Friday, March 17, 2006

"Snakes on a Plane" Did Not Make the Cut

It appears we've fallen, here at APR, into some fairly rough roles. Jerry writes a daily analysis post, by and large. I write smaller, more frequent pieces, often broaching the lighter side of the news. And Harry just sucks ass.

With that in mind -- and considering I just spent a long day in Sacramento -- I'd like to strain this blog's defining role and stretch ourselves to the closest boundary of pop culture. Below, I've crafted a list that I've actually been building in my mind: political movies coming down the pike that APR readers might want to know about. This doesn't include documentaries, like the piece about Al Gore and global warming, and is instead only major motion pit-chers.

Thank You for Smoking opens this week. (Trailer) It takes a satirical look at lobbying (Big Tobacco, primarily) and makes a Senator from Vermont (played by APR favorite William H. Macy) the Birkenstock-wearing villain.

American Dreamz will open April 21. (Trailer) More satire, this of a number of timely topics, from a bumbling President, a conniving overlord-Vice President, consumer pop culture (including Jerry's favorite television show) and even a dash of terrorism.

Flight 93 will open April 28. (Trailer) Don't expect a lot of laughs on this one. This is a real-time account of United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on 9/11 that passengers crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania in lieu of destroying (reportedly) the White House.

World Trade Center will open August 11. (Photo) Similarly themed, love-him-or-hate-him Oliver Stone will direct (but not write, as he did with JFK) a true story about two Port Authority cops who were the last two survivors extracted from Ground Zero.

The Good Shepherd will open Dec. 22. (Photo) Eric Roth ("Munich," "The Insider") wrote the screenplay and Robert De Niro will direct and star in a close look at the early history of the CIA.

All the King's Men will open in December. (Trailer) Steven Zaillian's ("Schindler's List") adaptation of the classic novel charts the rise and fall of a charismatic Southern politician. The plot follows a once-idealistic then quickly embittered reporter who unwittingly fuels his corrupt political ambitions. I haven't read the book or seen the Best Picture-winning 1949 version, but it's based on Sen. Huey Long of Louisiana, so I guess we know how this is going to end.

Flags of Our Fathers has no opening date yet. (Photo) Clint Eastwood will direct a screenplay by Paul Haggis ("Million Dollar Baby," "Crash") based on the account of the six Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima during World War II.

Charlie Wilson's War has no opening date yet. Aaron Sorkin -- my single favorite writer, regardless of medium -- is adapting George Crile's book (which I unwittingly convinced my parents' entire book club to read -- seriously) about a Texas Congressman's funding the Mujadeen in Afghanistan, which as we all know has had some rather negative long-term results. Among the best books I've ever read and, let's face it, I would pay money to see Sorkin adapt a telephone book.

Stop-Loss has no opening date yet. This will begin filming in the Spring and will depict American soldiers who face being sent back to the front lines in Iraq because of a controversial statute invoked by the Defense Department.

This Variety article reports that Paramount hired Ronald Harwood ("The Pianist") to write a film about last fall's Dover, Pa., legal battle on intelligent design in public schools. (The same article mentions another movie I haven't heard about yet, The Invisible World, a drama about the abduction of a female journalist in Iraq.)

Another article, this one from Reuters, reports that Haggis has announced he will direct "Against All Enemies," a project based on Richard A. Clarke's best-selling memoir chronicling the Bush administration's handling of terrorist threats. (APR casting call! Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Karen Hughes, Ari Fleischer, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney.)

I wasn't going to include this because I wanted to stick purely to the political, but I just so happened to read today that the producers of "Nativity" casted the role of the Virgin Mary in their female-dominated film on Jesus' birth.

And, by the way, the film name in the post title is the real thing.


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