Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cleveland Goes Hollywood

The filming on Spider-Man 3 continues...

It seems as though, not a week goes by, without some movie or comic book fan site claim that they have photos from the set. And then, within minutes of my wanting to post a blog entry about them, they are debunked as fakes by the masses. Every time this happens...I figure it's best to move on, rather than post something that requires a correction the minute I write it up.

Not Today!

Quint from Aint It Cool News has posted a great item on the highly anticipated Spidey sequel, as cast and crew are busy on location in Cleveland Ohio, complete with a large photo gallery of pics from the location shoot that continues till Tuesday...

Here's a photo from the gallery taken by photographer David I. Andersen for The Plain Dealer:

Spider-Man takes a trip down Euclid Ave behind
a camera truck

There's also a link in the story to that showcases video of some action involving an armored truck and the villainous Sandman.

It's nice to finally have something "official" from the set. Spider-Man 3 is due for release in the U.S. on May 4th 2007.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Happy Trails

The build-up to the next Superman film is about to go into overdrive...

An official press release from Warner Bros. Pictures reveals that the worldwide satellite debut of the full "Superman Returns" trailer will happen this Tuesday, May 2nd. It's expected that the trailer will hit the net at the same time. The time frame of the debut is between 9:00 - 9:15 PM ET (6:00 PM - 6:15 PM PT) .

Meanwhile, Superhero Hype! has confirmed that this new "Superman Returns" trailer will be attached to "Mission Impossible III", opening May 5th and as well as WB's "Poseidon" which hits theaters the following week, on Friday, May 12th.

Since I have already announced my theatrical boycott of MI:3, I'm grateful that I will be able to see the second SR trailer on the internet first, and then on the big screen when I see Poseidon.

You can bet I'll be here to blog about trailer #2 after I see the thing on Tuesday night!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Man With An Iron Will

If you think Marvel Comics has run out of superheroes to get the big screen treatment--Think again...

Variety's Pamela McClintock spells out which costumed icons are next in line to make the leap:

Jon Favreau is set to direct Marvel Studios live-action feature "Iron Man," which will now be distributed by Paramount.

News is part of a wider announcement from Marvel outlining a barrage of directing and writing deals for a slate of films it is developing...

All [of] the [projects] but one, "The Incredible Hulk," will be distributed by [Paramount] under an existing service agreement.

"Iron Man," Marvel's top priority, also has nabbed writing duo Arthur Marcum and Matt Hollaway ("Convoy").

New Line gave rights back to Marvel last year after several years of unsuccessful development.

Marvel disclosed it is pursuing a second "Hulk" pic[ture], despite the so-so performance of Ang Lee's 2003 film. Zak Penn, who has collaborated with Marvel on several features, including the upcoming "X-Men: The Last Stand," will pen the script for what's being called "Incredible Hulk."

Universal, which handled the first "Hulk," would distribute the follow-up.

Follow-up is expected to have a smaller budget and be less erudite. "There's something very primal about the Hulk that we didn't get in movie one," said Marvel Studios chair Avi Arad.

Scribe David Self ("Thirteen Days," "Road to Perdition") has been tapped to pen the long-awaited feature version of "Captain America."

Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz") will direct and co-write with Joe Cornish the feature film "Ant Man." Always seen as a bit of a ridiculous super-hero -- his power is to control ants -- duo plan to give the big-screen "Ant-Man" a comedic twist...

Marvel has tapped scribe Andrew Marlowe ("Air Force One," "Hollow Man") to pen the script for "Nick Fury," based on Marvel's military super spy.

Fresh off writing Warner Bros. "Poseidon," Mark Protosevich will pen Marvel's "Thor"...

Marvel hasn't committed to put any of [these flicks] into production yet, though it's hoping to release the first one by 2008. "Iron Man" and "Incredible Hulk" are furthest along and thus most likely to hit that date.

Marvel has seven other super heroes and teams in development without talent yet attached.

"These are all giant titles. Obviously, there's a lot of work to be done," Arad said.

After "Iron Man" and "Hulk," Marvel's next priority is "Captain America," which Arad said he hopes to release in 2009.

Interesting to note that a Hulk sequel is "further along", considering just about everyone dismissed the idea, as recently as last year. Not to mention the fact that Fantastic Four 2 is not even part in the article at all. I would have thought that since the sequel is in the Marvel pipeline for sure, it would have been part of the slate.

Known for making, and acting in edgy comedies, Favreau makes for a truly inspired choice to direct Iron Man...He does have the fact that he played a pal to Ben Affleck in 2003's Daredevil under his belt though.

Vanity Un-Fair?

Gabriel Snyder reports in today's Variety, that some Hollywood heavyweights are fighting back against allegations made in a recent VANITY FAIR article, dissecting the Pellicano case:

[Paramount chief] Brad Grey and a collection of...several former clients, including Brad Pitt and Adam Sandler, as well as a rep for the late Chris Farley, have come forward with claims that the mag's story on the Anthony Pellicano scandal is inaccurate.

In contradiction to the story, Pitt, Sandler and the Farley rep deny ever hiring the P.I. In addition, HBO has denied that Grey once pushed a TV show based on Pellicano as a replacement for "The Sopranos," as the mag also reported.

In a...statement released late on Thursday, the studio said, "Specific allegations and statements made by unnamed sources about Brad Grey in Vanity Fair's piece on Anthony Pellicano are total fabrications."

Cindy Guagenti, who reps Pitt and Sandler, said in a statement, "Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler and the late Chris Farley have never once engaged the services of Anthony Pellicano, either directly or through a representative."

Guagenti added that none of the three thesps were contacted by the magazine before the story was published. Neither John Connolly, one of the writers of the piece, nor a rep for Vanity Fair immediately returned calls requesting comment.

Brillstein-Grey's Mark Gurvitz, who manages the Farley estate, told Daily Variety, "He's never once been involved with Anthony Pellicano in any way whatsoever."...

I know I didn't start blogging on this story until very recently, but it just me, or does it seem like the players get more intriguing as we go....As for any claims made by either Vanity Fair or these star reps that line this case the back and forth--nothing surprises me. Everyone is just digging in their heels--preparing for the long haul. The only way we'll know the truth is when the parties involved have to testify in a court of law.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Whispers Down The Line

Today's Studio Briefing fills us in on what's been going on in the Pellicano Wiretapping Case of late:

The Department of Justice and the FBI will investigate who leaked confidential FBI memos in to the New York Times, the legal newspaper The Los Angeles Daily Journal reported Wednesday, citing sources close to the case.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are blaming each other for the leaks, made in violation of an order by U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer that the information be kept confidential.

Meanwhile, Daily Variety reported today... that director John McTiernan, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI when he said that he had no knowledge of Pellicano's alleged wiretapping, had been sued by Bauer Martinez Studios for failing to disclose his involvement with Pellicano when he was hired to direct Crash Bandits. The breach-of-contract suit demands that McTiernan return $2 million already spent on preproduction.

