Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Red Dwarf Closing Credits

Just one of my favorite TV theme songs ever.

The Mechanic - DVD Review


Starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn and Christa Campbell. Directed by Simon West.

Never saw the 1972 Charles Bronson original, but it feel more like a remake of a 1992 Jean-Claude Van Damme remake of a 1972 Charles Bronson film. Jason Statham is one of a handful of credible action heroes out there, but he's no hero here.

He's Arthur Bishop, a "mechanic", another name for assassin, and one day his assignment is to kill his mentor (Donald Sutherland). Rather than say no and try to bring down his employer who'd dare make such an order, he follows through. He kills him. Ugh.

This is in the first 15 minutes. Then he meets his mentor's ne'er-do-well son (Ben Foster) and for some reason, the son wants to become an assassin. Bishop decides to mentor him, train him to become an assassin too. Not much hesitation either. "Sure, I'll train you to kill people."

We know where this movie must eventually go. Statham can only do so much to distract the audience. We can take the mildest of comforts that everyone they're killing is worse, but it's just another amoral disposable action movie, with nothing unique or creative enough to warrant it being sought out over any number of other choices.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bridesmaids - Movie Review

lll 1/2

Starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Chris O'Dowd, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Hamm, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Jill Clayburgh, Matt Lucas and Annie Mumolo. Directed by Paul Feig.

Kristen Wiig is in pretty much every sketch on Saturday Night Live, and she also finds time to take supporting roles in films like MacGruber and Paul. But now she gets to take center stage in a full-length movie, and she shows serious acting chops. She is more than a sum of sketches. It helps that she co-wrote the movie.

This has been called The Hangover for Women, but that oversimplifies. It's very funny, but there's a dark undercurrent to it, a layer of sadness as Annie (Wiig) has her life unravel while trying to be a good maid of honor for her best friend Lillian (SNL alum Rudolph).

The central conflict is with Helen, played by Rose Byrne (Insidious), a younger, richer, prettier friend Lillian's recently acquired, and Helen is also quite competitive. Annie and Helen has to keep the plastic smiles on for Lillian as they try to one-up each other, all while pretending that's not what they're doing.

Judd Apatow helped produce it, and it does feature some of the trademark gross-out humor. It could've easily trimmed ten minutes from its running time without losing anything, but I predict now that Wiig will get a Golden Globe nomination for her work here.

Four Lions - DVD Review


Starring Riz Ahmed, Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Directed by Chris Morris.

This British satire gives Islamic extremists the appropriate kick in the teeth. Four friends have decided to engage in jihad, but they can't decide what to blow up, or why, exactly. It goes down some dark roads, but I admired its head-on approach to its subject matter, and it hits its target more than once.

The Purple Rose of Cairo

In honor of Midnight in Paris being the best-reviewed Woody Allen movie in years, I've been trying to catch his older titles that are supposed to be good that I haven't seen, and I managed to catch this one this week. It's a light-hearted fantasy, one of the last comedies where Woody's touch felt uncynical. It gave me a whole new appreciation for Jeff Daniels, playing not only the character who walks off screen, but the actor who created the character. I also really enjoyed the characters stuck on the screen, Brigadoon's Van Johnson and Lost Boys' Edward Herrmann among them.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Random Movie Stuff - 5/27/11

- Snow White & the Huntsman (starring Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron) had its release date moved up to June 1, 2012. In response, Relativity moved its Snow White movie (starring Julia Roberts and Lily Collins) to March 16, 2012. The Relativity one is said tob e more family-friendly, while Snow White & the Huntsman is going to be more for the PG-13 Twilight crowd.

- Jessica Biel and Bill Nighy are joining Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Bryan Cranston in the Total Recall remake, scheduled to open August 3, 2012.

- Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live) and Rashida Jones (Parks & Recreation) will star in Celeste & Jesse Forever, about a divorcing couple who try to remain friends. Elijah Wood and Emma Roberts co-star.

