Thursday, March 01, 2007

What's new with Terry Gilliam?

Though he does a great job reporting on all things film, Brendon Connelly at the film ick blog is particularly obsessed with Terry Gilliam. And apparently it has paid off.

I haven't seen Gilliam's "Tideland" yet, but it's steadily rising in my Netflix queue and might even get here this weekend. Meanwhile, Connelly managed to get his hands on Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown's script for "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus."

I don't want to give too much away, since after all it's not my scoop, but this one sounds just deliciously bizarre, even by Gilliam's standards. Dr. Parnassus is apparently a traveling magician/snake oil salesman. His trick is that lucky (or not-so-lucky) volunteers can enter and explore his mind, hence "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus." Just to give you a few more details, it turns out that Dr. Parnassus has made a bet with the devil himself, about whether people are more likely to choose the power of the imagination or the lure of material things, so when they enter the "imaginarium" they come to a fork in the road and have to make that choice.

There's a lot more crazy stuff going on that I don't want to reveal, but it all sounds like vintage Gilliam. If you want to learn more, and be warned that there are some more spoilers, you can read Connelly's full script review here.

A look at Pixar's "Wall-E"

Just as Connelly is obsessed with Gilliam, Jim Hill has a singular obsession with all things Pixar and Disney, which has landed him early word about what's going on with Pixar's 2008 release "Wall-E."

Though there are many promising movies coming out this summer, I have to say I'm most excited about Brad Bird's "Ratatouille." Following that on Pixar's slate will be "Wall-E," being directed by "Finding Nemo" helmer Andrew Stanton, and then "Toy Story 3," with a script by "Little Miss Sunshine" scribe Michael Arndt.

According to Jim Hill's spy, "Wall-E" begins in the year 2700, with humans having abandoned the planet Earth after turning it into an orbiting toxic waste dump. As Earthlings circle their former home aboard a giant spaceship, robots are dispatched to clean up their mess. It turns out, however, that the robots were extremely inept, and all except one, our hero Wall-E, has stopped operating.

Over the many years he is the only robot on Earth, Wall-E develops strange powers of curiosity about the planet's former inhabitants. Eventually, an advanced model called EVE is dispatched to Earth to find an important object, and Wall-E, of course, falls in love (remember folks, it's a cartoon, so there's nothing wrong with a little robot love.) When she's recalled to her mothership, Wall-E latches on for a wild ride.

The rest of the movie has Wall-E encountering the remaining humans, who are now just fat blobs, and travelling through space. Hill describes it as a sci-fi/satire mix, and therefore definitely has me intrigued. To read all he had to say about the flick at Jim Hill Media, click here.

Already an "Others" remake?

The Weinsteins have done little to impress me since severing ties with Miramax, but now they're getting downright frightening.

Even before most Americans (including me) have gotten the chance to see Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner "The Lives of Others," the bros. Weinstein have renewed their deal with Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella's Mirage company. Included in this deal will be immediate work on an English-language remake of "The Lives of Others."

Did I miss something here? Are we really so scared of subtitles that we need to have every great European movie dumbed down for us? Probably so, but that still doesn't keep me from getting mad as hell.

First Ron Howard gets his hand on "Cache," and now this. Where and when will this madness stop?


Jonathan said...

I agree with your assessment on the foreign film remakes, and with the exception of the Japanese horror remakes (Which are equally as annoying) I can't think of too many of these films that have made a lot of money recently. You'd have to go back to "The Birdcage" and "Three Men and a Baby." I'm sure I'm missing some, but those are two that pop in my head.

And the thing is even if they're made well they still don't come off as more than a decent try. Take the remake of "Nine Queens" a few years ago, "Criminal." It was by no means a bad film, but would you watch it over "Queens?" Also, I remember months ago there was talk of a Justin Lin remake of "Oldboy," which really ticked me off. I know Lin as since left the project, but do you know if it is still a go, or if they have nipped it. I'm hoping for the latter.

Reel Fanatic said...

I had no idea that they had even bothered with a remake of "Nine Queens," Jonathan ... I hadn't even seen that one until I had already seen Bielinsky's last movie, "El Aura" .. if you haven't seen that one, do so as soon as possible .. as for the remake of "Nine Queens," I'll definitely just say no

Chris said...