McTiernan tries to mount one legal hurdle and gets another one thrown at him. Sheesh!

And Then There's This:

Universal Studios President and COO Ron Meyer has been identified as the "studio president" referred to in a Vanity Fair article who offered to help support Anthony Pellicano's children when the detective was incarcerated on weapons charges.

L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke also identified Madonna's one-time manager Freddie DeMann as the "producer" who also agreed to contribute to a Pellicano family fund. The VF article said that Pellicano gave the studio president a list of 20-30 Hollywood power players who he thought might contribute as well, but none agreed to do so except the studio exec and the single producer.

The VF article commented: "As pressure grows on Pellicano to testify against his former clients, a lot of people may wish they had been more charitable."

A lot of folks in tinseltown are probably quaking in their expensive footwear...

Still waiting for more shoes to drop...So that I can be here to catch 'em.

Rumor Has It

It seems some of the published details that were reported last week, regarding the next Star Trek movie were not "entirely accurate"...A clarification from JJ Abrams, courtesy of the World Entertainment News Network:

...Abrams is hitting back at unauthorized reports he is directing the next Star Trek movie. The Alias creator is furious the news was released prematurely and is also upset that key details regarding the storyline were incorrectly reported.

He explains to Empire online, "The whole thing was reported entirely without our cooperation. People learned that I was producing a Star Trek film, that I had an option to direct it, they hear rumors of what the thing was going to be and ran with a story that is not entirely accurate."

Last week, Hollywood trade paper Variety, reported Abrams was on board and that the film would center on the early days of Captain James T. Kirk and Spock and that Philip Seymour Hoffman was in talks to play the ship's doctor.

Abrams won't reveal the true storyline, but hints that it won't feature characters Captain James T. Kirk or Mr. Spock at all, but doesn't rule out bringing some of the original characters back for the new film, adding, "Those characters are so spectacular. I just think know, they could live again."

Personally, I'm hoping for a Kirk era or themed story, without tampering with what's already been established. This could allow for cameos by some of the "classic cast" if they want to do the film.

I'm a little surprised that someone "gave the go ahead" for the story without the cooperation of Abrams and Co.

Whatever the film turns out to be...I'm just glad someone other than Rick Berman is running the ship...Even if it may not be the movie we were first told about

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Joker's Wild

Stax of IGN-FilmForce sifts through the latest rumors surrounding the casting of the Joker for the next Batman movie:

Batman On Film...points out that rumors of Hugo Weaving (V for Vendetta, The Matrix, LOTR) being in the running for the Clown Prince part have resurfaced.

Furthermore, the site adds that it "was informed by someone who knows for a fact that Crispin Glover -- while very interested in the role -- has not been contacted or approached for the role of The Joker.

This would confirm what other sources have told BOF that Mr. Glover is not a candidate."BoF also reports that "one of the so-called 'frontrunners' for the part, may not be in the mix any longer. Perhaps the Bat-folks aren't interested any longer, or maybe he simply doesn't want the role…

Speaking of The Joker, I've been told that another candidate has emerged. This actor has been rumored for a part in this film previously, but not for The Clown Prince of Crime."So who are these unnamed contenders? Lachey Hulme? Paul Bettany? Jude Law? Johnny Depp? Sean Penn? Time will tell.

From the list, I think either Depp or Weaving could do some great things, playing the diabolical madman, don't you?

As for Bettany, he seems like he would be better suited for the role of Harvey "Two-Face" Dent, at some point as the franchise progresses.

Australian actor/writer Lachy Hulme's acting resume isn't all that extensive here in the states. He may be the list's lone dark horse.

Penn is certainly an intense enough actor, but somehow seems ill suited-as compared to the other choices here.

Crispin Glover seems to be out of the running... for now...

The United 93 Premiere

As I told you yesterday, the 9/11 movie United 93, opened the Tribeca film fest last night... Steven Zeitchik of Variety describes the scene:

A wrenching reminder of 9/11 was surrounded with red-carpet hoopla at the world [premiere] of "United 93," which kicked off the fifth edition of the Tribeca film fest Tuesday at [New York's] Ziegfeld theater.

After the film's devastating final scene, the screen abruptly went dark and a cacophony of loud, uncontrollable sobs could be heard coming from the back of the theater, where many of the nearly 100 family members of 9/11 victims were seated.

Some were seeing the film for the first time. As more than 1,100 viewers filed out, a funereal silence filled the theater.

And as the sobbing continued after the screening, there were sounds of other people comforting the family members and taking them outside.

As people were filing out, there was a strange encounter as some family members came face to face with an actor who played a hijacker. One quietly told the thesp, "You were very brave."

A low-key mood continued at the post-screening reception at the Four Seasons [Hotel] where the families mingled with other attendees like N.Y. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and NBC News' Brian Williams.

For more on the story, read the rest of Handled With Care...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Good Luck Charm

Variety's Chris Gardner has some of the best casting news I've heard in a while...

Al Pacino has been added to Steven Soderbergh's "Ocean's Thirteen" gang.

Thesp joins the cast -- headed by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle and Bernie Mac -- and their franchise's new leading lady, Ellen Barkin.

Jerry Weintraub is producing the pic, which has a July 21 start date. Shooting is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

"Rounders" scribes Brian Koppelman and David Levien penned the script.

Details of the plot are being kept under wraps, but Warners revealed that Pacino will be playing Willie Banks, the owner of a high-profile casino and hotel in Las Vegas

The idea of Al Pacino mixing it up with Clooney et al--pleases me no end. Until now I have been dubious about a third Ocean's flick...Of course the script has to be a home run for Al's participation to really work. At least now though, I'm actually looking forward to seeing this, as opposed to avoiding it all together as I had planned to do.

Fingers Crossed...

United We Stand...

As the controversial film United 93 opens the Tribeca Film Festival this evening, the studio suits at Universal as well as every industry rival, is holding its breath awaiting to see how the film does.

Variety's Gabriel Snyder Ian Mohr and Adam Dawtrey spell out what's at stake here:

Studio tracking on the pic is ambiguous: By a slim margin the film is the top choice among males, but it's also registering a high percentage of "definitely not interested."

The weekend's other new releases include "Akeelah and the Bee," "RV" and "Stick It." The response is not unexpected. Indeed many industry insiders were surprised "United 93" got Universal's greenlight at all.

The decision to make the $15 million film stemmed from a series of fortuitous events: The demise of a project at Paramount and Universal's desire to make a sequel to "The Bourne Supremacy," which Greengrass had directed...

"When the film he was going to do at Paramount fell through, I said, 'Why don't you do a ('United 93') treatment?' " said Tim Bevan co-chair of Working Title, the division of U that produced the pic. "He agreed to do a treatment in July, delivered 20 pages, and we said, 'Let's do this.'

...Before lensing began at Pinewood Studios in November, researchers interviewed the families of the people aboard United 93. U announced it would donate 10% of the opening weekend's proceeds to build a memorial for those who died aboard the hijacked flight.

