Remakes

Endless Love Movies

Because nobody, absolutely nobody, even in this day and age is immune to the dulcet tones of an expertly tuned snyth or a finely-wielded keytar, two of the 1980s cheesiest offerings in the romance department are getting the remake treatment this week. Or three if you consider the stirringly deep enchantment of RoboCop. Endless Love and About Last Night, two films known for their immense subtlety and timeless love stories (Just kidding! It’s teen sex and voluminous bangs!), are being brought to the modern age because today’s youth needs to know: why is forbidden love so much sweeter when it also has the same name as a Lionel Richie song? and does navigating singlehood get any easier if you add Kevin Hart to the mix?

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Philip Seymour Hoffman - Almost Famous

It’s only natural that we discuss Philip Seymour Hoffman and the powerful work he left behind this week. We’ll also take the opportunity to think on other outstanding acting talents that we can be thankful for and celebrate some of our favorite Hoffman roles. Plus, FILM CRITIC HULK joins us to debate our movie fan baggage about remakes on the precipice of a new RoboCop, and Film.com‘s Will Goss drops by to play a thrilling round of Infinity Questions. You should follow FILM CRIT HULK (@FILMCRITHULK), Will (@williambgoss), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #48 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Blue is the Warmest Color

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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The Shining Triplets

On this week’s show, we launch a new feature called Convince Me, and in our inaugural edition, Geoff tries to convince me that The Shining deserves a remake (or re-adaptation if you’re nasty). We tie all of that up nicely with a pink bow by discussing the Torrance family conspiracy doc Room 237 with Nonfics editor-in-chief Chris Campbell (who also tells us a bit about the brand new site and how he plans to convert more people into documentary lovers). So come play with us. You should follow Chris (@thefilmcynic), Katy Perry (@katyperry),the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #35 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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ben-hur-image

The story of Ben-Hur has a long history of success. It started off as an 1880 novel by Lew Wallace called “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ,” which was so popular upon its release that it trailed only the bible in sales up until “Gone With the Wind” came along and usurped it. It was then adapted into a film, called simply Ben-Hur, by William Wyler in 1959. That film starred Charlton Heston, it won 11 Academy Awards, and it has been pretty continuously watched by every new generation that’s come along since its release. If there’s one thing the story of Ben-Hur probably isn’t though, it’s hip, so MGM has plans to remake it with modern actors and a more modern touch. The plan started out when the studio bought a spec script by Keith Clark (The Way Back) that offers up a new adaptation of the classic tale of a Jewish prince sold into slavery, so the logical next step toward making this new Ben-Hur a reality seems to be finding a director. Who would be a safe bet when it comes to retelling such a beloved, epic tale? Maybe someone like Peter Jackson, who did a good job handling epic scope and sacred material with the Lord of the Rings movies? Maybe someone like Darren Aronofsky, who just got done making a biblical epic with Noah and is probably still in the zone? Nope. Turns out they’re looking at the guy who directed Wanted.

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Iron Man 2 Novel

Three things have happened this month that really solidify our culture of cannibalizing art in one form and spitting it out into another. First, Connie Britton announced that Peter Berg had given her the finished script for a Friday Night Lights movie. Another one. That means that in its life as a story, a real life situation spawned a book which became a movie which became a TV show which could potentially become a movie again. That Berg is involved at every step only adds to the confusion, but the ultimate take-away here is just how malleable pieces of art are. So malleable that they can be squeezed into a different medium within a certain boundary of practicality (“Friday Night Lights: The Painting” seems like a stretch). This one story now exists in several different forms. Second, Patrick Healy over at the New York Times shrewdly broke down why Hollywood studios are turning their most iconic pictures into Broadway productions. Third, director David Lowery and company announced a graphic novel version of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. That’s more of a surprising cherry on top than a complete culture-defining sundae (the most delicious kind), but it’s at least a little bit funny that an intimate Sundance drama is getting its own comic book. More and more it feels like everything’s adapted.

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gremlins

So, there’s no way to ignore the fact that this bit of news is going to make a lot of people unhappy. As much as movie nerds like to pretend that they’re the sort of folks who are always looking for new voices and new ideas, like anyone else, we’re really just the sorts of little greed monsters who want to keep getting more of the stuff we like. That’s why film geeks have been calling for a third film in legendary director Joe Dante’s Gremlins series for years. Unfortunately for those who’ve been beating the Dante drum all this time, today the news broke that a Gremlins 3 isn’t likely going to ever happen. There has been a development for the property that’s either going to play like a consolation prize or a slap in the face though, depending on your perspective.

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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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Maniac Header

The lethargy inherent in being in between two of the biggest holidays of the year has made this week kind of a dead zone for movie news, but a couple of studios have still been throwing us bones by delivering extended previews of what they’ve got coming up in the next year. Just yesterday we were treated to the first four minutes of zombie comedy Warm Bodies, and today Warner Bros. is upping the ante by bringing us the first six minutes of their upcoming Maniac remake. Six minutes! That’s two more than yesterday. At this rate, tomorrow we may get to see the first eight minutes of something. And then, eventually, entire movies will get released without us having to pay for them at all. What a world.

