MGM

hansel and gretel witch hunters 04

If you want a sure sign of what the global market looks like, Hollywood has got you covered. Even though Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters only earned $55m domestically, the movie scored over $150m internationally, and those numbers are prompting Paramount and MGM to partner on a potential sequel. According to Variety, the studios want a second helping of the Tommy Wirkola-directed film, but it’s unclear as to whether they’ll be able to get Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner back. Pure gut-reaction guess? The pair won’t be back, and it won’t matter. They’ll made Hansel and Gretel 2: Witchier with two new faces, trade off the name recognition of the first to make back diminished returns and leave Terry Gilliam to scratch his head over what happened with The Brothers Grimm.

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Poltergeist

Given all of the horror remakes and all of the generic haunted house movies that come out every year, it gets to be something of a chore keeping up with which films from the past have already been remade and which haven’t. Well, it turns out Tobe Hooper’s 1982 ghost story Poltergeist was on the list of movies that have yet to be remade, because Deadline Hollywood is reporting that MGM now has plans to remake it. In order to do so they’ve brought on board director Gil Kenan, who’s probably best known for helming the 2006 animated film, Monster House. Given that Monster House was also a movie about a spooky house, the theory they’re working under must be that Kenan will have the experience necessary to beat out all the other upcoming movies about spooky houses by making an even better movie about a spooky house. Plus, Poltergeist has another advantage in that it’s being called the same thing as another movie about a spooky house that people have already liked. It’s important to always stay one step ahead of the competition in the spooky house arms race. This news, of course, raises the same questions that every new remake of a classic from the past raises. Is there any reason at all to remake Poltergeist? Is there anything about the original that will benefit from a more modern take on the source material? Or is this just the latest depressing bit of evidence that the film industry has completely […]

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Hot Tub Time Machine

According to The Hollywood Reporter, MGM is in exploratory talks (aka dipping their toes in the water) with Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke to see if there’s a possibility of making a Hot Tub Time Machine sequel. Apparently John Cusack isn’t involved right now (which is curious, because he’s the ball game), but there’s a chance Corddry might work with Steve Pink on the script. Pink is, as you can guess, in talks to return to the director’s chair. Hot Tub Time Machine was a funny enough movie, and bringing these comedians back together would certainly be better than, say, watching Grown Ups or being clawed to death by a horse-sized duck. Still, with the way the original ended, it’s going to take some narrative hopscotch to get the guys back in time. Think about it. If you saw all your dreams of wealth, fame, love and success come true, you probably wouldn’t go near another hot tub again. So what entices everyone to take the plunge? That’s the inexplicable part, but there’s no doubt that — if this moves forward — Pink will find something appropriately ridiculous to bring everyone into the second act. So MGM wants it, but do you? And where do they go? A Reality Bites-style look at being 20-something in the 90s?

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Odyssey in Space

The evergreen method of adding “…in space!” to the end of an existing title in order to pitch a “new” film has finally blindsided Greek poet Homer. Good thing he’s not around to not see it. According to Deadline Hollywood, Warners has hired James DiLapo to write a new version of “The Odyssey” that takes place in space. Yes, they literally want to make a space “Odyssey.” DiLapo is a recent NYU grad who earned a Nicholl Fellowship and placement on the Black List with his first script, Devils At Play, but there’s no word yet on how the young talent will be engaging the story and transmitting it into the world of science fiction. At its very core, it could a tale of a captain trying desperately and difficultly to get home, or it could involve more of the direct elements of the classic epic poem. Undoubtedly, it won’t look anything like Ulysses 31 at all.

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Drinking Games

This year, film fans celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Bond on the silver screen. In 1962, Sean Connery became a legend as Ian Fleming‘s dashing secret agent in Dr. No. Now, with the impending release of Skyfall in November, MGM and Fox are releasing all 22 James Bond films in a giant Blu-ray box set. If you start watching them now, you just might get through all of the films by the release of Skyfall. But pace yourself because the 46 hours of films – from Dr. No to Quantum of Solace – can be pretty powerful when mixed with this drinking game and a few martinis (or Vespers, if you so choose).

