Tuesday, February 06, 2007

From "Brick" to "The Brothers Bloom"

When I first heard about the premise for Rian Johnson's "Brick," I didn't think there was any way he could pull it off. A classic film noir, transplanted to a modern-day high school without missing a beat. Impossible.

But I was way wrong, and "Brick" turned out to be easily one of the best movies of 2005, and now Johnson's next move is turning out to be very intriguing. While we're almost guaranteed to be getting one upcoming heist movie that will just suck in "Oceans 13" (enough already, damnit!), Johnson's "The Brothers Bloom" is another take on the genre that should just be way cool, especially with some terrific new casting news.

Adrien Brody has joined the cast as the younger half of two brothers who team up as conmen. Rachel Weisz had already had been cast as the rich heiress who is the target of the brothers' latest plot, and the simply stunning Rinko Kikuchi has now signed on as, to quote Variety, "a mysterious and silent partner in the brothers' efforts." I can only assume that, despite the word "silent," Ms. Kikuchi will not again be playing a deaf-mute. In fact, she rather gleefully declared in this interview at Comingsoon.net that she is in fact learning to speak English.)

While any excuse to put up a picture of her is good for me, this is all genuinely good news. I love a good heist flick, and one of the folks at Aintitcool.com who has had the pleasure of reading Johnson's script says this one is appropriately intricate but not over the top.

And, buried deep in the Variety story, was a little nugget of what is, to me at least, even better news. It just sort of threw out there that Brody has recently completed work on "The Darjeeling Limited."

This may seem like random filler, but what it really means is we may soon get to see another flick from Wes Anderson! "The Darjeeling Limited," written (with an assist from Roman Coppola) and being directed by Mr. Anderson, is about three brothers (Brody plus Anderson regulars Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson) who go on a pilgrimage across India after the death of their father. All I know beyond that is that Natalie Portman figures in this madness somehow, which certainly can't be a bad thing.

Given how infrequently Mr. Anderson has managed to work lately, this is definitely promising news, and these two flicks have me just geeked up enough to make it through another tedious Tuesday.

DVD pick of the week

With Bill Hicks dead and gone, it falls to Paul Mooney to soldier on with the title of, for my money, the funniest man in America.

Be warned, though, Mooney's humor isn't just in your face. It's under your skin and worming through your bloodstream, making you laugh at the same time you feel incredibly uncomfortable. At least that's what it used to be before Michael Richards came along and ruined everything with idiocy.

You see, Mooney, who wrote for Richard Pryor and did his own standup routine before coming to new prominence on "Chappelle's Show," threw around the n-word with about as much frequency as I use the word "the." After Richards' meltdown, however, Mooney swore off the word and declared himself to be, in this great NY Times article, a "recovering n-world-aholic."

Which is fine. I'm sure a man who was so funny with it can be just as funny without it, and now we just might have the chance to find out. New on DVD this week is "Know Your History: Jesus Was Black ... So Was Cleopatra." After several minutes of searching, all I can find out is that this is a DVD of him doing standup, but I can't tell if it's recent or archival footage. Either way, heed my warning, but if your sensibility can take a hit, I'd highly recommend renting this new release from one seriously funny man.


The Bloody Munchkin said...

Ditto on Brick. I was surprised at how well it turned out. But I have to ask, what was up with Lucas Haas as Pen? I mean really? The casting felt a little off...

Divinity said...

Wes Anderson always seems to be a huge hit or miss for me. I found Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums to be enormously entertaining but was super disappointed in The Life Aquatic... and I know that I'm in the minority somewhat on that. It may have simply been the casting since I love Gene Hackman and mostly just tolerate Bill Murray. He wasn't the stand-out performance in Rushmore for me anymore than Broderick was in Election.

Reel Fanatic said...

I had the same reaction to The Life Aquatic, Divinity, but after suffering friendly verbal abuse from fans of that quirky movie, I recently watched it again .. It did grow on me some, but I still agree that Rushmore, Tenenbaums and Bottle Rocket (if you haven't seen that one, definitely do) are superior

The Bloody Munchkin said...

You know, strangely out of all of Wes's movies so far, Bottle Rockets I felt was the dud. It had its moments, but it felt flat. Everything else I've loved though.

Mo Diggs said...

Never heard Paul Mooney. I'll have to check him out.

Reel Fanatic said...

I think it was just the character of Dignan that made Bottle Rocket for me, munchkin ... It was the first time I noticed Owen Wilson, and it's easily one of his funniest peformances

Eaglewing said...

Brick was also one of my favorites of the last year. I'll certainly be there to see Johnson's next one. It sounds like its a good plot and has a good cast.