Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The three craziest rumors you'll hear ... well ... at least today

With a post like this, there's really no better place than to start with Quentin Tarantino, who, if he followed through on everything he mentioned in the media, would have one whale of a great movie canon by now (the one he really has is, of course, pretty darn good as it is.)

This appeared in a New York Daily News item titled "Brad Pitt doesn't smoke pot while acting; I don't smoke pot while directing," so certainly take it with more than a few grains of salt. Even if that headline is true (which I kinda doubt), I'd still have to believe he at least smokes up a bit when he comes up with his movie ideas, like this one he let slip in the Daily News piece:

"I'd like to do a Western. But rather than set it in Texas, have it in slavery times. With that subject that everybody is afraid to deal with. Let's shine that light on ourselves. You could do a ponderous history lesson of slaves escaping on the Underground Railroad. Or, you could make a movie that would be exciting. Do it as an adventure. A spaghetti Western that takes place during that time. And I would call it 'A Southern.'"

Now, he's mentioned making a movie about slavery before, but now that he's made World War II into some kind of crazy revenge fantasy about killing Hitler with "Inglourious Basterds" (and even managed to make it into my single favorite movie of 2009), I'd imagine anything's possible, so we'd better take even his craziest ideas a little seriously. A "Southern" that makes slavery "exciting"? I don't doubt he can do this, but whether he actually does or not ... stay tuned.

OK, these are actually coming in order of how much I'd like to see them happen, and just behind QT's madness comes a potentially fantastic collaboration between Nick Cave and Andy Serkis.

While on tour plugging his Ian Dury biopic "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" (yes, I'll watch that, please), Serkis let slip that he's planning a motion-capture movie version of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's "The Threepenny Opera." Even better, Nick Cave is writing the screenplay with him, and will presumably have a big part in the music too.

The piece, which seems tailormade to Cave's rather odd brain, is based on "The Beggar's Opera," which tells the story of the sociopathic criminal Macheath, who marries the daughter of Mr. Peachum, who controls all the beggars in London. Peachum opposes the match and conspires to have Macheath hanged.

This has, of course, already been made into a movie once - as the simply dreadful "Mack the Knife" - so it's screaming out for a version that people can actually sit through without visibly cringing. Details to come if this actually all comes together, but for now, enjoy this rather sublime clip of Cave performing the song "Mack the Knife."

OK, with that, the goodwill ends, because the next two items fill me with nothing but bile (I did warn you.) It seems that Lars Von Trier, who I've never much cared for (his sole mission seems to be "shock" people into complete boredom, but I concede it's entirely possible I simply just don't get his flicks), ran into Martin Scorsese at the Berlin Film Festival and, perhaps drunk, crazy or both, has challenged the old man to something of a cinematic fist fight.

The story is more than a little odd, so bear with me. According to the Danish mag Echo, he has apparently "challenged" Scorsese to remake "Taxi Driver" (pause a minute or so and let that sink in), with Robert De Niro but also with several "obstacles" thrown in to make things "interesting," as Von Trier apparently did to fellow Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth in his 2003 doco "Obstructions."

The idea of remaking "Taxi Driver" under any conditions would, I certainly at least hope, just make Scorsese laugh in Von Trier's face, but can you imagine this old dude jumping through all kinds of hurdles just to turn his signature movie into some kind of game? It's ludicrous to the point that it could actually be kind of fun if it were ever actually to happen, but even if I still were a betting man, I wouldn't touch this one with even the longest of odds.

Scorsese, however, apparently isn't immune to incredibly bad ideas. It's fairly certain now that his next movie will be "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," and since I've read that children's book (I read quite a few of those, actually), that makes me nothing but giddy. It's a magical tale about a young boy in Paris who lives in the wall of a train station, where he tends to the clocks, doing the work supposedly performed by his drunken uncle. In the course of the story he eventually encounters Georges Melies and his wild automatons, and it just gets better and better from there.

So, what could possibly be the bad in this? Well, also while in Berlin, Scorsese let it slip that this will be shot in 3D, because, well, I guess everything has to be that way now. Sheesh. Can't I just go to a movie without putting on a second set of glasses? Apparently not, but that's really all I have to say about that potential disaster, because I have to get ready for the job that somehow still pays me enough to keep the lights turned on. I'll leave you with this new teaser trailer for "Despicable Me," which at least looks like it will at least be a lot of fun when it drops this summer. Enjoy, and have a perfectly bearable Tuesday. Peace out.

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