The current cinema
June 24, 2004 11:03 AM   Subscribe

If all goes well, and I think it will, we will soon be entering a golden age of American cinema, the likes of which we haven't seen since the heyday of Scorsese and Coppola. Behold: Nicole Kidman and Jason Schwartzman to star in Bewitched; Vince Vaughn in talks to play Racer X in live-action Speed Racer movie; Paris Hilton in talks to star in Dungeons and Dragons 2.
posted by Prospero (49 comments total)

 
Paris Hilton in talks to star in Dungeons and Dragons 2.

So, what's she gonna play, the dungeon or the dragon?
posted by jonmc at 11:10 AM on June 24, 2004


Based on what I've seen of Paris' on-screen, erm, talents, she could probably add a touch of class to that movie franchise.
posted by rocketman at 11:11 AM on June 24, 2004


Based on what I've seen of Paris' on-screen, erm, talents, she could probably add a touch of class to that movie franchise.

Sorry, did you mean to say touch of class, or touch of ass? Just curious.
posted by ChrisTN at 11:19 AM on June 24, 2004


Does anyone else get the feeling that Hollywood is just a little too taken with the special effects wizards? When I watch previews of films such as I, Robot, I yearn for the days of no CGI. And don't even get me started on all that Crouching Tiger-influenced mumbo jumbo.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:19 AM on June 24, 2004


she could probably add a touch of class

Sure, but which one?
posted by freebird at 11:21 AM on June 24, 2004


maybe she'll open her mouth this time
posted by mr.marx at 11:21 AM on June 24, 2004


Just wait, the next round will be even better: Bewitched 2, Speed Racer 2, and Dungeons and Dragons 4. See, they double.
posted by Loudmax at 11:23 AM on June 24, 2004


Except for the re-released Godzilla (sans Raymond Burr) I've only seen one movie in the theater the past 18 months. Now, I just buy what I want on DVD. Most of what I buy was made in Korea, Japan, or Hong Kong. Of course, some of these upcoming US remakes like My Sassy Girl and Infernal Affairs have big Hollywood names behind them. Others like The Ring seemed to be successful despite the lack of big names.

I could see a US version of Old Boy but probably not Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo which I am most anxious to see.

Problem for me is Hollywood can't do original ideas anymore. It's all paint by numbers. When was the last time you saw an action-drama? It's all drama or action.

Phooey!
posted by infowar at 11:31 AM on June 24, 2004


maybe she'll open her mouth this time
All i'm sayin is there better be more closeups this time.
posted by bob sarabia at 11:32 AM on June 24, 2004


err, Check Here for Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo. Sorry about the bad link.
posted by infowar at 11:33 AM on June 24, 2004


Hey Hollywood makes plenty of intellegent original films, it's just that the public doesn't like them. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Kill Bill 2 were great films but didn't exactly set any huge box office records. Do you know anyone that's actually seen Mystic River? I wish I had time to catch all the great films in theatres.
posted by bobo123 at 11:37 AM on June 24, 2004


The last time I saw an action-drama was a few months ago when I saw Spartan. It wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be, but there you go.
posted by willnot at 11:38 AM on June 24, 2004


I dunno, I skipped KB2 as I thought KB 1 was self indulgent Tarantino tripe. Are you saying it is better?

Mystic River got good reviews from friends with movie opinions I trust, but I have not rented it.
posted by infowar at 11:41 AM on June 24, 2004


the Atlantic had a great piece last month about why these types of movies get made.

movie-making may be the only business that generates more revenue by dumping shoddy widgets overseas than by selling first-rate ones at home

are you my brother, Racer X!?!?!?!?!??

i still can't believe it's spelled "hwinalrimyeo" (since it's Japanese anyway, couldn't they have come up with a better phonetic spelling?)

on preview: somebody else hated Kill Bill 1! cool. i fell asleep at the end. and i really like Tarentino's other movies.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:48 AM on June 24, 2004


Oh boy, more Paris, more of the time. And no, Paris and Jessica Simpson ain't dumbening down the America. I'm just as smarter as I've always was.

Bleh.

As long as Speed Racer doesn't star Ben Stiller as yet another version of the only character he can play.

