Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Scattered Updates

In an unbearably slow news week, I figure I'll give you guys a few hits of what's been going on lately. I'm leaving town for the rest of the week, but hopefully the quantity of news that I deem worthy will increase dramatically when I get back.

Julie Benz (of Showtime's Dexter and Stallone's Rambo) will be headlining Saw V. Production began on St. Patty's Day, and the movie comes to theaters on October 24th. This lady kind of bothers me, so I'm not too thrilled about this news. Maybe they'll kill her off in the first half hour - that might make it a little better.

Elizabeth Banks (40-Year-Old Virgin; Definitely, Maybe; Zack and Miri Make a Porno) is in final negotiations to play First Lady Laura Bush opposite Josh Brolin as Dubya in Oliver Stone's biopic of the President. The movie is called W, and there's rumor it'll be pushed through for a release in November, right around election time. I've seen a few Oliver Stone movies and most of them have been pretty good, so until I see a trailer for this that looks terrible, I'm going to assume it'll be pretty good as well.

Sir Ian McKellan says he'll return as Gandalf for The Hobbit films should director Guillermo del Toro have him back. Good news, if you ask me. I'd hate to see them try to bring back the same characters featured in LOTR and replace them with different actors. Man up and pay the originals to come back. It'll be worth it.

Hugh Jackman is signed on to star in Neil Marshall's Drive. From the director of The Descent (horror) and Doomsday (post-apocalyptic) comes a new genre piece following a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a Transporter-esque getaway driver. I absolutely love movies like this (with the Transporter series and BMW's The Hire series being foremost in my mind), and I think Jackman will be perfect in this type of role. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long before this comes out.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sweet Videos

Granted, this has nothing to do with upcoming films in any way, but I didn't think it belonged anywhere else. I took these from a site that did a post just like this one, but I just grabbed my favorite ones to show you guys. Check these out; they're pretty cool.

Stealing Our Ideas...Again

These people must have come across The Epic: Quest For Schneider when it was released, because (I kid you not) there's a movie coming out about Zombie Nazis.

It's Finnish, and the story follows an American/Finnish platoon who goes a little too far into battle, and has to retreat slightly, only to be attacked by the same enemy soldiers they just killed. A direct quote - "Death is no longer the final frontier." I don't have the ability to embed the trailer (which has no dialogue, by the way) directly into this page, but you can check it out at this link if you're interested.

Originally titled War of the Dead (similar to Day, Dawn, Shaun, Diary, and Dance), this film was recently renamed Stone's War. It's supposed to have a US release sometime this year. What a bunch of hacks. Where's our check?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Anton Yelchin in Terminator 4?

The kid from Alpha Dog and Charlie Bartlett is in negotiations to star as Kyle Reese in the new Terminator film. If you're a little rusty on your Terminator lore, Reese is the soldier who is saved by John Connor in the war against the machines, and then, years later, offers to return to the present time to save Sarah Connor from Schwarzenegger. He then impregnates Sarah Connor, becoming John Connor's father in the process. [Yes, I'm aware that was a strange sentence. I'm leaving it.]

This news doesn't really interest me THAT much. I like Anton Yelchin, so I guess it'll be good for his career if it goes through. With Christian Bale as John Connor, I don't think they can do any wrong on this project. Although it is being directed by a guy named McG, so then again...

Eastwood is Back in the Game. UPDATED!

According to Variety, Clint Eastwood has come out of retirement. The last time he acted in a film was Million Dollar Baby, but they say that he is set to direct and star in a film called Gran Torino, set to be released in December.

This announcement caught the internet by storm, since no one has ever even heard of this project and it's slated to hit theaters in nine months. Even the storyline has been kept a secret (so far).

Eastwood will now have two movies he directed in theaters at the same time this winter, with the Angelina Jolie-starring Changeling arriving in theaters on November 7th. IMDB says that story revolves around "a mother's prayer for her kidnapped son to return home is answered, though it doesn't take long for her to suspect the boy who comes back is not hers."

The old codger is one of my favorite directors, so I'm psyched that he's getting behind the camera again. He's also one of my favorite actors, so the news that he's coming out of acting retirement for something called Gran Torino (which can only lead me to assume he'll be rolling around in a sweet ride) is fantastic. Consider me fired up.

UPDATED! The semi-reliable people at AICN found out a short time ago (again, from an unnamed source) that says that Gran Torino is actually Dirty Harry 6!! If this is true, I can't tell you how happy I'd be. Here's what the tipster's email said:

“I recently advertised my 1974 ford grand torino classic original for sale in the local here, and within 24 hours had someone from Village Roadshow Pictures interested in having a look at it. He came. He wasn’t interested for numerous reasons (probably the modifications). He told me they were looking for the right car for a new Clint Eastwood movie.

