By Christopher Campbell | Spout May 24, 2011 at 2:46AM
Spout About is a daily look at what people are discussing related to the films currently in theaters and the classics we're still talking about. Have another topic worth addressing? Let us know.
- Sony must have noted that the best part of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" is the piranha-like mermaids, and the studio is now hoping we all want more evil versions of Ariel. They've bought the rights to Carolyn Turgeon's novel "Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale," which is one of those darker versions of stories that Disney previously adapted more cheerfully. So, are mermaids the latest creatures to be a Hollywood trend, a la vampires? Then I guess "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" was ahead of its time -- especially with the scary mer-creature angle -- as was Neil Jordan's "Ondine." Now we just need a darker take on "Splash" that portrays early '80s Manhattan for the crime-ridden place it really was as opposed to a tourism ad. I'd also call for a remake of Richard Benjamin's "Mermaids" (which actually has little to do with mermaids), but recent Tribeca Film Festival winner "She Monkeys" is close enough.
- Competing against mermaids for the latest creature overload fad is Frankenstein's Monster, according to Mike Fleming at Deadline. He counts at least seven "Frankenstein"-related projects, not including the latest, an adaptation of "The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein." That's a prequel that won't feature the monster, though, instead sounding more like a serious "Burke and Hare"-like film.
More notes, links and things up for discussion after the jump.
- Okay, now that I've seen "The Tree of Life," I'd like to revisit my Cannes question from yesterday to ask what readers' least favorite Palme d'Or winner is. Malick's latest might be it for me, and I really don't care at all for "The Leopard," "Wild at Heart" or "Fahrenheit 9/11." Actually the parts I love about "The Tree of Life" are better than anything I love from those movies. So I'll actually go with the Michael Moore one instead.
- I thought a lot about "Take Shelter" during "The Tree of Life," mostly because Jessica Chastain is in both (and excellent in each). And overall I prefer the Sundance film to Terrence Malick's latest. For now, anyway. Michael Shannon gives an awesome performance and the apocalyptic sequences of "Take Shelter" still stick with me after a few months and a failed Rapture prophecy. Or, wait, is Harold Camping just a viral marketer working for Sony Classics? Is it a coincidence that this trailer popped up this week and is also set to release in theaters near the time of Camping's revised date in October? Don't all go out and buy shelters just yet. Watch the awesome trailer first:
- I also thought a lot about "The Spielberg Face" while watching "The Tree of Life," because Malick has a more subtle version of the curious and wondered gaze that's likely harder to pin down with screenshots and a list. But it's what keeps me from completely hating his latest and what made me especially appreciate moments of "The New World." Anyway, here's part of Matt Patches' look at Spielberg's obligatory look at UGO:
You get the sense that Spielberg tackled 1993's Jurassic Park just for this singular Spielberg Face moment. When Alan and Ellie caravan into the fields of Jurassic Park, they witness for the first time John Hammond's ultimate creation: dinosaurs. MONEY SHOT Spielberg Face. One thing wil never change about the time-honored director, and that's his love for quickly dollying in on a person's face as they stand awestruck. It's emotional.
- Also at UGO, John Lichman makes a case for "Daredevil" being ahead of its time. Among his arguments for how the Ben Affleck superhero flick "Defined the Modern Comic Film" is focused on what we didn't see in theaters because producer Gary Foster didn't see importance in having "intellectual content." Looking to Mark Steven Johnson's director's cut, Lichman finds a subplot starring Coolio evidence of why this was a mistake:
what does The Coolio Cut change about the film? Well, it helps ground Matt Murdock more into the lore of Hell's Kitchen and why he stays in the neighborhood. This is the type of hyper-focus that makes the Devil resonate: he's like the local corner store of the super hero world. And sure enough, the "intellectual content" IS as important in a well-thought out film, complete with the characters that build up the tentpole names like Ben Ulrich and Foggy Nelson. Look at Green Lantern: literally EVERY LANTERN makes an appearence in one way or another - 'cept Mogo. He don't socialize.
- Jeffrey A. Tucker of the Ludwig von Mises Institute considers Disney's "Tangled" as a political allegory with the evil witch Gothel representing the state. A couple examples:
Gothel: She sneaks into the home of the wealthy aristocrats to steal their child.
* Government: It sneaks into our bank accounts to steal money, steals purchasing power by depreciating the currency, and kidnaps children by bribing them and drafting them into captive military service.
Gothel: Pretends she is young, pretty, and has the best interests of Rapunzel in mind, whereas she is really old, ugly, vain, and holds Rapunzel in a tower to sustain the spell that keeps reality at bay.
* Government: Pretends that it is representing us to provide collective goods in our own interests, whereas it is really serving itself and providing for special interests at our expense.
- Who is the best James Bond? Well, what if they were all together, as a team? Check out the stop-motion animated short "Battle of the Bonds" below:
- Max Urai at Anomalous Material admittedly invites a "shitstorm" with a post entitled "Why I Think Alfred Hitchcock Is Overrated." From the intro (you'll have to click on the link to read his flawed arguments):
This is not a complete dismissal on the oeuvre of the man, nor will I criticize him personally (even though I could open up a can of worms on that). I wanted to write this article for no better reason then the fact that Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most highly regarded directors of all time, and I don’t think his work is that good. I don’t think its awful or even average, but I do think that many of his films get much more praise then they deserve.
I have to admit that I also totally thought he was overrated when I was young. Anyone else?
- Darren Franich at Entertainment Weekly presents a slideshow list of "22 Movie Sequel Do's and Don'ts." Here's one appropriate for this week's tentpole:
Don't: Make sequels to comedies
Now, there are exceptions to every rule, and we certainly wouldn't want to live in a world without Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey or Christmas Vacation. But far too many comedy sequels wind up like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me; old gags are recycled, the characters become more cartoony, and the cumulative effect is like hearing an old friend tell the same joke for the millionth time.
See Also: Caddyshack II, Analyze That, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, every other Vacation movie, Fletch Lives, Meet the Fockers, The Jewel of the Nile, Smokey and the Bandit II, Beverly Hills Cop 2, Another 48 HRD., the later Naked Guns, the later Fridays, the later Major Leagues, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Whole Ten Yards...
- There are undoubtedly some people in this world who saw the trailer below over the weekend and were looking forward to the cheesy Jason Segel and Amy Adams rom-com before the big reveal. If you're friends with any of them, sever ties immediately. If you know anyone who completely lost interest after the big reveal, kill them. The teaser for "Green With Envy" (wink, wink):
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