Thursday, May 29, 2008

Beverly Hills Cop 4

Just as I was thinking these reboots were on the downswing after hearing that Back to the Future 4 isn't happening, word comes from Variety today that Paramount has greenlit Beverly Hills Cop 4 and Eddie Murphy is coming back to star.

The best part? It's being directed by (get ready for it!) Brett Ratner. No, I'm not joking.

What's pathetic about this whole situation (aside from Ratner's involvement) is that Eddie Murphy has gotten to the point in his career where he had to approach the studio to ask if they could revive this franchise. Everything he's done in the past 10 or so years (except Shrek) has been AWFUL. I'm not making that up, either - Murphy himself went to Paramount and asked them to do this. Of course, being a money-hungry film studio, they agreed without thinking of the ramifications. God knows we'll see how horrible this turns out in 2010 when it gets released.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Harold and Kumar 2 - Choose Your Own Adventure!

What an awesome concept. News hit today that when Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay comes to DVD, it will be in a "choose your own adventure" style. The feature is called "Dude, Change The Movie!" and it allows you to select from new and alternate scenes to change the course of the film.

I've been a proponent of this kind of DVD release for a long time (as long as they include the original version, of course). But the cool part of H&K 2 is that they shot 27 ADDITIONAL SCENES specifically for this purpose! How sweet is that? That's the kind of dedication that it will take to get this new type of format off the ground, and I admire this movie for getting the ball rolling. Hopefully we'll see a lot more of this type of thing in the future. In any case, H&K 2 comes to DVD on July 29th.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back To The Future 4 Ain't Happening

With the return of all of these classic movie franchises recently (Rocky, Rambo, Indiana Jones, etc), myself and others wondered if Back to the Future could ever join that group with another addition to the series. Bob Gale, producer/writer of the films, says no.

Probably a good thing, since Foxy isn't doin' so hot with his Parkinson's disease (I'm pulling for ya, MJF) and Chris Lloyd has gotta be pushing about 105-years-old by now. Gale said that they wouldn't do it without Michael J. Fox because that'd be like "cooking you a steak dinner, but holding the beef." Kind of a weird analogy, but I'll buy it.

He also defended his decision by saying they couldn't make a new one that matches the other three, so they aren't going to cash in on the craze and do it anyway; I admire that. Good call, Bob Gale. Here's hoping there's not a remake boiling out there somewhere.

Tony Jaa is Back

Apparently some footage debuted at Cannes this week for Tony Jaa's directorial debut (?!) which is being called a sequel to Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior.

While I can't find the footage anywhere online, the tentative poster is pictured above - and it looks as ridiculous as I expected. For those of you who have seen Ong Bak, you'll be interested to know that the plot line of this supposed sequel has nothing to do with the original.

Jaa stars in a period piece as a poor orphan boy raised by a collection of martial arts masters from across Asia and ends up an expert in all, fusing the styles into a comprehensive fighting style.

Due to the non-relatedness of this plot to the first movie, there is speculation that the title will be changed when this gets closer to its release date. When is that? I have no idea, but you can be damn sure that I'll be checking on it. The Protector was awesome, and Tony Jaa is the man.

Watchmen News

Zack Synder (300, Dawn of the Dead from 2004) has been given the opportunity to make a movie out of the only graphic novel to make Time Magazine's greatest novels of the twentieth century. "Watchmen" follows a group of retired superheroes as they search for a criminal who is methodically killing off old superheroes, their partners. It's a murder-mystery comic with more intelligence in it than any book I've read in the past five years. I just finished reading the massive graphic novel last week, and after reading it I'm really excited about the release of the film in 10 months.

I realize that most of you haven't read it, but for those of you who have, you'll be interested to know the most recent developments regarding the movie. The Tales of the Black Freighter, the "comic within the comic" about the shipwrecked guy, is being planned for a separate animated movie that will be released on DVD a few days after the theatrical release of Watchmen. There is some controversy about whether Gerard Butler will still voice the lead character, but at one point that was definitely the case. Originally, TOTBF was going to be edited into the actual movie, but the budget got too out of hand, so they're making it direct-to-DVD. It will also feature a documentary called "Under the Hood" which chronicles the backstory of the elder generation of superheroes called The Minutemen.

The part that excites me the most is that after Watchmen gets released on DVD by itself, they are going to release an ultimate edition with The Tales of the Black Freighter edited into it just like in the graphic novel. Snyder says the movie as it stands right now is nearly three hours long, so people are predicting a four-plus hour ultimate edition. I truly think that Synder is the right person to direct this movie, and I think it's going to be fantastic. I can't wait for that Ultimate Edition...

