ARGENTO’S LATEST SLASHED BY U.S. COURT
I was originally planning to use this space for a review of Giallo, the latest thriller from one-time Italian horror maestro Dario Argento, but a serious case of writer’s block pretty much waylaid those plans since at least Friday. Well, it looks like any review I may have planned for this particular movie will be unnecessary as a judge has blocked any further distribution of the film.
Since an actual news article can describe the whole sordid situation involving a contract dispute between star Adrien Brody and Giallo‘s producers better than I could, here’s the article, straight from Yahoo! News via Dread Central:
“A federal judge has blocked the makers of a thriller film starring Adrien Brody from using the Oscar-winning actor’s likeness until he is fully paid for his role.
U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer issued a ruling Monday blocking the makers of Giallo from continuing to distribute, market or sell Giallo in the United States.
Brody sued last month before the film went on sale in the States, claiming he was owed $640,000 and its DVD release could cost him $2 million. In a sworn declaration, he said the film’s producers lied to him about financing and vastly overstated how much the film’s Italian distribution rights were worth.
The actor tried unsuccessfully to block the film’s sale, but Fischer’s ruling states Brody is likely to win the case and his likeness can no longer be used in the film or to promote it.
The ruling also states Brody is ‘suffering, and will continue to suffer, immediate and irreparable harm’ unless the injunction was granted.
Brody’s face appears twice on the DVD cover of Giallo, which features him playing an FBI special agent hunting a serial killer in Italy.
A call to attorney Martin Barab, who is representing the makers of Giallo, was not immediately returned Tuesday.
Brody has been paid nearly $1 million for his role, and Barab has denied any wrongdoing by his clients.”
Being an actor myself, I can agree with Brody that any financial misdealings on the part of Argento and/or his producers would be the epitome of bogus moves. I saw the movie just last week, before the ruling was made, and I can tell you this is no great loss to cinema either and Brody should be congratulated — not just for standing up for what he believes he’s owed, but for suppressing another bad Argento movie unleashed onto the public.
Look, Argento was once a great director. Suspiria, The Bird With The Crystal Plummage, Deep Red, Tenebrae, Inferno — the list of classics he made in the 70s/80s is extensive. But the man once called the “Italian Hitchcock”, and for good reason, as not made a really good film in the past couple decades, and he’s been getting progressively worse since the start of the millennium. He’s been attempting to “go back home again” lately, with the final, awful installment of his “Three Mothers” trilogy, Mother of Tears, and now with Giallo, a film named after the Italian subgenre of thriller that made the man famous to begin with.
Except Giallo isn’t a giallo film at all; the only thing it has in common with any one of those films is a beautiful woman being menaced by a sleazy killer. The killer here however, looks like the sweaty, mulleted weirdo who leers at girls in the gym — not scary, and certainly not the black-gloved assassin frequented in gialli. There are no baroquely staged murder sequences, no inappropriate use of jazz or mod music, no scenes of erotic tension and no discernible cosmopolitan style — just a flaccid police procedural interrupted intermittently by the most boring torture porn film EVER. Argento’s keen visual eye as long since left him, leaving Giallo to be a flat, pedestrian film, and the performances of Brody and leading lady Emmanuelle Seigner are listless and unmotivated. Brody’s dual role as the killer, billed as Byron Deirdra, just allows him to overact terribly. This film is terrible and the latest nail in the coffin of Argento’s long-running career. By going to court to claim what he’s rightfully owed, Brody has done the horror world a service, and should get a hand. And hopefully Dario will abandon his planned 3D Dracula remake and retire already.