Peter Jackson

The First Films of 10 Famous Directors

Flea market hero and filmmaker Gary Huggins recently unearthed director Robert Altman‘s first film — a documentary short called Modern Football. He found the gem at a Kansas City area sale, where he purchased several old film reels for a whopping ten bucks. Imagine his surprise when one of them turned out to be the Gosford Park director’s lost movie. The early work is one of 27 sponsored shorts the filmmaker made for Kansas City company Calvin Communications, and no other print is know to exist. The director even makes a cameo as a sports reporter — and you can watch the entire thing on YouTube if you’re curious.

Every great filmmaker found their start somewhere. Although some would probably like to forget those early works, we’ve decided to pull a mom-breaks-out-the-old-school-photos moment and share them with you past the break. Even in their younger years, these filmmakers were obviously destined for greatness — space creatures, rough-cut animation, and all. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Conservative web publisher and talking head Andrew Breitbart passed away last night at UCLA Medical Center from natural causes. He was 43 years old. “We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior,” reads a post on his website. “Andrew lived boldly, so… Read More

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Our 10 Most Anticipated Sundance Movies

Tomorrow marks the opening day of the Sundance Film Festival, the annual winter movie orgy/buyer’s market/excuse to party for those who make, buy, watch, and act in independent films (or what passes for independent, in this IMAX 3-D superhero climate). Your humble film editor is traveling to Park City (for the first time) to take it all in: the swag, the hobnobbing, the VIP parties. Or he may just end up going to movies all day and staying up all night writing stuff about them. That’s probably a bit more likely.

Taking on the screening schedule is a bit daunting; the festival is screening 110 feature-length films from 31 countries, and, well, there’s only so many hours in the day. (If you think that’s heavy, it’s worth noting that the number of submissions was up to 4,042 films. Yikes.) But I think I’ve plucked out the cream of the crop; I’ll probably find out that I’m wrong, that the movie I missed to see the Sean-Penn-as-an-emo-Nazi-hunter movie (yes, that’s real) ends up winning the competition and getting picked up for $5 million by the Weinstein Company. But until that happens, here’s the ten Sundance films I’m most looking forward to. … Read More

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Open Thread: What Is Your Pop Culture Cold Spot?

Last week, your author was charged with working up our most anticipated movies of 2012, and I must confess, it’s an assignment I was dreading. Not because there weren’t movies in the upcoming year worth anticipating (as we saw, there are many), or that it would be difficult to explain why they were worth looking forward to. No, it was because I knew I was going to have to deal with The Hobbit.

I anticipated it, even, noting in the call for comments that there would certainly be hoots and catcalls for the exclusion of Peter Jackson’s return to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien. And there were, sure enough. But here’s the problem, as briefly noted when discussing the release of they eagerly-greeted-by-everyone-but-yours-truly trailer: I don’t like The Lord of the Rings. I just don’t. It’s one of my pop culture “cold spots.” We’ve all got them. Right? … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. The Library of Congress has selected 25 movies to be added to the National Registry in 2011. Among the diverse choices are Bambi, John CassavetesFaces, Robert Rodriguez‘s El Mariachi, Billy Wilder‘s The Lost Weekend, The Silence of the Lambs, Stand and Deliver… and, um, Forrest Gump. [via LA Times]

2. In a… Read More

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Trailer Park: Prequels, Sequels… and Salmon

Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. This week’s seven trailers include several big-franchise sequels and (sort of) prequels (we think); check ‘em all out after the jump. … Read More

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Watch the Highly-Anticipated Trailer for Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’

The road to Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit has been a long and rocky one, with Guillermo del Toro once on board to direct, but passing on the project when MGM’s financial woes plagued the production. Some good did come out of the development delay, as Peter Jackson returned to Middle Earth to take the directorial reins. The trouble continued, however, when the filmmaker was admitted to a hospital for stomach ulcers, and union boycotts over contract mishaps loomed over the fantasy feature. Somehow the J.R.R. Tolkien adapted story rose from the ashes, and we (finally!) have the trailer to prove it.

The clip has the epic look of the Lord of the Rings movies, but also seems to capture the more lighthearted tone of The Hobbit novel. The dwarves help. Gollum appears all the way at the end, but we get tons of cool shots of Gandalf looking totally badass. Dig the song, too. Hit the jump to watch in full.

The Hobbit is the two-part prequel — shot back to back — to Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Several actors will reprise their roles, including Elijah Wood as Frodo, Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis as Gandalf and Gollum, respectively. Martin Freeman from BBC’s The Office will star as the reluctant hero Bilbo Baggins, who is swept up in a quest to reclaim a lost treasure from the dreaded dragon Smaug. An Unexpected Journey hits theaters on December 14, 2012, while The Hobbit: There and Back Again arrives December 2013. Keep an eye out for the trailer in theaters too, where it’s supposed to make an appearance before the Peter Jackson-produced Adventures of Tintin releasing tomorrow. … Read More

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The Morning's Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Madonna has finally confirmed rumors that she’ll play the halftime show at Super Bowl XLVI on February 5. Her set will be created by a team from Cirque du Soleil, and it’s expected that she’ll be performing some new material from her forthcoming album. [via Rolling Stone]

2. Peter Jackson‘s production company… Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. It’s official: Shooting on Skyfall, the 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise, begins on Monday. Joining Daniel Craig for the Sam Mendes-helmed project (which it should be noted, will not connect with Craig’s previous two Bond films, plot-wise): Academy Award winner Javier Bardem, who was previously cast as the villain — although it’s… Read More

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Peter Jackson Will Follow ‘The Hobbit’ with ‘Tintin’ Sequel

Some interesting news from our friends at The Playlist: Peter Jackson has confirmed that following his work on The Hobbit movies, he plans to direct a sequel to The Adventures of Tintin, which begins opening internationally tomorrow. While the fact that he, and not Steven Spielberg, would be the one helming the second… Read More

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