Monday, April 30, 2007

Night-ly News



Actor Chris Evans (pictured) spoke with the folks at IGN a few days ago--telling them that his next project will be The Night Watchman, a thriller set against the backdrop of the Los Angeles Police Department. As I noted before--The film will be written and directed by David Ayer

Keanu Reeves (story) and Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (story) will co-star

"I play this guy named Diskant. He's a cop, good cop," Evans informed the site "When Keanu gets framed or implicated in this murder, he's the cop in charge of the investigation."

He added, "I've met David; I've met Keanu. They all seem great."

Evans will report to the set, for day one, on May 21st in Los Angeles.

This is quite a get for the young Mr. Evans, who's not really done much dramatic work, thus far in his career--save for maybe a few small flicks like London, The Orphan King, and some episodic TV stuff.

He will, of course, be seen in this summer's Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer, (6-15-07) in which he reprises his role as Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch.

Speaking of FF 2...Here's the final trailer for the film:



I like what I'm seein'.

King Of The Forest

Michael Fleming of Variety has news that made me very happy:

Ridley Scott is set to direct Russell Crowe in the Universal Pictures drama "Nottingham," which Brian Grazer is producing for Imagine Entertainment.

Universal earlier bought the spec script by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris , creators of the Showtime series "Sleeper Cell" in an auction for seven figures. Crowe was attached at that time (Daily Variety, Feb. 1)

Crowe stars as the Sheriff of Nottingham in a revisionist take on the Robin Hood tale, with Nottingham as a noble and brave lawman who labors for a corrupt king and engages in a love triangle with Maid Marion and Robin Hood.

Production will start next year.


Scott will direct the film after he helms Leonardo DiCaprio this fall in a CIA thriller for Warner Bros., based on the David Ignatius. novel "Body of Lies"...

Scott has directed Crowe in "Gladiator,"A Good Year" and the upcoming "American Gangster ".

'Good Year''s failure to generate much buzz, notwithstanding, Scott and Crowe make quite the director/actor combo. Gladiator is one of my all-time favorite films. I'm therefore, ecstatic that Scott will be calling the shots on this film.

"Dis" Satisfaction

As I had hoped, the thriller Disturbia holds on yet again, to win the latest round of the cineplex derby....

Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo:

Disturbia led the box office for the third weekend in a row, fending off another slate of weak movies that included Next...

LaBeouf And Roemer Get A Last Taste At #1 Before Spidey Comes Calling


Ian Mohr of Variety:

Highly anticipated summer pics will take center stage starting Friday, when "Spider-Man 3" swings into theaters, but it didn't take much to capture No. 1 this weekend in a dismal spring scene at the multiplexes.

Top 10 pics combined over the weekend for a paltry $57 million -- a mark the webslinger will likely break all by himself in his opening.

With [folks] largely eschewing the movie theaters, Paramount and DreamWorks' left-field hit "Disturbia" managed to take the No. 1 spot for the third weekend in a row, with just $9 million. The PG-13 rated pic brought its cume to $52.1 million, as it dropped only 30% from the previous frame.

It'll surely be months before any pic can again capture No. 1 with $9 million.

Overall B.O. was way off pace from last weekend: The combined total of the top 10 pics plunged roughly $11.5 million.

The wave of new movies failed to generate much traction with [audiences].

No. 2 was Disney's debuting supernatural pic "The Invisible," with $7.6 million.

Nicolas Cage, who had luck earlier this year with the superhero vehicle "Ghost Rider," couldn't weave his magic once again: His latest pic, "Next," about a small-time magician who sees into the future, conjured only $7.2 million in its debut.

Par pic landed at No. 3. It had better luck overseas, however, finishing No. 1 in the U.K. and France over the weekend, according to weekend estimates.

Among other new titles, Lions gate actioner "The Condemned," starring WWE grappler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, was relegated to ninth place with just $4 million.

And the Yari Film Group and Jamie Kennedy comedy "Kickin' It Old Skool" got kicked to the curb, missing the top 10 altogether. Break-dancing comedy spun out to just $2.8 million, generating only $1,541 per theater...


The entire article can be read here...

In his Weekend Wrap-Up for Entertainment Weekly, Joshua Rich writes:

Shia LaBeouf's thriller manages to hold off weak newcomers, bringing in another $9.1 mil

Summer '07 Begins: Spider-Man 3 Swings Into Action On Friday...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Knight Life

Goldentusk has posted another movie theme song music video on You Tube. This time, the cine-crooner has added lyrics to Danny Elfman's popular main title for the first Batman flick, from 1989...

Enjoy those ever clever lyrics and fun backgrounds...



Since composing music for Batman some 18 years ago, Elfman has worked on many a superhero movie, making each of those scores distinctive--fitting of both the characters, and the "worlds" they inhabit....

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Block Party

Spider-Man 3 takes center stage for Entertainment Weekly's Summer Movie Preview issue (on news stands now...)

Steve Daly begins the Spidey article with this question:

The planet's favorite crime-stopping webslinger returns in the series' biggest installment yet. But who'll be back for part 4?


(From left) Church, Franco, Grace, Dunst, Howard, and Maguire

Photo By James Dimmock

Scores of amateur star-stalkers point cell-phone cameras. Pros aim long telephoto lenses, shutters clicking like cicadas. Why the frenzy? Because right here, in a New York City square near the cluster of court buildings by the Brooklyn Bridge, it's them — Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, who've helped sell $1.6 billion worth of tickets worldwide in two Spider-Man movies.

