It’s been a personally rather stressful week in a good-news/bad-news kind of a way and Hollywood ain’t doin’ nothing to relax me. And so, we begin with a deep breath…

* The first half of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” will be in a mere 2D. Two dimensions were good enough for Rick Blaine, they’re good enough for Harry. Especially if they really were facing serious technical difficulties, smart move. No studio needs another “Clash of the Titans” fiasco.

* It’s pretty rare that I know for sure I want to see a movie just from simply knowing the topic, the star, and the director, but when it’s a biopic/docudrama about the great-but-homicidal Phil Specter, it’s being directed by David Mamet, and it’s starring Al Pacino, that’s when I know. (Here’s the original NYT post that broke the story, which gives a bit more background on Specter for you youngsters.)

* Classic film lover that I am, I also feel pretty good about “My Week with Marilyn” which has Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, Dougray Scott as her beleaguered husband, playwright Arthur Miller, Kenneth Branagh (who else?) as Laurence Olivier, and Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh (!) among others. And check out the pic of Ms. Williams/Monroe that’s been circulating all over the net today.


Aren’t you glad I used that pictures instead of something of Phil “Mr. Fright Wit” Specter or Al Pacino?

* Speaking of the lovely and talented Ms. Williams, “Blue Valentine,” her new film with Ryan Gosling, got a very rare — if it sticks — NC-17 rating today from the ever-screwed-up ratings folks at the MPAA. Mike Fleming calls this a “head scratcher” for the emotionally intense and, from the sound of it, not at all raunchy or overly sexual relationship drama. Of course, in the meantime all kinds of ultraviolence gets right on through with an R while an I’m sure classy Brit exercise like “The Kings’ Speech” gets an identical R — also the same rating given a certain gastrointestinal horror film I’m trying to see how long I can go without directly mentioning — for nothing more than a bunch of context-free, stammered F-words. How fucked up is that? (Two more and fucks and this blog is R-rated. Oh, wait, there’s one in a cartoon below. Fuck.)

* In the pay of U.S. contractors, Afghan warlord Mr. Pink, who may have been connected to the Taliban, allegedly killed Afghan warlord Mr. White. Which one was acting like more of a professional?

* Personnel changes in critic land. Todd McCarthy will be probably be more comfortable at THR, but Indiewire is obviously one of the class acts in this business and I’m glad Anne Thompson is staying put there.

* I think this item about the flap over the trailer for Ron Howard’s “The Dilemma” means that referring to something you find “lame” as “gay” is going to eventually become about the same as referring to an effective act of bargaining as “Jewing” someone down is to us today — something you’ll only see on “Mad Men.” I’m sure a lot of people who use the expression aren’t homophobic, but — as with my “Jew” example, the reasons this isn’t really cool should be fairly apparent and, as the current “It Gets Better” campaign points out, as did Anderson Cooper in the Deadline item linked above, this kind of thing is about more than just words. If I call something “gay,” I try to make sure I actually mean “homosexual” or extremely upbeat. I’m a little mad at myself in that I let the word pass in my post with the trailer in question some time back, but the whole apparent harmlessness of the project distracted me, I guess.

* I might have my doubts about an afterlife, but the interminable, never-ending back-and-forth on “Ghostbusters 3” is giving me a glimpse of eternity.

* A UK Sundance? Shouldn’t that be Fog-and-drizzle-dance? (Yes, I’ll be here all week.)

* Shia vs. Frankie. The battle that dare not speak its name. And just what is a “Frankie Muniz type zone” anyway? For that matter, what’s a LaBeouf type zone and would anyone of us want to spend time there, either?

* Apparently because every other comic book and strip in the world has already been covered, Fox has just picked up the rights to “The Family Circus.” Not since the “Where’s Waldo?” movie has a property so screamed for a cinematic reinvention. Oh, and there was a bidding war. I mean, there’s no reason this can’t eventually become a decent movie, but, if so, it won’t have anything much to do with the single panel series, but I guess the name’s worth something.