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Archive: June 2000

"Fletch" Resurrected by Kevin Smith
Irwin S. Fletcher  
© 1985 Universal Pictures  
"Can I borrow your towel? My car just hit a water buffalo."
-- From "Fletch" (1985)

Fans of quick-witted comedy will rejoice in the news that writer/director/comic-book lover Kevin Smith will write and direct the third "Fletch" film for Miramax. Based on a series of novels by Gregory Mcdonald and admirably brought to the screen by Chevy Chase, the "Fletch" franchise has been DOA since 1989's "Fletch Lives." Rumors suggesting Smith would write and/or direct the third installment have swirled around the Web since '97, but nothing official came to pass until recently. Now The Hollwood Reporter says Smith may adapt Mcdonald's novel "Fletch Won" into a screenplay and Coming Attractions says Smith-favorites Ben Affleck and Jason Lee are being considered for the starring role. I'll put my money on Affleck—he's no Jack Ryan (see the archive) but he could definitely handle Fletch. News on Chevy Chase's involvement hasn't surfaced, but when it does I'll be sure to pass it along in a timely manner.
Posted: 6/29/00

Wahlberg to Join Pack of "Damn Dirty Apes"
  What kind of other-worldly prognosticator could have predicted that one day, the man formerly known as Marky Mark would team with director Tim Burton for a remake of "Planet of the Apes?" Stranger things have happened, but I'm hard pressed to think of any. Nonetheless, official word of Mark Wahlberg's casting in the "Apes" remake has come through the Hollywood Reporter and IGN Movies. Wahlberg will step into the NRA-endorsed footprints of Charlton Heston, who starred as Col. George Taylor in the original 1968 cult classic. 20th Century Fox is hoping to unleash this merry band of simians July 4, 2001.
Posted: 6/29/00

Independence Day Extravaganza
  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and Overpriced tickets to movies about Patriots and Storms."
-- A line from Thomas Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration of Independence

In case you hadn't heard, Independence Day is here. In the coming days millions of Americans will flock to the cineplex of their choice to bask in the blockbuster goodness of "The Patriot" and "The Perfect Storm." Will Mel Gibson's musket-fest knock George Clooney into the briny depths of the Atlantic? Or will Clooney and Mark Wahlberg combine forces to yank Gibson's knickers into a vicious wedgie?

To celebrate the holiday—and contribute to the swirling tornado of hype surrounding these films—we've assembled a splendid smattering of "Patriot" and "Storm" tidbits. These items have been specially crafted with the drunk, barbeque-eating patriot in mind.

"Patriot" Stuff:

© 2000 Columbia Pictures  
Now that a rough blueprint of the human genome has been uncovered, scientists should take it upon themselves to compare the DNA of movie reviewers and historians. Evidence at Studio Briefing suggests that both groups harbor a "bitch" gene somewhere in their double helixes. Reviewers take umbrage with "Patriot's" black and white view that paints Americans as heroes and Brits as evil wankers. Meanwhile scholars continue to scream "historically innacurate!" from their ivory towers.

Unlike many critics, Roger Ebert understands that summer movies are supposed to entertain rather than educate. He gives "The Patriot" three stars.

But enough with the reviews. If you want to immerse yourself in all-things "Patriot" start with the IMDb listing, then check out the official site. Those inspired by the film should read about everyone's favorite revolutionary instrument, the fife.

"Perfect Storm" Stuff:

get that prosthetic away from me!  
© 2000 Warner Bros.  
"The Perfect Storm" is a true story. This doesn't mean that George Clooney is really a fisherman, but it does mean that a giant storm smashed through the Atlantic in October 1991. I can verify this because I was living on Cape Cod at the time and I distinctly remember the "no-name" Halloween storm that whipped through my town and scattered hundreds of prepubescent trick-or-treaters to the winds.

If you want to be real scholarly-like, read Sebastian Junger's book. Junger's account will force you to respect and fear the ocean.