On this sunny, breezy Saturday in June 2006, they're at work on a Spider-Man 3 scene where Peter Parker, dorky news photographer for the Daily Bugle, runs into Mary Jane Watson, his aspiring-actress girlfriend, at a key-to-the-city ceremony celebrating Parker's crimefighting alter ego. Between affectionate consultations with director Sam Raimi, Dunst looks around warily — she's on open display to hundreds of rubberneckers encircling the company.

Periodically, shout-outs rain down from the outlying crowd: ''Kirsten!'' ''Hey, Tobey, over here!'' ''Kirsten, we love you!'' When Maguire disappears for a while and Dunst begins some reaction shots, she becomes the main focus of onlookers' attention. She squirms.

''The paparazzi are everywhere,'' she says, curling in a semi-fetal scrunch in a low-slung folding chair. A few takes later, an open-roofed double-decker tour bus rumbles by. The mic-wielding barker up top spots Dunst and announces her name, which echoes between tall buildings. ''I wish I had cardboard to hold up to my face,'' Dunst moans. All that fan love, it seems, can be overwhelming.

Reflecting on the day later, Maguire shrugs off the fishbowl mania. ''As an actor, you're used to it,'' he says. ''People watch you all the time, and come pick at you and touch you. You start to not notice.'' Besides, he says, the hometown crowds are a good sign. ''There's a proprietary feeling New York has for the Spider-Man character,'' Maguire says. (That's why Sony planned ''Spider-Man Week in NYC'' starting April 30). ''They feel like it's their film, too. Spider-Man belongs to them.'' New Yorkers, Americans, people of Earth — they all feel they have a stake in the fate of a do-gooder kid from Queens.

Read More Here...

The double issue has info on all of the season's 115 new flicks--including a chat with producers of The Simpsons Movie (July 27th); Does Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End finish with a cliffhanger? (May 25th); Is Ocean's Thirteen better than the last one? (June 8th)-Gosh, I hope so; Live Free or Die Hard has our hero John McClane (Bruce Willis) taking on cyber-terrorists (June 27th): The Harry Potter saga continues in "The Order Of The Phoenix" (July 13th); 5 people wrote the script for The Bourne Ultimatum--according to the mag...(August 3rd); And then there's that pesky Halloween remake/prequel...(August 31st).

It's a worthwhile read--and will help you to plan out your summer cinema menu quite nicely...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Cleaning House

Summer '07 can't get here fast enough for me...The final weekend of the spring '07 movie season has 2 supernatural themed flicks battling against a comedian and wrestler in hopes of taking the top spot...


Nicolas Cage stars in his 2nd flick of the year-a thriller called Next (reviews); Meanwhile, Steve Austin of the WWE stars in the actioner The Condemned (reviews); The Invisible (reviews) looks like just another knock off of Ghost; And Jamie Kennedy is Kickin' It Old Skool (reviews) in his new comedy...

Ian Mohr and Dave McNary of Variety set this week's cinema table:

Hollywood is doing some spring cleaning in April's last frame, clearing its shelves of various pics before the onslaught of blockbuster summer sequels kicks off with Sony's "Spider-Man 3" next weekend.

Then again, Nicolas Cage had one of the year's biggest, unexpected hits with "Ghost Rider" -- which revved $223.6 million worldwide -- and he's back with supernatural thriller "Next."

Paramount's PG-13 pic bows on an estimated screens. Cage plays a magician who can see into the future and gets caught up in stopping an international terror plot.

Pic, from "Die Another Day" helmer Lee Tamahori, will have to tussle with Par and DreamWorks' own "Disturbia," the "Rear Window" twist for teens that has ruled the roost for the past two weekends.

Also haunting the multiplexes will be Disney's own PG-13 supernatural entry, "The Invisible," another teen-skewing spookfest that will hit 2,019 locations.

Lionsgate counters by rolling out "The Condemned," with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin as a convict sent to an island to duke it out with other killers as part of a reality show.

Pic, grappling at 2,310 theaters, could pick up some biz with male auds from the Texas Rattlesnake's fanbase.

Indie [production company] Yari Film Group breaks in with the Jamie Kennedy laffer "Kickin' It Old Skool."

The complete article can be found right here

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly predicts: 'Next'' looks like an easy No. 1 this weekend, with thrillers ''The Invisible'' and ''Disturbia'' closing in behind...

Is it just me, or do this week's crop of wide releases look awful? I'm actually hoping Disturbia will hold on to number one for another week.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

RIP Jack Valenti (1921-2007)

One of the film industry's most controversial figures of the past few decades has died....



Jackc Valenti, the colorful, charismatic head of the Motion Picture Association of America for almost four decades and the prime mover behind the movie ratings system, died Thursday. He was 85.

Valenti had checked out of Johns Hopkins University Medical Center on Wednesday where he was hospitalized after suffering a stroke.

A private mass celebrating the life of Jack Valenti will be held in Washington. The family will announce details in the coming days.

The highly articulate and pugnacious Valenti, a former aide to President
Lyndon B. Johnson who served as the industry's Washington, D.C., liaison from 1966 to 2004, was among the most visible lobbyists in the country, as comfortable testifying at a government hearing as he was appearing on the Academy Awards.

Even after he handed over the MPAA reigns to
Dan Glickman Valenti continued to cut a public profile. He spoke before congressional committees to publicly defend the ratings system, created just two years into his MPAA tenure, as a viable and successful alternative to government enforcement of content.

Valenti also was a staunch defender of the industry's importance in America's balance of trade. He frequently found himself embroiled in skirmishes over Internet piracy, TV ratings and the V-chip, the fin-syn rules, cable deregulation or the constant rise in the cost of movies -- about which he constantly carped, though he rarely was able to suggest a remedy.