Family members of those on the hijacked plane have supported the film. At a press conference Monday, Tribeca Fest's Jane Rosenthal said there will be 91 relatives of people on the flight on hand tonight. She also said she feels viewers are ready for such films, as "we deal with this every day...

Whether the pic is too emotionally difficult for [general audiences] elsewhere is now the key question [the studio] faces.

..."You make a film like this in order to start a debate, and that's what has happened," Bevan said. "Whether the film goes on to perform at the box office very much depends on what happens this week."

Either way, with a budget of just $15 million, "United 93" was a fairly small bet for Universal. Studio reduced the project's risk even further when it brought on Sidney Kimmel Entertainment just before lensing started to co-finance about a third of the production's budget.

Here's the complete Variety article...

Meanwhile, on April 22nd, The Movie Reporter (aka IESB) posted a series of video interviews with victims families as they share their thoughts on the movie. Make sure you take a look.

As someone who thinks it's not too soon for this...I'm hoping that it will do as well as it can for the victims relatives. I know it will be a difficult film to watch...I will probably be very uncomfortable...

But that's the point, we as a nation need to feel uncomfortable again--to be reminded of what kind of horror we face--before history repeats itself.

Monday, April 24, 2006

"Silent" Majority

The latest battle in the box office war has been fought and the results are chronicled best, as always, Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo.Com:

'Silent Hill' reaped an estimated $20.2 million to top the weekend, while 'The Sentinel' secured a modest launch [landing in 3rd place with $14.6 million] and 'American Dreamz' [in 8th place with just $3.6 million] hit a sour note...

Gray's full report can be found here.

I wasn't as surprised that Silent Hill took the top spot, as much as I was that Scary Movie 4 overtook The Sentinel to have the second spot, with an additional $17 million in ticket sales. I thought for sure the spoof would have ended up somewhere behind the actioner when all was said and done.

Music To My Ears

While hard at work finishing his duel tasks on Superman Returns editor and composer John Ottman took time out to speak with the folks at Soundtrack.Net for their latest podcast.

He chats about everything from mixing the score for the new film, to how he incorporated music composed by John Williams for the first film into the flick, and how long he expects the score album will be.

It's worth a listen, especially, if you're into that sort of thing.

Hear it now...

I knew that Ottman would be using the "main title march" and the "theme from Krypton" in the new motion picture, but I was surprised to learn that elements of the "Lois theme" (Love theme/"Can You Read My Mind?") would also be utilized as well.

I hope that the score CD is longer than 45 minutes as the interview suggests--regardless of how much of Williams' material ends up being used.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Summer Cinema

Both the May '06 issue Premiere magazine, and the current Entertainment Weekly of April 28th/May 5th, tout their respective "Summer Movie Preview" as the cover story.

For Premiere's version of how things will shake out come season's end, as well as articles about the biggest films ...Click here.

EW's version of the same story highlights 10 flicks of summer that the mag's editors can't wait to see...Along with the other 104 movies that will hit the multi-plex between May 5th and Labor Day.

Be sure to check out both publications, on news stands now, for the complete lowdown.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Critics Disappointed Over HD-DVD

The first HD DVD's and players hit the marketplace, this past week, and Studio Briefing fills us in on what some of the critics are saying about the new home entertainment format:

Consumer electronics writers have begun to weigh in on the new HD DVD players distributed by Toshiba this week, and most are unimpressed. Several cite an intolerably long boot-up period, a confusing menu system, and incompatible sound. But nearly all express disappointment in the picture. On smaller sets, the writers agree, the difference between HD DVD and a conventional DVD is virtually undetectable. "Bottom line is that HD DVD is great, but will you notice?" asks Ben Drawbaugh on Writing in the Los Angeles Times David Colker remarked that on larger screens he could detect a subtle difference. He added: "I tested my perceptions by switching between the two formats. I asked a colleague to close his eyes while I chose a version, then had him open them and guess: DVD or HD DVD? He got it right only about 75% of the time. So, yes, it's better. But don't expect the dramatic leap in quality that came with the transition from VHS to DVDs in the 1990s."

Uh oh. I don't know about you, but I was expecting a better reception than that, as far as the software goes anyway...

Dan Ramer of DVDFile posted a great editorial on the machines themselves called "HD DVD Players Sell Out".

Meanwhile, the Blu-Ray (my personal choice between the two formats) discs are up next...and they might even have a tougher road to travel if sales of HD players/Discs somehow take off early. I will outline my "why Blu-Ray" reasons when they debut sometime in June.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Damien, It's All For You!

I just watched the full theatrical trailer for the 2006 remake of The Omen. And all I can say is...from the looks of things, it seems like it almost matches the 1976 original, shot for shot--But all dressed up using modern tricks by director John Moore.

At least the teaser trailer for the flick was a little spooky...the new one is not.

Click here to see the trailer for that you can decide. I still say some movies should never be remade...And The Omen definitely belongs in that category.

The film opens on 06-06-06.

J.J. Takes The Helm

I have been a fan of Star Trek for a long time...Ever since my sister took me to see the first big screen flick, 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture. While certainly not the best movie in the franchise, it was enough to get me hooked, causing me to seek out the 80 episodes that made up The Original Series.

I stayed with the saga through Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine (the most underrated Trek series), and the first few seasons of "Star Trek: Voyager". But then, the quality of the shows and movies began to really suffer, veering off of the original intention of creator Gene Roddenberry. In fact, I only watched a few segments of the last spin off show, Star Trek: Enterprise. It was just too much for me to take...The day that the "suits" cancelled the program, after 4 years on the tube, came as no surprise....

Dave McNary of Variety has all the details on what's next in store for The Final Frontier:

Paramount is breathing life into its "Star Trek" franchise by setting "Mission: Impossible III" helmer J.J. Abrams to produce and direct the 11th "Trek" feature, aiming for a 2008 release.

Damon Lindeloff
and Bryan Burk, Abrams' producing team from "Lost," also will produce the yet-to-be-titled feature.

Project, to be penned by Abrams and "MI3" scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci will center on the early days of seminal "Trek" characters James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, including their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and first outer space mission.

Deal reflects [Paramount]'s bullishness on "MI3," which launches worldwide next weekend, and underlines the goal of [studio] chief Brad Grey and [president] Gail Berman to re-energize the pipeline via high-profile tentpoles while revitalizing the..brand with top-tier talent such as Abrams.

"MI3" is the first pic to be released that's been greenlit by Grey.

"Star Trek" has been Hollywood's most durable performer other than James Bond, spawning 10 features that have grossed more than $1 billion and 726 TV episodes from six series.

Decision to relaunch "Star Trek" comes less than a year after UPN pulled the plug on [Enterprise]...and four years after "Star Trek: Nemesis" turned in the worst performance of the 10 films with $43 million domestic.

