With two glamorous actors in the lead roles, an exotic locale and the vague theme of international intrigue, it seems like The Tourist is trying to be an old-fashioned type of movie, in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious, or The Man Who Knew Too Much. It's got all the right elements -- a mysterious woman, a train ride, a case of mistaken identity, sexless longing -- but Jolie and Depp are basically acting as placeholders, waiting for the plot to be fixed and decent dialogue to be written so they can actually start making the movie. And how director Florian Maria Georg Christian Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck got involved in this mess, I have no idea.
Let's see what's going on at Cannes. Spike Lee is mad, Hollywood's not buying anything, pandas are doing kung fu and Tommy Lee Jones is starring in a movie named after a Dolly Parton song. Sounds like a typical day in France to me.
- First up: Spike Lee, one of the few directors working today who, for good and bad, still has his own immediately identifiable style, took the Coens and Dirty Harry to task for their most recent movies. He chides the Coens, his former NYU classmates, for taking death too lightly. "Look, I love the Coen brothers; we all studied at NYU. But they treat life like a joke. Ha ha ha. A joke. It's like, 'Look how they killed that guy! Look how blood squirts out the side of his head!' I see things different than that." Spike, if Javier Bardem wants to be cast in your next film, RUN.
I am officially declaring today Talking Animals Day. Among the other gabby movie animals in the news today, it seems hungry bears have also stumbled into today's headlines in a big way: pop culture's oldest, Yogi Bear, and newest, Po, will both be heading to the big screen. True, we reported back in August that DreamWorks Animation was planning a sequel to the overwhelmingly successful Kung Fu Panda, but it was announced today that both Jack Black and Angelina Jolie among other original cast members, would be coming back. The original film's writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger have also signed on for the sequel, which will be directed by the original's head of story, Jennifer Yuh Nelson. The sequel, to be released in 2011, will follow panda bear Po, the world's biggest kung fu fan, as he continues his journey as the chosen one who fulfills an ancient prophecy while mastering the art of kung fu. And also, no doubt, eating all of Monkey's cookies along the way.
Poor Aaron Eckhart. Just over a month ago, and only five days after The Dark Knight opened to huge numbers, he told the world he was ready to jump back in the saddle for the The Dark Knight's sequel, saying that to work with the cast again would be "phenomenal." It didn't take long for the actor to get a reminder that his character had, in fact, died at the end of the previous movie and wouldn't be making an appearance in any sequels.
Angelina Jolie gave birth to her and Brad Pitt's twins (a boy and a girl) on Saturday night. And nothing else happened anywhere in the world. At least that's what the news media would make you think. Possibly nothing else will ever happen in the world as long as the Jolie-Pitt clan continues to live and breathe and breed and adopt.
I miss the Soviets. Remember when their villainy ruled every movie? They were cold, heartless villains who wanted to destroy our way of life because it was evil, or decadent, or whatever. They wanted to invade our country (Red Dawn) and even beat us at sports (Rocky IV), and in general were just the best movie villains since the Nazis. But then we started to realize they weren't so bad after all, just people like us trapped on the other side of a political divide. We worked with their cops (Red Heat), accepted their defectors (Moscow on the Hudson, The Hunt for Red October) and showed their sleeper agents how great America could be (Little Nikita). There's a little bit of Little Nikita in Salt, but thankfully, the sleeper agents in this movie are, by and large, totally evil douchebags. The Soviets are back, baby!
Some people look to movie stars for tips about the latest starvation diet secrets or how to properly maintain one's hair extensions. Some may look to directors for insight about how to handle long work hours, or how to manage the egos of our bosses and coworkers. But they have other advice to offer, advice we can put to use in our own lives in very practical ways. Or at least we can mock it a little. First up is advice from writer/director/"actor" M. Night Shyamalan. According to MTV, the worst advice actor Mark Wahlberg ever got was from Shyamalan. Are you shocked? Neither am I.
... he's going to turn into Angelina Jolie! He will complete the transformation by hooking up with Brad Pitt and birthing their twin babies in France while the rest of the world grinds to a halt. Oh, OK, not really. In reality, it's just a role swap. Cruise had long been associated the titular role in Columbia Pictures' Edwin A. Salt, but it looks like the role of a CIA officer on the run will now go to Jolie, according to Variety. No reason has been given for the the presto change-o, and it's a bit of a puzzler. There were rumors of Cruise's ridiculous salary demands, but less than a month ago he was still attached to the project. I'd like to think he read the Moviefile last month and went, "Damn, I really do recycle some of my roles!" And then he decided it was time for a change.
Earlier today, I said that Angelina Jolie's impending birth of twins was being treated like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. You probably said, "didn't that guy's English teacher warn him about overuse of hyperbole?" Well, guess what? That suspenseful news conference the Associated Press kept pimping all morning has turned out just like a Shyamalan movie: There's a surprise twist, and it sucks. Jolie isn't having her babies anytime soon.