Plus 'Sherlock 2' gets a title and Devin Faraci goes 'Supernatural'
Welcome to The Morning Read.
Holy cow… Michel Gondry adapting "Ubik" as a film is one of those things I wouldn't even dream of asking for, because I'd figure there's no way anyone would actually pony up the money to make that real. Yet that's the word this morning, and if Gondry really does end up making that film, it could be the Phillip K. Dick adaptation that Dick deserves. His literary legacy has been deeply abused by Hollywood over the years, and if you only know him from the movies that are loosely based on his work, you'd think he was a guy who had big ideas and wrote a whoooooole lot of stupid action scenes. The truth is that movies have rarely done well by his work. There's a spiritual component to his books and stories that is often intentionally overlooked, and the surreality of his best work is often abandoned in favor of empty explosions. Gondry would be a perfect filmmaker to adapt "Ubik," one of the headiest of all of Dick's novels, and I can honestly say that it sounds like such a perfect marriage of filmmaker and material that I can't believe it will ever come to pass. Please, Gondry, prove me wrong.
The writer and director of the new Nicolas Cage action/horror film name some influences
I've seen "Drive Angry 3D" twice now, and I'll say it plain: it's fun.
It is big and silly and badass and fun. Nicolas Cage is so totally in on the joke from the moment he appears onscreen and William Fichtner is commanding, to say the least. Amber Heard is Amber Heard, as preposterously sculpted as ever, and she does indeed play an archetypical Last Girl with a great deal of gusto.
In building their muscle-car mythology, Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer spoke fluent film nerd to each other, as they do in any conversation you have with either of them, and especially when they're together. I find I'm speaking a lot of the same particular language as them, which may be why I enjoy their work.
They sent over something just for you today, a back-and-forth look at seven movies that left unmistakable fingerprints on "Drive Angry 3D." Just reading the way they digested these movies, I think you'll get a real clear idea of whether or not you're interested in what they've done. They make a case for their film better than I can, so check this out and see if you're in tune with them, too:
Sometimes, good people do terrible things
You know, sometimes even the best of intentions, commercially or critically, don't matter. Something might make sense on paper but not work when it is actually released, and in some cases, it would be merciful if someone just had the heart to pull the plug early.
Last week, Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that he had told his agents at CAA to start seriously considering film offers again, and there was much rejoicing by fanboys who don't own calendars. Evidently, people think Arnold's going to just pick right up and start making the exact kind of movies he used to make, as evidenced by the story on Deadline today which indicates that Universal is starting to eye the "Terminator" rights again with the notion of Justin Lin directing.
Guys… that's a bad idea.
First of all, I think enough money has been thrown at the "Terminator" franchise, and the audience just doesn't seem to care. They couldn't get an audience to show up for "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," and they couldn't get an audience to show up for "Terminator: Salvation," and in the end, I don't know anyone who still cares. There's no pressing narrative issue that anyone really needs addressed, and the only reasoning behind those rights still being sold or resold is that number-crunchers think there's more juice to be squeezed from the orange. I know, I know… they've got William Wisher tossing out ideas, and Wisher's as close to Cameron as you're going to get at this point, but it doesn't change the fact that no one cares.
Vampire soap opera shaping up with a great ensemble cast
Wait, there's a chance Helena Bonham Carter might appear in a Tim Burton movie?
Oooooooh, the suspense.
At this point, one of the things that distinguishes Burton is the ensemble cast that he carries with him from film to film, and obviously his girlfriend, the talented and stone-cold weird Helena Bonham Carter, is a major part of that ensemble. According to today's report, Carter is looking to play Dr. Julia Hoffman in "Dark Shadows," Burton's next movie.
If you're not familiar with "Dark Shadows," it was a very strange hybrid of supernatural family saga and straight-up soap opera, and according to Johnny Depp, the film will be a fairly faithful rendering of the series. In the show, Dr. Hoffman was a blood disorder specialist who moves into Collinwood, the ancestral home of Barnabas Collins, the 200-year-old vampire that Depp will be playing. Hoffman worked to find a way to cure Collins of his addiction to blood over the course of the show, and I'm guessing that will be a major part of the film if they're including the character.
