What I’ve always admired about Adrien Brody is his project-choosing process. He takes on big studio flicks like King Kong and Predators from time to time but for the most part he’s a maverick sticking to independent or avant-garde fare in which he’s able to express himself with artistic integrity through unorthodox narratives. Such is the case in Wrecked his new film that sounds like Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours on paper but is far more disconcerting than that true tale of survival.
The story begins at the bottom of a featureless ravine inside a broken-down car that’s apparently been run off the road. In the passenger seat is an unnamed Man (Brody) who is trapped in shotgun while the body of a stranger rots in the backseat. Adding to this disturbing scenario is memory loss – the Man can’t recall how he got there or who he is. As dehydration starvation and exhaustion set in the line between reality and delusion blurs and the audience goes on a strange trip of rediscovery with the enigmatic prisoner.
While the linchpin in Boyle’s film is James Franco’s performance Wrecked relies more on the atmospheric direction of Michael Greenspan who makes his feature debut with this surreal picture. That’s not to say that Brody doesn’t deliver an unnerving portrayal of a man in a grave situation. As he moans and writhes in and out of his seat you can’t help sympathizing with him though screenwriter Christopher Dodd concocts a backstory that removes whatever remorse you had for him at times while piquing your curiosity at others. He heightens the anxiety of the unknown with a spooky score longer-than-average shots and a few bizarre situations. The natural environments and minimalist screenplay aid the filmmaker in creating his eerie tone despite the picturesque setting which would be calming if not for some perplexing hallucinations related to the Man’s past predicament.
Unfortunately the bare bones script is also the biggest problem with Wrecked as the film like its protagonist doesn’t really go anywhere. The revelations come far too quickly resulting in a boring anti-climactic effect. Even though there’s some distressing fun to be had while getting to the finish line it’s a sterilized psychological thriller that brings to mind films like Brad Anderson’s The Machinist but fails to achieve that level of ambiguous magnetism.
Top Story: Stewart Indicted
It may be time to think about how to decorate that jail cell. Homemaking maven Martha Stewart was dealt a major blow Wednesday after she was charged with securities fraud and obstruction of justice stemming from the inside trading brouhaha over the sale of her shares of ImClone Systems, Inc. in 2001, Reuters reports. Charges were made after settlement talks between Stewart and federal prosecutors broke down. Stewart is also expected to step down as chairman and chief executive of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., Reuters reports.
Spike Suing Over Spike TV
Filmmaker Spike Lee is suing Viacom Inc. over its renaming the cable network TNN Spike TV, The Associated Press reports. The suit, which was filed Tuesday, claims it invokes the 25th Hour director's name, which he never gave consent to be used. "The media description of this change of name, as well as comments made to me and my wife, confirmed what was obvious--that Spike TV referred to Spike Lee," Lee said in court papers. Viacom bought TNN in 2000 and announced in April that it would change the channel's name to Spike TV on June 16, labeling it "the first network for men," in an attempt to further capture their already roughly two-thirds male audience. Viacom told AP on Tuesday that it was confident the court would reject Lee's claims to the popular name Spike.
Manilow Breaks Nose
Ouch! After waking disoriented in the middle of the night Tuesday, Barry Manilow accidentally ran into a wall, breaking his nose and knocking himself unconscious, Reuters reports. The 56-year-old entertainer had just returned home in Palm Springs, Calif. after spending two weeks in Malibu producing an album for Bette Midler. "I may have to have my nose fixed, and with this nose, it's going to require major surgery," Manilow quipped to Reuters, referring to his famously prominent proboscis.
Actor/Screenwriter Richard Cusack Dies
Richard Cusack--actor, screenwriter and patriarch of the famous acting family that includes stars John and Joan Cusack--died Monday of pancreatic cancer in Illinois, AP reports. He was 77. Cusack was best known for writing the 1999 HBO film The Jack Bull and appeared in films such as The Fugitive and Return to Me.
Clarkson Hits Gold--and Platinum
American Idol Kelly Clarkson is still feeling the love a year later. Her debut album Thankful has gone both gold and platinum after selling more than 1 million copies last month, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In figures released by the Recording Industry Association of America, the American Idol compilation album All-time Classic American Love Songs, which features the top 11 finalists from the second season of the Fox television hit, also soared high in sales with more than 500,000 copies sold.
Clay's Single Beating Ruben's in Sales
In more American Idol news, second season runner-up Clay Aiken's upcoming single "This is the Night"/ "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has steamed ahead of winner Ruben Studdard's single "Flying Without Wings"/ "Superstar" in advance sales on Amazon. com. Both singles are scheduled to be released June 10.
24 Producer Signs on for 24 Months More
Executive producer Howard Gordon, who heads up the hit Fox series 24, has inked a two-year deal with 20th Century Fox TV. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gordon will continue as a hands-on executive producer on 24, which has been picked up for a third season, as well as develop new projects for the studio.
Readers Eager for Harry
Amazon.com Inc. announced Wednesday their advance orders for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has reached 1 million. The highly anticipated fifth Potter book is to be released globally June 21.
Role Call: Jim Has Fun With Dick and Jane, More To Fly in Aviator
Hot off his new comedy Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey has signed with director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black) and producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) to remake the 1977 comedy Fun With Dick and Jane, Variety reports. The original film starred George Segal and Jane Fonda as a middle-class married couple who have to pull off heists to pay the bills…Meanwhile, stars are lining up alongside Leonardo DiCaprio for Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, a biopic about reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, and John C. Reilly are close to signing on to play Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner and Hughes' right-hand man Noah Dietrich, respectively, and No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani will make her screen debut as siren Jean Harlow.