Weekly Ketchup: Starship Troopers Will Get a Remake

Plus, new roles for Michael Fassbender, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, and Julia Roberts.

Hollywood made up for lost time during the extended Thanksgiving holiday by returning to "work" and delivering us a healthier helping of movie development news. This week's Ketchup includes news of yet another remake of a Paul Verhoeven science fiction movie, and new (or at least potentially new) roles for Tom Cruise, Michael Fassbender, Harrison Ford, Colin Firth, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Hailee Steinfeld and Rachel Weisz.


This Week's Top Story

STARSHIP TROOPERS BEING REMADE: WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?

In the 15 years from 1985 to 2000, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven's Hollywood career included seven movies, four of which were science fiction (RoboCop, Total Recall, Starship Troopers and Hollow Man). MGM has been developing a remake of RoboCop for a few years now, and Columbia Pictures has already produced a remake of Total Recall (starring Colin Farrell), which is scheduled for release on August 3, 2012. This week, it was revealed that Sony Pictures and producer Neal Moritz are now developing a remake of Verhoeven's 1997 film Starship Troopers as well. Starship Troopers was an adaptation of the 1959 novel of the same title by Robert A. Heinlein, although Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Edward Neumeier (who also cowrote RoboCop) also added enough new material to make the film more satirical. Heinlein's novel also didn't include any co-ed shower room nudity. Starship Troopers is just the latest remake project for producer Neal Moritz, who is also developing a remake of Highlander, has Total Recall coming soon, and in the past has produced such remakes as The Fast and the Furious, I Am Legend and Prom Night. The screenwriters that Neal Moritz has hired to start working on the Starship Troopers remake script are Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, who have worked together in the past as cowriters of Agent Cody Banks, Thor, X-Men: First Class and several episodes of Fringe and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 WHO KNOWS IF MICHAEL FASSBENDER WILL SAY NO TO NOAH

Christian Bale has been mentioned as the likely star of director Darren Aronofsky's big biblical epic Noah for quite a while. However, Christian Bale has had to recently drop out of Noah due to conflicts with two upcoming projects (Lawless and Knight of Cups) with director Terrence Malick which are both expected to start filming in 2012. The actor that Aronofsky has started talking to and hopes to cast as Noah instead is Michael Fassbender, who recently costarred in X-Men: First Class (as Magneto), and also costars in next year's Prometheus (both for 20th Century Fox). Noah will be a joint production between Paramount Pictures and New Regency Productions (which is based at 20th Century Fox), and filming is expected to start in the spring of 2012.


#2 ALICE EVE THINKS STAR TREK SEQUEL IS NOT OUT OF HER LEAGUE

There are reportedly three major new roles to be introduced in the sequel to J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot of Star Trek. A few weeks ago, we learned that Benicio Del Toro had been cast as the film's main villain, and one of the other new roles is reportedly possibly a villain as well. What that leaves is a mysterious new female character, and this week it was Alice Eve who landed that part. Alice Eve is probably best known for starring in She's Out of My League, but she also costarred in Sex and the City 2, and the last season of Entourage. Eve reportedly won the role through auditioning, beating out both Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four) and Hayley Atwell (Captain America: The First Avenger). Although Eve's character is described as being new to the franchise, that hasn't stopped many fans from guessing (mostly based on her appearance) that she could actually be the reboot universe's Nurse Chapel, or possibly Dr. Carol Marcus (from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). It's worth noting that we also don't yet know who Benicio Del Toro is playing, even though many fans suspect it's Khan Noonien Singh. Paramount and J.J. Abrams plan on starting filming of the Star Trek sequel on January 15, 2012, so that mysterious third character should also be cast soon.


#3 TOM HANKS MEETS THE NAZIS AGAIN IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS

Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to the non-fiction novel In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City) for Tom Hanks to produce, and possibly/probably star in as well. In the Garden of Beasts tells the true story of William E. Dodd, the American professor who was chosen by FDR to become America's first ambassador to Nazi Germany in 1933. Dr. Dodd travelled to Berlin with his 24 year old daughter Martha, and the two had experiences that began quite differently, but ultimately led to the same opinion of what was really going on under Hitler in the 1930s. There is not yet any screenwriter attached to adapt Larson's book, and so it is likely to join The Devil in the White City in a development track that will last at least a few years.


#4 COLIN FIRTH IS THE RAILWAY MAN, A STEEL DRIVING MAN

Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz are set to star in the international production The Railway Man, based upon a best selling autobiography by Eric Lomax. Eric Lomax was a British officer during World War II who was captured by the Japanese, and forced to work on the Burma-Siam railroad (the subject of The Bridge Over the River Kwai). Lomax was also tortured and treated brutally for his attempts to build a radio. Decades later, Lomax sought reconciliation with one of his former torturers at the site of The Bridge Over the River Kwai, which became the focus of the 1995 documentary film Enemy My Friend. Colin Firth will play Eric Lomax in his post-war years, Rachel Weisz will play his wife Patti, and Jeremy Irvine (the star of War Horse) will play Eric Lomax during the World War II scenes. The Railway Man will be directed by Jonathan Teplitzsky (Better than Sex, Gettin' Square) from a script by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Hilary and Jackie, Millions, 24 Hour Party People) and Andy Paterson (one of the film's producers, making his screenwriting debut). Filming of The Railway Man is scheduled to start in February, 2012 at locations in Australia, the U.K. and Thailand.


#5 UNHOLY NIGHT CONTINUES THE WACKY HORROR MASH-UP MINI-GENRE

Author Seth Grahame-Smith is synonymous with the "horror/classics mash up" genre of fiction, mostly because he is nearly the only one writer writing it so exclusively. Grahame-Smith's books also have the distinction of being quickly picked up for movie adaptations consistently. First there was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (though that one remains mired in development hell), and the second book was Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (which has been produced and is scheduled for a 6/22/12 release). Grahame-Smith's third mash-up novel will be called Unholy Night, and as the title suggests, it will take on the Nativity story of the Three Wise Men. Except, of course, Unholy Night will also somehow include monsters, or something. The "something" isn't yet known, because the book doesn't come out until April, 2012. Regardless, Warner Bros has acquired the rights to Unholy Night, which makes it the third project that Warner Bros is currently developing with ties to the Bible, even if Unholy Night is obviously not entirely serious about adapting its source material 100% faithfully. The other two Biblical projects in development at Warner Bros are a Moses biopic called Gods and Kings and Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas' planned biopic of Hebrew revolutionary Judah Maccabee (whose tale inspired the modern holiday of Hanukkah).


#6 TOM CRUISE SHOULD CHECK HIS GRAMMAR IF HE THINKS ALL YOU NEED IS KILL

All You Need is Kill is the title of a Japanese science fiction novel by Yoshitoshi Abe that has been in development as a live action adaptation at Warner Bros since 2010. Although the studio was at one time considering a younger star, Brad Pitt was later mentioned as possibly starring, followed by rumors of Tom Cruise. This week, Tom Cruise did indeed officially sign on to star in All You Need is Kill, which will be directed by Doug Liman (Jumper, The Bourne Identity, Mr & Mrs Smith). All You Need is Kill is a futuristic war movie with a premise a lot like Groundhog Day. Tom Cruise will play a soldier who keeps living his final battle over and over, but with each death, he also improves at killing his alien enemies. All You Need is Kill also represents a new focus on science fiction for Tom Cruise, as the star is also attached to star in Oblivion for director Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy).

Rotten Ideas of the Week

#3 HAILEE STEINFELD AND HARRISON FORD MAY ALSO PLAY ENDER'S GAME

Now that Asa Butterfield, the 14 year old star of Hugo, has signed on with Summit Entertainment to star in the long-in-development adaptation of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, the casting process is now moving on to other characters. First up is Colonel Hyrum Graff, the commander of the Battle School that has been established to train children to fight in an outer space war against an alien race called the Formics. Although nothing is official yet, the star that Summit is reportedly hoping to land for the part is none other than Harrison Ford, who only recently returned to the outer space science fiction genre with Cowboys & Aliens after hanging up his Han Solo vest years ago. Another major character in Ender's Game (and especially later novels like Shadow of the Hegemon and Shadow Puppets) is Petra Arkanian, one of the female students at the Battle School. Hailee Steinfeld, the young actress who first came to attention in True Grit, is currently in negotations for that role. Ender's Game will be directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) from his own adaptation of Card's novel.


#2 AT LEAST CALIFORNIANS WHO SEE SAN ANDREAS: 3D WILL KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT

New Line Cinema is currently looking for a director to sign on for San Andreas 3D, a disaster movie about the long-expected "big one" earthquake forecast to someday wreak havoc on the state of California. San Andreas 3D has already been written by screenwriter Allan Loeb, whose last four produced movies all received "Rotten" scores on the RT Tomatometer: 21 (35%), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (54%), The Switch (51%) and Just Go With It (20%). The premise of San Andreas revolves around a man who has to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco "to reconcile with his children and his estranged wife, who's moved away and taken up with another man." If that sounds very familiar, then you most likely saw 2012, which featured almost exactly the same premise for the John Cusack character.


#1 JULIA ROBERTS DISAGREES WITH F. SCOTT FITZGERALD ABOUT SECOND ACT

Julia Roberts has come aboard a New Regency comedy called Second Act, which she will produce and also star in. Although Second Act does not yet have a director or even a screenwriter, the workplace comedy is described as being about "a woman who has never worked and is forced to take a job." This byline makes Second Act seem a bit like the sort of movie that Goldie Hawn used to specialize in, such as Private Benjamin, Protocol, Swing Shift and Overboard. Second Act is this week's Rotten Idea based mostly on the sheer lack of information, and the rather flimsy concept which also seems a bit too obviously designed to be a "Recession Era comedy."

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook or a RT forum message.

Comments

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

00-I actually really enjoyed the first one. It was intentional fun cheese with some cool action and nudity just short of gratuitous. The sequels lost all the fun and just were awful.
01-Based on the director's history, I fully expect the majority of this film to show the mundane parts of Noah's story - leaving out scenes where things happen. Until, you know, the end. Count me out.
02-I'm probably the only person who was underwhelmed by the Star Trek reboot, so I don't really care either way.
03-I don't care if he produces or stars, but keep him away from directing. I liked his directing when he was a small part - but his direction and acting suffer when he's the main character.
04-Meh.
05-I need to see the first two before I make a judgement on the 3rd.
06-I love Cruise, so I'll probably see it; but I'm not expecting much.
--
03-Don't care.
02-Damnit. When I saw the title I got excited thinking it was a GTA movie. It's not. Damnit damnit damnit.
01-So is this loosely based on Kim Kardashian's life?

