One of the more interesting stories at the box-office over the weekend was the inept performance of 12 Rounds, the new action pic staring WWE wrestling star John Cena. The film, which had a modest 20 million dollar budget, took in a paltry $5.3 mil in its opening frame and is destined to do a quick fade from multiplexes. Considering this is even less than Cena’s first screen outing in “The Marine”, its safe to say he won’t be the next Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, at least as far as a career in movies is concerned.
In his defense, even wrestling fans won’t pay to see B-movie fare when they know they can see it on DVD a few months down the road. Or maybe it’s safe to say that Cena is no Roddy Piper. Piper never really got a movie career going after starring in John Carpenter’s cult classic “They Live” in 1988. He has, however, appeared in his fair share of direct to DVD films, with 1995’s “Jungle Ground” being the best of those. “They Live” will undergo the Hollywood remake treatment – “The Marine” or “12 Rounds” will never have that privilege.
One has to wonder if Vince McMahon might put his WWE film enterprise on the back burner, as its safe to say there’s not much interest, even from his core audience of wrestling fans. You simply can’t fit a square peg in a round hole, or make a wrestler a movie star. Guess Cena better keep those wrestling skills sharp as it now appears he will need them.
According to Variety Tony Scott (Man on Fire), who has his remake of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three coming out this June, hasn’t finished playing with trains. He is currently developing a project titled “Unstoppable”. Described as an action drama, the story involves an unmanned runaway train that is carrying a cargo of toxic chemicals while its owner frantically trys to stop it before it destroys a nearby city.
I am a fan of films that have used trains as the centerpiece in their story. A few that come to mind would be 1973’s Emperor of the North Pole, about a 1930’s Train conductor (Ernest Borgnine) who battles a free loading hobo played by Lee Marvin. I have always enjoyed the 1979 film The Cassandra Crossing, one of my top ten disaster films of the 70’s. Richard Harris stars in the movie about a transcontinental train carrying a deadly virus. 1985’s Runaway Train is a pretty exciting film about two escaped convicts and a female railroad worker who find themselves on a train with no brakes and no way to stop it. Jon Voight and Eric Roberts starred. 1995’s Under Siege 2: Dark Territory starring Steven Seagal is a big time guilty pleasure. Bottom line- Unstoppable sounds like it could be fun. Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard) is currently working on the script and production is scheduled to get underway later this year.
WHO will Play FREDDY KRUEGER? Box-office news of interest and The Farrelly Brothers take on the THREE STOOGES
Platinum Dunes and New Line Cinema start production on their remake of the 1984 classic horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street on April 27, even though no actor has been signed to play Freddy Krueger as yet. While I had no problem with the idea of a Friday the 13th redo, I must admit I have mixed feeling about a new Freddy movie as I just know you can’t make a better film that what Wes Craven delivered in 1984. I certainly was intrigued though by a script review posted over at Latinoreview.com which was really interesting. According to the script, the high school setting will remain the same, but Freddy’s back-story will be more extensive in the new version. As the Rob Zombie Halloween remake proved, that is not always a good thing. The biggest question at this point still is; Who will play Freddy Krueger? We shall know very soon.
Watchmen Box-office: As of this Tuesday the film has taken in $160,040,075 at the worldwide box-office. $99,409,463 in the U.S and $60,631,282 overseas with only a few limited territories left to open. With a year’s worth of hype, it’s hard to believe the film feels like a distant memory just three weeks after its release.
Gran Torino Box-office: This is now the highest grossing film in the career of Clint Eastwood. $145,233,848 in the U.S and $60,900,000 overseas as of Tuesday and still going strong. Its combined total of $206,133,848 is pretty impressive, especially on a budget of a mere $33,000,000. If you’re a Eastwood fan, the movie is a must see. I don’t think anyone expected the film to do this well.
It’s interesting to read the many naysayers on the Farrelly Brothers (Something about Mary) Three Stooges movie which will star Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Jim Carrey playing Larry, Moe and Curly. I might feel the same way if the Farrelly’s weren’t such big fans of the iconic comedy team, but I have full faith this will be a really good film especially with the talent involved. What makes this project so interesting is that it won’t be a biopic. Penn, Del Toro and Carrey (who will reportedly put on 40 pounds to play Curly) will play the Stooges as if they were them in an original story. Considering the Stooges were a human version of a Road Runner cartoon, this should make for a dementedly funny time at the movies. I expect nothing short of a great tribute to a brand of comedy that was unique and wildly hilarious. This is right up the Farrelly’s wheelhouse and I think they will hit it out of the park. Look for The Three Stooges in theaters sometime in 2010.