His detractors complained that he protected the status quo of the major studios, even to what was viewed as a detriment to other parts of the industry. He championed the industry's 2003 ban on awards screeners as a way to guard against Internet piracy, despite protests from specialty arms and independent filmmakers. After some distributors sued, a court delivered an injunction lifting the ban.

Born Sept. 5, 1921, in a poor neighborhood of Houston, Texas, Valenti aspired to public life from an early age. He graduated high school at 15 and earned his B.A. from the U. of Houston, worked for a time in advertising at Humble Oil, then added a Harvard MBA. He flew 51 combat missions as an Army Air Corps pilot in World War II. After the war, he continued in advertising and branched out into political consulting..

As old Hollywood was giving way to a new permissiveness, reflected in movies... the ratings sytem kept censorship wolves at bay but caused controversy within the industry. The X and then NC-17 ratings were seen as punitive to filmmakers' self-expression. But many agreed the ratings system was the only way to prevent possible government intervention.

In the mid-'70s, with videocassettes becoming a major revenue growth source for the industry, Valenti became a staunch supporter of anti-piracy programs to protect the studios' interests in 68 countries abroad. His non-stop crusading helped the at-first meagerly funded effort ($76,000) grow in budget size to $40 million over the years.

But perhaps more than anything, Valenti acted as a conscience for Hollywood, reminding industryites about their responsibilities and excesses. However, he constantly defended show business from attackers, and rarely criticized the business himself. One rare example was his attack on
Oliver Stone's 1991 "JFK." Valenti defended the Warren Commission (established by his mentor Johnson), casting aspersions on Stone's controversial film. However, his timing was, as always, discreet: he waited until four months after the film had opened, after the Academy Awards, before speaking out against the pic.

The silver-haired Valenti was a natty dresser and courtly gentleman, who enjoyed using five-dollar words and arcane historical and literary allusions as he spoke out on numerous issues, all of which seemed to get him into a high lather.

For example, in 1985 at ShoWest, he described new technologies as "metal skeletons whirling about in the heavens, hurling down beams of delivery systems."

The resurgence of JFK conspiracy theories in 1992 caused him to lament, "The Lord only knows how many more conspiratorial badgers are out there burrowing into the entrails of Alice's Nonsense Wonderland, ready to barter their gauzy and grotesque notions for gold in the publishing and movie marketplace."

Even in retirement, Valenti maintained a public profile. He wrote a column for the Politico, including one in which he expressed his opposition to the war in Iraq and made comparison's to Johnson's ill-fated efforts in Vietnam.

"Having served one president in wartime, I'm reluctant to criticize another chief executive because I'm aware of the personal agony they feel in ordering troops into harm's way," he wrote. "Yet in launching the war in Iraq, our commanders ignored the errors of other drawn-out conflicts, inclouding Vietnam. The mistakes made then were repeated in Iraq. How sad."

... His extensive memoir "This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House, and Hollywood" was due out in June, 2007.

He and wife Mary Margaret divided their time between Washington and Los Angeles. They had three children, Courtenay, John, and Alexandra.


Read the full Valenti obituary in Variety for more...

Giving It Your All

Another day, another remake is announced in Hollywood...



New Line has signed Queen Latifah [pictured] to topline a remake of "All of Me," the 1984 comedy that starred Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin.

Adam Shankman and Offspring Entertainment partner Jennifer Gibgot will produce with Ira Posansky. Latifah will exec produce with Shakim Compere, her manager and partner in Flavor Unit.

The original "All of Me," directed by Carl Reiner, starred Tomlin as a dying heiress whose soul inhabits the body of a successful attorney, played by Martin.

"All of Me" is Latifah's third project with Shankman, following "Bringing Down the House" at Disney and the upcoming "Hairspray" at New Line. Latifah, who plays Motormouth Maybelle in "Hairspray," is currently working on "Mad Money" in Louisiana along with Diane Keaton, Ted Danson and Katie Holmes...

New Line's been developing the "All of Me" remake for the past two years. It hired scribes Brent Goldberg and David Wagner to write a modern take on the story and was aiming to cast Wanda Sykes in the Tomlin role.

I love the original, and to be honest, though she's very talented-Latifah comedic resume is mixed. Bringing Down The House (also with Martin) is a prime illustration of what I mean.

Casting is key here. If they play it smart, getting just the right person to play opposite her, this could work out well--Maybe Jim Carrey (who really really needs a hit)? I'd even suggest that Johnny Knoxville might be a good fit...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Spidey 3 Stuff

Spider-Man 3 is mere days away from spinning it's tale in theaters... Here's a little controversy, a note about Sony Pictures' big buck parade for the superhero spectacle...and reviews

Dave McNary and Clifford Coonan of Variety start us off:

Chinese pirates have already riled up Sony a week ahead of the "Spider-Man 3" launch -- even though they haven't sold actual pirated copies of the tentpole.

A Reuters report filed Tuesday out of Beijing said street vendors were already selling DVDs with "Spider-Man 3" cover art for just over $1 each, even though the disc didn't work subsequently on a DVD player. That development was sufficient for Sony to issue a press release.

"Our investigation in China has revealed no case of the film being pirated to date," the studio declared. "Similar hoaxes and false alarms have occurred prior to the release of other major films. We have uncovered examples of 'Spider-Man 2' being sold in 'Spider-Man 3' boxes in China. But thus far we can find no instance where 'Spider-Man 3' has appeared on DVD."

Sony also felt compelled to assert it's found no pirated copies of "Spider-Man 3" on the Internet.

Thus far, the only showings of the pic have come at heavily monitored [premieres], which started April 16 in Tokyo. "Spider-Man 3" will open next Tuesday in China, France, Italy, Japan and South Korea -- three days ahead of the domestic release.

In fact, the streets of Beijing Tuesday revealed little evidence of pirated DVDs.

