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Archive: September 2000

Reviews: "Titans", "Meet the Parents," "Way of the Gun"
  >> Remember the Titans (Grade: F) — Denzel Washington wastes his talent on a cliche-ridden football drama. Reviewed by Brian Orndorf.

>> Meet the Parents (Grade: B+) — Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller pull wackiness from in-law angst. Reviewed by Brian Orndorf.

>> The Way of the Gun (Grade: B-) — The Oscar-winning writer of "The Usual Suspects" moves behind the camera and delivers an entertaining Tarantino knock-off with his directorial debut. Reviewed by Sean Weitner and courtesy Flak Magazine.
Posted: 9/30/00

Filmfodder Diversions: Jar Jar, Steven Seagal, Ferris Bueller
meesa lamea  
© 1999 Lucasfilms  
Jar Jar Binks: The E! True Hollywood Story: From "Troops" to the fake "Episode II" trailer, "Star Wars" has inspired greatness in fan-made films. The latest entry into this burgeoning industry is "Jar Jar Binks: The E! True Hollywood Story". This 11-minute mocumentary documents the rise and inevitable fall of "Episode I's" most hated character.

The movie is available at iFilm in a variety of formats. Additionally, Film Threat has an interview with the Jar Jar creative team that's almost as entertaining as the movie itself. And finally, if you want all the information you can possibly gather on this production, visit the official site. How's that for thorough?

Steven Seagal's Official Site: Desperate? Searching for meaning in this cruel, heartless world? Find solace in the wit and wisdom of Steven Seagal. The akido master, and part-time movie star, expounds on his unique world view. Here's a tidbit from Seagal's "Akido Biography": "One of the most important things in these degenerative times is to be able to have the humility in your heart to be able to look up to the masters who taught us." Well said, sensei, but it doesn't excuse "Fire Down Below."

Script from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off":
Pardon my French but you're an asshole!
Some believe "The Breakfast Club" to be the pinnacle of John Hughes' career, but I contend that "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is his finest project. How can I defend such a comment? Behold Exhibit A: the "Bueller" script. Travel back to the wondrous days of 1986 and relive the adventures of Ferris, Sloane, Cameron, and the perpetually anal Mr. Rooney. Thanks to Jim for the link.
Posted: 9/29/00

Next Batman Not Married to Jennifer Aniston
  The Batman franchise just got a shot in the arm (or wing, if you prefer Bat cliches). Darren Aronofsky, the recently-hired director of "Batman: Year One" has put the kibosh on rumors saying that Brad Pitt will be the next Dark Knight. Those evil, nasty rumors started when Aronofsky and Pitt were seen tooling around L.A. together (in the Batmobile?), but the director tells TV Guide that he and Mr. Jennifer Aniston never discussed anything bat-related; their conversation focused solely on the sci-fi movie Aronofsky is writing. With Pitt out of the picture, the lead role is completely up for grabs, but one thing to consider is that the Batman in "Batman: Year One" is much younger than the crimefighter we've watched in the first four movies. It's possible that an unknown will be the next person to strap on the latex. Further information on Pitt's non-involvement is available at Movies.com.

Related Stuff: All of our "Batman" news is available on the Spotlight Page and you can talk about the upcoming movie, or the state of the franchise, in the Forum.
Posted: 9/29/00

Nepotism Runs Rampant on "Tomb Raider" Set
  Jon Voight is all about challenge. With understated roles in top-tier movies like "Anaconda" and "Varsity Blues" he's proven, time and time again, that he's a master of his craft. But Voight, never one to rest on his laurels, has set his sites on something far more difficult—something that will test the limits of his ability, both as an actor and a father.

Okay, enough with that nonsense. Coming Attractions and Movies.com are both reporting that Voight has joined the "Tomb Raider" cast as Lara Croft's father, Lord Croft. This will be the first time Voight and his Oscar-winning spawn, Angelina Jolie, will work together, thereby making it a mildly notable news item. His casting also begs the question: Is this a slick move by the producers or a desperate cover for a bad movie? This question will be answered when "Tomb Raider" arrives in theatres next summer.
Posted: 9/29/00

Obnoxious Pre-Movie Ads Spreading Like Venereal Disease
  Horrible news has arrived via Boston.com. Your $9 movie ticket will now include three to four advertisements before the film. Many people have already experienced this lame marketing technique, but holdout theatre chains like National Amusements are traveling to the dark side to save their bottom line. Worse still, the ads being shown aren't even good ads. If these commercials were Superbowl-calibre, multi-million dollar epics, they might be accepted, but these are the same dismal monstrosities we see on the small screen. If I'm paying $8-$9 for a ticket I do NOT want to see a bunch of politically correct kids singing about Mac & Cheese.

