For me, it's time to go on hiatus for a little while.
After 3 ½ years writing for this wonderful site, and 394 articles to my name, I am going to spend some time away as I concentrate on a couple of other projects (non-writing) that currently demand my attention.
Of course, you aren't getting rid of me that easily. My plan is to be back in time for the onrush of the end of year holiday spectaculars ("Sherlock Holmes", James Cameron's "Avatar", "Wolfman", etc.), and then hit the bricks hard once January comes around and we have the Oscar Worthy Movies...along with the return of Jack Bauer. And TheClevelandFan just wouldn't be the same without the 24 Recaps, would it? (yes...that is commonly called ‘fishing for compliments'. Get over it).
I will still be occasionally writing reviews in the meantime for movies that I really, really want to see (and that doesn't include "Transformers 2", "Bruno", or "G.I. Joe"). Look for a "Public Enemies" review next week, and then in the coming weeks I'll definitely be heading out to report on "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and "Inglorius Basterds".
So today will be my final Crystal Ball. I'm not sure this column will survive the re-entry into my normal writing schedule. Some version may come out of it, but it may be more of a quarterly preview rather than a week-to-week report.
For the latest News and Rumors...head over to our boards, as I still plan to be a frequent contributor there.
In the meantime, enjoy the Holiday Weekend...and I'll see you on the other side!
News and Rumors
~ I heard an important entertainer died last week. I've been trying and trying to get some news on this; but no one seems to be reporting on it.
~ Do we chalk this up to the economy, or just the fact that people are fed up with self indulgent Steven Soderbergh films? Sony Pictures have pulled the plug on the Soderbergh/Brad Pitt project "Moneyball", which was to be based on the nonfiction book about the Oakland A's and their GM Billy Beane, who (as we baseball fans here know), assembled a contending ballclub despite a payroll far below most teams. According to stories, Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal read the latest version of the script, and after finishing barfing, immediately cancelled it.
~ It is being reported that Simon Cowell might receive between $108 - 144 million if he agrees to host another season of "American Idol". Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?
~ Sigourney Weaver has official stopped the rampant rumors that she would be appearing in the prequel to "Alien" that Ridley Scott is making. Which only makes sense...but since when has "making sense" had anything to do with Hollywood? In a related story, Sigourney has also stated that she will not be involved in the next Ghostbusters movie...which is a bummer.
~ With all of the hullabaloo about Michael and Farrah, I'd like to bid a fond adieu to two true legends of the silver screen; Karl Malden, who died Wednesday at age 97, and Harve Presnell, a musical theater legend from the 60s ("The Unsinkable Molly Brown") who went on to resurrect his career in the last 15 years, perhaps best known as William H. Macy's rich and crusty father-in-law in "Fargo". Both will be missed.
Stupid Remakes and Sequels
~ Fox studios is looking to make a sequel of the lukewarmly received "Hitman". OK, I will admit that the first film with Timothy Olyphant was at least better than "Max Payne"...but that's like saying that Shaq has a prettier and more effective free throw shot than Chris Dudley.
~ I am told there is a bidding war over the big-screen rights to the ancient video game "Asteroids". Now you know why I need a break.
~ Hugh Jackman and Miley Cyrus will team up for a sort of a remake of the guilty pleasure "The Bodyguard". I'd like to think the romance part will be re-written, as Jackman will play a NY Police Detective hired to bodyguard a spoiled teen heiress after she receives a kidnap threat. And when they are remaking bad Kevin Costner movies...
New Movie Releases
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard
Plot: FBI Agent Melvin Purvis sets his sights on the folk-hero criminal John Dillinger and others in an attempt to curb a rampant Chicago crime spree.
The BeerBuzz: Looks to be a perfect film for those of us who were so sadly disappointed in "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3". Michael Mann knows how to do action films ("Heat", "Collateral", "Ali"), and he has an incredible cast, which includes Billy Crudup getting great reviews for his turn as J. Edgar Hoover. Some critics are whining about not having enough "character development"...which tells me that it's got some great action sequences, and is going to be a hit.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Starring: the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary
Plot: This time, the boys (and girls) find a secret underground world populated by dinosaurs. Hopefully, they won't be so unlucky as to run into Will Ferrell.
The BeerBuzz: This one looks like a simple money-grub. Both previous films have done very well...at least for non Pixar animations, and you pretty much have more of the same here. The only thing I really like about it is the lady companion to Scrat, the non-talking, uber-hyper squirrel like creature and his never ending pursuit of nuts.
New DVD Releases
Knowing - Another Nicolas Cage forgettable action-fantasy type films, this time with Nic finding a secret document that predicts major disasters. Hollywood could have used that for "Land of the Lost" and "Year One".
