Mostly Links – 22 July 2011

By Niall Anderson

"You want me to do Psycho FOUR?" Tony Perkins decries remakes

As every Cineplexer knows, summer is the season of revamps and remakes, and this summer is as full of them as any. But there are revamps and then there are revamps. Choose, for example, from the following:

1) Nick Broomfield’s attempt to raise funding to repair the only remaining cinema in Zanzibar

2) Tim Ronald’s attempt to reopen to the public the UK’s first cinema on Regent Street in London

3) Kafka’s Gregor Samsa waking one morning from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed into a “fresh, modern horror film” featuring half the cast of Justified

I have no problem with Revamp #1. Revamp #2 is suspicious only insofar as it doesn’t say that 309 Regent St will be reopened as a cinema. But Revamp #3 is the worst idea since the dawn of time – an idea so bad that Terence Malick is recutting The Tree of Life to include it, changing the ending so that all the characters are dutifully sickened by what man has wrought.

Before that happens, though, we have the kind of opening weekend that the Cineplex was built for, with another Pixar banker in the form of Cars 2, and the summer’s starriest go-for-broke bromantic grossout, Horrible Bosses.

The News International convoy leaves the Commons Select Committee

Both films arrive in the UK trailing reviews that range from the broadly indifferent to the outright toxic. Horrible Bosses also copped a bit of minor flak Stateside for its half-knowing, half-neanderthal sexual politics. (I expect it to pick up rather more in Europe, where the uniformly puppyish cast are not held in such protectively high esteem.) But it doesn’t matter what anyone says. People with kids will be seeing Cars 2 twenty times, and people who don’t go to the cinema at all will be breaking their duck for Horrible Bosses. That’s just the way these things work.

Hoping for your cash and attention should either of the big two be sold out is Beginners, a gay coming-of-age story whose novelty is that Hal (Christopher Plummer) comes of age in his mid-70s. Also breaking the gloomy bourgeois shackles is Eric Lartigau’s The Big Picture (L’homme qui voulait vivre sa vie) in which Romain Duris is provoked to killing by his wife’s infidelity. From my spotty knowledge of French film and culture, it sometimes seems that even killing is bourgeois enough not to raise an eyebrow, but here is another film to tell us that isn’t so.

But how about this for next year, already? A reworking of a reworking, Anthony Burgess’s musical version of A Clockwork Orange will be performed for the first time. The songs are reportedly terrible, but it does feature a scene in which ‘a man who looks like Stanley Kubrick’ is kicked to death to the sound of ‘Singin’ In The Rain’. Not a man to let dissatisfactions lie, was Burgess.

On a related point, next week on Mostly Film we have the musicals you’re not supposed to like, the sequels you’re not supposed to like, and the soundtracks you should like if you know what’s good for you.

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