Unfortunately, consumer complaints are going to fall on deaf ears because theatre operators are far more concerned with saving their businesses. As noted in the article many national movie chains are facing tough economic times. The drive to create giant theatres has placed most chains in a financial stranglehold, and the lackluster summer returns haven't helped matters. With bills mounting, owners are turning to alternative revenue streams, even ones that piss their patrons off. The only recourse moviegoers have is to brush up on their smart-assed comments, preparing to launch a scorched earth campaign of sarcasm whenever an ad appears on the big screen. We'll MST3K-'em to death!

To learn more about the state of the movie theatre industry, visit the Washington Post.
Posted: 9/28/00

Academy Creates Cartoon Oscar
  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to create a separate Oscar category for feature-length animated films. According to a blurb at the IMDb, the new category will only be activated if five or more animated films have been released in a year. If 8-15 cartoons come to theatres, three will be eligible for nomination. If 16 or more premiere, five will be in the running.

It's nice to see the Academy broadening its horizons, particularly since this new award will allow great films like "Toy Story 2" to be decorated, but this category opens a door to a disconcerting scenario. With Oscars on the line, Disney will be prompted to schedule theatrical releases for their popular direct-to-video animated sequels. Just imagine: "...And the Oscar for Best Animated Film goes to....'The Little Mermaid 3: Ariel's Revenge.'"
Posted: 9/28/00

"Survivor" Contestant Lands Coveted Role in Rob Schneider Movie
  Colleen Haskell's bid for C-list celebrity just got a boost. Casual "Survivor" watchers (myself included) know Haskell as "the cute one" or "the one with the nasty-ass bug bites," but now that she's signed on to star in a Rob Schneider movie, people everywhere will soon known her as "that 'Survivor' girl who sold herself to the Devil." Entertainment Weekly says that Haskell will star opposite Schneider in "Animal," a purported comedy in which Schneider plays a man whose internal organs have been replaced by animal versions. Mad-cap comedy ensues when Schneider begins acting like the different animals—running through traffic like a gazelle, burrowing like a mole, and, if we're lucky, tossing feces like a disgruntled chimp. "Animal" will be released next summer and Haskell's "Where Are They Now" special will air on E! six months later.
Posted: 9/28/00

DiCaprio Doubles Up for "Johnny Eck"
  Late night bar hopping and carousing with supermodels may sound like paradise, but the time comes when even the hardiest of party-boy actors must pause and ask himself: "When am I gonna settle down and play a circus freak?" For Leonardo DiCaprio, the time to settle has arrived.

Variety reports that DiCaprio has signed on to star in "Johnny Eck," a biopic based on the real lives of Robert and Johnny Eckhardt. DiCaprio will play both roles—a notable move because Robert was a man of normal size and appearance but Johnny was born without lower extremities (a picture is available here). The film will follow the brothers' unique relationship through the decades, paying particular attention to Johnny's career as a circus performer. In addition to his circus career, Johnny achieved moderate notoriety for his role in the 1932 film "Freaks."

Notoriety of an Oscar variety may be DiCaprio's reason for taking this role. Oscar voters love poignant stories of obstacle-ridden characters who beat the odds, and they really love those stories when they're based on real people.
Posted: 9/26/00

Weekly Question: Who are the best movie actors?
Who are the best male movie actors? Don't confuse this question with the most "successful" actors, because success doesn't necessarily equal talent. I'm more interested in knowing which current actors you think will be listed among "the great ones." Think Oscar winner. Think strong, compelling performances. Now that you've got the idea, cast your vote in the Forum.
Posted: 9/26/00

"Field of Dreams" Director Circles "Sum of All Fears"
good will this baby  
© 2000 Dimension Films  
When you haven't directed a major movie in eight years, risk takes a back seat to a steady paycheck. This statement might be the reason why Phil Alden Robinson, whose last film was 1992's "Sneakers," is close to signing on to helm "The Sum of All Fears." Based on Tom Clancy's novel, "Fears" will be the next chapter in the Jack Ryan saga, but unlike the last two Ryan movies, Harrison Ford won't be the star. As reported over the last couple months, the considerably younger Ben Affleck slid into the Ryan franchise after Ford passed on "Fears." The already-questionable production was dealt another blow when Phillip Noyce, director of "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger," said a scheduling conflict would prevent him from directing his third Ryan film (that conflict was probably a dentist appointment of a pee-wee soccer match). As it stands, the "Fears" production has a popular, but untested, lead and a director with a sparse filmography. Then again, Robinson coaxed a decent performance from Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams" so maybe he'll work miracles with Affleck. For more on Robinson's possible involvement, visit Variety.

