‘Skeleton Twins’ Director Craig Johnson to Bring Dan Clowes Graphic Novel ‘Wilson’ to the Big Screen

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by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Dan Clowes, probably best known as the creator of the comic book Ghost World which was also adapted into a film, will have another of his works hit the big screen. The author’s graphic novel Wilson will be hitting theaters sometime in the near future. And early word is that the cast is pretty impressive.

Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern are apparently in talks to star in the film and The Skeleton Twins director Craig Johnson is set to direct according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The story centers on a middle-aged man (Harrelson) who seeks out his drug abusing ex-wife (Dern) to try and reconnect after his dad dies. When he hears about her having a teenage daughter that was born after their divorce he tries to force them all to join him in what could be his last chance at having a family.

Clowes is known for taking the quirky and extremely out-there and showing us the heart underneath. And Johnson has proven with The Skeleton Twins that he can do outside-the-box style family dramas and interject real warmth and a sense of togetherness.

This seems like a match made in heaven. I absolutely loved The Skeleton Twins. I thought it was the best work I’d seen yet from Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. After American Splendor, Ghost World is one of my favorite independent comic book movie adaptations.

Besides writing the source material, Clowes will also be scripting the film.

Shooting is looking to start this June in Minneapolis.

Look Like The ‘IT’ Remake Isn’t Dead After All

IT Pennywise

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Even though Cary Fukunaga has left the IT remake at New Line, the reports of the project’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Bloody Disgusting has it on good authority that not only does the studio want to move forward with the film, but that the reports of it being whittled down from two films to one are false.

It would seem that the studio liked just about everything that was being done except the choice for director. Rumors are swirling that the budget problems were a means to an end to getting Fukunaga to quit.

There were also stories that New Line was getting cold feet after Poltergeist underperformed at the box office and that film used a creepy clown heavily in its marketing, but those look to be false also.

No word yet on if Will Poulter will still portray Pennywise, the embodiment of evil in the original film.

New Line and parent company Warner Bros are expected to meet with new directing candidates soon and move forward from there.

The Transformers Brain Trust Grows by Two

Transformers

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

News broke last week that Paramount had chosen its brain trust of writers to steer the Transformers franchise into the shared universe that their keen on making. Robert Kirkman, Zak Penn, Jeff Pinkner, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway were announced as the keepers of the light for the Robots In Disguise from here on out.

But it looks like the studio has decided more is better and have added a pair of writers to the room.

Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari have now joined the writing team. The duo are known for doing some work on the Ant-Man script. Apparently they took over after Edgar Wright but were bumped out when director Adam McKay and star Paul Rudd wanted a crack at rewriting Wright’s work.

I don’t know if this is the right way to go. Too many cooks spoil the broth and all that, you know? We’ll see if this was the way to go when we get the first movie from this new creative team.

That film could be an origin story. Rumors are out there that the title of the next film in development is called Transformers One and it could be an origin story that takes place on the planet of Cybertron.

That’s some news I can get behind. A lot of people are going to say it will be like watching a video game or a kid playing with his toys, but I want a bunch of robots fighting! That’s what these movies are supposed to be so let them be that.

Another rumor is that this prequel could be an animated feature. At this point in time, I don’t even care. I just want a good Transformers movie. Let’s just start with one good film and move on from there.

Cameron Crowe’s ‘Aloha’ is Sometimes Charming but Mostly a Mess

 

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by: Jay Carlson

I wanted to love Aloha. No matter what I always root for Cameron Crowe. He’s been responsible for making a lot of films that were perfect for me at the point in my life that I saw them. That said, they haven’t always stood the test of time. Cameron Crowe films are like people that I was best friends with at a certain point of my life that I grew apart from. Then, every once in a while I’ll bump into them and it’s nice, but slightly awkward since you’re not that person anymore and neither are they. When you were tight though, you were really tight.

In Aloha, a celebrated military contractor Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs – the US Space program in Honolulu, Hawaii – and reconnects with a long-ago love, Tracy (Rachel McAdams) while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force Aloha 4
watchdog, Allison Ng (Emma Stone) assigned to him. It much busier than this sounds, with plots about obtaining a “blessing of a pedestrian gate” from a native Hawaiian king, dealing with his murky (and confusing) past in the Middle East and supervising a nefarious satellite launch.

