Murder on the Orient Express

The Naked Gun

Twenty-five years later, another funnyman with not-as-beautiful white hair is stepping into Leslie Nielsen‘s shoes to reboot the Naked Gun franchise. Ed Helms will become the next Detective Frank Drebin in a new script conjured up from the minds of Thomas Lennon and R. Ben Garant. If you ignore this summer’s atrocious Hell Baby, they’re the highly talented writing duo behind Reno 911! and Night at the Museum. Garant and Lennon have been tapped to tackle the franchise with a new spin on the detective, which is probably good news considering the enormity of what they have to live up to with this project. Nielsen was Drebin, and to make this a straight redo would be a large misstep; no matter what Helms does with the role, people are going to see the cracks in the character and remember what they loved about the original. The Naked Gun franchise was a peculiar, particular brand of spoof comedy that many writers have attempted since, but have not succeeded in replicating. The creative trio of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker made something unique — a blend of deadpan delivery, cheap laughs and clever lines that melded together into an absurd, perfect mess. Garant and Lennon are gifted writers, but they have to replicate, or at least pay homage to, a certain type of comedy that is not easy to create.

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Legendary American filmmaker Sidney Lumet passed away today of lymphoma at the age of 86. Lumet has had a long and distinguished career directing films and television. Perhaps what’s most remarkable about Lumet’s filmography is that he made good movies in nearly every single decade that he worked, and the time between his first film and his last film was exactly fifty years (1957-2007). Lumet, in short, embodied American film history from the 1950s to now. Lumet started out as a child actor on Broadway. After returning from service in WWII, he started directing television programs like Playhouse 90 and Studio One, before making a television version of the play 12 Angry Men before turning it into his first feature film in 1957. Much of Lumet’s career can perhaps be characterized as a series of firsts. For example, his film The Pawnbroker (1964) was the first studio film to seriously deal with traumatic memories of the Holocaust and with Jewish guilt, as well as the first to have significant frontal nudity. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) was one of the first studio films with an open homosexual as its main character. Lumet was known for challenging censorship and pushing boundaries throughout much of his career.

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