Where in the past hawkers at stations were widely evident, their numbers appear to have thinned out in recent weeks and months. And many of the most prominent shops known for selling pirate DVDs now take a more guarded approach. Some now remain closed during daytime when authorities are more likely to check and only open in the evenings.

If there are fake "Spider-Man 3" DVDs in circulation [they] may be offered under the counter in an on-demand fashion, rather than the obvious attention-seeking ways of old.


The copies may not exist now--but they will soon enough for sure. It's too big of a flick for that not to occur--whether Sony and the industry like it or not...

Spidey 3 web ticket sales are topping those of its predecessor (no, I haven't bought my ticket yet--in case you were wondering) and the advanced reviews for the flick are, so far, very positive...

May 4th is almost here...

Hot Under The Collar

The Dark Knight set catches fire...

Stax of IGN:

...The vacant Post Office building being used by the Dark Knight production caught fire Tuesday morning, halting filming until fire fighters could put out the blaze.

The building has been redressed as the Gotham National Bank for a heist scene involving The Joker's gang and a school bus that has crashed into the building.

"District Fire Chief Jose Santiago said insulation inside the building's 'very old ventilation system' caught fire shortly before 11:30 a.m., and had nothing to do with the filming. There were no injuries," reports the Associated Press.

"The fire was contained to the 16th-floor ventilation shaft in the 17-story building."

According to ChicagoTribune.com, "Witnesses said the Batman crew was filming a scene involving a fleet of school buses on Canal [Street] when the fire broke out. Outside the post office building, a fake wall had been set up with a replica bus crashing through it."

The AP said filming resumed two hours after fire fighters arrived on the scene.

What luck. It feels like it's taken forever and day for this film to get rolling before the cameras-and what happens fire breaks out almost out of the gate. I'm glad the delay was short-lived and that nobody was hurt.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Braff One-Fletch Zero

Stax of IGN has some disappointing news regarding that Fletch Prequel...



... Scrubs star Zach Braff [pictured] will not be playing the title role in the long-in-development Fletch Won after all. The pic will still be scripted and directed by Scrubs maestro Bill Lawrence, however.

Braff turned the role down due to a "scheduling conflict," according to TVguide.com's Ausiello Report, "Zach is writing and directing his own film [Open Hearts] at Paramount," Lawrence advised the site.

The blog adds that Lawrence is "currently in New York searching for a new Fletch."

Lawrence does not harbor any grudges about Braff's exit. "I'm very happy for him. We were looking forward to doing this thing together, but when you get an opportunity like that, you've got to take it."

Braff and Lawrence will reunite this August to shoot the final season of Scrubs.

Dang it! This really stinks! Braff was the perfect person to play the younger Fletch--portrayed in 2 previous films by Chevy Chase. I'm happy Braff is getting steady work as a filmmaker (Open Hearts sounds like it could be really good..)--This news means that Lawrence has a really tough time ahead of him in casting the role...Stay Tuned.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Street Cred

Disturbia is tops at the cineplex for the second week in a row--taking many-including me--by surprise...

Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo;

In its second outing, 'Disturbia' remained on top, while new thrillers 'Fracture' and 'Vacancy' failed and comedy 'Hot Fuzz' packed a little heat...

Shia LaBeouf And Sarah Roemer Hold On To The Top Spot This Week

Ben Fritz of Variety writes:

In a weekend in which none of the new wide releases made much of a splash, "Disturbia" held on to the top spot at the box office with a second-weekend tally of $13.5 million.

New Line's "Fracture" had a decent $11.2 million bow in line with estimates, while Sony Screen Gems' thriller "Vacancy" disappointed with $7.6 million and Warner Bros.' "In the Land of Women" grossed a weak $4.9 million, in line with expectations.

Brit buddy cop parody "Hot Fuzz" had a good start as Focus' Rogue label rolled it out to 825 theaters and grossed $5.8 million, for a healthy per-engagement average of $7,062.

Par and DreamWorks' thriller "Disturbia" fell a relatively modest 39%. It averaged $4,464 at 3,015 locations and brought its cume to $40.7 million after 10 days.

It's the fourth weekend in a row that a Par/DreamWorks pic has been No. 1, following a similar two-week run for "Blades of Glory."

Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling starrer "Fracture" averaged $4,574 at 2,443 playdates. Despite Gosling's presence, pic primarily appealed to older legal thriller fans, with 75% of ticket buyers over the age of 25.

Screen Gems' "Vacancy" was expected to compete with "Fracture" and "Disturbia" for the top spot but ended up falling short. Per-play average was $2,979 at 2,551. Auds were two-thirds under 25.

Warner Bros. released "In the Land of Women," a romantic comedy that had been developed for Warner Independent, wide in hopes of maximizing B.O. before the summer.

Expectations were low for the Meg Ryan and Adam Brody starrer, which studio said cost under $10 million. Pic took an average of $2,281 at 2,155 theaters.

Focus took a decidedly slower approach with "Hot Fuzz," which had strong Internet buzz thanks to fans of "Shaun of the Dead," the first U.S. release from helmer Edgar Wright and writer/star Simon Pegg. After a healthy opening, studio plans to expand the pic to 1,100 or 1,200 theaters on Friday.

"The strategy was to play to the core 'Shaun' group to get the word out into the marketplace and then we can run in May when exhibitors need some movies to stick around with the tentpoles," said Focus distrib
[president] Jack Foley...

The article continues...

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly says:

Mediocre performances by the week's new releases help the Shia LeBeouf thriller remain at No. 1 for a second week Read More...

Disturbia's impressive showing amid the threat of some star-powered new releases can only mean greater fourtunes for Mr. LaBeouf--as if if he needed them.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Clash Cache

In keeping with this weekend's theme of remaking cult classics...and "Better Late Than Never" news stories...

