Thursday, May 31, 2007

Teen Beat

For those of you out there, who were hoping that Tinseltown would slow down, making all of those comic book flicks, you should just skip this post All others-Read on:

The Hollywood Reporter reports today that, after many false starts over the years, the Teen Titans are finally ready to fly to the big screen

Producers Akiva Goldsman and Kerry Foster have brought in writer Mark Verheiden to pen the screenplay. Verheiden has spent a lot of time writing for comics, superheroes on TV, and sci-fi movies.

The article states that longtime team member Nightwing (pictured) is expected to appear in the film.

Goldsman tells the trade that the tone of the movie will be similar to Batman Begins, Superman Returns, and the upcoming movie adaptation of Watchmen .

To be honest, I have never really been much into the Teen Titans all that much--save for Nightwing as a leader--given his backstory as Dick Grayson aka Robin...That said, Verheiden has a solid track record working on this kind of stuff--If he is at the top of his game, along with good casting and director choices, this could work out well.

Goldsman comparing the film to SR, BB, and the Watchmen is a little silly though. All three genre pics come from vastly different sources. Therefore, his statement implies that the tone of the film will be all over the place. Hmmm.

He Would And He Could

The latest issue of the U.K. magazine Starburst, features an exclusive interview with actor Zachary Quinto, who plays the villain Sylar on one of my favorite TV series Heroes...

In the article, Quinto states the he wouldn't mind playing the young Mr. Spock in J.J. Abrams' forthcoming Star Trek prequel.

TrekWeb posted a few excerpts from the article.

"When the news about the next Star Trek movie began to surface I became inundated with e-mails and links to websites where people were saying, 'Zach Quinto should play [young] Spock'" says the actor.

"I started opening myself up to the idea and I think the exploration and immersion to be done with such a character would be amazing."

"I tend to be the type of person who acts from a very visceral place and reacts emotionally to situations, and to 'become' a character that is completely the opposite of that is one of the reasons why I'm an actor. I would love the opportunity to understand what it is to only operate from a place of logic and look at things so specifically from that perspective."

Quinto is just great as Sylar in Heroes. Having him possibly take on the world's most famous pointy-eared Vulcan would be very very very cool.

Forget actor Adrien Brody. Quinto is better suited to fill the very large footprints left by Leonard Nimoy who played the character (pictured) for three TV seasons in the 1960's and through 6 feature films...


Details about the U.S. premiere for Michael Bay's eagarly awaited Transformers movie has been announced.

Dave McNary of Variety:

Film Independent has announced that "Transformers" will hold its Los Angeles premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 27.

The DreamWorks/Par release, set for a July 4 domestic debut, will screen simultaneously at The Landmark Regent, the Mann National, the Mann Bruin and the Mann Village, where the main premiere will take place.

The premiere will be followed by a party on the Festival Promenade on Broxton Avenue.

"'Transformers' is the ultimate L.A. movie, with many of its most exciting action sequences shot on the city's streets," said Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who produced...

I can't wait to see this flick!

The 2007 LA Film Fest runs from June 21st-July 1st.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The New Model "T"

Is a former underwear model from Sweden set to replace California Governor Arnold Schwarzennegger in the role that made the politician a movie star?

Coming Soon is reporting that Marcus Schenkenberg (pictured) has scored a role in the Terminator 4.

Schenkenberg revealed on Dutch talk show "Jensen" that he landed four new movie roles in Cannes last week, one of them being the fourth "Terminator" which was announced a few weeks ago.

He also added that Schwarzenegger would have a 30-second cameo in the film.

Sure, Schenkenberg has the right physical characteristics for the part and knows his way around a camera; But I wonder if he'll be able to match Arnie's intensity, much the same way that Robert Patrick did in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, as the dreaded T-1000?

There's a big difference between a guy who looks good in his boxers or briefs--and a menacing looking former body builder.

I look forward to some sort of "official" confirmation.

City Council

Rats! Contrary to an earlier report, filming on Sin City 2, has not begun...

Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons:

Out doing promotions for his new film "Bordergate," actor Michael Madsen (pictured) brought up the topic of both Robert Rodriguez's "Sin City 2" and Quentin Tarantino's WW2 opus "Inglorious Bastards" in an interview with Premiere Online.

[While] Tarantino is still typing away on the 'Bastards' script, the real revelation are comments about the 'Sin' sequel which isn't moving as well as fans were hoping:

"They haven't shot it yet. I don't know if they ever will. I am not sure [about] the franchise. I think the Grindhouse thing didn't kind of work out... I don't know what effect that is going to have on making Sin City 2" said Madsen.

He adds that the only reason he did his small role in the first film "was because Robert Rodriguez said that if I took that little part I would get a bigger role in the sequel, that Bob would have more to do in the sequel."

And as for that sequel, which was said to begin filming next month - "I haven't seen the script for Sin City 2. I don't know if they are gonna make it. I hope they do. And if and when they do, I will be in it."

What? Why would the box office performance of Grindhouse affect SC 2? I know that Rodriguez is prepping that Barbarella remake but filming is many months away. What gives?...Sin City 2 needs to happen...And soon...

The Reality Of The Situation

Now that the film-centric "reality" competition On The Lot, has settled into its regularly 2 days a week schedule, how's it doing in the ratings?

