Saturday, 10 July 2010

'The Little Mermaid'

Well it looks like Joe Wright is trying to make me fall in love with him?

After the 1, 2 double punch of 'Pride & Prejudice' and 'Atonement' (ignoring 'The Soloist' - although not half bad) he is making a teenage assassin movie called 'Hanna' due for release in 2011 (possibly 2010 if all goes well) and that same year he also has 'Indian Summer' with two actors I greatly admire.

Now it seem he is going ahead and adapting, based on the Little Angel Company production, the classic tale of 'The Little Mermaid'.
Now apparently this production was not based on the Disney film, but rather the original Hans Christian Anderson story which was much darker. How dark will he go is beyond me, but I kind of like the idea of going with the original version.

Because I am lazy and we are having a heat wave (even typing causes sweat) I will copy and past the original, and rather disturbing and bloody, version of the story from Wiki.

This has the potential to be amazing, depending on which was they go with it.
"The Little Mermaid lives in a utopian underwater kingdom with her father the sea king; her grandmother; and her six elder sisters, each born one year apart. When a mermaid turns 15, she is allowed to swim to the surface to watch the world above, and as the sisters become old enough, one of them visits the surface every year. As each of them returns, the Little Mermaid listens longingly to their various descriptions of the surface and of human beings.
When the Little Mermaid's turn comes, she ventures to the surface, sees a ship with a handsome prince, and falls in love with him from a distance. A great storm hits, and the Little Mermaid saves the prince from a near-drowning. She delivers him unconscious to the shore near a temple. Here she waits until a young girl from the temple finds him. The prince never sees the Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid asks her grandmother whether humans can live forever if they do not drown. The grandmother explains that humans have a much shorter lifespan than merfolk's 300 years, but that when mermaids die they turn to sea foam and cease to exist, while humans have an eternal soul that lives on in Heaven. The Little Mermaid, longing for the prince and an eternal soul, eventually visits the Sea Witch, who sells her a potion that gives her legs, in exchange for her tongue (as the Little Mermaid has the most intoxicating voice in the world). Drinking the potion will make her feel as if a sword is being passed through her, yet when she recovers she will have two beautiful legs, and will be able to dance like no human has ever danced before. However, it will constantly feel like she is walking on sharp swords, and her feet will bleed most terribly. In addition, she will only get a soul if the prince loves her and marries her, for then a part of his soul will flow into her. Otherwise, at dawn on the first day after he marries another woman, the Little Mermaid will die brokenhearted and disintegrate into sea foam.
The Little Mermaid drinks the potion and meets the prince, who is attracted to her beauty and grace even though she is mute. Most of all he likes to see her dance, and she dances for him despite her excruciating pain. When the prince's father orders his son to marry the neighboring king's daughter, the prince tells the Little Mermaid he will not, because he does not love the princess. He goes on to say he can only love the young woman from the temple, who he believes rescued him, but adds that the Little Mermaid is beginning to take the temple girl's place in his heart. It turns out that the princess is the temple girl, who had been sent to the temple to be educated. The prince loves her and the wedding is announced.

The prince and princess marry, and the Little Mermaid's heart breaks. She thinks of all that she has given up and of all the pain she has suffered. She despairs, thinking of the death that awaits her, but before dawn, her sisters bring her a knife that the Sea Witch has given them in exchange for their long hair. If the Little Mermaid slays the prince with the knife and lets his blood drip on her feet, she will become a mermaid again, all her suffering will end and she will live out her full life.
The Little Mermaid cannot bring herself to kill the sleeping prince lying with his bride and, as dawn breaks, throws herself into the sea. Her body dissolves into foam, but instead of ceasing to exist, she feels the warmth of the sun; she has turned into a spirit, a daughter of the air. The other daughters of the air tell her she has become like them because she strove with all her heart to gain an eternal soul. She will earn her own soul by doing good deeds, and she will eventually rise up into the kingdom of God."

Friday, 9 July 2010


So everyone has been buzzing about the new Scorsese film ‘Hugo Cabret’. Whilst everyone is geeking out about it mainly die to it being a film made by the beloved Marty, what gets me excited and slightly nervous is the cast.

With Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Helen McRory, Frances De La Tour, and Richard Griffiths all in this film, someone is bound to get lost along the way.

The film is about the orphaned Hugo, living in 1930s Paris in the roof of the Gare Montparnasse, where he tends the clock whilst trying to repair an automaton left him by his father. A tender and affecting relationship drama as well as a cracking adventure and mystery, it's also intricately tied up with the history of cinema, with Georges Melies playing a major role.

With a cast like this you have to wonder how the master will pull it off. Asa Butterfield (‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’) plays Hugo, so the rest of the cast are supporting players in what looks like a who’s who if American and Harry Potter films.

