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North Korea None Too Happy About Seth Rogen’s Comedy THE INTERVIEW

Posted on 23 June 2014 by Rich Drees

Interview

It appears that North Korea is none too happy about Seth Rogen’s upcoming comedy The Interview. Although did anyone really think a film in which James Franco plays a talk show host who, along with Rogen playing his producer, gets recruited by an unidentified government agency to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was going to please that country’s despotic regime?

In an interview with London’s The Telegraph, Kim Myong-chol, executive director of The Centre for North Korea-US Peace and an unofficial spokesman for the regime in Pyongyang, derided the film’s plot as a sign of the “desperation” of American society. Speaking without an apparent trace of irony or self-awareness of reports about Jong-Un’s, and before that his father Jong-Il’s, reigns of North Korea -

There is a special irony in this storyline as it shows the desperation of the US government and American society. A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. And let us not forget who killed [President John F.] Kennedy – Americans. In fact, President [Barack] Obama should be careful in case the US military wants to kill him as well.

Myong-chol’s remarks are apparently based on the recently released trailer, and he wouldn’t be the first person to form an opinion on a movie’s overall worth and message based on a bunch of random clips assembled to market the film. This also wouldn’t be the first negative comment about the trailer, as when it recently premiered there was some online discussion as to whether the film using a real world figure, even if he is as despised as Jong-Un is, was in good taste and whether it could further escalate tensions between North Korea and the United States and the rest of the world.

Interestingly, the first draft of the screenplay for The Interview written by Dan Sterling, from a story by Sterling, Rogen and his frequent collaborator Evan Goldberg, featured a Jong-Un stand-in named Kim Il-Hwan. Not that I think that distinction would make a bit of difference to North Korea.

Hysterically, Myong-chol did remark that Jong-Un would very likely see the film, even thought it is a certainty that the average citizen of North Korea will ever get the chance. Like his father before him, Jong-Un is reportedly a movie fan, even though he publicly derides all culture from outside his country’s boarders as decadent.

The Interview opens October 1.

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Aaron Sorkin In Negotiations To Adapt Michael Lewis’ Book “Flash Boys”

Posted on 23 June 2014 by Rich Drees

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Aaron Sorkin is in negotiations with Sony Studios to adapt Michael Lewis’ best-selling expose of high-frequency trading on the Wall Street commodities market Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. The studio bought the rights to the book this past April, just weeks after it was published, and have producers Scott Rudin and Eli Bush attached to the project. Sorkin and Rudin have teamed together before for the book adaptations Moneyball, which earned Sorkin an Academy Award nomination, and The Social Network, for which Sorkin won an Oscar, so the prospect of them together again for this is exciting.

Lewis’s book follows a small group of Wall Street insiders who separately come to discover that the stock market has slowly been rigged in the favor of the large investment banks through such things as computerized high-frequency trading. Banding together and walking away from millions-of-dollars-a-year positions at some of the biggest investment firms, this group, which includes Sergey Aleynikov, a former programmer for Goldman Sachs and Brad Katsuyama, the founder of IEX, the Investor’s Exchange, now investigates the big banks and work towards making the markets a more even playing field and where tactics like high-frequency trading will no longer give an unfair advantage.

This would be Sorkin’s second adaptation of a Lewis book, with Moneyball being the first.

Via Hollywood Reporter.

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J.J. Abrams Not Doing Full STAR WARS Trilogy

Posted on 20 June 2014 by William Gatevackes

JJAbramsAt least Star Trek got two films out of him!

rianjohnsonNumerous sources are reporting that J.J. Abrams will be one and done when it comes the new Star Wars trilogy, and that he will be handing the reins over to Rian Johnson starting with Episode VIII.

The only question is what will be the extent of Johnson involvement. Both Deadline and The Wrap say that he will be writing and directing Episode VIII and a treatment for Episode IX. Deadline says Johnson will also be directing the latter movie, while The Wrap says he will only be writing it.

While I do have to say that I loved Johnson’s Looper, the one concern I have about this is that Johnson’s typical tone is a bit darker than what you’d expect from a Star Wars film. I don’t know if this means that future episodes will be darker or that Johnson will be adapting his style to fit.

Even though Johnson is a skilled and talented director, the fact that Abrams is doing all the films is a bit disappointing. While changing directors mid-stream in the Original Trilogy did give us The Empire Strikes Back, it also gave us Return of the Jedi.

More on this as it develops.

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MGM Hires Scott Derrickson And C. Robert Cargill To Write OUTER LIMITS Film

Posted on 20 June 2014 by Rich Drees

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Scott Derrickson is going to be a busy guy. Two weeks ago he was hired by Marvel to direct their upcoming Doctor Strange film and now Heat Vision is reporting that he and his Sinister co-writer C. Robert Cargill will be taking on scripting duties for MGM’s planned Outer Limits film.

While the original Outer Limits television series from the 1960s was a weekly anthology show, the film will not be a collection of short stories in the way that the 1983 Twilight Zone film was. Instead, it will be adapting one of the show’s most iconic episodes, “Demon With A Glass Hand.” Written by science-fiction author Harlan Ellison, “Demon” tells the story of an amnesiac soldier from the future with a computerized hand being hunted by aliens.

Like he did with the news of his landing the Doctor Strange directorial gig, Derrickson confirmed the news on twitter.

Conceivably, Derrickson and Cargill will be working on this while Jon Spaihts gets to work on the Doctor Strange script.

While some viewed Outer Limits as a Twilight Zone knock off, I think that sells the series short. As the underdog, it took more chance with its stories, and they always seem to have a more off-kilter sensibility to them than the more moralistic stories on Twilight Zone. If this proves to be a hit for MGM, they do have a treasure trove of great stories to mine for a potential franchise. And may I suggest the episode “The Zanti Misfits” for the first sequel?

DemonWithAGlassHand

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New Releases: June 20, 2014

Posted on 19 June 2014 by William Gatevackes

Jersey-Boys-Poster1. Jersey Boys (Warner Brothers, 2,905 Theaters, 134 Minutes, Rated R for language throughout):  The Broadway musical and touring show it spawned has a rabid following. People have memorized the track order of the Original Cast Recording. It is directed by one of the best directors working in Clint Eastwood, one with multiple Oscars.

Then why does the trailer for this film seem so boring?

Granted, part of the reason is because it seems like the film follows in the same rut many other musician biopics do: group of friends come together to form a band, they find the missing piece that launches them on the road to stardom, they become famous, a wild card in the group causes trouble, the friendships breaks down, eventually the problems cause the break-up of the band. The only difference is this time it’s a full musical.

Also, check out the logo on that poster. I could probably design a better logo. What? They couldn’t get rights to the musical’s logo? Were they pressed for time and had to use only what Microsoft Word had to offer?

If I were you, I’d wait until the Broadway tour comes back into town and see it then.

think_like_a_man_too_xlg2. Think Like A Man Too (Sony/Screen Gems, 2,225 Theaters, 106 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material): At least you can say this for this film, unlike Jersey Boys, which only brings John Lloyd Young from the original Broadway version, it brings back the entire cast from the first film, including Kevin Hart, whose career has boomed in the two years since the first one came out.

If the first film was When Harry Met Sally, this one is more The Hangover. The couples come to Las Vegas to celebrate a wedding and naturally get into all sorts of trouble in Sin City. What happens in Vegas might stay in Vegas, but that includes a number of what were good relationships prior to the visit.

The first film made eight times its budget worldwide, which is impressive no matter how you slice it. There is no reason to think this will not to the same–if not better.

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THE BATMAN Might Be On For 2019 With Affleck Directing

Posted on 19 June 2014 by William Gatevackes

batman-vs-superman-ben-affleck-batmobileI think I have El Mayimbe figured out. He sees a geek film issue that needs addressing, like, say, why wasn’t there a Batman film in the list of DC Comics films leaked weeks ago, goes to his “sources,” and comes back with an “exclusive.” Other news outlets pick up the story, Latino Review gets site hits, and everyone is happy. Well, everyone except the fans who believe El Mayimbe, and are disappointed when the rumors eventually turn out to be false, because, well, El Mayimbe doesn’t have that good of  a track record.

El Mayimbe is quoting sources saying that Ben Affleck will be starring as the Caped Crusader in The Batman, which is set to arrive in theaters in 2019. Affleck might also direct.

Of course, on the one hand, this seems entirely plausible. After all, Warners isn’t going to let one of their most successful comic book franchises sit idle when they create a DC Comics shared universe, are they?

But if this is true, why didn’t DC add it to the list we got a week or so back? This would have been pretty big news and would certainly be a good addition to that list. Also, Affleck will be 46 or 47 (depending on when the film comes out) in 2019, which, with the exception of Robert Downey Jr., is a bit long in the tooth to be playing a superhero.  Add to the fact that the films that he directed and acted in up to this point were more ensemble pieces where his role wasn’t really the showiest in the films. That wouldn’t be the case here.

El Mayimbe realizes the weakness of the rumor, or perhaps his less than stellar track record, because he couches the news with him saying that this “is what I’m hearing the studio’s plan is, which is of course subject to change.” So, remember kids. If this rumor doesn’t pan out, El Mayimbe wasn’t wrong. The studio simply changed its plans.

Developing.

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PROMETHEUS Scripter Jon Spaihts Writing Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE

Posted on 19 June 2014 by Rich Drees

DrStrange

Now that Marvel has decided on a director for their upcoming Doctor Strange film in the form of The Exorcism of Emily Rose helmer Scott Derrickson, the studio has now turned its eye towards getting a screenwriter in place. Towards that end they have signed Jon Spaihts, perhaps best known for supplying the first draft to Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus.

Deadline and Spaihts himself confirmed the news.

Previously, Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer had beenworking on a Doctor Strange screenplay for the studio. It hasn’t been reported if Spaihts is starting from scratch or reworking what has already been done.

Spaihts is a busy guy right now, as he is the assigned writer on Universal’s new Mummy film as well as Disney’s planned The Black Hole remake. He got his first big break in 2007 when his science-fiction screenplay Passengers landed on the Black List. Currently, that script has Keanu Reeves attached to it. It was on the strength of Passengers that Ridley Scott hired him to write the first draft of what would become the director’s 2012 prequel to his landmark science-fiction horror classic Alien.

Spaihts’s other script assignments will presumably take a backseat to Doctor Strange, as Marvel is looking to fast track the film into production. The studio currently has two release dates – July 8, 2016 and May 5, 2017 – staked out on the calendar with Doctor Strange being eyed for one of those dates. Casting the titular character, a surgeon who becomes the world’s protector against supernatural menaces becoming its Sorcerer Supreme, is currently underway with Thomas Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jared Leto all as being mooted on Marvel’s short list.

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Confirmation Coming In For Momoa As Aquaman

Posted on 17 June 2014 by Rich Drees

Aquaman

Independent confirmation is starting to be reported that corroborates initial reports from this past weekend that Jason Momoa has been cast to appear in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and the planned Justice League movie from Warner Brothers. The Hollywood Reporter is stating that their own sources are confirming what HitFix originally reported on Saturday, that the Game Of Thrones actor will appear as the undersea superhero Aquaman in the interconnected comic book adaptations.

The story itself has become widely reported over the last few days, but almost always being sourced back to the original HitFix article. The Reporter’s independent confirmation gives more credence to the news, even if Warner Brothers has not yet made any official announcement. Unless, of course, both sites’ sources are the same.

HitFix is reporting that Aquaman “will not have a major role in [Batman V Superman], but he will make an appearance, and it definitely sets him up to return once Snyder gets to Justice League.”

Interestingly, it has been now four days since HitFix’s story broke and Warner Brothers has neither confirmed nor denied the casting of Momoa. Does silence equal acquiescence or does it mean that the whole thing is beneath them to comment on. Odds are that we will find out in just a few weeks at San Diego Comic Con.

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International GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Trailer Shows A Film You Might Actually Want To See

Posted on 17 June 2014 by William Gatevackes

GuardiansoftheGalaxyLogoHumor has always been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but always in measured doses and not in such a way that it takes away from the story. Guardians of the Galaxy appeared to change that trend, as every bit of promotional material they gave us seem to indicate that we’d be getting a film that more resembled Welcome Back, Kotter than The Avengers.

Thankfully, Marvel has released an international trailer for GotG, and this version seems more in line with their previous output:

Brendon Connolly over at Bleeding Cool thinks this trailer has a Firefly feel to it, which I can see.  And I also agree with him that this is a good thing.

I’m also tickled by there being more Rocket Raccoon in this version. It seems like Marvel realizes that Rocket is going to be the biggest thing to come out of this movie, and is playing that up.

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Dueling Bowe Bergdahl Films In Development

Posted on 17 June 2014 by Rich Drees

BoweBergdahlOne of the more contentious news stories of the last couple of weeks has been the release of Army soldier/POW Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban in Afghanistan in exchange for five prisoners being held in the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. But as pundits and politicos inside the Beltway weigh in on the matter, there are two competing film projects based on Bergdahl’s story being readied in Hollywood.

The first of these projects is being developed by someone who is no stranger at taking military current event stories from that part of the world and turning them into compelling cinema – Kathryn Bigelow. The Zero Dark Thirty director is reteaming with that film’s screenwriter Mark Boal to explore the possibility of putting Bergdahl’s story onto the big screen.

Much like how they had tracked the story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden and were already in the process of writing a screenplay when the raid that took the terrorist leader’s life happened, Bigelow and Boal have been reportedly following the Bergdahl story for some time with the intention of turning it into a movie. The project would be produced under the banner of Boal’s new production company Page One, which receives funding from producer Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures. As such, Ellison, who also produced Zero Dark Thirty, has first dibs on the screenplay for this film.

If Bigelow and Boal do decide to go forward on this project, it will have to film after she wraps work on her next project, The True American. Gearing up for a possible shoot later this year, the film will tell the true life story of a Bangladeshi immigrant injured in a revenge attack by a self-proclaimed “American terrorist” following 9/11. After the man, who will be played by Tom Hardy, was sentenced to die by a Texas court, the immigrant met him face-to-face and eventually worked to free him from death row. However, Boal could certainly work on the screenplay for the Bergdahl project while Bigelow is on set with this film.

Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight has acquired the rights to the 2012 Rolling Stone article “America’s Last Prisoner Of War,” written by investigative journalist Michael Hastings. Hastings died in an automobile accident last year in Los Angeles, and his death spawned a number of conspiracy theories that were quickly debunked. Reportedly, In The Bedroom director Todd Field is attached to the project.

Bergdahl, raised and home schooled in Idaho by his devoutly religious parents, reportedly walked off the Army post he was stationed at in Afghanistan, only to be captured by the Taliban and held as the only US POW by them for five years. There are still many unanswered questions about Bergdahl and his actions, despite what many in the punditsphere seem to think. And as those questions are investigated and answered in the months to come, there will be some impact on how and even if these two projects go forward.

Via Deadline.

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