Hollywood manages its baser instincts (updated)

Yes, it seems to be a day when we’re avoiding the worst that the film biz has to offer. Take that Sammy Glick! Maybe.

* Notorious screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who brought the world such morality plays as “Basic Instinct” and “Showgirls,” is handling the kind of character/person you’d never expect him to write about, or meet. A virgin. Apparently the once severely overpaid, self-aggrandizing writer not exactly known for any particular virtues of any particular sort became a born-again Catholic following a bout with cancer. Naturally, a recent memoir tells of his conversion.

* I’ve never watched the most recent iteration of “At the Movies,” but I’m happy to say that the next version will be hosted by the New York Times‘ A.O. “Tony” Scott and the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips. They had both been my favorite subs for the still-going-strong but voiceless Roger Ebert during the final days of the old show’s run, and having them both return gives me a small but solid happy. These guys know movies and should be worthy successors to Mr. Ebert and the late Gene Siskel. I’ll be tuning in.

UPDATE: Glenn Kenny weighs in on “when good things happen to good film critics.” He also has something to say about the predecessors…and one of their daddies. It’s critical go-time. A humorous must for fans of critic-on-critic pugilism and praise.

* Too poor to buy scads of DVDs, but too virtuous (or technologically challenged) to steal them via the Internet? Speedcine can take you to places where you can legally watch an ever-increasing number of films online. It’s just in Beta, but this should be a site to watch and a boon to moral cheapskates and poor slobs the world over.

* I would be an amoral blogger indeed if I didn’t give an h/t for item above to Anne Thompson. She also clued me in on the existence of a new trailer for Peter Jackson’s long-awaited return to non-epic fare, Alice Siebold’s “The Lovely Bones.” The trailer includes a brief intro by Jackson who, in his new and far thinner state is starting to resemble Meriadoc Brandybuck‘s long-lost hirsute older brother.

* Speaking of Middle Earth filmmakers who’ve been known to eat their dessert, Guillermo del Toro has made what sounds like a solid and unusual choice to direct the remake of the Spanish-language horror-flick he produced, “The Orphanage.” (Not to be confused with “Orphan,” currently in theaters.) I haven’t seen the original film, not have I seen any of Larry Fessenden’s unusual horror films as a director, but I have a relatively good feeling about this one.

* Mike Fleming makes it sound as if Screen Gems Clint Culpepper is doing the right thing re: incarcerated rapper-actor T.I. I’m sure his dealings with Chris Brown will be far more controversial, however, if he chooses to maintain that business relationship. Weapons charges are one thing, domestic abuse is another.

  

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