It seems that the family of Bruce Lee are working with Chinese production company J.A Media to produce not one but three films on the life of Bruce Lee (though as expected, it will be a three parter). There has already been one biopic of Bruce Lee, called 'Dragon', but apparently these films are the family's attempt at rectifying the inaccuracies that appear in all attempts at covering Bruce Lee's eventful life. Apparently, Robert Lee (Bruce Lee's brother) has categorically said:
"We've read many books and seen many movies about Bruce Lee, but there are many inaccuracies in them"
Well, it seems they want to change things. The deal for the first film has been brokered, standing with a budget of about $7.3 million. No director is in place, but Zhang Yimou has expressed interest in working on the film. It has a production team, but just needs to get casting underway. Its also rather important that they get working on the film rather soon, given there is a release date of November 27th, 2010 in order to coincide with the anniversary of his birth.
So, will this be the ultimate Bruce Lee biopic? Endorsed and worked on by his immediate family? Given they seem keen on making it absolutely accurate, this probably could be a kick in the chest to the other Bruce Lee biopics. You may applaud now.
Well...safe to say, this I was NOT expecting. Apparently, Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Spiderman, Drag Me To Hell) has signed on to develop the 'Warcraft' franchise for Warner Bros, with 'Dark Knight' producer Charles Roven also on board. Legendary Pictures are mounting the project, so the film has all its major production players in place.
Good lord. Truthfully, I was skeptical about Warcraft even finding some kind of film potential, but Sam Raimi is, essentially, the man. he is truly awesome as film directors go, and if anyone can make Warcraft special, it's him. Admittedly it's really early days: he won't start work on the film until after he has filmed 'Spiderman 4' for Columbia. So don't expect it for a while, but this will be Raimi's take on the world of fantasy. Despite my issues with another videogame adaptation, the games have a huge amount of mythology to draw on which is what will make it different. Let's wait and see, eh? Raimi could have a world of fun with lopped off Orc heads.
According to an official press release, George Romero's sixth entry into his 'Dead' series is called 'Survival of the Dead'. Apparently excitable geeks worldwide had pinned their bets on it being called 'Island of the Dead', and this was perfectly reasonable - the story is about a group of military types occupying an island which apparently is the one place in the world not occupied by zombies. Given this is a Romero film, it will probably be highly topical and will probably involve the island going to hell over the course of the film, so not much deviation from the template but it has always worked for the guy in the past.
The one worry of course is that 'Survival' sounds a little too much like 'Land', but nobody really makes the zombie movie like ol' George. So let's keep our decomposing fingers crossed.
We've seen some of this so far...but damn, this film looks like it's going to rock. Before it was largely contextual stuff, but now we're getting inklings about the actualy story...and while it's not entirely clear what this story is, it still looks like a fantastic piece of gritty sci-fi drama. Just...whoa. Maybe this isn't adding anything we haven't already seen, news-wise, but it's important everyone see this trailer. It's pretty kick-ass.
Also accompanying it is this rather spiffy poster:
The scribe of 'Braveheart' and, uh, 'Pearl Harbor' is to take on writing duties for the planned revamp of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, of course itself originally a book by Jules Verne - coincidentally, Doc Brown's favourite book as a little boy, which led to him falling in love with Mary Steenburgen and consequently the fucking stupid flying train.....but i digress. I believe it is a remake of this film:
Randall Wallace has apparently replaced Bill Marshall and Justin Marks as writer on this Disney funded project, with McG at the helm. This is always a good sign, the writers being replaced shortly into pre-production - but even more worryingly, he only has until September to finish the thing as he's tackling his own directorial debut, 'Secretariat'.
A lot of successful films have been made out of SNL characters - a lot of Mike Myers' funniest characters gestated from an SNL idea. It must have something to it. Val Kilmer (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Alexander) and Ryan Philippe (Cruel Intentions, Franklyn) are joining it, so surely one of them must have seen some sort of comic value in it? Least of all Kilmer, who I would pay out of my pocket to do a second 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang'. Alas. The name as it implies is a spoof of 'MacGyver', and I have not seen any of the sketches, although I did see the 'Pepsi' skit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUxxI28zhNc&feature=PlayList&p=29BCB732FDE61B98&index=0) and am sincerely hoping the film's humour tries a hell of a lot better than that. Apparently the film is less of a skit and more of a bizarre rambo spoof: Will Forte plays MacGruber, a decorated veteran called out of retirement as a monk, in order to fight a villain called Cunth (Kilmer) who apparently killed MacGruber's bride.
Maybe I just don't get it, but the comedy is a little lost on me. Am I an idiot? I am trying to inject some optimism into this, as I have been rather miserable in my summation of the films I've previewed lately, but I suppose I just look at this and wonder why there isn't a MacGuyver feature film. It's an odd world, where a spoof comes out before the original 80s series gets remade....I really can't believe I just said that. Anyway, the film starts shooting in New Mexico next month, and Jorma Taccone will direct and co-produce, and he will also have a hand in writing the script with John Solomon and star Will Forte.
Well, this isn't exactly surprising given that every stage and film actor with an English accent appears to be in this film series, but I guess they had to complete the roster. He has apparently joked about it in the past. Nighy, of 'Love Actually' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean' fame, has revealed he is to play Scrimgeour in the Deathly Hallows two-parter that will comprise the conclusion of the 'Harry Potter' series.
Nighy is a great actor of course, so I doubt his contribution will be anything less than exemplary. But as for the film two parter? Could be a staggering conclusion, or a staggering waste of time.
Now, this gentleman's work is rather less well known in the states, although I am sure at least some people have seen 'Dead Mans Shoes' or 'This is England'. Shane Meadows has decided to do a horror for his next project; fresh off finishing his film 'Le Donk & Scoz-ayz-ee', he has turned to a dark, exorcist tale for his next 'big' project. It is described by Meadows as being like this:
'(The Film is) based on the life of a guy who, by getting involved with ouija boards and the occult by trying to disprove it, trying to take the piss out of it, got possessed, had to be exorcised, and later became an exorcist himself'
Apparently its based on a non-fiction book, but don't expect anything too soft. It's been described by Meadows as making 'Dead Mans Shoes' look like 'playschool'. For anyone who doesn't know, DMS was pretty bloody brutal, so god knows what madness will be unleashed on us in this particular item...
The trailer for Steve Soderbergh's new drama comedy, 'The Informant!' is online.
The film, based on a factual book by Kurt Eichanwald, is the real-life (with liberties taken, I imagine) story of Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), a whistle-blowing executive who informed on the dirty tricks of the agricultural company he worked for. The story was unusual, what with Whitacre having manic depression, and its easy to see the film propert in it. Its doubly interesting to see Soderbergh, a man whose work I watch from the sidelines with little actual interest, tackle this story in the form of a comedy. Hopefully, this means it won't be Oceans Thirteen, but judging by the trailer, it'll be a hell of a lot more fun than that. I love this trailer. It's an unusual direction to take at the story, but most of all? It's really funny.
Not strictly film news, but this is certainly momentous if you're interested in cinematic history. For the first time since 1943, there will be 10 nominees for best picture instead of 5. Sid Ganis, president of the academy has this to say: 'Having 10 best picture nominees is going allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize' - From this, I take a number of points. This is how I'm laying it out for you.
PROS - More genres of film will be nominated - Films otherwise overlooked will get inclusion - This may open up the other categories to smaller or unrecognised films.
CONS - A cynical attempt to boost ratings? - The ceremony is four hours long - The ceremony is four hours long - THE CEREMONY IS ALREADY FOUR HOURS LONG.
While I admit there may be more exciting stories: Avatar has screened 24 minutes of footage to thunderous excitement for example, and Uwe Boll exploded (sorry guys, made that one up), but the inverted concept of a Chinese director remaking an American film left me curiously giggly.
Yimou Zhang ('Hero', 'House of Flying Daggers', 'Curse of the Golden Flower') has turned his hand to remaking the Coen brother's tale of double-crossing, sleazy private investigators and love triangles. The film is called 'San Qiang Pi An Jing Qi', translating roughly as 'The Stunning Case of the Three Gunshots'. This is certainly a change of pace for Yimou, who has focused largely on making us gasp at the beauty of dynastic China and at the beautifully fluid martial arts work contained therein. Apparently though he did this before, specifically 1997s 'Keep Cool' which is far more in the vein of the Coen brothers.
Personally, I'm all for it. Yimou is a great director, the darkly humorous noir is a vein I want to see mined more, and I think it's about time Asia actually remade our films for a change. Yes, I'm sure it's been done on a lower scale, but the Coen brothers? I'm curious to see the results.
