When In Doubt, Trust the Trailer

I don’t know about you, but I am rarely influenced by a review for a film that I’ve already decided that I want to see.

How then do I make the decision in the first place, if not by reading the opinions of so-called experts whose opinions I value and trust? First, I take into account the alchemy of cast, director and screenwriter, their track records, news surrounding production, and of course, the plot, especially if it’s based on a book I’ve read and loved.  The coup de grâce is the trailer.

If I enjoy a movie’s trailer, the probability is high that I’ll give the actual film a chance, even if any of the above elements are weak.

Does this formula ever backfire? Pffft. Certainly. How many times have we seen a movie where all of the best jokes or action scenes were in the trailer? I’ve also paid good money to see films that ticked all of the boxes and still turned out to be real turkeys. The Unbearable Lightness of Being (or The Unbearable Length of This Movie, as a friend and I refer to it) comes to mind.  Great book – check. Great cast, including Daniel Day Lewis, Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin – check. Great director (Philip Kaufman) – check.

Great trailer – check:

Add all of that together and what do you get? Nearly three hours of utter boredom that I will never get back. (You may disagree. Roger Ebert gave it four stars back in 1988.)

You want a more recent example? There are plenty, but how about Dreamcatcher? It was directed by Lawrence Kasdan from a novel by Stephen King with a screenplay by William Goldman, starring Damian Lewis, Jason Lee, Timothy Olyphant and Morgan Freeman.

The trailer:

Seriously, doesn’t the Castle Rock logo combined with all the rest give you certain expectations, cause goosebumps or at last instill a bit of curiosity?  Dreamcatcher wasn’t based on King’s best work, I’ll grant you, but astoundingly, this confluence of talent managed to make from it something totally suck-tacular.

At any rate, when thinking about a movie’s trailer, the opposite is also true.  It is said that a film is truly created by the editor. After everyone else has done their jobs, it falls to the editor to arrange the pieces of the puzzle to tell the story and deliver the finished product.  The trailers for these products are designed to sell them. The editors of the trailers have to then parse out that finished product into small digestible bits to feed to whatever audience the distributors of the product want to reach.

If, after the first viewing, usually in a theater in front of a movie I have already paid to see, which leads these marketing wizards to assume that I will want to see this new one, I turn to my companions and shrug “meh”, those wizards have almost certainly already lost me.

If the trailer for a film fails to elicit the intended response, whether that be to laugh at a comedy, feel the beating heart of a love story or the least little bit of dread or curiosity for what comes next in a thriller, I’m probably going to pass, unless word of mouth manages to change my mind.  But, no amount of good press or even the urging of friends I trust can get me to see a movie after the trailer has made me cringe in embarrassment for the participants and/or left me with the desire to never have to see it again. (Which pretty much ensures that I will have to see it every time I turn on the television, but I digress.)

All of this brings me to one of this weekend’s new releases, Snatched. It’s nominally a mother-daughter buddy comedy let loose just in time for Mother’s Day. It stars Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, both gifted comediennes, although they couldn’t be more different in style or tone.

I love Amy Schumer’s comedy. She’s original and fearless and her standup is hilarious.  Goldie Hawn is an icon. Read  her name and you know with 99% certainty what you’re going to get and that’s okay. She carved out that niche and she owns it. Sure, there have been some misfires during the span of a forty plus year career, but when she was on top of her game like she was in Foul Play or Private Benjamin, Goldie Hawn was a joy to behold and so were the movies. So what the hell happened?

Here’s the trailer:

Destined to make a pile of cash big enough to be seen from space, it’s safe to say that none of my dollars will be included. I wouldn’t see this movie on pain of death.  This movie looks more like a trainwreck than Trainwreck (which was actually pretty good. Another exception that proves the rule, but the trailer didn’t get a cringe, only a “meh”, and I saw it on cable.) I had numerous opportunities to see advance screenings of Snatched free-of-charge, and was never even tempted.

Reviews for Snatched are beginning to emerge online and most seem to confirm my assessment. My favorite comes from Variety’s Owen Gleiberman. For whatever it’s worth, I don’t always agree with him, in fact I usually refer to him as a curmudgeon who seems to be getting crankier with age.

