The Morning Read: Zemeckis flirts with taking ‘Flight’ in live-action

Welcome to The Morning Read.

I will welcome absolutely any project that gets Robert Zemeckis to direct a live-action film again.  If it turns out to be “Flight,” that’s fine by me.  The film, written by John Gatins, sounds like a cross between the Dustin Hoffman movie “Hero” and the Zemeckis film version of “Forrest Gump.”  Denzel Washington is sorta kinda thinking’ about making it, starring as Whip Whitaker, a pilot who manages to land a plane during a mechanical failure, narrowly averting disaster.  He’s celebrated as a media hero, while no one realizes that he was drunk and high while he was flying.  Gatins is the screenwriter on “Real Steel,” based on a Richard Matheson story that was also adapted into a “Twilight Zone” episode, and he wanted to direct the film.  If Zemeckis ends up making his deal with Paramount, then Gatins is going to have to settle for having written a Robert Zemeckis film.  I’m sure he’ll dry his tears with his mountain of $1000 bills.

Jake Johnson is building a nice impressive list of appearances, film after film, and I’m particularly impressed by his work in “Ceremony,” Max Winkler’s debut feature.  He’s signed now, according to Variety, to play the principal in “21 Jump Street,” and this can only be a good thing for the film.

His last Tweet came on April 19th.  It was a simple one, but reading it now is chilling:  “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscrimnate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”  And now, a day after reports of Tim Hetherington’s death, .  Last year, I spoke with Hetherington and his co-director on “Restrepo,” and I remember saying at the time how they actually intimidated me.

After all, what I do is, technically speaking, journalism.  But I sit on my ass in my house or at the Four Seasons or on a film set, and I discuss make-believe with you.  In my world, it’s important whether or not “Thor” is good.  In the world of embedded journalists working a war zone, it’s important whether or not they are shot to death, and the subjects they cover are genuinely significant.  These guys are what I think of when I use the word “journalists,” and today’s heartbreaking news is a potent reminder of how dangerous their job really is.

I am honored to have spoken to Hetherington last year, and I’d like to take the opportunity to run this piece again, and to encourage you to check out “Restrepo,” which is actually available right now on Netflix Instant.  As you watch, the thing that will most likely amaze you is not that Hetherington eventually paid with his life for the footage he got, but that he managed to avoid that fate for as long as he did.  The guy was fearless, and the best example of someone willing to put themselves in harm’s way to do what they see as important work.  And, yes, I’m aware that there are soldiers who are killed who never get 1/100th of the press that Hetherington’s death.  He spent his career honoring those soldiers and doing his best to tell their stories, and that’s part of the reason his death has his so many so hard.

I’d complain about the ego it takes to use a design from one of your films for the new headquarters in Singapore of your animation division, but the giant proposed Sandcrawler building for Lucasfilm is just too damn cool.

And speaking of cool, Tom “Dr. Who” Baker just plain makes me cackle.

D.C. Pierson’s dropping new short fiction almost every day on his blog right now, and it’s almost depressing to see how good it all is.  Prolific AND talented?  Curse youse, Pierson!

I still haven’t seen “A Game Of Thrones,” but this makes me want to see it immediately.  So I can laugh and laugh.  In the meantime, I’ll just grab some popcorn and watch Ginia Bellafante keep digging that hole she’s in.

Good lord, outer space is awesome.  Also, this makes the whole Tree of the Nine Realms seem a little less ludicrous in “Thor.”

Sam Phillips is a good sport about that first photo.  Helps that she makes 45 look pretty damn good.

I guess I understand why people lie about having seen certain films.  It’s certainly not comfortable being on the outside of any conversation.  But to me, film is an ongoing process, one that you know full well you’ll never completely master, and every film you haven’t seen yet is an experience to look forward to.  No one should watch movies like they’re homework, just checking things off a list for the sake of having done so.  Instead, you should feel free to get lost in movies, follow digressions as the mood strikes you, and just explore.

Besides, as NPR was good enough to point out, you will miss almost everything anyway, so why not just acknowledge that and forge your own path?

January 13, 2012, eh?  I’ll bet that means it’s awesome.

I had some people disagree with one of the points I made in my review of “Thor,” but I stand by what I said.  I am tired of this need for adults to claim comic book heroes as their own, with inappropriately bloody and graphic versions of icons that I was able to safely enjoy in my own childhood.  It is indicative of the fact that our generation is unwilling to relinquish anything from their youth, perhaps out of a deeply-seeded fear that to do so would suddenly make them old.  But when I hand my kids a Superman comic, I don’t want to have to worry about rape and decapitation.  I want The Big Blue Boy Scout, full-stop.  Roger Langridge gets what I mean, and expressed it quite well.

The Gaga Saga
, via Weird Al.

And then, the follow-up.

And, finally, the song itself:

I’ve still got a review of “Little Deaths” cooking, but this interview with two of the filmmakers behind the hyper-sexual horror anthology film gives you a good sense of what led to the making of the movie, and what it’s all about.

I mentioned yesterday that “We Need To Talk About Kevin” is on my short list of the films I most want to see at Cannes, and this article is a good example of just what I expect Lynne Ramsay is dealing with in her film.

You a big Mitch Hedberg fan?  You’re welcome.

God, I want to play “The Last Guardian.”  But I’ll be patient.  Probably.

I’m hoping we see some sort of change soon regarding air travel and privacy, because the entire system is just broken right now, and it’s beyond upsetting at this point.  There has got to be a better way.

Best part of this story?  The last photo.

Ever wanted to ask John Carpenter a question?  Now’s your chance.

Good lord… I’ve heard of people who don’t take criticism well, but this is outrageous.

Hey, $14,000 on superhero capes sounds entirely reasonable to me.

If they add Marvel superheroes to Disneyland, both of my sons are going to move there permanently.

I hope they remember to give Hulk access to movies, though.  And I hope they find better ones for him to watch than “Eat Pray Love.”  Hulk smash, indeed.

Until I read this interview with Chris Columbus, it didn’t even occur to me that “The Help” stars both of the Gwen Stacys we’ve seen on film so far.

Steve Kloves is the unsung hero of the “Harry Potter” film franchise, and at least Jo Rowling seems well aware of it.

I honestly believe Devin Faraci is moving away from writing about film and moving towards the exhibition of film, and seems happy to do so.  I get it.  Programming even an evening of movies is a thrill, but a whole festival?  He must be giddy.

Wow.  Rio’s cops are totally sci-fi.

As always, Eric D. Snider is dead-on accurate in this one.  One of my least favorite phrases in the world takes a well-deserved roasting here.

We celebrated the posters that Mondo is creating last week, and it’s only right to point out the amazing ones that Twitch recently used to promote its “Back To The ’80s” series.  Holy cow.

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