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We haven’t reported much on the progress of Raging Bull II, mostly because making a sequel to something as beloved as Raging Bull thirty-some years after the release of the original and without the involvement of any of the iconic names who made the first so beloved is a dumb idea unworthy of much attention; but let’s do a quick rundown of the particulars anyway. The subject of the first film, Jake LaMotta, sold the rights to the sequel of his life story to a company called RB II Productions. This has led to co-writer/director Martin Guigui putting a film together that’s going to work as part prequel and part sequel to Martin Scorsese’s 1980 film, Raging Bull. This new film, which stars William Forsythe as LaMotta, will focus on the period of the boxer’s life before Raging Bull took place, as well as on what happened to him after. It’s currently filming in Los Angeles. For now. The interesting news about this ill-advised and sure-to-be-reviled project is that the studio behind the original film, MGM, is trying to get it shut down. A report from Deadline Coventry says that the studio has filed a complaint against LaMotta and RB II Productions stating that, due to an agreement drawn up in 1976, MGM still has the rights to the boxer’s original memoirs as well as right of first refusal to any “owner-written sequel.” Seeing as LaMotta never took the idea of a sequel to MGM, and RB II Productions has […]

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Chuck Norris is the reason Waldo is hiding. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits. There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live. Chuck Norris is also coming to Blu-ray in a big way thanks to Twentieth Century Fox and MGM. His starring roles have been inexplicably unavailable in high definition until now (unless you count Forest Warrior, which no one should), but this summer sees the debut of five of his classic action titles. Delta Force and Missing In Action 1 & 2 all hit Blu-ray last month, and two more arrive on July 17th. Code of Silence and Lone Wolf McQuade are two of his best from the mid-eighties, and they can be yours if you play your cards right. The former is a fantastic Chicago-set action film with Chuck as a detective forced to fight corruption with nothing but his fists, his attitude and his bitching robot, Prowler. The latter sees him trying on his Texas Ranger shoes as he goes toe to toe with TV’s original Asian, David Carradine. Keep reading to see how you can win these two Chuck Norris classics on Blu-ray.

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Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie came to America from the UK after a successful career in comedy and quickly found himself playing lead in a critical and commercial hit on the Fox network. His film work over here has been relegated to small, supporting roles, but it looks like he may get a chance to flex his dark side on the big screen in a big way. Per Variety, Laurie is in talks to join MGM’s upcoming Robocop remake for director Jose Padilha as the film’s main villain. He has large, partially bald shoes to fill if he hopes to be half as entertaining as the original’s main baddies played by Kurtwood Smith and Ronny Cox. Clarence Boddicker is a memorably brutal (and brutally funny) psycho, and Dick Jones is the epitome of a dickish CEO, but while it’s rumored Laurie would be playing a brand new version of the latter he’d kill in either villainous flavor. The film is also set to star Joel Kinnaman in the title role, Gary Oldman as a the scientist behind the technology, Abbie Cornish as Mrs. Robocop and Samuel Jackson.

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There’s no shortage of complaining about Hollywood’s over-reliance on remakes in the film blogging world, but that’s probably because there’s no shortage of new remakes being proposed either. And this latest one, it just feels like somebody’s messing with us. Variety reports that MGM is dipping into their back catalogue and pulling out The Magnificent Seven as a new starring vehicle for Tom Cruise. The Magnificent Seven was a 1960 cowboy film directed by John Sturges that starred names like Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson, and the fact that it’s being remade by MGM is especially egregious for several reasons. The most obvious of which is that the original Magnificent Seven was already a remake of sorts, as it took the plot of Akira Kurosawa’s classic 1954 film Seven Samurai and transplanted it into a Western setting. But that’s not the real reason this plan is so insulting.

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The most striking thing about the new Skyfall trailer is the beauty. Yes, there’s the beast. The brawn. Daniel Craig still looks hulking and dark as James Bond, but the trailer shows off some truly gorgeous shots without giving them all away. That’s what happens when you hire Sam Mendes to direct and Roger Deakins to director photography. The latest entry in the Bond franchise sees M’s past coming to haunt everyone and 007 attempting to kill the people trying to kill him. This time, you know, it’s personal. Now see if you can spot any shaky-cam. Check out the trailer for yourself (as if you’ve bothered to read any of this anyway):

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Who has time to trim whiskers when you fighting international terrorists with only bullets and charm? Exactly. No one. Not even James Bond. The proof comes in the first image from Skyfall where Daniel Craig reprises the character with Sam Mendes in the director’s chair. The production also boasts a hell of a cast, including the return of Judy Dench and the inclusion of newcomers like Albert Finney, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw and Javier Bardem. With Helen McRory cast and Maggie Smith rumored, it’s half of a Harry Potter reunion. The steel eyes are definitely there, but Bond looks downright haggard here. Old. Weathered. Hopefully it’s from heavy amounts of ass kicking that we’ll get to see on-screen. [007.com]

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Internationally loved cologne salesman, Charles Bronson, was already a massive star by the time he made Death Wish, but it’s his role as Paul Kersey that might be his most famous simply because he owns it completely. Sure he’s rugged and charismatic in The Dirty Dozen, he’s surprisingly vulnerable in The Great Escape, but in the Death Wish movies he’s in command and the streets bow down to him. So maybe a remake is in order? According to the LA Times, that’s the thinking of MGM and Paramount, and the partnership wants Joe Carnahan to clean up from fighting wolves for The Grey and come help them out with it. It must be tough coming out of bankruptcy, but MGM really has nothing except remake concepts going for them. That’s pretty damned sad. Of course, the big question with a remake like this (beyond the fact that remakes aren’t doing good business currently) is how to re-create something that tapped into a social feeling in the 1970s. The same heat just isn’t there, there is no grand panic in society of rising crime rates and a feeling of helplessness in the face of a bewildered law enforcement culture. In fact, police are so good at doing their jobs now, they even find time to pepper spray people in the face at random. So who becomes the villain here? And even better, who could possibly replace Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey? Jason Statham did the job recently for The Mechanic, but […]

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There’s good news in the film world. Sanity seems to have prevailed over madness at Universal and a proposed movie about a formerly popular children’s activity book called “Where’s Waldo?” is no longer on their schedule. It seems they just couldn’t find the right approach to getting it together. But don’t start celebrating yet, there’s also bad news. The only reason that proposed adaptation of “Where’s Waldo?” isn’t going to happen is because MGM has now acquired the rights to make the movie instead. Yes, there are multiple studio heads out there that think making Where’s Waldo? is a good idea.

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Film studios have recently discovered a way to inject new life into their back catalogs without the need to spend money on marketing, retail shelf space, or overstock storage. MOD, or manufacturing on demand, means they don’t press the DVD until you order it. MGM’s Limited Edition Collection and the Warner Archive Collection are the two big names in the MOD game right now, and each month they make dozens of titles available on DVD for the very first time. And The MOD Quad will take a look at as many of them as we can handle on a semi-irregular basis. Which will probably average out to some number divisible by four. Highlights this installment include The File Of the Golden Goose, The Fourth War, Hennessy, and the movie where Thurston Howell III gets a cap in his ass, Johnny Cool.

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Ever since Brazilian director Jose Padilha was confirmed to direct MGM’s long-gestating Robocop reboot, there has been the lingering question as to what would happen to all of the work the original director, Darren Aronofsky, put into the project. Aronofsky was all set to take on Robocop, and had even written a script, but some looming bankruptcy problems with MGM and an otherwise full schedule for Aronofsky put the kibosh on all of that. Well, Crave recently sat down with Padilha to talk about his upcoming Elite Squad 2, and eventually steered the conversation toward the subject of Robocop. When asked about the Aronofsky script, Padilha said, “I haven’t read Aronofsky’s script. Aronofsky is a great director. I love his films. I am very proud because I saw Pi in the opening Sundance screening and I loved it. So Aronofsky’s great. I have my own take on Robocop. I know what his take was and it’s totally different. It’s a different thing, different kind of film, even different period in time so I haven’t read his previous work.” On one hand, that’s kind of disappointing, I would have loved to have seen what a major director like Aronofsky envisioned for this project. On the other hand, I’m much happier about a filmmaker who is enthusiastic about his own vision taking over Robocop rather than having a utility player come in, just pick up the pieces, and do whatever the studio wants.

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MGM is mining the 80s for remake gold, and the latest nugget is a remake of WarGames that people will be all a titter about when they see Matthew Broderick’s inevitable cameo role as a janitor at the War Room or something. The good news is that it will incorporate modernized video games (as opposed to Pong Extreme), and that Seth Gordon will be directing it. Even though it only makes sense in Hollywood logic, as the director of King of Kong, he’s at least got some video game street cred. Who doesn’t have that street cred is Noah Oppenheimer, the man recently hired to write the script. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Oppenheimer is a senior producer for The Today Show, but has recently branched out into feature film writing with a script called Jackie O that’s perked up a few ears. Plus, he was attached to that Snabba Cash remake that, so far, hasn’t been made yet. So it goes. Oppenheimer is an untested element here, and his last name makes it sounds like he invented the nuclear bomb, but he’s certainly not lacking for experience. At least, he’s got nearly 650 episodes of a morning news/entertainment show under his belt, and that can’t be the easiest program to pull off. Still, it will be interesting to see how far this project goes down the field. Or if MGM thinks it’s making a movie, but is really starting World War III.

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MOD, or manufacturing on demand, means a DVD isn’t pressed until you order it. MGM’s Limited Edition Collection is a relative newcomer to the game, but their enthusiasm has already put them at the forefront of this new distribution effort to make currently unreleased titles available for your viewing pleasure. Every month The MOD Quad will list a recent batch of releases and highlight four of them in detail. (Eric “Quint” Vespe is doing a more thorough job over at Ain’t It Cool News so be sure to check out his Vault Dweller column as well.) May’s highlights include the excellent Burn Witch Burn, the far less so Blood Bath, the fantastic character piece Harry In Your Pocket, and the implausibly cast Keaton’s Cop. (Yes, May. I’m clearly still playing catch up…) Click on the DVD cover to purchase from Amazon.

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Now that MGM has enough money to keep the coffeemaker on, they’re investing in some interesting properties. The latest on that list is an adaptation of “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists” which will, sadly, not be a sequel to David Fincher’s The Game. The falsely controversial book by Neil Strauss infiltrated a collective of bros who work constantly to perfect the art of treating women badly in bars so they’ll go home and get naked with them in a hot tub. The book garnered critical acclaim and spun Strauss’s teacher Mystery into a reality television star as the host and guru of his own show. No word yet on how much product placement Axe body spay will buy, but The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that MGM has already tapped Brian Koppelman and David Levien to rewrite the current script and direct. The team who wrote Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen, and The Girlfriend Experience directed their first second feature in 2009 with Solitary Man starring Michael Douglas. Who also starred in The Game. Are we sure this isn’t a sequel?

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Film studios have recently discovered a way to inject new life into their back catalogs without the need to spend money on marketing, retail shelf space, or overstock storage. MOD, or manufacturing on demand, means they don’t press the DVD until you order it. MGM’s Limited Edition Collection is a relative newcomer to the game, but their enthusiasm has already put them at the forefront of this new distribution effort to make currently unreleased titles available for your viewing pleasure. Every month The MOD Quad will list a recent batch of releases and highlight four of them in detail. (Eric “Quint” Vespe is doing a more thorough job over at Ain’t It Cool News (where does he find the time?! does he not need to sleep?!) so be sure to check out his Vault Dweller column as well.) April’s highlights include The Happy Thieves, The Destructors, Old Dracula, and one of my dad’s favorites, Defiance. (The first couple installments of The Mod Quad will be playing catch-up as the DVDs arrived late, but we’ll settle into a monthly routine soon enough.)

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If there was an official casting announcement naming Megan Fox as MGM’s pick to play the blood-covered lead in Carrie, there might be something to get upset about. After all, it’s difficult to imagine the kind of top-rate work that would have to be done just to make her look like a homely outcast (Sissy Spacek didn’t look like a porn star for the role), not to mention the vapid air that counts for Fox’s delivery. However, since an inside source is claiming she wants to get more serious as an actor and make Carrie part of that plan, it’s fun to brainstorm how that might be possible. What would it take to make Megan Fox rock that role? It’s not worth getting worked up over though as some are prone to do. The official rumor, according to Bloody Disgusting, is that Fox is aiming for the role as a big fan of the original film and as a big fan of being paid money for talking and walking while being filmed. No word yet on what sticky, pig-based substances she likes to be covered in while earning that check. This is just a public service announcement for anyone who just turned as red as a bucket to remember that actors talk about wanting roles all the time. Usually when they have to talk this publicly about that desire, they’re looking at long odds. On the other hand, it’s harmless fun to imagine her in the role. Just make sure […]

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