You know, I can see being upset over remakes, as I would prefer they not happen either (mostly for the revered films). But as long as the original film is available to watch, we can all take heart in refusing to go to the theatre when the remake arrives. So, in general, remakes don't bother me that much even though I'm mostly against them.

renee said...

Agreed! I think it was Roger Ebert who said that they should re-make mediocre films and try to improve them, rather than already great movies that can only be diminished in being remade. Although I did really like The Departed.

Reel Fanatic said...

I think "The Departed" was a blaring exception to the rule, Renee ... I think I even liked it more than "Infernal Affairs," but they're both fantastic .. And Ebert's idea is far too good to ever become reality

Marina said...

The thought of a "The Lives of Others" remake irks me a great deal. How on earth are they going to remake that for an American audience? I just can't see it.

Sachin G. said...

I had no idea that Cache was up for a remake. Argh..Already this year, a Hollywood remake of another Michael Haneke film will be out -- Funny Games. The original was chilling although the ending toyed with the audience. Plenty of more Asian films slated for a Hollywood remake as well.

Reel Fanatic said...

I didn't know anything about a Funny Games remake, Sachin .. I can, unfortuntely, see why Hollywood is attracted to Haneke's movies, though, because the intricate plots and well-written scripts are certainly tantalizing

Marina, I have been thinking about that a bit today, (instead of working, of course) and I think I can see how they might approach it ... I think what intrigued them so quickly is the surveillance angle, and the opportunity to make some statement about the Patriot Act .. Don't get me wrong, I still think it will be a disaster, but I can begin to see how they might approach it

Neel Mehta said...

Well, we can't stop remakes outright, but we can suggest that Hollywood studios choose the foreign films with the best (and most universal) premise, not necessarily the most acclaim or box office. For example:

1. An unexceptional employee pretends he's gay to avoid being fired.

2. Mobster pretends to be a doctor around his parents, but later decides to really become a doctor to impress a woman and her family.

You can see how English-language versions of those French and Hindi films would make some sense.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm trying to guess which movies youre referring to, Neel, but I don't think I've seen either .. My guess would be that Daniel Auteil (my French favorite) starred in the first, and the second is a Hindi with Mumbai in the title, and if I'm not mistaken, the second one is already being remade as a starring vehicle for Chris Rock

Sachin G. said...

Ok, I want to venture a guess as well on the two movies Neel is talking about. And my guesses are exactly what you mention Keith. That is pretty good on your part for not having seen either movie:)

1) The Closet (Le Placard). And yes it did star Daniel Auteil and is hilarious :)It had Thierry Lhermitte and GĂ©rard Depardieu in good roles as well. The reason I mention Theirry is that he was in another French film that I thought was funny -- The Dinner Game.

2) Munnabhai M.B.B.S -- If that is the case, then yes it is being remade with Chris Rock and directed by Mira Nair. Last I heard she insisted on having an Indian woman as the romantic lead but so far no one was found.

Just another comment about Funny Games. The Hollywood remake is going to be directed by Haneke as well so maybe he will do something different. Also, his original came out in 1997 and I hope Haneke experiments a bit more with this version. Although, it could easily be remade scene for scene as the story would still work. I don't want to give anything away but I am curious if the Hollywood version would use the same ending as the original. The ending of the original film was quite unexpected although like Cache we got clues along the way. I noticed them but duly ignored them until it was too late.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm gonna have to watch the original on DVD if I can find it, Sachin ... I had heard rumblings that Mira Nair had been attached to the Munnabhai remake, which would be great ... Her movies almost always have a dose of humor, so I'd love to see what she can do with an all-out comedy

Elizabeth said...

Since I more or less speak French and Spanish, one thing I notice when I see foreign films is that the subtitles often don't do justice to the dialogue. So in some cases an English language remake might be justified.

Apparently I am one of the few people who did not like "Cache." I thought it had that histrionic quality that a lot of French films have and the ending just kind of petered out without a conclusion.

Reel Fanatic said...

You are indeed in the minority there, Elizabeth, but I can see how you might see it that way ... I thought Haneke managed to keep the tension high throughout, but I can still see how one might think he piled it all on a bit heavy

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