Related stuff: Read up on our Jack Ryan news by visiting the Spotlight Page and talk about this production in the Forum.
Posted: 9/25/00

Digital Wizadry Unlocks "Episode II" Fight Scene
  Possible Spoiler For the last few months George Lucas has been posting ambiguous shots from the "Episode II" production on the official Star Wars site. While most have been mind-numbing teases that leave you wondering "Is that Boba Fett's arm or is that a halibut?", the latest picture may be more revealing then Czar Lucas would prefer. Aldera.net took the latest "Episode II Select" picture, which you can find here, and got funky with it in Photoshop, thereby revealing the possible combatants in a fight scene. Because I fear the backlash from the non-spoiler contingent, I'm going to quell my urge to spill the beans and simply point you toward the interesting digital results at Aldera.net. Note: This item was first published at IGN Movies, so give them all the credit for bringing it to the world's attention.

Related stuff: Keep up with all our exciting "Episode II" news by visiting the Spotlight Page and talk about the movie in the Forum.
Posted: 9/25/00

New Pics from "Hannibal", "Mummy Returns" Online
the red eye!  
© 2000 MGM  
The French version of Premiere is quickly becoming the best place to find great pictures from upcoming films. Earlier this month they featured a host of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" shots and now they've landed photos from "The Mummy Returns" and "Hannibal". The French captions probably say things about nasty Americans and stale baguettes, but even if you don't speak a lick of Frenchy you'll enjoy these crisp, clear images.

First up are shots from "Hannibal", the "Silence of the Lambs" sequel directed by Ridley Scott and starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore. In one shot, Scott appears to be introducing Hopkins to a grand piano. The full series of pictures is available here. "Hannibal" finished filming earlier this month and the film is scheduled to be released, fittingly, on February 14, 2001. Mmm, chocolate covered spleen tips...

The second batch of pics are from "The Mummy Returns", the sequel to the surprisingly good action-comedy "The Mummy". The most notable thing about these shots is that we get a clear look at the Scorpion King—a new villain played by WWF star The Rock. You can see The Rock in action, literally, in this picture and you'll find more stills from the film on this thumbnail page. "The Mummy Returns" premieres May 11, 2001.

Related stuff: Read all of our "Mummy Returns" news on the Spotlight Page and talk about "Mummy" stuff in the Forum.
Posted: 9/23/00

Filmfodder Diversions: "Ghostbusters", "Princess Bride", "Empire Strikes Back"
  >> The full "Ghostbusters" script: Be warned—reading this script at work could result in dismissal and/or criminal charges, especially if snarfing is involved. Filmfodder accepts no responsibility if you get canned. Thanks to Jim for the link.

>> "The Princess Bride" script: Finding the entire "Princess Bride" script online is inconceivable! Editor's Note: The previous exclamation is categorically false, but I needed to use the word "inconceivable" in this teaser. You'll be happy to know that the script is very much accessible and will provide you with ample fodder for a new signature file.

>> "The Bad Dudes Strike Back": If you've never seen "The Empire Strikes Back" or you can't remember the film due to a malady or drug experience, you can quickly fill in the galactic blanks by viewing a five-minute Flash cartoon titled "The Bad Dudes Strike Back". In addition to covering all the major plot points, the short film also features a light saber duel that'll bring a warm feeling to Playmobil collectors. If "The Bad Dudes Strike Back" leaves you hungering for more, check out the animation section of Theforce.net. Thanks to Kris for the link.
Posted: 9/22/00

Bat Makeover: Two "Batman" Projects in the Works
I left ER for this?  
© 1997 Warner Bros  
Two "Batman" projects are gathering steam at Warner Bros., and both have the potential to resurrect the ailing franchise. First up is Darren Aronofsky's "Batman: Year One". As reported earlier this month Aronofsky ("Pi") was hoping to nab the batty directing duties, but his chances looked dim because of competition from more established directors like Bryan Singer ("X-Men"). What landed Aronofsky the job is the dark tone of the next film—being an indie director, dark is something Aronofsky knows well. Based on the 1987 graphic novel series by Frank Miller, "Batman: Year One" follows a young Bruce Wayne in his first days as the Dark Knight. Oddly, this comic series has a noir feel, which is the same tone George Clooney said the movie franchise should move towards. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Speaking of Batman stars, the lead for "Batman: Year One" hasn't been cast, but the rumors about Brad Pitt taking the role appear to be false. Casting Pitt as a flying rodent is a fine idea, just not in a "Batman" movie.

