Monday, December 31, 2007

This Is Getting "Old"

For the last day of 2007-I have rounded up another batch of favorite film picks of various critics and organizations... And once again--Ethan & Joel Coen's No Country For Old Men (pictured) is out in front getting most of the attention. First though, the comedy Juno gets some kudos....

Satellites fall for 'Juno'

Indie wins prizes for comedy, actress, writing

'Old Men' get nod as AP's movie of 2007

Phoenix critics adore 'Country'

Coen brother film sweeps annual awards

Dallas critics pick Coens' 'Country'

'Old Men' wins trio of honors from Texas org

Southeastern critics prefer 'Old Men'

'No Country' takes writing, directing honors

Toronto critics salute 'No Country'

Coen film wins best film, director, screenplay

-I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers a very happy and healthy new year...

The Strike-Day 57

I found this little item on Yahoo News:

WGA Strike: Why Alec Baldwin is Right...

Posted on Dec 28, 2007 I thought it was the perfect way to end my strike coverage for the year....

Mr Baldwin (pictured) writes on occasion for The Huffington Post in between acting gigs and getting into hot water over leaving threatening messages to his daughter over the phone...For which he has since apologized and thus redeemed himself...

Stay Tuned...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Those Nutty "Munks"

Yeah, yeah--Nicolas Cage and National Treasure: Book Of Secrets hold on to retain the top spot for the second weekend in a row...but it's the 2nd place finish for Alvin and the Chipmunks that caught my attention...

Pamela McClintock of Variety:

The second weekend of the holiday sesh continued to bring big gains for the film biz, with Disney sequel "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" leading and 20th Century Fox's runaway hit "Alvin and the Chipmunks" overtaking Warner Bros.' "I Am Legend" for the No. 2 spot.

"Book of Secrets" declined a narrow 20% in its second frame to an estimated $35.6 million from 3,832 runs for a cume of $124 million, according to Rentrak. That bests the $87.2 million grossed by the original "National Treasure" in its first 10 days.

Overtaking "Legend" for the first time since both films bowed on Dec. 14, live-action/CGI hybrid "Alvin" grossed an estimated $30 million from 3,484 runs for a cume of $142.4 million, outpacing all expectations and positioning the family title to be among the top 10 grossing films of the year.

"Legend" has already accomplished that feat. Sci-fi thriller, toplining Will Smith, grossed an estimated $27.5 million from 3,636 runs over the weekend for a cume of $194.6 million. That's a decline of just 18%. Film, coming in No. 3 for the weekend, will easily jump the $200 million B.O. mark today.

Frame marks the third weekend in a row that box office business is up from the previous year. And with the holiday not over, studios and specialty distribs expect to see significant grosses over the next week...

"National Treasure," released over Thanksgiving 2004, went on to gross roughly $173 million at the domestic box office.

Fox senior VP of distribution Bert Livingston said "Alvin" is unstoppable...

The Fox empire also took the No. 5 spot with Christmas day opener "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem," which grossed an estimated $10 million from 2,611 runs for a cume of $26.9 million in the sequel's first six days. Fox noted that the film was up over the weekend.

Landing at No. 7 for the weekend was Sony and Walden Media's kiddie entry "Water Horse: Legend of the Deep," which grossed an estimated $9.2 million from 2,772 runs for a cume of $16.8 million. Like "Aliens," pic opened on Christmas.

MGM and the Weinstein Co.'s "The Great Debaters"—the third film opening on the holiday itself— wasn't able to crack the top 10 list, coming in No. 11 for the weekend. Film, directed by and starring Denzel Washington, grossed an estimated $6.3 million from 1,171 runs for a cume of $13.5 million.

The Weinstein Co. noted that "Debaters" enjoyed a 17% Friday-to-Saturday jump, indicating promising word-of-mouth.

Warners' Hilary Swank-Gerard Butler romancer "P.S. I Love You" placed No. 8 for the frame, grossing an estimated $9.1 million from 2,464 runs for a cume of $23.4 million in the pic's first 10 days. Like other films playing to adult auds, the pic was up over the previous weekend...

Read the rest of 'Treasure' keeps box office crown for more...

Joshua Rich of EW:

Nicolas Cage sequel ''Book of Secrets'' is No. 1 again, leading a generally strong weekend for holdovers...

