Wednesday, February 28, 2007
This story should come as no surprise to anyone...
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences slaps the user content driven website YouTube on the wrist--over the use of unauthorized material from Sunday's ceremony.
Scott Kirsner of Variety:
Web surfers will no longer be reliving the magic moments of the 2007 Oscarcast via YouTube. The vid-viewing site complied with a Tuesday request from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to remove all unauthorized clips of the kudocast.
Several segments of the show, including host Ellen DeGeneres' opening monologue and musical numbers featuring Will Ferrell and Beyonce, had been among YouTube's most-viewed content this week.
Ferrell's musical lament about how comedies never win Oscars, sung with Jack Black and John C. Reilly, had racked up more than 250,000 views on YouTube before it was replaced with the message "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences."
Ric Robertson, exec administrator for the Academy, said the organization had its content pulled "to help manage the value of our telecast and our brand."
The official Oscar.com Website, which is run as a joint venture of the Academy and Disney's ABC.com, features a five-minute clip of highlights from the three hour, 51 minute broadcast. That footage, along with "Thank-You Cam" videos from backstage, are preceded by ads.
But Robertson said that the ads weren't a factor: "Even if Oscar.com didn't have clips, we would have asked YouTube to take remove the excerpts."
None of the show's musical numbers or DeGeneres' monologue were available in their entirety on Oscar.com.
Robertson said there are no plans to post additional video clips on Oscar.com; in fact the current clips will eventually vanish, to "whet people's appetite for next year's show."
The Academy doesn't regularly offer a version of the show on home video, and Robertson said that having the clips removed from YouTube was "really not about (protecting that) business opportunity."
One of the only elements of Sunday's show that remains on YouTube is one of the commercials: a cinema-centric Apple spot promoting its forthcoming iPhone.
"Media companies and content owners have not been that aggressive about two things: offering lots of clips on their sites and offering interactivity, like the ability to include a clip in a blog or email it to a friend," said Will Richmond, president of Broadband Directions, a market intelligence firm that focuses on Internet video. "The absence of both of those elements has created this vacuum into which YouTube and others have jumped."...
It's been a tough time for the internet upstart lately...
Media giant Viacom Squeezes YouTube--Some 100,000 clips of Viacom owned material was ordered removed from the site, after the big V decided to pull out of a deal with YT at the 11th hour, earlier this month. Given that, I guess, the Academy felt that it was in its best interest to take action.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
...Confirming rumors that have been making the rounds for some months now, IGN has learned that Oscar winner Matt Damon is indeed in talks with Paramount about playing the role of Jim Kirk, previously immortalized onscreen by Emmy winner William Shatner.
Damon brings star power and an acting pedigree to the role that should convince audiences that this is a serious reboot of the beloved franchise.
For the part of Kirk's Vulcan first officer Mr. Spock, IGN has been told that none other than Oscar winner Adrien Brody (King Kong, The Pianist) is in talks with Paramount to play the role. If cast, Brody would succeed in a role that forever marked Leonard Nimoy's career. But with a Best Actor award already under his belt and an eclectic mix of films on his resume, Brody wouldn't have as much to lose by taking on the iconic role as Nimoy had.Brody
IGN has also been told that Oscar nominee Gary Sinise -- currently seen on the small screen in CSI: NY -- is in talks for the role of Dr. McCoy, the ornery and politically incorrect ship's physician aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. McCoy's prickly relationship with Spock was the basis of much of the humor and humanity of the original 1960s series. The late DeForest Kelley played "Bones" on TV.
Assuming the carsting rumors turn out to be true about the trio...
As my regular readers know. I suggested Damon play Kirk before the rumors started to surface..I hope he takes the job...
Despite Brody's resume, and his angular face, I'm not convinced he can play Spock. If I were in charge of casting, I would actually put Jeff Quinn in the role. He portrays Spock for the Internet fan film series Star Trek New Voyages and does a wonderful job in the part--capturing Nimoy's nuances as the Vulcan to a tee..
I think Sinise makes a solid choice for McCoy. I can totally see him in the role...
Boy things are moving at warp speed now aren't they?
Variety's Michael Fleming and Pamela McClintock:
Paramount Pictures is tuning up "The Long Play," a rock 'n' roll epic that will be developed as a directing vehicle for Martin Scorsese. William Monahan is set to rewrite the script, re-teaming the dual Oscar winners from "The Departed."
Par has also put Scorsese back in business with Mick Jagger and his Jagged Films partner Victoria Pearman, who'll produce "The Long Play" with Scorsese.
Scorsese directed Jagger and his Rolling Stones bandmates in a feature documentary shot last fall at the Beacon Theater. Paramount is planning a fall release for the docu, which Pearman produced with Steve Bing...
"The Long Play" follows two friends through 40 years in the music business, from the early days of R&B to contemporary hip-hop.
Jagged originated the project at Disney based on Jagger's idea. Scorsese sparked to it, and they brought in Rich Cohen, a Rolling Stones mag writer who did exhaustive research and wrote several drafts. Matthew Weiss also wrote drafts.
The project didn't fit Disney's family-film mode. Paramount, which just made a first-look deal with Scorsese to direct and produce pics, has completed a turnaround deal and set Monahan to write the script. "The Long Play" becomes the second deal Paramount has made for Scorsese, after Par and Misher Films optioned the Eric Jager book "Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal and Trial by Combat in Medieval France."
While Scorsese and Monahan have discussed continuing the storyline of best picture winner "The Departed," Monahan will pen "The Long Play" as his next assignment.
