27 July 2006

James Bond 22 in 2008

In what was reported just as James Bond 21, the reimaged Casino Royale, began production, has now been confirmed, as Sony appears to be returning to the 18 month turn-around in the Bond films. James Bond 22, rumored to have the working title of Risico (a story from Ian Fleming's For Your Eyes Only collection), will be released on May 2, 2008. Roger Michell is rumored to be at the helm.
Meanwhile, Casino Royale will hit theaters on November 21, has signed Audioslave and Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell to sing the title song, You Know My Name.
The Bond films have been known to use popular singers to belt out those opening credit songs, but have failed to generate any big hits since the final Bond films of Roger Moore. None of the four Brosnan films were huge hits, and the two Dalton ones remain unmemorable.
Whether this new song can be as huge as For Your Eyes Only, Nobody Does it Better or even the cement mixer song by Duran Duran for A View to a Kill, only time will tell.

Fletch is coming back to the silver screen

Chevy Chase was never great at picking his film roles. Beyond his first feature, Foul Play, his only other good films was co-starring roll in Caddyshack and the first Vacation film. But there was two other films he did, little seen these days, but I liked them. In 1985, he starred as Fletch, the scrappy invesitgative reporter in the novels of the great Gregory McDonald. Brought to the big screen by the late director Michael Ritchie, Chase was at his best as the wise cracking, disguise loving LA reporter out to expose a drug ring. The 1989 sequel, Fletch Lives, was not that great, but still showcased Chase's best talent: slapstick and nonsequtior humor and many, many mocking wise-cracks.
Since then, the film series has remaind in limbo, but it has been announced that Bill Lawrence, creator of one my favorite shows, the under appreciated Scrubs, has signed on with the Weinstein Co. to write and direct a new film, Fletch Won.
While no casting has been announced, Lawrence seems to want only one person to play the irreverant reporter/slueth: Zach Braff, the star of Scrubs. Lawrence told Reuters that Braff "is perfect for the role. I'm going to use all my pull trying to make him do it." Lawrence aims to give this entry, an origin tale based on 1985's Fletch Won, more edge, likening it to Beverly Hills Cop, where there was a real sense of jeopardy."

26 July 2006

Monster House

A long time ago, Disney held the mantel when it came to animation. During the late 1970's and 1980's, it went to pieces, but there were not many studios producing the quality films. Disney, of course, regained it back in 1991. But those years are behind them again. Still, with the aide of Pixar, Disney has maintained a high profile. However, with out the CGI company, Disney continues to fall behind.

For the most part, the reason it has failed to get a hit is because they’ve lost the ability to tell a story. They’ve let the bottom line and investors run the company, parading out direct-to-DVD sequels to their most classic films like candy in a vending machine, failing to understand that what makes a movie -animation or live action - is the story.

That leads to Monster House, one of the best, funniest and well written story not to come from Disney. This animated film uses the same technology as Polar Express, but the motion capture and the other technology in the film is not as important as the story and believability of the kid actors. This solid story telling is what makes the film so entertaining.

The voice talent is excellent, led by Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner and Spencer Locke, with supporting rolls going to the excellent Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, Kathleen Turner and John Heder. Directed by Gil Kenan, the film never drags and will keep kids, and adults, entertained.

Executive Produced by Robert Zemekis and Steven Speilberg, I did pickup on at least three “in jokes” from previous Zemekis films (Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Castaway), but unlike, say the Shrek films which rely on many pop culture references, this film has little or none at all.

25 July 2006

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut

Warner Bros. has officially announced -along with the 8 disc box set of the first 4 Superman films - the alternate (or true version, depending on your point of view) of Superman II. In a seperate release, the new 122 minute version, supervised by director Richard Donner, will be the original take on what Superman II was intended to be.

Long story short, Donner was fired before he could finish the sequel. But because of DGA guide lines -because so much of the sequel had been filmed- Donner's name would still have to be on it. The Salkind's decided to scrap what had been filmed and reworked the script with Richard Lester now at the helm. But they ran into trouble when actor's Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and John Williams, who created the memorable theme, pulled an audible and refused to return to refilm their scenes and score the film (and along the way, Director of Photography GefforeyUnsworth died, also, meaning a loss of residuals to his family).

Forced to keep the Donner directed Hackman in the film due to the script, Marlon Brando was dropped and his lines went to Susanna York. Williams Superman theme was used, but the score was done by Ken Thorne.

Now, after years of being kept hidden, Donner's version will see the light this fall.

