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Baz Luhrmann's Elvis biopic

Started by Ballad of Ballard Berkley, February 17, 2022, 07:15:56 PM

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Dr Rock

Quote from: 13 schoolyards on February 19, 2022, 04:55:41 AMThe trouble with an Elvis biopic is that while he's an icon and the King of Rock'n Roll and all that, once he actually becomes successful there's not much story there - joins the army, makes a lot of bad movies, the '68 comeback special (which would be a great movie in its own right) and then he just slides back downhill again until the classic "dies on the toilet" scene.

Have you read the two Peter Guralnick biographies? There's rich material for any Elvis biog there - this new film is concentrating on the relationship with Elvis and Tom Parker, which is the best angle imo

Blumf

So long as the film spends some time on Elvis' final days, working in a chip shop in Croydon.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

I hope it includes a scene of Elvis pissing himself laughing while watching Monty Python tapes. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if it does. Seems like the sort of detail Luhrmann would get a kick out of.

Elvis was also a big fan of Peter Sellers (Dr Strangelove being a particular favourite in the Graceland screening room). I've no idea if he was ever aware of Cook & Moore, but he probably would've loved them too.

My point being that Elvis would fit right in on Cook'd and Bomb'd.

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holdover

Nice to see the Captain Marvel Jr influence being front and centre. No doubt helped by this being a WB movie.

13 schoolyards

Quote from: Dr Rock on February 19, 2022, 12:49:40 PMHave you read the two Peter Guralnick biographies? There's rich material for any Elvis biog there - this new film is concentrating on the relationship with Elvis and Tom Parker, which is the best angle imo

I have, and they're packed with good stuff. I wish someone would make an Elvis bio that was about the nuts and bolts of his rise to stardom - touring, record sales, basically inventing a market and turning a novelty act into a permanent part of US pop culture. Though my pick for an Elvis movie would be to focus on the '68 Comeback Special, as it's got everything you want in a tight narrative structure.

There's so much going on in just about every stage of Elvis' life, but as a fan (well, I was years ago), I would say that. The problem is finding a hook to hang his life on if you're not going to focus on a specific place and time, and I guess Tom Parker being some kind of demonic figure preventing Elvis from reaching true greatness (rather than Elvis being drafted and dropping out of the limelight for two years, then coming back to an America that had moved on and simply cashing in on his once-freakish, now fading fame with shitty films) is as good a one as any.

Just so long as there's more to the story, which the trailer suggests there might be - if Luhrmann can touch on a tenth of the fun facts about Elvis it'll definitely be an interesting movie.

(personally I wish he'd decided to make a movie of this, which has to be the seediest, sleaziest look at a major public figure to get an aboveground commercial release. It's just shots of Army-era Elvis hanging out at clubs in Germany looking wacked out of his gourd while predatory types hang off him looking to either fuck him or sell him dope - real David Lynch material at times)




Famous Mortimer

Hopefully Jon Moritsugu's "Der Elvis" will be a special feature when it comes to blu-ray.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0333393/

JamesTC

Saw a trailer for this before. It initially acts like it is a superhero film before revealing it is an Elvis movie.

Tom Hanks made me think of Brian Butterfield without a moustache.

I hope it includes a bit where he shoots a TV.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Quote from: curiousoranges on March 20, 2022, 10:21:52 PMI hope it includes a bit where he shoots a TV.

I'm sure you know this, but John Carpenter's Elvis biopic ‐ which is pretty good ‐ opens with a scene of The King doing just that. It's as if Carpenter thought to himself, "People will be expecting a scene in which he shoots a TV, so I may as well get it out of the way in the first ten minutes."

Ballad of Ballard Berkley


SteveDave

Wow his band sound like Queens Of The Stone Age there.

Harvey Milk

Couldn't they have found someone who would be at least convincing in terms of physique and charisma? He's a handsome bloke, but it's distracting how unlike Elvis he is. He's too lean and scrawny to pull off all the 'grunt and groin' antics. It's just not sexy enough, m'lud.

13 schoolyards

To be fair, an Elvis biopic is pretty much the only case where you'd expect the movie star playing the central character to be less attractive than the real thing

PlanktonSideburns

Quote from: 13 schoolyards on May 13, 2022, 06:19:03 AMTo be fair, an Elvis biopic is pretty much the only case where you'd expect the movie star playing the central character to be less attractive than the real thing

Yea but why does he have to look like simon cowells sex tulpa

EOLAN

Looked like a "Never Not Funny" parody of an Elvis film to me. Which may not be all that bad a thing.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Early reviews are... mixed.

https://www.indiewire.com/2022/05/elvis-review-baz-luhrmann-1234728121/

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/reviews/elvis-review-movie-austin-butler-b2087479.html

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/may/25/elvis-review-baz-luhrmann-cannes-presley (Yes, I know, Bradshaw, but he is sometimes correct)

Apart from Romeo + Juliet, I haven't really enjoyed any of the Luhrmann films I've seen. The Great Gatsby was alright, but I couldn't stand Moulin Rouge. An absolute headache of a film.

Like anyone with eyes and ears, I get what he's doing; kitschy stylised excess is his stock in trade. Fine. But an almost three-hour Elvis biopic in that style sounds like hard work.

