Fox

Channel Guide - Large

When you were a kid, your parents kept certain difficult realities from you for your own good. Maybe they didn’t want you to know that they were having financial or marital problems. Or, it could have been that they didn’t think you were ready to know how sex worked or that you weren’t particularly cute. Whatever it was, they shielded you from it so you could enjoy your childhood. If TV networks, showrunners, and actors felt that same sense of parental responsibility toward their audiences, at least 10% of the anxiety in TV-watching life would be eliminated. If you’re a Community fan, then you undoubtedly know about this weird quasi/maybe-not-so-quasi feud between series creator Dan Harmon and Chevy Chase. If you aren’t a fan and don’t know what the hell I’m referring to (a) consider yourself lucky, (b) it’s about leaked voicemails and on-set behavior that suggest the two aren’t the chummiest of chums, and (c) the actual reasons behind the beef don’t matter as much as the fact that the beef is public knowledge now. And that hurts the show.

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The Three Stooges has been a passion project for the Farrelly brothers for almost a decade. From swapping studios to switching up actors, the project has gone through plenty of ups and downs, and it seemed as though it would never make it to the screen. After a few revisions and dedication, Bob and Peter Farrelly‘s modern day take on The Three Stooges finally got off the ground. According to Peter Farrelly, only the film’s environment is “modern.” Instead of going with satire or irony, the Farrelly’s wanted to stick with and respect the old-fashioned physical comedy the Stooges are famous for. Yes, there is a Jersey Shore gag (something I’m guessing wasn’t in the original Stooges’ work), but the Farrelly’s set out to recreate the spirit and charm of The Three Stooges. Here’s what Peter Farrelly had to say about receiving the PG rating, writing oblivious but lovable characters, bringing the Stooges back to life, and how Wes Anderson inadvertently helped save There’s Something About Mary:

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Neighborhood Watch

The tragic killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin is such a widely reported and consistently commented-upon national news item that it was bound to have impact beyond the family of the victim and the community in which it took place. The details of the shooting have yet to be poured over in a courtroom setting, which will probably entail another long stretch of media attention, and already the effects of the story have started to hit Hollywood. More specifically, they’ve affected the marketing of Akiva Schaffer’s upcoming comedy, Neighborhood Watch, which stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade as a quartet of overzealous members of their local neighborhood watch program. The story and the movie are being connected because Martin’s shooting came at the hands of a man who was both a member of a similar program, and also thought to be by many overzealous in his pulling of the trigger. The real big problem is that the film’s teaser trailer features a moment in which Hill’s character makes a gun with his finger and pulls the trigger while it’s pointed at a group of neighborhood kids. As you can imagine, that plays as being fairly offensive in light of recent events, so Fox has pulled the ad and the film’s first poster from Florida markets.

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The Motion Picture Association of America must die. It’s a monopolistic behemoth that poisons creativity and commerce while hiding behind the failed task of educating parents about film content, and the time has come to call for its dissolution. The above logo is what we, as movie fans, are most familiar with when it comes to the MPAA because we see it on trailers and home video, but that symbol is really a trick of PR. The goal of the MPAA is not to rate movies, even if that’s the product we know and loathe best. The MPAA’s founding, fundamental aim is to maintain the corporate dominance of its members – the six largest studios. It does not serve fans. It does not serve families. It does not serve filmmakers.

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Channel Guide - Large

In the soaringly earnest but effective Touch, Kiefer Sutherland barks so many of his lines with the strained desperation of an exhausted man who’s just barely keeping it together. He’s shouldering a tremendous weight and no one around him is sensitive to his plight. But then, he doesn’t really expect them to be. Best known as badass Jack Bauer, here, a more vulnerable Sutherland is Martin Bohm, widowed father of a mute, emotionally challenged boy and the nucleus of this ambitious Fox drama by Heroes creator Tim Kring.

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On January 11, 1991, the then-head of Disney studios, Jeffrey Katzenberg, circulated an incredibly important memo about the state of the movie industry and the products they were making. It was called, “The World is Changing: Some Thoughts on Our Business,” and it had a simple purpose: to locate the root of a growing problem and to take steps to avoid falling victim to it. Katzenberg began the memo by stating: “As we begin the new year, I strongly believe we are entering a period of great danger and even greater uncertainty. Events are unfolding within and without the movie industry that are extremely threatening to our studio.” As we begin a new year two decades after this memo was written, it’s critical to look back at the points Katzenberg made to see that his period of great danger is now our period of great danger, to note that the same events unfolding within and without the industry still threaten the entire studio system in 2012, and to predict our future based on the past.