He said it was a thriller about a killer that drives a certain torino. His 1972 Ford Gran Torino is the only thing the police have on him. A retired police lieutenant, one Harry Callahan, makes it his mission to track down the culprit when two young police officers, one Callahan’s grandson, are shot and killed by the guy.”

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

All Saint's Day Finally Greenlit?

After years of legal issues and delays, Troy Duffy has announced that Sony Picture Studios will back the production of The Boondock Saints: All Saint's Day and filming is set to begin this summer. (Happy St. Patrick's Day!) Duffy, the writer/director of the first film, has made claims like this before, but legal troubles have always gotten in the way of it actually getting done.

[If you haven't yet seen the original cult classic, I can only say it depends on what kind of person you are whether or not you'd enjoy it. It features pretty serious violence and is easily in my "Top 3 Movies That Drop The Most F-Bombs." If that sounds appealing to you, then I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it.]

Duffy made this announcement through a YouTube video which has subsequently been taken off the site for unknown reasons. Some people are still skeptical that this project will actually happen, but 10 years after the first film's release, it's looking like it might get made. The original cast (except for Willem Dafoe) is set to return for this sequel.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Crank 3-D!

They haven't even started filming Crank 2 yet, but a third movie is already on the minds of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the duo behind the 2006 Statham original. AND - they told Collider the third movie is going to be shot in 3-D!

Not only that, but they've built a moving bullet-time rig that will see some action in Crank 2 when they start shooting in six weeks. It's like the Matrix rig, but instead of being confined to a green-screen-only room where the cameras are stationary, these guys have come up with one that can be used on the move. Sweet.

If you're a fan of the Crank films, I'd suggest checking out the full interview. They also mention their upcoming release (Game, starring Gerard Butler) will start with a two minute long shot of Butler going through a war zone firing off 52 rounds with 250 extras. I love these guys.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Smith's Kids Gettin' Jiggy Wit' Amulet

Variety reports Jayden and Willow Smith, son and daughter of Will and Jada Smith, have signed on to star in an adaptation of a children's graphic novel. The first of the films (or maybe all of them, I'm not certain) is called Amulet.

The story follows a brother and sister who move into their late great-grandfather's house after their dad passes away. They must use his amulet to rescue their newly-single mother and save her from the beast that lures her into an underground world of danger.

I know her husband just died, but come on - a grown-ass woman being lured into an underground world by a beast? Call the cops, or the zoo, or pest control or something - why are you gonna follow some evil monster ANYWHERE underground? That amulet better pack a punch.

"Drop It, Or There Will Be - Trouble"

According to a press release found by the scoopers at AICN, the brass at MGM has approved a remake of Robocop.

All I can say is that I recently watched Robocop for the first time and it definitely did NOT stand the test of time. Does that mean it warrants a remake? I don't think so, but apparently they feel like they can suck another dollar from the pockets of the male 18-25 demographic by doing it. Will this remake trend ever die out?

Lucas' Red Tails in 2009?

George Lucas, hated by some and loved by many, spoke with ComingSoon recently and told them his new project, Red Tails, might be in theaters as early as 2009. The story follows the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, the first all-black pilot squad of that war.

"We're getting towards a script, and probably start shooting before the end of the year, and it should come out next year, maybe. That's probably going to be the last movie I do, apart from my own movies, but my own movies are going to be more esoteric and probably will come and go in a week and be in one or two arthouses. It's basically the same as what Francis (Ford Coppola) is doing."

This sounds like the beginning of the end for Lucas. He's got Star Wars: The Clone Wars coming out this summer (animated!) and of course everyone's favorite whip-cracking hero returns to theaters on May 22nd, but Red Tails sounds like the last decent project he's currently got lined up. But it doesn't sound like he's even directing Red Tails - I think he's signed on as a producer - so what else does he really have to do? How hard can it be to produce films if you're George Lucas? Whatever - maybe he'll just stick to comic conventions after this...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Man of Steel Status

There has been a lot of speculation about whether director Bryan Singer would come back for Man of Steel, the follow-up to his much-hated Superman Returns. IESB has heard from studio sources that he will be back, and Brandon Routh will be back to star.

As FilmWad points out though, the writers are still in question. Dougherty and Harris, the writing team behind Superman Returns, has chosen not to come back for the sequel. However, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the writing duo who wrote The Island, Transformers, Mission: Impossible 3, and the upcoming Star Trek film, are in talks to write for Man of Steel. Sounds good to me - maybe Superman will actually throw a punch this time around.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Apatow's New Cast

Hollywood comedy SuperProducerDirector Judd Apatow has signed three players for his newest film. Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, and Adam Sandler will star in Apatow's newest directorial effort, which has also been written solely by Apatow himself. The plot for this one has been kept completely secret so far, and production begins in late fall or early summer.

