Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the saga of the rapidly aging man

I apologize up front for that rather unfortunate title if it leads anyone to think I have seen the new Indy movie. It instead reflects that I'm simply too old to stay up until 2:30 a.m. or so on a school night to watch a movie, even one as potentially cool as this. To complete my transition to solidly middle-aged citizen, however, I am going to see it at the much more civilized hour of 11:15 a.m. today and will share all my thoughts about it tomorrow.

In the meantime, there are a few bits of news out there about people I like, starting with seriously "Star Wars"-obsessed Patrick Read Johnson.

For years now I've been reading about a flick called "5/25/77" that was set to star everyone's favorite "Geek," John Francis Daley, but I just assumed it was completed and went straight to DVD. As happens, oh, twice daily or so, I was wrong.

It seems that Mr. Johnson has just landed a $200,000 windfall to complete his flick in time to present it at this year's Toronto International Film Festival (which I won't be attending, but I will be at this year's Savannah Film Festival in October, which I'm already rather jazzed about.)

So, what in the world is this little flick, now simply called "77" to suit our rather limited attention spans, about? Well, the original title matched the release date of the original "Star Wars," and the flick is about how Johnson's obsession with it led him to Hollywood and a career in directing. I haven't seen Daley, a k a Sam Weir on "Freaks and Geeks," in years, so here's hoping this little indie gets some kind of wide distribution after Toronto.

Jonathan Demme, music man

In what I'd have to call perhaps a slight case of trading up, Jonathan Demme has taken the reins of a new Bob Marley documentary from Martin Scorsese, who presumably is too busy working on "Shutter Island."

As many probably know well, Demme has a solid history of making docos, musical or otherwise. The most famous is probably still the Talking Heads flick "Stop Making Sense," but if I had one DVD-viewing recommendation for the day it would be "The Agronomist," his 2003 doco about Haitian radio journalist and human rights activist Jean Dominique.

In any case, this Marley flick is now one that's certainly caught my interest.

All hail the Polish brothers

In an era when truly independent movie studios are rapidly disappearing it's just extremely heartening to hear this bit of news about the Polish brothers, Mark and Michael.

The siblings, known most recently for the somewhat-satisfying "Astrononaut Farmer," have formed their own production company, Prohibition, with plans to start immediately on a pair of new flicks.

They will start with "Manure," a comedy about manure salesmen in 1960s heartland America that reteams them with "Astronaut Farmer" star Billy Bob Thornton. If that idea doesn't make you smile at least a little bit, there's probably nothing I can do to help you.

Immediately after that flick wraps in July, they'll get to work on "Stay Cool," a comedy that will star, oddly enough, Winona Ryder, Sean Astin and Chevy Chase.

I love movies that have a solid sense of time and place, which the Polish brothers always do with America's heartland (whatever in the world that really means.) "Twin Falls, Idaho" and "Northfork," in particular, are two I can't recommend highly enough.

Is Terry Gilliam coming to America?

There's a bit of good news about Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus," which I'd have to assume will be the last movie we'll ever see with the late Heath Ledger in it.

His folks at Cannes have sold U.K. rights for the flick to Lionsgate and Japanese rights to Showgate. No word yet on distribution in the U.S., but I'd imagine the presence of Ledger alone might be enough to get this one to my local multiplex at some point.

So, what is Gilliam's rather crazy flick about? Well, it stars Christopher Plummer as the immortal, 1,000-year-old Doctor Parnassus, who leads a traveling theater troupe that offers audience members a chance to go beyond reality through a magical mirror he acquired through a deal with the devil (Tom Waits, naturally.) When Satan comes to collect on his debt and targets the doctor's daughter (Lily Cole), the troupe members must rescue her with the aid of a mysterious outsider named Tony (Ledger.) Actually, after Ledger's untimely demise, "Tony" will now be played by Ledger, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law.

Finding out how they pull that off alone is enough to make me want to see this one if it indeed ever makes it to any kind of movie theater near me.

A look at "Vicky Christina Barcelona"

Phillip Ramati, a rather serious TV and movie fan who shares his thoughts about the boob tube daily here, summed up his opinion on this year's movies thusly yesterday as he passed by my cubicle (and I may be paraphrasing just slightly): "If it doesn't have Indiana Jones or Batman in it, or Scarlett Johansson having sex with Penelope Cruz, I'm really not too interested."

Well, as you might imagine, that last bit did spark my curiosity, so I had to seek out a trailer for Woody Allen's upcoming "Vicky Christina Barcelona," which indeed stars that dynamic duo, Javier Bardem and Patricia Clarkson. And yes, if you watch the trailer long enough, I believe you do get to see some fairly steamy Cruz-Johansson smooching, which is hopefully enough to liven up everyone's Thursday work day. Peace out.


Bob said...

I know what you mean about midnight movies being too late. I just started a new job where I have to wake up at or before 5 every day too so I'm REALLY not going that late. I just got my ticket for Saturday morning at 10. That way I can be awake enough to actually enjoy "Indy"!
That's awesome news about "5/25/77" (I'm still going to use the original title because I love it). I've been waiting for that movie for more than three years. That's when I first saw the trailer! As for John Francis Daley he's currently a regular on "Bones." It's not the best show in the world or anything but it's pretty good and he's good on it. But this movie finally coming out is much more exciting!

Reel Fanatic said...

I've watched it a couple times because I like both he and David Boreanaz, Bob, but I just couldn't get into it ... The only movie I'm gonna definitely go in for midnight this summer is Batman, cause that's just gonna rock balls!

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