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Entries in Baz (25)

Wednesday
Oct152014

Baz, Rocky, Sarandon and Me

Editor's Note: Faithful reader and frequent Best Shot participant Derreck (see his tumblr here) attended a special film event that we desperately wanted to make it to last week, a screening of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" with everyone's favorite red curtain Aussie auteur hosting. I invited Derreck to share his memoir of the event, so here he is to do so! - Nathaniel R.

I've never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard about it. I’ve seen images of Tim Curry in a corset, fishnets and makeup, heard about shadowcasts and seen its enduring cultural presence in movies like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but I’d never actually watched the film. I was born way after it was released and even though to this day, it is one of the longest theatrical releases in the history of cinema, it never made it to theatres in my homeland of the Bahamas. Rocky Horror ended up in my “I’ll get to that eventually” pile along with other much-discussed 70s movies like Apocalypse Now and Xanadu. 

Fast-forward to me living in New York. I was doing my daily blog readings and saw that Rocky was playing at the IFC Theater in Manhattan as part of Super Week leading up to Comic-Con. I thought “oh, that’s nice. Maybe I’ll go.” Until I read on and saw that Baz Luhrmann would be there in person to conduct a Q&A about the film and speak about how it influenced his work. 

Baz Luhrmann. The man behind the film that remains forever close to my heart and inspired my ridiculous obsession with love: Moulin Rouge!

I immediately left my apartment to get a ticket. 

Fast-forward to the big night. I was sitting in my chair shivering with "antici--

….

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep222014

BAZ DAZZLED!

Manuel here with some Spectacular Spectacular news!

This one goes out to those Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin fanatics out there (there’s still a number of us, right?). Since releasing The Great Gatsby ...sorry, two-time Academy Award winner The Great Gatsby, Baz has been flexing his muscles elsewhere: he directed some beautiful shorts for the Prada/Schiaparelli exhibit at the Metropolitan museum, he directed the musical stage adaptation of Strictly Ballroom currently playing in Sydney, and threw quite the lavish party (does he throw any other kind?) to commemorate the opening of Melbourne’s newest mall, Emporium. We’ve also been hearing whispers of him possibly directing the long-gestating Stanley Kubrick project on Napoleon for HBO. While we wait, those of us in the tri-state area (or those visiting) may get our Baz-fix from the holiday windows at Barney’s this winter in what the retail company is calling a “Baz Dazzled Holiday”; a title which is equal parts flamboyant, ridiculous, and flashy which is to say, Baz in a nutshell.

Style. Fashion. Razzle-dazzle. It really feels like a match made in Spectacular Spectacular! heaven. Let’s throw suggestions out here for what Baz & Martin might come up with for Barney’s. Are you hoping for some holiday pop mish-mash worthy of a Shakespearean couple, or maybe for a 1930s glitzy winter wonderland?

Also, I wouldn’t be doing this news tidbit any justice if I didn’t in some way shoehorn in this picture, taken during New York Fashion week of Baz and his two Moulin Rouge! stars, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor which Nat may have missed in his TIFF-frenzy. They do make quite the dapper trio, don't you agree?

Friday
Sep192014

Lukewarm Off Presses: Ben-Hur, Bourne-Again, Baz Junior?

Catching up with some stories we've missed of late.

BEN-HUR
Morgan Freeman was the first cast member announced for the remake of Best Picture winning Ben-Hur (1959) which was itself a remake of the silent epic of the same name in 1925.  Freeman will play the role of a wise old man who gives advice like a Pez Dispenser with Morgan Freeman's face on it. Can Morgan Freeman do anything else? Shame that a once very gifted actor now plays EXACTLY the same role in everything. Maybe he doesn't care to stretch? Jack Huston of Boardwalk Empire fame (who seems to be in the running for everything these days -even if he hasn't booked the high profile stuff until now) will play the lead Charlton Heston role. But good luck trying to best William Wyler's Oscar winning classic (one of 'em rather). I shudder to think how they'll handle Messala, previously slyly interpreted by Stephen Boyd on the DL.

BOURNE AGAIN
In a weird case of "WAIT. I changed my mind!" Matt Damon is getting back into the Bourne franchise along with previous director Paul Greengrass (who is also possibly doing an Olympics bombing true story movie) and delaying Jeremy Renner's already begun takeover. The same thing happened with Jeremy Renner's assumed takeover of the Mission Impossible franchise until Cruise wanted back in. This will and already has prompted think pieces on Jeremy's failure to become a star but nobody would be griping on him if his agent (and maybe the man himself) hadn't gotten so greedy. How many franchises does one actor need?(Bourne, MI, Witch Hunters, Avengers, etcetera) Especially an actor that good with two Oscar nominations already?

But if we're going to start interrupting reboots with original casts, can we shelve the next Amazing Spider-Man movies and just get Tobey Maguire back in tights? P-L-E-A-S-E. That'd free up Andrew Garfield to be a real actor again and to say "you better lawyer up asshole" if they drop his surely unending contract. 

