28 October 2005

Who Are You Supposed To Be??

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Well, it's Halloween-time again, which means everyone is (or should be) scouring thrift stores for costume pieces. Girl inevitably will dress in some outfit of ill repute, (I know two girls who are going as "slutty angels." How original.) while guys will tend to try and look either really funny or really badass.

And then there's people like me, the uber-dorks, the people who use this opportunity to dress up like our favorite characters of fiction, whether it be from movies, TV shows, comic books, etc. etc. In first grade I dressed up as a Ninja Turtle in a homemade costume my mom made, and the damn thing fell to pieces in the middle of a costume parade around the school. I had to march around the older kids' classrooms with a brown paper bag on my back, a torn streamer for a belt trailing behind me, and green paint caked up on my cheeks. That sucked hard.

This year I will be dressing up like Elwood Blues, one of my favorite characters of all time. I tried to do the same thing last year, although it didn't quite come together right. But fear not! This year I've been prepared and I will capitalize on the final piece of the puzzle: sideburns.

So, in an effort to get some interactivity going here, WHAT ARE YOU GONNA BE FOR ALL HALLOW'S EVE? Or, if you're not gonna get the opportunity to dress up this year, what do you wish you could be? How about cool costumes from the past? You had to have fared better than my homegrown Raph. I'm opening up the floor to you, my loyal yet often silent readers.

Cool Halloween Costumes.


Doc Boll Reaches New Levels Of Pomposity

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Alright kids, pop quiz: What's worse than a two hour movie by Dr. Uwe Boll?

A four hour movie by Dr. Uwe Boll. That you have to pay for twice.

God help us.

Apparantly the not-so-good doctor has decided that Dungeon Seige, his newest rape of a decent video game, cannot merely be contained in a two hour film. He's therefore decided that the only way to assure the integ....the int....gimme a minute................the integrity of the film is to SPLIT IT UP ala Kill Bill. Thus we'll be getting Part One next November 3rd and Part Two December 1st. You've got to be kidding me right? Boll really thinks he's on the same sort of directorial level as Tarantino?? Whereas Kill Bill pulled everyone in with the first volume and left them hugry for Volume 2, this will almost certainly have the exact opposite effect. Instead of being a guaranteed moneymaker, you're gonna get some people who don't know any better to show up in November, and you're gonna have empty theaters in December.

Apparantly Dr. Uwe has also decided that the film cannot merely be contained in a two word title, and thusly the film has been retitled In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Seige Tale, as evidenced by the poster above. I have to point out that everyone on that poster has the dumbest possible expression on their face, as if none of them realized they were having their pictures taken. Really they're all just variations on one look, the same look that Bill Murray was sporting thoughout Ed Wood. It's as if the actors are breaking character, looking straight at you through the camera lens and asking, "What the hell am I doing in this movie?"

The new title really kind of bothers me because it implies two things: a) once again Boll has drastically deviated from the premise and/or story of the original game, and b) he seems to be hoping to get another sequel out of this already too long movie.

Pop Quiz: What's scarier than a four hour movie by Dr. Uwe Boll?

A Dr. Uwe Boll franchise.

Eragon Over-Reaches

Hey guys, it's Donnie...We've got a promo reel for Eragon, what is sure to be the next big disappointment for Fox.

The film is about a young "dragon-rider" in medieval times of magic and it's full of actors who should really know better. Plus Joss Stone. Weird. It's based on the first in a series of books by a 15 year old, so...hurrah for him I guess.

The promo stuff just looks...well boring. Granted they've just started production, so we can't really see any of the good stuff (i.e. dragons) as of yet, but nonetheless something just seemed totally unremarkable to me. Then I realized why.

Fox is making this out to be "The Next Big Thing" and they spend the entire promo reel telling us that. They constantly refer to it as the next Lord Of The Rings or Harry Potter, and let me tell you, from what they're showing, Lord Of The Rings it is not. I don't even really like Harry Potter all that much, particularly not the first one, and even that was more interesting than this looks. You can't proclaim ahead of time that your movie is the next greatest thing in its particular genre, because it will inevitably fall short. Plus it's pretentious as all fuck. It's something that Dr. Uwe Boll would do. (Read the above article. Case in point.) If you're movie is really that fantastic, then you really don't need to tell us that, it should be self evident, and so far it is anything but.

Then again, they've only been shooting this thing for like five minutes, so even if this was gonna be as amazing as Fox is purporting it to be, we'd have almost no way of knowing yet. I will say that the dragon on the cover of the book is fucking weak, so they better have a decent designer at the helm.

Click it here to set the bar WAY too high...

I Am Dumbfounded At This...

Hey guys, it's Donnie...So I've mentioned once or twice the impending American remake of Park Chanwook's revenge masterpiece Oldboy, one of my favorite movies of 2003, and how it's destined not to live up to the original. Aside from the fact that the talent involved to date falls somewhat short of the Korean version, the film itself is just too brutal, too sick and twisted for most American audiences to swallow, which means they'll probably rip the balls off the thing and then I will shed a tear for the retarditity of American remakes.

However, today I discovered that apparantly America is not the only country that feels the need to recreate Chanwook's work: apparantly there is a BOLLYWOOD REMAKE in the works called Zinda. I...I just don't know how to respond to this information. Oh Daesu kicks unholy amounts of ass while singing and dancing? A ballad about dumplings perhaps? This is either going to be the most brilliant or the most ridiculous remake in the history of ever.

Don't believe me? Click it here for the proof...

I think I need to lie down...

Richard Donner Returns To Superman II?

Hey guys, it's Donnie... Dreamwatch Magazine is reporting that Richard Donner has been hired to put together a Special Edition DVD of Superman II.

And that's all it says.


The story of Richard Donner getting kicked off Superman II and half his footage getting locked away in a vault at Warner Brothers has become pretty much legendary at this point. So what is this new DVD all about? Is this gonna be "The Donner Cut?" Are they giving him access to his old footage? Will it even cut together properly considering that he never actually finished filming his version and half the movie got re-written after his departure? And what does this mean for Superman Returns, which is using digitally restored and previously discarded Donner footage of Marlon Brando?

Gimme details goddamnit!!

Caine Hearts Nolan...And Children

Hey guys, it's Donnie...It was announced today that Michael Caine has signed on for roles in two high profile projects, both of which I'm uber-excited about.

First, he'll be re-teaming with Bat-Director Christopher Nolan for The Prestige, the story of dueling turn of the century magicians. Caine will play an elder magician who teaches Hugh Jackman the tricks of the trade so he can, ironically enough, defeat his rival Christian Bale. I'm really hoping that we'll get to see Caine, Bale, and Jackman really cut loose in this one, as all three have been playing fairly controlled, internal characters of late.

He's also signed on for an unspecified role in Alfonso Cuaron's The Children Of Men, alongside Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and the most misspelled name in showbusiness today, Chiwetel Ejiofor. That film centers on a future in which no man can seem to sire a child, until one woman unexpectedly turns up pregnant and everyone wants a piece of her. Clive Owen has to protect her from...well, just about everyone else on the planet I suppose. Everyone vs. Clive Owen? Hmm...I'll give 3-1 odds...

Caine is currently at your local cineplex in The Weather Man, and I really like the TV spots that refer to him and Nic Cage as "acting royalty", cuz they pretty much are. Not that they haven't done their fair share of mediocre crap, but when they're on point....wheee doggie.

Rambo IV? Crap, I Was Only Joking...

Hey guys, it's Donnie...After the announcement of Rocky VI, (which has been retitled to simply Rocky Balboa, even though everyone's gonna refer to it as Rocky VI) I made a joke about Stallone doing another Rambo and a sequel to Tango And Cash.

