<p>Shhhh... don't tell DC&nbsp;the premise of the new Mark Millar comic series 'Nemesis'</p>

Shhhh... don't tell DC the premise of the new Mark Millar comic series 'Nemesis'

Credit: Marvel/Icon

TMR: Millar's 'Nemesis' heats up and Reitman says yes to 'Ghostbusters 3'

Plus will Lionsgate end up with the 'Terminator' franchise?

Welcome to The Morning Read.

I'm going to be out of the house all morning tomorrow, so I've got a lot of work to do between now and then to make sure there's plenty to read for you guys here on the blog.  And since there's a ton of news breaking all over the place today, this morning's Read is already overstuffed with things worth discussion.

For example, there's Mark Millar's upcoming project "Nemesis," which appears to be a bidding war just waiting to happen.  The high-concept premise sounds like it'll catch fire on the heels of "Kick-Ass," telling the story of a billionaire who also happens to be a nightmarish supervillain who loves to pick one cop per year to torment and taunt before finally killing him.  Basically, he's Batman and the Joker in one body, and in the upcoming series, he finally picks an American cop, who turns out to be the best opponent he's ever had.  "Wanted" was also a pretty major world-wide hit, so Millar is about as hot as a comic creator can be in Hollywood.  The only thing that would make "Nemesis" even more attractive to studios would be if a major director was onboard to direct the film.

Oh, what's that?  Sam Raimi suddenly has an opening on his dance card?  Verrrrrrry interesting.  I know that Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. are excited about having Raimi make "World Of Warcraft" his top priority, but I'd love to see a pissed-off Raimi making a superhero film that was designed to fly in the face of Marvel and Sony's next "Spider-Man" as well.  It would be a delicious way to spend summer 2012.  In the meantime, if you want to have the supercop in "Nemesis" named after you, they'll be auctioning off that honor in the next few days, so keep your eyes open.

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<p>Drew McWeeny and Jeff Katz appear on G4's 'Attack Of The Show' for a very special segment on beard maintainence... er, 'Spider-Man' development rumors.</p>

Drew McWeeny and Jeff Katz appear on G4's 'Attack Of The Show' for a very special segment on beard maintainence... er, 'Spider-Man' development rumors.

Credit: G4

Watch: Drew McWeeny talks 'Spider-Man' reboot on G4

Geekweek's Jeff Katz also guests to discuss the idea from an exec's POV

"Spider-Man" became a trending topic on Twitter, and I'm almost positive that was because Devin Faraci and I spent nine hours arguing about it back and forth.

And I mean that in the friendly nerd way, where we both ultimately hope that this reboot ends up resulting in a new series of films that accurately repreresents the character and his legacy.  Devin's just skeptical that Sony is going to give the film the right sort of room to breathe in development, while I find myself hopeful that this time around, they might make choices that bring the character closer to what I love about Spider-Man overall.  I like Raimi's films, but I don't think they're perfect, and I think there's absolutely room for them to be improved upon.

As the news was developing yesterday, I was asked by G4 to make an appearance on "Attack Of The Show" to talk about it all.  They also asked Jeff Katz to appear, and I was happy to be on a panel with him.  I've known Jeff for years, since he was a fairly new guy at New Line, and in a town full of executives who have little or no affection for the material they make, Katz is an oddity.  He's a full-blown nerd, a guy who comes to his love of all things geek in a very organic way.

He's been through it, though.  Working at New Line, he was focused on bringing Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees back to the mainstream, and he ended up moving to 20th Century Fox, where he was ostensibly brought in to be a voice of geek authority regarding movies like "Wolverine" and "Deadpool."  I'm not shocked that he ended up leaving Fox, where an authentic geek voice is not considered an asset, or that he has started his own production company, American Original, as well as a brand-new website that he's describing as "the Geekington Post."

Before I even got home from the taping, G4 already had an embed ready of the segment.  I would have put it up earlier, but I had to run back out for another event.  I just watched it, and I think it went well overall, even if I did totally miss Kevin's set-up for a Leno/Conan joke at the start of the piece.

Here's the full conversation for you:

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<p>Channing Tatum and Dennis Quaid, along with the rest of the Joes, will be back when Paramount makes a sequel to 'G.I.&nbsp;Joe:&nbsp;The Rise Of Cobra,' with work on the script already underway</p>

Channing Tatum and Dennis Quaid, along with the rest of the Joes, will be back when Paramount makes a sequel to 'G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra,' with work on the script already underway

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Watch: 'G.I. Joe' sequel mobilizes for war

Channing Tatum and Dennis Quaid both discuss their involvement

Last week, both IESB and Collider broke the news that the writers of "Zombieland," Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, have signed on to script the sequel to "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra."

