March 31, 2009

Slumdog takes its Best Picture Oscar to DVD!

That's right kids, one of the releases this week on DVD is the film that took home the big prize at the Academy Awards this past year. It also happens to be my PICK OF THE WEEK. In case you haven't figured it out by now, it's:
Slumdog Millionaire
Now, I know I wasn't the biggest fan of this film (though it still cracked my top 10) on the site, and in fact was probably one of the few people in general that felt the film was very good, but not as amazing as it was made out to be, but the fact remains that it's a quality film. I had no real complaints about it, and that's a compliment in and of itself. If you like having Best Picture winners on DVD, this is a fine one to pick up.
-Also out this week are a couple of very decent family films. Adam Sandler's Disney adventure Bedtime Stories is nothing special, but it's harmless fun, and Marley and Me is a perfect movie for families. It's also nothing special, but the dog is entertaining and the film is never too annoying or cute.
-We also have Will Smith's far too earnest melodrama Seven Pounds, which could have been much better than it turned out, and the spanish time travel film Timecrimes, which got almost no release but was very interesting. It's worth a look if you come by it on DVD.
-My Vintage pick this week is the Paul Rudd-led ensemble film Diggers. An interesting look at friends in Long Island during the 70's, it features Rudd's best performance to date, and that alone should make it worth a look.
-What will you be watching on DVD this week?

Poster for Drag Me To Hell

Sufficently hellish, no?

J.J.'s Star Trek already planning on being a new franchise unto itself

Variety has the story, which, depending on if the upcoming film is any good or not, could be very exciting news:
As Paramount Pictures readies the May 8 release of its "Star Trek" franchise relaunch, the studio is moving forward with a sequel, and has hired Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof to pen the screenplay.
J.J. Abrams, who directed and produced the latest chapter, is onboard to produce the follow-up alongside his Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk. No decision has been made yet on whether Abrams will return behind the camera for the sequel.
Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof also are receiving producing credit on the sequel.
Story is still in the embryonic stage, but the trio are aiming to deliver their script to the Melrose studio by Christmas for what would likely be a summer 2011 release.
"There's obviously a lot of hubris involved in signing on to write a sequel of a movie that hasn't even come out yet," said Lindelof, co-creator with Abrams of ABC's "Lost" who produced the upcoming "Trek" but did not contribute to Orci and Kurtzman's screenplay. "But we're so excited about the first one that we wanted to proceed."
As for potential storylines, Kurtzman stressed that the writing team will wait to take a cue from fan reaction about which direction to go.
"Obviously we discussed ideas, but we are waiting to see how audiences respond next month," he said. "With a franchise rebirth, the first movie has to be about origin. But with a second, you have the opportunity to explore incredibly exciting things. We'll be ambitious about what we'll do."
Though Orci and Kurtzman have worked together as a writing team for more than 12 years, the duo has worked with Lindelof on only one screenplay: DreamWorks' "Cowboys and Aliens," which they are currently writing together.
Paramount has high hopes for the "Star Trek" relaunch, and is pulling out all the stops on the marketing front. Studio began a full-scale campaign six months before the film's May bow.
-The movie is looking good so far, and if it turns out to rock, there'll be a trilogy before you know it...

March 30, 2009

A new project for Kevin MacDonald

From Variety:

Helmer Kevin Macdonald will follow "State of Play" by directing the Roman military drama "The Eagle of the Ninth."
Focus Features has signed to distribute domestically and sell offshore distribution rights for the pic, set to begin production in August.
Jamie Bell is set to star in the 2nd century A.D. tale, and Channing Tatum is in talks to join him. Script is by Jeremy Brock, who teamed with Macdonald on "The Last King of Scotland."
Duncan Kenworthy is producing through his Toledo Prods. banner. Financing will come through the Focus deal and equity funding from Film 4, which will get U.K. broadcasting rights as part of its deal.
The story revolves around a wounded Roman soldier and his loyal Celtic slave who try to solve the mystery of the Ninth Legion, a brigade of Roman soldiers that vanished after heading into the untamed Highlands of Scotland 15 years earlier.
Hungarian locations will stand in for 2nd century England, while the Scottish scenes will be filmed in Scotland.
Bell is set to play the slave, while Tatum has been offered the lead but has not yet committed.
Macdonald's "State of Play" will be released on April 17 by Universal Pictures, with Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck and Helen Mirren starring.
Kenworthy, who last produced "Love Actually," also is producing an Emma Thompson-scripted remake of "My Fair Lady" that will star Keira Knightley, with Danny Boyle reportedly mulling the directing assignment.
-Hopefully State of Play will be good, and that will make me more excited about this...how about you?

