I don’t know what this says about my readers, but my most viewed page by far is titled “Four Young Girls Go to the Movies.” What are you people expecting to find there? Here we have the opposite. Four movies currently in production or about to go into production featuring senior citizens in the lead roles.
GREAT HOPE SPRINGS – A middle-aged couple goes through an intense weekend of counseling to examine issues threatening their thirty year marriage. Meryl Streep reteams with her DEVIL WEARS PRADA director David Frankel after Mike Nichols dropped out of the project following a table read.
@ – Ooh, pinch me. Where do I sign up to not watch a pair of grandparents bicker about their dying love? Escapist entertainment at its yuckiest. I’m going to trust Nichols’ instincts on this one.
THE LOOK OF LOVE – A widow (Diane Keaton) meets a man (Ed Harris) who looks exactly like her dead husband. That connection rekindles old feelings.
@@ – Ew. I don’t want to see Diane Keaton rekindling anything. Besides, this is like STARMAN but without The Dude being an alien, and honestly, who would have gone to see that?
MR. MORGAN’S LAST LOVE – Sir Michael Caine stars as a retired, widowed American philosophy professor in Paris. His life is changed when he meets a much younger woman. Dramedy based on a French novel.
@@ – What’s NOT wrong with this picture? It’s bad enough that the protagonist is an old retired widower, but making him a philosophy professor? Not even an active one, but a retired former has-been philosophy professor. It’s like they’re trying to come up with the most boring, uncinematic character imaginable. And then making him American but casting a Brit? And setting it in France? Are they trying to get people to not want to see this? Who’s producing this, Bialystock and Bloom? Are there a bunch of little old ladies somewhere investing in this? I don’t know what they mean by “much younger,” but might I recommend you instead check out Mr. Caine getting it on with a much younger woman in an all-out comedy farce (no apologetic “dramedic” attempts to be serious) in 1984’s BLAME IT ON RIO? I would so love to see a sequel to that instead of whatever this is. Maybe Caine could hook up with Michelle Johnson‘s granddaughter!
MAX ROSE – A widower revisits key moments in his life to unlock the mysteries of his marriage and family. Jerry Lewis has announced plans to star in this indie drama which has not begun production yet.
@@@ – If Lewis’s character is also in any way a washed up comedic performer, then Dick Van Dyke did a similar movie in the 1960s called THE COMIC that sucked. This sounds like a vehicle for Lewis to attempt to make a respectable final big screen bow, like the way comedic actor Peter Sellers wowed everyone with his dramatic-ish role in BEING THERE before he croaked. There is no real concept to this movie, so it all depends on the execution. It may be surprising. For me, Lewis’ best film performance ever was a straight role as Robert De Niro’s kidnap victim in Martin Scorsese’s THE KING OF COMEDY. So it might be interesting to see how this plays out.
A couple book adaptation deals look good. Then there’s an “original” comedy that sounds stupid and an “original” heist film that sounds derivative. But you decide.
HALF BROTHER – Coming of age story set in the 70s about a boy, a chimp and the ethical implications of animal research. Based on the young adult novel by Kenneth Oppel (THIS DARK ENDEAVOR).
@@@ – It’s said to have a “magical” quality reminiscent of E.T. Having looked at the book’s description on Amazon, I think whoever said that was confused. It will probably strive to have the same type of bond between a boy and his chimp, and it might very well achieve it, but it’s in a scientific setting, not magical, as the chimp is part of the boy’s parents’ experiments to teach it to talk, thereby proving its intelligence, which makes it sound more like DAY OF THE DOLPHIN (minus the thriller element). And that interests me as well.
HERE COMES THE BOOM – A teacher moonlights as a mixed martial arts fighter in order to save his school’s music program. Kevin James stars and co-wrote with Allan Loeb. The action comedy also stars Henry Winkler and starts shooting in late March for a 7/27/12 release from Columbia and MGM.
@ – What the hell does mixed martial arts have to do with saving a school music program? Never mind. I already know I don’t want to know. Further guaranteeing a bomb, co-writer Loeb’s name appeared on such recent crap as WALL STREET 2, THE SWITCH, THE DILEMMA and JUST GO WITH IT. You’ve been warned.
