Wednesday, January 31, 2007

THEEEEY'RE BAAAACK. MAAAAYBEEEEE.


From CHUD, "Before Poltergeist came out, kids in my elementary school would shut out the lights in the bathroom and turn around three times in front of the mirror droning, "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary." After the movie Poltergeist scared their pee out, kids ditched that silly tart and started shouting "Poltergeist! Poltergeist! Poltergeist!" to pretty much the same effect. Thanks to parents who didn't want to give me nightmares about maggots, ripping my face off or drowning in a pool filled with dead Indians, I didn't get a chance to see the movie until I was in my teens, and by then my cynical mind didn't connect with the terror (despite the creepy little girl feeling up the TV image) that made believers out of everyone else.

25 years later, Poltergeist is still resonating with those growed up kids and many are clamoring for more despite being teased out on rumor bust after rumor bust. This time, they may just get something for reals. Poltergeistiii.com (people liked that movie?) recently spoke with MGMs Senior Vice Presidente Charles Coen and was told the studio is indeed working on something Poltergeist. The site quotes Cohen as saying, "We are working on a Poltergeist idea, and hope to have some news to announce shortly. Stay tuned." Will do, Charles!

Actually, Poltergeist rumors have been floating around off and on for some time and the statement doesn't exactly give an indicator of whether the "idea" will lend itself to a sequel along the lines of II and III, a prequel or resurrect the original idea for the Poltergeist: The Series TV show that really did drown in an Indian corpse-ridden swimming pool (A loosely adapted spin-off TV show was realized on Showtime and died 4 seasons later on Sci-Fi).

What is clear is that it's pretty safe to assume the "idea" won't be a remake of the original, since Warner Brothers (not MGM) owns the Spielberg Poltergeist rights, a fact that can be easily confirmed by the shame of their damned cardboard pop-box DVD."

Scotty's son needs to get a life


From syfyportal, "Like being President of the United States (yeah, we're looking at you Dubya), it appears that the role of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott on the USS Enterprise should be a birthright. At least Chris Doohan, son of the late James Doohan, believes so.
The younger Doohan, an actor in his own right, says that he should get a shot at the role of Scotty in J.J. Abrams' planned "Star Trek XI," which apparently has begun auditions recently for secondary roles, a Paramount source told SyFy Portal.

Chris posted to his MySpace blog (and shared courtesy of TrekWeb) that he would be very interested in taking on the role his father made famous.

"They are not looking to fill all the spots with known actors, so I thought that maybe I would give it a try," Doohan said. "Here's why: 1. I kind of look like my dad. 2. I can do a great Scottish accent. 3. We share the last name. 4. I like money."

Doohan apparently hasn't been approached for the role, however, as he added that he has no idea how to set up an audition. However, he is considering a write-in campaign from his friends to try and persuade Paramount Pictures and Abrams to give him a shot.

If Doohan is interested, he apparently already has some competition. Various news outlets are reporting on the rumor started by London's Sunday Mail that Scottish actor James McAvoy is rumored to be the studio's top choice to play Scotty. The 28-year-old actor is probably best known to genre fans as Mr. Tumnus, The Faun in "Chronicles of Narnia." He also appeared as Leto Atreides II in the SciFi Channel miniseries "Children of Dune" in 2003. Of course that same report also named Matt Damon as the star of the movie, playing Kirk, which has been repeatedly called a bad rumor in the past.

Doohan is 20 years older than McAvoy, according to Internet Movie Database, and his screen credits only include playing Garth Brooks in a 1999 television special "Your Big Break" and an uncredited role in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

The elder Doohan died in July 2005 after bouts of pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease."

Dee finally gets to make that sequel nobody cares about


From bloodydisgusting, "Here we are on the dawn of the tenth anniversary of Dee Snider's Strangeland, a film that I have grown more and more fond of over the years. A sequel has been in the works for what seems like a decade now, but nothing has ever officially developed. Snider has always been vocal about the return of Captain Howdy (aka Carleton Hendricks) and has sworn of his return in Strangeland 2... it looks like his promise might be coming true -- over at Lionsgate!

C.C. Banana asked: "Which will see the light of day first, Chinese Democracy (Guns 'N Roses) or Strangeland II?"

Dee Snider responds: "Hahahahaha! That's GOOD! That's fucking GOOD! Oh, that is GOOD! You're right, I've been talking about that fucking project for as long as Axl! And you just made me realize it! Oh, man! That is fucking good. Back at ya, Snider! I will have to call myself out on that in my podcast.

In my defense, I do have an excuse! The U.S. government seized the property and arrested the CFO of The Shooting Gallery, the production company who made the first 'Strangeland' So I was in court fighting to get my property back for 5 fucking years! I did finally get it back this past year and now Lions Gate Entertainment says that they'd like to pick it up. Their exact words were, 'We want to make the sequel.' But getting it from there into movie theaters is going to be a long fucking road.

Lions Gate does have plans to release an extended cut of the original 'Strangeland' on DVD in July 2007. We're even going to be shooting a new scene, which will be attached to the end of the movie as a teaser for the next one. After it fades to black, it will now fade up on an autopsy. That will be the opening scene for the sequel, which will be called 'Strangeland: Disciple.'

But knowing Axl, I feel comfortable saying that even if this film takes me another 10 years... I'll still beat that fucker to the punch!"

In the original film a schizophrenic sadist by the name of Captain Howdy lures teens through the internet into his painful traps. A detective starts pursuing him after he captures his daughter. Eventually they catch up with him and send him to a mental hospital. But upon his release, the townspeople don't accept the new, peaceful former Captain Howdy, and attack him. Howdy goes nuts again and in revenge starts everything all over, only worse. Can the detective stop him?..."

Marc has competition




From ifitsmovies, "Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) will be appearing in the play EQUUS which will start on stage February 16th in London.

Radcliffe’s part in the play has been talked about for some time now but now a huge surprise has come today with the release of press photos for the upcoming play.

The photos all display Radcliffe shirtless, alongside horses as well as a female with her arms around him. This is a very different part for him considering we’ve only seen him as Harry Potter."

SAW IV plot details


From ifitsmovies, "Hey everyone, Ryan here with some news on the upcoming SAW IV movie. Again, we have received some information from “Andrew”, who has supposedly read the script and can tell us more about what will happen in the upcoming sequel.

If you do NOT want to know some of the plot of SAW IV, do not look below here. I repeat, DO NOT LOOK. But if you don’t care about a little spoiler that is not that major, go ahead and look anyway.

Hey Ryan, Andrew here again and SAW IV is where it’s at. I’ve actually just read the script to the upcoming sequel, set to film in March, and the details I’ve given you are indeed true. The little girl i talk of is Jeff’s daughter… and you will be completely shocked when you see what Jeff and his daughter have to endure in Part 4. Actor, song writer, and rapper Ja Rule has also been cast to star in the films opening scene on the first day of shooting in Toronto. More details as I recieve.

SAW IV sounds interesting, but I don’t know if they will be able to continue pushing out sequels every year that will deliver as much as the first and third ones did. We will just have to wait and see."

Finally!


