The Morning Read: Has Edgar Wright made 'The Matrix for love'?
Welcome to The Morning Read.
It's funny the way Twitter works... it's such a loose, conversational platform for conversation that what ends up happening is people say things that they might never say in a more formal environment. It's great when you're following people who happen to be talking about things that interest you intensely like... ohhhhh, let's say "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World."
Jason Reitman and Edgar Wright were obviously separated at birth, so it makes sense that once they were finally reunited, they became fast friends, and recently, when Reitman was in London for the London Film Festival premiere of the excellent "Up In The Air," Wright took him to a secret location and showed him a half-hour of "Scott Pilgrim," swearing him to secrecy.
Obviously secrecy doesn't involve Twitter. Thank god.
Here's what Reitman had to say:
In London, @edgarwright showed me 30min of Scott Pilgrim. While sworn to secrecy (so much, surprised blood wasn't demanded) I will say this: It is a game changer for Edgar and the genre. It moves the speed of light and carries more unadulterated joy than Ive seen in recent cinema. SP does what everyone our age has been dreaming about: achieves the first all encompassing film of the joystick generation. I'm in awe of the sheer control in the filmmaking. It feels like a "Matrix" for love and how willing we are to fight for it. If I had a movie coming out next year, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near it. Hats off my friend. Can't get it out of my head.
Great. Now I just have to tell myself to calm down for a year or so. Should be no problem at all, right?
What else is going on out there this morning?
Bob Iger, Walt Disney's CEO, finds himself standing in a coal mine, singing the same canary song that Jeffrey Katzenberg sang post-"Dick Tracy" back in 1990, and I'm sure it'll be met with the exact same enthusiasm in town. It's so strange to hear an executive mouthing these sentiments as if they are important wisdom instead of basic common sense. "The business model that underpins the movie business is changing. If we don't adapt to the change, there won't be a business." The interview, unsurprisingly, was with BIG F'ING DUH magazine.
Did you see that creepy "A-Team" photo? It's one of the worst retouchings of a group shot I've ever seen, with the four guys dropped in front of a bizarre smoky background complete with a mostly-hidden black van, and looking at the visual approach to the characters, I'm not sure what the heck Joe Carnahan's up to. Bradley Cooper makes a stylish "Faceman," and Sharlto Copely looks pretty much perfect as "Mad Dog" Murdock. I even like the stripped down look of "Rampage" Jackson as B.A. Baracus, right down to the knuckle-wear with "PITY" on one hand and "FOOL" on the other. But what makes my skin crawl a little bit is the way Liam Neeson looks as "Hannibal" Smith. It looks like he's wearing a George Peppard Halloween costume, and I'm not quite sure what the hell they've done to him. I was never a huge fan of the show, but I can see how easy it would be to build a credible action franchise with that premise and that cast. I'm rooting for Carnahan to pull it off... I just hope he feels free to invent his own vibe and doesn't lean too heavily on aping the '80s show out of nostalgia. The photo originally ran in Entertainment Weekly.
I've never been a fan of Paul Haggis or his work. If I want to be preached at, I can go to church, and if I want a total lack of subtlety, I'll throw on "Benny Hill." It's been easy for me to just tune him out and ignore his films rather than get irritated by them. I don't feel the need to rail on someone over and over just because I dislike an aesthetic or a style. But this weekend, he made headlines for doing something that genuinely impresses me, and I've got to offer up my admiration. He did something that is incredibly hard to do, and that may well have real-world consequences for him. He not only quit Scientology... he blasted them with both barrels on his way out the door. You can read the first part of his extraordinary public statement over at the blog run by Marty Rathbun, a former official with the Church of Scientology who is now one of their most outspoken critics, and then work your way through all four blog postings that have to do with the Haggis letter. It really is sort of jaw-dropping when you consider how clearly the Church moves against those who quit it and those who criticize it. Here's Haggis doing both at once, as loudly as possible. Will the Church try to strike back? It seems to me they'd have to be truly stupid and suicidal to try to turn this into a fight instead of graciously letting the writer/director simply have his say and move on, but no one has ever accused Scientology of being completely rational. We'll see.
Richard Kelly's counting down to the release of his new film "The Box," and it's an important one for him. No matter how frustrated I am with elements of Richard's films or his writing, I recognize in him a guy who is incredibly bright, who has a huge range of interests, and who seems determined to figure out a way to get all of these disparate elements to work together in films that challenge and provoke and entertain. He's at that point as a filmmaker where he needs to make a hit just so he buys himself the freedom to follow his interests a little longer, so I'm sure he's hoping "The Box" connects with audiences. Right now, he's serving as a guest-blogger over at MTV, and his first entry deals with his decision to embrace social media.
Ready to give up the rest of your afternoon? Click here.
Good lord, are we already doing our preview pieces for 2010? I need to finish with 2009 and then do my "25 Best Films of 2000 - 2009" before I start thinking about next year. It's not even Halloween yet, people! I'll bet the Times Online already has their Christmas ornaments up, too. Pratts.
Now that they've got me all freaked out, I'm going to run write up a few more pieces, including the return of "Film Nerd 2.0."
The Morning Read appears here every day, Monday through Friday. Except when it doesn't.
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