I’ve got those midweek movie news blues

Leonardo DiCaprio* It’s not really new news and I even posted about it before, but Mike Fleming has returned to the possibility that Leonardo DiCaprio may eventually be undertaking the role of John D. MacDonald’s great gumshoe, Travis McGee. However, there’s more this time around. If DiCaprio strikes a lot of us as a counter-intuitive pick for the laid-back, heroic tough guy, the choice of possible director seems even stranger: Oliver Stone. Stone’s often hyperactive style simply strikes me as wrong, unless he can turn himself into Howard Hawks or Clint Eastwood or someone more in that vein.

Still, my discomfort is nothing compared to Drew McWeeney, who is obviously a huge, huge fan of the books and who read a script that he was none too fond of — though it’s been so long since I’ve read the books that I’m so sure why introducing McGee on a surfboard is all that terrible. However, I do remember McGee as being more a fishing-with-his-buddy-Meyer-while sipping-whiskey kind of a guy. By the way, if they don’t cast Paul Giamatti as Meyer, the world just doesn’t really make any sense.

* If some people are made nauseous by the camera work in the Bourne movies, how many more will be made ill if the approach is set in some guy’s bloodstream and in James Cameron-style immersive 3-D? It appears we may be finding out because director Paul Greengrass, whose high-budgetted “Green Zone” has been a commercial and critical disappointment, is “in talks” to be the director on the Cameron-produced 3-D remake of “Fantastic Voyage.” I’m thinking about buying shares in whoever manufactures Dramamine.

* Screenwriters, playwrights, aspiring TV scribes — are you ready for Script Frenzy? I just found out about it. Remember, there are only thirty days in April and the goal is 100 pages.

* Big news for this movie mad, West L.A. bred Bruin boy. Regency chain has purchased the endangered, historic twin single-screen movie theaters that anchor UCLA-adjacent Westwood Village, the appropriately named Fox Village and Bruin theaters. The chain recently let go of an important neighborhood theater a couple of miles east which was turned into a triplex back in the eighties or early nineties, the Fairfax, which anchors the traditionally Jewish neighborhood that is home to Canter’s Deli. Win a few, lose a few, I guess.

Bruin_Theatre,_Westwood,_Los_Angeles,_CA_,_at_night

http://www.gq.com/entertainment/celebrities/201001/william-shatner-captain-kirk-interview?printable=true

* GQ’s Andrew Corsello has a very cool piece up about William Shatner and his battles with irony. But if anyone out there has seen him in Roger Corman’s sole non-genre film, “The Intruder,” they know there was a time when he was a very good actor who could it keep it fairly simple, even playing a villainous antihero, back in 1962.

* I’m a little late on this, but Steven Spielberg absolutely does not, repeat, does not, have Asperger’s Syndrome. In other news, I can now announce that I am 100% free of ovarian cancer.

* Bryan Cranston, star of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and also the upcoming “John Carter of Mars” is a popular guy around these parts. He’s currently “eying” a part in “Larry Crowne,” the upcoming Tom Hanks starring/directed by dramedy co-starring Julia Roberts and written with Nia Vardalos of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” The character in question is  Roberts’ husband, whose a blogger who spends way too much time “looking at” porn. I wouldn’t know anything about that.

  

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A movie news midnight ramble.

It’s a bit late for a Friday night news dump –and most all of  you will be reading this on Saturday morning — but here’s the news…

* Chris Evans has been offered the part of Captain America, but will he accept?

* Christopher Nolan’s multi-star Philip Dick-esque new movie is generating interesting, of course.

* That word about Tim Burton doing an stop-motion version of “The Addams Family” going back to the characters’ cartoon roots struck me as a perfectly reasonable idea. Charles Addams brilliant cartoons have never really be transferred to the screen in quite the fashion they deserve, so why not take another whack, says me. I any case, the whole story appears to be premature.

adams2* Demi Moore and Nia Vardalos: Twitter heroines.

* Friday’s over now. Is Leo the Lion closer to having a new tamer?

* Speaking of lion tamers, Carl Icahn is at the Lion’s gate. (Sorry.)

* Wow, Jeff Bridges was really a lock for the Oscar. George Clooney did his classy Cary Grant thing again and voted for him. Weirdly enough, much as I just about worship Bridges, I actually think Clooney was better in his nominated role than Bridges in his.

* Christoph Waltz wowed the world as Col. Landa, but what he really wants to do, aside from being America’s new go-to bad guy, is direct, at least once. Good for him for striking while the iron is hot, and it’s very hot for him.

* Woody Allen is having second thoughts, it appears, about casting France’s first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, in his new movie.

