Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fear-Momger

Four weeks from today Rob Zombie's Halloween hits theaters...

Here's the first TV spot--hitting a few familiar beats from the 1978 film...

"Max" Factor

Following in the footsteps of the National Lampoon brand--popular men's magazine Maxim, is getting into the movie biz...




Michael Fleming of Variety:

Screen Gems has teamed with Maxim magazine to set up the pitch "Virginity Rocks," with Melissa Carter ("Talk of the Town") to pen the script.

Story revolves around a gorgeous transfer student who clings to her virginity and gets all the promiscuous girls in school to abstain from sex; in response, the popular guys ask the school stud to try to bed the poster girl and ending her "virginity rocks" campaign.

Pic will be released as "Maxim's Virginity Rocks," and it's the third that has been set up with a division of the mag designed for randy lads.

Screen Gems also has set with Maxim "Fired Up," a comedy Will Gluck is writing and will direct, about two horny guys who attend a cheerleading camp, and "Mardi Gras," a comedy written by Josh Heald about three college seniors who try to sow their wild oats in New Orleans.

The Maxim arrangement was orchestrated by Clint Culpepper and Scott Strauss of Screen Gems with Peter Jaysen, who runs Moving Pictures DPI, a TV and film production company that is a division of Dennis Publishing, which publishes Maxim, Stuff and Blender

Jaysen, who is based in Los Angeles, will be a producer on all three films. Moving Pictures is producing "Mardi Gras" with Beacon and Terra Firma, and is producing "Fired Up" with Gross Entertainment.

Given the target demo of the mag--and that teen films/sex comedies go after that same audience--This latest synergy of mediums--should prove fruitful. As to the quality of the slate--that's another matter entirely--we'll just have to wait and see.

At A Fever Pitch

Strike Watch Continues...

With negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers now at a stand-still...Hollywood is taking no chances--preparing for the worst case scenario.

Dave McNary of Variety:

Not that there was any doubt, but the latest statistics for filming in L.A. confirm what everybody already knows: The studios and networks have revved up production, stockpiling projects as strike fever engulfs Los Angeles.

Amid fears of a work stoppage by the Hollywood guilds next year, studios have been greenlighting more active projects than they were at the same time last year. The goal is to start production no later than March 1, so shooting can be completed by next July, when actors and directors could launch strikes.

Network brass also have been quietly planning for alternative lineups heavy on reality, sports and gameshows -- i.e., fare that doesn't require guild talent.

Although the WGA's contract expires on Oct. 31, few expect a deal to emerge by then. In that case, it's likely the WGA will tell members to keep working under terms of the expired pact in hopes that the guild can achieve an improved deal after the DGA and SAG negotiate.

A report from the Film L.A. permitting agency, scheduled to be released today shows that off-lot feature filming in the Los Angeles region surged 29%, and TV work 19%, in the second quarter to 2,514 and 5,387 days, respectively.

It was the busiest spring quarter for off-lot feature activity since 2001, when a pre-strike production frenzy saw a total of 3,613 days.

"The second-quarter surge is consistent with activity we have tracked in other periods preceding contract negotiations," said Film L.A. president Steve MacDonald. "We may be seeing a repeat of what happened in 2001, when production rose prior to labor negotiations, and then dropped significantly after the negotiations concluded."

In 2001, local production of features rose 45% and 38%, respectively, in the two quarters prior to the SAG contract expiration, then plunged by 37%, 54% and 58% in the next three quarters.

The 2007 production increases occurred during an acrimonious run-up to negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. Two days of negotiations in mid-July yielded mostly recriminations and finger-pointing, with no new talks set.

Recently greenlit movies include Warner Independent's "The Rum Diary," with Johnny Depp; New Line's "Four Christmases," with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn; Fox's "Wolverine," with Hugh Jackman; Yari Group's "Nothing but the Truth," with Rod Lurie directing; DreamWorks' "Eagle Eye," with Shia LaBeouf; and Warner's "Yes Man," with Jim Carrey...

The Writers Guild has been unimpressed by the stockpiling, asserting that it's a scare tactic with no impact on negotiations.

"Stockpiling is an unecessary disruption by studios of the production economy," said WGA West assistant exec director Charles Slocum. "It's never altered the course of negotiations. We remain ready to seek a reasonable deal at the bargaining table."

Slocum also said he was somewhat skeptical of the usefulness of the Film L.A. figures, asserting that the numbers represent only about a third of the total production in the region.

MacDonald admits that the rise in film production is a surprise, since it had declined in the four previous quarters -- partly due to producers opting for extensive incentives offered by as many as 30 states outside California.

Film production on public property in Los Angeles still remains well below the levels of a decade ago. Activity for the entire year hit a record of 13,980 days in 1996, then declined for seven consecutive years before rising 19% in 2004 and 9% in 2005 and then falling 7% last year.

Film L.A. said 82 pilots had been produced in Los Angeles during the February-May pilot season, up one from the 2006 season. Local production share rose to 82% from 67.5% as the number of pilots filmed outside Los Angeles slid to 18 from 39.


To Be Continued...

Monday, July 30, 2007

At Opposite Ends

Both Johnny Depp and celebutante/ex con Paris Hilton are making movie news:

Diane Garrett of Variety writes the Depp story...



The late Hunter S. Thompson's first novel, "The Rum Diary" looks like it's finally ready to be adapted for the big screen.

Depp is set to star in and produce the flick.

"Rum Diary" is loosely based on Thompson's tenure working as a freelance journalist in Puerto Rico in the late '50s.

