Saturday, 23 July 2011

What price Faith (Film News - 23/07/11)

For the third week in a row we're struggling to fill the news post (in spite of comic con rumbling on), and it is almost unbearably disappointing. I suppose I should be grateful for the weeks overburdened with stories, however that feels so natural that these slower weeks really come as a shock, especially given this long semi-drought. At least the projects we're mentioning here have a good chance of getting made, and sound like they could be fascinating.

Under the Banner of Heaven

When Dustin Lance Black won his Oscar for writing Milk a couple of years ago there was much talk of a bright new talent and expectation was rife about what direction his work would take him, luckily he's been tapping away furiously at the typewriter with J. Edgar on it's way, and now the big screen adaptation of Jon Krakauer's non-fiction novel (Pictured below) about two brothers who murdered the wife and infant child of their younger brother claiming they were acting on the will of God. More synopsis can be found on the book cover...

This sounds like a fascinating project that may probe into issues of mental health diagnoses and how religious fundamentalism has the capacity to commit heinous crimes in the name of it's message.

On the other hand it could become a mishmash of whiny liberal prejudice (the brothers followed a splinter group of Mormonism and I worry about balanced views on religious beliefs in films - now I can't wait for the comments to come in) and shuffling horror tropes, furthermore this is probably coming after Christian fundamentalism has been a hot topic with Red State and Martha Marcy May Marlene both impressing at Sundance this year.

Of course I will be supporting Black either way as he seems like a personable and responsible fellow, and the script for Milk does make me think the boy can write. Keep an eye on this one.

Read on for journalistic integrity and... well that's about it really as well as some casting news.

The Company you Keep

Here in the UK the headlines have been dominated over the last three weeks by the implosion of News International, Rupert Murdoch's print conglomerate that publishes "The Sun" and "The Times". As more and more revelations of phone hacking, including those of the families of murder victims and dead soldiers, and the extent of cosying up done by the political classes and police with NI executives has been made public we've seen resignations from the highest seats in NI as well as senior Police officer, frankly it's unlikely to be long before a minister or high-profile civil servant also falls as a result of the story. With that in mind it's good to see Robert Redford's next movie will star Shia LaBeouf as an unscrupulous investigative reporter anxious to get the scoop on a former Weather Underground member (for those of you not in the know the Weathermen were a clandestine revolutionary party advocating terrorism as a means to violently overthrow the US Government).

Of course whether you'll buy LaBeouf as a journalist facing the choice between getting a great story or letting an old man live his final days in peace is yet to be decided.

Casting News

Quentin Tarantino is as known as much for his knack of reinvigorating careers as for the plots and techniques of his movies, and so when a fading star picks up a role in his films it always raises eyebrows. So three cheers to Kevin Costner who's taken the role of the sadistic slave trainer in Django Unchained with that and the Superman remake he's certainly on the way back to the A list. This week we've also seen a whole slew of names added to The Lone Ranger including Helena Bonham Carter and Dwight Yoakam making it altogether more interesting. You can also take the latest rumour about casting Les Miserables with a huge chunk of salt, but apparently Russell Crowe is lobbying for the role of Javert the obsessed policeman after Hugh Jackman's Jean Valjean.

Crowe has experience of singing, fronting the bands 30 Odd foot of Grunts and The Ordinary Fear of God but I somehow doubt that puts him up there with Jackman's Tony award winning experiences.

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