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Frankly My Dear...

    Frankly My Dear...

    Universal puts ‘Johnny English’ on Facebook, for ‘Facebook credits’

    Posted: 19 Oct 2011 04:25 AM PDT

    They’re doing all sorts of things to sell movies these days.

    Universal made its money off the critically-derided “Johnny English,” a few years back. Yes, its failure in the US and the poor reviews worldwide led Rowan Atkinson to consider retirement back in 2003. But he didn’t.

    And there’s a new Johnny English opening Friday (also under a deluge of bad reviews). So why not plug “Johnny English Reborn: by offering the first film, for free, online, to folks who friend the clumsy spy on Facebook? You have to have Facebook credits to rent it (30 FB credits) during a 48 hr window. Has Social Cinema, the application, arrived?

    Have you been piling up those Facebook credits playing, what is it, Farmville, MafiaWars or whatever?

    Affleck’s ‘The Town’ inspires real life NYC robbers

    Posted: 19 Oct 2011 04:17 AM PDT

    New York police say that a gang blamed for 62 heists of varying sizes and degrees of difficulty were using techniques put on display in Ben Affleck’s super, Oscar-nominated heist drama “The Town.”

    My first thought on hearing that was “It’s the bleach, right?” Characters splash bleach on crime scenes, in getaway vehicles, to kill off any chance of leaving behind DNA evidence. A clever bit of tradecraft to include in the script.

    Sure enough, that’s one of the things they did, the cops say. And as in the movie, they were caught. What, they didn’t stay until the final credits?

    Visual Effects society to honor Stan Lee

    Posted: 19 Oct 2011 04:12 AM PDT

    He’s never mastered any of the technologies used to create motion picture special effects. Not a one.

    But has anyone created more work for special effects whizzes than comic book writer and empire builder Stan Lee?

    Not likely.

    “Stan Lee's imagination has created a completely original and profitable niche in the entertainment world and has allowed visual effects to flex its muscle in service to it," said Jeffrey Okun of the Visual Effects Society.

    Lee, the “Spider-Man” author who made Marvel mighty, who turns up in cameos in most every Marvel movie, will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Visual Effects Society when they hand out their awards on Feb. 7.

    Norman Corwin: 1910-2011

    Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:59 AM PDT

    He only wrote a few big screen scripts, most famously, “Lust for Life,” about Van Gogh.

    His TV work spanned the early decades of the medium, teleplays, mostly, one-offs that were acting and writing showcases.

    But in radio, Norman Corwin was king. All through the early years of the medium, he dazzled listeners with his dramas, his dramatic essays, comic radio plays and the like. There used to be an AM station in Chicago that broadcast old radio shows, and I’d listen to it any time I drove through on my way from the frozen plains to the family home in Virginia. And the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in that medium was on one of those drives — “The Plot to Overthrow Christmas,” a brilliant piece of wordplay, in rhyme, about Santa Claus (Ed Wynn, if I remember it right) and the fellow who breaks out of Hell to bring him down, Nero (Orson Welles).

    It’s like Dr. Seuss for grownups — witty, pithy, laugh-out-loud funny, a show-off’s tour de force, it has been re-recorded over the decades, hilarious to new generations. It was so funny that I had to take a VERY early dinner break just so I would be in radio range to hear the whole thing. Made me late getting back to Va., but totally worth it.

    Corwin, a newspaper journalist turned “Poet Laureate of Radio” and master of all things written to be read aloud,  inspiration to everyone from Ray Bradbury to Rod Serling, died this week at the ripe old age of 101, having outlived the heydays of most of the media he so overwhelmed with his talent.

    Ocala screenwriter is an Academy Nicholls Fellowship Finalist

    Posted: 18 Oct 2011 12:01 PM PDT

    Dion Cook of Ocala’s script “Cutter” is one of ten finalists in this year’s Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, which is given out by the folks who hand out the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    Well over 6,000 scripts were submitted, with as many as five of the ten finalists possibly winning $30,000 fellowships that would allow them to polish the scripts and get them to studios and into production.

    Cook, who now lives in Oklahoma, will be flown to the awards ceremony in Beverly Hills in Nov.

    This year’s finalists are (listed alphabetically by author):
    Chris Bessounian & Tianna Langham, Los Angeles, Calif., "Guns and Saris"
    Dion Cook, Altus, Oklahoma, "Cutter"
    K.E. Greenberg, Los Angeles, Calif., "Blood Bound"
    Ehud Lavski, Tel Aviv, Israel, "Parasite"
    John MacInnes, Los Angeles, Calif., "Outside the Wire"
    Aaron Marshall, West Hollywood, Calif., "Fig Hunt: The Quest for Battle Armor Star Captain"
    Khurram Mozaffar, Lisle, Illinois, "A Man of Clay"
    Matthew Murphy, Culver City, Calif., "Unicorn"
    Abel Vang & Burlee Vang, Fresno, Calif., "The Tiger's Child"
    Paul Vicknair & Chris Shafer, Los Angeles & Hermosa Beach, Calif., "A Many Splintered Thing"
    The finalists were selected from a record 6,730 scripts submitted for this year’s competition. The competition is open to any individual who has not sold or optioned a screenplay or teleplay for more than $5,000, or received a fellowship or prize that includes a “first look” clause, an option, or any other quid pro quo involving the writer’s work.
    The 2011 Nicholl Fellowships will be presented on Thursday, November 3, at a ceremony held at the Beverly Wilshire.
    The Nicholl Committee, chaired by producer Gale Anne Hurd

    Today’s interview: Rhys Ifans

    Posted: 18 Oct 2011 09:28 AM PDT

    He’s Welsh. He’s a terrific actor. And he has a rather prickly reputation.

    So I could use some help coming up with questions for Rhys Ifans, whose new film, “Anonymous,” has him playing Edward DeVere, the “true” author of Shakespeare’s plays.

    He was great in everything from “Enduring Love” to “Notting Hill,” even “The Boat That Rocked.”

    Questions for Rhys Ifans? Comment below, and thanks as always, for the help.

    Shawn Levy may give us a ‘Pinicchio’ prequel

    Posted: 18 Oct 2011 07:02 AM PDT

    My take on Shawn Levy is that he’s Fox’s new Chris “Home Alone” Columbus, a guy who makes hit after hit, movies that appeal to kids, but that aren’t very good.
    The latest from the “Night at the Museum/Date Night/Pink Panther/Cheaper by the Dozen” director is “Real Steel,” which earned him OK reviews, for once, and has dominated a weak fall at the box office.
    Now Fox has purchased a Gepetto the puppet maker’s “misfortunes” script which will allow Levy to take us back before Gepetto carved the marionette who became a boy.

    Movie Preview: ‘The Descendants’

    Posted: 18 Oct 2011 05:19 AM PDT

    This new trailer to the George Clooney/Alexander “Sideways” Payne dramedy emphasizes Hawaii and the story’s lighter moments. Not as heavy. Sweet and sad instead of the more morose original trailer.

    Look for “The Descendants” Nov. 18.