Welcome to The Evening Read.
Well, Monday didn't happen, mainly because I had an early morning press event for the new James Wan/Leigh Whannell film "Insidious" at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. I didn't even get back to my house until almost 2:00 in the afternoon, at which point I had other things to write and publish.
There were a number of things that broke over the weekend, but I feel like we're at a weird point in the way movie news is reported where teeny tiny non-stories turn into giant ridiculous waves of chatter, simply so people have something to talk about. The most ridiculous things get endlessly debated, and so the scale of what is or isn't news has become so skewed that it's hard for me to get excited about a lot of what's going on out there.
I find myself getting frustrated by things like the preposterous flap over Natalie Portman and "Black Swan," and I see the same groupthink answers about why it's "an outrage" over and over. I'm not sure who allegedly promised moviegoers that every frame of Natalie Portman dancing in that film was really her, but it certainly wasn't the director or the actress. When I interviewed Portman last year, she was pretty clear about the fact that a year of dance training allowed her to stand and move like a dancer, and not that she was suddenly a professional-level ballerina. Film is illusion, and it sounds like the people stoking the fires of this idiotic outrage believe they were watching a documentary instead of, you know, a movie. And don't bring up the Oscar. Unless you can show me some rule book where it says that you have perform every shot in a film to qualify for an Oscar, nothing about this affects her win one little bit.
It's sort of like the indignation over ridiculous things like the new Wonder Woman costume or the casting of Amy Adams as Lois Lane. It's like people need some fresh offense to make it through each day, so they'll conflate these little bitty things into life-changing decisions that threaten to ruin their very lives. It's that ability to focus in on tiny things and make them huge that defines fandom, and if there is any legacy that the Internet has created, it's the idea that every single decision Hollywood makes is wrong, and it never matters in the long run since the loudest complainers will still buy tickets.
Miramax is evidently moving forward in developing several of their film properties as Broadway musicals, and the two that I must admit I'd end up going to see would be "Cinema Paradiso" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Every single time I see "Paradiso," it breaks me in half all over again. I love that film, and I love what it has to say about the affection we have for movies, and the way their images are a universal language that unites us. And with "Crouching Tiger," you're talking about the film I picked as my favorite of the last decade. Now that they're killing as many as 30 stuntmen per show on "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" [EDITOR'S NOTE - they are not actually killing stuntmen], finding a way to produce the sort of gravity-free wire-work that defined "Crouching Tiger" should be good for several years worth of breathless news stories. It's such a big, archetypical story that I can imagine it would translate quite easily to the stage. I'm just curious who they'd have write the music for it. That would be the real key to making it work.
I envy anyone who's been lucky enough to see "The Book Of Mormon." I'm going crazy reading reactions to it and seeing Trey Parker and Matt Stone talk about it. It sounds amazing.
It is a very rare thing for a studio to apologize for a trailer, but that's evidently what Warner Bros. did this week in regards to their first trailer for "Green Lantern." That puts a lot of pressure on them to delivers a second trailer that knocks audiences on their ass, and we'll see if they pull it off in about a month.
In the meantime, there are all sorts of "Superman" related links out there today. Bryan Singer's starting to call his "Superman Returns" reboot a mistake, while Zack Snyder seems to have confirmed that Superman and Batman will both show up in "Justice League," and will have nothing in common with the Superman in his upcoming movie, which is a truly asinine idea. There is an arrogance to the notion that we need multiple interpretations of any character at the same time in the marketplace, especially when you're dealing with films that cost many hundreds of millions of dollars to make. Honestly, if Warner Bros. goes down that path, there's going to be a commercial backlash. Wait and see. Audiences are already at the absolute saturation point with superhero movies, but if you start doubling up on the same characters at the same time, you're going to burn the entire genre to the ground. If this is really good thinking, then why not reboot "Harry Potter" right now? Before you've even got the second half of "Deathly Hallows" in the theater, announce that you're going to refilm the entire series. Then, as you do that, announce that you're going to be making a totally different set of Potter reboots that you'll be releasing between the first set of reboots. That would surely be acceptable to an audience of Potter fans, right? And no way they'd think it was overkill... right?
I don't want to keep piling onto Warner Bros. this afternoon, but this article at Cracked asks some important questions about an "Akira" reboot. I think they read an older draft of the script, based on them referring to "Tetsuo" as "Travis," which was the plan in the first few drafts, but the questions they ask are pertinent, and I'm not sure the producers could find worthwhile answers to them.
And while we're discussing "Akira," have you see A.O. Scott's look back at the piece? It's excellent:
Devin Faraci is a divisive figure, and part of it is because he lays himself out there in his editorials. He is not afraid to infuriate his audience, but that's certainly not all he does. His new home at Badass Digest allows him to follow his whims and write about things he loves, and to write pieces that dig deeper than much of what is published about film, either in print or online. His piece today about Patrick Wilson is a great example of what he does best, and it's worth your time.
