln, directed by Stephen Spielberg and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Jared Harris, Sally Field, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, opens in select theaters on November 9 and nationwide on November 16.

Last Days Here, directed by Don Argott and Demian Fenton, opens with a frazzled, fifty-four-year-old Bobby Liebling on the sofa, living in his parent’s sub-basement, tugging on bandages that wrap open sores, and reflecting on the only things he knows how to do: rock-n-roll and drugs.  Liebling’s band, Pentagram, had been in the early seventies an even grittier, American answer to the likes of Black Sabbath, but botched auditions, ever-evolving line-ups, and Liebling’s drug-abuse had derailed Pentagram’s career.  Enter fan Sean “Pellet” Pelletier to nudge Liebling toward sobriety and back onto stage for a Pentagram revival.  There are moves, a girlfriend, prison, Fig Newtons, deals, paisley shirts, and marvels beyond the fact that Liebling has made it to fifty-four.  But mostly there’s the music.  I recently asked Pelletier about Last Days Here, Liebling, and life after the documentary’s release.

At some point in Hello I Must Be Going, Amy (Melanie Lynskey) trips on a beach and asks, splayed flat on the rocky shore, “where the motherfucking fuck is motherfucking bottom!”  In the aftermath of a surprise divorce, she’s moved back into her parent’s house, and in the way of their home renovations and retirement plans, when she begins a fling with a younger man (played by Girls’ Christopher Abbott).  And it’s Amy’s seemingly bottomless, endless sense of stasis that director Todd Louiso and screenwriter Sarah Koskoff navigate with such care … and a little humor.  I recently spoke with Louiso and Koskoff via phone about Hello I Must Be Going, the cast, the Marx Brothers, and defying the status quo (and the weather) to create a candid, female-centric film.

A Trip to the Moon

When Neil Armstrong’s family suggested that every time we caught sight of the moon we “give Neil a wink” in remembrance, I immediately pictured Georges Melies’ moon in this famed short film – which in turn gave me the idea for compiling this list. So let’s start with that wink, shall we?

 

 

Please explain what just happened.

Just got back from San Diego Comicon. It’s like Woodstock for nerds. Which is why I love it! I did a panel for my new film about artist Drew Struzan titled Drew: The Man Behind the Poster. I was lucky enough to share the stage with my favorite artist Drew Struzan, actor Thomas Jane, producer Charles Ricciardi, cinematographer Greg Boas, editor Jeff Yorkes, Steve Saffel (Titan Books), composer Ryan Shore, and Zach Martin from Skywalker Sound. We had a great time doing it, and it really helped bring attention to the film.

 

What is your earliest memory?  

Okay, this is super nerdy, but my earliest memory is seeing the original Star Wars in the theatre when I was a little kid. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Darth Vader totally scared me. And Han Solo became my hero. I know it’s geeky, but true.

The innovative new web series H+, a project helmed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men), is set to roll out its first episode on YouTube August 8.  The multi-perspective, piecemeal narrative revolves around a deadly virus unleashed on a futuristic population implanted with an HPlus chip, designed to enable instant and continuous internet access.  But it’s not only the series’ online venue and big-name backers that make H+ particularly ambitious.  It’s the potential for audience interactivity with the order in which the story elements are presented.  As series creator John Cabrera recently explained to Wired:

Fans of writer/director/artist extraordinaire Terry Gilliam (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) may be interested to know that Gilliam’s daughter Holly Gilliam has been sorting through her father’s extensive archive and sharing some of her discoveries online as of this month.  As she explains on her blog “Discovering Dad”:

The nearly five-minute trailer for the adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas found its way to the web this morning. The film, set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, is directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) along with Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix) and stars just about everybody including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Hugh Grant, James D’Arcy, Jim Broadbent, and Susan Sarandon.  Click below to view (via The Hollywood Reporter):

Director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) returns this December with screenwriter David Magee’s adaptation of the Yann Martel bestseller Life of Pi. Here’s the first trailer:

On the morning of July 20, I was preparing to post a list of my favorite movie villains in conjunction with the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises when I discovered that a real-life villain had emerged during a midnight showing of the same.  A new Batman movie debuts, and, chillingly, James Holmes and I had the same thought: the villain is the draw.

Three of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy villains had made my list.  Nolan’s villains have proven to be particularly memorable, not exactly because they are physically intimidating but because they are enigmatic mad geniuses driven by the idea that only chaos can wipe the slate clean.  Emphasis on genius.  Part of the fear and fascination with Heath Ledger’s Joker, for example, lies in the way he manipulates his cronies in the bank-robbery scene, ending in a school-bus get-away camouflaged upon its impeccably-timed exit by a line of other school buses.

The first full trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated The Master, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, has been making the rounds on the web today (and getting yanked just as quickly).  Watch it now before it vanishes again: