Midweek movie news of the world

I’m getting a very, very late start tonight/this morning so let’s see how efficient and brief I can be. Also, we’ll see how many utterly huge stories I’ll miss.

Mark Ruffalo in *  I suppose the big news today is that it really appears as if there’s already an Edward Norton replacement after his departure as the Hulk from “The Avengers” was egregiously mishandled by Marvel’s Kevin Feige. The choice appears to not be Joaquin Phoenix but the first-rate, not nearly famous enough Mark Ruffalo. He is the deceptively low-key actor I’ve been rooting for since catching him in “You Can Count On Me” back in 2000. (It was my favorite movie of that year and also made me a life-long fan of Laura Linney.) Ruffalo is currently in the year’s probable indie-smash, “The Kids Are Alright.” As sussed out from various reports by Kevin Jagernauth of the Playlist, it appears he’s still in some pretty serious negotiations that are not yet really anything like a done deal. He’s a shrewd choice for Marvel and this would be a good way to salvage a thoroughly unfortunate situation.

* Joaquin Phoenix might not be the Hulk, but the probable mockumentary (or not) about him made by his brother-in-law, Casey Affleck, has been picked up by Magnolia. I’m not looking forward to the already infamous “Cleveland steamer” scene. Just FYI, much as I admire John Waters, “Pink Flamingos” is on my short “never see” list, but that infamous final scene is a lot worse, I suppose. I get ill just thinking about it.

* The fascinating outlandish career of arthouse poet turned stoner-action-comedy specialist David Gordon Green may take another fascinating turn if he really does remake Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” — which, I somehow managed to sit through some fifteen years or so back despite my squeamish/scaredy cat ways, because, among other reasons, it’s so freaking beautiful. Also, I’ve always had the hots for Jessica Harper.

Suspiria4

* If you want to know who the best, most essential, and most thoughtfully cinephilish bloggers and blogs are, check out the terrific blogroll from the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Congrats to my old bloggy compadres Dennis Cozzalio, Kimberly Lindbergs, Farran Smith Nehme, and Greg Ferrera, among others, for making the prestigious list.

* Nathaniel Rogers didn’t get a mention, though he certainly deserves it. The openly actresexual blogger did, however, get a very nice interview with his idol, Julianne Moore, who I kind of idolize myself. More congratulations are in order.

* I suspect that those old Steve Reeves Hercules movies will wind up being a lot more watchable than whatever Brett Ratner makes of the mythical strongman. I’m sure he can’t top the Disney animated film, even if it wasn’t the greatest of the studio’s nineties animation output. Cue the “do you like to watch gladiator movies”  jokes.

* If you’re wondering why the post two posts below this one has no video, here’s why. Somebody let me know if there’s a new version up, since the whole thing is a bit of a legalish technicality.

* Note to my friend, Zayne: Yeah, I missed this reconstruction of a lost ultra-obscure exploitation gangster film tonight about kidnapping the Pope (and asking for a $1.00 from every Catholic in the world — though  these days I doubt they’d pony up). I’m therefore bummed.

* Alison Nastasi has an interesting response to a fairly thoughtful rant by Dustin Rowles on the controversy around the new cover art for the remake of another film on my probably never-see list, “I Spit On Your Grave.” The poster is obviously in horrible taste, but isn’t that kind of the point?

* Now that a fourth tape is out, I wonder if Mel Gibson will get the message and give up the drunk dialing.

* I’m confused. If the planned film with Jeremy Piven and Thomas Jane is in any way actually closely modeled on John Cassavettes’ “Husbands,'” as director Mark Pellington seems to say, then I don’t think it should be called a “thriller.”

  

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Give ‘Em Hell Malone

Director Russell Mulcahy may be responsible for bringing the “Highlander” franchise to the big screen, but he’s fallen pretty far since working with the likes of Sean Connery. After a long stint in the music video business and some terrible sequels to other film franchises like “Resident Evil” and “The Scorpion King,” Mulcahy’s career doesn’t show any signs of improving with his latest B-movie, “Give ‘Em Hell Malone.” Thomas Jane stars as the title character, a hardboiled detective type who finds himself in hot water with the local mob boss after he fails to turn over the case he was hired to retrieve. What’s inside the case, you ask? You don’t want to know, but it’s pretty stupid considering all the crap that Malone has to go through to keep it safe. At the top of that list are the bad guys hired to take him down. Ving Rhames looks annoyed he agreed to even appear in the film, while Doug Hutchison goes a little too far over the top as a sadistic arsonist who calls himself – wait for it – Matchstick. (Did they just use a random villain name generator for that one?) Not even Jane seems completely up for it, and he’s starred in movies far worse than this, because although it’s a fun nod to the pulp noir genre, “Give ‘Em Hell Malone” is every bit deserving of being dumped direct to DVD.

Click to buy “Give ‘Em Hell Malone”

  

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Bullz-Eye’s TCA 2009 Summer Press Tour Wrap-Up: Cougars, Muppets, Vampires, and Gordon Ramsay, Too!

God bless the TCA Press Tour, where the television industry gives critics from throughout North America the opportunity to play with the folks who live and work in Hollywood. The tour allows us a remarkable amount of access to the stars, producers, directors, and writers of the various shows currently taking up residence on the various cable and broadcast networks. Yes, while I may spend 48 weeks out of the year feeling like a nobody, for those four weeks – two in the summer, two in the winter – which are taken up by the tour, I’m at least made to feel like I’m a somebody. (Really, though, I’m not anybody.)

This was the first time the summer tour had been held after Comic-Con rather than before, so there was a certain amount of grumbling about the fact that the fans were getting a certain amount of information that would’ve ordinarily gone to the critics first, but it must be said that the networks did a pretty good job of pacifying us. And, besides, aren’t the fans supposed to come first, anyway?

Although the content that I managed to accrue during the course of the tour will continue to come your way for quite some time to come, what you see before you is a summary of the highs and lows of the event, mixing stories you may have already read on Premium Hollywood with many that I simply haven’t had a chance to discuss yet. As ever, it was a heck of a good time, full of the kind of moments that leave me grateful that I managed to get that journalism degree from Averett College back in 1992, pleased as punch that Bullz-Eye and Premium Hollywood have given me the opportunity to cover the tour, and, most of all, that there are lot of great readers out there who seem to enjoy the tales I bring back from these strange TCA adventures that I’ve embarked upon.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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TCA Tour: “Hung”

It’s been several days since we were treated to HBO’s panel on their new series, “Hung,” but I just hadn’t been rushing to write it up, mostly because I still haven’t checked out the show yet. I didn’t get advance screeners for the first two episodes, then I did get screeners for the second two episodes, but by that point, I had too many other things in my pile that were more important for me to watch, and…well, here we are. But even without having watched the show, I still got several laughs out of some of the exchanges during the panel, so the least I can do is offer those bits up for your reading enjoyment.

Colette Burson (series co-creator): I think we see what makes him special all the time in terms of dealing with the women.
Jane Adams: I know *I* do.

_ _ _ _ _

Colette Burson: Thomas actually is someone we had thought of long before this audition process happened, and he actually didn’t really go through the audition process in quite the same way. Itt happened afterwards, and we talked to him, and we met with him, and then he read some. But, again, none of these issues really came up. It was just all about he sort of captured the essence of Ray.
Thomas Jane: I did have to go into the next room to disrobe, so I wouldn’t hit anybody in the eye.

_ _ _ _ _

Critic: Even today, we’ve sort of been tripping over double entendres and things. But did you think maybe this was going to lead to a funny press tour session?
Thomas Jane: Or bigger things?
Critic: Extend your career?
Jane Adams: Like while you are holding that mic, too. Really, it’s become surreal.
Thomas Jane: Speak into the mic and tell me how you feel about my penis.

_ _ _ _ _

Thomas Jane: You know, the fact is that it’s all fucking fate and luck, man. This is fate and luck that we are all up here together talking to you about a show about a guy with a big dick. Right? Fate and luck. There is no reason this show should be good. The show should be bad. It’s about a guy with a big dick who fucks people for money. Fuck you.

_ _ _ _ _

Critic: Given that it seems like most women who would purchase those services are interested in the totality of the experience rather than the size issue, as this is about a heterosexual gigolo, how did you wind up focusing on “Hung”?
Colette Burson: We don’t really make the marketing decisions. But interestingly enough, I think that the marketing was designed to not focus on that, actually. Like, not to focus on his penis.
Thomas Jane: Are you asking, why is the show called “Hung” if we’re not showing how big this guy’s cock is?
Critic: Well, if it’s more about the totality of the gigolo experience rather than size, why the emphasis on size in the title?
Thomas Jane: Because it grabs you.
Jane Adams: It’s funny that you said “cock.” Isn’t it Mo’Nique that has a joke about, like, Black guys say “dick” and white people say “cock”?
Thomas Jane: “Cock.” Yeah. I wouldn’t say “dick.” I say “cock.”
Sue Naegle (President, HBO Entertainment):We have time for one more long, hard question…

Critic: I wanted to ask Mr. Jane if this has made you think about what women want, and…
Thomas Jane: Absolutely not. Don’t get the impression that I’m going to think about what women want.
Critic: …what women want, and also about what women go through. Say, for example, female prostitutes.
Thomas Jane: Right, those poor sullied creatures of the night. No. Absolutely not. I just don’t want to know what they go through after I give them my $300.
Jane Adams: Are you guys Twittering? Did anybody get that? Because I can’t wait to read that shit later.
Thomas Jane: There was a syntax in there. I have given them. In the distant past.
Jane Adams: Anyway…
Thomas Jane: I knew people who used to give $300 or $400 to people who I didn’t care about.
Sue Naegle: Is it safe to say we’re done…?

  

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The Mutant Chronicles

Movies like “The Mutant Chronicles” are difficult to critique, because even though they may not be very good, you still have to respect their ability to create something from nothing. Shot on a shoestring budget with some of the best B-movie actors in the business, the film takes place in 2707 as corporations wage battle over the planet’s dwindling resources. When a mutant army is accidentally released during the heat of battle, however, a monk named Brother Samuel (Ron Perlman) enlists the help of seven soldiers (including Thomas Jane and Devon Aoki) to travel into the core of the Earth and destroy the machine responsible for creating the mutants. It’s essentially “Lord of the Rings” for the steampunk set, right down to the fellowship of nine and the orc-like mutants they battle along the way. Unfortunately, though the story sets up some cool action sequences, the experience is marred by D-grade special effects. You can almost always tell when the actors are working in front of a green screen, and the CG blood looks like it was added using Paint Shop Pro. Fans of campy sci-movies will no doubt appreciate the low production values and so-cheesy-it’s-funny dialogue (“I don’t get paid to believe. I get paid to fuck shit up.”), but for everyone else, “The Mutant Chronicles” is probably best ignored.

Click to buy “The Mutant Chronicles”

  

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