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Review: Watchmen, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Secret Life of Bees, Gonzo- The Life & Work of Hunter S. Thompson, Crazy Love and The Wackness

By Cinema, Reviews

Watchmen posterIt’s all about the adapt­a­tions this week and con­tender num­ber one is a film that deserves all the atten­tion it has been receiv­ing, even though it falls well short of its esteemed source mater­i­al. Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is based on the greatest graph­ic nov­el of all time, Moore and Gibbons 1986 pre-apocalyptic mas­ter­piece which is one of the darkest por­traits of the mod­ern human con­di­tion ever rendered in the bold, flat col­ours of a com­ic book.

In a par­al­lel USA in which cos­tumed vigil­antes are real but out­lawed, the spectre of nuc­le­ar anni­hil­a­tion looms over a sup­posedly free soci­ety that is com­ing apart at the seams. One by one, some­body is dis­pos­ing of the retired her­oes and only masked sociopath Rorschach (who nev­er turned in his mask, revealed his iden­tity or stopped beat­ing up bad guys) deems it worthy of investigation.

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Traitor: Second Thoughts

By Cinema

Eugene Levy, Queen Latifah and Steve Martin in Bringing Down the House

Steve Martin (right) uses the 90 per cent of his brain that isn’t required for act­ing in Bringing Down the House to write Don Cheadle’s Traitor.

Actually, not so much second thoughts as some­thing inter­est­ing dis­covered after the the review went to print.

In the blog roll to the right you will find a link to the Creative Screenwriting pod­cast, which is nev­er less than inter­est­ing des­pite host Jeff Goldsmith’s some­times annoy­ing abil­ity to miss the inter­est­ing follow-up question.

Anyway, I make a point of not listen­ing to a pod­cast until after I’ve seen and reviewed a par­tic­u­lar film – I try and watch everything unme­di­ated by any­thing more than the trail­er – but that some­times means I miss a gem of con­text that might illu­min­ate (or add value in some oth­er way).

Last week I was listen­ing to writer-director Jeffrey Nachmanoff talk about the Don Cheadle war-on-terror thrill­er Traitor and he out­lined how the film got its start: an idea from comedi­an Steve Martin that he had while work­ing on the Queen Latifah “com­edy” Bringing Down the House. Evidently, he had the idea, wrote a treat­ment, sold it to Disney and then got the heck out of the way.

It obvi­ously went through a few changes since then (as these things always do) but that whole “ter­ror­ists want to blow up 50 buses, tricked into all get­ting on the same bus” thing? All Steve.