MGM's financial woes are the stuff of legend at this point.
As long as I've lived in Los Angeles… just over twenty years at this point… MGM has been "in trouble." There have been several major shifts in ownership, and who owns what, and the MGM library has been broken up and resold many times over. As a result, this latest round of MGM difficulty has been a fair amount of white noise for me, more of the same, with the notable exception of the fates of "Bond 23" and "The Hobbit."
Those were the biggest stories tied up in this larger story, and as Greg Ellwood wrote last night, it looks like "Bond 23" has become terribly important to Sony. And why not? They had a major part in both "Casino Royale" and "Quantum Of Solace," and they've gotten used to that James Bond money. They've also been part of laying some narrative groundwork that I hope pays off finally in this next film, and with Sony already in the Daniel Craig business in a big way with Fincher's "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," it makes sense that they want to keep track of him and be part of scheduling his time over the next few years.
But now that the big questions are out of the way, there are a few other important issues on the table, and it looks like Sony may be riding to the rescue of some smaller films that need the help. In particular, "Red Dawn" and "Cabin In The Woods," which have been missing in action for a while now, and which are both movies that deserve their day in court.
MGM's financial woes are the stuff of legend at this point.
During Sundance, Fox Searchlight showed up for two of their films. One is the Tom McCarthy film "Win Win," and the other was Miguel Arteta's new comedy "Cedar Rapids." They went all out with the "Cedar Rapids" promotion, too, installing a Brownstar Insurance office on Main Street, and that's where I went to sit down and talk to the cast about their film.
I ran a bit of my conversation with Ed Helms about his upcoming "The Hangover Part II" here the day after the interview, but we wanted to hold onto the actual chat with Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Anne Heche, and Helms together until we got a little closer to release.
Well, the movie's coming out on Friday, so I'd say it's time, right? You can check out my review of the film if you'd like, and then check out this conversation with these actors, who obviously built a genuine rapport as they shot the film.
From the moment they all showed up in the room, they were chatting, joking, teasing me, kidding the cameramen. I have to assume, having seen the film, that John C. Reilly was sleeping one off somewhere, but these three more than made up for that.
Halle Berry plus Paul Verhoeven? Sounds like a party to me.
It's hard to believe that Verhoeven's last film was "Black Book" in 2006. I may not love every film he's ever made, but I love his energy, his wit, and his willingness to offend. He has always loved the thrill of riding straight up to the edge of good taste and hurtling himself off into the unknown, and I miss him when he's not working.
Now it sounds like Relativity Entertainment is bringing him back, and he's bringing Halle Berry with him. According to Devin Faraci over at Badass Digest, "The Student" is a sexual thriller about a 19 year old kid working an internship and his boss's wife at the same time. Berry is supposed to play the wife, and if I know Verhoeven, this should make her work in "Monster's Ball" look like her work in "B.A.P.S" in terms of intensity.
"Alex Pettyfer cuts DJ Caruso's grass and he gets him coke" says the blond young star with a sneering smile and a "fake headline" tone about his relationship with director D.J. Caruso. It's all perfectly innocent, of course. Jenna Busch has gotten the pair laughing, and hitting subject matters far afield of the topic at hand: their new film "I am Number Four"
The new teen thriller features Alex Pettyfer as John Smith, an anonymous teen who's spent his entire life running from town to town changing his identity in order to escape a dangerous alien enemy. The director, D.J. Caruso ("Disturbia") had more than the aforementioned tawdry reasons to cast Pettyfer: "It was more about his vulnerability… he made Number Four someone you could root for."
When asked about the comparisons that the film is getting to mega-franchise "Twilight Saga," Pettyfer is polite and demure. "I think it's a compliment, if we have half the success that "Twilight" had we'll be very happy, but the movie itself is absolutely nothing like "Twilight."
Click to watch interview
Cobie Smulders is sort of like Bigfoot.
Wait… let me explain.
There are photos of Cobie Smulders out there. But there are surprisingly few good photos of her, considering she's made movies and she's the star of a hit network television show. She's a striking woman, but it's like she's the Flash, like photographers never quite manage to get the shot of her.
I have a feeling that's going to change, since she's in final negotiations to play Maria Hill in "The Avengers," according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Maria Hill is a major character in the Marvel Universe of fairly recent vintage. She was originally created for the comics in 2005, as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and eventually became a second to Nick Fury. She played an important role in the Civil War story-arc, and she became a real threat to many of Marvel's most important heroes.
