The Morning Read: Are directors really fighting over who gets to direct ‘Ouija’?

12.20.10 7 years ago 7 Comments

Warner Bros.

Welcome to The Morning Read.

I was hoping to get an early start on this today after stepping out for a little quick wrap-things-up Christmas shopping.  Ha.  I repeat.  HA.  I’m sure that none of the fine, smart, handsome people reading this blog right now were out there making it so miserable today, so allow me to say that every single person I dealt with or waited behind out there this morning is dangerously insane and should be dealt with immediately.  It’s rain.  It’s not a Biblical plague from the sky.

There’s a ton of great stuff out there this morning, far more than I’ll be able to get to in one column.  Maybe I should just devote myself to a full week of Morning Reads so I can share all of this good stuff.  Hmmm… let me think about that while we run through today’s links.

Here’s where we are in Hollywood these days, as we wind down 2010 and look ahead to 2011:  two directors with actual professional credits are battling over who gets the privilege of directing a movie based on the Ouija board.  I am baffled by this project on a molecular level.  Platinum Dunes has been careful to state that this is not a horror film, but is instead a big adventure movie that already has a release date.  I met Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz at the “TRON” event Disney threw on the lot a month and a half ago, and they seemed like good guys, genuine old-school nerds, and they wrote a whole bunch of “Lost” episodes I liked.  I certainly wouldn’t dismiss “Ouija” because they wrote it, even if I think the weakest element of “TRON: Legacy” is their script.  More than any one person’s involvement, I’m just puzzled by the thinking behind the project in general.  I’d love to hear from McG and Breck Eisner to hear what it is that makes them both want to make this film.  I can’t wait to hear the cast at the press junket talk sincerely about how they are big fans of the Ouija board from when they were kids.  If someone can say with a straight face how they really wanted to “get back to the origins of the Ouija board,” I will give them a crisp new dollar.  Overall, it just sounds like one of the weirdest marketing-driven projects in recent Hollywood history.

Oh, no, wait.  I take that back.  Making a movie about the Madden Curse is a weirder idea.  And a truly terrible one.  The only way that’s awesome is if they hire the other John Madden to direct it so people end up so confused that they spontaneously combust.

There is a copy of the Qur’an that was inked entirely in the blood of Saddam Hussein.  Seriously.  Tell me that’s not creepy.  If someone told me there was a copy of the Bible that was inked in the blood of George W. Bush, I’d be just as freaked out.  What kind of crazy-ass voodoo is it to ink a whole book in your blood?  Wait… actually, that sounds awesome.  I’m going to get the entire Travis McGee series done that way with my blood.  Now I know what I’m getting all of my friends of Christmas next year…

A 3D conversion of “The Room” may be too much for people to actually handle in a movie theater.  Trust me… no one needs Tommy Wiseau in their lap.

Oh, fanboys… you are my people.  But when I see something like this…

… I just wish I had a pause button for the real world.

January 25, 2011?  A very, very good day to own a Blu-ray player.

Oh, my, do I love this.
  A copy editor has posted the first page of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest and then edited it.  It’s brutal, but nearly impossible to argue with once you’ve read it.

It’s the end of the year, and all sorts of folks are starting to weigh in with their thoughts on the end of the year.  A.O. Scott wrote a great piece on 2010.  Todd Brown, a guy I’ve gotten to like more and more as we’ve spent time together at festivals in the last couple of years, has a great list up at Twitch, and as befits Todd’s viewing appetites, it’s not a list you’re going to read anywhere else.  And although it’s not a list of films from this year, here’s a wonderful sampling of some of the nastiest one-liners from Roger Ebert’s reviews over the years.  And for those of you with Netflix Watch Instantly and nothing to do tomorrow, here’s a list of six Criterion titles that are available now but that will be gone tomorrow.  Hurry!

I haven’t published my review of “Somewhere” yet, but I will.  Maybe even later today.  But I’ll say this… I think dismissal of Sophia Coppola is a mistake, and this piece is a pleasant break from all the personal animosity that seems to mark much of what’s written about her and her films.

Don Hertzfeldt is a genius.  I will accept no arguments on this topic.  Oh, you want some proof, do you?  You’re one of those people, are you?

There you go.  “THIS IS A PAIN OF UNREASONABLE PROPORTIONS.”  That man has created some of the craziest animated moments I’ve ever seen, and everything he does makes me happy.  And beyond that, he has taught us all an important lesson:  never ever pull your stitches out.

I’ve seen about 80 headlines today with people breathlessly repeating the story from Entertainment Weekly that Screen Gems is hoping to remake “About Last Night…” and I read a good dozen of them, amazed that very few of them bothered to even mention that the original film was based on a play.  A very, very good play by a total unknown named David Mamet.  I really dig “Sexual Perversity In Chicago.”  Yes, the Ed Zwick film was an adaptation, with much of Mamet’s bite diluted, but a lot of what people enjoyed about the film was the comic rhythm of some of the big chunks of Mamet that made it into the film.  His play could easily be turned into a new film that could be great.  This is one of those cases when you shouldn’t be thinking of it as a conventional remake, but as an opportunity to finally shoot the original material in a more faithful way.  Unless Screen Gems is actually planning to use the Zwick film as their source material instead of the play, in which case they are crazy people and should probably seek medical attention immediately.

Our long national nightmare is finally over.

We now know that the short film in front of “Cars 2” this summer will be a “Toy Story” short film starring Ken and Barbie as they attempt to take a dream vacation in Hawaii.  That sounds awesome.  I’m looking forward to the short more than the feature at this point.

Oh, Ricky, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you don’t believe in God and that riles people up and it’s kind of amazing to watch.

Oh, thank God.

One of the benefits of Tim League being involved with Badass Digest is that Tim League will be writing more articles.  As he travels the world to program Fantastic Fest, he’s posting stories about the different markets and festivals he attends.  His piece on the American Film Market is a wonderful indication of what we can expect from future pieces.

I do not know Kyle, but, man, he has my respect for sharing this with such candor.  I obviously can never shake his hand after reading it, but I’m impressed nonetheless.

If you’re curious how close Colin Firth’s stammer in “The King’s Speech” is to the real thing, the BBC would like to help you out.

An hour of comedy conversation with genuine legends?  Yes.  Merry Christmas.


I think I finally figured out what religion I am.

This sort of work is important, because when we lie to ourselves about history and our motivations, we make it easy to repeat our mistakes.

I remember seeing this!

Okay, thankfully I don’t really remember seeing that, but wow, they got that one right.

Dennis Bartok used to run the American Cinematheque.  Now he’s a filmmaker, and he’s decided to start a blog about all of the strangest film related stories in Los Angeles.  If I know Dennis, this is going to be a bookmark well worth checking on a regular basis, so take a look.

I love Esquire’s “What I’ve Learned” column, and when you add Albert Brooks to the mix, that’s pretty much the best thing ever.

Lots for you here this week, including a chat with Roger Deakins, two new podcasts, and reviews of movies like “Somewhere,” “Rabbit Hole,” and “The Illusionist.”  It may be the holiday season, but we’re hard at work for you here at HitFix.

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