Elaine May’s comedy Ishtar is remembered more for its tremendous financial failings than its actual content. Even causal cinephiles know the name Ishtar simply because of its infamous reputation as the crowning champ of box office defeat. It’s a damn shame though, because it’s a worthy comedy that is bizarrely unique and sorta ahead of its time. The dry, peculiar humor of the film may resonate better with a modern audience and with the new barebones Blu-ray release from Sony, hopefully people give the film another shot. More of our review of the Ishtar “director’s cut” Blu-ray after the jump.
Dick Tracy arrives from another era in comic-book filmmaking, when Hollywood viewed it all with a lot more skepticism than it does now. Marvel efforts were nowhere to be seen and DC rested everything on its two big pillars (Batman and Superman) to carry their cinematic fortunes. So when Tim Burton’s Batman took the world by storm, studios turned to alternative comic book characters to make their mark. We saw The Shadow, The Mask, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and similar efforts rather than more traditional costumed heroes who dominate movie screens today. Dick Tracy, a pet project for director-star Warren Beatty, boasted a huge budget and treated its subject with more respect than most of its fellows. That may explain why it holds up so well in retrospect. Hit the jump for my full review.
We heard on Monday that Warren Beatty made a deal with Paramount to produce, write, direct, and star in a new project after a decade-long hiatus from filmmaking. At the time, there were whispers this was the opportunity for Beatty to play legendary movie mogul Howard Hughes, a role the actor has long coveted. Story details are still scarce, but Deadline hears this is indeed a Hughes-centric project that “involves an affair [Hughes] had with a young woman in the later years of his life.” Beatty’s script is not a biopic, per se. That is understandable, since Beatty is older now (74) than Hughes when he died (70). Deadline’s initial report suggested it may be a comedy.
Beatty is going all out to assemble a supporting cast, meeting with Andrew Garfield, Alec Baldwin, Shia La Beouf, Jack Nicholson, Evan Rachel Wood, Rooney Mara, and wife Annette Bening (duh). Hughes had a lot of famous friends, and I encourage you to match this list of actors to their Old Hollywood counterparts in the comments. Given Beatty’s age, though, the film presumably takes place during Hughes’ recluse years — I do not know who kept him company at this stage in life. More after the jump:
A decade has passed since Warren Beatty’s last appeared on screen in Town & Country. Last week at the Hero Complex Film Festival, Beatty brought up the possibility of a Dick Tracy sequel — but the skeptics outnumber the faithful 20 to 1 on that claim. The Dick Tracy comment at least demonstrated Beatty’s disinterest in retirement. Moreover, Beatty has reportedly been shopping around an original screenplay for the past couple weeks. Tonight Paramount announced a deal with Beatty to produced, direct, and star in the untitled project. Paramount declined to reveal story details — Variety hints it may be the Howard Hughes movie that Beatty has “long wanted to do,” yet Deadline refers to the project as a comedy. (Not sure what to make of that. If Dick Tracy fought Howard Hughes, that would be funny, right?)
Casting is currently underway; production is scheduled for later this year. As someone who always wondered why follow the last stage of the Clint Eastwood career arc, I’d like to say, “Welcome back, Mr. Beatty. Godspeed.”
For the past few days at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Geoff Boucher of The Los Angeles Times hosted the second annual Hero Complex Film Festival. In attendance were Warren Beatty for Dick Tracy, director Nicholas Meyer for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, writers/producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof for Star Trek (2009), Richard Donner for Superman and Superman II (with an appearance by Geoff Johns), Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. (who was a surprise guest) for Iron Man and Iron Man 2. Of course they both talked a bit about Iron Man 3, The Avengers and Magic Kingdom.
In addition to the previously announced guests, Captain America: The First Avenger screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely premiered the new trailer and talked about the movie, and Mike Mignola talked about going back to Hellboy. For more on the Festival, hit the jump.
Update: Added some video of Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr.
Director Matthew Vaughn seems to be enjoying the world of superheroes. After directing Kick-Ass and now at work on X-Men: First Class, Vaughn tells Deadline that he’s circling yet another superhero project with The Golden Age. The film is based on a yet-to-be-published comic by Jonathan Ross, husband of frequent Vaughn co-write Jane Goldman. The story centers on a group of “retired superheroes who help out their grandchildren when their middle-aged parent screw up the world.”
Vaughn’s dream-casting is to get Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, and Warren Beatty to play the superheroes, but that may be difficult since Eastwood announced Gran Torino would be his last performance and Beatty hasn’t done a film in about a decade. Vaughn says the success of The Expendables and Red proves there’s a market for older lead actors: “You have these great star names and they’re mainly playing supporting roles now. I want to give them the lead again and let them have some fun.” Hit the jump for more on the project.