The first time I saw Donnie Darko, the movie completely fascinated me, and Richard Kelly was immediately added to the list of directors I couldn’t wait to see more from. In the five years since then, with subsequent viewings, my enthusiasm for Donnie Darko has diminished, although I refuse to completely write it off. Last year, after the notoriously horrible first screening of his new film Southland Tales at Cannes, Richard Kelly was sent back home to tinker with the film in pursuit of a leaner cut that audiences might find more tolerable. I have been extremely curious about this movie, but after everything I’ve heard, my confidence in Kelly is definitely wavering.
The concept sounds cool: in the very near future (July 4, 2008 to be exact) Los Angeles is on the brink of chaos. The United States have been involved in a nuclear war and citizens are monitored heavily by a new government system called USIdent. A German company develops a generator that supplies limitless energy, but it causes a massive environmental disaster that threatens the very fabric of space and time itself. Did I mention that it’s also a musical? The main problem I have had all along with this film (aside from the fact that Kelly may be trying to do too much with it), is the gimmicky choice of casting. This is a movie that stars Seann William Scott, The Rock, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Cheri Oteri, Mandy Moore, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Smith and Justin Timberlake, among others. They’re all great picks for a goofy comedy, but for something that is a dark sci-fi satire, I just don’t know if they can cut it. Finally, the first official trailer for Southland Tales has gone online, and although I still think this thing could go either way, there’s just enough weirdness to get me hooked. Is this destined to be one of the most hotly debated movies of the year? Southland Tales hits theatres on November 9th; check out the trailer over at Yahoo! now.» Related Link: Yahoo!: Southland Tales trailer