Take a look at the trailer for Barney’s Version, the adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s best-selling novel which stars Paul Giamatti and which is to compete in Venice this year. You can also peep the trailer for The Next Three Days, which stars Russell Crowe as an ordinary bloke who has to bust his wife out of jail. (It won’t be at Venice and it’s a remake of a French thriller.)
Barney’s Version is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Canadian author Mordecai Richler. The novel, which features a striking example of an unreliable narrator, is a purported autobiography of the hard-drinking, cigar-and-hockey-loving Canadian Jew Barney Panofsky. When an acquaintance of Barney’s is about to publish a memoir that will uncover many of Barney’s youthful indiscretions in Paris, and even name him as the murderer of their friend Boogie, Barney decides to set the facts straight about his life – as he sees it, at any rate. The resulting story takes in two failed marriages, one bungled chance at true love, and assorted blunders and screw-ups en route.
Barney’s Version, which is directed by TV filmmaker Richard J Lewis, will be competing for the Golden Lion at Venice this year. Paul Giamatti stars as the titular Barney; Rachelle Lefevre as his first wife, the poet Clara (interestingly, this is the role that caused her to lose the part of Victoria in the Twilight film series); Minnie Driver as his mouthy second wife, who goes unnamed in the novel; Rosamund Pike as his great love Miriam; Dustin Hoffman plays Izzy; and Bruce Greenwood, Blair. Thanks to TwitchFilm for the trailer.
On the plus side, the film features Paul Giamatti in a lead role (in my book, that’s a big plus) and comes from interesting source material. On the minus side – well, you saw that trailer. Hopefully, the fact it’s all dressed up like a formulaic romantic comedy (including Giamatti’s Barney doing a train-side pratfall) is just what happens when idiots edit trailers. We’ll let you know from Venice. There's no release date set yet.
We mentioned The Next Three Days some days ago in the context of remakes of French thrillers, and now up pops the trailer, like an overly keen member of the constabulary about to accuse your wife of murder. Such is very nearly the set-up for this slice of Russell Crowe-led remakery. Crowe and Elizabeth Banks play John and Laura Brennan, a law-abiding, middle-class couple whose family unit includes a photogenic young son. Some hefty circumstantial evidence sees Laura arrested for the murder of a work colleague and she’s sentenced to life in prison. John is well-aware that she won’t make it, and that his son misses his mother, so he sets about coming up with a plan to break her out. The catch is that John is a regular guy, with no underworld connections, no weapons arsenal and no clue how to stage a jailbreak or manage life on the run. This trailer comes courtesy of Yahoo.
I think that casting went a little awry on this one. We are well used to seeing Crowe kick cinematic butt, so this is a bit of a wasted opportunity to cast against type. It could actually have been quite thrilling to see a Giamatti or an Alfred Molina here.
Paul Haggis directed, as well as adapting the screenplay. His last movie was 2007’s well-intentioned but unloved In the Valley of Elah; before that it was 2004’s well-intentioned but bloody awful Crash (in spite of the Oscars, surely we can all agree that it was monumentally mediocre and about as much use to race relations as Where’s Wally is to missing persons). His last screenplay job was on 2008’s patchy Bond instalment Quantum of Solace. The Next Three Days will be released in the US on 19 November.