News: Frank Sinatra biopic, IMAX scandal and Terminator script trouble.

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terminator-salvation-flashChristian Bale demanded rewrite work be done on “Terminator: Salvation” before he took the role of John Connor, a role he insisted on rather than the character the filmmakers had in mind– “…central character Marcus Wright…at a Toronto press conference in January, he (director McG) said, “I went to see him… He reads the script and goes, ‘I hate this, it’s shit.'”  Bale voiced his reservations about the script to McG : “Get it so we can read it in a room, without special effects and explosions and still have it be engaging, then I’ll do your film.”  The movie was rewritten so the original protagonist Marcus Wright, and John Connor become dual protagonists to capitalize on Bale’s star power.

I have plenty of respect for Bale abut not wanting to make a purely special effects popcorn film, and I can understand his worries as McG’s stated goal is a visual style “informed by everything from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, the works of Philip K. Dick and video footage of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.” Can you say pretentious?  But what can you expect from the director of “Offspring” videos and the two “Charlie’s Angels” films,  the second one so over-the-top in its visual style  (I am personally tired of slow motion as a means of covering up lack of inspiration in a film) that it rendered the film almost unwatchable.  Bale is wealthy enough that he does not have to make paycheque films.  I would not go into this film expecting another “Terminator 2”, but one can only hope for something better than “Terminator 3.”

So the big news out of the Cannes Film Festival is the premiere of the typically bizarrely titled Terry Gilliam film “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.”  The media has jumped all over the fact that this was “the film Heath Ledger was making when he died last year.”  Unfortunately, I’m sure this fact will overrule the merits of the film itself.  Since Ledger died mid-production, “Jude Law,,,stepped in to complete the tragic actor’s scenes.”  The cast includes “Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, Lily Cole…Tom Waits…Johnny Depp, and Colin Farrell.” What a bizarre and dynamic cast, in a true Gilliam tradition.   According to IMDB,   “Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law gave all the income they received for this movie to Heath Ledger’s daughter Matilda so that her economic future would be secure.” I consider this to be a real mensch move from three of the most salt-of-the-earth and genuine actors in the plastic world of Hollywood.  I am looking forward to this quirky film.

aziz“Actor/comedian Aziz Ansari (seen in I Love You, Man and on NBC’s Parks and Recreation). Ansari has posted a rant against these chains and their deceptive “IMAX” branding on his own blog, and he’s calling for a boycott of all Regal and AMC cinemas, as well as all other IMAX locations…Ansari’s complaint is that the digital “IMAX” screens at some theaters are significantly smaller than they should be. This is particularly common at new cinemas and cinemas with newly installed IMAX screens. In a diagram from an LF Examiner article linked to by Ansari, the difference in screen sizes are: 76 x 97 ft. and 28 x 58 ft.”  Aziz takes offense at theatres “taking advantage of people and charging them $5 extra…” by misrepresenting a Digital IMAX film (the smaller one) as an authentic IMAX film.

Having never personally seen an IMAX film courtesy of Regal or AMC, I have never had the experience of seeing the smaller IMAX screen.  However, spending hundreds of dollars per year at the theatre myself; I get personally insulted at any flim-flam stuff that sucks even more money out of our pockets and adds to the already inflated ticket prices.  IMAX is a really cool experience and I will go across town to do it–hence the companies should be more straight up in their description of the screen to avoid misrepresentation and give the moviegoers a fair choice..

scirsesFinally, “Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese is to bring the life and times of Frank Sinatra to the big screen in the first ever feature film about the legendary entertainer, it was confirmed Wednesday.” Isn’t it great to be able to put “Oscar-winning” before Scorsese’s name after years of not being able to?  I’m still getting used to seeing it. The announcement is pretty exciting, and I can think of no one better to helm the project, especially considering Sinatra’s mob ties.  Both Philip Casnoff and Goodfellas star Ray Liotta have previously played played Sinatra in made-for-tv stuff.  My only beef is that Scorsese had announced months ago that he was making a documentary on the life of Beatle George Harrison, which would be fascinating and a real insight into his character, if it was even an iota as good as No Direction Home,” the Bob Dylan doc he did.  I hope that project does not get lost in Scorsese’s seemingly unrelenting schedule.  I hope I have that much energy when I am 68.  At least we can rest assured that it will be can pretty assured that it will be more entertaining than Kevin Spacey’s yawn inducing Bobby Darin biopic “Beyond the Sea.”

Drew Williamson is a resident film geek of Ottawa, Ontario.  He will be coming at you with Sound On Sight’s new Film News blogger selecting stories of interest from the celluloid world accompanied by his not-so-humble opinion.

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