Friday, November 30, 2007

Right "Guard"

Another child is about to wreak the lives of an unsuspecting on screen married couple.

Tatiana Seigel and Dianne Garrett of Variety:

Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga will star in the horror film "Orphan" for Joel Silver's Dark Castle Entertainment.

Warner Bros is distributing the pic, which marks helmer Jaume Collet-Serra's follow-up to "House of Wax," also a Dark Castle title. Appian Way, which developed the material and brought it to Silver, is also producing.

Story revolves around a husband and wife (Sarsgaard and Farmiga) who lose a baby and then adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be. David Leslie Johnson penned the screenplay, which is based on a story by Alex Mace.

Shooting is scheduled to begin next week in Toronto and Montreal.

Silver, Susan Downey and Erik Olsen are producing. Don Carmody and Steve Richards exec produce.

Sarsgaard most recently appeared in "Rendition" and "Year of the Dog." His upcoming credits include "Elegy" and "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh."

Farmiga co-starred in Martin Scorsese's "The Departed." She next appears in Mark Herman's "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas."

The premise sounds painfully similar to that of the The Omen and its 2006 remake...That said, Sarsgaard and Farmiga are certainly talented enough to make it work. Johnson's script has to hit a horror home run as well for the acting duo to rely on.

Wide Asleep

The good news for first time director Joby Harold is that his film is the only wide new release this weekend...The bad news...Critics were not given the chance to screen the flick--which history has proven--is usually not a good sign...

Star Hayden Christensen is still one lucky guy though. He gets to carry around the beautiful Jessica Alba in the thriller Awake (reviews)

Pamela McClintock and Dave McNary of Variety:

Thanksgiving leftovers are expected to feed most of the weekend box office, with Hayden Christensen-Jessica Alba thriller "Awake" the only new wide release in a welcome respite from the otherwise overcrowded fall.

Disney's princess tale "Enchanted" is expected to cast the most winning spell. Amy Adams starrer won the five-day Thanksgiving frame with a $50 million haul; cume was $52.5 million through Wednesday, according to Rentrak.

Distributed by MGM, Dimension Films' "Awake" unspools in 2,002 theaters. Helmed and written by Joby Harold in his directorial debut, psychological drama revolves a man who finds himself awake, yet paralyzed, during heart surgery.

Historically, theater traffic takes a dip the weekend after the extended Thanksgiving frame.

The limited side will be busier as Miramax opens Julian Schnabel's French film "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and Fox Searchlight debuts filmmaker Tamara Jenkins' "The Savages," starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Besides "Enchanted," other top holdovers heading into their second sesh include Sony's "This Christmas," which finished last weekend at No. 2 and cumed $28 million through Wednesday, and 20th Century Fox's big screen vidgame adaptation "Hitman," which came in No. 4 over Thanksgiving and grossed $23.7 million through Wednesday.

Heading into its third frame, Paramount/Shangri-La Entertainment's 3-D epic "Beowulf" remains a strong contender, proving that the extra charge for a 3-D movie ticket can bolster a movie's box office. Pic, which came in No. 3 over Thanksgiving, grossed $59.8 million through Wednesday.

A clutch of holdover family films will continue to look for box office traction, including Paramount-DreamWorks Animation's "Bee Movie" ($112.9 million through Wednesday), Warner Bros.' "Fred Claus" ($53.6 million through Wednesday), Fox-Walden's "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" ($22.8 million through Wednesday) and Warners' "August Rush" ($14.7 million through Wednesday).

On the limited side, "Diving Bell" plays three locations in Gotham and L.A. Film is based on the memoir by former French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was left immobilized by a stroke.

"Savages," which opened Wednesday, plays in four theaters in L.A. and Gotham. Dysfunctional-family storyline revolves around a brother and sister who come together to care for their ailing father.

Other limited debuts include Bollywood musical "Aaja Nachle," which Yash Raj opens in 66 theaters in key markets; Bollywood comedy "Nina's Heavenly Delights," which Regent opens in two theaters in New York; Iraqi war drama "Badland," which Arcangelo opens in two theaters; biopic "The Rocket," which Palm opens in one theater in New York; Argentine suspense drama "Chronicle of an Escape," which IFC First Take opens in one theater in Gotham; and docu "Protagonist," which IFC opens in one theater in New York.