For more of the story, click here.
In a related story on Dark Horizons, via The Hollywood Reporter, fellow Departed collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon are also slated to work with Monahan again soon.
Monahan... is re-teaming with Leonardo DiCaprio and Vertigo Entertainment for Hong Kong thriller remake "Confessions of Pain" for Warner Bros. Pictures.
The Hollywood Reporter indicates that "Pain" follows two close friends, one a police detective and the other a private detective, who team to investigate the murder of the cop's father-in-law. As the investigation proceeds, they uncover evidence that shows that nothing is as it appears.
The original released last year was created by the team behind "Infernal Affairs" which "The Departed" was based on. "Pain" is being developed as a starring vehicle for DiCaprio who will also produce...
Monahan recently completed the script "Penetration" for Ridley Scott to direct, and his "Marco Polo" script is being developed as a star vehicle for Matt Damon.
Boy, Monahan is one busy writer these days, isn't he? Of all of these projects, I can't help but be drawn to the crime drama "Confessions", more than any of those others--due its subject matter. It will be interesting to see which moves along the cinema pipeline the fastest...
Monday, February 26, 2007
Trek Reboot Out Of Drydock And Finally Ready To Warp Ahead
Stax of IGN posted this blurb a few days ago:
J.J. Abrams will direct Star Trek XI after all. The film and TV powerhouse was always going to produce Paramount's reboot of the beloved sci-fi franchise but the rumor mill had gone into overdrive recently about whether or not he was going to helm the picture as well...
Abrams deal to direct the film was reportedly finalized Friday evening.
The trade adds that Trek XI "revolves around a young James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, chronicling their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and their first space mission."
In addition to creating the TV series Lost, Alias and Felicity, Abrams also directed last summer's Mission: Impossible III for Paramount.
IGN recently heard that, in addition to Star Trek XI, Abrams was going to help bring Stephen King's opus The Dark Tower to the screen [confirmed by King himself].
I have a feeling the delay in Abrams taking the center seat on the film, had more to do with $$, than anything else...Whatever the case--I hope this is the end of the Trek XI director saga.
Best Director Martin Scorsese's acceptance speech:
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Rick. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Please, please. Thank you. Thank you. Could you double-check the envelope, please? [The best line of the night] I mean, I'm overwhelmed with this honor from the Academy and also the honor of being presented by my old, old friends [referring to presenters Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola]. We go back 37 years. I'm so moved, so moved.
I've got thank Warner Bros.' Alan Horn and Dan and Jeff and I've got to thank our producers Brad Grey and Graham King and Mac Brown and my old friend Joe Reidy, we're working for 20 years. And Rick Yorn and John Lesher and Chris Donnelly and Ari Emanuel. And that crazy script by Bill Monahan that got me in all this trouble in the first place. And Andrew Lau's original film from Hong Kong, the wonderful Asian cinema. And Michael Ballhaus on camera. And Howard Shore's wonderful score. And my old, good friend Thelma Schoonmaker. Ellen Lewis for her casting.
And so much of this belongs to the cast, I can't tell you. Jack Nicholson for his courage and his inspiration. Leo DiCaprio, six-and-a-half year's work we've done together. I hope another 12, another 15. Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone and Vera Farmiga and Marty Sheen.
I just want to say too that so many people over the years have been wishing this for me. Strangers. You know, I went walking in the street, people say something to me. I go in a doctor's office, I go in a whatever. Elevators, people saying, "You should win one, you should win one." I go for an X-Ray, "you should win one." I'm saying, "thank you." Friends of mine over the years and friends who are here tonight are wishing this for me and my family, I thank you. This is for you.
And I also want to thank my daughter Cathy, who is here tonight, who worked on the film. And Domenica, my wife Helen, and our little Francesca, who's seven years old who's watching right now. Francesca, stay up for another 10 minutes but then jump up and down and make a lot of noise at the hotel. Okay. I'll see you in the morning. Thank you
I'm so happy that Scorsese finally won an Academy Award...The Departed may not be the film he should have won it for--but after 26 years of waiting--I'm glad he was finally rewarded.
I thought host Ellen DeGeneres did a pretty good job. Her best stuff? When she would sit in the audience and talk with various film folk. DeGeneres did a much better job than last year's emcee Jon Stewart...
Best Acceptance Speech: Best Actor Forest Whitaker for the Last King of Scotland... Very Real and Heartfelt...
Worst Acceptance Speech Singer Melissa Etheridge for Best Song "I Need To Wake Up" from Best Documentary Feature An Inconvenient Truth...
I'm so "glad" the producers of the show took up valuable broadcast time for Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio to announce that the show was the most environmentally friendly Oscars in history--Jeebus I feel so much better knowing that folks who usually live an excessive lifestyle are taking charge of things and asking us to get involved. Thank You So Much. Sheesh.
I could have also done without the presenters in the screenplay categories reciting lines from the nominees scripts--zzzzz-um, sorry I fell asleep.
Most of the speeches were short--Backstage Thank You Cam--and the show was still way too long. What's with all those montages? The only one they really need is the one honoring those industry artists that have passed away over the previous year...
The skit from Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilly was just awful....
Finally: Oscar winners weigh in on victory
Click here for the complete list of Academy Award winners...
Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo::
Though taking the usual comic book plunge, 'Ghost Rider' held onto the top spot with an estimated $19.7 million, fending off 'The Number 23'
Get More Mojo Here...
Ian Mohr of Variety writes of the surprise results:
Sony's "Ghost Rider" ran roughshod over the B.O. competition for the second straight weekend, taking in $19.7 million, while a handful of widely released newcomers came in under expectations.
The Nicolas Cage comic book actioner has scared up $78.6 million in two weekends of release despite poor reviews from critics.
A batch of new titles had trouble gaining much of a toehold, but holdovers were able to maintain ground following a socko frame last weekend. Oscar weekend typically isn't a strong one at the box office, as movie fans flock to the tube Sunday night.
It was also the second frame in a row in which early tracking numbers didn't seem to hold up come Sunday morning.
New Line's "The Number 23," which had been tracking to perhaps scare up as much as $18 million-$20 million, debuted in second with $15.1 million.
Thriller did score a per-engagement average of $5,476 off 2,759 -- good enough to beat the per-print average of the more widely released "Ghost." And it was Jim Carrey's second highest R-rated opener to date after that of the 2000 Farrelly brothers comedy "Me, Myself & Irene." But the pic's perf perhaps demonstrated that [ticket buyers] weren't so keen on seeing funnyman Carrey in an edgy psychological potboiler. Pic also suffered from poor notices.
Carrey's last pic, "Fun With Dick and Jane," started with an OK opening weekend of $14.3 million before taking off to $110.3 million. That pic's numbers actually grew 15% in its second frame and posted very slight drops throughout most of its run.
Fox's R-rated big screen adaptation of the Comedy Central [series] "Reno 911!," dubbed "Reno 911!: Miami," pulled into the No. 4 spot.
Tracking suggested the pic might've been in the hunt for a No. 1 finish, and Fox had been on a roll with comedies, including "Night at the Museum" and "Epic Movie," but "Reno" arrested $10.4 million off 2,702 for a per-theater average of $3,849.
Warner Bros.' "The Astronaut Farmer" also landed softly, in ninth place, in its debut. Pic performed below what the studio expected, reeling in $4.5 million off 2,155.
One new highlight in the top 10 was Samuel Goldwyn and Roadside Attractions' release of "Amazing Grace." Political period piece wound up just behind "Farmer," with $4.3 million off just 791 screens for a nifty per-engagement average of $5,442.
And while Hollywood prepared to walk the red carpet at the Academy Awards, box office for pics in Oscar contention didn't jump too much over the weekend...
Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly posts this headline in his weekend recap:
In its second week, Nic Cage's action flick beats out Jim Carrey's newcomer ''The Number 23''
William Monahan wins for Best Adapted Screenplay...
Thelma Schoonmaker wins again for Best Editing...
Departed wins Best picture Oscar...
But the best news of all....
Scorsese finally wins Directing Oscar!!!!!!!!!
I'll have more on Oscar 2007 later...I'm tired and I am going to bed
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Rest assured, even with these ho-hum feelings, I will still be tuning into tonight's broadcast, just the same. After all, you can't maintain a blog about film and not comment on the results of Oscar, can you?
Now for something a little more interesting...
The Justice League first appeared together in pages of a DC comic book, then it morphed into several Saturday morning cartoon series in the 70's--always with the word Superfriends somewhere in the title. The super hero team with their monthly adventures in comic book form-even as these shows went away. The team came roaring back to animation with the premiere of Justice League (2001-2004) and then as Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006). Last month, another version of the team popped in the episode Justice for the live action TV seres Smallville...Is the super powered group headed for the big screen next?
Pamela McClintock and Ben Fritz of Variety:
Batman may meet up with Superman on the bigscreen after all -- along with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash and all the rest of DC Comics' biggest names.
Warner Bros., with its major appetite for fresh franchises, is looking to make a feature based on super team the Justice League of America, hiring writing duo Kiernan and Michele Mulroney to pen the script.
It's the first major action the studio has taken on the project.
Feature film is bound to include some combination of DC's most iconic superheroes, although the studio wouldn't confirm which ones they might be. It's unlikely that the studio and DC Comics, a division of Warner, would opt to feature second-tier characters.
Since its inception in 1960, JLA has featured almost every major hero in the DC Comics universe, although the core team has largely remained the same: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter.
The heroes typically band together to fight alien menaces or groups of supervillains.
"The Justice League of America has been a perennial favorite for generations of fans, and we believe their appeal to film audiences will be as strong and diverse as the characters themselves," Warner [president] of production Jeff Robinov said in announcing the hiring of the Mulroneys.
In taking on the ambitious project, Warner faces several conundrums.
Warner Senior VP Dan Lin will oversee for the studio.
Now that the Batman and Superman film franchises have been revived, does the studio go after Christian Bale ("Batman Begins") and Brandon Routh ("Superman Returns") to star in a Justice League pic? Studio is also trying hard to bring Wonder Woman to the bigscreen.
To a large degree, casting will depend upon the story arc for the JLA feature and at what point in the superheroes' lives the plot takes place.
Warner also must deal with myriad producers working on the Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman franchises.
Studio dropped its efforts to make "Batman vs. Superman" in order to focus on relaunching "Batman" and "Superman" as individual properties, which it has done.
Filmmakers Chris Nolan ("Batman Begins") and Bryan Singer ("Superman Returns") are each on board to helm the next installments in the two respective franchises. Nolan's "The Dark Knight" is eyeing a 2008 release and the next "Superman," 2009.
The potential payoff of bringing JLA to theaters can't be ignored by Warner, which turns out more tentpoles than any other studio.