The idea of a Kirk/Spock prequel film has been around for years... I don't quite know how I feel about that idea being resurrected yet. Sure, it will have Kirk and Spock but can that work?...Given that prequels often don't... and isn't Trek all about moving forward?...I like the idea of bringing in new blood...I have wanted current Trek overlord Rick Berman to be given the boot for quite some time--given his "cookie cutter" approach to the whole thing in recent years. Hiring JJ Abrams and his crew to helm a new film makes for an interesting choice. I like Alias, am a big fan of Lost, and if it weren't for the strange behavior of Tom Cruise...I would be first in line to see Mission Impossible III.

Overall, I'm pleased that Paramount Pictures made this move regarding Trek, and say that it should have been done a few years ago. I'm cautiously optimistic that the history of the future is now in capable hands.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Yes I Cannes

Derek Elley of Variety provides all of the latest news from overseas in the run up to the 2006 Cannes Film Festival...and from the look of things Latin is in. Elley gives us a breakdown of which films will headline the event, as well as the international scorecard.

Latin cinema is the big winner, while U.S. and French filmers hold their place, in the Official Selection of the 59th Cannes Film Festival (May 17-28), announced in Paris today.
This year's Competition, at a trim 19 titles, artfully mixes Croisette favorites (Pedro Almodovar, Ken Loach, Nanni Moretti, Aki Kaurismaki) alongside known or established names that are new to that particular section.

Among the latter is Sofia Coppola (costumer "Marie-Antoinette"), who actually began her Cannes career in Directors Fortnight with "The Virgin Suicides" (1999) and Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (English-lingo drama "Babel"), who was discovered by Critics Week six years ago with "Amores perros."

Other Competition newcomers were nurtured by festivals like Toronto and Venice, including Richard Linklater ("Fast Food Nation"), Belgian Lucas Belvaux ("The Weakest Is Always Right") and Portuguese mini-malist Pedro Costa ("Youth on the March").

As such, artistic director Thierry Fremaux maintains the position of the Competition as a platform to be aspired to, rather than one of discovery. Only one Competition feature is a first work: Scottish-set experimental drama "Red Road" by the U.K.'s Andrea Arnold, who won an Oscar for her short "Wasp."

Fremaux has bundled most of the first features (seven) into the sidebar Un Certain Regard, which is the usual broad mix of international titles peppered with some more familiar names (Italo vet Marco Bellocchio, Australia's Rolf de Heer).

Linklater also has a movie in Un Certain Regard -- noir crimer "A Scanner Darkly," from a Philip K. Dick novel -- making him the first director in memory to have two features in different sections of the Official Selec-tion.

Around a fifth of the 59 features that make up the Official Selection's three sections -- Competition, Out of Competition, Un Certain Regard -- come from Spanish, Portuguese or Italian-speaking countries. Two Italian directors (regulars Nanni Moretti and Paolo Sorrentino) are repped in Competition, alongside two Mexican helmers (Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro Inarritu), both new to Cannes' Official Selection.

U.S. presence -- and English-language cinema in general -- is on a par with recent years, with around a dozen North American filmers across the various sections. Richard Kelly ("Donnie Darko") joins Coppola and Linklater in Competition with the ensembler "Southland Tales", while U.S. prods dominate the galas ("United 93," "X-Men: The Last Stand," DreamWorks toon"Over the Hedge") and Special Screenings. Latter include an HBO docu featuring Variety itself: "Boffo: Tinseltown's Bombs and Blockbusters."

Big loser this year is Asia, with no films from Japan and only one small independent drama from South Korea "The Unforgiven" (in Un Certain Regard). In a year when the main jury has an unprecedented two Chinese members (prez Wong Kar-wai, plus actress Zhang Ziyi), Chinese-speaking cinema is more substantially repped, with two works from the Mainland, one from Hong Kong (Johnnie To's "Election 2") and one from Taiwan (swordplay spectacle "Silk").

Obviously, I'm hoping that the good ol' US of A makes a strong showing at the fest, and that we will have some bragging rights to cling to afterwards. In the meantime, (if and) when news breaks during the 11 day party in France, I will be here to comment on it all.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I Wonder If They'll Ever Play Together?

The world's long wait is finally over!

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise welcomed the arrival of a 7 pound, 7 ounce baby daughter, named Suri into the world on Tuesday.

Sandy Cohen of The Associated Press helps spread the joyous news:

Her name has its origins in Hebrew, meaning "princess," or in Persian, meaning "red rose," [couple spokesman Arnold] Robinson said in a statement. "Both mother and daughter are doing well," the publicist said.

Details about the birth weren't disclosed, but it had been planned to take place as a silent procedure under the tenets of the Church of Scientology, to which both Cruise and Holmes belong.

Cohen further explains:

In a strange twist of fate, Suri was born on the same day Brooke Shields gave birth to her daughter, Grier Hammond Henchy. Shields and Cruise had a public spat last year after he criticized the actress for taking antidepressants following the birth of her first child.

Cruise, echoing the position of Scientology, said depression can be treated with exercise and vitamins rather than drugs. Shields dismissed the actor's remarks as a "ridiculous rant."

Talk about Irony. I think that the one person out there that said Holmes and Shields would give birth on the same day should go out and play the lottery.

In celebration of TomKat's happy news, Scott Brown of Entertainment Weekly has posted A silent-birth announcement of the event on the mag's blog, known as the Popwatch.

I wish both families nothing but the best...I really do. I hope Suri, in particular, finds her way in life very pleasant and stress-free (given who her famous dad is and his predilection for jumping on couches and all).

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Two Halves Of One Whole

Variety's Gabriel Snyder provides the latest news on the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping case--laying out an interesting dichotomy that now surrounds the story:

Helmer John McTiernan pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of lying to the F.B.I. about whether he knew that disgraced private eye Anthony Pellicano had conducted illegal wiretaps on his behalf.

McTiernan's two court appearances on Monday were short and predictable: In the morning, his lawyer announced that the helmer had reached a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, then haggled over the terms of his client's $50,000 bond. The guilty plea was entered later in the afternoon.

McTiernan's plea follows a story in last Friday's New York Times reiterating Pellicano's dealings with Paramount chairman Brad Grey and Mike Ovitz. The story did not allege that either man had been involved with illegal activity. It nonetheless drew more attention than the legal troubles of McTiernan, who directed a string of hits in the 1980s and 1990s including "Die Hard" and "The Hunt for the Red October."

But the two tales are emblematic of how the saga sparked by Pellicano has seemed to have split in two halves: One is a plodding, methodical federal investigation into the down-and-dirty dealings of divorces and business disputes. The other half is still mostly a search by the media for that elusive next shoe to drop.

Publications ranging from the frothy to the sober have predicted that the tentacles of the Pellicano case will ensnare Hollywood's power centers. This week, Entertainment Weekly dubbed the saga "Hollywood's Watergate," writing, "if it weren't for the palm trees and Hummer limos, you'd swear this was Washington D.C., circa 1972."

Last week, the Economist issued its own dispatch from L.A., intoning that the "wiretapping scandal threatens to engulf Hollywood's elite."

But so far, the long-running federal investigation has failed to live up to such billings. Even as the indictments pile up -- Pellicano and six others were named in February in a 110-count racketeering and conspiracy indictment -- the case has primarily skirted along the edges of the industry.

