Ed here: I've always thought that Ira Levin was one of the true Great American Storytellers. I read A Kiss Before Dying first when I was in high school and have read it ten times since and it's still beautifully plotted and written. If it has a flaw I can't find it. Then there's Rosemary's Baby and The Boys From Brazil and one of my favorite plays Dr. Cobb's Garden are among other fine Levin pieces. And Roman Polanski did him the enduring favor of taking Rosemary's Baby seriously and turning it into true cinematic art. The thought of Michael Bay even reading anything by Ira Levin makes me want to puke.
Michael Bay will deliver new 'Rosemary's Baby'
(from SF Gate)
Cult horror "Rosemary's Baby" is set to be reborn -- a revered film critic has confirmed Michael Bay is bringing the spooky classic back to the big screen.
It was rumored in 2008 that the "Transformers" director would remake Roman Polanski's 1968 movie, which saw Mia Farrow play Rosemary, a young woman who is pregnant with the Devil's baby.
Now respected critic Roger Ebert has taken to his Twitter.com page to tells fans that the film is in the pipeline.
He writes, "Michael Bay is remaking Rosemary's Baby. O... kay."
Bay's production company Platinum Dunes is overseeing the making of the movie.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/dailydish/indexd?blogid=7&year=2010&month=04&day=01#ixzz0ju6Hb4pc
-------------------Sword and sandal
Ed here: Leah Rozen is one of my favorite columnists in movieland. Here she deals with one of my least favorite genres, sword-and-sandal stuff.
Sword-and-sandal epics by their very nature tend to be cheesefests, and this action-heavy remake of “Titans” — the original appeared in 1981 — is no exception.
Along with biblical epics, such movies always strike me as poor man’s Shakespeare. Invariably, the dialogue is wannabe highfalutin, the acting self-important and irredeemably campy, the costumes an uneasy mix of heavy ornamentation and strategic scantiness, and the hairstyles embarrassing. (Bangs flatter no man, though the braided cornrows that turn up on Argosian warriors in “Titans” are not necessarily an improvement.)
When great actors appear in these movies, few cover themselves in glory. Paul Newman barely survived his film debut in 1954’s “The Silver Chalice,” even taking out an ad in the trades apologizing for his performance. And an aging Sir Laurence Olivier, who was at that point pretty much jumping at any Hollywood role that offered a cashable paycheck, well, he wore his beard well as Zeus in the original "Titans."
There are exceptions, of course, the rare sword-and-sandal movies that shine. Those would be 1959’s “Ben-Hur,” 1960’s “Spartacus” and 2000’s “Gladiator.” Each benefited from having a strong-willed director and a talented male star boasting appealingly rough edges—well, maybe not Charlton Heston in “Ben-Hur.”
The embarrassments in this category are legion (Roman, and otherwise). Consider 2004’s lackluster -- other than Brad Pitt’s glistening abs -- “Troy” and 2006’s videogame-like “300.” Would anyone ever want to sit through either of those films a second time?
Well, yes, millions of guys would. And have. Especially overseas. “Troy” grossed nearly a half billion dollars worldwide and “300” speared just a little less.
Clearly, these movies speak to men, or maybe to the boy still lurking in every man.