<p>This image has nothing to do with 'Everything Must Go,' the Will Ferrell project announced today, but it does scare and confuse me and I&nbsp;wanted to share that feeling with you</p>

This image has nothing to do with 'Everything Must Go,' the Will Ferrell project announced today, but it does scare and confuse me and I wanted to share that feeling with you

Will Ferrell thinks indie with 'Everything Must Go'

Adaptation of a Raymond Carver story gives the star a chance to stretch

Will Ferrell's at an interesting place in his career.

He's delivered enough studio-level hits consistently that he can pretty much get any film made that he really wants to.  I doubt there are many career goals Ferrell has that are out of his reach at this point.  He's paid a giant movie star salary on his giant movie star movies.  So really, the only thing left for a guy like that to do is have fun doing what he does, and to his credit, that's exactly what it looks like Ferrell is doing.

You know someone like Ferrell means it when they sign on for a film like "Everything Must Go," which is going to cost $10 million all in.  That's not Ferrell's salary... that's the entire budget for the film.  A movie like that gets a huge shot of adrenaline right to the financing when a movie star decides to do it, and it frustrates me that more genuine A-list guys don't use their clout this way.

Based on a Raymond Carver short story (off to a good start already, wouldn't you agree?), the film is set to be directed by a commercial director named Dan Rush.  It's the story of a guy who comes home after losing his job to find that his wife has thrown all of his things onto the lawn and locked him out.  He decides to stay there until he can sell every single possession, and the film traces the four days of this impromptu garage sale.  I'm sure there will plenty of opportunities for laughter, but it sounds like that source material could yield some really interesting returns.

Hey, wait... the script was on the Black List?  Really?  That means I may have it here on my computer.

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<p>Mr. Fox (George Clooney) begins to suspect that he's put Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep)&nbsp;and his family in terrible danger in Wes Anderson's new stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'</p>

Mr. Fox (George Clooney) begins to suspect that he's put Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) and his family in terrible danger in Wes Anderson's new stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

The M/C Review: 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' is cussing great

Wes Anderson delivers his best film since 'Tenenbaums' with this animated comedy

"Fantastic Mr. Fox"?  Is.

After all the hubbub this week about how this film was made, I guess I didn't know what to expect walking into the theater on the Fox lot tonight.  Now, having seen it, there is little doubt that this is a Wes Anderson film in every way.  You can absolutely feel his overall sensibility at play in every detail of what you see onscreen.  The script, co-adapted by Anderson and Noah Baumbach, is a delight, a very funny riff off of the original Roald Dahl source material, and the result is one of the most giddy comedies of the year.

But like "Where The Wild Things Are," my first question is:  can you really call this a kid's film?

In this country, there is are two things about the general attitudes to animation that drive me crazy.  First, animation is not a genre.  It's a technique.  It's a description of a general set of tools used to tell a story.  Second, animation is not for children.  Not by definition.  It's just that filmmakers have always been so restricted in what they've been able to commercially convince studios to let them make.  And still are, really.  Pixar is a brilliant company, a great collection of storytellers, but they carefully, shrewdly built their brand on children's films that don't pander.  They make films that a three year old can watch and understand, and that an adult can watch and enjoy.  The people who do make "adult" animation typically make it very explicit and make sure you know it's for adults, with uncommon exceptions.

I would call "Fantastic Mr. Fox" a sophisticated and hilarious example of the best kind of serious adult animation, where any younger audience that sees it is going to get about 30% of what's going on.  They'll understand only the broadest, funniest, silliest strokes.  Most of what's going on, the relationship stuff, the character interplay, is written squarely for adults.  It is just plain good writing, and the vocal performances are very natural and honest. It's not adult because it's dirty; it's adult because it's nuanced and smart.

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<p>Carol (James Gandolfini)&nbsp;realizes that they may not be alone on the island in a pivotal moment from 'Where The Wild Things Are'</p>

Carol (James Gandolfini) realizes that they may not be alone on the island in a pivotal moment from 'Where The Wild Things Are'

Credit: Warner Bros.