I should learn to keep my damn mouth shut.

As of this morning, Stallone announced that he's secured $50 million to produce Rambo IV, which I will hence forth refer to phonetically as Rambo Eye-Vee, because he's old enough that he probably needs an IV to get through the day. The story will focus on a quiet, "retired" John Rambo living in obscurity, that is until a kidnapped girl forces him to strap on that red bandanna and kick some arse. There were originally rumors that Rambo would be heading to the Middle East to fight "the terra-ists", and while that could have lead to crazy over-the-top fun, this kidnaped girl thing will probably lead to a smaller, grittier film that could have the potential to not totally suck balls.

I just hope there are some exploding arrows...

...and yes, that's a Saturday morning cartoon Rambo.

27 October 2005

Jonze Lives Where The Wild Things Are

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Here with some details on a project that I think most people have totally forgotten about. I know I certainly did. One of my newest spies, codename MaxFischer, dropped me a line last night to inform me that Spike Jonze's long whispered about adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are is starting to make actual progress. This project was announced exactly three years ago tomorrow and that was pretty much the last I heard of it.

Well, apparantly Tom Hanks and the good folks at Playtone Productions have decided that the time is finally right to bring one of my favorite non-Suess children's books to life, and they're willing to pony up the dough to prove it. I'm told the estimated budget is somewhere in the ballpark of $60-$65 million, which isn't exactly chump change for a studio like Playtone who's only been around for five years and who's biggest hit was arguably My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a movie that brought in literally 50 times what it cost to make...three years ago.

Playtone was originally planning on doing the whole thing CGI, and I know Jonze wanted it all to be live action. Max told me that he was unsure as to the final decision, and it honestly wouldn't surprise me if this is exactly what has held up the production up until now. Either way, I'm just looking forward to getting some new Spike Jonze. The man is one of the most talented directors working today and it's a shame that he hasn't done a feature since Adaptation, although he could make music videos from now till doomsday and I'd still be pretty happy...

Trailertown: Chinaski Gets Hostel

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Welcome back to Trailertown!

Today we've got two entries, both fairly dissimilar and each living on their own sort of raggedy edge if you will, although one is profoundly more raggedy than the other...

Hostel: It always makes me rather happy when I make some sort of prediction and then it comes true. For instance, yesterday I mentioned that we had yet to see any promo material for Eli Roth's Hostel, but as the release date was just moved up by two and a half weeks, we would probably start seeing stuff real soon. And then I awake today to find that Yahoo has the Hostel teaser. Lovely. I think the "Quentin Tarantino Presents" title is a little retarded, as he sort of came on as a producer at the last minute and they're clearly just trying to use his name recognition to put the asses in the seats, but I can't really fault Roth or Lion's Gate or Screen Gems. From where they're sitting, it's the smart thing to do. I guess I just wish Tarantino would be a little more discriminating as to how his name is used, i.e. the Sin City DVDs that announce him in big bold letters as the "Guest Director," despite having only directed about eight minutes of screen time. Anyway, I like the trailer, I can't wait to see more and I'll probably check this guy out in the theater.
Click it here for the movie that will probably better than Saw II...

Factotum: Matt Dillion as Henry Chinaski, the fictional alter ego of legendary author Charles Bukowski. Genius. The story, which looks pretty meandering, centers on Chinaski drifting from job to job, drinking alot, writing a little, and having quite a bit of sex along the way. This one sort of came out of nowhere for me, but it looks like it has just the right sort of quirky style to it. There isn't a whole lot to the teaser, but certainly enough to pique my interest...
Click it here for a ocean drive...

Kennedy Attracts More Young'uns

Hey guys, it's Donnie...The cast for Emilio Estevez's film Bobby, about folks in the Ambassador Hotel the night RFK was shot, continues to grow and a seemingly exponential rate.

Lindsay Lohan (when did she becomes a serious actor?) will play a young woman who marries her boyfriend's brother (Elijah Wood) so he won't have to go to war. Of course sparks fly between the unlikely couple and then (spoilers) Bobby Kennedy gets shot. (end spoilers) I look at that picture above and I shed a tear for the days when Lohan looked like an attractive human being, instead of Paris Hilton's coked out cousin.

Also joining the already impressive cast are Brian Geraghty as a campaign worker and Shia LaBeouf as a Kennedy volunteer who makes the unfortunate mistake of dropping acid on this particular evening. Man, if I was trippin balls, the last thing I'd want is an assassination down the hall.

The Minnesota Miracle Man will write, direct and have a supporting role in the film, which already stars Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood, Nick Cannon and Freddy Rodriguez. I have a sneaking suspicion that this movie is gonna knock some people on their ass, and bring Estevez back into the Hollywood spotlight. 'Bout time.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Interview Interview

Hey guys, it's Donnie...This is gonna be short and sweet, as we've got alot of news today.

I mentioned yesterday that I've officially made Kiss Kiss Bang Bang the first film I'm gonna actively champion here on the site. I've made this decision because it's an absolutely FANTASTIC film and it's currently in limited release. It'll go wider in a few weeks, but until then I want to drum up all the positive word of mouth I can. I want to see Shane Black continue to thrive as a director, and that'll only happen if his first film brings in enough coin to prove to studio heads that he's got the goods. And believe me, after 5 minutes of this movie, there won't be a doubt in your mind that he does.

CHUD just posted a great fuckin interview with Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer and I highly recommend it. It's an easy read, there aren't really any spoilers, and the two of the are absolutely hilarious. It's a great set-up for the give and take they have in the film.

So you should click it here and read it. Now.

Seriously, go.

Kong's Got A HUGE...Running Time

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Peter Jackson's King Kong clocks in right around three hours.

Is anyone really surprised?

The man who redefined the word "epic" in Hollywood has remade his favorite movie of all time and the running time is longer than the original by over an hour? Some might call it indulgent, (in fact, some already have) but personally, I don't mind in the slightest. In fact, if it had been anything less than two and half hours I would have been disappointed. I'm not even a huge Kong fan, but if you're gonna let PJ do Kong, you might as well let him run wild and go balls to the wall.

Besides, in the grand scheme of things, three hours is really not all that long, if you're used to watching quality films. Batman Begins was two hours and twenty minutes, and I don't think the extra 40 minute is really all that extreme. The first two Lord Of The Rings were each about three hours, and I didn't really get bored with those. Jackson seems to have learned that if you're gonna make a long movie, you have to pull the audience in from the very beginning and not let go till the very end. If you prefer 90 minute schlock...well, you're probably not reading this anyway.

That's not to say that a movie has to be a marathon to be any good. I'm just saying that if your movie is three hours long then it's because either a) you can't edit for shit and your movie is probably absolute garbage or b) you've crafted something larger than life, full of detail and texture and you need absolutely every frame for all three hours to tell the story properly.

I guess I'm willing to give Peter Jackson the benefit of the doubt.

Hey Hootkins! Think About The Future No More...

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Occaisionally a major Hollywood figure passes away and everyone gets very sad and upset and the movie sites get flooded with long flowery RIPs. Sometimes it's someone who was never really a major player, but maybe they had that one iconic role that stood out, i.e. the voice of The Jolly Green Giant recently died, which is worth mentioning I suppose but it's hardly as if the entertainment industry will go into mourning.

William Hootkins just died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 58. Most of you probably read that and say, "William Hootkins? Who's that?" Well that name may not sound familiar, but let me throw some other names at you: Porkins, the doomed X-Wing pilot from the first Star Wars. Eckhardt, the dirty cop from Burton's Batman. Major Eaton, the "bureauocratic fool" from Raiders of the Lost Ark who sends Indy on his mission and then insists that The Ark is being examined by "top minds."

Yeah. That guy.

For some reason, I had never put the pieces together and realized that all three of those characters, characters that absolutely stand out in my childhood cinematic education, were the same actor. I don't know why I never made that realization, it was so plainly obvious. Perhaps I just never watched any of those movie in close enough proximity to each other for him to stand out. Either way, the guy was a fantastic character actor and I for one will miss him dearly. He can soon be seen in the upcoming films Dear Wendy (written by Lars von Trier) and Color Me Kubrick, in which Malkovich Malkovich plays a man who impersonated one of the greatest filmmakers of all time despite looking nothing like him.

Best wishes to William's friends and family.

26 October 2005

Munich Poster Gets Solemn On Your Ass

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Steven Spielberg is a machine.

War Of The Worlds hasn't even hit DVD yet and already we've got the poster for his next flick. In case you're unawares, Munich is the story of a Mossad hitman who tracked down the Palestinian terrorists who assassinated the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. It stars Eric Bana, Geoffery Rush and the new Bond himself, Daniel Craig. (Why is all of today's news about the same four people?)

Spielberg started filming the day War Of The Worlds opened in theaters and everything is on pace for this flick to hit theaters on Christmas Day. Personally, I'm really happy with what I've seen so far. I think the poster is a great, well thought out image that captures the mood of the flick (or at least what I anticipate the mood of the flick to be) perfectly with minimal bells and whistles. I'm on record for prefering simple, stylish and/or profound imagery in posters as opposed to giant floating heads, which to me is just a sign of laziness in the marketing department.

The cast is great. Geoffrey Rush is a sublime actor who can literally be whomever he wants to be, which is part of why he was such a good choice for The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers. I'm a huge fan of Daniel Craig and this will probably be the movie that will help to put him on the map in the minds of American audiences. Even though the two films will be totally different, it's kind of like a warm up for Bond, so that the audience cattle will be able to look at a Casino Royale poster or trailer and say, "Oh yeah, that's the guy from that Steven Spielberg movie." And Bana...well, alot of people have been dissatisfied with Bana over the past few years, most notably for Hulk. Personally, I think he's a fine actor who just hasn't had the chance to really show his strengths yet. He's yet to find that character that he can really sink his teeth into, and I'm really hoping that this will help turn it around for him. If not, he's always got that gambling movie with Drew Barrymore...

Click on the little poster to get a BIG poster...

God No...Not More Bond Rumors...

Hey guys, it's Donnie... Don't worry, Daniel Craig hasn't been fired. However, director Martin Campbell did open his big yap and the hellstorm that is sure to follow...I don't even wanna think about it.

Campbell has been letting details for Casino Royale trickle out slowly. First it was the character changes. Then it was the lack of gadgets. Then it was the lack of Moneypenny. Now we've gotten a little tidbit about our new Bond girl, Vesper Lynd:
"She's the one who forges him into the Bond that we all know and love. He certainly falls in love with her, and it does change him forever. It's a genuinely deeper relationship. The film deals much more on a personal level with Bond."
Sounds great. There's a fine line between the bond girls who just sort of happen to get caught up in the madness (ala Ursula Andress) and the girls who have some integral part to play in the plot (ala Halle Berry). You want them fairly involved in the story, but when the girl is another superagent like Berry or Michelle Yeoh, then it really just sort of detracts from Bond himself. Hopefully Campbell will be able to find the right balance.

In the meantime, we on the interweb are going to have to spend the next few months listening to millions of people who insist that their sister's hairdresser's cousin's dry cleaner's son works on the Sony lot and saw a memo in a trash can with the name of the new Bond girl. I kind of wish that Campbell had just lied and said they were in final talks with someone just to keep the rumor mill from spinning back up into overtime.

Is Someone Trapped In The Grind House???

Hey guys, it's Donnie...I'm gonna keep this under the rumor column, even if it is straight from the actor's mouth. John Jarratt, star of the upcoming horror flick Wolf Creek (God, all of today's stories seem connected somehow...) apparantly told ABC Radio today that Tarantino has asked him to play a role in his portion of Grind House.

You probably don't know who John Jarratt is, and that's fine. He's an Aussie actor and Wolf Creek is supposed to be his breakthrough role here in America. For a while, I kept confusing Wolf Creek with Cry_Wolf, for obvious reasons. I'm glad I got that cleared up because one looks pretty cool, and one looks like poop on a stick.

He was unclear as to what the part would be, or if it would be in Tarantino's feature or one of his fake trailers, but it is the first we've heard in the way of casting for the movie, and I'm excited enough about Grind House that I'm willing to post rumors and innuendo at this point. Like I said, I'm still a little (Denis) Leary of this one because, let's face it, the circumstances are a tad shady. If I hear the same thing from The Weinstein Co, or Tarantino, or even Rodriguez, then I'll get excited. Maybe I'll get more excited if I end up seeing Wolf Creek, which probably won't happen til it hits DVD-Land.

Here's A Noir BRICK Through Your Window...

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Man, this trailer just came right the fuck out of nowhere and hit me like...well, I'm not gonna say it.

The movie is Brick (as in drugs, not as in construction material for smart little pigs) and it looks cooler than cool. The biggest "names" are Jospeh Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas and Shaft himself, Richard Roundtree. Apparantly it got some attention at Sundance, but this is the first I've heard of it and, honestly, that makes it all that much cooler. I love getting totally blindsided by badass little flicks like this one. It's a total modern teen noir thriller and it certainly doesn't look like it pulls its punches. Granted, this is the Red Band Trailer, so you'll never see this in a theater or on TV, but it's cool nonetheless.

I'm not gonna tell you anything about the plot, because it's noir! Much like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (which you should all go see. I've decided that this is going to be the first movie that I'm gonna champion.) half the fun is putting all the random pieces together and trying to figure out what in the hell is really going on. IMDB has the release date down for March 24 2006, so let's hope that Focus Features can get it into a theater near me...wherever I may be in March.

Click it here for an awkward juice moment...

X3's Loss Is Neil Gaiman's Gain

Hey guys, it's Donnie...My guess is that right about now, Neil Gaiman is doing his best impersonation of Scrooge McDuck and swimming around in a giant pool of money. Seriously, the man is selling off properties left and right and they're all ending up in very good hands. He's got Dave McKean's MirrorMask in theaters now, Zemeckis is doing his mo-cap Beowulf, and Henry Selick is starting Coraline with Dakota Fanning voicing the title role. Then, this morning, just to top it all off, it was announced that Matthew Vaughn will be directing Stardust, based on Gaiman's fantasy novel.

The film, described as similar in tone to The Princess Bride or The Neverending Story, centers on a young man who promises to retrieve a fallen star for the love of his life. However, to find the star, he must cross from the English countryside to a magical realm, where he'll have to contend with all manner of the fantastic.

Personally, I'm pretty happy with this pairing. If Layer Cake demonstrated anything about Matthew Vaughn, it's that he's a highly visual storyteller. His shot composition, his pacing...it's a very active directorial style, which I think will benefit Gaiman's story immensely. I've heard that MirrorMask was gorgeous but boring as all hell, (and I've heard the opposite as well, so who knows?) so a director who will be able to keep the audience fully engaged at all times is probably a good thing for Gaiman. I've been waiting to see what Vaughn would do after he left X3, and this has me pretty damn excited.

Another Richard Matheson Mistreatment On The Horizon?

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Richard Matheson is a brilliant writer. Just about everything that he's written has a fantastically awesome premise. Unfortunately, Hollywood has never really been able to take any of these great premises and do anything great with them. The best translations of his work are probably the short stories that became episodes of The Twilight Zone, including the infamous episode with Shatner on a plane and a guy chillin outside on the wing.

What Dreams May Come and Stir Of Echoes were both based on his novels, and neither one really lived up to its potential. Mark Protosevich's adaptation of I Am Legend remains one of the greatest unproduced scripts in Hollywood. (Along with David Hayter's script for Watchmen, written by Alan Moore, the other most abused source-writer in Hollywood.) Matheson's story The Box is in the pipeline for Eli Roth (God, this guy's everywhere...) and Richard Kelly, but they've each got big projects to finish before that.

And so when I read this morning that Countdown, another Matheson story, has just been acquired by Manderlay Pictures and Summit Entertainment, I have to take it with a few grains of salt. As expected, the set-up is great: A crew of astronauts land on a mysterious planet to discover their own corpses in a crashed duplicate of their own ship. Realizing they're trapped in a temporal loop, they have to figure out a way to break the chain of causality before they die again. Oh yeah, and I'm pretty sure there are some aliens involved too. Sounds pretty much like it can't miss right?

Well the screenplay is being rewritten by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, the intellectual giants who were previously responsible for the turd that was 2 Fast 2 Furious. Now, granted they were writing a sequel, and a highly marketed one at that, so I'm almost willing to admit that they probably had a studio breathing down their neck and very little wiggle room as far as what they wanted to write vs. what the studio wanted the movie to be. I'm certainly not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I am willing to concede that they've got five original projects currently in some stage of development, and that those may be a better indicator of their writing talent than The Automobile Adventures Of Paul Walker.

It's almost inconsequential anyway. My guess is that a project of this nature will probably attract a fairly skilled director, and probably the type of director that will want to do his own re-writes. The director is really what is going to make or break this movie, so until we get word on that, everything else is just speculation. But there's certainly potential for greatness here. Unfortunately, there's also potential for suck.

Spend Your Christmas In A HOSTEL

Hey guys, it's Donnie... Cabin Fever is a solid little horror flick that may not be big on traditional jump scares, but it's got a great sense of atmosphere and enough gore to choke a dozen donkeys. Writer-director Eli Roth has since gained a bit of a reputation in Hollywood. He's become known for saying "I'll direct any movie starring a monkey or the Olsen Twins. Preferably both." He was also the inspiration for the porn obsessed friend Eli in The Girl Next Door. (The writer of Girl used to hang out in the Cabin Fever editing room and take notes on the way Eli talked. Roth kicked him out of the editing room once he found out.)

Well, his next project is called Hostel, and it's a doozy. Details are sketchy except to say it's about college kids in a European hostel and there is blood EVERYWHERE. All the boys at Ain't It Cool have read the script and came to the conclusion that if Roth shoots anything close to what's on the page, that this will be the sickest, most disgustingly perversely awesome movie ever. Oh yeah, and did I mention boobies galore?

Sadly, we've yet to see a trailer or even a poster for this puppy, but I'm pretty sure all that is about to change, because the release date was just moved up from January 6 to December 21. This is a really smart move, as January 6 was already hosting Wolf Creek, an indie horror film with some great buzz behind it. Dr. Uwe Boll's latest shitshow Bloodrayne will also be opening January 6, so I'm glad that Hostel won't get lost in the shuffle. Granted there are plenty of big pictures coming out in the last two weeks of December, but none of them are really shooting for the same audience.

I'm excited to see how this one turned out and as soon as we see some promo stuff, you'll be the first to know.

25 October 2005

Warners Watches The Watchmen??

Hey guys, it's Donnie...So Entertainment Weekly just published a big article titled Watchmen: An Oral History, where they caught up with Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Sam Hamm, David Hayter, and the myraid of others who have had some involvement in the history of this iconic bit of literature. And yes, I said literature. The article starts off great:
Citizen Kane. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Sopranos. Watchmen. Of this list, the following can be said: (1) Each is a masterwork representing the apex of artistry in its respective medium; (2) you might have no idea what Watchmen is.
I'm gonna have to go pick up a copy of that gossip rag just so I can peruse the article and the interviews. Within the article, however, it mentions that Warner Brothers is currently in negotiations to produce the project after the new head honchos at Paramount dropped it from their slate in favor of more worthwhile projects like Yours, Mine and Ours and The Last Holiday.

This could be excellent news. Director Paul Greengrass had assembled a crack team to bring this thing to the big screen and as far as I know, he's held that team together despite being released by the Star-Spangled Mountain. And, as evidenced by Batman Begins and Superman Returns, Warners finally seems to have stopped micro-managing their properties to death and figured out that if they simply hire skilled people with a genuine love and passion for the material, everything turns out for the best. I think Greengrass could very well be the guy, so if Warners wants to step in and write him a big honkin check, you can call me a happy camper. I know Team Greengrass had a couple of fantastic casting ideas that I'd love to see come to fruition...particularly The Comedian and Doc Manhatten...

Brooks Goes On Pakistani Scavenger Hunt

Hey guys, it's Donnie...We've heard a lot of hoohah about Albert Brooks next film, Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World. Sony had distribution rights to the film and passed, ostensibly because they simply didn't like the film, and certainly not because they're afraid they're going to offend Muslims or some other such PC nonsense. According to Brooks, they "jokingly" asked him if they could change the title to simply Looking For Comedy, and "One [Sony exec] told me that if a mullah in Iran saw a poster for the movie and took it the wrong way, I could be in deep trouble. I told him that I have trouble getting posters put up for my movies in Sherman Oaks." But this decision was based solely on "the merits of the film." Yah, sure.

The film centers on a State Department schlub who gets sent to India and Pakistan to figure out what makes Muslims laugh, in an effort to bridge the societal gaps in our post-9/11 world. Brilliant concept and Albert Brooks is the only one I would want to take it on. The trailer went online today and it looks like a really smart, entertaining film. In fact, from what little is on display here, it seems as if Brooks went out of his way to try to not piss off Muslims, aside from the "funniest kid in my school" guy. That may be a wee bit offsides.

I'm excited to see Brooks return to the big screen, and I'm glad that Warner Independant was waiting in the wings when Sony so spectacularly dropped the ball on this one. I'm looking forward to catching this one in theaters, that is if I don't get blown out to sea on my walk home this afternoon.

Click it here for one of the best first lines of a trailer ever...

Mike Mitchell Refuses To Grow Up

Hey guys, it's Donnie... Sky High remains one of my favorite movies of the year, and when I walked out I thought to myself, "Well, I'm gonna have to follow director Mike Mitchell now." There was so much more to that movie than I expected that I have to take my first impressions of his films with a grain of salt from now on. That being said, he also directed Deuce Bigalow and Surviving Christmas, so he's far from a sure bet. Perhaps he just had such a good script and cast that it would have been harder to fuck it up than to get it right.

Mitchell's next film has been announced and it's called Fred Claus. It's about Santa's jealous older brother who has to swallow his anger and move into Santa's pad in the North Pole. It's really too early to tell where this is gonna go. It could be charming and wonderful ala Elf or it could be disasterous like Jingle All The Way. My guess is we'll get a better sense once we hear some casting. Either way, interested parties are paying attention...

