Freud and Jung and all that in a decidedly dull Cronenberg chamber piece
Never has the charge of false advertising been more apt, and never has a David Cronenberg film seemed less like something that demonstrates his unique vision and sensibility. Based on "The Talking Cure," the stage play by Christopher Hampton, "A Dangerous Method" depicts the collaboration and conflict between the young and brilliant Carl Jung (Michael Fassbinder) and the older maverick Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) -- as well as the wedge that Jung's affair with a patient, Sabina Speilrein (Kiera Knightley) drives between them. We're promised big ideas, big feelings and sexual transgression at the exact time that the vocabulary of sexual transgression was being created and articulated between slick kisses and fierce bites. Instead, we get a static, staid Masterpiece Theater-level celebration of cream-painted walls and starched linens, full of repressed feelings and petty academic feuds. I'm not demanding every Cronenberg film be perverse and twisted, but I do request that a David Croneberg film be passionate and alive, which "A Dangerous Method" is not. To paraphrase Shakespeare on the killing of King Duncan, who would have thought the old man would have had so little blood in him?
Part of this is easily laid at the feet of Hampton's play, which feels like a minor work -- again, who would have thought that the mind that gave us the quicksilver, playful sexual and power gamesmanship of "Dangerous Liaisons" could craft a script that feels so much like an historical diorama barely brought to life? Hampton's script introduces us to Speilrein as she arrives at the private clinic where Jung is employed -- already glassy-eyed and howling, jutting her lower jaw out like a child's imitation of a woodchuck. Never mind the sad fact that Knightley, as was said of Ryan Reynolds in "The Amityville Horror," can't even act crazy, the more complex reality is that the introduction gives Speilrein nowhere to go as a character.
Well, he'll get around to it one of these days
Maybe? Let's hope so
Entertainment Weekly (amongst others) is reporting that Russell Crowe is the latest to join the cast as the antagonistic Inspector Javert. In the role, Crowe will make life miserable (pardon the pun) for Jackman's heroic Jean Valjean. Although mainly known for his gruff, dramatic turns in films such as "Gladiator," Crowe has an underrated singing voice, and has actually fronted the rock band "30 Odd Food of Grunts" for the past several years. Jackman, meanwhile, has long been a part of musical theater. Moreover, he always seems poised to burst into song... (For example, in "X-Men: First Class" and "Real Steel." The latter of which nobody has seen yet, but never mind.)
What do you think? Will Jackman and Crowe make beautiful music together? Excited just to see them go mano-a-mano? And does Liam Neeson deserve a cameo, at least?
Will commemorate the life of an authentic Greek hero
The story will concern Stylianos "Stelios" Kyriakides, who ran the marathon in the controversial 1936 Berlin Olympics before joining the Greek resistance during WWII. After the war, an emaciate Kyriakides emigrated to the United States, where doctors warned him against pursuing his continued athletic dreams. Against his doctors' wishes—and even after initially being denied entry—Kyriakides miraculously won the 1946 Boston Marathon, thus raising money and awareness for his war-torn country. Truly an inspirational tale, and one worth telling on the silver screen.
Although no script has yet been written, and no actors are currently aboard, "Kyriakides" is sure to attract its fair share of talent once it gets closer to production.
Teenage love affairs involving werewolfs and vampires are so passe. Zombies, on the other hand...
Speaking of which, here's what "Twilight" author Stephanie Meyer had to say about the book:
I never thought I could care so passionately for a zombie. Isaac Marion has created the most unexpected romantic lead I've ever encountered, and rewritten the entire concept of what it means to be a zombie in the process. This story stayed with me long after I was done reading it. I eagerly await the next book by Isaac Marion.High praise, indeed. With such accolades from so respected a source, it should come as no surprise that "Warm Bodies" is now receiving its own cinematic adaptation.
Deadline is reporting that John Malkovich is the latest and most prominent name to join the cast, which so far includes Nicholas Hoult as R and Teresa Palmer as the unnamed girlfriend. Malkovich will play Palmer's presumably disapproving father, who can only watch in horror as his daughter is seduced by the living dead. (Or maybe he flips out and tries to decapitate Hoult, or otherwise bash in his skull. Typecasting?)
