Plus good news for 'At The Movies' and Weird Al takes on CNR
Welcome to The Morning Read.
That darn Terry Gilliam, taking up my whole day yesterday. Good thing he's sort of awesome, or I'd be really upset. I've got more interviews I'll be editing for you later today, but first, there's so much going on that it seems like we need a Read, don't we?
I mean, we didn't talk about this week's home video releases. It's not a huge week, but you can finally get "Big Trouble In Little China" on BluRay, which I'll be doing the next time I head into Hollywood. I already have a copy of "Race To Witch Mountain" here on BluRay, and it's worth it just for the cameo that happens 1:02:30 into the film. I'm not sure who that guy posing with the Tusken Raider is, but I think he's destined to be Hollywood's next great superstar. That is what film acting is all about. HBO released "Flight Of The Conchords: Season Two" on DVD this week, pure silliness that I find easy to rewatch. I haven't seen "The Soloist," and since it wasn't sent for review, I'm not sure when I'll get around to it. I wrote about the absolutely ridiculous "Obsessed" recently, and I just wish it was a wee bit more knowingly campy. That would help. Finally, Disney's got two catalog titles out on BluRay this week that I have right here, ready to be watched. It's been a while since I've seen "Sling Blade," and I guess it's probably time to revisit the movie that established Adam Sandler as a real commercial force and not just a cult phenomenon, "The Waterboy."
RT @AdamFrazier: When Bill Clinton wants to bring two women home, not even North Korea can stop him.
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The new Tyler Perry film puts its greatest asset front and center on the new one-sheet
I know Tyler Perry isn't really a name you see mentioned a lot here, but whether I like his films or not, I respect the fact that this guy has built a niche audience for himself that translates into real freedom to make his films his way. I don't have to be his target audience to admire the way he has reached that audience.
I always laugh when I see film nerds freak out because something they don't like is popular with audiences that aren't just like them. It's like when people get crazy about the little "Twilight" girlies. Leave 'em alone... at least they like something. At least they're excited about something. So much of fandom seems to exist to simply be negative that it just depresses me. So even if I'm not Perry's fanbase, I'm glad they exist... I'm glad they pay to go see movies in the theater... and I hope that fandom translates to them expanding their tastes to other movies and other filmmakers.
Today, Lionsgate asked us if we'd like to premiere the final one-sheet for "I Can Do Bad All By Myself," his latest movie. The official website also launches today. Since Taraji Henson is the star of the film, meaning there's a huge picture of her on the one-sheet, that is a very simple decision for me to make. She's not only lovely, she's also a pretty remarkable actress, and it seems like Perry is using better and bigger casts each time out these days.
Check out the full-sized one-sheet after the jump:
The conclusion of our epic conversation with the lifelong maverick
I posted part one of this interview just a few moments ago, and realized that I needed to break it in half because of how long it was. The website choked the first time.
The nice thing is, now I get to publish a brand-new image from "The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus" with the second half of the interview, so it's win-win, eh?
Let's pick up right where we left off at the end of part one:
Drew McWeeny: I've always looked at "Life of Brian" as, in my opinion, one of the most accurate historical pieces from that era.
Terry Gilliam: We do our work. [laughs]
And in the service of, ostensibly, a comedy. You guys made phenomenal points about the political era and what the world was and why the Messiah was needed, and I mean... all of that is in there. And actually, the way I discovered Monty Python was I was told... because my parents were very religious while I was growing up... that that was on the list of films I could never see. They might as well have taken me to the theatre and bought me the ticket because it was like, "Well, you know I have to now. There's no question."
[laughs] See, that's what's so interesting. Like my mother who goes to church every week... very religious... she didn't think it was blasphemous because that's not Jesus. Isn't that interesting? She just said, "That's not Jesus, that's Brian." She knew a lot of people got crucified, so where's the problem?
Yeah. [laughs] Jesus is over there.
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We talk 'Parnassus,' 'Holy Grail,' 'Brazil,' Philip K. Dick, Matt Damon's pretty nose, and more
Okay... gun to my head, clock is ticking, what's my favorite film?
I'm either going to say "Brazil" or "Lawrence of Arabia." Both answers are right, and it just depends on the degree of cynicism I allow myself that day as to which one I give.
When I was contacted the week before Comic-Con about the possibility of sitting down with Terry Gilliam at some point in San Diego, I thought it would, at best, turn out to be a ten-minute stop on an assembly line of quick interviews about "The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus," the still-unsold new film from Gilliam featuring the final performance of Heath Ledger. And I was perfectly fine with the idea of just getting ten minutes with him.
