New indie flicks: Coens, Liman, and... Cruise?

Maverick filmmakers… remember them? Those bold indie freebooters who saved the movies in the ‘90s? They’re still around — most of them getting a little more comfortable with each passing year. Doug “Swingers” Liman, for example? He’s now Doug “The Bourne Identity/Mr. and Mrs. Smith” Liman. And soon to be Doug “Jumper” Liman. An adaptation of the richly absurd Tom Stoppard cerebrofarce Jumpers? ask the eggheads. Nay, sez I: an adaptation of the young-adult sci-fi novel about an abused youngster (how does one play a younger version of Hayden Christensen exactly?) who develops the ability to teleport. Which sounds like the just the mix of psychological realism and mainstream genre fantasy that Liman has come to embrace.

Still, I hope Liman returns to a project Sarah Polley (star of Liman’s epically underrated Go) told me about many Sundances ago: his Iran-Contra movie. For Liman, the subject must be very personal: His father, Arthur Liman, was chief counsel to the Senate Iran-Contra Committee. Could be his All the President’s Men — and after scads of hyperkinetic action pictures, I’d love to see him attack a brooding political drama. Can’t imagine what that would look like: And that’s why I like the idea so much. Anything that smudges the legacy of the recently deified President Reagan might run into financing trouble, I suspect; hey Doug, maybe it’s time to go indie again?

You can’t have an indie roundup without them durned Hermanos Coen, and here they are, out in Marfa, Tejas, adapting Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men. (Experts say it’s already better than All the Pretty Horses — because it kind of has to be, right?) They’re even using descendents of the extras from the 1956 James Dean drama Giant, also filmed in Marfa. What’s the story? Well, it’s a Coen movie, so… blood money? Check. Hit man? Check. Carnage? Check. Quirk? Bet on it.

Oh, and guess who’s also in Marfa. And also bankrolled jointly by Paramount Vantage and Miramax. Another indie icon, P.T. Anderson, shooting his first movie since Punch Drunk Love: an adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s Oil! titled There Will Be Blood. Will the tiny town be big enough for the both of them? Hopefully…

…because Hollywood’ s newest indie filmmaker might be the next to show up.

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Comments (6 total) Add your comment
  • Frowny McBeard

    . . . and after
    (Liman’s epically underrated Go)
    I realized I didn’t have to listen to anything else. That film was a turd, outside of William Fichter’s vaguely creepy cop. There’s no possibility of underrating a film that casts Jay Mohr and Scott Wolf as a gay couple. The only way to make that worse is to take Wolf out and replace him with Anthony Clark’s hairstylist from “The Rock”.

  • Anna

    Are you serious? That movie was awesome.

  • Fire

    They’re making a movie out of Jumper? That’s fantastic! Written for teens or not, that novel explores scientific possibility and moral responsibility with equal skill and depth. I’m eager to see how it turns out. Thanks for the good news Mr Brown!

  • Ceballos

    Kind of a reach including Tom Cruise in the headline when the story has pretty much nothing to do with him (other than he worked with P.T.A once).

  • eigenvalue

    Will this movie have a “Fascism” theme undertones??? like ohhh HALF THE MOVIES COMING OUT OF HOLLLYWOOD LATELY??? Actually Fascism as a theme is not bad were it not for a fact that we have REAL “would-be” Fascists trying to assume power in our Federal goverment NOW!!

  • kinglouieXVIII

    Frowny: don’t be hatiiin’. GO was awesome. Not necessarily ground breaking, but very entertaining.
    Now regarding Los Hermanos Coen, am I the only one who finds their movies extremely boring? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that I’ve liked. For the record, I have never seen FARGO (aaah! don’t throw tomatoes at me) which is supposed to be their masterpiece. I never got around to watching it, so sue me!
    All indie directors eventually get sucked in by the Hollywood machine. That’s the way it is, period. It is as inevitable as getting an STD after sleeping with Paris Hilton.

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