Poster for Planet 51

I still love that the family pet is the Alien from the Aliens flicks....aside from that, though...um...

An image of Johnny Depp from The Rum Diaries


Not much, but it's a start...whether this will be on the level of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas...time will tell that as well.

A comedic version of Minority Report coming soon?

Not quite, but then again maybe, according to The Hollywood Reporter:

Screenwriter Chris McCoy is on one heck of a streak.McCoy just sold his second project this month to DreamWorks. The studio picked up "Good Looking," an original romantic-comedy script with a novel twist, to go along with an untitled college comedy pitch the studio plucked from McCoy's portfolio three weeks ago.In a funky tweak on "Minority Report," McCoy's newest project posits a future dating service that matches soulmates around the world without fail. The story line follows a guy who has the audacity to reject the person chosen for him.McCoy developed the idea last year while on a working vacation in London, where he noticed the city's near-universal coverage by surveillance camera to deter crime. He started musing on alternative uses for that collected personal information."If someone could organize that information and know what everyone in London was doing and eating and who they're dating and who they're going home with, then that's an incredibly powerful tool," McCoy said. "I think I have an oddball brain or something, but then I started thinking about how all that stuff could be applied to matchmaking. It would totally subvert Match.com and eHarmony, (where) I think people lie about who they are or they say what they think people will want them to be. But 'Good Looking,' my service, knows who they are and can put them together."Double Feature Films' Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher are producing "Good Looking" as well as McCoy's college comedy. Holly Bario and Jonathan Eirich are overseeing for the studio.The newly independent DreamWorks suddenly has accelerated its acquisition of material. This month, the studio also purchased film rights to the book "The Big One: An Island, an Obsession and the Furious Pursuit of a Great Fish" by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Kinney for "Eagle Eye" producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to produce. And last week, it picked up Michael Gilvary's sci-fi action spec "Nonstop," with Patrick Tatopoulos directing and Len Wiseman producing.McCoy is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and worked on the editorial staff of Francis Ford Coppola's magazine Zoetrope: All-Story."Zoetrope was an awesome experience because the material that those guys would get in was so high-end," McCoy said. "It was a blast working for them, but I always knew I wanted to do my own stuff. So this is one of the better feelings a person can have, I think."McCoy is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content, which is producing his script "Get Back" with Chris Palmer directing. Knopf will publish McCoy's first novel, "Scurvy Goonda," in October.
-Definitely an interesting concept...now, to properly execute it....

March 29, 2009

Teaser Poster #2 for the day...this time for Sherlock Holmes


David O. Russell finds a new project to write and direct!

From Variety:

David O. Russell is attached to direct "The Silver Linings Playbook" for the Weinstein Co.
The "Three Kings" helmer is also adapting the screenplay, which is based on Matthew Quick's debut novel.
Story centers on Pat Peoples, a down-on-his-luck former high school teacher who has just been released from a mental institution and placed in the care of his mother.
Tome was published in September by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Project marks the first time Russell has worked with the Harvey and Bob Weinstein since 1996's "Flirting With Disaster," which was released by the brothers' former label Miramax.
Russell most recently directed the Jessica Biel-Jake Gyllenhaal starrer "Nailed," which endured a troubled production due to money problems with the film's financier Capitol Films.
-His films are certainly never bland...thoughts?

Teaser Poster for Shutter Island


Kudos to Awards Daily and Rope of Silicon for spotting this...what do you think of the teaser?

Matthew McConaughey to play a lawyer again

No, not in a sequel to "A Time To Kill", but a new project, according to this in Variety:

Matthew McConaughey is taking on the case of "The Lincoln Lawyer" for Lakeshore Entertainment.
The "Fool's Gold" thesp is attached to star in the legal thriller that centers on low-level criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller who finds himself representing a wealthy client with ties to a previous murder case Haller handled.
Project is based on a Michael Connolly best-seller that was published in 2005 by Little, Brown.
Lakeshore snapped up bigscreen rights to the tome six months before "Lincoln Lawyer" hit shelves in what was dubbed a seven-figure deal.
Stone Village Pictures' Scott Steindorff is producing "Lincoln Lawyer" alongside Lakeshore principals Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi.
McConaughey, who most recently played a supporting role in the laffer "Tropic Thunder," will next be seen opposite Jennifer Garner in the romantic comedy "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past."
-Could turn out ok...right? right?

March 28, 2009

In honor of Ebertfest 2009

Indeed, since Roger Ebert used to call his festival the "Overlooked Film Festival", I figured it was appropriate to ask everyone what films they would select as being Overlooked in 2008 and that they would show at their own film festival. As a template, some of the things Ebert is showing this year include Frozen River, Let the Right One In, Chop Shop, My Winnipeg, Trouble the Water, Nothing But The Truth, and The Fall. As a starter, some of the films I would select as being overlooked and worthy of inclusion for myself would include, in no particular order:
The Go Getter
Wendy and Lucy
Choke
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Snow Angels
The Wackness
Charlie Bartlett
My Blueberry Nights
Synecdoche, New York
Stop Loss
-Now, what would be yours?


Tobey Maguire to race in the Grand Prix...

...on film at least, according to this in Variety:

Columbia Pictures is closing in on a deal to acquire screen rights to "The Limit," with Tobey Maguire attached to star in the story of rival Grand Prix drivers.
Anthony Peckham will write the script, based on a book by Michael Cannell that will be published this fall by the Hachette Publishing division Twelve.
Maguire is attached to play Phil Hill, who went against his good friend and Ferrari teammate Wolfgang von Trips in the 1961 Driver's Championship.
Maguire and Jenno Topping will produce for Maguire Entertainment, and Cathy Schulman will produce for Mandalay Pictures, with Scarlett Lacey involved in a producing capacity as well.
Peckham recently scripted "The Human Factor," the Clint Eastwood-directed Warner Bros. film that stars Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, as well as "Sherlock Holmes," the Guy Ritchie-directed film that stars Robert Downey Jr.
-As much as this is news for Tobey, it looks like that writer is going to be having a good 2009...what do you think?

Another day, another Star Trek Poster


Kathy Bates gets a new project

From Variety:

Kathy Bates will star in football drama "The Blind Side" opposite Sandra Bullock with John Lee Hancock directing from his own script.
Warner Bros.-based Alcon Entertainment is financing and producing. Gil Netter's producing along with Alcon co-toppers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove while Molly Smith, Erwin Stoff and Tim Bourne will exec produce.
Project's based on "The Blind Side: Evolution of the Game," by Michael Lewis, and follows Michael Oher, projected to be one of the first players selected in this year's NFL draft. He was homeless as a teen and was taken in by a well-to-do family.
Bates will play a no-nonsense tutor who is hired by the matriarch of the household, portrayed by Bullock. Bates previously worked with Alcon on "P.S. I Love You" and most recently appeared in "Revolutionary Road."
-It's an interesting book, so it could make for an interesting movie...thoughts?

Poster for Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs


March 27, 2009

Is it actually better to LOSE an Oscar than to WIN one?