Clearly, Warner Bros. is looking to capitalize on the success of the X-MEN and Fantastic Four film franchises, with this news. As I have said before, it's a tough job servicing a lot of characters in a film like this, regardless of whether Christian Bale and or Brandon Routh sign on the dotted line or not. I am curious to see where this is gonna go.
Meanwhile, Saturday afternoon saw this year's “Film Independent Spirit Awards” take place on the Independent Film Channel (IFC). Little Miss Sunshine came away the big winner--taking home prizes for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay...
...In other awards news--Basic Instinct 2 received four trophies at the 27th Annual Golden Razzie Awards on Saturday, including Worst Picture and Worst Actress for Sharon Stone. The Wayans' Brothers Little Man followed closely behind with three Razzies, including Worst Actor and Worst Screen Couple for Shawn and Marlon Wayans, and M. Night Shyamalan got Worst Director and Worst Supporting Actor for Lady in the Water.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons has picked up on some casting buzz, for a project that has had me all excited since I first heard about it a few months back:
I first talked about this project in November of last year and was pretty stoked by it back then. Now, with all of this Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren talk--I'm really really stoked by the possibility even more. I hope all of the parties involved with this movie, thus far, can find a way to work it out with both of the award winning actors. Turn this rumor into reality...
Hollywood Elsewhere indicates that "Nip/Tuck" creator and "Running with Scissors" director Ryan Murphy will next be helming "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", a film about the hurdles and roadblocks the iconic director had to go through to make his popular classic "Psycho"
When making "Psycho", the British helmer discovered barriers on all sides - the script was seen as way too dark and perverse, especially his twist of the lead female star getting killed off after 45 minutes.
Friday, February 23, 2007
The Plot: Set in South Boston, this crime drama centers around the state police force, and its all out war on organized crime.
Young and somewhat troubled undercover cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate run by gangland chief Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). While Billy is quickly gaining Costello's favor, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), is a hardened young criminal who has found way into the police department as an informer for the syndicate--Quickly rising to a position of power in the Special Investigation Unit.
Each man finds himself deeply consumed by his double life, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of operations he is made privy. But when it becomes clear to both the gangsters and the police that there lurks a mole, Billy and Colin are suddenly in danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy -- and each of the two men must now race to uncover the identity of the other, in time to save himself.
My Take: Based on the 2002 Japanese film, Mou gaan dou (Infernal Affairs), The Departed has all of the ingredients that one would expect from a Scorsese film in the mob genre. Of course, William Monahan's script gives the director plenty to work with...Does it rise to the level of perfection that is, a Goodfellas, (1990) Taxi Driver (1976) Raging Bull (1980) or Cape Fear (1991) ? The answer to that question is that the movie ultimately lands just behind all of those classics I mentioned in the great one's filmography--but miles and miles ahead of the worst, just the same.
Three things that really nudged at me about the flick-- taking away from an otherwise flawless film...
--There's a point in the film where DiCaprio and Damon's characters engage in a game of cat and mouse as they try to expose each other without getting taken out...Under normal circumstances, this sequence would have been the centerpiece, made memorable through its staging and editing. I don't know what happened here, but this scene yielded, little tension or surprise. Editor Thelma Schoonmaker usually knows how to make this work but the pacing seemed off somehow. You can't have a great set-up and then blow it a crucial time in the story. I felt like I was watching a re-run of a 70's era TV cop show. I can't believe I just typed that about a Scorsese picture
--Vera Farmiga as Madolyn, the woman who comes between Billy and Colin, shares little chemistry with either Damon or DiCaprio. As pretty much the only female in the "men's room"...She should have sparks with someone.
--The Bostonian accents--Some cast members sounded really bad...and and that was really distracting. Damon, who's originally from Boston, is perhaps the worst offender. Leo fares much much better with his accent. I find it ironic though, that DiCaprio gets Oscar attention for Blood Diamond but not for The Departed--When by all account--his performance in the mob pic is better then that of BD-I digress...
The film succeeds though thanks to everything else. Yes, Jack Nicholson is playing a character he's done a thousand times before, but gosh darn it it works here. Also doing yeoman's work is Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, and of course, Mark Wahlberg. And the ending is just spectacular...
The Two-Disc Special Edition DVD offers up some great extras, even though not a whole lot of the stuff, actually focuses on the film.
A 21-minute featurette titled "Stranger Than Fiction" about Whitey Bulger, the legendary South Boston mobster on whom the film's Frank Costello was loosely based is first up. Bulger's tale is told by various folks in the know. According to this featurette, Bulger has been on the lam since 1995 and is number two on the F.B.I.'s Ten Most Wanted List. Interesting real-life drama.
The best bonus material in the DVD set is "Scorsese on Scorsese," an hour-and-a-half documentary made for Turner Classic Movies by Richard Schickel . Scorsese talks about his life and work. Taking us through his earliest days through 2004's The Aviator ending with that TV commercial he appeared in for American Express .
A 24-minute featurette "Crossing Criminal Cultures" takes a look at the how the gangster film has evolved over the decades--with Scorsese at its center.
There is a collection of nine deleted/extended scenes--complete with intros from the director. Some of these scenes are quite good, but were rightfully omitted, for time and pace.
The theatrical trailer tops off the set.