Cinematical reports that Lawrence Kasdan has been chosen to write a remake of Clash of the Titans for Warner Brothers.

A remake of the 1981 cult classic, the story revolves around Zeus' son, Perseus, and his journey to save Princess Andromeda, capture Pegasus and slay Medusa. The original marked the final film on which Ray Harryhausen did special effects.



Before Kasdan was tapped for the project, Travis Beacham wrote a draft of the screenplay. Instead, Beacham wrote the upcoming A Killing on Carnival Row (2009)

The last time Kasdan took a flight of fantasy was for 2003's Dreamcatcher, a dreadful film adaptation of a story by Stephen King. Prior to that, Kasdan had better luck collaborating on the screenplays for such genre fare like Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I enjoyed the original "Clash" so much as a kid, that I even purchased the novelization, at a garage sale some years later.

Kasdan has the potential to great things with the material--though, it's kinda sad that Harryhausen's wonderful artistry in stop motion phototography will be replaced with CGI for the update.

If you are looking for a great "popcorn" flick, do yourself a favor, rent the original...You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

"Do You Want To Come Play With Me?"

I know this news has been out there for over a week now...Feel free to file this one under "Better Late Than Never"...

The cult classic Barbarella is on track to take the remake route back to the big screen...



The IGN Staff tells the tale:

The long-in-development remake of Barbarella is getting new life courtesy of Casino Royale screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. The James Bond scripters have been hired by producers Dino and Martha De Laurentiis to pen a new draft of the sexy sci-fi flick.

According to Variety, De Laurentiis recently purchased the film rights from Julien Forest, the son of Jean-Claude Forest author of the French comic book series on which the original Jane Fonda flick was based. The first two Barbarella comic books will be re-released in tandem with the new movie, along with previously untranslated to English material.

"Barbarella is the ultimate science-fiction adventure heroine: smart, strong funny and sexy," De Laurentiis told the trade. "I'm excited to reintroduce Barbarella to a new generation of moviegoers."

The new movie will not be a send-up of the campy original, but a straight-up story of a modern woman who survives in a futuristic world through her intelligence, fighting skills and sexuality.

De Laurentiis reportedly chose Purvis and Wade to adapt the flick because he liked the way they updated Ian Fleming Casino Royale. Incidentally, Variety adds that the screenwriting duo has just completed their script for Bond 22.

...We're now hearing that Lindsay Lohan's name is being tossed around [as a possibility for the title role]...

Despite my dubious nature towards film remakes in general--I must say I'm curious to see what could happen with this--A camp-free version sounds intriguing. The original is a fun ride, to be sure, but a more strict interpretation of the source material is the right way to go here. I know Lindsay Lohan is just talk but I think the troubled young actress would make a terrible choice as the flick's headliner. How about Bond Gal Eva Green instead.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Do Not Disturb

With 2 weeks to go before the start of the summer blockbuster season, the studios are cleaning out their vaults, waiting for all of that moolah to start rolling in...

Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson team up for yet another motel thriller Vacancy (reviews); Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling play a game of cat and mouse in Gregory Hoblit's Fracture (reviews ); Actor Adam Brody tries his hand at love In The Land Of Women (reviews ); And Simon Pegg and the gang from Shaun of the Dead try their spoofing skills on law enforcement in Hot Fuzz (reviews)

Ben Fritz and Dave McNary of Variety:

Wide openers "Fracture" and "Vacancy" will find themselves battling for the No. 1 spot at the weekend B.O. with the second frame of "Disturbia." All three are likely to gross low- to mid-teens on what looks to be a quiet weekend ahead of the summer deluge.

Warner Bros. is opening indie romance "In the Land of Women" at 2,155 theaters, but that pic should lag behind somewhat in the single digits.

Frame's wild card may be Brit buddy comedy parody "Hot Fuzz," which Focus' Rogue label is releasing Stateside. Helmer Edgar Wright's last pic, "Shaun of the Dead," became a cult favorite, and "Fuzz" has strong buzz online, but it is only opening at 825 playdates.

"Hot Fuzz" has taken in $48 million overseas, with $41 million from the U.K. and another $4.5 million from Australia.

"Fracture," which bows at 2,443 theaters, is tracking primarily with adults auds interested in a legal thriller with Anthony Hopkins. But New Line is also hoping that some younger women may come to see star Ryan Gosling. That demo helped turn Gosling's last pic for the studio, "The Notebook," into a sleeper hit.

"Vacancy" may appeal somewhat to the same horror auds as "Disturbia," though it will skew older given its R rating. Sony Screen Gems is giving the pic the frame's widest bow, at 2,551.

"Blades of Glory" and "Meet the Robinsons," which have seen modest declines the past few weekends, will likely be in the mix, along with "Women" and "Fuzz," behind the top three
...

The entire article can be found here ...

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly writes in his weekend preview:

The Kate Beckinsale/Luke Wilson horror flick looks to occupy the No. 1 spot this weekend, with ''Fracture'' our bet to crack the top 2...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

White-Wash

Another political scandal, this one from the 90's, is about to be made into a movie.

Michael Fleming of Variety:

"Crash " duo Robert Moresco and Mark R. Harris are joining forces to give the saga of Whitewater figure Susan McDougal the feature treatment.

McDougal spent 21 months in prison on civil contempt of court charges for refusing to implicate President Bill Clinton in the real estate scandal.

Moresco will write the script and direct. Harris and Moresco, who produced "Crash," will produce the McDougal film together.