BAZ JR
I don't mean to be snarky about newbie director Diesel Schwarze, a Baz Luhrmann protege, because it's quite possible that he'll be his own brilliant artist. But I needed another "B" for alliterative blogging, what. SO, anyway, he's doing an original musical that uses pre-existing songs (a la Moulin Rouge!) called Ziggy and Dane DeHaan and Rooney Mara are earmarked to star in it. Can they sing? It's not quite Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman exciting even in terms of in context 2014 vs 2000 stardom levels at press release time, but it's still interesting. Especially since it sounds weird...

Dehaan will play a hunchback in NYC who falls for a beautiful woman already mixed up with a powerful man -- you know how singing hunchbacks do!

Monday
May122014

Four Stories Lukewarm from the Presses That I Didn't Write About At First Because Reasons

Submit to our longwinded too descriptive blogpost titles. Submit.

Brangelina II: The Sequel
FINALLY. The world's most famous movie couple Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt will reunite onscreen 10 long years after Mr & Mrs Smith (2005). Jolie wrote the script which is rumored to be about a troubled couple on vacation attempting to save their marriage. She's obviously been working hard at becoming a force behind the camera (I'm guessing she's announcing retirement from acting by 2018 or so... a hunch) so it's possible she'll direct it, too. It's a complete mystery as to why it's taken this mega-star couple this long to co-star again when a) they're still highly bankable and b) by all sane non-gossipy accounts they're still enormously fond of each other ten long years after their affair on Mr & Mrs Smith caused such a ruckus in Hollywood.

We so rarely get viable recurring screen couples anymore outside of franchises with infinite parts and iron clad contractual obligations. Occasionally accidents will happen and we'll get 3ish pairings of a couple that really works together onscreen (Turner & Douglas in the 80s, Ryan & Hanks in the 90s) but for the most part, Hollywood doesn't even attempt to capitalize on the proven success of onscreen chemistry. That's tremendously weird if you think about it for more than 2 seconds since Hollywood attempts to capitalize on EVERYTHING ELSE that's proven successful in the past. 

Speaking Of...

Spring Breakers 2. But Why?
You've undoubtedly heard by now that the divisive Spring Breakers (which was loathed and loathed in equal measure)  is getting a sequel. That sequel is apparently without the original cast and the original director so it begs the question of "why". It's not like Spring Break, that boozy young ritual, is not a marketable topic in and of itself. People have been making movies about that since at least the 1960s. So why connect it to a film that wasn't loved by  general audiences. Sure it opened well but it plummeted soon thereafter and at least in my screening there were many walkouts from the crowd that was not suspecting a subversive auteurist movie with a major male actor fellating firearms but just, you know, tits and ass. I heard a few "that's the worst movie I've ever seen" as I exited the theater.

Jonas Åkerlund (mostly known for smash music videos like "Ray of Light," "Smack My Bitch Up," "Telephone," "Paparazzi" and more)  is on board as the director. Maybe they want to sell it like a mainstream franchise that's also a rotating auteurist franchise -- like, I don't know "Aliens"? In which case awesome/ good luck! 

Baz ♥ Elvis
The news floating around that Baz Luhrmann is considering an Elvis Presley biopic came so quickly on the heels of the news that he was considering a bigscreen adaptation of TV's Kung Fu (which we did write about) that I didn't have it in me to go into speculation again about what he might do next. Largely because I don't trust him to make anything until at least 2017. He's notoriously non-prolific after all despite the web's interest in suggesting that he's about to do something every few months. Which is why I've illustrated this paragraph with a graphic I made in 2011 instead of with a photo of The King. Word and Film has casting suggestions and especially likes the idea of Zac Efron in the role. 

YNMS: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Sometimes the Yes No or Maybe So series is defeated/delayed by sheer Yesness. Such is the case with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I was a fan of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011). It's not that it gave reboots a good name (in the end nothing can do that since they're still, at their core, cash grabbing regurgitation) but it did show that if you're going to riff on franchises with plentiful cultural history that doesn't need to be replaced in the first place, you can do it with contemporary thought, artistic conviction and something like passion instead of doing it absent-mindedly or ineffectually while cashing your checks (*cough* The Amazing Hobbit-Man of Steel Pt. 2).

But the new trailer but for argument's sake...

 

Yes - Jason Clarke (so excellent in Zero Dark Thirty) replacing James Franco as the human lead? Upgrade! It still looks classy and artfully mounted despite the rich cheese potential and dated B-movie pull of the premise.
No - Some CGI fakery with those baby apes. That halting voice talking might get old when stretched to 120 minutes and beyond.
Maybe So - Environmental and sociopolitical themes can be tough to deliver with anythink like subtlety or grace so we'll see. Will it be too grim/heavy-handed? And might it fare better in the long run with a little humor or cheese?

