Thursday, December 24, 2009

David Cronenberg and Sigmund Freud? Bring it on!

Avatar 3D. Most amazing visuals I've ever seen. Story-wise, meh. But credit for all the Iraq war parallels. Notice that?

It's really apropos of nothing, but I just thought that Twitter burst from the alwaysveryfunny Elizabeth Banks summed up James Cameron's movie rather perfectly, so I had to share it.

As far as actual news today, there's word of a new David Cronenberg movie coming together, and on a subject that seems perfectly tailored to his view of the world and with a cast that's pretty solid too.

With full credit to The Playlist, which as far as I can tell broke this news first, it seems that the Australian distribution company Hopscotch Films has announced that two "Inglourious Basterds" (my favorite movie of 2009), Christoph Waltz and Michael Fassbender, plus Keira Knightley have all signed on to star in "The Talking Cure," which Cronenberg is directing based on the 2002 play by Christopher Hampton.

In it, Knightley would play Sabina Spielrein, a "beautiful young woman, driven mad by her past." For help, she turns to Carl Jung (Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Waltz).

Christoph Waltz as Sigmund Freud? Sounds like perfection to me, especially since Cronenberg's best movies deal as much with psychological as physical violence, especially my favorite of his flicks, "Spider."

But will any of this ever come together? Well, with that cast you would certainly think so, but Cronenberg is also attached to possibly direct a movie based on the Robert Ludlum thriller "The Matarese Circle," with Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington set to star.

As promising as that might sound, here's hoping "The Talking Cure" jumps it in his directing queue, and that he gets to work on it fairly fast, because it's just been way too long since the world has seen a David Cronenberg movie.

Just how did Kevin Smith manage to "Cop Out" on "A Couple of Dicks"?

No matter how he tries to defend it, "Cop Out," the new name for Kevin Smith's buddy cop movie starring Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis and set to drop in February, is just nothing but boring in my book. And judging from the trailer you'll find at the end of this post, the movie itself probably won't be much better either.

But, any time Smith is given a forum to spout off, he always says at least a few things that make me smile, as he did when discussing the new title with Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider blog. It's worth reading the whole thing, but here are a few highlights if you don't have the time, starting with exactly why he had to drop the "A Couple of Dicks" name in the first place:

(Be warned: The language in this, as usual with Mr. Smith, is more than a little salty.)

Kevin Smith: Look, losing A Couple of Dicks was almost akin to losing my own dick. It was a perfect buddy-cop movie comedy title. Everyone knew it. You couldn’t say that title to somebody without a f—ing smile crossing their face. But what I had gone through with Zack and Miri Make a Porno — “porno” had become very problematic, it became tough for us to advertise [the film], blah blah blah. Warner Bros. decided, “Hey man, we’ll call the networks and see if we’re going to get any problems [with A Couple of Dicks as a title], months before the movie’s ever going to come out.” The top 3 networks — CBS, ABC, NBC — said we can’t run one of your spots before 9 o’clock. ... So my feeling was like, it’s an R-rated movie, so who the f— are we talking to anyway before 9 o’clock? Warner Bros’s feeling was like, “Hey man, the sports audience, dickhead. We have to advertise to the sports audience on Saturday and Sunday and all those sporting events usually take place before 9 p.m. in the evening.” At which point, I was like, “Oh wow, you guys are way smarter than me.”

You still certainly can't convince me that "Cop Out" is any way a funny fallback, but he went on to explain how the title could have, amazingly, possibly been even worse:

Smith: So for months now, they’ve always had A Couple of Cops as kind of this fallback thing — a placeholder, essentially. And then all of a sudden, one of the producers of the movie was like, “Hey they’re locking the title, because the trailer is going to be put on Sherlock Holmes.” And I was like, “This is an abundance of wonderful and horrible information.” I want to be on Sherlock Holmes because everyone on the planet will probably go see it on Christmas, but I don’t want it to be A Couple of Cops. That just seems like we didn’t even try! We went from a really clever title to the least clever title of all time. I was like, “God that title is going to feel like such a f—ing cop out.” And [the producer] goes, “We should just call the movie that.”

OK, I know that's a lot of Kevin Smith for people who, like mi hermano, just find the man to be a tremendous tool, but any fans of juvenile comedy will at least smile at this final bit which includes the perfect, fan-suggested tagline, which means it will never appear on a movie poster.

Smith: We were making up sequel titles in our heads, dude. Like, you know, Two Bigger Dicks. Or Dicks 2: It Just Got Harder. Somebody online said you could take Cop Out and vary it with like, “Rock out with your Cop Out!” Hopefully that will be a tagline on a poster or a trailer. And if it is, we owe that random dude on Twitter like at least a few free passes.

But what about the trailer, which appeared this week? Well, like I said above, it really doesn't look too promising at all, even with an appearance from the alwaysveryfunny Susie Essman of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." I love Morgan on "30 Rock," but it's clear he's only as strong as the material he's working with, and "Cop Out" just looks way too weak. It certainly appears like Mr. Smith's stint as a hired hand for Warner Bros. will result in exactly the kind of "comedy" that appears and disappears very quickly each February. Anyways, "enjoy" the trailer, and have a perfectly pleasant Christmas eve. Peace out.

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