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May 1, 2007 | Comments ()


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Sgt. Pajiba's Lonely Hearts Club

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Trade News | May 1, 2007 | Comments ()


Make of this what you will, but the long-in-development biopic about Leni Riefenstahl has just found new life by casting Jodie Foster as the title character, with a director expected to come aboard soon and filming set to begin late this year. I’m really not that sure how many people are foaming at the mouth to see a film about one of the world’s most famous alleged (ha!) Nazi sympathizers, even if Triumph of the Will is required viewing in almost any introduction to film course. It seems clear, too, as is custom with this kind of movie, that the filmmakers will see fit to paint Leni as a sympathetic person, someone with a tortured soul who felt conflicted about her contributions to the Nazi propaganda effort. Indeed, the fact that Riefenstahl refused to give Jodie Foster rights to her life story a few years back unless she had the authority to cut out the bad parts suggests that there were good parts. I’m sure there were lots of positive things about her life, that she felt really bad for using slave labor from concentration camps, and that the right director can make us feel pity for her after she was imprisoned in a French detention center, but I can’t really find it within me to work up an interest in Leni Riefenstahl: Tortured Soul. I’m sure even Stalin had a few good moments with his family (not too many — his first son and second wife shot themselves because of quarrels with the dictator), but I don’t really care to see him playing a lively game of kick the decapitated head around the yard, either. Maybe I’m just not a curious person.

This just in: David Goyer (recently discussed auteur pitching a film version of The Green Arrow) has been signed on to direct the second spin-off (after Wolverine) to the X-Men franchise, Magneto. The film will be a prequel and focus on the origins of the character played by Ian McKellan in current incarnation of the super villain. And man alive, I don’t give a shit. I mean: Wow! Honestly, all the water-torturing, fingernail-pulling, eye-gouging torture in the world could not compel me to give a shit. In fact, I can barely muster the enthusiasm it takes to give a shit about not giving a shit. I’m in such a fit of apathy about the whole thing that, if my house were suddenly to burst into flames, I’d be in such a state of not-give-a-shit that I’d probably just sit here and burn while not giving a shit about my skin melting and adhering to my chair. Hell, I don’t even give a shit that I’ve taken this metaphor entirely too far, that I’ve run it completely into the ground, and that most of y0u have already skipped to the trailer watch. That’s how much I don’t give a shit about Magneto. Who’s with me? Ah — I don’t give a shit.

You just knew it was only a matter of time before someone decided to call their movie Baby Mama. And you hoped, at least, that it would be the Wayans Brothers who caved in to societal pressures to flip a lame Ebonic on its head and turn it into a one-joke flick. Well, who better than to stretch a joke to its breaking point than a couple of SNL alums, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who will star alongside Sigourney Weaver in the film. The movie focuses on a career woman, Fey, desperate to raise a child while maintaining her career, so she hires a surrogate, Poehler, to have her child. Sigourney Weaver will play the owner of the surrogate agency. Granted, I’m a moderate fan of both Fey and Poehler (if only because she’s married to Will Arnett), but c’mon: Baby Mama? And since it will be written and directed by Michael McCullers, who also penned the two Austin Powers sequels and Undercover Brother, you can give up any hope that it will be a subversive, post-ironic ironic deconstruction of the baby-making industry.

How about one more? The film distribution arm of Madonna’s production company, Maverick, has begun developing a new horror film, Digger. The flick is about a grave digger, Joshua Bauer, who was forced to dig graves by hand as a kid and takes his revenge on unsuspecting folks (probably half-naked teenagers smoking doobies in cemeteries) as an adult. Maverick’s hope here is to create another iconic horror figure, which is the sort of self-defeating thinking that suggests that Digger will completely suck. Besides, “Joshua” doesn’t have the right ring for a serial killer capable of brutally dying several times over and winding up in space for the eighth sequel. Then again, the same could probably be said for Freddy and Jason before 1980.

The DVD releases this week include Alpha Dog, Dreamgirls and The Hitcher. Meh.

Finally, in the trailer watch, check out this one for Across the Universe, a movie set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and built around a series of Beatles songs, starring — among others — Evan Rachel Wood, Salma Hayek, Eddie Izzard, and Bono. There is some controversy surrounding the film. Both the director, Julie Taymor (Frida) and the head of Revolution Studios, Joe Roth, have submitted cuts of the film, and it is still unclear which will be released to audiences this fall, though I understand that Taymor may pull her name if Roth’s more commercial version is released. At any rate, the movie may ultimately be a mess, and the trailer only looks moderately interesting — that is, until “Hey Jude” kicks in, and for about 55 seconds at least, Across the Universe looks fucking amazing in that Tim Burton/Terry Gilliam kind of way. I almost wish that they’d just stick some end credits on that clip and call it a day.

A final note — check back this afternoon: We’ve got another Pajiba’s Guide to What’s Good for You. It’s a jim-dandy of a list that’s sure to piss off at least a few of you. It’s what we do.

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife in Ithaca, New York. You may email him, or leave a comment below.


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