Posts Tagged ‘Alice in Wonderland’

The Slate: Alice in Wonderland, Montgomery Clift and Bobby Fischer

March 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland reaps another $62 million to top Green Zone at the BO. People do not want to see movies about the Iraq War. Dancing Johnny Depp, however, is okay. (MTV)

Burt Lancaster: “He approached the script like a scientist.” Richard Burton: “You were never quite sure whether he would blow his lines or explode.” James Dean would call just to hear his voice. Brynn White on the enduring enigma of Montgomery Clift, an actor’s actor whose preference for second-tier auteurs may account for an after-life in the shadows. (Moving Image Source)

After flirting with that Heavy Metal project, David Fincher finally signs to make Pawn Sacrifice, about Bobby Fischer’s 1972 chess cold war against Boris Spassky. Will they keep in the anti-Semitism? Scripted by Steven Knight, creator of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and author of Eastern Promises. (Variety)

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Fist of Film: They All Played Alice

March 5, 2010

The Rev. Charles Dodgson’s devotion to Alice Liddell is well-known, but is his fictional Alice really that plum a role? After all, it’s Alice’s task to act as audience avatar, a perplexed witness to the nonsensical residents at the bottom of the rabbit hole. Regardless, starlet Mia Wasikowa is the latest to fluff the tresses of the Victorian era’s dizziest blonde. While audiences flock to the Burtonized Alice in Wonderland, we thought it would be beamish to survey who else once ran with White Rabbits.

May Clark in Alice in Wonderland (1903)

The first surviving film that drew on Lewis Carroll’s fantasia was filmed by Cecil Hepworth, partly on the estate belonging to travel agent Thomas Cook. For the heroine of what would be the longest film yet produced in Britain, the Brighton filmmaker cast May Clark, a 14-year-old who had been doing odd jobs at his studio. Both Clark and the Hepworths’ dog Blair would reappear in Rescued by Rover (1905). Download it at Archive.org

Gladys Hulette in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1910)

Seven years after The Great Train Robbery, Edwin S. Porter directed a version for Thomas Edison. He cast the 14-year-old Hulette, a stage actress who didn’t share her contemporaries shame over appearing in silent films. The one-reel adaptation was well-regarded, despite excising many of Carroll’s characters. As an adult, Hulette appeared in John Ford’s Western The Iron Horse (1926).

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Spring Movie Preview 2010

February 27, 2010

Will Avatar make every successive Hollywood blockbuster look like it’s underachieving? For at least the next few months, the answer’s yes. Studios are responding to James Cameron’s monolith by turning everything into 3D whether it demands it or not. This slash ‘n’ burn blockbuster policy is in keeping with a season filled with retreads, reboots and sequels.

High points? While the prospect of Shrek 4 may no longer seem so appetizing—admit it, you didn’t even know it was being released this year—fanboys are salivating over the already spit-sodden Iron Man 2. The airport paperback set, on the other hand, are looking forward to Bourne Goes to Iraq, aka Green Zone. Carrie and co. will also flounce back onto our screens in a new Sex and the City.

Maybe Squally will stick to the return of Mike Newell and the singular pleasures of Tyler Perry. Regardless of the quality, feel the width. This is a star-laden line-up, with Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway all returning to the screen. While they cash the checks, we’ll continue to tip less mainstream fare in our Must See Movie series. Click on the titles for trailers, etc.

Alice in Wonderland
Release date: March 5
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter
After damn near 20 years of hit-making, Tim Burton finally found himself as a director by turning to established properties like Willy Wonka and Sweeney Todd. A marriage with Lewis Carroll should be a nice fit. Alas, this “sequel” to the original cockeyed gospel looks like an unholy mess. Depp channels Peter Lorre as the Mad Hatter.
Fun fact: Critic Gilles Deleuze proclaimed that Carroll’s final work Sylvie and Bruno “is no doubt the first book that tells two stories at the same time, not one inside the other, but two contiguous stories.” Heads up, Disney. Get Todd Solondz on it.

Green Zone
Release date: March 12
Starring Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson
Damon mans up as Roy Miller, a Chief Warrant Officer whose job sniffing out WMDs in Baghdad is compromised by the U.S. administration. In the time-honored Hollywood tradition, he goes rogue. Hey, if they didn’t want him to make waves, they shouldn’t have put him in the middle of the desert.
Fun fact: Bourne director Paul Greengrass first approached Tom Stoppard to adopt Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s book Imperial Life in the Emerald City, but was turned down.

