When a movie gets knocked around from one crummy release date to another one would assume that it is pretty awful. However even I a knowledgeable and open-minded film geek wasn’t prepared for the monstrosity that is Season of the Witch a medieval mess that has reportedly been in the works for a decade. You’d never be able to tell so many years of preparation went into this sad excuse for a B-movie based on its laughable CGI dialogue and contrived premise. How many flavors of bad is this supernatural stinker? Sample this…
A period horror action flick Season of the Witch is initially set in a cursed city suffering from the Black Plague that has deformed and decimated the majority of its population. The disease has been unleashed as a result of a literal witch-hunt gone wrong. Ancient evil forces are afoot and the blame is put on a young girl who the Church believes is a witch. Though imprisoned in the dungeons of a castle her power reigns supreme. Enter Behman (Nicolas Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman) Knights of the Crusades who happen upon the city on their way back to civilization. Once recognized as deserters they are imprisoned and given the choice to remain captive or lead a suicide transport mission to a remote monastery where the girl’s innocence or guilt can be determined. If deemed evil she is to be destroyed.
The premise though far from original could have been cool if executed with some style but director Dominic Sena (Gone In Sixty Seconds) is incapable of making it enjoyable. Instead of creating suspense through eerie environments he settles for cheap thrills that fall short every time. His use of CGI is painfully bad conjuring effects that would’ve looked dated around the turn of the century. Most insulting is the film’s big “twist” - a lazy paradigm shift so easily foreseeable the movie should have just been called The Devil’s Advocate. Is that not bad enough for you? Just wait it gets better (read: worse).
Stars Cage and Perlman are Razzie bound with a pair of pathetic non-performances. The accomplished actors don’t even try to get into character. Rather they don period garb shield and sword and run around like cheap imitations of their former selves for two hours. You won’t hear any attempts at English accents because apparently 14th Century Knights are just like contemporary buddy cops. With this little effort being put forth by the two men who are essentially the reason folks will pay to see the movie Season of the Witch doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on. The supporting cast which includes Ulrich Thomsen Stephen Graham and Christopher Lee try to bear the burden but cannot undo the damage that Cage and Perlman inflict upon this film. The scariest thing about Season of the Witch is the movie itself an abomination of bad filmmaking and terrible acting.
December 21, 2009 4:36am EST
Brett Ratner has sealed an overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV. Rat TV has also signed president Martha Haight to a two-year term.
Ratner, according to Variety, is looking to build a small-screen division in the manner of Jerry Bruckheimer or Brian Grazer. "Most TV shows now are better than a lot of features. It's a great medium to explore and experiment. I can try things that I wouldn't try on a feature," Ratner said.
He's such a prolific guy," said 20th exec VP Jennifer Nicholson Salke. "We've had a five-year love affair with him. More than anything, we love his enthusiasm and his ability to find talent. He has an affinity for pop culture and everything about it."
Rat TV's projects in the works include Chaos, a drama set up at CBS, that takes a satirical look at the world of the CIA.
At Fox, William Blake Herron has created The Devil and Daniel Webster, a fresh take on the Stephen Vincent Benet short story and Faust tale. And at TNT, Sean Jablonski is behind spec script The Dead Beat, a buddy cop drama.
"I'm looking for great characters," said Ratner, who is onboard to direct much of his scripted development. "And that's what attracts the better actors...I like to keep honing my skills as a director, and we've collaborated with some great writers."
Rat TV is also behind reality scavenger-hunt project The Lost Weekend and is pitching an adventure food show to cable nets.
Hollywood star Alec Baldwin is begging fans to boycott a movie he made six years that has been reedited, renamed and is being released.
Baldwin directed, produced and acted in The Devil and Daniel Webster in 2001. Despite a cast including Anthony Hopkins and Dan Aykroyd, the movie was dismissed by studio bosses and was never released.
The film has been reedited and renamed as Shortcut to Happiness, and Baldwin's name has been removed from the directing credits--replaced by pseudonym Harry Kirkpatrick. It will be released in six cities in the U.S. on July 13.
And Baldwin is advising fans not to watch the film--describing it as unrecognizable.
A friend tells PageSix, "Alec doesn't recommend unrecognizable films to his fans. This is not an Alec Baldwin film. He's in the movie but he has nothing to do with it. His name was taken off as producer and director six years ago, but he couldn't get it taken off as an actor."
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Actor Alec Baldwin will resume post-production work next week on his directorial debut, The Devil and Daniel Webster, according to the film's executive producer, David Glasser.
Variety reported Tuesday that Baldwin is refusing to continue work on the film until producers from Cutting Edge Entertainment assure him that the cash will be there to finish the film.
Glasser told Hollywood.com on Tuesday afternoon that Baldwin's comments in the Variety story were incorrect and that at this time, the actor has been paid in full and all issues have been resolved through their respective lawyers.
Baldwin is set to go into the editing bay Tuesday, May 29, as planned, Glasser said.
Baldwin could not be reached for comment Tuesday. His lawyer, Martin Singer, refused to comment.
Baldwin told Variety that problems arose when Glasser and his partner, Adam Stone, informed Baldwin and others that Cutting Edge would be unable to pay part of their salaries due to a low influx in money.
"The financing appeared to have fallen through and they just stopped paying people," Baldwin said.
Baldwin balked at going into post-production, fearing there wasn't enough money to facilitate the 10 weeks he was contracted to deliver a director's cut, much less the 21 total weeks of post-production, Variety reported.
Glasser denied the film has had serious money problems beyond the usual ups and downs experienced by an independent film financed by numerous investors. Everyone has been paid, after finally replacing an investor who fell out, he said.
Baldwin and partner Jon Cornick, who co-produced the film through their company El Dorado Pictures, called in many favors to bring the $27.5 million film in $700,000 under budget, he told Variety. Baldwin also was going through his own personal trauma over the breakup of his marriage to actress Kim Basinger.
The film, a remake of a 1941 film, stars Baldwin as a writer who sells his soul to the devil (Jennifer Love Hewitt), but is represented by an advocate (Anthony Hopkins), who argues for the writer's soul.
Interest in the film is high, Glasser said. There was a good response to the trailer and footage shown at Cannes, and that most of the foreign rights had been sold, he said. The film will go on the market for an U.S. distributor once the film is completed.
The film was always planned as an independent film, Glasser said, rather than as a studio production.
The devil's got a new name, and her name is Jennifer Love Hewitt.
The Hollywood Reporter says that the "Party of Five" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer" actress will play the titular role of the devil in "The Devil and Daniel Webster," which is said to be a contemporary retelling of the classic tale. The film also stars Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin.
In the film, Hewitt's devil will go head to head with Hopkins' character in a battle for the soul of a writer played by Baldwin.
The project will begin production Jan. 15.
'SEA' BOUND: "Whatever It Takes" heartthrob James Franco will play the son of Robert De Niro in the thriller "City by the Sea," the Reporter says. The story is about a police officer (De Niro) who discovers that his son is a killer.
MO' FRANCO: In other James Franco-as-a-son news today: The Reporter also tells us that the young lad might play the son -- that's right, the son -- of the Green Goblin character in the "Spider-Man" flick.
BULLOCK FINDS HER MAN: "Single White Female" director Barbet Schroeder might helm the tentatively titled "Untitled Tony Gayton Project," a thriller starring Sandra Bullock, Daily Variety reports. Bullock will play a FBI upstart whose first case involves a series of murders committed by two gifted high school students.
Jet Li's the one to take care of your kung fu needs.
The Hong Kong martial arts star will make more than $7.5 million for the starring role in "The One," a sci-fi-ish thriller where he plays a cop destined to fight his evil double from a parallel universe, Daily Variety says.
Li got the part after wrestling dude The Rock dropped out of the flick, which is slated to go into production in January.
'HAT' CASES: Variety also reports that Juliette Lewis and Gina Gershon will costar in the film noir comedy "Claire's Hat." The story chronicles the misadventures of a woman (Lewis) in a 24-hour period.
SYMPATHY FOR THE 'DEVIL': The Hollywood Reporter says that Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin will star in a contemporary reworking of "The Devil and Daniel Webster." The film will be Baldwin's directorial debut.
SEEING 'GHOSTS': Shannon Elizabeth, Tony Shalhoub, F. Murray Abraham and rapper Rah Digga are all in talks to join the cast of "13 Ghosts," the Reporter says. A remake of a 1960 horror flick, the story follows a family that has inherited a haunted mansion.
Alec Baldwin is already facing troubles prior to the release of his film The Devil And Daniel Webster. According to the New York Post, Baldwin's now ex-production company president, Corinne Mann, has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the star.
According to Mann, Baldwin never compensated her for work she did on bringing the film to fruition, and she claims they had a 50-50 deal since October 1998. Baldwin also refused to give her an executive producer credit on the movie, which just wrapped in New York City. Her lawyer could not confirm to the Post how much his client is owed but estimated it to be "at least $100,000."
Baldwin's camp says the film, which was reduced from studio to indie status, had a smaller budget that required all involved parties to lower their salary requirements.
"The only person who wouldn't come down in her fee was Corinne," Baldwin said through his rep. "We told her, 'If you don't come down, we can't make the movie,' but she refused."
Mann's attorney, Michael Chodos, denies Baldwin's allegations. "This is a new story he's come up with that isn't true," Chodos told the Post.
An adaptation for television of the 1939 Broadway play by Stephen Vincent Benet and Douglas Moore. The story relates lawyer Daniel Webster's courtroom battle against the Devil, who is seeking the soul of Jabez Stone, a farmer who agreed to exchange his soul for seven years of wealth, then reneged on the deal.