Alex Kurtzman

Monster Squad Monsters

Remember when Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy, Wolf Man and the rest of the classic Universal Monsters were horror characters? Then 80 years worth of cheesy sequels and mash-ups and merchandising watered them all down to the point where they couldn’t even scare a baby. Hollywood has tried different ways to make them relevant for modern audiences, including attempts at grittier takes on the literary sources, blockbuster versions with lots of action and special effects and animated features starring the voices of Adam Sandler and friends. These have each only kept the creatures as corny as ever. They’re never going to be the stuff of nightmares again, so the question is whether they’ll ever be as cool as they once were. Or even cooler? What if the classic movie monsters were suddenly as hip as the Fast and Furious movies became after the franchise was refueled with high-octane entertainment value following the fourth installment? Unfortunately, a dash of Dwayne Johnson isn’t going to cut it here. He already sort of contributed to the quick ruin of the last Mummy reboot. Never mind that that was before he reenergized his own movie career. The alternative might be the reported hire of screenwriter Chris Morgan for the job of penning the studio’s previously announced super-franchise for its Halloween costume favorites. He’s the guy who wrote all the Fast and Furious sequels from Tokyo Drift onward. It took him a couple installments to really reveal the awesome potential, but he found new life in what had initially seemed […]

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The Sacrament

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Sinister Six

This is excellent. Sony announced late last night via their viral ElectroArrives website that they — not to be outdone by Warners — are also looking to copy Marvel’s recipe for bank truck deliveries. Only they get to do it with a Marvel property. The interesting twist is that they want to do it with villains instead of heroes. Up first are Venom and The Sinister Six, swirling around in the ether even as ASM3 and ASM4 are also being talked about. However, they aren’t exactly doing it piecemeal; Drew Goddard, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Jeff Pinker and Ed Solomon are all working together to create a cohesive universe out of a comic book world that doesn’t easily lend itself to it. If those names make you smile while shivering, you’re having the right response. For more conflicting feelings, Kurtzman is directing Venom from his own script co-written with Orci and Pinker (with probably zero chance they’ll call on this guy for creative input) while Goddard will be writing and directing The Sinister Six.

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reboot tales from the darkside

Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality. But, there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit. A darkside.” Those words were first heard emanating from televisions way back in 1984 when Tales From the Darkside made its premiere in syndication. Created after the success of Creepshow by George Romero and Laurel Entertainment, the show was an anthology series in the vein of Tales From the Crypt or The Twilight Zone with one story per episode. Unlike those and most other similar shows though, this one featured no host (human or puppet). They were usually horror-themed but often featured a somewhat silly or light-hearted tone. There were ninety episodes in total across four seasons, and some of them came from recognizable names including Stephen King, Robert Bloch, and Charles L. Grant. (And Jodie Foster even directed an episode!) Per Deadline, the series is getting a reboot on the CW, and it’s coming with some big guns behind the scenes. Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci will be executive producing, and while the knee-jerk reaction to their names may be one of disappointment I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a fan of their wonderfully goofy Fox hit Sleepy Hollow. The better news though is that author Joe Hill is also coming along for the ride.

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kurtz

Box-office juggernauts Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman have been writing partners for 22 years now. After spending all that time together, it’s astonishing they haven’t come to hate each other, but the duo have managed to sidestep any signs of spitefulness. From television to the big screen, they’ve covered a fair amount of ground together. Orci and Kurtzman got to put Ethan Hunt through another mousetrap adventure in MI:III, they helped bring the Autobots and Decepticons to life, and now they’ve done the most obvious film imaginable: suave bank robbing magicians. With director Louis Leterrier‘s Now You See Me, the two men are once again seated firmly in the producer’s chair, where they’ve found themselves frequently over the past few years. This year alone they have three produced pictures being released, all of which are fairly, if not completely, high-profile projects. Now You See Me, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Ender’s Game don’t make for a shabby roster, and while speaking with the two men we concluded that all three represent the type of movies they love. Side note: If you missed out on our previous interview with Kurtzman and Orci discussing Star Trek Into Darkness, it can be found here. Here’s what Now You See Me producers Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci had to say about their approach to producing, not being snobs, and balancing art and commerce:

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Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci

Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci are probably two of the busiest screenwriters working today. It seems like every month we hear of a new project they’re scripting, developing, or what have you (a look at their current IMDb pages includes listings for upcoming projects, from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to that Van Helsing reboot). Their schedules have certainly stopped me from interviewing them in the past, and when their names are appearing on four high-profile films in the span of a single year, you can see why scheduling would be a bit of a problem. Now the pair has two projects coming out only weeks apart, with Star Trek Into Darkness and Now You See Me both arriving this spring. Now You See Me has a chance of being a sleeper success, while Into Darkness already opened to impressive numbers this past weekend. It’s been four years since their Trek reboot, and ever since then there’s been plenty of rumors over what exactly J.J. Abrams was hiding in his mystery box. With the film finally out, we spoke with screenwriters/producers about what that box contained in a SPOILER-filled discussion:

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commentary-startrek

The reboot of Star Trek in 2009 was a risky move for Paramount. However, it paid off, reinvigorating the franchise that had died with the poorly performing film Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002. J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek became one of the biggest hits of that summer and introduced a whole new generation to the classic franchise. Abrams was not a Star Trek fan before working on the film (and arguably even less of one after making the movie), but that didn’t stop him and his production team from making a solid science fiction update. Throughout the commentary with his writers and producers, recorded only a month after Star Trek came out in 2009, it’s clear that the Star Wars films had a greater impact on the production team’s childhood. Maybe the search for a Luke Skywalker in the character of James T. Kirk was what made the film work so well.

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Kurtzman and Orci

It’s true that a lot of Star Trek’s praise came from its stellar cast and the visual flare of its director, JJ Abrams, and that most of its criticisms came from the holes and coincidences in its plot, but one can’t discount the role that the story Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman’s script told had in taking a property that was traditionally thought of as being a niche thing for sci-fi geeks and turning it into a summer blockbuster that appealed to mainstream audiences. So it might be interesting to hear what else they have up their sleeves when it comes to ideas for science fiction movies.

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Star Trek Into Darkness Poster

There has been plenty of speculation over whether Khan (Khan!!!!) will appear as Star Trek 2‘s villain. This trailer — which is packed with tons of footage for a teaser — almost feels like a confirmation that Khan is indeed the antagonist of Star Trek Into Darkness. While no character outright says his name, there is a specific shot and line which implies they Abrams and his team were heavily inspired by Wrath of Khan. Or, knowing Abrams, that’s just a game of misdirection Paramount is playing… Take a look at the domestic trailer for yourself and decide, courtesy of Apple:

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Rupert Sanders

Snow White and the Huntsman may have been a moderate hit this summer, though it was probably not the huge success Universal was hoping for. That, along with the picture’s critical lashing, hasn’t stopped the studio from wanting to stay in the Rupert Sanders‘ business, a.k.a dull and overly serious action pictures. Word is Sanders may be brought in to helm the Tom Cruise-starring Van Helsing reboot, which is expected to have a more “modern” approach. With writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman involved, modern usually just means really, really safe. You can always expect some goofiness with those two, but if Sanders does indeed take on the project, I’m sure he’ll see no place for that kind of fun. The strange thing is, when you have someone as charismatic as Tom Cruise in the lead, why hire a director who probably won’t capitalize on that charisma? Perhaps this is a close-minded take on Sanders as a director, but it’s clear the studio wants what he brought to Snow White, which was not much more than pretty, empty shots. [Twitch]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a hunter of the best stories of the day. Most days. Pretty much every week. It works 24/7 to give you one article per night. Because sleep is for the week. And whatnot. We begin this evening with a new image from Breaking Bad and its upcoming season five premiere, a shot of a particular character who is likely to be the most interesting story. At least, early on in the season. How will everyone’s favorite henchman Mike (Jonathan Banks) react to the events that concluded season four? This new image gives us a bit of a preview.

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You know how clumsy puppies can’t help but be adorable, even when  they do awful things? Basset Hound pups are a prime example. Their feet are too big, they trip over their own floppy ears, and even if they eat the legs off your sofa, it’s whatever. All a Basset puppy has to do is look at you and you’re halfway over it. Writer/director Alex Kurtzman‘s People Like Us is almost like that – forgivably clumsy when it’s falling all over itself and wrecking things, but cute in spite of itself. …except for that whole almost-incest thing. Holy crap, that thing. People Like Us is the story of Sam (Chris Pine), a fast-talking dealer of anything with no use and a past-due expiration date. He’s the Jerry Maguire of selling people bullshit – and entirely unpleasant when we meet him. When one of Sam’s underhanded business deeds comes back to bite him, his boss, played by a skeez-tastic Jon Favreau, gives it to Sam straight – make up for the lost cash, or an unhappy client is reporting them both to the FTC.

