Unnecessary Remakes

We can complain all we want, rationalize, or hope for the best, but the easiest way to stop the remake assault that studios have foisted upon audiences is not to pay for it. The studio system still hasn’t found a silver bullet for killing the monster of low attendance, and 2011 might have been the worst wake-up call they could get. Movie attendance fell by 4.4% from 2010, down to the lowest level since 1995. The problematic silver lining is that foreign sales are higher, which could result in even more broadly-appealing (and “appealing” is used generously here) movies that are generic and treat dialogue like a second-class citizen. On the losing side of the field (the one where producers aren’t having Gatorade dumped on them), are the remakes of 2011. Remakes are thought to be attractive because they come with built-in name recognition for audiences, and development has already been partially done for a story that’s already proven itself as a money-maker. For fans, they’re also infuriating because they signal both a lack of creativity coming out of an industry built on it and the potential (likely) bastardization of something we hold dear (and, yes, of course the original is still out there; it’s the principle of the thing). So it may come as pleasant news for some to see that remakes, regardless of their quality of genre, failed spectacularly at the box office this year. It’s the kind of thing that may just deter producers from trying to […]

read more...

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.

read more...

It’s not actually shot-for-shot, but see if you can spot all of the exact replications of scenes, moments, and Drivers-License-to-chin-flipping-action that Footloose stole directly from Footloose. Write them in the comments section, and we may find prizes for people or something. As a hint, there are at least 15 similarities. This is definitely not helping my optimistic argument to give remakes a chance. You can’t just shove Stomp the Yard and Step Up into Footloose, call it Footloose, and call it a day creatively. Which of things is just like the other?

read more...

The recent revelation that Chris Columbus will be producing a US-based, English-language remake of Troll Hunter was met with everything from mild irritation to outright derision. A typical report of the news included 1) a statement that the original is great/awesome 2) a question of whether this really needed a remake 3) a comment that Hollywood was craven and unoriginal and, for a select few pieces, 4) swear words. My own take was fairly neutral (much like my reaction to Andre Ovredal‘s film), which prompted at least half an email asking me why I was giving this one a pass after years of making up clever insults at the expense of anyone attempting a remake. After some soul-searching, it was clear that I had either made peace with the recent glut of remakes or been beaten into submission by it. Either way, I’m tired of complaining about remakes, and here’s why.

read more...

There are plenty of foreign films that might deserve a US remake – both to shift their stories into a more direct cultural context and to draw attention to the original; Big Man Japan is the last on that list. The movie focuses on a man who inherited the job of defending the country against giant monsters from his father, but who can’t get his own life together. When called upon, he uses electricity to grow to unbelievable size, awkwardly fight whatever sick menace is knocking over buildings, and then return to his crummy life. It’s dry, sardonic, insane during the fight scenes, and more than a little boring when fists aren’t flying with slapstick precision. The subject matter is so directly linked to a cultural convention of Japan (and Japanese filmmaking) that it makes zero sense to remake it here. It’s more tone deaf than any other foreign remake that’s come out in the last ten years. Still, Variety is reporting that Clash of the Titans writers Phil Hay and Matt Mandredi will be writing a US version for Columbia and Original Pictures. There’s the off chance that something as crazy as this could yield epic genre results, but it seems a lot like writing a satire on consumer culture for a remote tribe in South America. Sure, a giant guy fighting giant monsters is wackysillymadcap, but will there be anything else to it?

read more...

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 […]

read more...

This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with stuntman legend Vic Armstrong (who brought to life Indiana Jones, Superman and James Bond). We also chat with camera operator/cinematographer Peter Simonite (Skateland, Tree of Life), and we dig deeper into the monster-making world of effects master Shannon Shea. Plus, Matt Razak from Flixist spars off with Mike Smith from Examiner.com for our Movie News Pop Quiz, and we all learn an important lesson. By that, I mean a lesson about re-imaginings, reboots and re-re-re-makes. Listen Here: Download This Episode

read more...

Culture Warrior

Somewhere hidden away in the mid-1990s, there’s a young man reading a “Star Log” in his bedroom foaming at the mouth at the words on the glossy magazine page. There they are. The words “Watchmen” and “Terry Gilliam” right next to each other like a pair of star cross’d lovers finally exchanging vows. The iconic comic books that he grew up reading are finally going to be seen on the living, breathing, bloody brilliant big screen. Then it doesn’t happen. There are a lot of reasons why it doesn’t happen (too many to dive into right now), but that young man is eternally disappointed when those words he once reveled in start to fade away. With the announcement that Universal has passed on Guillermo Del Toro’s At The Mountains of Madness, a lot of fans might be finding themselves in a similar position, and it’s not just Lovecraft devotees. It’s movie fans of all stripes who see this as another defeat of the auteur in service of the bottom line. Is it Universal’s fault? Sure. Much in the same way that everyone shares a little blame. It does, however, shine its silver lining as a spotlight on the disease of the studio system that’s been picked at and mulled over and puzzled for the past few years. Luckily, it also exposes the solution: Failure.

read more...

No, that headline isn’t from a random word generator. It’s all true. Three years before Lars von Trier took us all on the emotional, testicular roller coaster ride of Antichrist, he directed a comedy in which an IT company hires an actor to act as its president in order to get the company sold. Wacky Danish hijinks most likely ensued. Now, according to The Wrap, Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz is planning to remake Direktoren For Det Hele for English-speaking hijinks lovers. The Boss of it All will feature a boss who blames all his bad news on a fictional higher-up, which works well for his employees, but when a new owner takes over and wants to meet this higher-up, an actor has to be brought in. It sounds adequately sit-com-like for Hurwitz, who is set to direct the script from newcomer Emma Forrest. Hopefully von Trier will be on set everyday to obstruct.

read more...

Jumping out of windows! Smashing cars into other cars! Slowly walking away from a devastating explosion while putting on designer sunglasses! Jason Statham steadfastly refuses to make a different film, which is bullet-based music to the ears of some fans. With the new trailer for the Mechanic remake, Statham proves he can do the thing everyone on the planet knows he can do – play a bad ass with a gun and a score to settle. Still, without the mustache, he’s only operating at 34% Bronson. It’s red-band, so enter in your date of birth and enjoy the ka-booms:

read more...

The Akira remake news train is going to keep plowing forward – so far speeding over Zac Efron, the potential audience and now veteran actor Morgan Freeman. Freeman is rumored to be circling around the role of the Colonel – a vital component in the story. He’s the closest thing to a father figure the plot has, and he does experiments on a young man that result in turning him into a giant globular monster. Warning: if you don’t like hearing negative things about Morgan Freeman, do not read on.

read more...

Before you throw your computer at your television and yell, “Aww, hell naw!” take a moment to ponder the existence of an Old Boy remake/new manga adaptation that doesn’t at all, in any way, star Will Smith. Seriously. That equipment is expensive. Calm down. Even without Will Smith, the prospect of a remake isn’t a pleasant one, so keep your fingers crossed that this remains a rumor. Pajiba has the inside scoop that I Am Legend writer Mark Protosevich’s pass at a script is into the studio, they like it, and that Mandate is attempting to get Spielberg back on board. If this is true, and if they can’t get Spielberg, the secondary rumor is that they’ll try to put the hammer in Danny Boyle’s hands. Boyle might be a strong choice, even if Spielberg doesn’t shy away from violence the way people seem to think he does. Either way, while this all shakes out, I’ll be watching Chan-wook Park’s version on the television I didn’t destroy earlier.

read more...

The ups and downs of getting a new version of Akira to the big screen have felt a lot like a rollercoaster (pardon the cliche), and like any rollercoaster, here’s the part where we all throw up at the end. First it was Leonardo DiCaprio taking the lead role as Kaneda, and that died on the vine. Then we learned that the Hughes Brothers would be directing, it would be PG-13, and that the Hughes Brothers wouldn’t be involved in a pre-planned sequel. Now, it looks like the live-action version of the cult 1988 anime classic might be packed with Zac. Efron has been offered the lead role according to Bloody Disgusting, and there’s just no way to spin this positively. The whole project seems like a crew attempting to cash in instead of treating the source material with any love or relevance. Efron might have the role inside of him, but it hasn’t come out on screen so far, and his acting is usually bland. Does he have it in him to stop a young girl from getting raped? Or to stop fake-tanning long enough to live in the seedy, drug-infested world that this demands?

read more...

