Nine upcoming movies you don't want to confuse with older films of the same name

on Mon, 08/15/2011 - 07:44
Imagine settling in to watch Jessica Alba jiggle her rump in dance pic Honey, only to be faced with the Turkish agricultural drama of the same name...
What with the English language having something like three quarters of a million words in it, you’d think the people who christen movies could avoid retreading old ground. At the very least, having a quick shufty at IMDB doesn’t take a minute. If it turns out someone’s anyone’s already used the title you’ve plumped for, just plump off in a different direction.
Some moviemakers of course, will happily ransack a pre-used title, confident that their release will eclipse any previous claims to the name. James Cameron nabbed Avatar for his Smurfs in space pic despite a 2004 Singaporean sci-fi getting to it first, and probably rests easy that his will be the Avatar people remember.
Zack Snyder took much the same approach with his mentally-ill-girls-are-sexy abuse titillation pic, Sucker Punch, slapping on the title with nary a thought for Josh Crook’s identically named 2003 gangsta comedy.
We think Pixar can technically get away with Up, seeing as they left out the exclamation mark which separates it from Russ Meyer’s 1976 boobapalooza Up! (though it’s still not a mistake you’d want to make when renting a movie for the kids).
Re-used titles are just more proof that Hollywood’s recycling-lust shows no signs of abating. Here are nine new pictures whose titles may ring a bell…

New release: Breaking Dawn (Dir. Bill Condon, 2011)

Not to be confused with: Breaking Dawn (Dir. Mark Edwin Robinson, 2004)
It’s unlikely anyone will get these two confused, what with one bearing the Twilight Saga prefix, but we couldn’t help pointing out the existence of another Breaking Dawn. The story of a hot medical student who has to probe

the brain of a psychiatric patient, what confuses us about the 2004 Breaking Dawn is that none of the characters are even called Dawn. A wasted pun opportunity there, we feel.
By the by, there was a Twilight movie a whole decade before Catherine Hardwicke’s 2008 version too, starring Susan Sarandon and Gene Hackman. Funnily enough, that pairing didn’t excite quite as much teen lust or get on as many bedroom posters as the vamp-y Twilight pair.
Battle of the taglines: The vampire version goes for “Forever is only the beginning”, which is about as weak an insight as “A mind is a terrible thing to lose”. Difficult one this, but we’ll give it to the vamp flick because Twihards scare us.

New release: The Avengers (Dir. Joss Whedon, 2012)

Not to be confused with The Avengers (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1998)
Joss Whedon would have to work pretty hard to make his Marvel Comics’ ensemble pic do worse business than Chechik’s The Avengers flop. Based on the 60s UK spy telly series and starring Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman and Eddie Izzard, the 1998 The Avengers climbed to a sad little 15% approval rate on Rotten Tomatoes upon release. We saw it at the cinema and by our count, they’ll be hosting the winter Olympics in hell before anyone gives the vintage The Avengers a positive reappraisal.
Whereas Chechik’s pic tripped up on its own irony and failed in tone despite a likeable cast, we have high hopes for Whedon’s The Avengers. Not two movies you’d want to confuse, then.
Battle of the taglines: “Saving the world in style” is the entry from the Fiennes and Thurman romp versus, well… your guess is as good as ours. If Whedon and co. hold with tradition, then “Avengers Assemble” could well be it. We’d like to award this one to the 1998 picture in the interests of magnanimity, seeing as it loses on every other count.

New release: The Paperboy (Dir. Lee Daniels, 2012)

Not to be confused with: The Paper Boy (Dir. Douglas Jackson, 1994)
Lee Daniels’ follow-up to 2009’s critical darling Precious is another adaptation, a version of Pete Dexter’s death row novel The Paperboy. Due out next year, The Paperboy stars John Cusack, Nicole Kidman, teen dream Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey in a story about murder, justice, and journalistic ethics. Done right, this one has Oscar nominations written all over it.  
The same can’t really be said for 1994 Canadian schlocky horror The Paper Boy, despite the two sharing a common thread of featuring people getting their faces stabbed off. A lonely paper boy takes an unusual approach to friend-making, by slaughtering an old lady to try and pal up with her bereaved family. There was a brilliantly unnerving Chris Morris sketch with a similar premise, if we remember rightly, wonder if he’d seen it?
Battle of the taglines: Sicko horror The Paper Boy has such a lame tagline we don’t even need to know what next year’s Oscar bait is opting for, it’ll win this contest even if the 2012 lot go for “Oooh, yeah, here comes the paperboy” Remember how the evil murderer in the 1994 one was a paper boy? They chose pun-tastic “He’s bad news”. Cringe.

New release: Hugo (Dir. Martin Scorsese, 2011)

Not to be confused with: Hugo (Dir. Peter Monsaert, 2000)
Scorsese’s first go at a kids’ pic, this December’s Hugo stars young Chloe Moretz and Asa Butterfield as a couple of young Frenchlings who become involved in a mystery in 1930s Paris. They’re supported by an august cast including the likes of Christopher Lee and Sir Ben Kingsley, so not too shabby for the youngsters there. It’s going to be in 3D, because, of course it is.
You’d have to frequent a strange and wonderful cinema to accidentally stumble into a screening of cute Belgian jungle creature animation Hugo instead of Scorsese’s shiny Christmas flick. The earlier Hugo was about a couple of fox-looking fluff balls from the jungle on a quest for a new home. We don’t think Sir Ben Kingsley was in it.
Battle of the taglines: Scorsese’s Hugo has “Unlock the secret”, and we expect the other Hugo went for something in Dutch about jungle animals, possibly De Joonglenanimalensaventurlijk, but seeing as we made that up and it’s possibly really offensive, we’ll just give the crown to Scorsese on this one.