If you have thoughts on these stories you've kept bottled up, now is the time to spew them!

Sunday
Apr132014

Strictly Baz

As you may or may not have heard Baz Luhrmann has been in the news again this week. 2013 was another big year for him with The Great Gatsby exceeding expectations (financially). The buzz on Baz hasn't quieted in this new year. On March 2nd, his wife Catherine Martin won another pair of Oscars to match her Moulin Rouge! statues and new collaborations for the Bazmark spouses are on the way.

First up is the stage musical adaptation of his breakthrough debut hit Strictly Ballroom (1992). The Guardian featured him a few days ago -- the video is more of a commercial for the show really than a true interview but there are clips from the show and Baz statements worth parsing.

I was 29 for the film. In the back of my mind I always thought 'it's got to be a musical'. I thought 'God, I hope I don't end up 40 and I'm doing Strictly Ballroom musical.' And I'm 52. So I think it will always be in my life. I think a bit like a band that had their first hit song. If you aren't playing that hig song at concerts until you have a foot in the grave then probably you're doing something wrong for the audience and probably you're doing something wrong for yourself. So I've just accepted that it's actually a fundamental part of our life and our journey"

The show, which obviously intends a Broadway run given how frequently Baz drops the word "Broadway" while talking about it is playing in Sydney Australia and the reviews for the show have just arrived which are generally positive though it's amusing that the Telegraph and Guardian critics say almost exactly opposite things about how it stacks up to the beloved film version. 

Baz's next film project-- if he actually goes through with it -- is a real surprise. The rumor is he'll direct the big screen version of the ol' TV series Kung Fu. I can't imagine what would attract Luhrmann to this property which is such an about face, even if he does love to genre-hop. But I pray to God, they dump the whole non-Asian conceit that the TV show went with. David Carradine was such a white dude, you know, and nobody needs 21st century narratives about ethnic anything that pretend audiences can only bear to look at white faces. Even if he does decide to do it, we won't see it for years; his films often appear to be on speed but the auteur isn't speedy. What's more he's supposedly also doing a Napoleon miniseries for TV and a TV series about the early days of hip-hop. How many of those do you think will actually come to be? It takes him five or so years to make everything, after all.  

People will surely make jokes about him adding musical numbers to Kung Fu though it's tough to graft those on to memories of that sedate and dusty TV show. But maybe it's not as impossible as it sounds. Every single one of Baz's films yearns to be a musical even though only one of them truly is.  Given that pervasive feeling, it's just bizarre that he hasn't made one since Moulin Rouge! but maybe he knows it's untoppable? Singular sensations are called that for a reason. They're rare and glorious freaks. 

Sunday
Dec012013

Linkville

Television Blend Baz Luhrmann may direct Napoleon as a miniseries for television
House Next Door on the Oscar prospects of August: Osage County. Yet another critic who thinks Julia is the MVP. I'm mystified but congrats, Julia!
In Contention wonders if The Wolf of Wall Street is just what Oscar season ordered? We know that the SAG screening went sensationally well in Los Angeles. Our friend Paul, who we just featured in Reader Spotlight, thinks Leonardo DiCaprio is now the Best Actor frontrunner and tweeted this photo from the festivities:

 

 

Cinema Blend Jurassic World not a reboot (thank god) but a sequel set 22 years in future. Chris Pratt, suddenly in demand since slimming down and bulking up for ZDT, rumored for lead.
Variety Fernando Eimbcke's Club Sandwich wins the Turin Fest. We interviewed its actress icymi. 

RIP Paul Walker (1973-2013)
And finally, as you've undoubtedly heard by now, Paul Walker died yesterday in a car accident in California en route to or from a charity event of all things. Terrible. He was 40 years old. The actor starred in all but one of the six episodes of the big screen series The Fast and Furious. It's worth noting that The Fast and the Furious 7 is currently filming. There's no word yet on exactly how and what they'll do to finish it without him but the movie will undoubtedly move forward.

The original F&F franchise director Rob Cohen told Variety:

His American beauty, his athleticism, the directness of his approach to the character, his effusive, down-to-earth personality brought joy to me and everyone around him."

Aside from the F&F franchise we'll remember him most for that All American b&w jock beauty in  Pleasantville (1998) and one of the best B movies of the early Aughts Joy Ride (2001).

Tuesday
Sep172013

Curio: Happy Birthday Baz

Alexa here. Today is Baz Luhrmann's birthday, his 51st if you're interested in counting. After Gatsby, is a Nathaniel-prognosticated vampire remake on its way? Or perhaps a zombie opera? Bollywood mermaids? For Baz, it seems the possibilities are endless, the heart open, the mind a whirl.  

Here are some goodies that celebrate a bit of his onscreen largesse to date. 

Gatsby poster by Adam Maida.

Satine-inspired brooches, some words from Daisy and Romeo + Juliet after the jump

Click to read more ...