Overall: I may have had some unexpected issues with The Departed, but none of them bothered me enough to be really critical. This is a must see movie for sure...Definitely buy or rent, depending on how much you like Scorsese And if Hollywood doesn't give him that Oscar--Heads are gonna roll
Joel Schumacher directs Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen in the thriller The Number 23 (reviews); Reno 911!: Miami (reviews) is a film based on the popular Comedy Central TV series; Billy Bob Thornton is The Astronaut Farmer (reviews) with Madsen, once again, playing leading lady; The Abandoned (reviews) is a horror pic imported from Spain; Director Michael Apted returns to work with the 18th century period drama Amazing Grace (reviews) While the romance Starter for 10 (reviews) begins a limited run before going wide on March 9th; And finally, there's Gray Matters (reviews) a film that tries to recapture the feel of a 1940's-style screwball comedy...
Ian Mohr of Variety writes of the crowded field:
Can "The Number 23" beat "Reno 911!: Miami" to emerge as No. 1 this weekend?
B.O. could be close for the two.
For New Line, the question is whether [the masses] will turn out to see funnyman Jim Carrey in the psychological thriller "23." Pic is tracking to hit up to $20 million, with keen interest from women under 25 and men over that age.
Meanwhile, Fox's "Reno" seems to have dibs on the young male demo.
The studio has been on a roll with comedies lately: It still has a hit in "Night at the Museum," and it opened "Epic Movie," a slapsticky, poorly reviewed spoof, at No. 1 a few weekends ago.
"Reno," the big screen adaptation of the Comedy Central [show], will pull into 2,703 precincts, while "23" shoots for 2,759 as the frame's widest new rollouts.
Also bowing will be Warner Bros.' inspirational heartland drama "The Astronaut Farmer," which will open on 2,155. "Farmer," starring Billy Bob Thornton as a rancher keen on launching himself into space via a self-built rocket, is rated PG, perhaps giving it some fuel with family [audiences].
"The Number 23" -- in which Carrey stars as a man whose life is mysteriously overcome by a creepy novel -- and "Cops" spoof "911" are both rated R.
Standing in the way of the newcomers will be "Ghost Rider," the Nicolas Cage starrer that burned up the B.O. last frame. Even if the pic drops 55% from last weekend's biz, it should still be in the hunt at the top of the charts.
Other holdovers with room to roam at the B.O. include Disney and Walden's "Bridge to Terabithia," DreamWorks' "Norbit," Warner Bros.' "Music and Lyrics," Universal's "Breach" and Lionsgate's "Daddy's Little Girls."
Oscarcast on Sunday could, of course, corral attention away from the bigscreens as movie fans tune in to the tube...
The article continues...
Meanwhile, Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly says:
Expect to see Jim Carrey's dark thriller atop the box-office chart, with ''Ghost Rider'' tailgating at No. 2
Thursday, February 22, 2007
David S. Cohen of The Daily Planet er, Variety:
Warner Bros. and "Superman Returns" flew off with the biggest hoard as nominations were announced for the 33rd annual Saturn Awards.
The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films gave 10 nominations to Warner's "Superman" revival, more than any other film.
"X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Pan's Labyrinth" were next in line with six noms each, while "Casino Royale," "Mission: Impossible III," "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," and "Stranger Than Fiction" each got five.
Warners also led among studios, with 21 noms, ahead of Sony's 15, Fox's 13 and Buena Vista's 11...
The Saturn brings together an eclectic mix of films, so some of its categories produce very unusual groups of nominees.
For example, "Notes on a Scandal" counts as a thriller and "Miss Potter" is counted as a fantasy, so the actress field includes Judi Dench and Renee Zellweger, while Cate Blanchett competes with "X-Men's" Famke Janssen for supporting actress.
Winners will be announced May 10 in Universal City. Hosts are "Heroes" [co-star] Greg Grunberg and comedian Jeffrey Ross.
See The Complete List Of Saturn Nominees for work in 2006.
I find this news investing in the sense that, SR has basically lived in the shadow of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, since both films went head to head last summer. And now things are reversed, at least in this forum
By the way--Pirates is favored to win the VFX Oscar come Sunday...
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Michael Fleming of Variety:
Fox Searchlight and New Regency will co-finance "The Night Watchman," a James Ellroy-scripted drama that will star Keanu Reeves.
David Ayer has been set to direct after he does a rewrite. Production begins April 30.
Greenlight ends a decade-long quest by producers Alexandra Milchan, Lucas Foster and Erwin Stoff to get the film made. While helmers like David Fincher, Spike Lee and Oliver Stone circled it, as well as stars such as Reeves and Sean Penn, the project never made it to the starting gate.
The drama has evolved since "L.A. Confidential" author Ellroy set the LAPD tale right after the O.J. Simpson verdict and the L.A. riots. Reeves plays a cop who's always done what was needed to solve homicides and crack down on gang violence until he gets a wake up call and decides he can no longer play the game that made him so effective.
Project turned a corner when it recently moved from Paramount to Fox Searchlight/New Regency and Ayer surfaced as its director. The writer of "Training Day" made his transition to filmmaker with "Harsh Times," and he was so determined to prove himself with that gritty drama that he initially self-financed it.
Other than last summer's romantic flick The Lake House, Keanu Reeves has pretty much stayed in the sci-fi zone for the last few years. At least as far as his starring roles are concerned. As a dramatic leading man Reeves has had a spotty track record anyway. It will be interesting to see how he does with a Ellroy script behind him
As for David Ayer, his script for Training Day (2001) was amazing Harsh Times was a much better film than some folks gave it credit for. While his screenplay for The Fast and the Furious helped to make this guilty pleasure speed to victory. Given Ayer's knack for stories about L.A. he should be able to pull this one off.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The SAW horror film franchise is moving forward with another installment! Can you belive it?
