Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with Latauro's column for this week. He touches upon that rumor that resurfaced last week about Hugh Jackman appearing in flashbacks as Jonathan Kent in SUPERMAN RETURNS. It could be true, but I remember seeing good old Glenn Ford in pictures up around the Kent house in the Comic-Con footage. Don't know how much that means, but I don't know if that'd make much sense if they're bringing in Jackman for a few bits as Pa Kent.
Speaking of Wolvie, did you guys hear this stuff about Brett Ratner possibly directing the Wolverine spin-off movie? Weird... Anyway, here's Latauro! Give him your love... and stuff.
Let X equal the quantity of all quantities of X.
Still reeling from the expected Reese-beats-Felicity travesty from last week, as well as the unexpected CRASH-beats-ANYTHING travesty. Seriously. You'd think the Oscars was some kind of popularity contest instead of a legitimate celebration of excellence in f... sorry, I can't even finish that.
A while ago, we reported on something like five different ELIZABETH projects, and how rumours emanating from each of them seemed to be intertwining beyond repair. Now we can put all the rumours to rest, for even if the other four projects are going ahead, the only one anyone's going to care about is heading towards production. ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN YEARS (pussies wouldn't call it ELIZABETH II) will be one of those unique beasts: a sequel to a biopic. Set fifteen years after the original, the sequel will see Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush reprising their roles as Eliza and Beth respectively. The film will focus on the relationship between Liza and Mary Queen of Scots, to be played by Samantha Morton.
Much news was made about Jonathan Mostow leaving the Will Smith dramatice TONIGHT, HE COMES. So what will Mostow be doing with his free time? Prepping the long-in-development SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON. A source tells me that there's a fair bit of talk that the Disney film will shoot in Queensland this year. Also shooting in Queensland is the Spierig Brothers' UNDEAD follow-up DAYBREAKERS.
For anybody who cares, THE CONDEMNED, another WWE project, will film in Australia with Stone Cold Steve Austin taking direction from Scott Wiper (who has such a humourously unfortunate name, I can't bring myself to do anything with it). The film follows Ian Breckel, a billionaire realty TV producer who becomes a fugitive from the US when a contestant is killed on one of his shows. Exiled from the US, Breckel sets up a new show on an island, where the world's ten worst criminals will be set free to kill one another. The winner gets their freedom. The audience gets their money back.
According to Variety, Aussie dancer Hugh Jackman may actually be playing Pa Kent in flashback sequences. Jackman, who obviously worked with Bryan Singer on the good X-MEN films, somehow managed to keep this big piece of casting coolness secret. Hope he kept the sideburns for filming...
You know I only comment on TV shows on special occasions, and I can think of few more special. A while back, I heard that "Monkey" was being remade, but what I didn't know (until reader "Aidan" pointed me to it) was that "Monkey" has already shot scenes right here in Australia! Woo hoo! For those who don't know, it was a classic Japanese show that was played endlessly on the ABC. Basically, a monkey, a pig, a transexual priest and Neil from "The Young Ones" go on an endless search to find something important, and have to fight a whole bunch of ninjas along the way. There's really no describing the brilliance of it, but there's a pretty nifty region 4 boxset of the entire show for those brave enough...
AWARDS AND FESTIVALS
THE GARTH METHOD
Gregory Pakis's film has been doing the film festival circuit over the past odd year. If you haven't managed to see it (and you live in the Melbourne area), the film will be playing at the Old Colonial Inn at 127 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy in Victoria. Not only will proceeds from the screening will go to charity, but there'll be beer available. No excuses not to see it then, eh? For session times and to take a gander at the film's trailer, head to www.thegarthmethod.com.
PINK PANTHER continues to, perplexingly, bring the audiences in, whilst Reese Witherspoon's embarrassing blubbing got everyone along to the Cash biopic. At least slots four and five are respectable, with many going to see some of the most outstanding work that both Cronenberg and Woody Allen have ever done.
1. THE PINK PANTHER
2. WALK THE LINE
4. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
5. MATCH POINT
RELEASED BOTH THIS WEEK AND THE LAST
Dakota Fanning plays Toby Maguire in the kiddy-friendly SEABISCUIT, William Hurt steals Ed Harris's nomination, Terrence Howard shows "Fiddy" how it's done, William Hurt steals Ed Harris's nomination, a coming-of-age story appears to quickly to be legitimately made fun of, Steve Martin shows the size of his mortgage, the one with Russell Crowe and Hugo Weaving was way better, Tim Allen appears in another dog, we finally get a remake of a 70s horror film, and ZATHURA.
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
HUSTLE AND FLOW
THE PINK PANTHER
THE SHAGGY DOG
WHEN A STRANGER CALLS
There's always a bit of trepidation around films that have had their releases delayed for so long. This month we get both PROOF and THE PINK PANTHER, both of which have been withheld for reasons that may or may not be immediately obvious.
