Sunday, 27 March 2011

Shadows of a giant (Film News - 26/03/11)

Whatever you were doing this week, whatever our connection to the entertainment business it probably didn't take long to hear about the long-expected but nevertheless shocking news that Elizabeth Taylor passed away. Whilst she isn't the last remaining icon of her time (Lauren Bacall and Olivia de Havilland immediately spring to mind) it's fair to say Liz, her talent, her marriages and her penchant for jewellery shone brighter than most. She'll be terribly missed, so it's only appropriate that the story I'm leading with this week relates to her:


Anjelina Jolie's attempts to take the role of Egypt's most famous queen look to be back on track with David Fincher becoming the next big name director attached to the project (remember James Cameron was listed at one point). It's a performance that will inevitable provide a centrepiece of Anjelina's career and will lead to comparisons with Liz Taylor and the 1963 extravaganza that may make or break her going forward. One hopes it won't sink anyone around the production - making desert Kingdoms has destroyed studios on a number of occasions.

The toughest act to follow.

Of course this latest rumour is dependent on what Fincher's decides his next project will be. He's already prepping 20,000 Leagues under the Sea and it's possible he'll want to follow up the forthcoming Steig Larsson adaptation The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with The Girl who Kicked it's Hornet's Nest it's literary sequel.

Read on for little known history, frightening sex and the return of Arnie? As well as the latest casting stories and this months round up of release schedule changes.

Hyde Park on Hudson

The King's Speech has opened the floodgates to early 20th Century British Royalty related movies with this chronicle of the first state visit to the United States and the complex marital stresses Franklin D. Roosevelt (left) was having at the time - including his affair with cousin Daisy. Doubtless this mix of scandal and crowns will bring in the crowd, but I expect Film4 (who are funding the picture) will be mightily disappointed if it doesn't pick up any gold baldies. Roger Michell is currently attached to direct, which probably means his potential involvement with George Orwell adaptation Burmese Days is no longer happening.

Nymphomaniac/Dirt in Bedsores

Lars von Trier likes to make jokes, you could say his entire film-making career has been one practical joke after another, so take this with a pinch of salt, but the Danish Director has revealed he's torn between those two titles (two separate projects) as his next movie but it's likely to be The Nymphomaniac, a tale of a woman's erotic awakening. Given that von Trier's previously stated he'd like to make a full-on pornographic movie expect it to be pretty difficult to watch and not one to take our mother to.

True Lies 2

Arnold Schwarzeneggar is clearly at a loss of what to do now he's an ex-Governator, so naturally the prospect of returning to cinema is appealing to the 63 year old Austrian Oak. Recently he's been tweeting about a potentially follow up to his 1994 spy romp and been gallivanting round Brazil with old chum James Cameron so it's perfectly logical for the Internet to connect the dots between these events and start salivating over the possibility of a renewed team-up between these cinematic titans. I doubt any of it's true, but it's nice to dream, isn't it?

Who wouldn't want to see these two reunited?

Casting News

There have been some unsurprising rumblings from casting directors over the last week with some high profile movies getting some fascinating additions. The Coen-penned Gambit has gained Alan Rickman and Tom Courtenay in major supporting roles which is definitely a bonus, whilst limousine based Cosmopolis has picked up Samantha Morton - I have no idea how the whole cast will fit in the one car. With the news that Jennifer Lawrence is playing the Hunger Games the race is on to replace her in The Savages: Olivia Wilde is the bookies favourite but we do now know that she'll be joining Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson as the pot smoking leads and Benicio Del Toro and Salma Hayek as the cartel bosses out to kill them (probably because they're the only Latin American Actors famous enough to draw a not Latino crowd).

Release Dates

We have been overwhelmed with new and revised release dates this month, with a big surprise as well as a couple of the most anticipated movies of the year getting their dates.

The Messenger - Shockingly delayed release for Oscar nominated drama (from over a year ago) following Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson as members of the Casualty Notification Team. Prepare for bad news on 20 May 2011.

Win Win - High School Wrestling features in this low key drama that wowed at Sundance and followed with a solid limited US release, now competing against the above. Take down your opponent on 20 May 2011.

Princesse de Montpensier - French historic drama (you see, I am trying to see more foreign language movies) following an affair that split across religious boundaries in 16th Century France. Rip a bodice on 08 July 2011.

One Day - Moving into a mid-summer slot might seem like odd programming for this potential awards bait romance, but given the current lack of quality releases for the month this should give it room to shine. Fall for your best friend on 26 August 2011.

Warrior - Constantly moving - much like it's cage fighting central character - this Tom Hardy vehicle has shifted forward a bit this time, probably moving in for the killer shot. Get pummelled on 23 September 2011.

The Debt - There's more movement for the Mossad agents in this English language remake as Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson are still getting to grips with mistakes they made in the past. Catch former Nazis on 30 September 2011.

Big Year - OK, so advanced buzz about David Frankel bird spotting comedy may not be setting the world on fire but I'm still looking forward to seeing Steve Martin and Jack Black going head to head. Get the binoculars out on 11 November 2011.

Hugo Cabret - Slight shift for Martin Scorsese's first foray into both children's films and 3D filmmaking, and it's going to be fascinating to see the man behind Taxi Driver and Goodfellas handle both those challenges. Get friendly with an impoverished film director on 02 December 2011.

Machine Gun Preacher - Next years Oscar season is just around the corner - at least it's around the corner in terms of staking the January release dates such as this biker turned saviour to child soldiers biopic. Find God on 06 January 2012.

Prometheus - Finally next years summer schedule is also beginning to show some promise with Ridley Scott's return to the Alien franchise that made him staking out a prominent June release. Don't bother screaming, it won't be heard, on 01 June 2012.

It's not all good news on the release date front though. This last month Rob Reiner's coming of age drama Flipped slipped quietly out on DVD never to see the inside of UK cinemas. Not terribly surprising given it's mediocre US box office take of $1.7m - barely 12% of it's production budget.

Oh, and I'm ending with a quote that I loved this week:

"You can't cry on a diamond's shoulder, and diamonds won't keep you warm at night, but they're sure fun when the sun shines." Elizabeth Taylor 1932-2011

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