Though I don't often dip into the film news scene here at FMWL, there are a few recent developments I feel obliged to speak on. So, I'd like to offer up a few "Midnight Bites", in which I sink my teeth into some burning issues.
First and foremost, the news has broke that Colin Farrell has been cast in the heavy role opposite Anton Yelchin in Craig Gillespie's remake of the '80s favorite Fright Night. You won't find many people who are bigger fans of Fright Night than I am (in fact, I'm betting it's second to The Blob on the "Most Mentioned Films on FMWL" list), but I'm kind of digging where this remake is heading.
For starters, Gillespie is an established filmmaker whose Lars and the Real Girl is deeply loved by many, including the prestigious The Masha. Yelchin has quickly become a favorite in films like Charlie Bartlett, Alpha Dog (which was otherwise god-awful), and even Terminator Salvation. But Farrell, whom I've backed since Tigerland, is a most exciting addition that instantly adds the remake more credibility than most recent revamps.
Since the project was announced, I've stated repeatedly that the approach to Peter Vincent, as well as the casting of the character, is the pivotal factor that could sway me either way regarding this film. A gothic, Hammer Films inspired approach - like that shown perfectly by Roddy McDowell in the original - probably won't translate to modern audiences. Still, the film will need a strong actor in this role, one with the ability to play both a phony hero and a terrified everyman.
Might I humbly suggest veteran Sean Bean for the role? If the character's approached as an aging version of a Hugh Jackman version of Van Helsing, a sort of Indiana Jones of vampire killing, Bean could be a great fit. He's spent most of his career playing villainous roles in films like The Hitcher remake or National Treasure, and his scene-stealing turn in the first Lord of the Rings film, particularly in his final moments, is a great example of an actor handling moral conflict well. I trust Bean could pull off both the cocky showman and scared hero sides that made Peter Vincent one of my favorite characters of all-time. I know, it's a departure from the original, and it'd be easier to just pick someone like Gary Oldman or John Malkovich, but I think a Bean/Farrell showdown would get me most excited for this rehash.
And remember, no matter what happens with this remake, the original will always still be there for you. In fact, it'll probably be on a souped up Blu-Ray just because this remake's coming. That's a win.
Speaking of re-released films, I'm ecstatic to find that last week was the long anticipated return to DVD of Joe Dante's Matinee! A film I once loved on VHS, Matinee has been residing in the dreaded out-of-print file for several years, but has finally been re-released by Universal.
If you're unfamiliar with the film, Matinee stars John "You're out of your element, Donny!" Goodman as famed gimmick horror producer Lawrence Woolsey - a thinly veiled tribute to House on Haunted Hill/13 Ghosts/The Tingler schlockmaster William Castle. He's promoting his new movie MANT! (Half man, HALF ANT!) at a local theater, amidst the uncertainty of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Though it's been a few years since my last viewing, I recall Matinee very fondly as a film about the power of genre cinema, and will most definitely be reviewing it here soonest. In the meantime, you can read about the film here, or head over to Amazon and get your own copy. If you like Castle, Dante, or Goodman; I doubt you'll regret it.
Lastly, an interview recently confirmed that George A. Romero, the unquestioned Lord of Zombiedom, still plans to make two more Dead flicks. The obvious questions that arise from this announcement are:
A) Considering the decrease in budget and backing for his last three films, where and how will these films reach viewers?
B) What the heck will George call these films? He had enough trouble coming up with Survival of the Dead (see the poster to the left if you don't believe me!) I recently started up a discussion of this via my trusty site Twitter account, in which choices ranged from the excellent and likely - like Rising of the Dead (via The Divemistress of Zombots! fame) and Legend of the Dead (via Emily C. of the criminally under-read The Quest to Watch Every Movie Ever) - to the ridiculous and silly -like my suggestion Funeral of the Dead. If you have ideas, let's hear them in the comments, or join the fun at the twitter with the hashtag #NewDeadTitles.
As for the news that Romero's making two more zed flicks? He's the master, I'm not gonna question him. Bring 'em on!
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