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June 01 2006

Southland Tales being re-cut to be made "watchable" and in other SMG news you can see the teaser poster for The Grudge 2 here.

The original interview is here. The rest is just more speculation from someone who read the press.
I just read the origional interview and I have to say... huh?
Why does the kid in the Grudge 2 poster have a glass eye?
For all I know the version of the film screened at Cannes really is unwatchable. However, I would just mention that it has been claimed that approximately ten people walked out of the press screening, which I am not sure counts as "droves". Contrary to some reports, the film was not booed. In fact, it was given a brief round of the applause at the end. It did receive a lot of very hostile reviews, especially from American and British critics. It also received many favourable reviews. Which ones are we to believe?

It could well be that it will be a much better film after Richard Kelly has made the cuts he has been forced into, but I would still like to see the "Cannes version", simply because I am more interested in my opinion of the film than the opinion of critics who quite probably don't have the same tastes as me.

Maybe it really is the worst film ever made, but I've seen three short scenes that I can quite truthfully say I really liked. I am biased and don't pretend otherwise, but I am very suspicious of some of the negative stuff I've read about this film.
dashboardprophet, as downcast and pessimistic as Richard Kelly sounded in this interview, I don't think it's certain that there won't be distribution for the full-length version. Apparently, there was negotiation for it still going on at Cannes after the premiere, that's expected to resume fairly soon, and of course no cuts have been made yet. It's all just rumor at this point.
There's no US distributor at the moment. To be honest, it sounds like they might struggle now, or have to significantly reedit it to get released.
There's no doubt that comments about booing and people leaving have been made up and greatly exaggerrated respectively; as confirmed by others who were actually there. There's also no doubt that some people leave every film that's screened at Cannes. People have deadlines to meet, other films to go and see, meetings to go to, deals to negotiate etc. The original screening was also at 8.30 am which I don't think would be beneficial to anyone. Cannes screenings aren't like regular trips to the cinema.

Looking forward to checking this film out when it's released.

@gossi: No deal has been finalised it would seem, but negotiations are ongoing and I think there's more interest than some press reports would have us believe.

[ edited by Impossible on 2006-06-01 21:24 ]
For some reason I am quite anxious to see the scene where Justin Timberlake lip-synchs to "All These Things That I've Done". I don't know why, though.

I suspect that Kelly will probably edit it a lot as he says, and the result may be a good deal more palatable for a mass audience. The film could be very successful and then the DVD will have the missing scenes or a director's cut will be released with the original film intact (the latter is probably the more likely scenario).

I am excited and interested about this film, however the mentions of the narrative structure does worry me a little. Take for example Peter Jackson, who has made some astounding films. I loved Lord of the Rings and I have all three extended editions, however even I have difficulty watching the two discs that make up a film, like in the instance of Return of the King where each disc of the film is about two hours long. Four hours is a little straining on the attention span.

I haven't actually seen King Kong but I have heard that it is mostly good, however a lot of people feel at three hours it's too long. I think Jackson may have been a little overindulged with LotR and sort of felt that he should include every possible subplot and extra scene there is. I think with such long films he risks messing with the pacing too much, and really adding in so many unnecessary characters and scenes dilutes the main storyline and the most important characters.

Contrast this with Joss and Serenity. Two hours of tight, gripping material. Of course the completist and Firefly fan in me wishes that maybe all of the deleted scenes had stayed in, but really I think that the film is better the way it is, and by removing things that didn't contribute to the main storyline Joss kept it extremely well paced and didn't bore the audience.

I suspect that there may be a similar pattern with Richard Kelly. Now this is pure speculation but just beat with me. I know that this will only be his second feature so I'm not being overly critical, but just commenting that he may be falling into the same trap as Peter Jackson.

Ever since Tarantino made Resevoir Dogs, a lot of films have been making use of non-linear narratives, something Tarantino himself could be accused of doing unnecessarily. Donnie Darko's storyline wasn't exactly non-liner, however it did deal with tangent universes and other sci-fi concepts, and a part of that did involve the story being quite confusing on a first viewing although it does become clearer with repeat viewings.

Now Kelly may be doing the same thingas PJ, and becoming too indulgent with the narrative. Sometimes "complicated structure" means that the story is told out-of-sequence for no reason. And perhaps Kelly's point is to illustrate the confusing and sprawling nature of the near future universe in which Southland Tales is set. However if it gets to the stage that the plot is so overcomplicated and non-linear than it strangles the message of the story, then it defeats the purpose of the film and also makes it incredibly irritating if not isolating for audiences.

Of course, I am hoping this is not the case and that the narrative structure can possibly be followed, or that it is quite clever and shows connections that didn't make sense before, or throws a new interpretation on something that happened earlier in the film, which is what Tarantino, at his best, successfully does.