Depp is playing a reporter who works with a a rag-tag group of self-destructive scribes at a struggling San Juan newspaper. The tale includes a steamy love triangle.

Bruce Robinson is writing the adapted screenplay.

The film has been in the pipeline and at various stages in development since 2000. Actors like Benicio Del Toro, Nick Nolte and Josh Hartnett were all previously attached to the project over the years...

Depp and Thomson became friends during the production of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in the 90's and is certainly better suited for the material than any one of those other choices...

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous... Michael Fleming of Variety has the Hilton story--signaling the world is coming to an end



The young Miss Hilton has landed a role in "Repo! The Genetic Opera", a musical/thriller, set in the future. The film is being developed by the same team responsible for the Saw horror franchise...

The year is 2056-a plague nearly destroys the human race and survival is dependent upon being able to finance a pricey organ transplant.

Hilton plays the daughter of the organ transplant magnate (Paul Sorvino).

Darren Lynn Bousman has spent the last several years working on the project...

O.K. Here's the deal. I'm not one for musicals--But I was looking forward to this--based on the talent involved....That is--Until Now...You gotta be kidding me!! Hilton has no talent. whatsoever! She's famous for being infamous and her bedroom antics. Her CD tanked big time. And while she didn't totally ruin the 2005 remake House of Wax, it sure helped that her part in that film was pretty small. Sheesh!

RIP Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007)

Legendary film director Ingmar Bergman has passed away...

Bergman died at his home in Faro, Sweden, according to the Swedish, media citing his daughter Eva Bergman. A cause of death wasn’t immediately known.



Portions of The Associated Press article:

...Through more than 50 films, Bergman’s vision encompassed all the extremes of his beloved Sweden: the claustrophobic gloom of unending winter nights, the gentle merriment of glowing summer evenings and the bleak magnificence of the island where he spent his last years.

Bergman, who approached difficult subjects such as plague and madness with inventive technique and carefully honed writing, became one of the towering figures of serious filmmaking.

He was “probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera,” Woody Allen said in a 70th birthday tribute in 1988.

Bergman first gained international attention with 1955’s “Smiles of a Summer Night,” a romantic comedy that inspired the Stephen Sondheim musical “A Little Night Music.”

“The Seventh Seal,” released in 1957, riveted critics and audiences. An allegorical tale of the medieval Black Plague years, it contains one of cinema’s most famous scenes — a knight playing chess with the shrouded figure of Death.

I was terribly scared of death,” Bergman said of his state of mind when making the film, which was nominated for an Academy Award in the best picture category.

The film distilled the essence of Bergman’s work — high seriousness, flashes of unexpected humor and striking images...

...“I don’t watch my own films very often. I become so jittery and ready to cry ... and miserable. I think it’s awful,” Bergman said [in a 2004 interview]...

Go here for more about Bergman...

The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, the telefilm The Magic Flute, and the Academy Award winning Through a Glass Darkly from 1961 are my favorite Bergman films...But he had countless other gems... A true visionary and master to the craft of filmmaking. Imagine the humility of the man--someone of his talent--thought his work was "awful"...Rest Easy.

Yellow Fever

The Simpsons Movie is the new King of the Hill of the cineplex...

Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo:

The Simpsons Movie snared an estimated $71.9 million over the weekend, the highest-grossing opening for a television adaptation...




Pamela McClintock of Variety:


Fox hits a Homer.

In one for the record books, "The Simpsons Movie" scored the third highest opening weekend for an animated pic ever --- and the PG-13 film isn't even a traditional family toon --- making an estimated $71.8 million domestically from 3,922 locations.

Overseas, "Simpsons" enjoyed similar strength. Fox is already being praised for its aggressive marketing and distribution campaign for the pic, which the studio said cost under $75 million to make.

Coming in no. 2 stateside was Universal holdover "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," which picked up an estimated $19 million from 3,501 theaters in its second frame for a cume of $71.6 million.

Taking no. 3 was "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which became the second-highest grossing franchise, worldwide, over the weekend after the 22 Bond pics, with the five pics combined nabbing an estimated $4.24 billion in worldwide ticket sales. Domestically, "Phoenix" made $17 million from 4,005 locations in its third frame for a cume of $241.8 million.

New Line's "Hairspray" likewise held well, picking up an estimated $15.4 million from 3,121 theaters in its second frame for a cume of nearly $60 million.

Among other new wide openers, Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Picture's romantic dramedy "No Reservations" nabbed the No. 5 spot, making an estimated $11.7 million from 2,425 locations...

Click here for more...

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly:

Fox hits a Homer, easily taking the weekend's No. 1 spot, while Lindsay Lohan flunks her latest test...

I was there over the weekend to witness The Simpsons BIG screen debut first hand....I'll have a full review posted soon...Till then here's a preview of my take: The long running animated TV series translated very well.

And hey--I finally saw Transformers recently! I will post my thoughts on the Michael Bay action-fest very soon as well.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Con-Victions

As Comic-Con '07 ends, here's a few more notes of interest that caught my attention:

--Frank Miller revealed that the reason behind the delay for Sin City 2 is due to issues going on within The Weinstein Company.

He confirmed that the script is ready - an adaptation of "A Dame to Kill For" and some of the series other short stories - but included this rather surprising bit of info that the Weinstein's themselves are part of the hold up - likely tying into the fledgling distributor's lack of success so far at the box-office...

Miller also says he's in the process of finishing writing the screenplay his adaptation of "The Spirit" and will be headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico later this year to start filming.