WARM BODIES – An existentially tormented zombie begins an unlikely friendship with the girlfriend of one of his victims. Jonathan Levine (THE WACKNESS) is attached to direct and adapt the supernatural romancer from a self-published novel by Isaac Marion that got picked up by a legitimate publisher. Nicholas Hoult (the now-grown-up kid from ABOUT A BOY) is attached to star. Starts shooting in the summer.
@@@ – I think I’ve mentioned before how burned out I am on zombies because there’s not much arc you can get out of them. This is intriguing because it sounds like they are trying to tell a story from a zombie’s point of view, which is exactly where I think the next phase of zombie lore needs to go.
MASTERWORK – An art thief plans the perfect heist in the newest, most secure museum in the world, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, while a spurned woman from his past teams with an Interpol agent to bring him down. Jon Amiel (SOMMERSBY) is attached to direct.
@@ – Let me get this straight: A heist film in a high-security setting with cops trying to catch the robbers? How did they ever come up with something so original? Pictures of the proposed museum remind me of the Fortress of Solitude. If Terrance Stamp is the bad guy and the security is as tight as the Phantom Zone, I’m in. YOU WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE ME, JOR-EL!
Three young Academy Award nominated actresses are vying for the lead role in THE HUNGER GAMES, based on the dystopian YA novel in which teenagers are forced to fight to the death on TV. And the candidates are:
HAILEE STEINFELD – Age 14. She seemed like an immensely likable person on the red carpet last week, but IMO she is not proven. Yes, TRUE GRIT made a gazillion dollars and she was considered the most likely upset in her Oscar category. But her performance was so specifically stylized to the period piece, and we haven’t seen her in anything else, so who knows if she can really act or if she would have turned into another Tatum O’Neal had she won? It’s too early in her career for me to see her taking on this role. She confirmed — on the red carpet — that she had met with director Gary Ross but hinted she’s considering other options, a shrewd gambit for the 14-year-old to try push the producers to make their decision.
ABIGAIL BRESLIN – Age 14. Nominated in 2006 for LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. Back in December I wrote that this movie would kick ass with KICK-ASS star Chloe Grace Moretz in the lead. Don’t know why she’s out of the running, but Breslin kind of proved herself in ZOMBIELAND, while the lame tearjerker MY SISTER’S KEEPER showed she had some range. No one-trick pony, Breslin definitely has more experience than Steinfeld.
JENNIFER LAWRENCE – Age 20. Currently said to have generated the most interest. She’s my favorite new actress. If she’s in it, I’m there as fast as I would have been for Moretz. No question about it. However, it would be a very different movie. If you have a bestseller that works with characters who are 14-16 and you change them to 18-22, there’s no telling what that will do to the story. Imagine if they had cast 20-year-olds in THE BAD NEWS BEARS (haha, two Tatum O’Neal references!). Aside from Lawrence being the most talented of the three actresses, the filmmakers may also be taking into account the expense of a longer shoot with shorter days due to child labor laws, as well as there being fewer options available for young teen male co-stars.
Today we have three lame action thrillers and an indie comedy to look forward to.
HEADSHOT – A New Orleans hitman and a New York detective join forces to exact revenge upon the killer of their former work partners. The $40 million action thriller is currently in pre-production with Wayne Kramer (THE COOLER) directing. Sylvester Stallone stars and co-wrote the script.
@@ – On the surface this sounds like just another exercise in finding excuses to blow stuff up. Nobody would honestly care about a hitman and a cop partnering up because it’s ridiculous. Stallone co-writing means he found a script that could be a vehicle for his brand of machismo and he had to put his fingerprints all over it like he did with James Cameron’s script to the first Rambo sequel and like he tried to do with BEVERLY HILLS COP before he dropped out and retooled it as OVER THE TOP. Stallone is not a writer. And Kramer’s post-COOLER output doesn’t hold much promise, either.
I, ALEX CROSS – Tyler Perry is slated to step into the role originated by Morgan Freeman in KISS THE GIRLS and ALONG CAME A SPIDER, replacing previously announced Idris Elba, in this reboot of the action franchise based on the detective-psychologist in a series of novels by James Patterson. Though described in Variety as an origin story, it’s titled after the 16th book in the series which deals with a murderer in the White House known as Zeus. Rob Cohen replaces previously announced director David Twohy.