Rick Kissell of Variety:

FOX.'s unscripted Hollywood competish "On the Lot" bowed in its regular timeslot Monday night to a fifth-place finish among the broadcasters.

After failing to ignite much interest with a pair of preview episodes last week -- including one following the final "American Idol " performance show of the season -- the search for the next great film director settled for fewer than 3 million viewers.

Of course, Memorial Day isn't a great night to kick off a series, and Fox can hope that its audience grows from here. But the net could be forced to yell "Cut!" if numbers remain at this level -- which are low even by summer standards.

Based on preliminary same-day Nielsen nationals for Monday, "On the Lot" averaged a 1.3 rating/4 share in adults 18-49 and 2.9 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., peaking with about 3.1 million from 8:30 to 9.

Those numbers left the net behind repeats on
CBS as well as first run programming on ABC, NBC and Univision; Fox also may have trailed a cabler or two in the 9 o'clock hour.

Show's regular airing pattern is an hour on Monday, followed by a "box office" results show Tuesday...

I actually caught bits and pieces of Monday's show--just to see if things had gotten any better...They did not. Having Mark Burnett and Steven Spielberg on the marquee means nothing here. The show just rips off the Idol formula that's all. Quite honestly, I there's much more drama on a "making of" doc on any DVD, than there is here... If the show hasn't caught on by now--I doubt it ever will. If a first run network program gets beat by a cable channel--Summer or not--that's bad.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sinking Ship

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End took first place over the holiday weekend. However, its victory lap may not be as extended as the one enjoyed by its predecessor...

Captain Jack (Depp) And Will (Bloom) in "At Woeld's End"

Ian Mohr of Variety

Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" sailed into the record books as the biggest extended Memorial Day weekend opening ever, rowing to $142 million over four days.

But the buccaneers' hefty doubloon count didn't quite live up to the hype heading into the weekend, or keep pace with the money-spinning of Sony's "Spider-Man 3," which was released earlier in the month and posted the biggest three-day opening of all time domestically: $151.1 million...

The weekend tally for "Pirates" -- which at 4,362 sites saw the widest ever release at North American theaters -- shot up to $156 million, according to Disney estimates, with the inclusion of limited Thursday-night screenings, which added $14 million to the pic's war chest, and the Monday holiday take.

Previous pic in the "Pirates" series, "Dead Man's Chest," amassed a three-day take of $135.6 million in its July bow last year.

The extended weekend haul of "At World's End," however, handily surpassed the $122.8 million that Fox's "X-Men: The Last Stand" notched last year when it broke the Memorial Day record.

B.O. charts headed by "Pirates" --fellow blockbusters "Shrek the Third" and "Spider-Man 3" rounded out the top three -- helped ticket sales spike dramatically overall: Top 10 pics combined, according to Rentrak, took in $262.4 million over four days vs. $186.9 million a year ago, when "X-Men" was tops.

Thanks to "Pirates," the Memorial Day frame was the biggest ever...While "Pirates" set the domestic Memorial Day weekend reecord..

Disney distribution head Chuck Viane said auds tend to find pics that open over Memorial Day weekend more gradually, as moviegoers have extra days to hit multiplexes. "People take their time (over a holiday weekend)," he said. "They don't have to run out opening day."

Including Thursday shows, the "Pirates" per-theater average was $35,776; Spidey's was $35,540 over three days in its opening weekend three weeks earlier.

In its second frame, DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek the Third" followed at No. 2, passing the $219 million mark by raking in another $69 million off 4,172. Pic dropped just 43% in its second weekend.

"Spider-Man 3" landed the No. 3 spot, adding $18 million over the weekend to run its domestic cume to $307.6 million. Pic's theater count was down to 3,723...

The entire article can be found here

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly, meanwhile, offers a more pessimistic Pirates headline:

It's hardly the end of the world, but Depp & Co.'s No. 1 movie falls short of expectations...

A long running time and luke-warm critical reaction contributed to Pirates' performance-I'm sure. Family who saw the film told me the latest flick in the series isn't all that good...I'll wait for the DVD...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Palme Reader

As the 60th annual Cannes Film Festival sprints towards the finish line, Todd McCarthy of Variety, has news on the fest's big winners:

"4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," Cristian Mungiu's stark, trenchant drama about a woman's experiences getting an abortion in the waning days of Romania's communist era, won the Palme d'Or at the 60th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.

Screened on the festival's first full day, "4 Months" is one of the few Cannes films in memory to have led wire-to-wire in critics' polls and come out on top on awards night. IFC bought the picture during the fest for U.S. release.

But while few would dispute that the most important prize went to the right film, the remainder of the awards bore all the earmarks of compromise-necessitated give-and-take on a jury at odds with itself, so much did the selections zig-zag among the esoteric, the political and the female-driven.

For starters, the Grand Prix, the prestigious runner-up award, was given to Naomi Kawase's "The Mourning Forest," an ultra-arty, arid and slow French-Japanese co-production that had viewers and critics streaming for the exits early and was supported only by die-hard partisans on the fest circuit.

Then there was a specially created award, the 60th anniversary prize, for
Gus Van Sant's "Paranoid Park ," a well crafted but narrowly conceived drama (also French-financed) of a teenager skateboarder in denial about having accidentally caused a man's death. Nod seemed odd on three counts, in that it is such a small film, that Van Sant only recently won the Palme d'Or, for "Elephant ," and that it was, by most estimations, the third most accomplished American film in the competition this year, after the unhonored "No Country for Old Men 2007)," from the Coen Brothers, and David Fincher's "Zodiac."...

Other prize winners can be found here...

As 4 Months...savors its big win in the south of France--Be sure to take time and remember the fallen soldiers of the US Armed Forces who have given their lives in defense of this country and in the name of freedom around the world.

The Last Reel offers a heartfelt thank you!!--Memorial Day 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Stretching The Truth

"An Inconvenient Truth" director Davis Guggenheim, has been making the rounds, promoting his latest film "Gracie" (Due in theaters Friday June 1st)...

He told the folks over at IESB that he's meeting with Paramount sometime this week to discuss a follow-up to the Oscar-winning global warming documentary .

He confirms to the site that it's "a sequel to Inconvenient Truth" but adds it's "too early to talk about details."

The original took five months to pull together, which means it's likely a potential sequel could be done before the US presidential election in November next year.

Whew! What a relief! Now that's a sequel I wanna see!-I say with as much sarcasm as I can muster. Unless it's a film that presents both sides of the issue-IE skeptics I'll pass. Besides there's already another global warming docu due this year called 11th Hour-shepherded by Leonardo DiCaprio...

Do We Really Need A Sequel?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bull's Eye

America's Miss Congeniality latest gig has her exploring familiar territory.

Peter Gilstrap of Variety:

Sandra Bullock (pictured) has been tapped to star in Touchstone Pictures' romantic comedy "The Proposal."

Mandeville's David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are producing; Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman will exec produce.

Peter Chiarelli script concerns a demanding female boss faced with deportation to Canada who agrees to a sham engagement and marriage with her young male assistant. A director has yet to be named.

Longtime collaborators Kurtzman and Orci penned "Mission: Impossible III ," as well as upcoming Dream Works/Paramount features "Transformers " and "Star Trek ." Duo are producing "2012 " and "The 28th Amendment" for Warner Bros. and "Red Cell" for New Line...

Bullock doing a romantic comedy, is of course, nothing new for the popular actress. She built part of her career in that genre. It's kind of weird seeing Orci and Kurtzman attached to this, given what's coming up for them. As for the premise? Casting and chemistry with Bullock are key--Otherwise it's a big ho-hum.

Bourne Loser

Fans of the Jason Bourne movies take note, your current leading man says he's calling it quits as the character, once the latest chapter hits the cineplex...

Damon Bourne No More?

Stax of IGN:

It appears that The Bourne Ultimatum, the forthcoming third installment in Universal's espionage franchise, may be Oscar winner Matt Damon's last time playing the amnesiac rogue assassin. At least that's Damon's wish.

According to The Daily Telegraph and several other outlets, Damon was at the Cannes film festival in France to promote Ocean's Thirteen when asked about his future as Jason Bourne.

"The Bourne thing I'm definitely done with," Damon declared, adding that the Robert Ludlum created character could very well live on with a new actor in the role.

The actor also said he feels like a "like a prostitute" because he has two Hollywood blockbuster sequels out this year.

Uh, Matt, no one forced you to sign on for either franchise-You knew the deal going in...The big time salary that you get for doing this stuff allows you a certain lifestyle that many of us peons would love to have...And appearing in sequels doesn't mean you've sold out....You still found time to do The Good Shepherd last year...What a silly comment to make.

Friday, May 25, 2007

"This Will Be A Day Long Remembered..."

It's hard to believe that the Star Wars saga began 30 years ago today...

I am old enough to remember when the film was known only as Star Wars--before it gained a number IV, and the subtitle A New Hope I know I have had lots of issues with creator George Lucas as the series has progressed. But right now, on this very important milestone, I would like to thank him for giving us all of those wonderful characters and the universe in which they lived.
The film changed the film industry, the way we go to the movies, and became a cultural phenomenon. It helped to shape my childhood and continues to do the same for kids today (like my nephew Jimmy to name but one).

Thanks also to that great 1977 cast & crew for bringing the vision to life...

The Original Theatrical Trailer For Star Wars...

...And Those Opening Sequences Special Edition Style...

The History Channel will air a 2 hour special called Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed on Monday, May 28th, from 9:00-11:00 PM Eastern...

Out Of Touch/In Touch

Some really good news regarding Nicolas Cage has hit: As it turns out, he's not going to be in the forthcoming prequel to The Untouchables...

Cage bowing out means that, despite my overall misgivings about the project, that I might actually see the film now.

In related news: An announcement was made at Cannes that Gerard Butler, star of 300, has joined the cast of the prequel as Detective Jimmy Malone, the role that earned Sean Connery a best supporting actor Oscar in De Palma's 1987 original.

As if Butler needs to line up any more film work...

As The World Turns...So Does Box Office

There's no doubt that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (reviews) will be number one when the dust settles on Tuesday. This despite opening to lackluster critical reaction; its only real competition (if you can call it that) is William Friedkin's horror flick Bug (reviews)

Dave McNary and Ian Mohr of Variety

The buccaneers have started raking in the gold as they look to outpace Spidey with "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" launches around the world amid sky-high expectations.

The third "Pirates" kicked off Wednesday in nine markets with France generating an impressive $3 million at 783 play dates, based on 426,000 first-day admissions. Disney's refusing to release any figures until Saturday -- unlike Sony's strategy to announce the early "Spider-Man 3" numbers from foreign markets three weeks ago

Johnny Depp Returns As Capt. Jack Sparrow In Pirates 3

The French launch is 43% less than the first-day admissions number for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" last Aug. 2. But the earlier first-day number - 750,000 -- came amid summer holidays in France on its way to grossing $46 million.

Lofty forecasts for the third "Pirates" have been goosed by the record-setting numbers woven by "Spider-Man 3" along with the $1.06 billion worldwide gross last year from "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" - joining "Titanic" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" as the only films to crack the billion-dollar mark.

Key question will be whether the third time's the charm for Disney, just as it was for Sony three weeks ago when "Spider-Man 3" set opening records, led by $382 million worldwide. The eye-popping number broke down to $151 million domestically (which broke the "Pirates 2" record by $12 million) and $231 million internationally ($76 million ahead of the mark set by "The Da Vinci Code").

Domestically, Disney will send its latest "Pirates" voyage to 4,362 theaters, marking widest North American opening ever. That figure's 109 larger than the 4,252 locations that Spidey swung into earlier in the month.

"Pirates" looks primed to breeze past Fox's "X-Men: The Last Stand," which racked up $122.8 million last year as the biggest ever extended Memorial Day weekend bow.

Mouse House is giving its "Pirates" a head start Thursday night with U.S. showtimes beginning at 8 p.m., rather than the usual midnight screenings that would add coin into "Pirates" weekend cume. Disney distribution topper Chuck Viane said the decision to add the Thursday 8 p.m. shows was made to appease the wide range of exhibitors champing at the bit for the pic.

"We got a lot of pressure from exhibitors to do something special," said the exec. "So this is what we chose because midnight shows are tied into urban centers. This way, any small town theater owner can get in on 'Pirates' mania." Viane added that some theaters will be screening "Pirates" round the clock beginning Thursday night at 8 p.m. and through Friday's midnights shows.

Brass inside Disney has been saying that their foremost goal is to beat out last year's "X-Men" pic and post the biggest ever Memorial Day haul. It remains to be seen whether the new "Pirates" can surpass "Spider-Man"'s recent record as the biggest three-day weekend of all time, with $151.1 million.

One hurdle in "Pirates"' path to the record books is the pic's running time: Clocking in at about 165 minutes, the pic will see less runs over the weekend than the relatively short "Shrek." But the massive screen count for "At World's End" should ease that burden.

Paramount and DreamWorks, meantime, will try to battle "Pirates" in their second weekend for "Shrek the Third," which landed in its first frame as the biggest animated opening of all time, as well as the biggest ever PG pic and third highest grossing film ever. It had gone past $144 million domestically as of Wednesday; Par's held off releasing the third "Shrek" to most international markets until next month.

The "Pirates" voyage should get the summer B.O. on to a torrid pace with "At World's End," "Shrek" and "Spider-Man" occupying the top three slots in the charts this weekend. "Spider-Man 3" should still have some gas in the tank for its fourth frame even though it's hit $288 million domestically and $760 million worldwide as of Wednesday....

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly asks:

Just how much treasure will ''Pirates 3'' plunder?

I have to say, even though, I loved the first two films in the series, I am not as gung ho for this latest chapter as I should be. After all, the biggest cliffhanger left over from the last one--Does Capt Jack survive?--Of course he does as seen in the trailers. Knowing that going in, why should I spend money for a tickets--when I have nothing else pulling me to go see the film. Its running time (at 2 hours 45 minutes) is a killer. Is there really that much story left to tell? Another bloated sequel?

Next Week: Movie-goers get Knocked Up and Mr. Brooks enters the fray...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Vacant Lot

Did you watch the premiere of the highly touted realoty competition series On The Lot on Tuesday night?

Check out this excerpt of an article in Variety by Rick Kissell

...A special preview of Fox's reality [show] from Mark Burnett and Steven Spielberg which seeks to find the next great film director, squandered a huge chunk of its "Idol:" lead-in as viewers opted for hoofers over helmers in the night's middle hour. While "On the Lot" will be judged on how it fares in its regular timeslots when it bows next week, the opening-night tune-in wasn't especially encouraging.

According to Nielsen same-day viewing estimates, "On the Lot" averaged a 3.9 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 8.54 million viewers overall, coming out of the final Tuesday edition of "American Idol" (9.7/27, 25.24m).

"On the Lot" saw its audience dip sharply as it progressed. Although it remained in second place in key demos, it fell to fourth place in total viewers from 9:30 to 10 (6.2 million).

Fox offers another preview of the show tonight prior to beginning its regular
[schedule] next week...

To be honest, I dislike "reality TV" quite a bit and will only watch something in the genre--if there's nothing else on...And even though the network has been promoting the hell out of this sucker, I forgot it was on! I only stumbled onto the show while channel surfing at 9:45 PM. Despite its film industry backdrop what I did see of the launch didn't really do anything for me. It all seemed rather un "real" to me.

Carrie Fisher, Garry Marshall, and Brett Ratner are there to judge and give out assignments--You mean to tell me these three have nothing else going on right now? I feel sorry for them...

The competitors I saw during the last few moments seemed very underwhelming....