...Director Rob Zombie showed up at the event to talk about his update on the 1978 John Carpenter (I) classic, Halloween...He brought along, by some accounts, a rather intense clip from the film with him.

In the footage we see Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) trying to escape Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) who's, of course, stalking her through her in a house. She hides, but he figures out where she is, and starts smashing through the drywall to get at her.

Zombie confirmed that the film is still very much being worked on, and it's much more about "journey of what his [Michael's] life is about" than the original flick was.

More interesting is that he revealed that "this really has no connection to those other movies" and he has absolutely no plans or interest in doing a sequel...

He also talked to Attack of the Show co host Olivia Munn--telling her something like the film is not quite a remake, yet not a prequel either Adding... If Carpenter's film is the short story version--Mine is the novel. Maybe that's not the exact quote but you get the idea...

Every time I hear or read comments by Zombie on this--I feel even more uneasy about his efforts...I wonder how much of the film is "being worked on" some 4 weeks before release?

Halloween 2007 opens on August 31st

On a much happier note:

The folks over at IGN have some cool stuff concerning the Iron Man movie...Watch exclusive video interviews with director Jon Favreau, and stars Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, and Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man Blasts Off

Marvel honcho-in-Chief Joe Quesada, told "Attack Of The Show"-comic book guru Blair Butler that Favreau asked to, and was granted the opportunity to write a four issue Iron Man comic book story...

Wow...!!




One word Awesome!!!

--Rafe Telsch of Cinema Blend shares news that The Incredible Hulk star Edward Norton wrote the final script for the film!

Here's what happened: Norton liked Zak Penn's script, but had a few story ideas the studio took a shine to and suggested that instead of sending it out to other writers why not give the actor a chance....Norton's a talented guy. I have no problem with the idea per se'. But the pressure's really on now. If the sequel sucks then most of the blame lies with Norton. I wonder how Penn feels right now?

Fingers Crossed...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Indy Does Comic Con!

Both G4TV and the official site for the fourth Indiana Jones have posted the satellite video presentation that took place at Comic-Con on Thursday. Saying hello from the set were Shia LaBeouf, director Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford and Karen Allen, who reprises her Raiders of the Lost Ark role of Marion...(Yay!!!)

This video was shown to 6,000 screaming fans at the con...Enjoy!




I'm so happy that Allen is along for the ride...!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Going Dark

The Dark Knight may not have been mentioned during the Warners panel at Comic-Con, but that doesn't mean the sequel isn't creating buzz throughout San Diego.

The latest marketing for the film includes: Fake dollar bills, websites, smoke spelling, etc. have been spotted...all surrounding a new teaser trailer and photo.

The trailer is truly a tease, all you really see is a pull-out reveal of the the logo--laced with a few snippets of dialogue...the trailer has been uploaded on YouTube...But frankly, none of them came out all that well-- you can find it in high definition here.

As for the photo:


The Joker (Heath Ledger) threatens Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal) ...



...In other "Dark" News:

Variety reports that a feature film version of supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows (1966-1971) is on the way--starring Johnny Depp

The deal for the film rights just wrapped up between the estate of Dan Curtis, the producer/director who created the series and Warner Bros...

The cult series produced more than 1,225 episodes and turned the afternoon sudzy staple on its head by including horror staples like vampires, monsters, witches, werewolves, ghosts and zombies...

Depp has said in interviews that he has always been obsessed with show and had, as a child, wanted to be vampire patriarch Barnabas Collins.

I never really got into this as a series--Surprisingly--despite my horror fixation...Depp is gonna make one cool vampire..

Making Con-tact


The film lm news continues to flow from Comic-Con in San Diego:

Zachary Quinto (pictured) is indeed going to play the younger Spock in JJ Abrams' relaunch of the Star Trek film franchise...Leonard Nimoy will return to play Spock the elder...

Pamela McClintock and Marc Graser of Variety:




There will actually be two actors playing Mr. Spock in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" -- newcomer Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy, who turned the character of Spock into an icon in the original television series.

Paramount announced the news at Comic-Con in San Diego, where Nimoy and Quinto made surprise appearances as Abrams led a panel on the upcoming feature film.

Scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci ("Transformers") penned the script.

Storyline has been shrouded in secrecy, but the casting of Nimoy and the younger Qunito would bolster rumors that Abrams' "Star Trek" will be a prequel of sorts. No other cast has been announced, although Abrams said he is "desperately trying" to find a way to have the original Capt. Kirk, William Shatner, appear in the pic, as well.

Asked about Quinto's casting, Nimoy quipped: "It was logical."

Quinto's already popular with the fanboys, currently starring in NBC's superhero hit "Heroes." Previous credits include "So noTORIous" and "24."

Paramount will release "Star Trek" on Dec. 25, 2008...




I endorsed the idea of Quinto playing Spock a couple of months back. And even though he's got the biggest shoes to fill--He's up for it...Bravo JJ! I find it curious that Abrams is "trying" to find a find a way to include William Shatner in the mix...I thought that ship had warped away some 2 weeks ago? Hmmm? Is all of this hullabaloo over money? I wonder?...



Speaking of Abrams, he also gave the crowd an exclusive peek at the new teaser poster for latest cinematic enigma -- codenamed ''Cloverfield'' -- and a few other hush-hush details...



Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly has more details...

The freak-deeky looking flick has certainly lots of Internet buzz. The movie unofficially known as "Cloverfield" opens 1-18-08...