Gilcrest’s clunky history the most confounding element of the film, which isn’t a good thing since this is the guy we’re supposed to be rooting for. Information is dropped throughout the film, but rather than help us understand the character it only leads to more confusion. Perhaps it’s all in there and is easier understood with repeated viewings, but the way it’s presented made me feel like there was a LOT that hit the cutting room floor that would helped us understand things much more.

When we’re introduced to Emma Stone’s Air Force watchdog, Allison Ng it is impossible to believe that Crowe didn’t direct her to do her best impression of Kirsten Dunst’s Claire from Elizabethtown. I was Kirsten Dunstwaiting to see her mime taking a picture of Bradley Cooper and talk about collecting last looks. Once she finally lets her hair down we see more to the character than the two dimensional caricature, unfortunately it’s just not enough.

Aloha is truly a mess, a film with an identity crisis. It doesn’t know what film it wants to be, so instead it tries to be four different films and none of them are executed very well. Is it a film about Cooper Coming back to a past love? Or is it about Cooper reconciling the decisions he’s made in his past? Is it about his romance with Emma Stone? Or is it about him redeeming himself in the present? There are some really nice moments but it meanders along without focus and doesn’t hang together as a whole film.

It’s frustrating that a filmmaker of this caliber with such an amazing cast (the best he’s ever had) has made such a tremendous misfire. I was genuinely excited to see what Crowe would do with great comedic actors like Bill Murray and Danny McBride. The answer unfortunately is not very much, they all feel wasted. McAdams fares the best and does well with what she’s given. John Krasinski has some nice moments throughout the film but all of that is undone with his ludicrous last scene.Aloha 2

Aloha would have been far better, had it focused on McAdams and was a story about Cooper coming back into town after all that time and dealing with their complicated past while experiencing trouble with her marriage. Cut all the rest out, the military, the private sector, the dark past, the satellite, the
blessing, all of it. Keep Emma Stone’s character and make her less of an Elizabethtown caricature. THAT would have been a great Cameron Crowe film.

When all is said and done, I still believe in Cameron Crowe. He still has great films in him that I hope to one day spend time with.

GRADE: C-

‘Jaws’ Bites its way Back Into Theaters for the 40th Anniversary

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by: S. Scott Stanikmas

It’s still not safe to go back in the water.

Forty years ago, on June 1, 1975, JAWS hit theaters and made millions scared to dip their toe in the ocean. Now, thanks to Fathom Events the Steven Spielberg classic will be coming back for a limited engagement.

Tickets go on sale May 29 for the shows which will happen on June 21 and 24 at 2pm and 7pm. That’s right folks – you get four chances to see this.

Here’s what the press release had to say about the event:

Enjoy a specially produced introduction from TCM Weekend Daytime host Ben Mankiewicz that will give insight into how this classic still makes us think twice about jumping in that water!

Dare to relive the terrifying masterpiece? Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment invite you to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the one of the most popular American thrillers of all time when Jaws (1975) returns to select cinemas nationwide for a special two-day only event on Sunday, June 21 and Wednesday, June 24 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time.

Not too shabby. I’m all for this. But I’m also a bit spoiled. I have an art house theater (The Strand in Clinton, MA) near me that plays JAWS every year around the fourth of July and I make it a point to go every year. This is the perfect theater for that kind of movie, an old-school throwback kind of theater.

I have to admit that the idea of seeing this on a big screen in a high-def theater makes me a little weak in the knees. I know I’ll be going to at least one show, if not more.

How about you, readers? Will you be hitting any of these limited showings?

‘Adventureland’ Reunion! Take a Look at the Red Band Trailer for ‘American Ultra’ Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart

 

American Ultra stars  Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and features Connie Britton, Topher Grace, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman,Walton Goggins, and Tony Hale. The film is directed by Nima Nourizadeh from a script written by Max Landis.

A married couple decides to make several minor but important changes to their lifestyle when the husband, a school principal, is almost killed in a school shooting.

American Ultra opens on August 21, 2015.

 

Andy Serkis’ Character Name Revealed for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

by: Jay Carlson

StarWars.Com has exclusively revealed that Andy Serkis will be playing Supreme Leader Snoke in J.J. Abrams upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The character had been previously referred to by the codename “Uber” in various Star Wars reports.

This piece of information certainly makes it known who is calling the shots for the former Empire, now known as the First Order in the sequel trilogy. Also revealed in the newly released image (by Annie Leibovitz) is what was always assumed, that Serkis would be providing a motion-captured performance for the film. Information on Supreme Leader Snoke has been very tight inside the production as this is a character they’ve kept very close to the vest.

