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Euro-AICN #3

WHOA... Man, The Euro-AICN Office has been as busy as a bee hive this week, a couple of special reports plus their third regular column is over 3000 words. Ol' Father Geek here is impressed. It seems they've enlisted the aid of some reporters outside of France to boot. I tell you, this time next year they'll probably have a whole section of the site to themselves. Maybe even with some space for some non-English stories. Now if I could only fine some editors to run South American and Asian offices as well.

Robocop3, Jaws3, Batman Forever, Lethal Weapon3, see where we are going with this? That's right; The Threequels Suck Rule (aka The Joel Schumacher Rule). So knowing this, for our third EuroAICN, we decided to give you, dear readers... an extra: Personal thoughts (if we can call it that) on a key European movie player. We'll be doing this every so often, when we feel like it. So who is tonight's key player? Well, with "Taxi 2" coming very soon to cinemas across France and recent release in the UK of "The Messenger / Joan of Arc" we felt it was time to highlight a very special European director: Luc Besson. Also, to add a cherry on top, Scythe brings you a special coverage from Germany.. so, proving that not all third parts are bad, here's...

EuroAICN #3

By Edgard & Darth Bond

THE News part:

-Another adaptation of an European Comic Book is in progress, this time : "Blake and Mortimer", telling the adventures of two Englishmen in a post-WW2 London. Their 6th album, "La Marque Jaune" ("The Yellow Mark"), has been chosen as their first adventures on the big screen. No casting has been announced yet. Director James Huth is currently re-working the script (written in 1996)

-After Besson's "The Messenger", it seems Dustin Hoffman he enjoyed being directed by a French director: He could appear in "T. for Thriller" the next Claude Lelouch movie that will be made in the US. Lelouch is one of France's most successful director since his New Wave's hit "Un homme et une Femme" in the 60's. Other hits include : "Les Uns et les Autres", "L'aventure c'est l'aventure", "Intinéraire d'un enfant gâté"

-Vadim Jean ("One More Kiss") is set to direct "Clarinda," the previously rumoured film about the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns. There is also finally confirmation that Johnny Depp is in advanced talks with the producers to star in the film and they hope a deal will be reached by May. Depp is quoted as being "very excited" about the project. Scottish actor James Cosmo ("Braveheart") who is making the film through his company Alloway Productions is unrepentant at choosing a non-Scottish lead, citing the greater need for international appeal and a charismatic actor. -William Wallace

-El Capitán Trueno (Captain Thunder, spanish pulp/comic-book character will get it's movie version (because making movies outta comics is not at all in fashion right now -DB) which will be directed by Juanma Bajo Ulloa (Airbag) with a budget of 3.000 million pesetas (This last part I have my doubts on, it's too big of a budget -DB)

-Alex De la Iglesia (director of "El Día de la Bestia", day of the beast, see pick of the week at the bottom for more inof on this) is directing "La Comunidad", The community with Carmen Maura (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios, Women at the border of a nervous breakdown, directed by someone named Almodovar), it's a black comedy of neighborly terror

-Last summer Norsk Film shot "Aberdeen" in various locations throughout Scotland and Norway. Hans Petter Moland ("The Last Lieutenant") directs the story of a young woman attempting to reunite her estranged family by bringing her father from Olso, Norway to meet with her mother in the Scottish city of Aberdeen. The cast includes Stellan Skarsgård ("Breaking the Waves"), Lena Headey ("The Jungle Book"), Charlotte Rampling ("The Night Porter") and Ian Hart ("Backbeat"). The expected release date is summer 2000

-Romane Bohringer ("Les Nuits Fauves") just finished "The King is Alive" from Danish director Kristian Levring. This will be the fourth "Dogme" Danish movie after "The Idiots", "Festen" and "Mifune" (Go see that one, it's playing now in the States ! ). "The King..." tells the story of a group of travelers staging "King Lear" in the desert when their bus breaks down

-Florence, Italy is to be the place where principal photography will begin in May for, according to Variety. Director Ridley Scott visited the city late last year to scope out locations for the Silence of the Lambs sequel, which finds Dr Lecter at large in Florence posing as a museum curator.

The big "BIG BADA-BOOM!":

Luc Besson: probably the most "exportable" movie director from France... Why ? Not just because he makes "American" style movies (like many of his detractor like to say)... All of you know "La femme Nikita", "The Professional" (or Leon), "The Fifth Element" (probably better than 'a new hope') and "The Messenger" (Joan of Arc/ Jeanne d'Arc)... there is more to Besson's universe, and that's what we would like to share with you now...

Personally we think Luc Besson has a large worldwide fan base because he likes movies. He likes it and he makes his movies for the public. Not for the critics. Not only for himself. We think Besson likes to share with us - his public - his passion, his fears, his love... There is something honest (and childlike) in Besson's work... add to that a real technical talent to put the camera in the right place and that's the main key of his success.

