Rumors flew earlier in the week that Charlie Kaufman‘s (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) ambitious project Frank or Francis might, sadly, never come together at all – though Kaufman’s reps are not ready to say any more than it has merely been postponed. The project is a “musical satire” about Hollywood and the internet, and has Steve Carell, Jack Black, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Kline and Elizabeth Banks all set to star, though questions about it ever coming to fruition have been numerous of late.
Kaufman has been busy with quite a few other projects (including writing his first novel, writing and directing an HBO series staring Catherine Keener, and adapting the YA novel Chaos Walking: The Knife Of Never Letting Go, so it’s not difficult to fathom that Frank or Francis may have unfortunately dropped from the top of his priority list. For more on the troubled project and what some of the film’s stars have said about its prospects, hit the jump.
Nicholas Cage, Idris Elba and Violante Placido are walking into a very large cave. As they get further inside, I notice the walls and huge metal shelving units are filled with hundreds of semi-automatic machine guns, sniper rifles, and boxes of ammo. The cave even has old-school weapons like swords and armor decorating the walls. It’s easily the biggest arms cache I’ve ever seen, and I can only imagine what they’ll be used for. As I take in the extremely cool surroundings, I hear director Brian Taylor say cut. I guess now would be a good time to mention I’m standing on a soundstage about forty minutes outside Bucharest, Romania.
Let me back up a second.
It’s Sunday, February 20, 2011 and I’m sitting on a plane flying back from Europe. A few days ago I got to visit the set of the Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance with a few other online reporters and we were treated to a really great day filled with awesome interviews and I learned a tremendous amount about the movie. While I have serious issues with the first Ghost Rider, everything I learned on set tells me they have a much better story and a much better team of filmmakers and actors trying to bring Spirit of Vengeance to life. For a full recap, hit the jump.
Season of the Witch stumbles out of the gates and continues down that path to a mediocre finale that spoils a decent twist with underwhelming special effects and clichés. The acting alone should have floated this period farce by director Dominic Sena, but it feels like Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman are rowing against each other; Cage plods while Perlman charms and conjures laughter. The real shame is that this was filmed on beautiful foreign lands and briefly utilizes wonderfully gothic sets, yet is rather boring save for a thrilling albeit cheesy bridge-crossing scene. The fact that crossing a bridge is a high point in a sword and sorcery film should set off warning signs, but if you are still under Season of the Witch’s spell, hit the jump for the full review.
The development process is such that something that may have started out as a fairy good idea can mutate to serve too many masters. This much is certain, 2010’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice seems to have begun as an idea to turn the beloved short in Walt Disney’s Fantasia into a feature length film. But that short can’t really lead to a narrative, only one set piece. So instead the creators had to borrow from the popular myths of the time, specifically Harry Potter. And so Jay Baruschel is Dave, the hapless college student who experienced magic as a child (but no one believed him), but is actually a secretly awesome magician. He is taken in by Balthazar Blake (Nicholas Cage) to be Blake’s apprentice and to learn the ways of magic to protect himself from Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). My review of Jon Turteltaub’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on Blu-ray follows after the jump.
The first trailer for Walt Disney’s upcoming action/fantasy film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice did a good job of highlighting the magical special effects that would be on display in the live-action re-imagining of a segment from the classic Mouse House cartoon Fantasia. The trailer also provided glimpses of the narrative and humor within, but a new featurette (titled “Good vs. Evil”) fleshes out those elements a bit more. Director Jon Turtletaub (National Treasure) and stars Nicholas Cage and Jay Baruchel explain the plot in greater detail, and the featurette nature of the footage allows for longer clips to demonstrate how the comedic beats of the Cage/Baruchel partnership will play out.
Check out the clip, and news of a release date shuffle, after the jump.
DreamWorks Animation is going back to basic with their new movie, The Croods. Croods will be a prehistoric comedy set in the early days of mankind. Variety is reporting that Croods will feature Nicholas Cage as a tribal leader who must lead his people to a new home in the aftermath of a disastrous earthquake. Ryan Reynolds will voice a wanderer full of modern (read: dangerous) ideas. Kirk DeMicco (Space Chimps) will share the writing and directing with Chris Sanders (Lilo and Stitch). Hit the jump for my thoughts on DWA’s latest project.
According to Variety, Summit Entertainment has secured the North American rights to distribute Nicholas Cage’s Drive Angry, the high-concept revenge piece from Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer, the creative team behind My Bloody Valentine 3-D. The picture, which centers on a man racing through a desert in pursuit of the man who killed his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter, is currently slated for February 11, 2011 in a clear counter-programming ploy.
Summit is clearly hoping that Drive Angry is able to re-create the success of My Bloody Valentine 3-D which was also released around Valentine’s Day and ended with a worldwide take of $100 million. Thanks to the Twilight franchise, Summit has become a legitimate player in Hollywood, so far ranking 7th in gross among studios for 2009. Hopefully they are able to parlay their newfound success better than the last mid-major to get a huge, fantasy induced cash influx. Yes, New Line, I am looking at you and, yes, I am still angry about The Golden Compass.
Whatever can be said of Jerry Bruckheimer, and at this point the white hot hate for his style of Bruckheimer/Simpson movies has to have subsided some (he’s no longer making Top Gun-Style borderline propaganda now that Michael Bay’s moved on), there is no doubt of one thing: dude has an eye for talent. Look at G-Force, and the cast: Tracy Morgan, Zach Galifianakis, Sam Rockwell, Steve Buscemi, Nicholas Cage, Will Arnett, Penelope Cruz, and Bill Nighy. That’s a cast you’d want in most anything. My review of G-Force after the jump.
I love you Niolas Cage. The sometimes great but always amusing actor has signed on to star in the perfectly entitled 3D action revenge film, “Drive Angry”. The film will be directed by Patrick Lussier, who earlier this year gave us the 3D extravaganza, “My Bloody Valentine 3D”, and will center on a man driven by rage who is chasing the people who killed his daughter and kidnapped her baby. I don’t know about you but I can already see the internet memes and .gifs in my mind. To read more about what we might expect you can click on the jump.
Okay, at this point, if Sony doesn’t have some kind of Hall H-”The Green Hornet” surprise at their panel on Saturday (Sony also has a panel on Friday but that’s going to have “District 9″ and Peter Jackson so they don’t really need it as much as they need a big finish after “Zombieland” and “2012″ on Saturday), I’ll be surprised at their lack of providing a surprise. I say all this because the studio just announced that at 8:30PM tomorrow at the Sony Booth #4313, star Seth Rogen will unveil the car from his upcoming film “The Green Hornet” – the Black Beauty. You know, because the exhibitors floor isn’t ridiculously crowded already, it’s definitely a good idea to put Seth Rogen out there where he’ll be devoured by adoring fans.
While there’s no word yet whether fellow Comic-Con attendee (for “Kick-Ass”) and recent “Green Hornet”-joiner Nicholas Cage will be doing any “Green Hornet”-related events, I wouldn’t be surprised (until I saw it, squealed like a little schoolgirl, and blogged about it as quickly as possible).