Film Junk Podcast Episode #193: Changeling

0:00 – Intro / In-House Stuff
13:02 – Headlines: Joe Johnston Directing Captain America, Farrelly Brothers to Direct The Three Stooges, Not Another Not Another Movie, Christopher Nolan Sued by Batman
31:08 – What We Watched: Pride and Glory, Drillbit Taylor, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, American Movie, Margot at the Wedding, The Savages, Faces of Death
49:48 – Top 5 PG-rated Comedies
1:07:00 – Review: Role Models
1:17:28 – Review: Changeling
1:32:05 – Junk Mail
1:35:00 – Outro

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The CW’s Young Robin Show The Graysons Killed by Christopher Nolan?

Last month we reported that The CW was in the process of putting together a new young superhero show to replace Smallville called The Graysons. The show would follow the teenaged Dick “DJ” Grayson before he became Batman’s sidekick Robin — an all around terrible idea if I ever heard one. Fortunately, it looks like cooler heads have prevailed and The Graysons is going to be axed before it even gets off the ground.

Word on the street is that Warner Bros. president Jeff Robinov changed his mind and decided that the show didn’t really fit with the direction that they wanted to take their various DC Comics properties after all. Batman Begins/The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan was also supposedly uncomfortable with the show as it would present an inconsistent view of the Batman universe, much like the previously proposed Justice League movie. Warner Brothers TV released the following statement:

“The studio has opted not to go forward with the development of The Graysons at this time as the concept doesn’t fit the current strategy for the Batman franchise. Warner Bros. Television is currently working on several replacement options for the CW.”

I don’t think there are too many comic book fans who will be upset at this news, and I certainly think it’s wise for Warner Brothers to take Christopher Nolan’s opinion into consideration on matters regarding Batman. They can’t afford to screw up the one successful franchise they have going right now. Still, this reveals a bigger problem with Warner Brothers and their DC Comics properties right now: there are just too many cooks in the kitchen. Everyone wants to do their own thing with the characters, and no one is overseeing the whole operation. Until they get that straightened out, it’s going to continue to be a mess, and people are going to keep dreaming up terrible young superhero TV show ideas.

Chevy Chase and Burt Reynolds to Star in Not Another Not Another Movie

Although comedy is a very subjective thing, I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who would agree that the level of humour in comedies lately has been pretty low. I mean, sometimes it feels like they’re not even trying, and this year alone we had to endure three entries in the now notorious spoof genre: Meet The Spartans, Superhero Movie and Disaster Movie. Does it really have to be like this? Isn’t there anyone else out there who can save us from this dreck that isn’t named Judd Apatow?

Enter indie filmmaker David Murphy, a writer/director who has found the ultimate solution to the problem: a spoof of a spoof. That’s right, this guy is actually in production on Not Another Not Another Movie, a meta-comedy that pokes fun at the endless stream of parody films that have been coming out over the past few years. No joke. (Well, it is a joke, but you know what I mean.) The film stars Chevy Chase as the head of a studio who quits his job, leaving his ex-con brother (Michael Madsen) and his gangster friend (Vinnie Jones) in charge. They decide to make a spoof of spoof movies, with Burt Reynolds playing an actor who plays a director in the film (if that makes any sense, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t).

With movies like JCVD and My Name is Bruce getting attention for their self-referential humour, it seems that “meta” just might be the new buzzword in Hollywood. But how meta is too meta? If you ask me this is just getting ridiculous, and judging by the cast involved, this will clearly end up being way worse than any of the movies it is trying to lampoon. Just look at Bob Saget’s Farce of the Penguins. Let’s leave the meta movies to self-absorbed intellectuals like Charlie Kaufman… at least they’ve got the creative cojones to try and pull something like this off.

Pixar’s Up Trailer #2

The first teaser trailer for Pixar’s Up was basically just an announcement more than anything, with only the slightest hint of what the movie might have to offer when it hits theatres next May. Now this month the second trailer for the Pete Docter/Bob Peterson film has arrived, and while it still most definitely qualifies as a “teaser”, it does showcase a bit more of our grumpy old protagonist and his floating house, not to mention the young boy scout who becomes in inadvertent sidekick.

