Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Of remakes stopped, crazy and just plain audacious

I didn't bother to see "Mars Needs Moms," not because the idea of martians kidnapping and killing little kids' moms offended me, but just because I found something better to do (spend the weekend with mi hermano for a couple of epicly good Baseball Project shows.)

It seems, however, that that simple act of ignoring may have been my little part (and probably yours, since I don't think anyone went to see that) in stopping something much more insidious.

Robert Zemeckis, a producer of "Mars Needs Moms," had been plotting a digital remake of "Yellow Submarine," I guess just because he has the technological skills to do such a thing and, well, maybe he's just bored. Well, luckily, it seems the complete failure of "Mars Needs Moms" has led Disney to put the kibosh on that before it really got off the ground. Bully to that.

Another remake that is almost finished has apparently had a late and rather funny change of villainy in hopes of expanding its box office take.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that MGM is changing the villains in "Red Dawn" from Chinese to North Korean in order to keep its access to the humongous Chinese box office. Take a second to let it sink in just how funny that is. The studio is apparently, though not terribly surprisingly, still looking for a distributor for the movie starring Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Connor Cruise and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Per the L.A. Times, the changes will cost less than $1 million and will "involve changing an opening sequence summarizing the story's fictional backdrop, re-editing two scenes and using digital technology to transform many Chinese symbols to Korean." Priceless. Actually, I think that might be enough to get me to at least watch this on DVD to see how many accidental Chinese symbols remain.

And in a final word about remakes before a couple of fun videos, it seems that Netflix is making a "bold" movie into "original" programming by paying $100 million or so for David Fincher and Kevin Spacey's remake of the sublime UK TV series "House of Cards." Quotations added by me and fully intended to be facetious.

To acquire the show, which I assume it will then lease to a TV network, Netflix has agreed upfront to a two season, 26 episode commitment, but I really can't see how in the world this is going to catch on.

If you've never seen the original, it stars the late and truly great Ian Richardson as Francis Urquhart, aka F.U., an enterprising Conservative politician who rises through the British Parliament from chief whip all the way to prime minister through increasingly and comically evil means. I just don't see how Spacey or anyone else will be able to pull off his unique brand of malevolence as its translated across the pond.

But only a sucker would bet against Netflix, which now has a rather amazing 61 percent of the streaming content on the Internet (and I must say I've been thoroughly enjoying its all six seasons of "The Larry Sanders Show" - TV perfection.) Stay tuned to find out if this turns out as well as just about everything else Netflix has laid its hands on.

OK, after all that today, all I have is a couple of videos. First up comes the comedy duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost taking a break from the set of "Paul" to do a fairly funny "Star Wars" send-up for the folks at College Humor. All the early reviews I've seen so far "Paul" indicate that Greg Mottola's movie will deliver broad sci-fi laughs when it his theaters Friday, so I'm certainly in. Enjoy the video, then stick around for one more.

Finally today, courtesy of Yahoo, here are the first five minutes of "Source Code," director Duncan Jones' follow-up to his sci-fi gem "Moon," which is set to hit theaters April 1. I suppose if you don't know what exactly Jake Gyllenhaal's character is supposed to stop in this flick, the end of this clip is a bit of a spoiler, but since it happens in the first five minutes, I really don't think it can be much of one. I've decided I'll be going to see this flick, which also stars Michelle Monaghan. Enjoy the clip, and have a perfectly endurable Wednesday. Peace out.


Jake Mabe said...

Just watched "Recount." Excellent. Gives me hope that "Game Change" will be a great picture...

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm fairly certain it will be, Jake ... Not as much drama as the 2000 race, but much better characters all around!

Jake Mabe said...

I concur.