For more background on "Batman: Year One" visit IGN Sci-fi and to read more about Aronofsky's hiring, check out an article at Variety.

As I said, there are two Batman projects in development, the second being a live-action take on the popular "Batman Beyond" animated series. Set in Gotham 40 years in the future, the story focuses on a high school kid named Terry McGinnis who becomes the new Batman after uncovering the true identity of the now-retired Bruce Wayne. The cartoon is visually impressive (check out the official site), so the live-action version will have a lot to live up to. Nonetheless, the storyline is a refreshing change and might play well with a wider demographic than the gothic "Batman: Year One".

Related stuff: Even though "Batman & Robin" was one of the worst movies in cinematic history, the next Batman will still be eagerly anticipated. You can contribute to the collective anticipation by reading all our Batman news on the Batman Spotlight Page and talking about the film in the Batman Forum.
Posted: 9/22/00

Civil Disobedience Resurrects "Nikita"
  Column: Filmfodder's resident "La Femme Nikita" expert, Eva Weber, pays homage to the die-hard fans who rescued "Nikita" from cancellation. Showcasing the same cunning and creativity that's prevalent in their favorite show, a worldwide contingent of campaigners plucked the series from the smoldering ashes of TV oblivion. Read Eva's column and see how it all came together.
Posted: 9/21/00

Maximus Indeed: "Gladiator" DVD Boasts Bountiful Goodies
© 2000 Dreamworks  
A rough history of DVD goodies starts with "The Matrix" moves to "Fight Club" and may very well leap into a whole new arena (or Colosseum) with the upcoming "Gladiator" disc. On November 21 Dreamworks will release a two-disc "Gladiator" set that includes 11 deleted scenes—eleven—commentary with director Ridley Scott, TV specials from HBO and TLC, and audio tracks in both Dolby and DTS. The audio is particularly enticing because "Gladiator" boasts some of the best sound ever put to film (see our movie review). The retail price for the set is $29.99 but Amazon is accepting preorders for $17.99.

Related stuff: Visit the "Gladiator" forum to talk about the movie or jump into the DVD forum to talk about the disc.
Posted: 9/20/00

John Cusack is a Lucky, Lucky Bastard
© 2000 Touchstone Pictures  
Hollywood insiders and voracious readers of People magazine are going to love this one. John Cusack, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Julia Roberts are each circling "America's Sweethearts," a movie about a married Hollywood couple who hate each other in private but ooze happiness in public. Movies.com says that Cusack and Zeta-Jones would play the married couple, while Roberts would play Zeta-Jones' sister and Cusack's other love interest. On a related note, John Cusack has been proclaimed, "Luckiest Bastard on the Face of God's Holy Green Earth" by a panel of distinguished experts. "Sweetheart's" co-screenwriter, Billy Crystal, may also sign on as an overworked publicist who tries to keep Cusack and Zeta-Jones together—at least until the couple's co-starring movie is released. The "popularity" of high-profile breakups like the recent Meg Ryan-Dennis Quaid debacle prove that an audience exists for a project like this, but Crystal and company will have to forgo insider cool for genuine wit if they hope to be accepted by more than Ted Casablanca's readership. Production on "America's Sweethearts" will probably begin early next year.
Posted: 9/20/00

The Golden Spike: Scorsese, Spielberg to Team on Railroad Epic
  Update: Movies.com reports that this film's title is "Into the Setting Sun".

The movie deal screenwriter Bill Wittliff ("The Perfect Storm") just landed is going to make him a marked man in screenwriting circles. Variety reports that Wittliff's as-yet-unwritten screenplay about the construction of the transcontinental railroad will be directed by Martin Scorsese and produced by Steven Spielberg. Set in the final days of the Wild West, this is the kind of sweeping epic that Oscar voters drool over. The Academy will have to curb its inclination to offer an immediate Best Picture nomination because production is still a ways off. The film's biggest hurdle will be scheduling—Scorsese is currently filming "Gangs of New York" and Spielberg is directing "A.I.". Toss into the mix that damn, dirty SAG strike everyone is talking about and you can see how a projected start date might be more than a year away.
Posted: 9/20/00