Unborn - A bad horror flick with a Megan Fox wannabe being stalked by the spirit of her twin brother who died in the womb.
12 Rounds - Another attempt by douchebag extraordinaire Vince McMahon to try to make a movie star out of one of his steroid inflated Rasslers from the WWE...this time with Jon Cena as a cop chasing a sadistic convict who is trying to get revenge. Hey...the man is being punished enough by having to act in this bomb.
Jonas Brothers: The 3D Experience - Just kill me now.
Next week; Bruno, I Love You Beth Cooper
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - July 17 - The sixth of J.K. Rowling's seven books, setting the stage for the two part conclusion in 2010 and 2011.
Funny People - July 31 - Adam Sandler in a dramatic comedy from Judd Apatow about a famous standup comedian/actor dealing with a terminal illness, and the changes he goes through when he realizes that he might have a second chance.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - August 7 - Every year, there is one big-budget movie that bombs. My prediction is that it will be this one.
Inglourious Basterds - August 21 - Quentin Tarantino directs Brad Pitt in this violent (of course) tale of a group of WWII commandos who conducted high-profile executions/terrorist acts against the Nazis in occupied France prior to D-Day.
Gamer - September 4 - Gerard Butler as a deathrow inmate who is controlled by top gamers in a video game played out in real life for television. With Michael C. Hall as the bad guy.
(9) - Nine - September 9 - Tim Burton's latest animated strangeness, with Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly voicing characters fighting aliens in a post apocalyptic world. Not to be confused with the Rob Marshall musical "Nine" with Daniel Day-Lewis, or the Peter Jackson produced "District 9".
Astro Boy - September 23 - They are really making a full length animated feature about this Japanese Anime chestnut?
Surrogates - September 25 - Bruce Willis as a cop in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots.
Shutter Island - October 2 - Martin Scorsese working once again with Leonardo DiCaprio in this mystery set in 1954.
The Road - October 16 - Viggo Mortensen as a man walking with his son for months across a ravaged, post-apocalyptic landscape in search of civilization. Charlize Theron co-stars.
The Wolf Man - November 6 - Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins in the retelling of the classic horror tale.
2012 - November 13 - Roland Emmerich's ("The Day After Tomorrow") tale of global cataclysm and the struggle of the survivors.
Nine - November 25 - Musical version of Fellini's classic 8 ½, about a famous film director and all the women he deals with. With Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren, and Judi Dench.
The Lovely Bones - December 11 - Peter Jackson's latest, about the ghost of a young, murdered girl watching over her family and friends' reactions to the event. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz star.
Avatar - December 18 - James Cameron's sci-fi/CGI extravaganza. The C.I.A. should take lessons about secrecy from Cameron, as he's keeping info about this film very much to himself at this time.
Sherlock Holmes - December 25th - Guy Ritchie's interpretation of the famous sleuth, with Robert Downey, Jr. in the lead role
Blockbusters on the Distant Horizon (movies that would seem to be big hits...as soon as they get made or released).
The Informant - (limited release in Sept) - Steven Soderbergh's latest attempt at Oscar with Matt Damon as a company-man turned whistleblower against an agri-business giant. Might have touches of Coen Brother-like dark humor.
Iron Man 2 - May, 2010 - Right on the heels of the success of the first one, Marvel is quick to get Robert Downey Jr. back into his titanium suit. Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson to co-star.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - May, 2010 - The series goes off in a bit of a different direction, as those of you who love the books already know.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I - 2010 - The start of the End for the boy wizard and his battle against He-Who-Shall-not-Be-Named
Lincoln - 2010 - Steven Spielberg directs the biographical film of the 16th President (Liam Neeson)
The Hobbit - 2010 - Guillermo del Toro directs and Peter Jackson will produce the prequel to "Lord of the Rings". Ian McKellen will return as Gandalf
Fantastic Voyage - 2010 - Roland Emmerich ("The Day After Tomorrow", "10,000 B.C.") remakes the classic 1967 movie about a miniaturized sub and crew operating on a scientist from inside his brain.
Spider-Man 4 - May 2011 - Tobey Maquire is back as the angst ridden arachnid powered hero.
Thor - June 2011 - Another Marvel superhero...but the Nordic God is about as bland personality-wise as Superman, so we'll see how it goes. Kevin Kidd (Rome) is said to be playing the title role.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II - 2011 - The end of the line for what will be beyond doubt the most profitable series in the history of film making.
The Hobbit 2 - 2011 - del Toro and Jackson again, this time covering the time between the end of Tolkien's book, "The Hobbit" and the start of LOTR.
The Avengers - 2012 - Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America open up a can of whoopass on bad guys everywhere.