Did you watch my interview today with Michelle Monaghan for "Source Code"? During that, we also talked about the news that her "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" cohorts were getting back together on "Iron Man 3," and we weren't able to use it in the "Source Code" piece, so you might enjoy it here:
Kyle Chandler for "Powers"? Yes, please.
Wait… Gilberto Sanchez is the only person going to jail or paying a fine for the leak of "Wolverine" online, and he's not even the source of the damn thing? According to this article, he bought it on DVD on the street in NY and then uploaded it. Yes, that's a crime, but he's a glass installer and a musician, not a guy who works in post-production. If you're serious about these cases, you HAVE to find the source. You HAVE to prosecute the source. You HAVE to prove that you can enforce a leak if it happens. This poor bastard's so far down in the food chain that making an example of him makes you look like clueless bullies, not heroes of copyright. Try again, guys, and next time, make sure you're targeting someone who deserves it.
Are you a fan of the "Return Of The Living Dead" movies? Oh, are you about to be happy.
Soderbergh's right, of course. Reshoots are a luxury that every filmmaker wishes they had after they've put together a cut of their film. If a period of additional photography was built into every single movie, I think filmmakers would find ways to improve almost everything. Can't wait to see "Haywire," but I'm glad Soderbergh took advantage of his extra time to make it exactly what he wants it to be.
Oh, good, I have a new phobia. Share it with me, won't you?
Great piece, but there are more and more young women working their way up the ranks of critics these days, and they seem to be welcomed by the community in my experience. There are so many these days, and they're so smart and funny and engaging in print and in person that it makes me angry I'm a fat old man these days. Where were all of these cool film nerd 20-something girls when I was a single man in my 20s as well?
Do you love Indiana Jones? Do you want to remind yourself why?
Do you love "Hook"? For god's sake, why?
I have a wicked case of media overload these days, and while I still make time every single day to read, it is harder and harder to focus and choose from all the options available. I think that's a problem for a lot of people, and it requires a whole new skill set to negotiate this ocean of media we've all got at our disposal.
I love that it was one of the writers of the next "Star Trek" movie who brought this to my attention:
Two of my favorite reviews of "Sucker Punch" were written by my old AICN cohorts Mr. Beaks and Vern, and while I may not agree with every word in either of them, they are delightful reads. No matter how you felt about the film, this sort of writing is what I look for from critics.
I linked to Wil Wheaton's piece about the "Stand By Me" reunion in the last Morning read, and here's the piece that he was writing about at the time.
I'm a massive Travis McGee fan, and I think this is a really solid look at "Darker Than Amber," one of the few attempts to bring the character to the screen so far.
That's so weird. I was about to say this exact same thing.
When did Cracked become an outlet for piercing, smart, well-observed writing like this? And how can we make sure they never stop?
This breaks my heart so much… the thought of a Sendak illustrated "Hobbit" fills me with joy, and the news that it never happened and why takes that joy and strangles it to death right in front of me.
A man loses the negatives to photos he took when he was seven, then finds them thirty-six years later and develops them. The result? Magic.
Brian Salisbury is one of the many new faces I've gotten to know in Austin over the last few years, and I am delighted to see him writing a new regular column for AICN, the first of which is available now.
Fans of Jim Henson and his work and his imagination should bookmark this site that looks back at his history. For example, they just uncovered a short pilot he created for a TV series that would have adapted "The Wizard of Id," the comic strip that is still running today. It was 1968, before the Muppets and before "Sesame Street," so perhaps it's a good thing the show didn't go on the air and become a big hit, because if it had, we might not have had his later creations. Check it out:
If it takes you twenty years to develop a remake of "Porky's" and you don't actually have the rights locked down, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.
And speaking of remakes, I get very nervous when discussing the notion of a "Suspiria" remake, but I trust David Gordon Green. And the idea that he'll actually use the Goblin score makes me think it's going to be an exercise in formalism, and that makes me interested.
This is just as brilliant as "Garfield Minus Garfield," and just as existentially terrifying. it's amazing what you can do to a piece of art with one small change, isn't it?
When Garrett Brown invented the Steadicam and it started getting used in feature films, I become somewhat obsessed with the device, so this 23-minute piece about Brown is just plain hypnotic for me:
The more you know…
Note to anyone who publishes work for other people to see or read or listen to or whatever: this is how NOT to handle criticism. Neil Gaiman tweeted this link a couple of days ago, and watching the comments unfold in real time was sickening, horrifying, and I could not stop refreshing.
This guy should get his own TV show where he glues different things to himself each week.
And in the meantime, I just feel bad for this guy.
We'll wrap it up today with a trailer produced by Marvel for their big summer publishing event, Fear Itself:
My kids are still a little young for comic books, but I'm sure in a few years, I'll be neck-deep in this sort of event cross-over stuff again, and it will all seem very life or death. I'm betting "The Avengers" next summer is a big part of making them rabid about these stories, the way "Superman: The Movie" helped do for me.
Next up, my review of the new Joe Wright movie "Hanna." Lots to do before I walk out the door for WonderCon, so I should get to it.
The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Except when it doesn't.