Now for the movie stuff. The film arrives in theaters on Friday (June 30), but Boston.com already has an exclusive review. When you're done with that, be sure to check out the site's "Perfect Storm" special. Many of the people featured in the book and film were from Gloucester—a fishing town north of Boston—so the coverage in this special section offers a local perspective.

Those searching for quick information should consult the IMDb and the "Perfect Storm" official site.

Mindless hype from our media friends:

As mentioned before, the media hype focusing on the "battle" between these films is reaching a level usually reserved for 6-year-old Cuban refugees. Variety and Entertainment Weekly report on this weekend's business angle.
Posted: 6/29/00

Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan? Ugh.
good will this baby  
© 2000 Dimension Films  
When it was reported that Harrison Ford had turned down the lead in "The Sum of All Fears" my first thought was, "I hope they don't tap some Gen-X popular boy to be the next Jack Ryan." Well guess what? Gen-X popular boy Ben Affleck might be the next Jack Ryan. This disturbing news comes from Zentertainment. I have yet to see it confirmed anywhere else, but my cynical nature leads me to believe this bugger. I like Affleck—he's a Boston-bred guy and that, by default, makes him swell in my book, but for all his Beantown goodness, he's no Jack Ryan. Ryan is a slightly-grizzled middle-aged man. Granted, Harrison Ford is pushing the far edge of middle-age (unless he lives to be 110), but the man has a quiet wisdom about him—and he can point that index finger like no one else. All Affleck has is a smartass charm, which will get you far in life, but it won't give you Harrison Ford's presence. Affleck could pull this role off in 10 years, but right now he's 28. That means that 18-year-old Thora Birch, who played Jack Ryan's daughter in "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger," could theoretically be a love interest in one of Affleck's films. C'mon people! That just doesn't work! Paramount should go back to the "Hunt for Red October" formula by signing Alec Baldwin to star and John McTiernan to direct. Screw the younger demographic and stay true to the franchise.
Posted: 6/26/00

"Ocean's Eleven" Cast Swells with More A-List Additions
  The cast of "Ocean's Eleven" is going to be a powerhouse, especially with the recent (rumored) additions of Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, and Bill "Funniest Man Ever" Murray. The film will be directed by "Out of Sight" helmer Steven Soderbergh, which means it'll be a slick, visceral package that'll run rings around typical Hollywood fair. For those unfamiliar with the original "Ocean's 11," it's a comedy/crime-caper that focuses on a group of 11 smooth thieves who concoct a scheme to rob a casino on New Year's eve. This isn't "Reindeer Games" redux—the original showcased the talents of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack back in 1960. Based on information culled from IGN Movies, the "Ocean's 11" cast currently includes:

George Clooney & Mark Whalberg (together again)
Brad Pitt
Bruce Willis
Julia Roberts
Michael Douglas
Bill Murray
Luke Wilson
Owen Wilson

That's one hell of a cast. Let's hope Soderbergh can curb the egos and fulfill on the promise of this ensemble.
Posted: 6/23/00

Indy 4: "Sixth Sense" Scribe Sees Rugged Archeologist in Near Future
indiana is what we named the dog  
© 1989 Paramount  
A host of sources -- namely Movies.com and Coming Attractions -- are reporting that M. Night Shyamalan is being wooed to write the screenplay for "Indiana Jones 4." Shyamalan rocketed from the briny depths of obscurity when "The Sixth Sense" zipped to number nine on the all-time highest-grossing films list. What's most interesting about Shymalan being picked to pen "Indy 4" is that it's speeding up the production schedule. Previously, Spielberg, Lucas and Ford had said the earliest they could commit to the film would be 2005, but Shymalan's involvement has pushed the film to a 2002 release. On a sidenote, Harrison Ford will be 60 years old when this film is made, which might put a damper on those action sequences. Then again, Shymalan is a crafty writer, so maybe he'll find a way to work Ford's age into the script -- "Indiana Jones and the Quest for Regularity."
Posted: 6/23/00

