Tag Archive | "Dan Aykroyd"

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New Releases: May 9, 2014

Posted on 08 May 2014 by William Gatevackes

Neighborsposter1. Neighbors (Universal, 3,279 Theaters, 96 Minutes, Rated R):  Back in 1981, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd co-starred in a film called Neighbors. That film featured a suburban man whose peaceful life was interrupted when a wild neighbor moved in (In a reversal of type, Aykroyd played the wild card, Belushi played the nebbish suburbanite). Audienceswere expecting a wild and ribald film from the pair. What they got was a weird and creepy big budget art film.

It’s looks like that audience might be getting what they expected out of this version. The plots are similar, only this time, it’s a frat house that’s moving into suburbia. Seth Rogen plays a new father who must battle with a fraternity led by Zac Efron that has moved in next door.

It does provide an interesting take on the whole battling neighbors genre. But would a frat house really move into the suburbs? And wouldn’t Rogen be partially to blame for living so close to a university?

legendofozposter2. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (Clarius Entertainment, 2,641 Theaters, 88 Minutes, Rated PG): Speaking of Belushi and Aykroyd, here is Dan partnered with John’s brother Jim–in an animated film. Would this have been John Belushi’s fate if he lived? Gawd, I hope not.

So, this is yet another Wizard of Oz themed film, one of many that might be coming after the success of Oz, the Great and Powerful last year. The film is a sequel to that film, in a way, as Dorothy has to return to Oz to save it and her friends from an evil jester.

I’m not a big fan of the Oz books, but I don’t think that plot was in one. That just adds to the low-rent feel of the film, starting with the studio to the cast to the plot and, well, there are other, higher-rent options out there. So. we’ll see if this dies a quick death or draws in some people this weekend.


momsnightoutposter3. Mom’s Night Out (TriStar, 1,044 Theaters,98 Minutes, Rated PG): I am always fascinated when movie I have heard of somehow gets a wide release. You know, I do write for a film site. I keep up on things.

Of course, the poorly photoshopped poster doesn’t really tell us much (seriously, are any two of those people even in the same room when the picture was taken?), except that it might be a distaff version of The Hangover. Although, the most famous names (and they aren’t all that famous) are relegated to second billing and in the background of the poster lends itslef to a vanity project.

However, a little digging shows this is the latest entry in the religious film genre, which is giving us about one film a month (and they say that there are too many superhero films). The film follows a bunch of church-going mothers who try to have a night out of a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant away from their kids.  Of course, things don’t go the way they plan.

If this was a normal movie, that would result in drunken debauchery and more than one member of the group being passed out. Instead,we get a stolen minivan and a husband on the way to the hospital. I think they were going to have the women get dessert, but feared a PG-13 rating too much.

I guess there is a Christian message in there somewhere. But I don’t like the “Trojan Horse” approach of putting it out there under the radar on Mother’s Day weekend. I’m sure there might be some moms out there who spent their own “Mom’s Night Out ” on this film without knowing what their getting going in.

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Dan Aykroyd Joins James Brown Biopic GET ON UP

Posted on 01 November 2013 by Rich Drees

Dan Aykroyd has been cast in the upcoming James Brown biopic Get On Up being directed by Tate Taylor. Chadwick Boseman will be playing the Godfather of Soul as the film charts his rise to stardom as well as struggles with addiction. Aykroyd will be playing Ben Bart, the president of Universal Attractions, the agency that represented Brown for over 40 years.

Also in the cast are Jill Scott as Brown’s wife and Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Lennie James. Production is set to start later this month for an October 17, 2014 release.

Brown, of course, famously appeared with Aykroyd in 1980’s classic musical comedy The Blues Brothers and its lesser received sequel Blues Brothers 2000.

Rather than just embed the video for Brown’s spotlight musical number from the film, “The Old Landmark”, I’ve instead chosen an audio rarity posted by YouTube user basetapes, which was recorded live to 24 track tape on the set of the film and features the complete sermon that Brown’s character Rev. Cleophus James delivers.