If you are interested, try to get your hand on "Le dernier combat" (The last fight): a strange little sci-fi movie Besson made in 1983. It's a silent black and white film made with nothing. Basically it shows how humanity is trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world (remember we are in 1983... post-apocalyptic world were a very 'in' thing at that time). Certainly not his best (even if it got a lot of prices quite a few festivals) but still worth watching just for curiosity, it's certainly better than most of the first movie done by French directors!!

Next on his list is "Subway": another curiosity with Christophe Lambert and Isabelle Adjani (about adventures in the Parisian metropolitan subway -which in my opinion is the shit hole of earth -DB).

This movie was to be followed by "The Big Blue" ("Le Grand Bleu"): Huge hit in France (still Besson's best upshot in France). It's really more of a "cult" movie... it was a generation thing... (I know a lot of my friends who had the film poster in their room; personally I only had the soundtrack and the "Big Blue"......bed sheets - Shame on me I know - Ed.). Unfortunately that movie was totally re-edited when it came out in the States (with a stupid happy ending)... the long version (3 hrs long) is probably the best one. If you don't like oceans, dolphins and simple story.... stay away from it; if you do like oceans, dolphins and Jean Reno you will love that one... As what was said in the beginning, I think the public (young public mainly) felt very close to that movie because of Besson's passion for its subject and characters.

Besson's big break in the USA was with "Nikita" ("La femme Nikita")... Besson said back then that he made "Nikita" in reaction to the very bad reactions he received in the Cannes Festival with "The Big Blue". When it came out at the end of the 80's,"Nikita" was perceived as a very dark film... Still, like "Leon", it's a movie full of life and positive energy... With that movie Besson created a strong and "true" female character; a kind of "trademark" for all his next movies (and someone that was totally missing in the very bad remake with Bridget Fonda, "Point of no Return").

After the "almost-documentary" "Atlantis", Besson gave us the wonderful "Leon" ("The Professional" in the US). As much of you know well that one we will not be too long.. ("No woman, no kids", so NOT my motto - DB)... except I, Edgard, would like to beg all of you to get your hands on the director's cut (I believe that unfortunately it's available only in Japan on DVD - go figure) because the 20 minutes extra are pure magic (especially for the fans of Natalie Portman). You learn a lot about more Leon's character and relationship with Matilda... and it's because of bad test screenings with American audiences that Besson removed it(because Matilda asks Leon to be her first lover.... it seems to be shocking for our cousins on the New Continent.

(I haven't seen the director's cut yet but I've read the script online and as a side note I would like to add that it seems to me that Besson wanted to 'suggest' that Matilda and Leon do, infact, sleep together -DB)

"The Fifth Element", one of Europe's biggest productions and a hugely underrated movie abroad (a lot of people claim this is better than A New Hope). Not highly original, but original enough to have created a small landmark in sci-fi movie history. Similar to Star Wars in that it wanted to entertain; It has a lot of comedy and it made Chris Tucker a success overnight (if this a good thing, I leave it up to you). Some may disagree, but I thought Milla's performance in this was excellent, very "multi-pass", plus Milla wearing thermal bandages is way sexier than Leia in the golden bikini (c'mon you gotta give us that one). This, however, is not one of Luc Besson's most in-depth movies, but it doesn't have to be. Although it is cheesy I say LET IT BE! Why so many people dislike this one but liked "The Mummy" is beyond me.

"The Messenger" is probably still showing around, somewhere, so go make your mind yourself...

We will conclude this short presentation with mentioning that Besson is also a good producer. His best success as a producer is "Taxi", two years ago : a "buddy" action/comedy movie in the South of France. Personally (Ed.) I didn't like it : no story, no characters, very heavy sense of humour and action sequences "à la" Blues Brothers... but at least, it was something different in the traditional French film environment. It was fast, young and with a very "in" soundtrack... hence it's huge success.... and hence a "Taxi 2" rushing to theatres in France next Wednesday... This time they'll be driving full speed across Paris... The trailer seems to promise more action (rule of a sequels)... we will see, but it's already a certain hit.

Besson also created with Jan Kounen (Dobermann) and Matthieu Kassovitz (La Haine) a film company based in the States : "1B2K"...

In different interviews, Luc Besson declared that he would make only 10 films, no more, no less. Why ? Well it seems that Luc would like to work on different things, to do other things with his life... "The Messenger" was his 8th movie... Only two to go then. Too bad.

THAT'S it for Besson today, and now we'll allow Scythe to take the spot light and enlighten us on what's going on in Germany, see ya at the bottom of the page:

-Soenke Wortmann's film "The Hollywood Sign" will feature Kati Witt, the former German ice-princess will play a drug dealer; the "bad guy" part, and she seems really excited to play "a real bitch".