Read More Here...

End Of The Year Close-Out

The folks at Variety list the Top 10 Things That Didn't Happen in '07...While the American Film Institute puts out its top events list for the year...And the National Film Preservation Board adds another 25 flicks to its registry...

It's an annual ritual for newspapers to chronicle the news stories of the past year that had the biggest ripple effect upon the rest of the world. But there were some major events in 2007 that didn't happen, creating an effect that was arguably even more profound...

AFI lists top '07 moments

List includes writers strike, iPhone debut

25 films added to national registry

Additions this year include a trio of my favorites: 'Back to the Future,' '12 Angry Men' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'...

-Later today the Chicago Bears end the regular season wanting to spoil the playoff hopes of the New Orleans Saints...After a disappointing season, my fingers are crossed that the team can end '07 on a high note...

The Strike-Day 56

The latest:

Will Oscar 2008 be a bust?...The Golden Globes, on the other hand, plan hard, even with the TV broadcast in doubt..And the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers react to the Letterman deal that was announced on Friday...

Strikes may put Oscar out of a job

Will the Oscars, the most glamorous night of the year, be a write-off?

Some Golden Globe Events Planned Even if Telecast is Off

AMPTP on Worldwide Pants deal: Joke's on WGA members

Stay Tuned...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Strike-Day 55

The latest:

The numbers game continues...And a deal with Dave takes center stage...

ATPMP: Strike Organizers Cost WGA Members More Than $151 Million

AMPTP does the math, comes up with...

Striking writers union reaches deal with Letterman

Letterman's statement on WGA pact

"I am grateful to the WGA for granting us this agreement. We're happy to be going back to work, and particularly pleased to be doing it with our writers,"

"This is not a solution to the strike, which unfortunately continues to disrupt the lives of thousands. But I hope it will be seen as a step in the right direction."

Well said..Your turn NBC Universal. to do the Tonight Show with Jay Leno writers the same courtesy.. Getting the ball rolling may force the big boys to strike a new deal for everyone...


WGA chiefs: 'There are no shortcuts in this deal' ...

SAG weighs in on Worldwide Pants-WGA deal...

Stay Tuned...

Sheets And Aliens

A few tid-bits of interest...

From the spiffy (sorta) new one sheet teaser poster for The Dark Knight...

...To the rather cringe inducing look of the one sheet for Speed Racer...

Day The Earth Stood Still redo gets another cast member

Jon Hamm of cable TV's Mad Men joins sci-fi flick

Sasha Baron Cohen retires Borat, Ali G-Cohen's talent notwithstanding I can't say that I will miss these two characters all that much...Will you?

The first video from the set of "X Files Sequel has hit to whet your whistle"...

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Strike-Day 54

Can another industry guild walkout be avoided...? (Gosh, I hope so...) and another after dark gabfest makes a comeback...

DGA eyes Jan. 7 for studio talks

AMPTP to discuss strike with Directors Guild of America

Though it hasn't been officially announced, Jan. 7 has emerged as a likely start date for negotiations between the DGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers...

Fox's Feresten joins latenight return

Host returns to 'Talkshow' on Jan. 12

Stay Tuned...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

RIP Stu Nahan (1926-2007)

The Associated Press is reporting the passing of someone connected to Philadelphia film history...

Longtime Los Angeles sportscaster Stu Nahan, also familiar to movie fans for his appearances in the series of "Rocky" films, has died at 81.

His daughter, Kathy Derington, says Nahan was surrounded by family members when he passed away Wednesday at his home in Studio City.

He had battled lymphoma since being diagnosed with that form of cancer in January 2006.

A former minor league hockey goalie, Nahan had been a sports anchor for three different television stations in Los Angeles. He retired from TV in 1999, and most recently did pre- and post-game radio shows for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also did play-by-play for the Philadelphia Flyers and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Besides "Rocky," Nahan also appeared in several movies and television episodes including a bit part in the 1971 TV movie "Brian's Song" and in a cameo as himself in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" during which he interviewed Sean Penn's character in a dream sequence.

The Strike-Day 53

The latest: Spin Zone and Taking Stock

WGA enlists aid of PR pair

Democratic political consultants to help effort

Writers Guild of America has retained veteran Democratic political consultants Bill Carrick and Kam Kuwata to provide assistance on the strategic and PR fronts of the 8-week-old strike.

I thought the writers were winning the PR War? Aren't the Dem Presidential Canidates gonna need their help to win in '08?

Writers strike fails to rock stocks

Studio share prices still steady...

Yeah, but for how long?

Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Strike-Day-52

With all of the awards show fallout created by the strike-One program will go ahead as it's supposed to...

The Independent Spirit Awards will be written by professionals...

-WGA will write for Indie Spirit Awards

Stay Tuned..

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Strike-Day 51

A trio of new strike related stories to mull over as you drink your holiday egg nog:

The Writers Guild of America has a lot riding on a DGA contract..

Producers fight the future

A-listers were once D-listers too

Stay Tuned...
Meanwhile...As we wait in joyful hope for a resolution to the writers strike...
I Wish All Of My Loyal Readers...

The Last Reel....

Monday, December 24, 2007

Aliens, Predators. A Water Horse And Denzel...

A trio of new flicks are opening tomorrow--hoping to get a head start on next weekend's box office race...

There's something for everybody here...

No doubt young boys/men will go for A V P R (reviews)--having seen the first AVP: Alien vs. Predator flick of 2004-I'm not sure that I would have green lit a sequel...

Adults are the targeted demo of the drama The Great Debaters (reviews) starring and directed by Denzel Washington...

While The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (reviews), based on the book by Dick King-Smith tries to go for the the family friendly crowd...

Next X-Mas: JJ Abrams resurrects big screen Star Trek...!!


Here's a long overdue update of a November story about Shia LaBeouf:

Charges Against Shia LaBeouf Were Dropped On Dec. 12...

A photo of Shia probably thanking his Lawyers...

The outcome not a surprise considering the circumstances...

LaBeouf has another big year ahead of him...with the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Eagle Eye in '08. Hope he steers clear of any more trouble...

The Strike-Day 50

Some recent strike headlines that have caught my attention beginning with a question and ending with a story from overseas:

Will Actors Support the Writers Strike by Staying Home on Oscar Night? Fingers crossed that all will be resolved by then...

Hollywood prop vendors sell off pieces of Tinseltown

Hollywood movie scripts drying up-Well Duh!

Writers' strike not turning off Americans

Stay Tuned...

Treasure Trove

National Treasure: Book Of Secrets tops the domestic box office...

Pamela McClintock of Variety

Disney sequel "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" found plenty of loot in its debut at the domestic box office, grossing an estimated $45.5 million from 3,832 theaters and cementing the franchise's foothold. Original "National Treasure" debuted at $35. million over Thanksgiving weekend in 2004.

The four other new wide releases proved no match for holdovers "I Am Legend" and live-action/CGI combo "Alvin and the Chipmunks," which came in No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in their sophmore frames, according to Rentrak.

Warner Bros." "Legend," starring Will Smith, declined 56% to an estimated $34.2 million from 3,620 theaters for a boffo cume of $137.5 million in the pic's first 10 days of release.

Twentieth Century Fox's family friendly "Alvin" fell just 35% to an estimated $29 million from 3,499 theaters for a hefty cume of $84.9 million in the film's first 10 days.

In a closely watched race, Universal's Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts starrer "Charlie Wilson's War" narrowly beat out DreamWorks-Paramount's Johnny Depp musical adaptation 'sweeney Todd," although neither film was able to jump the $10 million mark in their debuts.

Directed by Mike Nichols, "Wilson's War" grossed $9.6 million from 2,575 to place No. 4 for the weekend.

Playing in less than half the number of theaters as "Wilson's War," director Tim Burton's 'sweeney" grossed an estimated $9.3 million from 1,249 theaters for the No. 5 spot and a per screen average of $7,486. Per location average for "Wilson's War" was 3,735.

Warner Bros." Hilary Swank-Gerard Butler romancer "P.S. I Love You" came in No. 5 in its debut, opening at a modest $6.5 million from 2,454 theaters. Warners distributed the film through its output deal with Alcon Entertainment, which produced and put up all the financing.

Sony's Judd Apatow-produced biopic spoof "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" failed to find many laughs, grossing an estimated $4.1 million from 2,650 theaters and coming in at No. 8 behind Disney holdover "Enchanted." Performance of "Walk Hard" marks a rare blemish for Apatow.

Indie title "Juno" proved the little engine that could, placing No. 10 for the weekend in grossing and estimated $3.4 million as it expanded from 40 to 264 theaters for a cume of $6.4 million.

In placing No. 7, "Enchanted" declined a slim 25% in its fifth frame to an estimated $4.1 million from 2,752 theaters for a cume of $98.3 million.

New Line's "The Golden Compass" declined 55% in its third frame to $4 million for a cume of $48.4 million. Film came in No. 9 for the weekend.

Overall, distributors were delighted with weekend results.

Click here for more USA stats...

Meanwhile, I Am Legend rules overseas...

Nicole Sperling of EW:

''Book of Secrets'' helps Nicolas Cage find his way back to the top of the weekend box office

Read More ....

Cage had another #1 debut this year--with the Febuary release of Ghost Rider...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Twas The Dark Knight Before Christmas

ItsJustSomeRandomGuy puts his talents to work with a unique superhero twist on Clement Clarke Moore's classic holiday poem Twas the night before Christmas



Last week was a busy one for the long gestating big screen version of The Hobbit....After months of legal wrangling--the movie is finally a go!!

What to expect...

Peter Jackson is exec-producing the film...

Guillermo del Toro addresses those directing rumors....

Guillermo del Toro wouldn't be a bad choice to helm the flick--He has a great skill and wonderful sense of how to create stunning landscapes and visuals...That said though, I would much rather see long rumored fellow contender Sam Raimi take over on the saga of Middle Earth...

Whatever happens and whomever sits in the "Big Chair", I'm glad Peter Jackson has a role in helping things along and that he and New Line Cinema found a way to make nice.

Motion Picture Picks

Entertainment Weekly film critics Owen Gleiberman and Lisa Schwarzbaum have each picked their top 10 films of '07...

Here are the flicks EW's critics loathed this year loathed this year...

Were I an EW flick critic...I would have found room for the Simpsons Movie on my Best List; And the God awful Halloween remake would have been atop my Worst List..

This Afternoon: The NFL rivalry continues as the Chicago Bears take on the Green Bay Packers...with Bears Looking to End Misery Against Hated Packers...

The Strike-Day 49

The Associated Press asks Is Writers Strike the Christmas Grinch?

Let's see...


-Selfishness is at the center of both stories...

-Both narratives use witty words,...

-Both tales use pictures of dogs and kids...(I have posted pics of wee ones and canines on the picket lines)..

Stay Tuned to see if there is a happy ending anytime soon...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

From Salt To Sand

During an interview with MTV News, director Peter Berg confirmed that he will helm a new big screen version of Frank Herbert's sci-fi novel Dune

It's "a done deal," Berg says "if it weren't for the writer's strike, we'd be in it right now" and calls the film's scale "big, big big ." Berg says that while there's no script yet, but they have a list of writers they plan to go out to once the strike settles.

But before he tackles Dune Berg's next gig has him directing the Tom Cruise thriller "Edwin A. Salt."

"Dune" has been translated twice to screen before -first in the empty yet still visually stunning 1984 film by David Lynch (pictured), and then as 4 and half hour cable mini-series from 2000 that went more by the book.

At first glance Berg seems a very unlikely choice for this project...That said, I expect the new flick to much more satisfying than either previous efforts--with Berg on the case.

The Strike-Day 48

Nothing but Op-Eds, Press Releases, and Open Letters...

The AMPTP Greatest Hits Collection compiled by Dana Harris:

One more AMPTP statement, this one sort of a greatest-hits hodgepodge. There's a lot of the Wolper letter, the now-classic David Young quote and their figures on the average WGA salary and how much the strike is costing. Bonus points for enhancing Wolper's Oscars/Olympics metaphor: "It is like the Olympic athlete who trains his or her whole life to compete for a gold medal at the Olympics, only to have the dream dashed because of some politically inspired boycott."

Writers face faceless enemy by Variety Editor-In-Chief Peter Bart (pictured):

Corporations putting Hollywood in check...

"Here's what's creepy about this war," one striking writer told me last week. "I know who my allies are, but I don't really know my enemy."...

