This Film is NOT a Future Release.
The Following Preview has been Archived.
July 31st, 2006:
Set in the year 2008, in a futuristic Los Angeles landscape, a socially, economically, and environmentally dysfunctional society is on the verge of an apocalypse following a nuclear terrorist attack on Texas a few years earlier. An action star named Boxer Santaros (The Rock
), who has suddenly been stricken with amnesia, teams up with his new porn-star girlfriend Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar
) to write an illuminating screenplay about the impending apocalypse. Krysta is actually quite a savvy businesswoman that is using him to help advance her career as a mainstream talk show host. Both of them have secret lives that the other one is not aware of and in Boxer’s case, even he no longer remembers who he is due to the memory loss. Meanwhile, Baron Von Westphalen (Wallace Shawn
) has invented an intricate machine that solves America’s energy crises, but may ultimately lead to the destruction of the entire world. And either one or both of the twin brothers Roland and Ronald Taverner (Sean William Scott
) might hold the secret to a vast conspiracy. The stories of these people as well as many others intertwine over a ghastly heat wave during a Fourth of July weekend.What to Expect:
Director Richard Kelly
gained widespread popularity with his independent cult hit Donnie Darko, which has been debated and puzzled over by cinephiles since its release in 2001. With a peculiar blend of surrealism with parody, the film generated a foreboding and even genuinely frightening tone that lingered with audiences long after viewing. It’s no surprise then that Kelly has admitted feeling tremendous pressure to live up to the hype of the first film with Southland Tales. Article continues below
It appears, however, that the director has pulled out all the stops to avoid a sophomore slump. Southland Tales has been described as an amalgam of science fiction, drama, action, comedy, and even musical. Kelly has called it a hybrid of Andy Warhol and author Philip K. Dick, whose unique visions of the future have inspired several great directors to adapt his books into successful feature films (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and the recent A Scanner Darkly
among them). According to Kelly, Southland Tales will require more than one viewing and in order to fully comprehend and appreciate all of its ideas it should be treated almost like a puzzle. The actual storyline has proven to be very difficult to describe, even for the director, although that may just be a ploy to keep some of the film’s developments a surprise. When in one interview Kelly was asked to explain what the movie is about he only gave a rather ominous quote of T.S. Elliot’s poem “The Hollow Men” as his response:This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a whimper
He followed this up by saying that any movie with The Rock cannot end with a whimper, but rather with a bang.
The ambitious film is to be preceded by an equally impressive pre-release
buildup. Kelly claims that the complete story of Southland Tales is made up
of six parts. The first three parts will be released as graphic novels
leading up to the film’s wide theatrical premiere, with the feature itself
representing the final three parts of the story. The first part is already available on the film’s website, which at one point promised to be one of the most elaborate movie sites ever conceived. Moby’s original music, specifically composed for Southland Tales, can be heard while navigating throughout the site. Although this could be considered quite out of character for the musician, Moby agreed to contribute to the film’s score since he is such a big fan of Donnie Darko.
Reportedly, Southland Tales will introduce a tapestry of interwoven ideas. Post September 11th United States Government security measures, the energy crisis, America’s obsession with celebrities, and neo-Marxist underground movements are just some of the themes Kelly will touch upon. Apparently, when Kelly wanted to travel to France for the Cannes Film Festival where Southland Tales was scheduled to compete, he was not allowed to leave the country due to a listing on the Terrorist Watch List that included a James Kelly. He actually had to prove his identity to the officials. The ordeal left him so paranoid that he thought his movie’s plot might have had something to do with his difficulties.
Speaking of Cannes, not much can be hoped for from a film that scored the lowest with the critics at this year’s festival, averaging a rating of 1.1 out of 5. Reportedly, about a third of the audience walked out after just 15 minutes. Many have called the film a pretentious and entirely unfocused mess that has too many characters, with too many multiple personalities, who are involved in too many subplots. The theory is that Kelly has been given far too much freedom after Donnie Darko and is now excessively over-indulging by cramming all of his experimental ideas into the movie. Of course, some critics have enjoyed it precisely because of its cryptic nature. For a while, Kelly had problems finding a distributor for the film, but Sony Pictures
recently picked it up and is set on giving it a theatrical release. How the release will be handled still depends on the final cut, which Kelly is working on at the moment.In Conclusion:
In 2003, the most despised film at Cannes was Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny. It received such harsh reviews that the actor-director wished cancer upon film critic Roger Ebert, who had said that it was the worst movie ever screened at the festival. However, before Gallo released the picture in the United States, he re-edited it, removing nearly 30 minutes from its laborious two-hour running time. Somehow, it did the trick because the film went on to receive respectable reviews, including a positive one from Ebert himself, who has indeed had problems with Cancer since then (at the time this preview was written, Ebert was in the hospital recovering from surgery after complications from the previous one had arisen. We are glad to hear he is doing very well at this point and hope for a speedy return).
Getting back to Southland Tales, this anecdote suggests that the most disappointing film at this year’s Cannes still has a fighting chance. Kelly is trimming it down and considering his talent, I’m sure there is a singular vision amongst all of the unnecessary footage. I sincerely hope that he finds the right rhythm and turns this Titanic around, but at the moment that might be difficult to imagine. Kelly may have overextended himself and as much as I love a good brainteaser, I can easily picture this project spiraling out of control. Still, whether the movie will work or not, there are tons of fans anxiously waiting to get their chance to mull over its every single obscure detail.Similar Titles: