Top 10 Film Stories of the Week (9/19)

Hollywood moves fast. It's time to catch up.


Two weeks of news involving Paul Greengrass, Star Wars, Batman, and Ghostbusters? We’re starting to see a predictable trend. Fortunately, we have seven other big stories that rattled our news feeds over the past few days. One involves Bond 24, while another deals with a popular furball who finally found her voice. It wasn’t a wild week, per se, but crazy enough to write about.

First off…

Who knew Audrey Griswold would grow up to be Leslie Mann?

leslie mann vacation Top 10 Film Stories of the Week (9/19)

[Source: Variety]

Leslie Mann is joining the cast of New Line’s “Vacation” sequel opposite Ed Helms and Christina Applegate. Shooting is set to start next week in Louisiana with John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein making their directorial debut from their script. Helms is starring as Rusty Griswold, the grown-up son of Clark Griswold (portrayed by Chevy Chase in the 1983 film), who takes a family trip similar to the one he took as a boy.

Solid casting and an agreeable reboot. Why? The Vacation series was always an enjoyable outlet for humorous commentary on the age-old American nuclear family, and it’ll be interesting to see what they come up with for the 21st century. It’s a shame they couldn’t get ballsy and recast Anthony Michael Hall as Rusty, but hey, they still nabbed Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo for a minor supporting role to keep this somewhat canon. Speaking of which, how many of you think they’ll gloss over the 2003 sequel, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2? Or how about any of those ads for HomeAway and Old Navy? Don’t laugh, the latter starred most of the principal cast! Here’s hoping Lindsey Buckingham makes a sonic return, too. –Michael Roffman

Paranormal Activity 5 will haunt … a little later


[Source: Dark Horizons]

Paramount Pictures has delayed the release of the fifth “Paranormal Activity” film yet again. At last report it was slated for release on October 24th, now it has been pushed back an extra five months and will hit cinemas on March 13th 2015. The film has also scored a new title – “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension”. In its new date it will go up against Disney’s “Cinderella” and Warners’ “Heart of the Sea”.

Show of hands, people: Who’s actually frightened by this series anymore? Not since the third one? Yeah, same here. It would appear as if the film’s spiraling mythology has started to plague and strangle the film’s abilities. (And, it doesn’t help that recurring star/spectre Katie Featherston isn’t that strong of an actress.) The next one feels like a little bit of the same ol’ story, only this time the father’s a video game designer, which means we’ll probably see more ghosts fiddling around with X-Box Kinect. Well, unless he owns the new PS4. Maybe they’ll argue over which system is better and ultimately decide that paying Microsoft each month isn’t the smartest thing to do when you’re caring for a family. They could even get a Bill Gates impersonator to star as the villain; the one from Nathan Fielder’s The Web will do. –Michael Roffman

Harmony Korine, Harmony Korine For-evah

harmony korine Top 10 Film Stories of the Week (9/19)

[Source: The Playlist]

“…it’s called The Trap but the movie will actually shoot next year, according to Korine. ‘Well actually, it’s all done! The script is written,’ he told Bullett Media (via The Film Stage) earlier this month. ‘I’m putting the cast together right now, it’s going to be my most ambitious film, and I’m really just going to go for it. It’s some next level shit.’”

Of course, Harmony Korine is following up his tale of former Disney-princesses-turned-criminals-who-hook-up-with-a-Riff-Raff’d-James Franco with a “southern crime family movie.” He’s just so predictable. Seriously, though, this production is one that will have us scouring the Internet in search of news over the next few months. The Trap will be Korine’s sixth feature film, but the big deal here is that it’s following the surprisingly successful Spring Breakers. It didn’t look as though Korine had to sacrifice his art for the sake of commercialism on that film, so the question is will he feel pressure to do so now?

Doubtful. It’s not as though Spring Breakers was made for audiences conditioned to enjoy action blockbusters (have you seen the movie?). He makes movies for himself, so fingers crossed this movie turns out to be a prequel about the family of James Franco’s Alien. Spring break forever for reelz! –Justin Gerber

Calling all Bond Freaks: For Her Eyes Only

bondfreak007 Top 10 Film Stories of the Week (9/19)

[Source: Hitfix]

“With Roger Deakins exiting the James Bond franchise after 2012’s Skyfall, we can confirm that director Sam Mendes has tapped van Hoytema to shoot the still untitled 24th installment of the series.”