Dave McNary has gotten hold of a copy of An AMPTP open letter to the entertainment industry

Not much new here, but the AMPTP does single out three of the six WGA proposals that, according to the AMPTP, have to be taken off the table for negotiations to resume.

Those are areas are jurisdiction over reality and animation, as well as sympathy strikes.

Translation: Take this away and we'll negotiate on new media.

So far, the WGA has shown little interest in this approach -- partly because it has indicated that the AMPTP's mew-media offers aren't close to being acceptable.

Continue reading "An AMPTP open letter to the entertainment industry" »

Stay Tuned...

Friday, December 21, 2007


The Hollywood Reporter has fresh casting news for the big screen version of GI Joe

Rachel Nichols (pictured), seen recently in the thriller P2 , will join the cast as Scarlett, one of the key G.I. Joes who serves as counterintelligence and specializes in martial arts combat.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr.Eko of TV's Lost), has moved on from the island as he joins the cast as Heavy Duty, an ordinance expert.

Saïd Taghmaoui (The Kite Runner) will play communications specialist Breaker.

Those are some solid recruits joining the ever growing Joe roster

The Strike-Day 47

The Latest:

A Letter to the Editor; More Golden fallout; Getting ready to take a break for the holidays; And the last of the late-nighters return...

Variety's Scribe Vibe blog received this letter from producer David L. Wolper that reads in part...

...To help their cause against the studios, they decided to punish the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Who is hurt? Do you really think the studios will change one single negotiating point because of the Golden Globes or the Oscars? Who it really hurts are all the people, including writers, who were looking forward to their Oscar or Golden Globe experience and who may lose their only moment to shine because of the cloud put over the events by the Writers Guild.

Frenzy over Globes uncertainty

Event organizers prepare for all possibilities

WGA winds down for the holidays

74% of Americans unaffected by work stoppage

Stewart, Colbert to return Jan. 7

Comedy Central bringing back latenight shows...

Stay Tuned...

National Natter

As the holiday weekend kicks off--a bunch of new films will face off with last week's big winner: I Am Legend...

Sweeney Todd (reviews) Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (reviews) Charlie Wilson's War (reviews) PS I Love You (reviews) National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (reviews)

Here's the analysis...

'Treasure' takes on 'Legend' by Pamela McClintock of Variety

Nicole Sperling of EW:

Nicolas Cage and Will Smith will battle it out over Christmas, while other new releases elbow in...


Nicolas Cage appears in his third movie of '07...Ho Hum--As for me, I'm rooting for Will Smith....

Bowing on Christmas Day: The Great Debaters and The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep ...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hell, Yeah

A director returns to his roots...

Raimi 'Hell' bent on thriller by Michael Fleming of Variety:

After spending the last 7 years or so bringing Spider-Man's adventures to the screen, Sam Raimi next flick is "Drag Me to Hell," a supernatural thriller he wrote with his brother, Ivan.

After that, rumors still persist about him doing the The Hobbit...

The Evil Dead films are some of the best of their kind...Quirky fun...I look forward to seeing what's been cooked up by The Brother's Raimi in hell.

Super 7

The teaming of a sporting event Juggernaut and the movies continues--making up for lost time...

Films play in Super Bowl by Marc Graser & Dade Hayes of Variety:

After virtually sitting out last year's game , seven studios have suited up and bought ads to promote their upcoming pics during Super Bowl XLII, set to air Feb. 3 on Fox from Phoenix, Ariz.

...February's matchup will see spots for summer tentpoles such as Paramount and Marvel's superhero entry "Iron Man," Sony's Will Smith actioner "Hancock" and Adam Sandler comedy "You Don't Mess with the Zohan," as well as New Line's Will Ferrell laffer "Semi Pro."

In an unusual move, New Line's ad is a collaboration with Budweiser; Ferrell will appear in character. The sports comedy, in which he plays a basketball player, owner and coach, bows Feb. 29.

Disney said it was still considering which movies to offer, though ",WALL·E" the next toon from Pixar Animation Studios, is a contender, as is "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian)."

Universal, Warner Bros. and Fox also have bought time in the game but declined to disclose which films they would push.

...The return of the studios can be attributed in part to Fox rolling out the red carpet for the distribs -- quite literally. Ryan Seacrest will host a pregame special in which he will interview stars from the films that purchased ads. The spots also will appear on a special MySpace page as part of the ad buy.