They've secured rights to McDougal's story, as well as her book "The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk ." The film may be ready next year and would bring Whitewater back to public consciousness at a time when Hillary Clinton vies to secure the Democratic Party nomination for president.

Former president Clinton nevertheless supports the film, said Moresco and Harris.

"We sat in a room with him, and he told us how much the story needs to be told," Moresco said. "He even gave us his take on the movie -- that when you face impossible odds as Susan did, the only way you can achieve victory is to not lose sight of who you are. That is what Susan never gave up."

The duo will look to align a financier quickly and may have an actress in line to play McDougal by the time they make that deal.

The Clintons were partners in the Whitewater real estate venture with McDougal and her husband. She was convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges along with her husband and then-Arkansas governor James Guy Tucker. Clinton eventually pardoned McDougal.

"Bobby and I are fascinated with the underdog, the small person who goes up against a system that manipulates anything, from the press to the court system, and can ruin the lives of innocent people," Harris said.

Both Moresco and Harris acknowledge McDougal isn't squeaky clean because of her original conviction."No matter what side of the aisle you come down on, you have to admire a woman who is willing to spend that much time in prison to stand up for what she believed was the truth," Moresco said...


Find out more about the project here

Since the film will no doubt be making news at a critical time in the campaign-it will be interesting to see if It will have any effect on Clinton's quest to be Prez

How To X-Cell



Lost leading man Matthew Fox (pictured) is in final negotiations to play Racer X in the live-action update of the 1960s cartoon "Speed Racer for Warner Bros Pictures, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Racer X is Speed's mysterious racing rival, an enigmatic soldier of fortune...

Fox is a solid actor--Often playing the good guy or hero--it will be interesting to see what he does with the darker role in a big film.



In other Speed casting news--Aussie actor Kick Gurry (Garage Days pictured) is in negotiations to play Sparky, Speed's hippie mechanic...

I haven't seen Gurry do his thing really--but at least he's used to having a unique name in real life--and probably won't mind being called Sparky...

The studio is planning a May 9th 2008 release.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

When The Saints Go Marching

Paramount Pictures has acquired writer Kurt Sutter's pitch for "Inland Saints" with the intention of having director Joel Schumacher calling the shots. Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce the flick reports Pamela McClintock of Variety.

"Inland Saints" sets itself as a "supernatural urban drama about love, betrayal and need", and centers around 2 teens who fall in love. He's the leader of a dangerous street gang; she's the daughter of the detective hired to bring down the gang.

Sutter is an executive producer on FX cop drama "The Shield" Schumacher and di Bonaventura have worked together on two Batman" films, 1993's "Falling Down" and the film adaptation of the best-selling legal thriller The Client.

Sure, there's some talented folk at work here, but do we really need another version of the Romeo & Juliet story for the big screen? That said, Schumaker really needs another winner, in order to revive--what I see as--a stuttering career. Maybe recapturing some of that Lost Boys magic is just what he needs.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Spidey Or The Hobbit?

Given the very public spat between director Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema chief Robert Shaye over Lord of the Rings and matters of money...Folks have been wondering just who would direct the big screen version of JRR Tolkien's "Rings" prequel The Hobbit--if Shaye and Jackson don't make nice. How about writer/director Sam Raimi? While out promoting Spider-Man 3 Raimi spoke about the possibility to Entertainment Weekly... Adam Markovitz writes:

... Raimi went on the record for the first time about his potential involvement in the project during an exclusive interview with EW's Steve Daly for the magazine's Summer Movie Preview issue, on newsstands [this] Friday:

''Peter Jackson might be the best filmmaker on the planet right now. But, um, I don't know what's going to happen next for me right now. First and foremost, those are Peter Jackson and Bob Shaye's films. If Peter didn't want to do it, and Bob wanted me to do it — and they were both okay with me picking up the reins — that would be great. I love the book. It's maybe a more kid-friendly story than the others.''

(If Raimi were to take on a complex, intense project like The Hobbit — the rights to which New Line/MGM only has for a limited amount of time — it could force Columbia to either push back its production schedule for Spider-Man 4 or find a new director for the franchise.)

[Spidey franchise co-star Kirsten Dunst] says she hadn't heard any rumors about Raimi and The Hobbit until EW raised the subject in an interview. She says she can't imagine returning for Part 4 without both her director and her costar:

'It's disrespectful to the whole team, I think, to do that. And audiences aren't stupid. It'd be a big flop without me, Tobey, or Sam. That would really not be the smartest move. But they know that already. [Sony chief] Amy Pascal would never do that.'' Maguire has already expressed his ambivalence about returning for another sequel.

Sony's President of Production Matt Tolmach tells EW that the studio is cautiously optimistic about retaining the team that launched the Spidey franchise so spectacularly:

''Listen, we're making Spider-Man 4. Our hope, dream, and intention is to do it with Sam. But I don't have a crystal ball.''

Putting aside all of the mixed messages about a Spidey 4 for a sec, I think Raimi would do great things with the Hobbit were he the one taking over for Jackson.

As for Dunst calling Spider-Man 4 a flop--without "the team" in place": Sure, we've gotten used to certain folks in key places, but she would be wise to remember that everyone involved with a successful franchise can be replaced...Just ask director Richard Donner, (Superman) actors Val Kilmer, Billy Dee Williams, (both on Batman) Edward Furlong, (The Terminator) and actress Kirstie Alley (Star Trek)--Of course, there''s an easy way to solve the problem--They could all agree to do the fourth Spidey and that puts all of the chatter to rest for good.

Monday, April 16, 2007

RIP Barry Nelson (1917-2007)


Barry Nelson, the first actor to play James Bond, has died while traveling in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He was 89. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Nelson was a big star for MGM studios in the early 1940s after he was spotted by a talent scout and signed to a series of films including Johnny Eager, Dr. Kildare's Victory and A Yank on the Burma Road.