@ – Missed the first two and never even knew they were related. Seeing as how my life hasn’t suffered not knowing this franchise existed, news of a reboot means absolutely nothing to me. Tyler Perry means nothing to me, either. And it’s a good thing I’m not looking forward to this since it seems like it might be a while before it actually gets made if they’re still switching out lead actors and directors.
GRAVITY PULLS – A chance encounter with a mysterious woman on an airplane draws a man into an assassination plot involving the Havana underworld. Shooting in Havana and Vancouver. Starring and co-written by Kathleen Robertson.
@ – First we have a cockamamie setup, kind of the reverse of the one that failed in last summer’s KNIGHT AND DAY, which leads us to a setting I don’t care about. Any interest I have in seeing Cuba would involve their arts and culture, not a made-up movie mob plot. If I saw this movie, I’d want to assassinate the filmmakers for wasting my time.
SASSY PANTS – A recent home-school grad (Ashley Rickards from “One Tree Hill”) tries to break free from her overbearing mother (Anna Gunn from “Breaking Bad”). Haley Joel Osment also stars in this coming-of-age indie comedy which is now in post-production.
@@@ – I find the home-school concept fascinating and rich with possibilities for indie stories with indie quirky characters. I believe an overbearing mom is a realistic component of the home-school dynamic. And I haven’t seen Osment on-screen since Spielberg’s misguided A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ten years ago. I’m curious to see what kind of chops the Oscar-nominated child actor has now.
Hollywood is planning to battle robots and aliens, bring a dead body back to life and switch places with a body that’s creating a new live body inside of it.
INVASION EARTH! – After years of isolation in space, an astronaut returns to earth only to find mankind has moved to the bottom of the food chain. To be developed simultaneously as a feature film and a videogame.
@ – Who’s at the top of the food chain — damn dirty apes with stinking paws? I haven’t been impressed lately with lost-in-space movies like PANDORUM or MOON, or alien invasion flicks like SKYLINE and CLOVERFIELD. Developing it as a game just guarantees they have zero interest in trying to tell an intriguing story like CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. If they don’t want to bother giving me an intelligent movie, I don’t want to bother giving them my time or money.
WORLD WAR ROBOT – A small band of humans and robots face off in a battle on Earth, the moon and Mars. From producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Based on a graphic novel.
@ – Sigh. Not to be confused with Paramount’s WORLD WAR Z or Warner Bros.’ WORLD WAR X. Or BATTLE: LOS ANGELES. Or SUPER 8. Or INDEPENDENCE DAY. Or SKYLINE. It will be the same special effects we’ve already seen, but on three different planets/satellites at once. Big whoop. Come to think of it, why should we still be calling special effects “special” anymore? They’re ordinary effects.
THIS DARK ENDEAVOR – Origin story on the apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, based on Simon & Schuster’s upcoming first book in a series by Kenneth Oppel (“Silverwing” trilogy). The scientist seeks a mysterious alchemist to help him produce an Elixir of Life that will bestow perpetual health upon its drinker. From Summit Entertainment.
@@ – I wonder if that elixir will also reanimate the dead and whether that might happen in the second installment or the third? I also wonder if Victor will be young and dashing like, say Robert Pattinson? I guess this is supposed to sound like a new twist on an old story but it sounds to me more like another lazy rehash.
UNEXPECTED – A married couple is expecting their second child, but the husband is more enthused than the wife, until an ancient fertility totem causes them to switch bodies for nine months.
@@@ – Freaky Fetus! LOL. I can already see the trailer. Nothing wrong with a good body switching movie with a fresh twist. I’m looking forward to this. The main strike against it is they hired the writers of LIFE AS WE KNOW IT. Please, please don’t cast Katherine Heigl in the lead. This part requires a real actress to pull it off, not just another pretty face. Natalie Portman comes to mind, being so pregnant, an Oscar winner, and a hit in the fluffy romcom NO STRINGS ATTACHED. Sandra Bullock would be a good choice, too.