Todd Haynes' experimental Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There" is expanding into 138 theaters...

Click here for the foreign stats.

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly:

With little new competition, expect the Disney musical to wear box office crown for a second weekend...

Next Week: Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig team up for the second time since August (The Invasion) to bring the Golden Compass to the big screen...

The Strike Day 26

The latest: A proposal is offered; The Writers Guild of America, responds; Then the AMPTP speaks; Talks halted; Some progress on the TV news front for one network and Strikers strike...

Talks hit pause button

Negotiations will resume on Tuesday With the writers strike in its fourth week, the companies on Thursday put forth what they consider to be a "groundbreaking" proposal -- and the writers have blasted it...

Read AMPTP statement Read WGA statement

WGA East, ABC in tentative deal

Agreement covers 250 news employees

Another WGA striker struck by car -- deliberate?

At least both sides have scheduled new talks...

How disturbing is that last headline? One time is an accident--more than one incident is...

Stay Tuned...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

2 Story Post

Marc Graser of Variety has Item #1:

Keri Russell has landed the female lead opposite Adam Sandler in Disney's "Bedtime Stories."

In the comedy, Russell will play a potential love interest for Sandler's character, a harried real estate developer whose life is suddenly turned upside down when the lavish bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew become real.

Adam Shankman ("Hairspray") is helming the pic, scripted by Matt Lopez, that's set to start lensing in February, and will get a holiday 2008 release under the Walt Disney Pictures banner.

"Stories" is being produced by
Andrew Gunn's Gunn Films, along with Sandler and producing partner Jack Giarraputo through their Happy Madison Productions. shingle.

Jennifer Gibgot and Ann Marie Sanderlin will exec produce.

Russell stars in
"August Rush," and recently wrapped "The Girl in the Park," which also features Sigourney Weaver, Kate Bosworth and Alessandro Nivola.

Russell makes a fine chooce for the role. Even though she's best known for her skills as a dramatic actress, as a regular viewer of the TV series "Felicity", I know when given humorous material--no matter how brief it is--Russell can shine. And with Sandler around--laughs are sure to ensue just the same.

Michael Fleming pens story #2

New Line Cinema has firmed "Man That Rocks the Cradle" to be the first star vehicle for Samuel L. Jackson since the studio forged a deal with the actor's Uppity Films.

Bought as a spec script by
Josh Cagan and based on a story by Cagan and Rob McKittrick, "Man That Rocks the Cradle" revolves around an overworked husband and father of four who decides the solution to all his problems is a live-in nanny. Jackson will play the nanny, Marion Delacroix, a reputed "kid whisperer" from the South.

Jackson will produce the film with
Michael Nash through the Uppity Films banner. Chris Fenton and McKittrick will be exec producers.

Jackson, who's coming off
"1408" and "Resurrecting the Champ," is in production on the Frank Miller-directed "The Spirit." The prolific actor recently completed the Neil LaBute's "Lakeview Terrace," Doug Liman's "Jumper" and the Jon Favreau-directed "Iron Man."

Jackson's a real Hollywood workhorse. The film should yield another great performance for his resume...

The Strike-Day 25

The latest: After dark TV; Demo Debate Fallout; Money Matters Better Than First Thought; Land Ho...

Latenighters at work

Talent bookers face a challenge Strike or no strike, it's business as unusual for latenight TV's talent bookers...

CNN isn't the only network having Presidential debate concerns today...

CBS cancels Democratic debate

Candidates deterred by picketers

Economist forecasts impact of strike

Report shows losses less than estimated

WGA Strike Affecting Real Estate

The talks are ongoing--at least there's no new film fallout today...

Stay Tuned....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pics Of The Litter

Photos from a pair of high profile flicks have found their way onto the net:

JoBlo posted 3 new photos from the set of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull...

For all of those stories over the years in the media and among the fans online, while the sequel languished in development, about Harrison Ford's age playing Indiana Jones in the new film...

I must say, all of those concerns seem pretty silly--Especially when you see those first 2 very iconic pics...I got goosebumps!

Ford looks great!

