Monday, August 31, 2009

Roundup 8/31

I'm all settled in here at my new place (which you can see here). I just got my cable and internet hooked up, found a little sense of direction, and have recently read through my backlog of bookmarks since I left on Wednesday (including the recently released A Winter's Knight at The Solar Sentinel). Here are some stories you may have missed while I was gone.

  • The big news today is that Disney is in the process of buying Marvel Entertainment for 4 billion dollars. There has been excessive speculation on what this means for the future of Marvel movies, and many of these speculations have been stupefyingly insulting. The online world is in a huff about this, but there's no need to worry. Your precious comic book movies won't be softened up by the Mouse House. Disney CEO Robert Iger said (I'm paraphrasing) that they were basically going to leave Marvel Studios alone and let them do their thing. The only thing this acquisition means is that Disney is going to make a lot of money from the rights and licenses to the Marvel characters (over 5,000 of them) and their distribution teams will better promote the Marvel films when they are released. Since Disney also owns Pixar, there have been some talks regarding a Marvel/Pixar team up. Either way, I'm sure the (mostly) high quality products we've been getting from Marvel won't change anytime soon.
  • Kevin Conroy, the actor who provided the quintessential voice of Batman in the animated series of the 1990's and the new Arkham Asylum video game, joined the rest of the world and said that Christian Bale's Batman voice in The Dark Knight was "over the top and distracted from his scenes." This isn't really news, but this just proves that Conroy is a badass who isn't afraid to be straight up with how he feels about something. That's not your typical Hollywood response - Conroy craps on being nice for the sake of being nice.
  • There was a rumor a week or so ago stating that Guillermo del Toro's The Hobbit would be shot in 3D. Utter crap, and I knew it. Del Toro recently debunked this rumor on a message board to the fans, simultaneously debunking rumors that Tom Cruise would play Bilbo Baggins. Look, I'm a bigger Tom Cruise supporter than most, but that casting would have been possibly the worst in the history of film. Yeah, I said it. Good thing GDT's an awesome director and knows what he's doing.
  • Sony has started development on Bad Boys 3. A writer has been hired, and neither Will Smith nor Martin Lawrence has officially signed on yet. Jerry Bruckheimer's involvement is still in question at this point as well. I don't think this is necessary (or wanted) by anyone, but whatever. This is years away from being released, if it even gets the greenlight at all.
  • Speaking of Bruckheimer, he just bought the rights to a short story by Derek Haas (3:10 to Yuma, Wanted) with the intent to develop it as a film. This is notable because Haas started his own website called where movie writers could post their short stories as a means to express their creativity in a different format. It was a cool idea, and I'm glad to see that his little side project is turning into a lucrative thing for him. Seems like his head is in the right place.
  • Nic Cage has joined the 3D fever. He's starring in a movie called Drive Angry, by the director of My Bloody Valentine 3D. Cage will play a pissed-off dad who goes after a gang who killed his daughter and stole her child, leaving bodies and tire marks in his wake. Sounds like Cage, Liam Neeson, and Kevin Bacon need to star in a movie together called Taken: Drive Angry to the Death Sentence. I'd pay to see that one. This one? They're going to need a hell of a good trailer to convince me.
  • Rambo 5 has gotten the greenlight. There has been a lot of talk about this one ever since the last Rambo installment came out, but it's just now finally getting official approval. Stallone is in post-production on The Expendables right now, but as soon as he finishes that, he's expected to start on this project. This time, Rambo will be mauling drug lords and human traffickers at the US/Mexico border and trying to rescue an abducted girl. Hmm...maybe Sly can jump in on that movie with the guys listed above.
  • Rob Zombie is remaking The Blob. I've never seen the original, but I'm sure Zombie's version will be interesting at the very least.
  • And finally, an assistant to Michael Crichton found an unpublished manuscript for a book called "Pirate Latitudes" in Crichton's computer after his death. The book will hit shelves on November 24th of this year, and David Koepp (Jurassic Park, The Lost World) has been hired to adapt the story into a screenplay, with longtime-Crichton-collaborator Steven Spielberg attached to direct. The synopsis sounds kinda cool, and the movie is being hailed as a more realistic Pirates of the Caribbean. That said, I'm sure the book is going to be excellent and the movie has a very high suck potential. David Koepp has written some good stuff, but he's also written some truly terrible movies (The Shadow, War of the Worlds, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Angels & Demons) and Spielberg hasn't done anything great since 2002's Catch Me If You Can. I can only hope that this is the project that will bring him out of his slump.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Inception Teaser Trailer