Who would you like to see in UNEXPECTED? Let us know with a comment!
A comic book, a young adult novel, a regular novel and an epic novel are all planning to leap from page to screen.
R.I.P.D. – Supernatural thriller involving a slain cop joining forces with a police force called the Rest In Peace Department to find the man who murdered him. Ryan Reynolds attached, Zach Galifianakis considering. Based on a comic book from Dark Horse. In pre-production with Robert Schwentke (RED, FLIGHTPLAN).
@@@ – Curious to see where this goes. It’s a solid idea that I think would be cool if it’s done like a straight noir film with supernatural elements, like CHINATOWN with ghosts, but I get the feeling it’s going to be more in-your-face and action/FX heavy like THE FRIGHTENERS meets RED, which I would be less interested in.
UNREMEMBERED – A 16-year-old girl awakens in the wreckage of a plane crash with no memory. A mysterious young man claims she was part of a scientific experiment one hundred years in the future. Based on an upcoming three-book YA series by Jessica Brody.
@@@@ – They had me at “16-year-old girl.” I bet she does some experimentation of her own with the “mysterious young man.”
THE SPECTACULAR NOW – A hard-partying high school senior’s life changes after he meets a shy, insecure girl. The (500) DAYS OF SUMMER writers adapted the script from a novel. Thomas McDonell, making his screen debut in this spring’s PROM, stars.
@@ – Even without the 500DOS connection, it sounds like a boring coming-of-age indie. And when I finally got around to seeing 500DOS, it definitely didn’t live up to all its buzz.
CUTTING FOR STONE – A forbidden union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon in a mission hospital in Ethiopia produces twin sons who come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of the modern world. Based on the bestselling novel by Abraham Verghese.
@ – Shit. I drooled all over my keyboard because I fell asleep while typing that story description.
I got 11 right, including the way too predictable Picture, Director and all acting and writing categories. Michael the Moviegoer got one more than me in total, but he missed the more important categories like Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Director and instead did better on wild-ass guesses on the stupid categories like Documentary Short. He thinks that makes him smart.
Usually when the Academy has a clear favorite like THE KING’S SPEECH, they love everything about it. So it’s surprising that it only won four top awards (Picture, Director, Actor and Original Screenplay) and none of the below-the-line awards like editing and art direction that I expected would shoot up its total take. INCEPTION ended up tying SPEECH, but only in categories most people don’t give a crap about.
The show was boring. Billy Crystal‘s brief appearance demonstrated how lame Franco and Hathaway’s shenanigans were. Moving the lifetime achievement awards to a separate off-air ceremony was a good idea; speeches from all four would have accounted for the usual hour of overtime. But picking a 94-year-old stroke victim to be the first presenter was a so-embarrassing-it’s-hilarious disaster that threatened to add all that saved time right back.
There’s always talk about the acceptance speeches being the problem with the show being boring and running too long. Wrong. I’d rather see the speeches than the pointless, random tribute to GONE WITH THE WIND or Anne Hathaway singing a random, pointless song about Hugh Jackman. But “playing off” the winners should be done based on speech content and presentation, not time. The costume designer who read her speech should have been given the hook as soon as she took out that piece of paper. I’m sure she thought every word she had to say was so important that she didn’t dare risk forgetting a single syllable. But nobody listened to any of those carefully-read words because she wasn’t feeling them. On the other hand, when an articulate winner like Aaron Sorkin is giving a meaningful acceptance speech that’s not being boring, shame on the show for playing music over him to hurry him up.
Speaking of the writing categories, why did the original screenplay nominees get clips and the adapted ones didn’t? And it was ironic that original script winner referenced Melissa Leo‘s “F-bomb” while the Weinstein Company is preparing to re-release his film in a censored PG-13 version with the F-bombs removed. F the Weinstein Company for that asinine plan.