I guess it's good that Adam Sandler might be in something funny again. I've never really been a big fan of his, so maybe working with Apatow on something other than You Don't Mess With The Zohan will bring laughs instead of groans to audiences. Leslie Mann is REALLY annoying to me, and I kind of hope she never appears in another film again. [Note: I just found out/maybe remembered that she's married to Apatow, so my hopes are probably dashed on the spot.] And is anyone else kind of getting tired of Seth Rogen? The Pineapple Express looks kind of questionable, if you ask me.

Mila Kunis Is In Payne

Max Payne, that is. Variety reports the starlet has signed on to star opposite the (perfectly cast) Mark Wahlberg in the video game adaptation.

She will play an assassin who teams up with the titular character to avenge her sister's death. If they follow the game's outline (which they should), her character's name will be Mona Sax. I think if they transcribe the game into a movie like Sin City was done, with heavy reliance on the source material, this could be a great noir. And with Sin City 2 on the back burner, I'm happy for any noir incarnations hitting the big screen until then. For my fellow noir fans out there, get psyched for Assassination of a High School President - Bruce Willis is in it, and it comes to theaters in August.

AVP 3? Probably.

Will the infamous Alien Vs. Predator series continue? ShockTillYouDrop says another sequel is a "certainty" at this point. Apparently the most recent installment left it wide open for another film in the franchise, and for this third feature they will "take the action back into space."

I own the first one (it was pretty bad, but enjoyable), and I still haven't seen AVP: Requiem. My assumption is the third film will only be enjoyed by people under the influence of some sort of drug when they see it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

4 Fast - Cast Updates

No surprise here - Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster have signed on to reprise their roles in the not-yet-titled 4 Fast 4 Furious. And we're in luck: we have a plot summary too! ComingSoon describes the story below.

"Brian (Walker) and Dominic (Diesel) team up to help the feds stop a heroin importer known as Braga. Brian – and ultimately Dominic – wins a place on the criminal's team, where he and his flashy Nissan plan to catch the man red-handed."

Beautiful. Now we just have to wait until June 2009 until we "race" to see it in theaters.

[Editor's Note: While this post was rife with sarcasm, I do think this movie will be better than its predecessor, Tokyo Drift. And yes, I'm going to see this in theaters because I've invested too much in this franchise not to. Like the Saw movies, they've hooked me.]

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Robert Downey, Jr. Is A Black Guy

Yep, that's Iron Man in the middle of Ben Stiller and Jack Black.

Entertainment Weekly scored this first look photo* of Tropic Thunder, a Ben Stiller-directed comedy set to come out in August. From what I've heard, it sounds pretty awesome so far. A brief synopsis: "A team of self-indulgent stars cast in the modern equivalent of Apocalypse Now… but when the film's director (Steve Coogan) and writer (Nick Nolte) get fed up with their prima donna cast, they drop them into the jungle to fend for themselves. The actors think they're doing some sort of full-immersion filmmaking, but the danger they're in is very real."

The deal with RD Jr. as the black dude? He plays one of the actors, and the role he's supposed to play was originally written for a black man. As a serious actor, he thinks he should play the character they way it was intended. ''If it's done right, it could be the type of role you called Peter Sellers to do 35 years ago,'' Downey says. ''If you don't do it right, we're going to hell.''

I'm normally not a fan of these "first look" pictures that leak onto the internet all the time, because I fear that they'll give away too much of the movie. I'm breaking my normal quota and posting this one because I think it's funny.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ellen Page Drops Out of Hell

Hollywood starlet Ellen Page has just dropped out of Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell, a horror film in the vein of the director's earlier famous works.

But there is good news for people who care about this project - Alison Lohman (pictured) is taking over as the "woman who is the unwitting recipient of a supernatural curse." You may remember Lohman as the capable actress who played the daughter in Matchstick Men opposite Nicholas Cage. Personally, I think she'll do just as fine of a job (if not better) than the Pagemaster would have. I also think this movie is probably going to suck, but whatever.

Coens' Next Film Coming in September

Ethan and Joel Coen, the writer-directors who just won a few Oscars for No Country for Old Men, are hard at work on their follow up film, and it sounds awesome so far.

The dark spy-comedy is called Burn After Reading, and it follows two D.C. gym employees who find an ex-CIA agent's memoir and try to exploit it. Listen to this cast (in case you haven't heard already): George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, and Tilda Swinton. There are at least three Academy Award winners here and three more nominations among that cast. Plus, it's being shot by the guy who did Children of Men. I'm looking forward to this one.

Focus Features is distributing, and the movie will open nationwide on Friday, September 12th.