Midweekish movie news

It’s oh so late (or early) as I write this, but let’s see how much I can cover before my very late dinner and maybe a cocktail.

* I woke up to this morning the realization that Netflix has become a liberal cause celebre. It has to do with Comcast attempting to charge Level 3, a provider of Netflix’s streaming, a fee which the company says would effectively block access by cable companies to the interwebs and threaten the net neutrality that allows a site like this one to be readily usable. Brian Stetler at NYT has the details.

* Not sure how the Deadline team got scooped on this, but some lesser known sites have word that Tom Hanks‘ next acting gig, after wrapping directing duties on the upcoming “Larry Crowne,” will be in the new drama from the team that brought us “The Hurt Locker,” writer Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow. It’s the Latin America set “Triple Frontier.”

* Two categories of people get to say exactly what they want: the elderly and universally beloved film stars who took a creative risk and essentially made a franchise. Johnny Depp isn’t quite yet at the early bird dinner stage of his life, but he had some interesting things to say about Disney executives’ initial reaction to his Jack Sparrow — really, the only thing I ever liked about the “Pirates of the Carribean” franchise, other than the ride. They hated Depp’s performance, and for some rather disturbing juvenile reasons.

Johnny Depp runs for his life

* Nikki Finke claimed her “toldja” this morning over the actually really smart choice of having this year’s Oscar telecast hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Both clearly have comedy chops, Hathaway can sing, as she showed a couple of years back during the “Frost/Nixon” gag in Hugh Jackman’s opening number, and best of all, they’re not satirists like Jon Stewart and Chris Rock and therefore probably won’t perturb Hollywood’s well-manicured egos. The egos must, above all, be maintained. (H/t Anne Thompson for the Jackman vid.)

* The Independent Spirit Award nominations were announced today. Not too surprisingly, some of the biggest nominees were “127 Hours,” “The Black Swan,” “Greenberg,” “The Kids Are All Right,” (directed by Lisa Chodelenko, interviewed here by Ross Ruediger) “Rabbit Hole,” and “Winter’s Bone,” which already collected some Gotham Awards a day or so back.

* I’m sure the role of the U.S. Secretary of State in “X-Men: First Class” isn’t huge, but anything that keeps Ray Wise onscreen, where he belongs, works for me.

* RIP director Mario Monicelli, who passed on a day or so back at age 95. I have no excuse for having never seen “Big Deal on Madonna Street,” I fear.

Okay, that’s all for tonight. The gods of sleep and hunger have just about claimed me.

  

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As promised: A Chat with Bret Harrison and Tyler Labine of “Reaper”

“Reaper” is dead. Well, probably, anyway. As of this writing, the show’s fate is technically still in flux, and it certainly can’t hurt for fans to continue to show the series the same support they always have, but to read the comments by two of the show’s stars – Bret Harrison (Sam Oliver) and Tyler Labine (Bert “Sock” Wysocki) – about the future of “Reaper,” it’s fair to say that neither actor is overly optimistic about seeing a Season 3. That’s not to say, however, that they wouldn’t be up for the idea of returning to their characters if they were given the opportunity to do a proper two-hour “Reaper” film. As you’ll soon read, the guys were mostly pleased with Season 2 of the series – now available on DVD from Lionsgate – and would be excited to further explore the events which were set up in the finale. Just as long as there’s no further exploration of Sock’s stepsister…

Just click here or on the icon below, dear readers, to check out the chat in full, and don’t forget to pop back by to leave your comments…

  

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Bret Harrison and Tyler Labine speak out on “Reaper” finale

I recently had a chance to do a joint phoner with Bret Harrison and Tyler Labine in connection with Season 2 of “Reaper” being released on DVD, though it will probably come as no surprise that a sizable chunk of the conversation ended up being about the likely demise of the series. Rest assured, I pointed out that the general tone of the comments from Premium Hollywood about the season finale…well, at least those of John Paulsen, anyway (though it’s clear others share his opinion, too)…were along the lines of, “Oh, my God, this is the biggest gyp I’ve ever seen in my life!”

“Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of that, too,” laughed Labine. “All in all, maybe it could’ve been a better ending for the season, regardless of whether it was the wrap-up or not, but you have to understand that there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen by the end with, like, where you have to leave it. There were a lot of notes coming down from on high, and I think things just get a little bit scrambled at the end of a show that’s on the bubble, technically. I think we have to give the writers a little bit more credit, but, yeah, I think we were all…well, I guess we can speak freely. The show’s canceled. We weren’t super happy with the ending of the show, I feel. But that’s just me. I don’t know. What about you, Bret?”

