AICN-DOWNUNDER: Where the Wild Things Are, The Waterhorse, Ghost Rider 2, Narnia 3 & more!!!
Published at: March 12, 2007, 4:05 a.m. CST by quint
I love you, really. With all due respect, you're a beautiful person. You're a credit to your race.
One of the most closely-guarded productions around has been WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, the Spike Jonze adaptation of the classic children's book (one that was, for me, quite seminal during those formative years). The film shot in Melbourne last year, and nobody was allowed anywhere near it. This rule was soon changed when the dailies showed that none of the cast or crew had been able to get on set.
A few weeks ago, however, I saw some stills from it. Also, a fair bit of footage. Me viewing this stuff was conditional upon me not publishing them online, but I wouldn't have anyway. If they want to keep their film secret until they're ready, I don't want to be the dick who ruins it.
But what's it actually like?
Well, the stuff I saw was of the creatures themselves. Do a Google image search if you've not read the book, and you'll see what they look like. The creatures I saw were practical outfits; massive costumes in the style of those big Muppet monster things. I mean they're Big Bird sized. And they look fantastic. They're incredibly close to the illustrations themselves (I cheered a little when I saw the cockatoo character, which is absolutely spot on), and about as accurate as I think a 3D representation of a 2D picture can be.
I won't describe the actual footage I saw for fear of treading into spoiler territory, but there's an awful lot of practical effects in there. Stuff I would assume they'd do with CGI, too.
Everything I saw looked amazing. I'm a big Spike Jonze fan, and I'm certain the film will be quality, but at very least I now know that it's going to look fucking incredible. And I had to tell you because (a) I'm now very excited about it, and (b) there's no way they're ever going to figure out the six degrees of people that got me the footage. Cannot wait to see the finished product.
The "Big Large Monkey" never lets us down. Sure, he had to lay low for a while ("The watchdogs were growling"), but he's back with a nifty scoop on THE WATERHORSE. According to BLM, the world premiere of the film's trailer will be attached to SPIDER-MAN 3. That's a pretty big audience hearing about the film for the first time, and should be a big boost for the film. Cheers to "BLM".
Frequent AICN-D spy "Lennox" was engaging in the most cunning form of spying imaginable (listening to ABC talkback radio), and heard that a Sandra from Film Victoria (I'm guessing it's Film Vic CEO Sandra Sdraulig... and by "guessing", I mean I Googled it) discussing how international productions coming to Australia helps the industry, rather than hinders it. Responding to the argument that not enough local actors are cast in lead roles, Ms Sdraulig said that this was changing. An example she used is that they've spoken to Gary Foster (producer of GHOST RIDER) about shooting the GR sequel in Melbourne, and discussed with him the idea of using an Australian actor as the main villain. I suppose the thing did make a lot of money, but a sequel? Given the critical slamming Cage got, I'd suggest they'll be fishing about for a new Johnny Blaze as well. Another interesting tidbit is that they're discussing shooting the next NARNIA film here, as well as the next MAD MAX film. Were these speculative, or did she actually let slip some things she perhaps wasn't supposed to?
Speaking of the next NARNIA film, Moviehole got an interest tidbit about Neil Burger (THE ILLUSIONIST) possibly directing the third installment of the NARNIA series. Which, going by movie chronology, is THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER. (Am I really the only one who liked "The Magician's Nephew"? Really?) Burger's direction on ILLUSIONIST was good, but if they're really going to try to match the HARRY POTTER series, they should offer it to Guillermo Del Toro. Or, better yet, offer it to Alfonso Cuaron, and then have him suggest Guillermo instead. The symmetry would blow everyone away!
ROMULUS MY FATHER is an Australian film I'm really looking forward to seeing. It's directed by Richard Roxburgh and stars Eric Bana, Franka Potente and Marton Csokas. Well, the director's diaries are online at www.romulusmyfather.com.au so you can take an early look at it. Also, be friendly with the production at www.myspace.com/romulusmyfather.
