Saturday, 13 August 2011

It's not a Google function (Film News - 13/08/11)

As you have probably heard the real world has been a lot more fascinating than movie news here in the UK this week. Indeed at times it's felt like we were in the first reel of a post-apocalyptic tragedy with teenage looters conquering the streets of major cities, including the centre of Manchester where I'm based. Not that it was ever going to last - the rioting was opportunistic criminality with little social and economic reasons for the individual looters. This was not about the poor and dispossessed rising up against an authoritarian corrupt Government (although Prime Minister David Cameron's comments in the House may have convinced you otherwise) nor was there a sense this was about the shooting of Mark Duggan and racism in the Metropolitan police (although that may have been the initial spark by the time the rioting spread it became darker and more self-centred). If any proof were needed of this just remember the most effective weapon against the rioting was a light drizzle of rain on Wednesday night.

Moving back to the point the following stories, which all came out towards the end of the week, were the movie-world points to note.

Terrorist Search Engine

The title alone makes a very definite statement about thee content of this true life expose, although I'm nowhere close to working out why other than the potential internet connect that links Social Network actor Jesse Eisenberg and producer Scott Rudin with The Messenger writer/director Oren Moverman.

Based on a New York Magazine article on the controversial counter-terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann (left - I realise it's not a very flattering picture but the wunderkind does very little publicity), the FBI consultant who made a name for himself in his 20's as a professional witness often stirring up high passions in the courts, scaremongering and on occasions inciting miscarriages of justice. More info on Kohlmann can be found here. He certainly seems like a fascinating man but it's difficult to imagine the adaptation being cinematic with at present very little emotional or story arc to come out of the screen play.

The title, which is ripped from the article, refers to the extensive collection of jihadist materials found on the net. Although I suspect part of the reason for keeping it's internet themed moniker is to remind audiences of Eisenberg's most successful role and hopefully cash in on that kudos (a mild dose of cynicism never hurt anyone.

At the moment Moverman is only down to write this but he may be interested in taking the director's chair, but I for one hope he does so and makes this his next job after the Toronto bow of the much anticipated Rampart, and I'm sure he can wring all the necessary tension out of the story, however slight it appears on paper.

Read on for a date with history, competing cops and the latest casting rumours hitting the web.


Of course I realise that horror meastro Stephen King never really goes out of fashion but I'm sure we've all noticed a mini-resurgence in film studio interest regarding book to screen adaptations. First up was the Lindsay Lohan starring Carrie remake, then a Potter themed The Stand but the most intriguing so far is the news that Jonathan Demme is set to adapt and direct this sci-fi premise which hasn't even been published, see the book cover above. For anyone vaguely familiar with 20th century US history the date of the title was the day JFK was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, and the novel sees our everyman hero transported back to that date and naturally attempt to prevent that crime. Where the plot goes from there is still under wraps but with potential time travel paradoxes aplenty I'm very curious to read and see any movies based on this story. Especially given this looks to keep the horror element light, representing a new direction for the best selling author.

2 Guns

It's been hanging around for a while but I do hope some movement on the complex procedural thriller with a DEA agent and Naval intelligence officer investigating each other for being in bed with the mob whereas they're both trying to work undercover to infiltrate the Mafia. Or somesuch madness. Based on a comic book Universal are now calling it a studio priority, although whether that actually means anything remains to be seen. Look out for a twisty turny thriller coming your way soon.

Casting News

Curious rather than jaw dropping casting stories this week. Heading up the stories is the fantastic cast that have been signing on to Robert Redford's newspaper drama The Company you Keep - joining Shia Labeouf will be up and coming actress Brit Marling, as well as established stars Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon and Richard Jenkins. Meanwhile Mo'Nique has finally chosen her first post-Oscar movie since her superb performance in Precious, it's a bizarre choice with airport-set comedy Bumped which sees a group of strangers getting to know each other whilst waiting for the next flight out of LA - it's like we're seeing the Oscar curse in action.

Mo'Nique celebrates with her little trinket, before she realises the implications to her career.


Alex in Movieland said...

I like the intro. Thanks for the inside perspective. :)

TomS said...

Ben, I thought about you a lot during the unfortunate incidents in England last week, which were covered in gleeful detail by the American media. I'm glad you managed to avoid the crossfire.

I, too, am cynical about the Terrorist Search Engine. I hope I'm pleasantly surprised!

I am somewhat familiar with 20th-Century US history, Our first grade class was sent home early the day of JFK's Assassination. I don't know why this is suitable material for fantasy...there is still so much fact we have yet to learn...

Glad to see Sarandon, Christie, and Mo'Nique back on the big Screen. The latter's film sounds like a bummer... but then, it might shape up like a modern version of the Taylor-Burton "The VIP's" (I can dream, can't I?)

Runs Like A Gay said...

It must have been fascinating to see how the riots were covered across the globe, but rest assured I always manage to stay out of trouble.

I can see the point of using JFK's assassination as the centrepiece for a fantasy, after all if you could travel through time wouldn't you want to save him.

A modern day VIPs, now that would be amazing. Who will Mo'Nique be? The Orson Welles character I hope!