Colin Hanks, Jeffrey Tambor, Ann-Margret and Ari Graynor are set to star in independent comedy Lucky. Gil Cates Jr. (Spent) is set to direct the comedy, which will begin production next week in Iowa. The script for the film was written by Kent Sublette, who also wrote for NBC’s Saturday Night Live. The plot follows a novice serial killer who after winning the lottery, decides to pursue his lifelong crush. The film is being produced by Ten/Four Pictures whose aim is to develop and finance movies with smaller budgets, films in the $8-$15 million range.
The premise for the film certainly sounds like interesting indie fodder; I can’t say I’ve heard a film’s pitch quite like this before. Lucky also boasts an impressive comedic ensemble. Colin Hanks has been in a lot of films since getting his break in Orange County with Jack Black but very few of his roles, save for The Great Buck Howard, that have followed have been starring ones. Jeffrey Tambor is also an actor that I enjoy. I loved him in his role of George Bluth, the patriarch of the wacky Bluth family, on Fox TV’s “Arrested Development.“What do you think of this news? Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya…punk? Source: Variety
I had a screenwriting teacher in college who spoke about the art of adapting a script from another source. He said that ultimately the writer owed nothing to the original material except for retaining its spirit. Aside from that, characters, plot points, objects and certainly dialogue could be freely changed as long as the soul of the source material remained. Of course, freely making changes or this nature to a beloved and best-selling novel is more difficult to do as the studio and the public know what film they want and it’s a visual version of what was written in novel format. Cuts and trims will always have to be made to ensure a decent runtime, but that’s understood even by the film-going public. Angels & Demons is one of those films where changes could be only minimal and what little they were didn’t hinder the result.
Angels & Demons is the follow-up to mega-grossing, but critically disappointing The Da Vinci Code. Although the book by Dan Brown was written and released before “The Da Vinci Code,” it’s treated as a sequel in the cinematic world. The film follows Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist, fresh off upsetting the Catholic contingent with revelations about Jesus Christ. Langdon is called upon by Vatican City officials when a CERN scientist is killed and a canister of antimatter is stolen and hidden somewhere in the city limits. An amigrammatic logo for the Illuminati, a secret society long thought to be extinct, is left at the scene of the crime and Langdon is the Vatican’s only hope for discerning the meaning of the crime and to help find the antimatter.
As if the threat of instant annihilation via the megaton bomb antimatter has the potential to become wasn’t enough, the city and the Catholic world has lost its pope. The cardinals are to meet in the Vatican and deliberate over who their next choice chosen pope is to be. The four preferiti, considered to be the odds-on favorites to gain the position are kidnapped and hidden somewhere in Vatican City. The kidnapping is determined to be the work of the Illuminati and instructions are received stating each preferiti will be killed an hour apart, at 8, 9, 10, and 11 p.m., with the battery for the antimatter canister – the only thing stopping it from going off – set to fail at midnight.
Langdon is looked at to be the only person who can detect the hiding places of each preferiti and stop the antimatter from triggering. He uses all of his acquired knowledge and the human resources around him to aid him in the process. He enlists the help of Vittoria Vetra, the lab partner of the murdered scientist at CERN, who possesses the ability to change the antimatter canister’s battery if they can get there in time and also Camerlengo McKenna who was the pope’s right-hand man and is the interim pontiff until a new one is elected. Together, they must act quickly to decipher the Illuminati clues and codes in order to save the preferiti and the fate of Vatican City.
In case you forgot Langdon was a professor, here he is in front of a bunch of books.
Although as the viewer you fall prey to Langdon’s knowledge of ancient symbols in order to crack the codes set forth by the Illuminati, he lets you in on exactly what he’s thinking as it comes to mind. It becomes a game of “riddle-me-this” that although you don’t have any real knowledge of how to solve it, you feel your brain churning as you attempt to figure out the path while Langdon lays it in front of you. It’s a cool trick that allows you to become an active viewer, almost participating in the revealing of the mysterious hiding places, although you had no prior knowledge of the layout of Rome or the ancient Path to Illumination Langdon must follow.
When this project was announced right after the release of The Da Vinci Code, the studio made it a point to lock up the same writer, director and star, which they did. What I find interesting is writer Akiva Goldsman shares credit with David Koepp (Panic Room) in this installation. That would mean Koepp was brought in, most likely to right a wrong. The Da Vinci Code caught a lot of flak for having too much exposition. Perhaps that could be blamed on Goldsman for being too faithful to the source material. Koepp was most likely brought on to condense the material and it was done successfully. Gone is the romantic subplot between Langdon and Vetra, which would have felt forced anyway. What the streamlining of the writing allows for is a brisker pace for which to tell this fast-paced story and it works to the film’s advantage.
