Debate has begun to rage, at least for me, over the move by Kevin Smith to drive out of the View Askew-niverse to take on his first major studio movie, A Couple of Cops (or possibly its original title of A Couple of Dicks). Ben Child, writing for The Guardian, wrote on the subject last week, at least partly-lamenting the move by the ‘one-time doyen of indie comedy’.
I would argue immediately that this is no sell out. Yes, its a big budget studio movie. Yes, he used to work within his own movie universe and will have to compromise on that. But, he is developing as a movie-maker. Clerks 2 and Zack and Miri Make a Porno both feature much more visual spark and maturity of writing than has been seen in previous years. His work on Zack and Miri in particular did indicate a shift into a new type of comedy. Still keeping in his verbose gross-out conversational style and blending that with the gutteral world of pornography, it may not have endeared him to the intellectual glitterati. But no doubt that he is developing and moving on. Working in Hollywood with a new producer and a commitment to learning and adapting could see Smith return to his muse-land with a greater degree of skill than ever before.
A better question that Child poses is whether the world needs Kevin Smith even more. His deconstructive dialogue on relationships, male insecurity and geekdom have been co-opted by the Apatow crowd which, unfortunately for Smith, has a stronger stable of performers than his troupe. Child points out too that the verbose language and constant deconstructive commentary has been taken further into the leftfield by the mumblecore crowd. It is a disturbing thought that perhaps Smith has become somewhat obsolete. His Evening With… series is very good but perhaps through there, and through his Smodcast and online obsession, is where his influence now lies.
Zack and Miri is one of his best movies, even employing one of the key Apatow players, seemingly with a view to both working with a like-minded comedian and also to tap into Seth Rogen’s box-office potential. It’s perhaps ironic that, as identified here, Apatow has made Smith’s Zack and Miri possible despite Smith influencing Apatow (something Smith agrees with). Maybe the casting of Rogen indicated his desire to shift closer to the mainstream but maybe, just maybe, there just isn’t any space for Smith anymore and those to have been influenced by him, notably in the Apatow crowd and in the mumblecore genre, have taken the place which may well have been his had he been braver earlier on. It would be a sad filmic world to me to see Smith, one of the best screenwriters of his whole generation, fall by the wayside when, in my opinion, he still has much to give.
Kevin Smith is to launch outside of his comfort zone (no View Askew, no Scott Mosier producing) to direct A Couple of Cops, a buddy movie to star Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. Could provide an interesting view on how Smith is developing as a director and possibly give the world another really good buddy movie which, on premise, seems closely in the vein of late-80s Shane Black-style stuff.
Zack Snyder is forming an all-girl cast for Sucker Punch, about girls in a mental asylum who fantasises about escaping with all her inmates. Likely to star the likes of Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Evan Rachel Wood and Emma Stone. Doesn’t specifically make me too excited but I would be interested to see what Snyder does next because he handled the entire Watchmen saga, the build-up and movie, with aplomb.
Megan Fox has begun to take up some new offers which are likely to offer very little new to her current persona. Fox has reportedly joined the cast of Jonah Hex alongside Josh Brolin and will star in Fathom, an adaptation of the comic series. Cinematical reports that Fox has been a fan of the comic series for some time and is helping to bring it to the screen, likely making her the dream girl for many, many JoBlo readers around the world. Maybe however she should get a little praise for understanding that she has limits and using her talents in the most lucrative way possible. Hats off to Ms Fox.
Leonardo DiCaprio is to team with Christopher Nolan on the latter’s post-Dark Knight project, Inception. the film has been described as a science fiction piece ‘set in the architecture of the mind’ and was also written by Nolan. You’d have to suggest that this won’t garner anything near the level of business Dark Knight did but it’s good to see Nolan is nourishing his filmmaking skills elsewhere, something that would have been advisable to Sam Raimi back in the day and would most likely have provided the world with better Spiderman sequels.
Talk is rife on what the next Danny Boyle movie will be. Reports emerged early in the week, very speculative, that he could direct the next James Bond. Later however, it seems he is closing in on doing a remake of My Fair Lady, putting of another project called Hanna, about a teenage assassin.
Also in the news: Jim Jarmusch’s Limits of Control has a trailer; Mickey Rourke, Vince Cassell and Alice Braga will star in an adaptation of Paulo Coehlo’s 11 Minutes; A viewpoint from Slate on how a Tarantino Watchmen would look; Barry Sonnenfeld will direct an adaptation of Korean film Scandal Makers; Keira Knightley is to star in Never Let Me Go, an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s amazing novel, which you should probably read instead now Knightley has signed up; A three minute clip of The Boat that Rocked has turned up; Ed Zwick is to direct In the Heart of the Sea by Nathan Philbrick; Ridley Scott has talked a little more about his Monopoly movie.