1. Kick-Ass 2 Can Only Be a Good Thing.
As a longtime proponent of Matthew Vaughn (well, since 2004) I'm happy to hear we're going to get a sequel. I would guess that Nic Cage will have less involvement, which I'm disheartened to say is a good thing at this point in his career, though ideally they'd find some method for writing off Mintz-Plasse too. I liked him in Superbad and Role Models but the material seemed slightly out of his wheelhouse in Kick-Ass. The film is currently ranked 186th all time on IMDB, and it very nearly cracked $100m at the worldwide box office despite being initially left for dead.
For my money, Hit-Girl is the most innovative character to hit the screen this year. While one could, if one were so inclined, point out a few obvious parallels between the mayhemic Japanese film Battle Royale and Kick-Ass my counterargument would be that Hit Girl's reign of destruction occurs in a largely realistic world. Batle Royale definitely skews more Running Man. Second place on the iconic characters of 2010? Probably Gru from Despicable Me. Hard not to love that guy.
2. Breaking Dawn Gets Graphic?
Word has come down from screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg that they might attempt to show the infamous "birthing scene." This would be an unequivocal mistake. For those not familiar with the Twilight franchise, Breaking Dawn is the madcap finale to the series wherein Bella (spoiler alert) gives birth to a half human, half vampire baby who proceeds to break Bella’s ribs, causing massive internal and external bleeding. Clearly, it's quite the scene. But Twilight has managed to keep the gore down to a minimum, probably to satisfy the core fanbase.
The scene, even in the books, is slightly out of place. Stephenie was clearly feeling her writing oats after the success of the first books and wanted to try a small tonal shift which indicated how much Bella was willing to sacrifice for Edward. But things quickly shift back to non-violent methods, and by the end of the books some fans were even complaining Meyers went too pacifist. What's this all add up to? Well, it would be incredibly easy to sucker in an audience emotionally with this scene, and Rosenberg's Dexter work (and heck, even her Party of Five work) has left her with a deft and capable hand to do just that. But it's the wrong route, especially given the overall story arc and themes presented. This isn't vamp horror, it's a modern romance, and the truly gnarly bloodletting is best left on the cutting room floor.
3. The Meta Effect.
Our friend Adam Quigley at /Film has an interesting article on the overall self-awareness of cinema these days. Citing all levels of cinema, from genius works like Hot Fuzz and Inglourious Basterds to clear parody a la Vampires Suck, Quigley has managed to form a cogent argument on the end of true creativity in cinema. Simply put, if everything references everything else than nothing can be truly new.
So far as that goes, it's an interesting observation, and I'd surmise much of it has to do with the massive communications we're all exposed to on a daily basis. New ideas don't creep out because you're exposed too many old ideas every single day. There are 35 ways for people to reach you, and you can't create in a vacuum anymore. The stoic and hermit creator is gone, replaced by the overly connected and self-referential schmoozer. However, I wonder if we're missing a more elemental point here, referred to by Joseph Campbell's Hero With a 1000 Faces work. Essentially the theory holds that disparate cultures developed eerily similar mythologies. One could make the argument that there are only so many stories to tell, and the current vibe of "been there, done that" is more an indicator of the wealth of stories we have access too ... and not the overall creative level of the medium itself.
4. Liking The Look of Easy A!
I've seen the Easy A trailer half a dozen times, with half a dozen different people, and the reaction has been uniformly positive. When is the last great high school comedy we had? Okay, I'll cede Superbad but that was Apatow raunchiness, not Election or Mean Girls subversion. And Emma Stone feels ready for a big move, as we're in need of a new Julia Roberts. Could this be a rare September classic? Here's hoping.
On that note, I hope you have a weekend devoid of labor.
Check out last week's Movie Musings here
Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He's also available on Twitter.
Dimension Films executives have confirmed to WENN that Paquin and Bell will team up with Scream regulars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette in the fourth installment of the horror franchise.