Meet Beans, visit Dirt, and avoid the hawk... now let's ride!
I'm not sure if I'm breaking embargo when I say that I have fallen under the very, very strange spell of "Rango," but if I am, then so be it.
"Rango" is Gore Verbinski's animated Western, a Lizard-With-No-Name story that is funny and freaky and gorgeously realized by ILM. I don't think of them as an animation house, but after this, I suspect we'll be seeing more films where ILM handles all of the animation, start to finish, because this is a heck of a way to start.
We've got some clips from the film today that show off the character performance work in the film as well as the remarkable designs by Crash McCreery, and that give you some sense of the film's very odd sense of humor and storytelling. Verbinski's "Pirates" movies with Johnny Depp all basically play like cartoons anyway, so there's something almost liberated about the energy in this film. Gore plays with tone, plays with genre, and just plain plays. It's an intoxicating mix of ideas and styles.
Early on in the film, the lizard, voiced by Johnny Depp, finds himself alone in the desert, trying to survive the attentions of a hungry hawk, and that's where this first clip comes from:
'We Need To Talk About Kevin' is turning into one of my most anticipated films this year
As a Radiohead fan, it's a pretty great week.
First, there was the news that we're getting "The King Of Limbs" this coming weekend, which is a wonderful surprise. It's the opposite of hype, having something by a band this big basically just pop up, and I appreciate just how special that is.
The other big piece of news this week, which falls more directly under my purview here at HitFix, is that Jonny Greenwood, the band's brilliant guitarist, is set to score Lynne Ramsay's new film, "We Need To Talk About Kevin."
It's little wonder more filmmakers are reaching out to Greenwood. His score for Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" is a fantastic piece of film composition, and probably the best known thing Greenwood's done for film. He also did the soundtrack for last year's "Norwegian Wood" by Vietnamese filmmaker Tran Anh Hung.
But to have Greenwood working with Lynne Ramsay is terribly exciting. Ramsay is not as well-known as she should be, and if you're in the mood for something that's a little obscure but worth the effort, check out her movie "Ratcatcher" or her even better film "Morvern Callar." If there's any justice, then "We Need To Talk About Kevin" is going to be the film that finally brings her the attention and acclaim she deserves.
Could this film's big theme be about broken fathers?
Although it's not official yet, it's starting to look like Marion Cotillard will indeed play a role in "The Dark Knight Rises," the final Batman film from director Christopher Nolan, and it's being described by those breaking the story as the "love interest" for the movie.
I would be surprised if this is a throwaway character, and much of the speculation around the role has centered on Talia Al Ghul, daughter to Ra's al Ghul, played by Liam Neeson in the first film. In the comics, Talia is one of the most significant romantic matches for Bruce Wayne, having actually fathered Damian Wayne, the fifth Robin. Talia would certainly bring the film series full-circle, and there were many early reports that she was being brought into the continuity in some way.
What drives me crazy during the period between Batman movies is the way fans tie themselves in knots over what did or didn't happen in the comics, and what that means to the movies. By now, it should be apparent that Christopher Nolan hasn't been following any established continuity to the letter. Instead, he's allowed himself and his creative team to play with various elements from throughout the entire mythology of Batman. I'm hoping he does the same thing as a producer on Zack Snyder's "Superman," and it looks to me like that's going to be the case on "The Amazing Spider-Man" over at Sony, too, as well as "X-Men: First Class".
Plus Nicole Kidman's getting a sex change and new Radiohead is almost here
Welcome to The Morning Read.
Oh my god… a new Radiohead album this coming Saturday? I may buy it as a digital only version, but I'm tempted by the deluxe "Newspaper Album." I love the title. "The King Of Limbs." Oh, man, I'm an easy mark, and I… don't… care.