Marvel Won't Make "R"

In a not-so-surprising move, Marvel Studios announced that they will no longer be making R-rated films.

At first, I thought this was kind of stupid. While it makes great business sense (PG-13 ratings most of the time generate wider audiences, and therefore more money), it just threw me off that they wouldn't even consider the future of making more movies like The Punisher and Blade that NEED an R-rating for it to work. Those titles are so dark and violent that watering them down to PG-13 would be a crime.

But after a little digging, I found that Marvel exec Peter Cuneo said that the studio would make R-rated films IF the studio partnered with an outside studio for that particular instance. I guess this leaves them an "out" in case they decide that they need to kick it up a notch, but don't be surprised if you don't see another R-rated movie from Marvel Studios in the next five years.

Tarantino Annouces Next Film For 2009

Professional D-Bag Quentin Tarantino announced at Cannes this week that his long-delayed war film, Inglorious Bastards, should be ready for release this time next year at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

This hackjob has been talking about releasing this movie for like ten years, so it'll be interesting to see if he actually goes through with it this time. Michael Madsen is supposed to play the lead role in the WW-II movie, but QT hasn't even finished the script yet. He told reporters that he finished the first draft, but he still has to "polish" it when he gets back to the States. So he's telling us that he's going to finish a script, cast it, find locations, hire a crew, go through pre-production, shoot the thing, edit it, score it, and market it all in 12 months? Color me doubtful.

Sydney Pollack Dead at 73

Cancer blows. Sydney Pollack, the legendary director/actor/producer, died in his home tonight at the age of 73 due to the disease.

The dude has apparently directed some cool stuff in his heyday, but unfortunately I haven't seen any of it yet. I did see Michael Clayton, which he produced and starred in, because it was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars last year and I'll tell you it deserved it. It always sucks to lose someone to cancer, and it seemed to me that Pollack was hitting another peak of his career that could have competed with his work from the 80's. RIP, Syd.

Monday, May 26, 2008

RDJ to Play Hugh Hefner?

Interesting casting news of the week goes to Robert Downey, Jr. for being up for the role of Hugh Hefner in a biopic aptly titled Playboy.

No director is set yet, although hack-boy-to-the-extremo Brett "I Killed X-Men 3" Ratner is breathing heavily just behind this project, waiting to snatch it up and surely ruin what could be an awesome movie. Hef has given his approval for the actor to portray him in the movie, but no casting decisions will officially be made until the script is written and a director is hired.

Robert Downey, Jr. is now up there in my top 10 favorite actors. Playing a legend like Hef on the big screen has the potential to be a great career move for him, if only Ratner doesn't come along and mess it up. Seriously - who hires that guy anymore?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Weird

A Korean western set in 1930's Manchuria, the plot goes like this: The Weird steals a treasure map from a Japanese official, and The Bad is paid to retrieve it. The Good is a bounty hunter tracking them down. Who will emerge with the map?

The movie is playing at the world famous Cannes Film Festival in France right now and I saw the trailer and had to share. It looks awesome.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Roundup 5/20

Time for another edition of Roundup here at Ben's Daily Movie News. Move 'em out!

  • Horrifying news today that Jake Gyllenhaal has signed on to play The Prince in Disney's upcoming adaptation of The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. New Bond girl Gemma Arterton will play the princess, but that doesn't make up for it at all.
  • There can only be one! The writers of Iron Man are working on a remake of Highlander.
  • James Cameron spoke a little more about his upcoming Avatar (set for theaters on December 18th, 2009), saying it's "the single most complex piece of filmmaking ever made." Apparently there are 1,600 shots for the 2.5 hour movie.
  • Christian Bale has signed on as John Connor for all three Terminator films, putting the notion to rest that he only signed for the upcoming Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins. He read the script and loved it, so he signed for the sequels on the spot.
  • Spike Lee is directing a Michael Jordan documentary which will feature never-before-seen footage shot by NBA cameras during the final seasons of his career, from 2001-2003.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cusack Joins 2012; Ejiofor In Talks

John Cusack has signed on to play the lead role in Roland Emmerich's new movie 2012 for Columbia Pictures. Emmerich, who you know as the director of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, co-wrote this big-budget epic (does he direct any other kinds of movies? I don't think so).

