Monday, July 2, 2012

Dislikes for Remakes: 02/07/2012

Well, I'll be in Melancholia one day.
Mona Lisa Smile: Teacher hero movies are effectively all the same as the Ur teacher hero movie, Blackboard Jungle. There are exceptions to this by quality as anyone who has seen To Sir With Love can attest. Mostly, they pale by comparison with the 50s one where Glenn Ford does the mind-meld boogie with the apprentice thugs and wins. This one from the early 2000s but set in the 50s and, like Dead Poets Society, adds the mysteries of privilege to the mix. But not even a stellar cast of established and rising female talent like Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal can save this steadily softening core from blanding out into melted imitation vanilla sludge. The dislike is for disappointment.

Remake in Japan with Takeshi Miike in the chair. No genre needed.

Hmm ... nah too many bad habits as it is.

Bad Lieutenant: Along with almost everything I've seen by Abel Ferrara, this is clumsy and try-hard stuff. Harvey Keitel does what he can with the role and what he can do is a lot. But everything that surrounds it is laid on with a sledgetrowel, the corruption, the failed bets and the Catholicism. Even the big atrocity that leads to the REDEMPTION at the end feels like desperate writing. Harvey can't save what Abel is determined to ruin by overstatement. Go and watch Who's That Knocking at My Door, instead. Or ...

Remake in France with Gaspar Noe's direction. That will work.

Oh, not everything by Ferrara is bad. His film of Larry Cohen's remake, Bodysnatchers, is superb. Must have been Cohen.

Yeah but I'll still have a career after this movie.
Love and Death on Long Island: John Hurt as an irrascible old novelist inadvertently sees an oafish teen movie starring Jason Priestly and is struck with an infatuation he is astounded to discover is also erotic. He goes to the young star's home on Long Island and sets up a chance meeting, not knowing quite what he is going to do next. This is really good material for a warmedy with an edge but not even the great oak splinter himself, John Hurt, can save it from its director's determination to find the cute in everything. Gilbert Adair, a writer with a great line in sulphuric wit, wrote the source novel and was complicit in this dilution. Couldn't have been the money.

Remake in France as a stone cold stalker thriller. The jokes will come.

Jerry Lewis. Johnny Depp. Eskimo costumes. Halibut. We can't lose!
Arizona Dream: Emir Kusturica who made the indestructable While Father Was Away on Business debuted in English (he's Serbian) with this whimsical and interminable thing. An Inuit fisherman pursues a fish while Johnny Depp goes to Arizona to take up the family car sales business and is torn between one woman who plays accordion to lonely turtles and another who -- You really want to know? There is a lot of absurdism in this magical-realism flavoured piece that can never reconcile its comedy with its darker side. Every sight gag fails. No, it doesn't just fail, it punishes. It's like watching a five year old at Christmas lunch showing off; cute at first but soon an unendurable trial. I wouldn't even wish this on Wes Anderson.

Remake in Japan by Sion Sonno. It could be three hours long and I'd sit through it.

One shot at stardom and they blow it. Thank God it's only a movie
Garage Days: How he who brought us The Crow and Dark City could also have made this (afterwards!) is beyond me. It does work as a good shaggy dog joke but shaggy dog jokes take  strength from their digressions rather than get sapped by them. The guitarist's arc is the most interesting but the least examined. Mostly it's cliches and knockabout fun as forced as pork and fat into a salami skin. I still don't know why Alex Proyas did this but he never recovered.

Remake in Melbourne as a mockumentary and set it in the early 80s and concentrate on the guitarist's arc so the punchline of the joke at the end will be funnier. Richard Lowestein has learned since Dogs in Space that rock music and goofiness don't mix so he's in the chair on this one.


  1. Right with you on Bad Lieutenant. Unwatchable, try-hard slop. Don't mind Ms.45, but.

  2. Didn't know the Harvey K Bad Lieutenant was a remake Peter. The Werner Herzog 'remake' of Bad Lieutenant (POC New Orleans) is surprisingly good however, and def worth a watch. Has hilarious irrelevant lizard and reptile scenes.

  3. Is isn't, Ewan. This series of posts is a list of films I dislike that I'd like to see remade.

  4. I see Peter! My error. By all means lets have a french version of BL as well then(= (as long as it has lizards too)

  5. Kirsten Dunst is bellisima and great artist.She is very beautiful,she is very sexy!

  6. True but none of that stopped Mona Lisa Smile from being a waste of time.