Carla-Bruni-Nicolas-1

* The ultra-hawkish rightwing’s answer to having more successful political thrillers is apparently the same as their longstanding and unchanging prescription for foreign policy: more mindless brutality, please. On the other hand, I might pay to see Gene Simmons’ head explode in a ball of flame, though I’m not advocating it.

* Which is not to say there aren’t some conservatives who don’t have something to teach us liberals. The subtly and thoughtfully right-leaning cinephile Bill Ryan, via Dennis the C,  takes apart the latest highly irritaining controversy involving the always irritaining Armond White.

* I can’t say I actually know the man really at all, but film distributor turned filmmaker turned back to film distributor Jeff Lipsky and I have a bit of history (discussed in my interview with him from 2007). His thoughts on returning to the biz are some interesting inside baseball and most of them seem to make a fair amount of sense.  His movie love is sincere, even as his tastes are quite different than mine. And it’s interesting and hopeful to see an Indie guy still excited about theatrical filmgoing. But why on earth does he feel the need to single out the aforementioned Armond White for praise? I could go on…

  

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Before the fireworks

A few odds and ends as we head into the big holiday weekend…

* It’s not really about the reviews (neither film was liked by critics), but as a human being who likes to watch movies about human beings (and anthropomorphic animals, too), I find it somewhat reassuring to report that, according to Variety and everyone else, “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” edged out “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” $13.8 to $10.9 million.

Christian Bale in In other mildly good news for movies that at least attempt to tell actual stories, “Public Enemies” came in an unsurprising third, but performed somewhat above expectations with $8.2 million on its first day. I’ll give you more definitive box office info on Sunday, as usual.

* The Hollywood Reporter says that the very old video game, “Asteroids,” is being turned into a movie. I guess “Pong: The Movie” was already taken. (That joke can’t be original, can it?) Begging the question: Why?????????!!!!!!! I’m not saying it couldn’t turn out to be a fun movie — miracles happen. However, in a world where we have thousand of science fiction novels, comics, and TV shows of all levels of quality to adapt, why use a game only old guys like me remember as an excuse to make a silly sci-fi flick? I don’t see even a small marketing advantage here.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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Box Office Preview of the “Lost” Weekend

So, there I was, thinking about what I was going to post tomorrow when it suddenly occurred to me: it’s not Wednesday, it’s Thursday, which means you’re reading this on Friday morning and, damnit, you need your box office preview.

This weekend sees the release of passel of comedies and comedy dramas, and the smart money at both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter agrees that “Up,” which is just about ready to receive the first Nobel Prize for animation and become the basis for a new religion, will likely defeat both of the newcomers. It gets more intriguing become it’s not impossible that the film starring a bonafide comedy superstar could come in at the #3 spot.

I speak, of course, of “Land of the Lost” starring Will Ferrell, which our own Will Harris gave a mere 1.5 stars to on the grounds of being unfunny and raunchily disconnected from it’s own youngster appeal. Rotten Tomatoes has given the film a sad 20% “Fresh” rating (even if Roger Ebert wrote another of his very, very many utterly winning defenses of films I would never spend my own money to see). I’m sure the elaborate comedy will do a certain amount of business based on Ferrell’s appeal and its special effects, but unless audiences like this one vastly more than critics, there may be long faces at Universal on Monday. At least it’s gotten the original TV series reissued, much to the delight of my fellow PH-er, Ross Ruediger.

Ed Helms and a feathered friendOn the other hand, the megastar-free “The Hangover,” which sort of sounds like a retread of the premise of “Very Bad Things,” is apparently a vastly more upbeat affair. My film review overseer, Jason Zingale, gave it a solid 3.5 stars and in general it is being received as a very good thing by RT critics, and may well do very good things for the careers of its up-and-coming cast. An upset at the #2 spot is not impossible.

Other than that, we have a new romantic comedy vehicle from Nia Vardolos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”), “My Life in Ruins.” Despite being written by the very talented comedy writer, Mike Reiss, this film keeps alive director Donald Petrie’s career long record of never making a single well reviewed featured, receiving a truly dismal 7% at RT. I wouldn’t expect another sleeper from this one. Bullz-Eye’s Dave Medsker gave it 2.5 stars, definitely more in sorrow than in anger.

That’s pretty much it, but in very limited release is a new film from Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”, “Road to Perdition”) and literary power couple Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, which we’ll talk about when it’s in more than four theaters. Also, speaking of director’s named “Sam,” please consider giving Mr. Raimi’s “Drag Me to Hell” a chance this weekend. It’s that or the only horror films the studios will be greenlighting will be “The Grudge 15” or such upcoming torture-porn classics as “I Digest Your Eyeballs” and “The Scrotum Stretchers.” Keep horror sane, see the darn thing. (Also check out Will Harris’s interview with the very cool actor, Dileep Rao.)

  

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