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BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS
Never before has an actor so quickly ascended the ranks of my heavily deliberated ‘greatest actors’ hierarchy. Somewhere in the middle of experiencing the whacked-out lunacy that is Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, a realization dawned on me: even at his worst, Cage is always a joy to watch. In The Wicker Man, he wears a bear suit while assaulting women. In Knowing, he crawls into the fetal position and weeps on a bed of rocks. In Ghost Rider, he laughs and screams manically while tearing off his own face. No matter what the film, there always seems to be something about a Nicolas Cage performance that warms my heart and brings a smile to my face, even if it’s for entirely unintended reasons. He may not be the most consistently talented actor, but as far as non-comedic actors go, he is definitely the most consistently funny. Port of Call New Orleans continues this trend, except this time, the effect is fully intentional. I think. In any case, it’s a mad trip of a film, and though from a narrative standpoint it’s kind of a mess, that style is perfectly fitting with the content at hand. It’s really Cage’s show all the way, allowing him to run wild as a drugged-out cop who experiences lengthy reptilian hallucinations, yanks out old ladies’ oxygen tubes, and has gun-toting public sex with the women he’s supposed to be arresting. Director Werner Herzog gives the film a wonderfully subversive, darkly comedic edge, but when it comes to Cage, he doesn’t even attempt to harness the guy, instead opting to point him in the direction he needs to go and letting him do his thing. The final result is kind of magical.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – A digital photography book, and interviews with cast/crew.

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Fantastic Mr. Fox top
Hey guys, I’m in a little coffee shop in Telluride center, and I thought I’d do a quick post before my festival adventure gets started. A bunch of new movie posters have hit the interwebs today, including: Bad Lieutenant, Where The Wild Things Are, 2012 and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Head after the jump to check them out.

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We’ve been wondering when the hell we’d actually get to see Bad Lieutenant, the non-remake of Abel Ferrara’s film directed by Werner Herzog and starring Nicolas Cage (click here to see the Bad Lieutenant trailer). Now the Toronto International Film Festival has announced that the film will screen as part of the ‘Special Presentations’ slate. No huge surprise, as Herzog is frequently represented at TIFF (he was last there with Encounters at the End of the World in ’07) but since Bad Lieutenant has seemed to languish without distributor interest this is a good sign. Other great filmmakers were also announced for the fest; get details of the Coen Brothers and Michael Moore appearances after the jump. Read More »

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“Do we not have a bell?”

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Too bad John McCain’s not a grizzled, old indie director. Zing. Wild and crazy guys, Werner Herzog (above) and Abel Ferrara (right), are exchanging heated words and grumpy disses in regard to Herzog’s 2009 remake of Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant, with Nic Cage starring in the role once inhabited by Harvey Keitel. Whaaa happen? Well, Ferrara drew verbal first blood at Cannes by dreaming up a deranged hypothetical befitting a Slashfilm commenter’s luv for Brett Ratner…

“I wish these [Herzog and remake people] die in Hell. I hope they’re all in the same streetcar, and it blows up,” Ferrara told Spout.

As Ferrara said this, the hair in Don King’s ear twitched oh so slightly across the pond. This week Herzog responded to Ferrara’s fiery remarks with a “Who’s that?” battle strategy utilized by so many rap artists.

Defamer: Have you talked to [Ferrara]?

Herzog: No. I have no idea who Abel Ferrara is. But let him fight the windmills, like Don Quixote. …I’ve never seen a film by him. I have no idea who he is. Is he Italian? Is he French? Who is he? …Maybe I could invite him to act in a movie! Except I don’t know what he looks like.”

Is “let him fight the windmills” the new “Nuke the Fridge”? Herzog also cops to not having viewed or even knowing much about the original film. In the past, Slashfilm and many of our readers have asked why this remake is needed. And it’s not the usual case of an exhausted, “Why Hollywood Whyyyy?!?” per se. Without question, Herzog is a talented guy (Grizzly Man, Rescue Dawn, Aguirre), but how would he feel if someone remade one of his more personal films like Fitzcarraldo without bothering to see it or check in with him? Bad Lieutenant is Ferrara’s signature film (alongside his awesome The King of New York); it just seems uncouth. But here is what drew Herzog to the material…

“There’s an interesting screenplay; it’s a very, very dark story. It’s great because it seems to reflect a side of the collective psyche – sometimes there are just good times for film noir. …We have seen a lot of New York in movies; we have not seen New Orleans in feature films. Or very few feature films. After Katrina it’s a particularly interesting set-up. The neglect and politics after the hurricane struck are something quite amazing. It has to do with public morality.”