Excerpt from his review:

“The movie is a jungle-set chase comedy that has many antecedents, from “Romancing the Stone” to “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” but really, “Snatched” is the generic version of a latter-day Paul Feig comedy — which is to say, it’s an attempt to shoehorn Amy Schumer into the action-meets-yocks-meets-sisterhood formula of movies like “The Heat” and “Spy.” …“Snatched” is a flashy piece of product. It doesn’t quite try to turn Amy Schumer into the new Melissa McCarthy, but it reduces her all the same.

… The movie also looks about 10 times better than it needs to; Florian Ballhaus’ cinematography might have served an elegant Amazon Forest thriller. You could say that there’s no harm in Amy Schumer doing a picture like this one, and maybe there isn’t, but she’s one of those actresses who has the potential to bring a rare full-bodied comic voice to movies. That’s a quality that shouldn’t get thrown overboard.”

You can read the whole thing here, but to summarize, it would seem to bear out the theory that even with a good pedigree, the finished product can ultimately be less than the sum of its parts.  We have a lot of entertainment choices these days. If we’re going to leave the comfort of our homes and fork over the money for a first-run movie, we need to be able to make informed decisions.  By all means, take into account reviews, however they are delivered, by people whose opinions you trust, but ultimately, go with your gut. Trust the trailer.

By the way, that last line of Gleiberman’s review was a dig at the film Overboard, in which Goldie Hawn does what she does best, and while it’s not great, it is one of my favorite guilty-pleasures. It’s one of those movies that I own on dvd and still stop to watch at least a bit of if I happen to run across it on tv. I originally saw it at the theater. Why? Because the trailer made me laugh. Out loud.

#GerardButler in #Geostorm Now Brewing in 2017 But What Does It All Mean?

Septembers of Shiraz, movie, poster, Iran, based on novel, Adrian Brody, Salma Hayek, Gerard Butler

I’m sensing it’s the end of an era. You know I work really hard at keeping the faith, keeping the torch of Gerard Butler’s career lit (for all the thanks I get from him), but I have no idea what to make of this newest development. We’ve gone from a possible three films in 2015, to no films in 2015. Three films in the can. All three have now been pushed back from their original release dates.

London Has Fallen, the sequel to 2013’s surprise hit Olympus Has Fallen and the closest thing to a safe bet among the three, will, as of this writing at least, be released in January 22, 2016, pushed back from October 2015. I’ve already complained about the fact that the October 2 date was given to what will surely be an execrable remake of 80’s “classic” Point Break (sorry Edgar Ramirez, but I don’t think even you’ll be able to save it). The reason supposedly had something to do with a crowded fall schedule. The original date would have pitted the film, by a director, Babak Najafi, making his English language debut, against Victor Frankenstein with James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe and Robert ZemeckisThe Walk with Joseph Gordon Levitt, among others.

Alex Proyas’ (RepoMan) Gods of Egypt is slated to follow in April 2016, back from an original date of February 12. Despite the fact that I’m a tad peeved that it won’t open on my birthday, The rescheduled date actually bodes well, on the face of it. February is the new January. While the first month of the year used to a wasteland of dumped films that studios had no confidence in, but figured might make a few bucks, and they had to put out something. These days, quite a few studios are “counter-programming” against the late end of December rush to release awards season fodder, by unleashing some films in January that are not meant to garner awards but just entertain those segments of the population that either have no interest in more high-brow fare, or who have already seen everything. So now February has become the dead space between end of year blockbusters and art films and new Spring films. An April date for Gods of Egypt might just signal a little more faith from its studio, Lionsgate/Summit. They’ll need some faith. They’ve got a huge nut to crack. Twelve special effects companies are expensive. $140 million expensive. (Although supposedly, Lionsgate/Summit’s ante was only around $10 million, because of the international pre-sales and Australia tax incentives.)

Lastly, there’s Geostorm which had originally been slated for an October 2016 release. Today it was announced that it has been pushed back to January 2017. Geostorm is the directorial debut of disaster flick maven, writer/producer Dean Devlin. The cast, in addition to Butler includes Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Mare Winningham, Kathryn Winnick, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia. In it, Butler is a “charming but stubborn satellite designer called in to help when the orbiting devices that control the Earth’s weather start to go haywire, leading to fears that the worst storm humanity has ever known could soon befall us all. Sturgess is his estranged brother, with whom he’ll have to work if he’s to stop the meteorological meltdown.”
No reason has been given for this latest move. It’s been deduced that it is to give Devlin (who is also at work on his TNT series “The Librarians”) more time in post-production (where it’s been since March 2015). So it was originally going to be a year and a half from wrap to release, now it’ll be closer to two years. The same can be said of Gods of Egypt, which when into post in July 2014. Both films are ultra- special effects heavy extravaganzas. The latter takes place almost entirely in front of a green screen.