Natalie Portman‘s win was a no-brainer. Personally I preferred Jennifer Lawrence, but I thought Portman deserved a nomination for BEAUTIFUL GIRLS when she was 15 and would have loved it if she’d won six years ago for CLOSER, so I can’t complain. And yeah, she did deliver in BLACK SWAN, too. If Annette Bening had pulled an upset as many predicted, then I’d have been pissed. She wasn’t bad in KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT but her non-nominated co-star Julianne Moore was better, a vote for Bening would have been a sorry-for-not-voting-for-you-the-last-three-times make-up vote, and both Jennifer and Natalie were also better than Bening. (Anyone who argues Lawrence is young and new and will get more chances, that’s what they said about Elisabeth Shue when she should have won for LEAVING LAS VEGAS and now all we’re getting from her is PIRANHA 3D, so no, I don’t think she’ll get another shot. Lawrence’s next flick is THE BEAVER with Mel Gibson, which might never even get released.)
Although I correctly guessed the two supporting wins for THE FIGHTER, I hated the movie exactly as much as I expected I would. I can understand why Bale won in the showy role, but I would have preferred Geoffrey Rush. Leo’s win was also understandable but Adams would have been a better choice. I also would have been happy with a Hailee Steinfeld upset.
Randy Newman‘s winning TOY STORY 3 song sucked. Even more than the Gwyneth Paltrow song. Ugh.
I correctly predicted Rick Baker‘s makeup for THE WOLFMAN would win. Baker won for AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON the first time they had this category. As boring as THE WOLFMAN was, its Gothic score by Danny Elfman should have been nominated.
The INCEPTION parody was funny, but they missed TOY STORY 3, WINTER’S BONE and KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT. 😦
Those are my thoughts. What did you think of the show?
Four movies in production, about to go into production, or hopefully to be abandoned in Development Hell.
SINBAD: ROGUE OF MARS – A Jinn transports Sinbad and his crew to Mars where the Jinn’s people have long been imprisoned. Originally planned a long time ago as a sequel to the Ray Harryhausen SINBAD movies, the storyline was eventually used as the basis for a comic book, which has now been optioned by Morningside Entertainment, producer of the original films. Targeting a 2012 release date.
@@ – Storywise, sounds like it could work. But without knowing if it’s going to be animated, stop-motion animated, live action CG like the CLASH OF THE TITANS remake, and/or 3D, it’s hard to tell how potentially crappy it can turn out.
THE ICEMAN – Based on the true story of mob contract killer Richard Kuklinski who carried on a normal family life while killing dozens. Michael Shannon, Benicio Del Toro and Oscar host James Franco are attached to star.
@@@ – Not a big fan of mobster movies and the TRUE LIES angle is obviously nothing new. But it could work, depending on what they mean by “normal family life.” I’m sure Vito Corleone thought he had a “normal family life” outside of all that killing. So if that’s what they mean, it’s not really a twist. And if it’s too far the other way, Ward Cleaver with a cleaver, it could be too kitschy. But Shannon always delivers a unique performance.
THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN THE WORLD – Upcoming book on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been optioned to be adapted into a suspenseful drama thriller. The book promises to be an in-depth look at Assange from his childhood to his present day anti-secrecy revolution.
@@ – Except for some decidedly uncinematic 1st Amendment aspects, this news story hasn’t really captivated me. A thoughtful movie on the topic might surprise me the way FAIR GAME did last year. But the rush to film this ongoing cultural event-of-the-day suggests opportunistic headline chasers rather than filmmakers who have something to say and the skill to say it.
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS – 3D animated adaptation of a series of children’s books about a group of childhood legends who join forces to protect children’s imagination from the boogeyman (voiced by Jude Law). Chris Pine replaces previously announced Leonardo Di Caprio as Jack Frost. Also starring the voices of Hugh Jackman as the Easter Bunny, Alec Baldwin as Santa Claus and Isla Fisher as the Tooth Fairy. Scheduled for release on November 21, 2012.
@@@ – If possible, they’re going to also cram in a cameo by Jesse Eisenberg as Elijah in this show with everything but Yul Brynner.
Associated Press reports that “Hollywood rarely crowns British monarchy at Oscars.” They believe front-runner THE KING’S SPEECH has little chance of winning Best Picture because no previous Best Picture winner had a Bristish monarch as its central figure. Although they found two Best Picture winners with a Royal as a supporting character, they list seven films that had a king or queen in the lead that lost the top prize, including 1998’s ELIZABETH and 2006’s THE QUEEN.
