This Blog Has Been Glanced at This Many Times:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Writer's Strike Ending Soon?

Unconfirmed reports from some insiders are claiming that the Writer's Guild have reached (or are reaching) an agreement with the AMPTP. Is this the end? Some say the strike will be over within a week.

I know I have not posted much about the strike on my blog, but frankly, I just didn't see the need too. Unless there was something different than "the WGA and AMPTP are resuming talks this week" I didn't care to mention anything. There had to be some greater shift in direction, i.e. The strike had to end in order for me to be interested. If the reports are true the end may be soon.

I want to follow that up by saying, I support the Writers Guild and I hope they get what they've deserved for such a long time. I just didn't care about the talks because, lets face it, the only way they will end is if the Writer's Guild gets a fair amount of what they want. So the end is not just good for audiences wanting new material, but surely it will be good for the WGA as well.

Here's a full report on the current negotiations, by Lynn Elber, from Yahoo:

LOS ANGELES - "A breakthrough in contract talks has been reached between Hollywood studios and striking writers and could lead to a tentative deal as early as next week, a person close to the ongoing negotiations said Saturday.

The two sides breached the gap Friday on the thorniest issues, those concerning compensation for projects distributed via the Internet, said the person, who requested anonymity because he were not authorized to speak publicly.

A second person familiar with the talks, also speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to comment publicly, said that significant progress had been made and a deal might be announced within a week.

The people did not provide specific details on the possible agreement. Major points of contention include how much and when writers are paid for projects delivered online after they've been broadcast on TV.

The studios have been insisting that programs be streamed online for a certain period, deemed promotional, during which writers would forgo residuals. When payment kicked in, the companies sought to limit it to a flat $1,200 fee, while the guild wanted a percentage of a distributor's revenue.

The Writers Guild of America did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the trade group representing the studios, declined comment, citing a news blackout agreed to by both sides during the talks.

Guild leaders have said they are fighting for a piece of the future, reflecting the widespread belief that Internet-delivered entertainment fare would inevitably claim an increasing and perhaps even dominant market share.

Although work remains to be done on elements of the agreement, prospects for a deal appeared solid, said those close to the situation. The tentative agreement would have to be approved by a majority of guild members.

The guild, whose 3-month-old strike has brought the entertainment industry to a standstill, began informal talks with top media company executives Jan. 23 in an attempt to reach a new deal covering governing work for film, TV and digital media.

Negotiations between the guild and alliance negotiators collapsed Dec. 7 after the alliance demanded that proposals for unionization of animation and reality shows be taken off the table. The guild refused.

During the negotiations impasse, the Directors Guild of America began its own talks with studio chiefs and swiftly reached a tentative deal that was announced Jan. 17 and covered some of the digital media issues key to the writers guild.

Major studio executives called on the writers guild to begin informal talks, which essentially are standing in for formal negotiations, according to those familiar with the situation.

The guild extended its own olive branch before the informal talks started by withdrawing the reality-animation unionization proposal and by deciding to keep pickets away from the Grammy Awards. It has since decided to allow the music ceremony to proceed with full union support.

However, the fate of the Feb. 24 Academy Awards has remained in question, with the guild so far declining to grant its blessing to the show. A union refusal to cooperate with the Golden Globes decimated the ceremony, which was boycotted by supportive actors.

Oscar organizers and producers have vowed they will stage some type of show, with or without union support — but a writers guild deal would allow this ceremony to proceed in its full, star-studded glory, providing an invaluable promotional showcase for movie studios and their films."

Vanderbilt on Spider-Man 4

It isn't much, but it's noteworthy. For those of you who missed this post:, James Vanderbilt ("Zodiac") is the new writer for the Spider-Man franchise. Though no stars, director or release date has been set for the film, Vanderbilt has given fans an update on his progress in the midst of the writer's strike:

"I went in on that. I really loved the films. It's sort of an odd process because you're sitting down with the people who made the first three and going, 'Well let me tell you what to do.'" Vanderbilt said, "But I was lucky enough that they were interested in me and I'm a huge fan of those movies, so we closed that up right before the strike. Once the strike's over I get to go to work."

So it appears he at least has an idea of what he wants to do for the fourth Spider-Man. I'm a big fan of these films too. (Yes, even the third film you babies.) But the idea of "Zodiac's" writer giving the superhero a shot is very exciting. I hope whoever helms the movie does the script justice. It's unlikely to be Raimi seeing as he has other projects on his plate right now.

