A trailer for a Sunday morning: “Miral”

Artist turned director Julian Schnabel managed to make a film about a man with one of the most terrifying illnesses I can imagine into a genuinely uplifting experience with 2007’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” Now he takes on probably the most single most contentious issue in all of world politics, Israel-Palestine, in “Miral.”

Take a look at this French trailer for the English-language film, written by Palestinian-Italian journalist-author Rula Jebreal, adapting her own novel. “Miral” stars a slightly de-glammed Freida Pinto of “Slumdog Millionaire” and Arab-Israeli actress Hiam Abbass.

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” ran the risk of being a drippy in terms of being a bit of rather conventional arthouse fare/Oscar-bait, but he was quite adept at transcending that at every turn there. Let’s hope he and writer Jebreal — working in, or being translated into, English — pull off the same trick here.

Clearly, the film-makers are hoping for a large audience for “Miral.” Considering the subject matter and what looks like an honest but evenhanded treatment of the ultimate hot-button topic, I kind of hope they get it; I also hope all my Jewish relatives see it. I hate to say it, but too many people — and not only Jews — have allowed support for Israel to become translated into what I see as a near complete lack of awareness of the humanity of Palestinians.

H/t /Film. (I have to say I’m not sure I agree with Brad Brevet about the Tom Waits song at the end. Maybe it’s a bit of cultural stereotyping on my part, but when I think about the problems of a teenager in modern day Palestine/Israel, I don’t think of Waits’ bluesy tones, so popular among middle-aged ex-bohos in L.A. and New York.)

  

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(500) days of bad puns and other items of interest

It’s been a weird day for me, and not only because I’m a politically junkie and my side sustained a bit of a loss today (if you don’t know what I’m talking, well, let’s just keep it that way). Still, the movie news beat never stops and there are certainly days when Hollywood makes a lot more sense than politics, relatively speaking.

Spiderman
* It’s official and Nikki Finke has claimed another “toldja.” Newcomer Marc Webb of “(500) Days of Summer” will, it appears, direct the 2012 Spiderman reboot that’s been bandied about since Sam Raimi stepped aside from the now never to be filmed “Spiderman IV.” Even though, as I’ve made clear here several times, I’m not a particular fan of Webb’s feature debut, I think Anne Thompson‘s analysis is probably correct:

Webb’s “(500) Days of Summer” is a deliciously commercial hit movie: witty, breezy, defying romantic comedy formula while not straying outside the realm of accessible entertainment. That’s what studios want: that sweet spot between “original and fresh” and “accessible and commercial.”… He will be eager to prove himself on a big-budget VFX franchise, so he’ll do what he is told.

All she left out is the gift they’ve given us pun-crazed headline writers and bloggers because of Webb’s spider-suggestive last name. I guess Eric Nid was too busy on other projects.

* You knew it had to happen: Here comes “Paranormal Activity II” — from the director of “Saw VI.” (Via Bad Guy Wins.)

* I don’t know why they waited until after Martin Luther King day to announce this, but a long-planned biopic on the single most effective civil rights leader in American history is underway, and veteran playwright and screenwriter Ronald Harwood is penning the screenplay with Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider coproducing. The more recent films in Harwood’s long career include “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and “The Pianist.” His best known play, the semi-autobiographical “The Dresser,” was nicely filmed back in 1983. Harwood migrated to England from South Africa in 1951 and he’s proven himself a fairly able cultural chameleon over the years. I’m not sure it’s an inspired choice, but it’s not a a bad one. The tricky part now is choosing the director.

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* Some time back, I was not thrilled to report that Danny Elfman’s orchestral score was being removed from “The Wolfman” and was being replaced by a not at all promising sounding, possibly synth-driven rock, score. Well, as I’m still kind of looking forward to the apparently trouble-plagued film, I’m happy to report that Elfman’s score is apparently back in. Yeah, I’m kind of a traditionalist about things like that. I don’t like to hear futuristic sounds with my 19th century gothic chillers anymore than I want chocolate syrup on my pizza.

* It’s probably not at all fair, but I can’t help but think of this concept as “Tim Burton’s ‘Wicked’.”

* The zombie-centric romantic comedy (“zom coms”) is a subgenre that threatens to take over the planet, devouring us all. Latest to be bitten: “The Wackness” writer-director Jonathan Levine, so says Devin of CHUD.

* In China, Chow Yun Fat and the nation’s most venerated philosopher push out the Na’vi, writes Krystal Clark.

* Today we also had a trio of sad deaths of important contributors primarily to other arts whose work also impacted the movies film, singer Kate McGarrigle, and novelist Erich Segal famously of “Love Story” and less famously of “Yellow Submarine,” and mystery writer Robert B. Parker of “Spencer for Hire.” RIP all.

  

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