I actually don’t think this will be the final move for Geostorm. Giving Devlin a few more months to tinker is one thing, but the new date is already crowded with the likes of the Magnificent Seven remake, DreamWorks Animation’s Boss Baby, the LONG gestating version of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower (which hasn’t even filmed yet) and the latest Power Rangers reboot. Regardless of what I think of those films, it’s likely that at least one of them will share ticket buyers with Geostorm. So we’ll see.

While all of this may be out of Gerard Butler’s control, probably yet another reason he’s taken to producing his own films (and he only has a hand in one of these, London Has Fallen), he’s been out of the movie-going public’s eye since October 2013. That’s a Hollywood lifetime. I think this was the point. I’d like to believe that even he had tired of the carnival that is his life. While no one has more fun, in terms of his career, it was time to take a step back and reassess. Or at least that’s what I want to believe. While I know it hasn’t all been endless vacations in between Hugo Boss campaigns, none of these three films add up to what I believe is his own (well-deserved) version of a McConaissance. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but they appear, at first blush, to be more of the same. Perhaps his manager/producing partner Alan Siegel knew of where he spoke when, quite a few years ago, he said (and I’m paraphrasing) that eventually Gerard Butler will disappear completely from in front of the camera and reemerge behind it. Perhaps that’s where he’ll find true creative fulfillment.

Butler will likely be in Toronto this month to attend the Gala premiere of Septembers of Shiraz, during the Toronto International Film Festival. It is the first film he’s shepherded as producer from the purchase of the book’s film rights all the way to the screen, and the first that doesn’t have him in it. It stars the other half of my favorite bromance, Adrien Brody, as well as Salma Hayek and Shohreh Aghdashloo.

Here’s the first clip:

(clip first published on Deadline.com)

The film, directed by Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) and based on the novel by Dalia Sofer, is the true story of a secular Jewish family and the unexpected journey they face during post-revolutionary Iran.

The clip features Farnez Amin (Hayek), pleading for details on the whereabouts of her husband (Brody), who was taken into custody and accused of espionage. “It’s time you understood, sister Amin, that the times when people like you could demand things from us are over. Now, it is our turn,” forewarns Mohsen (Alon Aboutboul).

As events build toward a dangerous bid to escape, Farnez and her husband Isaac Amin must confront their fundamental identity and what their future may hold.”

Movie 43 it ain’t.

I don’t predict huge box office in the US after its as yet to be determined and probably limited release, but it’ll likely have legs overseas and I have no doubt tireless promoter Butler will hand carry it across the globe if need be.

My point, if I have one, is that as the time between films in which Gerard Butler appears on our screens grows longer and longer, and some might well wonder if by the time these films are finally released anyone will still care, we might also ask, will he?

#MattDamon Knows Help Is Only 140 Million Miles Away in #TheMartian’s First Trailer

The Martian, Matt Damon, Sir Ridley Scott, movie, poster

…and he’s gonna “science the shit out of {it}”.

From Sir Ridley Scott, with a cast as impressive as this one boasts, it’s a safe bet that I will see The Martian, even if it were a live action version of Bugs Bunny’s nemesis Marvin the Martian’s life story.  Judging from the just released first trailer, it is not. What it does appear to be is a combination of both Gravity and Interstellar while managing to up the ante on them both.

I.CAN’T.WAIT.

Take a look at this:

While I’m on record as not being a proponent of 3D just for the sake of it, I believe a movie like this will probably benefit from every bit of technological wizardry that’s thrown at it. I’ll see it in IMAX 3D if it’s available.

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.

While Sir Ridley needs no introduction, The Martian is based on a best-selling (first) novel* by Andy Weir, and the screenplay was written by Drew Goddard, also responsible for the scripts for Cloverfield (and its upcoming sequel), The Cabin in the Woods, and World War Z, as well as a lot of episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, “Alias” and “Lost”. Oh yeah, and he created current Netflix hit “Daredevil”.