- Zach Braff (Scrubs) has joined the cast of Oz: The Great & Powerful, a prequel starring James Franco (The Wizard), Michelle Williams (Glinda), Rachel Weisz (Witch of the East) and Mila Kunis (Witch of the West). It's scheduled to open March 8, 2013.

- Jeff Conaway has died after being taken off life support, which he's been on since a drug overdose on May 11. He was the star of movies (Grease, Pete's Dragon) and television (Taxi, Babylon 5) and appeared on VH1's Celebrity Rehab in 2008. He was 60.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

HBO's Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 6

Since I read the book recently I know pretty much everything that's coming, but it's still so enjoyable to see it all dramatized on screen. Episode 6 was the best yet in this solid series, with Ned Stark (Sean Bean) making some bold decisions as Hand of the King while the King (Mark Addy) is off hunting. We're getting more from the wily Tyrion (Peter Dinklage, living up to high expectations), and the selfish, power-mad Viserys finally got his come-uppance.

TV Season Finales - Community, The Office, Parks & Recreation, The Mentalist

COMMUNITY - Loved the two-parter paintball tournament episode. I tend to love most episodes, but more so when they get into deep meta parody mode. Part 1 was a spaghetti western send-up; Part 2 went with Star Wars. So many gems in there, from Abed insisting on being the Han Solo type before Jeff takes it "by default" to Pierce faking heart attacks to trick opponents into not shooting him.

THE OFFICE - I enjoyed the hour-long parade of candidates for manager, but some I liked more than others, and I didn't like the cliffhanger ending. The rumor is that Catherine Tate is going to get the job. I think that would be a huge mistake. If they're not going to promote from in-house. Her character was irritating, and while Jim was anti-Dwight, there's no way he'd let that be the candidate he goes with. My hope (if it's not in-house) is that it goes to the mesmorizing James Spader. If it goes to Tate, eh, I'll still watch, but it feels like the Office is revving up the motorcycle, wearing the leather jacket, and the shark is swimming around in the cage.

PARKS AND RECREATION - Ron Swanson is one of the best characters on television. I thought the penultimate episode was better than the finale (with Ron in the circular desk), but this show is comfortably one of the best comedies on TV.

THE MENTALIST - Loved the reveal of Red John. That scene was the best scene of the year for this show, which is already becoming predictable and stale in other aspects. I am looking forward to the repercussions of Patrick killing a man in cold blood in front of dozens of witnesses.

Blue Valentine - DVD Review


Starring Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, John Doman and Mike Vogel.
Directed by Derek Cianfrance.

It's like watching home movies out of order of a young couple who met, fell in love, married, had a child, fell out of love, and split. It features very, very good acting from Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, very believable and natural. Other than that, it's a giant bummer. Heavy on the "Blue," light on the "Valentine."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend Box Office

For the weekend of May 20-22.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean 4 - $90.1 million - 1 wk (BV)
. . . 4155 screens / $21,685 per screen
2. Bridesmaids - $21.06 ($59.52) - 2 wks (U) -19.8%
. . . 2937 / $7170
3. Thor - $15.5 ($145.41) - 3 wks (Par) -55.3%
. . . 3924 / $3950
4. Fast Five - $10.63 ($186.22) - 4 wks (U) -48%
. . . 3622 / $2935
5. Rio - $4.65 ($131.65) - 6 wks (Fox) -43.8%
. . . 2593 / $1793
6. Priest - $4.6 ($23.68) - 2 wks (SG) - 69.2%
. . . 2864 / $1606
7. Jumping the Broom - $3.7 ($31.32) - 3 wks (TS) -47.6%
. . . 1472 / $2514
8. Something Borrowed - $3.43 ($31.43) - 3 wks (WB) -50.2%
. . . 2606 / $1314
9. Water for Elephants - $2.15 ($52.43) - 5 wks (Fox) -48.8%
. . . 1894 / $1135
10. Madea's Big Happy Family - $.99 ($51.76) - 5 wks (LG) -55.3%
. . . 912 / $1086
11. Soul Surfer - $.95 ($40.63) - 7 wks (TS) -48%
. . . 984 / $965
12. Midnight in Paris - $.58 - 1 wk (SP)
. . . 6 / $96,500

Let's work backwards through this. Midnight in Paris had an amazing per-screen average for Woody Allen, and it's getting his best reviews since Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Soul Surfer, Something Borrowed, Jumping the Broom, all batting singles and hitting their targets, breaking even but nothing to write home about. Madea's Big Happy Family and Water for Elephants are mildly profitable. Priest is sinking like a stone and can be called the first real flop of summer. Rio's in the green, actually passing Rango, which had a higher budget. Fast Five should safely make it to $200 million, and Thor will likely peak around $185 million.

