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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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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.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Ed Harris (A Beautiful Mind, The Abyss, The Rock) and Helen Mirren (The Queen, Calendar Girls, Excalibur) have been cast in National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
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Inglorious Bastards up NEXT for Quentin Tarantino

Quentin TarantinoInglorious Bastards will be Quentin Tarantino’s next film, according to the Grindhouse director.

“That will probably be the very next thing I do,” Quentin told /Film at the Grindhouse junket. “Robert will probably be doing Sin City 2 coming up fairly shortly.  I am going to kind of go on the road with this, around the earth here.  I haven’t really done it in a big way in a long time where you spend six months doing it.  But I also like writing on the road, it’s a really good time to do that so I will probably finish up ‘Inglorious Bastards’ while I am promoting ‘Grindhouse’.

Bastards is the project Tarantino worked on in the six years in between the releases of Jackie Brown and Kill Bill. Instead of a conventional 100 to 200 page script, he wrote a 600 page work in three feature-length parts. It has been rumored that the resulting film will be released in two or three parts.

Set in World War II, the story revolves around a group of soldiers on their way to be executed, when they get the chance of a reprieve. Tarantino has described them as “not your normal hero types that are thrown into a big deal in World War II.”

Michael Madsen will star as Babe Buchinsky. Other names rumored to be involved in the project include: Tim Roth, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Paul Walker, Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Johnny Depp, John Travolta, Harvey Keitel, Fred Williamson, John Jarratt, Mickey Rourke and Christopher Walken.

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