As he did with Prometheus, Scott has embraced the era of viral marketing. The first promo for The Martian has been released, called “Ares Farewell”. In it, Matt Damon’s Mark Watney “interviews” the crew of the Ares (which for some reason he calls the Hermes. I wonder if the ship’s name was changed?**) as they do their final pre-flight checks. It’s designed to be viewed on your computer or device screen and includes pop-up “tweets”. One of which, “Vogel (Aksel Hennie) has to be the #synthetic right…#AresLive”, is a brilliant reference to characters in Ridley Scott’s previous space films, Alien and Prometheus.

Besides Damon, the cast includes Jessica Chastain***, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Hennie, Donald Glover and Mackenzie Davis.

The Martian, Matt Damon, Sir Ridley Scott, movie, poster

The Martian opens all over this planet beginning with the US on November 25 and the UK on 27th November.

*Weir first published the book in blog form on his own site. When people asked for a downloadable form, he offered it on Amazon for Kindle download at the (then) minimum price of $0.99. Now that’s a self-publishing success story.
**Ares is the Greek God of war. Hermes is the Greek God of transitions and boundaries, as well as being a messenger and a protector and patron of travelers. He’s the equivalent of the Roman God Mercury. Both are typically depicted with wings on their heels and/or helmets. JMHO, but Hermes seems like a better name for the spacecraft taking a crew to Mars.
***Both Damon and Chastain appeared in Interstellar, but shared no scenes together.

Far From the Madding Crowd is Too Far From a Release Date!

Far From the Madding Crowd, movie, Thomas Hardy, based on novel, Carey Mulligan, photo, Matthias Schoenaerts

…because I want to see it now! (Yes, I totally sounded like Veruca Salt in my head as I typed that).

Fox Searchlight has finally given us the first teaser trailer for the latest version of Thomas Hardy’s classic story of a love “quadrangle”, Far From the Madding Crowd. I say finally because it was filmed in early fall 2013, and there’s been barely a whisper about it since it was announced that Carey Mulligan would play Bathsheba Everdene for Danish director Thomas Vinterberg, making his English language debut following the Oscar nominated The Hunt (with Mads Mikkelson).

Mulligan’s suitors are played by Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel Oak, Tom Sturridge as Sgt. Frank Troy and Michael Sheen as William Boldwood.

Take a look:

Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene, who attracts three very different suitors: sheep farmer Gabriel Oak, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy, a handsome and reckless soldier; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.

Vinterberg’s is the fourth big screen version of the story. The first was a 1915 silent. The most well known, however, is John Schlesinger’s which came out in 1967 with Julie Christie, Terence Stamp (Troy), Peter Finch (Boldwood) and Alan Bates (Oak) and a screenplay by Frederic Raphael (Two for the Road, Eyes Wide Shut).

This version was written by David Nicholls (Starter for 10, One Day and the Mike Newell version of Great Expectations). Craig Armstrong (The Great Gatsby, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Love, Actually) did the score. The film also features Juno Temple as Fanny Robin and will make its world premiere in Denmark on April 23 and open in the UK and the US on May 1, 2015.

shut-up-and-take-my-money

#TomHardy “Keeping It Real” For #DennisLehane, #MichaëlRoskam in #TheDrop BTS Featurette

 

The Drop, Tom Hardy, movie, photo, puppy, Dennis Lehane, Michael Roskam

Is there anything cuter than Tom Hardy and a puppy? The answer is no…no, there is not.

Belgian director Michaël Roskam‘s first English-language feature, The Drop, with Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and featuring the late James Gandolfini‘s final screen performance, “drops” in less than two weeks.

The film, in which a man called Bob Saginowski (Hardy) finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost, and one I’ve been talking about for some time (if you’re not a fan of any of the above, sorry, but there’s more to come) was made from the first ever screenplay by writer Dennis Lehane, who adapted is own short story.  He has subsequently turned the screenplay into a novel, out next Tuesday, September 2.

The screenplay itself was based on an earlier Lehane short story called “Animal Rescue,” (the original title for the film- “what was wrong with that?”, I have to ask), which originally appeared in a short story collection called “Boston Noir”, about a killing that results from a lost pit bull.