I still don’t really have a clue what this movie is about, but it looks like it will have just the right mix of adventure and humour. Is it sacrilege to say that I’m more excited about this than I was about Cars, Ratatouille or Wall-E? Check out the trailer below or watch it in HD over at Apple. Up hits theatres on May 29th 2009.

The First Avenger: Captain America Lands a Director

We’ve got a big announcement from Marvel to kick things off this week; it seems that they have found a director for their upcoming Captain America movie entitled The First Avenger: Captain America. The man who will be taking on this iconic hero is none other than Steven Spielberg protege Joe Johnston, who is probably best known for directing Jumanji and Jurassic Park III. Producer Kevin Feige was quick to point out, however, that many of his other movies have been good preparation for this project:

“This is a guy who designed the vehicles for Star Wars, who storyboarded the convoy action sequence for Raiders of the Lost Ark… From Rocketeer to October Sky to The Wolfman, you can look at pieces of his movies and see how they lead to this one.”

The Rocketeer, in particular, is the one that seems most relevant to me. As a tribute to the 1930s serials, it would be an ideal template for the feel of The First Avenger since it has been confirmed that it will take place during World War II. Of course, plot details are still a bit thin as they don’t have an actual script written just yet. Captain America will also appear in the modern day Avengers movie which will be released in the latter half of 2011. The First Avenger: Captain America is currently slated for release on May 6, 2011. So what do you think, is this good news? Which of the upcoming Marvel movies are you most excited about?

Monday Morning Box Office Report: Madagascar 2 is Leader of the Pack

It’s a given that a well-advertised animated film will always dominate the box office, and as expected, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa absolutely killed the competition this past weekend, earning a massive $63 million haul. Also beating out High School Musical 3, however, was the Paul Rudd/Seann William Scott comedy Role Models, with a surprising $19 million. Meanwhile Clint Eastwood’s Changeling traded spots with Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and Soul Men opened with a disappointing $5.6 million and the #6 spot. Both Saw V and The Haunting of Molly Hartley are fading fast now that Halloween is over, and will likely be out of the top 10 by next week.

1. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa — $63.5M
2. Role Models — $19.3M
3. High School Musical 3: Senior Year — $9.29M
4. Changeling — $7.28M
5. Zack and Miri Make a Porno — $6.52M
6. Soul Men — $5.61M
7. Saw V — $4.2M
8. The Haunting of Molly Hartley — $3.49M
9. The Secret Life of Bees — $3.12M
10. Eagle Eye — $2.59M

Film Junk Weekend Wrap-Up: John Carpenter’s Riot, Steve Carell’s Beaver, Batman Sues Christopher Nolan?

For the most part, it was a slow week for movie news, although there were a few interesting announcements by the time the weekend rolled around, not the least of which was talk of a possible Oldboy remake directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Will Smith. We also heard that Road to Perdition would be getting not one but two sequels, and a city in Turkey apparently thinks they were the first ones to ever use the name “Batman”. A promo poster for John Carpenter’s newly renamed prison riot flick also hit the web, and Antonio Banderas was said to be in talks to play wacky surrealist painter Salvador Dali on the big screen. Were there any other major news stories or cool links that escaped our notice?

Top Headlines
Steven Spielberg and Will Smith for Oldboy Remake?
Another Planet of the Apes Movie in Development?
Road to Perdition Sequels to be Directed by Co-Creator
Farrelly Brothers to Bring Back The Three Stooges
Joaquin Phoenix Still Says He’s Quitting Acting

New Trailers
Cadillac Records

Some Stories We Didn’t Cover
John Carpenter’s Riot Poster
Steve Carell to Star in The Beaver
Turkish City Batman Sues Christopher Nolan Over the Name Batman
Marco Polo Gets a Biopic
Mark Twain Gets a Biopic
Jonathan Lipnicki to Star in The Other Side of Innocence
Jack Black to Star in Gulliver’s Travels
Daniel Craig Says The Next Bond Should Be Black
Marc Forster to Remake Die Bad
Antonio Banderas to Play Salvador Dali
Michael Crichton Dies
Paramount to Adapt Battling Boy
Chris Rock to Remake Death at a Funeral
13 Tzameti Remake Gets Two Rays
Jackie Chan to Write and Star in Junior Soldiers
Boondock Saints 2 is Happening
Jenna Fischer to Star in A Little Help

Steven Spielberg to Direct Oldboy Remake Starring Will Smith?