Fox is going ahead with a direct-to-DVD sequel to the 1984 Tom Hanks comedy "Bachelor Party" reports Production Weekly.

Engaged to Melinda after only knowing her for a couple months, Ron is treated to the ultimate bachelor party in Florida, courtesy of Melinda's scheming brother-in-law Todd, in an attempt to sabotage his relationship with Melinda.

Fully ready to party but determined to remain true to Melinda, Ron must endure temptation after temptation if he wants to remain engaged.

James Ryan is directing from a script by Jay Longino. Filming is slated to begin late March in Miami.

Bad News About Aardman And Dreamworks...


From Variety, "Move comes after failures of 'Rabbit,' 'Flushed'
By BEN FRITZ
'Wallace & Gromit'

'Flushed Away' cost more than than $100 million to make, but grossed only $63.4 million.

After a critically lauded but commercially troubled six-year partnership with DreamWorks Animation, Aardman is back on its own.
The British claymation giant, best known for its signature Wallace and Gromit characters and 2000 hit "Chicken Run," officially terminated its five-picture deal with DreamWorks on Tuesday.

Move was widely expected after the financial failures of "Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and "Flushed Away" (Daily Variety, Nov. 13). The former was a claymation pic made by Aardman and distribbed by DWA, the latter a CGI collaboration between the two companies.

Aardman is back in development on several films inhouse. Having long established its claymation prowess, company's in the midst of building up CGI capabilities, meaning it could potentially produce pics in both formats.

How it will finance those movies, and how they will reach the market, is now an open question. A rep would say only that Aardman execs are looking at several different options.

Possibilities include slate financing from private equity money, a one-off deal with a studio for its next pic or a new multifilm deal.

Only project Aardman has in production is CBS claymation series "Creature Comforts." Eye net ordered seven episodes last year and hasn't yet skedded the show, though it was announced as a midseason replacement for 2006-07. It could still air in the spring or get pushed back to the summer or fall.

Skein could be another test of whether U.S. auds have cooled on Aardman's claymation style and quirky British humor, which stands in sharp contrast to the fast-paced, jokey CG toons of DreamWorks and most other American animation studios.

If it fails, U.S. studios may find it tough to justify picking up the next Aardman project, even though its work is widely lauded by critics and industryites.

"Chicken Run" grossed a solid $106.8 million in 2000, but 2005's "Wallace & Gromit" made only $56.1 million Stateside, while last fall's "Flushed Away," which cost well over $100 million to make, grossed only $63.4 million. ("Gromit" did better overseas, but "Flushed" was a worldwide disappointment.)

DreamWorks Animation had to take writedowns due to the weak performance of the two recent pics.

Likelihood that the companies would sever relations became clear in recent months. There was the "Flushed" flop -- and DreamWorks announced its slate through 2009 without any pics from its British partner. All its upcoming movies are in the hip, sarcastic vein of toon studio's franchises "Madagascar" and "Shrek," sequels of which are in the works.

"The business model of DreamWorks no longer suits Aardman and vice versa," Aardman spokesman Arthur Sheriff said. "But the split couldn't have been more amicable."

Companies had one pic in development, "Crood Awakening," which was announced at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and penned by John Cleese. Rights to the project revert to DreamWorks, though it's unlikely to see the light of day.

Aardman was founded by Peter Lord and David Sproxton in 1976. They were later joined by Nick Park, who won Oscars for three of his animated shorts and the "Wallace & Gromit" feature."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Besson's next film looks kind of crappy

Angel-A (Luc Besson) German-Trailer

From Iwatchstuff, "Luc Besson breaks new ground in his filmmaking with Angel-A, a movie about a schlub who finds a tall, strikingly beautiful but supernatural woman to accompany him on his exploits. If you remember his sci-fi adventure The Fifth Element, this is the same thing but exchanging sci-fi for art house. If there's one regret in Luc Besson's life, it's that he didn't create Bewitched.

Angel-A-Fact: The hyphen in the title of Angel-A is to assist idiots in realizing the name Angela contains the word angel."

At least he's consistent; Republican leader once again on wrong side of issue, makes stupid, McCarthyist suggestion


From Darkhorizons, "Using the controversy surrounding the Dakota Fanning film "Hounddog", State Senate Republican leader Phil Berger tells The Wilmington Star that he wants government approval on scripts before filming can be conducted in North Carolina.

A complete violation on free rights? Well not exactly. Seems the system only applies to films seeking the state's lucrative filmmaker incentive, which refunds as much as 15 percent of what productions spend in North Carolina from the state treasury.

"Why should North Carolina taxpayers pay for something they find objectionable?" said Berger who is presently drafting the proposed legislation.

It is not known whether Hounddog's producers have or will apply for the incentive. The movie, about a young girl who suffers abuse (including rape) whilst growing up in 1950's Alabama, caused controversy last week before and after its premiere at Sundance. The final product yielded only mixed reviews and still hasn't been picked up for distribution.

It's also unknown at this time whether other States will follow suit, or whether changes like these will continue to push American productions overseas."

DePalma re-enlists


From CHUD, "Continuing to aid in HDNet's expansion beyond a love for boobies in Hi Def, HDNet Films has been expirementing with lower budget High Def filmmaking and has released a couple films (the experimental Steven Soderbergh multi media blast Bubble and the doc Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) over the last two years. The experimentation will continue with a new Iraq war film called Redacted, to be written and directed by the guy one of my film professors called "The Anti-Christ of film": Brian DePalma.

For those unfamiliar with the term, redacted refers to the process of editing the crap out of a sensitive/confidential document before it's allowed to be released for prime time. Taken in the context of the Iraq war (which seems to be the new hotness in filmmaking these days), you wouldn't be wrong in assuming the film intends on exploring the cloudy and controversial arena of media reporting, omissions and cover-ups in the day and age of the blog. Redacted will spin several stories of US soldiers in the Iraq theater, with early rumors hinting that one of the stories will deal with the rape of an Iraqi girl and the subsequent murder of her family.

Shooting for Redacted is expected to start in the spring with a multi-prong release (ala Bubble) next fall.

Ironically, I'd recently rewatched DePalma's last foray into the murkiness of combat, Casualties of War. Almost 20 years later, it's still pretty solid. Barring recent misses like, oh, everything in the past ten years, DePalma certainly has the chops to make Redacted a poignant, sad and insightful project."

As long as they don't sing "The Monster Mash"


From CHUD, "Loading up its animation docket as if it were going up against the likes of Dreamworks and Pixar, Sony is returning to the supernatural dwelling genre that spawned its Oscar nominated Monster House with Hotel Transylvania.

As only the luck of classic monsters would have it, Frankenstein's lovingly sewn monster-man, the Mummy, Dracula and Wolf Man have fallen on hard times. Relegated to the periphery of Transylvania at the Hotel Transylvania, the quartet has been reduced to hanging out and rehashing the good ol' days when they were throwing hot ass over their shoulders and choking the life out of the losers trying to protect it. While the monsters come from different backgrounds, they can agree on one thing: It's a sad world when monsters face the sad reality of a relevancy nose dive at the hands of all this newfangled technology and stuff. Kind of like the Chapelle's Show "lost episode" where the monsters discover "The system is not designed for us," but probably with less racial overtone.

Hotel Transylvania will be directed by TV animator David Feiss and Anthony Stacchi, director of Sony's ho-hum Open Season. Considering the "safety" of 3D animation and Stacchi's computeriffic background, it's safe to say this feature will continue in the established footprints of Sony's 3D animation binge. Hotel Transylvania is being penned by Don Rhymer, who sullied the clean underdrawers of your mind with The Honey Mooners, both Big Mammas Houses and Deck the Halls.

Hotel Transylvania is scheduled to hit a big screen near you on September 29, 2009. Technically, that's only two years away, but in my mind that sounds like a far-flung future where we'll all be watching movies on moon bases"

Victoria Beckham has a brain?


From the superficial, "Victoria Beckham is telling her friends she has no intention of becoming a Scientologist despite her close friendship with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes because it's too expensive.

'There's no way I'd spend any money on that nonsense," she told a friend recently about the faith founded by author L. Ron Hubbard. Says another pal: "It's completely laughable that there's even talk of her becoming a Scientologist. Just because people are friends with someone doesn't mean they do everything they do. Scientology is like kabbala in that it's become all about money. Kabbala bracelets are now $28! It's a joke. Scientology is an expensive religion; Victoria is too cheap to convert.'

Victoria Beckham got her teeth whitened for $44,000 so I'm pretty sure wasting money on stupid crap isn't the problem. I suspect it may have more to do with the fact that she'd have to worship intergalactic space aliens and wear an aluminum jump suit. Two of the main reasons I've already signed myself up. Plus I like pretending to shoot laser guns and going "Pew pew pew!"

You're going to need a bigger bra


From Drakhorizons, 'That acid trip of a sci-fi movie "Barbarella" is making a come back.

Jane Fonda faced the hazards of Zero-G stripping, killer dolls and the killer orgasm machine of scientist Durand Durand in the classic 1968 cheese fest.

Now out promoting his new film "Hannibal Rising", legendary film producer Dino De Laurentiis confirmed to NBC30 that he's creating a new franchise with the character.

De Laurentiis quickly stated up front that the new film is "not a remake of 'Barbarella"' but "a completely new 'Barbarella.'"

At present no-one has been cast in the project, and the script is being worked on right now and will incorporate "love, sex, [and] adventure".'

Monday, January 29, 2007

And Laurie Strode onto set


From CHUD, "Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake may be one of the most internet-scrutinized movies of all time, and that’s saying something, considering that we live in a time after all three Star Wars prequels and the Lord of the Rings movies. But there’s been a perfect storm of interest here: the fans have just about had enough of the remake craze, the original Halloween is seen as sacred text, Rob Zombie is a controversial figure with a very strong personal vision, and maybe most importantly, he’s kept the fans consistently in the loop via MySpace. We’ve been privy to decision after decision and cast hire after hire not through the usual filter of the trades, but directly from Rob at the Halloween movie’s MySpace blog. And that’s where his latest announcement came from: he’s finally cast his Laurie Strode, the Survivor Girl played by Jamie Lee Curtis in the original, and she’s Scout Taylor-Compton.

What’s interesting is that while Taylor-Compton has had a number of film roles in her short career (including An American Crime, a movie I was very interested in that got savaged at Sundance this year), she may be best known to America because she ran away from home two years ago and was missing for two weeks. She, being a pretty young white girl, got tons of media coverage in those two weeks.

Taylor-Compton (it sounds like she’s the product of a union between a singer/songwriter and a gangsta rapper) will be joining a cast that can best be described as mammoth, including Malcolm McDowell, Daeg Faerch, Tyler Mane, Sheri Moon Zombie, Pat Skipper, Dee Wallace Stone, William Forsythe, Ken Foree, Lew Temple, Danny Trejo, Hanna Hall, Danielle Harris, Adrienne Barbeau, Clint Howard, Courtney Gains, Daryl Sabara, Heather Bowen, Brad Dourif, Udo Kier and Kristina Klebe.

And now the next phase in scrutiny can begin: the movie starts shooting this Monday, and you can bet that tons of people will be trying to get on to and take pictures of the set, and what’s going on there. It should be an interesting couple of months, and I wonder if the movie will ever be able to recover from the negative buzz and just get judged as its own work."

Terry Gilliam is fat


From CHUD, "The last two Terry Gilliam films haven’t just been bad, they were flat-out atrocious, with Brothers Grimm feeling more like some studio hack aping Gilliam and Tideland being nigh-upon unwatchable. And those two films came after nearly a decade without a Gilliam film, making one wonder if this just isn’t Gilliam’s millennium. But the ex-pat American isn’t giving up – at a Q&A after a college screening of Tideland (big props to the people who sat through the whole thing and then didn’t throw stuff at the director), Gilliam said that he has finished his next script and is looking for funding.

The new script was written with Charles McKeown, star of Spies Like Us and co-scripter on Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The story is unknown, but the highly unreliable FilmIck blog has claimed that it’s about an immortal storyteller who finds that nobody cares about his tales in the modern world. This sounds sort of like some M Night Shyamalan Lady in the Water-esque self-referential nonsense, so I do hope that’s not the case.

It’s hard not to root for Gilliam, even after the one-two punch of his last couple of films. In person he’s incredibly energetic and positive, and he’s managed to position himself as the ultimate cinematic underdog – no matter how successful or classic his films may be, he will always find a way to undermine himself on the next one. The addition of McKeown isn’t bad news (although it’s been so long since I revisited any of the Brazil Criterion features that I couldn’t tell you how much of that movie is Tom Stoppard), so I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope that one day we’ll look back at 2005-2006 as a bump in Gilliam’s road of genius, and not the beginning of the tragic, ugly end."

Mark your calendar Marc


From bloody-disgusting, "HBO Video, through Warner Home Video, will release Creepshow III on May 15th, according to Davis DVD. This third installment to the 80's anthology series launched by Stephen King and George A. Romero (with participation from neither this time around) features five new inter-connected tales of horror: "Alice," "Rachel the Call Girl," "Professor Dayton," "The Haunted Dog" and "The Radio." The DVD arrives unrated with an anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Extras will include behind-the-scenes interviews with directors Ana Clavell & James Glenn Dudelson and make-up artist Greg McDougall. Retail is $19.98."

Shyamalan picks another winner


From darkhorizons, "You have to give M. Night Shyamalan credit for one thing, he's determined.

Variety reports that the "The Sixth Sense" & "The Village" filmmaker has decided to put his plans for a live-action adaptation of the cartoon series "Avatar: The Last Airbender" on hold for now.

Rather he's pursuing his new script "The Green Effect" which deals with a large-scale, cataclysmic environmental crisis along "Day of the Triffids" style lines.

Last week it was reported that no studios were interested enough in the project to pick it up, and that report has since been confirmed by the trade paper.

It adds however that the director walked away from his round of meetings with ideas and notes and has gone home to do a rewrite.

He then will return within a month, armed with a script that will bear a new title, along with a cast and budget.

Shyamalan's recent visits did not include the Disney offices apparently with whom he had a now infamous falling out with over the script of his recent failure "Lady in the Water"."

Next Bond not Risco


From darkhorizons, 'In a new interview on The Trades, screenwriters Robert Wade and Neal Purvis ("Casino Royale", "The World is Not Enough") have talked about their work on the upcoming 22nd James Bond flick due in 2008.

In the process they shot down one long standing rumour - that Bond's next adventure will be based on Ian Fleming's short story, "Risico." Wade flatly denied the rumor, adding "that's not the case."

The denial confirms a report from Dark Horizons earlier this year that the filmmakers had no plans to use the story for the next Bond script as it already had been used for the acclaimed and successful 1981 entry "For Your Eyes Only".

Wade however could "not comment" on talk that that the Algerian boyfriend of "Casino Royale" love interest Vesper Lynd will be one of the villains.

What about the return of fan favourite characters like Q or Moneypenny? Wade says "With the way Casino Royale ends, you know there's still unfinished business for Bond. He may say, 'The name's Bond, James Bond,' but there's still a lot of stuff churning up inside him. So, if you're going to explore that, and we've got this great actor to do that with, what you don't want to do is suddenly clamp it down with all these familiar elements that keep your focus off him. He's the great asset."

Purvis adds that Moneypenny would be the easier of the two to reintroduce though - "Q presents more problems. People have all got gadgets now. Other films have lots of gadgets as well. The idea of Q coming back, for the moment, it's just not a high priority."

Tonal wise things are expected to keep to 'Royale' standards for now - remaining gritty and realistic but still keeping some elements that will always be outside the realm of reality like "where you try to make a card game a major part of financing terrorism" says Purvis.

Timetable wise "The idea is for the movie to start shooting at the beginning of next year" says Wade. The script is being worked on right now, but "It's not an easy thing to do, because the bar was raised with the last picture, so we have to raise our game" he adds.

Meanwhile, actor Giancarlo Giannini told Italian newspaper Il Giornale that his 'Royale' character of Mathis, last seen being led off by MI6 to either imprisonment or torture, will be back for the next film.

CommanderBond.Net, who translated the interview, says Mathis "will be using his double agent status to assist Bond in reaching the top of the mysterious organization that was behind Le Chiffre and Mr. White."'

Americans are predictable


By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
Add to Hollywood's list of seemingly fail-safe movie genres: the parody.
Like horror films and gross-out comedies, movies that skewer pop culture are drawing teens by the theater-full. Witness the surprising success of Epic Movie, the latest spoof to take the No. 1 spot.

Epic Movie raked in $19.2 million, according to studio estimates from box-office trackers Nielsen EDI. The movie already has nearly recouped its $23 million budget.

Like the Scary Movie franchise and last year's surprise No. 1 film Date Movie, Epic Movie was made quickly, cheaply and with little regard for critics' reactions. The movie was not screened for critics yet still took in $5 million more than most analysts projected.

"These kids, they see nearly every movie that's out there," says Bert Livingston, a vice president of 20th Century Fox, which released Epic. "And they love to see these movies get made fun of. Some people like slapstick; some people like seeing a guy fall down. The kids really enjoy parody."

Epic was an easy winner over Smokin' Aces, the violent action film starring Jeremy Piven and Ben Affleck. Aces, another relatively cheap film (it cost $17 million), took in a healthy $14.3 million.

Night at the Museum continued its strong run; it took third place and $9.5 million. Since its release a month and a half ago, Ben Stiller's comedy has earned $216.7 million.

Jennifer Garner returned to the big screen with the romantic comedy Catch and Release, which met most expectations with $8 million. The dance film Stomp the Yard was fifth with $7.8 million. Dreamgirls was sixth with $6.6 million.

Several Oscar hopefuls returned to theaters or expanded their runs leading up to the Academy Awards Feb. 25. Pan's Labyrinth was eighth with $4.5 million, followed by The Queen's $4 million. The Departed returned to 1,400 screens and did $3 million, but it was not in the top 10. Final figures are due today.

Sam Raimi to direct The Hobbit?


From syfyportal, "Sam Raimi may be looking to take a break from the Spider-Man franchise after all.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the director has been telling associates that he is indeed involved in bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's novel "The Hobbit" to life for New Line Cinema, which is close to having its rights to the movie version of the novel expire.

It might seem like a rehash of a rumor that had originally floated around last November about Raimi, but this time, the story comes with a little more teeth. According to the Times, Raimi has told associates as well as some key executives at Sony that he would like to direct "The Hobbit," with two sources telling the west coast newspaper that they "have heard the words out of the director's mouth," according to Dark Horizons.

Raimi's possible involvement is the latest chapter in what seems to be a battle between New Line, which put together the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and its director, Peter Jackson. Feeling that not all the money the crew deserved was given to them by New Line for "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," Jackson sued New Line last year asking for an accounting of the money earned from the movie and how it was distributed. That sparked a battle outside the courts between Jackson and New Line president Robert Shaye, which Shaye later told the media that Jackson would have nothing to do with 'The Hobbit' as long as he was in charge.

But New Line has to hurry if they actually want to be the studio to distribute "The Hobbit" and a planned sequel because time is running out before they lose te right to do so. MGM, which is a distributor of the Tolkien franchise, has made it clear they want to see Jackson at the helm.

Jackson has told the media that he is not interested in even discussing "The Hobbit" or any other film with New Line while his lawsuit is pending.

Besides the Spider-Man trilogy, Raimi has directed other genre films such as 1992's "Army of Darkness" and 1990's "Darkman." He also has acting credits to his name, including the role of Bobby Terry in the 1994 television miniseries "The Stand."

Another Muppet Series Coming?


TV Series Finale reports there may be a new Muppet series in the works depending on the success of a pilot being passed around Disney right now. The pilot is a mockumentary-style mini-series that follows the Muppets as they struggle to assemble a new show after moving on with their lives.

Okay, sorry about the Marc picture


Look, here's a saucy picture of the new, skinnier Christina Ricci. Ease your eyeballs.

Cow People!


Well, it's finally happened. We all knew this day was coming.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, I'mnotMarc!


Resident musical genius and zombie enthusiast I'mnotMarcbutmyboyfriendis turns 29 today. Woo hoooooo! Scope the scary hotness!

Party at my house.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Doctor Who to suck as an animated cartoon as well


From Syfyportal, "The legend of The Doctor and his trusty companion is getting so big, even animators want to have a stab at him.
Russell T. Davies is launching yet another spinoff, so to speak, of "Doctor Who," this time taking the characters brought to life by David Tennant and Freema Agyeman, and turning them into a cartoon. "The Infinite Quest" will star both the actors reprising their live-action roles of The Doctor and Martha.

"The Doctor and Martha follow a trail of clues across wild and wonderful worlds, to find the location of the legendary lost spaceship, the Infinite," Davies told BBC. The series also will include an alum of the second season, Anthony Stewart Head -- best known to genre fans as Giles from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" -- will also be a part of the series, but not as the alien headmaster Mr. Finch in Season 2's "School Reunion," but as a new character: Baltazar - Scourge of the Galaxy.

Agyeman, who joins the live-action show in Season 3, replacing Billie Piper as The Doctor's companion, said the animated feature is just one more thing that has made her happy to have signed on to the series.

