July 1, 2006 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | July 1, 2006 |


Item #1:We kid a lot around here about having to ingest large amounts of narcotics to suffer through some of the films we have to see, but aside from a brief encounter with paint huffing, most of us lay off the hard stuff. But when it comes to recreational drug use, there was no bigger proponent of the good stuff than Timothy Leary. I mean, this guy invented an entire freakin’ religion with LSD as its holy sacrament — that’s dedication, y’all. And who better than the prince of the biopic, Leonardo DiCaprio, to bring the formulator of the eight-circuit model of consciousness to the big screen. DiCaprio, via his production company, has hired playwright Craig Lucas to write a script based on Leary’s life as a possible starring vehicle. And while I’m largely indifferent to DiCaprio, you have to admit that — with his last three films — he has quietly begun to fulfill the acting potential he displayed in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. And whether you agree with his theories or not, you have to hand it to Leary: He had one helluva fascinating life, and I have no doubt there’ll be quite a few DiCaprio fans looking forward to the chapter on Hedonic Engineering. — Dustin Rowles

Item #2: Charlize Theron is a good actress. I know this because she did what beautiful people in Hollywood do when they want to get serious: They get ugly. A year after Nicole Kidman donned a prosthetic nose and got all mopey in The Hours, Theron packed on 30 pounds and some rough make-up for Monster, which is the kind of good movie I was able to admire while also fervently wishing I was anywhere else but the theater. Theron’s performance was an impressive one, and even garnered her a Best Actress Oscar like Kidman before her, but the film was one of the more uncomfortable viewing experiences of my young, tender life. (Not that rape is ever just a blast to see on film, but man, this one takes the cake. The bitter, serial-killing cake.) Perhaps sensing that (1) it’s time to return to the spotlight, since people are starting to talk about Reindeer Games again, and (2) it’s OK if you’re freakishly attractive, since that’s what people pay to see, Theron has persuaded British director Alan Parker to helm her passion project Ice at the Bottom of the World. The film deals with a Navy captain who returns home to find his daughter (Theron) has become a heroin addict and the mother of a multi-racial child. Granted, heroin addicts aren’t exactly a hygienic bunch, but the plot — a shameless run at the Academy Awards if ever there was one — at least promises that Theron won’t have to go through another brutal physical transformation. We Americans do like our stars pretty. — Daniel Carlson

Item #3: Mmm, nothing says sacrilege like gay vampires. Gothic novelist Anne Rice rose to cult fame with the publication of her Vampire Chronicles series, the first installment of which, Interview with the Vampire, was turned into a turgid, plodding film in 1994. Who could forget Brad Pitt’s incessant weeping? Kirsten Dunst’s oddly compelling screen presence? The fact that seeing Tom Cruise in all those ruffles made a lot of sense? Despite the success of her book series, Rice returned to the Catholicism of her youth in the late 1990s, and in 2005 she announced her intention to write “only for the Lord.” She soon published Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, the first novel in a trilogy following the life of Jesus. Rice’s intentions are admirable, especially her commitment to turning her back on the stories that brought her fame and fortune to pursue a kind of spiritual renewal, so it’s with that in mind that I advise her to lay low for a while. The film rights for Christ the Lord have been acquired by Good News Holdings, but once word gets out that the latest big-screen story of Christ’s young life came from the woman who gave the world Lestat, Pat Robertson is going to amass an army and storm Los Angeles once and for all. He’ll probably appoint Kirk Cameron as his general, and they’ll ride into town to sweep out the gays and the Jews and the gay Jews and anyone else that smells funny. I haven’t read Rice’s book, but her apparently honest desire to serve God and the story she’s writing will likely end in agony: Honesty only gets you so far nowadays, and Robertson isn’t afraid to publicly declare his desire to assassinate somebody. Good luck, lady. You’re gonna need it. — DC

