Director Kathryn Bigelow and co-screenwriter Mark Boal's follow-up to The Hurt Locker — an Oscar winner in the categories of Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture, among others — is, depending on your interpretation, a gritty, almost journalistic dramatization of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, or a propagandistic endorsement of torturing detainees. One thing is for sure: Zero Dark Thirty is the only movie newly available On Demand this week to have elicited criticism from actual lawmakers. (Better luck next time, Bilbo.)
At this late stage of my life, I should be more comfortable with the idea of living through the inevitable recasting of pop culture reboots. After all, I'm on my second Spider-Man, second James T. Kirk, fifth Batman. I've watched four different versions of Fitzwilliam Darcy, a bunch of different Sherlock Holmeses and Professors Moriarty. (For some reason, Wolverine and Gandalf abide, unchanging.)
The point is, I shouldn't be so offended that this fourth Bourne movie — which came just five years after the third, The Bourne Ultimatum -- continues the story. It offers a new protagonist, who happens to have a remarkably similar backstory to the "Jason Bourne" we came to know in the original trilogy, which, fine, I guess; TV series refresh their casts like this all the time. But replacing the charming and likable Matt Damon with Jeremy "Charisma Vacuum" Renner? UUUUUUUUUGH. Won't it be hard for audiences to care whether he unravels the mystery of his true identity if he seems like such a sour jerk that we don't want anything good to happen to him? ...Just me? Okay. At least Rachel Weisz is on hand to supply some humanity to balance Renner's off-putting grouchiness.
Mystikal went to prison for a long time, on some very horrible charges, and so the question, as always, is: How much should we allow ourselves to separate the person from the product? It'd be easier, of course, if the dude had fallen off since his '00s heyday but, somehow, in his fourth decade, he seems to be getting stronger. On "Hit Me" — "even the white people sittingupinthismotherfucka can'tdonothingbutsay WOW" — he channels James Brown shamelessly, and with great might, and cooks up a marvel.
First: Conan O'Brien has a web show called Serious Jibber Jabber, which borrows both Charlie Rose's long-form interview structure and the black nether space in which Charlie Rose shoots his show. (Did you know this? I did not know this.) Second: Judd Apatow was recently on this show and, along with telling Conan all sorts of other things (the interview, below, runs over an hour), Judd revealed a curious little detail. See, 22 years ago, back when Apatow was a wide-eyed nobody in this biz, he wrote a spec script for The Simpsons. Nothing happened with it, and it sat on a shelf as Apatow hustled and fought and failed, before finally becoming the comedy guru we know and love today. And now that Simpsons script is actually going to be made into an episode. Well, this is delightful.
Richard Rushfield: Judging from this glimpse, Trouble With the Curve is a one-film compilation of Clint Eastwood’s greatest hits. It’s got the team of old guys getting back on the field (Space Cowboys) ... a grizzled old-timer taking some girl under his wing (Million Dollar Baby) ... and an attempt to recapture the magic of “Get off my lawn!" with a brand-new cranky catch phrase: “Gimme a damn check!” The Clint nostalgia is appropriate since the film’s first-time director, Robert Lorenz, is a veteran of Eastwood’s crews, having served as his AD and second unit director. Ordinarily anytime Clint Eastwood wants to cuss out living room furniture, you can sign me up for a seat opening weekend. But there’s a couple of huge, neon flashing warning lights in this trailer. First: the casting of Justin Timberlake as what seems to be a regular guy in flannel hanging around the honky-tonks looks like the greatest casting misjudgment since Denise Richards played a nuclear physicist. Second, while the trailer gets points for being the first of surely thousands to use Idol champion Phillip Phillips’s victory song “Home,” not since the heyday of Peter Gabriel has a magical la-la-la chorus signaled such molasses-thick treacle in a film.
We got the teaser trailer for Judd Apatow's This Is 40 — his first directorial effort since 2009's divisive Funny People — back in April. Now Judd's gone and dropped another one on us, graciously cutting this new trailer with all types of heretofore unseen footage instead of just trying to slide by with the same old trailer spruced up with, like, half of a new scene (I'm looking at you, majority of trailer editors!). A few observations:
Silver: I find my complete indifference to this trailer vexing. For a film written and directed by Judd Apatow I feel like I should have been laughing more. Even the bits with Apatow ringers like Jason Segel and Melissa McCarthy only elicited a smile from me. In just three films (This is 40 being the fourth) Mr. Apatow has proven that he’s successfully stolen the melodrama torch away from Cameron Crowe (for the time being). Apatow makes such a concerted effort for his films to tonally and thematically slalom down the narrative hill between humor and drama that films like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up felt unnecessarily long, and a film like Funny People played like two different movies. So for a trailer positioning a film as THE holiday comedy it would have been nice to have a few legitimate laugh-out-loud moments (“Ah! Kelly Clarkson!”). Nevertheless, I’m going to chalk this up to bad marketing, this is a film (and filmmaker) I am more than willing to give the benefit of the doubt.