Switching the setting from the Rotten Apple to the Big Easy is intriguing to say the least, but that gives him even less reason to use the title; Ferrara’s is a cult classic, certainly, but the NC-17 flick’s name recognition amongst the mainstream is slight. Moreover, the title character’s name is different in the remake. The lone major link between the films is producer Edward R. Pressman. Who do you side with here? Herzog compares his film to a new actor taking over James Bond, but that doesn’t cut the mustard. I side with Ferrara, unless he goes through with real indie terrorism. Good exposure for all.

Discuss: Does Ferrara have a right to be aggro? Will this escalate? Do you have a fave director rivalry?

Bat Lieutenant and Law Abiding Citizen movie posters

Slumdog Millionaire movie posterMTV has a batch of new movie posters from Cannes. The three most interesting can be seen above:

  • Werner Herzog‘s (Grizzly Man) remake of Bad Lieutenant starring Nicolas Cage.
  • Frank Darabont‘s (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) Law Abiding Citizen which stars Gerard Butler as an assistant D.A. is targeted by a victim of the legal system who looks to exact a certain revenge.
  • Danny Boyle‘s (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later…) Slumdog Millionaire, a comedy about an illiterate kid who looks to become a contestant on the Hindi version of Who Wants to be A Millionaire in order to re-establish contact with the girl he loves, who is a huge fan of the show.

Slumdog Millionaire has completed filming, while the other two films are in preproduction. Check out more movie posters from Cannes on MTV.

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Did Slashfilm piss off the Ghost of April Fool’s Day? Topping off a day of odd movie announcements and rumors, Variety reports that director Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Aguirre: Wrath of God) will helm a remake of Abel Ferrara’s NC-17 classic Bad Lieutenant starring Nicolas Cage in the title role, formerly inhabited, and fantastically so, by Harvey Keitel back in ’92. The remake is scheduled to begin filming late summer. Like Point Break 2, first word of this remake arrived last year and I believe that Ferrara himself was considering it.

For those who haven’t seen it (do so), Keitel starred as a corrupt New York cop strenuously spiraling into an abyss of narcotics, thievery, naked disorientation, and betting/losing his monies on Darryl Strawberry (the irony). Ferrara’s is one of my favorite depictions of New York in film, because the city’s garbage and vice seeps into Keitel’s character until he’s forced to flush it out and face the consequences. And it may sound sensational, but the movie’s recurring theme of faith is like a punch in the gut and quite effective.

Apparently, Herzog’s remake will update the time period and cop to post-9/11. Last year, FilmStalker parlayed that the script by TV writer/producer William M. Finkelstein (NYPD Blue, Murder One) contained the following plot points…

According to the story Finkelstein is bringing the character back to life with a backstory of drug addiction, the showing of his promotion to Sergeant, the drug related murders of five illegal immigrants and a name for the character. Other than that they say that the drugs, sex, stealing and gambling are still going to play a major part in the story.

Hopefully this doesn’t turn into a case of “who’s bad?” between ’92 NYC and ’00s NYC. That would make as much sense as remaking Larry Clark’s Kids in the present day. Respected producer Edward R. Pressman, who backed the original film, is on board again along with a long line-up of other producers including Stephen Belafonte and Nu Image/Millennium’s Danny Dimbort. I am a big fan of Herzog and dig/ignore a lot of Cage’s work, but I’m not yet convinced this will be anything other than a harder, more intimate version of Training Day.

Discuss: The talent involved strikes interest, but is an update needed? Who cares about debating whether Hollywood should remake the film, because they will remake anything, but do you personally think the times call for a new Bad Lieutenant, as it seems it will be heavy on commentary? I know we’ll get a lot of “well, it could be worse” below, but try to avoid that treaded route if you’ve seen the original. Add insight.

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