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Channel Guide: A Column About TV

Ah, the television midseason. By now, the public has decided which new shows they’ll stick with (Revenge, 2 Broke Girls, New Girl), which they’re unsure about (Pan Am, Prime Suspect, Once Upon a Time) and which aren’t even worth thinking about (The Playboy Club, Free Agents). There’s little chance that if something hasn’t become appointment viewing by now, it’s worth cancelling the DVR season pass. So while we’re all finally getting over the tragedy that was Charlie’s Angels, the network bigwigs are using their highly-representative sample (comprised, one can only imagine, of elderly people, religious zealots, and the entirety of the state of West Virginia) to determine just what they’ll throw at us next. Sure, some of the best shows have been birthed out of a midseason replacement (ahem, Happy Endings, ahem), but the pickings are often more than slim – shows the networks don’t often find strong enough to debut with their fellow newbies in the fall. So what will we have to look forward to (or to run away from) in our TV Guide in the coming weeks? Sure, PBS will kick off the second season of critical and ratings darling Downton Abbey January 8th, while NBC’s 30 Rock is back January 12th. Cee-Lo Green will once again be gracing our television screens with The Voice’s post-Superbowl premiere, and Timothy Olyphant will be emanating his rugged swagger on Justified once more, as the lawman drama kicks off its third season January 17th. But what of the newly minted […]

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How bad do I want the sequel to X-Men: First Class to be called X-Men: Second Class? Not that much now that I really think about it, but there’s almost no way that would happen, so we’re in the clear. Who’s not in the clear – as in, he’s got a lot of work ahead of him – is Simon Kinberg, a producer on the first film who has now been hired to write the second. This is amidst his continuing work as writer, producer or both for This Means War, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. His past credits sadly don’t include a lot of winners – Jumper, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Sherlock Holmes – but those films were all messy for different reasons, and it’s unclear whether the writing was really to blame on any of them. Still, they were messy. On the other hand, Kinberg also wrote the airtight Mr. and Mrs. Smith. In a way, this hiring seems to prove that Fox wants to keep some of the same tone of the original while making it a bit more commercial (keeping in mind that First Class has made $350m). Kinberg is the kind of writer who does solid, popular fiction that’s digestible for the masses, and with his previous experience with the characters (and as a producer on the original), he’s a strong choice for the job. Hopefully Fox and Kinberg both realize that First Class was so successful because it was good, […]

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After months and months of thinking about it, I finally realized that the real question was “Why not Cookie Rocket?” Fox is thinking the same thing, because they’ve dropped a metric ton of Planet of the Apes news onto an unsuspecting citizenry who will soon be taken over by primates. For one, they’re committed to earnestly lobbying for Andy Serkis as Best Actor during awards season, and for two, they’ve signed him to “multiple future installments of the series.” Director Rupert Wyatt was already contractually on board for a second film, and it seems obvious that the success of the first did the heavy lifting of creating a new franchise out of an old one. A sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes is not far off. As Russ Fischer smartly opines over at /film, Serkis may have also, or may also discuss doing second unit for the second film since he’s doing that on The Hobbit, and because the entire world would probably watch a movie directed by Caesar. On second thought, if the man playing the world’s smartest simian also directs the second unit for the movie, then the apes really have taken over. Probably exactly what Fox wants.

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Back in 1996, a little movie about Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum saving the world from aliens was a gigantic success. It was called Independence Day, it showed the White House getting blown up, and it raked in about $800m in worldwide sales. I don’t have any numbers in front of me to prove this next statement, but let me shuffle some papers around on my desk to pretend like I have them somewhere and then just say it: Independence Day is one of the biggest box office successes of the last 20 years to not get a sequel. In a society where everyone is always asking for more, it’s crazy that we’ve only seen Smith punch an alien once. And that’s not just me talking, Fox thinks it’s crazy too. That’s why, since back in 2009, they’ve been doing everything they can to get back-to-back Independence Day sequels off the ground. The holdup has been money issues. First, director Roland Emmerich wanted an undisclosed, but very hefty sum of money to come back and blow up some more famous landmarks. And then star Will Smith was reportedly asking for $50mto come on board the lengthy shoot. Spending that much money just to get two men attached to a project would be pretty asinine, so things had stalled out on the Independence Day sequels front, until very recently. Vulture is reporting that an inside source has let them know that the finishing touches are being put on the scripts for […]