According to Variety, Anne Hathaway will play Judy Garland in the Weinstein Co’s film adaptation of Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland. The film will be based on the 2001 book by Gerald Clarke that follows her rise to fame and her battle with the demons that takes their toll on many celebrity’s, drugs and alcohol. Clarke researched Garland’s legacy for ten years and had access to extensive documents, exclusive interviews, and tape recordings by Garland herself. There’s little doubt this will be a juicy role for Hathaway as Garland’s life was turbulent indeed. While these kinds of biopics have Oscar bait written all over them, this should be a good one with all the material to draw from. Garland, after all, was the star of one of the greatest films ever made, The Wizard of Oz. With critical acclaim for her performance in Rachel Getting Married and a handful of box-office hits (The Devil Wears Prada, Get Smart) the actress is positioning herself to be one of Hollywood’s go to A-list talents that the public seems to want to embrace. Hathaway, who showed some serious singing chops during this year’s Oscar telecast will reportedly sing herself for the upcoming production. I believe Hathaway; alongside Rachel McAdams are two of the best young talents working in movies today. I look forward to this film.
Rachel McAdams has been named female star of the year by ShoWest and will accept the honor during the annual film convention that takes place March 30 to April 2 in Las Vegas. The 30 year old Canadian born actress put herself on Hollywood’s radar map with her supporting turn in the 2003 comedy hit “Mean Girls”, and then gained industry respect and a nice sized following with her starring role in the terrific love story “The Notebook” in 2004. She has three films coming out this year. First, she will co-star opposite Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck in Universal’s ‘State of Play’ which hits theaters April 17. Then she will be seen starring opposite Eric Bana in New Line Cinema’s romantic drama ‘The Time Travelers Wife’ which opens on Aug 14, and she’s also co-starring in Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” opposite Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. That film opens Christmas day.
It’s certainly no secret that I’m a big fan of McAdams as she has the sort of screen charisma and looks to be a dominant force in film in the next ten years. Hopefully McAdams can be rediscovered after her low key demeanor of the last few years. If you recall she starred in the nifty Wes Craven thriller “Red Eye” in 2005 after lighting up the screen as Owen Wilson’s love interest in the summer hit “Wedding Crashers” in 2004. But then this talented actress didn’t work in film throughout 2006-2007. She reportedly turned down the Pepper Potts role (which went to Gwyneth Paltrow) in Iron Man; in my opinion, a big career mistake. Hopefully these are the right roles and soon the sky will be the limit for the highly appealing McAdams. She certainly has everything it takes to write her own ticket in the industry.
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KNOWING is one interesting film. Thought provoking, intense, involving and a tad bit silly, but I must admit when all was said and done I really enjoyed it. While watching Knowing I could help but think of 1988’s Miracle Mile, an end of the world thriller that I was totally involved in despite its share of implausibilities.
Nicolas Cage stars as astrophysics professor John Koestler who is grieving the loss of his late wife. After his son Caleb’s (Chandler Canterbury) school digs up a 50-year-old time capsule with individual student drawings of what the earth might look like in five decades from 1959, the submission that Caleb receives to study is a bit different from the rest. His time capsule envelope contains a piece of paper (shown being drawn by a strange girl in the film’s opening sequence five decades prior) that contains a serious of random numbers. After seeing the numbers 911, John becomes interested in the message and soon discovers that these numbers have predicted 50 of the world great disasters over the past 50 years, with three more to come.
Soon John is racing around the east coast trying to head these impending calamities off. The first is a plane crash disaster (shown partly in the trailers) that really took me by surprise. Shot in a rained soaked background using hand held camera the sequence was quite the stunner. The angle of the planes trajectory going down on an interstate road is like nothing I have seen on film and the impact was quite jarring. The second nerve rattling sequence involves John attempting to head off a subway car accident in NYC – it is just about equally effective. Even though there’s extensive CGI, the effect is still quite powerful and exciting. At this point in the film I was totally involved. Then, about halfway through the story, a women named Diana (Rose Byrne) and her daughter (Lara Robinson) are drawn into the conflict, as are a mysterious group of strange blond men, giving the story another wrinkle.
As for the third disaster, that’s a surprise – let’s just say, director Alex Proyas (Dark City, I Robot) doesn’t play it safe. I commend Summit Entertainment for allowing the director the freedom of ending Knowing the way he did. It is unlikely to have the same conclusion if one of the major studios released the film. As for Cage, I’m a fan. While many people have piled on the somewhat eccentric actor for playing everything over the top, I enjoy his work and he does a fine job as the lead.
Overall, Knowing throws a lot against the wall, including themes of religious prophecy, science fiction and the question of random choice verses predestination. Even though some of it got to be a bit silly in the third act, the sum of the story’s whole won me over and I liked the journey Knowing had taken me on. Kudos to director Proyas for delivering something different to our local multiplexes. I’ll gladly substitute a movie’s flaws for the privilege to think any day of the week. 3.75 Zombies out of 5.
Columbia Pictures has released the first full length trailer to its summer comedy, Year One. Directed by Harold Ramis, this film is set in the prehistoric age. It stars Jack Black and Michael Cera (Juno). Overall the film looks amusing enough but could it wind up being this generation’s Life of Brian or even History of the World? Cera’s one amusing guy but is he a one trick pony? These answers and more when Year One hits theaters June 19. Paul Rudd, Hank Azaria, Olivia Platt and Olivia Wilde costar.