Wednesday, August 13, 2008

film news: august 2008

Joss Whedon's version of Batman: Whedon told MTV that once upon a time, he pitched a Batman reboot to Warner Bros when Batman Begins was in early development. "It wasn't what they did but the vibe was very similar. Mine was a bit less epic. It was more about the progression of him and it was more in Gotham City. He didn't go to Tibet and meet cool people, but it was very similar in vibe." But most interesting of all was the idea that he didn't plan on using any villains from the comic book canon. "In my version, there was actually a new [villain], it wasn't one of the classics - which is probably why they didn't use it. It was more of a 'Hannibal Lector' type - he was somebody already in Arkham Asylum that Bruce went and sort of studied with. It was a whole thing - I get very emotional about it, I still love the story. Maybe I'll get to do it as a comic one day."

Pheobe in Wonderland trailer

From Film School Rejects: "The film stars Elle, little sister of Dakota Fanning, as Pheobe, a creative-minded little girl whose wild imagination and often temperamental nature cast her out in school and with her family at home. She finds refuge though, in the company of an eccentric teacher, played by Patricia Clarkson. It is a whimsical little film that starts out as an often funny, quirky family film, but turns sharply toward a dark, heavy-hearted story of a troubled child." The trailer sparks my curiosity, but I wish they wouldn't have used Lennon's "Imagine" and used a more instrumental (and less recognizable) version instead.

Is Twilight anti-feminist? I don't know what upsets me more -- people saying "I'm not a feminist" (which means they don't think women are equal to men, even women say it!) or the insults hurled at feminists. "You didn't take your husband's last name? Very feminist of you. That'll help prevent abuse and secure equal rights for men and women everywhere." If I knew who this "Joe" guy was, I'd kick him the balls and watch him cry. Some of the comments are intelligent, most are not. But the ones that are intelligent are worth reading. (For the record, I am anti-Twilight.)

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People trailer

Truth be told, this movie really doesn't interest me. I love Simon Pegg and will watch anything he's in (even Big Nothing, his pre-Run Fatboy Run collaboration with David Schwimmer), but this has a bad plot, a dull trailer, and Kirsten Dunst and Megan Fox. On, it has an 8.8 rating, but that could just be based off 5 votes of ten-year-olds.

Robert Downey Jr. talks about Sherlock Holmes on The Movie Blog: I didn't know Sherlock Holmes was a martial artist (apparently it's true to his original character)... but do we really need another action-packed movie? Sherlock is amazing for his brilliance, his ability of deduction, not his fists. So I'm a little concerned about this upcoming movie. I think CSI and Monk and all those other crime shows prove that you don't need action to create suspense. You need mystery and good writing. I'm looking for to Downey's performance (and his mustache!), but I'll wait until a trailer is released before I pass any judgement.

Dorian Gray rounds out its cast: Dorian Gray, based of course on Oscar Wilde's "Picture of Dorian Gray," has a full cast joining Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian, Stardust) and Colin Firth (Moody Sexy Man, which doesn't exist but should). This cast includes Rebecca Hall, Ben Chaplin, Emilia Fox, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Fiona Shaw, Maryam D’Abo, Pip Torrens, Douglas Henshall, Caroline Goodall, Michael Culkin, Johnny Harris and Max Irons. It wil be directed by Oliver Parker (An Ideal Husband, The Importance of Being Earnest). I like a majority of the cast and I enjoy the director but, as usual in the fantasy genre, I'll wait until the trailer.