Yet More Indy!

Does the warehouse look familiar? It should. Jones is climbing the crates in the warehouse shown at the end "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Wonder what he could be doing there? Can't wait to find out though! Click to enlarge:

Stallone Kills Rambo

"Rambo" looked like it was going to be the beginning of a new host of films centering around the character. Recently Producer Harvey Weinstein started talking about possibilities of a sequel and before that Sylvester Stallone was talking about taking the character in to different territory:

"...I think a challenge would be to take the character which has been perceived mostly in a realistic vein and add another element of the surreal that would actually take the audience into a slightly different genre. It’s not like I’m going to turn it into a full on Broadway musical starring the Muppets, but it is ambitious.”

Stallone's idea got a lot of the fandom stirring and interested. What could Rambo do next? But before we know it Stallone throws this quote out:

“This is the last Rambo just as Rocky Balboa is the last Rocky. I can’t go any further. It was a miracle that it even got done.”

Stallone has two projects he'll be directing soon; a remake of "Death Wish" and "Poe." I'm wondering if he just wanted to get those underway or if something recently occured to prompt this decision. Either way I'm not too affected. "Rambo," was 'meh' at best and I can't see Stallone taking the character any further despite his first quote above. So it looks like farwell to Rambo for good.

(Until there's a remake... ugh..)

Friday, February 1, 2008

'Nother Indy 4 Photo

Is that Kate Blanchett? Better believe it. Click to enlarge:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Cloverfield 2" Rising

Matt Reeves, director of the outstanding monster-smash "Cloverfield," is currently in talks with Paramount to do a sequel. It looks like Paramount wants a sequel as soon as possible, though Reeves has also made a deal with Greenstreet Films to direct "The Invisible Woman."

I would guess it depends on how fast Abrams and his team can get ideas together for Reeves to direct a sequel-- It's likely that the "Cloverfield" sequel will be Reeves's next movie, but if he doesn't get the material in time "The Invisible Woman" could come first. Then there's the writer's strike of course. No one is sure how that will end at this point. In any case, I'm all up for a "Cloverfield" sequel. The first movie breathed new life in to the giant monster genre and was a powerful metaphor for today's concerns. Bring on another Reeves! I sure can't wait.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Freddy Series Getting Remade

Jesus, please come back soon... The Freddy series is now getting a restart. The legendary movie series (which is only "legendary because of it's large fanbase) will be getting a whole new series developed by Platinum Dunes. ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre")

No writers will be hired until the writer's strike ends. The prospect of a remake seems scarier than any of the films themselves. Maybe this news is just a new way of marketing a sequel? Eh...

Romanek Leaves "Wolfman"

Mark Romanek was slated to direct the upcoming "Wolfman" feature staring Anthony Hopkins and Benicio del Toro. However, just weeks before production, the director reportedly dropped out due to creative differences.

Universal claims the project is still in good shape and a new director will be announced shortly. I'm getting flashbacks of how X-Men 3 went through two different directors before it landed one that completely ruined the movie. Lets hope Universal doesn't get just "anyone" and actually put someone in the director's chair that can ditch out something good.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

REVIEW - "Rambo" (2008)

Over a year ago “Rocky Balboa” arrived in theaters to finish off the series once and for all. Sylvester Stallone delivered the best Rocky since the original and finished the series in a proper manner. It was relevant, it had depth, and above all it had the heart of the original “Rocky.” No longer was it a typical boxing movie, but it made us believe, once again, that a single man can be one in a million. After “Rocky Balboa’s” success I suppose it was only natural that Stallone would flee back to other things that made him a star. But where’s the relevance in “Rambo?” What more can we get from this character born of the Vietnam War? Not much. Unlike Rocky, Rambo isn’t a character with an inspiring legacy that needed a strong close. He is tragic in the original movie, “First Blood,” and at peace in “Rambo: First Blood Part II.” An awful third movie was made, but that’s easy to forget. So the question I ask when I look at the poster for “Rambo” is, “Why?”

John Rambo now resides in Thailand. He makes a living by catching snakes and offering transportation on his boat. When missionaries ask to be transported to Burma he reluctantly agrees. Of course Burma is in the middle of one of the longest civil wars in history and violent Burmese soldiers cut the mission trip short. Rambo is then called in to action to rescue the survivors with a small group of mercenaries.