Along with the script, the direction from Ron Howard is to be commended for making a less-talky, thrill-ride of a film this time around. I’ve always found it difficult to pinpoint a particular visual style for Howard, as he refuses to force himself upon his material and lets it play itself out. He employs CGI to show the creation of the antimatter much like you’d imagine David Fincher would. He’s also able to create moments of such great tension a page being torn out of a book will make you gasp aloud. In a way, he can be viewed as a perfect choice to helm this franchise as so much of the story power is encased in the content itself.
The film is far less blasphemous to the Catholic Church than its predecessor, as there aren’t many criticisms made, but rather a depiction of the process it goes through when electing a new pope. Dan Brown has a way of making history and learning fun, which may sound more like an attempt to get a child to read than an endorsement of the film, but it’s true. When adapting a novel, there are always going to be certain elements that are lost from the transition and I believe what was left on the cutting room floor only went toward helping the film. If you’re wondering why I have yet to mention the film’s star, Tom Hanks, to this point, it’s because he’s really not in it that much. Or least it didn’t seem like it. The story is the star of this film and if fast-paced adventure is what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Angels and Demons.
In case you didn’t know, Tom Hanks loves space. He also loves the moon. His favorite film is 2001: A Space Odyssey. He starred in Apollo 13. He exec produced the HBO miniseries, “From the Earth to the Moon.” Now, he’s going back with Major Matt Mason.
“Variety” reports Hanks is slated to star in the film, based on the Mattell action figure.
Inspiration for the 'Star Wars' text?
“The toy line originated in 1966; Mason led an astronaut team that worked on the moon and lived in a space station. The toy was a hit in the buildup to the first manned moon mission. Mattel retired the line in the 1970s.”
Graham Yost, writer of Speed, but more importantly some of “From the Earth to the Moon” episodes, will write the script.
Toy movies are certainly becoming the rage now, for some reason. Stretch Armstrong, Candyland, Monopoly are all to be made into movies. Very bizarre. I wonder if they’ll get to a Big Jim movie next. He camps. He’s like the Brawny Man in action figure form.
If they were making movies based on the action figures I played with as a kid, they’d be very self-reflexive, being that I was playing with Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. Usagi Yojimbo, anyone? What toy from your childhood would you like Hollywood to turn into a movie?
When a person or thing has “great” as part of its title, expectations for said item grow exponentially. Basketball superstar LeBron James is nicknamed “King,” and his play on the court has backed up the moniker. In contrast, The Great Buck Howard is a film that crumbles under the weight of its name. John Malkovich stars as the titular Buck Howard with the “great” portion of his identification added years ago by talk show host Johnny Carson years ago. Howard is a mentalist, a magician of sorts, who made 61 appearances on “The Johnny Carson Show” back in the day. He hopes to regain the fame that has eluded him of late, aiming to do Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” and possibly a regular gig in Vegas.
Howard’s career is caught between his being a “has been” and “can still be.” He needs help to make his career work. Enter Colin Hanks, who is on board as Troy Gable. Troy has been bred to be a lawyer, pushed and prodded in that direction by his father his entire life, but he doesn’t see that as the life for him. He drops out of law school and moves to LA to pursue writing, taking a gig as Howard’s road manager to pay the rent. Howard, who is a decade removed from any sort of celebrity relevance, travels the country playing small venues in his variety act, with Troy handling minor assistant duties.
While Buck’s act entertains simpletons in half-empty auditoriums, the story really centers on Troy’s “growth,” of which we see little. On the road he encounters Valerie (Emily Blunt), a publicist in Cincinnati who is trying to assist Howard in getting a crowd for a special trick he plans to perform which could catapult him back into the limelight. A needless love story sidetracks us. Through no rhyme or reason, yet being telegraphed a mile away, the duo fall into a sexual relationship during Troy’s brief stay in the city. They lack any sort of palpable chemistry, despite Blunt’s considerably quirky efforts.
Gotta get the cash, gotta get the dough.
While Malkovich embodies Howard’s self-important diva behavior, I didn’t sense the desperation for a return to stardom that was supposed to be evident in his character. He does his usual yeoman’s work but didn’t elevate his game for a starring role, hitting the big notes but not the subtle ones that could have propelled the film further. Hanks doesn’t help much. While he has little to work with, he also doesn’t flesh any emotion out of Troy’s (and his, perhaps) opportunity to come of age.