The movie follows "an academic who opens a portal into a parallel universe and makes contact with his double in order to prevent an apocalypse predicted by the ancient Mayans."

These destruction movies seem to be coming into fashion or something, with Cloverfield, The Happening, and all kinds of others hitting theaters recently. At least this one brings something fairly original to the table by featuring the Mayan prophecy (which is a real thing that a lot of people actually believe in). Something decidedly NOT original about this is the concept of opening a portal into a parallel universe, which reeks of Stargate and could be the worst part about this movie when it gets released next year.

The good parts about it, as far as I'm concerned, are the casting of Cusack (who's pretty awesome, let's be honest) and Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is quickly rising on my favorite actor list. Ejiofor hasn't officially signed yet, but if he wants some money he better sign on the dotted line. Emmerich's films may not be the most brilliant cinematic pieces of work, but they sure can bring home the bacon.

Potential Star Hopeful For JP4

Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler) was interviewed by TV Guide recently and revealed she's still interested in Jurassic Park 4.

"It's still a while away but my understanding is it's happening and my character is very involved. I know [director] Steven Spielberg is looking forward to [getting it together] over the next year."

I'm happy that Spielberg is still interested in this project. I think that would be the best thing to happen to this franchise; the creator of the first (hugely successful) film comes back to resurrect a near-dead series, bringing back fame and glory along with a massive amount of interest and publicity because of his involvement. Still no word on Sam Neill's Dr. Alan Grant returning to the big screen.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Spidey 4 & 5 To Shoot Back To Back?

Cinematical brings us the rumor today that Spider-Man 4 and 5 might shoot back to back, whenever they get everything squared away on the business end.

James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) has apparently turned in his finished script for Spider-Man 4, but word is that his story arc encompasses two films, leaving the studio trying to renegotiate his contract in order to secure the second script. If this goes according to plan, there's the possibility that they'll shoot both films together, which also leads to conjecture about the same person directing both films. No official word yet on whether stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst are returning, or regarding Sam Raimi returning behind the camera.

All I have to say is: bring back Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

DiCaprio = Ian Fleming?

Leo DiCaprio's production company, Appian Way, has purchased the rights to Fleming, an original script by Damian Stevenson about the life of James Bond creator Ian Fleming. While no one really knows who is officially going to play the role of the daring author/journalist, we can easily assume that Leo himself would step in. Sounds like a cool role for him.

The story is based on the real life of Ian Fleming, similar to Finding Neverland about the J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan. The L.A. Times has an interesting article about it if you're looking for some more information on the project. No release date or production start time has been released yet, since Leo's pretty busy these days: he's got six films in development on imdb.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hot Tub Time Machine

Yep. The Hollywood Reporter brings us word that screenwriter Josh Heald has pitched a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine to MGM. What is it going to be about? Exactly what you think.

"Hot Tub" follows a group of guys, adults who used to be cads back in their heyday, who, after a night of vodka and Red Bulls in a hot tub, travel back in time and set out to rediscover their "mojo."

The funniest part is what MGM VP of Production Cale Boyter said when questioned about the film: "We're always looking for new ways to stand out against the pack in today's crowded marketplace, and what better way than to combine hot tub debauchery and the complications of time travel." That's one of the best justifications for a wild premise I've ever heard. This sounds like a Burt Reynolds movie.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ridiculous Casting Rumors

According to Latino Review, they seem to think that Bruce Willis is in the running for the lead role in the A-Team movie. Yes, a movie based off another old television show from before we were born. I hope Willis doesn't lower himself to this type of movie, especially since Woody Harrelson is attached to the project as well. We all know how that's gonna turn out...

More ridiculously (if that's possible), they claim that Brad Pitt is in the running for the upcoming Marvel movie Thor. I don't really think this has any merit, but it's fun to speculate about something that ludicrous. Anyway, I'm sure more legitimate casting updates for both of these films will be coming soon - not that I think either of them are going to be any good, but I'll keep you posted nonetheless. In related Marvel news, director Matthew Vaughn's (Stardust) contract has expired for the project so currently there is not a director attached.

