Well the net and the entertainment industry are all a buzz. It’s official…nothing if safe from the world of remakes franchise revivals. Most people realized this after Star Trek became such a blockbuster success. Heck, G. I. Joe just came out, and that franchise was limited to toys and accompanying DVD’s for well over a decade. Of course, I’d wager that G. I. Joe would prove that some of these ‘revivals’ are can be bad as well as good. I for one am not eager to see it.

Oddly enough there seem to be a lot of 80’s kids shows turned into modern movies for somewhat more mature audiences. Transformers (2007), TMNT (2008), G. I. Joe (2009), before you know it Fraggle Rock is going to show up on the big screen.

Star Trek (2009 ) went back to the original cast of characters from the late 60’s TV show. Barbarella is in the works as we speak.

And now, someone wants to go back even further- the Farrelly Brothers actually want to make a Three Stooges flick.

Now don’t get me wrong- these guys are probably the best guys to do it, based on their track record. But will a brand name  from the black and white era sell in the 21st century? For a while it seemed Sean Penn and Jim Carrey thought so. Penn was rumored to be cast as Moe, I believe, and Jim Carrey was going to play Curly. He stated he was even going to put on weight for the role. Try to imagine Jim Carrey’s persona in Curly’s shoes. While they are both over the top, I can hardly imagine Carrey pulling it off very well. He’s just too set into his own stage personality.

As for Sean Penn, I’m not even sure I’ve seen him in anything remotely resembling a comedy. When I think of Sean Penn, I think of Mystic River (1998) and the Thin Red Line (also 1998). The closest thing to a comedy I have seen him do was Milk, which was still much more a drama than a comedy. Somehow the hardcore drama actor being thrown into the role of Moe doesn’t seem to be very realistic.

Thankfully, the two actors may have reconsidered. they seem to have moved to greener pastures. Meanwhile, another actor has reportedly come onboard- Paul Giamatti. Unlike Penn and Carrey, Paul Giamatti looks like he could make a fair Larry, and his highly laudable acting talent fits the mold fairly well. But with the other two star roles abandoned, who will accompany him on screen?

Curly might seem like a hard shoe to fit, but there are some actors and comedic figures that can physically fit the slapstick bill. Kevin James comes to mind. Perhaps even Larry the Cable Guy, if need be. Both seem to have made a name in pseudo slapstick or otherwise goofy comedy gigs. With a little work, either of them would look the part as well. I think between the two Kevin James is preferable given his adaptability. Larry the Cable Guy is, well, Larry the Cable Guy. Can you really imagine him not being the Larry so many fans have come to know and love?

Moe is a little harder I think. I think that one will be filled by a wildcard type actor. Somehow I imagine Johnny Depp will offer to take up the role. If the opportunity presents itself long enough, he might decide to add it to his long list of oddball roles that others cannot do so well. Of course, the Moe role isn’t too far from George Clooney’s character Everett McGill from O Brother Where Art Thou (2000). I suppose there are several actors that work here, but finding the right one is going to take some serious digging.

And even after all this is settled, is anyone really going to see a movie based on three clownish figures from the early decades of the last century? Inevitably I suppose it must draw a certain Friday night crowd. Any laugh will do after a particularly hard week of work. But is this going to be a kid’s movie, or something more mature? Is it going to be set in modern times? Will that even work? For the sake of nostalgia- and for this kind of movie, you have to inevitably appeal to nostalgia- that they keep the film set in times of the original Larry, Curly and Moe. Otherwise, it will lose all of its charm.

Assuming that there are still moviegoers who remember what that charm was after all these years.

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I guess I get to say I called this one. Well, kind of anyway.

It turns out that not only are they going to remake Barbarella  and Plan 9 from Outer Space, but there are possible plans underway to remake one of the movies on my poll in the last post. Believe it or not, J. Michael Straczynski has been publicly talking about redoing Forbidden Planet. However, according to Filmstaker.co.uk, he says that what he is planning isn’t truly a remake, and it won’t even involve the same plot or the same look as the original. The site also hints at the possibility of producer Joel Silver being involved somehow.

The trouble is that if screenwriter claims that what he’s working on is no remake nor  re imagining, what the hell is it? No one seems to know, and many seem to have become rather cynical about it. To be fair, many remakes of classic sci-fi movies don’t really turn out so great. Steven Spielberg’s version of War of the Worlds (2005) comes to mind. There is a certain point where a filmmaker takes a little too much creative licence sometimes.

