Tight lips on new Tarantino flick 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DANIEL SMITH/ DISNEY ENTERPRISES - A whole new world A new live action version of Aladdin opens at Village 8 this week.
  • photo by daniel smith/ disney enterprises
  • A whole new world A new live action version of Aladdin opens at Village 8 this week.

The Cannes Film Festival is on right now and in amongst all the yacht parties and media circuses (Margot Robbie wore sequined pants on the red carpet! Gasp!) there are also some movies screening. And some projects looking for money—including director Roman Emmerich's Moonfall, an end of the world spectacular about the moon crashing into the earth. Emmerich is asking for $150 million (with no takers as of yet).

The biggest hype out of Cannes so far has been Rocketman, the Elton John biopic that's hoping to ride some of that Bohemian Rhapsody success all the way to the bank/Oscars. But the real excitement is on Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, which premiered just as the column was going to press.

It's been 25 years since Tarantino rocked Cannes with Pulp Fiction and, perhaps harkening back to those simpler, more analogue times, he released a statement before his premiere imploring fans and critics to respect the artform of cinema and refrain from posting spoilers and key plot points online.

I wasn't there, but I'm onboard with Quentin's tactic—Once Upon A Time in Hollywood hits theatres over here on July 25 and all you need to know is it stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie and is set in Tinseltown in 1969, which astute historians will recall is the year of the Sharon Tate murder and that whole thing with the Manson cult.

No more needs to be said except that Tarantino has never made a bad movie and, by early accounts, that trend continues. The Cannes critics agree the less you know about this one going in, the more fun you'll have.

Speaking of not giving too much away, there were no pre-screenings for the new live action Aladdin flick, which opens here Friday at the good old Whistler Village 8.

The lack of sneak peeks seems odd, seeing as how nearly everyone knows the story—street urchin/parkour master falls in love with a princess, is bullied into stealing a lamp with a comedic genie inside, does everything he can to get the girl, and then realizes that all that makes us princely is what's inside, not the girth of our elephant caravan. Plus there is a lot of singing.

Will Smith stars as the blue genie, reprising a role made iconic by the late Robin Williams, while Naomi Scott (the pink ranger in Saban's Power Rangers) steps into the Princess Jasmine role and newcomer Mena Massoud comes in hot in the title role.

My worries on this one are the music and songs—a lot of the Disney catalogue doesn't play as well with live action—but you can expect slick action and dynamic camerawork from director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Swept Away). Fun for kids for sure.

The bigger question though is, "Do we need this movie at all?"

Disney seems to think so. Not content with taking all our money through the Marvel Universe, Star Wars and all the Pixar flicks, the house the mouse built is hammering out the remakes—a live-action Lion King is set for July (well, a CGI animation that looks live action), as well as live Mulan in 2020, with Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid and The Sword in the Stone slated for 2021. That is, of course, if the moon doesn't smash into the Earth before that.

Also opening this week, Booksmart, a best friend, end-of-high-school, good-kids-doing-bad-stuff, party flick in the vein of Superbad, but female-driven and potentially even funnier.

The directorial debut of actress Olivia Wilde, Booksmart also has Will Ferrell and Adam McKay attached as producers (see also: Talladega Nights, Anchorman, Step Brothers) and a four-woman writing team stacked with up and comers.

This is the best movie of the summer so far, and might be the definitive teen movie for a generation.

Don't sleep on Booksmart.


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