April 2008 Archives
"It didn't make any sense for us to try to compete with [the inauguration] from a news point of view," said Academy Executive Administrator Ric Robertson. Poppycock, I say! (Did I just say poppycock?!) These nominations come on damn early in the morning. Unless President Whomever is getting sworn in at 5:30 AM, they can run the blasted nominations. What would happen if, on that day, Lindsay Lohan was revealed to be one of South Park's Crab People. Would the National Enquirer hold that news story because it's Inauguration Day? I think not. Does the Academy really think more people will pay attention on the Thursday after the inauguration? More than likely, at least half the country will be too worried about what's going to happen because their candidate didn't win, which is an even bigger problem for Oscar than fighting for column space in the newspaper.
The Academy can really start another cable war by having the nods appear exclusively on Fox News if the Democrats win or on CNN if the country will be ruled by John McCain ("not McClane -- he's in Die Hard!"). The loser in the contest will also have to appear alongside Karl Malden to read the nominations while the winner basks in the glory of a job that pays a lot less than a movie-star's salary. I don't doubt the Academy is doing this as a show of respect for our new leader; they just shouldn't pretend it's because they didn't want to fight for the headlines. But then again, the last time actors and the Presidency shared the news, we got Ronald Reagan. Whether that was good or bad I leave up to you.
Robert "April Fresh" Downey, Jr stars in the upcoming Iron Man, whose character is as tormented as Batman's and twice as drunk. The late Heath Ledger aims to invoke heartbreaking memories of Brandon Lee in the new Batman. I expect both of these films to open big and be at least tolerable, if not enjoyable the way summer movies used to be when I was a wee lad sneaking into R-rated movies. It's a Catch-22, though: I'm sick of these movies and their implied successes will only mean more.
Case in Point: Stan Lee has started a new CG-animated superhero series called Legion of 5. It has nothing to do with the Legion of Doom, I presume, but the Hollywood Reporter states the film will have video game tie-ins and other merchandising. The man responsible for many of those superheroes listed above is keeping tight-lipped about the content of his characters or what they'll be up against, but one thing they'll vanquish is whatever opens opposite them when the time comes.
Lee also has in the works a movie called Tigress, where a woman gets tiger like powers after, I dunno, getting hit with a radioactive fly ball in Detroit. These powers will probably force her to jump on an Exxon sign, think Frosted Flakes are great, and attack fans at Cincinnati Bengals and University of Memphis games. Since she couldn't play Catwoman, this sounds like the perfect job for Sean Young.
When SAG struck in 2000, some believed it caused the current glut of reality TV shows currently making American viewers even dumber. I can envision this time the studios using a more terrifying method I'll call the Sky Captain Method. In Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Laurence Olivier gave a better performance dead than most of his living work in the 70's. Technology has also made Fred Astaire dance with a vacuum cleaner against his will, so who's to say the producers won't use it to give our dearly departed actors work in the same movies SAG actors won't do if they're striking? I'm sure there's some kind of union loophole prohibiting this, but only if SAG has good intellectual property lawyers. The verdict's out on that one. Like colorizing, the method that turned B&W movies into coloring books (and Ol' Blue Eyes into Ol' Brown Eyes in Suddenly), Ted Turner can own this functionality too.
Bette Davis claimed American International Pictures censored her F-worded last line of dialogue in Bunny O'Hare, so I bet her ghost will be happy she's cast in the new Judd Apatow movie, along with Bogie and James Cagney as McShootin'. Boris Karloff will show up in Saw 5 and his fellow horror actor Vincent Price will be in every PG-13 rated rip-off of Japanese horror movies the studios can turn out. If the movies are a hit, SAG will give in; if teenagers start asking why the actors are in black and white and the movie is in color, the producers will cave. Hopefully, both can reach a settlement without feeling the other side was coerced into a settlement. But if not, look out for Al Jolson in Madea Goes To Jail.
This video got me thinking. What actor would I most love to see doing stand-up? Tom Hanks and Sally Field tried it, to terrifying effect, in a movie called Punchline. So they're out; anybody who'd want to see The Flying Nun tell penis jokes on Def Comedy Jam needs psychiatric care. Streep's Angels in America cohort "Screamin'" Al Pacino would top my list. Pacino has done comedies before, like and Revolution, but he's never taken to the stage. He won't need to, either. All we have to do is loop quotes from his movies on a record and toss in one of those fake-ass laugh tracks, the same ones they've been using since I Love Lucy. It would be fantastic!
He'd come out with "Say hello to my little friend!" [Laughter] "They keep pulling me back in!!! " [More laughter, followed by someone heckling him -- probably Beverly D'Angelo] "C'mon! Gimme Whatcha Got!" [Heckler says something unintelligible] "You're out of order! You're out of order!" [Laughs and applause as heckler quiets down] "Free Will, It is a bitch!" [Laughter] "I'm just getting' warmed up! Hoo-ah!!"
Even in that patched-together configuration, he'd be a lot funnier than Dane Cook.
OK, maybe it wasn't really a fight to the death in the literal sense. Lohan and Knightley had just previously been reported to be figuratively duking it out for the role of Catherine Earnshaw in the newest version of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. In the end, it's Portman who gets to fall in love with her dark, mysterious, and vindictive stepbrother, Heathcliff out on the English moors.