He also became a military favorite during World War II by starring in the wartime play Winged Victory. He reprised his role later in a movie version of the play, alongside Red Buttons and George Reeves.

Nelson returned to his acting career after the war and starred in films like Time To Kill and Undercover Maisie, and played the first James Bond in a one-hour TV adaptation of Casino Royale in 1954. He played Jack Nicholson's boss in Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining. Nelson appeared in a classic episode of the "The Twilight Zone" from 1964 called Stopover in a Quiet Town...

He became a prolific stage star throughout the 1960s and 1970s, appearing on Broadway in hits like Seascape and The Act, which earned him a Tony nomination.

Read more of the story from Fox News...

Space Cadets

This story, courtesy TrekWeb, actually made me smile:




Star Trek XI producer/director J.J. Abrams sent a message to the fans at the Creation Grand Slam convention this [past] weekend in Burbank, which was read to the crowd by [franchise consultant] Richard Arnold Saturday morning. Here is a transcript of the message, courtesy of Trek Movie Report:

Dear Grand Slammers,

We are currently in pre-pre-pre-production and are all beyond excitement and honored to bring you the next chapter in the Star Trek saga. There will be much more to say at next year’s convention, but for now know that we are working hard to do you proud. Thank you for your support and for keeping Mr. Roddenberry’s vision alive

Best,

J.J. Abrams


Also, according to site, Arnold told the crowd at the convention that he discussed with Abrams how he felt that some of the later series of Trek got away from Gene Roddenberry's vision, noting that former Star Trek producer Rick Berman once described the early Star Trek series aspollyannish. Abrams reply to that was "I think we can all do with some Pollyanna."

Bravo JJ!!

Berman, the so called keeper of the Trek flame after Roddenberry's death in 1991-until very recently, always knew how to stick his foot in his mouth--And the Pollyannish-like quotes have been numerous over the years. Such foolishness--to bite the hand that feeds you-Sheesh!. Thank goodness the "king" has been deposed, in favor of Abrams, who obviously understands what the franchise needs to reclaim its former glory: A bit of nostalgia, thrown in with some space adventure of a hopeful future...

The original TMR report can be found here.

Anger Management Class

Another actor is about transform into a super-hero for the big screen...



Michael Fleming of Variety:

Edward Norton (pictured) has been set by Marvel Studios to play Bruce Banner in "The Incredible Hulk."

The Louis Leterrier-directed drama will be distributed by Universal Pictures, with an opening set for June 13, 2008.

It is a decided return to the mainstream for Norton, who recently has starred in such indies as "Down In The Valley," "The Painted Veil and "The Illusionist." Pic will shoot this summer in Toronto.

Norton takes over a role played in the Ang Lee-directed "Hulk" by Eric Bana. Though that film opened strongly, it didn’t fare as well as other Marvel efforts, including "Spider-Man"X-Men ," "Fantastic Four" and, most recently, "Ghost Rider."

Marvel Studios, which has a $525 million credit facility obtained through Merrill Lynch, made "The Incredible Hulk" its second film under that arrangement, and seeks to make a sequel that is less self-serious and more in line with the comic series and TV show. Leterrier directed the action-filled "Transporter 2," and "Unleashed."

The new pic begins with Banner on the run, trying to avoid capture long enough to cure the condition that turns him into a misunderstood green menace.

"Edward Norton is a rare talent and one of the most versatile actors in the business," Marvel Studios production president Kevin Feige said in a statement. "His ability to transform into a particular role makes him the ideal choice to take on the character of Bruce Banner and the Hulk. Edward is perfectly suited to bring one of the most popular and important Marvel icons to the big screen in a new and exciting way."

The script for "The Incredible Hulk" was written by Zak Penn, who had a hand in crafting two "X-Men" films, "Fantastic Four" and "Elektra" for Marvel....

Norton, who will next be seen starring with
Colin Farrell in the Gavin O'Connor -directed New Line drama "Pride and Glory,"...

Norton makes for a fine choice to take over the role from Bana. Anyone who has seen his work in Primal Fear or American History X knows that Norton can play intense, conflicted and sympathetic characters very well.

At one time, Norton was rumored to be in the running to play the villainous Two-Face in The Dark Knight...Now, he gets to play the hero for a competing comic book flick...

It sounds like the plot of the film is going to follow the premise behind the classic 70's TV series of the same name--rather than the comic book. Time will tell.

Here's Looking At You Kid

The Rear Window (1954) like thriller Disturbia took the top spot at the box office this past weekend--taking out some hefty competition in the process.

Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo:

In a crowd of new releases, Disturbia grossed an estimated $23 million while the rest failed...



Shia LaBeouf Kicks Back-Celebrating Disturbia's Victory

Ian Mohr of Variety:

Over a free-for-all weekend at the multiplexes, Paramount/DreamWorks' PG-13 thriller "Disturbia" was tops, taking in $23 million in its debut.

Holdovers "Blades of Glory" and "Meet the Robinsons" took the second and third spots on the weekend chart.

And after a disappointing opening the previous frame, "Grindhouse," the Weinstein Co.'s experimental double bill from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, plunged 63% in its second weekend. The three-hour-plus gorefest's per-theater average was just $1,612 in 2,629 playdates.

"Disturbia"... made most of its money from young auds and the female fans who tend to turn out for PG-rated pics with scares.

Par/Dreamworks claimed the No. 1 and 2 pics on the weekend, the second time that phenomenon has happened this year for a studio, according to Nielsen EDI, after Warners finished with a one-two punch in March of "TMNT" and "300."

The other, mostly R-rated, openers largely stumbled.

