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Spout About: “Pompei”; Bin Laden Movie Associations Continued; “Fast Five” Trumps “The Avengers”

Spout About: "Pompei"; Bin Laden Movie Associations Continued; "Fast Five" Trumps "The Avengers"

Before I get into more of the Osama bin Laden movie stuff, I thought I’d open today’s discussion roundup with the news about Paul W.S. Anderson’s next movie, an “adventure” blockbuster about the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and destruction of Pompei (titled “Pompei”). While it has been quite a few years since that disaster took place (back in the summer of 79 — as in just plain 79 CE), it’s still always kind off weird when true catastrophes like this are exploited for popcorn fare (see the Titanic list I posted recently). That’s not what I find especially curious this time, however. I’m more thinking about how this week this kind of disaster movie is about the only type acceptable for announcement. We’ve recently seen a lot of twisters and earthquakes and tsunamis, so ideas around those types of tragedy are all too sensitive at the moment. As is large-scale terrorist attacks, I believe, given that now we’re all led to fear a revenge for the revenge for the revenge of the (etc.) that just took place. Still, it has been a pretty big year so far in terms of disaster, enough that the disaster movie genre in general seems gutsy.

All I can say is that hopefully for Constantin Films’ sake that the largest volcano disaster in years isn’t around the corner — and if you’ve seen the recent Australian documentary “100 Days of Disaster,” you’re expecting things to keep getting worse and worse, “2012” style. But if you have seen that fear-mongering film, you also likely don’t expect anyone to be around next year, when “Pompei” is expected to start shooting, to help Anderson make it.

More notes, links and things up for discussion after the jump.

– I’m not sure what they mean by meme since there are no links to examples, but The Hollywood Reporter did a story on how Osama bin Laden’s death ties into the upcoming final installment of the “Harry Potter” franchise
(“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”). Apparently ties have been made between Osama and Voldemort for years (not too surprisingly) and also between Obama and Potter (more of a stretch). Gregg Kilday warns of a spoiler for the following, though if you don’t know/expect Voldemort to die, you either don’t care or won’t:

Meanwhile, in the wake of Bin Laden’s death in a mansion near Islamabad, a meme has already popped up on the web, noting the weird coincidence that Osama and Voldemort both died on the same day, May 1. But true Potter fans have been quick to point out that’s not quite true: When Harry and Voldemort actually finally come face-to-face in the Battle of Hogwarts, in the books’ chronology the date is really May 2, 1998.

Interesting how much numerology and history linking was being done Sunday night/Monday morning, but still, couldn’t J.K. Rowling have reasonably meant for a Hitler connection, instead?
Anyway, though, bin Laden’s date of death was in fact May 2, so…

But Bin Laden’s death is now likely to give the movie an extra emotional resonance for the Potter generation, and that could translate into an even bigger box office bonanza.

Oh, I see, that’s what this is really all about.

– Too bad “Captain America: The First Avenger” isn’t the comic book movie that’s coming out this Friday. A video of the superhero crowd-surfing in celebration of bin Laden’s death would be a great marketing opportunity. There’s such a video anyway, though, here: Superheroes React to bin Laden’s Death.

– Speaking of reactions: the “Downfall” meme is back!! Watch Hitler respond to the news about bin Laden’s murder (yeah, sure, I said murder, too):

– Here is another coincidental link between a movie and the news: Corey Feldman‘s new film (“Operation Belvis Bash”) involving the assassination of bin Laden premiered in Houston Sunday. Here’s a quote from the star at MovieWeb:

“It’s absolutely unbelievable,” commented Corey Feldman. “I was in New York on September 11, 2001, with Michael Jackson, and then, nearly ten years later, I walk out of the premiere of my latest film, which I had postponed to be able to attend Corey Haim’s Decisions premiere and memorial, to learn that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by a special operation, just like in the film we’d just screened. The timing is simply unbelievable, and whether life imitates art, or art imitates life, now is a time for all Americans to express their gratitude to the brave men and women who serve our country and helped make this happen.”

And if that’s not crazy enough, it co-stars Iron Sheik, further bringing those wrestler connections to quite ridiculous proportions! Here’s the trailer for the film, which opens next month:

– More films referenced during the bin Laden revelry come via Steven Zeitchik at 24 Frames, who mentions “Valkyrie,” “Raide on Entebbe,” and “Black Hawk Down.” Ideas for future film there include Bryan Singer’s proposal for something like “All the President’s Men,” a pitch for the plot of Tony Scott’s “24” movie and the following from an anonymous person:

“You need a big star and a lot of action, something the audience can cheer for,” said one longtime studio marketing executive. Call it the U-S-A version of the film, and one that a Sylvester Stallone could adapt, with only some liberties, for the upcoming “Expendables” sequel.

– Canine lovers may enjoy this infographic on Iconic Dogs in the Media. Can you guess the all-time top-grossing movie starring a pooch? Count the bones.