Deakins we hardly knew ya’. Fortunately, the Bond franchise is in good hands with Dutch-Swedish cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema. His recent filmography is near impeccable: Let the Right One In (2008), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Her (2013), and the upcoming Christopher Nolan film, Interstellar. We can’t attest to the mood of Interstellar, but those other three films have a cool, detached feel to them, which should sync perfectly with Craig’s steely interpretation of 007. Speaking of, here’s an excerpt we found from the “Bond 24” screenplay:


Bond is lying on a King Bed, staring at the ceiling. His phone is on speaker.


Well, the room’s spinning ’cause I drank too many martinis, cause I wanted to get drunk and have sex. There was something sexy about that spy…’cause I was lonely…maybe just ’cause I was lonely. I wanted somebody to make love to me. I want somebody to want me to make love to them. Maybe that would have filled this…tiny little hole in my heart, but probably not…and sometimes I think I have felt everything I’m ever gonna feel, and from here on out I’m not gonna feel anything new…just…lesser versions of what I’ve already felt- hello? Moneypenny?

Yep. Things are gonna get real in November of next year. –Justin Gerber

Richard Harrow to play Ben Hur

richard harrow Top 10 Film Stories of the Week (9/19)

[Source: The A.V. Club]

Jack Huston, best known for playing sympathetic, mask-wearing hitman Richard Harrow on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, has been cast in the titular role of the upcoming Ben-Hur remake, despite reports that Tom Hiddleston was being considered for the part.

Since maybe 1% of the American population actually watch Boardwalk Empire, few are wise to the talents of Mr. Huston. And for awhile, it was getting sort of dicey for the English actor, who found himself in small films (admittedly, one directed by Al “Hoo Ha” Pacino) and fancy liquor ads. It would appear his stint in last year’s exceptional comedy, American Hustle, added a little gravitas to his resume, and now HBO’s favorite sniper is headlining a giant Hollywood production — starring Morgan Freeman, no less. Now, remakes of sweeping epics are typically snoozefests for this writer, but the casting of Huston is inspiring enough to get me to the popcorn stand. Hell, I might even grab some Twizzlers! –Michael Roffman

Baby steps, Dan Aykroyd. Baby steps.

aykroyd Top 10 Film Stories of the Week (9/19)

[Source: The Belfast Telegraph]

“My whole thinking on Ghostbusters now is it’s beyond just a sequel, a prequel, another movie, another TV show. I’m thinking now, what does the whole brand mean to Sony? What’s Pixar and Star Wars mean to Disney? What does Marvel mean to Fox?

Everybody, all of us on the team there now, the executives, the creatives, myself, Ivan (Reitman), we’re thinking more in terms of what do we build this thing into in the next ten years? Just not another movie or another TV show, but what’s the totality of it? What’s the whole mythology from the beginning of their lives to the end of their lives? Ghostbusters at 9-years-old, Ghostbusters in high school.”


“I’ll draw this analogy, we’ve got the Ecto, okay? It’s sitting in the garage, it’s got the motor out of it, the transmission out of it, the paints gone, the wheels are gone, it’s up on blocks, it needs new brakes, new electronics, everything. That’s what we have to do. The whole vehicle of Ghostbusters has to be rebuilt so that’s more of the ambitious thinking that’s going on now than just thinking about another movie.”

Look, Ghostbusters isn’t Marvel, Mr. Aykroyd. It’s a franchise, sure, but a multi-platform franchise isn’t exactly what this series needs. Remember, the premise still remains rather simple: Humans catching ghosts. You can thread in as many stories as you want, but that will forever be the basic throughline. Meanwhile, Marvel has over thousands of arcs taking audiences to alternate universes and new galaxies, while also introducing a variety of species and mutants. Sure, both The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters were enjoyable cartoons of their time, and the recent comic series was a delight, but such ambitious thinking seems a little tiring. After all, the third one can’t even get through pre-pre-production. Also, I’d like to see what happens when we take away the puppy first. –Michael Roffman

Goodbye Shame: Viewing History Is Now History!

netflix shame Top 10 Film Stories of the Week (9/19)

[Source: EW]

“Netflix has introduced a new feature that allows subscribers to delete items from their viewing history.”