Via The Hollywood Reporter.

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Emile Hirsch To Play John Belushi In Biopic

Posted on 28 October 2013 by Rich Drees

EmileHirschEmile Hirsch has been signed to take the lead in screenwriter-turned-director Steve Conrad’s biopic of the legendary comic actor John Belushi.

Last week when it was announced that Conrad was going to be making his feature film debut with the project, it was reported that Hirsch and Adam Devine were the two actors in contention for the role.

Also being reported for the first time is that Conrad’s screenplay is based of the book Belushi co-authored by the comic actor’s widow Judy Belushi Pisano. She and Belushi’s friend and on screen comic partner Dan Aykroyd are executive producers on the project. Filming is set to start next spring in New York.

To say that Hirsch is a rather interesting choice for the role, seems to be a bit of an understatement. I don’t think he looks like Belushi all that much and his build certainly doesn’t match the heavy set comic’s frame. Perhaps he’ll be eating lots of Little Chocolate Donuts to get into shape for the role?

Via Deadline.

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Aykroyd Reveals Some GHOSTBUSTERS 3 Plot Details

Posted on 20 May 2013 by Rich Drees

Is Ghostbusters 3 inching its way towards existence? Perhaps, if only through sheer force of will on co-writer and co-star Dan Aykroyd’s part. While on Larry King Now this weekend, Aykroyd sounded just as enthused as he has always in talking about the project, so much so that he even spilled a few more details about the film’s plot that he had not previously divulged.

It’s based on new research that’s being done in particle physics by the young men and women at Columbia University… Basically, there’s research being done that I can say that the world or the dimension that we live in, our four planes of existence, length, height, width and time, become threatened by some of the research that’s being done. Ghostbusters — new Ghostbusters — have to come and solve the problem.

Akyroyd also stated that although co-star Bill Murray has expressed no interest in returning for the threequel, the door is still open.

There will be a hole for him. If Billy wants to walk in the door and be in the movie, we will find a place.

Another actor Aykroyd promised would return from a previous Ghostbusters adventure was King himself.

Of course, we’re going to be doing you in your new format as you comment on what’s happening in Manhattan up there at Morningside Heights. It’s going to be quite a spectacular scene once the stuff starts to break.

Will Aykroyd get the film into production in order to make the original’s 30th anniversary in 2014? We’ll see.

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Dan Aykroyd Still Optimistic About GHOSTBUSTERS 3

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Rich Drees

I really want to see a Ghostbusters 3 and it continues to sound like Dan Aykroyd love to make that movie for me and everyone else out there. It’s just gotten to a point where I am starting to think that we are never going to though. But Aykroyd hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for the project, bless him.

Speaking with ABC News while out promoting his vodka label, Aykroyd once again offered up an update as to the status of the screenplay being written for the long-in-development project.

I feel re-encouraged, reinvigorated by the pages that I have seen. I know that we’re expecting half of the screenplay to be completed very soon. It should be into production by the fall and be shooting by the new year. I won’t say anything, it’s very exciting. The Higgs boson and the particle theories, gluons and mesons, that really gives us a scientific base in terms of our fictional storytelling, to open up to another dimension and have something horrible come through.

Now we know that in the third film the original Ghostbusters are supposed to hand-off the business to a younger set of scientists-turned-paranormal extreminators, but this is the first time in which Aykroyd has hinted at what kind of menace the group may be facing.

Aykroyd also goes on to admit that the one cast member who has been the main obstacle in keeping the film from happening, Bill Murray, never did read the last screenplay draft that was sent over to him.

I don’t think he read it, because, you know what? If he’d read the second draft that I completely rewrote, he would be doing the movie. If he’d read that draft. The part I wrote for him.

So, will we see cameras rolling on Ghostbusters 3 come next January? I would love to, but right now I am not betting the rent on it.