The cast will also feature Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Marielle Jaffe, Rory Culkin, Erik Knudsen, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Marley Shelton, Alison Brie and Mary McDonnell.
Wes Craven is producing and directing the project, which is schedule to open in April (11).
UPDATE: A rep for Dimension Films has confirmed that Kristen Bell and Anna Paquin will appear in Scream 4.
Wes Craven never fails to bring good looking gals to the set of his Scream movies and nothing is different with the highly-anticipated fourth installment of his genre-redefining franchise. The director has reassembled some of the survivors of his initial trilogy, including Neve Campbell's Sidney Prescott and David Arquette's Dewey Riley, in addition to populating the cast with young stars like Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere, but that's not where the girl power ends in this production.
Though the film has been shooting for close to two months now, USA Today reports that there may be a few secretive last minute additions to the roster. The paper's Cindy Clark says that Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell will appear in the fourquel in undisclosed roles, which has led to speculation that the pair of blond's may start the film off strong and sexy with a particularly exciting death scene. There is no evidence to support that, but I can't deny that I'd love to see Sarah Marshall and Sookie Stackhouse exploring the depths of their sexuality in the back seat of a car before getting hacked to pieces by Ghostface. An even more interesting turn of events would be finding out that Bell and Paquin are behind the mask this time around...
Scream 4 also stars Courteney Cox, Rory Culkin, Nico Tortorella, Anthony Anderson and Marielle Jaffe and will hit theaters on April 15th 2011.
Source: USA TODAY
"It's great working with Courteney and David again; it's like summer camp. The biggest change is this younger cast we have, and they're great." NEVE CAMPBELL is overjoyed to be reunited with her SCREAM co-stars COURTENEY COX and DAVID ARQUETTE for the fourth installment of the horror film, which will also feature Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere.
Salt the propulsive new thriller from Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger Patriot Games) has been dubbed “Bourne with boobs ” but that label isn’t entirely accurate. In the role of Evelyn Salt a CIA staffer hunted by her own agency after a Russian defector fingers her in a plot to murder Russia’s president Angelina Jolie keeps her two most potent weapons holstered hidden under pantsuits and trenchcoats and the various other components of a super-spy wardrobe that proudly emphasizes function over flash.
But flash is one thing Salt never lacks for. Its breathless cat-and-mouse game hits full-throttle almost from the outset when a former KGB officer named Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) stumbles into a CIA interrogation room and begins spilling details of a vast conspiracy. Back in the ‘70s hardline elements of the Soviet regime launched an ambitious new front in the Cold War flooding the western world with orphans trained to infiltrate the security complexes of their adopted homelands and wait patiently — decades if necessary — for the order to initiate a series of assassinations intended to trigger a devastating nuclear clash between the superpowers from which the treacherous Reds would emerge triumphant.
The Soviet Union may have long ago collapsed (or did it? Hmmm...) but its army of brainwashed killer orphan spies remains in place and if this crazy Orlov fellow is to be believed they stand poised to reignite the Cold War. It’s a preposterous — even idiotic — scheme but no more so than any of our government’s various harebrained proposals to kill Castro back in the ‘60s. As such the CIA treats it with grave seriousness even the part that that pegs Salt who just happens to be a Russian-born orphan herself as a key player in the conspiracy.
Salt bristles at the accusation but suspecting a set-up she opts to flee rather than face interrogation from her bosses Winter (Liev Schreiber) and Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor). A former field agent she’s been confined to a desk job since a clandestine operation in North Korea went south leaving her with a nasty shiner and a rather unremarkable German boyfriend (now her unremarkable German husband). She’s clearly kept up her training during while cubicle-bound however and in a blaze of resourceful thinking and devastating Parkour Fu she fends off a dozen or so agents of questionable competence and takes to the streets where she sets about to clear her name and unravel the Commie orphan conspiracy before the authorities can catch up with her. That is if she isn’t a part of the conspiracy.