Here he is with co-star Shia LaBeouf in a cave most likely seeking "fortune and glory".

...Two new photos from the set of Watchmen:

That second shot looks like it lept right out of the book...

Visit Zack Snyder's “Backlot” the Watchmen production blog for more great production stuff ...

I can't help but feel giddy over seeing these 5 photographs...Says me wearing a big grin.

Jake Does Broadway

Another biopic of a famous sports figure is in the pipeline...

Michael Fleming of Variety:

Universal Pictures will turn the life of Joe Namath into a feature film, with Jake Gyllenhaal playing the Hall of Fame quarterback.

David Hollander will write the script once the writers strike is over. Mad Chance's Andrew Lazar will produce. Jimmy Walsh, who runs Namanco Prods., exec produces.

Walsh said he and Namath OK'd the movie after a long pursuit by Lazar, a strong take by Hollander and the belief that the athletic Gyllenhaal was the right actor to play him.

While other quarterbacks racked up bigger lifetime stats, Namath became the first football player to achieve rock-star status. The pic will tell the story of how the golden-armed kid from Beaver Falls, Pa., became Broadway Joe, the New York Jets quarterback who became a '60s cultural figure.

When Namath emerged from Bear Bryant's football program at the U of Alabama, the upstart American Football League the stepchild to the powerhouse National Football League. Sonny Werblin who'd left MCA after the Justice Dept. broke up Lew Wasserman's company, knew the value of star power and was determined to use it when he bought the Jets. He outbid the NFL, paid Namath a record $400,000 salary and turned him loose on New York. The handsome nonconformist became a sensation, on the field, in nightclubs and on Madison Avenue as the first star to become a magnet for commercials.

After backing up his guarantee that the Jets would beat the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, Namath put the AFL on equal footing with the NFL, paved the way to a merger and helped establish football as a TV sport. He accomplished all of this on knees so bad that draft board doctors refused to send him to Vietnam for fear that they would give out on the battlefield.

"Most of the stuff you saw in 'Forrest Gump' Joe lived through all of it," said Walsh, who first met Namath on the Alabama campus and has worked with him ever since. They witnessed the struggle for civil rights in Alabama, the sexual revolution and Vietnam...

Gyllenhal may share the athletic look and build of Namath of days gone by--but its also quite clear that both men share the same fashion sense as well...

Given that-I have to wonder if they also share the same size pantyhose?

The Strike-Day 24

The latest: Talks resume without either side saying a word; A chance to catch up for the holidays; Politicians are still making hay out of the strike; And some famous cut-ups join the picket lines...

WGA, AMPTP talk but don't comment

Hollywood waits for sides to break silence The sound of silence gripped Hollywood for a second straight day as striking writers negotiated with studios and nets behind closed doors to end the 23-day work stoppage...

Pickets lines a social scene

Strike organizers driving home message

Politicians, stars cheerlead WGA East's rally

Talks Between Screenwriters, Studios Show Little Progress

Michael Meyers And Chucky Show Support For Writers

Personally, I think it's a smart move on the part of the 2 sides for nobody to flap their gums, until a deal is reached...By not revealing what went on--keeps someone from saying something stupid when offering the play-by-play.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Strike-Day 23

The latest:

Writers, producers resume talks

Session scheduled as the first of three days Hollywood remained on the edge of its collective seat Monday amid hopes for a possible end to the writers strike...

Union members rally for writers

Celebrities, politicians join N.Y. event

U.K. writers show support for WGA

Guild urges members to join demonstration

Writers Guild of America honcho Patric Verrone has "Cautious optimism" for the new round of talks

The "Speechless": Internet series debuts...

Check out this installment starring actress Susan Sarandon;

Click here to watch 'em all @

At this stage--I doubt the ads will sway any opinions-of those on the other side--but at least the videos are a hoot to watch for the rest of us sitting on the sidelines.

Stay Tuned...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Big Blue Is Tied In Knots

Engaged since Summer'06, Superman Returns star Brandon Routh married longtime girlfriend Courtney Ford on Saturday November 24th, at the El Capitan Ranch in Santa Barbara CA.

People Magazine has more on the couple's special day...