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Aykroyd States GHOSTBUSTERS 3 Is “Closer Than We Ever Have Been”

Posted on 06 December 2012 by Rich Drees

We’ve been chronicling for a while now Dan Aykroyd’s attempts to get a third Ghostbusters film made. Over the last few years, he has overseen some changes in writers on the project as well as franchise co-star Bill Murray’s “Maybe I will, maybe I won’t” tap dance over his return for a threequel. And in a new interview with Esquire, Aykroyd sounds as if he has done all he could to get the project’s script the best that it can be and that now the ball is in Sony’s court but that the window of opportunity may be closing.

At this point, I think we’re closer than we ever have been. And because of the ever-shifting sands and nature of the motion-picture business, I will just say that hopefully, at some point, it will be morphing into what is known in the business as a [Aykroyd mimes air quotes] “production number XP39789.” Then I will begin to rent cars, get hotel rooms, and bill for writing. But that point hasn’t come. All my work has been gratis to this point, as Ivan’s has, and I’m hoping that I can get that production number set up in L.A. and help everyone bring the movie to fruition, as the originator and creator of the concept. If it does not happen, the life of Dan Aykroyd and his family and friends will be quite full without Ghostbusters 3.

In the interview, Aykroyd also addresses some of the obstacles that have blocked the progress of the film, most notable the need for Murray to approve of any sequel script before things could move forward.

I have one-fifth of the voice, along with the partners and the other owner of the property, the picture company, and Ivan, Billy [Murray], and myself, and Harold [Ramis]. We all have to sign off on it unanimously — uh, I’m not sure Billy does anymore, since he abrogated his rights by sort of, by saying, two years ago he said, “I don’t want to be involved,” and the picture company I think had some clause in there that if he actually passed on the third of fourth offer, he no longer has a view of the franchise. So, that’s for the lawyers to decide. Of course, I’d love to have Billy call me tomorrow and say, “Let’s go to work and start writing.”

Also of interest to fans, and I would assume the studio who would probably love for the film to be just the start of a rejuvenated franchise, Aykroyd states that the screenplay they have now leads “organically” to potential sequels, including one that would revisit his previously abandoned Ghostbusters In Hell story idea.

Man-hell-ttan, and the Ghostbusters in hell, would be so solid, but we gotta get maybe one or two made before that. But, oh, wow… I wrote that with Tom Davis, my writing partner, recently deceased, who wrote Coneheads with me and stuff on Saturday Night Live. There’s classic Tom Davis lines and funny stuff in there, really it’s probably the most humorous of all the Ghostbusters scripts that have generated in that last little while. But we’ll put the humor into this next one. It’s gotta be funny, or it’s not worth doing. It can be scary, it can be Ghostbusters, it can be the new franchise, the new people, but if it’s not funny …

Head over to the Esquire site to read the whole interview.

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Is GHOSTBUSTERS 3 On Hold Due To Sony’s Financial Woes?

Posted on 31 October 2012 by Rich Drees

Ghostbusters 3 just can’t seem to get a break.

Just when it seems like everything is set up for the long awaited threequel to shoot next summer, financial problems at studio Sony’s parent company may delay that start for several more months.

The Hollywood Reporter has a story that addresses some of the rumors that have been circulating that Sony Studios may be up for sale, with their chief executive Kaz Hirai stating that there is absolutely no truth to the gossip.

Yet the Reporter’s story goes on to cite a number of sources within the studio that are telling them that there is a virtual production freeze in place through the end of their fiscal year, March 31. During that time all projects in development are to be scrutinized for their potential profitability and the ones deemed unworthy will be deep-sixed.

This includes Ghostbusters 3, which the article specifically calls out as probably having its production start pushed back to fall. That is, if the studio decides it still wants to make the film at all.