The premise which aims to resurrect Cold War tensions and graft them onto a modern-day spy thriller is absurdly clever — and cleverly absurd. But Kurt Wimmer’s screenplay isn’t satisfied with the merely clever and absurd — it must be mind-blowing. Salt is one of those thrillers that ladles out its backstory slowly and in tiny portions every once in a while dropping a revelatory bombshell that effectively blows the lid off everything that happened beforehand. No one is who they seem and every action every gesture no matter how seemingly trivial is imbued with some kind of grand significance. The effect of piling on one insane twist after another has the effect of gradually diluting the narrative. When anything is possible nothing really matters.
But spy thrillers by definition trade in the preposterous and the principal function of the summer blockbuster is to entertain. In that regard Salt more than fulfills its charge. Noyce wisely keeps the story moving at pace that allows little time for asking uncomfortable questions or poking holes in the film’s frail plot. And he has an able partner in the infinitely versatile Jolie who having already exhibited formidable action-hero chops in Wanted and the Tomb Raider films proves remarkably adept at the spy game as well.
It’s well-known that Jolie wasn’t the first choice to star in Salt joining the project only after Tom Cruise dropped out citing the story’s growing similarities to the Mission: Impossible films. But she’s more than just a capable replacement; she’s a welcome upgrade over Cruise not least because she’s over a decade younger (and a few inches taller) than her predecessor. Should Brad Bird require a pinch-hitter for Ethan Hunt he knows where to look.
The fourth movie in the horror franchise has been filming in Detroit, Michigan and sees original stars Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox reprise their roles alongside new additions including Panettiere and Emma Roberts.
Rumours of onset troubles have been rife ever since production began, with actress Lake Bell dropping out just days before filming was due to begin and online gossips alleging Panettiere had fallen out with producers over the script.
But the Heroes actress is adamant the reports aren't true - because she's having a "really good time" working on the slasher picture.
She tells Access Hollywood, "I don't know whether it's somebody projecting or, who knows where it came from, but ultimately it was very untrue and I love my character... I'm having a really good time doing it. It's a really great cast."
And Panettiere reserves extra praise for the film's director, Wes Craven, adding, "Wes Craven is an amazing human being and such a nice guy. It is such a pleasure to work with him... you can feel the crews at ease. They're able to have fun - it's not like twisting their arm to come to work. They actually really, really enjoy it, so it's been a blast thus far."
UPDATE: I just can't catch a break. Every time I finish writing something about the damn Scream 4 casting, Dimension Films goes and announces another addition to the already huge ensemble cast. Today's news: the delightful Alison Brie (of Community) and Mary McDonnell (the President on Battlestar Galactica) have signed on to the slasher horror. Brie will play Neve Campbell's ambitious personal assistant, who is envious of her boss's success. Mary McDonnell's role is still unknown, although it is possible she will be replacing Lauren Graham, whose publicist just confirmed the rumors that she has dropped out due to a scheduling conflict, most likely with the NBC series Parenthood.
Original Story: News continues to come off the set of Scream 4, which reunites horror director Wes Craven with Kevin Williamson, who wrote the original script for Scream (1996) and Scream 2 (1997). Last week we reported that Lake Bell, who had been cast as Deputy Judy Hicks, was leaving the project due to a scheduling conflict; it has been rumored (but not confirmed) that Lauren Graham will also have to be replaced. While we suggested Jennifer Connelly play the character, described as a "sexy but a bit off" high school friend of Sidney's (Neve Campbell), we learned today that the part has gone to Marley Shelton, who recently acted opposite Josh Brolin in Planet Terror.
Joining Shelton is Adam Brody of O.C. fame and Erik Knudsen (Youth in Revolt, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), who will fill two previously unrevealed roles. Brody will play a cop and recent college graduate whose training appears to be unduly influenced by the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation school of forensic science. Knudsen's role is that of the wisecracking movie buff, modeled after Jamie Kennedy's character 'Randy' in the first three Scream movies, whose knowledge of horror conventions and cliches is one source of the series' unique brand of meta-comic relief (I imagine the movie-within-a-movie slasher series 'Stab' will make a reappearance as well).
