I never saw the original film from 2001, but apparently it’s pretty funny. Funny enough that Netflix is releasing an 8-part mini-series that is a prequel to the original. The fact that it stars basically the same cast but they’re all 15 years older is part of the gag I guess.
Anyway, here’s the trailer if you’re into this sort of thing. Some bits work in here pretty well, others don’t. I quite like the “what?”, “nothing.”, “what?” banter at the end with Bradley Cooper and Michael Ian Black.
The cast is stacked: Elizabeth Banks, H. Jon Benjamin, Michael Ian Black, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Nina Hellman, David Hyde Pierce, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, AD Miles, Marguerite Moreau, Christopher Meloni, Zak Orth, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Marisa Ryan, David Wain, Molly Shannon, Michael Showalter, Jordan Peele, Kristen Wiig, and introducing Jon Hamm.
I’ve been a pretty bi fan of Zhang Yimou since Raise the Red Lantern (where my Criterion release!?). He smartly strayed from his signature style (symmetry and extraordinary bright color palette) after Curse of the Golden Flower and moved on to different fare with Coen Brother remakes and directing English-speaking Americans. But it’s been four years now and we’re due.
What equally exciting is that he’s pairing up again with his longtime muse, Gong Li, for this latest picture.
I do admit this trailer feels a little dreary and overly sentimental, but at the same time, there’s something emotionally sweet and hypnotic with what’s going on here and I for one am really looking forward to seeing what he’s bringing to the table this time around. With fairly positive reviews coming out of TIFF, Coming Home will be hitting The States and Canada early this fall.
Hey look, it’s Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie)! Also this is the last, new thing we’ll ever see the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman on screen for ever again (which saddens me on many levels). So there’s stuff in here to look forward to, and I admit that having read some of the novelizations, I’m somewhat interested in the conclusion here; but overall this is one of the most mediocre, but successful, franchises I can think of. From crappy, cheap set designs to questionable performances (by reputable (some, Oscar winner) actors), there’s just an overall sense of poor production value.
Of course there is a wide and varying difference of opinion on these films and the subject matter is somewhat intriguing. Unfortunately I just find that the execution of what could’ve really been an iconic franchise is wiped away with a lot of static.
Sorry, to bring down the atmosphere and I do hope these film makers can pull of something grand for the finale, but if we go with the history books, all signs point to another forgettable entry in the series.