"Patriot" Star Sharpens Incisors for Rumored Lestat Role
  An interesting casting rumor involving an Austrailian actor and a Frenchy rock-star vampire has surfaced at Coming Attractions. Heath Ledger, who will soon be seen in "The Patriot" as Mel Gibson's son, might be cast as the Vampire Lestat in "Queen of the Damned," the sequel to "Interview With the Vampire." Based on Anne Rice's novel, "Queen of the Damned" has the potential to be an epic film, with a number of international locations and a big supporting cast. Wes Bentley was supposed to take the Lestat role, but the young actor from "American Beauty" bowed out in April. Information on this project is fleeting at best, but one thing we do know is that none of the major players from the first film are involved. Some might consider this a detriment, but after watching Antonio Banderas' woefully inept portrayal of Armand in "Interview," we're ready for some fresh blood (pun inserted because the editor couldn't think of anything better).
Posted: 6/22/00

Schwarzenegger on Terminator 3: "I'll Return Promptly"
  Maybe it was the lackluster reception of "End of Days." Maybe it was a guilt complex developed after that poor showing in "Batman & Robin." Maybe it's just a very strong desire to make a heaping pile of money. Whatever the reason, Movies.com reports that Arnold Schwarzenegger is ready to chug the badass juice one more time in "Terminator 3." Over the last year Arnold has adamently refused to jump on the "T3" bandwagon unless Big Jimmy Cameron is involved. Seeing as Cameron has been against the idea of another sequel, this project appeared to have the liveliness of a boiled lobster. But resurrection has touched the cyborg and now Arnold is telling "Access Hollywood" (that bastion of lukewarm entertainment journalism) that Cameron will definitely produce "T3" and he may decide to direct. As long as Cameron stays away from the script and promises to never, ever, claim to be "king of the world" again, we're down with this movie.
Posted: 6/21/00

Promo Art: "Bedazzled"
Click pic to enlarge  
Filmfodder Exclusive: We've received some smokin' new promotional art for the upcoming movie, "Bedazzled." Directed by Harold Ramis and starring Elizabeth Hurley and Brendan Fraser, "Bedazzled" is an update of a 1967 Dudley Moore film. Given its comedic pedigree it's likely that this is, in fact, a comedy. We dug up a wee bit of information at Coming Attractions and learned the following: Fraser's infatuation with a woman leads him to make a deal with the Devil (Hurley). In turn, Hurley grants Fraser seven wishes, which are supposed to facilitate successful wooing of his love interest. As you might imagine, the woo process isn't easy and Fraser encounters a myriad of comedic obstacles on his path to love and/or Hell. It doesn't sound like much, but with Ramis helming there's a decent chance it'll rip a laugh-hole in your stomach lining. "Bedazzled" is slated for release on August 11. Thanks to "Broham" for the picture. Behold the art (44k).
Posted: 6/20/00

"Fight Club" DVD: Two Discs of Bloody Love
  Review: Michael Cantrell recently bought the "Fight Club" DVD collector's set and the film has had an interesting effect on our intrepid reviewer. His once staid life amidst Ikea furniture and corporate stability has been replaced by anarchy, soap, and this weird desire to beat the living crap out of anything that breathes. We tore him off some poor sod outside a seedy bar to get his opinion on the "Fight Club" discs. Read his review. On a related note, does anyone know a good dentist?
Posted: 6/20/00

"Croupier" Grasps Greatness, Throws it in Toilet
  Review: Flak Magazine correspondent James Norton took some time from his hectic schedule to view the art-house film "Croupier." He probably wishes he had that time back. Read his review so you can feel his pain and make his life a little happier.
Posted: 6/20/00

Jet Li Confirmed for "Matrix" Sequels; Editors Agog
  Back in April casting rumors suggested that Jet Li would have roles in the "Matrix" sequels and now IGN Filmforce has confirmed this wondrous news. That's right ladies and gentleman, Jet Li -- the man who can move faster than a cheetah on a sugar high -- will be darting, kicking and swooshing through the upcoming "Matrix" movies. The Kung-fu scenes in the first "Matrix" were exceptional, but they might pale in comparison to the stunts Li can perform. Just imagine what a legitimate martial arts expert could do with bullet time. Whoa nellie.
Posted: 6/19/00

