Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Encore Cannes!

Once the red carpet frenzy begins every evening it's impossible to get a glimpse of any celebs or film-makers; they're surrounded by a wall of photographers. Then behind them are a sea of tourists, curious locals & invitees struggling to get close to the Palais. It's a real circus & once everyone is up the famous steps the mob instantly disperses!

The daily VARIETY had a nice double page spread yesterday for 'A MONSTER IN PARIS'. The artwork was made here at the studio in Nice; layout by Seb, painted by Aurélien & Carlos.

I saw the hotly anticipated INDIANA JONES & THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL but I'm disappointed to report it doesn't warrant the buzz. After almost 20 years you would think they could come up with something better than quicksand, ants & waterfalls . . .and gophers! What's with the bloody gophers!
Sure these perilous obstacles (except the gophers) were staples of the classic serials that originally inspired the series. However even the pre-digital fx original films offered much more inventive cliffhangers & set-pieces. For all of Spielberg's insistence that digital fx were used sparingly 'SKULL' plays more like a film in the 'MUMMY' series with its nuclear explosion & ant-swarms, even those Indy influenced films restrained from cheap gags such as using a stretchy rubber snake as a rope! Skull is a parody of the Indy series- & not even a good one. The jokes aren't funny, the new characters are under-developed, there's no suspense. They should have made this 10 years ago when everyone involved still had some fire in them. Apparently Lucas stubbornly insisted on the 'skull civilisation' macguffin & rejected all other scenarios. I would love to read Frank Darabont's draft on which he worked for a year & was reportedly a cracker. The story Lucas preferred is more like one of those lightweight supernatural Indy novellas that have been published in the intervening years.
Even with his considerable cinematic genius Spielberg couldn't save this-it's arguably his worst film. Towards the finale someone laments 'so much of human life is lost in waiting' with which after 19 years, 2 hours in a queue & 2 hours viewing I regretfully agree.

After the turgid 4th Indy film creaking under the weight of it's overblown nonsensical script it was an utter relief to be blown away by Jean-Stephane Sauvaire's 'JOHNNY MAD DOG'. A 'platoon' of young soldier kids roam the Liberian countryside killing, raping & terrorizing villagers before besieging an un-named city. The brutality of their atrocities is outweighed by their apathy & callousness. Their adult general has brainwashed them to think of their guns as their parents & any sign of parental longing results in execution. They have been stripped of their childhoods & their humanity allowing them to act without empathy or guilt.
The camera-work is frenetic & intense, the soundtrack blisteringly loud, the young cast totally convincing. It will be hailed as this year's 'CITY OF GOD'.


bannister said...

hey Matt, I can't do otherwise than totally agree with you. How disapointing that was. And they definitely jumped the shark, Indy's invicible and the picture is blurry because of too much going on everywhere. the Mummy reference is a good one. Too bad.

Nice sketches, btw.

Jeroen said...

Mmmmmm, maybe I'll cancel my friday eve Indy night out then. Sure isn't worth paying a tenner in the West End.
You didn't mention Cate Blanchet though. She often saves a stinker from being a stinker.
I'll have my second Cannes outing as well, but again on the advertising awards (june). Positive: less crowded than the film festival. negative: Lots of drunken Englishmen.

Oscar Grillo said...

What did you expect, Matt?...I said once laughingly that I wouldn't see "Schindler's List" because I already saw how Spielberg dealt with Nazism in the appalling "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"

For the record:I haven't seen "Schindler's List" yet.

John T. Quinn 3rd said...

last night my brother called from New Jersey to tell me "wait for Indy 4 to come to television, not even dvd, don't waste your money."
Sad news. I'm not a Star Wars fan so, it's rare I get excited about these big "event" films. However, I have children so, I will not only waste my money, I will waste a lot of money. I'm certain we will see it this weekend.

Jonesy, this is one hell of an interesting blog.

Matt J said...

Bannister-the worst thing is I'm sure Lucas will now push for more new movies with Shia Laboeuf as young Indy.

Jeroen-Even Cate Blanchett can't save this one! Let me know when you're in Cannes & we can hook up for a tiny, expensive coffee!

Oscar-I expected the greatest action movie ever made. I wanted Spielberg & Ford to recapture the old magic. I wanted ILM to produce a grand spectacle. We got mugging gophers & Shia Labouef swinging around the jungle on vines like Tarzan!!

JtQ3rd-take a good a good book!

Kristian said...

my gawd!. I've been mugged!. yes it's true, every word you have written. I can't believe they could take the piss this much. Everything let this film down, even harrison could barely beleive the lines he was given..

Jinson said...

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