Lamb Mannerhelm (Julianne Hough) is a beautiful 21-year-old Christian woman living in a sheltered, conservative small town in Montana with her parents. After a horrible plane crash she miraculously survives her faith is shaken. She has to come to terms with the fact that her body will be forever disfigured, due to severe burn injuries. Lamb decides to leave her hometown and go to Las Vegas to do all the things her church and family forbade her. On her mission to Sin City she meets William (Russell Brand), a charming British bartender and Loray (Octavia Spencer) an aspiring filmmaker slash nightclub singer who become her unofficial guides. Soon however Lamb realizes that an excessive lifestyle, the polar opposite from what she was used to, is no fun either. Maybe not everything her parents taught her was as bad as she thought. Maybe she belongs more to Montana than Nevada. And maybe she’s not as perfect as she saw herself. Continue reading
Like I’ve said in my previous post about the film I am looking forward to whatever Diablo Cody does, but I can’t help but feel a little skeptical about her directing. This trailer looks “okay”, but I hope it’s not just “bashing of Christians just for the sake of bashing Christians”. What I mean is: I hope it’s not more shallow making fun of religious people, and admittedly religious nuts exist and deserve to be called out, but I hope this isn’t a preachy/judgy type of film.
With that being said, the whole idea of a main character wanting to sin reminds me a whole lot of my favorite Sono Sion film Love Exposure (2008). In that movie a teenage boy was trying hard to sin, because his father (a priest) forced him to confess his sins even if he hadn’t any to confess. So the kid decides to do some serious sinning, might as well right? Maybe Cody has seen that movie and was inspired by it, maybe not. Either way I’m only being cautious here because I’ve been burned before in my over-excitement for a film, numerous times actually.
I do love Octavia Spencer‘s line “Let me guess you came here to be a showgirl” which is obviously a reference to Paul Verhoeven’s 1995 film Showgirls. It’s that kind of witty dialogue that I love and look forward most, but Julianne Hough has yet to convince me as a charismatic lead. Russell Brand‘s character looks funny, he’s doing the usual british shtick which seems to be working out for him. All in all Paradise could be good, but I guess we’ll find out when it comes out later this year, that is October 18th to be precise.
Academy Award winning screenwriter Diablo Cody is taking a shot at directing with the upcoming film Paradise. Cody described the film as “a non-cynical movie that would inspire positivity”. The story revolves around a young conservative Christian woman (Julianne Hough) who survives a terrible plane crash, but then suffers a crisis of faith. She goes to Las Vegas, where she indulges in a more liberal lifestyle meeting characters played by Octavia Spencer and Russell Brand. Nick Offerman plays Hough’s overbearing father.
As a fan of Jennifer’s Body and especially Young Adult (my favorite Diablo Cody screenplay to date) I am very excited for this film. I’m not necessarily familiar with all of the actors, and Russell Brand wouldn’t exactly be my first choice, but I trust Diablo to have written a fitting role for him. I’m curious to see what visual style she choses. Cinematographer Tim Suhrstedt photographed some great and good-looking films and these stills are definitely colorful.
Diablo worked with some great directors (namely Jason Reitman) and it looks that she learned a lot. Hope this film has more to offer than a good script. However if the script turns out to be the best thing about the film, I’m still going to be pretty satisfied. Also, I have a hard time believing the film is not going to be cynical. I would also be disappointed if that turned out to be the case. It might be a function of me being judgmental, but with a premise like that, the result almost has to be something cynical, at least to a certain degree.
Here are a couple stills and a lovely picture of Diablo behind the camera.