'Iron Man' meets Indiana Jones as Harrison Ford signs on for 'Cowboys and Aliens'
Welcome to The Morning Read.
Lots of news breaking this morning. None of it particularly earth-shaking, but some of it fun.
For example, I'm not sure if I'm excited for "Cowboys and Aliens" yet. I mean, the film's been limping through development for about a decade now, and it's always seemed like the highest of high concepts in search of a compelling story and characters. I like Jon Favreau as a filmmaker, so I'm curious, and Daniel Craig in a Western is also enough to get me interested. Adding Harrison Ford to the cast, though? That might be the thing that finally pushes me over. It's been a long time since Harrison did anything that made me curious, but this is one of those moves I wouldn't have seen coming. Nice work by Latino Review breaking the story, and nice work by Favreau getting Ford involved.
Meanwhile, it's looking more and more likely that Bill Condon, director of "Gods and Monsters" and "Kinsey" and "Dreamgirls," is about to sign on for the final two movies in "The Twilight Saga." If it happens, the real winner is Summit Entertainment, who just classed up a very, very silly franchise just as they get it across the finish line. I have made no secret of the fact that I think the "Twilight" series is garbage, but Condon makes sense as a director here. Despite his Oscar-bait pedigree, the man earned his stripes in the horror world, and I know for a fact he's been interested in doing a gothic Vampire story for a while now... just not this one. I'd wager this is all but a done deal at this point, and I hope these turn out to be the biggest movies out of the entire franchise, just so Condon can move on from a position of enormous strength and get some of his dream films made, like that Richard Pryor biopic or something else close to his heart.
I'm not a huge fan of April Fool's Day online, but Film School Rejects really brought the thunder this year, taking their entire site and the field of Internet reporting back in time to 1980. Great one. There were a few individual jokes I liked at other sites, and this one in particular just makes me laugh.
Nice little visual round-up by Andrew Lin, a publicist I've known for many years, showing how each studio's websites look on the iPad just a few days after launch. Expect this to change. Lots of sites seem to be built around Flash right now, and either iPad will change their policy, or Flash is going to crumble in the very near future.
I don't always agree with Devin Faraci about everything, but I really like reading his work, particularly when he's taking an unblinking look at fandom, as he did at last weekend's Wondercon. Great, incisive look at where certain properties are in the hearts and minds of fans, with lots to chew on. His points about "Star Wars," in particular, will be worth more discussion later today in a separate article I'm working on. And anyone who thinks Devin is mocking fandom in general doesn't know Devin, because he's a HUGE nerd, and I fully expect to see him at this weekend's Monsterpalooza.
Why didn't anyone tell me about the Snacks and Shit blog before now?
Have you been following the idea of the "Parallel Lines" project? Basically, it's a follow-up to last year's mind-boggling "Carousel" video which we covered here on the Morning Read, and Phillips has sponsored a series of short films, all built around similar themes and images. The secret word for today? "Unicorn." Ridley Scott's commercial company, RSA, picked the filmmakers and supervised, and the results are really interesting and varied. Here's the first one, which has a distinctly "Blade Runner" vibe to it:
And then this second one is a charming bit of computer animation:
I wonder how this next guy ended up working for Ridley Scott...
And this one's by the guy who almost got the job directing the upcoming "Alien" prequel in 3D, Carl Erik Rinsch:
Here's the last one of the bunch, "El Secreto De Mateo":
The Morning Read has been shockingly light on Kim Morgan content lately, which is an oversight on my part. After all, you could be enjoying her look back at the time she guest-hosted "Ebert & Roeper," or you could read her lovely contemplation of the enduring power of the great "Harold & Maude." Or, if you're not down with that whole "reading" thing, you could just watch her eat.
There can never be enough words written about the great Preston Sturges, and Douglas McGrath (who co-wrote "Bullets Over Broadway" with Woody Allen) just added some particularly great words to the pile over at Vanity Fair.
Nice little profile of Ralph Bakshi as his version of "The Lord Of The Rings" hits Blu-ray this week.
This is a groovy little slice of existential dread for the media age.
I missed "Exit Through The Gift Shop" at Sundance, but I'll catch up with it soon. In the meantime, here's a five-minute extended sneak peek at the film, the first from famed graffiti artist Banksy:
Yep. I'm hooked.
No, seriously... why?
And finally today, I find this just as disturbing as the product placement article I linked to in Monday's Morning Read. It all boils down to the same thing... corporate influence over shows forcing changes in content that have nothing to do with the interests of the creative teams on those shows or films. It's poison, no matter what "good" they think they're doing, and it just plain freaks me out.
Next up, my exclusive on-camera interview with Nicolas Cage at last weekend's Wondercon, and then a review of a documentary that has been under my skin since I saw it at SXSW. Plenty more to come today, so keep checking back.
The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Except when it doesn't.
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2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
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