According to the press release, Donner's cut will finally restore Brando's role, which was filmed and cut from the film, that deepened the bond between father and son. Also included will be scenes that amplify the legend and lore of Superman, including a variety of Lois Lane schemes to unmask Clark Kent as Superman. Included in this version will be enhanced and completed visual effects and a newly-recored commentary by director Richard Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz. There is also a new featurette -Superman II: Restoring the Vision - and several additional scenes not included in the new cut.

Both DVD boxed set and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut will be released on November 28, along with the new film, Superman Returns (which will be the theatrical version. Director Bryan Singer has said, an extended version -amounting maybe close to 45 minutes, will released sometime in the future).

22 July 2006

Books of 2006: Part 9 and 10: Icon and Valley of the Dolls

So, I finished Icon a long time ago, and basically waited to post a note about. So sue me. Anyway, liked Icon, but found the book took a long road to get to its point. It was also marketed in the same catagory as The Da Vinci Code, but really its just an old-fashion World War II thriller set in 2000.

I have always wanted to read Valley of the Dolls, if only because the movie version -considered by many to be a misfire - was camp at its highest.
Still, Susann is credited for starting the whole mass-market approach to book publishing, writing a scathing look at Hollywood. Its been reported that Susann based her three main female characters on Judy Garland (Neely), Grace Kelly (Anne) and Marilyn Monroe (Jennifer) and after learning of that, it really made the book interesting for me. Plus, while it was published 41 years ago, its tale of drug addiction, bed hopping and stars out of conrtol is still revelant today.

Still, I could see why many were shocked with what happenend in this book. While we were coming out of golden years after the end of World War II and sexual reveloution was upon us, 1965 was still, for some, a halcyon days. It was decades ahead of its times, really. No one in 1965 thought things like that happened, but they did and continue the same way today.

Her book, in 2006, is not as shocking, not as surprising, but it is a terribly good read. This is the grandmother of all beach books, but it is also a brilliantly written book that shines the light into the dark corners of fame.

08 July 2006

Meeting Ed Sanders at my Borders Book Store

So, the other day I'm getting ready to leave work, and end up helping a guy find a book. While I'm doing that, I see another customer close by, looking around, obviously trying to find a section. As I take the other person to where his book is, I tell the second guy who's looking around that I'm be right with him.

And when he speaks, it confirms with his accent that I know who this second guy is.

Ever since I relocated to California, my family asks if I've met anyone famous. No, being close to LA, I always thought it was a possability, but out in Rancho?

With my roommate, I've meet several stars at autograph signings. These people are mostly the ones who were popular during the 70's and 80's with some thrown in from the 90's.

I mean, a few weeks ago I met the very nice parents of sci fi author Barbara Hambly, who I met 20 years ago.

Anyway, back to Wednesday. So, after helping the first guy out, the second guy -who I now know is Ed Sanders from ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - as about some interior decorating books, as he's building a home in a nearby town.

I show Ed the section, but on the way I ask him how the show is doing and are they filming for the next season. We chat and explains production was beginning in a few days and this would be his last season on the show. I asked about the schedule, and he said that was the main reason he was making this coming season his last. Gone for 10 months out of the year, he said he's missing his son growing up.

He said he was an actor, and wanted to get back to that. First thing I noticed was that Ed is taller than most actors I've met ove the last 10 months. I'm tall, about 6'3" and usally tower over many of these actors. I'm one of the tallest in the crew of Hidden Frontier.

Plus, he was just as hot in real life as on TV. Dressed in a T Shirt and shorts with his sexy feet in flip flops. And just as sweet. While we did not have the book he was looking for, I did find him some that was close. I left him to his search.

So, my real first in counter with a current Hollywood TV personality.

03 July 2006

Star Magazines' pointless cover story

So, I'm at Stater Bros. yesterday, buying some groceries. Now, I generally pay little attention to the rags at the check-out. People Magazine, US Weekly and the tabloids are all nothing but useless trash. The lady in front of me -who was with her 20 something daughter -had just bought a People Magazine and while the groceries are more important, all the daughter was concerned about was the People.
Anyways, the tabloid mag, The Star had a front cover ddevoted to skinny Hollywood girls, and pointing out the obvious that nimrods like Nichole Ritchie are so thin they look like corpses.
I picked it up, for no reason really. Then I opened the cover to the first page, and there the Star is showing a picture of Reese Witherspoon with her kids, and complaining on how heavy she is.
These damn, stupid, pointless magazines, that damn , stupid teenage girls think are their bibles, read this and see a conflicting image. And the Star -which looks to be trying to make a statement about skinny actresses - then says another actress is too heavy seems to defeat its purpose of the cover story.