“No, no, I wasn’t happy,” admitted Harrison. “But I was excited that I got to play Quarters.

“Oh, yeah,” agreed Labine. “We all were.”

The full interview will appear on Bullz-Eye on Wednesday, but to tease you until then, here are a few more choice quotes from the conversation:

“All in all, for a second season, I thought it went well. We introduced some cool characters. But I can officially go on record now as saying that I was not happy with the storyline with me trying to fuck my stepsister.”Tyler Labine

“I think they were planning on leading (Alan Townsend, played by Sean Patrick Thomas) to be kind of part of the finale, from the little bit I heard them talking about it, but deals don’t work out all the time, and I don’t really want to get into too much detail, but…it just didn’t work out, for whatever reason.”Bret Harrison

“If we’d been able to come back and tell the story in Season 3, Andi would’ve been a Reaper, there could’ve been a whole new rebellion with Michael Ian Black as Sam’s guardian angel now, basically, and a full-scale battle between Heaven and Hell might’ve actually started to go on. It would’ve taken a whole new turn.”Tyler Labine

Admit it: you’re already chomping at the bit for the interview, aren’t you? Stay tuned, “Reaper” fans!

  

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Currently on the Bubble: Half the Reasons I Watch Network TV.

Have you noticed an intoxicating scent of fear and desperation in the air recently? When you catch that scent wafting in from the general direction Hollywood, you know we’ve reached the time when the networks have begun to look very, very seriously at their schedules in order to determine which of the shows that haven’t yet earned pick-up notices for their next season actually deserve those notices. This year, the stench is particularly strong, what with the combination of Jay Leno’s new M-F 10 PM show killing five perfectly good spots for hourlong drama on NBC, the general economic situation, and the American public still not really having much of an interest in watching anything original. Keeping in mind, of course, that when I say “the American public,” I’m not talking about you

“No, Mum, they haven’t officially canceled ‘Eleventh Hour’ yet. I’ll keep you posted, though, shall I?”

Nellie Andreeva at the Hollywood Reporter has put together a piece where she gives a rundown of what shows are still waiting to find out if they’re going to get a pink slip or a terse note saying, “Yeah, yeah, you’ve got another season, now get your ass back to work,” while Hercules over at Ain’t It Cool News has taken the work out of it for you and simply offered up three succinct lists: Likely To Return, Unlikely to Return, and 50/50.

Taking the “Likely to Return” list – “Ghost Whisperer,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Law & Order,” “Numb3rs,” “Southland,” and “Ugly Betty” – out of discussion for the moment, I don’t mind telling you that, between the other two lists, it’s highly depressing to see about half of my TiVo Season Passes get cited. (Not mentioned in the Hollywood Reporter piece is “Kings,” but I agree with Herc that it’s probably been left out because its permanent vacation at the end of its Saturday night death slot run is considered a given.) Regular Premium Hollywood readers will already know that our man John Paulsen has been covering the death knell of several of these shows and established his feelings on what he’d be bummed to see depart, but here are the five shows – one per network, so as not to be greedy – that I’d most like to see earn a reprieve from cancellation:

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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“Reaper” rumor

I know I’m not the only one amongst the Bullz-Eye staff who regularly frequents TVShowsOnDVD.com, but if you’re a “Reaper” fan and aren’t familiar with the site, then let me tip you to a news brief that popped up there this morning.

David Lambert, one of the regular TVShowsOnDVD.com contributors, offered up this bit of info:

Our contacts in the industry tell us that the plan is for The CW to air all 13 episodes (of “Reaper”) on thirteen consecutive Tuesdays, and after the 2nd season finale airs on Tuesday, May 26th, then Lionsgate will release Reaper – Season 2 on DVD exactly a week later, on June 2nd.

Sweet! We can only hope that the powers that be have utilized the amount of time that’s passed since the cast filmed the episodes – they were working on them in 2008 – to produce better bonus material for this set than they did for Season 1. I’ve talked to three of the primary cast members of the show over the course of its run (Bret Harrison, Tyler Labine, and Ray Wise), and they all love working on and talking about the show, so it’s clear that they’d be willing to contribute if only they were asked to do so.

  

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