This article in Cinematical seems to make the arguement that the great films/performances keep their strength by not winning, using The Wrestler/Mickey Rourke as an example:

The Oscars are history now and soon people won't even be able to remember the winners. But I keep thinking about that Best Actor race that came down to a near-draw between Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler (291 screens) and Sean Penn for Milk (111 screens). My group, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, simply called it a tie. We agreed that both men gave the performance of their lifetimes. Other critics groups and other year-end awards also split between them; there was no clear consensus. For my annual predictions, I went with my gut on this one: I got the vague impression that, just from the cultural temperature, people were really into Rourke. But Penn won. And now that it's over -- with some hindsight -- it makes perfect sense. The Oscars didn't want to ruin The Wrestler for us.
The Wrestler is just a couple of months old now, but it has already gained a certain type of following. It has actual fans; people love this movie rather than just admire it. Milk has become a good movie for students to watch in school, but The Wrestler is a film that they will choose to watch, in their free time. It's a cult film now. And cult films don't win Oscars. It automatically disqualifies them from cult status. A cult film is something that people discover on their own. If the Academy acknowledges it, then it has been plucked away and turned into something official. It has a stamp of approval, and cult films are all about not being approved.
You can bet that Citizen Kane wouldn't always poll as the best movie of all time if it had actually won Best Picture in 1941. (The actual winner, How Green Was My Valley, is a good film, but it doesn't get nearly the same kind of love.) Think about films like Showgirls (1995), The Big Lebowski (1998), Fight Club (1999), Donnie Darko (2001), Memento (2001) or Brick (2006). Together those six beloved cult films earned a total of three Oscar nominations, and all lost. (Fight Club for Sound Effects Editing, and Memento for Screenplay and Editing.) Part of the fun of enjoying these films on a cult level is the idea of coming to their rescue, pulling them from obscurity and planting our own flag on them.
Additionally, I seriously believe that part of Martin Scorsese's enduring, loyal following from 1972 all the way through 2006 came from the fact that he never won an Oscar, and thus was never officially accepted. (Just look at his Oscar-winner colleagues like Coppola, Schaffner or Avildsen.) Now Rourke is riding on this cult success. Now that he has become our actor and not their actor, we will demand -- and get to see -- him in lots more films. I imagine the odds are only about 50-50 he will ever be nominated again, but won't it be fun to see him going nuts in two, three or even four movies a year? But better still, just imagine if Penn had lost. He'd probably go back to making more angry, message-laden films, hoping for more nominations. But now that he's got two Oscars, he has stopped, smiled and taken a role as Larry Fine in the upcoming Three Stooges movie! That alone will be worth his Oscar victory.
-What do you think? Does this arguement hold water?

Tony Scott finds a new project to over-edit

From Variety:

Tony Scott has boarded the Fox thriller "Unstoppable," intending to make it the next film he directs.
That puts "Unstoppable" on an express track toward production. Scott is working with screenwriter Mark Bomback to get the picture in shape to be shot later this year.
The drama involves an unmanned runaway train that is carrying a cargo of toxic chemicals. An engineer and his conductor find themselves in a race against time.
Julie Yorn is producing, and Scott will board the project as a producer as well.
Scott most recently completed "The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3," the Columbia Pictures drama that will be released June 12.
-His films always have potential, but his directorial style always bothers me a bit...how bout you?

Some new posters for Star Trek



What do you think?

A job for Simon Beaufoy off his Slumdog win

From The Hollywood Reporter:
Simon Beaufoy has his first post-Oscar gig.The "Slumdog Millionaire" writer, who walked away with the Academy Award for adapted screenplay last month, is working on the script for DreamWorks Animation's "Truckers." The project is in the early development stages, and nothing is known about the story line.Recent blog-fanned rumors that Beaufoy had been hired to write "Wolverine 2" were unfounded, though he did have a conversation with"X-Men Origins: Wolverine" producer Lauren Shuler Donner about the project.The animation process is drawn-out for writers and involves years of give and take with storyboard artists, animators and executives as they provide input and create scenes. But Beaufoy isn't the first scribe to take the gold and dive right into animation: Michael Arndt, who won the original screenplay Oscar for 2006's "Little Miss Sunshine," packed his bags for Pixar to work on the script for the forthcoming "Toy Story 3" after winning his statuette.Beaufoy, repped by the Rod Hall Agency and Thompson Street Entertainment, earned an Oscar nom for "The Full Monty."
-Interesting direction for him to go in...thoughts?