The big question now is what does Serkis’ character look like? Guess we’ll need to stay tuned to find out.

I wonder if it means anything that they chose to disclose Serkis’ character before Domhnall Gleeson’s?

What do you think? I’m loving their strategy of releasing little nuggets of info us as the release date approaches, whetting our appetite occasionally with some new bits to ponder and speculate upon.

December can’t get here fast enough!

Andy Serkis’ Character Name Revealed for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

by: Jay Carlson

StarWars.Com has exclusively revealed that Andy Serkis will be playing Supreme Leader Snoke in J.J. Abrams upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The character had been previously referred to by the codename “Uber” in various Star Wars reports.

This piece of information certainly makes it known who is calling the shots for the former Empire, now known as the First Order in the sequel trilogy. Also revealed in the newly released image (by Annie Leibovitz) is what was always assumed, that Serkis would be providing a motion-captured performance for the film. Information on Supreme Leader Snoke has been very tight inside the production as this is a character they’ve kept very close to the vest.

The big question now is what does Serkis’ character look like? Guess we’ll need to stay tuned to find out.

I wonder if it means anything that they chose to disclose Serkis’ character before Domhnall Gleeson’s?

What do you think? I’m loving their strategy of releasing little nuggets of info us as the release date approaches, whetting our appetite occasionally with some new bits to ponder and speculate upon.

December can’t get here fast enough!

Hulk Hogan Want to be the Next Expendables Villain

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Everyone remembers the opening scene of Rocky III when Sylvester Stallone’s Italian Stallion went head to head against Hulk Hogan’s onscreen alter ego Thunderlips in a boxer vs wrestler match. If Hogan is to be believed we may get to see a rematch on the silver screen in the near future.

Hogan was at the Body Power Expo in Birmingham, England when Movieweb nabbed this quote from him:

We’re trying to figure out a way to maybe turn me into the most evil man in the world. Y’know, Stallone gave me my first break and he’s been a great friend. We had a great conversation, talking about the possibilities. ‘Can I still run, can I still jump?’ Well, not as fast or not as high, but I think Hollywood could find a good stunt man to help me out.

This would be an interesting turn for the Hulkster. His body is extremely worn down after years of in-ring battles so he’s very limited in his mobility. But like he said, there has to be a stuntman that could double for him…BROTHER!!

If he did sign on, Hogan would join an impressive list of former action heroes turned bad guys. The franchise already saw Jean Claude Van Damme and Mel Gibson give Sly and his team fits. And it’s a known fact that Hogan credits Stallone with jumpstarting his career with the part in Rocky III, so it would seem he would jump at the chance to help his buddy out if he needed it.

The third installment of the Expendables did a dismal $40M stateside but earned a whopping $160M overseas, which means the studio could be thinking of another run with the action stars that are getting on in years.

Vincent D’Onofrio to Play Villain in Dax Shepard’s ‘CHiPS’ Film

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

After playing a police detective for a decade on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, it looks like Vincent D’Onofrio is making up for lost time by taking in a slew of villain roles. He has an antagonistic role in Jurassic World and just had a career-defining run as Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk on the Marvel / Netflix series Daredevil. Now it looks like the actor will take on another villainous role in the upcoming movie adaptation of CHiPS according to Deadline.

The upcoming incarnation will be written and directed by Dax Shepard, who also plans to star alongside Michael Pena. The duo will play California Highway Patrol officers Jon Baker and Frank “Ponch” Poncerello.

The film will center around an exotic-car theft ring. D’Onofrio will play the leader of the car theft ring who just happens to be a former cop. Warner Bros, the studio producing the film, is looking for something in tone with buddy-cop action films like Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys.

Shepard, who is an experienced motorcycle and race car driver, is planning on doing his own stunts.

This will be Dax Shepard’s first big studio film. The actor previously directed the independent film Hit & Run, which was a pretty funny little flick.

FOX Looking to Reboot ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

You would think studios would learn from their mistakes and just let horrible movies die.

It looks like FOX is a glutton for punishment, as Variety is reporting that a reboot of the 2003 film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (or LXG) will be rebooted for the big screen.

The last we heard of the property, it was being developed into a TV series in 2013, with Green Lantern writer Michael Green as the show runner. Those plans seem to have been tossed to the wayside.

The 2003 film was not only completely unfaithful to the source material but also a complete bore. The performances were wooden, it had a shoddy script and laughable special effects. Whatever the new version brings, it can only be a step up from that abomination.