As far as the status of the Superman sequel Superman: Man of Steel, the groom tells People Magazine that it should start filming "next year sometime"

Considering that MOS lost its original writing team recently, and the writers strike, next year year for a production start seems optimistic at this point.

Play Mate

Will Aussie actor Russell Crowe replace Brad Pitt over that State of Play dust up?

Michael Fleming of Variety:

Universal Pictures spent the weekend trying to convince Russell Crowe, its "American Gangster" topliner, to replace Brad Pitt as the star of "State of Play."

The result of that courtship will be known early this week and will determine how ugly things get between the studio and Pitt after he exited the picture over disagreements about the shooting script.

Pitt's exit on Thanksgiving eve not only put the picture in a state of flux, it also left a studio and star with differing opinions on which one caused the exit. And it left Hollywood questioning how valid pay-or-play deals are in a strike climate where studios are venturing into production starts on scripts that can't get a rewrite if
they need one.

...The role Pitt exited and Crowe is considering is a politico-turned-journalist who spearheads his newspaper's investigation into a killing that leads to a fast-rising pol (Norton). The journalist faces two conflicts: He once ran campaigns for the pol and was his confidant, and the journo develops a romance with the pol's estranged wife (Wright Penn).

If the studio chooses to sue Pitt, it would test the validity of a pay-or-play deal. Universal believed that Pitt signed one, while Pitt's reps believed he didn't, because he never approved a shooting script that got rewritten numerous times and never to his satisfaction...

If Crowe steps in, he'll do fine of course. But if he can't fit the film into his already busy schedule...I wonder if the producers will be able to find a third man in time?


Wow! Disney's Enchanted gobbled up the competition over the long Thanksgiving weekend...breaking a record in the process.

Pamela McClintock of Variety:

Disney’s princess tale “Enchanted” worked magic on the Thanksgiving box office in grossing an estimated $50 million domestically from 3,730 runs, one of the best openings ever for the five-day stretch.

Business was up overall at theaters, providing plenty of leftovers for other films trying to take advantage of the Wednesday-Sunday holiday frame.

Sony-Screen Gems’ “This Christmas” came in an impressive second, grossing an estimated $27.1 million in its bow, according to Rentrak. African-American holiday pic played in 1,858 theaters.

Paramount and Shangri-La Entertainment’s holdover 3-D epic “Beowulf” battled it out with 20th Century Fox’s big screen vidgame adaptation “Hitman” for young males.

In its second frame, “Beowulf” placed No. 3, grossing an estimated $23.3 million from 3,218 locations over the five days for a total take of $56.4 million. Coming in No. 4, “Hitman” grossed an estimated $21 million from 2,458 runs.

Warner Bros. family pic “August Rush” and MGM’s horror entry “The Mist,” from Dimension Films, had a bit more trouble claiming their share of the holiday feast in their debuts.

“Rush” came in No. 7, grossing an estimated $13.3 million from 2,310 runs for the five days. “Mist” placed No. 8, grossing an estimated $13 million from 2,423 theaters.

Holdover family entries “Bee Movie,” from DreamWorks Animation, and Warners’ “Fred Claus” beat both “Mist” and “Rush.”

For the five-day frame, “Bee” grossed $15.9 million from 3,507 theaters, pushing the film past the $100 million mark at domestic the box office in its fourth frame. Toon’s cume is $112 million.

In its third frame, “Claus” grossed an estimated $15.1 million from 3,603 runs for a cume of $53 million.

Coming in No. 9 for the five days was Universal’s holdover “American Gangster,” which grossed an estimated $12.7 million from 2,799 theaters for a cume of $115.8 million.

The No. 10 spot saw a close race between Miramax’s “No Country for Old Men” and Fox’s family holdover “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.”

“No Country,” from the Coen brothers, appeared to edge out “Magorium,” grossing an estimated $11 million from 860 theaters as it went wide over the five-day holiday frame for a cume of $16.6 million.

For the five days, “Magorium” grossed an estimated $10.9 million from 3,168 locations in its second frame for a cume of $22.3 million...

Read the entire article here...

Joshua Rich of EW:

Disney's Amy Adams-Patrick Dempsey romance grossed $50 mil over the long weekend, with ''This Christmas'' a surprisingly strong No. 2...

