New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Culture
4 August 2008

Together again…

By Jonathan Theodore

Underdog barks

The ousted and aggrieved founders of studio New Line Cinema, Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, this week announced the first project for their new indie firm Unique Features, Isaac Asimov’s seminal (and so far unfilmed) Foundation Trilogy . Adaptations of the author are popular in Hollywood, earning themselves a reasonable box-office by generally butchering the source material. But a lot more than artistic credibility may rest on the venture, as this year has been a disaster for indie-spirited filmmakers in Hollywood. Flatlining attendances and sagging DVD sales have led to the big corporations pulling the plug on their PR-friendly independent divisions: Miramax, the legendary company behind Pulp Fiction, was gobbled up by Disney, and New Line was absorbed back into its parent company Warner Brothers. But some good may now come of the latter development, as the neutered New Line used to hold a reputation as the scrappy, daring underdog in the movie business, and hopefully its founders can now rekindle that lost spirit.

Unlikely champion

The BitTorrent revolution is all the rage amongst edgy musical stalwarts like Trent Reznor and Thom Yorke – now effectively releasing their music for free – but this week the movement gained an unlikely spokesperson in chart-topper Duffy . The Welsh warbler described how illegal downloading provided her with her musical sustenance when she was young and broke, which she claims is its core (and therefore justified) demographic.

Repaired image?

Two Liverpool buildings, The Bluecoat Arts centre and Arena Convention Centre, have been shortlisted for a world architecture prize, marking a high point amongst many lows for the city’s European capital of culture year. Mired with problems from day one, the cultural celebration has suffered the kind of budget shortfalls and inter-jurisdictional rivalries that would slot very neatly into an episode of The Wire . The nomination isn’t exactly a Cool Britannia moment but along with the critically lauded Gustav Klimt exhibition it helps restore Liverpool’s reputation as an artistic venue, and it also helps compensate for the news this week of the destruction of the historic Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare.

In Brief

Legendary producer Brian Eno and singer David Bryne have announced their first album together in 27 years. Everything that Happens will Happen will be self-released as a digital download from their website. Another historic duet will be that of the new Bond theme will be a duet between Jack White and Alicia Keys, a first in the series’ 22-film history. One only hopes that their combined talents can find something to rhyme with the words “Quantum” and “Solace” from the new film’s title title. Five years after the end of the TV show (and 10 since the last big-screen adaptation), X-Files: I Want to Believe scooped only a modest box-office. Clearly the only thing people believed in were the mediocre reviews. The Venice Film Festival line-up has been unveiled, though more attention has been drawn to slew of world premieres highlighting the event, including The Coen brother’s eagerly anticipated new film Burn After Reading, featuring John Malkovich, Brad Pitt and rising British star Tilda Swinton.

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