One of the problems with these big casts is that with all the “look! It’s so in so” you kind of loose a bit of the performance. Also with all these actors together there may some competition. When that happens you get some horrendous scene chewing.

Then again it is Scorsese. He has dealt with big casts like this many times, always with good results. Plus the illustrations for the book look so rich.


Thursday, 8 July 2010

'The Help' casting moves along.

Publicity for ‘The Help’ (novel) is in full drive over here in the UK which is great as I loved the book and think more people need to go out and read it.

The book and the film are going to deal with mainly women and that is even better news as we all know how rare female orientated films are.

Well they have now added to the cast. The role of Celia Foote, an insecure Southerner trying to fit in with the high society crowd and generally not succeeding will be played by ‘Tree of Life’s’ Jessica Chastain (Pictured right). For me this role had Anne Faris written all over it, but oh well.
It is a devastating role that really needs someone to be both comedic, dumb and heart breaking all at the same time. Let’s hope she can nail it.

The rest of the cast is shaping out very nicely as well.

We all know Viola Davis is taking the role of Aibileen Clark who is co lead with two other roles (and she will kill this!), but the rest of cast is becoming interesting.
Bryce Dallas Howerd is playing local racist bitch Hilly Holbrook (I was routing For SMG – Buffy herself).

Emma Stone is Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan the na├»ve white girl and part of the three leads of the book and the fantastic Octavia Spencer (pictured left) is going to play Minny Jackson which could very well be the role that changes her career - for starters it is another co-lead, secondly the character is a doozy.
Minny is outspoken, funny, rude, and very complex and I have no doubt this gifted comedienne can pull it off.

Her resume may not have a lot of large roles but as they always say, when funny people take a more dramatic role, things usually pay off.
She was lauded for her small role in Will Smiths ‘Seven Pounds’ and was in Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Funniest Actresses in Hollywood in April 2009. Plus she is a native of Montgomery, Alabama so she knows the South.

However the main question is just how good a screenwriter and director is Tate Taylor? Sure he is a nice piece to look at, but can he pull off such a wonderful and subtle book?

His resume does not really leave you with hope, but then again many people said the same thing about Lee Daniels before ‘Precious’ was seen.

What does give me a little hope is that he is a very good friend of Kathryn Stockett who wrote the book (from her own experience) so the pressure will be on to get her vision across (one can only hope she is there on set to breathe down his neck).

I mean can you imagine directing the film of a friends critically lauded book and completely destroying it! Yikes.

Only time will tell, but please, for the love of Madonna Tate – do not f*ck this up.

Monday, 5 July 2010

‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ trailer

Ohhhh, this looks like it may be very very good. Now I am not a huge fan of the ‘Potter’ franchise. I do think they are very strong films, but for some reason they have lacked the WOW factor. Perhaps this is because they came out at the same time as the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films which surpassed them for that.

However they do warrant a rewatch to see how the hold up.

Whatever is said about them, this certainly looks like a much darker more adult film which is what is needed for me to get excited!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Iron Lady

File this under curious.
‘Mama Mia!’ director Phyllida Lloyd – who loves her ‘l’s’ – is planning on reuniting with her films co-star Meryl Streep.

Since ‘Mama Mia!’ could only be described as lite entertainment, the subject matter is rather ambitious for the newbie director.

Meryl is going to be British Conservative – and controversial - Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Although Thatcher was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 (Whopping time indeed!) the projected film would concentrate on the immediate build-up to the Falklands War in 1982, a time in which Britain was mired in recession and Thatcher's popularity was waning.
The 74 day war famously reversed her fortunes, causing a patriotic swell in the UK that sailed her through the 1983 elections.

Could this be the film that bags Meryl her 3rd Oscar?
Considering 1983 was also the year La Streep won the Oscar for ‘Sophie’s Choice’ it would be very fitting indeed.

However I honestly think that Streep is so damn good, she is going to have to really blow peoples socks off to get that 3rd (and actually I think after she gets the 3rd a 4th will not be so illusive). I mean we are going to have to see Meryl play something she has hardly ever done before. But what has she not done before?

'Rango' Trailer

Is it just me, or does this look like what would happen if you merged ‘No Country for Old Men’ with Pixar?

Whatever you may think I think it looks rather amazing so far. Sure the gags are hot HYST – ER - IC – AL but this is just a teaser.

The story is about a chameleon with an identity crisis. Heis voiced by Johnny Depp with a supporting cast of greats. Timothy Olyphant, Abigail Breslin, Bill Nighy, Isla Fisher, Alfred Molina, Ray WInstone, Harry Dean Stanton and the wonderful Beth Grant. Plus this is directed by Gore Verbinski and written by John Logan! (the latter looks like he is going to have an amazing 2011)

Get me there now!!