Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Films Featuring Fraternal Felons Fathered From Famous Filmakers. Fluke?

You witnessed it. The title to this post is perhaps the best alliteration I have ever written. Impressed?

So Hollywood has this tradition of releasing similarly themed films at the same time. The funniest example of this "coincidence," in my opinion was the concurrent Armageddon and Deep Impact releases in 1998 (incidentally, as of this posting they are currently ranked #1 and #19 on Amazon's top sellers in the disaster category). Other notable examples of film release coincidences include Tombstone/Wyatt Earp, Capote/ Infamous and The Prestige/The Illusionist.My personal favorite coincidence from the last couple of years was the concurrent launches of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and 30 Rock on the same freaking network! They couldn't even make the names of the shows different! Anyway, why this happens is a topic for another blog.

What is typical about these coincidences is that usually the films are produced from the Hollywood movie making factory, producers like Bruckheimer who work within the studio system and excel at producing big-budget blockbuster entertainment. So how did proven independent film auteurs Woody Allen and Sidney Lumet hit the same mark at the same time? Last year's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead from Lumet and Allen's Cassandra's Dream (currently in theaters) share the common thread of being about about a pair of brothers who plot a murder together and come unglued as a result. How did these identically-themed films come so close together? I can't tell you. Does someone out there know? What's stranger is that nobody seems to be mentioning this coincidence, except for my favorite podcast.

Which should you see? Well, I haven't seen Cassandra yet, but I loved Devil. So did my best movie blogger friend. If you pay attention to the mainstream critics, they prefer devil as well (87 score on Rotten Tomatoes compared to 47 for Cassandra).

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