Is this a case of sour grapes on my part? Because they have a huge shot at making it big? And I'm still just blogging about film--I don't think so. It's more about that I'd rather do things the normal way then be in that hyper real situation--where I'm reduced to a TV personality known more for how I handle myself in a hyper-real situation--than my skills as a filmmaker... Look what happened at the now defunct Project Greenlight.

I wish 'em luck just the same.

The Boston Globe says of the series: Spielberg adds star power but little inspiration to 'On the Lot'

Grayskulls, He-Men, And Skeletor

Capitalizing on the current wave of 80's nostalgia that's sweeping through Hollywood...

Michael Fleming of Variety:

Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver are working with Mattel to turn "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe " into a live-action film.

Justin Marks is set to write the script. Silver will produce.

Deal, which is contingent on Mattel formally approving an outline for the project, is another example of Hollywood overhauling a 1980s-era pop-culture touchstone in the hopes of seeding a tentpole pic. The sale comes just a few weeks before the July
[premiere] of DreamWorks' Michael Bay-directed "Transformers". which began as an '80s animated series and toy line.

He-Man (pictured) was born as a Mattel action figure, and the toymaker created an animated series in hopes of selling dolls. The series became a cult favorite, but the brand was hardly helped by its first bigscreen incarnation, the campy 1987 flop "Masters of the Universe" that starred Dolph Lundgren as the title character and Frank Langella as his nemesis Skeletor.

The toymaker, which now licenses "He-Man" for high-end merchandise sold to hardcore collectors, has been wary of going Hollywood again. An attempt by Fox 2000 to make another movie, this time with director John Woo ended in futility as the toymaker didn't spark to the screen plans.

For Mattel, the stakes are potentially high as success could mean an entire relaunch of a toy line.

The franchise has been reimagined by the producer and the writers and pitched to Mattel as a classic good vs. evil battle, using the kind of visual effects strategy employed in
"300." A warrior is touted as the last hope of a magical land called Eternia, which is being ravaged by technology and the evil Skeletor.

Many of the characters in the Middle Earth-like universe will be informed by the mythology created in the four different cartoon series done since the 1980s.

The story was hatched by Marks and Neil Ellice, the latter of whom will co-produce...

The viability of the "He-Man" universe is evidenced by the traffic that has occurred since rumors of a screen resurrection hit the Internet. Contrary to Web rumor, the lead role has not yet been cast.

Marks is writing a number of scripts, including..a feature for Warners based on DC Comics character the Green Arrow.

I never really got into He-Man as a kid--But I did see that awful flick from '87...Clearly the folks behind the new film are hoping that the Transformers Movie does very well--to almost justify this project. I find it curious that the premise for the new "Universe" film will take elements from 4 different incarnations. I don't think the ideas are really all that cinematic as I remember them--but that comes from an ignorance of the settings and characters beyond the 20 year old movie.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Urban Development

Is a new action hero born?

Sharon Swart reports for Variety from Cannes:

John McTiernan will helm "Run," a $30 million action-thriller to star Karl Urban (pictured,"The Lord of the Rings," "The Bourne Ultimatum").

Urban plays an Interpol agent who, while pursuing a murder suspect, uncovers a fraud conspiracy. The actioner's script reportedly has 100 pages of car chases. Pic will start lensing in August and post in London.

Producers are Michael Pierce and Mark Williams; exec producer is Future Films topper Stephen Margolis...

Wow! 100 pages of car chases! McTiernan is up to the challenge...As for Urban...Sure, he's already had quite a career...I wonder though: Will this film do for him what Die Hard did for Bruce Willis?

Class Warfare

With shooting set to begin in a few weeks time, casting on Bryan Singer's latest film, fills out its lead roles...

Michael Fleming of Variety:

Kenneth Branagh (pictured) will star with Tom Cruise in ",Valkyrie " the Bryan Singer-directed WWII drama that shoots this summer for United Artists.

Branagh will play a German general who mentors Cruise's character and hatches a plan to assassinate Hitler. Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander scripted, based on a true story.

Singer and McQuarrie, who will produce, brought the project to Cruise and Paula Wagner in March; Cruise committed to star shortly thereafter...

Pic begins lensing July 19 in Berlin

Branagh recently finished directing a "Sleuth " remake that stars Michael Caine and Jude Law and a version of Shakespeare's "As You Like It" that will premiere on HBO in September.

It's good to hear that Singer and his crew are not playing around with casting here. Branagh is perfect for this type of project. Meanwhile, I eagerly await that Sleuth remake!

In related news: McQuarrie jump starts 1.3.9 venture...

"Mitty" Me

Shrek's alter ego lands the lead in the remake of a true comedy classic...

Michael Fleming of Variety:

Mike Myers is attached to star in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", a remake of the Danny Kaye comedy... that producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr.. has moved from Paramount to 20th Century Fox.

Jay Kogen, a writer and producer on "The Simpsons," ""Frasier" and, most recently, CBS' "The Class ," is penning the script. Goldwyn will produce.

Jim Carrey had once been attached to play the daydreamer first brought to life in 1947 by Kaye in a pic based on a short story by James Thurber. Directors attached to the project on and off during the past few years include Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard . When those efforts didn't pan out, Goldwyn moved the film to Par, where "Mean Girls " director Mark Waters tried to do it with Owen Wilson .

Fox and Goldwyn are starting from scratch with a version that will be specifically tailored for Myers.

