Don Murphy can only dream his live-action Captain Planet will be this good

Tech nerd dream girl Olivia Munn joins Soderbergh’s Magic Mike
The lovely TV personality made her bones (no pun intended… well maybe a little) co-hosting G4’s tech/video game program Attack of the Show! (Deadline)

Paul Dano to play Karl Rove in Richard Linklater’s College Republicans
Yeah. I can picture that. The 2010 Black Listed script charts the period where future political string puller Rove teamed up with master campaign strategist Lee Atwater as members of the College Republicans. And the rest… is unfortunately history. (Wrap)

The Coen Brothers go Inside Llewyn Davis
It’s been known for a while the next Coen flick would take place in and among the folk singers in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, that it would feature musical performances and that it would be loosely based on the life of Dave van Ronk, aka The Mayor of MacDougal Street, the 1960s folk musician who befriended the likes of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Joni Mitchell. Now we know what to call it. It’s a pretty blah title, but who cares? Oscar magnet Scott Rudin, who previously collaborated with the Coens on No Country for Old Men and True Grit, will produce. Here’s Variety’s one-sentence description of the thing: “Llewyn centers around Llewyn Davis’ struggles as a folk musician during the genre’s 1960s heyday in New York City.” (Variety – firewall)

Gemma Ward cast in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby
No word on who the Australian actress turned model will be playing. I didn’t see her turn in the Pirates movie but she comported herself nicely in the Australian indie The Black Balloon. (EW)
Apparently Callan McAuliffe (I Am Number Four) is on board as well (Variety – firewall)

David Koepp to write Johnny Depp/Rob Marshall’s ruination of The Thin Man
Koepp’s name is on everything from Spider-Man and War of the Worlds to Panic Room and Carlito’s Way. Yeah. Whatever. Here’s the chilling part of this story for fans of the original novel and film:  They’re shooting period but giving it “a Sherlock Holmes-like stylized treatment. Marshall also intends to use his talent as a choreographer and work in a musical number or two.” Well that sounds terrible and I say that as someone who greeted the original announcement this was happening with a degree of optimism. (Deadline)

Anne Hathaway “in contention” for Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables
You’ll remember Tom’s as the fellow who won the Oscar for directing The King’s Speech and Anne, well hell,  you know who she is. (Wrap)

15 Responses to “News du Jour: 8/31/11”

  1. the funniest headline of the day goes to the supposed audio changes in the upcoming “Star Wars” blu ray release.

    If true, I think it’s clear that Lucas is simply tweaking the original films for the sole purpose of pissing off the “fans”.. and to be honest, considering how obnoxious I find most of those people, I think it’s kind of hilarious, especially these new changes. On the other hand, Lucas should really stop wasting his time with “Star Wars”. All the revising is unnecessary and silly from a filmmaking point of view. Casual fans and admirers of the trilogy don’t give a shit about connecting the two trilogies. Nor do they give a shit about new visual fx and cgi upgrades and all that.

  2. On one hand, I’m not sure I would’ve noticed an extra “NOOO!!” from Darth Vader, but then I was surprised at how jarring the visual tweaks in the first Star Wars were when they got a restoration and theatrical re-release, what, almost 15 years ago.

    I’d seen the movie so many times by then that every little change really stuck out and not for the better. At a certain point it almost stops being the movie you loved when you were 7 years old.

    I agree though that Lucas’ efforts would be better spent on something else. The tweaking is pointless at best and irritating at worst.

  3. Speaking as a die-hard admirer of “Star Wars” general, there are a handful of potential changes that Lucas could make to the films that would upset me enough to join the dark side of fanboy hatred. Darth Vader yelling “No” is not one of them. Not even close. And as long as he actually makes good on his promise to work on new, original stuff in the future, as he’s been making strides with on “Red Tails” and even his animated studio (yeah, they’re just doing “The Clone Wars” now, but once they start doing original IP, they could be really something), I’m content to either shrug or support tweaks like these.