The Drop, Tom Hardy, movie, photo, puppy, Dennis Lehane, Michael Roskam

See? Told ya.

As the writer explains in the featurette below, that story was based on a book he started more than a decade ago, but shelved.   After the movie was made, he was asked to do a “novelization” of the script, an idea he hated, but found that there were things from from the original novel that didn’t make it to the story or the script plus things original to the script that were cut either from that screenplay or from the finished film, that he still wanted to explore. Add all of that together and the result was a new book, now also called, “The Drop”.

In the interest of full disclosure, I an ardent Lehane fan. He’s one of the few contemporary writers that I feel will always merit the purchase of an actual book, as opposed to the digital version.

Lehane’s work, whatever form it takes, seems to lend itself particularly well to the screen. There have already been memorable adaptations of the novels Mystic River (dir. by Clint Eastwood), Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese) and Gone Baby Gone (which put Ben Affleck on the directorial map). Once Batfleck finally finishes work for Zack Snyder‘s Superman sequel, he’ll be back behind the camera for Live By Night, another Lehane adaptation.

For his part, Lehane is also writing episodes of the final season of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” (JMHO, but that’s reason enough to keep watching)  as well as developing “Ness”, a prospective television project about famed bootleg-buster Eliot Ness.

(Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts, here in his third film for Roskam   is apparently a method actor. Did you catch the Brooklyn accent used throughout?)

The Drop, directed by Michaël Roskam, with Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Elizabeth Rodriguez (“Orange is the New Black”), James Frecheville (Animal Kingdom) and Matthias Schoenaerts will screen at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on Septemer 5. It has also just been announced that the film will screen in competition at the 62nd San Sebastián Film Festival on September 26. It opens in the US on September 12 and in the UK on 14th November.

Latest tv spot:

Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin Deliver a Steamy Labor Day

Josh Brolin, movie, photo, Kate Winslet,  Jason Reitman, Labor Day

Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet in Jason Reitman’s Labor Day

Another film you more than likely missed in the theaters is Labor Day, directed by Jason Reitman with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. (I’d been following it since filming began, since the story takes place and was filmed in the suburbs west of Boston. But I digress.) The movie is a sweet, old-fashioned love story. The type that could easily have been made by Howard Hawks in the 1940s or Nicholas Ray or Douglas Sirk in the 1950s, the type about which it could appropriately be said, “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore”. Until this one came along, that is.

Critics, for the most part, savaged the film. Perhaps they’d have found it more plausible if it starred Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall (or Gloria Grahame) or even Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer. It was the first of Reitman’s films to earn a “rotten” score on Rotten Tomatoes, let alone fail to earn a single Academy Award nomination (although Winslet did earn an obligatory Golden Globe nod. The HFPA loves her).

Never one to let someone else tell me what I should like, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the fact that Reitman took a chance on a genre completely out of his comfort zone. I enjoyed seeing Josh Brolin’s tender side. And of course, I enjoyed Kate Winslet as Adele, a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown who not only finds love, but manages to find herself again, over the course of this one strange and sticky long weekend.

It’s not really a spoiler if I mention the pie-making scene in which Brolin’s escaped convict, Frank, teaches Winslet’s blowzy single mother how to bake a peach pie. It rivals Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore and the clay in Ghost.

But that’s getting ahead of myself. There is no “meet cute” for Frank and Adele, it’s more a “meet terrifying”. It’s 1987. The agoraphobic Adele and her 13 year old son Henry (an amazing Gattlin Griffith) have made the painful journey out of the house and into town because school is about to start and Henry has outgrown his old clothes. She’s terrified, he’s patient. While Adele trepidatiously pushes her cart through the store, Henry wanders off to look at comic books. Out from behind the rack pops a bleeding man. Having recently escaped from prison, Frank forces Adele and Henry to drive him to their house where he proceeds to hold them hostage.

There is, of course, a lot more to Frank than his arrest record. The house is, of course, as unkempt and rundown as Adele herself and soon, as only happens in the movies, the hostage situation dissolves into something else entirely and we see Frank teaching Henry how to throw a baseball; he waxes floors and even irons. And again, as only happens in the movies, pretty soon it’s not only Adele’s car that gets a tune-up.

