The Morning Read: Jason Statham set to bust heads as ‘Parker’

Welcome to The Morning Read.

Jason Statham as Donald Westlake’s Parker, huh
?  If you’re not familiar with the author or the character, you still might have seen at least one of the previous films based on the material.  Mel Gibson adapted it with “Payback,” John Boorman’s “Point Blank” featured Lee Marvin in the role, and the craziest version of the book is Ringo Lam’s “Full Contact.”  There are a total of 24 books in the Parker series, but for some reason, we keep getting loose adaptations of The Hunter, the first book in the series.  And now, according to Variety, we’re getting another one, with Taylor Hackford set to direct, and with Jason Statham set to play the role.  That’s pretty good casting, but they’re going to have to work hard to wring something new out of this particular piece of material.  In addition to all of the previous film versions, there’s also an outstanding comic adaptation by Darwyn Cooke that was published not long ago, so it’s definitely a book that has been interpreted and reinterpreted already.  Even so, this looks like the first adaptation that’s actually using the character’s name, and it makes me wonder… if this first one works, will they move forward with Statham in more films based on other books in the series?

And in the meantime, how about a long-lost Donald Westlake book to tide you over?

Any morning that starts off with a list of the five best fights of Donnie Yen since the year 2000 is going to be a good morning.

Some interesting and surprisingly frank observations on the way social media plays into the life of a showrunner in today’s media landscape from Bill Lawrence, the co-creator of “Cougar Town.”

I have not seen “Atlas Shrugged.”  I’m almost hesitant to mention it at all, since simply typing out the title seems to attract crazed Randians, determined to shout down anyone who does not agree that both book and film are the greatest things ever created.  It happened to Cole Abaius when he reviewed the film, and now he’s gone back for another dip in the cesspool with a piece about the one thing he feels could have saved the movie.

I love that the person who posted this was not from OKCupid, but is in fact the guy who wrote them to complain that they had Spanish on their website.  Amazing.  If this guy took out an ad in the NY Times saying, “I am an idiot,” he could not have advertised his own idiocy any better.

Taylor Kitsch appears to be a fan of killing it.

An exceptionally well-reasoned response to what WitStream sees as a major oversight in Wired’s new comedy issue.

RT @AlbertBrooks Show Biz Scoop: Kardashian Inc. just bought Little Tramp name from Chaplin estate.

No, this isn’t sending insane messages about body shape at all.

This is why I don’t mind when I like something that a number of other critics hate.  It’s because I know time is on my side, and because I’m just arrogant enough after a lifetime of watching movies I love gradually find audiences to believe that I’m on the right side of these things more often than not.  Can’t wait for everyone to finally come around on “Your Highness”…

Of course Matt Zoller Seitz wrote a great piece about Ernie Kovacs.  First, it’s Matt Zoller Seitz.  Second, it’s Ernie Kovacs.  There’s really no way you go wrong with any part of that equation.

And while we’re on the subject of Mr. Seitz, I’m impressed by the way he takes down the idea that fantasy cannot be serious, or worthy of real consideration.

Easily the thing I regret the most about not being at ActionFest this year was missing the chance to interview Buddy Joe Hooker, and watching this highlight reel that was cut for the fest by Mark Hartley just makes that worse:

Sequels with more than a decade between them can be fascinating, because filmmaking changes so much from decade to decade.  Here’s a list of 15 films with huge gaps between episodes, the longest of which is 64 years.

And I think one of my main issues with “Scream 4” is articulated well by the central thesis of Devin’s piece here.  After this long away from the series, is it enough to just do a sequel that’s the same type of film, or did they need to go further to ground “Scream 4” in the moment?

And for your daily lesson in humility, realize just how big you are compared to the galaxy around us and the universe around it.  I don’t care how significant you think you are… this 1 billion pixel image will prove you wrong.  Click around on it.  See if you agree.

And once you’re done being humbled by the heavens, try being dazzled by them for a few minutes:

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Do you love noir fiction?  Do you want to write noir fiction?  Well, enjoy these ten rules designed to help you with that.

Great… now every celebrity is going to want to publish scientific papers on neuroscience.

Life in Bahrain
right now is beyond my ability to truly comprehend, even after reading an account as perceptive and upsetting as this.

I see now… it’s so simple

I agree.  Fans are fans, and gender should be the least important part of the conversation of what we like and why.

One more brutal takedown of Arianna Huffington’s stake to the heart of Cinematical.

These kids should just be graduated with honors right now.

Totoro and Ponyo together?  I don’t think language has a word that would encompass all the cute inherent to that situation.

Here’s what I don’t understand… why would you edit a film if you wanted to get an NC-17 for it in the first place?

This is, by far, the most enthusiastic response I’ve seen to the new “Winnie The Pooh” film.  Man, is everything coming out overseas first right now?

James Rocchi’s open letter to Zack Snyder is a very good thing.

This is a little bit NSFW, but it is all the way hilarious, especially when you see just how wildly deranged the comments section gets.  The further you read, the more delicious the insanity.

An installment of Eric’s Bad Movies that deals with “Johnny Mnemonic”?  Yes, thanks!

“Beautiful microbial landscapes,”eh?  Well, we’ve all got to believe in something.

The photo at the top of this story says it all.

I’m mystified as to why so many superhero games are so bad.  It would seem like the perfect combination of things.  Could this one work where so many seem to fail?  It looks pretty cool, all things considered.

Since we keep inventing new words, I guess it’s important we all agree on what the hell they actually mean.

Both sad and hilarious, why do I have a feeling this article will eventually end up as a terrible romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson?

Cracked got a face lift, but the articles are still just as funny.  And at least two of them deserve your time this morning.

Thank god someone finally made the list.  Now I’m afraid to read it.

47 years of “Doctor Who” in six minutes?  Okay… I’m curious.  Let’s see what you’ve got:

I’ve said for a while now that “The Only Living Boy In New York” is Allen Loeb’s best script, and now it looks like Seth Gordon’s finally going to bring it to theaters with Logan Lerman starring.  That makes me very, very happy, and we’ll keep our eyes on this one as it works its way towards release.

Finally, you want to pulverize some Frost Giants with Mjolnir this morning?  And, no, that’s not a euphemism.

Lots more good stuff for you all week long, so I’d better get to it.

The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Except when it doesn’t.