Poster Art: "What Lies Beneath"
what lies beneath  
Click pic to enlarge  
Uncovering information on Robert Zemeckis' next film, "What Lies Beneath," has been a tough task for movie fans, but Filmfodder received some advance poster art and we thought we'd share the wealth (here's a larger version). Very little is known about the film except that it stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfieffer and has something to do with a college professor encountering a supernatural visitor -- who may be a dead former lover. We consulted the usual suspects but could only find a trailer and a listing at Coming Attractions. The movie is slated for release July 21. Coincidentally, the latest issue of "Entertainment Weekly" takes a look at a smattering of summer movie posters and the magazine bestowed an "A" grade on this one. Here's hoping that "A" extends to the movie -- Harrison Ford's last movie, "Random Hearts," put most viewers in a deep coma. Thanks to "Broham" for the art.
Posted: 6/16/00

Aliens v. Predators? Not Bloody Likely
  The guys at IGN Movies have launched a preemptive strike against the reinvigorated Alien versus Predator rumors. For years the thought of Aliens and Predators battling on-screen has brought puddles of saliva into the mouths of sci-fi fans, but now the rumor mongers have really outdone themselves. According to the IGN article, the current version of "Aliens v. Predators" (which sounds like the coolest Supreme Court case ever) will be directed by James Cameron and will star Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Okay, all together now: riiiiiiiiiight. It's a wonderful, wonderful dream, but there's no way it'll happen.
Posted: 6/15/00

What's the Worst Movie of the Last 20 Years?
  Interesting question, eh? When I ran across it on the Abuzz.com message boards today I certainly thought so. My vote would go to "Battlefield Earth," but that's because it's my whipping boy du jour. Before Travolta and his snot laces graced the screen, I would have nominated "The Island of Dr. Moreau," but at least that made for a funny "South Park" episode. Most respondents at Abuzz relied on tried and true failures like "Waterworld," "The Postman" and "Showgirls," but a few reached into the deep recesses of their brains to withdraw forgotten films like "Leonard Part 6" and "Mannequin." Anyone who can summon "Leonard Part 6" on command deserves praise. If you'd like to add your picks, visit Abuzz.com.
Posted: 6/15/00

Jim Carrey Regains Sanity, Ditches "Phone Booth"
  Jim Carrey's mental lapse appears to have passed. The star of the upcoming "Me, Myself & Irene" has wisely withdrawn from negotiations to star in "Phone Booth." Last week it was reported that Carrey had signed on to star in Joel Schumacher's next project, but now the Hollywood Reporter says that's just not true. "Phone Booth" is the story of a man who picks up a ringing pay phone on a New York street and is told by the caller that if he hangs up he'll be shot. The entire film takes place in the phone booth. No really. That's not a joke.
Posted: 6/15/00

AFI Releases 100 Funniest Movies List; Public Mildly Amused
  The "experts" in the American Film Institute have cast their votes for the 100 funniest U.S. films, and for the first time in the AFI's history the members have actually viewed movies released after 1940. The winners were announced on Tuesday (June 12) in a TV program hosted by Drew Barrymore, the effervescent star of classic comedies like "Poison Ivy," "Boys on the Side" and the milk-snarfing laughfest "Doppleganger." AFI's 100 Years, 100 Laughs site has the full list. In addition, they also feature the "Public's Top 10," which is a dynamically created list that you can influence.

The following are the AFI's top 10 funniest movies:

1. Some Like it Hot (1959)
2. Tootsie (1982)
3. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
4. Annie Hall (1977)
5. Duck Soup (1933)
6. Blazing Saddles (1974)
7. M*A*S*H (1970)
8. It Happened One Night (1934)
9. The Graduate (1967)
10. Airplane! (1980)

Other notables are: "Bringing Up Baby" (14), "A Fish Called Wanda" (21), "There's Something About Mary" (27), "Ghostbusters" (28), "Harvey" (35), "Caddyshack" (71), "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (87), "Battlefield Earth" (-1.5 million).
Posted: 6/14/00