Rheese and Wernick have become the hot go-to writers on big franchise films, and I can see why.  They also booked the job writing "Deadpool" for 20th Century Fox.  When they originally conceived "Zombieland," it was as a series, and they ended up using about three episodes worth of their original outline as the feature film.  In a way, the film still feels like a pilot episode for an ongoing series, like it just sets up the rules and the characters but doesn't really tell much of a story.  It's enjoyable, it's breezy, it moves... but at the end, what's really been accomplished?

That seems to be the ideal skill set for being a franchise writer on the studio level.  You're basically just doing giant-budget TV episodes.  You don't want to wrap everything up, you don't want to resolve every conflict, and you want to inch characters forward in a way that keeps the actors happy but that also leaves plenty to do in the next film.

Following the reveal that they'd been signed to do the sequel, Greg Ellwood and I were both doing press day interviews with stars of the first "G.I. Joe," and we each asked them for comments on the news that the sequel was moving forward.  We'll have more of our Channing Tatum and Dennis Quaid interviews in the next week or so, but for now, we thought we'd cut together their comments on "G.I. Joe" and offer those up as a separate piece.

One thing to pay special attention to:  Channing Tatum talks about how the writer's strike hobbled them on the first film, and how much he looks forward to having an actual script this time around.  I thought the first film was fun, but I would never argue that it was masterfully written, and to hear Tatum acknowledge it is actually sort of refreshing.

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<p>Jeremy Renner enjoys a relaxing moment at work in Kathryn Bigelow's highly-lauded 'The Hurt Locker,' available now on DVD and BluRay.</p>

Jeremy Renner enjoys a relaxing moment at work in Kathryn Bigelow's highly-lauded 'The Hurt Locker,' available now on DVD and BluRay.

Credit: Summit Entertainment

DVD & Games Forecast: 'Hurt Locker,' 'Moon,' 'In The Loop' equal a great week of releases

Plus 'The Simpsons' and Fellini go high-def

Welcome to the DVD & Games Forecast.

Last week may have been a little slow, but this week more than makes up for it.  Holy cow, if you've got good taste in movies, you're going to be broke by Wednesday morning.  The featured titles this week represent one of the strongest single week line-ups in months.  Lots to cover, so let's get right to it.

THIS WEEK'S FEATURED TITLES:

"The Hurt Locker" (BluRay/DVD)

At this point, "The Hurt Locker" may well be the most-discussed film from 2009 that no one's seen.  Hopefully that will change with it coming out on DVD and BluRay this week.  It's a fairly intimate film, and I don't think it's going to hurt the movie at all if people see it at home.  It's almost the opposite of its primary Oscar competition, "Avatar," a character-driven drama set in the real world, complex and political.  The notion of a lead character who is addicted to the adrenaline of war is difficult for either liberals or conservatives to turn into a simple symbol, which automatically makes it one of the most interesting of the modern war films.  Kathryn Bigelow has always been a director of tremendous style, but with this film, she finally became an important one as well.

"Moon" (BluRay/DVD)

Although I may not have been quite as in love with this SF film as some of my peers, I think it's smart and admirable stuff.  Sam Rockwell gives a couple of strong performances as an astronaut who is nearing the end of a three-year-tour working a largely automated lunar mining station.  As some strange events start to unfold, he begins to question the nature of his job and even his reality, and eventually the film becomes a brain-bending trip.  The most impressive thing about the film is how much director Duncan Jones pulled off on a limited budget.  It's a major announcement for him as a filmmaker, and I look forward to whatever he does next.

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<p>Hey, look, it's Tom Hanks doing that thing he did on 'That Thing You Do' which he'll do again now on a new film called 'Larry&nbsp;Crowne'</p>

Hey, look, it's Tom Hanks doing that thing he did on 'That Thing You Do' which he'll do again now on a new film called 'Larry Crowne'

Credit: Fox Home Entertainment

Tom Hanks returns to directing, brings Julia Roberts with him

First time as a filmmaker since 1996... will the wait be worth it?

Oh, this makes me happy.

When Tom Hanks wrote and directed "That Thing You Do!" in 1996, the film came out and vanished pretty quickly, and it seemed to me at the time that the perception of the film was that it was a failure.  That blew my mind, because I thought the film was well-observed, smartly-directed, and filled with a genuine joy.  It absolutely seemed to be an extension of the public persona of Tom Hanks, and if I'd been writing for a website at the time, I would have named it to my year-end lists and advocated for it tirelessly.

