Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Can Johnny Depp rescue movies for adults?

Before I jump into gangsters or anything about Johnny Depp, there are at least three news nuggets that just thoroughly intrigue me today, so here goes:

* With Amy Adams now set to star opposite Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale in David O. Russell's "The Fighter," you can now count it as one of the movies I'm most looking forward to for 2010. The drama revolves around the life of boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward (Wahlberg) and his trainer-brother Dick Eklund (Bale), chronicling their early days in Lowell, Mass., through Eklund's battle with drugs and Ward's eventual world championship in London. Adams, who makes absolutely everything she's in a little better, will play Charlene, a "tough, gritty" (well, I can't really see that) bartender who ends up dating Mickey.

The movie begins shooting next month in Lowell, and is there anyone you could make this sound any better? Sure, add Melissa Leo as Mickey's mother. Now I'm hooked.

* You know, I really should have more faith in Matt Reeves. I thoroughly enjoyed "Cloverfield," even though I expected going in to hate it, so maybe there's hope he won't make a mockery of "Let the Right One In," my single favorite movie of 2008, with his completely unnecessary remake, now called "Let Me In" (because, I suppose, the original just had too many words.)

I still can't see any reason to do this, and transport the movie to Colorado, but Reeves does at least seem to be a genuine fan of the material. As he told The Los Angeles Times about reading the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist:

"I was just hooked. I was so taken with the story and I had a very personal reaction. It reminded me a lot of my childhood, with the metaphor that the hard times of your pre-adolescent, early adolescent moment, that painful experience is a horror."

OK, fair enough. In the interview, he also disclosed that one extremely essential thing will remain the same. Oscar, the boy who becomes intrigue with the pale young girl who moves in next door, is 12 YEARS OLD, and therefore way too young to be played by Zac Efron.

Like I said, I'm still solidly against all this, but I have to admit it's getting me at least a little intrigued.

* When I heard that Duncan Jones, who directed easily one of my favorite flicks of this year with the traditional sci-fi tale "Moon," was going to next direct a submarine flick, you could call me rather psyched. Well, not so fast ...

Instead of "Escape from the Deep," he's apparently already working on something called "Mute," which he describes as a "thriller-mystery." Set in various locations around Berlin (Germany, not, oddly enough, the Eastern Shore of Maryland), it's about a woman whose disappearance causes a mystery for her partner, a mute bartender. When she disappears, he has to go up against the city's gangsters.

Excellent. And if you haven't seen "Moon" yet, do it as soon as you can on DVD (though no release date has been set yet), because Sam Rockwell is just amazing.

And speaking of gangsters and something amazing, if I may finally get to what should have been the lead, it really looks like Johnny Depp is walking right into a bear trap, as impossible as that seems.

I mean, really, what could be more all-American for the Fourth of July than a Michael Mann flick starring Depp as John Dillinger, Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis, the law man who doggedly pursued him, and Marion Cotillard as Dillinger's mol, Billie Frechette? Well, apparently a lot of things.

Trying to figure out if I could squeeze in a screening of "Public Enemies" on Thursday afternoon before I have to go to work (thanks to the glorious 11 a.m. movie, I think I can), I found something rather shocking (at least to me.)

At our two local multiplexes (the third, rather sorrily, doesn't even have Wednesday showtimes up yet), Mann's flick is getting a total of 12 showtimes daily. Fair enough, right? Well, not really, because the also-opening "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" gets 25 (thanks to 3-D), and even more egregiously, the holdover "Transformers" flick gets 24. Where's the justice in that?

I suppose it's what you get when you release a possibly Oscar-caliber flick (actually, with 10 finalists, I'd call it a mortal lock) in July. Given the way the deck is stacked, I'd have to predict "Public Enemies" will finish third this week, and be lucky to pull in $50 million, even with the holiday bounce. Mind you, I certainly want to be wrong.

The much bigger problem, as EW highlighted a few weeks ago, is that movies for adults have pretty much disappeared from mainstream theaters. I suppose "The Hangover" sort of counts, and "Star Trek" certainly appeals to all ages, but "Public Enemies" should just be a timeless tale that deserves a wide audience. Having watched the trailer several times now, I can assure you that, yes, there really is something therapeutic about watching Johnny Depp wield a Tommy Gun.

But, enough preaching for a Tuesday morning. Here's hoping I'm wrong, and Michael Mann's flick just does bonkers box office. Peace out.


Eric said...

Boy I don't know about redoing LTROI It seems so cynical. I know it it the movie going mantra but let me repeat it. Cant they find an original new story to do in LA?
Public Enemy does look good though. "Melvin Purvis, 'G' Man. 'G' Man, Government Man, I like it"

Reel Fanatic said...

I can't really see the point of it either, Eric, especially since the original is the best horror movie I've seen in many years ... I'm only willing to give him a sliver of a break because of "Cloverfield," but I'm not terribly optimistic this will turn out to be anything but a bloody mess

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jeremy said...

I'm just dreading the footage of David O. Russell yelling at sweet Amy Adams a la Lily Tomlin.
That man just seems awful--even if his movies are, on the whole, pretty great.

Reel Fanatic said...

Ha ... If he does that, he'll be finished for sure, Jeremy ... I'd imagine that even someone who seems to be as big an asshole as he can be is smart enough to control himself next time

Mercurie said...

Well, I am hoping that Public Enemies will at last be #2 this weekend. I think it could do well, given most people I know want to see it. But then I have to confess, most of my friends have better tastes than the other movie goers. At any rate, I must admit I was a bit dismayed to find out the totals on Transformers 2. All that money spent on a bad Michael Bay movie when it could have gone for something worthier....

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