If memory serves, there has been talk of an Oldboy remake since even before the Korean thriller was released here in North America. At the time, I believe Fabian Marquez (Better Luck Tomorrow) was writing the script, with Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) on board to direct. Since then the project was left to rot in development hell, with many fans of the original hoping it would simply stay that way for good.

Not to be my friends! There are still plenty of people out there who think this movie has potential to make money as an American remake, and one of those people, apparently is Steven Spielberg. I suppose it goes without saying that whatever Spielberg wants, Spielberg gets, and in this case, he actually wants Will Smith to star as well! Variety reported a few days ago that Dreamworks was in the process of picking up the remake rights to Oldboy, and if all goes according to plan, they will be looking for a writer ASAP. I fail to see how a Spielberg/Smith collaboration could be a losing venture, but at the same time, I have to wonder how they could make the whole story palatable for a mainstream audience. Anyone who has seen the original knows that it wouldn’t have the same impact without that twist ending. What do you think, could Spielberg do Oldboy justice, or is this just a disaster waiting to happen?

New To Theatres This Weekend: Role Models, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Soul Men, JCVD

Not a particularly exciting week for new theatrical releases as we impatiently await the North American premiere of Quantum of Solace. The Paul Rudd/Seann William Scott comedy Role Models didn’t look all that funny but it is getting surprisingly good reviews; Soul Men, on the other hand, is not winning over critics despite featuring the final performances by Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes. I’m not sure how popular Madagascar was, but something tells me Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is the only thing that might have a shot at dethroning High School Musical 3. In select theatres we have the Jean-Claude Van Damme action-comedy JCVD, indie horror movie House, and Darren Lynn Bousman’s Repo! The Genetic Opera musical. Do you plan on checking anything out?

Role Models
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Soul Men
JCVD (limited)
House (limited)
Repo! The Genetic Opera (limited)
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (limited)
Pray the Devil Back to Hell (limited)
The World Unseen (limited)
Otto; or, Up with the Dead People (limited)

Transsiberian Contest Winners

Congratulations to the following Film Junk readers, who have won themselves a copy of Transsiberian on DVD:

  • Gizele Farris of Moncton, NB
  • Valencia Burns of Atlanta, GA
  • Mary P. Ferrarini of Chicago, IL

Thanks to all who entered, and a big thanks to Brandy from ddPR for making the contest possible! Stay tuned for more giveaways on Film Junk coming up soon.

Eli Roth’s Cloverfield-Style Exorcism Movie Cotton Gets Picked Up

The success of Cloverfield has brought back handheld faux-documentary horror films in a big way, with Quarantine, The Poughkeepsie Tapes, and Paranormal Activity all following hot on the heels of the J.J. Abrams project. Now it looks like Cabin Fever/Hostel director Eli Roth is about to get in on the craze too, albeit only in a producer capacity.

Variety reports that French art house distributor Studio Canal has just picked up a handful of genre films including Cotton, a horror film produced by Roth and directed by Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland (Mail Order Wife). The movie has been likened to Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project, and involves a minister who decides to leave the church, but before he does, he participates in an exorcism that is being shot by a film crew for a documentary. While Roth isn’t in the director’s chair, I am at least curious to see what the quality of the final product will be. I am wary of low budget knockoffs, but when done well this style of forced perspective horror film can be extremely effective. What do you think, does this sound cool, or are you getting sick of handheld horror?

Statham and Stallone to Star in The Expendables

Looks like we may finally have some details on one of the upcoming action movies that Sylvester Stallone signed on to write and direct for Nu Image/Millennium Films earlier this year. At the time, it was rumoured that this might be a Rambo sequel, and although Rambo V is still possible, this particular project is something slightly different (“slightly” being the key word).

The flick is called The Expendables, and it will star Stallone himself alongside current action stars Jason Statham and Jet Li. The plot is about a team of mercenaries on who embark on a mission to overthrow a South American dictator. Further details are hard to come by, but it should be interesting to see if audiences still respond to Stallone in a non-nostalgia, non-franchise situation (Rambo grossed $113 million worldwide). Hey, as long as it’s still rated-R and full of gory dismemberments and headshots, I don’t think I’ll be able to help myself. How interested are you in The Expendables?