Sleeper Celluloid: Real Reviews of Fake Movies

Sleeper Celluloid Holiday Preview Guide

You Don’t Know Crapper
Director: Charlie Kaufman; Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Diane Lane, Courtney B. Vance and Robert Duvall

The biopic of Thomas Crapper, inventor of the toilet. The film explores the life of a visionary man whose name became synonymous with shit, in spite of his attempts to humanize the act of taking a crap. An odd fringe group of protestors has been picketing at test screenings, claiming that Crapper didn’t even invent the toilet (as if he hasn’t suffered enough). Don’t be surprised if Cumberbatch doesn’t land a best actor nom for this one.

Bowie
Director: Todd Haynes; Starring Tilda Swinton

Let’s face it: There are only a few cases where the actor has been totally and completely possessed by the character. Pacino in Scarface springs to mind. Hoffman in Capote. Hoffman again in Funny Guy. And now Bowie. Oh and it’s nothing at all like I’m Not There. It’s actually better. David Bowie apparently wrote the script and for that and other reasons in a lot of ways it’s Haynes’s purest film, if not his best one (it’s totally his finest work). Haynes and Swinton along with producer Christine Vachon are refusing to publicize the film in any way. So you probably haven’t even heard about it.

First Sight
Director: Ethan Hawke; Starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman

Still raising eyebrows is the re-teaming of the two Gattaca stars in this odd and self-indulgent rom com. First Sight is about what happens when a married man meets a married woman in a checkout line and they instantly fall ridiculously in love and run off together. Hawke said in a New York Times interview, “He’s married with kids so he’s bad; she’s married with no kids, but she’s bad too. It’s all about the heart in conflict with itself and in conflict with someone else’s heart, and sometimes multiple other people’s hearts. Yet it is undeniably real and incapacitating. It’s irrational and the only rational thing at the same time.” Thurman told Entertainment Weekly, “He tricked me into making this. I truly despise this awful and peculiar little film. I wish it didn’t exist.”

Rage
Director: Gaspar Noe; Starring Shia LaBeouf, James Badge Dale, Elle Fanning and Harvey Keitel

Noe’s highly anticipated follow up to 2009’s Enter the Void. Gene Shalit called it a “…stark if not Orwellian zombie-cum-outlaw masterpiece.” The film has resulted in hundreds of walk-outs. Critics are praising it as the Fight Club of zombie cinema while the Weinstein’s are threatening to pull the film after only three test screenings if Noe won’t commit to substantial trimming. At present, the running time of Rage is four hours and fifteen minutes. The movie’s first thirty minutes has the entire cast rampaging as enraged, cannibalistic, murderous juggernauts. For the remaining three-plus hours, everyone reverts to passive aggression and whoredom.

Assassins
Director: Doug Liman; Starring John Hawkes, Michael K. Williams, Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, and RJ Mitte

An assassin who specializes in going back in time to stop assassins goes back to stop Lee Harvey Oswald only to find he has an assassin after him this time, sent by the future government to prevent the prevention of the Kennedy hit. RJ Mitte is brilliant as the loveable yet dubious Lee Harvey, very much Leo Getz to Hawkes’s Riggs and K. Williams’s Murtaugh.

Kickball
Director: Paul Schrader; Starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Terry Crews, Nastassja Kinski, and Willem Dafoe

Will Ferrell takes a dramatic turn as Sam Cody, a recently fired steel worker experiencing a period of emotional strife and violent outbursts triggered by the death of his father, severe alcoholism, spousal abuse charges, diabetes, and a custody battle. Rather than face his problems directly, Cody signs on to coach a local kickball team that’s lost every game six years in a row.

Fatso
Director: James Franco; Starring Seth Rogen, Amber Heard, and Kevin Spacey

In this new take on Cinderella, an overweight, unemployed loser has thirty days to make a famous actress fall in love with him. If he pulls it off, he’ll receive one billion dollars from a quirky ice cream mogul. Rogen apparently put on a whopping eighty-two pounds for the role. Franco described the film as an aside project. He’s currently directing American Tabloid, based on the novel by James Ellroy, in Los Angeles. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Franco, Kevin Durand, and Gene Hackman as J. Edgar Hoover.

The Godfather Origins: Tessio
Director: James Gray; Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Joan Allen, and Abe Vigoda

The third in the Godfather Origins series stars Joaquin Phoenix as Salvatore Tessio, a kind and affable partner of young Vito Corleone (Vincent Gallo) in the olive oil business. Tessio ascends to hitman status and ultimately sells out to Don Emilio Barzini (Vincent D’Onofrio) as depicted in The Godfather. Gray directs this third installment with a slow hand, keeping things dark and meditative. Each act break is bookended with a two-minute dolly-in of Tessio, portrayed by Phoenix for the majority of the film, until he ages—almost effortlessly—into Abe Vigoda.

Benjamin Franklin: Serial Killer
Director: Frank Darabont; Starring Jonah Hill

Loosely based on the 1998 discovery of human remains in a pit underneath Franklin’s London home, the film takes place from 1757 to 1775 and depicts Franklin as a bloodthirsty serial sociopath who tortured his victims for years at a time before disposing of their corpses in his basement. Hill spent extensive time with real life serial killers in preparation for the role of the maniacal founding father. His self-made documentary short film about the making of Benjamin Franklin: Serial KillerBeing Ben, has already been banned in England and France.

Tremors 5
Director: Alan Alda; Starring Alan Alda

The story we’re hearing is Alda bought the franchise from Universal back in 2007 for like twenty-five grand, commissioned a few scripts and couldn’t get anything off the ground. Cut to summer 2011, when Alda decides to launch a Kickstarter campaign, offering rewards such as, “…soup and a sandwich with Alan Alda,” at the $28 donation level, and “… a speaking role in Tremors 5,” for $52. The campaign was successfully funded to the tune of $7,134. In the final film, due to what Alda’s representatives are calling “budgetary constraints,” Alda not only directed, but stars as the giant sand worm, without any make-up or special effects whatsoever. The plot of the film appears to be one long bloody sequence featuring Alda writhing in the sand with his mouth open and eating his Kickstarter supporters to death.

Merry Christmas!

Adam Cushman holds an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. His short stories have appeared in The Mississippi Review, Trop, The St. Petersburg Review, El Portal and elsewhere. He teaches fiction writing at Writing Workshops Los Angeles and is the President of Red 14 Films. His novel CUT releases February 2014 from Black Mountain Press.