For her part, Adele used to be a bright, vibrant woman until tragedy struck. As the adult Henry explains in voice-over (Tobey Maguire), “I don’t think losing my father broke my mother’s heart, but rather losing love itself”. It’s plain to see from the beginning that these two people need each other.

Reitman admits that the hardest hurdle raised by the story was why this woman would take in this strange man in the first place, one who’s bleeding and probably dangerous to boot. And what about Henry, who is obviously a mature and savvy 13, why wouldn’t he stop her? But if you’re along for the ride, you understand. It’s because Adele sees the way he treated her son, and she responds to his courtesy toward her as well, and whenever she thinks he’ll behave one way, he surprises her.

Adele also can’t bring herself to turn her back on Frank’s wound. Despite the fact that she can’t take care of herself, she has the skill to care for Frank. Again, we know that there is much more to the stories of these people, some of it we’re shown, some of it we intuit. If you’ve seen and enjoyed any of Reitman’s previous films, you know he is a master storyteller, and one of the biggest reasons is that he understands human nature. He helps us to understand that these two wounded people just fit.

Okay, okay, before the eyerolling begins, let me add that I can understand how you might have some difficulty buying into all of that, at least on the face of it. But it is Winslet and Brolin, (such an unexpected pairing in real life and on film), and their earthy, sexually-charged chemistry that sells the entire package. Sure it’s a preposterous premise. But it was no less preposterous when Joyce Maynard published the novel in 2009. It became a bestseller and achieved widespread critical acclaim. Why any of this would be any less easy to accept in film form, from a cast and crew as talented as this movie had, doesn’t make much sense to me.

Jason Reitman read the book and immediately knew he wanted to adapt it for a film. He told a TIFF 2013 audience, “I wanted to know why these broken people needed each other, and slowly, the answer unveiled itself to me. I was overwhelmed. Parts of the book leveled me, and I cried.”

For my money, Labor Day is a warm and lovely little film about longing, hope, and the redemptive power of love, beautifully photographed by Reitman regular Eric Steelberg, with an evocative score by another regular, Rolfe Kent (who also composed the score for Dom Hemingway).

It was a novel, not a memoir. It’s a movie, not a documentary. If it’s a good story, emotionally gripping, well told and well acted, isn’t that enough?

Labor Day also stars Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek, J.K. Simmons, and Brooke Smith. It’s out on dvd and blu-ray today, August 5.

Trailer:

First Look: Emma Thompson Is Robert Carlyle’s Mother

Ray Winstone, Robert Carlyle, The Legend of Barney Thomson, movie, photo

Ray Winstone, Robert Carlyle on the set of The Legend of Barney Thomson

Another one of my favorites, actor Robert Carlyle, has spent the summer up in Glasgow where he has just finished principal shooting on his directorial debut, a black comedy called The Legend of Barney Thomson. The photo above of the director with one of his stars, Ray Winstone, is the first image from the set .

There is so much for me to like about this, I can hardly contain myself. In addition to directing, Carlyle plays Barney and stars along with Winstone and the always wonderful Emma Thompson, who will bring her formidable acting skills to bear as she plays the mother of a man who is a mere two years her junior. The script is based on a popular series of novels by Douglas Lindsay, with a screenplay by BAFTA winning writer Colin McLaren and Richard Cowan.

Barney Thomson, awkward, diffident, Glasgow barber, lives a life of desperate mediocrity and his uninteresting life is about to go from 0 to 60 in five seconds, as he enters the grotesque and comically absurd world of the serial killer.Complicating matters further, Barney’s mother, Cemolina (Thompson) cheerfully emasculates him at every turn, causing a bloody and comedic chain of events. While Barney clumsily tries to cover his tracks, Glasgow police inspector Holdall (Winstone) fights his own battles within his inept homicide department as he tries to solve the crime of the century.

The rest of the cast includes Sir Tom Courtenay, James Cosmo , Ashley Jensen, Martin Compston, and Brian Pettifer.
Icon (Mel Gibson’s company) has the UK distribution rights, so although The Legend of Barney Thomson doesn’t yet have a release date, I think it’s safe to assume one will be forthcoming. When I know, you’ll know.

In the meantime, peep these pics of Ms Thompson and Mr. Carlyle on set.