Before McTiernan was indicted, the Los Angeles Times dubbed Keith Carradine (who counts a brief run on HBO's "Deadwood" as one of his most prominent recent roles) as "the biggest name allegedly wiretapped by Anthony Pellicano to file a civil lawsuit." Carradine alleged that Pellicano and others wiretapped his phone while going through divorce proceedings.

McTiernan seemed to overtake that honor yesterday when Reuters carried news of his guilty plea as "the biggest Hollywood name indicted so far in the wiretapping scandal."

The helmer plead guilty as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. According to the feds, McTiernan allegedly hired Pellicano to conduct wiretaps on Charles Roven, who produced who produced [the modern version of] "Rollerball" which McTiernan helmed.

Whoa Nellie! I wasn't aware that Keith Carradine's name came up before in the investigation...I have been a fan of his work for a long time. In particular, I enjoyed him in the '96 film 2 Days in the Valley and the '77 classic The Duellists.

As for McTiernan, it's a shame that such a talented guy, had to get caught up in something like this at all...

Like the media, I'm waiting for other industry "shoes" to drop, as the story moves ahead.

Monday, April 17, 2006

It's Just A Movie...

As if two lawsuits weren't enough to create a comes word that the Vatican and the Catholic group Opus Dei are officially weighing in on the film version of The Da Vinci Code.

The Vatican side of the story comes courtesy of Sci Fi Wire:

A Vatican official railed against The Da Vinci Code, branding the book and its upcoming film version just more examples of Jesus being sold out by a wave of what he called "pseudo-historic" art, the Reuters news service reported.

The official, preaching in Rome in the presence of Pope Benedict, also condemned the so-called Gospel of Judas, an alternative view to traditional Christian teaching, which has received wide media attention recently.

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, whose official title is "Preacher of the Papal Household," made his comments in a sermon during a "Passion of the Lord" service in St. Peter's Basilica commemorating Christ's death on Good Friday, April 14.

Cantalamessa made several scathing references to The Da Vinci Code, without specifically mentioning the name of the worldwide best-seller. He said that people today were fascinated by "every new theory according to which he [Christ] was not crucified and did not die, ... but ran off with Mary Magdalene." The book has been adapted into a movie, starring Tom Hanks, which is due to be released next month. "No one will be able to stop this wave of speculation, which will see a sharp increase with the imminent release of a certain film," Cantalamessa added.

Cantalamessa also dismissed The Gospel of Judas, which claims that it was Christ himself who asked Judas to betray him. The Gospel of Judas received wide attention recently in media stories about the discovery of a 1,700-year-old copy. The so-called Gospel of Judas was already declared a heresy by the early church about two centuries after Christ died.

As for Catholic group Opus Dei--they want something from the fillmmakers:

[The organization] has called on the makers of upcoming film The Da Vinci Code to include a disclaimer, out of respect for their beliefs. The film, based on the Dan Brown bestseller, has caused controversy within the Catholic community for its unorthodox theories on Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. And it portrays Opus Dei as a corrupt, barbarous cult at the centre of a cover-up of the truth about Christ. Opus Dei posted the letter to Sony on their Italian website. It reads, "Any such decision by Sony would be a gesture of respect toward the figure of Jesus, to the history of the Church and to the religious beliefs of viewers." Sony spokesperson Jim Kennedy says, "We have no plans to reveal any details regarding what is or isn't in the film until the release." He adds that the film was "a work of fiction, and at it's heart, it's a thriller, not a religious tract." (Opus Dei blurb courtesy World Entertainment News Network)

In the end, I think all of the controversy that surrounds this "certain" film, will only lead to bigger box office numbers and will in no way keep people from seeing the movie.

It will be interesting to see what the final outcome will be...and how it will play out.

Scare Tactics

The never ending box office derby crowned a new winner over the holiday weekend, according to Box Office Mojo's Brandon Gray and his latest report:

Though trailing its predecessor, 'Scary Movie 4' zapped the Easter record with an estimated $41 million, while ''The Wild'' [#4 with $9.5 million in ticket sales] was prey for 'Ice Age 2: The Meltdown'... [#2 with an additional $20 million added to its stash].

Get the complete lowdown on all of the holiday numbers...

I have not seen Scary Movie 4 yet, but I got the feeling from watching the trailers and TV ads, that the film's best comedy bits were included in those previews... I could be wrong...Besides, any movie that touts Dr. Phil (comedy or not) as a cast member, and I run in the opposite direction.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I'd Give Real Money If He'd Shut Up

Actor Tom Cruise seems to be everywhere lately... and guess what folks? He's speaking out about everything but his career:

From his recent interview with Diane Sawyer for ABC's PrimeTime Live...

...To the May issue of GQ in which he discusses his "spectacular" sex life with his pregnant fiancee Katie Holmes, because they have such good "communications skills". He states that the physical act is a "by-product" of a successful relationship. "Sex is about the connection. Great sex is a by-product, for me, of a great relationship, where you have communication and it's an extension of that. Where it's just free. And that's how it should be. It's spectacular. If you're not in good communication with your partner, it sucks. [And it] is really horrible and pathetic and lonely." (blurb courtesy World Entertainment News Network)

In that same article, the actor once again lashes out at folks who depend on psychologists and meds to help them--saying “I think it’s appalling that people have to live a life of drug addiction when I have personally helped people get off drugs”.

The actor further claims that he can do this in something like 3 days...

Meanwhile, he has installed an in-home hospital for Holmes so that she can have a "silent birth" as dictated by Scientology.

I have no problem with the way Cruise handles his personal affairs--but every time he opens his mouth any more, I wonder where the "old" Tom Cruise has gone?

Sure, there are a lot of outspoken actors in Hollywood, but none of them seem to be speaking louder than Cruise... I say Do your job--- Make your millions--just do it quietly.

I wonder how this latest blitz will affect the box office for Mission Impossible III (opening May 5th)?

As for me, I plan to rent the sucker, as soon as it hits store shelves. I know I probably won't see it in theaters.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Even Superheroes Need To Drink Their Milk

The website posted this "Got Milk?" Ad from Blender Magazine, featuring Superman Returns star Brandon Routh, in full costume.

It's been quite some time since I have seen a new "Got Milk" advertisement...I thought the campaign had ended and that they were gearing up to debut another slogan. I wonder if the mutants of X-Men 3 inked their rumored deal with the folks at Tropicana Orange Juice yet? (Just Kidding, Just Kidding)

Meanwhile, the Superman Cinema website is reporting that the Richard Donner cut of Superman II that will be released on DVD later this year will include over 75% of of the director's original footage. As I've said before--I can't wait for this to hit store shelves.

For more on Superman II, feel free to read The Adventure Continues...Again and The Donner Party/Lots Of Sequel Talk, from The Last Reel archives.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good "Friday"

I found this little item on the Dark Horizons website...