Instead, I got a full hour, and the result is one of my favorite filmmaker interviews I've done. I really do prefer being able to have a longer conversation with someone, because you get past the early sort of perfunctory stuff and start to really dig into things. I've loved Gilliam's work since the first time I saw "Time Bandits" in 1981. I was 11 years old, and hooked immediately. I've always wanted to chat with him, and near the end of this hour, I felt like I'd finally said or asked pretty much everything pressing, everything that I'd been saving up over the years. It was satisfying in a way few interviews ever are for me.
I hope you guys enjoy it as well. Here's the full text, from the moment Quint got up and walked away at the end of his interview. I stepped up as Terry stood for a moment and we shook hands. He had his hair pulled back into a ponytail, and that infamous devil's grin of his was firmly in place as I introduced myself.
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Sure it's a documentary, but try finding something more fun in theaters right now
Here's how I know Mark Hartley is a good interviewer.
I've seen Quentin Tarantino introduce movies live over and over and over in the last 12 years. I've seen him introduce in front of huge crowds, in front of small late-night die-hard audiences, in front of industry audiences at premieres, and in front of a group of friends at his house. He's a storyteller, always, first and foremost, and he loves to set the stage for a movie he's about to show, getting you so excited and primed so you know exactly what you're about to get. He's great at it. I think, as much as filmmaking, film custodianship is a gig he is born to and that he loves. So I'm not surprised to see him here, talking about these movies. I am surprised to see how relaxed and casual and person Quentin's material in the film is. It's one of the best interviews about movies I've seen with him. He's on-point with a precision that makes everything very, very funny, but also absolutely informative and true. For Hartley to get the interview he got, he had to be on his game, and the result is just one of the dozens of pleasures in store for anyone lucky enough to behold "Not Quite Hollywood" on the bigscreen right now.
I mean, don't get me wrong... see it however you can see it. If it's VOD or DVD or PPV or iTunes or whatever, see it. But if the theatrical option is possible, make the effort. The opening title sequence alone is worth your ticket price, and if you're not absolutely hooked and ready to see whatever movie could possibly hold all of the insanity you see during the opening titles, then get up, go get your money back, and go find a morgue, because you may not have a pulse. I'd argue that scene for scene, moment for moment, there's nothing more entertaining playing theaters right now.
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Plus Tatum and Yi do some 'Dirty Dancing' and Michael Moore quits documentaries?
Welcome back to The Morning Read.
Been a while, hasn't it? Blame Comic-Con. Blame Canada. Or, hell, just blame me. I find that when I'm on the road, the time and comfort level it takes to put together a Morning Read eludes me pretty much all the time. I need to just realize that these most likely won't happen during festivals or special events, and that way, I don't stress out when I fail.
I bookmarked a bunch of stuff while I was gone and on the road, and some of it's out of date now, but I figure I'll burn through the most interesting of it this week, since news seems a little slow, as a way of getting back up to speed.
I love the idea of seeing "Iron Man 3" or, more specifically, "The Avengers" in IMAX 3D, and it sounds like Jon Favreau agrees with me. If he actually shoots "The Avengers" in 3D, there's a very good chance he will cause comic geeks around the world of all ages to simply pop a blood vessel. There may, in fact, be such a thing as too much cool, and this idea comes close to accomplishing it.
I think at this point, the "mockumentary" has become so ubiquitous that people don't even think about it. When they see something that uses documentary language as a shorthand to reality, they pretty much just roll with it. I love this article about 18 films that have been part of blurring that line over the years.
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Are low-tech animation, big star voices, and classic source material enough?
During the entire production of "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," images have been on lockdown to such a degree that we didn't even have a basic idea of what the style of the film might be. When you say "stop-motion animation," that doesn't really have anything to do with the look of the film... it's just a technique.
The last two weeks have been sort of an avalanche of material about the film, though, including the debut of the first trailer, and the reaction has been diverse, to say the least.
If you haven't seen it, you should start with USA Today's photo gallery, which contains a fair bit of excellent reportage about who's playing what and how the film's been built.
I've heard from many friends who find the trailer almost unspeakably ugly, who hate the animation, and who think the movie stars overwhelm the piece. When my wife was pregnant, both times, I did a lot of reading to the tummy, and I particularly enjoyed reading Roald Dahl. There's something particularly juicy about the way he plays with words that makes those books fun to read aloud, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox was one of the books that we read more than once.
