Welcome to The Morning Read.
We're entering that time of the year when things get weird and schedules go wonky and I want to make sure that the Morning Read doesn't suffer. I've had that happen before, and it becomes a hard habit to get back into if I let things get away from me.
It's certainly not for lack of material. I was on the move last Friday, so we're talking about almost a week since the last Morning Read, and that means there's been an avalanche of links that I've bookmarked. Let's see how many of them I can get through, working roughly backwards in chronology, starting with this morning's news that Neil Blomkamp is hard at work now setting up his next film, "Elysium." It's exciting to hear that Sharlto Copley will be starring again for him. I would love to get a hold of that graphic novel that Blomkamp is presenting to studios as they meet about the film, set on another planet in a distant future. The cool thing here is that MRC is already committed to making the film. All they're doing right now is looking for a distributor, something that should be very easy to pin down based on the amazing success of "District 9," both critically and financially.
I haven't had a chance yet to see "Voyage Of The Dawn Treader," the latest film in the "Chronicles Of Narnia" franchise, but I'm hoping I'll do so this coming week. I'm curious to see if the film feels like a significant departure from the two prior films, or if Walden's managed to create a feeling of continuity as they moved from Disney to Fox. There's a piece in The New York Times today that serves as a sharp breakdown of the stakes for Walden if they fail, and the efforts the've gone through with Fox to help keep the franchise on track. I was on set for "Prince Caspian," and at that point, they were full speed ahead on development for "Dawn Treader." Once that movie opened, though, they stopped cold, and things were radically refigured. We'l see if those decisions pay off when the film opens on Friday, but in the meantime, Liam Neeson is stirring up controversy by trying to claim Aslan as a all-purpose religious metaphor, something that the Christian audience seems upset by.
All that hubbub over Mark Ruffalo being placed on a terrorism watch list? Turns out, it may not be true.
I don't believe Terry Gilliam's legacy is any greater danger than any other filmmaker's, but I know how it feels to be a fan of his work and to feel like he's not being treated well by the universe at large. I believe there are a number of films from his filmography that will live on and continue to grow in esteem in the decades ahead. "The Fisher King." "Time Bandits." "12 Monkeys." "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas." "Brazil." Most directors would kill to have made one of those. Trust me… Gilliam's not going anywhere, history.
Jonathan Rosenbaum's explanation of the pivotal role "Playtime" and "2001" had in terms of determining the shape of cinema afterwards is one of those reads that you don't have to agree with to enjoy, and a beautiful example of why long-form criticism remains superior to the sound-bite culture favored by some people these days.
And speaking of "2001" and the TIFF Lightbox screening that's coming up, if you ever have a chance to hear Douglas Trumbull talk about his work on the film, you absolutely should.
This is fascinating, and it illuminates the reason the acclaimed but controversial book The Long Walk became the new Peter Weir film "The Way Back."
Louis CK stopped by "The Tonight Show" to absolutely dominate Jay Leno. Check this out:
God, he's great. I can't believe how much better he seems to be every year.
John Sayles joined the guru team over at Trailers From Hell, and that is a very good thing indeed.
Wait, so Paul Rudd is NOT playing Walter the Muppet in the upcoming Jason Segel Muppet movie? Bummer.
And they canceled the "Heavy Metal" Blu-ray? Double-bummer!
Poor Tron Guy.
After reading this, I'll admit it… I'm afraid to read the full Vanity Fair profile of Randy and Evi Quaid. This is all just terribly sad, and I wish there was some way for someone to rescue Quaid from himself.
Everyone seems to be reporting today that the two "Alien" prequels have been pushed back by a full year, but the reports all seem to source back to this one article. Has anyone bothered asking Fox if any of it is true?
Kevin Smith had more trouble with an airline, and I sympathize. I got really lucky on my last trip with a pleasant flight in each direction and a painless TSA experience, but that is a one-in-a-thousand experience these days, and it should bother us that we're all getting used to this sort of treatment and behavior.
Wait, let's check back in with Louis CK again….
I love that someone dug out some old script coverage by John August. I did some script coverage for a while, and my informal review of Mr. August's work is that he was really good at it. Big surprise.
Our universe is so damn cool.
I'm not a huge fan of Wikileaks, but I am glad to see Columbia make the right choice here. I may not like what they do, but having a conversation about them, their work, and the choices made by Julian Assange and his team is not a crime, and a university can't hope to encourage their students by telling them they can't have an opinion on one of the biggest stories currently unfolding. By the way… have you seen the facility where Wikileaks is hosted? It looks like the sort of complex you'd find in an extinct volcano filled with henchmen and an evil genius.
It seems appropriate that Christopher Nolan's supposed to be turning in the script for "The Dark Knight Rises" today, since it's time for "Inception" to hit home video finally. I'm watching the Blu-ray as I work today, and you know what it doesn't have on it? This:
I really hope that "Blue Valentine" wins its appeal to get an R rating before its release. It is ludicrous that they'e given this movie a rating that will keep it out of many American theaters. It's not obscene by any definition of the word, and there's nothing in it that would shock any reasonable adult audience. It's silly, but there's a long history of the MPAA making terrible decisions, and I'm sure they'll keep right on making them as long as we let them decide what other adults can or cannot handle seeing on a movie screen.
I have never had a restaurant owner threaten to kill me, but then again, I never met Elaine Kaufman.
I also evidently missed my chance at talking to director Claude Lanzmann about the upcoming anniversary re-release of "Shoah," but I'm definitely planning to see the film in the theater during that limited run. I've wanted to ever since the first release back in 1985.
Okay, one more time with Louis CK.
I used to work at a theater where we showed "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on weekends, and it was a nightmare. Now, a few decades removed from that, I must admit a good deal of fondness and nostalgia for the entire experience, and I'm glad to see it's still alive, still being celebrated, even after it finally made its way to home video.
And thinking back to the days when I worked in various movie theaters make reading a piece like this even more bittersweet. We are definitely living through a shift from one era to another, and that's always a painful time and filled with sadness. I loved being a projectionist, and I'm sorry that job may not exist for kids working in theaters anymore.
On that note, I've got to get moving. Lots to do before I leave for Austin in the morning. It's time for Butt-Numb-A-Thon, Harry's annual 24-hour movie marathon, and I'm heading in early so I can attend some press screenings and get my sleep schedule worked out right. Plenty of content to publish for you here all week, so please keep checking back. Our new podcast should be up first thing in the morning, for example, and it's a fun one this week.
The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Except when it doesn't.