March 26, 2009

New "Harry Potter 6" Poster Is Perplexingly Boring

-Remember the old Harry Potter posters, how they were all majestic and dignified? You had the seemingly hand-painted portraits of the ensemble and the castle, and it looked very exciting (this was before one actually saw the movie, but perhaps that's being too opinionated). Nowadays, he's content to just stand around in his casual clothes and stare intensely into the distance, Nicolas Cage-style. You're two movies away from finishing the series, put some effort into it.
What do you guys think?

Trailer for Taking Woodstock

-It might be a bit too light for voters, but I definitely see some potential here for end of the year reognition...what about you?

Statistically, Meryl Streep is the Greatest Actress Alive?


What makes debating movies fun (and painful) is that there is really no objective answers. There are no unequivocal right answers. Some people think Godfather is the greatest movie of all time, while others believe the Dark Knight is the greatest film. We spend hours discussing these sort of questions, and never truly leave with a sense of what's right (or wrong). I've always wondered what it would be like if someone tried to provide more objective responses to movie debates. And, Bill Simmons has offered them.

Simmons writes:
Sports are objective (you win or you lose), whereas movies are almost entirely subjective. I believe Pacino's performance in The Godfather: Part II is one of the 10 greatest of my lifetime. Did he win a best actor award in 1974? Of course not. The Oscars are littered with injustices like that: De Niro's not winning for Taxi Driver, Paul Newman's not winning for The Verdict, Anthony Hopkins' winning a best actor for 16 minutes of screen time as Hannibal Lecter.
He proceeds to use Oscar nominations/wins as a way to quantify someone's quality as an actor/actress. Of course, there is a high level of subjectivity that goes into selecting nominees and winners for Academy Awards. Quite honestly, it might be entirely impossible to provide objective answers to quality based movie questions. It sort makes me wonder why I discuss these things in the first place. It's like discussing whether God exist or if there are universal truths. No one truly knows. Which means I can hold on to my belief that Twilight is the greatest movie ever made. Prove me and millions of prepubescent girls wrong.

Tom Cruise officially has more potential projects to choose from than anyone in Hollywood...

This one is a reteam with Cameron Diaz on a flick directed by James Mangold, according to this in Variety:

James Mangold is attached to direct the untitled romantic comedy formerly known as "Wichita" and "Trouble Man" at 20th Century Fox. It's eyed as a potential pairing of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.
Scott Frank is working on a rewrite.
Mangold's Tree Line Films partner Cathy Konrad joins as producer with Joe Roth, Steve Pink and Todd Garner.
Story revolves around a woman who has terrible luck with men but finds her path intertwined with that of a mysterious handsome man she meets on a blind date.
The studio has been sweet on the two-hander for some time. Chris Tucker and Eva Mendes were attached last year along with director Tom Dey, but that incarnation fizzled. The script was originated by Patrick O'Neill, and prior drafts have been done by Frank and Dana Fox, who wrote the Diaz starrer "What Happens in Vegas" for Fox.
Mangold last directed "Walk the Line" and "3:10 to Yuma."
Neither Cruise nor Diaz is formally attached, but the project is one of several films at various studios that Cruise is considering for his next star vehicle. Diaz just became attached to "Swingles," a romantic comedy at Paramount.
Cruise and Diaz appeared together in 2001's "Vanilla Sky."
-Mangold always makes interesting films, so this should be no exception if it actually happens...thoughts?

Oscar changes its schedule again

Back to March it is, according to Variety:

HOLLYWOOD -- Oscar marches into March next year, with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences picking a later date for the ceremony due to the Winter Olympics.
The 82nd annual Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
The rites are usually held in late February but were held unusually early this past year due to quirks in the calendar. So next year's ceremony will arrive nearly two weeks after the 81st awards date last Feb. 22.
ABC airs the Oscars, while the Olympics, usually a ratings powerhouse, are on NBC.
Faced with the option of an extra week of awards season, the Acad decided to put that week before nominations are announced: The noms will be unveiled Feb. 2 next year as opposed to Jan. 22 this year.
The nominations are returning to a Tuesday announcement after shifting to Thursday this year due to the inauguration of President Obama.
During the last Winter Olympics, in 2006, the awards were held March 5.
The awards were traditionally held in late March before the Acad shifted them to February in 2004.
The key dates:
Dec. 1: Official Screen Credits forms due
Dec. 28: Nominations ballots mailed
Jan. 23 Nominations polls close 5 p.m. PT
Feb. 2: Noms announced 5:30 a.m. PT, Samuel Goldwyn Theater
Feb. 10: Final ballots mailed
Feb. 15: Nominees luncheon
Feb. 20: Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards presentation
March 2: Final polls close 5 p.m. PT
March 7: Academy Awards on ABC.
-Duley noted...

March 25, 2009

Nicole Kidman joins Woody Allen's upcoming project

Variety has the story on the latest casting for Woody's flick:

Nicole Kidman will star in Woody Allen's next film, joining the already announced cast of Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Freida Pinto and Naomi Watts.
The as-yet-untitled film is produced by Letty Aronson, Steve Tenenbaum and Jaume Roures. It is financed by Mediapro, the Spain-based company which also funded "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."
Sony Pictures Classics will release Allen's next completed film, "Whatever Works," which opens theatrically on June 19, 2009.
-What a cast...

A cast is coming together for The Farrelly Brothers and their Three Stooges Flick

From Variety:

MGM and the Farrelly brothers are closing in on their cast for "The Three Stooges."
Studio has set Sean Penn to play Larry, and negotiations are underway with Jim Carrey to play Curly, with the actor already making plans to gain 40 pounds to approximate the physical dimensions of Jerome "Curly" Howard.
The studio is zeroing in on Benicio Del Toro to play Moe.
The film is not a biopic, but rather a comedy built around the antics of the three characters that Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Howard played in the Columbia Pictures shorts.
The quest by the Peter and Bobby Farrelly to harness the project spans more than a decade and three studios. They first tried at Columbia, again at Warner Bros., and finally at MGM, where Worldwide Motion Picture Group chairman Mary Parent championed the cause and bought the WB-owned scripts and made a deal with Stooges rights holders C3.
Production will begin in early fall for a release sometime in 2010. The Farrellys, who wrote the script, are producing with their Conundrum partner Bradley Thomas, and Charlie Wessler.
C3 Entertainment principals Earl and Robert Benjamin will be executive producers.
Project will get underway after Penn completes the Asger Leth-directed Universal/Imagine Entertainment drama "Cartel." He hasn't done a comedy since the 1989 laffer "We're No Angels."
The Farrellys have long had their eyes on Del Toro to play Moe. Del Toro, who's coming off "Che," showed comic chops in the Guy Ritchie-directed "Snatch."
The surprise is the emergence of Carrey to play Curly. Howard established the character as a seminal physical comedian, from the first time he appeared in the first Stooges short in 1934 until he suffered a stroke on the set in 1946.
-Interesting casting ideas...thoughts?

The new great American director...


Is Ramin Bahrani the new great American director? Roger Ebert thinks so.

Trailer for Where The Wild Things Are!

At long last we get a look at this anticipated flick:
-This book was as much a staple of my childhood as cartoons and sugar, so the idea that this is now a movie directed by Spike Jonze that seems to perfectly capture the book is exciting stuff to me...what do you think?

Poster for Away We Go

Let the Juno comparisons commence!

"Howl" turning into a real acting contender?

Seems so, as it keeps adding interesting actors to the cast of this very baity project. Here's Variety on the latest addition:

Jon Hamm rounds out the cast for "Howl," the indie feature about the obscenity trial centering on Allen Ginsberg's famed poem.
Hamm will star as defense attorney Jake Ehrlich, whose life was the inspiration for the TV series "Perry Mason."
Cast includes James Franco, Mary-Louise Parker, David Strathairn, Jeff Daniels, Bob Balaban, Treat Williams and Alessandro Nivola.
Project is lensing in Gotham, with Werc Werk Works producing and fully financing. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman of Telling Pictures are helming based on their own screenplay. Producers are Werc Werk Works CEO Elizabeth Redleaf and president Christine Walker; Gus Van Sant exec produces with Redleaf.
-Allen Ginsberg has always fascinated me, so this project has been on my radar, but it keeps increasing in interest by the day it seems...thoughts?