On Preview: Maybe I need to watch it again but with more acid in my system but I thought Tarantino's From Dusk til Dawn was about the worst piece of shit movie I've ever seen. I'm still waiting to see KB1 and KB2.
posted by fenriq at 11:52 AM on June 24, 2004


I'm not sure I understand the original comparison, Scorsese and Coppola are directors and the others listed are actors. There are plenty of good actors these days, it's the lack of writers and directors that are missing in the "golden age" comparison. What's the next big script? Apocalypse Now II? Another Taxi Driver?
posted by milovoo at 12:01 PM on June 24, 2004


From Dusk til Dawn wasn't a Tarantino film.
posted by deadcowdan at 12:02 PM on June 24, 2004


Fuck all of that, what I want...nay, NEED...to know is; when is Battlefield Earth 2 coming out? Seeing it on opening night is one of the best movie-going experiences I've ever had. If only most alleged comedies were half as funny...

*wondering if it's too late to change my user name to Our Friendly BARTENDER!!*???
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:17 PM on June 24, 2004


*shakes head, the smaller one like the Judge does*

*starts to write a long rant about 'popular culture' then stops*

Hehehehe. So the MPAA wants bigger fines and better ways to *protect* this dreck from copying? Bah, no need to protect it, it is not worth copying.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:26 PM on June 24, 2004


The Olsen Twins in The Aristocrats.
posted by y2karl at 12:35 PM on June 24, 2004


The Olsen Twins in The Karen Carpenter Story.
posted by jonmc at 1:25 PM on June 24, 2004


willnot, wtf? :) I loved Spartan. Definitely the best "Hollywood" movie I've seen this year. Watched it twice it was so good.

And bobo, I saw Mystic River. It was mostly a let down. Okay acting with a rather pedestrian story.

I also avoided KB2 as the first one blew. (Same goes for Matrix III.)

Schwartzman's turned out to be quite the whore since Rushmore, which is a shame. However, the good news is that Wes Anderson has another film coming out this year and it's co-written by Noah Baumbach, which is aces in my book.

Also, if you want to send Hwood a message about their shit movies, I think squawking on MeFi is pretty useless. Put your money where your mouth is and instead, this summer, go see new films by Michael Winterbottom, Wong Kar-Wai, Takeshi Kitano, Mark Moormann, etc. etc.
posted by dobbs at 1:50 PM on June 24, 2004


The Card Cheat, you are absolutely right. That movie was hilarious. So was watching people leave the theater afterwards. Going in, expecting shit, I was rewarded with shit. They, however, expected 2 hours of good (at least) entertainment. They got shit.
posted by graventy at 1:51 PM on June 24, 2004


go see new films by Michael Winterbottom, Wong Kar-Wai, Takeshi Kitano, Mark Moormann, etc. etc.

or rent one ofLukas Moodysson's masterpieces


re Miss Hilton:
a few weeks ago, my girlfriend went shopping and I decided to stay home because I wanted to finish a book. then she went out, and ran into a high-heeled, miniskirted Paris Hilton.
what I learned then? do not read, kids. go out instead.

posted by matteo at 1:59 PM on June 24, 2004


then she went out, and ran into a high-heeled, miniskirted Paris Hilton.

did she knock her over?
posted by jonmc at 2:01 PM on June 24, 2004


The Olsen Twins in Torque 2, with:

Paul Tuetul Sr. as "Bub"
Paul Tuetul Jr. as "Gears"
Mikey Tuetul as "Goldilocks"
Henry Rollins as "Officer Mitch"
and Rob Schneider as the minivan driver.

posted by Smart Dalek at 2:06 PM on June 24, 2004


Is it my imagination, or is there a systematic effort to find and destroy every "message" movie made in the 60s and 70s?

Granted, a lot of their messages were silly, but message movies have a little something beyond an ordinary movie.

Take "Rollerball", for example. The world as corporate states, the destruction of human knowledge through indifference, the *hate and fear* of nature and individuality by the elites. There is lots of brain candy there--things to ponder. The remake? Butt floss.

Even that horrific "Godzilla" remake waxed over the very (if you've seen the unedited Japanese version) anti-nuke message.

And Peter Parker was bitten by a *radioactive* spider, dammit.
posted by kablam at 2:17 PM on June 24, 2004


Even that horrific "Godzilla" remake waxed over the very (if you've seen the unedited Japanese version) anti-nuke message.

And Peter Parker was bitten by a *radioactive* spider, dammit.


Those two changes are pretty indicative of a big cultural shift. In the eyes of Hollywood, at least, genetic engineering is a lot more unsettling to people than the bomb. In forty years, they'll probably be remade again to reflect social anxiety over fungus or something.
posted by COBRA! at 2:23 PM on June 24, 2004


Except for the re-released Godzilla

screeee-onk!
posted by t r a c y at 2:27 PM on June 24, 2004


mrgrimm: "hwinalrimyeo" is Korean, not Japanese. well at least the film is made by Koreans with Korean characters and Korean dialogue. I admit though that sometimes Korean sounds like odd Japanese to a chump like me. :)
posted by infowar at 2:37 PM on June 24, 2004


"Message movies"? You mean, like Stepford wives and The Manchurian candidate, perhaps?

I, for one, am waiting for the inevitable remake of Convoy. Which could only happen, I might add, once somebody drop the rumour of remaking Smokey and the bandit or perhaps an even more dreadful Cannonball run.
posted by codger at 2:39 PM on June 24, 2004


Actually, I was wrong about From Dusk til Dawn, Tarantino didn't direct it but he did write the screenplay for it.

But it still sucked sweaty monkey nuts. All the remakes make me want to go and watch the originals.
posted by fenriq at 3:34 PM on June 24, 2004


I laughed very hard at Dodgeball. If the theater hadn't been so full, I probably would have laughed almost as loudly at The Day After Tomorrow.

If I ran Hollywood, the Speed Racer movie would have an accompanying big-budget tie-in video for "Daytona 500" by Ghostface Killah.
posted by britain at 3:53 PM on June 24, 2004


I thought the remakes of The Italian Job and The Thomas Crowne Affair were both better than the originals.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:47 PM on June 24, 2004


I thought the remakes of The Italian Job and The Thomas Crowne Affair were both better than the originals.

I can't speak for the Thomas Crowne Affair (which was marred by a totally unnecessary and overlong montage of a naked Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo making the beast with two backs) but I just saw the original Itallian Job. How can the Marky Mark version be called a "remake" when it does not share the same plot, theme, setting, tone, message or subtext? Most of these "remakes" seem to involve ripping a single iconic element grotesquely out of context and rewriting the entire movie around that element.

The remake is such a piece of crap that misses the original in every respect. The red white and blue mini-coopers are meaningless yanked out of the post-war context of simmering European conflict and national pride. The whole little subtext of class distinction even among thieves (with the excellent Noel Coward as the very bent king of crime with a Elizabeth II fetish.) Drop the tiny little moments of improv comedy involving some of the greatest comedic talents living at the time. Loose the expert film score holding it together, and you have a big nothing, a basic formula heist piece.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:43 PM on June 24, 2004


I much happier since I have taken on the philosophy of seeing independent films and only visiting independent bookstores. Amazingly refreshing to see actual cinema and quality literature rather than the junk and bubblegum the multiplex and BN is offering.

Surprised the heck out of me how noticeable it was, and how much I am not missing. Of course anything with Kidman will have my attention sooner or later.
posted by fluffycreature at 7:15 PM on June 24, 2004


don't forget the live-action Fat Albert : <
posted by amberglow at 8:52 PM on June 24, 2004


go see new films by [edit] Takeshi Kitano...

Wow, Zatôichi just came out in the US?

Go see it. No, really. Drive 400 miles, sell your little sister, whatever, dude. See it.
posted by Katemonkey at 11:11 PM on June 24, 2004


Whabat libive-abadaction Fabat Abadalbert rebemake?
posted by arto at 11:29 PM on June 24, 2004


NC arto, NC.

Don't think Zatoichi made it here yet. Glad to see Kitan return to fine form after Brother.
posted by infowar at 4:13 AM on June 25, 2004


I also think that we like to overestimate just how shiny and polished the golden age of cinema really was. We remember the films that have the staying power to became classics. Many of these classics were not huge in their time, A Touch of Evil and Sunset Blvd. were both given lukewarm reviews. We forget that every studio had at least one and preferably more singing cowboys, the large number of dismal comic book serials, film franchises by standup comics, badly made horror films for the summer matinee crowd, and anthology musicals that centered on finding a pretense to fit a large section of a studio's musical talent into a film (Blue Skies is probably the best of the genre, but with Lena Horne, Cab Calloway and Fats Waller, who needs plot anyway?).

The basic point is that we seem to put on rose-collored glasses when it comes to Hollwood and forget that Hollywood has always been in the business of making schlock that maximizes ROI, and somehow managing to produce quality films once every few years.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:30 AM on June 25, 2004


I much happier since I have taken on the philosophy of seeing independent films and only visiting independent bookstores.

I defy you to find a B&N or Borders in the country that doesn't stock Reading Lolita in Tehran (your example of independent literature). Hell, Waldenbooks probably carries it.

You're right on the movies, though.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:44 AM on June 25, 2004


I much happier since I have taken on the philosophy of seeing independent films and only visiting independent bookstores.