Find out from IGN's David McCutcheon what fans can expect from Blade Runner's Final Cut DVD out December 18, 2007 .

Actress Rosario Dawson talks Sin City 2. All I can say is--Let's get going already!!

Be sure to read the news that the Teen Titans Movie is gonna be "real" from IGN---Fascinating stuff as scripter Mark Verheiden compares project to Batman Begins and Watchmen. Well, what else is he gonna compare it to --Howard the Duck?

Kyle Newman's long-awaited Fanboys--our second first look at the film...

Look for more news from comic con over the weekend...

Paint The Town Yellow

July closes out with 5 wide releases..But let's face it--there's only one that really matters...

The longest running animated series finally makes the leap to the big screen--Simpsons Movie (reviews) is doing very well among critics; Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart share a meal and more in No Reservations (reviews); After 3 weeks in limited release--Rescue Dawn (reviews) goes wide; I wonder how Lindsay Lohan's latest legal trouble will impact her latest flick, I Know Who Killed Me (reviews)?; And finally, there's the comedy Who's Your Caddy (reviews)...

Pamela McClintock and Dave McNary of Variety:

...Many years in the making, 20th Century Fox's "The Simpsons Movie" opens day-and-date today in markets around the globe, hoping to mine the fanbase of the animated television skein, as well as lure newcomers to the irreverent family franchise.

"Simpsons," playing in 3,922 locations domestically and starring the regular TV cast, has a clear shot at the weekend crown over holdovers "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Overseas, "Simpsons" debuts in as many as 7,500 playdates in 71 markets.

Stateside, the other wide openers include Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures' romantic dramedy "No Reservations," starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart and Abigail Breslin. Going for the female crowd, Warners will bow the pic in 2,425 locations.

The Weinstein Co. and MGM open urban comedy "Who's Your Caddy?" at 1,019. Pic marks the inaugural release of Bob Johnson's Our Stories Films, which has a distrib pact with TWC's Dimension Films.

Days after Lindsay Lohan's latest brush with the law, TriStar opens Lohan starrer "I Know Who Killed Me" in 1,320 playdates. Pic was already low on the radar, but it's unclear how Lohan's real-life drama will impact box office.

Bringing "Simpsons" to the bigscreen has been an odyssey worthy of Homer, Bart and the rest of the beloved Simpson family.

Original TV show producers, including James L. Brooks, Matt Groening and Richard Sakai, wanted to make a movie early on in the run of the skein, which premiered 18 years ago, but finding the time to develop a film was difficult amid the show's hectic shooting sked.

After several false starts, the voice cast of the TV show inked deals with Fox for the bigscreen adaptation in 2001. The script, based on an original idea by Groening, went through dozens of rewrites by 11 of the show's most prolific scribes. Film, directed by David Silverman, was produced by Brooks, Groening, Sakai, Al Jean and Mike Scully.

Pic's budget was under $75 million.

Television shows have been translated onto the bigscreen with varying degrees of success, although "The Simpsons" has unique attributes in remaining attractive to a younger demo, as well as to older adults who grew up on the TV show.

In addition to the regular cast -- Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Pamela Hayden and Tress MacNeille -- Albert Brooks, Tom Hanks and rock group Green Day lend their voices to the pic.

Fox has waged an aggressive marketing campaign replete with high-profile promotional partnerships. Studio also kept anticipation high by holding screenings of the pic only at the 11th hour...

Read the entire story here...

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly thinks the ''Simpsons Movie'' will hit a Homer--Adding: Expect Springfield's finest to rack up a lot of ''D'oh!'' this weekend...

Next Up: Matt Damon issues The Bourne Ultimatum amid a crowded weekend--that also includes the return of Underdog...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wulf With No Clothes

Todd Gilchrist of IGN chronicles Wednesday night's kickoff of the San Diego Comic-Con 07!

Last night, Paramount Pictures hosted a screening of scenes from Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf ...With footage of Angelina Jolie coming out of the water naked...!!

Find out what else was in the 20 minute preview...Empire Online has fan reaction...

Beowulf hits theaters on November 16th, 2007.

Setting The Watch



After months of rumors and speculation--the cast for Zack Snyder's film adaptation of Watchmen has finally been officially announced! And while I have discussed most of the actors/roles elsewhere on this blog--especially in the last week or so--it's nice to finally have the official word...Snyder will have a chance to gauge fan reaction when he visits Comic-Con...

Diane Garrett and Michael Fleming of Variety:

Warner Bros. has landed its Watchmen: Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson and Matthew Goode have gotten their hooks into Zack Snyder's adaptation of the iconic "Watchmen" comic book.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jackie Earle Haley and Malin Akerman have also landed key roles in the ensemble project, Snyder's follow-up to "300."

Helmer, who took on the project a year ago, will unveil the ensemble at Comic-Con, and rumors have been swirling about the casting for weeks. His presence is expected to set off a frenzy like that of last year, when he stoked enthusiasm for "300" at the confab...

"Watchmen" has taken decades to get off the ground. Based on Alan Moore's 1980s comic book series, the adaptation will be set in an alternate 1985 with plenty of Cold War overtones.

Crudup will play the fatalistic Dr. Manhattan, a role Keanu Reeves once eyed, while Wilson will portray Night Owl, a rich kid interested in birds.

Goode nabbed the part of the glamorous Ozymandias, a role once tagged for Jude Law, and Morgan has been cast as the Comedian, a Vietnam vet who's a member of the Minutemen. Haley and Akerman round out the cast as Rorschach, a vigilante, and Silk Spectre, the key femme role.

