It’s your just barely pre-holiday weekend movie news dump

I was going to try and avoid doing this this week and meant to gripe about the Los Angeles Film Festival’s rather serious problems in terms of how they treat the human beings who attend, but there was simply too much interesting news stuff going on to ignore, even if some of it is outside of what I usually cover.  So, LAFF, you get another reprieve…

* I don’t do gossip and the content of an argument between a director/star and his ex-mistress certainly qualifies. On the other hand, when that star is Mel Gibson and he has the history he does and he says something as noxious as this, you just can’t ignore it. People say terrible stuff when they’re in the thrall of extreme anger, but Gibson keeps going back to the racist and misogynist well when he becomes unhinged. It’s not nothing.

Also, I hope he avoids anything that looks like preaching ever again. I’m no theologian, but as I understand it,  a devout fundamentalist anti-Vatican II Catholic who openly cheats on and leaves his wife is not exactly walking the walk, but it’s only anyone’s business because of the way he’s made religion part of his career and it’s hard not to think of him as complete hypocrite, on top of everything else. I truly don’t believe that people should decide not to see movies based on a particular actor’s behavior, not matter how bad, but this comment is so repulsive, and the man is so clearly out of control, that I’ll understand if people would just prefer not to look at him anymore.

On the other hand, for those in the talking and making fun of people business, it can be a good thing, and it’s already started, largely via Twitter. Jeff Schneider of the Wrap has compiled some of it.

* I usually also try to avoid stories that are vague and unconfirmed, but this one is a bit too interesting and potentially big to ignore. There’s also a various obvious Gibson connection to the biggest unconfirmed glorified rumor of the day. It’s that it’s just barely possible that two back-to-back “Mad Max” sequels are being directed down-under even as we speak by the Max man himself, George Miller. Certain aspects of the story, especially the putative titles, are hinky, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.  If it’s true, I’m guessing Miller is a bit relieved that Gibson isn’t involved this time. (Though can they really be sequels in the usual sense without him, or at least his character?)

mel_madmax2-600x400

* Kevin Jagernauth keeps us up to date and engages in some thoughtful speculation on the business dealings going on around “The Hobbit.” While I was on hiatus, Mike Fleming took some extra Finke pills and broke what turned out to be a grossly exaggerated story that made it sound as if Peter Jackson was practically a lock to direct the films, which is clearly not the case.

* Apparently, will i. am claims that James Cameron will direct a 3-D concert film starring his band, the mostly rather noxious Black Eyed Peas. A Hitfix commenter perfectly summarizes my feelings:

I am agnostic, but I will pray to God daily in the hope that this may turn out to be a joke.

* Carl Icahn’s assault on Lionsgate continues. Boy, the MEGO factor on financial press releases for me is huge. Can you guys read those things…and understand them? I’d rather try my luck with Finnegan’s Wake in 5 pt. type.

* One non-film event I attended at the LAFF was an interview of Edgar Wright by some guy named J.J. Abrams. I’m too lazy to go into it, but Steve Saito at IFC did a very good job of summarizing the event. While the event had many nice moments, it was a bit less exciting and funny than you might expect given the caliber of the talents involved. Nevertheless, my favorite part of the night were some very cool video mash-ups from the upcoming “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” which I hope find their way to the web very shortly. If this movie isn’t as fun as it looks, a lot of  us are going to be very disappointed.

* How bad are the reviews of “The Last Airbender“? Writers are suggesting it’s a “hate crime against film lovers” and comparing M. Night Shyamalan’s career to carbon emission’s effect on the environment. S.T. Vanairsdale at Movieline compiles the best/worst of the critical broadsides.

* The success of “Twilight” and the (I’m still wondering about this) of “Airbender” too, may drive movie theater stocks upward, says THR.

* When it comes to directing styles, I think Rod Lurie is a far cry from Sam Peckinpah. I really wonder what his version of “Straw Dogs” will add to a movie I found kind of pointless the first time around. It almost has to be more conventional, just because of the way Lurie is.

* I don’t know whether this will disappoint or relieve our resident Dr. Who-nik, Ross Ruediger. However, according to io9, there is no evidence of any “Dr. Who” movie being planned and Johnny Depp will not be starring in the non-existent movie. Wouldn’t it be funny if that story turned out to be unsubstantiated rumor, too? In any case, this actually would not be the first Who flick.

Definitely non-canonical — this doctor is no alien Time Lord, just your basic kindly but eccentric professor — but you can actually watch the entire flick on YouTube. There was a sequel, too.

  

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