    I’ll say this for Lucas– no matter how much he changes his films, he’s never gone nearly as far as the sacrilege that Coppola and Bertolucci did in allowing Vitorio Storaro to change their 2.35:1 widescreen films into his dumbass Univisium 2.00:1 aspect ratio. People whine about release after release of “Star Wars” milking consumers, but “Apocalypse Now” is the only movie I ever felt truly burned by having to purchase so many different versions.

  4. Bob, I think Lucas could take a dump on your chest while you sleep and you’d be ok with it.

  5. I don’t know what’s worse– what you said, or the fact that it immediately reminded me of “The Two Jakes”. Talk about “do not want”…

  6. When I think of radical changes filmmakers bring to their best work years after its release the one that bugs me the most is Friedkin’s breathtakingly stupid decision to colorize The French Connection re-mastered blu ray release. I’d rather stick with my DVD then watch such an abomination :-)

  7. Anne Hathaway has a good voice. She sang at the Oscars when Hugh Jackman hosted too and it was nice to hear her.

  8. Yeah Alison, I had no idea prior to those Oscars that she was able to sing so well.

  9. I’ve liked Hathaway in about everything she’s done, even that Prada movie which was otherwise only one fun Streep performance away from being wretched.

  10. Is the Tom Hooper Les Miserables the musical version? I can’t recall.

    I’m more and more worried about this Thin Man remake, the more I hear. With this latest news I find myself giving a Vader-style “Noooooooo!!!!”

  11. I believe it’s an adaptation of the broadway shoo. Since it’s going to have the musically inclined Huge Ackman in it, that would make sense.

  12. I never felt burnt by “Apocalypse Now” re-releases because Coppola keeps the original and the Redux available for people to buy. There’s even a DVD set where you can purchase both of them together, along with the “Hearts of Darkness” documentary.

    Lucas, on the other hand, really seems to despise the idea of releasing the original, uncut/unaltered versions of “Star Wars”. The last dvd was a joke, with the laserdisc transfers as “bonus features”. I don’t have much interest in his revisions, and it’s not a big deal to me because I’m not invested in “Star Wars”. But there’s no excuse for locking away the films as they were seen upon their initial theatrical release. All his tweaking is pointless. Just let the films be and move on. I’m glad “Red Tails” is coming out, and I hope he directs something original again.

    It’s interesting….another site brought this up. This is something Lucas stated in 1988, in defense of film preservation and in argument against alterations to classic movies:

    His quote:

    “These current defacements are just the beginning. Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tomorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with “fresher faces,” or alter dialogue and change the movement of the actor’s lips to match. It will soon be possible to create a new “original” negative with whatever changes or alterations the copyright holder of the moment desires.”

    Reading that now just makes me feel bad for the guy. He made some classic movies, but he has no interest in preserving them as originally seen. Strange, and sad.

    don’t get me wrong, I like Lucas. I think he’s extremely talented and his three directorial efforts in the ’70s are classic films for me. “American Graffiti” is my favorite. I even see plenty of good things in “Phantom Menace”. Some major flaws aside, there’s some brilliant, ambitious work in there which I admire quite a bit. I still say the pod race is one of the single best CG set-pieces ever constructed. That sequence paved the way for something like “Speed Racer”, a film I enjoy immensely. So I support Lucas as a talent.

    But I don’t think there’s any way to defend what he’s doing to the “Star Wars” series.

  13. Ari, my objection to Coppola on “Apocalypse Now” has nothing to do with the “Redux” version (I prefer it, actually). It’s because he allowed Storaro to dictate what aspect ratio it be sold in for ten years, ditching the full 2.35:1 ‘scope version for a 2.00:1 Univisium pan-and-scan. That’s a far, far bigger injustice to the film than anything Lucas has done tinkering the “Star Wars” movies. At least Coppola finally did restore the film to its proper aspect ratio for the blu ray, but I wish I hadn’t wasted money on all the different purchases before then.