The adaptation has bounced from studio to studio for years, with Fox, Warner, Universal, Revolution and Paramount trying to make a go of it before Warner took it on a second time. Paul Greengrass, Darren Aronofsky and Terry Gilliam are among the directors who once eyed the project...


Get the full story here...

As for the 2 cast members I have yet to discuss: Wilson was superb in Hard Candy--a twisted thriller that's not for the timid...Morgan has a recurring role on the genre TV series Supernatural. Both of these guys seem like a good fit to their characters.

The prelims out of the way Let the filming begin (finally)!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Carrey On

For a guy whose last film tanked at the cineplex, Jim Carrey (pictured), certainly has scored plenty of opportunities to revive a faltering career. You can add yet another film to that list today...

Michael Fleming of Variety:

...Carrey has said yes to "Yes Man," putting the Warner Bros. comedy first on his busy schedule, which has been amped up since his move to CAA.

Based on a memoir by British author Danny Wallace, "Yes Man" casts Carrey as a guy who aims to change his life by saying yes to absolutely everything that comes his way.

Carrey will follow "Yes Man" early next year with Disney's Robert Zemeckis-directed performance-capture pic "A Christmas Carol." [story) Carrey expects to make one more film before June, when Hollywood faces a possible labor stoppage.

He has plenty of choices for that third film. Last month, Universal Pictures set Carrey to star in the laffer "Sober Buddies." [story] Carrey will produce with Stuber/Parent's Scott Stuber and Mary Parent and Michael Peyser. Andrew Kurtzman is writing the script.

Also on his slate is the dark indie comedy "I Love You Phillip Morris," [story] to be directed by "Bad Santa" writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, and Paramount's "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" with Tim Burton attached to direct. "Ripley's," which was shelved last year and then revived, seems too logistically complex to fit in before June.

Carrey is also circling 20th Century Fox comedy "Me Time," [story] pending a rewrite.

The "Yes Man" script, by Nicholas Stoller, who co-wrote the Carrey starrer "Fun With Dick and Jane," will get a rewrite. Peyton Reed directs the pic, which begins production in October. David Heyman and Richard Zanuck produce.

Carrey is completing Fox Animation and Blue Sky's animated film based on "Horton Hears a Who," [story] in which he provides Horton's voice...


"Yes" sounds like it has the potential for Carrey to offer another comedic tour de force --a'la Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty, and of course, The Mask... Three of my comedic faves from his resume.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Goode-N-Plenty

Another Watchmen has reportedly been cast..Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias...

The IESB says that Matthew Goode (pictured) has won the role of the retired superhero with an Alexander the Great complex who markets his image for money.

I haven't seen Mr. Goode doing his thing much. But based on the casting buzz surrounding the film lately, I'm willing to give Zack Snyder wide latitude.

RIP László Kovács (1933-2007)

The wonderfully talented László Kovács has passed away... His name may not be that well known to the masses, save for industry folks and film stewards like me...But I'll bet you've seen his work at some point...



Pat Saperstein and Todd McCarthy of Variety:

...the Hungarian-born cinematographer who shot counterculture classics such as "Easy Rider" as well as more mainstream pics including "Ghostbusters" and "Miss Congeniality" died Saturday in his sleep in Beverly Hills. He was 74.

James Chressanthis, who is working on the documentary "Laszlo & Vilmos" about Kovacs and his friend of five decades, fellow d.p. Vilmos Zsigmond, said that although Kovacs, a cancer survivor, had been feeling better lately, he was not able to make a Friday meeting with longtime associate Bob Rafelson. "Their lives intersected with so many great filmmakers," Chressanthis said of the two lensers.

"He was my soulmate, like a brother," said Zsigmond. "We escaped together, we worked together, we helped each other. He was a great cinematographer."

Kovacs was in his last year of school in his native Budapest when a revolt against the Communist regime started on the streets. With classmate Zsigmond, he borrowed a school camera and filmed the conflict. They smuggled the footage into Austria and entered the U.S. as political refugees in 1957. The historic footage was later featured in a CBS docu narrated by Walter Cronkite. "They risked their lives shooting the revolution," Chressanthis said. "They would have been executed if they had been caught."

After working a series of menial jobs on his arrival in America, Kovacs began working in television, moving into features with "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies."

"Suddenly all the young filmmakers were looking for younger guys with new ideas -- we came from Europe and they liked us. That was the American New Wave," said Zsigmond of the fertile filmmaking period of the late '60s and early 1970s.

During the 1960s, he shot exploitation films ("The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill"), period curios ("Mondo Mod") and four Richard Rush low-budgeters--"A Man Called Dagger," "Hell's Angels On Wheels," "Psych-Out" (both with Jack Nicholson) and "The Savage Seven." Kovacs and Rush subsequently worked together on "Getting Straight" and "Freebie and the Bean."

His dazzling location work and independent working methods led him to teamings with other quickly rising and influential young directors. He shot Peter Bogdanovich's first feature, "Targets," Robert Altman's "That Cold Day in the Park," Dennis Hopper's seminal "Easy Rider" and Bob Rafelson's breakthrough "Five Easy Pieces."

When Kovacs shot "Easy Rider, "It was like a revolution in Hollywood. It didn't look like any of the other movies the studios made in those days."

"Neither he or I believed in a specific style -- just very natural lighting, a kind of poetic realism," said Zsigmond.