Here's our first look at the latest film from Christopher Nolan, Inception. His team has done a great job at keeping the film's plot a secret so far, and this is one of my most anticipated films of the next year.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shutter Island Moved to Feb. 2010

Boo, hiss. Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island, the mystery thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo, has been moved back to February of 2010.

Paramount decided to shift the film out of awards contention for this year's Academy Awards session, and drop it into the same slot where Silence of the Lambs entered theaters back in 1992. Since the Academy is now accepting 10 nominees for Best Picture, I guess Paramount doesn't want to waste the money marketing this as an "awards movie" when they can just hope that they get thrown in next year if the movie plays well.

Awards talk aside, I'm bummed because I really wanted to see this movie sooner rather than later. The creepy/mystery factor would have played out great in a theater in October (you know - with Halloween and all), but now it's being released near Valentine's Day. Weak sauce.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bruce Willis? You Better Believe It

"Come on, babe! You married THAT guy?
His name is Ashton, for God's sake! KUTCHER!!"

What could I possibly write here that would make fans of Bruce Willis even BIGGER fans of Bruce Willis? No, not that there's a free all you can eat buffet next door to your house (see what I did there?!?) - this is something much more potentially epic.

Bruce Willis has joined the cast of The Expendables. I've written at length about this movie in the past, and so far it's lived up to every expectation I could possibly want (with the exception of a possible PG-13 rating instead of a hard R). Willis told MTV that he's set to cameo on screen at the same time with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Momentous occasion, if I do say so myself. Is it 2010 yet?

You Asked For It, America

Shelling out $113 million for tickets to the 2004 Wayans brothers "comedy" White Chicks qualifies as "asking" for a sequel, and now you've got it. The Wayans are now in development on a sequel, where the FBI characters who got dolled up as white girls are coming back to the big screen.

I'm going to tell you right now I've never seen White Chicks and I don't ever plan on seeing it. The film was a major plot point in the 2005 short film Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? but that's as close as I came to watching it. I can only assume it was trash reserved for the likes of those jackasses who keep making Meet the Spartans and all of that crap. So obviously there's no way in Hades that I'm going to check this out. But for those of you who enjoy this kind of thing (what is that, like a bad movie fetish?), you can get your jollies if and when this thing hits theaters - probably a year from now.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Spider-Man Updates

What the heck is going on? James Vanderbilt, screenwriter of Zodiac, was hired back in February of '08 to write Spider-Man 4. He turned in two scripts (for Spidey 4 and 5) and intended for the filmmakers to shoot the two movies back to back. Since then, other people have been brought in to rewrite his script for Spider-Man 4, so I assumed his ideas for connectivity between sequels were brought to an end.

Looks like that's not the case. Sony has just hired Vanderbilt to write Spider-Man 5 and 6! I guess they actually liked his ideas so much that they've decided to stick with his vision all the way through to complete another trilogy. The thing is, it's not looking like they're going to shoot these movies back to back: they're not even sure if they're going to make any Spider-Man films after the fourth installment.

I'm kind of confused by this - on one hand, pretty much everyone didn't like Spidey 3 as much as its predecessors, and the webslinger has vanished from the public's eye for the past few years. So I guess it makes sense that they wouldn't want to commit to another trilogy and spend the time and money to shoot it back to back in case Spidey 4 tanks nasty style at the box office. On the other, why would you hire this guy back if you like his ideas so much and then not film them all at once in order to get them out in theaters as quickly as possible and make your money while Spider-Man is fresh in the public's mind again?