    As for that quote, remember, the context was regarding what happens when people other than a film’s creative authors try and meddle with them. George Lucas making his Special Editions is a far cry from Ted Turner colorizing “Citizen Kane”, “The Maltese Falcon”, or even the Three fucking Stooges. Do I think that the original versions of the films should be out there, as is common-place with home-video releases nowadays? Sure, but I’m not gonna lose sleep over it.

    The other thing to remember is that even if you released a basic, fresh remaster of the originals with no embelishments, a whole lot of fans would still get angry over the presence of things like garbage mattes and other dated effects left-overs. You’ve even got people making fan-edits that try to exhaustively overhaul the films’ special effects, as well as making their own personal changes and substitutions that often go way beyond the comparatively small alterations that Lucas did himself (Greedo shooting first is a no-no, but adding extra holograms everywhere, the Imperial March to ANH or speeding up the Kenobi/Vader duel to bring it up to Prequel standards is apparently fine and dandy).

    Anyway. Would I prefer that he put his attention onto making more original films of his own? Absolutely. “Red Tails” is coming out, which I’m happy about. I’m anxious to see what his animation studio can do once they do something other than “Star Wars” (“The Clone Wars” is impressive, but it reminds me of Timm/Dini’s “Batman” animated series– great, but let’s see something original). Hell, I’d settle for another movie on the level of “Willow”. At any rate, I’m not really against his Special Edition impulse, because he did it to “THX 1138”, probably my favorite movie ever, and when he did that, he just made it even more fucked up, in a good way.

  14. I don’t really believe there’s a big difference between a copyright owner colorizing a B&W film, or, for example, Lucas inserting Hayden Christensen into his ’80s movie and replacing the original actor. It doesn’t matter whether it’s by the creative author or not, it’s the same thing. Lucas can change his movies and nobody would complain about it if he simply acknowledged the original versions and made them available. At least for historical purposes he should do this, since “Star Wars” was such a cultural landmark. There’s an easy solution which he stubbornly refuses. It’s just stupid, and he’s turned casual “Star Wars” fans and other film lovers against him. He has a negative image. I think it’s a shame because he really is a visionary.

  15. I dunno, it’s one thing if a mere “copyright owner” were to make a decision like that, as opposed to the filmmaker. If John Huston or Orson Welles wanted to colorize their own work and suppress all pre-existing copies, I’d think it mad beyond repair, but I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if I wanted to stop them. Likewise, if Alexander Korda had wanted to alter the special effects of “Thief of Bagdad”, I doubt Michael Powell or any of the other directors on the film would have stopped him.

    Now, would the question be moot if Lucas simply allowed both versions to co-exist for the consumer? As I’ve said, that’s what I’d support as the logical compromise, but again, I’m not personally invested in seeing the original version any more than I’m tempted to, say, watch the version of “Blade Runner” with Harrison Ford’s narration on it. Literary works have been routinely altered by their authors– nobody cries foul that we no longer have the original version of “The Hobbit” after Tolkien tweaked with it to better tie into “Lord of the Rings”.

    Anyway, I’m not so sure he’s turned “casual” SW fans against him as much as people like to think. Let’s face it, aside from obvious stuff like Jabba in ANH or Hayden in ROTJ (I’m fine with him as the ghost, as long as Shaw stays in the death scene), most of the changes that have been made to the films are so small and subtle that they’re not likely to be noticed by most people. If you do notice little things like rocks in front of R2 or Vader getting an extra line without somebody drawing your attention to it before hand, I’m not sure you’re really a “casual” fan after all (I know I’m certainly not). The other thing that a lot of purist fans might not want to admit– most of the updated effects and the like from the Special Editions probably make the older films more watchable to current generations, sad as that is. As another blogger put it, I’d rather “Star Wars” be alive in the present than mere museum pieces.

    But on that hand, I do think Lucas is probably just worrying himself over nothing here. Given the choice between the Special Editions and the originals, most viewers nowadays would probably choose the Special Editions anyway.

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