* The rep of PG-rated horror these days couldn’t be much worse. So, I have no problem believing CHUDster Devin Faraci that a publicist sent out a blast e-mail crowing about the R-rating given to “The Wolf Man” for “‘bloody horror, violence and gore.”
I’m excited enough about what appears to be a nicely movie-movie stylized general approach to the movie from director Joe Johnston, of the underrated “The Rocketeer” among other movies, to still be looking forward to seeing this, I think. Moreover, I am a fan of the fairly sanguinary (and, to me, truly freaking scary in more or less the best way possible) “An American Werewolf in London,” but I’m still a bit nonplussed. I realize I’m a bit of wuss about too much gore, certainly compared to the typical horror fan.
Nevertheless, I can’t help finding the attitude of AICN’s Quint a little Stephen Colbertesque in its equation of blood and gore to “nards” (Colbert would just come right out and call it “balls”). I also think making a tough, scary film really doesn’t have that much to do with how much colored corn syrup you throw around. But then who listens to a guy who likes musicals?
* The most disconcerting news about “The Wolf Man” is not the above, but the news last month about the decision to apparently drop a mostly completed score by Danny Elfman. Yesterday, Jon Burlingame of Variety wrote an even more disconcerting piece arguing that film composers are being devalued. Here’s the article ending quote from respected composer James Horner (not my personal favorite, as it happens, though he’s certainly worked on plenty of good movies and I’m perhaps not giving him enough credit):
“No one just says, ‘What do you think of my picture? I want you to write what’s in your heart.’ I haven’t heard that in years. That simple concept does not exist anymore.”
Apparently, though, it does for some composers, when they’re working with really good directors. Michael Stuhlberg’s interview with Anne Thompson a while back indicates the Carter Burwell’s music may have changed the tone of Coen Brothers’ “A Serious Man” considerably and that he was given considerable latitude. Real filmmakers apparently still realize that musical choices — when and how to use it, or not use it — are absolutely crucial.
* Speaking of music, a biopic of the brave and eccentric Afropop great, Fela Kuti, who I was lucky enough to see perform in the Bay Area a long time ago, is in the works, writes The Guardian. Steve McQueen — not the guy from “The Great Escape,” but the director of the acclaimed “Hunger” — will be at the helm.
* A new editor at Variety is someone Nikki Finke has covered before at the L.A. Times. Guess what, she doesn’t think much of the guy. Of greater note, yesterday she also covered a fairly major movie theater purchase by a company I’ve never heard of before, Rave Motion Pictures, from one of Sumner Redstone’s companies. Rave apparently specializes in all digital movie theaters, something I still have very mixed feelings about, traditionalist that I am.
Also, relating to my item on music above, the Finkester has a press release on Warner Brothers new president of film music, Paul Broucek. Let’s hope he gives it his due respect. He worked with Peter Jackson on the LOTR films, which was aided immensely by Howard Shore’s great music. Could be worse, I guess.
* Actor-director Charles Martin Smith — he’ll always be “Terry the Toad” to me — will be writing and directing “A Dolphin’s Tale” writes Borys Kit of THR. It’s an inspirational fact based movie about a boy befriending an injured dolphin for Warners’ Alcon Entertainment, which is doing so well with the similarly feel-good “The Blind Side.” Dolphins are appealing animals so this should go over well with families if it’s well executed. And if it’s not, they can always work in “‘bloody horror, violence and gore” to get the AICN crowd.