Dec 2 - 04:14 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

The fact that Verhoeven cast Casper Van Dien, one of the gods of direct to DVD movies, as the lead in Starship Troopers only made it more gloriously awesome. Michael Ironside acting angry the whole time, even when he had no reason to be, was great, too. And c'mon, Noah! You can't tell me Black Swan was not a glorious slow burn!

Dec 2 - 06:20 PM

JC Martel

JC Martel

Ironside was born angry.

Dec 2 - 09:56 PM

Flash T.

Flash T

Starship Troopers is a great film and I could never understand why it bombed. The sequels were awful right enough. I've got no problem with a remake, possibly because they never gave us a satisfying follow up. That said, it'll never match the satire and scheer visera that Verhoeven was so good at.

Dec 3 - 04:28 AM

Flash T.

Flash T

Starship Troopers is a great film and I could never understand why it bombed. The sequels were awful right enough. I've got no problem with a remake, possibly because they never gave us a satisfying follow up. That said, it'll never match Verhoeven visceral & satirical style.

Dec 3 - 04:30 AM

seanmprd78

Sean Guyon

See you at the party Richter.

Dec 3 - 09:58 AM

John T.

John Taylor

Wondering why it bombed? Read the book. So much wrong with this movie, it's not even funny. Of course, that's true of any film based on any of Heinlein's books.

Dec 3 - 06:11 AM

Flash T.

Flash T

No need to read the book, I've seen Aliens haha! I genuinely found the movie to be hysterical, once you figure out that humanity was the bad guy it just clicks. Perhaps it's a bit of the outsider looking in I belive the film was much better recieved here in Europe.

Dec 4 - 01:30 AM

Flash T.

Flash T

No need to read the book, I've seen Aliens haha! I genuinely found the movie to be hysterical, once you figure out that humanity was the bad guy it just clicks. Perhaps it's a bit of the outsider looking in as I belive the film was much better recieved here in Europe.

Dec 4 - 01:31 AM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

King- It WAS a slow burn. A very very slow, tedious burn. But I didn't buy the ending, so the movie didn't work for me. Oh well.

Dec 3 - 10:15 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Well, I really dug it, but I respect why you didn't.

Dec 3 - 04:56 PM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

Thanks, man. That is the kind of movie where the end will determine a person's enjoyment - where either you buy it or you don't. So I can't hate on it.

Dec 4 - 01:07 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I think the point of it is the break down of fantasy and reality, so it's not something you would rationally accept. I just took it as an allegory of self-consumption.

Dec 4 - 03:47 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

my man Kenneth Turan articulates my thoughts on Starship Troopers perfectly: "A jaw-dropping experience, so rigorously one-dimensional and free from even the pretense of intelligence it's hard not to be astonished and even mesmerized by what is on the screen." GO KEN! "One-Dimensional and free from even the pretense of intelligence." bang; there it is. Heinlein's novel was soooooo much better: The Bouncing-suits, "The Skinnies (an extra-terrestrial ally to the Earthlings)," well orchestrated dramatization of the fascist body-politic where, in order to exercise the right to vote, citizens had to serve in the military.//STARSHIP TROOPERS was a MAJOR LETDOWN considering that it was made by the same people who made Robocop a masterpiece of social-satire and science-fiction. It's a sadder case all the more on the part of Paul Verhoven, because Verhoven actually lived in The Netherlands during the Allied Bombing in 1943--he experienced first-hand the devastation of warfare and adapted Starship Troopers from anti-war source material yet included nothing "anti-war" in his movie.

Dec 3 - 07:10 AM

westond

Dan Weston

You didn't think Starship Troopers was anti-war? Did we watch the same movie?

Dec 4 - 08:49 PM

Ken

Kenneth W.

I have to really ask something about remakes. On movie sites like this or IMDb, people tend to dread and lament remakes, but is anyone really...surprised anymore?

If tomorrow, the movie news was that--I don't know, let's say your typical film-fan nightmare scenario--"2001" was being remade with Taylor Lautner starring and Paul W.S. Anderson directing...I mean, would it really faze anybody, at this point? Would anybody NOT already expect it? I mean, without hyperbole, almost every Weekly Ketchup is talking about remakes.

Maybe I'm just desensitized, so it doesn't shock me anymore.

Dec 2 - 04:32 PM

gcopter

Gareth Penhallurick

good point well made...

Dec 3 - 05:40 AM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

I wouldn't be shocked of remakes anymore. But if they every decide to remake Back to the Future i am going to fly to Hollywood and sabotage everything.

Dec 7 - 05:07 AM

JS

j s

Why in the world would the addition of Hailee Steinfeld and Harrison Ford be a rotten idea? That's just stupid.

Both are great actors and will only add depth to the characters and story.

Dec 2 - 04:42 PM

greg_dean_schmitz

Greg Dean Schmitz

Ender's Game being a Rotten Idea has more to do with it being the new movie from the director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Forgot to note that.

Dec 2 - 04:54 PM

Rich

Richard Greatorex-Davies

He also directed Tsotsi though which was a great film, so surely it should at least be borderline?

Dec 2 - 11:52 PM

Turkish124

Jason Woods

Not crazy about Hood, but the casting so far looks awesome and the source material is there.

Dec 3 - 06:45 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

And the fact that Ender's Game simply isn't an adaptable book unless you change it so much that it's some coming-of-age story, boot camp story, or sci-fi action film. Either way, the only way it will reach the screen is with tons of Hollywoodized compromise. The fact that the director is mediocre just makes it worse. They can get the greatest cast ever, and it will be bad.

Dec 4 - 04:37 PM

Cheshire

Philip Z

To get us to talk about it.

Dec 5 - 07:15 PM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

X-Men Origins: Wolverines was bad, but i think that is hardly a good enough reason to send the story to the rotten stories category.

Dec 7 - 05:53 AM

Cheshire

Philip Z

To get us to talk about it.

Dec 5 - 07:14 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

The top news for me this week were the new photos from the upcoming "Prometheus". I can not wait! Can't blame Bale for getting on board with the suddenly inspired Malick, but Aronofsky's "Noah", because of his rich visual style and his unorthodox scripts, is far more promising than the other biblical projects, including the horror/classic whatsits. And Fassbender's on a role (does anyone else see the Olivier resemblance?), but I can't get excited over the Miller/Stentz writing team seeing how the scripts were certainly the weakest part of the movies they've worked on. And I'm not surprised it is one man - Neil Moritz - behind the totally unnecessary raping and pillaging of such classics as "Robocop", "Highlander", and "Total Recall". All the little crybabies talking about 'good' remakes need to come to a firm understanding - this is about boycotting original ideas in favor of brand recognition. True, great filmmakers can still do inventive things with old stories, but the studio's motivation is far more cynical than that, and it takes a ton of denial to still refuse to recognize that. "People say it's all about the story...bullshit" - Andy Hendrickson, Disney executive. That's how Allan Loeb keeps getting work - he does what he's told. "A nutless monkey" - Les Grossman. On a more or less positive note, check out Alice Eve's wonderful nude scene from the otherwise pedestrian "Crossing Over". Who says I can't see the glass as half-full?

Dec 2 - 04:52 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Good call on the Olivier reference. As for the crybabies thing, do you really think you'd get more or better movies if profit wasn't the driving force in the film industry it's like communism. Great in theory, but not so much when realities are applied. You remove all the blockbuster crowd pleasing made for profit movies and less money is made, studios close, theaters close less movies get made and which do you think are going to go? The movies that have mass appeal or the artistic niche flicks that are great, but only 12 excited film buffs from RT are going to see on its theatrical run? Lost in the fact that there are a lot of crappy remakes and mass appeal movies out each week is that there are way more small flicks getting made as well, those 6 or 7 other movies beneath the 2 or 3 wide releases each week.

Dec 2 - 08:12 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Well, it's a little hyperbolic to go from Hollywood whoredom to communism. Hollywood has been profitable for decades, many of which managed to have many original films. This is a recent turn of events. A few years ago, the studios decided they had enough material in their existing copyright vaults. Why pay these writers (who were simultaneously asking for more revenue from streaming royalties) for new stories? The quality of screenwriting right now is at an all-time low, and few knowledgable of the profession would deny that. As Hollywood has thrown a tantrum over generally declining ticket sales this year, the cry is deafening - "We want better stories". There have been specific articles from LA Times and Hollywood Reporter asking what can get people back to the theater. These articles presumed that "obviously the quality of the films are not an issue", like some sick kind of jedi mind trick. But the force was strong with the people, and most of the comments (which I did not participate in) called out just that presumption. "No, in fact, quality has a great deal to do with it" Lack of quality writing in the films was right behind 3D surcharges and right above smartphone distractions as the main deterrent to going to the theater. So this argument has no productive result. To call out the obvious is tantamount to communism under the assumption that quality films, even quality remakes and adaptations, are not profitable and do not appeal to the broader American audiences like simpleton, juvenile and lowest common denominator-aimed "pop" entertainment, designed by marketing executives to provoke nothing more than the shallowest, consumerist responses. Anything else is assumed to be a risk. Conclusion: Hollywood thinks you're stupid. I'm glad there are still so many filmmakers of a certain age who continue to carry the torch by virtue of their own established 'brands'. I'm more concerned in the next 2 or 3 decades when these assumptions become even more deeply ingrained, and the number of 'marketable' quality filmmakers becomes even more thin. There's always the independant, self-financed film market. But it's so sad to remember that quality was once a point of pride among the old-school studio heads, and with few exceptions (Heaven's Gate), these films proved very profitable as well.

Dec 2 - 10:38 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I think my communism comparison was pretty clear in the way I phrased it. There was no direct all encompassing relation. I was simply saying your position which I took to be that making movies for profit and mass consumption is evil and that all movies need to be made strictly for the quality as we happy few judge it is like Communism in that and only in that discussion they sound better in theory than they work in reality. As for the rest of your points I'm not certain that at any time studio execs ever put more pride in quality than they did in profitability. People forget that during the height of the studio system, the so called golden age of hollywood the biggest stars were often shoveling out dozens of movies under their contracts, most of which weren't the classics we remember, but schlock on par with any chipmunks movie or robot fighting film out today. All I'm saying is that today at least 2twice a month there is a movie I want to see and almost everytime I'm not disappointed. You should be asking yourself why it offends you so much what other people enjoy when there's still plenty for yourself if you just look. Who cares if everyone on your block is seeing Twilight if you've got Hugo, Muppets, outrage and Shame to watch? Let them have their billions and you can have your artistic enjoyment and everyone is happy. The remakes aren't eliminating indie films they're providing funding for them they wouldn't have if they weren't there turning a profit. I like good movies regardless of labels applied to them and I have less trouble finding them now than I ever have. Are there more crap films than ever too? Probably, but I could care less about them because I'm smart enough to know what I like. Oh and Mat, below I forgot I also didn't like Immortals this year, so that's 2 misses for me this year.

Dec 3 - 11:57 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"I was simply saying your position which I took to be that making movies for profit and mass consumption is evil and that all movies need to be made strictly for the quality as we happy few judge it" - Well, that's not my position at all. You seem to have the erroneous assumption that 'Art' and 'Profit' are entirely mutually exclusive propositions. There's nothing wrong with artistic movies being made to make a profit, and everyone from Kubrick to Spielberg have done so. The 'evil' that I decry is the notion (which you may share) that only the most dumbed-down movies are capable of turning a profit, and these 'masses' have no interest in quality films. Well, maybe that's why ticket sales are down this year, the revenue masked by 3D surcharges. Per capita tickets sold this summer were the worst since 1997. The post-summer season of September-October was even worse than that. The masses have spoken - they want better stories. Combining the term 'masses' with the assumption that 'quality' can only be assessed by 'we few' either speaks to your presumption of my elitism or reveals your own. Certainly not every blockbuster is a classic, but the idea that a blockbuster cannot be ART - Godfather, Jaws, Star Wars, Exorcist, Raiders, ET, Aliens, Predator, Robocop, Die Hard, Batman, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Pulp Fiction, LOTR, etc. - is a NEW concept in Hollywood. The cynicism of Michael Bay has been around since the mid-90s, but only since Transformers is it considered the template rather than just another formula. There were executives who were betting that Inception would flop because it was too original, too intellectual for these dim masses that only exist in the minds of the 'few'. It was never a case of studio heads back in the day putting more pride in quality versus profit, it was precisely that they understood the correlation between quality and profit - "If we make quality films, the people will want to watch them." A correlation of 'lowest common denominator' marketism, which we're dealing with now, are precisely the lowered expectations and cynicism of the average movie-goer, praying for 'no-brainer' entertainment to keep their mind off the fact that they just paid out 20 bucks for bullshit. "What more can you ask for?" There are still enjoyable blockbusters that have both qualitative fans and those who go for the strictly social experience (which is what "Twilight" is ultimately about) enjoying themselves simultaenously - Spiderman, Batman, Harry Potter, LOTR - but we're talking about an environment over the last 3 or 4 years that has seen a number of the older studio heads shoved out of the way for corporate bean-counters. Now we have "brand recognition". Now we have marketing executives on movie sets making editorial decisions. Now we have a studio telling Sam Raimi he can't make Spiderman 4, regardless of the phenomenal commercial and critical success of his prior work, because he couldn't do it in 3D. Earlier this year, there was a hilarious Funny or Die video by Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner, two men who are pretty much the opposite of industry agitators, that accurately parodied what is wrong in Hollywood today. Everybody knows. Audiences know, the talent knows. Dogs somehow know. So it must be denial.

Dec 3 - 03:30 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Boy do I hate it when people point at classic films and act as if they were the norm at the time. Well, guess what, they were always the exception not the rule. For every Terminator 2 or Star Wars: A New Hope there were a dozen other action movies that have been forgotten. I've said it before, every decade has broughten us two kinds of blockbusters: The kind that was succesful because they were great movies and the kind that were succesful simply they tapped into what was popular at the time, whether it was dancing, fighting robots, vampire romance, or shirtless guys playing beach volleyball. It Lord of the Rings and Nolan's Batman films are the equivelants to the 80's Star Wars and Indiana Jones, then Twilight and Transformers are the equivelants to the 80's Flashdance and Top Gun. As for the box office being down because of a lack of quality, just look through the past three months and see just how many films have been recieving critical acclaim. Heck, with september, every week we were getting at least one film with overwhelmingly positive reviews, while last week we got three films debuting with universal accalim, and that's excluding all the films that were debuting in limited release. Furthermore, check out last year's best picture nominees. We had ten films competeting for the award and the lowest rated of the bunch was Inception at 86%. To put that into perspective half of the best picture WINNERS of the 90s had weaker reviews than that. Yeah, there seem to be some unfortunate trends in hollywood as of late, but at the same time we're seeing some other more positive trends. For one thing, star power is no longer what it used to be, where all you had to do was put a huge star in your movie and it would be huge no matter how bad it was (Cocktails, Staying Alive, etc) Nowadays, even someone like Tom Hanks is struggling to open a film on his name alone. Also, while we may be seeing a lot more sequels, I think more care is being put into them than say the 80s, where sequels were typically rushed into production just to make a quick buck out of the success of the original. Even stuff like Spiderman 3 and At World's End are oscar worthy compared to say The Karate Kid 2 or Crocodile Dundee 2. Oh, and speaking of Spiderman, Raimi didn't get fired because he refused to do the film in 3-d, he was simply unable to find a good story for a fourth film, and therefore left, which is why the studio decided just to go ahead and reboot it.

Dec 4 - 04:01 AM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

oh, Sam Raimi wanted to do Spiderman 4 for $250 Million Dollars and "That Lady" said "No." "Sony has decided to put the brakes on Spider-Man 4, which was supposed to start shooting early this year. The news comes after the studio had already spent millions on pre-production special effects and after several writers labored through multiple drafts of the screenplay. Since the decision was made, both Sam Rami and lead actor Tobey Maquire have announced that they will be leaving the project and the franchise for good. The decision to pull the plug was mutual and, reportedly, based on both parties unhappiness with the script after contributions from three different screenwriters including James Vanderbilt, Gary Ross and David Lindsay-Abaire.
The disagreements didn?t stop with there. Raimi also differed with Sony over which villains should be included in the fourth installment and over the May 6, 2011 release date, which Raimi wanted extended to 2012. When Sony refused to budge on the schedule, Raimi made the decision to exit the franchise."
http://hollywoodvulture.com/?p=11469//// Sony didn't let the MJ-Peter Parker relationship play out and we'll NEVER get to find-out the real identity of the Bruce Campbell character. /// Me as The Audience: Sequels are important because sequels allow me to see a continuation of a particular story AND remakes allow me to see other people re-envision a particular story./// Hollywood Filmmakers spend TOO MUCH time on the internet and TOO MUCH time on cell-phones and don't allow themselves time to think. For a good story to come to you, you really need time to yourself, plenty of sleep, and quiet. SLEEP-DEPRIVATION and Over-Stimulation on the part of filmmakers is SABOTAGING the quality of Hollywood Motion Pictures. The Jonah Hill 21 Jumpstreet movie is a perfect example. 21 Jumpstreet was a cutting-edge TV-Drama and Hollywood has turned 21 Jumpstreet into a FARCE with Jonah Hill . . .

Dec 4 - 05:31 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

(I decided to edit this post for space and clarity. It should precede Gordon's previous post)

Dec 5 - 04:01 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Janson J. on 12-4-2011 11:43 AM
You can talk about "Three Men and a Little Lady" for all I care, it won't address any of the problems I've mentioned about today's studio leadership, nor will it help defend BB's notion that "ignorant masses" make profit and artists don't. It's clear that the blockbusters that I mentioned are artistic, not simply visually aesthetic but in terms of story and concept design. It's this latter 'art' that is being neglected today with the piss-poor script-processing. Nor do you address that people actually care more about stories than 'stars', or consider that maybe Hanks' "Larry Crowne" could have been a hit if it were better written. You cannot make any of these determinations based on trying to quantify the quality, using nothing but box office numbers and the tomatometer, or the fact that we now have 10 Best Picture nominees. (Obviously films today must be twice as good!) Even using your examples, "Top Gun" was exciting for its time. "Transformers" is not because Michael Bay has never added to Tony Scott's visual innovations. As Bigbrother exemplifies, the acceptable range of films that are assumed to be 'profitable' has narrowed considerably since the 80s. Let me just address the last part of your post, because it illustrates the typical studio apologia - the Spiderman issue. First, I never said Raimi was fired. He walked, so it's a question of 'why' - 'creative integrity', namely that Raimi wanted creative control that the studio didn't want to relinquish. You say he was 'unable to find a good story', which is not exactly true. Raimi had a villain the studio didn't want, and they wanted an actress he didn't want. Plus he hated the script (not the same as story) that had been through four different writers, one of which (Jaime Vanderbilt) just happened to already have the reboot written and waiting for green light. Hmmm. So the problem wasn't Raimi's inability to 'find' a good story, it was the studio and their den of hack writers' inability to produce a satisfactory script. Note how the blame gets shifted whenever the studio starts to sweat. Now let's look at the deadline issue, with Sam saying he couldn't make the May 2011 date. It was reported on deadline.com that shooting Spiderman 4 in 3D would have added 6 months to the schedule, and that the then newly released "Avatar" had Sony looking to capitalize. Raimi disagreed, as suggested in the press release when he said he "couldn?t make its summer release date and keep the film?s creative integrity". So with Vanderbilt's serendipitously convenient reboot script lying around, the studio moved ahead from scrap, with a director that has one mild rom-com to his credit. To enhance this desultory attitude the studios have for talent, ask yourselves why Sam Raimi, given the overwhelming success of his previous Spiderman films, should not have been allowed the creative freedom one would think he deserved to make another Spiderman film. The answer is about as good as any for what is wrong in contemporary Hollywood.

Dec 5 - 04:04 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Okay, first of all I think you've really misunderstood some points of my post. Yes, Larry Crowne probably would have done better if it had been better quality wise, but that's my whole damn point! Starpower is no longer what it used to be. Actors like Robin Williams, Kevin Costner, Eddie Murphy all went through periods where it seemed like audiences would see anything they starred in. Granted, a number of those films deserved huge success, but others were pretty terrible and yet they became some of the biggest hits of the year due to name power alone. Nowadays, the only star I can think of who has such draw power is Will Smith. Also, regarding Raimi and Spiderman, you act as if studio interference is something new. It's not. Hell, at least Raimi got to make three Spiderman films and left on his own free will, Richard Donner got fired off the set of Superman 2 despite the massive critical and financial success of the original, while Tim Burton got replaced as director of the Batman franchise, despite both his Batman films being huge hits because the studio wanted more family friendly Batman films that could sell a lot of toys. Studio interference has simply been something directors have had to deal with since Heaven's Gate, maybe before that, ever since films started getting massive budgets, as even films like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars went through hell to get made. Heck, with Star Wars, it was a daily struggle for George Lucas just to keep production from shutting down. The studio was so sure they had a dissapointment on their hands that they gave full merchandising rights to Lucas in exchange for a lower director's fee just to lower down the cost of the film, and while a lot of people think George Lucas have full ownership of the franchise is a bad thing, things probably would have been a lot worse if he didn't, as I doubt the studio would have been willing to stop after just three films, not when Return of the Jedi was the biggest hit of the year. Oh, and by the way, regarding the best picture nominees, it's not because we now have ten nominees that I think quality of filmaking is strong, it's because the lowest rated of those ten films from last year was higher rated than the best picture WINNER of a lot of years. Granted, the oscars aren't exactly clear of controversy when it comes to giving the best picture winners, but even so looking at the number of great films we've gotten this year and last, I fail to see where this lack of quality idea is coming from. Yes, you'll always get a number of badly reviewed blockbusters but that holds true for every year.

Dec 5 - 06:14 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Oh and regarding Top Gun/Transformers, I don't care how Top Gun seemed like when it was released, that film in my opinion is unbelievably chessy. Hell, I'd take the first Transformers any day over it. At least Transformers was aware of how cheesy it was. It also had a few of those moments of awe that reminded me strongly of some of the Spielberg films I used to watch as I kid (The autobots arriving to earth, Bumblebee transforming for the first time) Granted, if the rest of the movie had been able to live up to those moments, it could have been the next Jurrasic Park, but even so, it's still a decently entertaining film. Top Gun, well like Airport, the best thing I can say about it was that it got a really great spoof (Aiplane for Airport, Hot Shots for Top Gun)

Dec 5 - 06:15 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Not saying that movie's can't be good and successful, just saying that if everybody could be Steven Spielberg or Stanley Kubrick then they would be Spielberg of Kubrick. The world needs Uwe Boll's and Rennie Harlans so we can appreciate the true geniusii. Also it seems like you assume everyone has the same tastes. Ask your average Twilight fan and they'll probably not have the same appreciation for Star Wars or Indiana Jones as you or I do. Let them have what makes them happy and take what makes you happy. As I've been trying to say this entire column, the movie industry may not be as artistic percentage wise recently, but I think per capita it's as strong or stronger than it's ever been. I'd throw up recent hits like Inception, TDK, Iron Man, The Departed, LOTR's, Harry Potter and critical hits like True Grit, Moneyball, The Hurt Locker and Black Swan against anything that's been put out in the entire history of cinema and I don't think they'd be shamed. We tend to obsess over the Twilights and Transformers II's and forget that just because they're there doesn't mean we have to watch them, instead of getting upset about the gross just think about all the smaller better and yes, maybe larger better films that money is going to pay for. Yes, there's a ton of remakes out each month, but there's still a lot more less flashy, better quality work out there being done too.

Dec 5 - 06:49 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

The misunderstanding might be mutual, King S, as I don't mean to portray Hollywood as an artists' paradise throughout the years. You can find crappy movies, or mention the destroyed original cut of "Magnificent Ambersons". But these imperfections do not eclipse my overall point about the here and now, and what we can sway through our commercial practices. I think a number of studio executives today, who are a younger generation recently elevated in ranks, would agree with Bigbrother's notion that "ignorant masses" are the only audience that is profitable to entertain. The prevailing ethos is that marketing trumps innovative stories. The concepts for many films are becoming as generic as what would have been typical for direct-to-video or exploitation markets in previous decades. As long as the trailer is tight and focus-grouped to death, the film itself is negligable. This is not my opinion, these are the stated views of Hollywood insiders. The all-important measure of success is not even box office, but especially opening weekend box office. Movies are not designed to have 'legs'. This was especially clear during the recent horror film remake-athon, where it wasn't a concern how sharply the film dropped off, just as long as enough young audiences make the Friday night show. What I see now is this formula moving into Sci/Fi (especially 80s) remakes, films that are not being intended for longevity, precisely so they can leave the door open for reboots in the next decade. It is disposable cinema in a degree that can only be matched by the drive-in and direct-to-home video markets in the past. It is this cynicism that presumes that quality, or 'art', films are only intended for a select few (assuring in the process that they are not successfully marketed to general audiences). We have an influence over the culture of film today, as opposed to yester-years, and it is not productive to be defeatist or deterministic ("just the way it is") about it. But, yes, I don't believe but know that executives from the past, whatever their flaws, did take more pride in the quality of their product than the current crop of studio heads. Let me stop until I learn how to format paragraphs.

Dec 5 - 07:00 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

@ Big Brother - "TDK, Iron Man, The Departed, LOTR's, Harry Potter and critical hits like True Grit, Moneyball, The Hurt Locker and Black Swan" I wouldn't even say these films are the best from their respective filmmakers. I certainly wouldn't put any of them up against the greatest in all of cinema, except Lord of the Rings. That's not a bad bunch, but it doesn't excell the best efforts from Nolan (Memento, Prestige), Scorsese (Goodfellas, Taxi Driver), or the Coens (virtually everything except "Ladykillers" which is still damn good). As far as taste, well, just because people are entitled to their own opinions, doesn't mean all opinions are equal. People have no excuse not to think about their decisions.

Dec 5 - 07:14 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Agreed, I was just throwing out a bunch of off the top of my head pictures that met my own personal threshold for quality, though I don't love The Prestige, I can certainly agree about the other movie's being quality and as I said was just throwing out a random sampling. You're also correct that all opinions aren't equal. My Opinions for example are much better than yours...to me. Just as the Twilight fans are much more important than ours to them. You can't assume everyone goes to the movie's for the same reasons you do and their is an excuse for not thinking about about their decisions. It's called entertainment and searching for a release. Two things that cinema does besides it's numerous other artistic functions. I'm not going to walk up to someone in Detroit who spends 10 hours a day fabricating door parts or a miner in West Virginia who spends half his day digging up coal (or much less extreme examples of people) that they're wrong for getting a tickle out of watching a pedophile vampire romance his high school sweetheart or gets a glimmer of peace from watching Tucker and Dale battle douchebag collegiate evil. Art is subjective as apparently is the movie industry and people vote with their dollars, you can either accept that and roll with it or go to a place where Janson Cinema's Inc brings your personal dreams directly to a theater near you 24/7 365.

Dec 5 - 07:57 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

You know, Bbrother, it's all about expression, and being able to express one's opinion thoughtfully that gives those specific opinions their value. That's kind of what these boards are for (but rarely used), for people of various backgrounds and experiences to share their thoughts on what makes for the best of their pleasure. And although I mostly come from working class roots, I never had such a problem with people engaging in articulate reasons behind something that was so precious - their free time entertainment. You could say they were passionate about not wanting to waste their time. You like to remind me that my opinion is my opinion, but I always have stated reasons and perspectives behind them. Like this thread is about specific values from these studios in their current commercial motivations. A lot of the back and forth on the net, in any and all realms of debate, is as stultified as "like" vs "sucks". That's not taste or opinion. That's just plum stupid. So, no, I won't acknowledge shallow, fickle whims as legitimate opinions precisely because they are uninformed and uninforming. Thinking is still free, and relatively painless, and I don't see any reason why I should respect anyone unwilling to use their heads to express themselves and their enjoyments. (Just to avoid confusion, I'm not putting your adequetely stated opinions in this catagory. Although I find it frustrating to flatten everyone into virtual indistinction, I must admit that you find some complex, sophic logic with which to justify it. Whatever keeps the cerebrum limber.)

Dec 5 - 08:22 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

As you rally to the defense of remakes, B, it's unusual in my experience -and I mean this in the nicest way- that you would take the abominable villain role in an argument. Janson is right, indubitably; Hollywood does think we're stupid. And we keep proving em right year after year. So many of us can't wait for the release of the next bastardized classic, or a copy of a remake of a remake of a copy, all too eager to join hollywood in their celebration of the dying art of fresh storytelling. Stories, art, shape and inform cultures. But gone are the days when the most prolific artistic medium sought to hold to the responsibility implied by this fact. In its place we've reached the point where 'brand recognition' has become the safe word in a bad rape game metaphor.

Dec 3 - 02:59 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I'm hardly leaping to the defense of remakes Mat, I'm just acknowledging that since its inception the movie industry has been about profit and without that profit provided by the ignorant masses the artists who deliver for the sake of art rather than profit would be putting on stage plays in the park because no one would fund what they're making. How many businesses do you know that last without profit? We who love original stories and unique works should remember no one is forcing anyone to watch anything, but without those poor ignorant sots shelling out cash for Transformers 2 or Twilight (an original work made by an indie studio btw) there'd be a lot weaker industry and hence a lot fewer works that appeal to the minority cinefiles. While there may have been a greater percentage of original and indie works in it's alleged golden age the 70s there certainly weren't more by volume. If acknowledging that and saying I don't just like a certain type of movie (remake, studio, indie, original), but that I like Good movies regardless makes me the villain, then say hello to the bad guy. Of the probably 40 movies I've seen this year in theater I can honestly say I've only been truly disappointed in one (pirates of the caribbean) . I submit that I'm a good judge of my own tastes and really that should be everyones goal. It's much more rewarding I've found recently than trying to paint people with different tastes and opinions as crybabies or villains. Though I acknowledge having seen you on these boards as long as I have that that wasn't your intent.

Dec 3 - 11:29 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

No sir, not my intent at all. We've talked enough to know better, either way. But consider this. while no business succeeds without profit, I've known plenty that succeed due to the quality of their product. I mentioned that stories shape cultures and worldviews. this is not in dispute. so it is not a stretch to see how the majority would set the tone. If the majority of films being put out are lazy and woefully uninspired remakes, then thus will become the expectations of the majority of viewers. When the art declines, so go the expectations of the people. And when the expectations of the people decline, a decline in the quality of the collective unconscious is soon to follow -and with it, the quality of the social sphere. Joseph Campbell would agree... Because writers tend to take issue with this process the most. Because, well, being a writer means also being in part philosopher and social scientist. It's the nature of the beast, that. They're the sort of people who cringe when the uninitiated say things like "oh lighten up, it's just a movie" or "it's just a book" or "it's just a story". Because they know that in the long run, there is no such thing as any of those.

Dec 3 - 11:47 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

RT really needs to start allowing replies to have paragraph breaks, because these huge bodies of text are making my eyes bleed!

Dec 4 - 02:16 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Man, I'm really sorry about that. What are the tricks? I see some of you can do it, but mine always get compressed. I suppose a couple of folks would just tell me to have less to say. But seriously, if there's a key to doing it, I'd love to know what it is.

Dec 4 - 03:45 PM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

Try the space bar. Not sure if it will work, but I suppose it's worth a shot. A shame though that we gotta seek out tricks at all. Shame also that we sometimes gotta play connect the dots to figure out who's talking to who.

Dec 4 - 07:19 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Space bar didn't work for my remix :{

Dec 5 - 04:05 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

lol. Hey, I tried.

Dec 5 - 10:54 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree- they allow the occasional four letter word but for some reason don't allow paragraphs! This kind of transition obviously something to do with more room!

Dec 5 - 03:34 PM

greg_dean_schmitz

Greg Dean Schmitz

Ender's Game being a Rotten Idea has more to do with it being the new movie from the director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Forgot to note that.

Dec 2 - 04:54 PM

Rich

Richard Greatorex-Davies

He also directed Tsotsi though which was a great film, so surely it should at least be borderline?

Dec 2 - 11:52 PM

Turkish124

Jason Woods

Not crazy about Hood, but the casting so far looks awesome and the source material is there.

Dec 3 - 06:45 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

And the fact that Ender's Game simply isn't an adaptable book unless you change it so much that it's some coming-of-age story, boot camp story, or sci-fi action film. Either way, the only way it will reach the screen is with tons of Hollywoodized compromise. The fact that the director is mediocre just makes it worse. They can get the greatest cast ever, and it will be bad.

Dec 4 - 04:37 PM

Cheshire

Philip Z

To get us to talk about it.

Dec 5 - 07:15 PM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

X-Men Origins: Wolverines was bad, but i think that is hardly a good enough reason to send the story to the rotten stories category.

Dec 7 - 05:53 AM

Danny H.

Danny Hall

I am really uninterested by the majority of this weeks news, except for the news on the Ender's Game adaptation. I loved the book so i am seriously confused by its placement the rotten news category.

Dec 2 - 05:02 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I think it is there due to the director and not the cast. Last time Gavin Hood took the reigns of a big budget tentpole film, we got X-Men: Origins: Wolverine, and well.... yeah, that's all there is to say about that!

Dec 2 - 06:12 PM

Danny H.

Danny Hall

I am really uninterested by the majority of this weeks news, except for the news on the Ender's Game adaptation. I loved the book so i am seriously confused by its placement the rotten news category.

Dec 2 - 05:06 PM

Charles W.

Charles Wilkinson

I'm with you, Danny. Every time I do a search for one of my favorite movies, there's that RT result to show me why I'm no affecianado. I'll agree that not everything works on film, and that the chief power of the book lay in its fooling us and that its cover is already blown, but there's always a chance that it could be another Slaughter House Five, which even Vonnegut admitted was better than his work or a Dead Zone, the only S. King adaptation to float my boat. If it makes two people read the book, it serves a purpose. That written, what about a pass at Card's Pastwatch? I long to see some powerful actress say, "Christopher Columbus, you do not know what it MEANS to be a Christian!"

Dec 3 - 01:15 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Tom Cruise in All You Need is Kill should fall under rotten developments...

Dec 2 - 05:27 PM

King  S.

King Simba

I don't know. Yeah, given that Tom Cruise is going to star in it, they're probably going to Americanize the setting, but then again nothing about the premises suggests that anything would be lost by changing the setting, sort of like Infernal Affairs. Plus director Doug Liman's track record has been pretty solid (minus Jumper) and so has Tom Cruise's over the past decade, with his films at the very least being passable entertainment (minus Lions for Lambs and Mission Impossible 2)

Dec 3 - 06:15 AM

mjprogue

Mike PArker

Tom Cruise, despite his flakey personal life (which is IRRELEVANT in any event) is a freaking awesome actor. Anything hes in is deserving of a shot, and nothing about the premise suggests this might be a rotten idea...

Dec 3 - 01:56 PM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

Thank you so much for making that important point! Far too often do people judge an artist by their personal lives which, yes, are completely irrelevant when the context is the quality of their work. In fact, if it were relevant at all it would be for the purpose of illustrating that more often than not it's the weirder artists with the better work.

Dec 3 - 05:16 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

I hope Noah departs from its fairytale roots and rattles the Teavangelicals.

The Tom Hanks movie sounds promising.

Dec 2 - 05:55 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Brad, what did you tell your Sunday School teachers when your parents brought you to church when you were a kid?///If a non-believer says that THE BIBLE is rife with myths and fairy tales then it can't be construed as BLASPHEMY because the non-believer falls outside The Kingdom of God.//I was going to argue that if The Bible was a fairy tale why is it still in print, and of course the response is: fairy tales are still in print too.

Dec 3 - 07:30 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

So what the hell is your point?! Oh yeah. You don't have one. So I'll make one for one. Faith, it is valuable in the highest sense of the word. But it is not the same thing as literal fanaticism. Faith, is essential. Fanaticism, the unwavering belief in the literal veracity of every biblical story.. Well. It does not only skirt the intrinsic take away value of the stories themselves, but it dilutes the message of their every theme. Simply put: Faith, is smart; Literal fanaticism, is stupid.

Dec 3 - 05:07 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Matanuki, where you been all my life? ;)

Dec 4 - 03:58 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

What do you have faith in? (The Jewish Faith is founded upon The Torah written by Moses) --- essentially by your act of writing that Moses's writings are untrue totally debunks Judaism and Christianity.

Dec 4 - 04:01 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Gordo, I do apologize for ragging on something you believe in. In this instance, in was uncalled for. I am just tired of people with certain beliefs trying to use them to dictate law. The two are, and need to remain, seperate.

Dec 4 - 04:11 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

10-4 Good Buddy. Faith, Politics, Race . . . Even Neil Patrick Harris had to apologize for calling transgender-people "trannies" on "Live with Kelly" . . . its like everything someone says will offend someone. "Tranny" is short for an automobile-transmission. ye gads.

Dec 4 - 04:24 PM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

@ Brad. lol. Right around the corner all along, bro. Just two shakes of a rabbit's tale away.

Dec 4 - 07:26 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Brad H. is antisemitic; by saying Moses' telling of Noah's Ark is a fairy tale , Brad is saying that the entire Hebrew Torah is a fairytale. 6 Million Jews died in vain, martyred for fairy tales, between 1939 and 1945 as Noah's ark appears in both The Torah and The Bible. So, if Noah's Ark is a "?fairytale" Moses must be lying again saying how he (through Yahweh) brought The Jews out of Egypt.///Why not respect The Jewish Faith and Christianity by not calling Noah's Ark a fairytale.

Dec 4 - 04:10 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Gordon, you're getting harder to defend. Many converted and assimilated (and even atheist) Jews were killed in the Holocaust. It had nothing to do with what they did or didn't believe, but because they were thought to be genetically inferior. And most of Genesis is Chaldean (Abraham is claimed to be Chaldean, which is in southern Iraq) in origin, not Hebrew, and was added to the Torah when that was compiled during the Babylonian exile. No Hebrew writings still exist from the time of Moses, or for roughly 600 years after the fall of Jericho. Inconvenient facts. But I do love the Bible. Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are beautiful books. But Genesis is allegorical.

Dec 4 - 05:05 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

WHAT???? ( . . .and The Torah IS IN The Bible). At the HOLOCAUST MUSEUM in WASHINGTON, DC there is an exhibit saying that antisemitism began in Germany because THE JEWS KILLED CHRIST. "Abraham hose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam. According to both the Hebrew Bible[1] and the Qur'an, through his sons Ishmael and Isaac, Abraham is the forefather of many tribes, including the Ishmaelites, Israelites, Midianites and Edomites.[1] Abraham was a descendant of Noah's son, Shem.[2][3] Christians believe that Jesus was a descendant of Abraham through Issac, and Muslims believe that Muhammad was also descendant of Abraham through Ishmael.[4]"////"THE TORAH According to Jewish tradition the entire Torah, both written and oral, was revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai;[2] According to medieval Jewish mysticism the Torah was created prior to the creation of the world, and was used as the blueprint for Creation.[3] Modern biblical scholars have concluded that the written books were a product of the Babylonian exilic period (c.600 BCE) and that it was completed by the Persian period (c.400 BCE).//// so The Torah is FAKE because Moses' writing don't exist. And The Holocaust Museum LIES in its exhibit? (ITS INSANE)

Dec 4 - 05:57 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Hitler's own words: The black-haired Jewish youth lies in wait for hours on end, satanically glaring at and spying on the unsuspicious girl whom he plans to seduce, adulterating her blood and removing her from the bosom of her own people. The Jew uses every possible means to undermine the racial foundations of a subjugated people. (Book 1 Chap 11)
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

Dec 4 - 06:11 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

...the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf) . . . religion and genetics

Dec 4 - 06:15 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: 'by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.'
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf) . . . Almighty Creator . . . sounds religious.

Dec 4 - 06:16 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

sounds NUTS (
Of course, the latter made no secret of his attitude toward the Jewish people, and when necessary he even took the whip to drive from the temple of the Lord this adversary of all humanity, who then as always saw in religion nothing but an instrument for his business existence. In return, Christ was nailed to the cross, while our present-day party Christians debase themselves to begging for Jewish votes at elections and later try to arrange political swindles with atheistic Jewish parties-- and this against their own nation.
-Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf). "Christ" . . . its religious "Christ" is a religious term.////its religious AND genetic reasoning that Jews died in The Holocaust.

Dec 4 - 06:22 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

With all due respect, I don't think there was any legitimate "reasoning" involved in the Holocaust, and these quotes do nothing to counter the argument of how corrupting religious ideas can be in the wrong hands. Also, I didn't say the Torah was fake, but maybe a bit elaborated over the centuries, much like the gospels.

Dec 4 - 06:41 PM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

Janson, you've gotta see by now that there is simply no talking to this dude on the topic of religion. Which, really, is living evidence of your point anyway.