The other questionable thing that's mentioned is that Vanderbilt has been told his scripts could be used to continue a trilogy that will begin in Spidey 4 OR be used as a blueprint for a series reboot. Does that make sense to anyone else? How the hell could a script written for the express purpose of continuing a franchise and bridging the gap between 4 and 6 double as a blueprint for a reboot? It's not possible. I don't get it. Either way, we're a long way away from seeing the fruits of any of this labor. Spider-Man 4 hits theaters in May of 2011, and neither the cast nor Sam Raimi has signed on for any further installments.

In other news, there are rumors flying around that Julie Taymor's Broadway production of Spider-Man: After the Dark (you know, the one that Bono and The Edge are doing the music for?) has been either canceled or put on hiatus. People are saying the budget is out of control and there's no way (even with a packed house every night) that they could make their money back. I've also heard conflicting reports that everything is fine, but that could be spin control coming from Taymor's camp. We'll see what happens with this, but if you're looking forward to the stage show, just know that there seems to be some trouble brewing.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Superman Confused

[That title was supposed to read like "Superman Returns? No, Superman Confused." I'm sure you didn't get that from the title alone. So instead of coming up with another one, I explained myself to you. Deal with it.]

A little while back I updated you with the goings-on regarding Superman and the legal battle of the heirs of Siegel and Shuster vs. Warner Bros./DC Comics. Now the jury is in (literally), and the results do not bode well for the good guys.

Elisabeth Rappe from Cinematical breaks it down nicely, and it boils down to this: the courts awarded the heirs various portions of the mythos of Superman, including the origin story (meaning Krypton, Kal-El, Jor-El, etc). All this adds to what they ALREADY owned, which was the rights to the Superman character (including Clark Kent), Lois Lane, The Daily Planet, and Perry White. DC still owns Jimmy Olsen, Lex Luthor, kryptonite, Superman's ability to fly, and any expanded powers and origins. What a headache.

This means that if we want to see a normal Superman movie again, we're going to have to see it go into production before the deadline of 2011. Otherwise, who knows what kind of ridiculous incarnation will make its way onto the big screen? How can they employ the use of kryptonite but not explain where it came from? Also, as Elisabeth points out, in 2013 it's game on for the heirs to shop their property around to whatever studio they want. Does that include the previously mentioned possibility of Supes traveling across the street to arch-rival Marvel Comics? It's unclear...but times are dark for the Big Blue Boy Scout.

Roundup 8/16

Wow, I've already reached 250 posts on this site. That was fast - doesn't seem like I've been writing for that long over here. Anyway, I'm back from my recent travels and I've been gone for a couple days, so it's time to catch up with another Roundup. Let's get to it!

  • The poster at the top of the page is a fan made poster for Tron: Legacy. I liked it enough to feature it here, so maybe you'll dig it, too.
  • Aside from boring casting announcements and more unnecessary remake news, there actually hasn't been that much going on. This has very little to do with movies, but Seth McFarlane confirmed what he's alluded to for years: Stewie from Family Guy is gay. Was it necessary to make an announcement about that? I'm pretty sure we knew that from somewhere around Season 2.
  • Remember that Bob Marley documentary I mentioned a while back that Scorsese was going to direct? I've been ignorant of updates, but I've got the info now if you're interested. Apparently Scorsese dropped the project because he was too busy with other things, and director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Rachel Getting Married) signed on to take over. But after he showed the producer his first cut and the producer didn't like it too much, Demme walked. I would, too, if someone laughed at my hard work. Screw those guys. Nobody else has signed on, so in the meantime it's languishing in development hell.
  • Ron Shelton, the guy who directed Tin Cup and White Men Can't Jump, is returning to a golf themed comedy with a movie called Q School (which stands for qualifying school). Dennis Quaid and Tim Allen are interested but haven't signed yet. Sounds interesting enough, since there really is (as pointed out by FirstShowing) a shortage of great golf movies out there. Maybe this one will be another addition alongside Caddyshack.
  • There's a pretty badass trailer out for Law Abiding Citizen, the new Gerard Butler/Jamie Foxx movie I've mentioned a few times. It's gone through a lot of variations (Frank Darabont was once attached to direct), but now it's in the capable hands of the awesomely named director F. Gary Gray. Looks standard, but with good action - just like all of F's other movies. Check the trailer here.
  • Kate Winslet (one of my favorite actresses) is moving to television as Mildred Pierce, a character featured in the classic 1945 film noir of the same name directed by Michael Curtiz. Director Todd Haynes (who I've never heard of) has approached the networks for the show, but apparently HBO is in the lead right now. By the way, HBO is coming out with a FANTASTIC-looking new show called "Bored to Death" featuring Jason Schwartzman and Zach Galifianakis about a fake private eye. It's on my "must watch" list when it comes out next month.
  • I've never seen an episode of the television series (new or 1970's version), but some of you may be interested to hear that Bryan Singer (Superman Returns, X-Men 1 and 2) will be directing a big screen version of Battlestar Galactica for Universal. Apparently the movie will have nothing to do with the recent show and is supposed to be a complete reimagining of the 70's show. Somewhere, somebody is pleased with this news. Personally, I'd rather see Singer bring the Man of Steel back to the big screen one more time to try and give audiences what they were expecting with Superman Returns - some action. Doesn't look like that's going to be the case: both because he signed for Battlestar, and also because of my next post...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lego: The Movie