Yahoo! Movies got the trailer premiere, and now Fox Searchlight's released it through their YouTube channel as well:
[more, including trailer, after the jump]
Guess the spies will have to wait as Spielberg directs remake of Jimmy Stewart classic
Last week, I wrote about the possibility of Steven Spielberg settling on "Matt Helm" as his next film, something which Michael Fleming and Peter Bart seemed to think was at least possible.
Leave it to Spielberg to zag when everyone's looking for the zig, though, as today he sent out a press release stating in no uncertain terms that his next film as a director will be "Harvey," a new film version of Mary Chase's classic play about Elwood P. Dowd, who is best friends with a giant invisible rabbit named Harvey. Or who believes he is, anyway. The Jimmy Stewart film version of the play is a classic, in no small part because of the way Stewart embodies Dowd, all of the movie star's personal charms turned up as loud as possible.
Hollywood's been trying to remake "Harvey" for a while now, but this latest configuration clicked. Jonathan Troppen's a novelist, with "Harvey" as his first screenplay, so he pretty much just won the screenwriter lottery. Well-played, sir. Whatever Troppen did with the material got Spielberg to set aside nearly a year of speculation about what he would do next. I have trouble counting "Tintin" as a "real" shoot because of the unusual nature of the filmmaking process. That sounds so experimental that it's more of a diversion than anything.
There's no mention in the press release of who might star, but come on... it's Steven Spielberg. It's "Harvey." There's really only one right man for the job, and it just so happens he's got a nice clear schedule right now.
Paging Mr. Tom Hanks... Tom Hanks, please report to "Harvey." Thank you.
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The biggest little boy's adventure movie of the year
I'm the last person in the world who would ever profess to being a fan of the '80s "G.I. Joe" cartoon. For me, the G.I. Joe of my childhood was the giant 12"-tall action doll with the kung-fu grip and the lifelike hair. And even then, that occupied such a small part of the real estate of my childhood fantasies that I don't feel any attachment at all to the property.
And as far as Stephen Sommers is concerned, I know a lot of people who lump him in with guys like Brett Ratner and Paul W.S. Anderson and Joel Schumacher, although to be fair, I think he's always been more self-aware than those guys. He doesn't work as much as some people, either. He's only made five films since "Deep Rising," two of which were "Mummy" movies, and it's been a full five years since "Van Helsing," easily his worst movie, was released.
Well, it's time to let Sommers out of director jail, folks, because his latest film "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra" is big, ridiculous, and way more fun than I would have thought possible. It is a summer movie, through and through, pure pulp preposterousness, and it is one of the most successful little-boy adventure movies I've seen in a long time. I'm gonna make a scary comparison, but from my point of view, it's a positive one: it may well turn out to be this year's "Speed Racer."
By that, I mean an pop art accomplishment, digital to a deranged degree, a genuine visual delight that reaches deeper than it has to, plays it with tongue just precisely in cheek, and which has a few flaws that some people will obsess on instead of recognizing just how much fun the package is as a whole.
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Another spin on vampire lore brings some fresh kink to the table
I'm not going to pretend any familiarity with Emile Zola's Therese Raquin, the novel which provides the partial source material for the latest film from the director of the Korean landmark "Old Boy." Park Chan Wook is a big of a madman as a filmmaker, and while I admire "J.S.A.," a fairly straightforward early film, and while I think he could make a great "normal" film any time he wants to, he's too eccentric to tackle genre material head-on. There are long stretches of "Thirst" that play out like uneasy nightmares, and other sequences that play like dreams far wetter, and that combination seems to be irresistable to the director.
If Park Chan Wook is one of my favorite Korean filmmakers, then the great Song Kang Ho is one of my favorite actors working in amy language at all right now. Here, he stars as Sang-hyeon, a priest who faces a spiritual crisis, meets a woman, plays out a film noir psychodrama, and then unleashes the forces that lead to his own destruction, all with tongue planted firmly in cheek. It's a wild downward spiral, dark and horrifyingly funny, the absolute annihilation of a man of faith played out as bloodsport.
And did I mention it's a vampire movie, too?
The v word is everywhere right now, enjoying one of its occasional cultural resurgences thanks to the success of "Twilight" at the movies and "True Blood" on TV and "The Strain" at the bookstore, and one of the things that should be apparent from the way all of these different properties have found strong reactions from their fan bases is that there is more than enough room for different interpretations of the vampire myth. It's an idea that can bend depending on what your underlying metaphor is, what you want to say about life using vampires as your way into the conversation.
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