Speaking of Tom Hanks...

Variety reports he may have a new project:

Universal will develop "Major Matt Mason," a live-action feature based on the vintage Mattel action figure. Pic will be developed as a star vehicle for Tom Hanks, and Graham Yost will write the script.
Playtone partners Hanks and Gary Goetzman will produce.
The toy line originated in 1966; Mason led an astronaut team that worked on the moon and lived in a space station. The toy was a hit in the buildup to the first manned moon mission. Mattel retired the line in the 1970s.
When Mattel execs Tim Kilpin and Barry Waldo came to Playtone for a meeting, they brought an arsenal of the Matt Mason figures. Hanks came armed with his own.
Waldo will serve as exec producer with Kilpin.
Yost's script credits include "Speed." He and Hanks explored moon matter when Hanks was an executive producer of the HBO mini "From the Earth to the Moon," with Yost serving as supervising producer and writer of two episodes. Yost has also been a writer or producer for Hanks and Goetzman on the Playtone-produced HBO minis "Band of Brothers," "John Adams" and "The Pacific."
Mattel is teamed with Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver on "He-Man and Masters of the Universe," which will be directed by "Kung Fu Panda" co-director John Stevenson, and "Hot Wheels," which moved from Sony.
Universal adds the film project to several toy-based movie projects the studio has percolating with Hasbro, with a "Stretch Armstrong" film being written by Steve Oedekerk, "Monopoly" with Ridley Scott, "Candyland" with "Tropic Thunder" scribe Etan Cohen and director Kevin Lima, and the Platinum Dunes-produced "Ouija."
-In Hanks I trust...how bout you?

Angels & Demons Poster


March 24, 2009

007 Does DVD this week

Not exactly burying the lead, I know, but in a relatively weak DVD week, a certain secret agent flick is the clear choice for my PICK OF THE WEEK. It's:
Quantum of Solace
Though nowhere near the best James Bond film ever (I'd say it's in the top dozen or so), this still is a good action flick with another strong performance by Daniel Craig as 007. If Bond's latest adventure is mildly hampered by Marc Forster's uneven foray into the field of big budget directing, that just takes it down from being a very good movie to a good movie. If you like Bond or Bourne or anything of the sort, it's perfect for you.
-The other quality releases this week are Bolt, the animated Disney flick that turned out better than almost everyone expected, though it was nowhere on the level of WALL-E, the child abduction drama Gardens of the Night, which features an outstanding turn by Tom Arnold, if you can believe it, and the home video suppliment to Watchmen that gets the rest of the comic into the film called Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter. It also includes Under the Hood, the tell all book within the book about the masked heroes, so if you're a Watchmen fan, this is a must have.
-There's also Kristen Stewart's uneven melodrama The Cake Eaters, which is well...uneven, and Rob Schneider's directorial debut Big Stan, but the less said about that one, the better.
-My Vintage pick is a shameless tie in to Quantum of Solace. It's Casino Royale, and since the latest Bond film takes place mere minutes after the end of the last one, starting from the beginning (in a way) is a good idea.
-What will you be watching on DVD this week?

Anne Hathaway to play Judy Garland in the biopic "Get Happy"

From Variety:

