Movie news for a no longer new week

A few items of note…

* Back in 1939, Hollywood’s best-paid screenwriter, Preston Sturges, sold his screwball political satire, “The Great McGinty,” to Paramount for the grand sum of $10.00 on condition that he also be allowed to direct the movie. (I think he might have gotten a buck for the actual directing gig.) To this day, writers often take a pay cut for the privilege of becoming what Sturges used to call “a prince of the blood.”

Today, Mike Fleming reports that writer Dan Fogelman may be about to be paid in the neighborhood of $3 million to direct his first feature. “Imagine” is set to star Steve Carrell and will pair him with an older actor –presumably an aging superstar — who will be playing his extremely absentee rock musician dad who discovers a letter from John Lennon and decides to actually meet his now-middle-aged son for the first time.

lennon-rolls-royce-almeria

* My colleague Will Harris forwarded me a press release with some exciting news for serious movie fans and fans of serious movies. Screenwriter and director Paul Schrader, still best known as the writer of “Taxi Driver,” but also a fascinating director in his own right with credits ranging from “American Gigolo” and “Cat People,” to “Mishima” and “Auto Focus” is poised to come back with “The Jesuit.” The deal for closed at the ongoing American Film Market, still underway in Santa Monica, and is set to star Willem Dafoe, Michelle Rodriguez, and Paz Vega. It’s a revenge film and, between that title and the Calvinist-raised Schrader’s well known inclinations from past films, you can hope for more than just a bit of spirituality meshing with the blood, guts, and sexuality. The Playlist has more.

* The Playlist also passes along the news that Christopher Doyle, an Australian-born cinematographer who made his name doing absolutely stunning work in Hong Kong for Wong Kai-Wai and others, is going to be making his first film in 3D. That should be interesting.

* From “True Blood” werewolf to Superman? Is it a Great Dane? Is it a lycanthrope? No, it’s Joe Manganiello.

* Hot on the heels of producing “Paranormal Activity 2” and wrapping “Area 51” the very shrewd Oren Peli is going back to the roots of American horror with a film loosely based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe.

* Screenwriter John August responds to a less than intelligent quote attributed to Jessica Alba.

* No, Ahmet Zappa and Michael Wilson aren’t writing “Tiki Room: The Movie” but an Polynesian tale that was inspired by the Tiki Room. I don’t care, as long as the birds sing words and the flowers croon.

  

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The Limits of Control

Jim Jarmusch’s latest film, “The Limits of Control,” has been categorized as a thriller, and I’m not really sure why. You see, to qualify for that genre, not only does there need to be some kind of underlying tension in the story, but an actual story needs to exist. There are crumbs of plot development scattered throughout – something to do with a man (Isaach De Bankolé) sent to Spain on a secret mission – but it goes nowhere fast as the audience is forced to watch him perform menial tasks like sleeping, meditating, and waiting around for his next contact. All of the people he meets with greet him the same way, and one of them – a lustful woman played by Paz de la Huerta – is completely naked throughout, seemingly for no particular reason other than to tempt Bankolé’s reserved assassin. This has to be one of the dullest films ever made. Jarmusch isn’t so much telling a story as basking in the beauty of Spain, and though Christopher Doyle’s cinematography is as gorgeous as ever, it’s the film’s only redeeming trait. Falling somewhere between “Coffee and Cigarettes” and “Ghost Dog” in tone, “The Limits of Control” is simply too pretentious for its own good. You’d be wise to keep the remote nearby for this one, because you’ll be fast-forwarding more than you’d like to admit.

Click to buy “The Limits of Control”

  

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