Don’t you hate it when you have your friends over to watch a movie on Netflix Instant, and they always have to ask why Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally shows up as “Recently Viewed”? Well, worry no more, fellow Mouseketeers. Netflix is giving us the chance to bid adieu to the lingering reminders of movies or shows we’ve watched, thanks to a new deleting system that is similar to the act of deleting history from our web browsers.

The EW article goes on to say that “by heading over to the ‘Viewing Activity’ page in a viewer’s Netflix profile, the ability to delete any item should be available simply by clicking on the X that appears to the right of each show or movie.” This is great news. I can watch Blue Is the Warmest Color all I want. Why are you making that face? It won the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival! –Justin Gerber

Aubrey Plaza: “Grumpy Cat, gimme that!”

aubrey plaza grumpy cat Top 10 Film Stories of the Week (9/19)

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]

Lifetime has found the voice for Grumpy Cat: Aubrey Plaza. The actress behind Parks and Recreation‘s April Ludgate is set to voice the surly kitty in Lifetime’s TV movie Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Tim Hill (SpongeBobSquarePants) and Jeff Morris wrote the script about a pet-store cat that is perpetually overlooked and the 12-year-old girl, Chrystal, who can communicate with her. Hill also directs. The TV movie will premiere on Saturday, Nov. 29, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Truth: Grumpy Cat might be my favorite living being in the history of the universe. Yes, she struggles with feline dwarfism and, yes, it’s sort of weird how she’s paraded around the world, but her owners take great care of ol’ Tardar Sauce, and you should really see how excited children get around her. (No lie. I stood in line for two hours at Navy Pier this past summer to get a photo with the sweet lil’ grump, and my brother ended up taking a better photo. I’ll never forgive him.) Initially, I was wary that Grumpy Cat would be speaking; after all, her voice is probably different for everyone. But, thankfully the producers over at Hallmark didn’t mine Craigslist for voice actors and, instead, made the smart decision in nabbing Aubrey Plaza, aka Parks and Recreation‘s own office grump with vivid feline features. It’s gonna be hard to wait until November, but not as hard as it is to be a cat on Christmas. Sheesh. –Michael Roffman

Matt Damon Is Bourne Again?

bourne Top 10 Film Stories of the Week (9/19)

[Source: Deadline]

“EXCLUSIVE: Jason Bourne is coming back. Universal Pictures has begun making deals with Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass to reunite for their third film in The Bourne Identity series…”

Well, Mikey, I’ll bite. Despite already greenlighting a sequel to The Bourne Legacy, which was a spin-off of the Damon films, Universal appears to be giving the go-ahead to both Damon and Greengrass to make another Bourne movie. Two franchises are good for the money-makers at Universal, but here’s the deal: the Damon Bourne movie appears to be taking the place of Jeremy Renner’s Bourne movie on July 16, 2016. No word yet on what happens to that movie, but the idea of another Jason Bourne movie is a welcome one.

Back in May, Damon told CNBC he was willing to bring the franchise back one day, but acknowledged there were certain roadblocks: “I’ve always been open to it if Paul Greengrass is the director. We’ve just never been able to come up with a story. So if any of your viewers have a story, please call Universal and submit it.” So now the question is: Which one of CNBC’s thousands of viewers pitched their idea to Universal? Congratulations, fan of Squawk Box–Justin Gerber

Where do they get those wonderful toys?”

bat3po large Top 10 Film Stories of the Week (9/19)

[Source: Comic BookHypable]

“In the latest video released by J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot, we get the first official video of the Millennium Falcon, which contains a very special Batman Easter egg…”

Directors Zack Snyder and J.J. Abrams have been having a bit of fun with one another. Just last week Snyder revealed a pic of a stormtrooper getting busted for carjacking (Batjacking? Mobilejacking?) the Batmobile on the set of his Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Abrams responded with a brand-new video showing off the Millennium Falcon on the set of Episode VII … which just so happens to have a small model of the Batmobile hidden on its exterior. Guffaws aside, this is the first official look at the Falcon, and there isn’t a green screen in sight within 12 parsecs. Cue the Ewoks party music.

Snyder and Abrams are each under a lot of pressure. Snyder has to simultaneously make a sequel to Man of Steel, kick-start a Batman franchise, and prepare his world for an upcoming Justice League, all in one movie. Of course, Abrams has to save the Star Wars franchise. Our sympathies are with J.J., but to Snyder I say: Good luck with all that! –Justin Gerber