Anne Hathaway will play Judy Garland in the Weinstein Co.'s legit and film adaptations of the Gerald Clarke-penned biography "Get Happy."
TWC recently optioned legit and film rights to the book, first published by Delta in 2001.
VP of production and development Ben Famiglietti, whose purview includes both film and legit productions, said it is unclear which version would come first. The stage version would naturally be cheaper and quicker to produce, but some filmmakers could even guide both, starting with a film.
While Garland's life and legacy have been explored before in popular culture, Weinstein noted Clarke's take "is particularly outstanding because of its exclusive details from her own writings."
Famiglietti said Hathaway's commitment has already prompted strong interest from filmmakers, screenwriters and librettists.
"You get an enhanced perspective of Judy Garland through this book and we feel Anne can really put her own stamp on that," he said.
Garland was the subject of an Emmy-winning 2001 telepic produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. She also appeared as a character in Broadway's "The Boy From Oz," and Rufus Wainwright performed a sold-out, one-night re-creation of Garland's famed concert at Carnegie Hall.
"Get Happy" is the second legit project for Hathaway to be announced this spring. The thesp stars later this summer in the Shakespeare in the Park production of "Twelfth Night."
The actress, who showed off her singing chops during this year's Oscarcast, has long been discussed as a promising candidate for a Broadway stint. Over the past few years she's been tipped to be circling a couple of Rialto tuners, including "Guys and Dolls" (which opened this spring with another cast) and a potential revival of "Promises, Promises."
She was previously seen on the Gotham boards in an Encores! production of "Carnival" in 2002.
TWC's Garland plans fall in line with the recently-boosted profile of the company's legit projects.
A developing tuner version of "Finding Neverland," planned for a Rialto bow in 2010, is the first in a lineup that also includes stage adaptations of Pink Floyd's "The Wall," "Shakespeare in Love," "Chocolat," "Cinema Paradiso" and "Shall We Dance?"
-I think she could potentially knock this one out of the park...how bout you?

A new project for Bryan Singer

Perhaps, according to Variety: New Regency has acquired "Freedom Formula: Ghost of the Wasteland," an adaptation of the Radical Publishing comicbook series that will be developed as a potential directing vehicle for Bryan Singer.
Pic will be distributed by Fox, which last worked with Singer on "X-Men 2."
Michael Finch has been hired to write the script.
The comicbook has a futuristic premise in which fighter jets have been replaced by pilots who battle in racing exo-suits. The protag is a genetically engineered racer who learns his bloodline has the power to change society.
Pic is a co-production of Bad Hat Harry Prods. and Radical Pictures, with Singer producing with Radical principal Barry Levine. Jesse Berger and Michael Zoumas are exec producers.
Singer and Levine teamed on the project when the four-issue comicbook series debuted at last summer's Comic-Con (Daily Variety, July 25). The comicbook was created by Edmund Shern, who runs Storm Lion, the Radical-owned imprint that published it. Shern will be associate producer.
"Mike Finch came up with an incredible take that goes deeper into the mythology of the source material," said Radical's Levine, who is also working with Universal and Spyglass on the Radical comicbook title "Hercules: The Thracian Wars," with director Peter Berg attached and Ryan Condal writing the script, based on Steve Moore's five-issue comicbook series.
Regency's Navid McIlhargey is steering the project.
Finch just made a sizable spec deal with Regency for "Medieval," an action script set in the Middle Ages that he wrote with Alex Litvak.
-Interesting...

Poster for Astro Boy


Nick Cassavetes wants to save the world!

With a conservation film, according to Variety:

Nick Cassavetes has signed on to helm the conservation-themed drama "Peaceable Kingdom" for New Line.
Story is based on the true life and work of Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the leading animal conservationist in Kenya, who has devoted her life to preventing elephant extinction by endeavoring to save baby elephants left orphaned by war, poaching and culling. Jeff Stockwell ("Bridge to Terabithia") penned the screenplay.
Cathy Schulman and Peter Guber are producing through their Mandalay Pictures banner.
Schulman says she became passionate about the project after watching a "60 Minutes" profile on Sheldrick. Shortly after, she and Guber flew to Africa to meet with the conservationist and began working on what she hopes will be a four-quadrant family film.
"I'm crazy passionate about this one," Schulman said. "This film is all about the cycle of life and rebuilding families, both animal and human. It's also about the intertwining of people and animals."
New Line is eyeing an early fall start date in Kenya.
Cassavetes' producing partner Chuck Pacheco will serve in some producing capacity.
Cassavetes, whose credits include the crime drama "Alpha Dog," most recently helmed the Cameron Diaz starrer "My Sister's Keeper" for New Line.
-Thoughts?