Principal Weinstein Runs Kung Fu High School

Hey guys, it's Donnie...The Weinstens have dropped some serious cash in order to aquire the rights to the upcoming novel Kung Fu High School by Ryan Gattis. I'm talking seven figures for Gattis and six figures for the screenwriter Ernesto Foronda, who wrote Better Luck Tomorrow for director Justin Lin and is currently writing the sure-to-be-disappointing American remake of Oldboy, which is also to be directed by Lin. I guess Bob and Harvey can afford it, as they just secured financing from 18 partners totaling just under $500 million. Now if only they had a better name than The Weinstein Co. Seriously, that's the kind of name you come up with when you're 10 to try and make yourself sound like a grown up.

The story is set in a high school that better resembles a prison than a place of higher learning. The place is overrun by gangs and tyrannical authority figures. Our protagonist is a world champion martial artistist who has taken a vow of pacifism, a vow he may have to break if he wants to survive in the schoolyard.

Sounds pretty good to me. It's hard not to draw immediate comparisons to Volcano High, but I'm sure that Lin and co will bring their own unique flavor to the proceedings. Foronda and Lin have worked well together in the past, and I'd certainly rather see them take this on than castrate Park Chanwook's vengeful masterpiece. Ah well. Either way we're going to have to survive Lin's Fast and the Furious 3 disaster first. So sad...

24 October 2005

The First Rule Of BEERFEST Is...

Hey guys, it's Donnie...The geniuses at Broken Lizard are at it again. Let's track their progression over the past few years:

Super Troopers: incredibly funny, low-budget, simple simple comedy. Huge hit.
Club Dread: Genre exploration, very funny, not quite so well received.
Dukes Of Hazard: Big-budget, star powered, critically reviled moneymaker.

I think I could live with that sort of progression repeating itself a few times, if only because it would finance them to do pretty much whatever they want. Paul Soter announced on the Broken Lizard site that their next flick will officially be Beerfest, and that they'll start filming this January in New Mexico. I could tell you what it's about, but Soter description is so much better than anything I could write/paraphrase:
Beerfest is a heartwarming saga of two brothers who go to Oktoberfest and stumble upon a super-secret centuries-old beer games competition. Like Fight Club, but with beer games. These guys get their asses kicked by the Germans, and come back to America, where they assemble the greatest collection of all-star beer games dudes, in order to go back to Germany and kick the shit out of the Germans.
Fantastic. This sounds much closer in tone to Super Troopers. Just a great premise and (hopefully) fantastic characters to bounce off each other. This does well, we'll probably see them take on The Greek Road next, which strikes me as similar to Club Dread in that it's sort of a genre piece and the genre is kind of the joke. After that they'll probably end up doing a remake of The Rockford Files or something. Anyway, I'm just always excited to see what these guys are gonna do next, so kudos to the Broken Lizard boys.

Aslan Burnt Down Wayne Manor

Hey guys, it's Donnie...So the new trailer for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe debuted on Friday, but it was on the abysmal AOL Moviefone player which never works properly, so I decided to wait until there was a nicer version up and about and lo and behold, this morning Moviefone released the shiny happy Quicktime copy.

There are things here that I like and things I don't. The wolf is badass and the beavers are okay, but Aslan...he LOOKS fantastic, but when he opens his mouth and Liam Neeson voice comes out...it really just doesn't seem to match up. It looks more like the lion ate Neeson and he's speaking from inside the lion's stomach. I guess I just wish he didn't sound quite so much like himself. I really wish Brian Cox had remained onboard.

But overall, it looks pretty stunning. The biggest challenge remains capturing the LOTR market without seeming like they're ripping off Peter Jackson, which will be very hard to do from a marketing standpoint. I think the film might pull it off (there's certainly enough in the book to differentiate the two) but the trick will be reflecting that in the TV spots. I read the entire Chronicles Of Narnia series in elementary school and used to get the BBC videos from my library, so I'm certainly looking forward to it and really hope they don't fuck it all up.

Click it here to long for Turkish Delight...

Attack Of The 50ft Video Diaries: Four Square

Hey guys, it's Donnie...For a while, I was including video diaries in Trailertown, which I didn't see as too far of a stretch thematically. Then more and more people started jumping onto the video diary bandwagon, and today I realized that there were new entries in four different diaries, so they get their own section now.

BlueTights: The film has been on hiatus the past few weeks for a number of reasons, one of which being Bryan Singer's birthday. But they're back in Australia and finishing up some action sequences as well as doing some re-shoots and pick ups. We in the states are therefore blessed with another entry in Bryan's Blog, entitled See Plane. This is one of the funnier entries they've done, and I really shouldn't tell you much about it other than that it features James Marsters and it makes me think he's not quite the complete tool that fandom takes him for.

Click it here to give masterful direction...

KongIsKing: If this doesn't bring a smile to your face then you must be the goddamn Grinch. Old Kong and new Kong, right there, side by side...the absolute love and joy on Peter Jackson's face as he recreates that iconic image...the awe of all those computer animators playing with this little mechanical skeleton...and that final re-animation!! This is the stuff that makes me love the movies. I want to be a part of something like that.

Click it here to see the coolest action figure of all time...

Train Wreck: Two new entries in the Clerks 2 diary. We get the other half of "Brian's Party Cam", which is basically Brian gathering an impressive array of cleavage shots and trying to hit on a moderately attractive woman who's sort of married. There's also a more interesting entry with the script supervisor, although she spends the whole interview swinging back and forth on a swingset, so it gets a little dizzying after a while.

Click it here learn the secrets of Poopy Trim...

Poseidon Journals: After some production delays, Chapter 7 has gone live over at Dark Horizons. It's fairly brief and it doesn't feel like we get too much more information. (There are big ornate sets and no one really likes being in the water all the time.) Devin seemed to sense this when he did Chapter 5, and at least made it entertaining by being less of a story about a set visit and more of a story about how he got punched by Richard Dreyfuss. But, as per normal, we've got a nice little clip of onset stuff and an interview with cast member Jacinda Barrett, who is mucho mucho attractivo.

Click it here for the soup of the day...

UPDATED!! Blood Raynes On POSTAL Workers

UPDATED: So I just learned that Doc Boll has signed a deal to do another film...based on a video game. Shocking. I am shocked. This is me...shocked. Is this guy ever gonna make an original film? The latest victim is POSTAL, which caused quite a stir with a certain violence-hating senator from Connecticuit way back in '97. Here's what Boll has to say: "I see it like a mirror for our society -- funny, violent, absurd! So then the movie must be powerful, strange, and so full of the game's political incorrect outrageousness that if we do it correct, we will all probably end up in jail!" If only.

Hey guys, it's Donnie...I was starting to grow comfortable with the idea that Dr. Uwe Boll was never going to find a US distributer for his last opus Bloodrayne, leaving theaters unscarred and leaving me to track down a copy on DVD, get bombed and tear the movie a new one in the privacy of my own home. (I don't think I have much interest in seeing a Dr. Uwe Boll movie in a theater cuz chances are I won't be able to yell shit at the screen.)

Then I awoke today to discover that Bloodrayne, starring Kristanna Loken, Michael Madsen, Udo Kier and Sir Benjamin "What, I Needed The Money" Kingsley, will be infesting your local cinemaplex on January 6, 2006.

Happy fuckin New Year.

I've heard rumors that the German government might be closing the tax loophole which allows Boll to get the money to produce his films in the first place. Imagine a world with no more movies by Dr. Uwe Boll.

Go ahead. Just imagine.

Real gluttons for punishment can click it over to the official site and browse through a bevy of posters and whatnot. I'm gonna go stick my head in a bucket of ice.

21 October 2005

Trailertown: Slithering Vampires

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Welcome back to Trailertown!

I may have to impose a curfew and/or martial law in Trailertown, because when the sun goes down, all the creepy crawlies are coming out to play. So grab some amo and your weapon of choice and mount up!

Underworld Evolution: Yeah I still don't know about this one. I had really high expectations for the first one, mostly because I love vampires and werewolves. And Kate Beckinsale. Unfortunately, they all disappointed me. It wasn't really BAD per se it was just sort of...there. Mediocre execution of a great concept. This one really doesn't look much better. I hear that they got a decent sized budget and really upped the scale and scope this time around, but this trailer really kinda blows. I'm kind of confused as to what exactly is supposed to have happened between the two flicks, who it is that Selena is trying to find, and who any of the humans are supposed to be. Which one is the bad guy, is it Marcus (who I'm assuming is the old guy) or the exiled Lycan? I really just have no idea what's going on here, so hopefully the movie will make more sense than this trailer. Oh yeah, and what the hell is Len Wiseman doing at the beginning, aside from being a tremendous toolshed?

Click it here to have no idea what the hell is going on...

Slither: Holy shit this looks like more fun than a bucket of Twinkies. James Gunn's throwback to 80's horror/creature comedies is...well fantastic. There was a similar trailer that showed at ComicCon that was good but this one is far superior. Although the opening title replaced "sissies" with...well I'm sure you can figure it out. Anything starring Nathan Fillion makes me happy (is it just me or did I detect just a hint of Mal Reynolds in there?) as well as Elizabeth Banks, who I am slowly but surely falling in love with. And what till you see what happens to Michael Rooker by the end....oh man this thing is gonna be great.

Click it here to put Gilbert Grape's mom to shame...

Dakota Fanning Pulls A Quinn Mallory

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Sliders was a great show. I will forever love Jerry O'Connell because of Sliders. I will also forever have monster crushes on both Sabrina Lloyd and Kari Wuhrer because of Sliders. Yeah...

Anyway, Dakota Fanning has just signed on to voice the title character in Coraline, written by Neil Gaiman and directed by Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach) about a girl who finds a doorway that takes her to a similar parallel universe where her life is way cooler. Of course, as to be expected with a Gaiman script, things take a dark turn when her parallel parents won't let her return home, and I'm pretty sure the mirror version of herself (which may or may not be sporting a goatee) starts causing a ruckus here in the real world.

I wasn't really excited about this until I noticed that Gaiman was scripting and that Selick was directing. I mean, I'm a total sucker for stories about parallel universes because, to me, that's just about the most interesting concept in the history of science-fiction. Hopefully Gaiman will bring something new to the concept and we'll get some kick-ass claymation to boot. I also think I'd rather have animated Dakota Fanning here than real Dakota Fanning. Unless the real Fanning ran into some Kromaggs and got disemboweled at the end. I would be up for that.

20 October 2005

Stiffler In Riot Gear?? Southland Tales Pics!!

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Southland Tales is easily one of my most anticipated films of 2006. We still don't have a solid release date yet, which means that it's still gonna be a long wait. GAH!! He's been working on this project forever and quite frankly I am sick of waiting. I want a trailer and I want it yesterday!

Until then, I'll have to suffice with some cool ass stills. I could have copied them right onto this post, but if you head over to the official site, (I don't think think it works in Firefox) you can get them all as a pretty neat slide show. Since you're there anyway, I highly recommend clicking around the website if you haven't done so before now. they haven't updated since right after ComicCon, but if you haven't seen it, you really should. Much like the Donnie Darko site, the whole thing is a sort of puzzle and nothing really seems to make much sense because it's all out of context, and yet there's this pervading sense that everything is just really......cool.

Click it here for Oteri dreadlocks and other Kelly oddities...

Black Lagoon Gets "Awesome" Director

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Some good friends of mine recently introduced me to a fantastic new drinking game. It's called Sahara Is "Awesome". It's a very simple game. Gather some friends, gather some alcoholic beverages, and pop the recent Matthew McConaughey flick Sahara. Every time Sahara is "awesome", you take a drink. For example: "Hey he just got shot in the hand with a spear gun. That's pretty awesome." Drink. "Hey, look. It's Rainn Wilson. He's pretty awesome." Drink. "Did Zahn just say 'decision-making paradigm?' That's pretty awesome." Drink.

Suffice it to say, you need a whole lot of alcohol to play this game.

I felt it was relevant to discuss this little gem of a game as it was announced this morning that directing duties for the remake of Creature From The Black Lagoon have officially been given to Breck Eisner, son of Disney's former resident asshole Michael Eisner and the director of Sahara, which is pretty awesome. Drink.

The script comes from Gary Ross, whose father wrote the original back in 1954, and is apparantly a modern update on the story and the classic creature, not so campy and more in the vein of Alien or The Thing. Sounds good to me. Ron Howard was making claims about Bill Paxton starring in this flick way back in July, but that was the last we've heard of it, so who knows what's going on now.

I'm interested to see if Eisner can pull off something as dark as what Ross is describing. Sahara has a lot of energy to it and I thought that he did a pretty damn good job, particularly for a first time director on a major studio release. Here's hoping that he can make the Black Lagoon even more awesome.

Deja Vu Gets Deja Vu

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Tony Scott's Domino may be underperforming at the box office right now, but far be it from "The Other Scott Brother" to slow down just because of something like poor profits or, ya know, a hurricane.

Up until a few weeks ago, Tony Scott's next slated project was Deja Vu, a story about an FBI agent (Denzel Washington) who travels back in time to save a New Orleans woman from being murdered and then, surprise surprise, he falls in love with her. Then Katrina stepped in and pretty much wiped New Orleans off the face of the Earth. Key scenes were to take place on the docks and ferries of the city, so Scott decided to walk from the project, casting serious doubt that it would ever even happen.

But wait! Apparantly Scott thought about it some more, talked to some folks from the city, (who would probably give their left arms to have a major film shoot taking place in New Orleans at this point) and has decided that the docks and other major parts of the city should be rebuilt in time for filming to begin in February, so he's back onboard and Deja Vu is rolling once again.

This will likely be the first feature shot in New Orleans post-Katrina, and while it's certainly well worn territory, (I'm reminded of the fake movie from America's Sweethearts. Remember the bit where John Cusack was dressed in a tin foil suit? Yeah that.) but Scott and Washington work pretty well together, so I'm sure they'll bring something new to the table.

On another note, why is it that Tony Scott seems to be wearing that weird salmon colored hat in every picture ever taken of him? Go ahead, google image search him and take a look...

18 October 2005

Happy Batman Day!!

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Wishing all you Boothites (Boothians? Boothans?) a Happy Batman Day.

Yes, that's right, today is October 18th, which means you can walk into your local DVD retailer and pick up any of the SIX different Batman movies that were released today. Here's my well-worded explanation from way back in August:
First you'll get Batman Begins. You can choose either a single-disc edition with almost no special features, or a 2 disc version that is CHOCK FULL of documentaries and featurettes. Personally, I'm going for the 2 disc, but then again I almost ALWAYS go for the specialist of the special editions. Click it here for artwork and special features.

Next you'll get 2 disc Digitally Remastered Special Editions of all the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher movies: Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. You can choose to purcahse these movies seperately or as one big ole box set. We all know that Batman and Robin is utter shite and after rewatching Batman Forever recently, I've decided that, while Kilmer certainly kicks Clooney's ass, it's still pretty bad. But I love the Burton movies, so I'll split it down the middle and snag Burton and leave Shumacher to rot on the shelves. Click it here for artwork and special features. I'd like to note that Warners totally dropped the ball on the artwork on these puppies. I think it was a monumentally bad choice to just rehash the floating head original artwork with a new font for the title. They had the opportunity to do something so much cooler, and I know this for a fact because you can click it here to see the vastly superior Region 2 artwork. How bad ass is that? It almost makes me forget how much I dislike the second two. Almost.

Finally, what I think just may be the coolest of the cool, you can also pick up The Complete Batman 1943 Movie Serial Collection. These are all 15 short episodes of one Batman adventure. They were shown, one episode a week, in movie theaters in 1943, right in between the cartoon short and the news reel. Expect silly villians, campy costumes, and hilarious fight scenes. Click it here for the artwork and special features. I think this has the coolest artwork of all Batman discs getting released that day. And if you like that, click it here to check out The Complete Batman and Robin 1949 Movie Serial Collection, which hit shelves this past March. I'll certainly be getting both of those.
So grab your cowl, strap on your utility belt, and scare the crap out of petty thieves everywhere. The remainder of the month will be Batman Month in my apartment, and all are welcome...

X3: Likely Crappy Trailer In Front Of Likely Awesome Movie

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Last week people were all up in a tizzy because the X3 website launched and there was a "teaser" on it. To say that's an exageration would be an understatement. What is actually there is a little flash animation of some trees at Alkalai Lake and Wolverine's claws slashing through some metal. So, in other words, there's nothing there.

However, we've received official word from the bigwigs at 20th Century Fox today and they will be sending out the first X3 teaser with prints of King Kong on December 14th. Of course, since X3 is Fox and Kong is Universal, you're not gauranteed to get one with the other, so you can probably call you local theater and ask them. Then again, it'll probably go online the night before or the night after, and my feeling is that a) the teaser will probably not be very substantial and b) it will most likely be disappointing.

Further evidence to support this claim, we've also gotten an unofficial confirmation that Ohmahyrta Mohta, the model who looks like a 16 year old boy (and a snotty 16 year old boy at that), will be playing Stacy X, aka The Mutant Whore, who will apparantly spend most of the movie following Juggernaut around like a lost puppy. Seriously, am I the only one who thinks "she" looks like Ra from Stargate?

I'm starting to care less and less about this movie, and that apathy above all is what really depresses me when it comes to X3. Don't worry, just remember that we'll be getting a kick ass new Superman a mere month after Brett Ratner is done desecrating the X-Franchise...

Keaton and Downey Jr. Weep Over Game 6

Hey guys, it's Donnie...It's no secret that I'm from Boston and a huge Red Sox fan, which almost goes without saying if you're from 'round here. I even have tha tattoo to prove it. I was obviously hugely disappointed at our piss poor performance in the last month or so of the season, as well as our barely-there appearance in this year's playoffs. (Go White Sox.) But mostly I consider myself privelaged to have witnessed the Sox at both one of their tragic lows (Game 7 of the ALCS in 2003) and their ultimate high. (Do I even need to say it? WORLD SERIES BABY!)

Well, this morning I stumbled across a story about a film starring Michael Keaton and Robert Downey Jr. that just got North American distribution by Kindred Media Group, who I've never heard of, so expect a limited release. The story...well, the press release probably puts it best:
On the eve of the opening of his newest play playwright Nicky Rogan (Michael Keaton) is fixated on failure. But not without reason. As Rogan's day begins, his marriage is in shambles, his lead actor has a parasite in his brain causing him to forget his lines, there is asbestos in the air, and he is terrified of the feared critic Steven Schwimmer (Robert Downey Jr.) who is so hated that he's taken to carrying a gun to the theatre.
So what the hell does all this have to do with baseball? Well, here's the kicker, the thing that made me go back and read the whole story over again and decide it was actually worth talking about today: Keaton's character is a lifelong Red Sox fan, and the movie takes place on October 25, 1986, a night that, despite last year's overdue victory, will forever live in infamy throughout Boston till the end of time. Buckner. GAH! I don't even like thinking about it. And thus we get the title of the film, Game 6.

I was certainly interested in this movie to start with. Keaton and Downey Jr? Consider me there. Throw in some classic Red Sox lore and I'll be buying tickets well in advance.

RSN 2006 baby.

Ridley Scott Is Selling Encyclopedias

Hey guys, it's Donnie...There are certain things from your childhood that sort of fade away and disappear until you start to wonder if you made it up. Sometimes it's books, or movies or things that you think happened to you but, then again, maybe you only dreamt it. Personally, I've found myself questioning the existence of a flick called Drop Dead Fred (that one was real), an animated video series about a defective teddy bear with superpowers (still not sure about that one) and, until recently, a series of books called Encyclopedia Brown.

I read all these books as a kid, and then I never heard about the books or the characters for about a decade and started to suspect that perhaps I had made the boy detective up, but no! They were real, they are real and Ridley Scott wants to bring them to a theater near you.

Encyclopedia Brown was a 12 year old boy who alternated between solving mysteries among his peers and between solving actual crimes for his father, the cheif of police. The line was that no crime in Idaville had gone unsolved in over a year because everytime his father had a case they couldn't figure out, he would bring it home and describe it over dinner. By dessert Encyclopedia (whose real name was Leroy) would have it all wrapped up, implying that either this was was the smartest 12 year old in the world, or Idaville had the dumbest cops in the history of law enforcement.

Ridley Scott currently holds the rights and apparantly he has put together a nice little script which he would produce through his Scott Free production company. Personally, I'd love to see Encyclopedia Brown come to the big screen. He was definitely a character I looked up to as a kid, and I think that today's youth can always use more well-adjusted role models. Plus it's nice to have my childhood memories validated.

17 October 2005

Clint Gets All Sympathetic With The Japanese

Hey guys, it's Donnie...So Clint Eastwood has been hard at work for months now shooting Flags Of Our Fathers, the story of the American soldiers who fought the Battle of Iwo Jima and then got a statue of themselves raising a flag. The script is adapted by Paul Haggis, who also adapted the highly overrated Million Dollar Baby for Eastwood last year.

Well, Eastwood has suddenly decided that while it's important to tell the story of these brave American soldiers, it's also important to tell both sides of the story. So, starting in February, Eastwood will begin filming of Lamps Before The Wind, which tells the story of the same battle, but told from the viewpoint of the Japanese and their honor-crazed officer class. The important distinction, according to Eastwood, is that the Japanese officers were willing to fight to the death because they were afraid of dishonor, whereas the Americans were more concerned with not getting fucking killed. Haggis was unavailable to write Lamps, resumably because he's working on the latest draft of Casino Royale, so those duties have fallen to aspiring writer (and his research assistant for Flags) Iris Yamashita.

The idea is for both flicks to be released into theaters simultaneously next fall, which I'm sure will make theater owners happy as it will encourage people to see both movies back to back and then make folks more likely to spend $9.50 on chicken fingers than $3.50 on popcorn. Then again, that's how theaters make all their money, so buy some food and help keep theaters in business.

As far as Eastwood's double feature...look, I wasn't really all that excited for Flags Of Our Fathers to be perfectly honest. I think that the war movie, specifically ones about WWII, needs to take a rest for a while, if only because no one seems to be doing anything different with it these days. (At least not till Tarantino finally gets moving on Inglorious Bastards.) I'd be more excited about this if it was going to be a fully-integrated two part movie experience, like using the same actors and seeing the same events from a different perspective. But in order to pull that off, I feel like you really have to plan that from the outset, as opposed to making one movie and then as you're finishing deciding to do the other half too.

Besides, I think Eastwood sometimes lacks vision as a director. I love Unforgiven, but Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby do nothing for me. My theory is that Eastwood is just not good at making those types of gritty, lower-class dramas, so maybe he'll be better at WWII epic. Who knows. Will I see them when they come out? Yeah, probably, and probably back-to-back. But I can't help but feel that we're just in store for a lot more of the same.

Musical Howards Fight For Kong's Affection

Hey guys, it's Donnie... KongIsKing recently did a great production diary about Howard Shore, Peter Jackson's ace in the hole composer from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and the work he was doing composing and conducting the orchestrations for the impending King Kong. The set up they constructed in the symphony hall was impressive as all hell and all the different types of instruments that were being utilized...those bamboo chutes and drums...well I was getting excited for another memorable score ala his work on LOTR.

Unfortunately it was not meant to be. Howard Shore and Peter Jackson apparantly had a major difference of opinion on where the score was going creatively. According to Jackson, they realized that they each had strong opposing feelings and, rather than engage in a protracted argument, the two decided to part ways amicably. I hope that this is true and it's not just Hollywood double-speak, because Jackson and Shore work so well together it's scary. I'd to see a rift between them similar to what seems to have happened between Sam Raimi and Danny Elfman.

So who are we getting instead? Well, instead of Howard Shore we get another composer named Howard: James Newton Howard. That name may sound vaguely familiar to you, as it should because the guy has amassed an impressive resume over the years. He certainly puts in the work, that's for damn sure. Collateral and Peter Pan are both solid scores, Batman Begins is wonderful (although it lacks that iconic theme), and his work with M. Night Shyamalan over the years always surpasses my expectations. The Village may have been all kinds of stupid, but it looked and sounded very pretty.

I honestly don't know about Kong. I mean, I have every confidence that he'll deliver something to be proud of, a score that falls somewhere between adequate and magnificent. But I'm certainly going to miss Howard Shore and I'll most definitely wonder what could have been...

Trailertown: Dying Frenchmen and Frozen Puppies

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Welcome back to Trailertown!

Today we're hitting both ends of the spectrum: what looks like a finely crafted character drama and schlocky feel good nonsense starring Paul Walker.

The Dying Gaul: Peter Sarsgaard, Patricia Clarkson, and Campbell Scott anchor this drama about a screenwriter who gets involved with a studio bigwig and his wife while trying to sell his screenplay, The Dying Gaul. The trailer is a bit vague, but for a movie like this I think it works. There's just enough there to grab your attention and then the quality of the acting reels you in. Writer and first time director Craig Lucas certainly looks like he's got a lot to say about Hollywood, as well as marriage and relationships, and he's certainly gathered an impressive little cast. Let's hope he's got the directing skills to back it up.

Click it here to learn why people do and do not go to the movies...

Eight Below: Good Lord this thing makes my face hurt. It's like Snow Dogs meets...Homeward Bound or something. I know it's based on a true story and all, but in all seriousness, who thought that it would be a good idea to make a movie starring eight huskies and Paul Walker? The damn sled dogs are gonna come out looking like Marlon Brando next to this guy. And what the hell is that giant lizard thing about two thirds of the way through? Was that a fucking dinosaur? Do the sled dogs have to fight off a frozen velociraptor or something? I've gotta go put my head down on my desk or something...

Click it here to see dogs who are smarter than the guy driving the sled...

Here Comes The Sun(shine)

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Director Danny Boyle's latest film remains shrouded in mystery. Or, perhaps I should say it's immersed in the blinding light of mystery. His Untitled Sunshine Project has something to do with astronauts on a mission to save the dying sun and then some shit starts to go down, although it's more than a little unclear as to exactly what that shit would entail. I'm a big fan of Boyle, particularly when he's working with writer Alex Garland. His refusal to confine himself to any one genre or visual style is so irreverantly refreshing...it usually takes little convincing to get me to watch his work.

The Production Diary trend seems to have hit this project as well. Someone on the crew has been given the go ahead to chronicle the production process online at SunshineDNA.com, although I have to give them credit for taking a slightly different approach than most others. SunshineDNA seems to be short of video content and big on written content. There's alot of discussion about the science behind the fiction, which is usually a good sign on a project like this. But there are also a few photos and video clips for you media junkies.

I'm expecting good things from this project, and this blog is fairly interesting so far, so let's hope they keep it up. There's nothing suckier than a boring production diary...

Click it here for numerous pictures of Danny Boyle's assorted footwear...

14 October 2005

The End Of The Bond Rumors...Thank God

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Well, Sony has made it official. That which seems to have been the consensus opinion of anyone who knows what the hell they're talking about on the internet. People have been claiming this as gospel for the past week, but since I have half a brain cell, I've purposefully been avoiding the rumor talk until we got an official announcement.

Well, Sony and Eon held their press conference in London this morning and Daniel Craig arrived via military boat in a suit and shades. That's right, the brooding star of Mathew Vaughn's Layer Cake is approved and official as the next James Bond. What with this and the recent revelation of the Spidey 3 villains, the only major internet movie gossip remaining revolves around plot details for the mysterious Superman Returns, who might be playing The Joker in the next Batman flick, and just how craptastic X3 is going to turn out.

My opinion? I'm thrilled. Sony is looking for Casino Royale to drastically re-invent James Bond as Warners did with Batman, and for pretty much the same reason: both franchises had become so obtuse and self-indulgent that they were actually boring. Making Batman and James Bond boring is a pretty nifty trick, but they each managed to do it. We'll be getting a younger, grittier, more human Bond this time around, one who's livelihood isn't dependent on stale one-liners and ridiculous contraptions. If you're gonna change Bond, you might as well go all out and I think that Craig is a great choice. Folks who are unfamiliar with his work should check him out in Layer Cake (which is, I think, a good indication as to what kind of a Bond he'll make) and as Paul Newman's son in Road to Perdition. He also just wrapped filming on Munich, Spielberg's flick about Isreali assassins that is supposed to hit theaters by Christmas.

You can also check out Sony's official site right here to check out the official press release as well as a nice little promo image of Craig with goddamn hand cannon, and the title artwork for Casino Royale. Moriarty over at AICN said something about Baccarat (Bond's card game of choice and a crucial plot point of the original Casino Royale) being replaced by Texas Hold 'Em, which is all kinds of stupid, but I don't think it'll really happen. At least I seriously hope that it won't...

Spielberg Changes Careers

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Master filmmaker Stephen Spielberg has just inked a deal with EA Games to work with game makers to develop three new video game franchies. Spielberg, an enthusiastic gamer, is looking forward to bringing his unique storytelling skills to the table with EA's top notch interactive development, and EA is looking forward to being able to brand market the shit out of the guy who made Jaws.

I almost sort of passed by this article, until I actually re-read it and then the implications hit me like a wayward pigeon. Spielberg is getting his foot in the gaming industry. That's huge. One of the biggest problems with video game movies is that the characters are underdeveloped and the narratives often don't lend themselves well to structure of films. But if you've got filmmakers creating video game properties, then they can turn around later and bring them to big screen much more easily. I really would not be surprised if we start seeing other big name filmmakers, particularly genre filmmakers, getting into the video game development process.

That's one more wall that's been removed between the worlds of video games and cinema. I'm becoming more and more convinced that in the next 5 years we could see the complete and total legitimization of video game films. I think Doom is going to be better than expected, and even if it doesn't perform well, I think it could lay the groundwork that would point future properties in the right direction. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh producing Halo is a HUGE step, and while it's far from a sure thing, there is certainly potential to propel video game properties to the same stature that comic books have now.

With the Spielberg announcement, we've now got major talent working on both sides of the fence and it'll just be a matter of meeting up in the middle somewhere.
Little Giant Ladder