HOLLYWOOD – Matthew McConaughy and Jeff Bridges star in a Christian movie called Jesus is NOT an Asshole.
Following the success of such Christian films as God is Not Dead and Man of Steel, Christian filmmakers are once more trying their hand. The new comedy will star Jeff Bridges and Matthew McConaughey as two high school teachers who come to national fame when they insist ‘Jesus is not an asshole’, defying homosexual intellectuals everywhere.
Matthew McConaughey spoke about the project with the Studio Exec, EXCLUSIVELY:
Christianity often gets a bum rap. People thinks Christians are humorless douches and fun-killing bores. But that just ain’t so. We decided we’d make a comedy, a Christian comedy. It’s a devotional piece of work, but you’ll laugh to beat the band, I promise.
The synopsis reads:
Hank (McConaughey) and Job (Bridges) lead a pleasant life as two high school teachers. They’ve roomed together for twenty years, laughing and playing practical jokes. When a new science teacher upsets the children by telling them they’re all descended from monkeys and Jesus is more a social construct than a historical being, Hank and Job team up with the local Klan to organise a ‘Jesus is NOT an Asshole’ gala. Sued by I want to say Jewish people from New York, they take their case all the way to the Supreme Court and Neil Gorsuch.
God is NOT an Asshole will be released in time for Christmas.
REVIEW – HELL OR HIGH WATER – Weirdly, Chris Pine is quite good in this.
Chris Pine and Ben Foster play two bank robbing brothers, hunted across Texas by Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham in Hell or High Water. Written by Sicario scribe Taylor Sheridan and directed by David MacKenzie, the movie is a superior crime caper, whose only sin is wanting everybody to be likeable. The narrative changes the characters to accommodate. For instance, the two young brothers begin the film as bumbling amateurs but finish like masterminds.
It’s like No Country for Old Men without the darkness. Tragedy and violence will happen, but because of misunderstandings. There are killings, but without hatred. That said the violence has palpable emotional consequences. Structurally it most resembles Heat with the cops and robbers as estranged brothers idea. The acting is superb and both the younger and older generation acquit themselves well. Bridges and Birmingham are great fun to watch as a squabbling pair, like an old married couple waiting for the divorce papers to arrive.
The score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is also worth a listen.
WASHINGTON – Empire issues order to review all switch locations.
The Galactic Empire has announced that it is to review how it locates its switches at all major facilities, following a recent attack on the planet of Scarif. The Grand Moff Tarkin spoke EXCLUSIVELY to the Studio Exec via hologram:
It’s obvious that following the last incursion by the rebel scum that we are making it far too easy for them. The attack on Scarif was facilitated by what can only be described as a random distribution of important switches and control panels around the main base. Some of them were even outside armored bunkers. When surely inside would have been a better option. We’ve tried putting some vital controls on the end of gantries high above the ground, hoping that any rebel might get dizzy but to be honest they seem to enjoy the challenge. Still, I’m confident we’ll overcome them.
On another note, how do you feel about your CGI enhancements?
It’s becoming quite a club, isn’t it? Tron’s Jeff Bridges, the young Arnold Terminator, the dead-eyed children of Polar Express, we’ve all been Zemeckised! I can’t say I’m over the moon. But that isn’t a moon anyway. It’s a space station.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story out now.
In our continuing series of ’47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams’, we look at John Huston’s grimly brilliant boxing picture Fat City.
The fact of the matter is there have been more decent Boxing pictures than there have been decent boxing matches and John Huston’s Fat City is one of the best. Stacey Keach is the man who wakes up in his underwear in a flea pit boarding house, his bottle down to the dregs and unable to find a light. As Kris Kristoferson – who was legally required to write a song for every US film from 1971 to 1974 – croons about headaches, Billy Tully (Keach) stumbles out onto the street and heads for the gym where he is hoping to perhaps pick up the pieces. Here he meets young Ernie (Jeff Bridges) and the two spar. Tully’s comeback seems already over when he pulls a muscle but on his advice, Ernie goes to the local gym where he is taken on by Tully’s old coach Ruben (Nicholas Colasanto, who played coach in Cheers).
This is no Rocky, or Million Dollar Baby, or Raging Bull, or Southpaw. Those films all follow a similar trajectory, a rise and fall. They all perceive their particular fighter as in some way special – a contender. In Fat City, both Ernie and Tully are nothing special, except for the novelty that they’re white fighting among the black and Mexicans who make up the circuit. Ernie is particularly inept as a boxer and gets himself knocked out in his first bout, his nose broken badly in the next. When he does win a fight by a decision, we don’t even see it. Tully’s belated comeback fight is a brutal affair against another old fighter who is a similarly aging slugger and who pisses blood before the fight.
This is John Steinbeck country, or something Charles Bukowski might have written if he’d stopped for a second writing books about himself. Poor Californians – both Ernie and Tully end up fruit picking at one point – along with the poverty and possible brain damage, Tully has the additional abuse of alcoholism to contend with and a relationship with fellow boozer Oma (a magnificent Susan Tyrell), who for a moment gives him companionship but ultimately torments him. Ernie also has a girl Faye (Candy Clarke) and things seem more hopeful when he gets her pregnant and marries her.
Adapted from his own novel by Leonard Gardner, Fat City is a film that refuses the glamour of the usual boxing pic. There’s no escape from poverty – Cinderella Man – there’s no redemption or defeating of demons, no glory and no glamour. In the end there’s a brutal honesty and a small perfect epic about the losers who never get to Fat City.
WELLINGTON – Peter Jackson’s post-Hobbit project, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, seems to be confirmed as Jeff Bridges announces his next project will be to star as the Tolkien forest dweller and mushroom muncher.
Speaking from his Malibu home, Jeff Bridges said that he was ‘looking forward to entering the world of Middle Earth and inhabiting a much loved but sadly neglected character.’
Bridges went on to say:
I spoke with Peter Jackson over the phone and we had this long conversation about the way Tom should look and how he behaves. We think he should be a laid back ‘Dude’ if you will. You know chilling in the forest. Strumming on a Middle Earth type of guitar. “It’ll be a stretch for me,” I told Peter “but I’ll see what I can do.” The other thing that really excites me is the musical element, and Pete is really keen to make this the first full blown musical set in Middle Earth.
The soundtrack is currently being written, as we speak, by Kanye West, although Bridges said:
There’s going to be a lot of trash talk and drugs speak but I’ll be insisting on putting a bit of country in there as well. I loved what I did with Crazy Heart and I would love to do some more. We’ve got a version of ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ which will be far out.
Jackson himself has long talked about the movie as a dream project. He spoke to the Studio Exec on the phone:
Cutting Bombadil out of The Fellowship of the Ring was one of the hardest decisions of my career. I knew that he was a much loved character because I loved him as well. But the fact of the matter is that Tom Bombadil is an anti-narrative element. He slows everything down to his own pace. He sings endless songs and goes off into reveries and doesn’t seem to be fully there. By giving him his own movie we’ll give him a lot of space to do that and this is also going to be the greenest of all the Middle Earth movies.
Are there any other Middle Earth movies in the pipeline?
I don’t think so though I’d dearly love to see The Silmarillion brought to the big screen. I did write a treatment, but when we looked at the story and the epic breadth of it, I soon realized this would have to be at least fifteen movies.
The first installment of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil: I Hate the Eagles is due out, December 2016.
HOLLYWOOD – Martin Scorsese’s sequel to the Terry Gilliam classic The Fisher King has just finished filming in Taiwan.
Starring Andrew Garfield in the role of Jack Lucas, a former shock jock who on inadvertently causing a mass shooting in a restaurant and falls from grace, Martin Scorsese’s film has been shooting under the strictest of secrecy. The 1991 film starred Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams as a homeless man called Parry who Jack befriends and who helps Jack put together his life by facing what he has done. Details about the new film are relatively scarce but one synopsis reveals:
Two Jesuit priests – Jack Law (Andrew Garfield) and Parry (Adam Driver) travel to 17th century Japan. Here, the Tokugawa shogunate has banned Catholicism and all foreign contact. Japanese Christians are persecuted at the hands of their own government which wishes to purge Japan of all western influence. Jack Law travels the countryside, wondering why God remains silent while His children suffer.
As can be gleaned from this short synopsis, Fisher King 2 looks like a prequel rather than a direct follow on, perhaps using the idea of the Arthurian myth of the original Fisher King to take us way back into history to one of Jack’s distant ancestors.
The Fisher King 2 will be released in 2016.
Image courtesy of @ThePixelFactor.
WELLINGTON – Kiwi and Heavenly Creatures director Peter Jackson has announced that he is in pre-production on a stand alone movie that will see him return once more to Middle Earth: Tom Bombadil.
The constantly singing herb loving hippy was a character that Jackson excised from The Fellowship of the Ring much to the chagrin of many fans. In the original Tolkien book, Tom turns up in the Old Forest as the Hobbits flee the Black Riders and gives them all magic mushrooms and plays them Ozric Tentacles albums, or something. Jackson initially expressed regret:
I would have loved to have had Tom in the film, but it slowed down the story and at the time, I actually cared about things like pace! How young I was, how naive!
To make up for lost time, Jackson has already committed to a seven picture deal.
Although Tom only appears briefly in The Fellowship of the Ring, there is masses of stuff in the appendices, not actually about him. But I think if Tolkien was here today he would be saying to me, Go on, Peter mate! Exploit my intellectual property for all it’s worth. And I fully intend to do it.
As for casting, Jackson says nothing is certain but ‘we need someone who can sing and dance and act and grow a large beard and so Jeff Bridges, don’t go making any plans.’
Tom Bombadil: A Totally Expected Spin Off will hit screens sometime in 2015.