Weekly Question: Does the NC-17 Rating Work?
Years ago, the Motion Picture Association of America sought to dispel the stigma associated with X-rated movies by devising the NC-17 rating. This rating was supposed to separate legitimate, yet risque, films from their porn brethren. Has it worked? When you see that a movie is rated NC-17, what goes through your mind? Is there an alternative rating that would provide directors with legitimacy but also effectively categorize a "harder" movie? Voice your opinion in the Weekly Question Forum.
Posted: 9/20/00

Linda Hamilton's "T3" Future Hinges on Cameron's Involvement
  This curious item was buried in a "celebrity" blurb at the IMDb today, but it has significant implications for the third "Terminator" film. Linda Hamilton says that she will only involve herself with "T3" if her ex-husband, James "Ego" Cameron, is directing. From an amicable divorce standpoint this is a lovely idea, but there's little chance it'll happen because Cameron has disassociated himself from the project.

Related stuff: Keep up with all our "T3" news on the Spotlight Page and talk about the movie in the forum.
Posted: 9/19/00

Halle Berry to Unveil Assets in "Swordfish"
  Winning an Emmy usually means an actress won't have to resort to nudity, but recent winner Halle Berry has decided to go against the flashing flow with her role in the upcoming spy flick "Swordfish." USA Today says that Bridget Moynahan ("Coyote Ugly") was originally up for the leading lady role in "Swordfish", but Moynahan got shy when the role's nudity was revealed (so to speak). After Moynahan backed out, Berry signed on, thereby etching giant smiles on the faces of the producers because Berry's nekkidness will account for a few million in ticket sales all by itself.

The nudity in "Swordfish" will probably be of a gratuitous nature because the plot doesn't appear to hinge on nipple shots. The story goes something like this: John Travolta stars as a super spy who coerces a hacker (Hugh Jackman) into helping him steal $6 billion in unused government funds. In exchange for his help, Jackman's character will be granted a clean record and a chance to live a normal, suburban, AOL-approved existence. This is just conjecture, but somewhere along the line things will go awry, bullets will fly, explosions will ensue, and the fate of the free world will hinge on Halle Berry revealing her breasts.

For more information on "Swordfish" visit Coming Attractions. For more on Halle Berry—and her breasts—view her filmography.
Posted: 9/19/00

Reviews: "Woman on Top," "Almost Famous," "Love & Sex," "The Cell"
  Four new reviews for your reading pleasure:

>> Woman on Top (Grade: B) — Penelope Cruz stars as a heartbroken cook with a nasty case of motion sickness. Reviewed by Brian Orndorf.

>> Almost Famous (Grade: A+) — Cameron Crowe's poignant look at the early years of a rock journalist scores like a lead singer backstage. Reviewed by Brian Orndorf.

>> Love & Sex (Grade: B+) — Jon Favreau and Famke Janssen are confused lovers trying to find stability in romance. Suckers. Reviewed by Eric Wittmershaus and courtesy of Flak Magazine.

>> The Cell (Grade: A-) — Jennifer Lopez hunts psychological dragons in the screwy head of a serial killer. Reviewed by Rob Wright.
Posted: 9/19/00

Filmfodder Diversions: "Little Nicky," "Lord of the Rings"
  Little Nicky: After "Waterboy" opened to eye-popping grosses in November 1998 someone in the New Line Pictures hierarchy decided that November Adam Sandler movies are a sound investment. Sandler's latest Fall offering is "Little Nicky," a comedy—obviously—that follows Satan's Son, Nicky, as he embarks on a quest to find his long-lost brothers. If he successfully retrieves his hell-raising siblings, Nicky will inherit the family business from his dad—Satan, played by Harvey Keitel. The brothers are played by Rhys Ifans—the skinny white guy from "Notting Hill"—and Tiny Lister—the 6'7" black guy from "Friday" and "The Fifth Element." Churning with gross-out humor and casting jokes, the movie will undoubtedly premiere at number one when it opens November 10. A teaser trailer and a limited official site are available, but upcomingmovies.com has a much better rundown on the plot and cast.

Lord of the Rings: Vanity Fair's October issue features a number of cast pictures from "The Lord of the Rings." Stars Liv Tyler, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Sir Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Billy Boyd, and Dominic Monaghan posed in their costumes and the results are pretty damn intriguing. Ringbearer has most of the pictures available for download. Additionally, you can find a full-length shot of Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf at McKellen's official site.