... Myers also has begun early discussions with New Line and director Jay Roach for a fourth installment of the "Austin Powers" series. While no writer has yet been assigned, Myers is eyeing a sequel that tells the story from the viewpoint of Dr. Evil. (pictured)

Myers is one busy guy right now...

While I think Carrey would have been a better fit in the lead role--Myers is certainly no slouch.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Clowning Around

This story is everywhere. Here's IGN's take on it...

Following last week's launch of The Dark Knight's viral campaign with the "I Believe in Harvey Dent" website, a second piece of guerilla marketing is now online and it includes a really cool picture of Heath Ledger as The Joker.

You can see the newly revealed image below, and visit "I Believe in Harvey Dent, Too" for the full effect. The site shows the previously revealed Harvey Dent poster with a few customizations by The Joker, and then it dissolves to his face.

While I'm used to the more classic look for the Joker, to be sure, director Christopher Nolan altered the look of the Scarecrow in Batman Begins, with great success. I am willing, therefore, to get behind this intriguing take for a time-honored villain.

Option "C"

Director Robert Rodriguez has decided what his next project will be...

Diane Garrett of Variety:

Robert Rodriguez will helm the "Barbarella" redo for a 2008 Universal release.

The "Planet Terror" helmer is working with scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade on the remake of the 1968 film starring Jane Fonda as a futuristic mercenary. That version was produced by Dino De Laurentiis who is producing the remake with Martha De Laurentiis.

Barbarella first appeared seven years earlier in a French comic book written and illustrated by Jean-Claude Forest. De Laurentiis recently completed an acquisition deal with his son Julien (Daily Variety, April 12).

"I love this iconic character and all that she represents, and I'm truly excited by the challenge of inviting a new audience into her universe," Rodriguez said.

Dino De Laurentiis hinted at the flavor of the remake: "In our vision, the future is female, and I can't wait to introduce 'Barbarella' to a new generation of moviegoers," he said.

Purvis and Wade co-wrote "Casino Royale " and recently finished scripting the next installment in the Bond franchise, "Bond 22."

Fonda In The '68 Film

Rodriguez makes a superb choice to take on this material! And with all due respect to the other flicks he was considering ---Barberella is the right call. I can't wait to see how things develop as the project moves ahead.

As for casting rhe title role for the 21st century...How about Jessica Alba, Eva Green, Rosario Dawson, or Jessica Biel? Yeah!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Working Girl

After taking time off to start a family and make her Broadway debut in Three Days of Rain---America's Pretty Woman is getting ready to return to the big screen...

Adam Dawtrey reports from Cannes for Variety:

Julia Roberts (pictured) is getting back together with Working Title Films to produce and star in a movie about the wildlife conservationist Joan Root, who was murdered in her Kenyan home earlier this year.

The untitled project inspired by, Vanity Fair article "A Flowering Evil," will follow Root's earlier life making documentaries around the globe with her husband. After their divorce, she returned to Kenya where she devoted herself to saving Lake Naivasha from the ecologically damaging flower farm industry.

David Magee ("Finding Neverland") is writing the screenplay. Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce with Roberts via her [production company], Red Om. Roberts previously starred in WT's biggest box office hit, "Notting Hill."

The Joan Root movie is one of four projects being prepped to shoot early in '08...

Find out what else Working Title has in the pipeline here.

Though not a major fan--I have always liked Roberts and the way she handled her career. I think this role has the potential for putting her back in the thick of it--in a BIG way...

Ode To An Ogre

Shrek the Third made a lot of green over the weekend...taking the top spot:

Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo:

Shrek the Third ruled the weekend with an estimated $122 million, exceeding Shrek 2's opening, while Spider-Man 3 continued to slide...

Ian Mohr of Variety:

The summer of sequels is setting a torrid pace.

Just weeks after "Spider-Man 3" swung into theaters as the biggest opening weekend of all time, DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek the Third" bowed to $122 million over three days -- the third-biggest opening in history and biggest ever for an animated pic. Figure also reps the biggest opening for a PG-rated movie, according to DreamWorks.

The jolly green ogre stormed 4,122 theaters over the weekend in his third outing to tally an eye-popping per-location average of $29,597.

"Shrek 2" previously held the first-weekend records for animated and PG pic: It opened to $108 million in 2004 and wound up with $436.7 million domestically, according to Nielsen EDI data.

First pic in the "Shrek" series stomped to $267.6 million Stateside in 2001 and world take of $484.4 million.

"Shrek the Third" is the latest in a line of pics this year to post hearty openings despite lackluster reviews. Latest movies in both the ogre and Spidey franchises hadn't been as enthusiastically received by critics as their prior installments, but both pics easily outpaced their predecessors at the B.O.

Animation marketing head Anne Globe said the "Shrek the Third" opening "significantly"out paced the studio's expectations.

"Shrek" has precious little time, however, to grab its share of the summer B.O. pie. "Pirates of Caribbean: At World's End" sets sail next weekend, and multiplexes will quickly start crowding with top titles.

"We're extremely cautious in an intensely competitive environment," said Globe of the impending Memorial Day weekend square-off. "But we're hoping there's room for all of us."

The robust perf of "Shrek the Third" relegated "Spider-Man 3" to second place in its third frame following two weekends at the top.

Webslinger slipped 51% from the previous weekend but added $28.5 million to his tally, bringing the Sony pic's domestic cume to $281.8 million.

Worldwide take is nearing $750 million as the third "Spider" installment looks destined to become Sony's biggest ever film globally.

Thanks to Shrek and Spidey, overall B.O. continued to outpace the same time frame a year ago. Top 10 pics combined for $170.7 million over the latest weekend. A year ago, the top 10 combined for $152.9 million, with "The Da Vinci Code" leading the charge followed by toon "Over the Hedge."

This summer is outpacing that of 2004 -- the biggest summer in box office history -- by 15%, or $70 million, so far, Nielsen said.

Unlike "Spider-Man 3," which did socko biz starting on its first Friday -- setting a single-day opening record -- the Paramount-distributed "Shrek" picked up most of its biz on Saturday, as families turned out.

Pic posted $47 million on Saturday for the second-biggest single Saturday mark ever. "Spider-Man 3" set the top Saturday mark earlier this month.

What about the other flicks?

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly:

The sequel enters the record books as the biggest opening ever for an animated film...

A family member of mine saw the latest Shrek and loved it...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Heroes And Villains

Today it's all about good and evil...

IGN posts this Watchmen update:'s been eerily quiet on the Watchmen front these last few months. But now comes word that the long-awaited screen adaptation of the Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons graphic novel is finally moving forward (again).

According to, the film will lens in Vancouver, British Columbia. The site claims "Watchmen will open up their production offices in June with shooting to begin in mid to late August.

And just in time for tomorrow night's season finale of the hit TV show Heroes...

The New York Post points out how uncomfortably similar this season of Heroes is to the basic plotline of Watchmen. "[Director Zack] Snyder and his bosses are probably more than a little ticked off. For a movie that will cost hundreds of millions, and could star Tom Cruise as Ozymandias if the Hollywood rumor mill is right, it can be galling to see such a pivotal plot twist used elsewhere," the Post speculates.

Right now, I am more upset at the idea Tom Cruise is RUMORED as being considered for Ozymandiaz...

...Which brings us to this:

Remember that casting rumor that my pal William N. Stape, over at Associated Content published about Star Trek XI, in his interview with funny man Patton Oswalt, a few weeks back?

Some media outlets like IESB picked it up getting the story very right....While others like the Boston Globe got things very very wrong...I thought reporters were supposed to fact check their stories? J.J. Abrams is directing the next Trek flick--not Bryan Singer! Sheesh! If the Globe can flub up a story like this so easily--makes me wonder what other news they've messed up on...Sheesh!!

Speaking of Singer, his film, Superman Returns led the Saturn Awards on May 10, taking home five awards, including best fantasy film and best director. Children of Men received the award for best science fiction film.

The Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy & Horror Films presented the 33rd Annual Saturn Awards in a ceremony in Universal City, Calif., hosted by Heroes star Greg Grunberg and Jeffrey Ross

Superman Returns also won awards for best writing, lead actor and music...

The complete list of Saturn winners can be found right here....

And, the one that started it all, is also honored...

The Visual Effects Society (VES) announced the results of its VES 50: The Most Influential Visual Effects Films of All Time, with "Superman-The Movie" making the list.

According to VES exec director Eric Roth, the VES 50 was determined by a vote of VES members and is the backdrop of the 2007 VES Festival of Visual Effects, which will take place the weekend of June 7-10, at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.

"We're thrilled to present VES 50. These films have had a significant, lasting impact on the practice and appreciation of visual effects as an integral, artistic element of cinematic expression and the storytelling process," said Roth.

Read more via the Superman Homepage...

I'm thrilled that even after almost 30 years since its debut, STM is still being recognized, as the ground breaking achievement that it was...

Finally, "The Greatest Criminal Mind Of Our Time" takes on The Green Goblin in the continuing Marvel/DC film franchise saga...Villain Edition

Check out the other vids in the series here...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Facts Of Fiction

Jeffrey Kluger of Time Magazine interviewed documentary filmmaker Michael Moore (pictured) for the May 28th issue.

Moore's next film, Sicko (June 29th) takes aim at the U.S. health care system. Here now, is my favorite part of the article:

TIME: Do you think people will accuse the movie of inaccuracy?

MOORE: I offered $10,000 to anybody who could find a single fact in Fahrenheit 9/11 that was wrong.

TIME: Have you had to pay anything?

MOORE: No, of course not. Every fact in my films is true. And yet how often do I have to read over and over again about supposed falsehoods? The opinions in the film are mine. They may not be true, but I think they are.

Every Fact? True? Really? It seems there's plenty of evidence out there, contrary to that declaration.

Fahrenheit 9/11:

"Fifty-Nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11," by Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute

"Unfairenheit 9/11: The lies of Michael Moore," by Christopher Hitchens

Bowling for Columbine:

"Bowling for Columbine: Documentary or Fiction?" by David T. Hardy

"Moore admits to altering 'Bowling for Columbine' DVD" by Brendan Nyhan of

"Bowl-o-Drama," by Daniel Lnsyo of Forbes magazine ...

And then there's these gems as well: MooreWatch ... MooreExposed ... "Moore's myriad mistakes," by Bryan Keefer, ... Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man by David Hardy and Jason Clarke ...

You should also read this post...