Yet some studios have been skittish to disclose plans either because they don't want to show their hand to the competish or don't know which pics to slot in the ad spots they've purchased.

Big factor, though, is the rising cost of the ads themselves, which gives marketers pause.

I would think the studios would want to sell their wares on such a big telecast-regardless of cost or what the competition is doing or not doing.

Whatever the case is--I'm glad the long held tradition of selling films during the Superbowl is back.

Does Seacrest really need any more work?

The SAGA Of The Year

The Screen Actors Guild has announced its nominees for the best in film and television acting for the past year.

Set for Jan. 27, the annual ceremony won’t be affected by the Writers Guild of America strike. Earlier this month, the WGA granted SAG a waiver for the show, to be telecast on TBS and TNT.



George Clooney - "Michael Clayton"
Daniel Day-Lewis - "There Will Be Blood"
Ryan Gosling - "Lars And The Real Girl"
Emile Hirsch- "Into the Wild"
Viggo Mortensen - "Eastern Promises"


Cate Blanchett - "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
Julie Christie - "Away From Her"
Marion Cotillard - "La Vie en rose"
Angelina Jolie - "A Mighty Heart"
Ellen Page - "Juno"


Casey Affleck - "The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford"
Javier Bardem - "No Country For Old Men"
Tommy Lee Jones - "No Country for Old Men"
Hal Holbrook - "Into the Wild"
Tom Wilkinson - "Michael Clayton


Cate Blanchett - "I’m Not There"
Ruby Dee - "American Gangster"
Catherine Keener - "Into the Wild"
Amy Ryan - "Gone Baby Gone"
Tilda Swinton - "Michael Clayton"


"3:10 to Yuma" - Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Dallas Roberts, Vinessa Shaw, Ben Foster, Alan Tudyk, Logan Lerman

"American Gangster" - Armand Assante, Josh Brolin , Russell Crowe, Ruby Dee, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Carla Gugino, John Hawkes, Ted Levine, Joe Morton, Lymari Nadal, John Ortiz, Rza, Yul Vazquez, Denzel Washington

"Hairspray" - Nikki Blonsky, Amanda Bynes, Paul Dooley, Zac Efron, Allison Janney, Elijah Kelley, James Marsden, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, Brittany Snow, Jerry Stiller, John Travolta, Christopher Walken

"Into the Wild" - Brian Dierker, Marcia Gay Harden, Emile Hirsch, Hal Holbrook, William Hurt, Catherine Keener, Jena Malone, Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn

"No Country for Old Men" - Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Garret Dillahunt, Tess Harper, Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Kelly Macdonald


"300" (Warner Bros.)
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal)
"I Am Legend" (Warner Bros.)
"The Kingdom" (Universal)
"Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End" (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

See SAG's TV nominations...

Into the Wild tops the SAGAs...But its nods for Hairspray has me scratching my head while the one for 310 To Yuma took me happily by surprise...

The Strike-Day 46

The latest: More award season fallout over waivers; Mark it with a B; And Interim interludes...

People's Choice Awards revamped

Ceremony nixed after Writers Guild of America denies waiver Faced with the prospect of a broadcast without celebrities, "People's Choice Awards" has scrapped its Shrine Auditorium ceremony next month.

WGA strike taking toll on L.A.

Labor issue could cost up to $2.5 billion

WGA seeking interim agreements

Guild in discussions with signatory companies

Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Flow Chart

Michael Fleming of Variety explains why several a-list film stars are playing a game of cinema "musical chairs"...

Pitt in talks to star in 'Tree of Life'

Brad Pitt is in talks to climb into "Tree of Life," a drama Terrence Malick wrote and will direct.

River Road Entertainment is financing, and Bill Pohlad is producing with Sarah Green ("The New World") and Grant Hill.

Pitt, who recently ankled the Universal Pictures drama "State of Play," would replace Heath Ledger, who was skedded to star with Sean Penn in the Malick-directed drama, which begins production in the spring. Though Penn is booked to play the title character in the Gus Van Sant-directed "Harvey Milk," he's still expected to play a supporting role in "Tree of Life." Penn has an allegiance to River Road's Pohlad, who co-financed with Paramount Vantage the Penn-directed "Into the Wild."