Nicole LaPorte of Variety has the details:
It's no shocker: Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures are moving ahead with their bloody "Saw" franchise, which has grossed more than $400 million worldwide.
"Saw IV" will begin production on April 16 in Toronto. Pic will be released worldwide Oct. 26.
Darren Lynn Bousman, who helmed the first three "Saw" pics,* will return to direct the fourth.
*[Actually James Wan directed the first film in the series--while Bousman took over on II & III]
Pic will continue the horror tale surrounding a serial killer who's nicknamed Jigsaw by the police because of his unusual calling card...
Following "Saw IV," Lionsgate, Twisted Pictures and Bousman will reunite for "Repo! The Genetic Opera," a horror opera that Bousman will direct from an original story by co-composers and screenwriters Terrance Zdunich and Darren Smith. Pic is set in the not-so-distant future, when a worldwide epidemic of organ failures inspires a biotech company to launch an organ-financing program reminiscent of an automobile loan plan -- complete with a repossession clause...
"Saw III" was last year's top-grossing horror pic, taking in more than $80 million domestically and more than $100 million overseas. The "Saw" series also has been a top grosser in DVDs.
The Complete Article Is Here
The most "shocking" part of the story to me, is that, I caught a factual error in a Variety story..
Actor Tobin Bell is very effective as Jigsaw. He must love the fact that he's had steady work for the last 3 years in a row. The box office for the series is impressive--but even better than that is how good the films are as a whole. Sadly, you can't say that about many of the genre's other series.
Monday, February 19, 2007
I don't know if it's just very wishful thinking on my part....But the movie is looking better and better (funnier) with each new preview. The Simpsons Movie hits the multiplex on July 27th of this year.
Shia LaBeouf (pictured) may show up as Indy's (Harrison Ford) son in the long awaited sequel. Spielberg is Exec producer of LaBeouf's summer '07 flick--Transformers: The Movie...
As to whether or not Indy should have a son? If the latest film is a success-the character really only serves as a possible extension of the franchise. Does he not? If it does poorly then who cares?
I have not seen any of LaBeouf's work...I hope this father/son dynamic isn't just a hokey ploy for movie-goers. It's gotta seem plausible, in much the same way that Sean Connery as daddy Henry showing up in 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was.
Sony's Marvel comic adaptation "Ghost Rider" revved an estimated $44.5 million over the first three days of the extended President's Day frame, easily taking No. 1 at the domestic B.O. and becoming the biggest opening of the year so far.
Studio was estimating Sunday morning that the pic could roll to $51 million over four days, which would make it the biggest President's Day opening ever, surpassing Adam Sandler comedy "50 First Dates," (which hit $45.1 million over four days in 2004).
The PG-13 "Ghost Rider" played 3,619 locations as the frame's widest new release. Pic stars Nicolas Cage as supernatural cyclist Johnny Blaze, and numbers could conceivably spell a new franchise for the studio, though Sony brass wouldn't comment on that possibility.
"Ghost" led a busy weekend with five new wide rollouts entering the fray.
Disney's big-screen kid lit adaptation, meantime, "Bridge to Terabithia," landed in second place over the three day frame, flying to $22 million off 3,319. Pic scored a plump per engagement average of $7,032 as the frame's second widest new rollout.
The article continues here
Updated Tuesday Feb 20th--'Ghost Rider' rolls into top spot
Comic adaptation takes in $51.5 million over 4 day period; Sets Record
In his latest weekend wrap-up, Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly said:
Nicholas Cage is back in action, at No. 1; meanwhile, ''Bridge to Terabithia'' debuts at a surprising No. 2
As some of you may know, I'm not exactly the biggest Nick Cage fan. If this film's impressive debut leads to a new franchise with him in the driver's seat-- I'll sit this one out. Thank goodness that 90's Superman project with Cage in the cape and Tim Burton directing never took flight...[Shiver]
Sunday, February 18, 2007
From Sci-fi Wire:
The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the re-teaming of Aliens star Sigourney Weaver with her director James Cameron, in the helmer's upcoming SF epic film Avatar which was first reported on Ain't It Cool News
The trade paper said that Weaver will play veteran explorer Grace, who serves as a mentor to star Sam Worthington's character, Jake, a wounded former Marine who leads his indigenous race in an interplanetary battle for survival.
"Sigourney and I have always looked back fondly on our collaboration in Aliens, and we're excited at the prospect of working together again," Cameron told the trade paper. "She has a unique blend of strength, sensitivity and intelligence needed to play the character of Grace, and she has a special significance for fans of science fiction. So in addition to being perfect in all ways for the part, there is something special about her returning to the genre in our film. I was thrilled when she responded so strongly to the script, and I can't wait to see what she creates."
The movie begins principal photography in April, with plans for a summer 2009 3-D release.
My anticipation for this project--already quite high--just went up a few more notches. It's about time Weaver and Cameron revisited their sci-fi roots...
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Out doing the promotional junket for "300", director Zack Snyder spoke pretty candidly about his plans for the [film version of the] "Watchmen" [graphic novels]:
Will they use the same green screen CG environment trick he used for "300" in the film?
"Well, for Watchmen, which is the thing we're working on right now, there's no reason to do it that way. There are things like 'if you go to Mars,' sure. I think my experience with 300 helps me with using technology; it helps me go, 'You know what, we should do this here. When we go to Antarctica, we can do this,' and that would be awesome." says Snyder.
