News Bites: Trolls and Tomorrow

News Bites LogoGood morning folks, it’s Friday, time for the News Bites. For my regular readers, a quick update on when I’m getting back to regular content: very soon. The bad tooth was pulled out Tuesday, and while I’m still catching up on sleep and awaiting eating solid food again, I’m feeling pretty good. I want to build up a small buffer of watched films before I start posting reviews again, but hopefully those will start going up on Tuesday. The MMV will be along on Monday; I’m undecided right now on whether I’ll be posting a Sunday article or using the time to build up the buffer. It depends a bit on how things go; got a busy couple of days today and tomorrow.

But enough about me. You’re here for news about the movies. And there’s quite a bit of that, with sci-fi films, comedies, and family films all being heavily represented in this week’s News Bites. Read on to find out what’s going on!

Again, we start with some sad news. Seems like there’s always a spate of celebrity deaths in the spring. This time it’s legendary comic Jonathan Winters. Winters was most famous as a stand-up comedian but also had memorable roles in the TV series Mork and Mindy and the film It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Most recently he was the voice of Papa Smurf in The Smurfs movies. A major influence on a lot of stand-up comics, he’ll be greatly missed.

I also feel I have to note the passing of prima ballerina Maria Tallchief. I don’t normally cover ballet here, largely because I’m not interested in ballet, but I still have to show some respect. She was a fellow Osage after all, and one of the very few to have achieved some level of celebrity. Got to support one’s tribe.

Community star Joel McHale has a few films in the works. He has a supporting role in the third rom-com team-up of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, to be directed by Frank Coraci and released next year. The film does not currently have a title, though its early script title was Blended — a title which seems apt as Sandler and Barrymore play romantic leads who are each coming from divorces with families. McHale will be playing Barrymore’s obnoxious ex-husband. McHale also has a role in A Friggin’ Christmas Miracle, where he co-stars with Robin Williams and Lauren Graham.

Straight from Disney-Pixar’s Twitter feed, director Pete Docter (Monsters Inc and Up) is working on a new film for the studio, to be titled Inside Out. It will be released June 19, 2015. With Finding Dory coming out that November, this means there will be two Pixar films in 2015.

DreamWorks has acquired the IP license for Troll dolls from the Dam Family. They intend to release a movie based on the ugly-cute figures in 2015, and also to extend the franchise into television. Well, they had success with ogres…

Thursday, April 18, was the 75th anniversary of Superman’s debut in comic books. Warner Brothers and DC Comics got a very nice birthday present for the Man of Steel with some help from a US District Court, which ruled against the Siegel estate on the question of ownership of Superman, Superboy, and various Superman-related advertisements. This effectively ends the Siegels’ federal case against DC Comics, though they can theoretically sue in state court for breach of contract. But the way is clear for DC Comics and Warner Brothers to do what they want with the character — both young and old — without fear of losing the trademark mid-production.

More casting news for Ninja Turtles, and this time it’s relatively concrete. Danny Woodburn, who played Grimm in Mirror Mirror, has been cast as the role of Splinter. Speaking of Ninja Turtles, Raphael actor Alan Ritchson is telling naysayers that “everything they know is wrong”, but is not actually going into specifics about what exactly is wrong. He also says it will “live up to and exceed everybody’s boyhood dreams of being a ninja turtle” and counts himself as a fan. While I appreciate his enthusiasm, it has to be said I wouldn’t expect somebody who signed onto the film to have a problem with it. Not to be rude (gimme a break!) but specific concerns can’t be abated by general enthusiasm from someone whose future may well ride on people receiving the film well.

Oblivion opens this weekend in the U.S., but it’s already out overseas — and has already been a big enough success to land Tom Cruise another sci-fi role. Cruise is set to star in a film adaptation of the Yukikaze series of sci-fi war novels by Chohei Kambayashi. The series concerns Earth fighting off an interplanetary invasion force.

Michael Rooker, of The Walking Dead, has been cast as Yondu in Marvel Comics’ Guardians of the Galaxy. They’re throwing just about every space-based character they have into this, I think.

It’s started, and you probably knew it would. Raise your hands if you guessed that after the success of the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter that other film projects would go to crowdsourced fundraising in an attempt to get the film made. Melissa Joan Hart is asking for $2 million for a film entitled Darci’s Walk of Shame, to be directed by Tibor Takács (who directed Hart in the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV movie). The romantic comedy involves a woman (Hart) deciding to go for a one-night stand while on vacation and spending the rest of the movie trying to undo the effects once knowledge gets out. Hart is hoping that her fans will support her trying to get out of the “Lifetime movie rut”. The Kickstarter goes until May 26.