Sex addict drama reteams actor with his 'Hunger' director
Just three years ago, few people knew the name "Michael Fassbender," but his aching turn in Steve McQueen's "Hunger" as IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands established Fassbender as a deeply talented actor who was not afraid to go to extremes for a role. Fast-foward to 2011, and Fassbender has starred in a beloved Tarantino ("Inglourious Basterds"), a superhero summer blockbuster ("X-Men: First Class"), and a classic romantic drama ("Jane Eyre"). His upcoming slate also includes a Cronenberg, a Soderbergh, a Scott, and a Jarmusch.
And, fortunately for fans of McQueen's brand of tough cinema, Fassbender has also got a McQueen under his belt. "Shame" reunites the actor and director, and since screening at both the Venice International Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival, it has gotten nothing but outstanding buzz. The film sees Fassbender as an unrepentant sex addict who finds his life tossed into further disarray with the arrival of his younger sister (played by Carey Mulligan). It is, by all reports, a deeply dark film, a portrait of a life out of control, a heartbreaker and a heartstopper - in many ways, it's much like "Hunger" but with a character steeped in excess, not in literal starvation. It is also a film that will almost assuredly get an NC-17 rating.
A hard sell? Not to Fox Searchlight, who has just picked the film up at the Toronto International Film Festival for domestic distribution. Deadline reports that the distributor has acquired the film, even with a number of caveats to get it to a wide audience. There's the NC-17 rating, the bevy of nudity, the graphic sex scenes, something "gruesome," and a reported undercurrent of something even more sinister than insatiability, and there are also some contractual additions - McQueen will retain final cut on the film (and will reportedly not change a frame), the film will be released late this year, and it will come packaged with a Best Actor push for Fassbender. Yet, despite all of that, Fox Searchlight appears to be nothing but jazzed on their purchase, calling the film "courageous," "extraordinary," and "breathtaking."
Will you see "Shame" when Fox Searchlight releases it later this year? Do you think Fassbender has the chops to be an Oscar winner?
Finally, an A-list movie for hypochondriacs and OCD sufferers! Someone pass the Purell!
Note: No light-emitting devices were used in the creation of this liveblog. I tried to avoid spoilers, but come on, it's not like you don't know what the movie is about!
11:35: I’m back in my front-row seat at the gargantuan Cinerama Dome for the first performance of “Contagion.” This is exactly where I sat when I liveblogged “Captain America” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Hmm, the theater is mostly empty. Does this bode ill for “Contagion’s” opening weekend or have more people in Los Angeles found full-time work? It is Friday morning, after all.
11:38: There's no better theater in Los Angeles in terms of picture quality and sound, but would it kill them to put some nuts in the homemade caramel corn?
11:40: Gorgeous music playing. Is it from the film? Remember the days when studios provided music specifically to be played before the film began? (God, I’m old!)
11:45: Cool dialogue-free trailer for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” A bit deafening, but I think I'm in.
11:47: I'm not a huge fan of the series, but the trailer for the new “Mission: Impossible” looks great. How many of these has Tom Cruise already done? He's looking good here, I have to admit. Blowing up the Kremlin is a nice special effect!
11:48: I didn’t see Robert Downey, Jr.’s first Sherlock Holmes outing but the second one looks fun. How come Downey’s English accent strikes me as good and fake at the same time?
11:54: Yikes, we're only seconds into the movie and Gwyneth Paltrow is already coughing. Oh crap, my germaphobe tendencies are going to go through the roof. Howie Mandel should stay far away from this film. (I wonder how many people touched this tub of caramel corn I’m eating?)
With Deluxe versions and a Blu-ray 3D Edition to follow closer to Christmas
Says Michael Bay (as quoted in the press release): "As you know, we put a lot of effort into the 3D experience for the theatrical release and I want to make sure we get it right for home viewing—and that process takes time. So stay tuned for an even more incredible release that will include the film on Blu-ray 3D and loads of bonus features."
In other words, they're saving the bells and whistles and extra dimension for the holiday season. Because nothing says "Merry Christmas" like giant robots decimating Chicago.
What remains an open question is if this release will boost the 3D home theater market -- which requires a 3D compatible monitor and Blu-ray player and a special set of technologically advanced glasses (a lot more elaborate -- and expensive -- than the polarized glasses for theatrical 3D) -- the way it boosted theatrical 3D. I'm sure the upcoming "The Lion King 3D Blu-ray" would appreciate any help in that department.
Anyone out there investing in home theater 3D? If so, how do you like it?