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March 01, 2009

Salman Rushdie on adaptation and why Slumdog is shit.

Salman Rushdie on celluloid adaptations of novels | Books | The Guardian
What can one say about Slumdog Millionaire, adapted from the novel Q&A by the Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup and directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan, which won eight Oscars, including best picture? A feelgood movie about the dreadful Bombay slums, an opulently photographed movie about extreme poverty, a romantic, Bollywoodised look at the harsh, unromantic underbelly of India - well - it feels good, right? And, just to clinch it, there's a nifty Bollywood dance sequence at the end. (Actually, it's an amazingly second-rate dance sequence even by Bollywood's standards, but never mind.) It's probably pointless to go up against such a popular film, but let me try. The problems begin with the work being adapted. Swarup's novel is a corny potboiler, with a plot that defies belief: a boy from the slums somehow manages to get on to the hit Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and answers all his questions correctly because the random accidents of his life have, in a series of outrageous coincidences, given him the information he needs, and are conveniently asked in the order that allows his flashbacks to occur in chronological sequence. This is a patently ridiculous conceit, the kind of fantasy writing that gives fantasy writing a bad name. It is a plot device faithfully preserved by the film-makers, and lies at the heart of the weirdly renamed Slumdog Millionaire. As a result the film, too, beggars belief. It used to be the case that western movies about India were about blonde women arriving there to find, almost at once, a maharajah to fall in love with, the supply of such maharajahs being apparently endless and specially provided for English or American blondes; or they were about European women accusing non-maharajah Indians of rape, perhaps because they were so indignant at having being approached by a non-maharajah; or they were about dashing white men galloping about the colonies firing pistols and unsheathing sabres, to varying effect. Now that sort of exoticism has lost its appeal; people want, instead, enough grit and violence to convince themselves that what they are seeing is authentic; but it's still tourism. If the earlier films were raj tourism, maharajah-tourism, then we, today, have slum tourism instead. In an interview conducted at the Telluride film festival last autumn, Boyle, when asked why he had chosen a project so different from his usual material, answered that he had never been to India and knew nothing about it, so he thought this project was a great opportunity. Listening to him, I imagined an Indian film director making a movie about New York low-life and saying that he had done so because he knew nothing about New York and had indeed never been there. He would have been torn limb from limb by critical opinion. But for a first world director to say that about the third world is considered praiseworthy, an indication of his artistic daring. The double standards of post-colonial attitudes have not yet wholly faded away.

Continue reading "Salman Rushdie on adaptation and why Slumdog is shit." »

February 26, 2009

Fuck Yes: Warner Bros. considering Suicide Squad movies

Warner mounting a Suicide Squad movie, based on DC comic | SCI FI Wire

John Ostrander's "Suicide Squad" is one of DC's best runs ever. Bar none. It tells the story of a secret government intelligence program where imprisoned criminals are given the chance to earn their freedom by doing unsavory jobs for the American government. Like say, killing foreign superheroes, preventing assassinations, breaking into Russian jails, etc. The schemes are by-the-book, but the disposable crew of psychotic loners, unstable sorceresses, complete failures, and government soldiers always meshed in fascinating ways.

This could be an awesome film. Or a really, really shitty one.

Warner Brothers is developing a film based on the DC Comics property Suicide Squad for Dan Lin (Sherlock Holmes) to produce as a potential franchise, Variety reported.

Suicide Squad concentrates on a group of incarcerated supervillains recruited by the government to accomplish a task deemed too dangerous for superheroes.

February 20, 2009

Kids in the Hall -- I've been kidnapped

Kids in the Hall - Danny Husk is Kidnapped

February 19, 2009

All of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 3 minutes

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (Abridged) Video by NOT ME - MySpace Video

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (Abridged)

February 17, 2009

Pride and . . . Predator?

Rocket launches 'Predator' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety

Elton John's Rocket Pictures hopes to make the first Jane Austen adaptation to which men will drag their girlfriends.

Will Clark is set to direct "Pride and Predator," which veers from the traditional period costume drama when an alien crash lands and begins to butcher the mannered protags, who suddenly have more than marriage and inheritance to worry about.

. . .

"It felt like a fresh and funny way to blow apart the done-to-death Jane Austen genre by literally dropping this alien into the middle of a costume drama, where he stalks and slashes to horrific effect," Furnish said.