New release: One Day (Dir. Lone Scherfig, 2011)

Not to be confused with: One Day (Dir. Hou Chi-jan, 2010)
The adaptation of David Nicholls’ bestselling love story One Day, (starring Anne Hathaway as a Yorkshire woman and Jim Sturgess as a bit of a dick) is out in a couple of weeks in the UK, and has nothing at all to do with Hou Chi-jan’s 2010 dreamy relationship tale.
Reviews for the Scherfig version are still embargoed, though we’re probably safe to say that “a visual love poem of magic realism”, as Hou Chi-jan’s film has been described, it is not. In fact, you might well be better off with the earlier picture this time around.
Battle of the taglines: “Twenty years. Two people” is the English One Day entry versus “We have but to dream” for the Mandarin love story. Both are pretty boring, though Hou Chi-Jan’s has possibly been mangled in translation. Too close to call, it’s a tie.

New release: The Company You Keep (Dir. Robert Redford, 2012)

Not to be confused with: The Company You Keep (Dir. Konstandino Kalarytis, 2003)
Robert Redford’s directorial follow-up to The Conspirator has a pretty okay cast, including the Sundance Kid himself, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Julie Christie and umm, Shia LaBeouf.
The story of a former 1960s anti-government militant (Redford) forced to go on the run after being fingered by a young reporter (LaBeouf, and no, fingered in the sense of ‘identified’), The Company You Keep is about to begin filming.
2003’s thriller The Company You Keep is a different story of the same name. This one’s about an ex-crim who pretends to be a priest then gets chased around by a gangster. The trailer may feature a man who looks like he’s drawn his tattoos on in biro, but, in its favour, at least no-one out of Transformers is in it.
Battle of the taglines: Redford’s is too early in production to have one, and we couldn’t see one for the other pic, though we didn’t look very hard. We’re giving the prize to biro-man, ‘cos he looks as if he’ll menace us if we don’t.

New release: The Host (Dir. Andrew Niccol, 2012)

Not to be confused with: The Host (Joon-ho Bong, 2006)
It turns out that Stephenie Meyer, the author of some vampire books or something (we forget) also knocked out quite a passable alien invasion story a few years back, entitled The Host.
It (like Meyer’s shopping lists and Christmas cards presumably) was optioned for film immediately after publication and is currently being adapted by Andrew Niccol and set to star the very decent Saoirse Ronan.
Niccol’s eventual film, when we see it, probably won’t have a huge amount in common with the 2006 Korean comedy drama The Host, about a river monster who starts picking off people to munch. Double bill potential though?
Battle of the taglines: The 2006 monster pic sports “It’s lurking behind you” while the tagline for the new Meyer adaptation is yet to be announced. We think “The hostess with the mostess” would be good, which is why it’s lucky for all concerned they don’t let us decide this stuff.

New release: Parker (Dir. Taylor Hackford, 2012)

Not to be confused with: Parker (Dir. Jim Goddard, 1986)
This one is a bit cheat-y, because IMDB also lists Bones as a title for Jim Goddard’s 1986 crime drama Parker. It’s also probably the least likely to be confused with its modern namesake, as it only came out in Germany on video by the looks of things.
We’ve not seen this one, but IMDB assures us it stars Cherie Lunghi and a quite young Tom Wilkinson. There’s no story summary but plot keywords are ‘agent’, ‘mistress’, ‘drugs’, ‘spy’ and ‘revenge’, a list which seems quite self-explanatory.
The modern Parker, a whole different story, is a Jason Statham feature starring Nick Nolte. We reckon if you add ‘punching’ and ‘car chase’ to the list though, those plot keywords might well serve as double bubble for this one.
Battle of the taglines: The Statham pic tagline hasn’t been announced, but the German release of Parker has “Beten Sie, daß Sie ihm nie begegnen, denn nach ihm kommt nur der Tod”. Google Translate tells us this means something like “Pray that you never meet him, because he only comes after death”. Kinky. A clear win for 1986.

New release: Immortals (Dir. Tarsem Singh, 2011)

Not to be confused with: The Immortals (Dir. Brian Grant, 1995)
Yeah, we don’t think you’d want to mix these two up, though you’re unlikely to thanks to the handy definite article included in the 1995 title. The earlier pic is a crime drama about a seedy nightclub owner starring Tia Carrere, the later one a Greek warrior macho-fest in the style of 300 starring Henry Cavill.
Battle of the taglines: The 1995 The Immortals has “It was the chance of a lifetime. If they lived that long”, the 2011 Immortals has “The Gods need a hero”. Singh’s picture knocks that one out of the park, sorry Tia.
There is, of course, an easy way around all this naming confusion. Movie baptisers just have to take a leaf out of the books of the people behind Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and A very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas. Anyone trying to recycle these titles clearly requires medical attention.
Aardman Animations are currently the industry leaders in the ‘insanely specific title no-one could ever steal’ contest, storming to victory with The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. It’s a fiendishly impossible-to-borrow title, securing the film a unique, uncrowded place on the IMDB database for eternity. Bravo.