Fantastic Voyage is going to be huge. There’s no word yet on whether James Cameron is building a special ship to go inside the human body for production design research, but the promise of a massive budget should take the 1966 sci-fi flick into the big leagues of action not seen since the “Disney Body Wars” attraction. In order to deliver that, Cameron apparently wants Clash of the Titans director Louis Leterrier to take the reigns on the project – which is all but ready to roll in 2011 with a near-finished script (from Armageddon and Alien vs Predator: Requiem writer Shane Salerno) and heavy design work from Cameron’s Avatar team. Instead of calling up the production designers on Honey I Shrunk the Kids, they’ll be going totally CGI once the team is inside the body. That prospect means that instead of re-casting Raquel Welch’s role, the least they could do is spend the money to digitally drop the younger version of her into the new movie. If they refuse, they should cast Christina Hendricks. [Deadline Tampa]

read more...

Last week, we reported the strange rumor that Mark Wahlberg had been offered the lead role in the reboot/remake/re-prequel of The Crow. It was an odd choice considering the legacy of the film, but during an interview with Mania (via Aint It Cool), director Stephen Norrington claimed that he supported the offer, “if they take a gritty blue-collar approach.” Unfortunately, he means “they” because just moments before in the conversation, he revealed that he wouldn’t be involved. An unnamed star was attached to the project who dictated a re-write on the Norrington/Nick Cave script, and since Norrington signed on as a writer/director (with all the power that comes with), he exited the project (seemingly without much bombast). So the question now becomes: who will direct this thing after a year and a half of Norrington development?

read more...

There’s a gun slingin’, Johnny Cash song usin’, eye patch wearin’ new trailer for True Grit out today, and it looks like the Coen’s have crafted another beautiful lookin’ film. We’ll have to wait to see the film to judge it on its own merits (and not just two minutes of clips), but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Plus, check out the 2:11 mark for a guest appearance by Mary Poppins.

read more...

Beautiful women with weapons is becoming the next hot trend in Hollywood to the objection of absolutely no one. Helen Mirren wields a massive machine gun in Red, and now we can see Mary Elizabeth Winstead blasting a flame thrower in the recently released pictures from The Thing. Plus, there are plenty of male stars wielding flamethrowers, science being done, more flamethrowers, a ton of snow, and the added bonus of flamethrowers. Check out the gallery after the jump.

read more...

Before the deep inhale of air and rage that comes with the announcement of a remake – especially something as untouchable and classic as Harakiri (Seppuku if you’re nasty) – it’s important to point out that Takashi Miike is at the helm, and Miike is responsible for bringing Ichi the Killer, Gozu, and Audition into the world. The man is a living legend, and it might just be fascinating to see him tackle Kobayashi’s immortal tale of revenge in feudal Japan that saw a father avenging the forced harakiri suicide of his son. It actually sounds right up Miike’s dark alley. Plus, it’ll be in 3D, so audiences can have the suicide right up in their face. According to Variety, filming begins this October, and the movie should be out next year. Even if it’s a remake, Miike making another film is always good news.

read more...

It seems like there’s no reason to remake My Fair Lady, but if there’s going to eventually be a re-telling of the rags to vocal riches story, then it might as well feature Carey Mulligan. The casting is far from being a done deal, but the actress recently expressed interest in the project and praised the script written by Emma Thompson. Mulligan proved her singing abilities by appearing on a track by Belle and Sebastian, but the remake project – now in the hands of Shakespeare in Love director and part-time football commentator John Madden – won’t be happening anytime soon. At least not this year. In other words, it gives the audience a chance to see the original at least one and a half times before production starts. [Worst Previews]

read more...

Movie-savvy audiences might be in for a surprise soon. I’ve spoken with several trusted sources who have seen the film, and who can articulate their opinions without grunting, and they’ve unanimously praised Let Me In. While the original is aching and beautiful and heart-warmingly cold, the American remake might do what horror remakes struggle to do: be worth it. The positive praise comes with something else today. A new, glorious poster is online and ready to be loved. Just try not to step in the blood:

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Comic-Con 2014
Summer Box Office Prediction Challenge
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3