Related Stuff: Follow our "Lord of the Rings" news on the Spotlight Page and talk about "LOTR" in the forums.
Posted: 9/15/00

Strike Threatens to Bite "Men in Black" Sequel on Butt
that's Mr. Jiggy to you  
© 1997 Columbia Pictures  
A "Men in Black" sequel has appeared on the horizon, but it's going to be a long time before "MIB2" merchandise is included with our value meals. Director Barry Sonnefeld and star Will Smith have both expressed a strong interest in a second "MIB" and Variety is reporting that Tommy Lee Jones is also interested in returning to the franchise. But don't get jiggy just yet. The willingness of the principals to come together doesn't mean "MIB2" is on the fast track to production. Even if the pieces fall together in the next few weeks, production would stretch into the middle of next year, which is exactly when the Screen Actor's Guild strike is set to take place. The only way we'll see an "MIB" sequel in the near future is if the strike is called off—a longshot at best.

Related Stuff: Keep up on all the "MIB" news by visiting our Spotlight Page
Posted: 9/14/00

"Spider-Man" Pushed to May 2002
  Citing an "ambitious vision for "Spider-Man," Columbia Pictures has pushed "Spidey's" release date from November 2001 to May 3, 2002. Variety says that the start of production has also been pushed back from December to January 2001. Most of the acting stuff—principal photography and the like—will be out of the way by the summer of 2001, which should keep "Spidey" safe from the SAG strike (a topic I'm already sick of). Columbia's decision shouldn't be a major problem for director Sam Raimi, but Tobey Maguire is probably cursing the move because he'll be forced to dedicate a few more months to the intense weight-lifting program he's used to prepare for the Spidey role. To see what Mr. Pleasantville looks like now, check out this picture. He's action Tobey now.

Related Stuff: Visit the "Spider-Man" Spotlight Page for more news.
Posted: 9/14/00

A Matrix-free Look at "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
© 2000 Sony Pictures Classics  
For months I've been reading that "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" will be the next "Matrix." I finally got around to researching the film and now that I've done my homework I have no idea where these "Matrix" comparisons are coming from. The only thing "Crouching Tiger" and "The Matrix" have in common is fight choreographer Yuen Wo Ping. Hell, if that kind of logic holds true then "For Love of the Game" should have been the next "Army of Darkness" because both were directed by Sam Raimi.

Erroneous comparisons aside, "Crouching Tiger" is an epic love story that mixes fighting and fantasy elements. It's also a departure for director Ang Lee. Best known for directing "The Ice Storm" and "Sense and Sensibility," this is Lee's first foray into the martial arts arena. Lee's genre may be different, but the female-centric focus he's displayed in previous films is continued in "Crouching Tiger." What this means is that many of "Crouching Tiger's" fight scenes pit women against other women. On the surface this sounds like a feeble attempt to be different, but the inclusion of the exceptional Michelle Yeoh ("Tomorrow Never Dies") in many of these scenes should elevate them beyond mere novelty. In addition to Yeoh, American audiences will also recognize Chow Yun Fat ("The Replacement Killers," "Anna and the King") in a supporting role.

The biggest obstacle facing "Crouching Tiger" is its use of English subtitles. Americans like their movies easy and comfortable, so there's a question as to how willing they'll be to read their way through the movie. It's a risky endeavor, but an early "Crouching Tiger" review at Upcomingmovies.com says the film's action should compensate for subtitle hurdles.

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" will be released in the U.S. on December 22. For more information, including the trailer, visit the official site.
Posted: 9/13/00

"Oceans Eleven" Update: Wahlberg Out, Coen Brothers In?
© 2000 Warner Bros.  
The cast list for Steven Soderbergh's next project, "Ocean's Eleven," continues to change. Production is supposed to begin in January 2001, which will pit "Ocean's" against the calendar because Soderbergh will have to finish the picture before the anticipated SAG strike begins early next summer. Finishing the movie within five or six months shouldn't be an enormous undertaking if the producers can solidify the cast list—something they have yet to do. As it stands, Mark Wahlberg has dropped out because of his commitment to Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes" remake. Variety and Movies.com say that Matt Damon might take Wahlberg's spot, which could be the first time in Hollywood history where one Boston-bred actor is replaced by another. Luke and Owen Wilson have also reportedly left "Ocean's" because of other projects, but an interesting—and unconfirmed—rumor suggests that Joel and Ethan Coen might step in for the Wilson boys. George Clooney, "Ocean's" producer and star, just finished working with the Coen brothers on "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" so there's an outside shot this rumor has validity. One actor who has been confirmed for "Ocean's" is veteran thespian Alan Arkin ("Glengarry Glen Ross," "Catch-22" and a slew of other films). Barring further casting chaos, Arkin will join the following performers: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Bill Murray, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, and Bruce Willis. For more information on "Ocean's" check out Upcomingmovies.com

