Thursday, May 16, 2013

P.T. Anderson Tackles Pynchon's 'Inherent Vice'

By Steve Evans

One of my favorite active directors, Paul Thomas Anderson, is working on an adaptation of Inherent Vice, a novel by one of my favorite authors, Thomas Pynchon.

Anderson (There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights) makes some of the most challenging and intelligent films of anyone working today, albeit he makes them far too infrequently to suit me. Pynchon's material seems tailor-made for Anderson's sensibilities, which is a roundabout way of saying I am excited. His new project reunites Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line).

Inherent Vice follows a late-1960s private eye investigating drug traffickers connected to a former lover. Crosses and double-crosses pepper the noir plot.

Anderson's screenplay adaptation has reportedly received the blessings of the reclusive Pynchon, whose debut novel V. (1963) is considered one of the great literary works of the 20th century.

Cinema Uprising copyright © 2013 by Steve Evans. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Laughing at the World’s End

By Steve Evans

Delighted to report that The World's End from British director Edgar Wright will release stateside in August. He reunites with funnymen Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who romped through Wright’s previous comedies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. World’s End is no less high-concept.

Wright’s new film follows a group of childhood friends on an epic pub crawl through the little Hertfordshire town of Letchworth on the night of an extraterrestrial invasion. Their goal is to consume 50 beers each at a dozen bars, culminating with a nightcap pint at The World’s End, a famed pub that they failed to reach during their first attempt 25 years earlier. The friends vow to get annihilated. Little do they know. On this night it’s literally the end of the world as aliens attack. But when you've knocked down 50+ pints of beer, how can you really tell?

The trailer contains unmistakable similarities to Wright’s near-classic zombie-spoof Shaun of the Dead (2004), though astute genre fans will see a tip o’ the hat to old chestnuts like Tobe Hooper’s insane science fiction zombie film Lifeforce (1985) and Children of the Damned (1963), as well. Lots of influences bubbling in this Mulligan's Stew of a movie.

Despite the whiff of familiarity in the trailer, I’m thinking this picture will be a hoot. The Shaun of the Dead trailer did not do justice to that film, which only found an audience months later on DVD. I loved it, and zombie-minded director George Romero reportedly did, too. Three years later, Hot Fuzz turned the buddy-cop genre inside-out, making it impossible to watch a noisy action movie like Lethal Weapon ever again with a straight face (which is not to say you ever could).

Pegg and Frost make one of the cinema’s great comedy teams, while Wright brings a twisted sense of humor and encyclopedic knowledge of genre to his films. Here’s hoping their third outing delivers some badly-needed anarchy to a summer film schedule dominated by sequels and superheroes.

If only childish movies will be playing this summer, at least this one promises to be truly juvenile.

The first trailer for The World’s End:

Cinema Uprising copyright © 2013 by Steve Evans. All rights reserved.