New 'Spider-Man' Director + Meredith Monk DVD

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Marc Webb - (500) Days of Summer
Marc Webb directs Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer (Chuck Zlotnick / Fox Searchlight)

Former music video director Marc Webb, whose quirky romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer became one of the sleeper hits of 2009, will be the next Spider-Man director, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios have announced.

After disagreements over the screenplay, director Sam Raimi and actor Tobey Maguire abandoned the Spider-Man franchise after three films, the last of which, Spider-Man 3, was released to middling reviews in 2007. According to Sony, the new Spider-Man will be a fully revamped version of the Marvel character. For one thing, in James Vanderbilt's screenplay Peter Parker will be about high-school age. Rumored Spider-Man replacements have included Robert Pattinson, Zac Efron, Michael Cera, Jim Sturgess, and Chace Crawford.

Marc Webb, whose feature-film debut was (500) Days of Summer, was quoted as saying in a statement that he's not taking over from Raimi, among whose credits are Evil Dead II, The Quick and the Dead, The Gift, and the 2009 release Drag Me to Hell. “That would be impossible, not to mention arrogant,” Webb said, adding that “I'm here because there's an opportunity for ideas, stories and histories that will add a new dimension, canvas and creative voice to Spider-Man.” As per a Variety report, Webb is being signed to direct only one picture – with the possibility of more to follow.

Hollywood studios have at times used an offbeat filmmaker to handle audience-friendly blockbusters-in-the-making. Sometimes it works, whether at the box office or artistically (or both), sometimes it doesn't. Alfonso Cuarón, of the Mexican arthouse hit Y Tu Mamá También, did quite well commercially with Harry Potter and the Prince of Azkaban (2004), but Oliver Hirschbiegel's The Invasion (2007), despite the presence of Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, was a box office and critical disaster.

On the other hand, Christopher Nolan, fresh off Memento and Insomnia, did quite well for himself both commercially and artistically with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

The fourth installment in the Spider-Man franchise is scheduled for a summer 2012 release.

Meredith Monk DVD


Meredith Monk Inner Voice
Brings the Iconoclastic American Performer, Singer, Filmmaker and Choreographer 
To Film Screens at the Dance On Camera Festival at Lincoln Center
January 29, 1:30pm; Monday, February 1, 6pm 
Introduced by the director Babeth M. VanLoo

"An admiring portrait of an individual whose calm, joyous personality makes her quite wonderful company, both at work and in conversation." - Dennis Harvey, Variety

Meredith Monk is a true Renaissance artist: a composer, singer, director, choreographer and creator of new opera, music theater, films and installations. Monk first began working in New York in the mid 60's and in 1968 founded The House, a company dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to performance. In 1978 she formed Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to expand her musical textures and forms.  Her first feature film, Book of Days, was released in 1988, and screened at the New York Film Festival. Most recently her music theater piece, Songs of Ascension, had its New York premiere at BAM in October, 2009.

Babeth M. VanLoo's documentary follows Monk during the process of making Songs of Ascension at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and at Ann Hamilton's Tower in California. It also offers an intimate look into Monk's life and spiritual practice, inclusive of footage of Monk on retreat in New Mexico, at the Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate New York, and interviews with her collaborators and close friends and on tour with her company in Italy.

The film also includes clips from some of Monk's most important works, and sets out to locate the motivation and source of Monk's creative source.  As in her work, the film retains a sense of mystery and wonder.

Filmmaker, director, producer and media artist Babeth M. VanLoo has directed and produced over 40 films and video projects under the auspices of her production company Film Art Amsterdam. Her work is mainly concerned with art, social engagement and spirituality. Over the course of the last thirty years, her subjects have included such cultural icons as Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Keith Richards, the Sex Pistols, Philip Glass, Noam Chomsky, Thich Nhat Hanh, and His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Her projects have been shown worldwide and on such television networks as PBS in the United States; NHK, Japan; WDR, Germany; Antenne 2, France; and in the Netherlands on on BOS, VPRO, IKON, and EO.

VanLoo's early career includes studying Art as Social Sculpture with Professor Joseph Beuys in Germany. She later moved to the United States, earning her masters degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1977 where she subsequently taught. In addition to SFAI, VanLoo taught filmmaking & media at several international art and film academies until 2000, including the Royal Conservatory in The Hague where she worked with such composers as John Cage. Between 1994 and 2001 she also worked as producer for the internationally acclaimed filmmaker Johan van der Keuken.

In 2000 VanLoo became the Programming Director of BOS, the Buddhist Broadcasting Foundation. BOS is the first Buddhist television station in the western world that is part of the Public Broadcasting System for producing and broadcasting documentaries, and in 2000 earned a national broadcasting permit on NPO in the Netherlands.

Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, and creator of new opera and music theater works. A pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique,” Monk has been hailed as “a magician of the voice,” and “one of America's coolest composers.” During a career that spans more than 40 years, she has been acclaimed by audiences and critics as a major creative force in the performing arts. She has received numerous awards including a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and in 2006 was named a USA Fellow and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In the mid '60s Monk began her innovative exploration of the voice as a multi-faceted instrument and subsequently composed and performed many solo pieces for unaccompanied voice and voice/keyboard. In 1978 she formed Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to further expand her musical textures and forms. She has made over a dozen recordings, mostly on the ECM New Series label, including the 2008 Grammy nominated impermanence. Her music has been performed by numerous soloists and groups including Bang on a Can All Stars, Björk, Double Edge and Musica Sacra. She has been commissioned by Michael Tilson Thomas/New World Symphony, and Kronos Quartet among others. Her music can also be heard in such films as La Nouvelle Vague by Jean-Luc Godard and The Big Lebowski by Joel and Ethan Coen.

In October 1999 Monk performed a Vocal Offering for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama as part of the World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles. In 2000, the Lincoln Center Festival celebrated Monk's music with a three-concert retrospective and in 2004, a 4 ½ hour marathon was presented at Carnegie's Zankel Hall. Another marathon, Meredith Monk Music @ The Whitney, was presented in spring 2009, followed by the site-specific Ascension Variations at the Guggenheim Museum. Her newest work, Songs of Ascension, premiered in October 2008 and continues with touring in 2010.

More Oscar 2010 news

Danette Herman will serve as coordinating producer for the 2010 Academy Awards, telecast producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanichave announced.

According to the Academy's press release, Herman "Herman has served in various capacities on the Academy Awards telecast for more than 30 years.  She served as co-producer for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' inaugural Governors Awards, held in November 2009, and subsequently completed her duties as coordinating producer for 'The 32nd Kennedy Center Honors.'"  

The 2010 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The 2010 Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the US, it'll be televised live by ABC.

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