E! News is rumoured to have reported that Patricia Clarkson is in talks with New Line Cinema to take on the role of Pamela Voorhees [Jason's Mom] in the re-invisionment of "Friday The 13th"

...but when I went over to the E! website to find the original post for some kind of verification to the story, I couldn't find anything out about it.

After expanding my search...I managed to find this blurb on from Staci Wilson

Word has it that Patricia Clarkson is in talks with New Line Cinema to take on the role of Pamela Voorhees in the Friday The 13th remake. The script was written by Mark Wheaton (The Messengers) and is to be directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning).

I think Patricia Clarkson makes a great choice for this pivotal role in the new film. I hope the "rumor" turns out to be true.

For more on the horror remake, please read my posts, Keeping Jason At "Bay" and You Gotta Have Faith...And Loads Of Cash from February.

Show Tunes

Here's the latest bombshell in the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping investigation, courtesy of an article by David M. Halbfinger and Allison Hope Weiner in today's New York Times:

The chairman of Paramount Pictures and a onetime Hollywood superagent had far more direct dealings than they have acknowledged publicly with the celebrity detective at the center of a rapidly expanding wiretapping scandal, according to government evidence.

Brad Grey , Paramount's chairman, told the F.B.I. that he spoke with Anthony Pellicano about two lawsuits in which Mr. Pellicano, a private detective, was working on Mr. Grey's behalf, and that he learned information about his legal opponents directly from Mr. Pellicano. A former employee of Mr. Pellicano, who was charged in February with wiretapping and conspiracy, separately told the F.B.I. that Mr. Grey had met with the detective at least five times.

Publicly, Mr. Grey has said that he was only "casually acquainted" with Mr. Pellicano, and that his lawyers were responsible for hiring and overseeing the detective.

Michael S. Ovitz, a former talent agent and Hollywood powerhouse who served as the head of the Creative Artists Agency and was once president of the Walt Disney Company, acknowledged to the F.B.I. that he paid Mr. Pellicano in April or May of 2002 to obtain information on 15 to 20 people who were saying negative things about him. They included former business associates and Bernard Weinraub, then a reporter for The New York Times who was reporting on the demise of a company Mr. Ovitz started after he left Disney, and Anita Busch, a freelance reporter who wrote with Mr. Weinraub.

A lawyer for Mr. Ovitz, Bart H. Williams, denied that Mr. Ovitz had given Mr. Pellicano a list of anyone to investigate except the people who were suing him. If Mr. Pellicano "went out and used illegal means to get information that he thought would impress Mr. Ovitz, that was not done with Mr. Ovitz's knowledge and consent," he said.

The federal investigation, set off by a threat against Ms. Busch in June 2002, has since sent shock waves through entertainment and legal circles here. Who, exactly, initiated the threat has not been established. But the government's questioning of the two Hollywood executives — who maintain they are witnesses in the case, not targets — shows authorities circling the heavyweight entertainment lawyer Bert Fields, who worked for both.

Mr. Ovitz has not publicly acknowledged directing Mr. Pellicano to investigate Mr. Weinraub or Ms. Busch. In February, Mr. Ovitz's lawyer, James Ellis, said that Mr. Pellicano's use of law enforcement databases for checks on the two reporters, which prosecutors say was illegal, "wasn't done at our direction."

Mr. Fields, the entertainment lawyer, has acknowledged being a subject of the investigation, but, like Mr. Grey and Mr. Ovitz, has said he had no knowledge of illegal activity...

Click here to read the complete article...

I have a feeling that the case is going to reach a boiling point very more birds continue to sing the feds favorite Hollywood hits. Tinseltown's best writers couldn't do a better job making this stuff up--even if they tried.

Tribeca Vibe

The 2006 Tribeca Film Festival is attracting the major studios in a big way... so says Ian Mohr of Variety:

After announcing a list of arty pics from indie auteurs, the fest -- co-founded by Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro -- is now loading up on high-profile tentpoles.

The move to include "Mission: Impossible III" and "Poseidon" effectively ups the commercial ante for a festival born out of the ashes of 9/11.

But it might also end up putting Tribeca's regular [audiences] through some wrenching emotional gyrations -- from viewing real-life tragedy onscreen to watching manufactured disaster and derring-do.

Paramount Pictures "Mission: Impossible III" will have its domestic [premire] at the fest May 3, anchoring an entire day of promo events pumping up the franchise pic as part of "Mission: NYC".

The news comes after Tribeca already tapped Warner Bros.' "Poseidon" to unspool May 6.

The festival will open with Universal's "United 93".

This latest commercial tilt by Tribeca founders could be construed as a savvy move by fest founders to grab hot Hollywood titles that might otherwise have gone to the Cannes Film Festival, which unspools three weeks later. "Mission: Impossible III" is released Stateside May 5 and "Poseidon" hits theaters May 12.

The moves also reflect fact that De Niro and Rosenthal, while Gotham-based, are Hollywood power players who can use clout to get pics that other fest programmers can't, or that don't fit a more indie profile.

They're also a gamble by Hollywood that Gotham fest auds will prove hospitable to high-octane action tentpoles that normally would score in middle America.

For their part, the Par and Warner folks now have a Gotham festival -- that has a high profile with consumers -- ready-to-hand to help promote these two expensive pics.

As part of "Mission's" Tribeca date, the pic's marketers have arranged for an afternoon appearance on MTV's "TRL " by star Tom Cruise prior to the Tribeca fest [debut]

Tribeca brass said the star then will travel by "motorcycle, speedboat, taxi, helicopter, sports car and subway" over six hours as he makes his way to other "Mission" screenings around Manhattan before the fest's official fest preem at the Ziegfeld Theater.

Tribeca fest runs April 25-May 7.

With all of these big events planned, Tribeca seems ready to make a big splash, while at the same time remembering its roots. If anything blog-worthy happens at the festival--or if Cruise starts acting up--I'm sure that I'll have something to say about it.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Dogging Da Vinci Part Duex

The old adage "History Repeats Itself" best applies to the following item from the World Entertainment News Network:

Author Dan Brown has been accused of plagiarism in The Da Vinci Code just days after he was cleared in London's High Court of similar allegations. Russian art historian Dr. Mikhail Anikin, a Leonardo Da Vinci expert, wants Brown to apologize and hand over half the money made from his book within the next month. If his demand is not met, Anikin claims he'll sue Brown in both Russia and the US for all his Da Vinci Code earnings. Anikin says his 2000 book Leonardo Da Vinci: Theology In Paint argues that the Mona Lisa was an allegory for the Christian church. In 1998, Anikin alleges he discussed his ideas about the painting with some experts from Houston, Texas, one of whom asked if he could pass on the theory to Brown. The Russian says he agreed so long as he was credited in any book, but never heard back. He also claims to have called his theory The Da Vinci Code. Anikin says, "When I read the book, I was shocked at its poor quality and because it used my ideas. This book tells lies about the church which upset me morally." Last Friday, Brown was found not to have breached copyright and plagiarized The Da Vinci Code from the 1982 book The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. Director Ron Howard's movie adaptation of the best-seller, starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, is due out next month.