The Morning Read Returns: 'Wild Things' are everywhere this week

Plus Malick blinks, "New Moon" screens, and 'Paranormal' gets everyone hot and bothered

Welcome back to the Morning Read.

Man, getting back up to speed on this column has been tough.  I forgot how hard it is to put one of these together every day, and for the last week, I've been letting my days kick my butt instead of the other way around. 

But no more... even though I'm out of the house this morning and on my way to the Four Seasons to interview John Woo (we'll have that video for you soon), I'm determined to get these started again.  Too much great stuff has gone slipping by in the last month, and I'm tired of letting it happen.

I even promise to keep it 100% "Balloon Boy" free.

Let's start today's browsing over at Ain't It Cool, where Mr. Beaks has a fantastic interview with Spike Jonze.  I'm not sure how my schedule and Spike's failed to mesh, but it looks like I missed out on talking to the sensational Mr. Jonze at this end of the process.  Beaks does a great job with him, though, and considering how press-shy Spike can be, I think it's an illuminating chat.

There's a whole ton of "Where The Wild Things Are" coverage online right now, and some great tie-ins as well.

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<p>Quick!&nbsp;Someone replace this man before an audience accidentally sees the 'Red Riding' trilogy starring a bunch of icky English actors!</p>

Quick! Someone replace this man before an audience accidentally sees the 'Red Riding' trilogy starring a bunch of icky English actors!

Credit: IFC Films/Channel 4

Ridley Scott goes 'Red Riding' for Sony

You can see the original at AFI Fest in Hollywood this month

Earlier today, the full line-up for the AFI Fest in Hollywood was announced, and one of the things I'm most looking forward to seeing is the "Red Riding" trilogy.  The movies were originally produced by Channel 4 for the UK, but IFC Films picked them up for theatrical release.  They just played Telluride, and the buzz I've heard on them has been incredibly strong.

So, of course, they're going to be remade.

The remake's got a hell of a pedigree.  Steve Zallian is going to be writing the film, and Ridley Scott is set to direct.  Can't really complain about a eam like that.  I assume that Zallian's going to be using the four novels by David Peace that inspired the trilogy of films as his source. 

I'm just a little confused as to why they feel like they have to do it.  Is there something wrong with Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, or Anand Tucker as filmmakers?  Do we really have that little faith that American audiences can handle watching a drama starring people with English accents?

I've been excited to see these films for the last few months, and it looks like I'm going to see all three in one day next week.  But even as I watch them, I'm going to have it in the back of my head now that these are just speed bumps on the way to the Hollywood version.  I think that's what gets my dander up at this point... the idea that Hollywood is the last word on something.  It's no good until Hollywood's had their way with it, right?  Sure, I thought "Let The Right One In" was one of last year's very best films, and a fantastic example of how you adapt a film from a novel, but it doesn't count.  Nope.  Not until we get "Let Me In" with Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee next year.  They'll show those dumb Swedes what they did wrong.  Obviously, someone needs to remake "Red Riding" because the original stars nobodies like Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan.  I mean, Considine's just one of the best actors working in any language anywhere in the world right now... but who cares?  Maybe they can get Keanu!

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<p>Don't screw with Dad... especially when he's played by Mel Gibson standing on the 'Edge Of Darkness'</p>

Don't screw with Dad... especially when he's played by Mel Gibson standing on the 'Edge Of Darkness'

Credit: Warner Bros.

Watch: Mel Gibson gets reeeeeally angry in 'Edge Of Darkness'

Anyone else getting serious 'Ransom' and 'Taken' flashbacks?

Martin Campbell is pretty much the definition of the slick journeyman director.

I mean that as a compliment.  There are a lot of guys who are professional, competent, but unremarkable.  Campbell has proven throughout his career that he can turn in genuinely stylish work even when burdened with weak material, and when you give him a good script and a solid cast, he has a tendency to really let it rip.  There's a reason he's the guy that the Broccolis turned to not once, but twice, when they needed to reboot James Bond.

Mel Gibson hasn't made a movie star movie since his DUI arrest and he seems to be in the middle of some serious late career rehab at the moment, between this and "The Beaver," which is currently shooting.  I haven't seen the original BBC "Edge Of Darkness," and I'm glad.  I'll catch up to it after this, but I hate playing the comparison game, especially when I'm watching a thriller that looks to be dependent on a plot that twists and turns.  I'd like to see the film and judge it as a film, not as a remake.