Sean McGinly writes and directs, sans flair. His other credits include, well, nothing of any note. There is very little in the way of amusement (I failed to so much as smile), the direction lacks any sort of panache (I was not wowed) and the script is too straight-forward (for this type of film, a veering off-course would have been welcome). It is mostly a fable on how fame is fleeting and difficult to maintain with myopia running rampant in the mind of the fallen star, but it’s also a parable about finding what it is you want to do and living out your dreams. While the message is honorable, it has been done better in countless films.
Colin’s real-life father, Tom Hanks (yes, him), makes a small appearance in two scenes as his father here as well, but he ultimately provides little punch to a largely listless film. Guest shots from the respected Steve Zahn and Ricky Jay don’t provide the wallop we would hope. Stints with several real-life talk show hosts during Howard’s career renaissance (or is it?) conclude in a “too little, too late” sort of wrap to the proceedings.
Part of the “magic” in the story is Troy’s belief that Buck’s most well-known trick, finding his cash payment hidden in the audience at the end of each live performance, is somehow real. While it is never proven how the trick is accomplished, a better trick would have been to add some excitement to this boring affair. This is one film where I would advise you to save your “bucks,” since Buck Howard, as a prominent magazine article declares in the film, is “not so” great.
MSN.com has paired up with the new Dan Brown adaptation, Angels & Demons, to bring you a series of challenging online games for prizes, including a trip to Rome.
This would normally be non-news to me, but I remember getting hooked on the Google/The Da Vinci Code contest a couple of years ago and it was fun as hell.
I screwed around with this new “Path of Illumination” contest for a long time last night and it’s safe to say I will be as addicted to this as I was last time. It’s far more challenging and indeed frustrating, but so far they’ve made for good brain-teasers. If you remember the problem-solving logic question about the fox, the chicken and the chicken feed, this is that to an exponential degree. Hopefully you can have fun with it, like I have to this point.
There’s been a lot of hype about the Transformers sequel over the past few weeks. We were given the teaser poster, we put the movie up as one of our Top 20 Anticipated of the year, we’ve learned there wouldn’t be any Dinobots and now we have the first official footage from the film. Below is the Super Bowl spot for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It’s short. Only 30 seconds, but for anybody planning to check out the re-boot of Friday the 13th in a couple of weeks, you can expect to see a longer teaser attached to that. Behold the TV spot:
I LOVE that huge robot bursting through the freeway and emerging right at the end. That’s just beautiful. I’m also very happy to see a quick glimpse of a robot transforming into a car. It’s a magnificent sight.
You can indulge your nostalgia for the first film here and go back even further and pick up the 1986 animated film. All will help bide time until June 26th.
I’ve never seen an episode of “Star Trek” in my life. I’ve actually worked hard to avoid it. It’s always been around me in its several incarnations on TV, but I’ve managed to make myself sparse during those times. It’s the Klingons that I can’t look at. Like Worf. I could hardly stand to look at that guy through a commercial. Look at that thing. The stuff nightmares are made of. For the same reason, I’ve never seen any Planet of the Apes films. The faces are too difficult to look at for me.
There aren’t any Worf-like creatures in any of the Star Trek spots so far and I’m thankful for it. Here’s your chance to check out the Star Trek Super Bowl spot, below:
Is anybody excited for this who’s NOT a “Star Trek” fan already? I can kind of see the appeal. I think the involvement of J.J. Abrams was a good decision. It might help crossover into non-”Star Trek” fandom. What did you think of the TV spot? Did it really entice? Are you more into it, less into it or just the same?
Certainly one of my most anticipated movies of the year, Pixar’s Up, has its Super Bowl TV spot online. It’s very similar to the teaser trailer that’s already out. There’s a short tag joke at the end, which is knew. A whetting of the appetite for sure. Of course not much needs to be revealed to get people on board for a Pixar film. They just need to know it exists. Check out the spot, below.
We’ve already previewed the film here. And as the TV spot suggest, you can see an exclusive clip from ‘Up’ at Disney.com. Unfortunately I can’t embed it for you, so here’s a direct link to that clip. I won’t spoil anything about it for you.
Meanwhile, I’ve been catching up on my “Empire” magazine reading lately and there’s a couple new pics from Up I hadn’t seen before. Here they are for you:
What did you think of the TV spot? Did you check out the clip? I look forward to any comment from a devout Pixar fan, like myself.