It's been 14 years since it came out, and it looks like Hanks is finally ready to give writing and directing another chance.

Proving twice in one day that Nikki Finke was wise to hire him for Deadline, Michael Fleming broke the story that Hanks is writing, directing, and starring in "Larry Thorne," a film that Fleming describes thusly:

"I’m told that Hanks will play the title character, a man forced to reinvent himself and find a new career as he navigates the second act of his life."

Sounds like a film that is very much of the moment, and I trust Hanks to do something special with it.  He's such a smart guy, and there such a huge wellspring of decency in his work and in his personality that I am curious to see what that synopsis really means.  Julia Roberts is now onboard as well to play the female lead in the film, and based on their chemistry in "Charlie Wilson's War," I'm curious.

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<p>Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart are just two of the reasons I'm thrilled that 'The African Queen' is finally coming to DVD&nbsp;and BluRay.</p>

Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart are just two of the reasons I'm thrilled that 'The African Queen' is finally coming to DVD and BluRay.

Credit: Paramount Home Entertainment

'The African Queen' finally sails onto DVD and BluRay

Classic film makes its first major digital age appearance at home

It's funny... when I started prepping this article this morning, I thought this would be the big film nerd news of the day.

Silly me.

It should excite anyone who loves classic Hollywood, though, since "The African Queen" has long been one of the highest-profile titles to never get a release on DVD or BluRay.  The film is one of the most beloved in the careers of Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, and one of those films that has always been beloved, that always shows up in conversations about the golden age of studio filmmaking.

Although I'm not a big fan of treating any list as sacrosanct, the AFI 100 serves as a general list of films that are mainstream and well-regarded, and of the 100 titles on that list, only one was yet to make an appearance on

What's really exciting to me is that Paramount Home Entertainment seems to have followed the lead of Warner Bros. in how they've been handling some of their classics like "Wizard Of Oz" and "Gone With The Wind," and they've gone the distance to produce a 4K transfer under the direct supervision of Jack Cardiff.  That's important because the original film poses a number of challenges in terms of visual presentation.  It was a Technicolor film that was shot on soundstages and on location, and there have always been notable differences between the two when looking at earlier transfers on VHS or TV.  It seems like this is finally an opportunity to fine-tune the transfer into something that really glows.

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Tobey Maguire will be Spider-Man no more

According to reports, Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi are out as the "Spider-Man" franchise will be rebooted.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Confirmed: 'Spider-Man 4' dead as franchise will be rebooted without Tobey Maguire

Director Sam Raimi and rest of the cast will not return

Update 3:30 PM PST: Here's the official word from Sony, confirming the story:

Culver City, CA (January 11, 2010)  --  Peter Parker is going back to high school when the next Spider-Man hits theaters in the summer of 2012.

Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios announced today they are moving forward with a film based on a script by James Vanderbilt that focuses on a teenager dealing with both contemporary human problems and amazing super-human crises. 

The new chapter in the Spider-Man franchise produced by Columbia, Marvel Studios and Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin, will have a new cast and filmmaking team. Spider-Man 4  was to have been released in 2011, but had not yet gone into production.

“A decade ago we set out on this journey with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire and together we made three Spider-Man films  that set a new bar for the genre.  When we began, no one ever imagined that we would make history at the box-office and now we have a rare opportunity to make history once again with this franchise. Peter Parker as an ordinary young adult grappling with extraordinary powers has always been the foundation that has made this character so timeless and compelling for generations of fans. We’re very excited about the creative possibilities that come from returning to Peter's roots and we look forward to working once  again with Marvel Studios, Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin on this new beginning,” said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

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<p>Darth Vader's going to be pointing at a whole lot more than Princess Leia when 'Star Wars' gets a 3D retrofit for theaters in the very near-future.</p>

Darth Vader's going to be pointing at a whole lot more than Princess Leia when 'Star Wars' gets a 3D retrofit for theaters in the very near-future.

Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

TMR: 'Star Wars,' 'Lord Of The Rings' in 3D and Eli Roth spills his own guts

Plus a CGI Chaplin and Oliver Stone's 'secret history'

Welcome to The Morning Read.

What a weekend.  I should just get a room at the Four Seasons year round at this point.  It'd be easier.  Still, I can't complain when I end up sitting across from Harrison Ford and Dennis Quaid chatting.  We'll have those interviews and more up next week for you, as well as reviews of "Legion," "Extraordinary Measures," and "The Book Of Eli," even as I find myself neckdeep in Sundance prep.

Lots of good stuff online this weekend to read, although it seems like a lot of you were back in theaters seeing "Avatar" again.  Why not combine the two experiences and read the script, which Fox has made officially available online?

