Cleopatra

IntroLostFilms

Before the days when the Internet immortalized everything from historical milestones to sleeping cat farts there was once a chance for moments to actually pass by completely unrepeated. While that did have its charm, the major downfall was that art had a way of being lost to time. In the case of this list – film art that we’re going to have to live without. Here are some of the most important films that are unfortunately never going to see the light of modern day.

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discs lore

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Lore WWII has come to an end, and as the Allies work their way across Germany five orphaned children are forced out on a journey of their own. Raised by Hitler-loving parents, the kids, led by the teenage Hannalore (Saskia Rosendahl), find their beliefs a detriment as they struggle to survive an inhospitable landscape. Things grow even more complicated when a young Jewish man appears to come to their rescue. This beautifully scored and shot drama was Austria’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, and it’s a winner on all counts (except for the actual Oscars of course where it failed to get nominated). Rosendahl does strong work as a teen coming of age under incredible circumstances. Director Cate Shortland‘s film tells a personal story, but it also offers insight into humanity as a whole. [Blu-ray extras: Making of, deleted scenes, featurette]

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The Best Damn Oscar Blog

If you can find a review of Cloud Atlas that doesn’t use the word “ambition,” I will give you a quarter. Everyone is talking about the sheer grandiosity of the project, an adaptation of a book that has been called “unfilmable.” More than simply the most obvious talking point, the movie’s vast scope is also a major point of division between critics. Those that love it seem to praise its ambition most of all, while its detractors claim that the Wachowski Starship and Tom Tykwer bit off far more than they could chew. I would argue for the latter, that while there are many excellent individual moments spread across Cloud Atlas’s six stories, the larger endeavor often gets bogged down in its own scope. However, that might mean nothing at all for its Oscar chances. Cloud Atlas is a great example of a group we might call “lesser epics.” These films tell broad, temporally extensive narratives that take up many years, distant locales, and well over two hours of screen time. They are often period pieces with meticulous detailing, gorgeous landscapes, and the occasional stunning special effects. Yet for whatever reason they don’t come quite come together in the end and they rarely make much money. At the end of the day, however, their ambition is often deemed enough on its own to garner a smattering of Oscar nominations. Cloud Atlas is nothing if not ambitious, but is that enough to impress the Academy?

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Perhaps it’s time that we all faced facts – this Cleopatra remake just might not happen. In reality, it shouldn’t happen – after all, is anyone really demanding an Angelina Jolie-starring and supposedly more “relatable” take on the Egyptian pharaoh? – but Sony seems bound and determined to keep on with this project, even though no less than three high profile directors have left the project in one way or another. Vulture reports that David Fincher is the latest to jump ship (joining both James Cameron, who was loosely attached back in 2010, and Paul Greengrass, who seemed like a lock in 2011, on the list), after talks with Sony ended. It’s unknown when Fincher left, though he was still talking about the project back in December, and it’s also unclear why Fincher and Sony couldn’t work it out. The outlet does sagely point to the “somewhat cloudy” relationship between the studio and the director, given that Fincher has delivered to them both a huge hit (The Social Network) and a resounding miss (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). Yet, perhaps this will allow Fincher to sign on for the Dragon Tattoo sequel we’re expecting in 2014 (at the earliest). As for a replacement for Cleopatra? Vulture also reports that the studio is looking to others, including Ang Lee, who has not entered into anything resembling a formal discussion with the studio.

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Eric Roth is an outstanding talent, and script work for Benjamin Button, Munich and Forrest Gump have more than proved that over the years. We’ll get another look at his work when Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close comes out this Winter. Now, according to Variety, the screenwriter has entered into talks to write the adaptation of Stacy Schiff’s “Cleopatra: A Life,” whose rights were purchased by Scott Rudin. As previously reported, Angelina Jolie is set up to play the most famous of all Pharaohs. The David Fincher portion of the project isn’t set in stone, but it would be great to see him go all Mankiewicz on everyone, and Roth’s inclusion might be a key to locking him down. Since the pen is about to be put to paper, the only thing left for us is to imagine a world where Fincher forces Jolie to do scenes in the hot desert with thousands of extras 99 times before using the first take. There’s no telling how bombastic this movie might be, or whether Fincher may ultimately choose to do it, but it’s an amazing opportunity to return to spectacle-style filmmaking. How cool would that be?

