Caffeinated Clint : Bloomin’ Biel


This week I’m going to chat about a few different things. Firstly, I want to touch on a film that’s [finally] coming out in the states in a couple of weeks – “The Brothers Bloom”, the latest ‘masterpiece’ (A word I don’t throw around often – unless, of course, John Parr has done the soundtrack, and Rob Lowe has a monstrous mullet) from the world of – and fuck I hate the term and deputation- arthouse cinema (and I’m only referring to it as an arthouse flick because it’ll be those theaters that’ll actually give the film a good go, whereas the local multiplex will be too busy with back-to-back sessions of the Miley Cyrus flick to bother with something not as Chewbacca-fluffy).

The Brothers Bloom

Writer/Director Rian Johnson’s follow-up to to the marvellous “Brick” is a bit like a Quiche – mightn’t look like much on the outside, but inside it’s absolutely delicious.

It’s uncommon for all the elements of a film to come together – performances, story, direction, composition, costume, location, writing, editing, lighting, sound – but in the case of “The Brothers Bloom” they most certainly do. Here’s a film that’s even smarter than it’s ingeniously deceitful title.

A sort-of “Ocean’s Eleven” meets “The Grifters” by way of “The Sting”, the three-hander centres on two con-artist brothers (Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody), the best in the business, on their lost job. Ya see, younger sibling Bloom (Brody) has decided enough is enough, but shady big brother Stephen (Ruffalo) convinces him to do one last job – one that’ll set them both up for life.
The last gig involves showing beautiful accident-prone heiress, Penelope (Rachel Weisz) around the world – from Jersey to Prague – in pursuit of priceless artefacts.

Like “Brick”, you won’t have to spend all your time deciphering what’s ‘real’ and what’s not about the central con either because there’s no time to think- it moves faster than a cheating husband caught out of the back of a brothel. And yeah, just as sneaky.

This is a brilliant piece of cinema – in fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the best films of the past decade. Johnson proved with the tweenage murder-mystery “Brick” that he’s not only got a great imagination, but a knack for keeping audiences engaged and riveted, as well as constantly surprised. “Bloom” goes one better – it’s smart, it’s riveting, and it’s surprising, but it’s also a film that fails to fit comfortably into one genre, let alone appeal to only one demographic. It’s an instant classic.

Johnson’s funny, thrilling and very original script, and his immaculate direction, is the star of the show, but headline acts Ruffalo, Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz, ever so adorable here, are just as on the ball. Weisz especially, playing the mysterious and irresistible klutz of the team, gives a remarkably astonishing performance. Keep an eye on the Oscar Nominations early next year.

There’s a green tick against each aspect of the film, though – the locations are exquisite, the cinematography is breathtaking, the pacing is tight and effective, and the production design is ace.

In fact, the only thing wrong with “Brother’s Bloom” is that it’s taken over a year to come out. While mediocre flicks, like say “The Mummy : Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” and “Dragonball”, seem to be shot, wrapped, edited and released within the space of a year, Johnson’s had to get to the end of the line – unable to release his masterpiece until the studio sees fit.

It probably goes back to something a fellow producer told me recently (in regards to a film of mine), If it “hasn’t got special effects or Seth Rogen in it, the studio doesn’t much care about it”. Sad, but very true. Just look at the treatment ‘good’ films like “Fanboys”, “Crossing Over”, “[REC]”, “Killshot”, “Rescue Dawn” and now “Bloom” have received; they’ve all been so severely punished by their own industry that they’re showing bruises. It’s unfortunate that audiences don’t’ go to ‘good’ films like these – films with a solid story, terrific acting, and precise direction – and even more unfortunate that studio’s know that, and don’t care.

Go against the fucking grain, check out the best film of the year!

Ok, next my point….

Last week I mentioned how so many films, and not just small independent films being bankrolled by money-laundering pimps (yes, that’s indeed why Tom Sizemore is still getting work), are going under due to the recession. But the recession isn’t always the case of someone shutting down his/her movie – in the case of director/co-writer David O’Russell’s “Nailed”, the recession definitely didn’t help, but the movie was always one step away from going on permanent pause.

The film, which started up late last year, stars Jessica Biel as a small-town waitress who, upon getting a nail in the head, starts to get overtly horny. Jake Gyllenhaal was set to play a young congressman ready-and-willing to take advantage of Ms Biel.