On a side note: whoever at Dimension Films had the bright idea to release this casting information so gradually, kudos to you for tricking people like me into building hype for your movie. It's working! With news trickling off the set at a deviously calculated rate, anticipation has never been higher for the fourth Scream, which sees the old guard (Campbell, Kennedy, Courteney Cox, David Arquette) making way for a new generation of slasher victims some ten years after Scream 3. While many of the original cast members will reprise their roles, they will be joined by a host of fresh faces, including Emma Roberts as Jill Kesler, Sidney's cousin and one of the film's heroines; Hayden Panettiere as Jill's best friend Kirby Reed, a cute film geek; Rory Culkin as Charlie Walker, Jill's maybe love interest; and Nico Tortorella as Trevor Sheldon, a handsome high school jock with a secret.
Who's wearing the 'ghostface' mask this time around? Probably not Adam Brody or Hayden Panettiere, but we'll have to wait until April 15th to find out for sure.
Source: Heatvision, /Film
For a woman best known for her work on the small screen, Lauren Graham has a pretty impressive filmography. With titles like Bad Santa, The Pacifier, Flash of Genius, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and Evan Almighty under her belt, she's been seen by millions of moviegoers and has hundreds of millions of dollars in box-office to her name. She's gonna have a whole lot more of that after she finishes shooting her new project - Wes Craven's anticipated Scream 4.
Shock Til You Drop broke the news earlier this morning, following Graham's appearance last night on The Tonight Show where she confirmed that she'll be playing mother to Emma Roberts' Jill Kessler. The funny thing about this recent addition to the cast is that the two ladies just finished another film together - Focus Features It's Kind Of A Funny Story. Coincidence? Probably not.
Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette all return to the highly successful franchise and will be joined by Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Lake Bell and more. Filming is set to begin on June 28th for an April 15th, 2011 release.
Cox met her husband David Arquette on the set of the 1996 original and the pair has been a regular item in the Wes Craven horror films ever since.
They have both signed on to return for a fourth installment of the franchise, which begins shooting later this year (10) - and Cox has persuaded Aniston to join in the fun.
A source tells Star magazine, "Scream has always been an important part of Courteney's life, and she wanted Jennifer to be a part of the production."
But Aniston's Scream appearance will be a short one - she will be the masked killer's first victim when her character is murdered in the opening sequence.
Neve Campbell, the lead in the 1996 movie, has also agreed to reprise her role as Sidney Prescott for a fourth outing. Julia Roberts' niece Emma Roberts has also joined the cast.
Entertainment Weekly is reporting that up-and-coming actress and Julia Roberts niece Emma Roberts has been cast in Scream 4, replacing Twilight actress Ashley Greene as one of the film's female leads. Roberts joins an ensemble cast that includes Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, who return as Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott, and David Arquette as Sheriff Dewey Riley. The fourth iteration of the slasher franchise is once again set to be directed by veteran horror auteur Wes Craven, who shares writing credits with Kevin Williamson, writer of the original Scream.
Roberts, who recently played the lead in Nancy Drew and has earned praise for her turn as Addie Singer in the Nickelodeon series Unfabulous, is rumored to be cast as 'Jill,' a character similar to the one played by Campbell in the original Scream. “I’m so excited to be part of this ground-breaking franchise,” Roberts said. “It’s the perfect opportunity for me to do something completely different than I’ve ever done before.”
This could be a break-out role for Roberts, who is also a singer-songwriter; a memorable performance in the upcoming Scream 4 could mean a turning point in her career and help refresh the series, which has already made close to $300 million domestically. Director Wes Craven agrees. “Emma’s talent, beauty, and range will add immensely to the sophistication, intensity, and fun of the Scream franchise as it returns to the screen once more.”
Weinstein's Dimension Films is pushing to begin production of Scream 4 (alternatively titled Scre4m) near Ann Arbor, Michigan late this June.