News broke today that Tyler Perry, the auteur behind Madea and everything else Tyler Perry Presents, would be taking over the role of Alex Cross (Kiss the Girls, Along Came a Spider) from Morgan Freeman in I, Alex Cross, the next film adaptation of James Patterson's series of crime novels. Which is kind of hilarious, but hey, Tyler Perry has a massive following, so we don't blame them. Nevertheless, it got us thinking of other hilarious cast replacements that could be made in established film series, and off we went. For the record: These? These we'd blame them for.
On June 18, the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort opens, and we could not be happier little movie geeks. We can't wait to buy our own magic wands at Ollivander's and get buttered on butterbeer at the Hog's Head! But all this hoopla has gotten us thinking about other film franchises, many much older than Harry Potter, that deserve their own theme parks. Here's our list of eleven action, fantasy, sci-fi and comedy franchises that we would love to immerse ourselves in for at least four or five days out of the year.
This week, Lucasfilm announced the features for the DVD and Blu-ray releases of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. To satisfy everybody, there will be a one-disc, no-frills DVD version as well as a two-disc Special Edition, plus a Complete Adventure Collection, with the Special Edition plus the first three Indy movies. (Sadly, they do not come in a badly dented refrigerator.) And if you're wondering if the Special Edition is worth it, you might want to check out the massive list of extras you get with it before you decide. (Or maybe watch the movie again. You don't want to buy it, then suddenly remember the scene where Shia LaBeouf swings with the monkeys.)
Has this ever happened to you? You DVR a sporting event and do your damnedest not to find out the score before you can get home to watch the game. You avoid phone calls, all human contact and every form of media and communication known to man, from ESPN to Morse code. You rush home, turn on the TV and the first thing you see as the TV comes on is the Sportscenter panel showing the game's final score. This is how I've been feeling as I try to avoid Indiana Jones spoilers on the Internet. It's like I'm Ray Charles navigating a minefield with an optical mouse.
November 4 has come and gone, but the voting isn't over yet. Voting for the People's Choice Awards started yesterday and continues through December 7. You don't get many choices, though. Looking at the just-announced list of nominees, you might think only a handful of movies came out in 2008. Iron Man, The Dark Knight, and the new Indiana Jones will vie for top honors in both the favorite movie and favorite action movie categories. It's not surprising that in an award system based on popular opinion the highest grossing films would rise to the top of the list. Statistically speaking, chances are pretty good that even if you only saw three movies this year, those were the three you saw. Other not-unexpected movie nominees include Wall-E, Sex and the City, and Mamma Mia!
Just in case you're not reading our DVDs Unwrapped blog, we thought we'd clue you in on the latest DVDs we've gotten the chance to review. Sadly, we were turned down for a review copy of Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter, but we'll keep trying.
Journey to the Center of the Earth -- Possibly the greatest 3-D movie made entirely to show off the wonders of 3-D you'll see this year. Of course, it's no The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, but then, what is?
The Strangers -- When Dave Chappelle (dressed as Lil Jon) talked about giving himself "a stranger," I don't think he meant breaking into his own home and terrorizing himself for the better part of a night. But maybe he did. We don't know his life!
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull -- Love it or loathe it, this is an out-of-this-world DVD set. Above and beyond. To the moon, Alice. In other words, it may have been created by aliens.
The Incredible Hulk -- A pretty incredible collection of extras, including an alternate opening where you can see Captain America stuck in a block of ice. Be prepared to "freeze"-frame. Get it?
Sleeping Beauty: 50th Anniversary Edition -- It's the newest edition of the Disney classic, straight outta the vaults and fully restored with bonus songs and some sweet documentaries. Fun for a girl or a boy! (Boys, be prepared to fast-forward.)
Check out more DVD reviews in DVDs Unwrapped!
George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford can ignore the (generous mixed reviews and Ford's age (66!), but they apparently cannot ignore Indy's box office power, and therefore a fifth Indiana Jones film might be on the way, according to Ford. He said Lucas is "in think mode" and, "It's crazy, but great." I would like to emphasize the word "crazy" here, but it sounds like Ford's going to focus on the "great."
Growing up in the 1980s, it was hard to avoid L.B. Rayne. The soulful crooner was ubiquitous, popping up every summer to write a catchy pop song about the latest movie blockbuster. But his biggest hit was arguably "Indiana Jones," his impeccably rhymed tribute to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which came out... Okay, I'm just yanking your chain. The video is really the brainchild of Doogtoons founder Doug Bresler, who came up with the idea for a failed R&B singer with his brother Joe (who plays Rayne in the video) more than ten years ago. But the song is the perfect '80s pastiche, with cheesy rhymes and classic riffs in the vein of "Eye of the Tiger," and the visual elements -- Rayne jogging through the woods; a karate-kicking, violin-playing "Short Round" stand-in -- are wondrous to behold. Bresler promises more L.B. Rayne videos in the future, but for now, check out "Indiana Jones" after the jump.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull kicked off the Cannes Film Festival with fan appreciation but tepid critical response.
Lucky for Harrison Ford, he doesn't read reviews anyway. But it will be hard for him to avoid all of the buzz about this one. After all, this time there aren't just negative reviews; there are news stories about the critical response and roundups of the bad reviews.
It's surprising how few Easter movies there are. Yes, there are religious movies like The Passion of the Christ and The Greatest Story Ever Told, and a slew of direct-to-DVD cartoons, most of which not even a toddler at the peak of a sugar rush would find entertaining. But for a holiday so closely associated with inherently marketable rabbits and candy, you'd think there'd be more to choose from. Never fear: If you dig a bit deeper into your basket of treats, you can find some surprisingly Easter-relevant themes and scenes in some seriously non-Easter movies. Let's look beyond the half-melted chocolate shell to the surprising nuggets of goodness at the center, shall we?