– At Movieline, Jen Yamato interviews that site’s critics Stephanie Zacharek and Michelle Orange as well as Boxoffice Magazine EIC Amy Nicholson and Women and Hollywood’s Melissa Silverstein about this summer’s apparent lack of films for females. While they all recognize some of the titles that could do well, mostly smaller releases (plus the will-be blockbuster “Bridesmaids”), I found this larger point from Zacharek more interesting than the specific gender issue:

What worries me is that movies are so microtargeted now. The Hangover II is “for” frat guys, Water for Elephants is “for” housewifey types who just want a “nice” movie, maybe with a love story, Madea’s Big Happy Family is “for” black people. The individual qualities that might make any of those movies interesting or appealing or moving in a basic human way cease to matter. […] In the ’30s and ’40s, I don’t think guys were staying away from pictures like Bringing Up Baby or The Palm Beach Story — everybody went. And in the ’70s and ’80s, everybody saw movies like The Sting and Klute and Tootsie. Now, forget good romantic comedies — we don’t even have that many good psychological thrillers anymore, things that all sorts of moviegoers might want to see. The term “mainstream” has become something of a fallacy when we’re talking about movies.

– I knew it! While Pixar is not opposed to loosely modeling its films around past films like “Doc Hollywood,” “Little Monsters” and “Brave Little Toaster,” it is against competing concurrent plots, as an IGN interview with John Lasseter confirms. “Rio” killed “Newt” after all:

“We’ve put movies into development and some get further than others and then we feel like things just aren’t quite ready we put them to the side and that’s just been put on a shelf and we’ll see where that goes in the future,” said Lasseter. “It’s story was very similar to a movie that’s out in theaters right now with a blue parrot. Oh my! Wow, we were like … no, there was no … great minds think alike, I guess. It was really pretty similar.”

[via Movieline]

– Speaking of beating Disney (well, Marvel) to the punch, Marc Bernardin at i09 believes “Fast Five” trumped “The Avengers” in the superheroes-assemble game. Bernardin also likens the new sequel to the “Oceans 11” franchise and of course has to mention the homoeroticism:

right under our noses, while an ever-increasing audience was watching, Universal beat Marvel at their own game: creating an elaborate cinematic-superheroic continuity, spanning a series of films, which would culminate in an all-hands-on-deck blow-out. What’s more, they centered their billion-dollar franchise on a pair of gay characters who use an ever-increasing series of cons, heists, empty dalliances with hotties, and dumb-ass-action-scenes as a way to distract themselves from the love they so obviously share but can’t admit.

– The inclusion of “Donnie Darko” is probably not too welcome for fans of Bunuel, Svankmajer, Lynch, Jodorowski and any weirdo filmmakers who didn’t make Anomalous Material’s list of The 10 Weirdest Movies Ever, but I’m always fine with a site like this celebrating “Un Chien Andalou,” forever one of my favorite films and truly a life-changing work for young cinephiles. I don’t even mind that list compiler Max Urai wrote the following:

The Naked Lunch
I did not watch this movie sober, and I actually fell asleep halfway through. But the fact that this movie was completely alien even to someone who was stoned out of his mind (living in The Netherlands is awesome) says a lot about it. Cronenberg has made a lot of weird movies, but none of them feature a talking typewriter in the form of a giant beetle or fantasies of homosexual rape.

I know you fell asleep, Max, but you didn’t dream those things. Cronenberg did make a weird movie featuring them, the one you’re talking about (sorry, I had to call the phrasing out).

– In a list of Five Great Films of the 1980s You Should See, Simon Martin at Sabotage Times champions the under-seen “Grave of Fireflies,” indeed the only animated film to make this cynical writer bawl like crazy:

Grave of the Fireflies – 1988. Cartoons are funny right? Wrong. This is a tale of a young Japanese boy (Seita – he’s probably about 12) and his toddler sister (Setsuko) orphaned during WWII and their struggle to survive. It’s grim stuff that doesn’t let up and I challenge any hardened 21st century urban cynic not to sit through it without a massive sobbing fit at some stage. No one really stands up to help them, it’s a selfish time and they are on their own. It’s also a beautiful film, whilst most filmmakers like to make you laugh or shit your pants Isao Takahata wants you to look at real tragedy and feel the helplessness of it. Can you imagine walking into Disney to pitch a screenplay about two children who die of hunger and disease and you know right from the start this is going to happen but you have to watch it. Don’t let the big Mickey shaped door hit your arse on the way out pal.

– Here’s an interesting kind of remake: a commemorative redo timed to the 20th anniversary of “Slacker” will be shot and then released in Austin this summer involving the talents of 23 filmmakers/teams, including Jay Duplass.

– Finally, David Bordwell writes at length on “Source Code,” particularly the ending. A minor intro before the spoilers begin:
Who cares if the Source Code software is junk science? The muzzy premise forms the basis of an agreeable little thriller from the tail end of this year’s Dead Zone. Even if you don’t share my admiration for this movie, maybe I can persuade you that it points up an intriguing wrinkle in the recent history of American studio storytelling.

– If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the new trailer for Andrew Rossi’s “Page One: Inside the New York Times.” I’m mostly spotlighting it to remark on that title chance, since I pointed out in my review how wrong the subtitle “A Year Inside the New York Times” was. I still think the film is a little overrated with regards to significance and now timeliness. But it’s definitely an entertaining work, and I recommend it, especially for Carr.

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