Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sam Raimi's going to "Hell," and I'm definitely following

Though I guess you really can't call Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3" the worst movie of this year, I can definitely say it was my most disappointing. After turning out for a midnight screening (which I'm gonna do again tonight for Dewey Cox, but more on that later), I was just thoroughly let down.

The biggest problem, from my perspective, was that Raimi had clearly just stopped having any fun with the "Spider-Man" saga. About halfway through I couldn't help thinking that it's high time for him to direct, not just produce, a good, old-fashioned horror movie. And now, thankfully, that appears to be happening.

It seems Raimi's next project will be "Drag Me to Hell," a supernatural thriller he wrote with his brother, Ivan Raimi. (Yes, I realize that means it's the same writing team behind "Spider-Man 3," but also the duo that came up with both "Army of Darkness" and "Darkman," so take heart.)

The only plot detail leaked so far is that it's about the unwitting recipient of a supernatural curse, and the flick will go into production early next year.

Here's what Rob Tapert, whose Ghost House studio is financing the project, had to say about Raimi's change of pace: "When one has done three very expensive movies, they get used to eating caviar. Sam will have to ponder what it means to come down from the mountaintop for a moment."

As long as whatever he comes up with just tastes like a fun movie, that will be good enough for me. Welcome back, Sam.

Update on "The Hobbit"

Just a day or two after the big news came about MGM, New Line and Peter Jackson making not one but two "Hobbit" movies, Jackson is already bowing out of the directing chair (for now, at least.)

Here's what Jackson's manager Ken Kamins told Hollywood Insider: "Peter won't be directing because he felt the fans have waited long enough for The Hobbit. (Well, he's certainly right about that.) It will take the better part of every day of the next four years to write, direct and produce two Hobbit films. Given his current obligations to both The Lovely Bones and Tintin, waiting for Peter, Fran, and Phillippa to write, direct and produce The Hobbit would require the fans wait even longer."

Which, of course, would open the door wide open for any number of very talented directors to move in. The Variety article about Sam Raimi's horror flick implied that he is already the anointed one, but I'm personally still holding out hope for Alfonso Cuaron, though he already has three (three!?!?) announced directing credits listed at the IMDB for 2009: México '68, The Memory of Running and The History of Love. (I have to imagine he'd gladly give all these up to take the reins of "The Hobbit.") Whoever lands this will have a hot property on their hands, so definitely stay tuned, 'cause a decision is expected by early next year.

Bold move, guys: Vatican slams 'His Dark Materials'

Though I still fairly regularly attend Catholic church services, it pains me to admit I wasn't at all surprised to see the Vatican come out today with a rather pathetic statement about the box office numbers for "The Golden Compass."

Predicting that New Line will bail on completing the trilogy (which I fear will happen too), the Vatican's l'Osservatore Romano newspaper called "Compass" the "Most anti-Christmas film possible" and said that “... In (Phillip) Pullman’s world, hope simply does not exist, because there is no salvation but only personal, individualistic capacity to control the situation and dominate events.”

Having not read the entire trilogy yet I'll give them a pass on the latter part, but what in the world does "The Golden Compass" even have to do with Christmas at all, and what movie were these guys watching? (I have a rather strong suspicion they didn't bother to watch it at all.) If I had any complaints about the movie (which I did, though I kind of enjoyed it too), it's that the movie was defanged of most of Pullman's most overt anti-Christianity sentiment, not that it was spreading it around to corrupt all the kiddies.

And, I think the greater point here is that it is an act of fairly extreme cowardice that the Vatican let its American attack dog, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, do all the talking until it had the box office totals to hide behind. If anything, I think New Line was doomed from the start in making such a costly movie from a book that didn't have quite the following of a "Lord of the Rings," but seeing ridiculous statements like this just makes me hope all the more that it will bankroll the next two chapters in this potentially thrilling trilogy. 'Nuff said.

Free "Jackass"? Yes, please!

Actually, I haven't had time to take in "Jackass 2.5" yet, but once I do, I and anyone else who cares to can apparently do so for free now, and huzzah to that. When I went to the site, it said you had to download something called "Microsoft Silverlight" and go through some "silly registration process," but I'd have to think those will be small hurdles to jump for more jackassery from Johnny and the boys. To download the movie, click here. Methinks I just might try and do so at work later today (rather than, of course, doing any actual work.)

More ridiculous Dewey Cox swag

OK, I can now admit that I've officially been hoodwinked by joining the "Dewey Cox Fan Club."

After already getting a pair of tighty-whities supposedly autographed on the backside by Dewey himself, I found another envelope from Columbia in my mailbox when I got home last night. It was awfully thin, but I still held out hope that it was a copy of the soundtrack or something equally cool.