Here we are with another Super Bowl spot before the game has been played. This one is for the filmic adaptation of the TV series “Land of the Lost.” Land of the Lost stars Will Ferrell and Danny McBride (second billing!) and they go back in time and face dinosaurs, amongst other creatures. I guess after not having Dinobots in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, we’ll still be able to get our dino fix this summer.
I don’t know. Never seeing the show, I don’t have any connection to the material. It could be good. I think this spot will do well in terms of selling the movie to viewers tomorrow, and that’s its main goal. I’m happy Will Ferrell isn’t in some crazy sports comedy and it looks pretty epic. Brad Silberling directs his first big movie since the unfortunate Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. That one is obviously off the “franchise” train.
What do you think of this spot? Do you want to see the movie?
This one is more of a scene from the film than just a TV spot. Kind of hard to believe you’ll see this one in it’s entirely during tomorrow’s game. That’d be $12 million! Whatever gets people excited about the film and makes them buy tickets, I guess.
The Year One is directed by Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day) from a script he wrote with “The Office” scribes, Gene Stupnitsky & Less Eisenberg. Michael Cera and Jack Black star as Oh and Zed, respectively, two caveman trying to survive before civilization. In the clip/TV spot below, you’ll also meet Kane and Abel, played by Paul Rudd and David Cross.
It looks pretty decent to me. I’d love it to be good and funny. I recall the buzz being not particularly strong from some test screening reviews I’ve read. I wish I was able to tell you myself if it was worthy or not.
UPDATE: It turns out that was just a clip. Here’s the actual Super Bowl spot.
This scene reminded me of a clip from the 1981 film, Caveman, starring Ringo Starr, that I’ve seen numerous types playing “Scene It” on the 360. Sadly, I couldn’t find the exact one. Here’s a clip of music being invented.
I wonder if the Super Bowl will be holding any more surprises tomorrow. We now bring you the Super Bowl spot for the third sequel (that’s number four) to The Fast and the Furious, the creatively titled Fast & Furious! This is the first Super Bowl spot we’ve posted for a film that’s already had a trailer released, so only slightly new footage. Of course, this is going out to the few people that watch the Super Bowl, too. Behold!
Vin Diesel used to be my boy when he was coming up. For those that know his first major film role was Saving Private Ryan, an even more in-depth education will lead you to knowing Spielberg had that role written into the film specifically for Diesel after seeing Vinny’s short film Multi-Facial, at Sundance. I bought the DVD and have always enjoyed the 20-minute short. It definitely displays Diesel’s acting chops and saddens me to know he’s been pigeon-holed into this crappy action stuff. Hopefully one day, he’ll break out like I know he’s capable of.
The complete short is below, but if you find it in your heart to buy the DVD, check it out here: Short 5 – Diversity.
I was never allowed to play with G.I. Joe’s as a kid, so I never got into them. I have no idea what any character’s name is. I know “Cobra” has something to do with that universe. So, my excitement for this film is less than zero. It wasn’t really increased by this TV spot. If you want to see what G.I. Joe has in store for you tomorrow during the Super Bowl, just check it out below.
Did you like it? Are you excited for this?
I don’t hold director, Stephen Sommers, in high regard. Remember Van Helsing? It is nice that it’s trying to find a spot in August though, which over the past 10 years or so (ever since The Sixth Sense) has extended the blockbuster season. I’m all for better movies spread around. I hope this is good for anybody that has an interest. Be sure to let me know.
About a year ago, a friend and I were recalling this old G.I. Joe commercial. For the heck of it, here it is below.
The first film-related TV spot set to air during the Super Bowl was made available today via MTV Movies Blog. The spot is for the Dwayne Johnson-starring Disney film, The Race to Witch Mountain.
The film is a remake of the 1975 film, Escape to Witch Mountain. Johnson plays, Jack Bruno, a modern-day Travis Bickle (only in that he drives a taxi), who is sought by a paranormal expert, Dr. Alex Friendman (Carla Gugino), to help protect two extraterrestrials from a dastardly organization who only want to use them for evil. Sounds dastardly.
With 30-seconds of airtime costing $3 million this year, this ad is costing Disney $6 million. Do you think it’s worth it? We’ll find out March 13th, I guess.
As mentioned in my preview of the film, I’m actually looking forward to Angels & Demons, even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Da Vinci Code film. I just have some wishful thinking, hoping Ron Howard and Co. will have learned from their mistakes. I did think the book was pretty cool and would like it to be done justice on the big screen. Tom Hanks is my boy.
