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Frankly My Dear...

    Frankly My Dear...

    ‘Kung Fu’ movie may have its director

    Posted: 01 Nov 2011 03:53 AM PDT

    Bill Paxton should have been able to move straight into a directing career after his first two films — “Frailty” and “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” Very good movies, well-acted, shot and edited, I could easily see him as a higher-brow alternative to actor-turned-director Peter Berg (“Battleship”).

    But Paxton’s been busy with cable’s “Big Love.”

    Now, says he’s negotiating to take on directing duties in the long-discussed big screen remake of “Kung Fu,” the 1970s TV series about an exiled Shaolin monk wandering the Old West, beating up gunslingers, bullies Asian assassins and their ilk with his fists of fury. But only as a last resort, because he is a man of peace. David Carradine was cast as the monk, and despite allowances made in the script for his race, they’ll never get away with that this time.

    This has seemed like a can’t-miss project from the get-go, and if Tarantino isn’t available, somebody good should get a shot. Paxton’s one of the best names to be floated for that.

    Your holiday season movie guide

    Posted: 31 Oct 2011 12:04 PM PDT

    Yeah, “Puss in Boots” jumped the holiday movies gun last weekend.

    And “Tower Heist” and “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (in 3D!)” open this Friday.

    Jonah Hill has an adventure in babysitting ("The Sitter," Dec. 9).

    Meryl Streep hopes her British "Iron Lady" (Dec. 16) turns to American Oscar gold.

    The "Happy Feet" penguins are back — in 3-D and a bit more fly this time around ("Happy Feet Two," Nov. 18).

    And "the game's afoot" again for "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" (Dec. 16).

    Happy holidays from Hollywood, in other words.

    With Martin Scorsese going "family friendly" ("Hugo," Nov. 23), Clint Eastwood dressing up Leo DiCaprio as "J. Edgar" in the Hoover biopic (Nov. 11), Tom CruiseÖ back on task as Ethan Hunt in "Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol" (Dec. 16 in some cities, Dec. 21 everywhere) and "The Twilight Saga" (Nov. 18) winding down, blockbusters, spectacles, comedies and Oscar contenders are on their way to a cineplex near you.

    Here's a tip: You won't be able to get into "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" opening night.

    And here are a few others.

    "The Muppets" (Nov. 23) pairs up Jason Segel and Amy Adams in a gee-whiz and whiz-bang revival of the puppet clan that "got things started" lo those many decades ago. Will kids fall for the Muppets all over again, or is this for people the same age as Jason Segel, the World's Biggest Muppet Fan?

    "My Week With Marilyn" (Nov. 23) is about the making of the 1950s comedy "The Prince and the Showgirl" and contains a dizzy yet somehow canny and vulnerable turn by Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, and a deliciously testy impersonation of Sir Laurence Olivier by Kenneth Branagh.

    "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (Dec. 9) gives Gary Oldman his best role in ages, playing John le Carre's plodding, methodical spy George Smiley, in search of a "mole" inside Her Majesty's Secret Service. The cast includes everyone from Colin Firth to Benedict Cumberbatch.

    "The Descendants" (Dec. 16) is an Alexander Payne ("Sideways") relationship dramedy about an estranged dad (George Clooney) trying to connect with his kids after mom has a boating accident. Funny, sentimental and tough, if "About Schmidt" and Payne's other films are our guide.

    "Young Adult" (Dec. 16), a comedy from the director of "Up in the Air," this offers up a meaner version of Charlize Theron, playing the beautiful rhymes-with-witch everybody hated in high school, come home to bust up the marriage of an old beau.

    "The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn" (Dec. 21) could be the start of a franchise, whether Americans go for it or not. It's a motion capture animated adventure starring the comic book hero/reporter. Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis are among those turned into animation for this one.

    "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" (Dec. 21) is the Hollywood version of the first film in Stieg Larsson's "Millenium Trilogy." It's about a disgraced reporter (Daniel Craig) who teams up with a troubled punk hacker (Rooney Mara) to solve a long-dormant missing person case.

    "We Bought a Zoo" (Dec. 23) is Cameron Crowe's first film since "Elizabethtown," a Matt Damon/Scarlett Johansson romantic comedy based on a true story of a family who bought an old zoo and tried to bring it back to life. A chance for Crowe to get back into "Jerry Maguire" form?

    "War Horse" (Dec. 25) was a children's book, then an acclaimed play and now it's a Christmas Day blockbuster about a teenage British boy who charges into World War I to rescue the beloved horse his dad has sold to the Army. Bring a hanky for this one.

    New writer for Gosling’s ‘Logan’s Run’ remake

    Posted: 31 Oct 2011 11:47 AM PDT

    A new writer’s been brought into the Ryan Gosling/Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive”) remake of “Logan’s Run,” that sci-fi staple of late night TV, middling movie marathons and 1980s and 90s TBS. So this one just slipped off the fast track. Again. It’s been talked about for eons.

    A film about a future in which people over a certain age disappear with one of them going on the run before his expiration date arrives, the 1976 version starred Michael York and Jenny Agutter and Richard Jordan and Farrah Fawcett. And yes, you see a film like “In Time” and you think “Logan’s Run,” because the situation, the satiric comment on a culture that doesn’t like old people, is too too perfect. It’s based on a 1967 novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson.

    If they wait long enough, “The Hunger Games” will be in theaters, a huge hit, and all the kids who loved with will laugh at “Logan’s Run” because they think that movie borrowed from “Hunger Games.”

    Europe loves ‘Tintin’ — and Spielberg’s movie about him

    Posted: 31 Oct 2011 05:29 AM PDT

    The Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson mo-cap version of Herge’s adventure comic book “TinTin” earned $56 million, or close to it, in the 19 countries where it opened last weekend. “The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn,” doesn’t open in the US until Dec. 21.
    It’ll be at or over break-even by the time it opens in the US, so this one won’t depend on Americans falling in love with the character or the animation style to be a hit. Just like “Johnny English Reborn,” in other words. A title North Americans won’t have the last say on.