But I just think it's worth bearing in mind that sometimes simplicity isn't such a bad thing and can in fact free up creativity because you aren't restricted to following a flashy plotting structure or including unnecessary parts of the story. It's not like Kelly should have an extremely twisty, surreal, sci-fi story just because people seem to get that impression from Donnie Darko, because they are different films, and it's not like it has to be like that at the expense of a good story told simply.

So in that sense the re-editing might make Southland Tales a much better film. I'll certainly want to see the theatrical version and the director's cut to make my own decision on that.
By the way, I bet $100 the original Cannes version comes out on DVD at some point.
"The original Director's Cut - the one they didn't want you to see. Slated at Cannes, but now yours to own on triple-disc DVD..."
Who would have thought the director of Donnie Darko would utilize a 'Brown Bunny' marketing strategy for his newest film? He's either a crazy genius or a crazy fool!
Who would have thought the director of Donnie Darko would utilize a 'Brown Bunny' marketing strategy for his newest film? He's either a crazy genius or a crazy fool!

I hope we don't see a billboard with SMG on her knees.
Appearing at Cannes and not getting the best critical reception from the US critics is all ST has in common with Brown Bunny.

[ edited by Impossible on 2006-06-01 23:48 ]
I hope we don't see a billboard with SMG on her knees.

You mean ever, or just for this film?
Are you saying the Donnie Darko director's cut is completely different?
I loaned out my kid's copy of the original and never got it back so I replaced it with the director's cut. Am I in trouble when they actually watch it?
It's not completely different and if they've seen all the deleted scenes on the theatrical cut DVD, there's no new ones. Some of the music is different, and the pace and mood are different (slower and darker). They probably will notice the difference, if they were paying attention. However, the commentary with Richard Kelly and Kevin Smith is only on the DC. Maybe they'll like that.

Somebody failed to return my original version, too.
You know, I love Donnie Darko, but I really have not been too excited about Southland Tales ever since I heard the cast and saw some production photos. That's hardly substantial material, but I'm just not really that excited about it.

However, the writer hit the nail on the head about the Donnie Darko director's cut, it really did miss the point of the whole movie.
OK, what was the point of the whole movie? Because as I said above, I didn't see that much difference between the two versions. I prefer the theatrical mostly because I prefer the original music.
I've only seen the director's cut. Is that bad? When I buy or rent a movie, I go for the director's cut or unrated version before theatrical.
The Donnie Darko "director's cut" is a re-edit after the fact. I believe the original theatrical cut was his own cut, too, but after the cult success he decided he wanted to add more bits into it. I haven't seen it myself, and the commentary may go into more detail as to why he did it, for all I know. But everything I've heard makes the "director's cut" sound vastly inferior, and I'd rather stick with the original.

"Director's cuts" aren't always superior, especially if they are someone fiddling with their own film after the fact. Think the Star Wars films. Think Close Encounters.

I think it sounds as though maybe Kelly had his one good film with the first version of Donnie Darko and can't reproduce that or stop fiddling with things since then. Which would be a shame, if true, as I did like Donnie Darko. I do think in this case I'd rather see his original version, rather than a re-edit to try to get a distributor. But it may be I can live well enough without seeing either.
I've only seen the director's cut. Is that bad? When I buy or rent a movie, I go for the director's cut or unrated version before theatrical.

I can only speak for myself, but I have seen both versions at the cinema and on DVD (several times). I prefer the original theatrical release but I also like the subsequent "director's cut". I think they are both worth watching and the differences make the comparison interesting.
The Donnie Darko "director's cut" is a re-edit after the fact

Actually, the Directors Cut is pretty much the film as it was originally shown at Sundance. The only bits that were added were the bits with the eyes and the pages from the time travel book. (And possibly the use of Notorious instead of West End Girls.)
Are there many extra scenes in the Director's Cut? I saw the theatrical version once on TV and recently purchased the director's cut, which I have watched once and I haven't watched the commentary yet. From my memories of the first viewing, I didn't notice any huge differences. Any additional scenes must have been fairly subtle.

One thing I am fairly certain was added was that pages from The History of Time Travel appear on screen at certain points, which sort of give a little more understanding into the story but they aren't up there for a very long time and still aren't exactly explicit explanations of the story. However I think these were quite controversial with hardcore fans because they felt it explained the plot too much and didn't leave as much open to interpretation.

On the whole, though, I don't think there are very many significant differences between the versions, certainly not enough to affect my enjoyment of either version. The only reason I chose the director's cut was because it had so many more features compared to the first version of the DVD, which I believe had virtually no extra features, which was part of the reason why it became so popular as I have often seen that version on sale for a very low price.
I've just read that ST will get U.S. distribution at the current length! The information comes from two reliable inside sources. The deal will be announced soon.

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