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It’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to news of remakes and reboots because most film-goers would prefer to see original material hitting the screen. And yes, most reboots are unecessary cash-grabs that ultimately pale beside the original. But sometimes you need to pause, take a breath and take a look at the details. Variety is reporting that Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are developing a reboot of Van Helsing with Tom Cruise attached in the title role. (Cruise has actually been circling the project since 2010 when Guillermo del Toro was toying with the character.) It’s part of the duo’s new two-year deal with Universal where they’ll also be overseeing a reboot of The Mummy. Note the common thread of director Stephen Sommers’ past films which means a reboot of Deep Rising can’t be far behind. So the bad news is that they’re remaking an absolutely terrible movie that’s only eight years old. And the good news? They now have the chance to get it right.

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JJ Abrams Directing Star Trek

In typical fashion when it comes to J.J. Abrams films, Paramount has given fans of the director’s sequel to his smash hit Star Trek remake zero confirmation on just who will be Star Trek 2‘s villain. Yet, we all must have known that this “top secret!” information would get out sooner or later. Now, as expected, someone has reportedly blown J.J. Abrams’s mystery, meaning he won’t get to have a trailer or poster shock us with his villain’s true identity! What a shame… [Possible spoilers after the jump]

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Sony doesn’t need time to take a breath. They’re already planning on shooting the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man sometime in early 2013. That’s not set in stone of course (because, you know, the movie has to earn a sequel first), but the studio has already hired the superstar pairing of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to re-write the script from James Vanderbilt. According to Deadline Five Burroughs, the pair are “excited to be part of [the] legendary franchise,” which is better than being ho-hum about writing for Peter Parker. It’s a fairly obvious choice considering their work on giant budget fare like Tranformers and Star Trek, and they’re talented. No doubt about that. But they’re specifically talented at use broad brushstrokes and pouring on the melted butter. That’s a rare talent to be sure, but while it’s easy to see that brand of largeness brought to the action of Spider-Man, it’s the more intimate moments that might suffer. Of course, the pair have also had their work pushed through the vision of Michael Bay, J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau so it’s not exactly easy to pick out where they shine individually. At any rate, they’re veterans of the tentpole game, and Sony could do worse than to rely on them to bring a second story to life.

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Writer Alex Kurtzman‘s (Star Trek) directorial debut People Like Us looks to be a sobering yet bright drama about a previously estranged family being glued back together by the will of an absentee father. It stars Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Duplass and Jon Favreau. As far as trailers go, this one is a winner. It’s engaging, evocative and the talent oozes right out of the edit. Check it out for yourself:

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Can it be? Is it true? Have the stars aligned to ensure that J.J. Abrams is ready to start rolling cameras on Star Trek 2. According to Star Trek Movie, January 15, 2012 is the day that Abrams takes a seat in the director’s chair, tugs his uniform down and calmly says, “Make it so.” Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof are currently polishing a script to fit within the budgetary confines that Paramount has outlined. Apparently Industrial Light and Magic is already working on some of the effects shots that can be done before filming even starts. So it’s finally happening. Now, the only real question is whether it will be ready for its vague 2013 release date. With a full year of production, it seems more than likely. How will you celebrate?

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The mere concept of Cowboys & Aliens had potential for summer greatness. This could have been crazy, ambitious, and all kinds of weird. Imagine cowboys getting into shootouts with bug-eyed creatures packing high-tech weaponry. Sounds awesome, right? Only a tad of that awesome made it to the screen, and overall, it’s good. One would think director Jon Favreau would use his clout from two hit films to craft a blockbuster with a little audacity, but he didn’t. Like his other works, this is about as safe as most blockbusters come, and that’s fine, mainly because the director is still miles ahead of most journeyman filmmakers. There’s a clear passion for clean fun in his movies, something many blockbusters lack. Iron Man, Zathura, and Elf are all audience-friendly fare that don’t have a lick of divisiveness, and Cowboys & Aliens fits in comfortably with those films. Faverau is, at the end of the day, a solid popcorn filmmaker. Most of his efficiency behind the camera shines through in Cowboys & Aliens, as do a few of his weaknesses. Here’s a little of that awesome and a bit of the weaknesses. Note: This list does include spoilers.

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Every TV season there are a select group of people that really stand out above the rest. People that really push their shows to a place that no one expects. People that take the medium of television and spin it on its head. And that’s why sometimes they need the love that the Emmys just refuse to give. And with that, I bring you The Top 10 TV Big Shots of 2010-2011. Let’s celebrate these creative minds and their teams in no particular order.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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