Kristen Wiig's phone should have received a phonecall already from Universal executives to see if she has any pitch ideas for Bridesmaids 2. It's getting great word-of-mouth and dropping only 19% in its second week signifies it'll be probably surpass $100 million. Not bad for a $33 million budget.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is being called a disappointing opening. How can a Part 4 of any franchise be called disappointing? I'm pretty sure Indiana Jones 4 is the only to open higher, but considering that Pirates 3 openind to $135 million, that's where the expectation comes from. But sheesh, add in the overseas take and it's already at $346 million. I'll take that kind of disappointment anyday, especially considering it's getting worse reviews than Pirates 3.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Random Movie Stuff 5/20/11

- Joey King (Ramona & Beezus), Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket) and Tom Conti (The Tempest) have joined the cast of The Dark Knight Rises, starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Juno Temple and Nestor Carbonell.

- Tom Cruise has officially signed on for Oblivion, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi actioner directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy). Cruise has Mission Impossbile 4 opening this December, and the musical Rock of Ages next summer.

- No word yet who she'll play, but Holly Hunter has joined the cast of Romeo & Juliet directed by Carlo Carlei, which will star Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) as Juliet. Hunter has also joined the cast of Still I Rise, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis as two women trying to change a public school in inner-city Pittsburgh.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

HBO is ruining Game Change

When I first heard HBO was going to do a movie based on Game Change, the Heilemann/Halperin best-seller, I was excited. And, okay, Ed Harris and Julianne Moore as John McCain and Sarah Palin were good marquee names. But as each day when by, when casting news only circled the McCain storyline, I grew more frustrated and angry.

Game Change was mainly, mainly I stress, about Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama. You had your McCain subplot, and you had your John Edwards subplot, but really, it was about how the underdog Team Obama somehow overcame Team Clinton's inevitability.

Cutting out Hillary and Barack and Edwards of Game Change, to me, is ridiculous. Why would HBO do this? Game Change was a warts-and-all look at everyone (though they were nicest to Obama). But by cutting out about 70% of the book to only show McCain and Palin, I can't help but think this is strictly politically motivated and calculated.

I'm used to HBO programming to be mostly left-leaning, and that's fine. That's Hollywood. But to only focus on the Republicans in 2008, and to then put this movie on TV as the GOP primaries are getting close? Really?

Could be wrong. IMDB.com has the cast list and it looks like only the McCain/Palin stuff was filmed. Maybe we'll get Game Change II in 2013, you know, after (they hope) Obama has been re-elected and a little TV movie can do him no harm.

My current attitude is forget the movie, just read (or re-read) the book.

No Strings Attached - DVD Review

ll 1/2

Starring Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Kline, Greta Gerwig, Lake Bell, Cary Elwes, Ludacris, Jake Johnson, Mindy Kaling and Abby Elliott. Directed by Ivan Reitman.

Sex is nothing. Sex is meaningless. Sex is just something fun people engage in, no big deal.

These are the lies the characters tell themselves, and while many of them may bounce around in hedonistic fashion, eventually, if they sleep with the same person, and that person is someone they like, feelings may develop. (Oh, no! Not feelings!)

Despite the best efforts of the main two players to dehumanize intimacy, they just can't. It is a rom-com, and you know where it's going, and while I like seeing Kevin Kline get work (as Kutcher's father), and see Natalie Portman in something without special effects, I couldn't shake the going-through-the-motions of it all.