It doesn't sound like the film will examine the complex phenomenon of Elvis in a remotely thoughtful way. He was A Cool Sexy Dude Who Shook Up the World! And his manager was a weirdo conman. There's so much more to the story than that.

But that's Luhrmann for you, isn't it? A superficial stylist. Oh well.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

It'll be interesting to hear Kermode's take, though. He is after all a massive Elvis fan (he's a fan of massive Elvis).

famethrowa

Quote from: kalowski on February 18, 2022, 11:32:42 PMIt can fuck off the minute it did that uncomfortable silence in front of a crowd moment. Mic feedback and everything.
Fuck right off.


dissolute ocelot

Quote from: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on May 26, 2022, 11:40:20 PMApart from Romeo + Juliet, I haven't really enjoyed any of the Luhrmann films I've seen. The Great Gatsby was alright, but I couldn't stand Moulin Rouge. An absolute headache of a film.

Like anyone with eyes and ears, I get what he's doing; kitschy stylised excess is his stock in trade. Fine. But an almost three-hour Elvis biopic in that style sounds like hard work.

It doesn't sound like the film will examine the complex phenomenon of Elvis in a remotely thoughtful way. He was A Cool Sexy Dude Who Shook Up the World! And his manager was a weirdo conman. There's so much more to the story than that.

But that's Luhrmann for you, isn't it? A superficial stylist. Oh well.
Strictly Ballroom is probably his highpoint. I do like Moulin Rouge but as much for its flaws (Ewan Macgregor singing, the hope that he hates the Paris pseuds, the ludicrous clichés). I rewatched Romeo and Julie recently and it's cool while nobody is speaking, obviously a silly play and he tries a lot, but  by the standards of alt 90s Shakespeare (Almereyda, Kaurismaaki) it's meh. Australia is duuuuullllll, can't bear to watch Gatsby, etc.

I believe he is a fine filmmaker potentially, but this seems a bad concept. Poor Tom Hanks, whose late period is full of strong performances in questionable films.

Shaky

After Strictly, Gatsby is probably my favourite. Solid story, well cast and his flourishes largely work to capture the headiness of the era.

Romeo & Juliet I never really liked as the most of the cast (especially the younger ones) shout their lines like they don't know what they're saying. Australia & Moulin Rouge can fuck off to Hell. This new one looks like a self-parody.

George White

Quote from: Harvey Milk on May 12, 2022, 02:49:06 PM
Couldn't they have found someone who would be at least convincing in terms of physique and charisma? He's a handsome bloke, but it's distracting how unlike Elvis he is. He's too lean and scrawny to pull off all the 'grunt and groin' antics. It's just not sexy enough, m'lud.
I think the resemblance is uncanny.



Dr Rock

Kurt Russell was as close as you could want.



George White

But also Kurt had the advantage of  having actually appeared in a film with Elvis.

Recently found the 1981 semi-followup Elvis and the Beauty Queen (again featuring Ronnie McDowell (not Roddy, sadly) asthe singing voice of Elvis).
Except instead of Russell, we get Don Johnson, who is way too young, svelte and relatively twinky to be the 40-odd Fat Elvis.
He doesn't even bother to do the voice.

part of me was thinking, c.1981, 'who'd have been better?'
Weirdly, part of me kept thinking, 'Joe Don Baker?'

JamesTC

Just got back from seeing this. Thought it was pretty good.

Loved the ending when...

Spoiler alert
...Fat Elvis walks to the toilet with a newspaper and closes the door behind him and the Tom Hanks voice-over quips "that boy played his last tune on that there toilet. But it was the tune that broke his heart."
[close]

Pink Gregory

Quote from: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on May 26, 2022, 11:43:00 PMIt'll be interesting to hear Kermode's take, though. He is after all a massive Elvis fan (he's a fan of massive Elvis).

He loved it, not much more to say than that.

13 schoolyards

It was a bit surprising how little fat Elvis was in this, considering it was clearly about "the legend" more than anything else. It was basically Young Elvis = Sexy, Vegas Elvis = Still Sexy, then hey look over there oh he's dead wonder how that happened THE END

Dr Rock

Loved it. Wonder if it will reignite interest in The King's career an music with non-fans or casual fans. Do biopics tend to do that though?

13 schoolyards

Most of the recent musical biopics have basically been jukebox musicals where the whole idea is to showcase the hits the fans want to hear (again). This probably was greenlit off the back of those other successes, but it didn't really seem to show off Elvis' music all that much - the Little Richard performance was probably the most impressive stand alone number, as most of the Elvis songs were more about the surrounding drama (ie him singing "I'm Evil" to show he wasn't going to go along with the "New Elvis" pitch).

Maybe it'll inspire people to actually go out and find out more about Elvis' music to fill in the gaps?


Blue Jam

Quote from: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on February 19, 2022, 05:05:40 PMI hope it includes a scene of Elvis pissing himself laughing while watching Monty Python tapes. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if it does. Seems like the sort of detail Luhrmann would get a kick out of.

I remember reading that Elvis started calling people "Squire" after watching the "Nudge Nudge" sketch and how Eric Idle was blown away when he heard that.

Saw this tonight. Thought the lead was born to play Elvis. Great performance. Other than that... meh. I went in expecting something colourful and OTT and camp, my fault for going into this blind I guess. Still enjoyed it overall.