Troubles for the film first started when co-star James Caan walked from the production.
The “Las Vegas” star left after a dispute with director O. Russell which centered on a cookie. Russell suggested that they shoot it both ways, but the actor expressed distrust that his version would be considered and left the South Carolina set. James Brolin replaced Caan a couple of days later.

Next, the film was forced to temporarily shut down when someone realized there were insufficient funds on deposit with the guild.

Soon after the finance started to dry up again. And you know who was to blame? David Bergstein’s Capitol Films. Seems our friend David hadn’t been paying any of the crew (yes, indeed, ‘what the fuck!?’) and was keeping the thing on track about as well as a drunk train driver. Not the first time Bergstein had been in hot water either.

The lovely Jessica Biel (and I mean that, she’s lovely – the girl is more than tits-and-ass, she’s one of the most down-to-earth beauties working in Hollywood today; always enjoy talking to her) told The Orlando Sentinel that doing the film (or part of – a film) was “quite an experience”.

“That was definitely an experience, something I could NOT say no to”, Biel says. “I am a huge David O. Russell fan. It’s just heartbreaking that so many people put so much work into this particular project only to have it sit there, unfinished. But it’s one of those things where we had no idea it would have happened.

“If I’d had an idea that it might happen, would I still have done it? I don’t know. Probably. I had an incredible experience with David and the rest of the cast. It made me a better actor. For all that, I’m devastated that it’s not finished and who knows when it will be and will come out. I still have my fingers crossed that something good will come of it, that it will be finished.”

Just goes to show you, even a film starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel isn’t safe from turning into a dead-end.

An email on “Film Recommendations”

Hey Clint, Been Loving Your “Film Recommendation of the Day” at the end of all your ‘Clint’s Bits’ – some good choices in there; you actually inspired me to revisit “Bright Lights, Big City”. I have three days off work from Thursday can you suggest a few more ‘classics’ I should revisit? – Ben Downes

Hey Ben, Because I’m in a giving mood, and I’m all out of Easter Eggs and Crack Pips, here’s five suggestions to see you thru the next few days.

Alien Nation – “Sykes, Here’s Your New Partner”. Could’ve used some Jerry Goldsmith-music (that’s a jab for those in-the-know) but this late 80s science-fiction pic is still one fun, thrilling ride. I always saw it as a great companion piece to Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” and Jim Cameron’s “Aliens” (speaking of, Cameron wrote a draft of this). James Caan and Mandy Patinkin give two of their best-ever performances as the ‘human’ and ‘alien’ cop, respectively here, but it’s the production designers that really deserves the lollipop. (View the Trailer Here)

Fright Night – “Charlie, is this some sort of trick? to get me back?”.. If you haven’t seen “Fright Night”, you don’t deserve to reading about, let alone watching, movies. This is a bonafide classic. Funny, frightening, fantastically performed (go Roddy! go Stephen!)… and encompassing some of the most memorable scenes of any mid-80s fright-flick. The sequel isn’t bad, but the original is the true shit.

Magnum Force – One of the better “Dirty Harry” sequels – if not the best. As much as I love Harry Callahan’s debut, this bigger-bolder-flashier follow-up is just a tad more fun. It’s just so dang easy to watch. So damn bad. And fuck, I love the finish.”Animal House” fans should check it out for a young-and-rough Tim Matheson. Make sure you pick up the newly-released ‘Special Edition’ DVD of it – very nice remaster.

Eddie and the Cruisers– I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched ‘The Cruisers’ since it’s debut in 1983. Man, I love this movie. It’s fairly cheesy, but Jesus has it got energy. The music (what a soundtrack! fuckin’ ace!), the performances (Michael Pare’s best-ever turn; Tom Berenger, as dependable as always), and the script (really tight; good build-up) get top marks. Skip the sequel though.

Major League – I still remember going to see this at the theater in 1989 – not only did it have the audience in stitches, but when Charlie Sheen comes out to the tune of ‘Wild Thing’ near the end? they were all on their feet – Clapping! Shouting! Singing! One of the few gems in the Morgan Creek catalogue. Sheen, Berenger, Bernsen, Snipes, Haysbert, Russo, and the great James Gammon! You couldn’t ask for a better cast. Get out the new Blu-Ray!