Killing Brad Softly
Apparently, Brad Pitt‘s reign as a Hollywood superstar is drawing to a close. And with good reason. I mean, what a stupid move, starring in Andrew Dominik‘s chatty, politically charged hitman thriller, Killing Them Softly, instead of oh, I don’t know, something less interesting. Hopefully after the low-budget film’s embarrassing opening weekend haul of $7 million, and its CinemaScore of ‘F’, he has learned his lesson and will star in a big apocalyptic zombie movie next. I mean, let’s be serious. You can criticize The Weinstein Company for opening a dialogue-driven, chilling and violent drama in too many theaters, or for promoting the grim flick as though it was a lot more action-packed than it is. But there’s no way this was a bad career move for Pitt. Let’s be clear, as the other star of the movie, Barack Obama, likes to say. I didn’t love it. I wish it was smarter in its cold cynicism, and no one wants to hear a grizzled James Gandolfini jabber about his favorite prostitute for twenty minutes. But it’s a beautifully shot, well-acted film with some great moments (including all the scenes involving Ben Mendelsohn, for instance). Who wouldn’t want to work with Dominik again after the way The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford turned out? I know it’s been asked before, but does anyone who genuinely gives a crap about good movies really decide whether a film is a success or a failure based solely on the opening weekend’s box office?
Marjane Lied to Me
I interviewed Marjane Satrapi earlier this year and she told me her next project was the horror movie, The Voices, but apparently she did something else between Chicken with Plums and that. Something kooky, involving badminton, and she even stars in it. Yes, it played the Rome Film Festival, but somehow I didn’t get word of it until I saw the wacky trailer on Twitch. It’s apparently a low budget comedy about a suitcase mix-up that teams two badminton playing friends with a woman (Satrapi) on the run from the mob. I like Satrapi’s work, and I’m happy to see her branching out in strange directions. I don’t know what Jotas are, but this looks fun. And she was a great interview. I love it when you just start to ask a question, and off they go. I guess I can forgive her for not giving me the scoop.
Wong Lets Me Down
Speaking of being disappointed by those we admire, word came this past week that Wong Kar-Wai‘s hotly anticipated wuxia epic, The Grandmasters, starring Tony Leung (as the legendary martial artist Ip Man) and Zhang Zi Yi, with fight choreography by Yuen Wo Pin (The Matrix), has been delayed again. Reportedly, Wong left off editing the film to do some more shooting. It’s been a long time since My Blueberry Nights (which really isn’t as bad as everyone says), but we remember how finicky Wong can be. We can’t really be disappointed because we knew this was coming. We’ve seen the trailer by now. We know it’s going to be worth the wait, right? Let’s try to occupy ourselves with other things in the meantime.
In more upbeat news, Canadian distributor Entertainment One has picked up the North American rights to Cuban Fury, which stars Nick Frost as a broken-down former salsa prodigy who’s inspired by his American boss (Rashida Jones) to take up dancing again. The wonderful Ian McShane and good comedy person Chris O’Dowd co-star, so you have to figure it transcends the high concept, Shall We Dance?-without-the-gravitas premise. Director James Griffiths is a television vet, having directed episodes of Episodes (good) and Up All Night (eh), while screenwriter Jon Brown has previously written for Misfits, an engrossing British fantasy series which I do keep watching, even though I’m not sure it’s any good. MM