Chris Columbus

Mrs Featherbottom

No, I’m not thinking Doubtfire vs. Madea. Technically that would involve a man fighting a woman, as Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire is Robin Williams playing a male character who dresses as an old lady while Mabel “Madea” Simmons is just Tyler Perry playing an old lady. It doesn’t sound like a fair battle. Obviously Madea would kick the fake nanny’s ass. But the synopsis I have in mind is similar for this Mrs. Doubtfire sequel that Fox 2000 has just announced with original director Chris Columbus and Williams both on board. It has to be an Expendables type movie, which means it’s not just Doubtfire 2 but an ensemble piece in which Williams as Daniel Hillard as Doubtfire is joined by Dustin Hoffman as Michael Dorsey as Tootsie, Martin Lawrence as Malcolm Turner as “Big Momma,” David Cross as Tobias Funke as Mrs. Featherbottom, Miguel A. Nunez Jr. as Jamal Jeffries as Juwanna Mann, Harland Williams as Doofer as Roberta from Sorority Boys and Amanda Bynes as Viola Hastings as Sebastian from She’s the Man, and they’re on a mission to … whatever it doesn’t matter, just like an Expendables movie.  

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Nathan Fillion

His friends know him as Captain Mal Reynolds, your grandparents probably know him as Castle, and your mother most definitely knows him as Captain Hammer, but whatever name he’s going by, actor Nathan Fillion is one righteous dude. So righteous that it comes as no surprise he’s set to play a God in his next feature film role. THR reports that Fillion will be playing Hermes in the upcoming Percy Jackson sequel, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters. Not only is Hermes that God who can run really fast while wearing sandals, but in the Percy Jackson mythos he’s also the father of the Luke character, who is the bad guy played by Jake Abel. Luke is an angry young man, and he and his father don’t always see eye to eye, so this role should allow Fillion ample opportunity to utilize his concerned dad brow furrow.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; try our new pecan marshmallow yule log, patent and FDA approval pending. Happy December, everyone; it’s the most wonderful time of the month! Despite your busy schedule of shopping, decorating, and pretending to tolerate those relatives you can’t stand, you somehow managed to find time to topple down the chimney of another JFC. We are sort of like fruitcake; nobody ever asks for us, no one knows how we came to be a tradition, and no matter how clearly you state your distaste for us we keep turning up. Every week in the month of this month I will be Nationally Lampooning a festively terrible holiday film. But then, like a Christmas miracle, I will flip the flop and confess as to why the film is precisely my particular brand of egg nog. To put the star atop the proceedings, I will then offer a greasy, but delectable snack food item paired to the film in the hopes of making your waistlines a little less merry. This week’s sugar plum: Home Alone.

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Culture Warrior

That the final Harry Potter film became the biggest opening weekend of all time seemed only natural and inevitable. Something so monumentally culturally pervasive could have only gone out with a loud bang. After all, it is – as I’ve been repeatedly reminded – the most successful movie franchise of all time, adapted from a series of books whose sales history rivals that of The Holy Bible. Yet unlike some head scratch-inducing huge opening weekends of the more uninspired entries of blockbusting franchises who rival Harry Potter in their monetary intake but not their longevity (Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) and the former reigning champ whose buzz was accompanied by fascination with the untimely death of a star (The Dark Knight), the mass participation in the cultural event that was the release of Deathly Hallows Part 2 won’t likely be rivaled anytime soon. The Harry Potter films simultaneously represent the inevitable logical extent of franchise filmmaking as much as it is exceptional and anomalous in this same regard.

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The recent revelation that Chris Columbus will be producing a US-based, English-language remake of Troll Hunter was met with everything from mild irritation to outright derision. A typical report of the news included 1) a statement that the original is great/awesome 2) a question of whether this really needed a remake 3) a comment that Hollywood was craven and unoriginal and, for a select few pieces, 4) swear words. My own take was fairly neutral (much like my reaction to Andre Ovredal‘s film), which prompted at least half an email asking me why I was giving this one a pass after years of making up clever insults at the expense of anyone attempting a remake. After some soul-searching, it was clear that I had either made peace with the recent glut of remakes or been beaten into submission by it. Either way, I’m tired of complaining about remakes, and here’s why.

