Warner Bros.

I don’t know what your movie news feed looks like, but mine tends to be painfully predictable. Over the past few months, with rare exception, it’s pretty much been a non-stop barrage of Star Wars, DC, and Marvel updates. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good franchise. I’m a huge fan of Star Wars and am eagerly awaiting the release of Episode VII. Likewise, I love me some Marvel Cinematic Universe and will be first in line to see The Avengers: Age of Ultron next summer. I’m still a bit cautious about Batman vs. Superman: Courtroom Drama and the upcoming Justice League slate of films, but that’s a whole ‘nother article. A friend of mine recently echoed the ridiculously common complaint that Hollywood has lost its creative edge and is no longer making original movies. Instead, it’s obsessed about remakes, reboots, sequels, and other adaptations of previous source material. My knee-jerk cynicism aside, he seems to have a point. Sure, there are some interesting original films that show up now and then, but the studios seem to be focused greatly on retreading the past. This got me thinking: Can’t we go back to the good old days when Hollywood wasn’t all about remakes, reboots, sequels, and franchises?


Daniel Craig Skyfall

The James Bond franchise has been going on for so long now that it’s started to look like an ever-changing monstrosity of different corporate influences, creative strategies, and leading men. But, in its current star Daniel Craig, its current, grittier creative direction, and its current co-financing deal between Sony Pictures and MGM, this series of spy films has seemed to have found a moment of stability; and a report from Bond-centric site MI6 says that a deal has been struck that will keep that stability going, at least for a little while longer.


The Amazing Spider-Man

Although The Amazing Spider-Man opened the lowest out of all the other movies in the Sony franchise with a $65m weekend, it’s already scored $341m worldwide. Not bad for a week’s work. Sam Raimi‘s series opened with $114.8m, $88.1m, and $151m (chronologically), and even though Marc Webb’s rebooted version starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone didn’t hit that mark, it benefited from an extended holiday week and made more than enough to earn sequels. This film was in a funny situation though. As pointed out last week, it had the ability to change the direction of major studios – a fitting task for the reboot of a franchise that shifted the rudder of the last decade. For some fans, it proved to be a story success, but the response has been far from unanimously positive. However, this initial haul (and the money still to come) proves that Sony (and all other studios) can keep mining their name-brand superhero content as long as they want, rebooting whenever they see fit. Spider-man and Batman are the new Bond.



Normally I’m not a very big fan of the way rich people spend their money, but Megan Ellison got in my good graces the minute I heard about her existing by starting up Annapurna Pictures and lending funding to interesting sounding projects like John Hillcoat’s Wettest County and Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming Scientology movie. Her star dimmed a bit in my eyes, however, when she picked up the rights to the Terminator franchise with the intentions of making another Terminator feature. Why did this new angel in my life who appeared out of nowhere and started funding artsy films just stab me in the back by continuing a once-beloved franchise that has already been run into the ground? I thought for sure our love affair was over.


Back in October, word first broke about the Wachowski siblings‘s upcoming sci-fi epic, Jupiter Ascending. It’s apparently the next project they’ll work on after they finish up their adaptation of Cloud Atlas, and while not much is known about the specifics, it’s said to be a concept with serious franchise potential. As everyone knows, the best way to launch a franchise is to cast big actors in your lead roles. You can come up with all of the revolutionary ideas and breakthrough filmmaking techniques in the world and there is no guarantee that anyone will ever see what you’ve done, but if you stick Will Smith in the middle of all your hard work, success is pretty much a guarantee. To that end, the Wachowskis want to start their casting process off by locking up Natalie Portman. According to a report from 24 Frames, the Black Swan actress is being actively recruited by the Wachowskis’s people, and so far she’s shown quite a bit of interest in taking the role. The big potential of this casting is that this would be the first acting job Portman would be taking after her gigantic, career-making Oscar win for her work in Black Swan. A new baby forced her into a sort of acting hiatus, and this would be her first chance to follow up the great work she did in that film.


Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as holeinmyshower and RepWeiner08 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the two wonder whether fans should educate themselves before hopping into a movie. Can the movie-going experience be made better by a little research before getting our ticket ripped or should we be able to go blindly into the darkness and expect great entertainment?


It might just be the mist of the weekend still fogging up my mind, but there are a few things awfully confusing about the saggy cloud of Arnold Schwarzenegger looming over Hollywood and threatening to rain down madness once again. Precipitation references aside, the last action hero has now publicly stated that he’s going to step back into the world of acting (and anyone who claims what he does is somehow less than hasn’t seen or cried at Kindergarten Cop, and obviously can’t be trusted). It’s kind of a cool idea. Schwarzenegger has impeccable charisma, he’s a veteran at the game, and he generally picks solid projects. But there are still some head-scratching loose ends here.



For the first time on video, you can see with your own eyes as I wander around a parking lot and sit around in a bowling alley with a director who has the skills to become the next major franchise helmer.



Judging by their output for Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and The Proposal all in one summer, it seems like screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman don’t sleep. And they won’t get to anytime soon. We caught them not napping in order to ask them about writing for Michael Bay and their upcoming Cowboys and Aliens.



The director of the original film is trying to bring Buffy back to life to fight again, but she may be doing it without Joss Whedon.

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published: 12.19.2014
published: 12.18.2014
published: 12.17.2014

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