Through the 1970s, Kovacs continued these associations, for Bogdanovich lensing "Directed by John Ford," "What's Up, Doc?," "Paper Moon," "At Long Last Love," "Nickelodeon" and, later, "Mask." He worked again with Hopper on "The Last Movie" and with Rafelson on "The King of Marvin Gardens."

During the decade he also collaborated with Paul Mazursky on "Alex in Wonderland," with Hal Ashby on "Shampoo," with Martin Scorsese on "New York, New York" and "The Last Waltz," and with Arthur Penn on "Inside Moves." He also contributed additional photography to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," for which Zsigmond won an Oscar.

Kovacs gradually moved into more mainstream fare on such pictures as "Pocket Money," "Slither," "Huckleberry Finn," "For Pete's Sake," "Harry and Walter Go to New York," "F.I.S.T.," "Paradise Alley," "Butch and Sundance: The Early Days," "The Legend of the Lone Ranger," "Frances," "Ghostbusters," "Legal Eagles," "Say Anything," "Shattered," "Radio Flyer," "Multiplicity," "My Best Friend's Wedding," "Little Nikita," "Jack Frost" and "Miss Congeniality." His last feature was "Two Weeks Notice" in 2002.

He received the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 and led the ASC's education committee...


Films like Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces, his work with directors Bogdanovich and Martin Scorsese spring to mind as some of the best cinematography of of that time. Kovacs also had a knack for making the actresses look extra lovely; I developed crushes on Cameron Diaz and Sandra Bullock, thanks in part, to the way that he photographed them on film. Say Anything and of course, GhostBusters are standouts among his work as well.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dreamscapes

The December 2005 deal for Paramount Pictures to buy DreamWorks is once again making news--As rumors of trouble between the two studios begin to bubble up.




Variety Editor-In Chief Peter Bart:

Though Paramount's acquisition of DreamWorks has often been termed a major dealmaking coup, there are signals their relationship may be unraveling.

Unless wounds are healed, there's a possibility that David Geffen and Steven Spielberg may walk in 15 months, according to sources. If a schism occurred, Geffen and Spielberg could retain the DreamWorks name but would lose ownership of their negatives, development deals and nearly all their staff.

While acknowledging that Geffen and Spielberg receive no salaries and have non-exclusive deals, one key Paramount executive disputed their contractual right to walk away from their studio relationship.

Sumner Redstone, the chairman of Viacom, has knowingly or unknowingly emerged as a lightning rod in the relationship, DreamWorks sources alleged. Redstone himself insists his relations with Spielberg are friendly, but sources said both the filmmaker and Geffen feel the Viacom chairman has cold-shouldered them, thus aggravating earlier perceived snubs and credit-grabs by the studio.

Geffen himself, calling from his yacht, insisted Friday that "Steven and I are very happy with the performance of Paramount's marketing and distribution teams in handling our films." He cited Rob Moore and Jim Tharp, among others, as contributing to the success of such DreamWorks-Paramount releases as "Transformers" and "Disturbia."

DreamWorks Animation, headed by Jeffrey Katzenberg, also has had a successful summer thanks to the success of "Shrek the Third."

Katzenberg maintains voting control of DreamWorks Animation and has long reiterated his insistence on maintaining his autonomy and not becoming an integral part of the Paramount operation.

DreamWorks sources acknowledge the efforts of Brad Grey, Par's chairman-CEO to heal the tensions between the two entities...

Click here for the rest of the story.

Wow! If all of this chatter turns out to be true--That was fast! Of course Geffen's going to deny that there's any sign of problems, even if there are a few cracks, why should he tip his hand--if the split's not happening right away?

I would think that both sides would be thrilled that films like Transformers, Shrek the Third, and that spring surprise, Disturbia (due out on DVD August 7th) have done so well this year--As Geffen himself pointed out. 18 months is not very long time in the life of a deal like this...

Besides, if the parties did say so long, where would Dreamworks go exactly?

Up Chuck; Harry Down

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry takes the top spot away from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix...As Potter fans decide to stay away--reading the last book in the series-- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book sales reach in a record 8.3 million copies in one day)... And even though it finished in 3rd place, Hairspray is getting a lot of positive attention...



Kevin James And Adam Sandler Make A Winning Team


Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo:

'I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry opened atop the weekend box office, but Hairspray impressed the most with an estimated $27.8 million debut….

Pamela McClintock of Variety:

Universal's Adam Sandler and Kevin James' starrer "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" yukked it all the way to No. 1, beating holdover "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" in a busy--and close--race at the domestic box office.
"Chuck and Larry" made an estimated $34.8 million from 3,495 locations, while "Phoenix" grossed $32.2 million from 4,285 theaters in its second frame, a 58% drop.

New Line scored its own victory with "Hairspray," nabbing the best and widest opening ever for a musical. Film, starring John Travolta and newcomer Nikki Blonsky, made $27.8 million from 3,121 locations.

U finished the weekend with three comedies in the top 10; "Chuck and Larry," "Evan Almighty" and Judd Apatow's R-rated hit "Knocked Up."

"Chuck and Larry," about two firemen who pretend to be gay in order to get domestic partner benefits, is the eighth Sandler comedy to open at No. 1, although it opened lower than most big-budget Sandler laffers.

"Phoenix" crossed the $200 million mark at the domestic box office, with a new cume of $207.5 million.

Warners conceded that the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"--the final book in J.K. Rowling's series--at 12:01 a.m. Saturday likely dampened the performance of "Phoenix," as kids and older fans holed up over the weekend to read the tome.