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Despite the fact that this series is all about characters from Mount Olympus, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters is looking to Thor for direction. Close enough, I guess it’s all mythology. When I first heard that a series about a boy with magic powers who discovers that he has a very interesting ancestry, which was once helmed by Chris Columbus, was going to continue with another sequel I got confused. Wasn’t Harry Potter supposed to be over? Okay, obvious joke, but it was pretty pathetic how closely Columbus and the marketing people on the first Percy Jackson tried to tie this already derivative sequel to the Harry Potter franchise aesthetically. Hopefully, with a new director on, this second film can go in a new direction. But seeing as how Thor Freudenthal’s previous work on films like Hotel for Dogs and Diary of a Wimpy Kid doesn’t share much with these tween fantasy series, it’s kind of hard to tell if he’s the right man to give this series its own sense of identity. I guess the best we can hope is that he has some mode other than “movie you would see on the Disney Channel on a Sunday afternoon,” which is all I’ve seen from him so far. What we do know about this new film is that Logan Lerman is once again signed to star as Percy, and the story follows the pursuits of Percy and a group of his friends as they seek […]

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Director Andre Ovredal has been fairly silent about his next project, only going as far as saying it’ll involve “American mythology,” but it looks like an English-language remake of his Troll Hunter will be going through in an attempt to frighten people who get scared at the sight of subtitles. According to Deadline Aust-Agder, Chris Columbus – no stranger to fantasy – will be taking on the remake as a producer. He notes the visuals as the main reason to mine the material for a remake, saying it “was a visceral, thrilling, cinematic rock and roller coaster ride of a movie. Visually, there are scenes in this film that American audiences have never seen. We want to introduce an international audience to this amazing moviegoing experience.” It seems obvious that an international audience can already enjoy the amazing moviegoing experience by going to see the movie, but it seems clear that Columbus is trying to get his version into more theaters and to sell it bigger overseas than the Norwegian original did through Magnolia. When I spoke with Ovredal about the possibility of a remake, he said, “I think that would be fun. I’d love to see that.” It’s unclear as to whether he’ll be involved in any capacity, but it looks like he’ll get his wish. Hopefully a big Hollywood version will spark even more interest in the original.

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So, Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief wasn’t exactly the Harry Potter killer that Fox wanted it to be (but Percy Jackson vs Harry Potter could be a ridiculously cool movie). Still, they are moving forward with a sequel subtitled The Sea of Monsters – based on the second book by Rick Riordan in the series. According to the LA Times, virtually none of the creative personnel is back, but director Chris Columbus will magically turn into a producer, Karen Rosenfelt will magically stay on as producer, and writer partners Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski will write the screenplay (using no magic at all). Essentially, even though The Lightning Thief made $226 million worldwide, the film cost something near $100 million and made only $88 million domestically. The numbers weren’t clear indicators that the studio wanted to take on a sequel. Something has changed their mind, though. This might shoot as early as this Summer, but there’s no word on what part of the cast will return. It’s possible that this final decision was partially hinging on whether Logan Lerman got the Spider-Man gig, and now that he’s free for the Summer, he can come out and throw lightning bolts at monsters in the sea. That’s speculation, but if you’ve read this far, you’ll realize that the brunt of this story is “Average Young Adult Adventure Gets Seemingly Unwarranted Sequel,” and that doesn’t fly well on its own.

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Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down and sees if The Wolfman, Valentine’s Day and Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief can make the grade.

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If there’s any doubt after the first hour of Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief that this movie is not for you, the Las Vegas casino montage set to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” should clear things up fairly quickly. By “you” I of course mean anyone actually reading this review. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Kevin and Neil snuggle up with each other in the Magical Studio in the Sky… what a way to spend Valentine’s Day weekend. They talk about romantic movies like The Wolfman while Neil rants about Valentine’s Day (the movie, not the holiday).

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Previously thought to be (a) way off the radar, then (b) not worthy of being on the radar in the first place, the Chris Columbus directed film Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is now somehow creeping onto not only my radar, but also my watch-list.

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This week Landon watched Harry Potter 1-5 in a row, and wants to share with you every passing thought he had along the way.

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: Brüno, I Love You Beth Cooper and Moon.

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movieswelove-gremlins

For this week’s edition of Movies We Love, it’s 1984, and we just happened to feed our new little pet some chicken after midnight. What’s the worst that could happen?

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Robert F. Kennedy

Thurston Clarke wrote a book about Robert Kennedy’s ill fated presidential run in “The Last Campaign”. The book received great reviews and now is poised to become a film, with director Chris Columbus now attached to the project.

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In her upcoming film I Love You Beth Cooper, Hayden will intentionally be subjecting herself to the rigorous torture of playing a popular high school cheerleader who is called out by a huge geek (played by Paul Rust) in his Valedictorian speech.

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