"Fantastic Voyage" is going to get remade in 3D. Period. That's not even a statement about anything currently happening in development. That's just a given.
The original movie, directly by Richard Fleischer, is a cool piece of '60s SF action about a team of doctors shrunk down to microscopic size and injected into a diplomat to save his life with a dangerous and tricky micro-surgery. The effects are still so much fun to watch because of just how inventive the film is about heading inside a human body.
The same is true of Joe Dante's sadly overlooked "Innerspace," which was ILM state of the art for the late '80s, and the best pre-CGI version of the inside of the body that we were likely to get. Amazing stuff, and both fun and gross depending on the needs of the scene.
It makes perfect sense that it's time to head back inside the human body for another version of biology-as-rollercoaster in the 3D CGI era, and I can only imagine what it would be like to throw D-Box and IMAX into the mix as well. Just add an armrest that gives you a handjob, and people would never leave the theater.
Welcome back to The Morning Read.
Man, did I need that vacation. I needed it to spend time with my sons and my wife after their long trip to South America. I needed it after the wild ride that is Sundance each year. But more than anything, I just plain needed to step away from movies for a week and shut everything down so I could clear my mind, reset my palette, and prepare myself for the rest of 2011.
I did not watch the Super Bowl yesterday. Nothing against the big game, but if I don't watch during the season, I don't see much point in pretending that I'm invested one day out of the year. I enjoy football, but I don't really have time to devote to it, and that's the sort of thing that I feel like you need to make room for as a fan. I have caught up on the movie ads that premiered during yesterday's game, though, and so I thought we'd kick off this Morning Read with some quick reactions to the way these specific campaigns are being managed. Obviously I put up a piece about the "Super 8" piece by itself, but there were a number of other big ads that premiered as well.
It's like someone dropped the scale of a 2011 action film right smack dab into the heart of early '80s Spielburbia, and the result is about a bazillion people who just went, "I think I need to see 'Super 8.'" Well-played, Paramount.
The thing about "Super 8" is that, being cloaked in the same typical secrecy that surrounds all of the Bad Robot projects precisely because of jerks like me who tend to blurt things out, there's not much to go by so far in terms of solid information on what we'll be seeing this summer.
What I have heard from those in the know is that the film is very much a boy's adventure movie, like "The Goonies" or "E.T.", a film that's aimed at a young audience and that's meant to play broad. I think the youthful feel of the movie surprised some of the people who are working on it in various capacities. Not in a bad way… just in a surprised way.
And now looking at this trailer, what it seems to sell is the wonder of the film, the feeling that these are normal people caught up in something crazy, and in particular, that kid's-eye point of view seems to be clearly communicated in this, the first real footage we've seen from the movie.
So the media machine behind "Captain America" was not initially very successful at keeping the costume under wraps with leaked photos appearing around the internets as early as last summer. But all of a sudden June is just around the corner and we finally start to get some official images from the production, first from Entertainment Weekly that Drew commented on before, and now a slew more shots published in the UK's Empire Magazine.
So below is what the complete costume is supposed to look like when it's properly lit and airbrushed. I'm sure they were delaying showing the helmet due to the darn thing having wings on it, but I don't think it looks so bad. The wings look more like an airline logo than anything else, and maintain a military vibe, which at the end of the day is appropriate. Thoughts?
Click through to see full Image...
I don't feel the need to continue to defend Lucky McKee's difficult and demanding new film "The Woman," because I think audiences will figure it out on their own. By now, you may have heard about the infamous first screening of the movie at the festival and the tumultuous events afterward, but what you may not have heard is how much better the second screening went.
Part of that is because the hubbub from the first screening kickstarted the conversation about the film, and whether you like the movie or not, at least you'll walk into it now with some sort of context for what you're about to see. I wanted to help extend that conversation a bit, and so one of the last things I did at the festival was make sure we spent some time talking to Lucky and his lead actress, the lovely and unusual Pollyanna McIntosh.
I've already had several e-mails and comments on the site attacking the notion that a film like "The Woman" could be feminist, but I don't even think that's up for debate. It may not be a comfortable, easy feminism that the film articulates, but there is no doubt in my mind that the movie is meant to create a feeling in the viewer that matches the unbearable powerlessness that many women feel every day of their lives.
And to illustrate just how bizarre Sundance can be, this interview was taped about a half-hour after I finished talking to Elmo. From the most adorable little red monster in the world to the gender politics of "The Woman," Park City really was a wonderful way to kick off the film year, and I'm sure we'll continue these conversations over the rest of 2011.