It's the first time a Potter book as been released so close to the movie; in this case, a mere 10 days. Only one other book--"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood-Prince--has even been released in the same calendar year as one of the films, but that was four months apart.

Of the five Potter pics, "Phoenix," saw the biggest drop from opening weekend after "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," which dipped 63% in its second frame. They are the only two Potter films to be released in the summer frame...


The article contines here

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly:

As expected, Adam Sandler and Kevin James' comedy comes out on top -- but ''Hairspray'' is the weekend's real winner...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Casting "Coop"

A source at Latino Review claims that actor Ray Stevenson (pictured HBO's Rome) will step into the title role in the upcoming The Punisher 2, vacated by Thomas Jane, a couple of months back.

Lexi Alexander is directing the follow-up. Jigsaw is said to be the villain in the film, but no casting for the role has been announced. Maybe we'll find out more information at Comic-Con later this week...?

I have never seen any episodes of Rome, therefore it's difficult for me to tell whether he would do well wearing that famous Punisher T-shirt--Since his cable role sounds like it matches the intensity he is gonna need for the sequel. Fingers Crossed.

L. R. is also reporting two more roles have been cast in the upcoming Watchmen) movie...

First, the ultra-lovely Malin Akerman (pictured) if filling out the form of Sally Jupiter aka The Silk Spectre. In the story she is the former crimefighter turned scientist who lives with the powerful entity Dr. Manhattan (CHUD.Com reported last week that Billy Crudup is playing Dr. M.).


The site also says that recent Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley has been cast as the pivotal character Walter Kovacs aka. Rorschach. Rorschach finds himself the only person who believes there is a plot to kill off all the retired superheroes...

As a site, Latino Review has a spotty record, when it comes to dealing with trusted sources.

Assuming that these latest additions to Watchmen are true--They seem like good choices. Haley would make a great Kovacs...And I think Akerman is up for the demands of her intended character as well.

Stay Tuned to find out if any of this info turns out to be proven correct...

Hive Of Scum And Villainy

ItsJustSomeRandomGuy offers up his latest video in the ongoing Marvel/DC Comics film franchise saga...This time out the series takes viewers inside the villains bar for some really great stuff as Lex Luthor puts the next phase of his plan in motion...


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Speaking The Truth

As a fan of The X Files TV show and The X Files movie from 1998--I'm thrilled that plans for a sequel, are indeed, moving ahead.

At the recent TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour last Saturday, actor David Duchovny was out to promote his new Showtime series Californication . During the event he was asked about the status of the long gestating second X-Files movie. Duchovny said that it was indeed going forward, and added that co-star Gillian Anderson is also ready to wear her FBI badge again

The actor was asked by a small group of media after the main presser [among them IGN's Goldman] why he felt so confidant the movie was happening this time, after years of countess scripts rumours, and false starts.

"I'm actually supposed to see it next week! Before I would just say that [there was a movie] because they told me, but now, after talking to Chris [Carter] -- he's been giving me progress reports -- and he actually called yesterday, and said 'Next week, you should have something to read.'"

Asked to confirm earlier reports that the movie would be a standalone story, and not part of the larger mythology arc of the series, he replied "It should be. It should be a one-off, yeah."

Goldman then asked Duchovny what the schedule for the film might be, in terms of both shooting it and releasing it, and he said "I think it was November, for a summer release." When asked if that would be summer 2008, the actor nodded.

As an exit question Duchovny was asked why he liked playing agent Fox Mulder, "Because he's cool! It's a great show and I love playing the character and I like the people

Lea Should Be In The X-Sequel

Even though the series, in my opinion, limped its way to the finish line. I have to say, I've really missed seeing Mulder and Scully in action. The time is right for them to return. Whether the film is an independent story, or part of the show's established mythology, or both, I hope the flick has room for the return of Nicholas Lea as the duplicitous Alex Krycek My favorite recurring character. Not to mention the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis)

Kirk Ultimatum

Out and about promoting The Bourne Ultimatum (in theaters August 3rd), Matt Damon answers the question all Trekkers want answered. And in doing so. provides a revealing tid-bit about the direction JJ Abrams plans to take the 2008 film and franchise.

IGN has the exclusive final word on the Captain Kirk rumors...

I suspect Abrams will have plenty to say about the new movie when he sits on the Star Trek XI panel next week at Comic-Con in San Diego...

I expect BIG news to come out of that panel...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Stirring Up The Hornet's Nest

Variety reports that those plans for a film version of The Green Hornet are indeed moving forward...But they kinda took an unexpected turn...



Knocked Up star Seth Rogen (pictured) and writing partner Evan Goldberg are in final negotiations to co-write and produce "The Green Hornet" for Sony Pictures.

On the surface, that news doesn't sound so strange to me, (both of these guys could be HUGE fans of the characters...) but then I read that Rogen is also attached to star as the classic crime-fighting hero... And I begin to wonder if the movie will turn into some piece of comedic camp?

There's no doubt that Rogen is a talented guy-and thanks to the success of KU--he's been put on the map. But I think he's wrong for the part here. After all, guys like George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Jake Gyllenhaal were all previously linked to the project at one point or another. I'm hopeful for a faithful adaptation and not a romp.

Fingers Firmly Crossed...

NeXt In Line Gets The Job

The Wolverine movie has finally found a director.



Michael Fleming and Peter Gilstrap of Variety:

Twentieth Century Fox has set Gavin Hood [pictured] to direct Hugh Jackman in "Wolverine," the "X-Men" spin-off film that was scripted by David Benioff.

