Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell Tank Scene

For those excited for a robust, live-action version of Ghost in the Shell, I’ve got some bad news for you. The announcement of Scarlett Johannson signing on to star is a sign that this thing is a bit more real than it was before, but it’s destined to look a lot more like Aeon Flux than Blade Runner, and there’s a simple reason for that. Saying, “I want to make a live-action version of Ghost in the Shell” is a lot like saying, “I want to make The Matrix.” It requires an unbelievable cocktail of skill, sci-fi understanding, nuance, innovation and luck. The filmmakers involved would need to be at the top of their game as well as be dedicated to focusing on existential issues even after the bullet casings hit the floor. Instead, we’re getting Avi Arad and Steven Paul. Arad has been involved in the superhero resurgence since EPing Blade in 1998, and while he’s been successful at being involved with immensely popular genre stories, he’ll never be mistaken for a profound filmmaker. You don’t even want to look at Paul’s resume (unless you love Baby Geniuses). On the directing side you have Rupert Sanders, a relatively untested artist who made Snow White and the Huntsman better and more popular than it had any right to be. His take on “Black Hole” also showed a lot of promise, but, again, he doesn’t have a history of tackling complex ideas and weaving them into the action. That’s the bottom line here. No one involved in the project […]

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Scarlett Johansson in UNDER THE SKIN

Update: Scarlett Johansson has officially signed on to Ghost in the Shell, according to Variety. Original Post: Earlier this week came news of WB/DC’s Suicide Squad, and the sparkly list of celebs wanted to play various morally murky supervillains. And right afterward came an update from Deadline — yes, Tom Hardy, Will Smith and Margot Robbie are super interested in pursuing some supervillainy (save for Ryan Gosling, who’s being all finicky). But in one throwaway sentence of that Deadline piece was something even more shocking (more shocking than Will Smith playing an outright villain, if you can believe it). It seems Robbie was free to pursue Suicide Squad because her previous target, the live-action Ghost in the Shell adaptation, had ditched her to pitch woo at Scarlett Johansson.

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SPACE STATION 76 discs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Space Station 76 The Omega 76 is a space station expecting two new visitors. First up is a new co-captain (Liv Tyler) who immediately sets the current captain (Patrick Wilson) on edge and disrupts the crew’s flow, but she’s still far less threatening than the second visitor. Because it’s an asteroid! Or meteor. Details aren’t important, but what is important is how the crew reacts to the impending danger coinciding with a bevy of personal dramas among them. Actor Jack Plotnick directs this surprisingly dark space-set comedy and delivers a lot of laughs along the way. The gags are both visual — this is sci-fi as envisioned in the ’70s meaning the tech is old fashioned and quaint — and dialogue/delivery-based as the script serves up plenty of great lines and humorous conflicts. It’s a goofy romp in many ways, but there’s a definite darkness beneath it all that comes creeping out over the course of the film. It’s definitely not for all tastes, but folks who like their comedies with a dash of edginess and a dollop of WTF will find much to love here. [DVD extras: Outtakes, deleted scenes, featurette]

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Margot Robbie in WOWS

Margot Robbie made audiences know her name in a big way last year as Jordan Belfort’s second, more glamorous (sorry, Cristin Milioti) and gloriously assertive Brooklynite, lingerie-designing wife in The Wolf of Wall Street. Since then, she has been racking up the lead roles. It doesn’t take much more than a nod from Martin Scorsese to let everyone know you’re alright. The Australian actress has a full roster of upcoming projects: she stars opposite Will Smith in the rom-com caper Focus, will appear alongside Michelle Williams and Kristin Scott Thomas in the French WWII flick Suite Française, is exploring a post-apocalyptic landscape with Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Z for Zachariah and swinging onto the big screen as the next Jane to Alexander Skarsgard’s Tarzan. Robbie clearly hasn’t pegged herself down as being a specific kind of actress, and she’s furthering that perception by entering early talks to star in a live-action adaptation of the classic manga “Ghost in the Shell.” DreamWorks will remake the 1995 anime version directed by Mamoru Oshii, something Hollywood has been attempting for the last 20 years, with William Wheeler (The Hoax) penning the script Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) directing. If all works out, this could be her first solo venture.

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Halo

The flames are hot here in development hell, and there’s way too much cocaine. Way, way too much. So why wouldn’t we come back? When we first examined 8 Promised Movies That Still Haven’t Been Made, it was an exploration of the complex world of filmmaking where the smallest issue can derail an entire project potentially worth millions. Nervous executives, scheduling conflicts, hangnails. Getting a movie made is a miracle, and even those that get hailed in the press as moving forward are sometimes abandoned. Considering our national grand obsession with hypotheticals, here are 8 more movies we were told would happen that haven’t (including some that won’t).

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Masamune Shirow’s well-traveled series Ghost in the Shell has just been optioned by Dreamworks to create a 3-D live-action film. Variety reports that uber-busy Steven Speilberg snatched the project from Universal and Sony Pictures and made it a priority of his to get the film at Dreamworks.

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published: 02.01.2015
A-
published: 01.31.2015
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published: 01.30.2015
C-, D+
published: 01.30.2015
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