When I first saw the poster for The Shrine, a new serious-toned feature about the occult, it quickly earned a mental note. The poster’s ominous imagery (as seen bel0w) perfectly tapped the exploration of a foreign-born religio-horror without giving anything away. And though I later discovered that the film is set in a fictional village in Poland, I couldn’t shake the notion that it was tapping into a similar fear of ancient practices as expressed in Song of Kali, the popular Calcutta-set horror novel that creeps me out more than a year later.* But I was thrown off by the film’s directror, Jon Knautz, best known for helming Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer, a tongue-in-cheek 2007 B-movie co-starring Robert Englund.
A new teaser trailer has arrived, and while it isn’t a flawless counterpart to the poster on par with the one-two knockout of The House of the Devil, it offers a somewhat less enticing prospect of gym-faithful backpackers a la Hostel and The Ruins (so underrated!) meets a Wicker Man-like freakshow. Some of the more generic-looking shots give me pause—namely ones of leather studded, “traditional” wrist-bands. But unlike the newly in-gear Children of the Corn and dozens of other frightfests, it’s not a remake, which is nice.
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Is there a killer almost-a-movie that you’d consider trading a pinky to see on screen? For me, one such project will forever remain Batman: Year One from director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem For a Dream, The Wrestler). There was a time when Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan seemed neck and neck for the reinvention of Batman on film, and while Nolan went on to make history, recalling the former director’s references of A French Connection, Dracula and hints at an R-rating still karate-chop my brain.
For me, that discarded and impossibly cool project is slowly being replaced by a new genre outing for the director, one that might actually reach fruition. Earlier this month, we reported that Aronofsky was one of several directors in talks to helm MGM‘s RoboCop revamp. And before that, the studio released a teaser poster for the 2010 tentpole, as seen above. Now, Bloody Disgusting has received a logline for the film and they also confirm that Aronofsky is close to signing…
“Present day Los Angeles, 20 years after the termination of the RoboCop program, the city decides to reinstate the program.”
This would imply that the film will be a sequel of sorts—similar to “T4″—rather than a fresh start like Batman Begins. Moreover, one can speculate that Aronofsky is a big fan of Paul Verhoeven‘s original film, which faced an X-rating due to its desensitizing violence (Re: the film’s message) and was later reissued under the glorious X by Criterion. Unlike McG, I would expect Aronofsky to keep the franchise’s violence and nihilistic tone intact, based on his previous and forthcoming films. The PG-13 RoboCop 3 notwithstanding, Detroit is still Detroit, after all. Oh wait, RoboCop will be set in L.A. Stay cool, mang.
I’ve said it before, there is no other director I’d rather see take on this material/canon, and I’m not at odds against a new vision. RoboCop is an iconic genre character, like Jason Voorhees or James Bond, and you can’t expect him to go away; also, the original film’s central themes of authority and law in the future are both timeless and warrant modern interpretations, albeit ones respectful of the source material. I also find it slightly humorous that Bloody Disgusting “tells” Aronofsky to check out The Dark Knight for inspiration; I’m pretty sure this guy has earned his gritty badge, dudes (even though The Fountain was a black hole of mush).
Curiously, Aronofsky is to begin filming The Fighter this October, according to lead star Mark Wahlberg. Brad Pitt is also expected to co-star, but then there’s Inglorious Bastards, so…will that be 2 for 2 drop-outs for the actor after The Fountain? And if RoboCop is set for release in two years, some shifting might be needed.
Other Aronofsky stuff (why not?): If you’re looking for a good book off the beaten path, two thrillers still on Aronofsky’s adapt-map are Flicker (which I’ve heard is excellent + it’s film related), and Song of Kali, which I plan on starting this weekend. The director also has a new paranormal series set up at AMC (Mad Men) entitled Riverview Towers. Last year, he was tapped to direct the “ballet psychological thriller” Black Swan, and is still attached. And one day, one day, let’s hope to see his take on Lone Wolf and Cub, which rivals Batman: Year One for the pinky offer. This guy rivals Fincher for enticingly dark projects, eh?
Discuss: Are you cooler with a RoboCop “sequel” than a reimagining? I can’t recall if there were any commenters against Aronofsky’s involvement, but if so, would you rather Rob Cohen, and if not, who? Anyone think Aronofsky might have given Nolan a run for the money with Batman?