Pic, which begins production in November for 2008 release, will be produced by Lauren Shuler-Donner, Jackman and his Seed Prods. partner John Palermo.

Hood is the South African director whose 2005 film "Tsotsi" won the foreign film Oscar. He was among several hot young directors vying for "Wolverine" and sources said Fox brass was swayed after viewing his latest film, "Rendition," the politically charged New Line drama starring Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep and Peter Sarsgaard. It opens Oct. 19 and premieres at Toronto.

Using several resources that include the Marvel Comics lore, along with the more recent Weapon X graphic novels by Frank Miller, "Wolverine" mixes action with an origin story about how Logan emerged from a barbaric experiment as an indestructible mutant with retractable razor-sharp claws.

After three "X-Men" films grossed over $1 billion worldwide, studio has made "Wolverine" a top priority.

"I have long been a fan of Gavin's work and know he will make a masterful film with the character intensity and action beats the fans expect," said Jackman.



Very interesting...Gavin Hood--though talented isn't the first guy I would have thought of for this. I say that only because of his limited background as a director thus far. I thought for sure that a bigger name would be getting the gig.

Fingers Crossed.

Wedded Miss?

Battling for both box office bucks and yuks--Two new comedies vie for the top spot come Monday...




John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer (good to have you back!), Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah, James Marsden, Christopher Walken, and Zac Efron headline Hairspray (reviews); Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Jessica Biel star in I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry (reviews)



Pamela McClintock and Dave McNary of Variety:

New Line's "Hairspray" will try to outlaugh Universal comedy "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" this weekend, though Warner Bros. is hoping "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" can retain the No. 1 crown in its second frame.

"Chuck and Larry," toplining Adam Sandler and Kevin James, opens in 3,495 theaters. "Hairspray," based on the John Waters musical, bows in 3,121.

Warners will still enjoy plenty of magic with the fifth film in the lucrative "Harry Potter" franchise, still at 4,285 locations.

Still, Sandler has always had good luck with summer laffers. "Click" opened at $40 million last summer; "The Longest Yard" opened at $47.6 million in May 2005.

"Chuck and Larry" and "Hairspray" are the only two wide openers.

Limited releases include Milos Forman's "Goya's Ghosts," which Samuel Goldwyn Films opens in 49 locations in select markets.

Fox Searchlight bows sci-fi thriller "Sunshine" in 10 locations, while Magnolia opens dramedy "Cashback" in nine.

DreamWorks-Paramount tentpole "Transformers" heads into its third frame with a domestic cume of more than $240 million as of Wednesday.

"Phoenix" grossed more than $168 million domestically as of Wednesday, and another $254 million overseas since first unspooling July 11. With an opening weekend take of $77.1 million, even a 50% drop would put it at $39 million in its second weekend.

"Harry Potter" pic has enjoyed strong weekday numbers, making $10.4 million Monday, another $9.1 million Tuesday and $8.4 million Wednesday...


Despite scathing reviews, Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly says Chuck And Larry will beat out both Hairspray and Harry Potter:

With Potter fans glued to Book No. 7, the Adam Sandler-Kevin James comedy should rise just enough to overtake ''Phoenix''

I like the talents of both Sandler and James; And Biel is certainly easy on the eyes...I'm rootin' for them. That said, it's possible that the film's best bits can be seen in the trailer, and that the premise wears thin...

Next Week: The Simpsons Movie finally arrives!!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Termination?


Anyone hoping that Terminator 4 would be fast-tracked, per this post, better read on...

Janet Shprintz of Variety:

>The holders of the rights to "Terminator 4" have sued MGM, claiming the studio is interfering with their right to negotiate for the distribution of the planned fourth installment of the highly successful series. Halcyon Co. and its principals, Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson, acquired rights in May, including sequel rights to "Terminator 2" and "Terminator 3" and a script by "T3" writers John Brancato and Michael Ferris, with plans to launch a big-budget sequel.

According to the complaint, filed in L.A. Superior Court on Wednesday, MGM claimed it had acquired an exclusive 30-day negotiation window for "T4" in the 1990s Orion Pictures bankruptcy. T Asset, the plaintiff and Halcyon's subsidiary, did not concede MGM's rights but began negotiations in May over distribution. T Asset claims MGM's exclusive window is now over despite MGM's claims in the media that it has the right to distribute "T4." The suit seeks a declaration and injunctive relief.

As outlined in the complaint, producer Moritz Borman began negotiations with MGM chief operating officer Rick Sands on May 31. The deal proposed by MGM for worldwide distribution included a commitment of almost $200 million and gave MGM approval over budget, script, director and male lead. It also included a lower backend participation to T Asset. With the 30-day period running out, the two sides could not make a deal.

According to the complaint, MGM then claimed T Asset was required to continue negotiations and that it would prevent T Asset from negotiating with other studios. Also at issue is T Asset's refusal to allow MGM to review the confidential screenplay. According to correspondence attached to the complaint, MGM claims that T Asset has taken an unfair "take it or leave it" position in the negotiations. MGM appears to take the position that "T4" cannot have the same deal as "T3" without Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role.

Commenting on the litigation, an MGM spokesman said,"MGM is completely comfortable with its rights position on the 'Terminator' franchise, and we will not allow anyone to interfere with our rights."


Jeebus! I thought all of the legal issues around the big T had been resolved? Hence, the ambitious plan for a new trilogy... Heck, casting a new Terminator is rumored to have already begun. Stay Tuned...