Maybe Moore's next film should be about the U.S. Postal Service? It would seem all of those checks, somehow, got lost in the mail. Maybe Moore was afraid he'd get a severe case of writer's cramp...

Here's the Variety review by Alissa Simon--who saw Sicko at Cannes.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Rise Of The Machines

Director Michael Bay, the man who has made a career for himself out of blowing stuff up, is at it again. The latest (and last?) theatrical trailer for the Transformers Movie has hit the net:

The footage is awesome! If the film is as good as the trailer makes it seem...Fingers Firmly Crossed.

Rising star Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, and Josh Duhamel run into the "Bots" starting on July 4rh.

With Great Power....

ItsJustSomeRandomGuy is at again. In the latest installments of the ongoing Marvel/DC film franchise saga...

Spider-Man and Superman receive some fatherly "advice"...

...A certain clawed hero stops by to stir things up...

And The Adventure Continues...(I hope)

Busy Butler

Fans of actor Gerard Butler (pictured) will be happy to know that the Scottish superstar has plenty of projects in the pipeline--ensuring a healthy career--for quite some time to come...

First, reporting from Cannes for Variety, Elizabeth Guider has this:

Lakeshore Entertainment is "cranking" it up again.

Company headed by chairman and CEO Tom Rosenberg is reteaming with "Crank" creators Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor on "Game," a high-concept futuristic thriller that will star Gerald Butler. It's one of Lakeshore's more ambitious projects, though not as costly as its most expensive, the $75 million "Runaway Bride" of a few years ago.

Neveldine and Taylor have written the script and will direct the movie, which will begin lensing in January.

"Game" will get talked up by Lakeshore's sales team in Cannes.

This latest pic is set in a dystopian future of implanted nano-devices, where the ultimate online simulation environment is humans remote-controlling other humans in mass-scale, multiplayer online gaming. The lead character, played by Butler, is a worldwide sensation, and the top-ranked warrior in a game called "Slayers." With his every move tracked by millions, he battles to regain his identity and bring down the entire system.

"As the world witnessed in '300,' Gerard Butler is a commanding performer, connecting with an audience on many levels. He is the perfect actor to play Kable, a man who represents the fight against the ruthless commercialization of our lives," Rosenberg said...

While Pamela McClintock of Variety has news that Butler will eventually head to "family friendly" fare...

...Butler will star opposite Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin in Fox Walden kids adventure "Nim's Island ," based on Wendy Orr's kids tome of the same name.

Husband-wife directing team Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin are set to begin lensing in late July in Australia from their adapted screenplay.

Paula Mazur is producing the family film, which will bow April 28 [2008].

Storyline revolves around a girl who lives on a tropical isle with her father, a scientist whose boat runs into trouble one day, leaving the girl to fend for herself on the island. She begins emailing the author of the book she is reading, and with the author's help, is able to manage. Trio ultimately unites to save the island from careless tour companies.

Butler, who toplined Zack Snyder's "300," will next be seen starring opposite Hilary Swank in dramedy "P.S., I Love You." Warner Bros. bows the film Dec. 21...

...Not to mention that he's got the Escape from New York remake down the road....Whew! I'm tired for him!

It's nice to see that Butler has films on the way--that cover a wide variety of genres...Instead of just sticking with the action adventure based flick.

Fair-y Tale

Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz are back fir this weekend's only new wide release--Shrek the Third (reviews)--but the critical reaction over the sequel is, anything but stellar...No. 1. come Monday? For sure. But the ogre might be in for a hard time of it after that.

Ian Mohr and Dave McNary of Variety

After "Spider-Man 3" kicked off the season with record breaking B.O. tallies, the pressure is on for Paramount and DreamWork's third installment of "Shrek" to deliver.

While "Shrek the Third" -- flooding 4,122 theaters -- will no doubt land at No. 1, it remains to be seen whether the green guy can post numbers to match his last pic's opening of $108 million in 2004.

Third "Shrek" has been tracking so far to open around the $100 million mark. But tracking on CG pics tends to be tricky as data overlooks kiddies' interests.

Though it seems unlikely "Shrek" can break "Spider-man's" first weekend B.O. marks, the ogre has little competish in his way as the frame's only new wide rollout.

Clocking in at just over 80 minutes, "Shrek" will enjoy more runs than longer competish; "Spider-Man" runs 140 minutes.

PG pic is also one of the only family choices in the marketplace currently.

But while "Shrek" is coming off a heady theatrical run -- "Shrek 2" hit a towering $436.7 million in North America alone -- the franchise hit a bump in the road after DreamWorks Animation had to cut financial forecasts in 2005 due to slower than expected DVD sales for the property.

"Shrek" also could take in much of its ticket sales this weekend from underage auds, resulting in less robust first-frame booty than Spidey. (Par and DreamWorks are hoping "Shrek" won't be a "drop-off" pic, where adults unload kids at the mall, but one that will capture the 'rents as well.)

In more limited release, Magnolia will send Hal Hartley's "Fay Grim" to 27 screens, while ThinkFilm runs with Luke Wilson's "The Wendell Baker Story," the Yari Group bets on gambling pic "Even Money" and Fox Searchlight spotlights romantic musical "Once"...

Info about overseas can be found here

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly says:

The ogre's return should leave competitors -- including ''Spider-Man 3'' -- green with envy...

Next Up: The Pirates get get set to plunder the box office...