Anyway, apparently the dire 'Hitman' videogame adaptation has been commissioned a sequel by 20th Century Fox. Based on their DVD sales and other such sundries, the film scraped enough cash out of the wallets of the public and therefore 'Hitman 2' has been given a green light. Statistically, it holds up. The film's budget was $70 million, and it made $100 million back - this does not include DVD sales or rights sales, so it was actually relatively profitable. Unfortunately. There was nothing remotely laudable about the first film, which rather confused the 'stealth' thing that tends to be emphasized in the games with 'blow shit up Michael Bay-lite'. The problem is that what people forgot is that hitmen aren't supposed to leave a trail of destruction in their wake (makes 'em harder to find, see), and that being built like the proverbial shithouse and sporting a barcode, as well as wasting anyone who looks at you funny, sort of makes the character hard to believe in and makes the atmosphere feel ludicrous at best.
Whether or not Xavier Gens, the original's director, will return for directing work is unknown. We know that Kyle Ward (whose current credits include, uh, 'Kane & Lynch', a still in development game adaptation and another in production film called 'Fiasco Heights'), a relatively untested screenwriter has been hired to do writing duties. The producing team of Daniel Alter, Adrian Askarieh and Chuck Gordon are returning too.
*sigh* I simply can't muster up any enthusiasm for this film. The first film was bad, and nobody but the money-counters at 20th Century Fox actually wants to see this. Not in the least that it will waste the excellent Timothy Olyphant, and will just add to the roster of shitty 'games-into-movies' that exist in hollywood. If you want me, I'll be in the bar.
Can I be truthful and say I enjoyed Indy IV? I know it's de rigeur to bash the film, and that in order to be considered a true film geek I should tear it apart mercilessly, but you know what? It pushed my buttons. It lacked a certain something, but I'd rather watch it than the Mummy films and a LOT of other action adventures. It was a good film. It was fun.
I just like it. I refuse to throw rotten tomatoes at George Lucas just because everyone else does - and that doesn't mean you guys, I just mean in the talkback forums on aintitcool.com for example. Frankly, Indy investigates strange world mysteries. The crystal skulls are a pretty funky mystery. I really don't understand why people went 'Aliens? What? That's not realistic OR indy!' - What, and a golden box that talks to god and produces flesh-melting apparitions is?
What needs to be done to improve? Maybe just give post-production an extra two months, have less monkey swinging and considerably less characters. Loved Marion, even liked Shia - but Abner Ravenwood was about as useless as characters get. The script needs to be more about Indy this time, really.
I still liked it though! I think there should be another one just so Spielberg can say 'Look, Indy IS still cool, and this time - we'll really rock your world!'
It seems odd. It's a bit like remaking a film called 'Revenge of the Mummy', and not actually explaining what it is he wants revenge for. The monster's birth and loneliness should be established before we see his quest for a bride.
I think he'd be rather good. Maybe that's why Michael Sheen should play him? As dalmatianjaws says, Blofeld = Dr. Evil. Maybe Michael Sheen will separate the slightly ridiculous 'Vee vill make yooooou talk' from the real character if he gets to play it?
Following the news that Peter Morgan would be scripting the next Bond film, it seemed only logical that one of his regular alumni might turn up. However, not quite like this. The current rumour is that Michael Sheen, who impressed in 'The Queen' and stood up impressively to Frank Langella's tour-de-force in 'Frost/Nixon', will be playing Blofeld in the next film. Yes, THE Blofeld. The cat stroking bald loon who was head of SPECTRE.
Now please remember this is RUMOUR, and not confirmed, so don't send me death threats if it turns out not to be true. The rumour originates from the Daily Express, so it may or may not prove to be completely true. Still, if he is, it'd be bloody brilliant. Michale Sheen is one of the finest young British actors of this generation, and has apparently especially proved himself in 'The Damned United', a biopic of British soccer (it's football to us, but hey, who am I to ruin anglo-american relations) legend Brian Clough.
I think it'd be great. I sincerely hope it is true.
While Bradley Cooper may or may not be cast as the DC comic-book character, the film is definitely going ahead. It will apparently centre around Hal Jordan (so no, no women in fridges in this one), which is good as the character is undoubtedly the best of the Green Lanterns. Apparently the film will start shooting in Australia later on this year, Martin Campbell ('Goldeneye', 'Casino Royale') in the director's chair.
It is due for release in 2011 apparently. The most encouraging thing for me however, is the fact that one of the writers of this script is Marc Guggenheim, a comic book writer and a man doing a rather good run on 'The Amazing Spiderman' at the moment. Surely with a man who really understands comics helping steer the script, it could be a winner?