"I didn't think my 'Doctor Who' experience could get any more thrilling, but I was absolutely blown away when they approached me about the new animation series," she said. "The prospect of becoming a cartoon character was both exciting and also a bit nerve-wracking as it was the first time I have been asked to do voiceover work. It was such a fun experience, and now I can't wait to see how it all looks."

The series is being written by Alan Barnes and directed by Gary Russell. The animation will be drawn by Firestep, who did the previous animation venture for "Doctor Who." There is no word when the series will be released."

Coming soon, horrible movie


From Iwatchstuff,"We've known for a while that work was being done on a live-action/CGI Alvin and the Chipmunks movie (though no one knew why), but a new development has arrived with the announcement of director Tim Hill, director of Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. Hill is a good choice for several reasons:

1. Garfield 2 proves his ability to seamlessly blend live action and CGI into uniform turd.
3. At least he didn't make the first Garfield.
4. Otherwise, he may make Garfield 3."

Come out already


Here's a plot summary for The Host [some minor spoilers]. From movieonline, "Gang-du (SONG Kang-ho) works at a food-stand on the banks of the Han River. Dozing on the job, he is awakened by his daughter, Hyun-seo ( KO A-sung), who is angry with him for missing a teacher-parent meeting at school. As Gang-du walks out to the riverbank with a delivery, he notices that a large crowd of people has gathered, taking pictures and talking about something hanging from the Han River Bridge.

The otherwise idyllic landscape turns suddenly to bedlam when a terrifying creature climbs up onto the riverbank and begins to crush and eat people. Gang-du and his daughter run for their lives but suddenly the thing grabs Hyun-seo and disappears back into the river. The government announces that the thing apparently is the Host of an unidentified virus. Having feared the worst, Gang-du receives a phone call from his daughter who is frightened, but very much alive. Gang-du makes plans to infiltrate the forbidden zone near the Han River to rescue his daughter from the clutches of the horrifying Host..."

Holy ship!


From AICN, "Here's a shot from this weekend's STAR TREK Remastered. The episode is "For The World Is Hollow And I have Touched The Sky", in which the Enterprise encounters an asteroid that is actuality a multi-generational ship...conveying a populous that has long since forgotten they're actually on a space vessel.

The newly rendered "asteroid" is based on NASA photographs of real asteroids. The asteroid-ship seen here is called Yonada. As a youth, it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out it wasn't called "Yomama".

FTWIHAIHTTS is also the episode in which the intimidating monolith tries to cook Kirk and Spock, which scared the hell out of me back in the day."

For those who will never kiss a girl


From Syfyportal, "Blow that dust off your English-Klingon dictionary, because IDW Publishing is finally giving you a use for it.
The comic book publisher is presenting a new miniseries of Star Trek comics that will chronicle five key encounters between Capt. Kirk and the Klingons -- but from the perspective of the bad guys (yes, that's the Klingons, for the slow).

The new comic miniseries, "Star Trek: Klingons: Blood Will Tell," will be released in five parts beginning in April, and will take a reverse view of some popular original series incidents like "A Private Little War" and even "The Trouble With Tribbles." It will be written by Scott Tipton with help from brother David Tipton, and will be inked by artist David Messina. Joe Corroney also will be involved, working with Messina on the various covers that will be used.

And as an added bonus for the real avid Star Trek fans, the first issue also will be released complete in the Klingon language. The 40-page story will be filled with the grunts and gurgles that we have grown to love with the Klingons. But if you don't have a translation handy, IDW promises to provide an English translation script along with it."

Hooray for common sense


From CHUD, "Devin's out of town and having a great time abroad. And that means you have a rare chance to enjoy some main page material on the Batman Begins franchise free of venomous snark (You're welcome). And based on the following tidbit, it's earned the reprieve.

According to the scoopers at Latino Review, one of the more glaring flaws in the first flick - Katie Holmes as Blandy McYawnerson....I mean Rachel Dawes - is being corrected for the sequel, The Dark Knight. Apparently, the role will stay put, but another actress will inspire Christian Bale to abandon his not-quite-convincing gruff voice and yell her name at the top of his lungs during a high-speed chase.

I think it's the best possible option given that they actually put some work in the first film in an attempt to make her a slightly more substantial love interest than, say, Vicki Vale, or whoever Elle McPherson's character was supposed to be in Batman and Robin. You just need a better actress than Katie Holmes to take the character there. Given that pretty much all of the other casting has been rock solid thus far, I expect to get that actress this time out.

There's some other minor casting musings on the LR site, so feel free to check those out, too."

Become Ghost Rider (in the loosest sense possible)


From Iwatchstuff,"While typing random ambitions of mine into my browser address bar and discovering that there is no ArmWrestleJesus.com, I found that there is a BecomeGhostRider.com. The site is an ill-conceived promotional tool for Ghost Rider wherein those with webcams can make it look like they used a Photoshop tutorial to add flames to themselves. I didn't do it myself, but I did appreciate the efforts of others, such as the man above, who felt it necessary and acceptable to take his shirt off.

Honorary mentions go out to guy who bothered putting on a rubber skull mask and clearly-stoned-guy who's mellow but kind of freaking out about being on fire."

Get a life


From bloody-disgusting, "Seriously, I'm already sick of talking about Rob Zombie's Halloween, but what are you gonna do? Suck it up and keep on trucking I guess. Today Fangoria reported that the film has begun shooting out and about in Los Angeles, while we've personally heard that they're just doing some FX shots with the actual shoot being pushed to February (like we originally reported). They also report that protesters have been spotted on Sunset Blvd wielding signs that Zombie was "raping" a classic. The protesters seem to be everywhere, including this MySpace page here. But any fans looking for official word can count on Zombie to update via the official MySpace page. Michael Myers is slated to stalk out his victims one again on August 31st."

Smoking Aces not so smoking?


By Claudia Puig, USA TODAY
Smokin' Aces suffers from desperate wannabe syndrome. It wants to be a Tarantino-esque dark comedy about gun-slinging, substance-abusing lowlifes. But instead it's a convoluted, slap-happy, humorless bloodfest. Director Joe Carnahan might be more aptly renamed Joe Carnage-han.
This mess of a movie somehow drew an intriguing ensemble cast, many of whom play characters with a common goal: to murder Buddy "Aces" Israel, a sleazy magician with Mob ties, played by Jeremy Piven. Having run afoul of the Mob chief, Aces had agreed to turn state's witness against the Vegas Mob and flees to the more scenic gambling town of Lake Tahoe.

Among the few who don't want to annihilate the magician is a pair of FBI agents (Ryan Reynolds and Ray Liotta) dispatched by the FBI deputy director (Andy Garcia) to keep him in protective custody. Fat chance.

There are rumors of a big payday for smoking Aces, so the assignment attracts a motley crew of psychos, ex-cons, thugs and mercenaries, all racing to be the first to rub out the slimy magic man.

Unfortunately, none of them is anywhere near funny, as is the intent. The most obnoxious of them all (and that's a tough call) is a trio of neo-Nazis known as the Tremor Brothers (Chris Pine, Kevin Durand and Maury Sterling). Their combined IQ is probably right around 90. We don't hear their names mentioned much, but their monikers provide the most comical gag. Two are named Darwin and Jeeves.

