Remakes are tricky business. The rules have been thrown out the window, but back in the day the rule of thumb was that you waited long enough a) for people to have forgotten about the original, b) for people to have properly digested, processed, and internalized the original enough to dream up an interesting reinterpretation, or c) at least until the next generation (i.e., the next graduating class of film school) comes along with fresh eyes and a new perspective on the story. David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a 2011 remake of a 2009 TV miniseries based on a 2005 novel, of course, satisfies none of these rules, but that’s okay because it’s David Fincher, right?
The final film in our Milos Forman spotlight is 2006’s Goya’s Ghosts. In it Stellan Skarsgård plays Francisco Goya, whose art is viewed as controversial, with many gruesome images that raise ire among the leaders of the church. Father Lorenzo, played by a soft spoken Javier Bardem, acts as an advocate in the church for Goya’s work. He seeks to commission Goya to create artwork that invokes a more fearful image of God. Natalie Portman plays, Ines, a naive, young woman who becomes the target of the inquisition after appearing in one of Goya’s paintings. Unfortunately, she isn’t educated enough to help herself out of the situation and winds up the victim of unimaginable cruelty. In a turn of events Ines’ family kidnaps and tortures Father Lorenzo in the fashion of the inquisitors in order to procure her release. The plan fails, and the story quickly veers in another direction as the French invade Spain, releasing all of the inquisitors’ prisoners. Read the rest of this entry
This month we are skipping along through the long and vivid career of Steven Spielberg. This time we come along to 1997’s historical courtroom epic Amistad, starring Anthony Hopkins, Matthew McConaughey, Morgan Freeman and Djimon Hounsou. By this time, Steven had become one of the most popular directors in Hollywood, thanks to the success of Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Jurassic Park, and his last big film Schindler’s List, winning the Best Picture Oscar four years prior. He had taken some time off to be with his family and start his studio DreamWorks, and was finally ready to get back into the game. However, he wasn’t sure he was the man for the job, being Jewish instead of African-American and having felt awkward on this issue while directing The Color Purple. To fix this, Spielberg helmed The Lost World: Jurassic Park first to ease his comfort, then Amistad was released later in the year. Read the rest of this entry