Nobody wants to go back to Hogwarts ever again, but Mike Newell’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is set there, and the one after that, Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix (due in ’07, with or without Mira Nair directing), is set there, I think. (Am I wrong?) Hogwarts is confinement…it’s a sentence for grand larceny. Burn it down, blow it up, ransack it, etc. Come to think of it, no one I know really wants to see another Potter movie. The actors love making them because they’re getting paid the big bucks, and Warner Bros. execs will keep making them as long as they keep making money…but nobody of any considered taste or perception wants to see these films anymore. They’re torture, and yet there are several more to come.
Time to grab that hitching post with both hands and bend over…with feeling. Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, based on a short story by E. Annie Proulx and slated for release by Focus Features in October ’05, is about a couple of semi-closeted gay ranch hands (Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal) whose love for each other goes through some changes and challenges over a 20-year period (during the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s…around there). Pic began shooting last May and has presumably wrapped; the script is by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana. The last time this particular “ride ’em cowboy!” aesthetic played on the big screen was in 1969, I think, when Andy Warhol’s Lonesome Cowboys opened in a few art houses. Does anyone remember this thing? It’s sloppily improvised and half-assedly hilarious in a lazy-dopey way. Joe Dallesandro dancing with Taylor Mead to the Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour”….cowboys leaning against hitching posts while doing their ballet warm-up exercises, etc. Not on tape or DVD, apparently…and about as far removed from the ethos of Lonesome Dove as a “western” could possibly be.
USA Today‘s Susan Wloszyna reports that the long-awaited filming of The Fantastic Four, based on the Marvel comic about three guys and a girl who acquire special powers after “getting caught in a cosmic storm in outer space,” is underway in Vancouver. The stars are Chris Evans (Cellular) as the Human Torch, Ioan Gruffudd (King Arthur) as Mr. Fantastic, Jessica Alba (TV’s Dark Angel) as Sue Storm and Michael Chiklis (The Shield) as the Thing. The director is Tim Story (Barbershop) and…whoops, there’s already a warning light flashing. It’s indicated by a sentence in Wloszyna’s story, to wit: “Alas, the Thing’s trademark stogie might be stubbed out, due to PC concerns.” An action-fantasy movie that’s afraid of cigars? What ass-clown decided to ban one of the central thematic acessories of the Schwarzenegger administration? This is the blade of grass revealing the mediocrity of the entire lawn.