Sometimes, you just get a gift, and I think that's got to be how Paul Thomas Anderson is feeling these days. If you haven't read the Thomas Pynchon novel Inherent Vice, it's a loose, funny, shaggy detective story set in Los Angeles in the '60s, and it reminds me of both "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and Altman's riff on "The Long Goodbye." Knowing that PTA is the one adapting it, and that he's already got a first draft of the script that Pynchon actually read and approved, I am delighted. If Vulture is correct and Robert Downey Jr. is thinking about playing the lead role of Doc Sportello, then there is no other film in development I'm more excited about.
Except maybe "The Master". Or whatever it's going to finally be called. I've got a copy of this script which deals with the tensions within a pseudo religion called The Cause, but I don't want to read it. If it really is Anderson's take on Scientology, then I'd rather just see the movie. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is evidently interested in playing the leader of the movement, but the part of the disciple whose fall rattles the entire organization will no longer by played by Jeremy Renner, who was attached when the film almost got made at Universal.
The appearance of Megan Ellison, a 25-year-old billionaire whose dad Larry Ellison co-founded Oracle, must have felt like a total miracle to Anderson, who has had trouble making the films he wants to make while resisting the compromises built into the cost of some of the things he's interested in doing. Ellison is one of the producers of last year's "True Grit," and she also just rescued a John Hillcoat film from some financial speed bumps, so she's starting to become a very interesting and welcome presence in the film financing world.
In every possible configuration of formats possible, the film is headed home
I haven't really spent much time writing or thinking about "TRON: Legacy" since it was released, but when Disney sent out the announcement for the DVD and Blu-ray release for the film, I'll admit that it seems like a really impressive overall package, with some great bonuses onboard as well.
In particular, I'm fascinated by the Second Screen bonus, which does a two-device synch between your TV and, say, an iPad or your laptop, and allows you watch the movie on one device while watching all sorts of secondary features on the second device. I've never heard of that happening before, and it's an interesting way of keeping the film itself unburdened of pop-ups and windows, but making the material available.
I'm also very curious about this new footage that was first rumored over at Ain't It Cool, and which appears to have been titled "The Next Day: Flynn Lives Revealed" for this release. In it, we'll see cast members dealing with the fallout of the events in the film, and we'll also get a tease for the sequel that Disney is still considering. One of those teases evidently sets up the father-son Dillinger team of Cillian Murphy and David Warner, and I can't say I'm remotely surprised. I still say they missed a great opportunity to have a real-world villain working against Flynns senior and junior in the real world by not using Murphy's character more. Why couldn't they have them trying to shut down the servers that held the Grid? Just that little ticking clock, with Murphy trying to assert ownership of what was obviously an ENCOM asset, would have added some real-world tension to the film.
Also Jaden Smith, Miley Cyrus, Usher, and, oh, yeah, there's a movie in there, too
Until I walked into the theater tonight, I had never heard a single note of a Justin Bieber song. I'd never seen him in motion. I knew still photos of him in passing and I saw an appearance he made on "The Daily Show" last week, which made me laugh. Right away, the impression I got of him was a kid who is willing to puncture his own celebrity, and who was enjoying the play side of things. He struck me as a genuine kid, still impressed enough by the pop culture he's a part of to have fun with it.
That impression was only reinforced by the film, "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D," which opens today to hordes of screaming girls everywhere. I was actually invited to the big crazy LA Live premiere this week and intended to go, just to witness the mayhem, but I'm glad I didn't. That experience would have been all about how the 3D didn't end at the screen, since I'd see it surrounded by the people in that film and of that pop music world right now. It's impossible to see a film in a setting like that and not have the overall experience be what you're reacting to, so maybe it's better that I went the way I did.
Instead, I ended up seeing a Thursday midnight screening of the film about four minutes from my house. Paramount was determined that I needed to see the film, so when I told them there was a screening that close and that convenient, they called in a ticket for me. At that point, what did I have to lose?