Coppola, Fincher seek infernal youth

None of us is getting any younger, and it’s probably just as well.

Maybe it was the memento mori of an orange Mickey Rourke spotted recently in Miami that  leads me to that conclusion. At any rate, some recent movie developments seem to confirm its truth. Like Darren Aronofsky’s Fountain of Youth folly, “The Fountain,” which earned him withering reviews and pitiful grosses. Or Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky Balboa,” in which he drags his 30-year-old franchise and 60-year-old carcass back into the ring. True, it got some respectful notices and earned decent money, but Stallone still got nailed in Australia for having a sack of human growth hormone in his hotel room.

Some filmmakers,  however, see the dream of eternal for the vain folly it is. Francis Coppola, for example, returns to the screen after a lay-off of ten years (“The Rainmaker” in 1997) to direct “Youth Without Youth,”  an adaptation of a novel by Mircea Eliade about an elderly professor (Tim Roth) during World War II who mysteriously starts to grow younger. Sounds like a good deal, you'd think, until those damned Nazis get wind of it and things get ugly.

Fresh from “Zodiac,” David Fincher has taken on a similar project, an adaptation of  a shaggy dog story by F. Scott Fitzgerald (himself an icon of wasted youth) “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” about a man (Brad Pitt) who is born a septuagenarian and ages in reverse. That means that by the age of 60 he should be acting like a twelve-year-old, so maybe Sylvester Stallone isn’t so far off the mark after all.

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