Sony's racy thriller "Perfect Stranger" bowed in fourth place with $11.5 million. Pic stars Halle Berry as an investigative journo snooping into the high-powered world of a suspected murderer, played by Bruce Willis.

But older female auds usually take time to turn out for pics, and Sony was encouraged by successful international launches for "Strangers" over the frame.

Fox's "Pathfinder" -- an epic about Vikings battling Native Americans, which didn't go out as widely as the other new studio releases -- grossed $4.8 million. Pic didn't have the same buzz as Warner Bros.' violent fantasy pic, "300," which is still reaping major moolah.

Lions gate's "Slow Burn," meantime, an ensemble crime pic starring Ray Liotta and rapper-actor LL Cool J, was anything but hot, taking in just $800,000 from 1,163 theaters for a paltry per-screen average of $688.

Overall, B.O. in the U.S. and Canada was down, as the top 10 pics combined for $12.2 million less than they did the previous weekend...


The complete article can be found here

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly:

On a crowded weekend, there's good news (a $23 mil debut) for young Mr. LaBeouf (''Disturbia''), and bad news for Halle Berry and Bruce Willis (''Perfect Stranger'') Read More...

I thought for sure that the team of Halle Berry and Bruce Willis in the thriller Perfect Stranger would have done better to take the top spot. What a weekend for LaBeouf huh? First he lands a role in the long awaited Indiana Jones. sequel...And now, he stars in the nation's top flick. Not bad for an actor who is just shy of turning 21 years old.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Spider-Tracker

Just how much money will Spider-Man 3 make at the box office when it opens in a few weeks?




Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons:

Tracking figures have proven not to be the most reliable of hit predictors. Yet these numbers, which show audience awareness for films coming out, generally hold up pretty well.

Now, Deadline Hollywood Daily reports that one month out is tracking "with over 90% awareness and over 20% first choice". This seems set for the film to easily nab a $100 million opening weekend or over.

At present "Pirates of the Caribbean -Dead Man's Chest" holds the three-day opening weekend record with $135 million... the first "Spider-Man" comes in second with $114 million. "Spider-Man 2" earned $88 million in its first weekend, but opened on a Wednesday which undermined that Friday-Sunday tally.

Of course in order to nab this big opening it is costing the studio a lot of money - as in being the most expensive single film of all time - overtaking that of last year's duelling over-$200 [million dollar] superhero flicks "Superman Returns" and "X-Men: The Last Stand".

At present the film is said to have a $250 million budget, but unofficial estimates put it at the first film to ever cross the $300 million mark.

The closer we get to May 4th--the more excited I get for this sucker. Without question, the Spidey films are among the most consistent, in terms of quality, of their kind. Spidey 3 seems to follow that same track...Records WILL be broken...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Young Whpper-Snapper

I'll give ya one guess as to which movie actor Shia LaBeouf (pictured), currently staring in the thriller Disturbia, is going to do next...


Stax of IGN:

After weeks of "is he or isn't he?" speculation, often fueled by the actor himself, Transformers [co star] Shia LaBeouf has been officially cast in Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones IV.

In an official announcement posted [Friday] morning on IndianaJones.com, director Steven Spielberg said, "We are excited about bringing Shia into our Indy family. His talent has impressed not only his audiences throughout his young career but the directors, producers and fellow actors who have worked with him in his television career and now his film career."

"I was hoping the rumors were true, so I couldn't be more thrilled," LaBeouf is quoted as saying. "To be cast in an Indiana Jones film is like grabbing the brass ring and holding on for the ride. I'll do my best to meet the high standards that Steven, George, and Harrison have set and I can't wait to take that giant step in front of the Indy cameras."

The official announcement [came] after LaBeouf personally confirmed the casting [yesterday] morning to USA Today. "Up until about two weeks ago, it was little more than a rumor," LaBeouf told the paper. "Literally, when I was saying, 'I don't know anything,' I didn't know anything. It was an act of faith. I have not read a script. I don't think anybody has."

LaBeouf couldn't say if he was indeed playing Indy's son, as earlier rumors suggested. "I can tell you I'm sort of the sidekick character, obviously," he said. "I'm sure there are a lot of laughs at my expense, and some kind of creature crawling on me."

The veil of secrecy surrounding the project even affects LaBeouf, who still doesn't know what relic it is that Dr. Jones and company will be chasing after in the film.

I love being right

On March 11th, I posted the following about all of those LaBeouf/Indy casting stories:

I actually think a deal with LaBeouf to appear in the film may indeed be in the offing It's just not been worked out yet...The young actor may claim to have trouble normally keeping mum. But in this case, he knows better than to say anything, at this point. I think he would rather that papa Steven and or uncle George make any news about Indy official.

And that's exactly what happened here.... As to what his role might be? Indy's son sounds good to me...

Speaking of producer, George Lucas...He also spoke with USA Today earlier this month, about Indy 4. And in the process, we learned the following about the sequel:

Will 64-year-old star Harrison Ford be convincing enough for all of that rough and tumble action?

"He's not running in any of the movies. He's either on a horse or driving a car or a motorcycle. And he'll play his age in this movie with what's appropriate. The chases are more suspenseful than speedy. Like the rolling ball in the first film -- it's not that he's running that fast, it's that there's a giant ball coming at him." says Lucas.

One tradition will be maintained though -"he will get beat up."

Sean Connery has yet to sign on as Indiana's father, but Lucas says "we're still trying."

He also won't go into detail about the 'top secret filming locations', but says that one locale will have a "waterfall."

As for the official title? It's being kept under wraps until the first trailer hits theaters around Thanksgiving.

Indiana Jones IV begins filming this June for a May 22, 2008 release.