I guess Anikin either A) has been living under a rock for the past few years and just found out the book was published, or B) waited until the previous case was settled before threatening one of his own, because "morally", that was the right thing to do

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Past The Point Of No Return

As the world gears up for the release of Superman Returns in a couple of months, one question about the film has been nagging at me for some time: Why didn't Bryan Singer enlist composer John Williams (whose classic theme for the '78 film is now synonymous with the superhero) to score the new film?

The folks at (an unofficial site) provide a partial answer

The latest issue of Spanish film magazine Fotogramas features an exclusive article o­n Superman Returns, which cites Brandon Routh's resemblance to Christopher Reeve as o­ne of the reasons why John Williams isn't in charge of the score. "I could never have dealt with this score. He [Brandon] reminded me too much of Chris", admits the Maestro.

I know that Singer shares a certain loyalty to composer/film editor John Ottman, with whom he has a good working relationship, but I must admit that I really wish that Williams had signed on anyway. Mind you, I have nothing against Ottman, he's a talented guy, but it would been cool to have Williams revisit the saga after almost 30 years away from it.

In keeping with the Man Of Steel theme for today:

Resa Nelson, of Sci-Fi Wire (the news service for the SCI-FI Channel) has details on a Superman documentary, produced by Singer and released in conjunction with the new movie.

Superman Returns director Bryan Singer told SCI FI Wire that he decided to produce a feature-length documentary about the Man of Steel while researching the character's past. Excited by what he found, Singer decided to produce Look Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman.

"It was a very elaborate process," Singer said in an interview. "It's comprised of 50 or more interviews. It involved going to archives, researching and tracking down and optioning footage that people have never seen before of early incarnations of Superman."

Look Up in the Sky explores Superman's beginnings in comic books and his early presence in movies, ranging from Max Fleischer cartoon shorts (screened before feature films in movie theaters in the 1940s) to 1951's Superman and the Mole-Men, starring George Reeves, which inspired the first Superman TV series. There's also coverage of the Superman movie revival that began in the 1970s, TV's Lois and Clark and Smallville and footage from Superman Returns.

"I partnered with Kevin Burns to produce this documentary for Warner Brothers," Singer said. "Kevin is an old friend and has produced Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days and a number of other amazing films and documentaries. I thought it would be a nice thing to have on the air before the movie comes out as a way of getting people in the mood for Superman."

Singer said that he hopes to strike a deal for the documentary to be aired on TV sometime in June, and there's a chance for a limited theatrical release. Look Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman is currently slated for a June 20 release on DVD.

Empire of Dreams is a well produced and comprehensive documentary about the the original Star Wars trilogy. Given that... I'm really looking forward to seeing Look Up In The Sky. Burns is a talented guy and the right man for the project.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Casino Royale

Paul Davidson of IGN's FilmForce says that Angelina Jolie may be joining the cast of Ocean's 13.

He writes:

Ananova reports that Jolie is in talks to join Ocean's 13. No office confirmation has been given yet, but one could be forthcoming if the report is accurate.

Jolie recently appeared with Pitt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and worked alongside Matt Damon in The Good Shepherd

As we reported earlier, Ocean's 13 will feature a new casino job and is to largely be shot on sound stages instead of a real-life casino. Actress Ellen Barkin has also joined the production, possibly as a romantic interest for Damon's character.

The media circus that surrounds "Brangelina"'s every move, notwithstanding, I actually think Jolie makes a good fit for the franchise. Say what you will about the couple's private life, there's little doubt of the on screen chemistry the duo has. It oozed all over the place during Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and could serve a sagging film series quite well, for its third installment.

If this casting rumor turns out to be true... Joile is going to be quite a busy gal...She is also being tagged for another sequel--Sin City 2 --which may begin filming in the next few months.

Please see Jolie in Sin City 2? for more details on that part of the story.

Meanwhile, in a not so important "related news" item from the World Entertainment News Network:

Douglas "Apologizes" for Unfortunate Misquote

Michael Douglas has gone public to defend himself against comments he was credited as making about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's romance in a recent magazine article. The movie star reportedly poured scorn on the couple's relationship in style magazine GQ, posing the question, "I mean how long is that going to last?" Douglas now insists he was misquoted, and sat down with US news show Extra! to clear up the "unfortunate" matter. The Basic Instinct star says, "It was a lengthy article. (It) must have been 20 hours of tape recording, so I asked to hear the tape recording and the reporter said, Well, I turned the tape recorder off.' I said, 'Well you had it on for the whole time, so I didn't say it.'" Douglas admits that even though the quotes weren't his, he still wrote an apology to Brad and Angelina. He adds, "I consider him a good friend and she does wonderful work for the United Nations, which is what I'm also involved in. There's just a lot of pressure on the print media and they get to kind of exploitative quotes to try to attract people for their circulation, so it was unfortunate.

For its part, editors at GQ are standing by the article.

The issue with the Douglas interview has been out for a while now--why wait this long for a mea culpa? Maybe Douglas wants a role in Ocean's 13 as well and is trying to make nice?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Twice As N-I-C-E

For the second weekend in a row, Ice Age 2, sits atop the movie food chain, as the number one flick across the fruited plain.

As Box Office Mojo's Brandon Gray writes in his weekend report:

'Ice Age 2: The Meltdown' fell nearly 50 percent to an estimated $34.5 million, but handily topped the weekend, while 'The Benchwarmers' was a heavier hitter [at #2 with $20.5 Million in ticket sales] than expected and 'Take The Lead' swung out... [landing in 3rd with just $12.7 Million]

Meanwhile, the weekend's only other new release Lucky Number Slevin, came in 5th place. The caper managed to muster up some $7.1 Million bucks. Thanks to its odd title and a very mixed reception from critics, I think people didn't quite no what to make of the film. It's a shame...The movie's cast seems really rock solid...

For all of the "how's" and "whys" of the weekend numbers---read the full breakdown.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Great Dane

Dane Cook is one funny guy...I am a big fan of his stand up act. I own both of his comedy CD/DVD combos, Harmful If Swallowed and Retaliation and am thrilled that Hollywood has decided to give him a real shot.

...And no, I'm not referring to rumors that he's dating pop star/"actress" Jessica Simpson.

I'm talking about his recent deal with HBO and the fact that Disney will make Dad Knap, a film based on an idea of his.

Click here for the full story.

Sure, he's already had a few small film roles...and he's got Farce of the Penguins and Employee of the Month coming up, but I hope he does even better with something based on his own material.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Script's The Thing

The Writers Guild of America announced late last week their picks for 101 greatest screenplays ever written.

The top spot was given to the 1942 classic Casablanca, by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch. The rest of the top 10 looks like this:

2. The Godfather, by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola; 3. Chinatown, by Robert Towne; 4. Citizen Kane, by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles; 5. All About Eve, by Joseph Mankiewicz; 6. Annie Hall, by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman; 7. Sunset Boulevard, by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman Jr.; 8. Network, by Paddy Chayefsky; 9. Some Like It Hot, by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond; 10. The Godfather Part II, by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola.

