Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Night Films

It's all about film news and drops today. I'll start with the bad news and roll on into the good.

You've all seen Oldboy, right? If you haven't, I would recommend getting with it, tootsweet. It hit the U.S. when we had a pretty heavy deluge of revenge films and turned the concept on its ear. Equal parts violent and poetic, it (along with the other films in Park Chan-wook's vengeance trilogy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) is less about taking revenge, but more about how useless and ugly the act is. Hollywood's been talking about doing a remake for a while now, initially with Justin Lin attached to direct. This didn't seem like a terribly good idea because aside from the fact that the movie doesn't really need to be remade, Lin didn't really seem like he had the means to do it right.

Now, today, Variety is reporting that Steven Spielberg and Will Smith are in talks to work together on their own version of Oldboy. From a technical standpoint, if this goes through I have no doubt that the movie will be very well put together. Given both of the principals having a reluctance or outright inability to go as dark as a proper retelling of Oldboy would need them to, though, I don't really forsee it being faithful in tone and meaning to the original. Ultimately though, it could lead to more people checking out the original so it ain't all bad.

The next bit of bad news doesn't really have much of a upside for those of you out there who are comic readers. One of my favorite series from DC's Vertigo line was The Losers by Andy Diggle and Jock. It told the story of a group of special forces operatives that are out for revenge against the CIA when they're betrayed and left for dead by their handler. It was like a great, smart action movie. Gritty, full of snappy dialogue and just a damned fun read. Since Hollywood's just as eager to snap up comic book properties as they are to remake Asian films, a film version's been in talks for a while now. Originally it had Peter Berg attached and he seemed to have a flair for enjoyable action movies (The Rundown wasn't life-changing, but it was fun, and I've heard good things about The Kingdom). Now he's off and the new director does not inspire confidence. Slyvain White's previous credits include Stomp the Yard, a lot DTV and music video work and CHUD is reporting that he's in the directing chair for The Losers. This is pretty much the exact reason why a lot of comic book, video game and other adaptations of nerdy stuff to motion pictures don't work. Hollywood tends to grab someone that's great at getting a product out there, workman directors that are clutch players for getting a movie done on time and under budget. I'm sure White's a champ as far as that's concerned, but I seriously doubt he's going to be able to get the energy of the books right. Honestly, if you've got a jones for a good action flick, just cop the trades. I even provided you a link to get the first book for the low-low at In Stock Trades. I'm nice like that.

Yeesh. So this isn't a complete downer, a couple of pieces of good news. First up, anybody who's a anime fan and an 80s baby will remember the anthology film Robot Carnival, a joint I recall staying up to watch late nights on TBS when I should've had my ass in bed. Genius Party and its sequel Genius Party Beyond instantly reminded me of that. Top notch directors and character designers in the world of Anime (you've seen their work in Cowboy Bebop, Macross, and the animated sequence in Kill Bill Vol. 1 among other places) putting it down on short films. Genius Party just had a showing at the 2008 New York-Tokyo Film Grand Prix and you can read a report from the festival by Khalid Strickland at The Smoking Section where he speaks on it a bunch of other dope flicks. The trailers for the original and the sequel (which was released in Japan in October) have me incredibly interested:

Genius Party

Genius Party Beyond

Finally, I don't go as crazy for Pixar as some of my nerd brethren do. I definitely respect and admire what they do, but I'm not apt to rush out on opening night to see their films. That said, I've been looking forward to their next joint Up ever since I saw a hi-def still back in April (ask me nice and I'll slang you the full sized joint). Disney just released a new teaser for it and man...just go peep it at /Film. I need it in my life, like yesterday.

Enjoy the weekend, y'all.

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