Monday movie news: Sundance redux; the Oscar noms are coming, but the Razzies are already here…and more.

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*  Since I wasn’t there, there’s not much I personally can say about Robert Redford’s annual mega-event. Fortunately, lots of others were and their thoughts are worth taking a look at, starting with Manohla Dargis, chief film critic of the New York Times who finds plenty to recommend in this year’s entries. She also considers a DIY digital new New Wave.

Another good summary of the Sundance fest comes from Indiewire’s Eric Kohn while David Hudson rounds up more reaction. Meanwhile, Mike Fleming takes a look from a more dollars-and-cents perspective and finds no huge “indie bloodbath” at this festival, and a comment points me towards the second Dargis piece linked to above.

* Yesterday, I wrote that the winner of the DGA award for Best Documentary got a “boost,” in its Oscar chances. I qualified that statement a bit, but probably not enough. A.J. Schnack notes that, if one award can be said to predict another award, the DGA victory yesterday for “The Cove” actually might make it less likely to win the Oscar. Weird but, I think, true. Historically, the folks in the documentary side of the Academy seem to like to give the nod to films that have been relatively ignored. Of course, “ignored” and “good” are not the same thing.

* They’ll be announcing the Oscar nominations far earlier than I’m prepared to get up tomorrow morning, according to tradition just after 5:30 a.m. PST, just to make all you east coasters happy by 9 a.m. Of course, I’ll get to that tomorrow. In the meantime, Steve Pond of the L.A. Times has predictions for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing, and — far more entertainingly — you can get an early taste of the inevitable complaints about unfair snubbings from an ahead of the curve Dustin Rowles.

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in
* Speaking of being just a bit ahead of things, the Razzies, dishonoring the lamest in Hollywood films, have made their nominations known and, as MTV’s Terri Schwartz points out, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” has the opportunity to get some payback from critical and other detractors for all those fan-based awards it nabbed. In a somewhat older demo, Tom O’Neil of The Envelope points out that Sandra Bullock has a decent shot at winning both a Razzie and an Oscar in the lead actress categories. That would be a first time achievement, for lack of a better word.

* Anne Thompson writes that a biopic about the great George Gershwin starring could be the next Steven Spielberg directorial effort and that nouveau Spock Zachary Quinto could possibly be its star. Speaking of Gershwin, the movie inspired by his music and named after one of his best known suites, “An American in Paris,” is the second film covered in “We’ll Always Have Paris,” Bullz-Eye’s salute to films based in Paris which, of course, I had very little to do with.

* Speaking of matters Parisian AICN’s Capone talks with Pierre Morel, director of the upcoming “From Paris with Love” and, it looks like, the new version of “Dune.” Whatever else is true, the guy is a fan and that’s a good thing.

* “Avatar” did even better than thought yesterday, earning over $31 morning and breaking the all-time cash record for seventh weekends. It also broke $2 billion worldwide. <Yawn.>

  

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“From Paris with Love”

For much of the last few weeks I’ve been steeped in cinematic depictions of Paris for an upcoming Bullz-Eye feature that will, just coincidentally, be seen about the time Pierre Morel’s upcoming action flick, named above, makes its way into theaters. Taking a look at these trailers (one redbanded for cursing a big of hard-edged gun violence), I can safely say that none of the movies we covered is quite in the same category.

Also, while I’m still somewhat unsold that Morel is the guy to take on “Dune,” and I’m a bit curious about the politics here, for what it’s worth, he does have a nice way with an action scene, and he’s studied his John Woo a bit. That’s a good thing for an action director to do.

Okay, so that last line wasn’t on a par with “Tuco’s advice,” but still, some reasonably effective mayhem there.

  

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First movie news round-up of the 2010s!

* A side-effect of the slow-going sale of MGM, the slowed down production of  “James Bond 23” and, to some degree, “The Hobbit” writes Anne Thompson.

* I haven’t seen “Up in the Air,” yet, so I’m not reading this item about Jason Reitman responding to a rumored deleted subplot, but there’s no reason you can’t if you’ve seen it or don’t mind big spoilers.

* Inevitably, the apparent mega-success of “Avatar” brings out Hollywood’s copycat side re: 3-D.  Oy.

* Every cinephile’s favorite company, Criterion, plugs their 2010 release schedule via primitivist postcard. Next time, they should go the extra mile and promote their releases via cave painting. Tops on my wish list: the restored “The Red Shoes.”

* I suppose I should wait until I’ve caught up with “Taken” to pass full judgment, but I can’t help but wonder about Paramount’s apparent approach to choosing directors for the latest attempt at Frank Herbert’s “Dune.” It’s not that I think Pierre Morel is a bad director. His “Banluie 13” had some very good sequences, even if its story was the usual Luc Besson not-quite-story. But why does Paramount apparently think this is just another hard-charging action flick?  To me, this is a movie that needs someone with a bit of David Lean or John Ford in him. Giving helmers who are strong on thud and blunder, but not necessarily on story and character, “Dune” is like assigning a smart second-grader to do a book report on The Brothers Karamazov. They might figure out the storyline with a lot of effort, but they’ll never get near the meaning — though I’d be delighted to be proven wrong.

* Flixter is acquiring my favorite review aggregating site, Rotten Tomatoes, from IGN (owned by Murdoch’s News Corp.) A very interesting merger, I think. Dylan Stableford of The Wrap has a brief interview.

  

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