Of course not. What it was this time, which I've done the service of photographing for anyone who actually bothers to read this, is supposedly a clump of Dewey's chest hair (given the source, I was frankly more than a little surprised they didn't say it was hair from some other region of his body.)

I do have to say I laughed a lot harder this time than I did at the underwear, and since I'm going to a midnight screening tonight, I guess this rather twisted marketing scheme worked (though I'm fairly certain I would have bitten without it.) Bring it on!

Six minutes of "The Dark Knight"?

I figure anyone who made it this far deserves a reward, so please enjoy this YouTube clip that purports to be a rather horribly bootlegged clip of the Joker's henchmen robbing a Gotham bank, which I found over at the great (though the poster rather cryptically called it "My Safari Trip to Antarctica.") I'd imagine the real test of the veracity of this clip will be how long it lasts before the bigwigs order it removed, so I'll try and keep my eyes on it to see if it becomes a dead link. Until then, enjoy, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.


Mercurie said...

I'm with you on being disappointed by Spider-Man 3. To me it just seemed as if it was thrown together, with MJ acting like a spoiled brat and Venom being one of the worst super villains in cinematic history. It is the only one of the Spider-Man movies I probably won't buy on DVD... At least Drag Me to Hell sounds fun.

I am disappointed to see Jackson won't be directing The Hobbit, although I agree Alfonso Cuaron would be a great choice to direct the picture. For that matter, so would Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth being one of my favourite movies from the past few years).

I wasn't at all surprised to see the Vatican condemn The Golden Compass. Like you, I do have to wonder that New Line won't back off from adapting the other two books.That having been said, I have to wonder myself if the Vatican's condemnation of the film won't back fire and simply draw more movie goers to the film...

Bob said...

Every day I am more and more convinced that "The Dark Knight" is the coolest movie of 2008. I can't wait to see it in IMAX!

Reel Fanatic said...

If it does backfire I'd be nothing but happy, Mercurie, but with the full slate of flicks coming this week I really don't see how the flick can recover, at least in the U.S. ... And I think what really disappointed me so much about Spidey-3 is that No. 2 is simply my favorite superhero flick of all time .. How Raimi could have lost so much magic from flick to flick is still amazing to me

Ian said...

I really enjoyed Spider-Man 3, but possibly because expectations going in after so many negative reviews were very low.

"Silverlight" is well worth downloading. It's a bit of a "Flash" clone at the moment (from Microsoft) but has better support for high definition formats and is being used by more and more video sites. It's a pretty speedy download and once it's done it's done for all the sites out there that are starting to use it (Truth is I'm thinking of making my upcoming a "Silverlight required" site since it fixes so many issues around browser compatibilities).

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for the tip, Ian, because I was indeed a bit wary about downloading something I had never heard of before, even with the Microsoft name on it ... With that info, there's no reason I shouldn't have seen "Jackass 2.5" by the end of this weekend at the latest

Fletch said...

I hadn't heard about the Vatican's statement. You said it best - reeaaal bold move. Wonder if they'll go out on a limb and predict the Patriots to win the Super Bowl while they're at it.

Reel Fanatic said...

That would indeed be about as courageous as this statement, Fletch .. Unfortunately, I can't say it surprised me much at all, though

Marina said...

Ooooo. Thanks for the Jack Ass link! Hubby is going to love watching that over the weekend!

Reel Fanatic said...

You're certainly welcome, Marina .. I haven't had time to get to it at work this week (since I had to, well, work) that's probably when i'll get around to watching it too

James said...

it's that the movie was defanged of most of Pullman's most overt anti-Christianity sentiment

I couldn't agree more. I don't understand why these rabid Christians have to tear down anything they don't like.

As a non-theist/atheist/agnostic/secular humanist I was looking forward to a set of movies for our crowd for a change. But no, we can't have that now can we?

Not to get too religious here but I feel like I'm living in a theocracy sometimes.

Oh and the new Batman looks disappointing to me. I thought the original Joker movie was good enough. Why do a remake? How can you get better the Jack Nicholson??? I thought it was one of the best in the series. It's too early to do a remake if ever.

I thought that they should have retired the Batman brand after the last movie. The ending tied everything up so well.

I was hoping that if they DID do another one that they would do one that occurs in the future. Pick up where Batman and Robin (Batman 4) left off with a new adventure.

Reel Fanatic said...

I originally though that bringing back the joker would be a bad idea too, James, but I have to confess that after seeing the footage so far I'm convinced that Heath Ledger will be so cool in it that it's enough to make me almost forget all about Jack Nicholson, and I'm just jazzed as can be about "Dark Knight"

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