I still can't believe that such a high-profile film like The Mist came in at #9--Sure, the competition was fierce out there--But still... With names like Frank Darabont and Stephen King attached--I expected it to be in the top 3 at least. Just proves that you never really know how a very crowded frame will play out.

Kudos to This Christmas for taking #2!!

The Strike-Day 22

The Latest: The day for talking again has finally arrived--A new poll from Variety; And don't forget your picket signs...

WGA back at bargaining table

Poll: WGA wins hearts; studios retain muscle

Study: Guild gets point across better As the WGA strike begins its fourth week, the outcome of Hollywood's first significant labor crisis in 20 years is anything but certain.

To read Variety's strike survey, click here

Monday: Getting back to the nitty gritty by Dave McNary

It's the first stab at negotiations since Nov. 4 and the first picketing since the Nov. 20 march and rally on Hollywood Boulevard.

Most of the picketing will take place in three three-hour shifts, with Warner Bros. set for four such shifts with the first starting at 5 a.m...

Stay Tuned...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Strike-Day 21

Negotiations Resume Tomorrow...

From today's Los Angeles Daily News:

Producers dislike relying on unglamorous people with ideas;

If the prop guys, grips, gaffers and set dressers pin the tail of blame on the WGA, the entertainment industry will eat itself alive from the bottom up...

I'll betcha a lot of folks on both sides are holding their breath and crossing their fingers (and maybe even their toes) right now...

Stay Tuned...

Ladies Room

-Moviehole picked up a story that has Jordana Brewster in talks to reprise her role of Mia Toretto in the fourth "Fast and the Furious" flick

Mia was the sister of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and love interest to undercover agent Brian (Paul Walker) in the 2001 original.

The latest installment will see Brian freed from prison to help the feds stop a heroin importer. With info from an informant and Dominic, Brian earns a place on the criminal's team to catch him.

I'm glad to see that the producers are making an attempt to bring many folk from the first film as they can--but let's face it it's really all about the cars and the stunts.

-The New York Post says that despite a strike related delay-- Naomi Watts is set to co-star in Angels & Demons with Tom Hanks. Ron Howard is at the helm<. The plot has Robert Langdon character (Hanks) trying to solve a murder and unravel a plot by an ancient group called, the Illuminati, who want to blow up the Vatican during a papal conclave.

Watts would play the role of Vittoria Vetra, daughter of the physicist Leonardo Vetra who's death kicks off the chain of events in the film.

Despite its current woes--the movie is still set to hit theaters on May 15th 2009

Watts will make a fine addition to the prequel and should work well with Hanks

-Voted FHM Magazine's sexiest South African woman Ms Tanya Van Grann appears in the upcoming Starship Troopers: Marauder sequel

The third flick in the series marks the return of NJ native Casper Van Dien cast again as Johnny Rico. Graan plays one of seven troopers who must help to save the earth.

The film will probably stink up the room...But once again, who cares? The plot is secondary with Graan hanging around.

Later Today: The Chicago Bears take on the Denver Broncos at home...USA Today preview...

The Bears have just a slim chance of returning to the playoffs with their defense in total disarray...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Guest Review

Some time ago, I invited Associated Content contributor and pal William N. Stape to write a review or opinion piece for The Last Reel...We've been emailing back and forth since he profiled me in February of this year...Since he had yet to see Richard Donner's version of Superman II, I suggested he watch it and then review it for me. I was interested in what he had to say about it when-compared to my opinion...

Take it away Will....

Imagine wanting to watch the "same" movie again, but being forced to wait on the pleasure for 26 years? For Superman fans, the opportunity to do just that arrived in 2006 with Richard Donner's version of Superman II, a movie he started, but didn't finish way back in 1977.

For the uninitiated, Richard Donner, director of Superman starring Christopher Reeve, also filmed its sequel Superman II simultaneously. Following a dispute with producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind, Donner was fired and Richard Lester brought in to finish the movie. Lester's version was the one released theatrically in 1980 to great box office success and fan adoration.

Still, fans longed to see what might have been if Donner had completed his vision.