Dec 4 - 07:29 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Adolph Hitler Legitimately Reasoned the Holocaust . . . his thoughts are legitimately his thoughts; DERANGED as they may be, Hitler's thoughts are legitimate.//and you know (well, it was SHOCKING news to me): The Rothchilds FINANCED Hitler and Germany. Roth-Child is German for Red Shield. The Rothchilds gave Hitler's backers money AND then opened Munitions plants here in America; the Rothchilds financed The Enemy (Nazi Germany) and financed The Protagonists (The USA). World War II was a Money-Game . . . its terrible to think about--I wish more people knew about The Rothchilds and the "architecture" of World Wars in general. Instead Americans are led astray with phony-conspiracy-films like The Davinci Code (whether some 15th century Italian-guy thought Jesus was married pales in comparison to the evidence that Americans financed Adolph Hitler and that the same corruption goes on today)./// Thank you for respecting The Torah---I usually don't think of myself as being all that religious but then when non-believers try telling believers that faith-based texts are hogwash, I get all passive-aggressive over the stuff///again, A US Drone was shot-down over Iran; we've INVADED Iran (The US is making excuses, but we DID invade Iran this weekend with The drone); Iran needs to stick-up for itself and call upon its friends (its allies) for help.

Dec 4 - 07:36 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

So just to be clear, you're advocating a religious dictatorship going to war, possibly setting off WWIII (Sticking up for itself with it's allies)? Yeah, that makes a strange kind of sense why you'd think Hitler's rationalizations are legitimate. Seriously dude, you're a drain on Western Society.

Dec 5 - 06:52 AM

Dave J

Dave J

Kind of pointless to talk about religions in general on a movie site- how the heck did it get this far!

Dec 6 - 04:48 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I wouldn't mind a remake of Starship Troopers that adheres closer to the source material and focuses less on outrageous violence and nudity.

I was really digging the idea of Bale as Noah, because he just seems like that kind of guy when I look at him. Fassbender is a solid replacement, though.

Looking forward to In the Garden of Beasts. Erik Larson writes excellent historical nonfiction; hopefully the movie can live up to it. I'd personally rather see Devil in the White City get made sooner, though; phenomenal story there.

This Grahmme-Smith fellow is starting to grate my nerves with all of his popping up left and write to add something goofy to history or a classic story. It is a one joke act that he was lost the originality a quarter of the way through Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

I've never been a big fan of Orson Scott Card or the whole Ender's series, but I think the cast is excellent at the moment. It is all going to come down to Gavin Hood for this one.

I'm glad Greg pointed out the obvious parallel betwen San Andreas 3D and 2012, because that is the first thing that popped into my mind when I heard about it. It is just going to take the thirty minutes section from 2012 and stretch it out to two hours.

Dec 2 - 06:09 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I think it is there due to the director and not the cast. Last time Gavin Hood took the reigns of a big budget tentpole film, we got X-Men: Origins: Wolverine, and well.... yeah, that's all there is to say about that!

Dec 2 - 06:12 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

The fact that Verhoeven cast Casper Van Dien, one of the gods of direct to DVD movies, as the lead in Starship Troopers only made it more gloriously awesome. Michael Ironside acting angry the whole time, even when he had no reason to be, was great, too. And c'mon, Noah! You can't tell me Black Swan was not a glorious slow burn!

Dec 2 - 06:20 PM

JC Martel

JC Martel

Ironside was born angry.

Dec 2 - 09:56 PM

Flash T.

Flash T

Starship Troopers is a great film and I could never understand why it bombed. The sequels were awful right enough. I've got no problem with a remake, possibly because they never gave us a satisfying follow up. That said, it'll never match the satire and scheer visera that Verhoeven was so good at.

Dec 3 - 04:28 AM

Flash T.

Flash T

Starship Troopers is a great film and I could never understand why it bombed. The sequels were awful right enough. I've got no problem with a remake, possibly because they never gave us a satisfying follow up. That said, it'll never match Verhoeven visceral & satirical style.

Dec 3 - 04:30 AM

seanmprd78

Sean Guyon

See you at the party Richter.

Dec 3 - 09:58 AM

John T.

John Taylor

Wondering why it bombed? Read the book. So much wrong with this movie, it's not even funny. Of course, that's true of any film based on any of Heinlein's books.

Dec 3 - 06:11 AM

Flash T.

Flash T

No need to read the book, I've seen Aliens haha! I genuinely found the movie to be hysterical, once you figure out that humanity was the bad guy it just clicks. Perhaps it's a bit of the outsider looking in I belive the film was much better recieved here in Europe.

Dec 4 - 01:30 AM

Flash T.

Flash T

No need to read the book, I've seen Aliens haha! I genuinely found the movie to be hysterical, once you figure out that humanity was the bad guy it just clicks. Perhaps it's a bit of the outsider looking in as I belive the film was much better recieved here in Europe.

Dec 4 - 01:31 AM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

King- It WAS a slow burn. A very very slow, tedious burn. But I didn't buy the ending, so the movie didn't work for me. Oh well.

Dec 3 - 10:15 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Well, I really dug it, but I respect why you didn't.

Dec 3 - 04:56 PM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

Thanks, man. That is the kind of movie where the end will determine a person's enjoyment - where either you buy it or you don't. So I can't hate on it.

Dec 4 - 01:07 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I think the point of it is the break down of fantasy and reality, so it's not something you would rationally accept. I just took it as an allegory of self-consumption.

Dec 4 - 03:47 PM

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

Nothing interesting this week.

Dec 2 - 06:58 PM

ap sirius

karl anderson

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...couldnt agree more

Dec 2 - 07:24 PM

ap sirius

karl anderson

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...couldnt agree more

Dec 2 - 07:24 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Good call on the Olivier reference. As for the crybabies thing, do you really think you'd get more or better movies if profit wasn't the driving force in the film industry it's like communism. Great in theory, but not so much when realities are applied. You remove all the blockbuster crowd pleasing made for profit movies and less money is made, studios close, theaters close less movies get made and which do you think are going to go? The movies that have mass appeal or the artistic niche flicks that are great, but only 12 excited film buffs from RT are going to see on its theatrical run? Lost in the fact that there are a lot of crappy remakes and mass appeal movies out each week is that there are way more small flicks getting made as well, those 6 or 7 other movies beneath the 2 or 3 wide releases each week.

Dec 2 - 08:12 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Well, it's a little hyperbolic to go from Hollywood whoredom to communism. Hollywood has been profitable for decades, many of which managed to have many original films. This is a recent turn of events. A few years ago, the studios decided they had enough material in their existing copyright vaults. Why pay these writers (who were simultaneously asking for more revenue from streaming royalties) for new stories? The quality of screenwriting right now is at an all-time low, and few knowledgable of the profession would deny that. As Hollywood has thrown a tantrum over generally declining ticket sales this year, the cry is deafening - "We want better stories". There have been specific articles from LA Times and Hollywood Reporter asking what can get people back to the theater. These articles presumed that "obviously the quality of the films are not an issue", like some sick kind of jedi mind trick. But the force was strong with the people, and most of the comments (which I did not participate in) called out just that presumption. "No, in fact, quality has a great deal to do with it" Lack of quality writing in the films was right behind 3D surcharges and right above smartphone distractions as the main deterrent to going to the theater. So this argument has no productive result. To call out the obvious is tantamount to communism under the assumption that quality films, even quality remakes and adaptations, are not profitable and do not appeal to the broader American audiences like simpleton, juvenile and lowest common denominator-aimed "pop" entertainment, designed by marketing executives to provoke nothing more than the shallowest, consumerist responses. Anything else is assumed to be a risk. Conclusion: Hollywood thinks you're stupid. I'm glad there are still so many filmmakers of a certain age who continue to carry the torch by virtue of their own established 'brands'. I'm more concerned in the next 2 or 3 decades when these assumptions become even more deeply ingrained, and the number of 'marketable' quality filmmakers becomes even more thin. There's always the independant, self-financed film market. But it's so sad to remember that quality was once a point of pride among the old-school studio heads, and with few exceptions (Heaven's Gate), these films proved very profitable as well.

Dec 2 - 10:38 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I think my communism comparison was pretty clear in the way I phrased it. There was no direct all encompassing relation. I was simply saying your position which I took to be that making movies for profit and mass consumption is evil and that all movies need to be made strictly for the quality as we happy few judge it is like Communism in that and only in that discussion they sound better in theory than they work in reality. As for the rest of your points I'm not certain that at any time studio execs ever put more pride in quality than they did in profitability. People forget that during the height of the studio system, the so called golden age of hollywood the biggest stars were often shoveling out dozens of movies under their contracts, most of which weren't the classics we remember, but schlock on par with any chipmunks movie or robot fighting film out today. All I'm saying is that today at least 2twice a month there is a movie I want to see and almost everytime I'm not disappointed. You should be asking yourself why it offends you so much what other people enjoy when there's still plenty for yourself if you just look. Who cares if everyone on your block is seeing Twilight if you've got Hugo, Muppets, outrage and Shame to watch? Let them have their billions and you can have your artistic enjoyment and everyone is happy. The remakes aren't eliminating indie films they're providing funding for them they wouldn't have if they weren't there turning a profit. I like good movies regardless of labels applied to them and I have less trouble finding them now than I ever have. Are there more crap films than ever too? Probably, but I could care less about them because I'm smart enough to know what I like. Oh and Mat, below I forgot I also didn't like Immortals this year, so that's 2 misses for me this year.

Dec 3 - 11:57 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"I was simply saying your position which I took to be that making movies for profit and mass consumption is evil and that all movies need to be made strictly for the quality as we happy few judge it" - Well, that's not my position at all. You seem to have the erroneous assumption that 'Art' and 'Profit' are entirely mutually exclusive propositions. There's nothing wrong with artistic movies being made to make a profit, and everyone from Kubrick to Spielberg have done so. The 'evil' that I decry is the notion (which you may share) that only the most dumbed-down movies are capable of turning a profit, and these 'masses' have no interest in quality films. Well, maybe that's why ticket sales are down this year, the revenue masked by 3D surcharges. Per capita tickets sold this summer were the worst since 1997. The post-summer season of September-October was even worse than that. The masses have spoken - they want better stories. Combining the term 'masses' with the assumption that 'quality' can only be assessed by 'we few' either speaks to your presumption of my elitism or reveals your own. Certainly not every blockbuster is a classic, but the idea that a blockbuster cannot be ART - Godfather, Jaws, Star Wars, Exorcist, Raiders, ET, Aliens, Predator, Robocop, Die Hard, Batman, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Pulp Fiction, LOTR, etc. - is a NEW concept in Hollywood. The cynicism of Michael Bay has been around since the mid-90s, but only since Transformers is it considered the template rather than just another formula. There were executives who were betting that Inception would flop because it was too original, too intellectual for these dim masses that only exist in the minds of the 'few'. It was never a case of studio heads back in the day putting more pride in quality versus profit, it was precisely that they understood the correlation between quality and profit - "If we make quality films, the people will want to watch them." A correlation of 'lowest common denominator' marketism, which we're dealing with now, are precisely the lowered expectations and cynicism of the average movie-goer, praying for 'no-brainer' entertainment to keep their mind off the fact that they just paid out 20 bucks for bullshit. "What more can you ask for?" There are still enjoyable blockbusters that have both qualitative fans and those who go for the strictly social experience (which is what "Twilight" is ultimately about) enjoying themselves simultaenously - Spiderman, Batman, Harry Potter, LOTR - but we're talking about an environment over the last 3 or 4 years that has seen a number of the older studio heads shoved out of the way for corporate bean-counters. Now we have "brand recognition". Now we have marketing executives on movie sets making editorial decisions. Now we have a studio telling Sam Raimi he can't make Spiderman 4, regardless of the phenomenal commercial and critical success of his prior work, because he couldn't do it in 3D. Earlier this year, there was a hilarious Funny or Die video by Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner, two men who are pretty much the opposite of industry agitators, that accurately parodied what is wrong in Hollywood today. Everybody knows. Audiences know, the talent knows. Dogs somehow know. So it must be denial.

Dec 3 - 03:30 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Boy do I hate it when people point at classic films and act as if they were the norm at the time. Well, guess what, they were always the exception not the rule. For every Terminator 2 or Star Wars: A New Hope there were a dozen other action movies that have been forgotten. I've said it before, every decade has broughten us two kinds of blockbusters: The kind that was succesful because they were great movies and the kind that were succesful simply they tapped into what was popular at the time, whether it was dancing, fighting robots, vampire romance, or shirtless guys playing beach volleyball. It Lord of the Rings and Nolan's Batman films are the equivelants to the 80's Star Wars and Indiana Jones, then Twilight and Transformers are the equivelants to the 80's Flashdance and Top Gun. As for the box office being down because of a lack of quality, just look through the past three months and see just how many films have been recieving critical acclaim. Heck, with september, every week we were getting at least one film with overwhelmingly positive reviews, while last week we got three films debuting with universal accalim, and that's excluding all the films that were debuting in limited release. Furthermore, check out last year's best picture nominees. We had ten films competeting for the award and the lowest rated of the bunch was Inception at 86%. To put that into perspective half of the best picture WINNERS of the 90s had weaker reviews than that. Yeah, there seem to be some unfortunate trends in hollywood as of late, but at the same time we're seeing some other more positive trends. For one thing, star power is no longer what it used to be, where all you had to do was put a huge star in your movie and it would be huge no matter how bad it was (Cocktails, Staying Alive, etc) Nowadays, even someone like Tom Hanks is struggling to open a film on his name alone. Also, while we may be seeing a lot more sequels, I think more care is being put into them than say the 80s, where sequels were typically rushed into production just to make a quick buck out of the success of the original. Even stuff like Spiderman 3 and At World's End are oscar worthy compared to say The Karate Kid 2 or Crocodile Dundee 2. Oh, and speaking of Spiderman, Raimi didn't get fired because he refused to do the film in 3-d, he was simply unable to find a good story for a fourth film, and therefore left, which is why the studio decided just to go ahead and reboot it.

Dec 4 - 04:01 AM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

oh, Sam Raimi wanted to do Spiderman 4 for $250 Million Dollars and "That Lady" said "No." "Sony has decided to put the brakes on Spider-Man 4, which was supposed to start shooting early this year. The news comes after the studio had already spent millions on pre-production special effects and after several writers labored through multiple drafts of the screenplay. Since the decision was made, both Sam Rami and lead actor Tobey Maquire have announced that they will be leaving the project and the franchise for good. The decision to pull the plug was mutual and, reportedly, based on both parties unhappiness with the script after contributions from three different screenwriters including James Vanderbilt, Gary Ross and David Lindsay-Abaire.
The disagreements didn?t stop with there. Raimi also differed with Sony over which villains should be included in the fourth installment and over the May 6, 2011 release date, which Raimi wanted extended to 2012. When Sony refused to budge on the schedule, Raimi made the decision to exit the franchise."
http://hollywoodvulture.com/?p=11469//// Sony didn't let the MJ-Peter Parker relationship play out and we'll NEVER get to find-out the real identity of the Bruce Campbell character. /// Me as The Audience: Sequels are important because sequels allow me to see a continuation of a particular story AND remakes allow me to see other people re-envision a particular story./// Hollywood Filmmakers spend TOO MUCH time on the internet and TOO MUCH time on cell-phones and don't allow themselves time to think. For a good story to come to you, you really need time to yourself, plenty of sleep, and quiet. SLEEP-DEPRIVATION and Over-Stimulation on the part of filmmakers is SABOTAGING the quality of Hollywood Motion Pictures. The Jonah Hill 21 Jumpstreet movie is a perfect example. 21 Jumpstreet was a cutting-edge TV-Drama and Hollywood has turned 21 Jumpstreet into a FARCE with Jonah Hill . . .

Dec 4 - 05:31 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

(I decided to edit this post for space and clarity. It should precede Gordon's previous post)

Dec 5 - 04:01 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Janson J. on 12-4-2011 11:43 AM
You can talk about "Three Men and a Little Lady" for all I care, it won't address any of the problems I've mentioned about today's studio leadership, nor will it help defend BB's notion that "ignorant masses" make profit and artists don't. It's clear that the blockbusters that I mentioned are artistic, not simply visually aesthetic but in terms of story and concept design. It's this latter 'art' that is being neglected today with the piss-poor script-processing. Nor do you address that people actually care more about stories than 'stars', or consider that maybe Hanks' "Larry Crowne" could have been a hit if it were better written. You cannot make any of these determinations based on trying to quantify the quality, using nothing but box office numbers and the tomatometer, or the fact that we now have 10 Best Picture nominees. (Obviously films today must be twice as good!) Even using your examples, "Top Gun" was exciting for its time. "Transformers" is not because Michael Bay has never added to Tony Scott's visual innovations. As Bigbrother exemplifies, the acceptable range of films that are assumed to be 'profitable' has narrowed considerably since the 80s. Let me just address the last part of your post, because it illustrates the typical studio apologia - the Spiderman issue. First, I never said Raimi was fired. He walked, so it's a question of 'why' - 'creative integrity', namely that Raimi wanted creative control that the studio didn't want to relinquish. You say he was 'unable to find a good story', which is not exactly true. Raimi had a villain the studio didn't want, and they wanted an actress he didn't want. Plus he hated the script (not the same as story) that had been through four different writers, one of which (Jaime Vanderbilt) just happened to already have the reboot written and waiting for green light. Hmmm. So the problem wasn't Raimi's inability to 'find' a good story, it was the studio and their den of hack writers' inability to produce a satisfactory script. Note how the blame gets shifted whenever the studio starts to sweat. Now let's look at the deadline issue, with Sam saying he couldn't make the May 2011 date. It was reported on deadline.com that shooting Spiderman 4 in 3D would have added 6 months to the schedule, and that the then newly released "Avatar" had Sony looking to capitalize. Raimi disagreed, as suggested in the press release when he said he "couldn?t make its summer release date and keep the film?s creative integrity". So with Vanderbilt's serendipitously convenient reboot script lying around, the studio moved ahead from scrap, with a director that has one mild rom-com to his credit. To enhance this desultory attitude the studios have for talent, ask yourselves why Sam Raimi, given the overwhelming success of his previous Spiderman films, should not have been allowed the creative freedom one would think he deserved to make another Spiderman film. The answer is about as good as any for what is wrong in contemporary Hollywood.

Dec 5 - 04:04 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Okay, first of all I think you've really misunderstood some points of my post. Yes, Larry Crowne probably would have done better if it had been better quality wise, but that's my whole damn point! Starpower is no longer what it used to be. Actors like Robin Williams, Kevin Costner, Eddie Murphy all went through periods where it seemed like audiences would see anything they starred in. Granted, a number of those films deserved huge success, but others were pretty terrible and yet they became some of the biggest hits of the year due to name power alone. Nowadays, the only star I can think of who has such draw power is Will Smith. Also, regarding Raimi and Spiderman, you act as if studio interference is something new. It's not. Hell, at least Raimi got to make three Spiderman films and left on his own free will, Richard Donner got fired off the set of Superman 2 despite the massive critical and financial success of the original, while Tim Burton got replaced as director of the Batman franchise, despite both his Batman films being huge hits because the studio wanted more family friendly Batman films that could sell a lot of toys. Studio interference has simply been something directors have had to deal with since Heaven's Gate, maybe before that, ever since films started getting massive budgets, as even films like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars went through hell to get made. Heck, with Star Wars, it was a daily struggle for George Lucas just to keep production from shutting down. The studio was so sure they had a dissapointment on their hands that they gave full merchandising rights to Lucas in exchange for a lower director's fee just to lower down the cost of the film, and while a lot of people think George Lucas have full ownership of the franchise is a bad thing, things probably would have been a lot worse if he didn't, as I doubt the studio would have been willing to stop after just three films, not when Return of the Jedi was the biggest hit of the year. Oh, and by the way, regarding the best picture nominees, it's not because we now have ten nominees that I think quality of filmaking is strong, it's because the lowest rated of those ten films from last year was higher rated than the best picture WINNER of a lot of years. Granted, the oscars aren't exactly clear of controversy when it comes to giving the best picture winners, but even so looking at the number of great films we've gotten this year and last, I fail to see where this lack of quality idea is coming from. Yes, you'll always get a number of badly reviewed blockbusters but that holds true for every year.