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Silent Night Trailer

Remember that ’80s era slasher flick, Silent Night, Deadly Night? It’s back! In remake form. Or, maybe not exactly in remake form. It seems like it’s also possible to look at this film as being a loose sequel to the original as well as being a remake, kind of like The Evil Dead and The Evil Dead 2. Either way, when you hear the words “horror movie” and “Silent Night” in the same sentence, you know what to expect: a murderous Santa taking out the townsfolk with an axe. Or, to be more accurate to this trailer, a murderous Santa taking out the townsfolk with an axe, a cattle prod, a wood chipper, and a flame-thrower. Sure, it’s not likely that Silent Night is going to be anything other than exploitative schlock, but seeing as Jaime King makes for a lovely leading lady, Malcolm McDowell is getting the chance to overact, and Donal freakin’ Logue is playing the super-creepy Santa Clause, it’s not likely that it will disappoint anyone who’s just looking for a Christmas movie about people getting killed. And, deep down, aren’t we all just looking for a Christmas movie about people getting killed?

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Boiling Point

There has been a constant war against sequels, prequels, and remakes for a decade now, one draped in the flag of “Originality.” There are no original films anymore, they say, as everything is in someway derivative of something. Indeed, when looking at the top ten films of 2012 thus far, only two (Ted and Brave) can really be called original, while everything else is either a sequel or an adaptation of something else.  Taken 2, despite being a bland affair according to Mr. Hunter, opened strongly at the box office pulling in $50m. Then again, the Disney remake of a short, Frankenweenie, stumbled and was seen, undeservingly, by only a small audience. Despite that stumble it’s pretty safe to say that revisiting properties is still strongly in vogue and probably will be for some quite some time – but is that really a bad thing?

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For our 150th episode, we decided to go back to the first show’s conversations, and we discovered something mildly depressing: that the discussions are pretty much the same. In 2012, we’re still talking about the topics of 2009; Transformers (a fourth is on the way), G.I. Joe (a delayed sequel is coming), Avatar (a dozen follow-ups will keep James Cameron busy until he retires), Marvel flicks (which have dominated) and remakes (which have not). Good thing we changed the format of the show a while back. Beyond the great repetition, reviewing the news from 3 years ago reveals a lot about the state of modern filmmaking through the lens of hindsight. Werner Herzog is a highlight, and revisiting the releases (Drag Me To Hell and Up) gives us an idea of what might actually endure. On this week’s show, we re-form the team from that pilot episode – site publisher Neil Miller and associate editor Rob Hunter – to dip ourselves in the cool waters of nostalgia and try to figure out what, if anything, is different about the movie-making landscape after 150 shows. Download Episode #150

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According to Deadline Hollywood and The Los Angeles Times, there are two new foreign films set for English-language remakes, and it’s no surprise that they’re both thrillers. That seems to be a genre of choice for this brand of remaking (maybe because of their high concept, fan-pleasing nature). As Jee-woon Kim makes his English-language debut with The Last Stand, the director will see Allen Hughes take on a remake of his 2005 A Bittersweet Life – the story of a mobster assigned to find out if a mob boss’ mistress is cheating who, of course, becomes taken with her charms. The second thriller from overseas to land in the remake trap is the Icelandic Jar City from 2006. The film, which has a murder unraveling a bunch of secrets and a police detective who’s too old for that shit, will be made by Game of Thrones director Brian Kirk. Both movies are excellent examples of genre work, so it will be interesting to see if either of these filmmakers will be able to make something comparable. And if A Bittersweet Life: American Style is a hit, does that open the door to remakes of I Saw the Devil or, shudder, The Good, The Bad, The Weird?

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Boiling Point

As with any movie that people can actively remember that gets remade, there has been plenty of poo-pooing of the recently underway RoboCop reboot. The 1987 classic from Paul Verhoeven set the standard for violence and gave us a kick ass super-cop who didn’t mind shooting right after asking you to surrender. I get it – there are plenty of films that shouldn’t be remade – true classics. Films like Casablanca or Gone With the Wind. I don’t think anyone is looking for another take on Schindler’s List or Amistad either. I was a big RoboCop fan. Because my parents were cool, I saw this movie when I was only like five years old. There’s still a Polaroid picture of me standing with a dude in a RoboCop costume somewhere from some neat event. I dug Robocop and remaking it is the right call. Say what?

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Despite the fact that we’re no longer in a cold war that’s creating easily exploitable cold war paranoia, Hollywood has decided to reboot one of the greatest cold war paranoia films of all time, Red Dawn. Sure, the story of a foreign menace invading U.S. soil isn’t likely to resonate with audiences as much in 2012 as it did in 1984 (especially seeing as film audiences are now more global), but at least it gives us a chance to watch things blow up real good. And, if the first trailer for the reboot assures us of anything, it’s that this new Red Dawn is going to have lots of explosions. If you’re noticing that the film’s stars, like Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, are looking a little younger than they did the last time you saw them play Thor and Peeta, that’s because Red Dawn has been sitting on the shelf for a little while due to the MGM bankruptcy and some nasty business where the bad guys were digitally changed from being Chinese to North Korean (once again, global audience). What the delay of the release doesn’t explain though, is why the action of the trailer is set to a Filter song, as this thing has only been shelved for a couple of years, not since the late ’90s.