I think it's telling that the film is set for release the exact time frame that "Taken" was released to great success this year.  There's always going to be an appetite for this type of revenge film done right, and the notion of losing a child and not knowing why or who is terrifying and maddening. 

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<p>So what do you think... does this man look like a CIA&nbsp;analyst to you?</p>

So what do you think... does this man look like a CIA analyst to you?

Paramount beams up Chris Pine as the new Jack Ryan

Tom Clancy's most famous character gets a reboot

It shouldn't surprise anyone that Paramount is trying to reboot the Jack Ryan franchise.

It also shouldn't surprise anyone that Chris Pine appears to be the man they want to step into the character previously played by Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck, and Harrison Ford.

Paramount's smart to try to lock Pine down to a second franchise.  His work in "Star Trek" this summer immediately put him on the radar of pretty much every filmmaker in town, and in my opinion, it's one of the most immediate star-making turns since the early work by Harrison Ford.  There's a swagger to Pine and a confidence that makes him arresting onscreen, and yet he's got enough of a sense of humor about himself that it's appealing and not off-putting.  He's a credible action lead, but he's obviously also got a brain in that head.  Basically, he's the package people are looking for when they talk about movie stars, and it's been a while since we've seen one show up fully formed like this.

What I'm really curious about is what sort of premise they'll be dropping Pine's Ryan into, since they're not planning to adapt any of Clancy's novels this time.  Hossein Amini has a strange pedigree for this type of movie.  I like his work on "The Wings Of The Dove" and "Killshot," and I'm really curious to see "Drive," which sounds like more of a pure action movie, but so far, he's sort of unproven in this arena.  Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld are producing the film for Paramount, and it sounds like they're still in development.

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<p>David Tennant and Simon Pegg are set to play grave-robbing partners in 'Burke &amp;&nbsp;Hare,' the next film from John Landis</p>

David Tennant and Simon Pegg are set to play grave-robbing partners in 'Burke & Hare,' the next film from John Landis

Credit: BBC

Dr. Who and Shaun of the Dead unite for 'Burke & Hare'

John Landis taps David Tennant to join Simon Pegg in his grave-robbing comedy

I hate the way most older directors are treated by this business.

John Landis is a good example.  Yes... there is a reason his career took a nosedive during the mid-to-late '80s, but no matter what your feelings about that incident, Landis is still the guy who made "An American Werewolf In London," "National Lampoon's Animal House," "The Blues Brothers," "Coming To America," and "Three Amigos!", and the idea that a guy like that has trouble getting funding for anything is just preposterous.  Sure, give some new guys work, but don't just throw older directors away because of some arbitrary calendar date.  It's short-sighted, and god only knows how many great films we've lost because of the attitude.

Thankfully, Landis is one of those guys who is still on the hustle even now, and it looks like he's got a new film in the works.  According to the fine folks over at Bloody-Disgusting, Landis made an announcement at a horror convention in Orlando last week that David "Dr Who" Tennant would be joining the previously-announced Simon Pegg as the other half of the infamous graverobbing team in "Burke & Hare," a darkly comic riff on the oft-referenced story.

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<p>Jack Black voices the main character in Tim Schafer's awesome new video game 'Brutal Legend,' due in stores this week</p>

Jack Black voices the main character in Tim Schafer's awesome new video game 'Brutal Legend,' due in stores this week

Credit: EA/Double Fine Studios

DVD & Games Forecast: 'Uncharted 2' and 'Brutal Legend' rock console gamers

Plus 'Drag Me To Hell,' 'Land Of The Lost,' and 'Stop Making Sense' hit BluRay

Welcome to the DVD & Games Forecast for Oct. 13, 2009.

I really should just assign my paycheck directly to Amazon or Best Buy or some lucky retailer at this point, because the avalanche of want never seems to subside on my end.  And it's not just me... my wife's got the movies she wants, my kids have movies they want, and even my mother-in-law has specific tastes that I buy for.  With all the people in my house, it seems like each week's release list is just an excuse for all of us to go a little crazy, and this week is no exception.

