Harvey and Quentin, Oscar, Michael’s good night (and more bad reviews), Doug J., Guillermo, and Frankenstein

As I prepare to dive back into LAFF, I’ve got some quick items with a mostly geek-friendly bent to keep y’all satisified.

* Remember those reports that latter day mogul Harvey Weinstein was pressuring Quentin Tarantino to shorten “Inglourious Basterds”? Well, Harvey’s back to tell you they were all BS, and he’s not bothering with the initials.

* The Academy has surprised just about everyone by announcing that this year’s Best Picture category will double from the usual five nominees to ten, as it was in days very long past. Nikki Finke, aka the $14 million blogger, is displeased, and she might have a point. Personally, I love the Oscars, but anyone who thinks that awards are any particular indicator of absolute quality is, well, kinda dumb. It’s all wonderful hookum and self-promotion to me, though its possible this is too much of a good thing.

* Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” had a fine opening midnight indeed. And IFC’s David Hudson shows how he’s allowing some critics a fine target, as well, including the fanboy film friendly folks at AICN.

* The very talented actor Doug Jones, a friend of a friend who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times, is probably the most famous man in Hollywood who’s almost never recognized. That’s because most of his acting is done in heavy disguise, but the man behind the Silver Surfer, Hellboy’s pal Abe Sapien, and two of the funkiest monsters in film history from the fantasy-horror masterpiece “Pan’s Labyrinth” is being kept busy by his frequent boss, “Pan”/”Hellboy” director and all-around cool guy Guillermo del Toro. The latest from an interview with Sci-Fi Wire is that Jones is scheduled to play the monster in “Frankenstein” in a new version to come along in about five years, right after del Toro has a chance to finish his work on the two scheduled “Hobbit” films.

The voluble and often hilarious del Toro is easily the premier monster film maker of our time, and the fact that he is turning to Mary Shelley’s proto-monster tale with Jones is exciting news indeed. If anyone can step into James Whales’ shoes comfortably it’s the guy who once told Terry Gross that, much as Christians accept Jesus as their personal savior, at an early age he accepted monsters into his heart. And, anyone whose seen Jones’ work knows he’s perhaps the only human alive who can make those huge Frankenboots first inhabited by the great Boris Karloff his very own. This one could be a spiritual experience.

  

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