No, I'm not kidding. Warner Bros. (a studio I normally love and have a lot of respect for) has decided to take my good will and hurl it out a thirty-story window; after G.I. Joe opened number one at the box office this weekend, they're making a Lego movie.

Not only are they seriously doing this (I can't stress enough this isn't a joke), but the man they've hired to produce this movie is responsible for an upcoming live action Tom and Jerry movie. And if THAT isn't enough for you, Variety says Warner Bros. is "keeping the plot tightly under wraps." Bite me. Like everyone is chomping at the bit to discover your super-secret plot to a movie about freakin' building blocks.

Mark my words, a Silly Putty movie is on the horizon.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Spielberg Producing Halo Movie?

Peter Jackson, Spielberg's co-director in the Tintin series they're currently working on, was once attached to produce a Halo movie (which was to be directed by District 9's Neill Blomkamp). That project fell through, and now it would appear that Spielberg wants down on the video game adaptation.

Rumor has it (via IESB) that Spielberg is in negotiations to produce Halo: Fall of Reach, the spec script written by Collateral writer Stuart Beattie. This film has been struggling in production limbo for years, and if anybody has the clout to pull it out and kick-start it into action, it's Steven Spielberg. I can only hope that Beattie's script is as good as he makes it out to be - we can't forget that this is the guy who directed the wretched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

From what I can gather, Spielberg backed off on the Indy script since George Lucas would have eaten his hand if he went in for a rewrite - so maybe Steven's just been making a few bad decisions lately. Halo is certainly an epic enough story to rekindle the wonder that the world famous director is known for producing, and maybe he'll even slide into the director's chair if he feels confident enough about the project once they get some casting decisions made.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Machete Cast Unveiled

I've spoken at length before about the feature version of Robert Rodriguez's Machete, the fake trailer from 2007's Grindhouse, so I won't bore you with recycled plot summaries or anything like that.

The rumored cast has been officially confirmed since shooting began this week on the project. Danny Trejo plays Machete, and joining him are some pretty big names: Robert DeNiro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, and Jeff Fahey. OK, so maybe only three of those are big names.

No word yet on whether this will be a theatrical release or straight to DVD. There was talk about it going to DVD at one time, but with bigger names attached I wonder if it will at least see a limited release in theaters.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Spielberg Directing A Harvey Remake

Spielberg's next project will not be the long-rumored Lincoln biopic starring Liam Neeson. Looks like he's taking on a blast from the Jimmy Stewart past and directing a remake of Harvey, the black and white classic in which Stewart's character sees a six foot tall imaginary rabbit.

This isn't Spielberg's first trip down Remake Road. He did the 2005 War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise, and directed the little seen dra-mance Always in 1989, which was based on the 1943 film A Guy Named Joe. As far as remakes go, I guess enough time has passed to warrant this one; we'll see how relevant the story turns out to be with Steve at the helm. No cast has been announced yet, and I'll keep you posted when those announcements are made (which will probably be soon, since the movie is going into immediate pre-production).