Archive for April, 2007

Lambert Wilson finds some work

Monday, April 30th, 2007
Lambert Wilson (the French dude from The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions) has been cast in two new movies: Babylon A.D., starring Vin Diesel, and The Heaven Project. The news comes from Variety. The sci-fi thriller Babylon A.D. is directed by Mathieu Kassovitz; The Heaven Project is written and directed by John Glenn. In Babylon A.D., a veteran-turned-mercenary (Vin Diesel) agrees to escort a woman from Russia to Germany, not realizing that she's the host for an organism that a cult wants to harvest into a genetically-modified Messiah. The intriguing-sounding movie is based on the novel by Maurice G. Dantec. Wilson will also be seen in the upcoming movie, Private Fears in Public Places and Flawless, with Demi Moore and Michael Caine.

Isla Fisher is The Cookie Queen

Monday, April 30th, 2007
The Hollywood Reporter is reporting (who knew?) that Universal Pictures has picked up The Cookie Queen, a comedy starring hottie Isla Fisher (the psycho girl from The Wedding Crashers). The story follows Claire "Cookie" Taylor (Fisher), who holds the record for all-time girl scout cookie sales. When she learns that a precocious fifth grader threatens to end her 20-year reign as cookie queen, she sets out to sabotage her. Nice! I must say, while Isla was the most entertaining part of The Wedding Crashers (until it was revealed she was faking her psycho-bitch status), I never was blown away by her. But the more I see her, the more I like her... Although somehow I'm guessing The Cookie Queen isn't going to have much nudity. The Cookie Queen comes from screenwriters Jeremy Hast and Ed Gonzalez.

Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe

Monday, April 30th, 2007
Variety reports Russell Crowe is going to star as the Sheriff in Ridley Scott's new drama Nottingham. Produced by Brian Grazer, this unique take on the Robin Hood myth finds Crowe's noble and brave lawman working for a shady king. The upstanding enforcement officer will also engage himself in a love triangle between Maid Marion and Robin Hood. Interesting... it's about time there's a new Robin Hood movie. Thinking of Robin Hood, what are people's thoughts on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (starring Kevin Costner)? Personally, I love the film despite the odd choice of Costner in the lead role - with an American accent - but plenty of people think otherwise.

Finding out if a book has been optioned

Monday, April 30th, 2007

questionmarkWhat is the best way to find out if a novel has been optioned for a film/screenplay?

–Jon Hanemann
Union City, NJ

I could swear I’ve answered this question before. But in 30 seconds of searching, I couldn’t find my previous answer, so it’s unlikely you could. And it’s so simple, I might as well answer it again.

  1. Open the book to the publishing/information page.
  2. Note the publisher.
  3. Call 212.555.1212. This is New York City information.
  4. Ask for the phone number for that publisher.
  5. Call that number.
  6. Ask for “subrights, please.”
  7. You’ll likely get a voicemail telling you to fax your request. Follow their instructions.
  8. In your faxed letter — or in the event you connect with a live person — explain that you’re trying to track down film and television rights to THIS GREAT NOVEL by This Author.

You may need to follow up a week or two later, but you’ll eventually get contact information for the author, her agent or attorney. You then write to them to ask.

What if it’s not a New York publisher, or not a US publisher, or some other special case? You can almost always find someone who knows something. Eventually, you need to get through to the author or her representatives. They’re the only people who will really know the status.

Will you have fries with your anti-obesity campaign?

Monday, April 30th, 2007


In early February, President Bush kicked off a heightened campaign to fight the epidemic of childhood obesity at a White House conference. The campaign, from the Department of Health and Human Services, tagged DreamWorks' computer animated character Shrek as the spokes-ogre to bring the message to America's kids.

Which I guess is like signing Robert Downey Jr. up for a few "Just Say No" public service spots. The kiddie section of the HHS nutrition website has the big green fella all over the page, just in time for the May 18 release of "Shrek the Third," coincidentally. The "Shrek Says" part of the site urges kids to get off their computer-surfing duffs and play for an hour a day. There are tie-in TV spots, too, which promote healthy eating habits while conveniently promoting the hell out of the movie.

The campaign does everything except teach kids how to spell "hypocrisy," because DreamWorks is at the same time using Shrek to shill for Snickers, Cheetos, McDonald's Happy Meals, and E.L. Fudge Double-Stuffed Cookies, among others. As pointed out by the non-profit Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, there are 17 different "Shrek the Third" food promotions pushing 70 different junk foods to children.

Can you say "partially hydrogenated trans-fat," kids?

The CCFC wants you to kick up a ruckus, which after reading the full list of marketing deals the green guy is attached to, you may be inclined to do. At the very least, hiring an overweight troll to stump for healthier lifestyles is a bit of a head-scratcher. Did Mumbles from "Happy Feet" not return HHS's phone calls? At least he could have talked up the benefits of fish.