He adds "There's things I do know how to do because of 300, but I think that Watchmen is more like Taxi Driver or Dr. Strangelove than it is Fantastic Four - so you have a stylistic thing like that."
Will there be stuff ready in time for this year's Comic Con in San Diego?
I don't think we're going to be shots done before Comic-con. Our plan is to shoot in the summer, but I'll go there and I'm sure I'll have something to show."
How far are they along?
"We're trying to get a budget together that is palatable to everybody; it's a long movie, and we're trying to do. And I'm trying to shoot the Black Frater part as well, and no one has ever even talked about that, it's crazy time. And whether that ends up as a DVD extra or as a special release, that's yet to be seen; but I don't know, that's my plan."
"It's not fully cast, but I've been talking to a lot of people....I'll know soon, I think after [the] Berlin [Film Festival] when we get back from Berlin. I'll start to know who's locked in."
How does he handle the pressure?
"There's huge pressure from the fans, but at the same time, the way I gotta do it, and the way I work is I just sort of have to go and say, 'Ok, I feel like when I look at what I'm planning to do, it's cool.' So that's the only thing I can do in the end, and hopefully everyone else thinks it's good."
I loved Snyder's 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead--a fine zombie flick. 300 is itself based on another graphic novel by Frank Miller--while Watchmen is from the minds of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. I look forward to seeing what Snyder does with both films. After all, in both cases, he's had great source material to work from.
Meanwhile, as the world awaits for the awesome looking 300 to arrive in theaters on March 9th--Todd McCarthy of Variety shares his thoughts on that film with an advanced review
Friday, February 16, 2007
Stax of IGN has the news via The Hollywood Reporter...
Aaron Eckhart has been confirmed as being in "final negotiations" to play Harvey Dent in the upcoming The Dark Knight. District Attorney Harvey Dent begins as an ally of Batman and Gotham cop Jim Gordon, only to end up becoming the horrifically scarred, coin-flipping villain Two-Face.
Dent has previously been portrayed onscreen by Billy Dee Williams and Tommy Lee Jones, who starred opposite Eckhart in The Missing.
...There's still no word on whether Maggie Gyllenhaal has indeed replaced Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes....
While Eckhart has a solid acting resume, like the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker in the film, I have a hard time seeing Eckhart in the Dent role, as well.
In my opinion, Edward Norton Ryan Phillippe, or Ethan Hawke all seemed like better possibilities. Here's hoping director Christopher Nolan will be able to pull two rabbits out of the same casting hat on this movie.
Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil 2003) brings yet another comic book hero to the big screen with Ghost Rider (reviews). Nicolas Cage has the title role--ugh; Walt Disney Pictures' Bridge to Terabithia (reviews) brings the popular fantasy novel to the big screen; While Breach (reviews) is itself based on the real-life spy case of Robert Hanssen--starring Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe. These flicks are joining Music and Lyrics (reviews), Daddy's Little Girls (reviews) and Close to Home (reviews), all of which had a mid-week debut...
Ian Mohr of Variety, begins his weekend preview, by talking about those Wednesday openers:
Lionsgate urban-skewing comedy "Daddy's Little Girls," the latest from hyphenate Tyler Perry, got off to a good start on Valentine's Day, taking in $4.57 million off 2,111 locations for a per-playdate average of $2,167.
Perry has been a February film standout: His last pic, "Madea's Family Reunion," bowed at No. 1 just over a year ago to more than $30 million, while his left-field hit "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" surprisingly hit No. 1 with more than $21.9 million in 2005.
Warner Bros. romantic comedy "Music & Lyrics," starring Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant, was No. 2 on Wednesday as it aimed for the date crowd: Pic played to $4.15 million off more than 2,900 theaters for an average of $1,419.
Both will take on returning champion "Norbit" at the B.O. this President's Day weekend along with "Ghost Rider," "Bridge to Terabithia" and "Breach."
"Ghost Rider" is the frame's widest new rollout, gunning into 3,619 theaters in a market blitz. Sony will aim to capture mostly male action auds with the Nicolas Cage starrer about Marvel Comics character Johnny Blaze, a supernatural stunt motorcyclist.
As the frame's second widest opener, rolling out at 3,139, Disney's PG-rated kidlit adaptation "Terabithia" will try to court the "Night at the Museum" crowd.
"Night" is still playing about 2,000 locations in its eighth week and remains in the top five.
Universal will be going for more upmarket, review-driven auds with its domestic spy drama "Breach," which just played the Berlin Film Festival.
Pic comes from Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, which has international rights and rolls out via U in just under 1,500 theaters...
On the specialty circuit, the Weinstein Co. moves biopic "Factory Girl" from 18 to 336 screens. Movie has been playing well so far in limited release.
Company also opens its Oscar-nommed import "Days of Glory" in a limited run....
There's more on these weekend warriors
Meanwhile, the folks at Entertainment Weekly say that Moviegoers will get fired up for ''Ghost Rider''
Our prediction: Over the holiday weekend, expect Nic Cage's superhero flick to out-earn a heap of new releases
Of the new flicks, Rider's reviews are by far, the worst. It will be interesting to see what happens come Monday. And which movie will land in that coveted top spot.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Michael Fleming of Variety:
Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to make a film about Milli Vanilli, the duo that rose to the top of the pop charts and fell just as quickly when they were exposed as frauds.
Jeff Nathanson will write the script and direct the film. Kathleen Kennedy will produce.