PROOF looks like Oscarbait and walks like Oscarbait, but it gets in its own way too often to be considered a film of great note. The major problem is Gwyneth Paltrow, who has been great twice (SE7EN and THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS), good a handful of other times (TALENTED MR RIPLEY and SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE), and fairly dull in everything else. In PROOF, directed by her SHAKESPEARE captain John Madden, she's somewhere between good and dull. Given she's required to carry us throughout the entire film, this is something of a problem. Her character is interesting, but her performance is not, and the distinction may give you a headache at certain points.
Hope Davis is pretty good, Anthony Hopkins is pretty good, but it's Jake Gyllenhaal who -- if I were someone who gave out star ratings -- would knock the film's rating up a whole star. He's really good in this, both his energy and his screen presence selling us on the idea that someone as annoyingly attractive as Gyllenhaal would be an academic geek.
As for director John Madden, I'm usually pretty lukewarm on his work. I loved MRS BROWN, but I don't think it was necessarily because of him. I've not minded most of his other work, but he never does anything that sets my pants on fire. PROOF is a prime example of his directing style; how he's a slave to his material, only inspired when the script calls for it. There are moments of utter brilliance, where the magnificence of a moment or scene jumps out at you, and there are moments where you feel that if the camera panned a little more to the left, you'd see a West End audience trying to see over the grip's head. It's a bit of a shame, and it's something that isn't helped by the screenplay's wordiness.
It's over a week since I've seen it, and it's faded pretty quickly from my memory, so make of that what you will. It's passable fare -- almost certainly better than PINK PANTHER -- but nothing you need to rush out and see if you've got other things to do.
MARCH OF THE PENGUINS
(A note for my American readers: MARCH OF THE PENGUINS was a film that came out about a decade ago. You may remember a brief mention of it at this year's Oscars. Anyway, I'm going to pretend it's a "new release" for the sake of my Australian and New Zealandianish readers, and you can either read the article as a nostalgia piece, or ignore it altogether. It's entirely up to you.)
Okay, so PENGUINS isn't a film you're likely to download from Limewire, or compulsively order from Amazon ahead of its local release, but it's still a pretty big window. I guess they were pretty confident about that Oscar win, and were hoping to use it in the film's promotion. I guess that's fair enough. It's certainly not the weirdest promotion this film has encountered, but more on that later...
If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, MARCH OF THE PENGUINS is a documentary about how Emperor Penguins breed. No, that's pretty much it. Now, I like a good documentary as much as the next fellow (and this is a good documentary), but it's hard to divorce yourself from the endless hype this film has received while you're watching it. What could have swept everyone up into such a frenzy? Morgan Freeman's narration? The excellent photography? The fact that we weren't expected to hate a political figure or major corporation? Actually, that last one might have something to do with it. As much as I like some of Michael Moore's work, there's no doubt that the success of COLUMBINE and FAHRENHEIT had many wondering if the art of the documentary had been lost. PENGUINS is as classic a doco as it gets, so much so that I'm wondering what makes it so much "better" than the stuff David Attenborough had been making for so long.
Perhaps it's the oversentimentalising. "This is a story," Mr Freeman tells us in the beginning, "about love." Sure. The same way that BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN was about cattle. I keep flashing back to one of the worst posters I've ever seen for a film: that of THE CONSTANT GARDENER. Ralph Fiennes holds a gun out at arm's length as the logline intones: "Love. At Any Cost." Not only does Fiennes never hold his gun out like that at any point in the movie (and only has a gun in one scene anyway), but "Love. At Any Cost." is about as generic a line as you can get. It tells you nothing about the film, misrepresents it almost completely, and doesn't get you excited in any way. "Love" is meant to be that magic word that will draw us into films and stories, and the moment I heard Morgan telling us what was to come, warning bells went off.
There's an awful lot of anthropomorphising here. At many points we're told exactly what the penguin is feeling, and a close of up of the eyes and beak apparently confirms this. "Leaving the child is almost unbearable," we hear, and to prove the point, we see the penguin looking at its child with an expression of... um... unbearableness on its features. At times, the narration is cute. At other times, it's "cute". The rest of the time, it's actually informative, and if you can get past the repeated references to the penguins' emotions, there's actually a fair bit to enjoy.
What perplexes me the most, though, is the support this film received from the church. MARCH OF THE PENGUINS apparently puts a fantastic case forward for intelligent design. Hm. Maybe it's just me, but I thought it put a pretty good case forward for evolution. I suppose people are going to see whatever they want to see, and if it sells tickets, why stop them?
The biggest mistake you can make is to think that this is anything other than a documentary. It's not a powerful parable on the subject of love, it's not a frightening glimpse into human nature via penguins, and it's not a propaganda tool of the Church. It's a documentary about penguins that, despite its occasionally frustrating commentary, is brilliantly-shot, has some terrific music, and is probably a very useful educational tool for a pre-teen if you're looking to expand their horizons a bit.
- Ice Cube will play the lead in the new biopic of Jane Austin, about a former commando who finds fame when he start rapping about the adventures of 19th Century English women in J-OSTIN
- Josh Holloway to play the lead in the new GREEN ARROW film (no joke here, just trying to plant the idea into the minds of Warner Bros executives)
- Lars Von Trier scraps a proposed film that would feature him masturbating on camera for three hours, on the grounds that it would be too similar to his previous work