Ever notice how many rom-coms are about unhealthy relationships that end with them breaking up, one running to the other, saying they're sorry, and then ending on an upbeat note where in the back of your head, you're thinking, "Based on the previous 90 minutes, I'm not really sure that relationship's suddenly going to be healthy and ever after"?

No? Well, I have.

P.S. This movie - at 47% RotTom ranking - is the best-reviewed movie of Ashton Kutcher's career. I certainly understand why he took the Two and a Half Men job. He'll make more doing two episodes of that show than any movie he'd star in.

Rabbit Hole - DVD Review


Starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest and Sandra Oh.
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell.

What works here are the honest moments and performances, especially Eckhart, as one of the most sympathetic characters he's been allowed to play. He and Kidman play parents grieving their death of their only child, and it's not an exercise of wallowing in misery; it's a more realistic take on the day-to-day coping of two people whose lives have been forever altered.

But whatever chemicals Kidman has injected into her forehead, she should remove them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

All Good Things - DVD Review


Starring Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella, Philip Baker Hall, Diane Venora, Kristen Wiig, Lily Rabe, Trini Alvaredo, Nick Offerman and John Cullum.
Directed by Andrew Jarecki.

The first half or so of this "wealthy people behaving badly" mystery is pretty good. Dunst gives one of her more charismatic performances in years, and Gosling always brings an offbeat take to his characters. The second half is where it's clear this is based on a true story, as odd events keep happening, but somehow it isn't done with as cohesive a narrative as it was in the first half. I stopped caring before it reached its conclusion.

I was surprised to SNL's Kristen Wiig and Parks & Recreation's Nick Offerman pop up in this. Doesn't seem like their genre.

Friday, May 13, 2011

ABC cancels V, Mr. Sunshine, more

Of the ABC shows that have been cancelled, V and Mr. Sunshine were the only ones I was watching, and I can't say I'm disappointed Mr. Sunshine was cancelled. I liked most of the cast but I didn't like most of the characters, and I question the wisdom of having Matthew Perry as a guy with no friends.

V, however, had a spectacular finale, one where a few good guys die and the aliens seem poised to crush the human rebellion reveal their true selves and conquer Earth. And now it's over? Well, if they ever want to bring it back for a mini-series on ABC Family, they have quite the starting point.

As to the others, I liked Detroit 187 but stopped watching when I saw the ratings. I watched the first three or four episodes of No Ordinary Family but that was more squarely aimed at tweens and teens. Only watched a couple episodes from Season 1 of Brothers & Sisters, and one episode of Off the Map.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Casino Jack - DVD Review

ll 1/2

Starring Kevin Spacey, Barry Pepper, Kelly Preston, Jon Lovitz, Rachelle LeFevre, Graham Greene and Maury Chaykin.
Directed by George Hickenlooper.

There's a breezy energy that the late director George Hickenlooper beings to this movie, and it almost disguises its fatal flaw: what exactly did Jack Abramoff do?

I saw the Abramoff documentary just a few months ago and I was still lost on what was going on. The movie plays it as a dark comedy, and Kevin Spacey gives a fast and loose performance as Jack, making him an appealing scoundrel. We gather that Jack likes hobnobbing with the power-brokers in Washington, and he's good at stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.

There were scenes here and there that reminded me of better movies. One scene here felt like Wall Street, one scene there felt like Goodfellas. I was entertained throughout. There's just not a cohesive enough narrative to buoy it as a truly good movie.

Skyline - DVD Review


Starring Eric Balfour, Donald Faison, Brittany Daniel and David Zayas.
Directed by the Brothers Strause.

From the guys that brought you Aliens vs. Predators: Requiem. I would hire them for special effects, but they don't seem to have any instinct for storytelling.

This is an alien invasion story that eliminates those cumbersome elements from other movies like motivation and Act III. Instead they take some cardboard cutouts, fill them in with C-grade TV stars (Hey, it's Eric Balfour from 24! Hey, it's Donald Faison from Scrubs! Hey, it's the weakest link from Dexter!) and trap them in a high-rise apartment building. Most of the movie is about a handful of survivors trying to cross the street.