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Six months ago, in the very first edition of the Channel Guide here on FSR, I wrote a list of five comic book character that would make for great TV. Apparently working at FSR has granted yours truly psychic like powers because according to Deadline, in one of the last deals before buying season ends, FOX has ordered an adaptation of The Punisher from former Criminal Minds show runner Ed Bernardo with a put pilot commitment. The Punisher is more than prime for a television adaptation. However, based on the description of this version of the series, it appears that the character of Frank Castle is being changed from an all out murderous vigilante, to more of a Batman type character. “The Punisher is described as an hour-long procedural with a Marvel signature and a new take on one of Marvel’s more iconic characters, Frank Castle, a rising star detective with the NYC Police Department who moonlights as the vigilante Punisher seeking justice for those the system has failed.”

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Get it! Because it’s about zombies! There’s no challenging that Zombieland dominated in every way possible. Word of a sequel was quick to surface, but that’s all it’s ever been. Movement hasn’t been swift, but now the concept that was first meant for television and then became a movie might become a television show once more. According to The Hollywood Reporter, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and producer Gavin Polone are developing a half hour comedy version of the movie for weekly consumption on Fox. This would add another notch to the trend of the undead hobbling around television. The Walking Dead was a door buster, and MTV has their own series that might head to a second season. What’s genius here is that it’s set up for comedy and for 22 minutes of story. With as tight as Reese and Wernick’s writing can be, there’s no doubt that they can jam a lot of bloody laughs into that amount of time. Now if they can only manage to get a solid make-up effects budget. Some might raise an eyebrow at the concept (and Fox’s involvement), but it’s incredibly cool to see anyone taking a chance on horror comedy on network TV. But if you were hoping for a movie instead, don’t worry! All television shows get promised a film version after they finish their run, and it always, always gets made.

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Editor’s Note: This article will be updated in real time as the winners come in during the Primetime Emmys broadcast. Winners will be highlighted in bold and you can check out the winners that were already announced at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. The very first Emmy Award was given to a ventriloquist named Shirley Dinsdale who worked with a puppet called Judy Splinters. Is that significant? Of course it is. That fact coupled with the design of the award itself – a woman holding an atom – represent the true heart of television’s most significant celebration: artistic inspiration, scientific technology, and wooden humanoids that only talk with a hand shoved up their back. Ponder that while you bask in the glory of the victorious. Here are the winners of the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards.

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Cameron Crowe is a heartstring-tugging force to be reckoned with. Even with a few low points, he still emerges as one of the best writer/directors of our time, creating sentimental stories that push us into an emotional space whether it’s because a band is singing Elton John or because a sports agent has a girl at “hello.” His next film, as if no one knew, is the adaptation We Bought a Zoo, which features Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Hayden Church, Elle Fanning and Patrick Fugit. The trailer is a soft focus blend of tears and triumph, and you can check it out for yourself:

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In 2008 I was going through some major family issues, ones I am (even now) reluctant to publicly talk about. Often times I would feel I was alone in wondering if I would suffer the way I was watching those close to me suffer. I was lost, and while from the outside I didn’t let on, inside I was going through my own personal hell. That’s when Christopher Titus came along. Having grown up with the likes of Malcolm in The Middle I was fully aware of the new age of programs that tackled the issues of the dysfunctional family in a darkly comedic way without losing a sense of reality. A few years prior to ’08 I had seen one of Titus‘s specials on Comedy Central (I believe it was The 5th Annual End of The World Tour) and was immediately entertained. Through Google, I discovered he once had a show – one that, oddly enough, came right around the same time as Malcolm. The show, of course, was called Titus. I got my first glimpse of the show on YouTube in my college dorm room, but I didn’t know what I was about to get myself into.

