TMR: Von Trier vs Scorsese vs ‘Taxi Driver’ and how to see ‘Frozen’ locally

02.15.10 7 years ago 2 Comments


Welcome to The Morning Read.

Last week got crazy busy, and the Morning Read suffered for it. Such is the ebb and flow of columns, I suppose, but here we are at the start of a new week, and there’s more than a little bit to talk about, so no time to waste…

First, there’s the report that began with the Danish magazine Echo over the weekend. Congratulations are due to the Danish magazine Echo, because I now know that the Dutch magazine Echo exists. Well-played. The “news,” such as it is, sounded like Lars Von Trier, the cinematic terrorist behind “Anti-Christ,” “Breaking The Waves, and ” “Dancer In The Dark,” had made a deal with Martin Scorsese to remake “Taxi Driver” with Robert De Niro starring in it. And, suitably, people exploded because that is sacred ground, and taken at face value, there’s something almost numbing about reading “remake of ‘Taxi Driver'” at this point in pop culture’s Ouroboros.

The truth, though, is actually exciting in a “what if?” sort of a way.  It doesn’t sound like any deal has been made to do anything, but Scorsese is a self-avowed Von Trier fan, which makes perfect sense.  There’s a playful appreciation of form to even the most punishing of Von Trier’s films, and I think Scorsese is the sort of film nerd who gets a boner from mise en scene and aesthetic formalism in people’s work.  He loves movies where the director’s hand is evident, and he has a love for the classic Hollywood women’s pictures.  There was a sense in all of those films that being a woman is rough because the universe has it in for them, and if Scorsese was reared on those, as he seems to have been, it’s no wonder he tunes in to what Von Trier does.  Now… does that mean he’s going to take on a challenge from Von Trier, a la “The Five Obstructions”?  That’s another question, and he’s got a really full plate in the next few years, starting with his upcoming kid’s film “The Invention Of Hugo Cabret,” which goes in front of the camera this summer.  It’s a love-letter look at a young boy who becomes friends with Georges Melies in Paris, and early reports indicate it’ll be the first 3D film from Scorsese.  He also still wants to make “Silence” and several other already-announced projects, so I’m not sure where he’d find time to do it.  And the translation of the piece from Echo leaves a lot of room for uncertainty.

Still, Variety seems to think it’s happening for real, and there’s a statement coming soon from Peter Aalbaeck Jensen, who is Von Trier’s producer, which will clarify what we’re supposed to be seeing.  Right now, it sounds like it’s going to be a movie like “The Five Obstructions,” in which Von Trier challenged his ido Jorgen Leth to remake his own short film five times, each time giving him a different set of rules.  If they did a movie where it was “The Five Obstructions: Taxi Driver,” wtih Scorsese and De Niro doing five different riffs on their classic, then I think that sounds like one of the movie events of the year.  Bring.  It.  On.  Still, let’s see how this one shapes up, and if it really ends up happening at all.

Meanwhile, I saw a few people linking to some “Batman 3” rumors over the long weekend, and I have to jump in to sink this one right away.  It literally causes me distress to see how stupid some rumors are, and when they get traction, I understand… it’s because people are desperate for some real information on these projects.  But, please, people… think before you link.  When the article begins like this, “This news comes from a ‘plot outliner’ (he couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me his actual title) at Warner Bros. Apparently, before a screenwriter is hired, one or more of these ‘plot outliners’ figure out the basic building blocks of the story-characters, setting, theme, etc.-and then pass it on to the screenwriter to be hammered into the movie script format,” then you can stop reading.  Right there.  Because whatever follows is nonsense.  Can you imagine that phone call from Jeff Robinov to Chris Nolan?  “Hi, Chris, I hope you got the plot outline the temp wrote.  Yeah, he put in some themes and stuff for you, and he put down which villains are in the movie.  I’ve got merchandising making Riddler hats right now, so get to that pesky screenwriting part of things.  Thanks!”  That link is junk.  Trash.  Balderdash.  Bank on it.

Scott Weinberg and Devin Faraci got in an article-skirmish about werewolf movies, and you know why that’s a good thing?  Because now you have TWO articles about werewolves to read, and not just one.  Yay!

Have you seen this?

I think it’s safe to say I don’t want to work in an office with Rob Huebel.  Good lord.

Rian Johnson’s entry on “Popcorn Fiction” proves once again that the site defies easy definition, which is exactly what makes it so exciting.

Wow.  This shouldn’t be news to anyone, but reading it laid out so succinctly is sort of harrowing.