Things don't go as expected for either the assassins or the FBI, and all manner of mayhem and mutilation occurs. Aces has a more complicated predicament than we're led to believe, but by the time we learn what it is, we don't care.

The film tries to be stylish and slick, but is mostly just nasty and blood-drenched.

Piven, so funny in other film roles and on TV's Entourage, overdoes it here, and extended scenes of his debauchery grow excessive and thuddingly dull.

Indeed, the movie's best asset — its cool roster of stars — is wasted in this pointless exercise with gaping plot holes as big as Vegas'

The Mist is coming


From AICN, "Frank Darabont's script of Stephen King's THE MIST - is simply one of the most fun and nightmarishly good times to read - and as I see Frank beginning to fill out his cast... Let's see, he began with Thomas Jane, who has a knack of getting better with nearly every role. Then today, he announced to Hollywood Reporter that he has Andre Braugher and Laurie Holden coming aboard... well, that's just showing that he's putting together a very smart cast.

He's going to be shooting in Shreveport, La around the middle of February - and if I can, I'm gonna try my best to get on this set. Last Darabont set I got on, was THE GREEN MILE - and it was a wonderful set to visit. Here, he's got a completely different type of King flick on his hands, and I can't wait to see how Frank handles it. Can't wait to see this film!"

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I just have a feeling that this will be good


From Moviesonline, "Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) has a beautiful house, a loving husband and two adorable daughters. Her life is perfect, until the day she receives the devastating news that her husband Jim (Julian McMahon) has died in a car accident. When she wakes up the next morning to find him alive and well, she assumes it was all a dream, but is shaken by how vivid it felt.

She soon realizes it wasn't a dream, and her world is turned upside down as the surreal circumstances lead her to discover that her perfect life may not have been all that it appeared. Desperate to save her family, Linda begins a furious race against time and fate to try and preserve everything that she and Jim have built together."

And you thought he was narcissistic before


From WWTDD, "Tom Cruise is being compared to Jesus Christ inside the Church of Scientology and they have chosen him to spread the word of their faith around the world. Church leader David Miscavige believes that in the future, Cruise will be worshipped like Jesus for his work to raise awareness of the religion. A source tells the Sun UK:

'Tom has been told he is Scientology’s Christ-like figure. Like Christ, he’s been criticized for his views. But future generations will realize he was right.'

I don't have a bible in front of me but I'm guessing that Tom Cruise, in reality, is not very much like Jesus. So it's hard not to think that this isn't just some hastily thrown together plan to torture and kill Tom Cruise. I don't know why they would do this, but my gosh, we've got to try something!"

Another cool Smoking Aces poster


From Iwatchstuff, "Despite my misgivings about the kinetic hipness of Smokin' Aces, I really like the retro look of this poster. And I love any design that intentionally leads the eye directly to Jeremy Piven's cock."

So will there be a Spidy 4?


From Moviesonline, "From the birth of the first film, the word trilogy has defined the biggest and best superhero movie franchise today; "Spider-Man." Plenty of superhero movies have done it or are doing it lately, like "X-Men," "Fantastic Four," and the new "Batman" films. Three is a good number, but four is the number of yesterday’s superhero franchises, like "Superman" and the old "Batman" films. Those were the big greats, the flagship characters of DC Comics that led it’s universe to silver screen greatness.

So why shouldn’t Spidey follow suit? Can’t he have a quadrilogy too? After all, he’s Marvel’s greatest pioneer, peaking their success after "Blade" and "X-Men" helped Marvel raise the bar, and then Spidey took it higher than ever before. According to SuperHeroHype, Sony Pictures is so excited about "Spider-Man 3," the supposed end of the trilogy (hence the word trilogy) and the studio is so happy with the extraordinary response to screening footage that they are talking "Spider-Man 4." Apparently, the fourth film is confirmed as going into development.

Who did not see this coming? And, who wouldn’t want to see it happen? These are the reasons that the studio has allegedly begun talks with David Koepp to pen "Spider-Man 4" to officially make a quadrilogy out of the biggest big screen superhero franchise to date. has more than earned his shot at a fourth movie, especially having earned an estimate of $1.6 billion worldwide between the first two movies. "Spider-Man" raked in the box office dough at $403 million domestic gross, and "Spider-Man 2" raked in just slightly less at $373 million domestic.

But, here’s the billion dollar question; will Tobey Maguire be back? As early as "Spider-Man 2" there was talk that Maguire was losing interest and motivation to continue with the trilogy. Now, with talks of a fourth movie, when he and other cast members have spoken about being done with "Spider-Man" after "Spider-Man 3," where does that leave number four? The possibility of losing Maguire already caused an uproar when he wasn’t sure he would continue with the role. Rumors flew long ago that Jake Gyllenhaal might replace Maguire as the webcrawler, but now any replacement would seem twice as misplaced and disappointing. If Sony wants to do "Spidey 4," all I can say is that I hope they have all the right people back on board, or else a mighty ship could sink awfully fast."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

MPAA embraces NC-17


Variety writes:

MPAA chairman-CEO Dan Glickman met with indie filmmakers and studio specialty execs Monday at Sundance, declaring he wants the movie biz to embrace the NC-17 rating and thereby provide a place for edgier fare.
He also delivered a gift during the closed-door sesh: The Classification & Ratings Administration has appointed a liaison to help filmmakers with questions about the ratings process.

Indie filmmakers have long felt frustrated by the ratings process, which has been shrouded in mystery. Glickman is trying to relieve some of that angst, saying the credibility of the ratings system is vital to the entire movie biz.

The morning meeting in Park City at the Lodges at Deer Valley officially kicked off Glickman's campaign to make the ratings system more transparent and user-friendly (Daily Variety, Jan. 17).

Ratings had already come up at Sundance, even before Glickman's roundtable with the indie community.

On Sunday, the Weinstein Co. and Lionsgate pacted to pick up "Teeth," a dark comedy about a girl who has teeth in her vagina. Harvey Weinstein said he doesn't want to cut the movie to ensure an R rating. Lionsgate can release an unrated movie since it's not a member studio of the MPAA.

Accompanying Glickman to Park City was Joan Graves, chair of the Classification & Ratings Administration. The National Assn. of Theater Owners (which administers the ratings board with the MPAA) also is a partner in the campaign.

In Park City, some attending the roundtable offered the idea of taking the stigma out of the NC-17 rating, which itself was created to take the stigma out of the X rating. But the NC-17 rating never caught on.

Studio marketing departments quickly encountered trouble when trying to place media buys, since various outlets think an NC-17 film is the same as an X-rated film. Also, exhibs have been reluctant to devote screens to NC-17 films.

Briefing reporters after the session, Glickman and Graves said they readily agreed something must be done.

"We are going to talk about this with the Directors Guild of America and NATO," Glickman said. "It's one of our ratings, and I'd like to see it used more."

Graves said parents are particularly concerned about the new generation of horror pics playing on the bigscreen, such as the "Saw" and "Hostel" franchises.

Glickman stressed the rating system itself is not being changed. The reforms being made are designed to make the process more public.

In the coming weeks, Glickman, Graves and NATO prexy John Fithian will meet with various stakeholders in the ratings process to talk about the proposed changes and to get input about other possible reforms.

For the first time, CARA plans to post the ratings rules, which describe the ratings and appeals process, and the standards for each.

In another first, CARA will allow a filmmaker to reference a scene from another movie during the appeals process, although the board still will put heavy emphasis on context.

There also will be a new ratings descriptor saying certain R-rated movies aren't appropriate for younger children.

Fithian will brief theater owners on these and other changes at ShoWest in March.

Vagina Dentata


From bloodydisgusting, "High school student Dawn works hard at suppressing her budding sexuality by being the local chastity group's most active participant. Her task is made even more difficult by her bad boy stepbrother Brad's increasingly provocative behavior at home. A stranger to her own body, innocent Dawn discovers she has a toothed vagina when she becomes the object of violence. As she struggles to comprehend her anatomical uniqueness, Dawn experiences both the pitfalls and the power of being a living example of the vagina dentata myth."

[JPX] Yuck.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Boring Oscar stuff


By Dennis Moore, USA TODAY
Oscar watchers can't be surprised by acting nominations announced Tuesday for Helen Mirren, Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson — out of the gate all of them are considered likely winners. But few expected Dreamgirls to be left out of the best picture competition, although it received the most nominations of the day with eight.

That leaves a best picture race that's a tough bet to place, because no clear frontrunner has emerged.

Nominees include The Departed, a Boston crime saga; The Queen, about the British monarchy's response to Princess Diana's death; Babel, a drama telling intertwining stories playing out in several countries; Letters From Iwo Jima, a recounting of the WWII battle from the perspective of Japanese soldiers; and the comedic road picture Little Miss Sunshine.Sunshine's own travels from the Sundance Film Festival to the Academy Awards make it an unlikely Hollywood success story. Babel placed second in the total number of nominations with seven.

The nominees for best actor include Whitaker, as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland; Leonardo DiCaprio, a fortune seeker in Africa in Blood Diamond; Peter O'Toole, as an amorous old actor taken with a much younger woman in Venus; Will Smith, who works his way from homelessness to a millionaire's life in The Pursuit of Happyness; Ryan Gosling, a teacher struggling with a drug habit Half Nelson.

Mirren portrays Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen. Joining her in the best actress category are Meryl Streep, the imperious fashion magazine editor in The Devil Wears Prada; Penelope Cruz, dealing with relatives' death and possible resurrection in Volver; Judi Dench, a schoolteacher obsessed with a younger colleague in Notes on a Scandal; Kate Winslet, a disenchanted housewife who has an affair in Little Children.

Competing for best supporting actor: Eddie Murphy, a James Brown-style performer in Dreamgirls; Djimon Hounsou, a fisherman who tries to recover a rare jewel in Blood Diamond; Jackie Earle Haley, the paroled sex offender in Little Children; Alan Arkin, the crotchety grandfather in Little Miss Sunshine; Mark Wahlberg, a cop helping to direct an undercover operation in The Departed.

Best supporting actress: Hudson, a girl-group singer in Dreamgirls; Cate Blanchett, a teacher who has sexual encounters with one of her students in Notes on a Scandal; Adriana Barraza, a Mexican nanny caring for American children in Babel; Rinko Kikuchi, a mute Japanese schoolgirl in Babel; Abigail Breslin, the aspiring beauty pageant contender in Little Miss Sunshine.

Topping off the top-tier awards is best director. The nominees are Martin Scorsese, The Departed; Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo Jima; Stephen Frears, The Queen, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Babel; Paul Greengrass, United 93.

Mirren, Whitaker and Hudson have collected far more trophies than anyone else so far this awards season, including last week's Golden Globes.

However, a sentimental favorite in the actor category could cause an Oscar upset: the 74-year-old O'Toole, who had seven nominations before today without a win. O'Toole did receive an honorary Oscar four years ago for his career's work.

Sentiment certainly will play a part in the director's race. Scorsese, considered one of contemporary cinema's greatest directors, has been nominated five times before but never won. Helping his chances is The Departed's box office take of more than $120 million, the biggest of his career.

His competitor Clint Eastwood already has two Oscars for directing The Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby.

The Oscar experience is old hat to some nominees, and acting itself is brand new to one other. Streep sets a record with 14 nominations, and Hudson nabs one for her first movie role.

The 79th Academy Awards, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will be broadcast live Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/5 PT on ABC.

Don't touch a Thing


From EW, "One morning last week, while enjoying my coffee, I stumbled across that headline in Daily Variety. I nearly did one of those Danny Thomas spit-takes.

For those not fluent in the rat-a-tat La-La-Land verse of Variety-speak, that announcement means that Universal Pictures is planning to remake John Carpenter's 1982 masterpiece The Thing. This is a colossal boner on so many levels I don't even know where to begin.

I'll never understand why Hollywood feels the need to remake perfectly good films, let alone classics like this one. You want to remake the original Ocean's 11, knock yourself out. The original was crap. But this feels like Gus Van Sant's Psycho all over again, doesn't it?

I'm aware that Carpenter's film was itself a remake (kinda) of Howard Hawks' 1951 sci-fi flick The Thing From Another World. But even though Hawks was a genius, that movie wasn't proof of it.

The Variety article went on to say that The Thing remake would be written by Battlestar Gallactica's Ronald Moore — I'll admit, a point in the plus column. But I still think this is not only a bad idea, but heresy. Then again, I'm a little biased.

You won't find a bigger early Carpenter drooler than me. While all of my friends were lining up to see Star Wars again and again in their little Jawa cloaks, I was busy mainlining Assault on Precinct 13, Escape From New York, Halloween, and The Fog. And as for The Thing, well, that was just some next-level shit all together. I was convinced Carpenter was better than Hitchcock and Spielberg combined. Has Kurt Russell ever been more badass than as the bearded Antarctic helicopter pilot and resident tough guy R.J. MacReady? Has Rob Bottin ever hit the creature and makeup F/X ball as far out of the park? Has sub-zero paranoia ever been as bone-chilling? No, no, and no.

It's downright sacrilegious what Hollywood has been doing to Carpenter's early-career legacy lately. First, they get Ethan Hawke and John Leguizamo to star in a totally unnecessary remake of Assault on Precinct 13. Then they get the guy who directed the straight-to-video MC Hammer movie to helm last year's remake of The Fog. (No joke, I looked it up!) And I won't even go into what they've done to poor Michael Myers over the years. And now, now they're messing with The Thing. Well, someone's got to draw a line in sand! I'm drawing that line. This column is my sand. Or something like that.

I'm sorry if well-executed metaphors escape me right now, but I'm so pissed. Last night, I threw on The Thing again just to make sure I wasn't overreacting. To see if maybe it wasn't as awesome and perfect and untouchable as I remembered it being. And you know what? It was even better than I expected. The opening shot with the insane Norwegians hunting down the alien-possessed dog across the frozen tundra. The gooey, gross-out alien effects (''You've got to be f---ing kidding me!''). The roster of slightly anonymous character actors populating the American science team's chilly outpost (special ups to Richard Masur, the tough-as-nails Keith David, and, of course, Wilford Brimley — yes, that Wilford Brimley — as the stir crazy Blair).