AWARDS, FESTIVALS AND SCREENINGS
8TH MELBOURNE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL
Richard Wolstencroft's MUFF is a godsend for those of us who like to make a lot of double entendres. It's even better for those of us who prefer single entendres*. So it's good news for us that MUFF #8 is ramping up. Got a short or a feature or a documentary or an experimental expressionist treatise on Belgian mysophelia? Go to www.muff.com.au for an entry form (and additional information), then post your film to PO Box 822, South Yarra, VIC 3143 Australia. There's no firm date for this year's festival, but it looks like it'll be late 2007 (rather than just before MIFF, as has been the case in the past). (* vagina)
Well, the prospect of seeing some local landmarks wasn't enough to maintain GHOST RIDER's box office success. No, everybody's too busy going to see NORBIT. If you are one of those people, please send your name and address to the email at the bottom of the page, and you'll receive a free elbow in the throat.
There's been a huge number of reviews about this already so I won't go into too much detail, but I finally caught THE GOOD GERMAN the other night. Wow. My favourite director, my favourite composer, and three of my favourite actors in a film that's basically a meshing of two of my all-time favourite films: CASABLANCA and THE THIRD MAN. Was there any chance I wasn't going to love it? No, probably not. It's on my tentative Best of 2007 list already. Some films feel like they were geared just for you, and this was one of them.
I'm a pretty big sucker for Woody Allen films. I love the guy. I love it when he's working at his best, and, frankly, I even love it when he's not doing brilliant work. Case in point: I watched ANYTHING ELSE for the first time yesterday, and loved the hell out of it. I understand it wasn't particularly well-received, so I know anything I have to say about Woody must be taken with a grain of salt.
I love SCOOP. I absolutely love it. No, it's not his best work, but who cares when it's this good? Scarlett Johansson does a great job at playing the nervous Woody-esque central character, and nails the sensibilities you need to nail if you're going to deliver the man's dialogue. Though, love her as I do, I wish he'd find another muse. No complaints about her performance, other than she comes off as pretending to be nerdy rather than actually being nerdy. Look at Diane Keaton in ANNIE HALL. Few actresses have inhabited their character the way Keaton did there. Johansson was perfect as the seductress in MATCH POINT, and I really enjoyed her in SCOOP, but I'm sure there's someone out there who could probably do it a bit better. But that's not really me reviewing the film so much, so I'll move on.
Hugh Jackman makes another strong case as to why he should be in everything that's ever made, ever. Seriously, the man can play any role. Woody himself, playing the dodgy Brooklyn magician, is, as always, brilliant, and makes me wish he'd cast himself more often. Ian McShane, also great, but not in it nearly enough. I'm not deluding myself to think it'll ever happen, but I'd love to see Woody make a prequel film following McShane's reporter. He's that good.
Yeah, I'm fawning. Some people just hit all the right notes, as if they're making something just for you. (See my GOOD GERMAN preamble above.) Woody Allen's films tickle me so much, I sometimes wonder if they're just made solely for me. Sorry if you were hoping for a deconstructionalist look at the film, but I really, really just love it.
I knew very little about this film going in, other than the fact that the mystery surrounding George Reeves's death hadn't been solved, and this film didn't solve it. I'd prepared myself for an unsatisfying experience, and found the exact opposite. How does a film manage to do nothing but raise questions, and still be completely satisfying? It helps if it's as well-made as this.
Allen Coulter is very, very good. Whenever I'd see his name pop up on a "Six Feet Under" or a "Sopranos", I knew I was in for something great. Given how cinematic those shows are, it wasn't a huge leap for him to go to cinema, and he does it without missing a beat.
The story of Reeves's life interspersed with the investigation into his death makes the jump back and forth effortlessly. All the cast is great, including Ben Affleck, who cops an awful lot of flack for an awful lot of poor film choices. It's nice to see that when he does actually pick a film of quality, he can be damn good in it.
The film runs about fifteen minutes too long (or perhaps I was just antsy about my parking running out), but otherwise this is a fantastic film that's far, far better than I was expecting. Highly recommended.
- George Miller announces the new DVD special edition of LORENZO'S CORN, with the new title change enabling the studio to apply for an ethanol tax credit
- Ashton Kutcher and Matthew Lillard to play army recruits trying to lose their virginity in HONOURABLE DISCHARGES
- Tensions in the Middle East are enflamed when George Lucas announces that Indiana Jones's son will be played by Sunni La Bouef