Last year, Gary Poulter, one of the stars of David Gordon Green's new movie Joe, died in a homeless encampment in Austin. For Joe, Green had mixed non-professional actors with stars like Nicolas Cage (as Joe, a hero in his rural community who's this close to snapping) and up-and-comers like Tye Sheridan, as Gary, the 15-year-old boy that Joe takes under his wing. In that sense, the casting was along the lines of other modern poorsploitation cinema like Winter's Bone and Gummo. Poulter plays Wade (aka G-Daawg), Gary's abusive father, a drunk who is as limber, and coherent, as Charles Manson. Gary and Wade join Joe's crew of tree-killing manual laborers, who prep forests to be cleared for the planting of valuable pine trees. Only the kid can hold onto the job.
· In what's being labeled as an effort to snag iTunes marketshare, Dell will give PC buyers the option to preload Iron Man on its new computers. Before you laugh: That incursion is being led by a man with whom Apple settled a wrongful-termination lawsuit in 2005. Never underestimate a software-wonk scorned. [THR] · And if you act now, Paramount and Marvel may throw in five more co-releases — including Thor, Captain America and The Avengers — at no extra charge through 2011! Operators are standing by! [Variety] After the jump: David Gordon Green gets animated, Robert Duvall ponies up and Ellen Burstyn does serious drugs with Tim Robbins.· Finally, at age 77, Robert Duvall is bravely venturing into the uncharted career territory of Westerns, attaching himself to star in an untitled drama about the Pony Express. From AMC, of course, which makes him a likely Emmy front-runner in 2010. [Variety] · Talk about dodging a bullet: By going straight to TV with his animated Fox surfer comedy Good Vibes, a relieved David Gordon Green won't be forced to follow Matthew McConaughey's recent beachgoing high-water mark Surfer, Dude. [Variety] · Jesse Ventura's predictable career arc will continue ever-skyward when he hosts an untitled "conspiracy theory" reality show for truTV, in which the ex-wrestler/actor/politico will "hunt down answers, plunging viewers into a world of secret meetings, midnight surveillance, shifty characters and dark forces." Or, as they call it in Minnesota, running for reelection. [AP] · Ellen Burstyn will join fellow Oscar-winner Tim Robbins for his Showtime pilot Possible Side Effects, a drama set in the pharmaceutical industry — kind of like Mad Men, but with scores of exquisitely photographed pills in the place of cigarettes. [Variety]
Another day, another windfall of remakes, updates and adaptations requiring attention on our End of Ideas scorecard. It could be worse, we suppose, than Natalie Portman allegedly signing on for a graphic horror re-do, or yet another movie-to-TV serialization that could possibly make Dennis Hopper's own new show a folly in comparison. Even staffers at the LA Times are getting in on the recycling act today. It's never been hotter! But we're not here to cast aspersions, we're just here to handicap. As such, read on for your irregularly occurring guide to the latest in retreads — and their varying chances for winning us over.THE TITLE: Suspiria THE ORIGINAL: Dario Argento's 1977 giallo classic planted nubile Jessica Harper in the middle of a ballet academy-cum-witch's coven. Vivid, over-the-top bloodshed ensues. THE REMAKE: Having long expressed interest in a remake, David Gordon Green is reportedly set to follow Pineapple Express with Suspiria — featuring Natalie Portman as his lead. She would produce as well. APPEAL: Strong. Face it — for all its inspired demises and influence, Argento's original doesn't age well. It's saturated from eye to ear with genre cheese that could benefit from a modern reimagining with real cinematography (by Green's brilliant regular lenser Tim Orr, we presume) and a less-manufactured sense of peril. Only downside: Can it compete with the horror of Portman's real-life love interest? THE TITLE: The Conversation THE ORIGINAL: Between the first two Godfather films, Francis Ford Coppola knocked out this extraordinary drama about a surveillance expert (Gene Hackman) paranoiacally ensnared in a murder plot. THE REMAKE: Oscar-winning Usual Suspects screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie is on board an AMC TV series with producer Tom Krantz, who has been trying to develop the show for a decade. APPEAL: Zero. Krantz tells Variety that "[t]he issues of privacy and individuality, and issues of spying and listening, are as relevant now as they've ever been. This is the perfect vehicle to tell those stories." Exactly — which is why you broadcast the timeless original on AMC as opposed to embarrass yourself attempting to keep up. Coppola is behind it, though; there's only so much wine he can sell, evidently, to subsidize his nonsense. THE TITLE: Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! THE ORIGINAL: Russ Meyer's 1965 saga set the enduring standard for busty-stripper murder rampages. THE REMAKE: Quentin Tarantino, who already did sex-kitten speed-demonry in Death Proof, wants you to pay for a variation on himself and Meyer. Starring Britney Spears. Sigh. APPEAL:: Sigh. It's a little easier to swallow once you remember how well the guy's always done without ever conceiving an original idea. But is this really news, or is he just hedging lest Inglorious Bastards' hype proves unsustainable? After all, the Spears/Mendes/Kardashian rumor mill has been churning since January. This whole mess screams, "Just in case." That said, we've heard worse. (See The Conversation) THE TITLE: "French thriller Tell No One a word-of-mouth hit" THE ORIGINAL: An Aug. 1 enterprise story by Steven Zeitchik of The Hollywood Reporter, spotlighting what has become the art-house sleeper hit of summer. THE REMAKE: An Aug. 7 enterprise story by John Horn of the LA Times, spotlighting what has become the art-house sleeper hit of summer. APPEAL:: Flatlining. Happy as we are to see Tell No One's out-of-the-blue indie traction, Horn's second head-slapper in as many days has us fearing he may need more direct supervision at the Times. At least yesterday's baseless piece "Wednesday is the new Friday in movie releases" was an original. Try harder, John — your paper needs you.
· We meant to get to this earlier, but alas, we never did. This morning brought news that slow-core indie auteur David Gordon Green is planning on remaking Suspiria, Dario Argento's late '70s giallo masterwork. While we think the world of DGG, we're not sure his talents are best suited to remaking Argento's candy-colored classic. That said, here's hoping he doesn't try to pull a Gus Van Sant and try to go shot-for-shot with his remake. Warning, this video of the climax of one of the most terrifying (yet also most perfectly art-directed) scenes in cinema history is NSFW. [MTV Movie Blog]
· Wondering what the controlled substance was that got Gummi Bear Davis in hot water? Would you believe us if we told you it was heroin? Shocking, we know. [TMZ]
· Leave it to the Latvian Symphony Orchestra to out-do Europe's triumphant "The Final Countdown." We always knew they had it in 'em. [I Heart Chaos via Gorilla Mask]
· As SXSW approaches, we can think of no person that better represents the plight of indie musicians these days than Rachael Ray. [The Hater]
· There Will Be Bud! [Funny Or Die]