Ex-Italian PM with Mob Ties Forgets About His Own Biopic?

Monday, April 30th, 2007

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Through varying periods of the 70's, 80's and 90's, Giulio Andreotti was the Prime Minister of Italy. That recognition came with a large boat of scandal and accusations. He used the Mafia to further his political career, and possibly be a member himself, but he slipped through that accusation due to statutory limitations. The man was also convicted in 2002 of ordering that journalist Mino Pecorelli be murdered -- the man had published allegations about his Mafia ties. However, the next year the appeals court overturned this decision. To top that off, rumors say that Don LIcio Lucchesi in The Godfather Part III is based on him. So, obviously, this could make for a tasty biopic.

Well, it could if Andreotti could remember that it exists. Director Paolo Sorrentino said recently that he was going to make a film about the ex-PM, that he had met with Andreotti twice. Last Friday, however, Andreotti refuted the claims: "I don't know anything about this, and I've never met this person. If I had, I would have helped him to understand his subject better. But I hope he doesn't make this film because that's what they do at the end of someone's life, and I have a ways to go." Was Sorrentino lying? The director responded to Andreotti's response, saying: "It's hard to believe the senator's words... maybe his memory is failing him." Is Sorrentino lying? Did Andreotti have a change of heart and decide to feign innocence? Or, does he need to look into memory problems? If it's the latter, Sorrentino might want to hurry up before the ex-PM forgets more!
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Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer – Trailer J

Monday, April 30th, 2007
  Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - Trailer J
Marvel’s first family of superheroes, The Fantastic Four, meets their greatest challenge yet in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer as the enigmatic, intergalactic herald, The Silver Surfer, comes to Earth to prepare it for destruction. As the Silver Surfer races around the globe wreaking havoc, Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben must unravel the mystery of the Silver Surfer and confront the surprising return of their mortal enemy, Dr. Doom, before all hope is lost.
Directed by: Tim Story
Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon

Most anticipated movies of the summer

Sunday, April 29th, 2007
The official summer movie season starts Tuesday, May 1st, which means it starts Thursday at midnight with the release of Spider-Man 3. Here are my top ten most anticipated movies of the summer... 1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix One of the most consistent, entertaining and exciting franchises out there, the latest Harry Potter finds, once again, a new director and even a new screenwriter, which could make it the most questionable of the series. Still, the Harry Potter track record has been good, and as this is the darkest of the films thus far (the war begins!), it could be one of the best. I don't actually remember exactly what happens in the book, other than a major death, but I am certainly pumped to see this one on the big screen. 2. The Bourne Ultimatum The Bourne Supremacy is one of my favorite action movies, as director Paul Greengrass, despite some shaky camera moments, presented an intense, sophisticated thriller that was full of surprises. Greengrass is returning once again, and I am holding my breath that this movie may finally introduce Carlos the Jackal, the main villain of the Robert Ludlum trilogy who has been completely left out of the movies. I am currently in the process of reading The Bourne Ultimatum, though I am certain that the movie will be 100% different, as two key characters who are dead in the films are essential parts of the book, and, of course, there is no Carlos the Jackal back story. Nevertheless, I can't wait to see this latest film, and hopefully it won't be the last. 3. Spider-Man 3 The Sandman, I'm thinking, will be a pretty minor villain, as Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) is going to have his hands full with the new Green Goblin (or is it Hobgoblin, I'm not sure?), played by his vengeful friend James Franco. Of course, more importantly, the movie is about the black suit that eventually turns Eddie Brock into Venom, probably the most popular Spider-Man villain. The movie trailers have been fantastic, especially the most recent one where it starts out with Brock (Topher Grace) praying to God to kill Peter Parker for him. The movie is going to be noticeably darker than the previous two, and, with three villains, should provide plenty of action. My only concern - will three villains stretch the story too thin? The Spider-Man franchise has always relied on developed characters and a balance of action and "drama" - could Raimi have pushed things too far? 4. Transformers When I first heard about this Michael Bay film, I scoffed. A movie about robots fighting against one another just sounded ludicrous; what works as a cartoon will not work as a live-action summer blockbuster. But movie trailers and photos thus far have completely changed my mind; Transformers simply looks... awesome. The visuals look fantastic, and Michael Bay appears to have applied some grainy-ness to his typical glossy filming style. Of course, plot and dialogue are still up in the air, but we haven't had an alien invasion/destruction movie in a few years, and Transformers looks to blow the genre out of the water. The only question mark is Michael Bay. While he is up to the task of making an incredible action movie, the parts in between tend to suffer. Will Bay overcome his negligence of non-action scenes, or will Transformers be another mindless action film (not like there's anything wrong with that). 5. The Simpsons Movie Little needs to be said about this one. The Simpsons Movie is probably the most anticipated movie of the last 15 years - of course, that doesn't mean it's going to make the most money, but it's still going to make a lot. This one should appeal to the old and young equally (unlike South Park, for instance, which still made a ton of dough), and hopefully will be as funny as everyone is expecting it to be. The only problem here is that while The Simpsons are still going strong, they aren't quite as popular as they used to be. Has the time passed where we needed a Simpsons movie? Will expectations be too high? Time will tell... 6. Mr. Brooks The only movie that is not an action film or comedy on this list is Mr. Brooks, a suspense thriller starring Kevin Costner as a seemingly nice man who just happens to murder people. When a voyeur (Dane Cook) happens to catch him in the act, the two make an unlikely alliance. Mr. Brooks definitely looks sophisticated, and movie trailers thus far have been top notch. Definitely a change of pace for Costner, this film could go the course of American Psycho; it may not make a lot of money, but, if done right, it could be a critical darling, something that Costner desperately needs. 7. Live Free or Die Hard Another highly anticipated movie that has been talked about for years and years and years, the fourth Die Hard finally makes it to the big screen, with Bruce Willis returning to the role of John McClane. The movie has a different director and looks a lot glossier and shinier than its predecessors, but the trailers have been effective in presenting the film as a rather dark, action-packed movie with glimmers of the old Die Hard humor that one would expect. For some reason I have fears that this one is going to end up being a stinker, yet at the same time it is one I am dying to see. There's only one way to find out... 8. Ocean's 13 Ocean's 13 is, of course, the sequel to Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's 12, and thus has a 50/50 chance of being good. Ocean's Eleven was excellent, while Ocean's 12 all but sucked. Luckily, Ocean's 13 looks like it is returning to its roots (Las Vegas), keeping most of its stars (except for Julia Roberts, who really didn't add much to the sequel anyway), adding one really big cast member (Al Pacino, anyone?) and taking the stakes much higher. The plot appears to be that after one of the Ocean gang is betrayed by new casino owner Pacino, the rest of the crew decides to reap revenge by fixing every game in the casino, thus robbing Pacino of millions of dollars, destroying his credibility, so on and so forth. In addition, it appears that they team up with former enemy Andy Garcia to share in the destruction of this new casino, though I'm guessing there will be betrayal along the way. All in all, Ocean's 13 looks like everything Ocean's 12 wasn't - the question is, will audiences recognize that. 9.Ratatouille The movie no one can pronounce is coming to theaters in late June, and targeting the youngest crowd. The latest from Disney and Pixar, Ratatouille looks like a major step up from the God-awful Cars, which was Pixar's first misstep in a long series of successful and entertaining movies. Cars was just boring to me, but Ratatouille looks to be going more of the Toy Story route, and previews thus far have been pretty funny. I would be highly surprised if this isn't Best Animated Movie of the Year. 10. Shrek the Third The first Shrek movie was extremely funny. The second Shrek movie was even funnier. Hence, the trend should continue into the third movie. The voice cast is all returning, and Justin Timberlake has been added as Prince Arthur. Still, Shrek the Third is on the fence for me, as I really haven't found the trailers to be all that funny. They seem rather chaotic and not nearly as effective as the masterful previews for Shrek 2. Are the bad trailers a result of poor marketing or a poor movie? My guess is the former, but again, there is only one way to find out.

The Fountain (2006)

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

The FountainFew directors could be able to turn a disaster-in-the-making into a masterpiece. Darren Aronofsky is one of those very few directors whose vision and creative genius could accomplish such a feat. He punched us in the mouth before with the brilliantly complex and gritty pi, turned us inside out with the estranging Requiem For A Dream and now throws The Fountain at us. Yes, eventhough he has made only a handful of movies, Darren Aronofsky is a true movie genius in my book. However, as said, this could quite easily have bombed in the hands of a less dedicated filmmaker, since the movie started in what most would call absolute disaster; he could have called it The Fountain Redux. With his prodigious lead and Hollywood golden boy Brad Pitt walking out on the movie halfway, seeing his project shelved and his budget cut in half, he could have done much, much worse than this.

Friday Box Office Analysis – The Condemned is condemned

Saturday, April 28th, 2007
Based on Friday numbers alone, thanks to, Disturbia once again is leading the pack with $3.2 million, with The Invisible, a new release, close behind. Other new films include Next, which made only $2.3 million, and The Condemned, which tanked, thankfully, with $1.3 million. Here are the results from Friday (estimates): 1. Disturbia ($3.2 million) 2. The Invisible ($3.0 million) 3. Next ($2.3 million) 4. Fracture ($2.0 million) 5. Blades of Glory ($1.6 million) 6. Hot Fuzz ($1.5 million) 7. Vacancy ($1.4 million) 8. The Condemned ($1.3 million) 9. Meet the Robinsons ($1.2 million) 10. In the Land of Women ($1.0 million)