It can only be assumed that once again co-creator Alan Moore will have no hand in his work being adapted into film. The comic book legend has a real mad-on for his work being adapted into any other medium and I don’t see this new film changing his mind any time soon. At least his fellow creator Kevin O’Neill should enjoy those royalty checks he’ll have coming to him.

No writer has been revealed at these early stages, but it is being said that John Davis and his company Davis Entertainment are producing with Ira Napoliello and Matt Reilly overseeing the entire project.

Chris Pine in Talks to Join DC’s ‘Wonder Woman’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

He can captain the Enterprise, but can he handle flying in an invisible jet?

That’s a question Warner Bros will hope to answer, as Chris Pine is in talks to join Gal Gadot in the upcoming Wonder Woman film, according to Variety. Pine would be up for the role of Steve Trevor, the main love interest of Wonder Woman and her alter ego Diana Prince.

The role was originally rumored to be going to Scott Eastwood and he was set to make his debut in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, but it looks like those plans have changed.

Chris Pine is no stranger to the geekier side of film, having played Captain James T. Kirk in the rebooted Star Trek series. This however will mark his first foray into a major comic book property.

With the third Trek supposedly filming in Canada this summer and Wonder Woman aiming for a late fall shoot date, this could theoretically happen.

I dig Pine as the goofy love interest. I liked him in This Means War and Princess Diaries 2 in what I would think would be a similar role they’re asking him to play in Wonder Woman.

Robert Rodriguez to Helm Live-Action ‘Jonny Quest’!

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Even though it was only on for one season, the pulp classic Jonny Quest has had a tremendous cult following. The property has been in development hell for years and writer Dan Mazeau even had his treatment go on the Black List of popular unproduced screenplays back in 2008. Unfortunately it didn’t go anywhere.

But that looks like it’s about to change.

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez has signed on to direct a Jonny Quest movie at Warner Bros, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Not only will he direct, but Rodriguez will also rewrite Mazeau’s script alongside Terry Rossio.

This is right up Rodriguez’s alley. He loves this family friendly stuff mixed up with big time adventure.

There are a couple of minor quibbles standing in the way. The director does have his long awaited adaptation of Frank Frazetta’s Fire and Ice on his plate. And he also isn’t known for working with big studios, preferring instead to shoot independently in his own Austin, TX studio.

If he really wants to make JQ though, I’m sure Rodriguez is up for making a few concessions.

No timetable for production or release was talked about at the time this was announced, but seeing as the Black List script was done back in 2008, I’m sure the property can hold for just a little while longer.

‘Doctor Strange’ Chooses an Ancient One and Meets… Death?

by: S.Scott Stanikmas

The hunt for the Ancient One in Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange may finally be at an end. After having such actors as KenWatanbe, Bill Night and Morgan Freeman rumored for the role, it would seem Marvel Studios has gone in a wholly different direction.

The Hollywood Reporter has good word that Tilda Swinton is in talks to play the Sorcerer Supreme that Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange learns from and eventually takes over for.

Swinton is a bang-up choice. The woman is a chameleon, never looking the same way twice in any of her films or doing any roles the same. Just looking at two of her roles from last year – Snowpiercer and Grand Budapest Hotel – is proof of that.

Doctor Strange will star Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular hero. In the comics he was a cocky but talented surgeon until an accident cost him the use of his hands. Searching for a new meaning in life, Stephen Strange travels the world until he comes across the Ancient One, Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. Learning the ways of magic, Strange soon takes on the role of Sorcerer Supreme and protects our realm from all the mystical threats that look to take over.

This won’t be Swinton’s first foray into the comic book world. She played the angel Gabriel in the adaptation of the Vertigo comic Hellblazer, the 2005 film Constantine.

Also on the Strange news front was a tweet from director Scott Derrickson. He posted the following image with the caption

AS WILL WE ALL:

DR STRANGE DEATH

Could this mean we’ll see the physical manifestation of Death in the MCU? This could be the bridge Doctor Strange needs to tie it in with the rest of the Marvel Universe, as Thanos loves Death and would do anything for her, including gathering the Infinity gems which could possibly wipeout existence itself. Therein lies the tie-in with the Avengers: Infinity Wars films.

Whatever the case may be, Doctor Strange is shaping up to be one awesome film. Shooting starts this fall with the film slated to hit theaters November 4, 2016.