In any case, the amount of science fiction remakes is becoming quite large. Lets take a look…

  • War of the Worlds (2005)
  • Forbidden Planet (1954 )
  • Lost in Space (1998 )
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008 )
  • Barbarella (2009)
  • Plan 9 (2009)
  • Godzilla (1998 )
  • the original version of Star Trek (2009)
  • King Kong (2005)

Now, of course, this list is not in any particular order. They also are not all coming from the 50’s.  Nonetheless, it seems pretty clear that as time goes on, the more of a trend this becomes. All of these remakes have been done in the last decade, so clearly these things do have a following of some sort. The obvious explanation is that Hollywood figured post 9/11 America would eat up re-interpretations of these movies the same way Cold War era America indulged in the originals. While this is certainly true to a certain extent, it still leaves one wondering why it is so necessary to alter so much of the original movies’ plots.

Ghosts of Sci-fi past

December 7, 2008

So why am I on this kick about old 50’s monster flicks?

Well, because for some reason filmmakers feel the need to revive all of these old dinosaurs. They even decided to redo some of the cheesier ones. For instance, director Robert Rodriguez is in the process of filming Barbarella, with Rosie McGowan as the seductive spacewoman. The original Barbarella (1968) was an erotic science fiction-comedy which starred Jane Fonda, and wasn’t only cheesy but featured infamously suggestive content. It generally had that corny Flash Gordon look and its thematic elements, but with sexuality injected into the mix. At one point, there’s is even a strange torture senario invovlving a device that causes its victim to experience sexual pleasure so intense it is practically fatal.  While this film may have a special niche in the cinematic world, it seems rather random to do a remake of it. Yet, they even got the original’s producer, Dino De Laurentiis, to produce the remake as well. The writers of Casino Royale (2006) are also invovled in this new sci-fi flick.

But it gets even weirder than Barbarella. If you’ll remember, it wasn’t too long ago that I reviewed one of the 50’s most laughable science fiction films; Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959). Well, rumor has it someone intends to do a remake of that, too. John Johnson and Darkstone Productions not only plan to recreate the film in honor of Bela Lugosi and Ed Wood, they want to make a serious horror movie out of it. According to the film’s website (that’s right, its far along enough they already have a web site for it) the movie will be released on the 9th of September next year, titled simply as Plan 9.

http://www.plan9movie.com/

But not all of the coming sci-fi remakes are based on silly movies. After all, in just five days we will get to see the remake of one of the 50’s greatest alien hits, the Day the Earth Stood Still. While they changed the form that the ship comes in, they have otherwise seemingly remained faithful to the original. This film truly did have a fairly intelligent subtext to it, and the remake will retain that. They even kept the original look for the giant robot, and it doesn’t look absolutely ridiculous in the trailer. I would have never thought that would be possible. Apparently, they decided to go with Keanu Reeves hoping his experience playing Neo from the Matrix (1999). The choice might be a little obvious and cliche, but at least there’s a good chance it’ll work.

This isn’t the first time that one of the more serious classic sci-fi movies have been remade. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) was remade on several occasions, the latest being the Invasion in (2007).If the Day the Earth Stood Still is successful, it will bring a great deal of dignity to a genre that had none for a good long while. Unfortunately, that dignity may soon dissapear the following year. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Strange Behavior in Slackers

November 11, 2008

A few weeks ago, I created a video for a contest. The winner would have his, her, or their work shown on a local television channel. I was supposed to work on it with a fellow I never met before hand, along with another girl. Unfortunately, we could not reach an agreement on how to proceed with the video, and so we went our seperate ways on individual projects.

On my own, I did much better than I expected. My script was ready, my ideas were fairly sound, and despite the many obstacles of malfunctioning equipment, I completed the task and submitted my work to the contest. I was quite proud of it, as it was my first time entering a contest like this on my own. I didn’t win, but I was one of the better entries.

However, before I submitted my script, the same guy that I split away from came back and tried to claim credit. He had nothing, he was simply trying to put his name to my work. After I cleared up the matter, he did it again. Calls me up before I’, supposed to pitch the thing and says “let’s practice OUR pitch”. Then he says while we’re at it, he wants me to do some camera work for him. Offers to pay me $1.50.

Obviously, I put an end to whatever the Hell it was he was trying to do. I’m not sure why I suddenly feel the need to write about this, but all this time I have learned that if you want to get invovled in film or television you have to be able to establish relationships. Is ripping someone off creating contacts? Surely not. This kid says he wants to be a director. Yet, he puts forth little effort.

I wish that was the end of it, but now there is another slacker to deal with on another project. Luckily, there is a great guy that balances out the workload anyway.