Related Stuff: Follow all of our "Ocean's Eleven" news on the Spotlight Page. Additionally, you can satisfy your gabbing urges by visiting the "Ocean's Eleven" Forum.
Posted: 9/13/00

Weekly Question: What are the Worst Movies of the Last 10 Years?
  From "Battlefield Earth" to "Batman & Robin" -- the last 10 years have provided plenty of bad movies. Drop by the Filmfodder Weekly Question Forum to register your vote for the worst movies of the last decade. Visit the forum now.
Posted: 9/12/00

"Ghostbusters 3" Finally Put to Rest
  Somewhere, Zuul is smiling. After watching "Ghostbusters 2" tarnish the legacy of its superb predecessor, it's been particularly disheartening to hear occasional rumors about a third movie. But now a joyous item at Dark Horizons beckons us from the darkness with news that a third "Ghostbusters" will not be made. The report quotes Dan Aykroyd as bluntly saying, "It's dead." Aykroyd cites business obstacles and the unwillingness of Bill Murray to strap on the proton pack as the reasons for the film being canned.
Posted: 9/12/00

Malkovich Prepares to Go Green in "Spider-Man"
© 1997 Touchstone Pictures  
The ever-eccentric John Malkovich is considering an offer to become the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" movie, says The Hollywood Reporter. Nicholas Cage was originally considered for the villainous role, but Mr. "Gone in 60 Seconds" bailed on the project because he was too busy filming yet another action movie (John Woo's "Windtalkers"). Expect Cage to be hospitalized for self-inflicted ass-kicking wounds after "Spider-Man" is released and Malkovich steals the show.

In other Spidey casting news, Spidermanhype.com says that Kate Hudson may be joining the production. This comes as a surprise because Julia Stiles has been rumored for the Mary Jane role. Hudson may be a more viable choice because of the positive buzz she's earning for her performance in Cameron Crowe's upcoming "Almost Famous." Then again, Hudson may play a different character, allowing Stiles to be Mary Jane and promptly tossing my "viability" theory in the crapper.

Related Stuff: More "Spider-Man" news is available on the Spotlight Page.
Posted: 9/12/00

New Reviews to Delight and Anger
  It's late, so I'll be brief. If you're hankering for the latest in Filmfodder reviews, behold this batch of criticism:
> Nurse Betty (Grade: A-)
> The Watcher (Grade: B)
> The Million Dollar Hotel (Grade: D+)

Posted: 9/12/00

"Traffic" Brings Drugs Home for the Holidays
well hi there  
© 1998 TriStar  
Update: I finally found a decent copy of the new "Traffic" trailer. Check it out but be prepared to wait if you're on a slow connection because this hi-res beast weighs in at 7.5MB.

One of the most anticipated movies of the Christmas season—by me anyway—is "Traffic," a drug war epic directed by Steven Soderbergh ("Erin Brockovich," "Out of Sight"). Scheduling a drug movie during the season of frankincense and mirth is a stroke of counterprogramming genius. While everyone is greeting strangers with brazen fakeness, it'll be nice to spend a few hours amidst dope-addled honesty.

"Traffic" is an ensemble production with a number of subplots, but the central story focuses on the newly-appointed, ultra-conservative U.S. Drug Czar (Michael Douglas) who attempts to lead a war on drugs even though his own daughter (Erika Christensen) is a junkie. Can you say background check? Catherine Zeta-Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Quaid, Don Cheadle, Topher Grace and a slew of other actors also appear (IMDb has the cast listing).

Harrison Ford was originally attached to star as the drug czar, but he dropped out in March. Kevin Costner orbited the role for a brief time, but he also passed, which Soderbergh probably saw as a blessing since Costner has the acting range of a Triscuit. Finally, Douglas joined the production and brought with him a flurry of media attention because of his engagement to co-star Zeta-Jones. Just to make things interesting, Zeta-Jones became pregnant and her character had to be rewritten to incorporate her altered state. But after all the casting turmoil things settled down and now the movie is scheduled for a December 22 release. For more information, check out the "Traffic" pages at Coming Attractions and Upcomingmovies.
Posted: 9/10/00

Filmfodder Diversions: "Get Carter," "Duets"
  Get Carter: "Clear!" Sylvester Stallone tries to jolt his career back to life with this remake of the 1971 revenge classic. Recent Oscar winner Michael Caine, the star of the original, returns in a supporting role. He's joined by Rachel Leigh Cook, Miranda Richardson, Alan Cumming and Mickey Rourke. "Get Carter" premieres October 6. View the trailer (requires Quicktime) or peruse the sparse official site for more.