Philosophically, that makes sense, but unfortunately the quality of most "independent" culture is just as bad as most "mainstream" culture. So ultimately that's a political decision, not a cultural one.
posted by jonmc at 8:34 AM on June 25, 2004


don't forget the live-action Fat Albert

The problem with the live action Fat Albert is that instead of being a funny cartoon, in "real life" he just seems sadly obese. I get less of a friendly, wise clown vibe and more worrying about his health. I think for the movie they need to make him fatter, to cross the realism line, or just husky-sized.
(then again it's not like I'll see it anyway, so it probably doesn't matter just my 2ยข)

unfortunately the quality of most "independent" culture is just as bad as most "mainstream" culture.

Jon, there's probably not much point in arguing this yet again, but I just can't believe that you think "Goodbye, Lenin!" or "City of God" is equal in quality to "Garfield" or "White Chicks". Perhaps shot with better cameras and film stock, but in what measure of quality can they possibly be just as bad?
posted by milovoo at 9:36 AM on June 25, 2004


I know the pleasures of indie film snobbery as much as anyone around here, but how are those even fair comparisons? Better questions would be, "Is City of God equal in quality to Goodfellas?" or "Is White Chicks equal in quality to The Toxic Avenger IV: Citizen Toxie?"
posted by Prospero at 11:14 AM on June 25, 2004


Jon, there's probably not much point in arguing this yet again, but I just can't believe that you think "Goodbye, Lenin!" or "City of God" is equal in quality to "Garfield" or "White Chicks"

False dichotomy, my freind.

Realize that none of the four aforementioned films will ever approach the "mainstream" Godfather or Star wars or Cool Hand Luke and you'll be somewhere near what I'm getting at, milo.

I've been reading Chuck Klosterman tonight so you'll have to bear with me:

When you realize that when you shove aside "cred" and politics that Journey's "Anyway you Want It" and Kiss' "Beth" are bigger of an aesthetic success than the entire Yo La Tengo catalog, when you realize that the Ramones' "Rock & Roll Radio" was completely sincere, and that Kiss had more business covering ot the Ramones tribute album than any of the indie bands on there, when you understand that a scratchy 45 of Gary "US" Bonds sing "Quarter to Three" is a much greater treasure than the entire Phish (or Palce Bros. or Cure) catalog, when you figure out that Jeff Tweedy would give his eyetheeth to write something as straightforwardly brilliant as Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone," then you'll get it.

And none of this precludes my love of any of the indie stuff I've loved over the years, altough indie's time came an went around 1995 and that loving it now has more to do with artistic politics than artistic merit.

Also, what prospero said.
posted by jonmc at 8:29 PM on June 25, 2004


what jonmc said, but he forgot to mention how time will also vindicate pat boone, mc hammer and uncle cracker.

indie was grebt, sure, but we are none of us getting any younger, and that stuff just doesn't cut it anymore.

gary u.s. bonds > "beth", but by mentioning how you enjoy it on a "scratchy 45" you kinda let on how posy that post was

remember, after convincing yourself your appreciation of journey is not ironic, now you must go the next step, and listen to bad indie music - not yo la tengo but a promo cassette of psychofunkapus or ocean blue colored vinyl or something like that -
posted by mitchel at 11:02 AM on June 26, 2004


remember, after convincing yourself your appreciation of journey is not ironic,

No convincing required. Escape was the first cassette I ever bought with my own money, when I was in the sixth grade. I may expand my tastes by I never abandon them.

But more to the point....um, what was your point other than making yourself look cool?
posted by jonmc at 1:45 PM on June 26, 2004


ok, the whole music thing is complicated. The small number of people involved in crafting great songs makes it hard to see the indie / corporate line and we could argue indefinitely about whether this artist or that artist managed to keep a coherent voice in their work. Certainly any musician anywhere can manage to get their soul into a song or album and it's just a matter of seeking those out. (also, I can't picture ever liking Pat Boone, although Andy Williams is pretty high up on my list of favorite crooners)

but, movies...

I agree that there exists some landmark mainstream works of film, probably enough to say most great films are mainstream, but most indie films have what I would call craftsmanship. They are put together by a smaller group of people who care about the finished product more, not just a money-making venture by people who want the highest ROI. There is a shorter line between filmmaker and the end product. Therefore, I think the average independent films are better than the average hollywood film. It's a small symptom or example but even some of the continuity errors that show up in some Hollywood films make you wonder if anyone could be bothered to watch the junk before they shipped it out. On the average I think indie films are of a higher quality, perhaps mainly because they have to work so much harder to get it seen.
posted by milovoo at 10:56 AM on June 28, 2004


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