From the WGA website:

The guilds' historic 101 Greatest Screenplays list, spotlighting those enduring films that have captured the imagination of generations of moviegoers, will be featured in Premiere's upcoming May special issue, hitting newsstands April 18, and slated to appear on [the mag's website] later this month.

Here's the complete list...

As I've said before, lists like this are made to stir up debate among the masses, as well as touting those who made the list.

A few things that jumped out at me...

-The original Star Wars from 1977 made the cut--but Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back from 1980 didn't. What Gives?

-Both Psycho (92), from 1960, and To Kill a Mockingbird, (19) from '62 made the list--but should have been planted higher on the list than they ended up.

-I'm very happy to see that Memento (100) made the list period.

The debate rages on...

Friday, April 07, 2006

"Code" Words For And Against

The World Entertainment News Network reports that the OSCAR winning drama Crash (I ordered my Director's Cut DVD, have you?) is being adapted for the small screen and will appear on televisions across the U.S. next year. The movie version starring Sandra Bullock, Terrence Howard, Matt Dillon and Don Cheadle, won Best Picture at the Academy Awards in March. The film's producer Cathy Schulman says, "I hope it will air in the next year. "The actors from the film will show up. Don Cheadle is a producer and will also be on at least a few episodes. "We'll see about everyone else."

As regular visitors to this blog already know, I am one of the film's biggest supporters, but I just don't know about turning it into a weekly series... I have no problem with the tube tackling race relations...Can't they call it something else? If the show flops--I fear it will somehow diminish the film in some way.

Jill Lawless of the Associated Press has news on the final outcome of Britain's Da Vinci Code case:

A judge ruled Friday that mega-selling author Dan Brown did not steal ideas for "The Da Vinci Code" from a nonfiction work, ending the suspense about the case with an ultimately unsurprising decision.

High Court judge Peter Smith rejected a copyright-infringement claim by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," who claimed that Brown's blockbuster "appropriated the architecture" of their 1982 book. In the United States, the book is titled, "Holy Blood, Holy Grail."

The ruling will allow a film based on the book starring Tom Hanks to open as scheduled on May 19.

Click here to read the entire article as it appears in The Boston Globe

Kudos to judge Smith for making the correct ruling in this case. I'm no lawyer folks. From everything I have read about the case and the plaintiffs though, it just seemed like they wanted to get as much cash/publicity as possible, as the debut of the film adaptation fast approaches.

Even though Baigent and Liegh lost the case--They still feel like winners--for the chance to have their day in court. Sure the duo are happy as clams. Sales of their book have skyrocketed since the lawsuit began.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

She's Kidding, Right?

When I saw this blurb on late yesterday afternoon, I nearly hurt myself from laughing so hard...As it turns out bad box office for Basic Instinct 2 doesn't necessarily mean the end of the film series.

Sharon Stone will direct BASIC INSTINCT 3 in Britain, the actress has revealed. The blonde star is keen to continue the franchise - following her return as Catherine Tramell in the recently released sequel - but wants to step behind the camera next time around. Stone, 48, says, "There's a script for the next part of the story - but I would like to direct it rather than star in it. "It will be filmed in the UK again as the setting is more intense and gritty"


What makes her think she can make a better sequel as a director when the one she starred in is a flop? Not to mention the fact that she never directed before in her life. Although she is supposed to direct something called Never Change by 2008....


Ahem...I'm better now.

Speaking of sex on film, Entertainment Weekly's chief movie critic Owen Gleiberman postulates a few theories to explain Why sex in cinema is dying...I say if the film is bad it's gonna die a quick death and no amount of sex can save it anyway. It's that simple

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ready Or Not...

The latest on United 93 (AKA Flight 93) and the trailer controversy:

A New York City movie theater has pulled the trailer for ''United 93," which chronicles the hijacked United Airlines flight that crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11. The AMC Loews Lincoln Square 12 theater in Manhattan made the decision after viewers complained they found it too upsetting.

''I don't think people are ready for this," said theater manager Kevin Adjodha. ''One lady was crying. She was saying that we shouldn't have played the trailer. That this was wrong."...

The trailer begins with images of passengers boarding the plane on a sunny morning and builds to a disturbing scene that includes news video of a plane about to hit the World Trade Center. It then shows the inside of Flight 93 as terrorists begin the hijacking.

Director Paul Greengrass, whose past films include ''Bloody Sunday," a dramatization of a 1972 massacre in Northern Ireland, consulted with the families of Flight 93 victims while making the film. Families of Flight 93, a nonprofit group that represents some relatives, has praised the movie, and Universal Pictures has pledged to donate 10 percent of the first three days of the film's grosses to the Flight 93 National Memorial.

The trailer, though, caught some viewers by surprise in New York, where it was being shown before ''Inside Man," a Spike Lee thriller...

Click here to read the entire article from The Boston Globe

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures, the studio releasing the film is standing by the trailer:

"We expect that some moviegoers will have a strong response to its images and narrative," Universal Studios said in a statement, but said that it had no plans to pull the trailer or produce a substitute. Universal marketing president Adam Fogelson said the film-makers had worked closely with families of the victims to ensure sensitivities were respected, and that family members had voiced their support for the film. The trailer begins with images of passengers boarding the plane on a sunny morning, and builds to a disturbing scene that includes news video of a plane about to hit the World Trade Center. It then returns inside Flight 93 as terrorists begin the hijacking. (Courtesy Guardian Unlimited)

While I sympathize with those who were affected by the trailer... As long as the passengers families are behind the film I support it and them...

On a much lighter note:

Have you seen the exclusive internet trailer for Clerks 2 yet? Just in case you haven't-- Here It Is...and IMHO it's freakin' hilarious!

And finally, IGN FilmForce reports some news about the fourth Indiana Jones flick:

...Australia's Herald Sun newspaper recently caught up with producer Frank Marshall who... gave an expected timeline for the film's story.

Marshall, who was in Australia promoting Eight Below, said, "My job as producer is to get the movie made so if I can do it better and cheaper here in Australia, then I am going to do it. Australia is a definite possibility for Indiana Jones and a couple of other things I am working on at the moment." He also gave Europe and the United States as other possible production locales for the long-awaited film.

Indiana Jones 4 is expected to go into production next year, once Steven Spielberg returns from his planned year-long filmmaking hiatus. At last report, the much-delayed script for the film now appears to have been completed to the satisfaction of all parties involved. The supposedly approved script was penned by Jeff Nathanson (Rush Hour, Catch Me if You Can) with a final polish by David Koepp.

And while we don't know anything about the film's storyline, Marshall has revealed that the film will take place roughly a decade after the events of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. "It is going to be 10 or 12 years later," said Marshall. By our calculations, that would place it roughly around 1948-50.

While that's great and all...Enough talk already! If you're gonna make the movie...MAKE THE MOVIE!!! My patience grows thin...