The embattled, multiply delayed, recut for the allegedly prudish American audiences I Love You, Phillip Morris is finally in theaters in the States, and though the version I saw this weekend is the sanitized American one, it so lived up to the hype that I can't wait to find a way to watch the original version enjoyed by European audiences by not at all illegally downloading it now. (Great job, movie industry!) Here's why it works even without all the incendiary stuff that scared every distributor in North America.
It's a crazy, mixed-up world, and I Love You, Phillip Morris looks like it might be a bit mixed-up, as well, if the newly released French trailer is anything to go by. The movie stars Jim Carrey as a church-going married man named Steven Russell, whose revelation after a car accident is that he's gay. He then embarks upon not just a life of uninhibited gayness but crime, as well. The latter lands him in prison, where he meets Phillip Morris (played by Ewan McGregor) and the two fall madly in love. It's based on the true story of a Texas man who escaped prison four times to be with his former cellmate. Sounds good, in theory. Who doesn't love a good against-all-odds love story? The problem is that mixed-up trailer.
Zap2it is reporting that Javier Bardem has departed the cast of Nine. The film version of the Broadway musical is loosely based on Frederico Fellini's 1963 film, 8 1/2. The No Country For Old Men star is citing "general exhaustion after a year of acting, promotion and the award season gauntlet" as the reason for bowing out of the production. He was to have played Guido Contini in the movie musical.
I'm not familiar with the musical, but if the character is based on Fellini's Guido Anselmi, then the departure may seem somewhat familiar. In the movie, Guido is a frustrated director who encounters pressure from every corner of his life. The opening of the film shows him "escaping" a symbolic traffic jam by simply floating above it. That's an incredibily simplified summary, but the basic idea is probably one that Bardem could relate to.
At the other end of the spectrum, Ewan McGregor recently signed on for another movie, because he had to fill up that dead space between lunch and dinner with something. This time it's a supporting role in the upcoming DaVinci Code sequel, The ReVincining: This Time It's Personal. Actually, it's called Angels & Demons, and he'll be playing Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca, described as a "close aide to the recently deceased pope."
McGregor is so reliably prolific as to be nearly omnipresent. He's in almost everything. I wouldn't be surprised if he showed up in that Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants sequel as one of the sisters. Or the pants. If you reached the end of 2004 and felt like something was just a little "off" about that year, it's because no new Ewan McGregor movies came out. Aside from that anomalous year, he has been putting out at least one--and sometimes four or five--movies a year since before Trainspotting brought him to the moviegoing public's attention.
Angels & Demons is expected to begin production this June in Europe, so if McGregor has a spare moment when he's not making another movie, perhaps he could take a muffin basket to the recuperating Bardem.
This film is based on a book, which is based on fact ... or some facts. As the opening slate puts it, "More of this is true than you'd like to believe." However, this fictionalized version of those facts really feels like something that came entirely out of the minds of the Coen brothers, and not just because some famous faces from their work (George Clooney, Jeff Bridges) star in this film... though that certainly doesn't help matters at all. But that's not to say that bearing a strong resemblance to a Coens movie is a bad thing -- it's a perfectly fine thing to aspire to. And when it is done well here, it's really funny... but when it isn't, it's pretty dull and boring. Luckily, there's more of the former than the latter, and this ends up being a solid, if not stellar, film.