Starting in 2015, Disney plans to release a Star Wars film every summer through 2019. Star Wars: Episode VII will come out in 2015, Episode VIII in 2017, and Episode IX in 2019. Side stories set in the Star Wars universe will be released in 2016 and 2018. We all knew Disney would be doing a lot with the property, but this is a bit more than anyone expected, I think.

Let’s see… comedy… light sci-fi… 1980s… yup. Weird Science is getting targeted for a remake. Michael Bacall has been attached as the screenwriter. While Bacall took 21 Jump Street and made it lighter and a comedy, he appears to be going the other way with Weird Science, which is expected to be “edgier” and R-Rated. From my heart and from my hand, why won’t people understand, leave these things alone already?

Speaking of 21 Jump Street, if you were a fan of that film you’ll be pleased to hear it’s getting a sequel, due out in 2014.

Brad Bird is directing a feature film for Disney based on their Tomorrowland theme park; George Clooney is starring, and Raffey Cassidy (the young Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman) has been cast as a ten-year-old robot with various fighting skills. The story is unknown but is reported to be in the vein of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Cameron Diaz is in a sex tape. Wait. Let me rephrase that. Cameron Diaz is in final negotiations to star in a film titled Sex Tape about, well, you can guess. She and her co-star Jason Segel will spend the raunch-comedy tracking down the tape they made after it goes missing. Jake Kasdan, director of Bad Teacher, is at the helm for this film as well.

Manny Eating PasteRumors, Speculation, & Indefinite News:

The cast of The Expendables 3 has been in flux, as might be expected for a film in production, but Sylvester Stallone is hopeful about one new addition: Wesley Snipes, of whom Stallone has said has had an open invitation for as long as the franchise has been going, but until now was occupied serving time for tax evasion. Sly has tweeted that “Wesley Snipes is BACK!… with US!”, implying that Snipes’ return to movies will include being Expendable.

If you were a fan of Heroes… I mean a fan for more than one season… (all twelve of you)… and you own an X-Box, you might, just might be in for some good news. MSN wants to bring the series back, to be distributed through their fledgling X-Box entertainment studio.

Seth MacFarlane already said “no way” to the idea of hosting the Oscars again, but he has a chance to change his mind in the next few weeks, as the producers have offered him next year’s hosting gig. This decision was based on MacFarlane’s audience numbers being both larger and younger than in the year immediately prior. As somebody who wasn’t a fan of MacFarlane’s performance, I’d rather he sticks to the “no way”, but if he does come back, perhaps he’ll take the mixed reviews in stride and genuinely temper his antics. But then, the younger fans might not want that, so who knows?

A short while ago, there was an article about a group of 40-year-old friends who have been carrying on an annual game of tag across the country since they were kids. Now it’s going to be a movie. The cast for Tag Brothers is not yet confirmed, but Will Ferrell and Jack Black are tentatively attached to star, depending on how they like the script.

“Gross well says that children are young because they play, and not vice versa; and he might have added, men grow old because they stop playing.” — G. Stanley Hall, Adolescence, 1904

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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10 Responses to News Bites: Trolls and Tomorrow

  1. Spikor says:

    I was sad to hear about Jonathan Winters.

    I’d rather see Weird Science get remade on an annual schedule than revisit the train wreck that Heroes became. I’m also curious just how much money Microsoft is willing to throw at various forms of digital distribution before one of them finally catches on.

  2. Bubbawheat says:

    A bit of an update to Ninja Turtles, apparently it’s now officially back to being called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so there’s that.

  3. Glad to hear about Sandler and Barrymore reuniting. I’m a fan of their work together. She brings out the best in him, I think.

  4. Glad to hear you’re feeling better, Morgan.

    Not sure what to make of the Weird Science remake. Seems like a rather odd choice — I didn’t think the original was all that great to begin with. Then again, I may have had too high of expectations since I loved Hughes’ other work.

    • No, I think you’ve got a valid point. I enjoyed Weird Science, but it’s definitely not a “great” film. It’s just enjoyable fluff. It really does seem like an odd choice, though, since it was such a product of the 80s.

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