Did they mean to hire Portman, though? She's a fine actress, and will no doubt pull off the role. There's no problem there. But with Knightley in the running, did they just mistake one for the other? If so, it wouldn't be the first time. Portman's Cathy could probably stand to have a decoy. One for going off to marry mild-mannered Edgar and haunt the windows at Thrushcross Grange while the other one goes traipsing off with Heathcliff for some brooding, forbidden love. Let Portman and Knightley fight that one out to see who plays which role. No one would be any the wiser! Except maybe the accounting department that has to cut checks for an additional top-billed actor.
Really, though, Wuthering Heightshas been told and retold so many times that it might be interesting (hopefully) to see what director John Maybury plans to bring to this latest version. At least there's no sign so far that this will be a hip-hop musical or an MTV original movie, like the most recently retelling of the Bronte classic.
Movie Trivia: Merle Oberon, who starred in what for many is the definitive version with Laurence Olivier, played Anne Boleyn previous to playing Cathy. Portman also played Anne in The Other Boleyn Girl.
Recently, Conrad revealed that she and other cast members have "kind of talked about" doing a movie version of the reality series. What would such a movie resemble? (Don't go for the obvious answer here.) Conrad says she thinks it would be like a longer version of the show. A longer, bigger version. Which, unless you waited for it to come out on DVD, you'd have to see in public with other people. And pay good money for. And give up a solid 90 to 120 minutes of your lifespan for.
At least you won't have a stadium-theatre-sized Heidi Montag looming over you, as the LB star and former friend of Conrad has said "no, thank you" to the possibility of appearing in any possible film version. Montag says for her feature film debut, she'd rather work with a luminary like Denzel Washington, just for example. She also says she'd like to be an "action star." Unless the definition of "action star" has changed as much in the last few years as the definition of "television star," I think Mr. Washington and the viewing public can probably rest easy.
The story, as it's been presented in the past, involves a futuristic task force known as Section 9, which fights technology-related crimes. At its center is Major Motoko Kusanagi, herself cybernetically enhanced and engineered. No word on whether she will figure into the new movie or not.
Of interest is DreamWorks' plan to humanize the franchise with flesh-and-blood actors (no doubt framed by state of the art CGI) while adding an element of surreality with the 3-D aspect. 3-D could be said to make something seem more realistic, but the "wow factor" often overwhelms the intended result. Plus, can anyone ever truly forget that they're wearing a pear of special glasses at the move theater? If you already wear glasses (from reading too much manga by the dim glow of a flashlight under the bedsheets) the result is doubly cumbersome.
There's also the lingering stigma of cheesetastic 3-D films of the past, as has been mentioned here just recently. New technology aims to bring 3-D into the digital age, although this time giving you the option of forty-dollar glasses instead of the flimsy disposables. (It's either that or wait until cybernetics advances to the stage where your eyes can simply be reprogrammed.) Will the new Ghost be a technological marvel, or a technological crime, deserving of Section 9's special attention?
1. Prom Night, $22.7 million
2. Street Kings, $12 million
3. 21, $11 million
4. Nim's Island, $9 million
5. Leatherheads, $6.2 million
6. Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!, $6 million
7. Smart People, $4.2 million
8. The Ruins, $3.25 million
9. Superhero Movie, $3.1 million
10. Drillbit Taylor, $2 million
Planned for a 2012 release is Cars 2. The kids you took to see the original might have their driver's licenses by then, so you can make them take you to the movies for a change. Then ditch them and sneak into the movie you really want to see.
If that doesn't make the passage of time seem like its's zipping past your eyes like the pictures in a flip book, try this one: Coming in 2010 is Toy Story 3, in which little Andy from the original is now heading off to college. Like too many other movies, this one will also be produced in 3D. Ken is the newest character. Is Ken still on the outs with Barbie and crashing on Andy's couch? If there's not some kind of joke about being anatomically incorrect in a 3D world, I'll be torn between being disappointed and relieved.
Slated for release next year is The Princess and the Frog, which is banking on two separate Disney traditions: Familiar fairytales are an easy sell and young girls are prone to falling in love with complete strangers and/or talking animals.
Maybe while his detective is investigating the disappearance of Dunst's character, he can solve the following mystery: We know where he's going to be, but where'd he come from? Does it seem like this Jeffrey Dean Morgan guy is suddenly just about everywhere you look? One day, there are no Jeffrey Dean Morgan movies, and then it seems like the next, he's in half the movie trailers you see. Slight exaggeration. But he's got major or starring roles in at least six upcoming movies, and likely more after that. Not bad for a guy who was putting "Unnamed Xindi Reptilian from an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise" on his resumé just a few years ago. Or what about "Undercover Agent #1 on an episode of CSI: Original Flavor" and dozens of other one-shot TV roles spanning the last fifteen or so years? Here he's been, hanging around in background shots all this time (and slithering quietly in lizard costumes) giving the appearance of an "overnight" success.
Another mystery for another day: Why is his former Supernatural co-star signed up for My Bloody Valentine 3-D?