Late Friday night news dump

A few more items than usual may be slipping through the cracks this week as my iMac has let me know in no uncertain terms that it’s hard drive is ready to be sent off to the digital happy hunting grounds and has been temporarily mothballed.  In the meantime, I am writing to you now, dear reader, via my trusty, if Vista-laden lap top and minus a few links I’ve been saving up over the last couple of days.

But enough about me and my choice of blogging weapon, what’s going on as Hollywood’s denizens ready for the weekend by hit the bars and/or gyms?

* MGM is officially on the auction block, and the secret word to protect against bankruptcy, writes Sharon Waxman, is “forebearance.”

* I’ve never watched “Nip/Tuck” and I couldn’t get past the first twenty minutes or so of “Fantastic Four,” so Julian McMahon is a new name/face to me. Nevertheless, Heat Vision blog wants us to know that he’s in negotiations alongside Richard Dreyfuss and 92 year-old Ernest Borgnine to join an already very impressive cast on the action-espionage comic book adaptation, “Red,” which includes Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John C. Reilly, and Mary Louise Parker. Considering whose on board, director Robert Schwentke of “The Time Traveler’s Wife” really needs to step up his game. (H/t CHUD.)

* “Paranormal Activity” has past $100 million in grosses. I think Anne Thompson is correct that there are lessons here for other films. It’s true the movie is a one-off creatively speaking, but the slow roll-out and “by popular demand” tactics can definitely be transferred to all kinds of movies. It’s also silly to argue that the success of the movie was all the result of some kind of wide belief that it was “real.” In general, I’m a proponent of slow releases, except that there’s a problem — it works better with movies that are actually entertaining.

On a different note entirely, be sure to check out Ms. Thompson’s three part video interview with Michael Stuhlberg, the heretofore unknown star of  “A Serious Man.”

*Word has it that Nicolas Cage’s crappy streak appears to be ending in a big way with Werner Herzog’s “Bad Lieutanent: Port of Call New Orleans” which I’m really starting to looking forward to despite, or perhaps because, I was not a fan of the original film, much as I love Harvey Keitel. Via The Auteurs Daily, Manohla Dargis considers Cage’s career ups and downs. Good stuff, but, well, since Ms. Dargis mentions it, I can’t resist indulging in, well, you know….

  

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AskMen and Ye Shall Receive HotWomen

AskMen.com has announced its 9th annual list of the “Top 99 Most Desirable Women,” and, man, did their readers come out in droves to make their opinions known. More than ten million votes were cast in this, the site’s ranking of women who best represent the qualities of the ideal girlfriend or wife, but since this is Premium Hollywood, we thought we’d take a gander at a handful of the list’s actress inclusions and offer up a few of our favorite film and TV appearances by these women.

(#7) Scarlett Johansson

Best Work: The obvious pick here is “Lost in Translation,” of course, since it’s generally considered to be Johansson’s breakthrough performance, but she also received a great deal of praise for her turn in Peter Webber’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” With that said, however, let’s not forget about her work for Terry Zwigoff in “Ghost World,” which was strong enough to earn her the long-term career that her co-star, Thora Birch, was unable to maintain.
Guiltiest Pleasures: “The Perfect Score.” It’s a spiritual descendant of “The Breakfast Club,” but while it’s in no way as good as that John Hughes classic, it’s a pleasant teen comedy with a nice ensemble cast. Also worth catching on a rainy Sunday afternoon is “Eight Legged Freaks,” a slight but fun throwback to ’50s sci-fi monster flicks.
A Must to Avoid: “The Spirit.” 50,000,000 movie critics can’t be wrong.

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The 10 Worst Comic Book Movies

King-Mag.com put together a list of the 10 Worst Comic Book Movies.

Here’s a sampling:

9. Daredevil (2003)
Why’s it so bad? The director of Grumpier Old Men delivers a crash course in miscasting with Colin Farrell chewing the scenery as a cornball assassin and Ben Affleck in a skintight, red leather suit. What could be worse?

Aftermath: A modest hit, Daredevil managed to rake in over $100 million at the box office and gave Affleck his last taste of success before the career-killing streak of Gigli, Paycheck, Jersey Girl and Surviving Christmas. Turns out bad choices hurt him more than the Kingpin ever could.

It’s a pretty solid list, though they sort of throw “The Incredible Hulk” under the bus by mentioning it in the “Hulk” blurb.

Five years later the title relaunched with new stars (Edward Norton and Liv Tyler), a new director (Louis Leterrier) and similar results (disappointing box office, mixed reviews). Let’s hope Marvel doesn’t believe the third time’s a charm.

I didn’t think the first one was all that bad, but there’s no doubt that the second one was better. “The Incredible Hulk” got a 7.3 at IMDB.com, a 67% at Rotten Tomatoes, and according to Box Office Mojo, it made almost $263 million worldwide (on a budget of $150 million). I for one sure hope that they bring back Edward Norton for another chapter.

  

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