More movie news and stuff

Cannes is in full swing and there’s plenty other stuff going on besides — way too much to cover completely. So, consider this just me hitting a very few of the highlights of the film world right this moment.

* The critical wars are going full strength at Cannes with the biggest love-it/hate-it proposition appearing to be Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Biutiful.” I haven’t seen the film, of course, but Iñárritu is most definitely my least favorite of “the three amigos” of Mexican/Spanish/U.S. cinema. (The other two being Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro) and not only because his name is the most impossible to type. I mostly liked “Amores Perros” but his “21 Grams” and “Babel” struck me as exercises in touchy-feely realism that was a lot less real than it seemed to fancy itself.

biutiful-inniratu

Still, he’s working with different writers now and everyone seems to agree that the always great Javier Bardem is especially fine in it, so I suppose I should keep an open mind. Still, reading about the film, it’s hard not to side with the anti-faction when much of the commentary echoes my feelings about past films and when the pro-side is being taken by Jeffrey Welles, who really doesn’t seem to respond well when other people don’t love his favorite films. It’s a conspiracy, I tells ya!

In any case, David Hudson does his usual amazing job summarizing the critical reaction from a wide swath of the press; John Horn at the L.A. Times focuses on the reactions of big name critics.

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Today’s secret word is “$”

On an otherwise slow movie news day, Variety‘s Michael Fleming is on  a small role, and the theme is filthy lucre.

* Writers Aline Brosh McKenna and Simon Kinberg have obtained $2 million from Paramount on the basis of a pitch for an unnamed upcoming project to be produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot. Especially in this climate, it’s a surprisingly tidy sum. It sort of brings back to mind the Hollywood of a couple of decades back when the studios were handing out sometimes surprisingly generous money for options to even relatively unknown writers on the basis of a pitch — though McKenna and Kinberg are far from unknown and the Abrams imprimatur surely didn’t hurt.

No details about the story have emerged but Kinberg is associated with lighthearted action pieces, like the upcoming “Sherlock Holmes,” while McKenna has worked on lighthearted feminine-friendly material like “The Devil Wears Prada.”

A Fistful of Dollars

* “The Art of Making Money” is an adaptation of journalist Jason Kersten’s nonfiction account of the career of counterfeiter Art Williams. Director D.J. Caruso (“Disturbia,” “Red Eye”) and Junior James Kirk Chris Pine are “in negotiations” with Paramount for the pic.

* Meanwhile at Fox, any action comedy headlined by Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, to be directed by James Mangold (“3:10 to Yuma“), co-written by busy master scribe Scott Frank  (“The Lookout” “Get Shorty,” “Minority Report,” etc.) and backed up by all-star supporting is likely to be a pricey proposition. You’d think they could afford a better title than “Knight & Day.”

  

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