With studio Warner Brothers blessing spurred on by an enormous Internet fan rallying, Donner gathered the footage he'd shot, assembled a production team and finished the flick so many had been wishing to view. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Donner cut his directorial teeth on TV dramas like Kojak, Streets of San Francisco and even genre classic The Twilight Zone. His action oriented work on shows like The Wild Wild West and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. taught him more than a thing or two about pacing and high octane fight scenes. Perhaps more than anything else, his Superman II dazzles with meatier and better directed action fare.

Basically the story can be broken down into three main action set pieces: Kryptonian villains led by General Zod as they take the White House, Superman fighting his evil countrymen on the streets of Metropolis and finally the showdown in the Man of Steel's Fortress of Solitude. Save for the last one, Donner's direction in the fight fests trumps Lester's by a good margin.

In Lester's II, the White House fight flies by quickly. While perfectly serviceable, it's nothing to excite a diehard action fan. Donner ups the ante with not only more realistic violence, but gives Zod a moment of sheer ruthless villainy. After yanking a military rifle from a solider, Zod guns down as many puny Earthlings as possible, laughing manically all the time. This truly set a darker tone for the White House takeover and unforgettably validates Zod as one mean son of a gun. Donner's finale at the Fortress of Solitude is nearly identical to Lester's, except for a sorely missed gag of Superman using holography to coolly stump the villains. Of course the most popular scene is the Metropolis show down. Here Donner doesn't disappoint.

Again, the scene is quite close to Lester's - with the same beats and punches as theatrical film fans love, however one moment truly elevates Donner's cut. Instead of Zod knocking Superman into a building, he launches the caped Kryptonian into a wild spin right smack into Lady Liberty's torch! The resulting explosion bursts forth in a magnificent shower of glass shards, and plops Superman to lay in what's left of the twisted wreckage. It's not only a real visual treat, but as Superman is thrown violently into that symbol of American freedom and democracy, it means so much more than just being tossed into some brick and mortar. Who knows if Warner Brothers objected to the Statue of Liberty's torch being destroyed, but as the White House is nearly destroyed in the same movie, I don't see the harm. Also, it's a wonderful metaphorical enforcement of how Superman fights for truth, justice and the American way, especially when invaders tarnish those patriotic symbols.

Aside from far meatier and deftly handled action, Marlon Brando returns as Kal-El's father. Producers refused to pay him to appear in the sequel, so actress Susannah York was used speaking nearly the same dialogue. York did a fine job, but she's no Brando. Watching one of history's greatest film actors in scenes never before shown was yet another dual treat for Superman fans, along with drama aficionados. When Jor-El glances up at a frightened Lois Lane, casting a disapproving gaze upon her, like some potential father-in-law reproving his son's choice of spouse, it's classic Brando and well worth this movie restoration. I'm kind of shocked more fanfare wasn't involved in the release for just Marlon Brando's historic restored scenes alone.

For a continued blow-by-blow comparison of the two films, you'll have to study them yourself. Even in Donner's DVD audio commentary, he's at a loss to just which footage he shot and Lester's. Of course in terms of individual scenes working better in their respective edition, well that's left up to fans with a lot of time on their hands.

My bottom line: The original Superman films represent a pinnacle in movie making in all aspects. Not only were they the "birth" of the modern day superhero film, but the technical hurdles the production team overcame, the casting of acting juggernauts like Marlon Brando, Terrance Stamp and Gene Hackman, and the incredibly lucky discovery of Christopher Reeve to personify the pulp fiction legend like no other, gave it a weight or as Donner is fond of saying a verisimilitude, which has rarely been achieved before or since. Lester's II may not have been a true cliffhanger, but in all important ways it's a companion piece or even second chapter of an epic tale. Sadly Superman 3 & 4's narrative quality doesn't measure up. Bryan Singer was wise to overlook them with his revisit of the film franchise.

With Richard Donner's Superman II Cut, fans can now weigh a new version into the mix. No matter how much you love Lester's theatrical version, you must watch Donner's cut to see the story not only how it could have been, but how it could have been better. That said, there are aspects of Lester's version which I feel work wonderfully. Who knows. Maybe a fan will take both versions and produce the "definitive" cut. In the meantime, we can enjoy both on DVD and continue to politely argue the merits and debits of both cinematic treats.