Nathanson, who presented a sympathetic look at a check forger in "Catch Me if You Can," became intrigued with the notion of taking a similar tack on the music industry tale. He has secured the cooperation of Fabrice Morvan, as well as the estate of Rob Pilatus, who died in 1998 as the pair were attempting a comeback...
...Their Grammy Award was rescinded, class action lawsuits were filed, and Milli Vanilli was dropped from the Arista roster. Morvan took it hardest, falling into drug abuse and serving time for robbery before dying from a drug overdose right before a reunion album could be released.
"I've always been fascinated by the notion of fakes and frauds, and in this case, you had guys who pulled off the ultimate con, selling 30 million singles and 11 million albums and then becoming the biggest laughing-stocks of pop entertainment," Nathanson said. "Fabrice had always refused to sell their rights; he was very cautious of Hollywood after all he'd been through. But my intention is to tell this story from their point of view."
Nathanson will begin writing as soon as production is completed on "Rush Hour 3," which he scripted...
I remember when news broke about Vanilli and their big lie....Quite frankly, I am a bit surprised that it took so long to bring this tale to the big screen. It had Hollywood film written all over it some 20 years ago.
Since the movie will be told from the singing duos' point of view--I wonder just how sympathetic Nathanson's screenplay will be?--Given his work on the aforementioned 2002 flick Catch Me If You Can...which I thought was really quite light on the subject matter at hand.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Michael Fleming of Variety:
Paramount Pictures is poised to put "The Departed" co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon back in the ring together.
Studio has fast-tracked "The Fighter," a drama about boxer "Irish" Micky Ward's unlikely road to the world lightweight title. His Rocky-like rise was shepherded by half-brother Dicky, a boxer-turned-trainer who rebounded in life after nearly being KO'd by drugs and crime.
Mandeville's David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will produce.
"House" exec producer Paul Attanasio is working on a rewrite that will be completed within two weeks. If they like the script, Wahlberg and Damon will commit, and each will make "The Fighter" his next film. Shooting will begin in early summer in Massachusetts.
Attanasio, who recently adapted John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" for Imagine, is rewriting a draft by Lewis Collick. Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy penned the original script. Emphasis in the rewrite is on the themes of brotherhood and redemption.
Like the Ward brothers, Wahlberg and Damon are both Massachusetts natives, and they have met several times about "The Fighter." Wahlberg, who's up for a supporting actor Oscar for "The Departed," is about to open in Paramount thriller "The Shooter" and recently wrapped "We Own the Night" for 2929 Prods. and Universal. Damon just wrapped "Ocean's Thirteen" and "The Bourne Ultimatum."...
The Departed placed the two young actors in an interesting dynamic together. It sounds like The Fighter will put new challenges in front of them as well
Two new movies are opening on this Valentine's Day 2007, to capitalize on the busiest "date night" of the year:
Music and Lyrics (reviews) has the current romantic comedy king Hugh Grant teaming up with Drew Barrymore love and and laughs; Tyler Perry is back with Daddy's Little Girls (reviews)'; while the topical Close to Home (reviews)--looking at the Israel-Palestine conflict through the eyes of young Israeli female soldiers begins its run in a limited number of places...
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Current best actress Oscar nominee and former one time winner Judi Dench (pictured) will not be attending the 79th Annual Academy Awards on February 25th in Hollywood--Thanks to some much needed surgery on one of her knees
This Is London tells the tale
This year's Oscar ceremony will see three of Britain's finest leading ladies compete to win the statuette for Best Actress.
But while Dame Helen Mirren, nominated for her role in The Queen, and Kate Winslet, for her performance in Little Children, have both spoken of their excitement at attending the most prestigious award ceremony in film...Dame Judi Dench will be unable to attend due to poor health.
Dame Judi, arguably the nation's favourite actress, has been nominated for her performance as the manipulative schoolteacher in Notes On A Scandal.
But the 72-year-old, who famously won an Oscar in 1999 for her eight-minute performance as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare In Love, is scheduled to have an important knee operation at the end of this month and has told friends it will coincide with the most important date in the film industry's calender.
'Judi has had this knee injury for a while and finally decided to do something about it,' says a friend.
'It has to be carried out by a specialist at a certain time. Even if they bring the operation forward, she is going to need some recovery time.'
Dame Judi has suffered from the knee problem for a number of years and has told friends that the pain is unbearable - she once described it as 'bone on bone'.
'She feels she would be jeopardising her health if she were to miss the operation for the sake of going to the Oscars,'says a chum.
'She wants to go but Judi has been to the Oscars before and doesn't care about the glitz and the glam of it all.'
However, sources insist Judi's insouciant approach to the ceremony also lies in her belief there is no point attending as Helen Mirren is tipped to win.
'Judi said in a recent interview that she didn't give 'two hoots' that Helen had been nominated, but really she thinks it has ruled out any chance of her walking away with a gong,' continues a friend.
'Helen has already won the Golden Globe for best actress and that's usually a good indicator of who will go on to win an Oscar.'
As a fan of Dame Judi, both as an actress and as a person, I wish the lady nothing but a speedy recovery and best wishes. Even though Dench is probably correct in assuming that Mirren is likely going to win this year...I would be far from upset if somehow Judi managed to pull off a total upset and take home the prize.
If Mirren does indeed win a golden statue, I hope when she accepts her kudos, that she watches her language...Actually I think the F-bomb story (courtesy of Ireland Online) is really freaking hilarious...