I’m starting to really like the idea behind the new column at Film School Rejects, “For Science,” and I think it’s the new entry that finally pushed me over the edge.  Dr. Cole Abaius was challenged to watch five Asylum movies back-to-back, and he did so for science.  How’d the experiment go?  The poor guy will never be the same.

Today is the 20th anniversary of “The Breakfast Club.”  It’s also the 30th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube.  And the 28th anniversary of Eric “Quint” Vespe from Ain’t It Cool.  Big day.  To celebrate, all Hughes fans (and I’m pretty sure Quint would count himself as one) should check out the amazing coverage of John Hughes that was part of the recent Vanity Fair Hollywood issue.  There’s a piece about the John Hughes archive that is mostly photos.  There are some remarkable rarities in there, and who knew he could draw so well?  There’s the big piece by David Kamp that is really sort of heartbreaking and great, as well as some internet-only bits that didn’t make the article.  I think the real gem of their coverage though is the piece about the secret fiction that John Hughes was publishing under the name JL Hudson.  Amazing.

BoingBoing published a piece this weekend about an animated pilot that was intended for Nickelodeon but never sold.  Looking at the pilot, which is available now online, I’m baffled.  So much fun:

“The Modifyers” animated pilot from Chris Reccardi on Vimeo.

And speaking of fun, want to have a little viral marketing fun with “Tron Legacy”?  It’s not required, of course, but if you’re the sort who enjoys these games, then Coming Soon broke the news today about a new game that is underway.  It was actually kickstarted at last year’s Comic-Con, where playing the game led people to Flynn’s Arcade.  I’m not sure what the endgame is with this particular go-round, but I suspect we’ll find out soon enough.

Werner Herzog fans should appreciate this.

And for Tommy Wiseau fans, here’s an early Christmas present:

Oh, god, Tommy, keep talking.  KEEP TALKING.

Hitchcock fans, don’t think I’m leaving you out.  Here’s one for you, too.  Because when I think of Tommy Wiseau and Werner Herzog, OF COURSE, I think of Hitchcock next.

I’ll bookend the article with another fascinating potential film that isn’t getting anywhere near the same sort of play as the “Taxi Driver” film, but it should.  It sounds like Andy Serkis and Nick Cave are collaborating on a motion-capture version of “The Threepenny Opera,” and that’s one of the most unusual and promising things I’ve heard in a while.  I’ll bet it’s unforgettable, good or bad.

And before we go, as promised, if you’re in an area where you read about a lot of limited release movies but they never play where you are, things are starting to happen to change that, and right now, there’s a way you can make it happen for yourself.   I’ll let director Adam Green explain:

“Thanks to everyone who supported FROZEN this past weekend. The reviews and reactions are beyond anything we could have hoped for and despite the blizzards and the Super Bowl- you guys still made it out to the theater to support something original. However, many of you did NOT get FROZEN in your favorite theater on it’s opening weekend due to it’s small and limited release.

Now you can change that!

In response to how amazing the early reactions and glowing reviews have been for FROZEN, Anchor Bay has now agreed to send a print of the film to any theater that requests it. The power is in YOUR hands to get FROZEN playing at a theater near you! All you have to do is speak to your theater’s manager and make sure that he/she knows how much you want FROZEN playing in your favorite theater. All they need to do is request a print from Anchor Bay- and you’ll be on your way to getting FROZEN. Have your theater e-mail Anchor Bay at “’ to make the request.

Remember, the theater manager needs to make the request from Anchor Bay. If you want to write in to that email address and tell Anchor Bay that you want FROZEN, tell them what you think of their limited release strategy, or tell them why the world needs more original genre films supported in theaters- by all means- be my guest. But that won’t get a print shipped to your theater. It is the theater manager that can get the print for you. Don’t take NO for an answer from your theater! Did they tell you there is no room on their screens because this week’s remake is taking up all of them? Don’t stand for that! Tell them how you feel and make sure that they contact Anchor Bay Films for their own print of FROZEN. Don’t be passive and give up. We’re onto something here and it is WORKING! You complain that these original genre films always get damned to unsupported limited releases and all you get is remakes each week… well here’s our chance to change the tide. Let your theaters hear your voices! Let Anchor Bay know you want this and appreciate original genre films!

The time is now. Get FROZEN in your theater! Your voices have already has made a huge difference. Keep it up and let’s get this film everywhere.”

Try it.  See what happens.  E-mail me to tell me if it works.  I liked “Frozen” a lot, and I certainly encourage you to see it, but beyond that, I am curious to see how something like this can work, and if more people will adopt this same business model.

I hope so.

More to come, so I should run.  See you with another Read on Wednesday.

The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Except when it doesn’t.

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