Patriot News Part One: Revisionist History Strikes Again
© Columbia  
Studio Briefing has an interesting blurb about Mel Gibson's upcoming movie "The Patriot." Gibson's character was originally a historically correct (or so the producers thought) representation of Francis Marion, a Revolutionary War hero. That was until the truth about Marion came to light. Historians have noted that Marion was indeed a war hero, but he also took pleasure in hunting Indians and raping his female slaves. Not the kind of guy you usually see starring in a summer movie and certainly not the fervently patriotic family man needed for "The Patriot." Studio Briefing (by way of the London Express) goes on to say that Sony -- the studio releasing "The Patriot" -- changed the character's name to Benjamin Martin after learning of Marion's nasty history.
Posted: 6/13/00

Patriot News Part Two: Gibson and Ledger Offer Clues to Future Projects
  IGN Movies recently talked with "Patriot" stars Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger. Like good movie reporters, they covered the typical bases: What was your inspiration? Did you like the tights? Did you get clocked in the cubes with a musket ball? The "regular" interviews will appear in the next few weeks. But IGN took things a step further by releasing an early article that focuses on Gibson and Ledger's future projects. Gibson suggests that another "Mad Max" movie might become a reality and Ledger puts to rest those rumors pegging him as the star of "Spider Man." Check it out at IGN Movies.
Posted: 6/13/00

Will The Next Jack Ryan Please Stand Up
  Last week The Hollywood Reporter ran a story saying that Harrison Ford won't reprise the role of Jack Ryan in "The Sum of All Fears" (Coming Attractions has the full rundown). Using that information as a foundation, let's take a ride over to Ain't It Cool News where Harry makes a good argument for reinstating Alec Baldwin as Mr. Ryan. Right now the suggestion is pure fantasy, especially since Ford has two Ryan pictures left on his contract with Paramount. Nonetheless, Harry crunches the numbers and reveals that Baldwin's sole foray into the world of Jack Ryan ("The Hunt for Red October") yielded significant box office. If Paramount could reteam Baldwin with "October" director John McTiernan the results could be pretty damn fantastic (and economically viable, but who really cares about that?).
Posted: 6/12/00

"Inside the Actor's Studio" Makes Me Happy
James Lipton  
© Time Out New York  
Movie lovers, celebrity savants, and cable TV addicts, already know the glory of Bravo's "Inside the Actor's Studio." But there are still people out there who haven't watched this show and that's a low down dirty shame. In an effort to enlighten the masses, Filmfodder editor Mac Slocum (that's me -- the guy who writes this drivel) delivers a heartfelt "Actor's Studio" homage. Plus! We've compiled a slightly interactive toy that's related in a tangential way. Read why this show makes me tingly.
Posted: 6/11/00

"Shanghai Noon" Director Just Doesn't Get It
  "Shanghai Noon" has grossed $32.2 million in its first two weeks, which isn't too shabby, but Tom Dey, the film's director, feels slighted by "Shangai" distributor Disney. He whines about his plight to Entertainment Weekly and, frankly, he sounds like a novice. Somehow, Dey thought "Shanghai" would equal the first-weekend gross of Jackie Chan's other hit, "Rush Hour," which nabbed $30 million. He blames "Shanghai"'s $19.6 million opening (an opening most directors would kill for) on Disney's poor marketing campaign. The greatest marketing campaign in the history of advertising couldn't have boosted "Shanghai"'s chances against the "Mission: Impossible 2" juggernaut. The first-time director also says he can't understand why moviegoers are picking "M:i-2" over his film, especially since "Shanghai" received better reviews. Apparently Mr. Dey doesn't realize that the moviegoing public believes most reviewers are intellectually-challenged garden slugs.
Posted: 6/09/00

