Gran Torino BUZZ, What’s up with Benjamin Button’s marketing CAMPAIGN and an UPDATE on another Planet of Apes film over at FOX
Reactions in early press screenings to Clint Eastwood’s GRAN TORINO have been very positive. The reviewers have put the spotlight on Eastwood’s performance, which could result in a Best Actor nomination come Oscar time. While Clint has won Two Oscars for directing and two for producing, the legendary icon has never taken one home for acting. So far, two of the early frontrunners for acting nods are Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler and Sean Penn for Milk. Considering Eastwood has been acting for 53 years this certainly would be a great ‘icing on the cake’ story if he wins. If Eastwood, Rourke and Heath Ledger all get Oscar nominations the Academy Award telecast could be something very special indeed.
I find it interesting that Paramount keeps changing things up with their marketing campaign for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The film, which has received a lot of Oscar buzz, has a different feel every time I see a new trailer. There have been at least 5 different trailers cut, with a few of those having totally different music. It feels like the studio is nervous on how to sell it best. Brad Pitt stars as a man that ages backwards and David Fincher (Zodiac) directs but, going by the trailers, it feels like a Tim Burton movie.
Fox production executive, Tom Rothman, confirmed during the PLANET OF THE APES movie marathon this Thanksgiving that the studio is developing a script for a new Apes film that will be set on earth in 2009. This would back up reports last month that some sort of re-imagining of the 4th apes film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, is planned. Personally I think the studio should leave well enough alone. The reason the original franchise worked so well was the element of surprise. Like all great sci-fi, the viewer needs to experience something they haven’t seen before. A few terrific twist and turns thrown in for good measure can’t hurt either. Since the original series did this in spades, it’s hard to justify remaking the same ideas because the audience will know what’s coming. While Tim Burton’s remake was watchable, it couldn’t hold a candle to the Charlton Heston classic as there was nothing new for the viewer to discover. The original 1968 film’s script, direction and star were also superior in every way to what Burton delivered to a new generation. It’s safe to say the same fate would fall on any new Apes film. Fans of the original movies will see what’s coming a mile a way and it’s doubtful it can be presented any better.
According to comingsoon.net, 20th Century Fox has confirmed that the first coming attraction trailer for its X-Men origins: WOLVERINE movie will hit theaters with the studio’s holiday tent pole film THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL on Dec 12. The trailer will not debut online or on television until later down the road. There was a trailer to Wolverine shown at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego and I wasn’t impressed. While I like Hugh Jackman and hope the film is good, I have serious doubts that this stand alone spin-off to the X-Men franchise can really work based on the footage shown at Comic-Con. As for the Day the Earth Stood Still, It looks to be a thinking person’s sci-fi film since this Keanu Reeves vehicle hasn’t stirred up much enthusiasm among fan boys on the net. Still I think it will do solid business.
HBO’s vampire series, FIRST BLOOD, concluded its first season on Sunday night. Overall I would call the Alan Ball show a creative success as it really put an interesting spin on vampire lore. Quirky, unpredictable and really weird at times, the show got better week after week, becoming a must-watch for me. I’m really looking forward to the second season next summer since it left off with an interesting cliffhanger involving one of the shows best characters.
I also thoroughly enjoyed this season of ENTOURAGE. I thought the overall storyline line, mostly involving the career downfall of the Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) character, was pretty compelling. The show also had some blisteringly funny moments, mostly involving the Ari Gold character once again played brilliantly by Jeremy Piven. While these two programs gave viewers a reason to tune into HBO, the ratings are a far cry from its landmark THE SOPRANOS, a program the pay cable giant misses greatly.
As of the 25th, YouTube expanded their standard video window size to a 640 x 360 widescreen look. It’s a nice improvement.