And therein lies the rub. We know that Ghostbusters star Bill Murray is not coming back for the third film, but in order to get the project greenlit, franchise creator and co-star Dan Aykroyd and director Ivan Reitman had to have done some pretty strong convincing of the studio executives to go ahead without Murray. Will these same executives change their mind now that there may be additional pressure on them from their corporate overlords?

Perhaps Ghostbusters fans can get some sympathy from James Bond fans, who found themselves waiting four years while MGM straightened out their money problems before the studio could give the go ahead to the next Bond adventure, Skyfall.

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GHOSTBUSTERS 3 Just Might Be Shooting Next Summer

Posted on 18 October 2012 by Rich Drees

There’s a phrase in journalism known as “burying the lede” in which a writer takes what should be an important and highlighted piece of information and sticks it deep into a story where it might get overlooked. That happened today with a story from Deadline about director Ivan Reitman having his football film Draft Day which is to star Kevin Costner postponed in order for him to shoot the long awaited Ghostbusters 3 next summer.

Reitman and partner Tom Pollock developed the Moneyball-esque Draft Day, the fictional account of the events that take place on a draft day for the perennial also-ran Buffalo Bills. Costner would play the team’s GM, but timing is a major challenge for this film.
Paramount chose not to make it in the small window that Reitman has before he is expected to finally get the long-gestating Ghostbusters reboot in front of the cameras next summer for Sony Pictures (sans Bill Murray)…

It would be tough to find room to squeeze in the football film and finish before Reitman goes back to Ghostbusters duty.

Lots to decipher out of this small bit, the least of which is that it appears as if Sony is serious enough about making a new Ghostbusters film that they are willing to begin arranging their production schedule around the project. So that’s definitely a positive sign.

And a summer 2013 shoot would definitely position the film for a release in 2014, just in time for the original film’s 30th anniversary. What better time to release a new film, especially one that will purportedly pass on the franchise to a new, younger set of paranormal removal specialists?

We should note that the report does use the word “reboot.” But was it just a misused word for returning to the franchise or was Reitman more than just speculating last month when he stated “I think Ghostbusters probably should be remade”? I have a feeling that that is not happening and the writer just had a moment of bad word choice.

Finally, though, it does appear as if star Bill Murray will not be coming back for this third go-round. Aykroyd had stated before if Murray wasn’t interested in coming back that they would move forward without him. Murray has always been the main hold up on a third film due to a contract clause from the original that gave him a vote on moving forward with any sequel. His dissatisfaction with how Ghostbusters 2 turned out has been the major factor in his reluctance to come back for a third time.

And with Murray’s absence it looks as if we’re back to the same two questions about the film we had the last time it appeared as if he wasn’t going to be participating – Will they recast his role or will his character not appear at all and his absence be explained away with a few lines of dialogue.

Of course, there always remains the biggest question – Will people want to see a Murray-less Ghostbusters film?

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Is GHOSTBUSTERS 3 Actually A Remake?

Posted on 25 September 2012 by Rich Drees

Is the much talked about Ghostbusters sequel not quite what everyone is thinking it will be?

While doing the publicity rounds for the blu-ray release of his movie Dave, Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman was of course asked about the ongoing struggle to get a third film for the franchise together. Here’s what he told Collider –

I think Ghostbusters probably should be remade, if we can get it all right. We’re working on it, so we’ll see.

There was no follow up from Collider on this statement, so all we are left is some speculation.

Have Reitman and Ghostbusters writer and co-star Dan Aykroyd given up on a third installment and are now looking at remaking the original film, presumably with a cast of young talent? It is not such a far-fetched idea, considering that one of the main sticking points to getting a third film going has been co-star Bill Murray’s reluctance to strap on his proton pack one more time. Remember that at one time Aykroyd himself once mooted the possibility of moving forward on a new film without Murray’s participation. A relaunch of the franchise would certainly be in line with that notion.

