Here's what I didn't expect would happen when I saw Brave this summer: that I would bawl like a damn baby. This is not to say that Pixar movies haven't made me cry before — I saw Up and Finding Nemo, and the look on Sully's face at the very end of Monsters, Inc. might set me off just remembering it ... yep, there I go. But I thought I'd be impervious to Brave. Between How to Train Your Dragon and the continuing existence of Gerard Butler, I thought that Scottish stuff was all played out.
If I'm being perfectly honest, the Scottish stuff is a bit played out. Kilts, bare bums, haggis, Braveheart face-painting references ... we get it. But I didn't worry about that stuff too much because I was so engrossed by the mother-daughter stuff played out by Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson) and Princess Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald). I just didn't expect Nicole Holofcener-level psychological realism in a CG-animated kids' movie, but it's very effective and very true — and will, I hope, go completely over the heads of its juvenile target audience! (Speaking of kids: I advised a lot of my friends with young children not to see the film in theaters due to bear-related scariness. Now that it's on home video, so that it can be watched in full daylight and paused, if need be, for reassurance, it might be OK.)
If, like me, you’ve ruminated deeply on The Watch billboards dotting L.A.’s landscape, you’ve come to appreciate the subtler manifestations of irony in movie advertising. Yes, at first glance, there’s nothing special about The Watch’s outdoor marketing campaign. It’s the standard famous-floating-heads-against-a-white-background. Pretty much the default design for when the main hook of your neighborhood-watch-themed studio comedy has become problematic. Still, scanning the familiar names — Hill, Stiller, Vaughn — a smile spreads across my face as I imagine someone struggling to pronounce “Ayoade” and thinking, Who’s that nerdy guy with the kid from Moneyball, Greg Focker, and Fred Claus? (OK, maybe no one’s thinking that last one.)
Their first collaboration, The Watch, hasn't even hit theaters yet, but Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill are already planning on a second go-around. THR reports that Stiller and Hill are in talks to star in Aloha, a Hawaii-set comedy, for Fox. The Watch's Shawn Levy is attached to direct, and writer/director Nicholas Stoller — who worked with Hill on Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek — will tackle the screenplay. (That means they're keeping things in the family: As you may or may not be aware, Hill and Stoller's fellow Apatow-clan buddies Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are co-writers on The Watch.) Perhaps most notably, Stoller will be writing the screenplay based on "an idea by Hill that Levy, Stiller and Hill fleshed out on the set of The Watch."
Silver: Since the French have been unwavering in their love and support for Woody Allen, it seems apropos that this overt Allen homage would come from a Frenchman. Well, to be specific, a Frenchwoman. And to be even more specific, a super-talented Frenchwoman named Julie Delpy. 2 Days in New York looks adorable and hilarious. Delpy has carved out a nice place for herself in the contemporary adult film space. She goes away for a while, people forget about her, and then she releases a new film and reminds everyone how talented a filmmaker she is. And good for Delpy for remembering that Chris Rock is also an actor. (Don’t believe me? See Nurse Betty.)
Silver: A star-studded cast featuring a mix between established Hollywood stars and fresh up-and-coming faces, some badass gangster dialogue, visceral imagery, and violence, violence, violence. But enough about The Untouchables. Sub out Chicago for Los Angeles, Penn for DeNiro, Brolin for Costner, Gosling for Garcia, and Nolte for Connery. The only difference here is that The Untouchables was directed by Brian DePalma when he was at the top of his game and Gangster Squad is helmed by Ruben Fleischer, who’s coming off the unwatchable 30 Minutes or Less. And something tells me that Gangster Squad writer Will Beall’s credits (ABC’s Castle) aren’t quite what David Mamet’s were when he wrote The Untouchables. Gangster Squad appears to be lifting so much from The Untouchables that I’d be disappointed if it didn’t contain a scene where a baby carriage rolls down the steps of a train station during a bloody gun fight. (Which, for you film fans, was lifted from Eisenstein’sBattleship Potemkin.)