Duets: This celebration of karaoke—you read that correctly—was originally scheduled for a May release, but the film's distributor, Disney, was upset about the film's violence and put it on hold. Bowing to studio pressure, director Bruce Paltrow (father of "Duets" star Gwyneth Paltrow) reedited the film and it's scheduled to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival this weekend. One notable cast member is '80s music icon Huey Lewis, who plays a veteran karaoke hustler. You can see Huey, Gwynie and others in the trailer and if you're in Toronto this weekend, you can find out when and where "Duets" is playing
Posted: 9/08/00

Damning "The Queen of the Damned"
  Column: As a devout reader of Anne Rice's "Vampire Chronicles," Eva Weber has particular insight into the upcoming sequel to "Interview With the Vampire." In her humble estimation, "The Queen of the Damned" will suck with the force of a thousand vampires. Read her column and see the folly in this project.
Posted: 9/08/00

Mange, Jaundice on Display in New "Grinch" Photos
an ugly mutha  
© 2000 Universal Pictures  
More freaky pictures of Jim Carrey as the Grinch have surfaced online, and the current batch will do little to silence the naysayers who believe the character will scare the bejesus out of impressionable children. The French version of Premiere Magazine has posted 10 stills from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and every single Grinch shot shows a mangy green monster with evil yellow eyes. Additionally, Coming Attractions has a picture of the latest "Grinch" teaser poster. Proactive parents will want to schedule late-November, early-December therapy sessions with child psychologists now because available time slots will be hard to find after "Grinch" is released November 17.
Posted: 9/07/00

Disconcerting News from the "Batman" Front
  I thought the addition of nipples and codpieces was as bad as it could get, but a report from Entertainment Weekly is proof that the "Batman" franchise will be further bastardized. Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, an EW writer, says that Brad Pitt is a heavy favorite to star in the next installment, thereby turning the Dark Knight into the Dark Dumb Knight. Writer/director Darren Aronofsky—best known for the independent movie "Pi"—is rallying Warner Bros. to direct, but he's competing against "X-Men" auteur Bryan Singer.

In related Bat news, Studio Briefing says that George Clooney told Movieline magazine about a treatment he wrote for the next Batman movie. Clooney's dubious Bat past and his affection for practical jokes put this report in doubt, but the Studio Briefing item says that Clooney's Batman would be film noir. The dark story would follow Batman as he deals with the deaths of both Alfred and Robin. No word on how Batgirl bites it, but something involving fake nipples and form-fitting rubber would be particularly appropriate.
Posted: 9/07/00

"E.T." to Return; Reeses Pieces Sales Expected to Skyrocket
  Taking a page from George Lucas' "Guide to Easy Money," Steven Spielberg has announced that "E.T." will be rereleased in theatres in March 2002. Originally released in 1982, the poignant story of a little boy and an ugly alien botanist has raked in more than $700 million worldwide. For this 20th anniversary edition, Spielberg will add computer wizardry and a sparkling new soundtrack—an endeavor that'll take 15 minutes at ILM and garner another $100 million in grosses. Reports at Variety and The Hollywood Reporter suggest that Spielberg may add footage to the original print, which is interesting because it's been rumored that Harrison Ford's small role as the elementary school principal was cut from the original edition. If Spielberg is feeling saucy, maybe he'll slip Ford's scene back in. If he's feeling really saucy, he'll forget about this "E.T." nonsense and turn to the "Indy 4" movie we're all waiting for.
Posted: 9/06/00

We've Got "Snatch"!
  Wicked Advanced Review: European correspondent (for this week anyway), Nahal Kazemi, casts a critical eye on "Snatch," the second film from "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" director Guy Ritchie. Starring Brad Pitt and featuring a cast of what seems to be thousands, "Snatch" is a violent, comedic look at a jewel heist, a boxing match, a pig farmer, a little dog, an Irish gypsy and an assortment of other plotlines. The film won't be released in the U.S. until February 2001, so consider this a REALLY advanced review. Read it now!
Posted: 9/06/00

Funny Philosophy Rules the Day in "Tao of Steve"
  Review: Donal Logue stars in "The Tao of Steve," a quirky movie that carves out a novel little niche in the well-worn romantic comedy genre. Read the review and revel in the inherent "Steve" of it all.
Posted: 9/06/00