It’s not real thick on plot, but none of the Rambo films have been so that’s okay. What isn’t okay is the direction Stallone took this film. Does he want us to take this movie seriously or not? Is this a film to spark awareness or just a big action romp? As far as I’m concerned the film is overly violent. I do not wish to watch children being impaled by the ends of guns, innocent Burmese families being shot down and women being raped in what turns out to be a pretty flimsy action movie. This isn’t “Schindler’s List” or “Saving Private Ryan.” It’s a sequel to two-decade-old action franchise. Granted, the Rambo movies have always been criticized for their violence, but it seems those movies had more tact than “Rambo.” An action movie this typical shouldn’t pretend to be some great war tale.

Another thing the early Rambo movies had was motive. In the original film Rambo was disoriented by his Vietnam experience. In the second movie he found himself at peace through fighting. The new film is similar to the latter, but how many times do we have to watch Rambo come to face his destiny? He’s a great warrior. He’s meant to fight. We get it! But does the movie get it? With an ending that seems to contradict the miniscule point of this movie I have to wonder what Stallone was thinking. (Besides “More sequels!”)

On a more positive note Rambo is still as intriguing as ever. He’s quiet, reserved, cynical and still knows how to kick ass! The problem is none of the new characters were nearly as convincing. Whenever the mercenaries or missionaries were shown I found myself bored. The lack of development was bad enough, but these people are as dumb as it gets. The missionaries wander in to Burma with no weapons and don’t think twice about what could happen to them. Meanwhile, the mercenaries act exactly how you would expect them to act: Macho and mindless.

I did say I was going to go for positives didn’t I? Well the second half of the movie was a lot of fun. Once all of the grotesque killings of Burmese townspeople were exhausted, the soldiers got their turn. 50 caliber guns from every corner are used to blow apart Burmese troops! Rambo’s trademark bow and arrows are back in rare form! Throats are ripped out! Rambo even sets off a claymore mine near an un-detonated WWII bomb! The result is too funny for words. And don’t miss the end. Rambo behind a 50-caliber machine gun for 15 minutes is only boring in theory.

I can honestly say I enjoyed much of “Rambo,” but I can’t get past how inappropriate it can be. It would’ve been more enjoyable if Stallone ditched the soapbox and just went for a more traditional action flick; but even then this movie doesn’t warrant any reason to be made. Oh wait! Money! My bad. “Rambo” may be worth a look, but only one look.

** out of ****

(The Crimson White sucks.)

Randall Duk Kim: Goku's Grandpa

Randall Duk Kim will be playing Grandpa Gohan, Goku's grandfather and life long mentor. Kim's most popular role was The Keymaker in "The Matrix Reloaded." Pretty good casting there. I'm glad the movie got a fair amount of Asians in it.
"But wait! Justin Chatwin isn't Asian! How can he be Kim's grandson?" Goku is Gohan's adopted son, so to speak: Goku is one of the last of an alien race known as the Saiyans. So there's your answer.
This August.

"Hancock" Suits Up

The comedy superhero flick, "Hancock," staring Will Smith, opens this July. The trailer proved to be rather funny and little by little we seem to be getting more information on it. Like now. The uniform Hancock wears in the movie has been revealed and while it looks good I have to say it's only because I feel like I've seen it before: The X-Men want their battle suits back Hancock! The sunglasses make me grin though. Click to enlarge:

July 2.

Guillermo del Toro Gets "The Hobbit"

"Hellboy" and "Pan's Labyrinth" director Guillermo del Toro has been given control of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth franchise. Sam Raimi and Alfonso Cuaron were also considered for the job.
I think Toro is the best choice, but it does leave me to wonder, where does this put "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?" I thought he was dying to direct it? The final Harry Potter film will probably go straight in to production once the sixth movie has been released-- So probably early 2009. Apparently that's also when "The Hobbit" starts production with the first movie being released in 2010 and the second one, which is said to string together the events between "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings," slated for 2011. So I guess he's decided to give up hope on "Deathly Hallows."

More Batman. More Batsuit.

It seems logical that after Heath's death WB would be changing up the marketing for "The Dark Knight." Guess the focus will return to Bale and Batman. Here's some new pictures. Click to enlarge: