The estimable David Hudson at Greencine Daily have been covering Venice so thoroughly we feel comfortable being lazy and not bothering at all. Still, worth a mention is the apparently dismal reception that greeted the premiere of Darren Aronofsky‘s "The Fountain." Wire reports have the film being booed, and both Variety and the Hollywood Reporter are withering in their respective summations. Leslie Felperin in Variety:
Greeted by booing at its first press unspooling, pic’s hippy trippy space odyssey-meets- contempo-weepy-meets- conquistador caper starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz suffers from a turgid script and bears all the signs of edit-suite triage to produce a still-incoherent 95 minutes.
Ray Bennett at the Hollywood Reporter:
It has big names in Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz and Ellen Burstyn; fantastical sets featuring Mayan warriors, the tree of life and a bubble space ship that travels amid the stars; and a frame of reference that draws from the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There’s a biblical puzzle that needs deciphering, so if Warner Bros. Pictures in the U.S. and 20th Century Fox internationally can somehow tie a "Da Vinci Code" reference into their marketing, they might snag a quick boxoffice return. Otherwise, "Zardoz" anyone?
Oof. At BBC News, a quote from Weisz, putting on a brave face and supporting her director fiance at the press conference: "I think it’s wonderful that this film is so different. I would love to work with Darren again."
We’ve been grouping "The Fountain" with "Southland Tales" in our mind for so long (hotly anticipated, overly ambitious-looking sci-fi film from hotshot boyling who insists on additional graphic novel side project) we sort of assumed it would tank, and feel oddly guilty now.
Another anticipated (and perhaps overreaching) sci-fi follow-up, Mike Judge‘s "Idiocracy," opened to zero fanfare this Friday in a few scattered cities. The film follows "average American" Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) 1,000 cryogenically enabled years into the future, where everyone’s become much dumber. What reviews there are (the film wasn’t screening for critics) have been mixed: Robert Abele at the LA Weekly suggests that "[i]f you crave a lively and funny trek through the farcical possibilities of unchecked dimwit power, Judge is still your guy. Just go rent Beavis and Butt-Head Do America instead." Joshua Rich at Entertainment Weekly is unimpressed (Or is he? Curse you, enigmatic blurb review!); Robert Koehler at Variety finds the film flawed but likable: "Judge is terrific on the movie’s big strokes, and its needling of how truly bad things can get when dumb folks have power, but his script and direction struggle with the details and individual scenes tend to fall considerably short of their comic potential." Carina Chocano at the LA Times is enthusiastic in her praise:
Judge has a gift for delivering brutal satire in the trappings of low comedy and for making heroes out of ordinary people whose humanity makes them suspect in a world where every inch of space, including mental, is mediated. The movie would be worth seeing for its skewering of the health system alone â€” in the future, hospitals will resemble a cross between a chain auto-diagnostic center and a Carl’s Jr., powered by Help Me technology â€” even if its opening thesis on the moment in history (roughly now) that evolution tipped into devolution weren’t so clear-eyed.
For reasons unfathomable, that line from "Demolition Man" about the "franchise wars" and all restaurants being Taco Bell in the future has lingered with us (if an earworm is a catchy song, it would follow that the thought is a brainworm, except that a brainworm is an actual parasite). So we were pleased to read the following (from Koehler’s Variety review): "Judge bravely bites the hand that feeds him — the Fox News Channel is this future world’s only news source." Hah! "Now all news is Fox News." God forbid.
+ The Fountain (Variety)
+ The Fountain (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Weisz ignores film festival boos (BBC News)
+ IDIOCRACY (LA Weekly)
+ Idiocracy (Entertainment Weekly)
+ Idiocracy (Variety)
+ ‘Idiocracy’ (LA Times)