I may be going out a very shaky limb here, but for my money, The Thing may be the greatest sci-fi film of all time. If I were on a desert island with a DVD player — a highly unlikely scenario, I know — and I could only choose one sci-fi film to take with me (again, where would I plug the DVD player? I know. I get it. But I'm trying to make a point here), would I take Alien? No. Blade Runner? Sorry. T2? I don't think so. Any of the Star Wars films? Please. Wrath of Khan? Ok, maybe. But what makes The Thing my desert island sci-fi flick is that it's so much more than a sci-fi film: It's equal parts Jack London macho adventure yarn and Fangoria gross-out. Do I even need to remind you of the scene where Richard Dysart (the old, crusty dude from L.A. Law) is defibrillating one of the infected scientists and the guy's chest caves in and snaps shut on L.A. Law dude's hands turning them into spurting bloody stubs?

No, I don't. And if I do, then you need to rent this Thing, stat! My friends, this travesty cannot go unchallenged! The letter-writing campaign to stop this remake begins today! Who's with me?"

Octopussy, underrated?


"Chris Nashawaty is a senior writer for EW, and author of EW.com's DVD Insomniac columnLast month, on the eve of Casino Royale's release, Entertainment Weekly ran a cover story ranking all 20 James Bond flicks. And while I think we generally hit the bullseye, there was one 007 film way down on the list that in my opinion should have been a lot higher.

Now, I know this stuff's totally subjective. And I'm not one to start interoffice donnybrooks for no reason. I understand that one man's Goldfinger (EW's dead-on choice for the top Bond movie, by the way) is another man's The World Is Not Enough (debatably bringing up the rear on EW's list). But how in the hell did Octopussy wind up all the way down at #18?! I mean, is it really more objectionable than The Living Daylights? Or Moonraker, where tinsel-toothed goon Jaws not only shows his soft chewy center, but actually falls in love...in outer space!?

I like Octopussy. A lot. No, it's not the best Bond flick. It probably isn't even in the top 5. But I will take the position that it's woefully underappreciated and too often unfairly dismissed. I know most people think it sucks ass. That's fine. But let me at least try to make my case. Here are my top 10 reasons why 1983's Octopussy is the most underrated Bond film of all time.

10. Because you'll always love the Bond you grew up with the best The Spy Who Loved Me was the first 007 movie I ever saw in the theater. So naturally, that was James Bond to me. Was Connery better? Maybe. But no one cocked an eyebrow like the leathery Roger Moore. In Octopussy, Moore's in bed with Kristina Wayborn's smokin' seductress Magda. They've just shagged and now they're just drinking champagne, basking in the afterglow. When she finishes her bubbly, she purrs to Moore, ''I need refilling.'' Moore cocks his eyebrow and replies ''Of course you do.'' Oh, James!

9. Because it doesn't star James Brolin After 1981's For Your Eyes Only, Moore decided he would hold out for more money from the tight-fisted Broccolis. So, as Octopussy was in pre-production, the producers screentested Brolin to play Bond. Was this just a negotiating tactic to make Moore wise up? Or was Brolin really going to be the next Bond? All I know is that if the Brits got their knickers in a twist over Daniel Craig, imagine how they'd feel about a Yank — and not a particularly talented one at that — playing 007! Think I'm being harsh? You might want to check out Brolin's hambone screen tests on the newest DVD edition of Octopussy.

8. Because of Maud Adams You can have your Eva Greens and Ursula Andresses. Adams — the thinking man's Bond Girl — is the gal for me. A smoky Swedish brunette who also starred in Rollerball, Adams was the only actress to play a babe in two Bond films (her first turn was as Scaramanga's lover in 1974's The Man With the Golden Gun). It's easy to see why they wanted her back. She and Moore have a real spark, unlike, say, the soggy-noodle chemistry he had with Grace Jones in A View to a Kill. Plus, Adams can really act. After all, it's probably not as easy as you think to play a smart, sultry international smuggler who leads a squad of hot female acrobat warriors in skintight red spandex catsuits.

7. The squad of hot female acrobat warriors in skintight red spandex catsuits

6. Because there's actually something at stake Next to John le Carré, no one has suffered more from the thawing of the Cold War than the Bond franchise. What good is world domination and the threat of nuclear destruction if there's no Russkies? Yes, I realize that the world has gotten a lot more complex since 9/11 now that any nutjob could have a dirty bomb. But dammit, I miss the Russkies! Doesn't all that recent polonium 210 espionage mumbo jumbo make you yearn for the good old days of Iron Curtain cloak and dagger? Octopussy, thank god, is lousy with Russkies.

5. Louis Jourdan I don't know this for a fact, but if there was a human basis for Pepe Le Pew, I'll bet it was Jourdan. If you have highbrow tastes, you probably remember him from Gigi or The Count of Monte Cristo. If you're like me, you know him as Dr. Anton Arcane from Swamp Thing. Here, Jourdan plays suave baddie Kamal Khan, a rogue playboy who cheats at backgammon, gets pissy when he's bossed around by Octopussy, makes bad puns about Fabergé eggs, and wears black silk Nehru jackets. In other words, he's awesome.

4. Because Bond's not the only guy with a license to kill I don't know how many other Bond movies do this, but I do like the fact that at the beginning of Octopussy we see the death of a man in a clown suit we later learn was agent 009. Granted, Bond would never allow himself to be snuffed out by a pair of identical twin Russian knife throwers. But still, I like it when the Bond universe is opened up a little instead of being this hermetic little bubble.

3. Because Desmond Llewellyn's gadget-man Q sounds exactly like C3PO when he gets all flustered and exasperated I know this isn't exclusive to Octopussy, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

2. Because for one brief, fleeting moment Moore kicked Coonery's ass If you're old enough to remember, the summer and fall of 1983 was an interesting — and confusing — time to be a Bond fan. In the summer, Octopussy opened and did well, as usual. And then, in the fall, Connery came out with his own unsanctioned, unofficial Bond film, Never Say Never Again. It had been 12 years since Connery had last squeezed off a round from his Walther PPK, and the time off didn't do him much good. Never Say Never Again got its butt double-o spanked at the box office by Moore's Octopussy.

1. Because somehow they got away with calling it Octopussy

Have I convinced you that Octopussy is criminally underrated? Or just cemented your distaste for it? What's your favorite, and least favorite, Bond movie?"

The Signal looks terrific

The Signal trailer

From AICN, "Okay first of all let me get the general crazy hype out of the way. This may very well be the best independently made horror film of the past ten years. It's quite easily the best one in the past five years, and the most entertaining film at the [Sundance]festival this year."

You had me at hello

Monday, January 22, 2007

A peek at Spider-Man 3


From Iwatchstuff, "This may be what we call "old shit," but someone pointed out to me that the official Spider-Man 3 site has some possibly new pictures in the wallpapers section that I hadn't yet seen, showing off the new costumes and such. The above is James Franco, as Harry Osborn, taking over the villainous ways of his Green Goblin father by becoming Awesome Xtreme Super X-Box Dude."