Why is it that we continually find ourselves in the company of people that try to steal other people’s credit and work? I don’t understand how they manage to get by.

Kevin Smith Comes to Town!

September 21, 2008

It seems over the years there have been quite a few celebs making their way here, particularly comedians. In fact, almost all of them are comedians. Stephen Colbert, Jon Lovitz, Bob Saget…and now, Kevin fuckin’ Smith. For those who don’t know who this guy is, Kevin Smith has made a living doing a great many jobs in the entertainment industry- screenwriter, producer, director, actor, comedian, and he even wrote Daredevil and Green Arrow comics! Almost all of the movies he is invovled in are indies, and like any true indie filmmaker, he often wrestled with the Hollywood rating system. Apparently, the last bunch of films he has done really were semi-pornographic (after all, the next movie is titled Zack and Miri make a Porno). While Smith has been relatively lucky, even with his first movie, he also has been deeply scarred by the failure of Jersey Girl. He says that anytime he brings up a bad movie, offended film fans retort with sneers about how bad Jersey Girl was. He is also recognized for his two recurring characters, Jay and Silent Bob.

He appeared for a Q & A session, which media students were encouraged to attend. However, the questions weren’t so much about his experience as a filmmaker, but rather about bizarre senarios invovling lewd acts and geeky humor.

Now that the Death Star has been destroyed, what kind of retirement will the construction workers get?

Would you bang Sarah Palin?

If a you could eat a burger made from any celebrity, who would you eat?

I’m not sure you would get Brad Pitt or Pierce Brosnan to respond favorably to such questions. I’d love to see someone ask George Bush these things, though.

Several of the more obnoxious question askers were put directly on the spot. Most of them made the mistake of allowing Smith to question them. When this happened, he could be delightfully merciless.

Although the event might appear low brow, it was very interesting because of the relationship that he has with his fans. They were very, very appreciative of his appearance, and he seemed to enjoy it as much as everyone else. he takes an interest in his fans, and its not just because he wants their money. he gets them. He reads comics, he loves all kinds of movies, he blogs, and he is open to his adoring public than pretty much any other celeb.

You can find kevin Smiths website here: http://www.viewaskew.com/main.html

My Friend the Bard

September 5, 2008

Inspiration. For some people, it comes in spades. The rest of us can only sit in awe as artists, musicians, and filmmakers like Herman Herzog, Bob Dylan, and Martin Scorsese make history with their amazing masterpieces. I personally believe that I might be watching such a phenomenon first hand.

Lee James used to be a hazy face from my high school past, like so many others that set off in seperate directions. At the time, there were many would-be musicians who proudly brought their guitars every once in a while. Their attempts to woo onlookers often were clumsy off key. However, this was never the case with Lee. I remember hearing him play Purple Haze once, and it was actually pretty good. Truth be told, it was Lee who got me interested in Jimi Hendrix.

Lee has grown in ways I could never have imagined. For one thing, he is a man of faith. In fact, it seems every time I talk to the guy he blurts out “praise God!” And with his boundless inspiration and enthusiasm, who could blame him? Not only is he intent on releasing very ambitious work, he is saving lives in his spare time. Literally, as well as spritually and inspirationally. He treated a crash victim for shock, and then motivated her to look at her life in a whole new way.

You’d think it would be easy for me to like him, but as a former victim of writer’s block, I sometimes can’t help being jealous. You might think that I might have it again due to my lack of posts over the past week, but that is not the case. In a sense, I suffer from having too much to say, not too little. I suspect Lee might have had an inspirational effect on me as well. If he hasn’t already, his offer has.

Lee asked me to help him make a music video for a song that he believes in very, very strongly. He has something really big in mind, too. He says that this song is different because it will bring Harmony to the world.  I won’t spoil the surprise, but I will say he’s looking for volunteers to lend their voices. If you are interested in my dear friends  music making, you can contact him at leeh2o@gmail.com .

I personally look forward to working with him sometime in the near future.

Recently, I was exploring unfamiliar parts of downtown as part of a location scouting project. What I found was a city that had a natural talent for irony, and hidden treasure.  Mostly irony, though. A finiacial business next to the lottery office. An outdated plastic surgeons building in need of a face-lift. A dead funeral home. There are a bunch of such oddities around here.  You know, here in the South we often joke about how many churches there are, and we jest that there is a church on every street corner. Well, in my travels I was reminded of the big, old churches that are literally accross the street from one another. A fair number of them take up whole blocks, too. It is quite a change from the smaller churches around here.

However, what really surprised me was stumbling on the burial site of President Wilson’s parents and relatives. The only indication they were there was a small sign. That was it.