Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ron Howard must be stopped

On the same day that Opus Dei announced it is preparing its own answer to "The Da Vinci Code" comes a sure sign that Ron Howard has finally lost the rest of his mind.

Imagine Entertainment has acquired the rights to Michael Haneke's satisfying thriller "Cache," and Howard is set to direct.

For anyone who missed the original, it stars the great Daniel Auteil and Juliette Binoche as a couple whose lives come unraveled after Auteil's character starts receiving a series of increasingly violent videos.

In two rather predictable developments, Variety said the remake will be set in the U.S. and will be expected to "amp up the suspense and consequences."

So, what's wrong with all this? Surely Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks or any other actor from the Howard stable can play the lead in this, right? Well, the problem is that Haneke's movie carries a subtext that gives it all of its punch.

I don't want to give too much away, but as the source of the videos comes into focus, Haneke touches on the treatment of Algerians in the 60s and other issues, and doesn't offer any kind of ending that wraps everything up cleanly. If you haven't seen it, and I definitely recommend you do, make sure you stick around for the closing shot. It's a stunner, and if Howard even tries to recreate it I may just order the hit on him myself.

Haneke, who is Austrian, made a first-rate French psychological thriller, a genre which has been rejuvenated in the past few years. Two others I would recommend renting are Francois Ozon's "Swimming Pool" and Dominik Moll's "With a Friend Like Harry."

All three of these directors have more style and skill than Opie. If any of you have the power to somehow stop this remake madness and save the rest of us, please do so now.

DVD pick of the week

In a way it's depressing that the sounds of rage when I was coming of age are now the source material for retrospective documentaries, but as long as they keep turning into great movies, I won't complain.

Just last year there was "We Jam Econo," the saga of the incomparable Minute Men, and now on DVD this week comes the much more ambitious "American Hardcore."

The movie traces the hardcore movement from its roots to its downfall in the face of hair metal. Overall it could certainly use more music, considering that's the subject, but it does offer a nice kick in the head with appearances from Ian MacKaye, Greg Ginn, H.R. and many other purveyors of this angry art. Check it out.

17 comments:

jeremy said...

Two other good rock-docs--Dig! and The Devil and Daniel Johnston.
And Opie, seriously, needs to be kept away from everything except v.o.'s for Arrested Development.

Ian said...

I couldn't agree more with your comments on Cache.

When I saw the news over on the filmstalker.co.uk blog yesterday I went along with the idea that maybe the original was too subtle for most cinema-goers, but the more I think about it the more it seems like madness to have Ron Howard in charge of a remake.

Reel Fanatic said...

The original does have its flaws, Ian, but even the problems with it are part of what makes it one of a kind

Thanks for the suggestions, Jeremy .. I did manage to see the Devil and Daniel Johnson and liked it quite a bit .. I hadn't heard of the other one, but I've added it to my Netflix queue now

Chalupa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chalupa said...

How come people just don't know when to stop sometimes? I haven't even seen the original Cache, but it's now on my netflix list. It seems like remakes are the hip and cool thing to do these days. It's as if people can't come up with anything new or maybe they're just too lazy.

I have seen Swimming Pool though and thought it was well done. It was one of those movies that's great for watching with a few friends and then discussing afterwards.

renee said...

Oh, that's just horrible news. I am not a fan of Ron Howard and I can't imagine anyone more unlikely to direct a remake of Cache. I guarantee you all the ambiguity of the original's ending will be lost.

vasta said...

Waaaaaaait a minute. They're remaking Caché? That may be the silliest thing I have ever heard, especially since the original just came out a year or so ago and it is still an accessible film.

Haneke's film is definitely one that can not be remade effectively, even if you used the same set and the exact same plot...the magic of the movie was in the way Haneke paced and crafted the story. Plus, the dialog in French was pretty darn good too.

Wow, now I'm a little upset. I might have to make some calls to some friends to see what they can do to stop this madness.

Reel Fanatic said...

If you have any sway at all, Vasta, please use it!

Mercurie said...

Why doesn't Ron Howard stick to what he is best at: Hollywood product? I thought his adaptation of The Da Vinci Code was a disappointment and I can't see his remake of Cache being anything but that.

Marina said...

I nearly cried when I saw this announcement yesterday. This is going to be blasphemous.

Chris said...

Re-make Caché? Please let it not be so! I had heard about watching the end scene closely, and still was blown away when I finally saw it.

Coming soon: Time travel allows for remakes of films that haven't been made yet. And they're directed by Ron Howard.

Reel Fanatic said...

Unfortunately, chris, that doesn't seem too far-fetched anymore ... I have to imagine that if he really does follow through with this threat, he won't attempt the ending .. but I'm probably just being way too optomistic

Simon Crowe said...

What's especially problematic, Howard or no Howard, is that there's no American equivalent for the original's political subtext (which I don't think I know nearly enough about). Set the remake in the 1880's and have the Algerian character be a freed slave (who invents videotape)? Hmmmmm........

Red7Eric said...

I haven't seen Cache, but I hated hated hated Swimming Pool -- a movie with no discernable virtues that I could see, unless you're a "boob man."

I'll try to see Cache before Howard gets his hands on it; I'm a big Binoche fan, so that will help.

Reel Fanatic said...

I can't think of what it would possibly be either, simon .. I imagine they would just have it be someone the character knew as a youngun, and wronged somehow, which would just be a travesty

cinefille said...

Ron Howard? Remaking Cache? Seriously?!? I need to lie down.

Reel Fanatic said...

I hope you recover from the shock soon, Cinefille ... Remember, I'm just the messenger!