The following clip doesn’t really show off a hell of a lot. It’s 30 seconds long and essentially just shows a few flashes. We’ll apparently have to wait for the theatrical trailer to even get a remote sense of what to expect. I would imagine we’ll get that pretty soon, as the film’s slated for release May 15th.
What did you guys think of this spot? Was they’re really much of anything to help you get hyped? Are you looking forward to this at all?
I certainly never bothered to make my way to a Sobe booth to pick up 3-D glasses, so I can’t tell you about the dazzling things I witnessed in the additional dimension. For those of you that saw the ad, here’s your chance to relive it, and for those that missed it, here’s you chance to see it.
I think this has a chance to be good, actually. I’m not much for any other studios computer animated films, but Pixar’s, and this certainly has a vague resemblance to Monsters, Inc. (as these studios are apt to do), but I do like the eye/tongue/elbow/butt scanner joke.
For those that saw the TV spot in 3-D did it really enhance your enjoyment at all? For anybody not as ready and willing to outright reject the animated product of non-Pixar, what’s your level of interest in the movie?
For some extreme trivia, former “The Simpsons” writer and longtime friend of Wes Anderson (he played the wrestling ref in Rushmore), Wally Wolodarsky had a hand in writing the script.
I’m not much of a reader, so although I’m sure I’d heard about Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” I never desired to read it. It was pretty much hammered down my throat around the fall of 2005 in anticipation of the movie’s release and I figured I’d see what all the hype was about. It wasn’t hard to find someone who already owned the book, who would loan it to me and after a couple of fits and starts, I hunkered down and plowed through it. To my amazement, I enjoyed it. I never much cared for history or certainly religious history and thought it would bore me, but there was something about the intrigue in the tale, blending fact and fiction that made it hard to differentiate which was which. I liked that.
After finishing the book, I had found out that there was a previous book, called “Angels & Demons,” dealing with the same character of Robert Langdon. I plowed through that as well. Figuring it would eventually be made into a movie, I envisioned how things might look up on the silver screen and was pretty jazzed.
Of course The Da Vinci Code film was released and like most people, I wasn’t its biggest fan. I doubt those who hadn’t read the book could make much sense of what was going on, and of course those that had were missing a lot of what we had hoped to see. Even with that mishap, I’m excited for Angels & Demons. Tom Hanks has long been one of my favorite actors and his hair is back to looking unobjectionable in this. One of my favorite parts in the book was getting to each ambigramatic brand, setting off the following chain of events. The trailer displays the script for the “Illuminati” and I hope the film takes advantage of this cool visual feature.
"What's up there?" "It's sin, you don't want any part of it."
Angels & Demons involves Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) called in to help uncover the mysterious murder of a renowned physicist, Leonardo Vetra, who has been branded with the symbol of the “Illuminati,” a legendary secret society, thought to be defunct. With the help of Vetra’s adopted daughter, Vittoria (Ayelet Zurer), Langdon discovers that the Illuminati have stolen a canister of antimatter, the amount of which is akin to a small nuclear weapon. It is feared the canister is hidden somewhere in Vatican City where the election of a new pope is taking place, after the previous one’s death. The four Preferiti, thought to be the frontrunners for the position are all missing from the scene. With the help of Carlo Ventresca (Ewan McGregor), the pope’s closest aide, the fate of Vatican City and the symbol of Catholicism are in Langdon’s hands. I have faith, or at least a heap of hope that Ron Howard and the rest of the filmmakers will atone for their sins from the first film and deliver the type of film fans and viewers require.
Word on the street has Sam Mendes near-classic Road To Perdition getting not one, but two sequels. 2002′s Perdition, which starred Tom Hanks, was based on a graphic novel by author Max Allan Collins, and with all of the attention that comic books/graphic novels are getting these days, it appears that a few more may be on the way. Collins himself is said to be preparing to direct the sequels, which would focus on the character of Michael Sullivan Jr. (Tom Hank’s son in Perdition). Thanks to the Film Junk blog for the heads up.
The beloved Newman holding down the fort.
These sequels are to be dubbed, Road To Purgatory and Road To Paradise. Not tons is known about them at this point. For the record, Collins does have some experience in the Director’s chair but not likely anything you have ever seen. Could he possibly follow up the amazing job that Mr. Kate Winslet, Sam Mendes did in his effort? Hard to imagine that a cast as stellar as Hanks, Mr. Bond – Daniel Craig, Jude Law and obviously the now deceased Paul Newman, would be on board for either of these. Only time will tell, I suppose. Let us know what you think. Bueno idea or not?