Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Auteur Watch - Richard Loncraine

Well, I had to choose between Louis Leterrier, Richard Linklater and James Lemmo next, but I thought I'd be a true maverick and go with Richard Loncraine instead, another L guy. Oh, poor Linklater: he looks like a cross between Will Forte and Alfred Molina. But I digress.
Now, I probably won't be able to do Mr. Loncraine the proper justice here. According to his IMDb bio, he's quite accomplished and acclaimed. He did win a Primetime Emmy for My House in Umbria. On the other hand, he was replaced by Wolfgang Peterson on Enemy Mine. Which I guess would explain why ol' Wolfie was able to go from The NeverEnding Story to that one so quickly. On the other hand, he didn't direct for many years after that, and when he did, it was Shattered. I believe they refer to it as The Curse of Enemy Mine. It hurt everyone's career but Dennis Quaid. Go figure. But, I digress a second time. Third time's a spanking, if I remember correctly.
Okay, back on track. So! Loncraine's acclaimed AND accomplished. But, do actors like working with / for him? That I can't speak to, so I'll go directly to my Decade Theory. What decade of his long, illustrious career is his favorite? Was it the obscure 70s where he dabbled in quasi-experimental film? When everyone was fawning over Julia, he was doing The Haunting of Julia, but you might know and love it as Full Circle. No, not the 70s. So, surely it's the go-go 80s. 1982 was a banner year in particular, with his two quite opposite films, The Missionary and Brimstone and Treacle. These days, who's to say which is now the comedy. But you gotta love the opening credit sequence of B&T... that's the only part I saw.
Or maybe it's the go-go '90s when the world had to clean up the flaming wreckage of the Me Decade, and embrace a new found spirit of love and understanding, and the PC police were on the rise. And Loncraine's re-envisioning of Richard III... well, it at least put Ian McKellen above the fray of just your average run-of-the-mill great actors, and into the stratosphere. I hate to say it, but from The Shadow to Last Action Hero, every time I see McKellen in one of these now old movies, he sounds just like Gandalf. Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Apt Pupil, well, I haven't seen it. Would it kill them to show it on the MGM HD channel? Actually, it might. Okay, skip that.
No, if Loncraine's smart, and I think he is, he'll say that the 2000s are his favorite decade. Look at all that work! All that successful work! An episode of Band of Brothers. Working with Harrison Ford. With Paul Bettany on two separate occasions. Oh, it's like Sting is young again and NOT starring in things like... well, things like Brimstone and Treacle. I coulda sworn Richard Curtis had something to do with Wimbledon. Guess not. Just seems like it, as it is Curtis-esque. Oh, The Vicar of Dibley. This is the kind of thing Monty Python would make fun of, back in the day.
So, in summation, Loncraine's on top of the world right now, flying high in his favorite decade. And what's next? Oh, not much. Just a release for 2009 called My One and Only. Gonna be playing stateside August 21, limited release. Good way to drum up business! Play hard to get with a limited release. And it stars... Renee Zellweger?!! Abort! Abort!

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