-Otto Waalkes, famous German comedian whose new movie opens this week, made a deal with Stefan Raab, another famous German comedian, who will make the theme song for the upcoming animation-film "The Ottifants".

-Don't know if you covered that or not: "2001: A Space Travesty" featuring Leslie Nielsen and several others was shot in the Munich located studios. One of the cameos is by Verona Feldbusch, infamous German TV-host (big tits, small brains). The movie is in post-production right now. (And I guess it's not very funny at all.)

-Wim Wenders is currently shooting another music-themed film, this time featuring the German band BAP. BAP is a band that is very famous in Germany, especially in Cologne, because the group sings in a certain slang that's from Cologne. The movie will be called "Vill passirt" (something like "Much happened" in slang). Although they're already shooting nobody knows where the movie will take them. There's no script, as Wenders just follows them on their "Tonfilm"-Tour on and off stage.

-Currently a short-film is planned that is called "The Last Blow Job"; "The Last Blow Job" will be about 11 minutes long, directed by Lutz Lemke and played by Detlef Bothe and Tom Trentmann. It will be shot in Munich. (if this doesn't get remarks in talk-back then there's no justic in this world -DB)

-Franka Potente, star of "Run, Lola, Run" is filming "Blow" with Johnny Depp right now, where she plays Depp's girlfriend. This is her first American role.

-The movie "Du lebst noch 7 Tage" (You will live for 7 days) is in postproduction. Director Sebastian Niemann helmed Amanda Plummer and Sean Pertwee. Shooting was held in Prague. (I not quite sure, but I heard that's a thriller.)

-"Everybody Dies" a crime-thriller featuring Herbert Knaup, Ornella Muti and James Russo is in postproduction. It was shot in Berlin and New Jersey. (Remark: Wasn't there a movie called "Everybody's Dead" from Brian Lynch, one of those ViewAskew/Kevin Smith guys? But this movie is scripted by Todd Kamanicki)

-"No Sex" is in the can. This is a movie about an architect, who is impotent and falls for Isabell, which just split from her boyfriend. What sounds like a comedy is in fact a drama. No big names.

-"Aeon", that 2001-style tv-three-parter from early this year is getting a second and third installment.

-"Die Abrafaxe", famous East-German comic-family, will show up on the big screen sometime next year.

-"Im Juli" (In July) is in the can and will come to the cinemas in July (Wow! talk about marketing). This is a love story featuring Christiane Paul (Even those Americans would love this girl! RRRRR!) and Moritz Bleibtreu (Manni from "Run, Lola, Run"). It's directed by Fatih Akin, a turkish-based German director who made the outstanding "Kurz & Schmerzlos" a few years ago. This movie made him somewhat the German Tarantino. This story seems to be really great, as it follows Moritz Bleibtreu through several countries as he bumps into Christiane Paul's character called "Juli". (That makes the movies title a little bit different....)

-Nothing really new from Tom "Run, Lola, Run" Tykwer's new movie "Der Krieger und die Kaiserin". The movie is shooting in Wuppertal and Great Britain and features a German-All-Star cast including Franka Potente, Joachim Krol, Jürgen Tarrach and Benno Führmann. -Scythe out.

WELCOME back, Darth Bond here again with my Euro pick of the week and Euro Question of the week..

Euro Pick of the week

Alright, this week's pick is a dark comedy/action movie from Spain which I'm sure a lot of young men will love: The Day of the Beast (El Dia de la Bestia) directed by Alex De La Iglesia, starring Alex Armando, Angulo Razza and Santiago Segura. The first time I went to see this, I went into the cinema not knowing anything about the movie, and I loved it, so I'll keep this review very spoiler-free. It involves a priest (Angulo), a heavy metal punk (way cool Segura) and a TV psychic (De Razza), teaming up to stop the birth of the Anti-Christ on Xmas.. you can imagine the logistics of that: Drugs, crime, heavy music, sinning, Madrid, satanic rituals spiced up with virgin's blood, etc (all done in a good way). Though it tails off somewhat at the climax, this has a lot of good things going for it and I'm money that you'll enjoy it. Top stuff, I give it four outta five stars.

Euro Question of the week,

Okay, so I forgot to put a question in last week, but I'm making up for it with this extremely hard question: -In which Xmas (the year) was the "Day of the Beast" filmed in Madrid and why were the Kio towers used in this film (apart from the obvious fact that they look damn sinister at night)? Slap you answer in the Talk Back, we'll name the person who got it right in next week's column.

Okay, that wraps it up for this week, I gotta tell you, it's been more fun than usual here at EuroAICN HQ, even with the old man (Edgard) gone for a long weekend. Remember that you can send your scoops, premier tickets, info, offers of set visits, premier dates, comments, pornography and flames to

(btw, I finished writing 4 hours before the Oscars but: Almodovar better have won his Oscar, otherwise heads WILL roll!!)

This is Darth Bond, CYL.

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