Columbia

Salt Movie

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Columbia/Sony is still trying to make the Salt sequel a reality by hiring Becky Johnston. It’s an interesting choice and a pleasantly surprising one considering Johnston’s career legacy in adult dramas — particularly Seven Years in Tibet and The Prince of Tides. There’s no doubt that she’s a smart screenwriter, and it was a smart move for Columbia. Admittedly part of that is from how indirect it is. They’ve hired an Oscar nominee with a great skill for character building to take on an action follow-up. That’s unexpected to say the least. Of course, the goal here is to please star Angelina Jolie who wasn’t happy with the earlier version of the story turned in by Kurt Wimmer. If Johnston has the right take on the spy thriller, there’s a great chance that we’ll see Salt 2 put into production in the relatively near future.

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Jumanji

While the research process for writing a Jumanji script is probably hellish and monkey-filled, Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction) is brave enough to take on the task. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the writer — who also wrote and directed Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium — has been hired by producers Matt Tolmach and Bill Teitler to give them a screenplay. This is a great move. Matt Tolmach Productions doesn’t have many winners underneath its belt (two forgettable crime comedies from the 1990s and, now, The Amazing Spider-Man), so it’s unclear what kind of movie they’re trying to create here or what they might really be capable of even under the careful watch of Columbia/Sony. Helm’s slant seems to be laughing at human foibles, danger and a dash of whimsy, so he seems like a solid choice to give this kind of family flick the right head start. When the project was first announced, the producers claimed it would be updated for our time, meaning it might look even more like Zathura than Jumanji (1995). Or that everyone will be on cell phones in the jungle. And planking. And trying to create “the new planking.” Still, I can’t wait for all the former cast cameos (or for Kirsten Dunst to take over Bonnie Hunt’s role wholesale).

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Like Garth Ennis’s Preacher, it’s hard to imagine a series like The Boys having an easy time making it to the big screen. It’s dark, unconventional, brutal, and funny in ways most people wouldn’t deem “commercial.” It’s a great series with a lot of potential, potential that director Adam McKay definitely sees. The project had been at Columbia Pictures for sometime, but they just recently dropped it. I reached out to McKay for an update, who responded the project’s still very much alive.”It’s not dead. Two studios very interested. Love Sony but they made a mistake,” said McKay. As for whether they’ll continue to try to make an R-rated version of The Boys, the answer is no. But that doesn’t mean we are going to get a neutered down adaptation of Ennis’s world, according to McKay, “It’s now PG-13. But I found cool ways to keep it edgy. Nolan does so much with that rating. I want this movie to have the conceptual floor of MIB: the police for the superheroes, with the bad ass action groove of The Matrix or Oldboy.” A mixture of Men in Black, The Matrix, and Oldboy is definitely a film I’d want to see, especially coming from McKay. [THR]

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An outpost atop a fog shrouded mountain has fallen out of contact, so an outside squad is sent in to establish their whereabouts. The base is abandoned with the previous tenants leaving behind little more than half eaten plates of food, blood smeared walls and floors, and a mystery. Oh, and a woman chained up behind a false wall. The Squad is a slowburn horror film with atmosphere to spare, but it’s also as intangible as the mist that hangs across the mountain. The initial incursion into the outpost is filled with tension and an eeriness that infests every corner of the place. It’s the Marie Celeste all over again, only on land. (So, it’s Roanoke all over again?) But everything that works so well early on eventually fades away to be replaced by the mediocre and the mundane.

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Akira, at this point, is starting to look like a modern-day Watchmen. Plagued with difficulties, personnel changes, and misfires – maybe it’ll be a couple of decades before it actually gets made. Someone being born this year might end up playing Kaneda. But, still, Watchmen eventually got made, so who knows what fate has in store for the live-action remake of the anime classic. What it doesn’t have in store, according to Deadline Osaka, is Albert Hughes as director. One half of the Hughes Brothers directing team was set to make the film, but now he’s reportedly off the project and parting on friendly terms. It leaves a job open, though, and it allows film fans to dream of who their top choice for the job would be. For weirdness’s sake, I’d say either Terrence Malick or Terry Gilliam channeling Brazil. It’s not the only project to lose a director today, though. Variety is reporting that David O. Russell is off of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. The profound change there comes, also, from creative differences, but it will mean finding a new screenwriter as well. Thus, Uncharted is back to square one. Does that mean he might be able to go back and finish Nailed or get an early start on the Untitled Ice Cube Project? One can only hope.

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Studio logos are an iconography all their own, but nothing puts a grin on my face like a spiffy send-up of a traditional company emblem tailored made to gel with the film I’m about to watch. Don’t get me wrong — nothing’s going to top classics like Alfred Newman’s Fox fanfare, Jerry Goldsmith’s Universal tune or the countless other openings ingrained in our cinematic memories. But when someone takes the recognizable logo and makes it their own…well, that’s when I get giddy. For decades, movie studios have been allowing filmmakers to tinker slightly with the prestigious logos that preface every film they release. Nothing too crazy — maybe a color shift or a throwback to a retired bumper — but nothing that would tarnish their reputations. These days, most movies are free to run wild. Many stick to the time-honored traditions of their studios, but the ones that don’t feel that much more special. Regardless of a film’s quality, a great logo is like the cherry on top for most movie buffs. Here are fourteen modern variants that bring a little extra magic to the pictures they kick off:

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moneyballpittsoderbergh

Sony-owned Columbia Pictures just shut down a project starring Brad Pitt two days before it was supposed to begin filming. What the hell did Steven Soderbergh do this time?

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hollywood-sign-los-angeles-cahd6

Paramount especially might be moving toward consolidation in the coming year according to at least one financial analyst.

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Happy Madison Banner

Adam Sandler. Chris Rock. Kevin James. Rob Schneider. David Spade. After not making a movie for fourteen years, these comedy kings are back and joining forces for the first time.

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