"Braveheart" Finally Comes to DVD
  DVD Talk has received word that "Braveheart" will make its DVD debut on August 29th. Mel Gibson and company appear to have realized that fans everywhere have been salivating for this disc and to make it up to them the producers have included a host of goodies. The "Braveheart" disc will feature Dolby 5.1 sound, audio commentary by Gibson and a 28-minute featurette on the making of the movie. Amazon is taking preorders and seeing as I've already reserved my copy, you can bet your sweet bippy we'll have a full DVD review in late August. Soon a cry will rise across the nation as thousands of "Braveheart" fans don blue war paint and blast the battle scenes from their surround sound systems. FREEEEDOMMMMM!
Posted: 6/07/00

Cruise & Woo Make Beautiful Explosions in "Mission: Impossible 2"
mission impossible 2  
© Paramount  
Review: Filmfodder contributing editor Eva Weber was able to tear her eyes away from Tom Cruise's assets long enough to absorb "Mission: Impossible 2" as a whole -- and she liked what she saw. Read her review.
Posted: 6/06/00

Batman Killer to Direct Carrey in Gimmicky "Phone Booth"
ring, ring Neo  
© Paramount  
Further proof God has a wicked sense of humor: Joel Schumacher continues to find work. Variety reports that the man who put nipples on the Bat Suit will direct Jim Carrey in "Phone Booth." "Phone Booth" is one of those weird little stories that's probably too gimmicky for its own good. In it, the lead character (Carrey) picks up a public payphone in New York City and is told that if he hangs up he'll be shot (Moral of the story: Ignore those ringin' phones). A quick poll of the Filmfodder staff has determined that this movie will only succeed if the booth -- and New York City -- are destroyed by a giant, asteroid-throwing alien.
Posted: 6/06/00

Smooth Operators: MGM to Sell TV Rights to Unfilmed Movies
  MGM is wagging a big middle finger at tradition. Studio Briefing reports that MGM is shopping a package of five unfilmed movies -- including "Hannibal" -- to TV studios for $40 million. TV studios usually secure movie rights after a film has been released by paying a percentage of the total box office -- sometimes as much as 15 percent. Apparently MGM has tired of such practices and has decided to shop movies around that haven't been filmed. "Hannibal," for example, is currently in production and won't be released till February 2001.
Posted: 6/05/00

Keanu, Female Kissing "Earn" MTV Movie Awards
  For one shining night Hollywood put aside its pretention and class and instead chose to focus on the important things -- bullet time, gross-out comedy and hot lesbian action. The MTV Movie awards were distributed Saturday night (June 3) and the big winners were Keanu Reeves (Best Male Dude in a Movie) and the Best-kiss combo of Selma Blair and Sarah Michelle Gellar (for their stellar lip-locking in "Cruel Intentions"). Other notables include Best Picture winner "The Matrix" and Best Musical Performance "Uncle Fucka" from "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut." The awards will be broadcast June 8 on MTV, but a full list of winners is already available at Movies.com
Posted: 6/05/00

Yet Another WB Star Makes Lame Career Move
  It's a slow news day when the only interesting news item I could find has to do with David Boreanaz. Movies.com reports that the brooding star of "Angel" is set to star in a "thriller" (in its loosest definition) titled "Valentine." Boreanaz will play a geeky college guy who is the butt of a really bad practical joke. Ten years later Boreanaz gets his revenge on the four women who gave him a collegiate wedgie (or some such nonesense). In an example of keen marketing, the movie will be released on February 14th, pitting it against "Hannibal" (aka: The Most Anticipated Movie of the Year).
Posted: 6/02/00

Rumor: Smits to Strap on Light Saber
damn you Sipowicz  
© New Line Cinema  
Coming Attractions (by way of IGN Movies) has scored a major coup by reporting that former "NYPD Blue" star Jimmy Smits will have roles in both upcoming "Star Wars" prequels. Coming Attractions says his role in Episode 2 will be small, rivaling that of Samuel "Mace Windu" Jackson's in "Episode 1." Smits' role in "Episode 3" is rumored to be more substantial but the tight-lipped Jedis at the Skywalker Ranch aren't confirming a damn thing. For all we know, Dennis Franz' well-publicized posterior might be cast as a young Jabba the Hutt. Anything's possible in that galaxy far, far away. (Apologies for the picture -- it's the only one we could dig up).
Posted: 6/01/00