Whatever your preference, it's clear Superman will return...

Thanks Will--

You make some interesting observations that I hadn't thought of at the time of its release nearly one year ago....or at all for that matter...

Superman will return indeed--and so will Mr. Stape...the saga of the Donner Cut of Supes II isn't quite over either...

From Bats To The Big T?

Is actor Christian Bale suiting up for yet another popular film series?

Ain't It Cool News is reporting that Bale is all but set to become a part of the Terminator franchise when a new trilogy kicks off next year.

The site indicates that Bale has been cast as John Connor in the upcoming fourth feature film "Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins"

McG is directing the "Salvation" which begins shooting early 2008. The new trilogy is said to take place during the war between humanity and the robots of Skynet--put into motion at the end of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

The latest chapter in the T Saga is on target for release in the summer of '09.

At first glance, I would wonder why Bale would want to jump into a 2nd franchise--while still committed to The Dark Knight for at least one more film... But then the more I think about it...The T series is going to need a bankable star to headline it--since Schwarzenegger may only appear in a cameo role--if he does at all. Bale fits the bill. And even more importantly he can act playing tortured characters like Connor like no other actor of our time...

Stay Tuned To See If This Turns Into Something Official.

The Strike-Day 20

Even though a new round of talks, set to begin on Monday, has been scheduled since Nov 17rh--that doesn't mean the 2 sides are declaring a truce...

In fact, the Writers Guild of America stepped it up a notch just one day after the Thanksgiving weekend got under way.
Nancy Dillon of The New York Daily News talks about the writers' new strategy in the PR war:

Writers strike back on Web, show actors with no scripts...

Stay Tuned...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Off And Running

The Star Trek reboot isn't the only film being produced by JJ Abrams that is generating buzz--The very cool theatrical trailer for Cloverfield (1-18-08) has hit the net...

Holy Crap! How awesome does that look? The question is...Can the film, as a whole live up to all of the hype?

Meanwhile, Anton Yelchin, who plays Chekov in the new Star Trek film for Abrams, might move from a Starfleet uniform to some red spandex tights.

Superhero Hype says that the 18 year-old actor is one of the names being thrown around to play Wally West-AKA The Flash in the much talked about Justice League of America movie.

Of course, any delay caused by the WGA strike may in turn put Yelchin's potential casting in the role in a tailspin-making it seem like the young rising star is just running in place...

Yelchin would be a great choice for Flash though if the rumor turned into a reality...


There's some real drama going on behind the scenes of the film State of Play as one of its big stars drops out before production begins.

Michael Fleming of Variety:

Brad Pitt is out of “State of Play,” a development that has put that star-studded Universal Pictures drama in a state of flux, and has put studio and star on opposite sides of who caused his exit.

Pitt ankled the film early Wednesday, following two weeks of struggle and meetings with director Kevin Macdonald that prevented the film from making its original November 15 production start date. The studio considers Pitt to have walked out of a pay or play commitment, and is leaving open the option to sue him if the picture cannot be recast in time to keep the other actors in place.

The studio has already begun trying to replace Pitt. But while strike-related production postponements on films like “Angels & Demons” and “Shantaram” made stars like Tom Hanks and Johnny Depp suddenly available, Universal has a very small window to work with. If the studio doesn’t recast and begin production in L.A. and D.C., it will begin losing other cast.

Pitt was set to star with Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman and Robin Wright Penn. Mirren had a stop date so that she can film “Love Ranch” with her husband, director Taylor Hackford, and Joe Pesci early next year.

Pitt’s camp disputes that he violated a pay or play deal, that he ever approved a final script, or that he even wanted to drop out of the film that he has been the driving force behind for 16 months. At issue is a disagreement with the studio over the final direction of the shooting script...

Pitt sparked to a script by Matthew Michael Carnahan, who adapted the Paul Abbott-created British miniseries. While the actor went off and made several movies in quick succession,...While the film attracted a sparkling cast, Pitt’s vision departed with that of the studio somewhere along that rewrite trail.

.. Pitt wanted to wait for a strike resolution to get a final rewrite that brought the film back to Carnahan’s original. Universal brass liked the rewritten script better, and told Pitt to honor a contractual commitment so that the studio could release the film for late 2008.

