The Weinstein brothers have always been the kings of movie marketing. In a way their career has had the same trajectory in the business side of movies as Sylvester Stallone does in performance and audience reception - nothing but peaks and valleys the entire way through. Sure, they presided over the rise of independent film studios with Miramax in the late '80s and into the '90s, but also saw them devolve into a bunch of self-conscious quirks for marketing instead of artistic voices to cultivate. With the Weinsteins, you have to take the good with the bad.
The bad involves the way that they treat their distribution rights for foreign films, and given today's news it's unlikely that is going to change anytime soon. Harvey, who is usually the more hands-on and outspoken of the two, has an unfortunate history of cutting foreign films into pieces and sometimes horrible dub jobs in the hopes of netting a wider audience here in the States. Sometimes that works as I could point toward Princess Mononoke as a film mostly preserved from the original with a good voice cast, but the Weinsteins also had Disney to answer to. The negative example is Shaolin Soccer, with entire hilarious sequences either cut out entirely or in awkward bits, with one of the worst dub-jobs ever.
Now some representatives from The Weinstein Company are leaking the Weinsteins want to cut 20 minutes from Bong Joon-ho's latest film Snowpiercer. I've only seen two of Joon-ho's previous films, The Host and Mother, but both are excellent and lingered in my mind for far longer than I thought. Even with Mother, a character-driver psychological study, there wasn't much fat to trim and that almost goes twice as much for The Host. All reports about Snowpiercer are that it can barely afford to cut a couple of minutes, let alone 20.
I want to be optimistic, but in this case it still involves a bit of business-based pessimism. I hope that this is just another marketing stunt for the Weinsteins - one that I will happily buy into because it means more publicity for Joon-ho's work. But given that they don't have the best track record with foreign films when left to their own devices I'm more skeptical. I would love to see it on the big screen in its untouched form, but if it means waiting for a fan-subbed port then by all means I'll wait if needed.
In other, more positive, news the Mission: Impossible series is continuing its trend of dark to light tones with the announcement that Christopher McQuarrie as the director of the fifth installment. I've loved every one of the M:I films, from the impenetrable plot and icy cool of Brian DePalma's original to the grand set pieces and lavish scenery of the fourth. I doubt that giving the reins to McQuarrie will result in another light-hearted romp, especially given McQuarrie's predisposition toward the hardboiled, but I love the choice.
My review of To the Wonder is scheduled for tomorrow but I may be unable to do any news. I am going into surgery for my kidney calcification at 9:15 and may not be coherent. If I still feel up for writing, you may see some unusual free-verse floating around the site tomorrow. Thanks for reading, and I'll be back as soon as I am able.