There's little doubt that "Avatar" has got execs at every single studio talking about how they can make their own SF epics or 3D spectacles, but another of the side effects of the film's success is the potential retrofitting of many older films into 3D, something that's been discussed for many years but that now seems to be a fait accompli.  After all, for a studio, it's the difference between committing $120 million to a new film or $10 million to a company to retrofit a film.  About four years ago, I saw a demo of one version of the process at Lightstorm's screening room, where Jon Landau was showing off clips from several older films that had been put together as proof of concept.  We saw clips from "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope," "Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones," and "The Two Towers," to name a few.  Different things impressed me about each of the clips we saw.

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<p>Infamous American outlaw actor and director Dennis Hopper stars as Daniel Morgan, an infamous Australian outlaw in 'Mad Dog Morgan,' finally available uncut in the US on DVD</p>

Infamous American outlaw actor and director Dennis Hopper stars as Daniel Morgan, an infamous Australian outlaw in 'Mad Dog Morgan,' finally available uncut in the US on DVD

Credit: Troma

QuickFix: 'Mad Dog Morgan' on DVD

A legendary Dennis Hopper performance arrives for the first time on DVD

You can't really make an argument for Philippe Mora as a great filmmaker, but I might be able to make the argument that he's not a terrible filmmaker.  If I was only judging films like his "Howling" sequels or "Communion" or "Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills," it would be easy to dismiss him completely.  But there have been some bright spots on his filmography like the early documentary, "Brother Can You Spare A Dime?" or this movie, "Mad Dog Morgan," which has never been released properly in the US until now.

My interest in this film was piqued when it was featured in "Not Quite Hollywood," that amazing documentary about the Australian exploitation industry.  In particular, they highlight a fire stunt in the film that almost killed Grant Page, one of the legendary Aussie stuntmen, and they talk about Dennis Hopper's legendary bad behavior while shooting the film.   I can understand that... Hopper is one of those great '70s bad boys who left a swath of wild stories everywhere he went, and when you've got footage of a Grant Page stunt going wrong, you show it.  But it didn't really make a case for the film itself, and unil now, there's been no way for us to judge it ourselves.

Troma's in the middle of releasing a line of catalog titles they're calling "Tromasterpieces," and the result is we're seeing films like "Combat Shock" and "The Last Horror Film" and this one, films that have been sitting on a shelf forever, and I'm glad for the opportunity.  In this case, the film is worth releasing, worth rediscovering.  It's not great, but it's got a lot to recommend it, and it may well represent the best thing Mora's ever done as a filmmaker.

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<p>Amber Tamblyn only plays a lawyer in 'Beyond A Reasonable Doubt,' but she might want to consider legal action against whoever advised her to take the role in the first place</p>

Amber Tamblyn only plays a lawyer in 'Beyond A Reasonable Doubt,' but she might want to consider legal action against whoever advised her to take the role in the first place

Credit: Overture Films

QuickFix: 'Beyond A Reasonable Doubt' on DVD

Michael Douglas takes a backseat to terrible writing and cheesy directing

My first film this year was, for obvious reasons, "2010: The Year We Make Contact," and when I was looking through the stack of "next things to watch" on my desk, I realized that I had the latest Peter Hyams film here as well, and I decided that while I was on a pro-Hyams kick, I should give it a watch.

Ouch.  That'll teach me.

Hyams is both writer and director this time out, and if there's even been a clearer indicator of how mired he is in the '80s, I'm unaware of it.  And, yes, I liked many of the movies of the '80s, but I'm not nostalgic for them.  Watching "Beyond A Reasonable Doubt," I know why.  Remember when every thriller that starred Michael Douglas was a giant A-list event?  Well, those days have passed, and now you get a movie where Douglas is supposedly the bad guy, but barely shows up in 15 minutes of film altogether.  Instead, Jesse Metcalf is the lead of the movie, with Amber Tamblyn as the female lead, and Douglas serving a role more akin to the shark from "Jaws" popping up a few times to remind you of the threat.

I've never seen the original version of this film (yes, it's yet another remake) from the '50s, but I can see how this material might work better as a film noir, and in an age where people's faith in the law was more absolute, a story like this might really pack a punch.  But these days?  Corruption is so commonplace, so expected at this point, that it all just lays there.  I don't buy the plot mechanics as being remotely possible, so nothing else matters.  It's not like the film has characters to fall back on.  Instead, it's all just going through the motions, right down to a couple of ridiculous overdone car chases that strain credulity past the breaking point.

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