If the studio cannot recast, it is possible that growing bad blood will result in a lawsuit, rather than in Pitt getting that rewrite he wanted...

Universal confirmed Pitt’s exit in a statement.

Brad Pitt has left the Universal Pictures production of `State of Play.’ We remain committed to this project and to the filmmakers, cast members, crew and others who are also involved in making the movie. We reserve all rights in this matter.”

Read the entire article by clicking here...

Wow! Pitt's actions certainly puts everyone else in a bit of a pickle doesn't it? I wonder who they'll get to replace him? Or if they'll meet that deadline of the 29th?

If it were up to me though Depp would get the nod to replace Pitt

The Strike-Day 19

Over on Variety's strike blog, Josef Adalian posted this on Wed:

Save the date: One wag's (not-so) wacky theory on how the strike will end...

Pencil in Dec. 7 for some margaritas. That's the day the strike will end.

OK, so we don't actually know this for sure. But one major Hollywood manager we trust has worked out a scenario in which labor peace will come to Hollywood by the first week of next month.

The way he sees it, next week's WGA-AMPTP negotiations should go smoothly. He argues that the outlines of an agreement were hammered out last week during the back channel negotiations involving key agents, moguls and showrunners.

Anyway, he thinks a tentative deal could be announced within a few days of the talks resuming. It'll then take a few more days for the WGA to poll its membership, leaving Dec. 7 as the day the WGA declares the new contract has been ratified.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps. Plenty of other insiders remain doubtful that a deal is even within reach. But hey, a little hope during the holidays never hurt anybody...

With new talks set to start up again on Monday--Anythings possible of course, but the divide between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers seems far too wide as I type this for there to be a resolution in a mere 2 weeks time. Personally, until the "new media" compensation issue is ironed out, I see things getting worse before they get better (IE more films will get scraped/delayed).

Stay Tuned...

Thursday, November 22, 2007


It's been awhile since ItsJustSomeRandomGuy has posted the latest chapter in the ongoing DC/Marvel film franchise saga...

He more than than makes up for the drought with a double fisted 2 part that ties up many loose ends--getting off a few good laughs in the process.

Part I

Part II

Great Stuff... as always

Speaking of stuff... As prepare to spend the Thanksgiving Holiday with my family stuffing my face...

I want to take the opportunity to give thanks to some real heroes--the men and women of our armed forces serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the planet--who fight for "Truth And Justice" every day...


The Last Reel salutes you...And Happy Thanksgiving!!

The Strike-Day 18

The latest:

The effects of the walkout are being felt around the world; While the writers are trying to keep busy including industry legend John Truby (Truby @IMDB)...

WGA strike burns Pinewood

Stock falls 7.5% following 'Angels' shutdown.

Pinewood/Shepperton has taken a hefty body punch from the writers strike, which has led to a major film to shut down production at the leading U.K. studios group.

Euro studios eye strike strategy

Italy, U.K. take hit with 'Angels & Demons'

This pen's for hire

Striking writers try other realms

John Truby rides out strike

Labor woes haven't quenched scribes' appetite

Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Helmer Headlines

4 directors are making news:

-''Mean Girls'' director doing ''Seven Days''

Mark Waters has been tapped to helm 'Seven Days', a comedy-drama that chronicles seven pivotal days in a man's life during the course of 20 years, with each segment of the film beginning as he wakes up that day...

-Singleton to direct 'Executive Order'

John Singleton will call the shots for the thriller.

Philip Eisner's script, follows the residents of a small, snowbound town, who band together to fight a mysterious horror that turns out to be an alien being unleashed by a plane crash.

-Hollywood legend Sidney Lumet has signed a 2 picture film deal.

Funky Buddha Group have stumped up the cash for ' Getting Out', and have also agreed to finance a further film for the ever-green director, with the option for a third. 'Getting Out", revolves around a prisoner who becomes locked in a dangerous battle of wits with his psychiatrist while attempting to break out of jail..

-G-Force director Hoyt Yeatman has nabbed Cage, Morgan and Buscemi for the 2009 flick

The trio will voice super-intelligent commando animals in Disney's live-action/CG feature.