The More I see the More I Like! Trailer #2 for ‘Black Mass’ Starring Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger

 

In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) persuades Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) to collaborate with the FBI and eliminate a common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the true story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement, consolidate power, and become one of the most ruthless and powerful gangsters in Boston history.

In theaters September 18th.

Trailer: Keanu Reeves Makes the Mistake of Answering a ‘Knock, Knock’ at his Door

 

by: Jay Carlson

Family man Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) is tormented by a pair of beautiful strangers after allowing them into his home on a rainy evening.

The film, an unofficial remake of Peter Traynor’s 1977 film “Death Game,” Looks to be right in line with Roth’s previous filmography.

But where the hell is Green Inferno??

Knock, Knock opens on June 26, 2015

IR Film Review: Supernerd Doesn’t Feel the Need to Call in the Ghostbusters for This ‘Poltergeist’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

The Hollywood movie-making machine enjoys churning out the remakes, especially around the summer season. Sometimes an updated version of a film can be good, as long as the filmmakers have something fresh to say. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case with the new Poltergeist.

The movie wastes no time getting into the full swing of things. We barely get to know the family beyond the bare basics (out-of-work Dad, Mom who writes, sullen teen daughter, scared middle-child brother and precious young daughter) before the ghostly shenanigans begin. It starts small,Poltergeist 1 with things seemingly moving on their own and minor electrical occurrences. But soon, the youngest child disappears into thin air while the other two are attacked by supernatural forces.

Now the film kicks into high gear, with the paranormal experts coming onto the scene to help the family find their little girl. Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to be on this plane of existence. Enter the exorcist, here to “clean house” and help these people rid their lives of the entities haunting them once and for all.

Most of the film is downright laughable. It didn’t have anything new to say that the original 1982 film, directed by Tobe Hooper Steven Spielberg hadn’t said already. The only real upgrade was that we got a quick tour through the land of the dead via a toy drone that was sent through the portal in the closet.

The only highlights were Sam Rockwell and Jared Harris, and even then they felt like caricatures at times. Rockwell always had a quick one-liner ready at the drop of a hat, which was a little odd for a guy in his circumstances. Harris was good as the exorcist (taking over the Zelda Rubinstein part) but at times felt a little hokey for my liking.

Director Gil Kenan and screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire didn’t seem to have anything new to say, rushing from one jump scare to the next, never really letting anything sink in or breathe. They even rushed the big reveal that took the first movie almost two hours to get to, killing any tension they could have gotten by having it casually discussed at a dinner party like it was no big thing.

I get that audiences these days have short attention spans and like it when things get to the point, but this film moved things along way too quickly, never really finding its footing. If you want a good haunted house flick, go check out Kenan’s Monster House. Otherwise, this is one ghost story that is completely transparent.

Perhaps we would have gotten a better film if Spielberg jumped in and ghost directed this one as well.

GRADE: C

Cary Fukunaga OUT as ‘IT’ Director!

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Breaking news over the holiday weekend as Cary Fukunaga is now out of the director’s chair for New Line’s planned two film adaptation of Stephen King’s IT, putting the project in a state of limbo for the forseeable future.

The Wrap have good sources that are saying Fukunaga and the studio couldn’t see eye to eye on money. New Line has seen some success when they can keep a project to a strict budget, but Cary Fukunaga seemingly wouldn’t compromise his artistic vision for the almighty dollar.

Apparently the director and the studio clashed over a number of things. Fukunaga wanted to shoot in New York, which is considerably more expensive than most other locales.

Then the director originally wanted Ben Mendelsohn to play the titular villain. It was thought that the project would conflict with Mendelsohn’s other rumored project – Star Wars: Rogue One – but the real reason was that New Line wanted the actor to take a major pay cut.

Finally, after Mendelsohn fell through, New Line thought Fukunaga would go with an established name for the evil clown. Instead, he opted to go with Will Poulter. While Poulter is a pretty good actor in his own right, he’s not a proven commodity when it comes to headlining a major motion picture.

As it looks now, the story of a group of rag tag kids who fight evil and then band together again as adults to do the same, will be drastically overhauled. If the project moves forward in the future it will likely be one film instead of two, which New Line wanted when it took the project over from Warner Bros.

This now leaves Cary Fukunaga open to focus on his other projects, mainly the anti-bullying drama he’s devoloping at A24 as well as his TV adaptation of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist.

Still, I would have loved to have seen Poulter as Pennywise.