So what are the aliens? Well, if you mix together the machines from the Matrix with the aliens from Independence Day and Starship Troopers, then push the Cronenberg button on your blender, you'll come close to what these things are.

But why are the aliens here and what are they doing? Apparently they're here to collect brains.

That's right.

The movie has this twist at the end that would normally be the beginning of a climax, but they treat it like that's the end and the credits roll.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mars Needs Moms - Movie Review


Starring Seth Green, Dan Fogler, Joan Cusack and Mindy Sterling. Directed by Simon Wells.

Caught this at the $1 theater. This is the next, and possibly last, installment of Robert Zemeckis's motion-capture animation experiment. We've had The Polar Express, Beowulf, A Christmas Carol, and now this, and this is the weakest effort to date.

It's based on a story by Berkeley Breathed, but without his unique animation style, what's the point? It follows a boy whose mom is kidnapped by Martians. He stows away on one of the spaceships and lands on Mars, a planet of metal tubes and trash-heaps. This naturally forces me to flashback to the far superior Wall-E.

Also, when I think about the societal structure of Mars and how it came to be, it collapses like a house of non-laminated cards.

I would say do not show this to a kid whose mother has died, as we see a different mother get vaporized in front of her son.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thor - Movie Review


Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Clark Gregg, Rene Russo, Jaimie Alexander and Colm Feore. Directed by Kenneth Branagh.

I was going to say I'm a sucker for superhero movies, but I realize I'm pretty much a sucker for any genre as long as the movie's good.

Managed to catch this in 2D (yay!) and Thor did not disappoint. It had the grand special effects, the clashes of titans, the character journey, the Girlfriend and many of the tropes you'd expect. But they still have to be done well, and for the most part, yeah, it worked.

I find myself wanting to address my problems first. Many of the actors aren't given anything to do. Rene Russo is barely there as Thor's mother. The Warriors Three seem like a merry band I should want to hang out with, but I never cared about them. Idris Elba was cool as the gatekeeper, to the point that I wished his part was bigger. Stellan Skarsgard just has to follow Natalie Portman and fill in exposition points. The Hawkeye cameo was poorly executed and should have been cut entirely. The New Mexico town the Earth action takes place in is clearly one giant shooting set.

But I liked that it was family-friendly. I liked Chris Hemsworth as the central character. It's not a revelation or anything, I just find myself looking forward to his Thor bouncing off Downey's Iron Man or staring down the Hulk. Coming Summer 2012 - The Avengers Part VI: They're Finally Together! (Iron Man was Avengers I, Incredible Hulk was Avengers II, Iron Man 2 was Avengers III, Thor is Avengers IV, and we have Captain America in July...) I liked the unknown Tom Hiddleston as Loki, a complex villain that has more going on than at first revealed, and we're therefore not distracted by Famous Name playing him.

I liked the Asgard stuff. Done poorly, it could've generated Chronicles of Riddick flashbacks, but it had a solid design and I liked walking down its halls and flying over its towers.

Portman's Jane Foster as written isn't more than The Girlfriend, but she was able to get a couple moments out of her, like her self-surprised reaction to when Thor kisses her hand.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fast Five - Movie Review


Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, Matt Schulze, Gal Gidot and Joaquim de Almeida.
Directed by Justin Lin.

Funny thing about this franchise is I've seen all of them, but going in, I could barely remember anything about the first four. Why isn't Michelle Rodriguez in this one? Oh, did she die in the last one? Don't remember it. This guy Vince, who looks like Josh Brolin's lost brother, was he in any before?

But it doesn't really matter. The series has evolved and elevated. It survived giving the keys to Lucas Black and Bow Wow for a chapter (I still hope they come back somehow) and now it's established itself as a high-octane action staple.

Act I has to have a cool heist. I liken it to the rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. We have some characters assemble, the action's high, and at the climax, with explosions and stunts (one very cool suck-in-your-breath stunt, but if you've seen the preview, you've seen it), and when it's over, we get our new plot and are propelled into the next two acts of the movie. One last heist, one big job. A team needs to be assembled. It's Ocean's 11, with Vin Diesel as Danny and Paul Walker as Rusty. I think that makes Tyrese Gibson the Linus of the crew.