No deals have been made with Pitt or Penn. Pitt would have earned $20 million against gross to star in "State of Play," but he'll likely sign on to "Tree of Life" for nearly no upfront money...

Pitt and Malick should make for an interesting tean on "Tree"...

If you are having trouble trying to keep of who's doing what--Don't fret-story #2 is related--but won't make your head hurt as much...

Affleck to sub for Norton in 'State'

Edward Norton is exiting "State of Play," and talks are under way for Ben Affleck to replace him in the Kevin Macdonald-directed drama for Universal Pictures and Working Title.

Norton becomes the second high-profile cast member to disembark, following the exit of his "Fight Club" co-star Brad Pitt just before Thanksgiving...

Hiring relacements actors on flicks is all the rage of late,,,This trend could lead to a sequel of the popular game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon...

The Strike-Day 45

The latest:

This just in from AMPAS: We never asked for a waiver; Pressure point; Golden pickets; More TV talkers return; And second stringger replacements...

To the members of the Academy:

Some reports in the press today (12/18) stated that the Academy had been denied a waiver by the WGA that would have allowed Guild writers to work on the telecast of the 80th Annual Academy Awards. In fact, the Academy has not requested such a waiver, nor has the Guild told the Academy whether such a request would or wouldn't be viewed favorably.

As it does each year, the Academy recently requested from the WGA a waiver in connection with any film clips and excerpts from past Oscar telecasts that might be shown on the upcoming Academy Awards telecast. The Academy was informed last night that the Guild would not grant that waiver, stating that to do so would not advance the Guild's goals in its current efforts to achieve a collective bargaining agreement. This decision affects only the conditions under which we may use such material, not our ability to do so.

The Academy remains committed to presenting its Awards on February 24, and will continue to work with all parties to achieve that goal.

Latenight returns pressure WGA ...

With the writers strike in its seventh week, there are signs of change on a number of fronts -- and these changes may ratchet up the pressure on the Writers Guild of America to reach a settlement.

WGA to picket Golden Globes

Ceremony takes place January 13

Kimmel returning to late night

Letterman will also be back, even without WGA

USA shows set for NBC lineup

'Monk' 'Psych' to fill Sunday schedule...

Psych is a goofy fun guilty pleasure and I actualy prefer watching that over Monk...

Stay Tuned...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Valk Walking

Another day-another 2008 film's release date changes...

'Valkyrie' release pushed back by Pamela McClintock of Variety:

United Artists and MGM have pushed back the release of Bryan Singer's Tom Cruise starrer "Valkyrie" from the July 4th holiday frame to Oct. 3, 2008.

Singer has yet to shoot a pivotal battle scene that explains how Cruise's character, a Nazi officer who is part of a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, lost his eye and hand while fighting in Africa.

Battle scene was originally set to be shot outside the U.S., but those plan were scuttled. UA is in the process of nailing down a new location...

Valkyrie's delay on the heels of the poor box office of the recent Lions for Lambs doesn't bode well for the new UA. As to the reason for the delay...It's amazing that a "pivotal scene" such as the one described didn't have all of its kinks worked out beforehand. I realize that things come up...But C'mon...Singer and co. couldn't see the trouble while in production and go to plan B?

The Strike-Day 44

The latest:

AMPTP open letter accuses Writers Guild of America of lurching "day-by-day from one tactic to another"; Doing the "waive" (off); Learning to share; Better late than never; Alec Balswin uses free time from his TV show to do a movie...

Dave McNary of Variety:

The AMPTP began the week with another blast at the WGA, which today plans to formally request negotiations with the bargaining group's individual members.

In an "
open letter to the entertainment industry", the AMPTP asserts: "These writers are no closer today to getting their fair share of new media revenues than they were when the strike began."

According to the AMPTP, the strike's economic consequences amount to more than $200 million for below-the-line workers; writers, the AMPTP says, have lost more than $115 million.

The AMPTP calls on "working writers" to pressure the union to adopt a "reasonable, consistent and practical negotiating strategy."

No closer? really? I don't buy that it's all the WGA's fault that negotiations are stalled--it takes 2 sides to find a compromise. Insults get us nowhere..Both sides have room to improve here...

