I’m a huge Sidney Lumet fan, but I’ve no problem with Arthur Sarkissian remaking the director’s 1971 The Anderson Tapes, a so-so caper comedy about a burgler who plans to pull a massive inside job in his girlfriend’s lavish apartment building. Though Lumet was already a significant filmmaker when he took on this modest project, his 70s breakthrough movie, Serpico, was still a good two years off. The Anderson Tapes was essentially a treading water movie, and it’s not half-bad on those terms; I remember Sean Connery being quite good in it (though I also vaguely remember being quite drunk when I watched it; there’s a good chance I’m confusing it with Thunderball).
In other words, it’s precisely the kind of movie Hollywood should be remaking; with the right lead (Clive Owen) and the right director (a humbled John McTiernan), it could easily surpass the original. Though Sarkissian’s track record as a producer leaves a lot to be desired (his best picture is the hugely unecessary Red Harvest/Yojimbo redo, Last Man Standing), his nearness to Brett Ratner (Sarkissian produced all three Rush Hour movies) could help him land the talent required to give The Anderson Tapes a glossy, elegant, sexy sheen (as opposed to a glossy, elegant, sexy Sheen). No one’s expecting greatness out of this thing; hell, no one’s expecting it period. This is a can’t-miss proposition… until they hire Tim Story.
Sarkissian has another remake lined up that does trouble me, but I can accept Johnny To taking a pass at Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge (though I’d prefer John Woo). Still, that’s no excuse to not rent or buy the The Criterion Collection’s superb release of the original. Get out there and do what’s right, people.