BUT they also have a special agent after them, played by Dwayne Johnson, who seems to always be flexing. For the first hour or so, I thought Tommy Lee Jones could've played the part in his sleep, but naturally, the Rock and Diesel eventually have to fight.

The movie is wall-to-wall macho B.S. and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It was silly but it was entertaining. Even the climax, a 20-minute car chase with two cars dragging a ten-ton safe through the busy streets of Rio de Janeiro with no regard for civilian safety or laws of physics, still carried a visceral thrill to it.

The movie is what it is. It is exactly what it claims to be and nothing more, and that's just fine.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rio - Movie Review

These are done by me holding my iPhone. Someday I should really put more effort into it, but let it never be said I take myself too seriously.

Wild Target - DVD Review


Starring Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett, Eileen Atkins and Martin Freeman. Directed by Jonathan Lynn.

This wacky British comedy is buoyed here and there by its cast, but as a whole it never comes together. Seems like a movie centered on a hitman shouldn't be so light-hearted.

I like Bill Nighy, but do I believe he's a seasoned hitman here? No. Granted it's a comedy, so I should expect it to be no more realistic than Grosse Point Blank, but no, never really bought into what they were selling. And who's the scary, steely hitman who shows up later? Martin Freeman. You remember him from BBC's The Office or Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Yeah, that guy.

I imagine everyone involved had fun with this little project, but I would've enjoyed more an hour documentary hanging out with the cast.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekend Box Office

For the weekend of April 29-May 1.

1. Fast Five - $83.63 million - 1 wk (U)
. . . 3,644 screens / $22,950 per screen
2. Rio - $14.4 ($103.63) - 3 wks (Fox) - 45.3%
. . . 3,708 / $3,883
3. Madea's Big Happy Family - $10.05 ($41.08) 2 wks (LG) -59.9%
. . . 2,288 / $4,392
4. Water for Elephants - $9.13 ($32.26) - 3 wks (Fox) - 45.8%
. . . 2,820 / $3,236
5. Prom - $5 - 1 wk (BV)
. . . 2,730 / $1,832
6. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil - $4.14 - 1 wk (Wein)
. . . 2,505 / $1,653
7. Soul Surfer - $3.3 ($33.78) - 4 wks (TS) -39.3%
. . . 2,010 / $1,642

The other new release for the weekend was Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. It opened on 885 screens and landed at #16.

I thought Fast Five was going to be big, but two weeks ago I would've guessed $60 million. $83 million is huge. It means Fast & Furious 6 is guaranteed. It can't make Team Thor happy, but when I look at how much oxygen got sucked out of the box-office by it, maybe it won't be so bad for them after all. Theater chains are going to be anxious to get Arthur and Hop and Scream 4 (and Dylan Dog) out of there.

Prom was cheap. Disney batted for a single and they'll get it. Moviegoers are not going to get Hoodwinked again.

Random Movie Stuff

- David Koepp (Spider-Man, Jurassic Park) will be rewriting the next Jack Ryan movie, to star Chris Pine (Unstoppable, Star Trek) and to be directed by Jack Bender (Lost).

- Gavin Hood (X-men Origins: Wolverine) in talks to direct Ender's Game for Summit Entertainment. The sci-fi classic from Orson Scott Card has been in development forever, but maybe this time it'll happen. (I remember when The Phantom Menace opened, Card speculated Jake Lloyd could play Ender.)

- Quentin Tarantino has completed his next script, a spaghetti Western called Django Unleashed, and Christoph Waltz will co-star.

- Jeff Bridges is replacing Zack Galifianakis in R.I.P.D. It's a ghost comedy starring Ryan Reynolds.

- Chris Hemsworth might become a big star, so he might be happy that another one of this limbo titles has found a distributor. Lionsgate is picking up Cabin in the Woods, a horror film co-starring Richard Jenkins. That leaves the Red Dawn remake the last Hemsworth/MGM title collecting dust on the shelf.

- There are 95 sequels in the works.