On a related note, the number of previous Best Picture winners where the lead character was…
A ballet dancer: ZERO (THE RED SHOES and THE TURNING POINT lost)
A software developer: ZERO (no previous Best Picture nominees with a lead character of this type)
A professional who enters other people’s dreams: ZERO (no nominations for DREAMSCAPE and only a makeup nod for THE CELL)
A male Irish-American boxer: ZERO (ROCKY was Italian and MILLION DOLLAR BABY was a woman, while FAR AND AWAY wasn’t nominated)
A married lesbian couple: ZERO (not sure if Miss Daisy was gay, but I also don’t recall her being married to, like, a Miss Dandelion or something)
A mountain climber: ZERO (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN lost)
A toy: ZERO (THE TIN DRUM won in the foreign film category, not Best Picture)
Rooster Cogburn: ZERO (John Wayne won for Best Actor but the film was not nominated for Best Picture and the sequel, ROOSTER COGBURN, received no nominations)
A bounty hunting daughter of a missing bail-jumping meth cook in the Ozarks: ZERO (no previous Best Picture nominees with a lead character of this type)
There you have it. Clearly this means the Academy hates all movies and there can be no Best Picture winner this year. Too bad. I was looking forward to waiting all night Sunday for that final envelope to be opened.
On the other hand, 1946 Best Picture winner THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES featured a character who loses both his hands; there are two Best Picture nominees this year in which the lead character cuts off someone’s hand.
What’s new for Brian De Palma? Nothing. Because he’s doing a remake. But not the remake that is such a dumb idea I almost want to let the Beatles be and take a time machine to the 80s to prevent the original 80s move from being made.
THE MOTEL LIFE – Two brothers flee their Reno motel after a fatal hit-and-run accident. Based on a novel. Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff are attached to star. Brothers Alan and Gabriel Polsky will produce, direct and write.
@@@ – I like the premise. It’s something that could happen to anyone. And anyone could panic and flee, even if they weren’t at fault, which would be a more interesting journey for me. In this case, according to the book’s description on Amazon, they were drunk, so that makes them less sympathetic as protagonists, but it’s still a story that’s got some possibilities. I might read the book instead.
PASSION – Brian De Palma is set to remake this 2010 French psycho drama involving two feuding corporate executives, one of whom is driven to murder the other. Starts shooting in August in the UK with a $30 million budget. The original version starred Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier.
@@@ – It’s been a while since De Palma did a really good genre pic, like CARRIE, BODY DOUBLE and BLOW OUT. I keep holding out hope he has another one of those in him. Maybe this will be it.
GET BACK – Two diehard Beatles fans discover a time machine and travel back in time to prevent John Lennon from meeting Yoko Ono because they blame her for breaking up the band. Mark Waters (MEAN GIRLS) may direct the comedy for Sidney Kimmel Entertainment.
@@@ – Clever title. Premise has a good punch line that makes it clear the movie won’t take itself too seriously, as it might have if they had decided to go for the more obvious choice of trying to prevent Lennon’s murder instead. I had high hopes for HOT TUB TIME MACHINE based on the cultish raves it received but when I finally saw it, it was a disappointment. I hope with this movie the time travel comedy subgenre will get back on track.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT – Remake of 1986 brat pack comedy about a couple who start a romantic affair despite their friends’ disapproval. Will Gluck (EASY A) attached to produce for Screen Gems.
@ – Another completely misguided understanding of the whole point of doing a remake. There is nothing unique enough about the idea of a couple whose friends think they shouldn’t be a couple to be considered a piece of intellectual property in and of itself that warrants any kind of branding. It’s the execution that counts. Originally based on the play SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO by David Mamet, the Rob Lowe/Demi Moore version adapted by SNL’s Tim Kazurinsky already significantly watered down the source material and changed its name so there was barely any resemblance to the hit play that had probably commanded a hefty option price. A new execution is going to have even less to do with the “franchise” that’s so old and forgotten that the target demographic will in no way be drawn in by any recognition of the title. Why are they wasting their time? No, really, I want to know. This makes absolutely no sense.