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When you take all of the distaste for remakes and reboots that’s out there and add it with the love that people have for Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film RoboCop, it adds up to a situation where not very many people are looking forward to José Padilha’s upcoming re-do of the material. And yet, with every casting announcement that this new RoboCop makes, it’s becoming harder and harder to not be at least a little excited about its possibilities. First off, Padilha cast an on-the-rise young actor who’s done nothing but impress so far named Joel Kinnaman in the title role. Then he systematically surrounded his star with supporting names that everyone loves, like Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Laurie, Abbie Cornish, Jay Baruchel, and Jackie Earle Haley. It would be hard to sneeze at that cast no matter what they were being assembled for, but get them all together for a post-apocalyptic tale of robot cops versus violent street gangs and evil corporations, and it’s not too difficult to start forgetting how much you dislike all of the remakes going on in Hollywood. I don’t know how they get ya, but that’s how they get ya.

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Taking teenage infatuation to the big screen is nothing new (let’s take a minute to consider every incarnation of Romeo & Juliet we’ve ever been subjected to), so the news that Universal is planning on remaking Franco Zeffirelli‘s 1981 schlockfest, Endless Love, is perhaps the least shocking thing we’ll hear about all day. What is a bit surprising, however, is the news of who the studio is planning to tap to direct the project. Variety reports (via Cinema Blend) that Country Strong director Shana Feste is in talks for the project. As Cinema Blend notes, “as Country Strong made little more than its budget back at the box office and was widely panned by critics, it’s surprising Feste is getting a second chance to helm another picture so soon, especially considering how statistics don’t favor female filmmakers rebounding from flops.” Also, Feste is apparently the sort of director who thinks that Gwyneth Paltrow makes for good country croonin’, so who knows what she’ll cook up for her new Endless Love. This new film’s script has been penned by Josh Safran, but it’s currently”not known how faithful the adaptation will be, as Universal is keeping plot details under wraps.” Safran is best known for writing and producing Gossip Girl and producing Smash, so it seems likely that his take on Love will feature a lot of headbands and big musical numbers, which actually sounds sort of amazing, because Endless Love is like, really bad.

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Not content to deliver the same kind of movie as REC and REC 2, Paco Plaza has crawled way out onto a blood-covered limb to turn the third installment, REC 3: Genesis, into a romantic horror comedy set at a wedding. There are still some jaw-ripping practical effects and zombie scares aplenty, but the tone is purposefully meant to deny audience’s their expectations.The gamble is one that might alienate fans. This week on Reject Radio Horror Chit Chat, we speak with the director about the risk in making something beyond expectations (and how he plans on getting killed quickly when the zombie apocalypse goes down). Plus, we get into a thorough discussion about remakes with our old friend Scott Weinberg. Download Episode #143

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Casting for Jose Padilha’s upcoming reboot of the RoboCop franchise seems to be coming along swimmingly. First he landed up-and-coming The Killing actor Joel Kinnaman to come on board as the main character, Alex Murphy, who starts off as a normal police office and then gets blown away by a bunch of bad guys, resulting in his transformation into a robotic cop. Then he really swung for the fences and got Gary Oldman to agree to come on board as a morally conflicted scientist, the only person in the film who foresees the eventual complications that might come from resurrecting dead people and turning them into robots. The latest bit of casting news might be the biggest of all, however, given the recent world-beating success of The Avengers. Heat Vision is reporting that Jedi Knight, head of SHIELD, and longtime badass Samuel L. Jackson has joined the cast as well. He’ll be playing a character named Pat Novak, who’s said to be a charismatic television mogul. There’s not yet much information out there about how closely Padilha’s remake will resemble Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 version of RoboCop, but seeing as this is a property that naturally lends itself to social criticism, one can assume that Jackson’s character will be used to skewer the greed and irresponsibility of modern media.

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Gary Oldman Fifth Element

If you think about it, the Robocop remake actually has a lot going for it. Other than the baggage of being a remake. Director Jose Padilha has a successful action franchise in Elite Squad under his belt; co-writer James Vanderbilt wrote The Rundown, Zodiac and The Losers. co-writer Nick Schenk wrote Gran Torino; star Joel Kinnaman was fantastic in Snabba Cash/Easy Money and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s got some great names involved. Rising talent. But, you know, who needs a remake of Robocop? According to The Hollywood Reporter, an actor just made it even more interesting. Gary Oldman is joining the movie as the scientist who wrestles with his own sense of ethics when he finds himself in the middle of a big corporation’s needs and a former human’s humanity. There’s no denying the gravitas and intensity that Oldman brings to the project. It was already interesting, but it just got interesting.

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