Midweek movie news, and then…

After tonight, I’ll be taking a break from the daily blogging grind for just a bit. That means I’ll be out completely for a couple of days at least and then you may see a post here and there and then, suddenly, I’ll be back like I was never gone in the first place, probably towards the tail end of the month. So, this will have to hold you for a little while.

* As of tonight, corporate raider Carl Icahn appears to be a majority stockholder in Lionsgate.

* I’ve never been a fan of the seventies movie of the silly seventies film version of “Logan’s Run,” but with Carl Erik Rinsch directing, my interest in the new film perked up considerably. Now, Alex Garland — who wrote and produced the not-entirely-unrelated upcoming version of “Never Let Me Go” which I discussed yesterday — has jumped on board, making it even more interesting. Better, they’re approaching it as a new version of the book, not a remake of the film. In the 1976 film, by the way, no one in the futuristic society was permitted to live past 30. In the novel, it was 21.

* Sam Raimi has been confirmed as the director of “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” Apparently Robert Downey, Jr., who just formed a new company with his producer wife, Susan Downey, is the most likely Oz at this point.

* Be sure and check out Will Harris’s terrific interview with one of the best, Isabella Rossellini. Easily one of the most fascinating¬† actresses of the last thirty years or so, with quite a backstory behind her. Don’t miss it.

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*Though Ms. Rossellini seems perfectly at home in a very humorous way with her fifty-something status, that is not really always the case for actresses. This month’s conversation between Jason Bellamy and Ed Howard at the House Next Door underlines that point as the cinephile thinkers discuss two of Hollywood’s greatest show-biz based films, “Sunset Boulevard” and “All About Eve,” both released in 1950 and both dealing with actresses who struggling with this whole passage of time thing.

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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.

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Weinstein’s Cash Problems to Trouble “Basterds”? …And the Genesis of a “Hangover”

Someday, I’m going to have to write post apologizing to Nikki Finke for all the mean things I’ve thought about her in the wake of some of the mean things she’s written in her still extant column for the quickly crumbling L.A. Weekly. But the fact remains that her blog is absolutely invaluable and mostly avoids the sort of editorializing that used to drive me crazy — even if her commenters still drive me up the wall. Also, today, she helped me learn about two breaking stories which will be very much of interest to PH readers.

* As is being reported by The New York Times among many others, the Weinstein Company appears to be facing some serious financial issues. Of most immediate interest to film fans, particularly those of us who may confess to a certain amount of fanboyism, is how the reported restructuring may affect the release of Quentin Tarantino’s extremely long-awaited “Inglourious Basterds” (I think he spent a year developing the misspellings alone.) The amazing Ms. Finke reports, however, that things may be even worse than the NYT implied, and the company may have issues releasing any film.

Meanwhile, Sharon Waxman is claiming that the ubiquitous Harvey is pressuring Tarantino to cut 40 minutes or so from the currently 160 minute war flick, which got all-over-the-map reviews and comments at Cannes. While reporting a quote from brother Bob Weinstein placing the apparent financial crisis in perspective (i.e., the financial deaths of the Weinsteins have been reported more than once before), she also mentions another lavish production that could be effected: Rob Marshall’s intriguing looking “Nine.”

* And, in a Finke exclusive, she has some possible backstory on how “The Hangover” was induced. Was it really as borderline underhanded and complicated as she makes it sound? Only her “insiders” know for sure. I will say it’s yet another sign of the truth of JFK’s pronouncement that “Victory has a thousand fathers….” (The “but defeat is an orphan” portion of the quote would no doubt relate better to why we’re not reading stories about whose brilliant idea “Land of the Lost” was.)

  

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