Upcoming Star Trek Details

Ever since I heard that JJ Abrams' new Star Trek movie would feature Leonard Nimoy as Spock but NOT William Shatner as Captain Kirk, I've been wondering how this could happen. Kirk and Spock are a team; how could one be featured without the other? That question was answered today. tells us that the new film will actually be set AFTER the events of 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis, beginning with the elderly Spock returning from Romulan space and then moving backwards in time (presumably in a flashback) to the origins of the crew of the NCC-1701. Continuity fans, rejoice. Be sure to check out the Star Trek coverage on The Solar Sentinel and Ben's Movie Reviews.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Warner Independent and Picturehouse Shut Down

These are sad days for independent film. Warner Independent and Picturehouse, the studios that brought us movies like Pan's Labyrinth, The King of Kong, Rocket Science, The 11th Hour, A Scanner Darkly, and The Science of Sleep, have been shut down because of Warner Brothers' acquisition of New Line Cinemas.

Basically, the execs felt that the newly-acquired branch of New Line Cinema could handle the workload that Warner Independent and Picturehouse were dealing with, so they just got rid of them and dumped all of their duties into their New Line section. Synergy in its cruelest form. Hopefully this doesn't mean that independent films won't die out of this studio completely.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


This is a little piece I like to call "Roundup." It's a brief bulletpoint system of the news that I don't have time to write full articles on. Hope you enjoy it.

  • Jonah Hill is not going to star in Transformers 2. Negotiations have fallen through; some people (Boomer included) are relieved. I hope they don't get anyone worse to replace him.
  • Matthew McConaughey is rumored to be Marvel's lead candidate for the role of Captain America. Branz instantly vomits.
  • Terminator 4 is going to be rated PG-13.
  • Will Eisner's The Spirit (directed by Frank Miller) has moved its release date from January 2009 to Christmas of this year. Sweet.
  • Gran Torino will not be a Dirty Harry movie, but there are some new innuendos swarming around that when the next Dirty Harry movie DOES get made, Harry's gonna die. I just hope Eastwood keeps pumping out films, regardless of what the storylines are.
  • Ellen Page is going to play Jane Eyre in a movie adaptation of one of the worst books in history. I'll never, ever, ever see it.
  • Speaking of Ellen Page movies, Bill "Independence Day" Pullman is joining her and Cillian Murphy in Peacock. I rejoice.
  • Zooey Deshanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are set to star opposite each other in a movie called 500 Days of Summer, in which JGL falls in love with ZD, who doesn't believe in love. Because of the caliber of actors involved, this may be one of the few chick flicks I see in a theater.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Marvel Announces Upcoming Releases

After the staggering success of Iron Man in its opening weekend (apparently the 10th best opening weekend ever and over $200 million already overseas!), Marvel Studios have announced their slate for the next few years. First off, Iron Man 2 is coming on April 30th, 2010 (they were already talking about a sequel to this one based on the good word-of-mouth, so this isn't surprising to anyone who understands the concept of money). Next, the lesser-known hero Thor will get his own big screen adaptation with director Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Layer Cake) at the helm; this one's to be released on June 4th, 2010. The long-awaited Captain America movie, with the working title of The First Avenger: Captain America, will follow Thor into theaters almost a year later on May 6th, 2011. And the highly anticipated Avengers (the Marvel equivalent to the Justice League) will be last with a July 2011 release.

With the new cross-promotion tactics that Marvel is working on (stay after the ending credits for Iron Man if you haven't seen it yet), it won't surprise me at all if we see a lot of these heroes creeping into each others' movies in order to increase awareness of these not-as-popular characters. In any case, I'm sure Iron Man 2 will be sweet and Captain America has the potential to be an awesome movie if they do it correctly. I'm not so sure about Thor and the Avengers. More news on these projects as it unfolds.

This Will Make Your Day

Adam McKay (Step Brothers, Anchorman) told Collider that Ron Burgandy will "for sure" grace the big screen again in a sequel to their beloved Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy. Instead of having you go over there to read it, I'll post what he said here:

Adam McKay: I'm looking to do another movie, I might do this other movie called Channel 3 Billion which is kind of this science fiction/Brazil type comedy. Then after that, Will and I are like let's do Anchorman 2…so you're talking like 2 years maybe we'll do it. But we're going to do it, for sure.

Collider: That's like 100%?

Adam McKay: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're dying to do it. Unless we can't get the cast together, which is always kind of a tricky thing. But, I think, with that cast we're all friends, so yeah, we want to do it.

Anchorman pretty much singlehandedly boosted the careers of all of its male stars, but I'm sure they'd be willing to come back and make another movie like this for a reasonable price. I'm just glad that we'll be seeing some more antics of Will Ferrell in a movie that's not sports-based. Could they move Ron Burgandy into the 80's this time around? We shall see...