Thursday, 13 September 2012

Wild and Windy weather (Film News - August 2012)

Whilst most bloggers have been focused on the late summer film festivals (Venice, Telluride and Toronto) eager to identify some late entry awards bait or future cult viewing I have been playing the long game. Yes, we're back again for a monthly look at the latest cinematic treats slipping into production and you never know some of these projects could end up being Oscar players in 2014. I don't necessary expect them all to be future winners, or even good, or even get made at all, but that's all part of the fun of reading IMDb and here's what I found this month.

Crazy for the Storm

Sean Penn is back behind the camera with Norman Ollestad's survival memoir, and if the central storyline of a young protagonist forced to struggle in extreme weather conditions before finding his way back to civilisation sounds a little similar to Into the Wild but in reverse then you're not too far off.

Where Emile Hirsch's Christopher McCandless deliberately put himself in extreme situations to test his resilience and paid the ultimate sacrifice, Ollestad was orphaned in a horrific plane crash on the side of a mountain and had to forge his way out of danger, aged just 11. The book cover, below, and it's simple inscription, explains it all.

We know Penn has an incredibly feel for capturing the beauty and danger of the natural world and, with Josh Brolin signing up to play Norman's FBI father, expect this to be a well acted mood-piece that highlights man's fragility and place in the natural order.

Read on for criminals in wheelchairs, dreams of Fellini, patricide, the secrets of the universe and a potential manic pixie girl. Go on, read on, what are you waiting or?

Bandits manchots

There was a time when Jean-Paul Belmondo was the face of French cinema, his weathered features and mysterious style saw in cast in iconic roles for Godard, Truffaut and Lautner. It's was a shock to many when the once virile star suffered a debilitating stroke in 2010, however even without the use of one arm and one leg Jean-Paul is determined to keep on working, taking the lead role in the French farce about geriatric fugitives. Oddly this film is also planned as the first of a trilogy linked by a single sequence in the middle.

Elsa & Fred

Shirley Maclaine may be lording it up over at "Downton Abbey" at the moment, but it's a casual fling not a permanent residency as she's already planning her next cinematic outing. The remake of Marcos Carnevale's Argentinian hit, also called Elsa & Fred (see poster, right), will see Maclaine as a lonely dreamer, obsessed with Fellini's 'La Dolce Vita' and her widower neighbour who's life she turns around. As The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has proven this year there's is a significant market for films focussing on older characters and this elderly romcom has plenty of potential to be a mid market hit.

In God We Trust

There are two films that don't seem to be limiting themselves to a standard narrative, and this is the one that doesn't feature Terry Gilliam. Described as a "thriller about stealing a country, manipulating money but also about the desire to kill your parents" this seems more like a therapy session than a movie. It does sound strangely enticing, although when you break it down it could just be a coup in a royal family, not that imagining Prince Harry usurping the throne wouldn't be incredible.

Zero Theorem

On to Terry who's latest project sounds as barmy as you'd expect. Penned by first time script-writer Pat Rushin and starring Christoph Waltz as a computer hacker trying to solve the mysteries of the universe whilst being watched by a bureaucratic all-knowing Government agency, Theorem seems to borrow elements from Gilliam's finest hours, including Brazil's politics and embattled hero (left) and 12 Monkeys sci-fi leanings. It's also set almost exclusively in one location - a burned out chapel - so look out for the most astounding and detailed production design.

Untitled Cameron Crowe Project that might be Deep Tiki

Finally Almost Famous director Crowe looks like he's resurrecting his 2008 project that quietly disappeared in spite of attracting Reese Witherspoon and Ben Stiller to the script. Set in Hawaii and involving a disgraced weapons expert (really?) discovering himself against a back-drop of discovering the islands culture and politics. Emma Stone has replaced Reese as the local girl the hero falls for, but no word on the male lead as yet. You never know Crowe might even mix things up and swap the genders...

Emma made her name with quirky high-school comedy with literary roots Easy A, pictured, and is building quite a fan base with her obvious leading lady appeal and smart choices.

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