Mouse reshuffles, Leo the lion on the block, and other tales

* In the real world Obama appears to be rethinking Afghanistan; in the cable TV world Lou Dobbs is relieving CNN of his xenophobia and is threatening to go into politics while The Onion has the real scoop. Meanwhile in the movie world, Disney’s new chairman, Rich Ross, is reorganizing. It sounds as if technology will be leading the way in the new regime. Also, the structure of the organization will resemble more a television network, we’re told, than a movie studio. Once upon a time that might have worried me, but these days TV is hardly any worse than movies. I’m not sure if that’s good news about TV or bad news about movies. (A little of both?)

* The lion of Hollywood has been a bit mangy for a long time now. Peter Bart reports that MGM is about to be sold and the whole thing, 4,000 titles and all, is worth about $1.5 billion, which would be a lot of money to you and me but to a once mighty film studio sure sounds paltray. One factor, even the older titles in the library ain’t what they used to be, either. The studio’s signature titles: “The Wizard of Oz,” “Gone With the Wind,” and “Singin’ in the Rain” are now available on Warner Brother’s DVD along with a good chunk of their best known classics.  The ghosts of Culver City’s glory days are restless tonight.

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* Apparently being a movie critic these days is such an unstable, lousy position that some of the best known reviewers are jumping ship and becoming film festival programmers. Yesterday, it was Newsweek’s David Ansen. Today, it’s the L.A. Weekly/Village Voice’s Scott Foundas. Anne Thompson has the depressing news that might nevertheless be creating more opportunities for some of the better known online folks.

* The fruits of my compatriot Will Harris’s London sojourn are appearing in the form of some extremely worth-your-time interviews. First with writer/director Richard Curtis of the criticially underrated “Love, Actually” and the soon to be released “Pirate Radio.” Also roly-poly movie superstud and general all around good guy Nick Frost of “Shaun of the Dead,” etc., as well as “Pirate” newcomers Tom Sturridge and Talulah Riley gets the Harris treatment as well. Bob says collect ’em all.

* Does anyone really want to see the Dave Matthews Band in 3-D? Personally, I’d just find them three times as boring as usual, I’d guess. Anyhow, those who disagree will have their chance.

* And because the world must have it, “Little Fockers” is coming up and Harvey Keitel will be on board this time. Paul Weitz, a director I rather like who badly needs a hit after the failure of “American Dreamz” and “The Vampire’s Assistant,” is on board for this one. So, let me see, Keitel and Robert DeNiro appeared together in “Mean Streets,” and “Taxi Driver” and now, this. Times have changed.

* Since my brief here is more or less strictly movies, I was wondering how I was going to work in the news that Joss Whedon’s uneven but increasingly highly entertaining “Dollhouse” has been canceled. To my rescue came Marti Noxon, who was Whedon’s right hand and more on the later seasons of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.” Noxon, whose current writer-producer gig is on “Mad Men” is stepping out of the shadows of show-runner superstars like Whedon and Matthew Weiner and back into the old fang game to write her own movie, a remake of the affectionately recalled 1985 vampire horror comedy “Fright Night.” She’s done fine work on a bunch of different TV shows of different genres, so I have confidence in her. But, if the writing thing peters out for her, she’s got other talents to fall back on.

  

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