But I have to say that a flat out remake of Ghostbusters just sounds like a terrible idea. The film is a classic for several reasons, the least of which were an incredible screenplay and the incredible chemistry between the entire cast. There simply doesn’t seem to me to be a way in which one could improve on wither of those two aspects and trying to sounds like you would just be setting yourself up to disappoint people.

Here’s hoping that Reitman actually misspoke and that they are still working on a straight-up third film and not some sort of remake/reboot fiasco.

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Posted on 12 August 2012 by William Gatevackes

The Campaign tries to be two films at once. On one hand, it tries be the typical silly Will Ferrell man-child behaving badly comedy. On the other, it tries to be a bitingly satiric look at the way America engages in politics. Unfortunately, one is often at odds with the other.

Will Ferrell plays Cam Brady, a four-term Democratic North Carolina Congressman who is a lock for a fifth term, as he is running unopposed. That is until a sex scandal reveals a chink in his armor. The Koch…er…I mean… Motch Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow, both excellent in way too small roles) see this as an opportunity to depose Brady and install their own man, Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) the awkward head of the local tourist bureau, who they can manipulate into changing trade, tax and zoning laws to their benefit.

A series of unfortunately bad gaffes by Brady makes the race into, well, a race. Once Huggins becomes a serious threat, Brady’s ultra-competitive side comes out, and the campaign turns really nasty really fast.

The film is directed by Jay Roach, who directed the Austin Powers films and the first two Meet the Parents films, but also the recent HBO films Recount (based on the controversy after the 2000 U.S. Presidential Elections) and Game Change (based on the 2008 McCain/Palin campaign), so he should have been the best person to marry the silly with the political satire. But he never reaches a tone that satisfies both.

Ferrell and Galifiankis play their roles broadly. Ferrell is doing a slight variation of the same arrogant doofus he always plays in all of his films, but that works for this role. Galifinakis starts off the movie playing Huggins with a  Mr. Rogers/Mr. Garrison from South Park affectation that is a bit over the top and grating. But as the film progress, and as Huggins in molded into the ideal candidate, his performance gets better.

Where the problems in tone come into play is when we compare the candidates’ respective campaign managers. Dylan McDermott plays Huggins’ manager Tim Wattley with oily precision. His Wattley is part-ninja, part-Martha Stewart, part-Mephistopheles. He’s a sexier, more dangerous Karl Rove and, as such, is pitch perfect for both the satire and the goofiness.

Jason Sudekis also does a good job as Brady’s campaign manager, Mitch Wilson, although his character is out of place in this film. The character is written as the voice of reason/moral center and, therefore, straight man for Farrell’s character. Sudekis plays him as an ordinary, everyday Joe. This comes of as being severely underplayed compared to Farrell’s wild antics as Brady. The character seem to be visiting this film from another movie.

This is indicative of the main flaw of the film. The film wants to say something serious about the state of American politics. But those statements are shoehorned into a three-ring circus. The Motch brothers are supposed to represent the way the rich and powerful, the billionaires and corporations, have taken away the power from the American people. But the way they pay for Marty’s election, groom him into a winner, and set themselves up to reap the benefits when he gets elected loses some of its power when their grand, evil master plan is so ridiculously absurd (they want to move their Chinese sweat shops, complete with all its employees and their .50 an hour pay rate, over to land they own in Marty & Cam’s district so they can “save on shipping costs.” No, really).

To the film’s credit, it makes no distinction between the Democrats or the Republicans in showing how the political machine is broken. Cam is a Democrat and Marty the Republican, but each shows aspects of the other’s ideology and each is corrupted by the power elected office holds. But the film takes this idea to unbelievably ludicrous levels as the competition between the two loses all sense of reality. Instead of satire, the film devolves into farce. But it keeps the illusion that it really is satire. And that just doesn’t work.

There are laughs throughout, including one especially good joke at McDermott’s expense in the scene that runs during the closing credits. But, all in all, the film’s lack of consistent tone represents a missed opportunity of attaining either satiric commentary or goofy mindless fun.

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