Posts Tagged ‘Chinatown’

Roman Polanski’s Ghost Gets the Green

April 15, 2009

roman-polanskiRoman Polanski has enjoyed something of an autumn harvest, with both The Pianist and Oliver Twist showing a director finally comfortable with his late period-style. Now Variety reports that Polanski has the go-ahead for his next movie, The Ghost. The political thriller has received a cash injection from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, a German film subsidy board.

In Robert Harris’ novel, Britain’s former prime minister Adam Lang is putting together his memoirs. His collaborator drowns in Martha’s Vinyard, and an unnamed writer is hired to take his place. Then Lang is called up before a war crimes tribunal, and the ghostwriter ends up in possession of the hottest manuscript in town.

(more…)

To the Edge of Pointlessness: Ghostbusters 3

March 29, 2009

ghostbustersDo fans actually sit down and say, “God, wouldn’t it be great if there was another Ghostbusters movie?” History has it that the original 1985 film made $238.6 million on its original release. The 1989 sequel made $112.4 million, suggesting fan enthusiasm had waned over the five years. No doubting the affection in which the first film is held: Rotten Tomatoes has it at 93% positive. Ghostbusters 2? A rating of 53% percent makes it an even blech.

This doesn’t reckon with the Ghostbusters zealot, who presumably has the tattoo, the home-made Proton pack, and the complete animated series on DVD. But now they’re bored. They crave more Venkman and Gozer. And, as MTV reminds us, the combination of an unproven wave of 1980s remakes (Beverly Hills Cop we can kinda understand, but Arthur? Seriously?) and the popularity of the supernatural demonstrated by Twilight, makes Ghostbusters ripe for exhumation. We already know No. 3 is in the works. Now GB vet Harold Ramis provides MTV with the details. How pretty is it?

“We’re all going to be in it in different kinds of roles,” Ramis said. “We’re going to be the sage mentors. There are going to be young Ghostbusters.”

(more…)

Critical Bitchslap: A.O. Scott vs. Richard Brody

March 24, 2009

00388134_000001
Imagine a war between the New York Times and the New Yorker, and you might think of Walter Burns tossing inkpots at the effete Eustace Tilly. In fact, it appears to be the other way around. A.O. Scott’s elegant consideration of a certain type of American Neo-Realism has been blasted via a pugnacious blog post from Richard Brody. After an initial exchange of fire, both returned for another salvo. The various broadsides can be read here, here, here and here. But for those who would just prefer to fall asleep without moving their mouse, here’s Squally’s scorecard.

It all started when A.O. Scott, as is his wont, looked over a series of forthcoming films and attempted to write a serviceable trend piece colored with his usual thoughtful commentary. In the best New York Sunday Magazine style, he explained to readers something they presumably hadn’t noticed before and gave them a bit of a back scratch as well. That “something” was the adaptation of Neo-realist techniques by filmmakers like Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart) and Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy), occasioned by the release of Bahrani’s Goodbye Solo, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden‘s Sugar and So Yong Kim‘s Treeless Mountain in the next few weeks.

These films, he wrote, represented “an urge to escape from escapism,” an alternative to films like Watchmen, Knowing, and whatever else they’re condemned to watch in Greeley, Colorado. Each has several features in common with the classics of the postwar Italian Neo-realist movement, films such as Roma, citta aperta/Open City, La Terra Trema/The Earth Trembles and Ladri di biciclette/Bicycle Thieves. They are made during a time of economic and political upheaval. They use non-professionals in fictional roles that are close to their real selves. They are filmed on location and make use of “unadorned, specific” locales (Rome, Winston-Salem, N.C., a mountain village in South Korea). They emphasize work–whether as a profession, at home, or in the school. Although Italian Neo-realism passed mainstream American cinema by, these films look to foreign movies and are intent in showing the “American life that remains off screen.” While subdued in nature, these films can be ultimately inspiring in how they portray strength/resilience in the face of adversity.

All seems innocuous enough. But not so for Brody the firebrand blogger at New Yorker’s Front Row. In a numbered list and with a shaky criteria that recalls the manner of his New Wave heroes (Brody has written the acclaimed Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard), Brody swings at the Old Grey Lady’s oracle … and swings wildly.
(more…)