Item #4: Ever since Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon exited life stage left, the geriatric buddy-comedy has never been the same. And, really, who better to rectify the situation than the best 69-year-old actors around, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, who possess more acting talent in their varicose veins than 98 percent of the rest of Hollywood. Unfortunately, the project they chose to work together on is a movie entitled The Bucket List, which sounds a bit like Last Holiday 2: The Flatulent Geezers crossed with a very special “Golden Girls” episode of “My Name Is Earl.” The film, to be directed by Rob Reiner — who hasn’t hit paydirt in over a decade — follows the two terminally-ill bastards, who decide to escape their nursing home in their quest to cross off the things they want to do before keeling over. I’m not entirely sure what their list entails, but I sure as hell hope it doesn’t involve a Vegas hotel, half a bottle of Levitra, and a pillow fight. — DR

Item #5: For those who argue that reality television is the sign of our society’s obvious decline, here’s some evidence to bolster your case. On Tuesday, the winner of “Survivor Thailand,” former used-car salesman Brian Heidik, was arrested and tossed in the clink on two separate charges. First, in late June, the wonderful Mr. Heidik beat up his wife, from whom he’s now separated but still living with. Then, around 3:30 Tuesday morning, a neighbor’s puppy happened to walk onto his property, and he decided the best way to handle it was to shoot the poor puppy with an arrow (happily, word is that the pooch will be fine). Heidik’s soon-to-be-ex-wife says that he’s been a mess ever since appearing on “Survivor:” “I don’t think he’s ever adapted to real life since then. He thinks he can do anything. He thinks he’s invincible.” — Seth Freilich

Item #6: Over the long weekend, Superman Returns grossed around $74 million to bring its six-day haul to $106 million, which is kind of a bust considering its $204 million production cost, plus the $40 million the studio spent on the version that never made it past development stage, which as I recall was to be directed by Tim Burton, starring Nicholas Cage, with a script from Kevin Smith (or, at least, all three were attached to it at one time or another). I’m not so sure, even with Nic Cage on board, that the previous version wouldn’t have fared better, particularly had Smith been able to sneak Jay and Silent Bob in as advisors to Lex Luthor, who — with Burton as director — would’ve no doubt been played by Johnny Depp. If Burton could’ve also recruited Helena Bonham Carter to star as Lois Lane, we would’ve witnessed one helluva movie, even if it did forever taint Superman’s patriotic associations. But then again, what the hell do I know? The Devil Wears Prada came in at number two and, since I’m feeling a little gun shy about it at the moment, I’ll just mention that it made around $40 million over the five day weekend and leave it at that. And, at number three, Click continued its assault upon America’s mentally-challenged demographic, stealing their hard-earned wages received for stuffing envelopes.

This weekend introduces probably the one flick this summer that absolutely, positively cannot fail: Booty Call 2: A Pirate’s Ode to Keira Knightley’s Concavity, which — as I understand it — is to follow Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he attempts to convince Elizabeth Swann (Knightley) of the life-saving virtues of a treasured substance known mysteriously as “food.” Otherwise, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson, and Robert Downey, Jr. will appear in Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly, which is an animated film that uses rotoscoping to collectively remove the box-office poison from the featured cast. Seriously, though, it looks pretty fucking great, which makes it almost certain to disappoint. Also, as many of you will be reading this mere minutes after the Emmy nominations are announced, allow me to announce that the TV Whore will be doing his usual rundown sometime this weekend, replete with references to cocksuckers, the Bluths, and — if things go well — Mandy Moore’s ex-boyfriend.

Finally, unless assignments shift tomorrow, I’ll be taking a review break this weekend, meaning that — for a few days, at least — Pajiba will once again be a “safe space” for the ladies. And though it (fucking) pains me to break character here, for what it’s worth, I do regret that some of our female readers have, at times, felt as though my reviews were more alienating to them than our readership in general. I am oftentimes unnaturally predisposed toward the “scathing” and “bitchy” in our tagline, and inasmuch as that can tweak some of our female readership, I am respectfully contrite. Seriously. However, I offer no such apologies to Lohan freaks, Perez lovers, fraternity brethren, or Adam Sandler fans — you folks are still as dumb as igneous rock. — Dustin Rowles

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Trade News | July 1, 2006 | Comments ()



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