It's uncommon that games come before movies in this column, but this week, they've earned their spot at the top of the heap, so let's dive right in.


"Brutal Legend" (PS3/XBOX360)

I've played the demo for Tim Schafer's deranged new ode to all things heav y metal on both PS3 and XBOX 360 now, and I'm absolutely rabid to get my hands on the final game.  Hilarious, beautifully designed, and just plain fun, it's the story of Eddie Riggs, the best roadie in the world.  He's killed onstage by a falling set during a rock show, only to find himself resurrected in a world that looks like it's straight off the cover of every single metal album of the '80s.

Filled with battle nun demons, head-banging tribesmen, and guest appearances by icons like Lemmy Kilmeister and Ozzy Osbourne, "Brutal Legend" looks great, sounds great, and has one of the most intuitive gameplay set-ups I've encountered in a while.  I have a feeling I'll get lost in this one when I do get my hands on it, so maybe it's a good thing I haven't picked it up yet.

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<p>Now that Spielberg's moved on, will&nbsp;Gary Ross be the man to bring Matt Helm back to the big screen?</p>

Now that Spielberg's moved on, will Gary Ross be the man to bring Matt Helm back to the big screen?

Gary Ross also set to helm 'Helm' now?

Spielberg's leftovers may come before 'Venom'

When we covered the possibility of Steven Spielberg directing "Matt Helm" a few months back, I thought it had real potential.  As I said back then, I grew up in a Matt Helm household.  My dad introduced me to these books, whether he meant to or not, by virtue of the stacks of them all over the house.  This series, The Destroyer, Fleming's Bond, McDonald's McGee... those are the classics I was raised on.  I'm not sure Spielberg's sensibility would have totally meshed with the Helm series, but if he could make something with the savage integrity of "Munich," he might have nailed it completely.  Especially with George Clooney or Jon Hamm in the lead, both very real possibilities that were discussed.

Now The Playlist has broken the news that Gary Ross plans to pick up where Spielberg left off, and that "Matt Helm" could end up in front of the cameras as early as spring of 2010.  And who's going to be working overtime in the role to help us all forget the horror of Dean Martin's portrayal of this dangerous man?

Could it be... Bradley Cooper?!

I'm almost hesitant to mention the possibility now.  Although I was absolutely on the money when I published our scoop about Cooper being one of the finalists in the bake-off to find the Green Lantern this year, people who don't understand the process or how close you are to a role when you screen test have taken great delight in e-mailing me repeatedly to tell me "U WERE WRONG, DUDE!" about a zillion times since Ryan Reynolds ended up with that role. 

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<p>The last time a pitch produced by JJ&nbsp;Abrams was surrounded in this much secrecy up front, the end result was the monster movie 'Cloverfield'</p>

The last time a pitch produced by JJ Abrams was surrounded in this much secrecy up front, the end result was the monster movie 'Cloverfield'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Kinberg and McKenna set up pitch at Paramount

Is Hollywood finally back in a buying mood?

Pitching has always been a rough way to make a living as a writer in Hollywood.

The process itself is miserable.  I know guys who enjoy it, but in my opinion, a writer writes.  Pitching is more akin to performance, a separate skill set, and some of the best writers I know have never really been any good at explaining something before they write it, and no matter how many times they have to do it, they never seem to get better at it.

My managers hooked my writing partner and I up with a great pitcher named Todd Komarnicki almost a decade ago, and Todd coached the two of us on the fine art of the pitch.  It was a major milestone for us, the moment we went from writers who couldn't pitch to save their lives to writers who occasionally manage to put together a pitch that makes a compelling enough case that someone takes pity on us and pays us just so we'll get out of their office.

In the last few years, though, it's been nigh impossible to sell a pitch unless you had a ton of elements already attached, like a director or a cast or some underlying material that potential buyers could put their hands on.  The pure pitch-only pitch was a dying breed, and I've been frustrated by what felt like an industry-wide contraction as a result, as I'm sure many writers have.

Not Simon Kinberg and Aline Brosh McKenna, though.  Not after this week.

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