Welcome to The Morning Read.
Wow, I just went over to the Drudge Report as I was looking around for articles for this morning, and his front page right now is like a horror movie. I’m not sure if my favorite headline is “Americans told to wear masks” or “Cult leader escapes from French jail in helicopter,” but I am sure that the entire world seems to be dunked in crazy right now.
So maybe I shouldn’t even be surprised by the news that Universal is planning to remake “Videodrome.” Yes, the news makes me feel like that dude from “Scanners” just before the head explodes, but I should probably be used to the nonstop remakes at this point. Maybe it’s just that “Videodrome” is such a strange and personal vision, and Ehren Kruger is such a terrible, terrible, generic writer, but I don’t see why you would even want to turn that movie into a down-the-middle mainstream anything. It has no commercial value. You can’t tell me they research-tested the title “Videodrome” and discovered that it’s beloved among some key demo group. No way. And since the argument for remaking these movies is that you’ve got built-in market value, then I’m calling “balderdash” on this one. This is corrupt and hollow Hollywood at its worst.
Have you seen Natalie Portman’s new website? She’s one of the people behind MakingOf, which wants to be exactly what it sounds like… a sort of industry-wide making-of one-stop. They’re off to a slow start, but that’s to be expected. In the end, a site like this will live or die based on how much access they get and what sort of titles they get that access to. There are a few pieces worth looking at over there, including one on the making of “Mystery Team.” Right now, as I write this, the entire creative crew behind “Mystery Team” is at Emeryville, screening their movie for Pixar. What a lovely collision of talent that is.
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Okay, I have no idea what to expect from “Jonah Hex.” He’s a fairly low-rent character, all things considered, and I think it’s either really bold or really desperate for them to be making a movie out of the property. But none of that matters this morning. All that’s important today is that Megan Fox is ridiculously hot, and JustJared’s got the photos to prove it. She’s playing a Wild West prostitute in the film, and the corset they have her in looks like a special effect. Seriously… I can’t imagine how she can smile while she’s got her waist tied off like that. You should see the face I make when I wear my corset.
It happened last week, but I just noticed that Li’l Wayne lost his legal action to try to block the release of “The Carter.” I hope the judge added, “Because Li’l Wayne is obviously barking mad” in his notes on the ruling, because there’s no way Li’l Wayne can claim these guys included something in the film that’s unfair. He is as willing a participant as I’ve ever seen in a movie, and he displays all his bad habits for the camera without the slightest hesitation. All I can figure is someone else saw the film and freaked out and convinced him after-the-fact that it might be a bad idea to be brutally honest about his substance abuse issues and his own strangely monk-like lifestyle.
Questions like this one are designed to get movie geeks talking and then, depending on someone else’s answers, get them yelling and screaming. Personally, if I had half a billion dollars and could fund any filmmakers I wanted (taking myself out of the equation), I have no idea where I would start. I guess I’d try to get hold of Terrence Malick to ask if there’s anything he’s had trouble funding, and I’d make sure Gilliam knew the cash was available, but beyond that, I’m trying to think who is out there who isn’t working who should be. Maybe you guys have some suggestions for the comments below.
Bob Orci says Frank Welker’s playing Soundwave in “Transformers 2.”
I love science news stories like this one. There is so much we don’t know about our universe, and every now and then, we’re reminded of that.
Last year, I remember at a dinner with Peter (“The Haunting In Connecticut”) Cornwell and Eric Gable, they talked about a short they’d just finished working on for XBox Live called “Post-Apocalyptic Pizza.” It sounded like they had a pretty decent working experience doing it, but over the weekend, James Gunn had plenty to say about what he deems the failed experiment of creating original short films for XBox. There is nothing I hate more when working with someone on a creative project than the bait and switch, where promises of freedom or originality are just bait to get you involved, at which point you realize that you’re going to have to deal with all the same development crap you always deal with. If you don’t read Gunn’s blog regularly, you should. He’s filthy, he’s deranged, and he knows secrets.
John “Fi-Core” Ridley has some fairly astute points about why “Obsessed” is culturally significant. It’s a good read. I agree with our commenter the other day, though, who said that the title change from “Oh No She Didn’t” to “Obsessed” absolutely “left money on the table.” That $28 million opening weekend could have been $40 million, easy.
Right now, with digital trickery being what it is, there’s no such thing as being denied permission to shoot your film somewhere. Say the Vatican tells you no. Just send in an army of photographers disguised as tourists, have them shoot a couple of thousand reference photos, and then just build your own Vatican in the computer. Problem solved.
Although I am a big fan of both “Buffy” and “Angel,” I have not really managed to make myself watch “Dollhouse.” Part of it is that I didn’t want to invest in something that I figured would be gone just as it started getting good, and part of it was just the fact that I watch less and less TV these days. Still, I like Joss Whedon’s work, and according to most of the folks who did watch the show, it really started getting good around episode six. So maybe I’ll try to catch up, since this week seems to be all about a campaign to save the program. Before I get to that, though, here’s Whedon’s acceptance speech from when he won a Bradbury this weekend. Keep in mind, this was originally projected on a giant screen above a crowd of SF luminaries:
Hey, is he on the set of “Cabin In The Woods”? Look at the backdrop. Hmmmmmmm. That film seems to be hurtling towards its fall release date. I’m always amazed at how fast some films can seem, especially when you realize how long it can take for others to make it to release. Take, for example, the current battle over the fate of “Margaret,” Kenneth Lonergan’s second feature. There’s a good piece this morning about the post-production nightmare that has kept the movie out of release so far. I’m encouraged by Scorsese calling a 2006 cut of the film “a masterpiece,” but that was three years ago, so what the hell? I know that my buddy Mr. Beaks over at Ain’t It Cool has been obsessed with this film since he first read the script, and every single day that goes by that it’s not in theaters, I think Beaks probably suffers every bit as much as Lonergan does. Here’s hoping both of them are put out of their misery sooner rather than later.
The Art of the Title Sequence takes on “Wild Style” today, and it’s gorgeous.
And finally this morning, Roger Ebert wrote a lovely wrap-up article about his just-finished Ebertfest, and it makes me even sadder I wasn’t there.
Off to take Toshi to the “liberry” now, and then I’ll be back to finish this week’s edition of “On The Shelf.” It’s a weird week for DVD releases, so I hope you’ll check it out.
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