Friday, May 18, 2007

Movie Minesweeper - The Friday Night's Alright For Fighting Edition

- Disney are to release The Magic Gourd in China this summer. Their first co-production with the state-run China Film Group is a folktale that mixes live action and animation. I hope it sees the light of day in the West.

- Chow Yun Fat has given an exclusive Pirates interview to MoviesOnline.

- Nick and Marc Francis are behind the fair trade coffee documentary Black Gold. The film's official site has a rather informative Coffee Calculator widget.

- Ron Fricke is to make a sequel to Baraka. This calls for Real-D, surely?

- Jason Bateman had the idea for a film, now Joe Carnahan is writing it and will later direct it. It will be called The Remarkable Fellows - an appropriate description of the film's creators? I like the fact that the lead characters are described as 'part James Bond, part Ricky Jay'.

- Universal are making a cheap, straight-to-DVD prequel to Smokin' Aces and Joe Carnahan (him again) has agreed to 'godfather' it. His argument is that straight-to-DVD films can be unrated and therefore exempt from MPAA interference, and therefore massively excessive - try telling that to Blockbuster.

- Michelle Williams, Bryce Dallas Howard and Evan Rachel Wood are to play the Bronte sisters for Charles Sturridge. Two out of three ain't bad.

- Criss Angel is in the business of freaking minds, apparently. Not the market leader, but a nice little earner nonetheless. His current site will help you freak out your friends with a neat twist on viral video. Took some effort, so hats off for that.

- Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are reteaming. Hmmm. I love them both but, honestly, they're not exactly an indicator of quality - especially not when they appear in a film together. For a few seconds. Over coffee. Yeah, they've both been in plenty of awful films over the last 30 years or so, admit it. In this film, Righteous Men, they play New York Detectives hunting a serial killer. Either there's a Se7en (ahem) style twist on the cards or one of them is the killer, mark my words.

- Universal and Focus made the 5-picture deal that Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu have been shopping around. The only announced project is a soccer comedy, Rudo and Cursi, that will be directed by Carlos Cuaron and reteam Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna.

- Jeff Bridges has signed on to appear in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People with Simon Pegg and Kirsten Dunst. What was that I said about the Brontes? Two out of three ain't bad?

- Distant Horizons are to develop new Fu Manchu films, with producer Harry Alan Towers involved. Genuine grindhouse fans probably applauded at the mention of Towers' name, the rest of the world most likely shrugged.

- New characters introduced in the first season's finale of Heroes will apparently be instrumental in season two. Will that keep interest up over the summer hiatus? I lost interest between episodes one and two, let alone seasons, so maybe I'm not the best judge in this matter.

- According to Janet Charlton, the Olsen twins are to be Bond girls. It's okay Janet - if I got a completely preposterous e-mail claiming such a thing, I'd run it too. I might preface it with my doubts, but nonetheless, I wouldn't just disregard such a glorious piece of bunkum. It's far too entertaining.

- You can download a clip from Ocean's 13 right now. I liked it a lot, even though it is pretty darn slight. Call it or something to get it to work properly.

- Catherine Keener, Colin Firth and Hope Davis are the stars lined up for Michael Winterbottom's ghost story Genova.

- Rob Schneider is to direct a prison revenge film called Big Stan with David Carradine appearing as a martial arts master. Don't expect Tarantino, however, this is much more of a Deuce Bigalow affair.

- Eurovision winners Lordi are to make a horror film called Dark Floors. Who are the stars? Why, the band themselves, of course: Mr. Lordi, Amen the Unstoppable Mummy, Awa the Vampire Countess, Ox the Hellbull and Kita the Alien Manbeast. Will they be playing themselves, or can we look forward to credits like "Uthrox the Unholy Manglemeister..... Ox the Hellbull"?

- Variety have listed Lars von Trier's Antichrist as a hot pre-sales film at Cannes. Either a) his depression was a publicity stunt, b) his depression is expected to go away, or c) the money-back clause has been underlined in red. The above mentioned Dark Floors also made the cut.

- Gerard Butler is to star in Game for Crank-yankers Neveldine and Taylor. It sounds like exactly the right premise on which to hang more of the same. Count me out.

- Totally Spies is to totally become a feature film. Not live action, it appears.

- Phoebe in Wonderland isn't, thankfully, an Alice redux but a proper drama about recognisably human characters. Ben Barnz wrote the script and will direct, while Patricia Clarkson, Felicity Huffman and Bill Pullman will act. Phoebe is to be played by Elle Fanning, the less famous sister. For the record, I love Alice in Wonderland but am very, very tired of 'twists' and 'takes' on it - particularly Emo-come-Goth ones.

- Talking of Bill Pullman.... his Phillip K. Dick is to be called William J. Frick, and the film is now called Your Name Here. Pullman described the film as a kind of 'fantasia' about Dick's last days, so no doubt there are libel issues being ducked left, right and centre here.

- Sam Jackson is set to be in The Spirit as The Octopus. Wasn't he always off-frame in the original strips, with only his gloved hands and boots and so on ever appearing? Will Miller stick to this? I hope he's so bold.

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