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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jolie replaces Cruise in 'Salt'

"Edwin A. Salt" is about to undergo a gender change.Angelina Jolie

Once expected to star Tom Cruise, the Columbia Pictures espionage thriller will be redrafted by screenwriter Kurt Wimmer as a star vehicle for Angelina Jolie. Philip Noyce remains attached as director and Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Sunil Perkash are producing.

Jolie is close to a deal to play the title character, a CIA officer who's accused by a defector of being a Russian sleeper spy and must elude capture long enough to establish her innocence.

Cruise had long flirted with the project, but that ended recently. The well-regarded script had several male movie stars circling.

Jolie took a liking to it, prompting the studio's decision to rewrite it. Sources said the project won't require that much of an overhaul to suit her.

After Universal beefed up Jolie's role in "Wanted" and then marketed the action film squarely on Jolie's shoulders and watched it gross $132 million domestically, Jolie reestablished, in the wake of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," that she is the rare female who is viable in the action genre, which has been almost the exclusive domain of men.

"Edwin A. Salt" will undergo a title change, and if everything falls into place, the film shapes up as a return vehicle for Jolie, who recently gave birth to twins. Another candidate for her return is the Lionsgate drama "Atlas Shrugged," which has been adapted by Randall Wallace from the Ayn Rand novel.

Jolie, who also provided a lead voice in the DreamWorks Animation hit "Kung Fu Panda," drew strong notices at the Cannes Film Festival for her starring role in the Clint Eastwood-directed drama "Changeling" for Imagine and Universal. That film opens in late October.

Jolie is managed by Media Talent's Geyer Kosinski.

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Venom Movie Pushed Forward on a Wave of Unoriginality

Another day, another decision to remake/sequelise/spin-off an existing movie. This time it’s Venom’s turn.

Yes, for those that saw Spider-Man 3 - he’s the one played by Topher Grace off That 70s Show. He’s the one that should have been one of the best villains in comic movie history, but instead ended up being a complete rush job, thus making one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes actually a big pile of crud.

|Plus he appared to die in the film, so how Sony are going to play this we don’t really know. Time machine? A ‘he’s dead or is he OR IS HE’ angle? Ignoring the film, thus rendering his appearance in the Spider-Man movie worthless? Which it was.

It’ll probably be the third. And we bet Sam Raimi will be happy about that, after being forced to incorporate Venom into his movie in the first place.

Ah, Hollywood.

While it’s not new news that a Venom film is in the pipeline, it has just come about that Sony are pushing for the picture to be released quicksmart. Obviously wanting to ride the wave of popularity created by the successes of both Iron Man and The Dark Knight and seeing that there is, maybe, a place in the mass market for the darker side of comic books, the company have been more or less forced to play their hand.

While a script was already written for the movie, the execs have apparently decided it isn’t up to par and have sent out the word that they’re looking for a new one. The hecklerspray script is on its way, guys! Though we’re sure they’ll pick some no-talent arseclown to pen the bloody thing and it will all go wrong, leaving comic book geeks around the world frothing at the eyeballs.

It’s just that… well… they’ll get it wrong, won’t they? They’ll make Venom into some kind of pansy, or will hamfistedly force in some relatability to the character to try and make the audience sympathise with his plight.

Or they’ll probably make him pink and shoot flower-coated puppies out of his anus as he travels the galaxy bringing happiness and free rainbows to everyone.

Not that we’re cynical or anything - we just can’t see how Sony expect to work it.

Certainly, the popular character’s co-creator, Todd McFarlane thinks they can make it work.

“You don’t want to scare the kids, because the kids love the character,” he said.

“But I think you could add a little bit of a creep factor. I mean, it never bugged me to watch Frankenstein as a kid, so you could have a little bit of it, as long as you have a good story backing it up.”

The Dark Knight is a very dark, depressing film with one of the finest portrayals of a truly twisted mentalist ever seen - but Batman is still a good guy. Iron Man isn’t that dark, and he’s a good guy too. The announced X-Men Origins: Wolverine is sure to tread this same gritty, dark path but - again - Wolverine is a good guy. Conflicted, capable of being a bit maniacal yes - but still a good guy.

Sony will not be able to make major blockbuster work if it’s about a bad guy. The mass-market they so crave just won’t buy into it - they seem to forget that people are idiots. And if the most recent Spider-Man movie was anything to go by, not only will it be a flop, it’ll be shit too.

We’re just saying.

Original here

10 Geeky Movies That Should Have Been Great, but Weren't

We've recommended a number of movies to the GeekDad readership, and we've cautioned you Ishot1against a few. This time around, we're giving you a list of geeky films that should have appealed to us, should have made us drool with geeky joy, but turned out to be duds. These are movies that, if you missed them, then lucky you! And make sure not to show them to your kids - they'll thank you when they're older.

1. Mummy 3: as mentioned not too long ago on this blog, M3 was potential wasted. We all love Brendan when he's got a script and sharp co-starts to work with, but this one seemed as if he was denied both on purpose. Add to that the actor playing his son was only 13 years his younger, while Brendan hardly looks a year older than he did back in the first film (which was set nearly 20 years earlier) and you'll see why any geek worth their salt would snort derisively.

2. A.I.: The viral marketing for this movie on the internet set the tone for what Lost would do years later. I'll admit it, I was hooked - and eventually got the special movie poster that had my email handle printed on it as the special gift for everyone who had participated in the online mystery. But while it was a pretty looking Spielberg pic, and gave us Jude Law in a career-making performance, ultimately it all felt flat, neither a compelling drama nor an overly impressive bit of science fiction.

3. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Again with the Jude Law. This one had so much buzz - all green screen with amazing effects, and a grand retro-pulp adventure feel, we all hoped it would usher in an era of Doc Savage and Flash Gordon revivals. But if you can't deliver a decent plot, and the actors get lost amidst the effect, people will simply shrug and walk away.

4. The Time Machine: sometimes you've got to wonder why remake a movie that was done really, really well in the past, if you can't deliver the same quality? Rod Taylor was full of geeky adventure in the 1960 version, and the decision to make the lead character American? Why? It's an H.G. Wells story, for cripes sake! And Guy Pierce is English (ed. note: born English, grew up in Australia)! He could do the accent! Saddest part? It was directed by the great grandson of the author, and it was still bad.

5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: speaking of why do a remake... When we heard Tim Burton was doing a new version of the Roald Dahl story, there was a lot of interest - knowing Burton's distinct visual stylings, how would he interpret the classic tale? And with Johnny Depp on board as the enigmatic candy maker, this one seemed like a ready-made hit. Alas, it was a pale reflection of the 1971 version, containing all the snark and none of the heart. And while Depp's performance was an interesting variation, no one could ever match Gene Wilder in the role. Utterly pointless.

6. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: I may take some flack on this one, but I'll stand by my sadness that this film wasn't better. It was enjoyable, for fans of the books, but didn't we all want it to wash over the planet with a life-changing wave of laughter? It had a good cast. It had good special effects. It had a reasonably-adapted screenplay (though some of the adds were a bit odd). But in the end, it was... mostly harmless.

7. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: This one was really unforgivable. The source material, a couple of graphic novels by Alan Moore, were some of the most literate pulp adventure ever devised. Instead of working with that to craft a film of high adventure, they tore the concept apart, added a couple Americans to appeal to the movie-going audience, and changed a recovering opium addict into Sean Connery. This movie gave steampunk a bad name.

8. Erik the Viking: This should have been Monty Python funny, but instead it was only Monty Hall funny. I know, the joke doesn't quite make sense, and neither did much of this movie. In a way, Baron von Münchhausen was the smart film alternative to this, but neither one set the world on fire, much to our chagrin.

9. Matrix 2/3: Sometimes, when a good movie is made, recognized as being good, and the filmmakers are given the money and creative freedom to expand their vision, you get greatness. Not this time. Where the first Matrix movie had been a lean, mind-twisting tale with groundbreaking special effects, the second and third were muddled, self-indulgent philosophical drivel with gaping plot holes. Alas for what could have been.

10. Waterworld: At the time, it was the most expensive movie ever made. A still-big Kevin Costner in a post-apocalyptic aquatic world should have been really really cool. In the end, the best thing that ever came of it was the stunt show at Universal Studios Theme Park.

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