Tropic Thunder drinking game

Boycotting Tropic Thunder?: There's been controversy surrounding Tropic Thunder and their overuse of the word "retard" in a negative way. There're boycotts and requests for apologies, and some are wondering if this is a case of political correctness gone too far. Situations like this always remind me of a conversation I had with a classmate in ninth grade:
Him: That's gay.
Me: You shouldn't say that. It's offensive to gay people.
Him: Fine, then it's retarded.
Me: And that's offensive to mentally challenged people.
Him: Fine, what should I say then?
Me: I don't know. That's it's stupid.
Him: But that's offensive to stupid people.
On the one hand, I absolutely disagree with using any classification in a negative way, especially in terms of race, gender, or sexuality. On the other hand, sometimes political correctness goes to far. Eventually we'll have to censor everything. And as Ben Stiller has noted, the movie is actually mocking the actors who overuse retard. So is it the movie's fault if stupider audiences walk away quoting the movie's offensive language, or is it the audience's fault for being stupid and not understanding the subtextual context? Hmm, tough call... but I'm not one for censorship of the arts. So my vote goes for Tropic Thunder.


Jeni T. (T is for Twin!) said...

Yeah...I'm getting really sick of the shocked faces when people find out that I didn't change my last name. Seriously. You'd think I had just grown a tail or something.

I have a really hard time with the PC thing. My little brother is mentally disabled and the word "retard" makes me cringe (beleive it or not, we've had doctors refer to my brother as retarded and it gets to us everytime) but I also agree with the fact that the whole PC thing has to stop somwhere. It's getting out of control at this point.

Dee said...

I am conflicted on this. My cousin is severely retarded, but to hear that in a movie would really upset him. I want to see this film, however. I don't like censorship, either. So I may have to sneak out to see this... hmmm...

keyser soze said...

@ Jeni T.: This is going to sound somewhat unconventional, but I've always had this weird obsession with identity ever since reading Hamlet. Not necessarily with who I am, but what it means to be who I am. I'm never the same. Sometimes I'm in a good mood, sometimes not. The way I thought when I was five will not be the same way I will think when I'm fifty. My looks, my friends, my opinions will change throughout time. There is nothing constant in identity, with what it means to be me, except for my name. It's a signifying for who I am, what I represent. Changing my last name because of tradition just seems silly. It's changing my one constant for an inane reason. So it's not about feminism or righteousness or because I particularly like my name. It's just that it's who I am.

Personally, I find the whole name change debate rather tiring, especially with males. It's a personal choice and it's 2008.

@ Dee: I understand where you're coming from. My two, somewhat limited thoughts on the matter... first, I think a frat comedy about the special Olympics (Johnny Knoxville's The Ringer) is highly more offensive than Tropic Thunder because they are blatantly making fun of the people, not just the sport. But on the other hand -- while TT may have intelligent commentary on the celebrity world, like Downey's black-Australian character -- the very fact that TT is a frat comedy worries me. Take South Park, for example. Very, very smart show, but then all of these no-brain morons go around quoting it out of the multi-dimensional context. I'm afraid that lesser people -- either morally or intelligently -- will see TT and simply not get the joke, then they'll walk out of the theater and quote it in offensive terms.

Which goes to my original thought. It's not the studio's fault if the audience doesn't understand the analogy, and I will always side with the arts. I would certainly never boycott anything for being offensive (because everything offends somebody, and for me to be offended at something seems kind of selfish or arrogant). I just have a low opinion of movie-goers, I suppose.

Goddessdster said...

Multiple comments because you talked of multiple things (mostly disjointed because it's the end of my day and I have no brain left to be cohesive):

I am a feminist who changed her name. Mostly because it was more important to the husband we represent "a unit" than it was to me to retain what I view as a label that has no part in defining who I am. I, too, hate when women say "I'm not a feminist," because they are caving to what they think society defines as feminism.

I will probably see HTLF. Alone. All because of Simon Pegg. sigh, me.

I remember a few years ago having the epiphany that calling people "white trash" is as bad as all the other slurs I refuse to use. This has been the hardest epithet to wipe from my vocabulary. I do not believe in censorship at all. But I wish humans could figure out a way to discuss these controversies without resorting to the "picket-complain-mock" cycle we are currently stuck in. This accomplishes nothing but allows others who feel above it all to ignore the real issues at stake, instead of making positive change.

Okay, I"m done now.
Siiiimon Pegggggg.
Just wanted to end it on a positive note.