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Trailerama: Alice in Wonderland

July 23, 2009

Having approached Gothic degree zero with Sweeney Todd, there really was nowhere else for Tim Burton to go. The prospect of adapting Lewis Carroll’s mathematically-minded kids classic certainly sounded appealing. A shame, then, that this version appears to opt for a Return to Oz approach. This might be the tightest visual control Burton has taken of a film since The Corpse Bride. It still looks airless and ugly. The script was penned by Linda Woolverton, who has been pretty quiet since co-writing 1994’s The Lion King.

Hollywood 1, DVD 0

March 23, 2009

dvdHere’s all the news that fit to print: The DVD market is in the tank. Blockbuster is currently growing at a snails pace. And all the studios hate Netflix. So the New York Times is reporting that the studios are going back to what they think they know best: making films that will actually turn a profit at the box office.

Brooks Barnes aligns the statistics. Ticket sales are up 14% for 2009. (Watchmen not withstanding.) Sales for new-release DVDs, on the other hand, are down 40%. The reasons are myriad: a movie is still considered a cheap night out, there are simply too many DVDs out there (Howard the Duck just hit stores, accompanied by the sound of a barrel being scraped) and most of youse is downloading films from t’Internet. The result: studios have lost that retail safety net, or what one producer calls the “downside protection.”

iron-man1The new strategy is getting bums on seats, which may account for the absolute traffic jam of big tentpoles being released in 2010. Among them are Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland, Jon Favreau‘s Iron Man 2, Christopher Nolan‘s Inception, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Toy Story 3, Eclipse, Thor, Green Lantern and a Harry Potter installment. As of this reckoning, we’ll see . Barnes also elegantly sums up the bigger picture:

“In addition to big “tent pole” blockbusters, that means movies that are fun to watch in groups: at least 10 musicals are in full-steam-ahead development, including a remake of “My Fair Lady.” And it means more pictures that are pre-branded: “Monopoly” and “Candy Land,” the movies, are on the way. Most of all, it means a strong return by major studios to middle-of-the-road, genre pictures.”

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The Slate: Green Lantern and Dark Shadows are Going the Distance

March 21, 2009

green-lantern

  • Turns out Green Lantern is a go! The green DC superhero who isn’t Green Arrow (or The Riddler if you’re short-sighted) will be brought to the screen by Casino Royale director Martin Campbell. According to producer Donald De Line, locations are being scouted in Melbourne and Sydney and shooting is due to begin in mid-September. Previously mooted as Hal Jordan: Jack Black (back when the film was a comedy), Anton Yelchin, Chris Pine and … that’s it. More news once our power ring recharges. (Dark Horizons)
  • Sign of a slow news day: the Internet is quivering over the news that Tim Burton may not begin shooting the Dark Shadows movie with Johnny Depp this summer. He might have to wait until … this fall! Can we possibly do without our Barnabas Collins fix for a few more months? Actually, yes. The production has been delayed because Burton is still slaving on Alice in Wonderland, footage of which drew audible gasps of wonderlandishness at a recent Disney/DreamWorks shareholders confab. Work faster, Burton, work faster! To hell with quality! Depp is due to begin shooting The Rum Diaries on schedule at the end of the month. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)
  • Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Costner are joining Ben Affleck in John Wells’ The Company Men. The film will be a fascinating exploration in the effects of petrification on three Hollywood actors in the guise of a drama about corporate downsizing. Because there’s nothing unemployed people like better than watching films about unemployed people. Affleck is the laid-off high-flyer who crashes to earth at Costner and Jones’ laconic construction firm. (Variety)
  • The latest film from the team behind Takenhas been picked up for release by Lionsgate. From Paris With Love finds John Travolta “hooking up” with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. It’s a thriller, natch, with Travolta’s special agent and Meyers’ innocent embassy employee fighting terrorists and, if screenwriter Luc Besson has anything to do with it, engaging in some inappropriate Gallic slapstick. The film, directed by Taken‘s Pierre Morel, is due to open Feb. 19, 2010. (Variety)
  • The resistible rise of the Mac mensch continues. Justin Long has signed to star in Going the Distance, a romantic comedy about a long-distance relationship that’s been stretched to breaking point. Long will play the man who realizes he’d rather date somebody who lives around the corner. Expect lots of Skype product placement and Facebook gags. (Variety)