WGA rejects waiver requests

Offers included clips, writing for awards telecasts The Writers Guild of America has turned down requests for waivers for Oscars and the Golden Globes.

Guilds show solidarity on new media

Directors Guild of America sharing its inside info re: compensation

NBC's latenight hosts return to work

Leno, Conan O'Brien to return on Jan. 2

Baldwin joins Cassavetes's 'Keeper'

Actor's '30 Rock' schedule open due to strike

Stay Tuned...

Jury Duty

The folks at DVDActive posted some really good DVD news recently--One of my favorite movies--and one the greatest flicks ever made is celebrating an important milestone...

The 1957 legal potboiler 12 Angry Men turns 50 years old...!

And on March 4th 2008 Fox Home Entertainment will reissue the movie on disc with all new special features.

This Sidney Lumet directed film should retail at around $19.98. The film itself will be presented in widescreen, along with English and French Mono tracks.

Extras will include a “Beyond A Reasonable Doubt: The Making Of 12 Angry Men” featurette, and an “Inside The Jury Room” featurette.

Despite the absence of an audio commentary by Lumet--I'm so there. The story was updated in 1997 as a cable TV project with a fine cast...But as solid a remake as that was--Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats the original classic starring Henry Fonda..Love the case art work. I can't wait!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Three-Ring Serkis

Frequent film collaborators are crossing paths again...

Andy Serkis set for 'Tin Tin' by Tatiana Siegel and Michael Fleming of Variety:

Peter Jackson is set to reteam with his performance-capture muse Andy Serkis for DreamWorks' trilogy "Tintin," which is based on Georges Remi's Belgian comic-strip.

Steven Spielberg and Jackson will each helm at least one of the three films, though DreamWorks declined comment on the specific lineup.

Serkis, who has collaborated with Jackson on several films by providing the human expression and movements behind such CG characters as Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the big ape in "King Kong," has signed on to star in the films. DreamWorks was mum on which character or characters the actor will play but said it will not be the titular Tintin.

Pics will chronicle the adventures of Tintin, a junior reporter who will follow stories even though he often finds his own life in jeopardy.

Principal photography on the first film is scheduled to begin in September...

This news is not really a surprise--Serkis has, as outlined above, been an MVP for Jackson since the dawn of the 21st century. It would have been more of a shock if Serkis sat on the sidelines...

My suggestion? A Gollum / Smeagol/Tintin crossover....A cop buddy movie...Yeah....

Team Titan

Stephen Norrington has signed on to direct the Clash of the Titans remake, per a report in Variety.

Production is slated to start next year for a 2010 release. Lawrence Kasdan rewrote the script for the new film based on the previous draft penned by Travis Beacham...

Norrington's last film, 2003's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen wasn't exactly a hit. I hope he can pull this one off a bit better...

A Former Prince Turns King

I Am Legend is truly the stuff of legend at the cineplex.

'Legend' lands legendary opening by Variety's Pamela McClintock

Warner Bros.’ Will Smith starrer “I Am Legend” scored the best December opening of all time with $76.5 million over the weekend, while Fox’s live-action/CGI hybrid “Alvin and the Chipmunks” surpassed all expectations in debuting at an estimated $45 million...

Nicole Sperling of EW:

Will Smith flexes box office muscle -- pic's $76.5 mil is best-ever December opening weekend...

I'm always rooting for Smith to make good...And he's certainly done it again.

-With their playoff chances gone--The Chicago Bears are playing for their self-respect against the Vikings on Monday night...USA Today has a preview of tonight 's prime-time clash...

The Strike-Day 43

The latest: Actors have writers back; Avoid thy enemy; And chaos is our friend...

SAG to continue WGA support

Actors to support strike 'as long as it takes'

With the writers strike entering its seventh week, SAG president Alan Rosenberg has pledged that the thesps union will continue backing the Writers Guild of America.

WGA seeks to avoid AMPTP

Writers try one-on-one talks

WGA Uses Chaos Theory to Divide & Conquer Studios

Stay Tuned...

Big Grin

The new trailer for The Dark Knight is here!

After watching that--I've warmed up to the idea of Heath Ledger playing the Joker...By the time the next preview rolls out I should be sold completely...

Now peek behind the scenes as Batman goes IMAX,,,

The Bat-sequel hits theaters on July 18th 2008...