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While at Cannes, our own Simon Gallagher called Miss Bala, “a blend of situational horror and politically-laced action thriller that I’d have no trouble recommending to anyone.” As a Briton, that’s the most excited he can legally get. The film from Gerardo Naranjo focuses on a young woman named Laura (played by Stephanie Sigman) who is entering the Miss Baja competition with a friend. When thugs shoot up the place and leave her alive, she finds herself in the quicksand of the drug cartel world where she’s in near constant danger. The film is also a social comment on how bad things have gotten in Mexico, told with the kinetic language of bullets and desperate situations. Now, you can check out the trailer for yourself:

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When Bryan Singer’s first X-Men came out, pretty predictably Wolverine became the breakout character of the film. Wolverine has been the most popular X-Man for decades now, and even though it had some other flaws, since that first film nailed the writing and casting of the Wolverine character so well, it was bound to be a success. Two X-Men sequels later and the Wolverine lovefest was still ongoing, so the character ended up getting his own spinoff movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That movie was such a conceptual mess and creative failure that I didn’t imagine I’d ever want to see another go around of Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine in this X-Men universe again. It started out good, but then you ran it into the ground. Let’s all move on. But then the impossible was announced. Darren Aronofsky would be making a sequel called The Wolverine, it would have little to nothing to do with X-Men: Origins, it would be set in Japan, and it would very closely follow the first Wolverine in Japan limited series from the comics. Holy heck, I desperately wanted to see a Wolverine movie again. Unfortunately, over the course of the development of this film, everything that initially excited me about it has been systematically stripped away from the concept. First the director, the man whose name got me excited about this movie in the first place, dropped out of the film because he couldn’t spend so much time shooting in Japan. That was a devastating […]

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This past spring saw the premiere and hasty cancellation of the Christian Slater-starring comedy Breaking In. The show aired on FOX and despite critical praise, it failed to maintain most of its audience once it moved to a new time slot and losing its American Idol lead in. This is all after the show’s rocky production history where FOX nixed the program after the pilot was shot, but then revived it for its seven episode spring run. Many analysts have stated that the show wasn’t given a fair chance on the network with its extremely short run and time slot stumbling. That ‘s why the impossible might just be happening as FOX is in the tail end of a deal reviving the show for a 13-episode second season. In order to achieve this renewal according to Deadline, FOX “joined Sony TV in shouldering the cost for extending the cast’s options and then put Breaking In on the list of contenders for its 2-hour midseason comedy block.”

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Look, Shawn Levy directed Night at the Museum. He’s a busy guy and he doesn’t have time to be jerked around. That’s why two movie news stories that have come out recently have it looking like he could be done with the long gestating but still not accomplished Fantastic Voyage remake that James Cameron’s company is producing along with Fox. THR recently reported that there is a sticking point between Levy and the producers, where he believes that the film needs an A-list actor to star and he doesn’t want to go forward without getting one signed. For their part, the producers seem less concerned and just want to make the material. Apparently Levy has had recent meetings with Will Smith and if Smith bites the hook and agrees to make the movie it could still be on, but if not, Levy is likely to leave for other projects. Enter a report from Deadline Andermatt that Fox also has a Frankenstein project brewing, with a script written by John Landis’s son Max, that they want to rush into production. Why do they want to rush it into production? Because pretty much everybody has a project in the works about Frankenstein coming to life and beating people to death with his big cold meat paws, so they want to be at the front of the pack when they start hitting theaters. Apparently they want Levy to helm the thing, so if Cameron and crew don’t want to lose him to a […]

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It was pretty clear from the Prometheus Comic-Con footage that there are more ties to Alien than the film makers are letting on. Whether or not it deals with the Xenomorphs is still up in the air, but the look of the film clearly fits into that universe. Bleak, beautiful, and epic were all adjectives that came to mind while watching the brief footage. This is a pure sci-fi horror film. While it may be PG-13, and I’m betting it will be, that may not matter all that much. As writer Damon Lindelof says below, this is a film that relies heavily on atmosphere. The story also deals with the obvious: playing God. The title alone gives you a big hint as to what the film is about. The tale of Prometheus tells the story of man stealing fire from the Gods. Here, it’s about man searching for answers to questions they probably should not be looking for. Here’s what writer Damon Lindelof had to say about fusing his own sensibilities with Ridley’s, making a hopeful horror movie, and writing distinct women:

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published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+
published: 12.05.2014
C+


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