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Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. Richard Burton as Mark Antony. Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar. There’s nothing quite like the huge spectacle of Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s take on the Queen of the Nile. Everything about it is larger than life, including the egos. It’s possibly going to be remade with Angelina Jolie under the starring crown (why they aren’t casting Monica Bellucci is a mystery), so we’ll get to see whether they try to make it even more expensive, whether they’ll need to hire special guards to protect extras/slave girls from having their butts pinched, or if they’ll dust off the old Todd-AO system for 60s authenticity. Probably not. On all counts. But we can still enjoy the original trailer.

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The historical biopic based on a best selling book “Cleopatra: A Life” has had Angelina Jolie set to star for a while now, but it has yet to find a director. First it was rumored that James Cameron was going to direct, but then he committed to doing Avatar sequels instead. Then it looked like Paul Greengrass might come on board, but he wound up going off to do Memphis. Maybe the problem Cleopatra is having is that her standards are too high. Instead of only going after the biggest directors in Hollywood, she just needs to get out there and start dating. The big problem standing in the way is that Angelina Jolie reportedly has quite a bit of say-so that goes along with her attachment to the film, and she is very particular about who she wants directing. I mean, just look at her filmography and you can tell that she only works with the best. This lady does top notch stuff. Who knows what The Tourist would have looked like if she didn’t hold out for the most talented people in the business to sign on? Jolie’s eye for talent has now looked toward The Social Network director David Fincher. He has had talks about the possibility of taking on the project, but it is questionable if his schedule will allow for it. Famously, his next project is the English language version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and with that film comes two sequels. And […]

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No matter who ends up directing Cleopatra, it’s going to be a cyclopean undertaking. The budget will be inflated, Angelina Jolie will be inflated, and the director will have to make sense of it all. It’s unclear what it means to “like the idea” of Paul Greengrass directing, since this isn’t middle school, but according to Deadline, Scott Rudin and Sony might soon be slipping a note to Greengrass asking him “check yes or no” in regards to the gig. The film seeks to be a grittier version than the widely known Elizabeth Taylor film from 1963, but the plan is to keep it PG-13 and in 3D. That’s unsurprising considering the budget size (which will be massive), but it’s disappointing. It’s also disappointing to see Angelina Jolie wrapped up in this role. In a way, she’s too perfect for it, and her acting in recent years has been trumped completely by her public persona. Taylor became the highest paid actress by signing on for her Egyptian epic (playing a Greek queen), but Jolie has been on the highest paid list for a long time now, and her welcome is a bit outstayed. Greengrass is unarguably a good fit because he can do tight action, good dramatic storytelling and higher budget projects. Another choice might be Kathryn Bigelow, but she’s got her hands full for the rest of the year. Regardless, this thing will be a big deal (and possibly a big gamble) and something to keep a close eye […]

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Quick, name one historical figure you’d love to see brought to the big screen in glorious, big budget 3D. If you said Harold Lloyd then pat yourself on the back because that would indeed make for an entertaining 3D biopic, but apparently no one but us thinks it’s a good idea. Instead, Hollywood is returning to the well of cinematic epics from days gone by and is preparing to dust one off for an update of sorts… and they’ve got some pretty big heavy hitters already interested. Per Deadline Kapuskasing, Sony Pictures is extremely keen on making a big budget Cleopatra film, and they may already have a director and star in place. Angelina Jolie has long spoken of her desire to play the role of Egypt’s final pharaoh, and many people consider her exotic looks and apparent charisma to make her a natural for such a powerful and well known historical character. On the other side of the camera Sony has garnered the attention of James Cameron. Interest has piqued most recently thanks to a new script from Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) based off the recent bestseller, Cleopatra: A Life, by Staci Schiff, that paints the formidable ruler in a far different light than people are used to. This will not be Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra…

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There’s nothing in Cleopatra that screams out for 3D, unlike say, Soderbergh’s currently in-production The Girlfriend Experience starring porn star Sasha Grey. So why’s he doing it?

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