Dec 5 - 06:14 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Oh and regarding Top Gun/Transformers, I don't care how Top Gun seemed like when it was released, that film in my opinion is unbelievably chessy. Hell, I'd take the first Transformers any day over it. At least Transformers was aware of how cheesy it was. It also had a few of those moments of awe that reminded me strongly of some of the Spielberg films I used to watch as I kid (The autobots arriving to earth, Bumblebee transforming for the first time) Granted, if the rest of the movie had been able to live up to those moments, it could have been the next Jurrasic Park, but even so, it's still a decently entertaining film. Top Gun, well like Airport, the best thing I can say about it was that it got a really great spoof (Aiplane for Airport, Hot Shots for Top Gun)

Dec 5 - 06:15 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Not saying that movie's can't be good and successful, just saying that if everybody could be Steven Spielberg or Stanley Kubrick then they would be Spielberg of Kubrick. The world needs Uwe Boll's and Rennie Harlans so we can appreciate the true geniusii. Also it seems like you assume everyone has the same tastes. Ask your average Twilight fan and they'll probably not have the same appreciation for Star Wars or Indiana Jones as you or I do. Let them have what makes them happy and take what makes you happy. As I've been trying to say this entire column, the movie industry may not be as artistic percentage wise recently, but I think per capita it's as strong or stronger than it's ever been. I'd throw up recent hits like Inception, TDK, Iron Man, The Departed, LOTR's, Harry Potter and critical hits like True Grit, Moneyball, The Hurt Locker and Black Swan against anything that's been put out in the entire history of cinema and I don't think they'd be shamed. We tend to obsess over the Twilights and Transformers II's and forget that just because they're there doesn't mean we have to watch them, instead of getting upset about the gross just think about all the smaller better and yes, maybe larger better films that money is going to pay for. Yes, there's a ton of remakes out each month, but there's still a lot more less flashy, better quality work out there being done too.

Dec 5 - 06:49 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

The misunderstanding might be mutual, King S, as I don't mean to portray Hollywood as an artists' paradise throughout the years. You can find crappy movies, or mention the destroyed original cut of "Magnificent Ambersons". But these imperfections do not eclipse my overall point about the here and now, and what we can sway through our commercial practices. I think a number of studio executives today, who are a younger generation recently elevated in ranks, would agree with Bigbrother's notion that "ignorant masses" are the only audience that is profitable to entertain. The prevailing ethos is that marketing trumps innovative stories. The concepts for many films are becoming as generic as what would have been typical for direct-to-video or exploitation markets in previous decades. As long as the trailer is tight and focus-grouped to death, the film itself is negligable. This is not my opinion, these are the stated views of Hollywood insiders. The all-important measure of success is not even box office, but especially opening weekend box office. Movies are not designed to have 'legs'. This was especially clear during the recent horror film remake-athon, where it wasn't a concern how sharply the film dropped off, just as long as enough young audiences make the Friday night show. What I see now is this formula moving into Sci/Fi (especially 80s) remakes, films that are not being intended for longevity, precisely so they can leave the door open for reboots in the next decade. It is disposable cinema in a degree that can only be matched by the drive-in and direct-to-home video markets in the past. It is this cynicism that presumes that quality, or 'art', films are only intended for a select few (assuring in the process that they are not successfully marketed to general audiences). We have an influence over the culture of film today, as opposed to yester-years, and it is not productive to be defeatist or deterministic ("just the way it is") about it. But, yes, I don't believe but know that executives from the past, whatever their flaws, did take more pride in the quality of their product than the current crop of studio heads. Let me stop until I learn how to format paragraphs.

Dec 5 - 07:00 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

@ Big Brother - "TDK, Iron Man, The Departed, LOTR's, Harry Potter and critical hits like True Grit, Moneyball, The Hurt Locker and Black Swan" I wouldn't even say these films are the best from their respective filmmakers. I certainly wouldn't put any of them up against the greatest in all of cinema, except Lord of the Rings. That's not a bad bunch, but it doesn't excell the best efforts from Nolan (Memento, Prestige), Scorsese (Goodfellas, Taxi Driver), or the Coens (virtually everything except "Ladykillers" which is still damn good). As far as taste, well, just because people are entitled to their own opinions, doesn't mean all opinions are equal. People have no excuse not to think about their decisions.

Dec 5 - 07:14 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Agreed, I was just throwing out a bunch of off the top of my head pictures that met my own personal threshold for quality, though I don't love The Prestige, I can certainly agree about the other movie's being quality and as I said was just throwing out a random sampling. You're also correct that all opinions aren't equal. My Opinions for example are much better than yours...to me. Just as the Twilight fans are much more important than ours to them. You can't assume everyone goes to the movie's for the same reasons you do and their is an excuse for not thinking about about their decisions. It's called entertainment and searching for a release. Two things that cinema does besides it's numerous other artistic functions. I'm not going to walk up to someone in Detroit who spends 10 hours a day fabricating door parts or a miner in West Virginia who spends half his day digging up coal (or much less extreme examples of people) that they're wrong for getting a tickle out of watching a pedophile vampire romance his high school sweetheart or gets a glimmer of peace from watching Tucker and Dale battle douchebag collegiate evil. Art is subjective as apparently is the movie industry and people vote with their dollars, you can either accept that and roll with it or go to a place where Janson Cinema's Inc brings your personal dreams directly to a theater near you 24/7 365.

Dec 5 - 07:57 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

You know, Bbrother, it's all about expression, and being able to express one's opinion thoughtfully that gives those specific opinions their value. That's kind of what these boards are for (but rarely used), for people of various backgrounds and experiences to share their thoughts on what makes for the best of their pleasure. And although I mostly come from working class roots, I never had such a problem with people engaging in articulate reasons behind something that was so precious - their free time entertainment. You could say they were passionate about not wanting to waste their time. You like to remind me that my opinion is my opinion, but I always have stated reasons and perspectives behind them. Like this thread is about specific values from these studios in their current commercial motivations. A lot of the back and forth on the net, in any and all realms of debate, is as stultified as "like" vs "sucks". That's not taste or opinion. That's just plum stupid. So, no, I won't acknowledge shallow, fickle whims as legitimate opinions precisely because they are uninformed and uninforming. Thinking is still free, and relatively painless, and I don't see any reason why I should respect anyone unwilling to use their heads to express themselves and their enjoyments. (Just to avoid confusion, I'm not putting your adequetely stated opinions in this catagory. Although I find it frustrating to flatten everyone into virtual indistinction, I must admit that you find some complex, sophic logic with which to justify it. Whatever keeps the cerebrum limber.)

Dec 5 - 08:22 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

As you rally to the defense of remakes, B, it's unusual in my experience -and I mean this in the nicest way- that you would take the abominable villain role in an argument. Janson is right, indubitably; Hollywood does think we're stupid. And we keep proving em right year after year. So many of us can't wait for the release of the next bastardized classic, or a copy of a remake of a remake of a copy, all too eager to join hollywood in their celebration of the dying art of fresh storytelling. Stories, art, shape and inform cultures. But gone are the days when the most prolific artistic medium sought to hold to the responsibility implied by this fact. In its place we've reached the point where 'brand recognition' has become the safe word in a bad rape game metaphor.

Dec 3 - 02:59 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I'm hardly leaping to the defense of remakes Mat, I'm just acknowledging that since its inception the movie industry has been about profit and without that profit provided by the ignorant masses the artists who deliver for the sake of art rather than profit would be putting on stage plays in the park because no one would fund what they're making. How many businesses do you know that last without profit? We who love original stories and unique works should remember no one is forcing anyone to watch anything, but without those poor ignorant sots shelling out cash for Transformers 2 or Twilight (an original work made by an indie studio btw) there'd be a lot weaker industry and hence a lot fewer works that appeal to the minority cinefiles. While there may have been a greater percentage of original and indie works in it's alleged golden age the 70s there certainly weren't more by volume. If acknowledging that and saying I don't just like a certain type of movie (remake, studio, indie, original), but that I like Good movies regardless makes me the villain, then say hello to the bad guy. Of the probably 40 movies I've seen this year in theater I can honestly say I've only been truly disappointed in one (pirates of the caribbean) . I submit that I'm a good judge of my own tastes and really that should be everyones goal. It's much more rewarding I've found recently than trying to paint people with different tastes and opinions as crybabies or villains. Though I acknowledge having seen you on these boards as long as I have that that wasn't your intent.

Dec 3 - 11:29 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

No sir, not my intent at all. We've talked enough to know better, either way. But consider this. while no business succeeds without profit, I've known plenty that succeed due to the quality of their product. I mentioned that stories shape cultures and worldviews. this is not in dispute. so it is not a stretch to see how the majority would set the tone. If the majority of films being put out are lazy and woefully uninspired remakes, then thus will become the expectations of the majority of viewers. When the art declines, so go the expectations of the people. And when the expectations of the people decline, a decline in the quality of the collective unconscious is soon to follow -and with it, the quality of the social sphere. Joseph Campbell would agree... Because writers tend to take issue with this process the most. Because, well, being a writer means also being in part philosopher and social scientist. It's the nature of the beast, that. They're the sort of people who cringe when the uninitiated say things like "oh lighten up, it's just a movie" or "it's just a book" or "it's just a story". Because they know that in the long run, there is no such thing as any of those.

Dec 3 - 11:47 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

RT really needs to start allowing replies to have paragraph breaks, because these huge bodies of text are making my eyes bleed!

Dec 4 - 02:16 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Man, I'm really sorry about that. What are the tricks? I see some of you can do it, but mine always get compressed. I suppose a couple of folks would just tell me to have less to say. But seriously, if there's a key to doing it, I'd love to know what it is.

Dec 4 - 03:45 PM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

Try the space bar. Not sure if it will work, but I suppose it's worth a shot. A shame though that we gotta seek out tricks at all. Shame also that we sometimes gotta play connect the dots to figure out who's talking to who.

Dec 4 - 07:19 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Space bar didn't work for my remix :{

Dec 5 - 04:05 AM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

lol. Hey, I tried.

Dec 5 - 10:54 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree- they allow the occasional four letter word but for some reason don't allow paragraphs! This kind of transition obviously something to do with more room!

Dec 5 - 03:34 PM

Riaan V.

Riaan Van der Merwe

Remaking Robocop? Why? It is a total classic. I don't understand these Hollywood execs.

Dec 2 - 09:08 PM

gcopter

Gareth Penhallurick

can't understand what? that they want to make money? that it is surefire hit? that they can't lose? come on buddy...

Dec 3 - 05:46 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It's a No-Brainer! Literally, no brains required at all...

Dec 3 - 03:39 PM

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